Mordecai & Aleph was a collaborative role-play effort written by Somarinoa and his high school friend Nightsail Cybertronia in 2009. It has been on hiatus since mid- to late-2010 due to both parties losing the shared file due to both contributor's computers failing. While the full file has not yet been recovered, it is expected to eventually be reobtained and the RP started back up again. For the record, Vordathco Mordecai is written by Somarinoa, while Aleph is written by Nightsail Cybertronia. Like his old poem The Old Continent Fish, Mordecai & Aleph takes place on his primary high fantasy world of Diakatan. Somarinoa only takes credit for his half of the writing and the world that the story takes place within.
Chapter 1: The PullEdit
As his foot dropped down into the soft, fine sand, he watched as his boot sucked into it and became temporarily stuck. Secretly, he missed the ability to feel the sense of touch; but its sacrifice came with great reward. He had come to Illustria's coastline, come to a secluded place that he knew no prying eyes would notice his forthcoming actions. The concept of plucking from the stars intrigued him, although his dimwitted soldiers could not understand the worth of it. His near-lipless mouth curled back, showing his teeth better in a makeshift smile.
If he had eyelids—for that matter, if he still had eyes in the typical sense—he would have closed them to help him feel his surroundings. Having one's soul in a phylactery distanced from the body had its advantages—out of body exploration was made much easier as the soul was never attached to the body in the first place. Mentally, he began searching the heavens above, barely moving for a whole week until he found a perfect candidate world. With even more focus, he could feel energy flowing here and there, and with a dark sort of excitement, he clung to one at random.
Any species from another world would be a fantastic addition to his menagerie, and if he was REALLY lucky, his ever-growing forces! To him, his soul formed wispy tendrils similar to his own vile hand, and with it he wrapped his will around the being and enclosed around it. This power made him feel a sort of displacement as he served as an anchor for a temporary rift in space-time and even in his undeath he began to feel queasy from it. Everything began to spin and he felt himself growing weaker until he was barely able to hold himself standing. Within mere seconds however the displacement shattered and the spell was over. Mordecai was surprised at how the spell had physically weakened him, but he quietly blew off the personal concern with his infamous arrogance. All he cared about was garnering new power, new power he hoped to find in this....thing that now existed before him.
The thing which rested on the sand nearby was exactly that -- a thing. It didn't breathe, didn't move, didn't blink. In fact, it lacked any signs of having an anatomy in the traditional sense. It was clear, with a few somewhat visible planes through it, inclusions of air, bubbles and wandering cracks which separated this part of it from that, though they didn't go all the way through. It was as pure as crystal and gleamingly wet, formless and apparently quite natural, with its own mass, in somewhat more slushlike form, around its bottom.
Congratulations, Mordecai. You've imported a chunk of extraterrestrial... ice.
In his weakened state, Mordecai stared at the substance almost in disbelief. He couldn't understand what had gone wrong, but this just wouldn't do. He grit his teeth together and slid them across each other slowly. The fact that his body barely held on in its mummified state and his grinding his teeth together would mean it would last that much less didn't seem to phase him. From behind him, he heard a poorly-stifled snicker from one of his Orc guards. The glowing green embers that could only be construed as his eyes flickered brighter and he lifted a gray, withered arm and snapped his fingers, causing the Orc to suddenly explode in a beautiful fountain of gore.
The other guards quickly fell silent. The lich sighed heavily and began to rub his brow deeply; the magic that animated his corpse allowed for some pliability of the flesh, and so he could still move the skin of his forehead around a little. He messed with it a little subconsciously while trying to figure out exactly how to salvage the situation. He took to pacing back and forth, a frightening sight when taking into consideration his skeletally thin body; most undead would simply be capable of shambling. Mordecai prided himself at being able to move faster than those pathetic zombies that roamed the Dead Wastes, and thinking about it made him feel a little better about the overall situation.
