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The World of Gaea (IC)

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:53 am
by Imperialisium
They call it the Shrouded Lands, For before if one went Westward all they would find is an endless Ocean, and then all of a sudden in 515 they were there. Like as drifting out from an age old foggy abyss. No one living has been encountered there, the ruins vacant, and the Venezians regard them apprehensively. After all...there is a reason our people left.-Emperor Fyrdinand I to his second son Prince Maximilian.

625 AL, Spring
Eagles Claw Keep

"You're really letting him go aren't you?" The man's voice was gruff, hoarse, and raspy like a smoker. A fact clearly identified by the small light of a match and the the soft red embers wafting from a long brown tobacco pipe.

"That Volyorian?" replied the man watching from the balcony before the man with the pipe.

"Yes, Rhedun variety with a hint of--."

"Hazelnut. Rudolf loves it, he lights up like a pine tree, but I never cared much for the stuff."

"Aye, that is true Your Grace."

Both men were tall, easily 6ft though the man with the pipe was slightly shoulder if more broad shouldered than the man before him in fine clothing. "Please Bertold you can dispense with the pleasantries."

Instead of being taken a back by the comment the man with the pipe simply laughed before clamping his teeth down on the smooth crafted form of the cedar wood shaft. It's smooth lacquer frame spoke of clear craftsmanship. Moving out onto the balcony to stand beside the man in fine clothing the smoker took his pipe out and pointed off to the North, "Say wasn't your boy going to see his grandmother before he headed to Windfall?"

"Yes, Max was heading to the Fortress to visit his grandmother and left before dawn. She is praying at the annex of Eonwaris. The poor woman was never the same after the passing of my father."

"She loved the man deeply Fyrdinand. Maximilian was a rarity in this world. Honest, Honorable, Just, Brave, and a natural borne leader of Men."

"I sometimes wonder if this time of peace is just a prelude to something horrible. What do you think Bertold?"

"I say, take the peaceful times when you can, for they can be just as rare a thing."

"Well said Lord Commander."

"Well what else you keep me around for? My stories?"

Both men chuckled as they stared at the sunrise for a solid minute before Fyrdinand replied, "Obviously for your opinions on the varieties of tobacco." Bertold laughed and bowed before making his way out of the room. Both men had seen the worse in their races nature, and the brighter moments. Gaea kept churning like it always had, were they all just dust in the wind? Or did the Gods have a plan for all of them? As these thoughts raced in his head he reminisced over the events in his life. His days as Imperial Crown Prince growing up with the Northmen, and the Mad Counts Rebellion, to the years of peace he carefully nurtured. Unlike his father, the late Emperor Maximilian, Fyrdinand had a certain distaste for conflict. But his mind locked upon it, and dredged up the not so fond memories it entailed.

599 AL
Mad Count's Rebellion

The Mad Count, not so mad as the historians would put it, rebelled against Fyrdinand in 599 AL. Claiming that having Elven blood disqualified him for the throne of a realm of Man. The entire County of Paleis rose in revolt and rumors floated of sedition once more in the South. The latter proved to be untrue by the fact the all the rest of the Imperial nobility rallied to the cause in some shape or form. Whether in men, finances, or supplies.

For four months Emperor Fyrdinand bide his time, gathering his forces, and assessing the situation. The Emperor's Sun Watch performed daring raids and skirmishes across into rebel territory. Even so far as capturing the border village of Eserleben and the small town of Havulburg. Both on the road to Paleis. Following this the Imperial Army marched from Sarin and reached Havulburg by August 4th.

That was when news reached the Emperor by the Sun's Watch scouts, Count Rorian d'Paleis had gathered an army numbering 12,000 strong along the Northern shore of the Atanos River. When the river makes one of its mighty bends so the shores faced North-South. Much of the Army was made up of levies, the Count's own troops, and mercenaries recruited from the cities South of the Kalzmere Mountains. A company of Gallowglass from Windfall, an entire Regiments worth of Free Lances from Rhedan, and even a company of Highlanders from the Anglarikan side of the Pelarin Mountains. Count d'Paleis must have emptied his treasury to pay for the manpower he now possessed.

Thus the Imperial Army moved South-East. Making a direct line to face off the Count's own army along the mighty River Atanos. If they could destroy the Count's army then the Castle pf Paleis itself would simply be a matter of time unless it surrendered immediately. Thus the stage was set for the Battle of the Atanos (599AL).

Battle of Atanos (599AL)

The day was sweltering, with clear skies, and the ranks smelled of sweat and greased weapons or armor. Both armies were well rested, as the Count d'Paleis had not moved across the river despite being camped near a wooden bridge wide enough for horses to cross. The dirt road led off of the main road along a North-South axis. Running all the way down to Southmarch.

