[Freebuild] The Shadowmancer

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“I have seen beyond the vale. Those of us that saw the true nature of Andromeda have been touched by a power greater than ourselves and greater than these mighty corporations can ever know. Their petty squabbles will be their end. The Dawn of Order approaches...”

Sheep. Thought Yseult as she gazed over the crowd that had gathered to listen to the oddly-dressed character on the platform protruding from the temple entrance. He had recently  become a kind of overnight celebrity, preaching about the future of Human-kind in vague ideological terms. He was ridiculed my many as an attention seeker, latching on to people’s fears and discontent with unfounded rhetoric, yet to so many, he had become a visionary, someone who spoke the truths that no-one else dared to.

    “... I was once like you, a slave consumer, blinkered by the empty promises of corporations. Lured into their cycle of temporary fulfilment... I was blind, but now... I see. They went to Andromeda to further their own greed, but they have kept from you what they discovered... The future of Mankind. I have seen this future, with my own eyes... But when I open the door to this future to you all, I will not sell it wrapped in a package of lies, I will give it freely to all those whose follow behind me.”

There was a cheer from the crowd. They seem so easily pleased. Yseult thought as the man on stage that had termed himself ‘The Shadowmancer’ moved on to his next well rehearsed soliloquy of crowd-fodder.
    “I didn’t expect to see you here.” A man’s voice said behind Yseult. She turned, tensing, as if expecting trouble but it was Riddaeon who stood there. 
    “It’s you.” She said, sounding disappointed, though self-loathing would have been more accurate. She hadn’t liked that someone had approached her without her knowing. She relaxed and turned back to the podium. Riddaeon stood beside her, taking in the crowd and the figure on stage.
    “Doesn’t seem like your...” Riddaeon looked for the right words. “Cup of coffee.” He said, recalling what Yseult had done with the one he took her on Donwarr.
    He doesn’t see it. Yseult thought. Few would have in her experience. It was both a blessing and a curse; usually the latter that she could see disparate and apparently unrelated things and make the connection between them. She knew when people were lying, or just improvising and hoping no-one would notice, when the facts didn’t add up. But of course, most of the time, there’s no way of proving to people how you know. She’d challenged plenty of them, sick of seeing them get what they want with carefully placed lies. But with no proof, most of those instances ended in fights. A few she won, many had been part of the lesson not to bother anymore. Let the liars lie, I’ll go live my life elsewhere. Some would tell her she looks into things ‘too deeply’ but to her it was obvious, apparent and glaring. She didn’t know why no-one else seemed to see it. They’re all idiots, happy to be taken for a ride... Not me.

    “Upsilon.” Yseult finally said to Riddaeon.
    “What?” He asked in reply, the word being so out of context.
    “Upsilon.” Yseult repeated. “Big Sal believes something is changing reality, the Universe. I think this man has seen it too. The difference: Sal wishes to understand it, this man wishes to worship it. But what he says... I think maybe they have seen the same thing...”


The crowd suddenly dropped to complete silence and Yseult turned to see the Shadowmancer stood at the edge of the platform, his bejewelled staff pointing straight at her. After a moment, He brought it back upright, stamping the end on the platform with a deep thud. Before Yseult, the crowd cleared to make a path to the steps up to the platform.
    “Do not fear child.” The Shadowmancer said, his words echoing across the silent crowd from the loudspeakers places out side of each set of steps. Yseult looked him in the eyes, barely visible though the shimmering vale that covered his face. She hadn’t expected this, a chance to get closer to him, to evaluate him. She didn’t want to go up, she wasn’t one of his little sheep... But she also couldn’t resist the opportunity. Cautiously, she left Riddaeon and walked to the bottom of the steps, a disorderly array of stones at different heights. She stopped for a moment at the bottom of them as she decided how best to ascend.


“The path to enlightenment is never obvious.” The Shadowmancer’s voice echoed out. “We must each learn to find our own way.” Yseult thought for a moment... A test she realised. He’ll use it to make a judgement about me. She observed her wider surroundings, there was no other way to the platform which was about head height... With a stride, Yseult leapt forward and launched herself up. Her hands finding the platform edge, she pulled herself up, managing to get a foot on the platform as the rest of her followed with ease. The Shadowmancer stepped back in reaction, giving her room. As she stood before him, he stared at her, looking almost dazed.


“Interesting.” He said in a quiet, half mumbled voice. Remembering his intent, the Shadowmancer gestured for Yseult to stand in the middle on a rectangular purple dias. The crowd was silent in anticipation as she stepped into position, as though some sacred ritual had begun. The Shadowmancer stood before her, holding his staff out to his side, an aide silently stepping in to take it while he gazed at Yseult’s face as if analysing her features. Both hands free, he gently placed them to cradle her face, moving it carefully from side to side.


“Another orphan to corporate greed.” He announced loudly to the crowd who jeered and shouted to express their anger at the corporate enemy. The Shadowmancer analysed Yseult’s features some more.


His face changed, eyes widening... A realisation. “Tell me child...” He asked. “How did your father die?” Yseult’s face changed instantly and the Shadowmancer’s hands were pushed away before a right-hand swing caught him square in the face. He stumbled back, falling to one knee and his aides moved quickly to restrain Yseult.


“STOP!” The Shadowmancer shouted, his voice echoing through the loudspeakers. The crowd’s brief uproar once again became a sea of silence at his command. Slowly, he brought himself back to his feet and gestured to receive his staff. Once in hand, he stood before Yseult, contemplating, wrestling with his decision... “Let her go.” he eventually said, nodding to the aides to ensure they understood. “Let her go.”

As Yseult jumped down from the platform, the crown had made a new path, this time directly away from the temple. The heads of every person following her every step as she walked away. Upon the dias, behind a shimmering violet veil, the eyes of the Shadowmancer narrowed beneath a furrowed brow.



Builder's/Writer's notes:

Forgot I was supposed to be shooting everything to be cropped to 16:9... Never mind. Would have liked more images for the early part of the story but the reverse angle to Riddaeon was problematic as there would be nothing at all behind him.

This entire chapter came out or layering those dark grey roof slopes and thinking 'some kind of temple entrance'. I had the Shadowmancer kicking around from a character creation session so I just put the two together and now I have a new antagonist for Yseult to content with.



Edited by LucByard

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As always, Luc, your story and build are a delight to the eyes! I'm loving how your story has progressed. I'll admit that I only loosely followed AG 1 at the very end, and need to catch up on your story and that of others, but I'm enthused to see you continuing the trend of wonderful builds and stories that you established in AG1!

~Insectoid Aristocrat 

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Your stories and builds are always good (if not a little confusing to those who haven't kept up), but I am frankly jealous of your photography. Really nicely composed shots, with the focus right where you want it.

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On 8/30/2017 at 5:05 PM, rodiziorobs said:

Your stories and builds are always good (if not a little confusing to those who haven't kept up), but I am frankly jealous of your photography. Really nicely composed shots, with the focus right where you want it.

Thanks. Ha ha! yes, I have many threads brewing, that's why I composed my first era summary, I'm conscious that many of my recent chapters seem quite unrelated and many readers could use a refresh or catch-up.

And thanks everyone for your comments: really appreciate them.


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Nicely cropped shots and another riveting chapter. I have also been watching this unfold on Flickr. Wasn't entirely sure it would be AG given the many SW figures, so there was a lot of guessing. :laugh: Excited to see what you have in store for AG2.

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