As their master wandered further and further down the beach, the Orcs looked at each other and silently poked fun at the lich's silly spell. One even picked up a stick of driftwood and poked at the ice as Mordecai began his return towards them from down the beach, moving in quick strides to close the gap he had inadvertently created in his aloofness. He didn't want those stupid Orcs screwing around again. Stupid Orcs. They owed him everything.
The ice, oddly enough, wasn't yet melting, though it was certainly warm enough for it. In fact, there was some evidence that frost was almost forming on it, where only minutes ago at most, it had been entirely liquid on the surface. The cracks were disappearing, if anyone were observant enough to pay close enough attention to it to know, and it.... all right, so it looked pretty much entirely the same as it did when it was first brought in. The being simply wasn't certain what its situation currently was, and playing dead, in a sense—pretending to be nothing more than natural ice with nothing special about it—was one of its best means of defense. If it went unnoticed, was passed by, by others in its world, it wouldn't be pursued. If either of the two biological races in its natural habitat were to recognize it for what it was, they'd flee, or worse, try to capture it. Demon imprisonment was something that it simply was not willing to risk; it was nowhere on its To Do list. It would wait to see what it could learn, and then figure out what to do after it had more information.
Mordecai finally reached his Orc slave-guards and they quickly stood at attention. While every generation was more intelligent than the last, and even though he had forever to watch them evolve, he grew increasingly impatient with their incompetence. "Pick up that ice ball and let's move. While we're here we might as well harvest a few of the local species—I hear this island is known for its Slingworms. Perhaps I could improve you idiots with some powerful arms like that. What do you think?" The orcs didn't respond—they knew better than to talk.
"Pick up that thing already! We're wasting daylight!"
With that, the quintet moved inwards towards the treeline (or what could be described as the tree-equivalents on their world). Mordecai had several minutes of peaceful silence from his creations that he took to like fish to water; finally, the Orc holding the ice broke the silence, complaining about its hands getting cold.
"Really?" Mordecai swiveled his gaunt form around to look the Orc dead (no pun intended) in the eyes. "I.. can't feel the temperature but it's got to be a hundred degrees out here. And I bred you Orcs to be thick-skinned; a little chunk of sky glacier shouldn't bother you. Remind me when we get back to the spire that you're banned from breeding."
The Orc looked down sullenly, and Mordecai swiveled back around to continue on his quest. In another few minutes he heard the Orc shuffling the icecube around in its hands and so the lich forced the Orc to place it in a cinched sack and carry it that way. With the death of his brethren mere moments earlier, the Orc dared not NOT listen to his master, and began to do so.
Mordecai had spotted a group of flutenecks browsing the lower canopy at the rainforest's edge, and he was intent on teleporting at least one of them to his "kingdom" to experiment on some long necked Goblinoid scouts with which to patrol his borders.
The ice shifted its shape subtly as it was set back down for the orc to pull its sack out. A tendril reached down through the sand, slipping silently between the grains, and pulled at the water beneath the beach. It was careful to pull itself after, to leave as much of the chunk's mass behind as it could, with as little evidence of having changed as possible. The orc might notice that it was just a little lighter.... perhaps not by much, but some... and no longer -quite- as cold. In fact, the surface would soon start to melt again, even as part of the beach froze; if the orc was paying attention, it almost seemed that something had left a pillar of some sort, a trail that went directly down, of cold, stuck-together sand.... if it disturbed the ground enough when it picked the large chunk back up, that was.
The entity, meanwhile, was reaching for the places with less land pressure, seeking out the water with less land mass on top of it. Within a minute, the tide left crystals behind as it swept back out again, more and more..... but since when did the tide on a tropical beach freeze?
The orc, not being one to enjoy the cold temperatures of the ice chunk in the first place, was somewhat apprehensive to place it in the sack and took his sweet time in doing so, leaving his master a little more than somewhat impatient. Mordecai however was busy trying to restrain himself from exploding another servant - it wasn't that they weren't expendable, of course, but he really wanted to make something out of the trip and if he needed a lot of muscle to drag in some rare beast he really wanted to have it available. He could always kill the orc later; after all, with every generation born, these greenskinned slaves were only getting more intelligent, and so Mordecai had no problem slaughtering the current generation (whichever generation it happened to be) because he knew the next one would be that much more intelligent, and he almost couldn't wait to put those more intelligent hybrids to work.