The Imperial's faced the Rebels across a steep but narrow stream. The Emperor had drawn up his soldiers and levies along the North and North-West axis of advance. While the Army of the Empire commanded by Duke Karl-Lothair II vas Sundgau and Count Vilhelm IV vas Fregar's Stead. The Duke held the line on the far South of the Empire's position while the Count held the center and the Emperor the extreme North.

The two armies stood off from one another, banners dangling in a breeze less heat wave, men took swigs of watered down wine or ale from skins at their sides. Some poured water on themselves as it sizzled along their armor. Both sides were attempting desperately to keep cool. Fyrdinand himself had his helmet off, dangling by the horn of his saddle. His short hair was matted down with sweat and water.

"Ugh this place already reeks of horse dung." Beside him was Gregor vas Hohelgruben, Imperial Marshal, and long time friend of the Emperor. Gregor was a competent field commander, insisting that he lead the Imperial forces against the rebels alone but Fyrdinand disagreed, and so the humorless Marshal now sat on his black steed. Taking a sip of watered down wine from his sheepskin the Marshal kept talking in his typical humorless fashion, "Don't suppose they'd just lay down and die now would they. This heat's making my balls cry like a virgin whore."

No one could guess at what Gregor was even talking about, or what a virgin whore actually meant. Fyrdinand simply shrugged his head and glanced up. It was nearing high noon. He couldn't let his army just stand there till they fell over from heat exhaustion, but not let the rebel Count flee over the river either.

"You sure the Sun's Watch is across on the other side." asked Fyrdinand as he lifted up his spyglass. Seeing nothing on the horizon across the low rolling hills on the other side. The Marshal's reply was blunt, matter-of-fact, "Matthies is a wiry old fucker'. He's not Lord Captain of the Watch for nothing Your Majesty."

"Enough of this. Signal the advance of our leading Regiments." ordered the Emperor. Gregor turned to his monarch, "May I inquire as to which Regiments Your Grace is referring too?" Such behavior to the Emperor would be a severe lashing, but Gregor was tolerated for his loyalty and aptitude for killing more of the enemy than anyone else. Fyrdinand just glared at Gregor. Gregor turned his head away and smiled to himself, he loved to needle, and he'd needle Maximilian too if he was still alive.

"Right. Signals! Order leading Regiments to advance!" Gregor pointed to three Regiments arrayed in rectangular blocks to his left. Archers and crossbowmen were in front of them. A banner man lifted up a blue flag and waved it a certain number of ways. The three Regiments identified both dipped their banners momentarily in acknowledgement.

The Grimblades
The central Regiment was a Regiment of Halberdiers, The Grimblades, one of the first Regiments raised by Maximilian. A young Bertold stood in the first rank, just 17 years of age, and sporting blonde hair and blue eyes under his helmet. Behind him was Vyrvet, The Old Goat, a man somewhere in his late 50's and definitely the oldest man in the Regiment. Vyrvet was beloved by the Regiment and age may have slowed his movements but not his skill with a weapon. In addition to his knack for coming up with some of the most profane expressions that Vaemidia herself would cover her ears in protest. Some of the men joked that Vaemidia had given Vyrvet a little to much sour when he was born, back when the wheel was relatively new of course, though they kept that second part quiet.

Karlich was before them looking back, the Regimental standard bearer beside him, and nodded as the bearer replied to the command. "Captain Karlich drew his sword and hefted his shield, "Begin! March!" The Regiment came to attention, and with the drumming of the Regiments drummer boy Siegen they began to advance in cadence. The jingling of tassets, the swaying of plumes, and the profanities about the heat abounded. Behind him Bertold could hear Vyrvet mutter, "About fuckin' time." Some of the men around him chuckled under their breath. The rest kept lock step with their eyes fixed forward. Karlich lead them, a solid block of infantry, across the open field. Closing in on the line of archers that moved forward several yards before exchanging fire with the enemy across the way. To the left and right Regiments of Imperial Infantry advanced. Craning his neck Bertold could see the standard of the Bayren Regiment and a Regiment from Sarin.

