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St. Troya's Temple 
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"Where do I come from?" He repeated. "Nowhere exotic. I live in Spain, and I have for all my life. Beautiful cities. I embarked upon this pilgrimage to build a stronger relationship with God. I assume you're here to do the same?"

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Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:12 am
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"You don't need to comfort me." Hewett chuckled nervously. "It's probably best that I don't kid myself. But thanks for humoring me."
With a smile, the young man paid for his gear and left the shop, returning to the plaza to wait for everyone else. He suddenly wished that he had gathered more information before setting out on this little pilgrimage. His impulsiveness was something that had gotten him into unfavorable situations in the past, but so far he had managed to come out on top. With any luck, that would be the case again. For now, though, he needed to decide on a course of action.
From Hewett's conversation with the shopkeeper, several things were apparent. All of the pilgrims, save the leader, were diseased. Additionally, the leaders are the only ones that ever return from the journey. It could be assumed, then, that while the disease was incredibly deadly, the trip itself could be survived. That was good news. He had also learned that the disease was contagious, so maintaining a proper level of caution around the pilgrims would be smart. As long as he did that, his life shouldn't be in any immediate danger. After some deliberation, he finally concluded that it would be safe enough to continue on the pilgrimage.


Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:22 am
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OOC: ready to get going again guys?

Following the short and somewhat uneventful break, the pilgrims and you reconvene at the square of the minute village and once again continue on the path. A few of the pilgrims are noticeably weaker than they appeared before, one of which needs propping up in order to walk along the path. The figure who talked with you earlier no longer seems to be in the mood to speak, weary of the dangers facing his group. They were running out of time, those who can't make it will be left behind, there is no other way. As you wander the path, gazing up at the immense northern mountain range, you begin to realize the reality of this pilgrimage. It's a journey of death for those who have very little life left within. These are people who have chosen not to die in suffocating houses, but among the land that God created for them, his children. These are people who are not afraid of the dangers of the mountains. They have nothing to lose because the life that they possess is so fleeting that they can barely keep their spirits within their bodies. These are people who ache for heaven and salvation, people who desire to flee from this mortal coil. To escape from a life become eternal suffering. What's killing them matters not, the fact is that they're dying. Dying of pox, dying of cancer, dying of polio, dying of measles, dying of cholera, dying of age. And as they sing their hymns, crying "Seek the Lord, and ye shall live" in agonizing voices much different than those of peace and tranquility earlier in the pilgrimage means that death is nearing. And as the candles deplete and die out, burning brighter and brighter until the tiny trails of smoke wisp away forever, never to return, so does their life slip away, siphoned from their frail bodies by the great dead earth pleading for decomposition and replenishment. For the most devout to die in such horrid ways is truly the cruelest joke that God could ever play on his "children," and you witness it all.

After a few hours walking alongside Lake Kirvin the small springs begin to appear, running from the mountains into the lake, providing the clearest, most pure waters that one could see. The mood is calmer now. Those dying are lulled into a state of serenity as they see the springs, for they know that the Father's Springs are just ahead. The springs are a place of deep meditation and spirituality. This are the place where Ilanz awoke when he fell from the 48 steps. So grateful to God for impossibly surviving, and it is said he merged with God and gained eternal holy wisdom, which, in thanks to God, he spent ten years carving out the cove he rested in. As you approach the cove, The Temple of the Father, you see it in all its glory. The limestone cove is carved into a chapel, with a few pews and an altar. The size is modest, but the craftsmanship is impeccable. Ilanz was not an artisan and prior to the journey had never carved stone before, but as the legend goes he gained the knowledge and hands of a master craftsman once he merged with God. The temple itself is a testament to divine inspiration. Nothing is misshapen or malformed, edges and surfaces are smooth, and everything was carved to bring out the inherent beauty of the stone forming the cove. The pilgrims enter the cove, and those near death, three of the pilgrims, are strewn along the altar, allowed to rest for their final minutes. The leader takes the cross from its shoulder and plants it in a shallow recess that shows the wear of a cross being placed in it for decades. The leader then speaks for the first time, the voice quiet and feminine, pierced with sorrow and scarred by pain. It is a short prayer.

How deep is your love?
Can it light the deepest shadows
as it lights the shallow alcoves?
Can it make true
even the hardest of hearts?
Can it reconcile the mistakes our pasts
with the necessities of our futures?

Take away the tainted throngs of the tortured,
the tortured who tasted our tarnished dreams
and tiredly trudged on towards tomorrow

When we died years ago
We came to this place to plea
And you did reply in great woe
'I shall set you free'


The temple goes silent as those dying are given the chance to pass. The last takes in his last breath of the sweet air of earth, the musk of the stone, the perfume of the spring, the whiff of the wind. The sweet scents of the earth fade from temple until there is no longer anything sweet or savory to smell. No longer does the light fragrance of life surround them. Instead there is the nothing consuming you. Death lies before you in three parts, yet it does not beckon you. No, it compels you to leave in peace. There is no malice in death. There is only solitude and emptiness, a lack of a spirit and of a soul. No feelings, only husks. Lifeless and dry. Frail...