Mordecai still felt the need to chastise his stupid muscle, and began doing so immediately—he didn't want the orcs to begin thinking they had any rights or anything, after all. Who wants slaves that would think they had any semblance of rights? Didn't that kind of defeat the purpose?
"You pathetic simpleton!" he started, "do you have any idea how precious my time is to me?! I may have all the time in the world but that doesn't mean I am willing to let you simply waste it! Now stop being such a wimp and just do what you're supposed to!". His tightened, mummified lips curled back into a sneer as the orc flinched. Generally speaking, his orcs were not scared of much—he assumed it was because they knew he could do much worse to them than anything else they came across. Before he could turn back around, however, something caught his eyes - or perhaps it was more accurate to say caught his "glowing magical effluence that took the place of his eyes in their sockets".
Mordecai pushed past his orc slaves and made his way to the surf, and stared so intently it was like he stared right through it. After a few moments the orcs got confused and looked at each other before slowly moving towards him; surely he would have something to force their hand upon... he always did. Instead Mordecai's eyebrows furrowed—he noticed the strange happenings with the beach, but hadn't seen anything exactly like it before. It definitely wasn't natural and he was working through his skull to try and come up with a reason for this. "What the Helh is going on here..?" Mordecai looked up towards the ocean beyond the surf and scanned his vision across the area. Was there a mage about? He wasn't necessarily worried, but he certainly was on guard, expecting, as such a hated individual as himself, for some stupid adventurer to try their hand at his head.
The faint sparkle of ice made its way further to sea with each wave that left it, as though being dragged out by the tide, though it didn't disturb a single layer of sand in its wake, left no trench to suggest that the ice itself was being pulled along... quite the opposite, in fact, as the stiffness that the temperature caused in the sand left more of an impression, however subtle, on the landscape. It soon reached a dip in the shoreline, where the tide covered it up for more than a brief pause, and two waves later, it was only the wet remnants of ice left, and nothing more -- whatever it was had slipped out into the waves.
Unknown to Mordecai, the strange phenomenon wasn't simply leaving -- it was merely traveling out of sight, along the coastline toward where the trees were much closer to the water. Evidence of its presence washed up in the third wave, a long, delicate shape of ice thin enough to almost be invisible but for its sharp shine while it lasted; the heat destroyed it almost before the next wave could claim to have melted it. It was part of the thing's trail, a byproduct of its temperature, which could easily have never been found, but for the random chance and apparent generosity of water currents. Any further hints as to its presence, let alone direction of travel, were surely destroyed by the climate long before they surfaced for the old lich to find.
By the time the party had surely decided they'd find few other anomalous things washing ashore, a figure, slick with the sheen of half-melted water, and as clear as the chunk of ice the orc had originally been carrying, was already hiding in the undergrowth, the stems of bushes and various softer foliage plants reaching directly upwards through its low-crouched form, with enough air between it and them to prevent them from coming to harm from an artificial climate unnatural to them and completely unseasonable. The end result was, not a leaf was out of place above it, to betray it having ducked down -- or more accurately, to betray it having taken shape beneath.
From its new vantage point, the surf was no longer deafening to it, drowning out the odd undead being's words. What -was- the force which had brought it here? The old thing seemed to be quite well connected to it, but it couldn't prove it—not yet—nor how it had been done. There wasn't much real proof of the other's intentions, and the ice being was unwilling to jump to conclusions based on tone of voice and actions which could well be explained by force of anger—after all, did the demons in its own homeworld not fling fire when enraged? Did they not destroy nearby objects out of excitement as well? Did they not fight amongst themselves, just as humans did? But they were certainly allies... or it thought of them as such, as someone to ally with, at least, whether they agreed or not. Perhaps this new being would prove similar in that regard....