The cries before them signaled the upcoming engagement as the missile troops traded fire with the enemy. The volleys of the Imperial Yeomanry intermixed with the masses of crossbow bolts unleashed by the peasant levies. The Grimblades advanced past parting Yeomanry in unison with the other two Regiments. The Regiment continued to advance as bolt and arrow fire started to come down. The Halberdiers did have bucklers strapped to their backs if the enemy ever got to close and they had to draw their arming swords. Otherwise the soldiers plate was to protect them from missile fire. Bertold sweat was now mixed in with anxiety as arrows and bolts whizzed past them. The soldier next to him momentarily stopped as a clang sounded off. An arrow had glanced and ricochet off the man's breast plate. Vyrvet meanwhile was muttering behind him, "Common ya fuckin' whore mongerin' swine breedin'...." The profanities continued unabated as the ranks slowed their marche to traverse the steep banks of the stream. Keeping ranks they advanced through the stream and began to clamber up the other side. Karlich pitched backwards as a crossbow bolt struck the side of his helm, denting it and unleashing a slurry of curses, the banner bearer Humbalt helped the Captain up. The Regiment's front rank rose from the dip to be greeted by a flurry of missile fire. A man cried to the right but Bertold didn't stop to look and kept eyes forward in cadence.

While the drummer boy, Siegen, began to beat faster. The war tune of the Grimblades as they picked up pace with the other two Regiments. Their own sides volleys arced above them as the missile troops advanced behind. Moving as teams the missile troops fired by lines at sections of the enemy lines. Behind him Vyrvet was now huffing it as the Regiment began to advance at a faster pace to gain momentum.

The drumming of cavalry to their left drew Karlich attention, Bertold couldn't see and kept eyes forward as a Sergeant off the left bellowed,"Battle Pipes!" This was a tradition of the Grimblades. Behind them one of the rear rankers, probably Heinrich, slung his pipes around and began to play of the tune, "March of the Grimblades," as the men began to sing the lyrics. This kept them together morally as they endured missile fire and the to keep cohesion. The enemy was before them and the Grimblades were now rapidly picking up pace. The lyrics turning into a cacophony of roaring might. the front rank lowered their Halberds as the Grimblades crashed in as one. The clattering of blades, the swooshes of weapon swings, the whizzing of missiles as the enemy archery fell back through their own lines. Grimblades stepped over the bodies of the freshly fallen as they pushed as one solid mass of anger and rage against the enemy.

Bertold in the initially rush yelled as he thrust forward, goring a boy no older than him, and the flurry of battle commenced. The beating of the drummer seized as Siegen himself was with the second rankers, only the pipes of Heinrich were heard ushering them forward. Filling them with patriotic furor. Vyrvet was bellowing hoarsely behind him, a chop of his halberd came right after Bertold was nearly knocked off his feat when a sword struck his shoulder pauldron. The chop of Vyrvet's Halberd clove the attackers arm off. Blood sprayed as the attacker screamed in agony, though it all sounded the same to Bertold, nor could he see as warm blood splashed his face. Only the sound of Vyrvets voice kept him knowing he was indeed still alive.

"Come on ya bloody bastards I'll fuck ya rottin' corpses!" The Old Goat was full of frenzy as he pushed Bertold forward. The Grimblades led by Karlich slowly clove a bloody path through the Count's Men-At-arms with the other two Regiments. The drumming of hooves and the neighing of horses could be seen off to their left flank and Bertold feared they'd been taken in the rear. But that was soon dispelled by the sound of drums far off the right. Signalling Imperial troops from the Count or Duke had joined the fray. Bertold wiped the blood from his brow and swung his Halberd in an arc, catching a man with the ax of his weapons blade by the hamstring, wrenching it. Feeling the resistance as the ax blade sliced through the man's muscle and sinew. Having burst the chain links of his leg mail. The man was silenced as a second ranker stabbed the spear point of his own Halberd into the man's throat. His cry replaced by a choking gurgle. The drumming of hooves got closer and panic seemed to ensue as Bertold was struck in the side of his left leg. He fell down thinking he'd been mortally wounded. Vyrvet stepped over him as the ground was turned into a slosh-pit of blood and corpses. Red liquid, a puddle of gore, Bertold sat in it as he looked at his leg. A spear blade was sticking in his thigh. It was not all the way in, just an inch worth but it hurt like nothing he'd felt before. Having burst the side riveting of his tassets. He looked about in a daze and saw a horse with the rider slouched over the saddle, arrows pierced the horseman like a porcupine, and Bertold seemed to be lost as the battle whirled around him. His reverie only broken by the sound of Vyrvet's voice next to his ear. Looking up Bertold could see the grizzled veteran with his leathery face and missing teeth smiling, "Ya old right you blimin' bastard!" Another Grimblade, a third ranker, grabbed Bertold and hauled him up. Vyrvet slammed a Halberd into Bertolds hands, "Come on we got killin' to do!"