There is a profound silence. You have just witnessed the meaning of this journey. Yet it's only halfway done. The mountains and the 48 steps lie before you, the path to the peak narrow and unsafe. The group begins the ascent, the leader carrying the cross in silence, just as before. The figure speaks to you once again.
"There is a chance to leave, to return to the world," he stoically explains.
"Once you walk up the path, there is no returning until the group heads back down. If you wish to leave, now is the time to turn around."

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Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:02 pm
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“What waste, what a blasted waste”, muttered Wido to himself for the thousandth time. His failed encounter with the pilgrims in the small town had aroused dreadful suspicions in the dishonest merchant, and the rest of the journey had confirmed them. This was not a pilgrimage of of the wealthy and self-righteous, seeking status symbols of their vile pretended holiness, but a journey of true faith undertaken by penniless souls on the brink of death. In a way, Wido admired their devotion. It intrigued him. “Such devotion to one whom they cannot see,” he had mused as the dying took their last breaths. Most bizarrely, the ceremonies had felt lacking in sorrow, as if there were no sadness in the hearts of the departing. The atmosphere had been bittersweet, if anything.

Now, however, Wido found himself with a dilemma on his hands: The caravan would not be making the return journey for some time. If he were to follow those climbing the mountain, he could wave farewell to the idea of pawning off any of his wares on the devout. Financially speaking, it would be best to return as swiftly as possible in order to minimize the damage sustained from this fruitless trip. However, Wido could not travel alone. A lone merchant on foot would be easy prey for thieves or wild animals. And, as much as he hated to admit it, the strange sights that he had seen in the cove had made him curious. He wanted to know what lay at the peak of the venerated mountain. “One foot down the well, and the other soon follows”, he sighed, picking up his mallet and reluctantly taking his place at the back of the procession.

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Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:09 pm
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Fascinating, simply fascinating, thought Madame Boucharde as she observed. This seemed like quite a serious endeavour, one might even say suicidal for those who were more weaker than the others. Honestly, if she were not a scientific woman, she would've thought them all to be mad. Though she respected their devotion, and she would follow through with the journey. She could not wait to write her book after she made it back from the journey. She only hoped that she did survive the endeavour, as the company seemed quite bleak.

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Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:40 pm
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Hewett and the others observed the ritual in silence. By now, he figured, they must all know the reality of this journey. That for a majority of the party, this would be a one-way trip. He cringed as the cloaked figure spoke, knowing that the "group" that would be heading back down would be considerably smaller than it was now. As tragic as the scenario playing itself out before him was, however, it was awe-inspiring in equal measure. The diseased and dying hadn't the slightest hint of hesitancy or indecision in their hearts, the absoluteness of their faith almost overwhelming. Their resolve was admirable, if nothing else. No, Hewett couldn't leave now, even if he wanted to. He had made his decision back at the town plaza, and he would see this pilgrimage through to its conclusion.


Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:04 pm
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Bryson's eyes bounced backed and forth, a faint glint of awe came from them. Even though no one could see his face, he knew it was unreadable. They would keep their faith until the very end it seemed.

Upon his moment of clarity, he had not been terribly surprised as his level of suspicion grew with every passing moment. No, instead the amount of faith and perseverance shown had been very disturbing. He wondered what had been going through all of their minds right now. Part of him wished he was back with that angry old man; at least he'd done the opposite in attempting to suck all of his emotions, but the other half of him knew he couldn't turn back now, especially after all the way to get there. Chiding himself for starting to get naive he followed the group, whose majority of which would end in death, not interrupting the silence.


Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:58 pm
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Adan was amazed by the temple. The work was flawless, and to him that was a sure sign that God truly did inhabit the creator. Some of the pilgrims chose that spot to die, and he couldn't think of a better way to go. Looking forward to the steps he stepped behind the carrier of the cross.

"I will gladly join you on the final ascent," He said.

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Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:03 pm
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The mountain path began wide enough for people to walk along it two by two and it lasted like this for about an hour. After the initial hour the path started to shrink and soon single file was the only way the group could pass. The path wound around the mountains and then cut through the range, twisting wildly as it passed through low ridges. After what seemed like three hours the path began to give way, with chunks of it either missing or falling away as they walked over it.

As the group walked this treacherous path, a large part of the path crumbled underneath the feet of two pilgrims. The first to stumble fell to his death, weakly crying out as he fell into the abyss below. The second pilgrim managed to grab a small ledge, but couldn't pull himself back up. The leader did not stop walking, but the figure before you turned around and stared down at the pilgrim, not moving otherwise.

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Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:40 pm
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Much as he tried to be bitter, Wido found that he was enjoying the trek up the mountain. The area had an air of serenity, despite the somewhat perilous surroundings. The silence of the procession had annoyed him on the road, but here he could not help but be grateful for it. It seemed as though words could only taint the beauty that surrounded him. “Not a bad spot to die”, mused the merchant, once again preoccupied with thoughts of those souls that had breathed their last in the village below, in what seemed like complete peace.

