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Posted by on 2001 Jan 21 |

Asketi’s Ride Takes Place in Crossing, for a change

(Crossing, Zoluren: 0 Akroeg 364)

Sailai, the young gold-eyed, red-haired Rakash, enters the tavern, looking like she’s come back from the dead. Indeed, many people today have.

She sits, exhausted, at the bar, giving a weak chuckle. "Well Baresh, that Asketi, she’s an unpredictable one, eh? Surprising everyone, she’s chosen Crossing as the venue for her annual Ride. Another horrific bloodbath to ring in the new year." Sailai shudders.

"This year, the Crossing was graced with the presence of Asketian Heralds, hissing monsters resembling Asketi herself who dress in chains and wield greatswords with frightening skill, hideous black unicorns which the Heralds apparently use as steeds, massive winged black marble gargoyles who threw people to the ground by pounding the earth with their fists, and, worst of all, less North Wind banshees, whose screams weakened the spirit and could kill without touching."

Sailai appears to be thinking hard. "There may be more, but I didn’t stick around to observe. I was struck down by a Herald and spent most of my time seeking sanctuary. I do not try to fight battles I cannot win.

"However, the worst things I saw tonight were the now-familiar atrocities always committed during invasions. It seems to be worse during Asketi’s Ride, as though the Dark Goddess herself is inhabiting the bodies of otherwise-rational people. I watched as graverobbers dug out graves while corpses cried out to be healed nearby. I particularly recall watching a Gor’tog by the name of Methandrock dig out a departed man’s grave. As I approached him, he growled at me like a jackal defending leftover carrion and ordered me to back away or he would kill me, saying "This [grave] is my claim."

She sighs again. "The Starry Host I’m sure had a busy day, as well. People were walking left and right. There were hundreds of people crowding the Clerics’ and Empaths’ guilds, screaming and begging to be healed or raised. The smell was awful…like rotting meat. Unable to take any more, I sought refuge outside the Crossing, namely here.

"Baresh, I’m starting to seriously consider that warning we’ve all seen now. There’s too much war, to much bloodshed, too many atrocities being committed and going unpunished. Maybe I’ll heed that warning and move to the islands…"

With that, Sailai yawns, lays her head on the bar, and falls into much-needed sleep.