Bertold's eyes cleared as the haze lifted and adrenaline once more coursed through his veins. He could see Karlich with Siegen and the standard bearer, Fehlen, rallying the Grimblades to them. The Regiment was arrayed in a haphazard arc with rear rankers dispatching straggling enemy troops with ruthless efficiency. Apparently when the Mad Count's cavalry retreated some squadrons actually fled into the infantry battle sowing panic and breaking up formations. In the rush the Count himself had thrown his reserves into the battle that now took the shape of a large 'L' laid horizontally with the shorter tall pointed down. Bertold trudged forward, stumbled, and looked down to see the corpse of a boy no older than 15. Armed with nothing but a shortsword, shield, mail shirt and helmet the boy had been sent to war. Then he saw the sickening cause of death. The boy's body had been hew shoulder to groin. His intestines poked out from the gash causing Bertold to decorate the body with his breakfast.

"You! Here now!" Bertold looked up to see Karlich point at him. Bertold's training kicked in and he rushed over to fill a place beside the Captain. The Mad Count had committed his forces in their entirety and was now being worn down by the forces of the Empire. The Emperor had gathered some 14,000 men for this campaign, and even with the odds in his favor the Emperor had more trained troops than the Count ever could. Thus as a rush of infantry came at the Grimblades Bertold rejoined the fight with a yell of courage and fear.

The Emperor

The Battle had gone well in his favor. The Imperial Cavalry had driven off the enemy horsemen then crashed into the Rebel Count's flank. Turning it. While the Mercenaries began to lose heart and were trying to extricate themselves from the fight and retreat across the bridge. All the while the Imperial's bore down across the entire front line. Within two hours it was all over. Count Rorian d'Paleis was found dead slumped up against an Oak tree near the bridge with a sword and spear in his gut. His horse slain by cross bow bolts a few yards away. The Emperor himself had joined the fight during hte later stages of the battle and with the Sun's Watch miraculously appearing over the horizon sealed the enemies fate. Roughly half of the entire Mad Count's army had been killed with over a thousand wounded. The mercenaries were allows to march South and away, while the peasants were rounded up and sent home. The enemy officers were all executed by decapitation at dusk. Such was the fate of traitors.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:27 am
by Damak Var
Paletine City, Paletine Republic
Senate Curia

Arguments and shouts reverberated throughout the pillared structure that was the Senate Curia. Every Senator was there for this momentous event. Consul Valerian was seated at the head reading scroll while all this occurred. He would let the toga wearing senators yell and scream to their hearts content before getting on with the day's business. Praetorian Guards in purple cloaks watched irritably at the squabbling. Seated in the stands was Praetor Caletus, a general of the Republic Army. It seemed out of character for him to be hearing wearing a toga instead of the uniformed armor of the legion although the red denoted his affiliation with the legions. A robbed mysterious figure sat next to him with hood raised. Everybody was aware of his presence though pretended out of dread he did not exist. For he was Praetor Clodian, Grandmaster of the Arcani Order.

"Silence!!!" Yelled the Master Lictor at Valerian's beckoning. Praetorian Guards thumped the butts of their pilums on the ground. When it died down Valerian spoke.

"We must decide. Does the Senate grant me the authority to declare war on the northern savages?" Asked Valerian loudly.

The Senators clamored their support. "Adran has been theirs for too long. We must take it back!"

"The Enlightenment demands it. Altairrion offends the Gods!"

"Everyday we wait displeases the Gods. Enlightenment!"

An official vote was taken by the Master Lictor and it was unanimous. They wanted war like their forefathers. Praetor Caletus wanted emulate the victories of Illethrios and especially Aetius, the last Praetor who fought the Anotans. He sat there smiling with a smirk on his face knowing that he had secured the votes to put him at the head of the any invasion force. Already preparations were being made for a naval blockade and siege of Adran forces. While legions formed at Ar-Ashalesh of hardy Paletine legionnaires and the myriad of auxiliary forces that supported them. Anotan light cavalry, raised in the path of the Enlightenment were just waiting for orders to begin their campaign of devastating the countryside around Marshala against their brethren. They would be accompanied by Elvish auxiliaries who saw the true path. Paletine did not discriminate. All were welcome to serve the Republic.

"I will try to negotiate first. We have arrested the heathen King's sister. Finduilas. If the barbarian who leads them will not surrender Adran we will take it back by force!" He exclaimed and cheers followed. "We will crucify his sister in the city square as an offering to the Gods!" Valerian continued. More cheers erupted.

There was overwhelming support for war. Something that had to be tempered by those who were actually going to lead it. Defeat would mean humiliation and disaster while the Senators would be able to evade blame. Praetor Caletus assured Valerian that the Army and Navy had the means but it would be bloody. They consulted the priests who assured them that blood spilled in the name of Enlightenment, Paletine or otherwise would please the Gods. For it was the Paletines who were the chosen to bring the light that was their civilization to the world. Consul Valerian had the priests echo their revelations to the masses to let them know that the divine smiled upon their coming crusade.