CRSHHKTCHS!

The sound of crumbling rock snapped Wido out of his reverie in time for him to see the section of the path just ahead give way, and two pilgrims go with it. One of them had managed to catch the edge of the cliff on his way down. The other… had not been so fortunate. “Hand me a staff and call me a prophet”, he gasped, horrified. Falling to one’s death was hardly what he had had in mind. Whoever was in front of him had stopped to look at the dangling figure, but it didn’t seem like he had any intention of intervening.

“Yes, just stand there, why don’t you”, the merchant cried out in frustration as he began to rifle through his mallet, desperate to find something that could be used to pull the man up. He had no qualms about robbing people of their money, but Wido was not so keen on seeing them lose their lives. “I’m sure he’ll thank you for the attention once he’s dead.” Still searching, Wido yelled to the rest of the group: “Does anyone have a blasted rope?”

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Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:34 pm
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Hewett took up the rear of the procession, content to stand back and observe the others. At least, at first. After some time had gone by with very few words shared among the travelers, however, he began to get antsy. It took every ounce of willpower he possessed not to bombard their guide with questions. Still, the view was nice. That is, until the path began to fall apart. As pieces of the sheer cliff began to crumble away, the inventor began to wonder just how many more trips would be made before the trail became completely impassable.

He didn't have to worry about that for very long, though, as a large portion of the path fell away, taking two of the group with it. Hewett froze, horrified, as he witnessed two lives being swallowed up by the mountain. Sure, he'd already known they were going to die, but… damn. What the hell had he gotten himself into? Then, as he gazed blankly at the empty space left behind, he saw a pair of hands clinging to the ledge. The young man immediately dove into his bag, ignoring the worked-up traveler who was now chastising their guide, and withdrew the length of rope. He hastily tied a bowline on one end.

"Does anyone have a blasted rope?" The agitated man shouted.

"Here!" Hewett called, tossing the end of the rope toward the person closest to the ledge. "Feed the rope down so that he can use the loop as a foothold." He instructed as he fastened another part of the rope around his waist. He really didn't want to lose the rope.


Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:53 am
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OOC: sorry i haven't had internet for a few days

IC: Adan, who was near the front of the procession, heard the ground crumbling away and turned to look down the path. One person had managed to grab onto the ledge, but the other fell to his death. Adan whispered a prayer for the unlucky traveler. As the tinkerer cleverly readied a rope and fed it down the ledge, he realized the path could break apart at any time, so he prayed for himself and the rest of the group. "Fortune smile upon us," He pleaded.

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The figure instantly held the rope within his hands as Hewett called out. He was not strong at the moment, but seemed very willing to protect the surviving pilgrim. With both his and Wido's strength they held Hewett aloft as he brought the pilgrim up back it the path. There was a moment of rest, but almost immediately after the recovery the group continued again.

The walk continued without another major disaster. One pilgrim dropped dead in the middle of the path, which led the group to stop, pray for his soul and then continue.

It was getting dark now, just as they reached a clearing with a cove for them to rest. The entire group stopped for the night, but the leaders kept vigil, never retiring for the night as if she was there to guard them from all harm.

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Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:48 am
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Adan was glad for the reprieve from the climb. He unwrapped some dried meats from beneath the folds of his clothing and sat down to eat. It was old and nearly tasteless, but he was hungry and it was just fine for him. After finishing he started a fire and went to sleep.

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Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:27 pm
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Hewett stared blankly at the bedroll he had just laid out. With a sigh, he lowered himself onto it, even though he knew it was pointless. It would take a miracle for the tinker to get any shuteye after the day's events. WIth the loss of two party members, the deadly nature of this journey had suddenly become very tangible. When he had decided to press on with the group, he had thought he was prepared for what was next. However, that resolve hadn't simply been shaken; it had never been real to begin with. His thoughts turned once again to the pilgrims that had died. The one who had fallen from the cliff met with a gruesome end, sure, but Hewett found himself more profoundly affected by the one who had just collapsed. It hadn't taken some wild beast or a stray boulder to do him in. He had simply pressed onward until disease, exhaustion, or a combination of the two caught up to him, and that was the fate that lay in store for the rest of the group. Perhaps the man who had plummeted to his demise should be counted lucky. The young man pondered grimly. At least his troubles are over. With that in mind, he began to wonder if he had actually done the other pilgrim a disservice by rescuing him from the cliff.

"It's no use." Hewett said, sitting up. He would never be able to get to sleep at this rate, as expected. Rather than laying awake, he decided to get up and wander a bit. Perhaps it would help to talk to someone. Fortunately, not everyone had yet retired. The young man he had seen in the shop, the scholarly woman, and the fellow who had been yelling for a rope earlier were all still up and about. Hewett approached the latter and attempted to strike up conversation.

"Quite a day, huh?"


Sat May 03, 2014 11:40 am
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