Already Temple priests were preparing for the ceremonies they would conduct. Sacrifices and offerings to the Gods for their favor. Vampires chained away in the dungeons would be crucified just before sunrise and trees planted to please Aria. Old veterans would fight each other to the death in honorable duels before the statue Zaeus. They would promise Hadius many souls for his realm Paletine or otherwise. Scholars would present their latest works to the statue Saleras for the God was pleased by knowledge. Oseiden, king of the seas would be needed for the fleet and so an old warship was sunk to the bottom of the seas that he may have it. In addition, Consul Valerian declared fishing outlawed throughout the Republic for an entire day to give his creatures free reign.

Finduilas Estate, Earlier

Squads of armored Praetorians marched in the dead of the night quietly. Orcasin Auxiliaries accompanied them wielding their two handed weapons. Greatswords, battleaxes and war hammers built for their larger frames. Ahead of them, Arcani already had eyes on the estate. Right behind them were Elvish archers who clamored onto the rooftops of nearby buildings ready to decimate with their keen precision. Ready to trail any escapees and bring them to the light. A Prefect on horseback led them. His buckles and armor immaculately polished. The purple feathered plumes of his helmet matched that of his cloak.

They moved quietly though were hardly stealth operatives save for the Arcani. Not that it mattered. The city gates had been shut and double watches of Vigiles patrolled the streets on this evening. Even if one escaped a squadron of Navy warships stood at the ready past the docks ready to intercept any ship leaving. Hinterland Rangers crawled over all the countryside. The troops enveloped the estate in silence. Prefect Aponius, the leader of this operation and direct aide of Praetor Caletus marched his horse up to the gates.

"Finduilas Altair! In the name of the Senate and People of Paletine, you are under arrest! Present yourself and surrender!" Prefect Aponius yelled.

Hashar Fortress, Altairrion Empire

Prefect Scapula was a military man. A Praetorian in the retinue of Consul Valerian and sent here with the special task of conducting the negotiations. If it could even be called that. The Republic had its demands and what they would do if they were not met. War would Altairrion would be costly but no one dared to question the will of the Gods. At the same time he was afraid. Their audacious demands could mean his death. But Scapula was ready to die for Republic as was his duty. To not do so would anger the Gods and lead to a miserable existence in the afterlife.

Accompanying him was a coterie of Anotan light cavalry auxiliaries who knew how to traverse the desert. They were especially useful as scouts and raiders in the last war. All of them were expert archers on horseback. Scapula admired the composite bows that they carried. Unlike him they dressed in light cloth and armor, turbans covering their faces. Not only were they brought for their usefulness, Valerian thought it a symbolic message that even their own people had seen the light and taken up arms against them. A few in the cavalry squadron were elvish as well. Elves, Dwarves, Orcs and non-citizen Humans did not receive the same respect as true Paletinians. But they too could be citizens and there were many living in the Republic today. As there were many in bonds of servitude as well. Although in the legions and fleets they were given credit where credit was due and no competent Paletine commander denied their value.

The company approached the fortress. Paletine banners fluttering as they did. Sweat trickled down Scapula's face from the heat of the desert. He raised a hand at the walls as a gesture of peace. This was a great honor for Scapula. To speak on behalf of the Senate and People of Paletine, the most enlightened civilization in the world to those that were below them. Dangerous, threatening but still beneath even the lowest Paletine slave. For a slave served the cause of the Enlightenment and that made him more worthy than any King adorned in finery.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:11 am
by Das Germane imperie
The Lich Citadel, Ice Fang mountains, The Dominion of Mazad

Deep into the Ice Fang Mountains, where the cold weather bites against the frozen mountain sides lies a tall tower of frozen and tempered stone. Whittled by the hands of skilled human miners and craftsmen, it stands after almost 800 years. It is surrounded by high walls of thick ice. The walls are manned by few, scattered guards in fur coats, armed with primitive spears. It gives the impression of an abandoned elven fortress, overtaken by some bandits. But it is not. This is the Lich citadel, home to the undead hordes of Mazad.

On the highest floor of the tower, sat the Lich king himself on an uncomfortable throne of ice. It wasn't uncomfortable for him though, as he had stopped feeling his own body for a long time ago. He didn't have any human feelings anymore. Except his emotions. He could be angry, sad and happy, yet he was never. The absence humanity in him had completely made him insentient. Even his memories were fading away, as he focused all of his mental strength on the future. Planning, waiting. For so long had he been quiet. It was time to see what the world look like.

He called on his wraths, his undead commanders which he controlled directly through his mind. They were his only riders, dressed in rusty chainmail and battered armor. They entered slowly, dragging their old bony legs behind them. They did not stop until Mazad raised his dark, charred hand before them.

“My children” he said with his he hollow and wheezy voice. “I am planning on making my move soon. But I do not know the world anymore. I shall send one of you to be my eyes, ears and mouth. I shall let the world know that Mazad the necromancer is the ruler of these lands, and that anyone who enters will suffer greatly” He looked on the cluster of undead warriors.

“Who should I choose? Most of you are just bones, but you, Gath, you were just resurrected. You still have flesh, rotting on your body. I will send you. You ride tomorrow, and I know that you won’t disappoint me. The rest of you, get back to the stinking holes you came from"

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:37 am
by Augusticinia
Chief Black Dragon
Wintertime Forest
625 AL

Ininduul was out scouting in the dense, snow-capped trees in the Wintertime Forest. He carried his Sword and Herb Pouch as he carefully stepped through the snow. He soon herd a voice. It was a crude tone. "Ghak, Nashtar Kyek Tor." Ininduul instantly recognized it as Orcasi. He had to return to his tribe and warn them. He began to run quickly and he heard an arrow being fired. He began to feel a sharp pain in his leg. He watched as the foul beasts ran to catch up to him. He opened his Medicine Pouch and rubbed a healing paste near the wound as he took the arrow out. He then turned and drew out his sword. There were two Orcasi. One held a pike and the other carried a bow. The one with the Pike charged. Ininduul threw the heavy snow into the Orc's eyes forcing him to drop his pike. The Orc was soon killed by Ininduul's blade. The other Orc began to run away. Ininduul also began to run back to his own camp.

Chief Black Dragon
Pailen Tribe Camp
625 AL

"We must leave the forest immediately."
"They are not a threat."
"We must leave now!"
Ininduul began to inform the people of the Orcasi threat. They would be moving South to the Palendar River. Ininduul watched as his people gather up their things. He did not want to go to the Palendar River for safety, but for a ritual. He wished to summon the Wild Hunt. Though he would need to gather a few things. First he would need to find a prophecy at the Dur-Ganar Ruins, then they would travel Southwest to the Dragon's Wood to find Fast Root, then he would have to find Cwosto rock in the Eastfall Pass, then the Ritual would have to be done in the Shadowlands. As his people were ready to leave he led them southward on their long journey ahead.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:23 am
by Krugmar
The Dwarven Hegemony
Act 1: Reclamation

625 AL
Throne Room, Durognarin
Durog VI

"My lords, you have provided excuses for four weeks as to why the levy is not ready. Pray tell me in honest tongue what the issue be, or so help me I will smite down such base and vile slaves who serve only their own desires" shouted Durog VI, rising from the Soulthrone and looking furiously down upon the lords of his assembly. Few of them dared to look back at their master and the crystal throne upon which he sat, out of fear of creating contact with his spite filled eyes.

"There have been mishaps in arming the levy sire, the smiths have been reluctant to provide the armour and weapons requested and-" muttered Lord Erkunzav, before being rudely interrupted.

"Lies sire! It is not the smiths, but the damned nobility who refuse to provide up to date lists of their tenants ready for war!" shouted Lord Vyidlun, leader of the Smithing faction that had emerged within the Assembly. It had not taken long for Durog to understand the intricacies of the waste of time they called the High Assembly, and the factions that swarmed through it and perverted the good conscience of any man unlucky enough to be a part of it.

"The lists aren't fully up to date, aye, but that impediment was solved within the first week. Face it Lord Vyidlun, the smiths have proven themselves disloyal subject yet again!" replied Lord Erkunzav, the leader of the Noble faction that tended to dominate the Assembly.

Durog returned to his seat as the Assembly returned to name-calling, bitter challenges to duels and factional dispute. Finally it grew too much for him, the shouting resonated within his mind and punctured his patience. "Ukuuzner!" he yelled, holding the Dravkarzaan high and watching as the pale glass head that adorned it began to glow red.

A great heaving was heard, then a devilish crackle of laughter and whip as a long and smooth grey tail whirled around the throne and slid into the darkness behind it. Then a nightmarish visage emerged, deep and soulless yellow eyes preyed upon the fears of the petty lords gathered. The Eternal Serpent formed what seemed to be a smile, and in a voice that seemed both imminent and yet so far away, so deep and booming yet as quiet and melodious as a mouse, it spoke. "You have called me, and here I am" it said, the words slithering out from its forked tongue with little effort involved, so little that there was talk that the communication was telepathic, and the twitching of the mouth was in an attempt to deceive and confuse the petty mortals beneath it.

"You have long studied our laws, and so I ask you, do the smiths have any legal reason to deny providing arms to the levy?" asked Durog, knowing the answer already yet using the fear emanating from the majestic and dreaded beast to hammer his point across.

"None" it replied, stretching out the word for what seemed an eternity, a screech that caused even the most stout of lords to wince and shrink back. Its work done, the serpent receeded into the darkness behind the throne, wrapping its' tail around the throne base as it had before, and returned either to study or slumber.

"I will have the levy ready by next week, all fifteen thousand, until then I will lead the Companions myself with the Loyalists and attempt to retake Shadow Pass from the Federation. If the levy is not ready, then heads will roll, you have my word" he commanded, dismissing the Assembly with a wave of his hand. It oft pained him to know how similar he was to his father in dealing with the Assembly. When he had been younger, watching the meetings by his fathers side, he had vowed to take counsel more genuinely than his 'tyrant' of a father. Yet now he understood the necessity of being an absolute ruler, for the wretched nobles could do little on their own without some sort of guidance.

Then he heard his father's voice, a strange echo of a time long past, "You will be King, Halzmar, and they must know it. They must know it". Despite his fathers later madness, his skill in working the government and military had been unmatched, and Durog had learned his lessons well.

625 AL
Dur-Ganar Siege Camp
Prince Gorvan

"Here we are lads, the gates of hell itself. Who wants to be the first one in?" asked Prince Gorvan, laughing heartily with the berserkers gathered to his side as they stared into the huge and torn apart gates of Dur-Ganar. Inside they could see flames, hear the shrieks of the vile creatures known as Spreeks, and the roars of the infernal golems who haunted its halls. Yet only one figure truly put fear into the heart of Gorvan, and that was the Infernal King. Long believed to have been a myth, scouting parties to the area reported that an infernal iron golem was real, and ruled Dur-Ganar. A secret hidden for a millenia, now uncovered. Gorvan couldn't wait to meet the secret, and put his axes into its chest and tear out its heart.

A particularly suicidal berserker, named Vori, looked at the prince, "It has to be me!" he shouted, giving an insane grin before he charged into the abyss with a hellish war cry. He was quickly followed by his brethren, with the two hundred berserkers sent with Gorvan leading the charge. Behind them the four thousand armed colonists lunged forwards, screaming at the top of their lungs, filling their hearts with passion in an effort to dampen the fear that they all felt.

The hall revealed thousands of Spreeks, distant relations of goblins and the sworn enemies of the Dwarven race. Their armour was clumsy and their weapons laughable yet there was a ferocity about them that could not be ignored. The berserkers tore through their initial line, sending the beasts to a distant hell reserved for them. They began scattering, broken by the bloodthirsty rampage of the Dwarves who were outraged to see their beloved city defiled by such creatures. Order was quickly restored by the presence of an infernal golem, a horrible and wretched degeneration of the perfect golem form.

Gorvan planned to lead the charge against the creature himself, before a stone golem passed him by and cracked it's knuckles. One iron golem and five stone golems had been given to him for his campaign, and it seemed that they were just as angry to see their corrupted brethren as the Dwarves themselves. With an ear piercing roar they clashed, forcing blows that would crush a Dwarves spine and shrugging them off like they were the softest strike from a maid. Two more golems passed him by, and they grabbed the wretch and pulled him off their companion. Their combined strength was too much for the infernal, and it was quickly torn apart, flames flying everywhere as its' molten heart spewed over the floor. Its' eyes slowly dimmed as the life drained out of it, and a husky laughter could be heard from its' killers as they celebrated their small victory.

With the death of the infernal, the Spreeks began flooding outside of the hall, screaming and shouting for reinforcements. They were eagerly followed by the Dwarves who cut them down every chance they got. Gorvan was in the frontlines, and was one of the first to see the sprawling metropolis that was Dur-Ganar. It was still beautiful, despite the ancient scars revealing the barbaric crimes of the elves and the makeshift wooden huts and barricades put up by the Spreeks. It was only when he looked up did he feel his first tinge of fear, for upon the steps to the palace was a giant, monstrous iron golem. One that had fire pouring from its' joints and a malicious look to it that could almost kill a man just by staring at them. Almost.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:52 pm
by Zoblus

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:50 am
by Dixmix
Kingdom of Aihorn,
The Twilight War
Engar, 625 AL

The end of the Prophecy started with the taste for something beyond normal bloodlust. It was the lust for war. During the time of the Dread Wolf led our people through the Forest of Engar. Our people were savages and only led through the chains of instinct. The Dread Wolf called upon our people to lead the Twilight War against the Six Kingdoms. Our aggression is known by these records as our history of our nation. It is as written that we will remember our sudden history and how this came to be.
- The History of the Talmori and the Engar Dominion by Mael Senshar
Translated by Nae Yin'ar

Engar is in a state of war. For the first time in over 612 years, the bloodthirsty Engarians feel threaten because of the Cult and the Werewolf Army that they command. Many people were afraid to here that so many werewolves existed and were under the command of a single bloodthirsty alpha known as Ze'vash. Ze'vash was born with the curse and craved power. He killed his own father and took an ancient totem with a centuries old prophecy that many tried to stop from letting it come true.

However, the hubris of mortals is unmatched and greed runs through the veins of the beast and he forced the prophecy to come true. There two sides to the Nature of the Beast, and the counterbalance to Ze'vash has always been Kagos. Kagos is the second-in-command of the cult and the steward and logistics handler of the Werewolves. He is more respected than Ze'vash by the other Alphas and has been recently having nightmares about two werewolves fighting and the Runehiem but has not told Ze'vash for he had plunge the entire region into war by invading the six largest petty realms of Engar.

This is called the Twilight War and Ze'vash wished it to be the quickest war that ever happened in Engarian history. Kagos always wanted to see his region united for the first time in centuries but how Ze'vash will wage war would be something that no one would've wanted. Kagos tried to explain the value of Engariain lives and to limit the losses but it fell on deaf ears. Ze'vash wanted war, he didn't care about what would happen for the fear he wanted to cause as much mayhem as possible and spread the virus to as many people to grow their army. It was something that was unavoidable and Kagos eventually agreed.

The first campaign of the war was the invasion of the Kingdom of Aihorn that was in the Northern Forest and went into the Great Mountains. Aihorn was very poor and there fortress was made of wood but it does the job keeping out the Werewolves since they are terrible climbers but not all of them are forced to change at night. The invasion was overwhelming as the petty Kingdom could only give 400 levies but they couldn't stop something that was as strong as a bear, can run as fast as horses, and are as organized as normal wolves.

Their attacks were brutal and spare no expanse as they ravage and pillage the kingdom with many of the villages being inflicted with lycanthropy numbered in around 800 during their rampage against the Kingdom. At the fortress was a much larger horde than started and the Alphas had torches. The King was afraid of the Wolves and the marshal had enough. The gates opened with a dethroned king and a white flag. He was called Mael, son of Senshar and he wanted to surrender after the King loss his right to rule. The King plead for his life but was torn apart from werewolves.

When Kagos asked what Senshar would do now that his kingdom is conquered, he said that he would like to rule as a wolf and Kagos sired him. He didn't really gave a solid reason why but he was a great soldier in the past and Kagos believed that it wouldn't be long till he becomes a alpha. Now he is training under Ze'vash to learn tactics and strategy as he is already a better swordsman then either of the leaders, especially since he wields twin blades and knows how to use them as a master would. The next march was towards Tykor and the first stone fortress that they will have to topple in this war.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:02 am
by Bulgislavia
Akossa City State
Anthis Villa

Akakios rested in his palanquin, swaying as it was carried by four bearer's. He could also hear the footsteps and clanking armor of the champions that escorted his palanquin through Akossa's narrow stone street's. At 65 years of age, Akakios was not fit enough to walk, or even horse ride to his destination outside the cities northern gate. Such was the crippling arthritis that Akakios needed a walking stick where ever he went, stopping short of having to be carried in a litter everywhere.

He pulled back a red cloth curtain so he could see outside the Palanquin. The surrounding was picturesque. Slaves were tending the rows of grape vines. At the base of a mountain range was a palatial villa that overlooked the wine plantation as well as the river that ran past the city, and the city itself. before long Akakios and his entourage entered the main gate of the villa that led into a courtyard with a fountain.

There was a slight thud as the bearer's lowered Akakios' palanquin onto the ground, where the elderly man quickly made his way out, gripping his gnarled walking stick in his hands.

"Akakios!" shouted a sweet female voice. A young woman with long brown hair rushed out of a room directly out from the courtyard, a warm smile across her face.

"Young Athera" Akakios hobbled over to the young woman, giving her a hug. "And how are you and your brother today?"

"Were good. I wanted to be the first to tell you, now that Androcles and I are 25, both of us submitted out candidacy to participate in the next sitting of the Popular Assembly" beamed Athera, her deep brown eye's engaging Akakios' own.

"That's wonderful. The last time an Anthis stood for election to anything would of been all the way back in 602AL. Your family has a long and distinguished name in Akossa, I'm sure both you and your brother will gain enough votes to participate, no problem. Tell me Athera, where is your brother?"

"He left this morning to consult with the Oracle, He should be back soon though. But come inside Akakios, tell me all about the interesting life of our beloved Popular Consul"

Akakios laughed sheepishly as he was helped inside by Athera "Athera you flatter me"


Oracles Summit Temple

Androcles stood in the serene garden's, hands clasped behind his back he soaked in the panoramic views of the surrounding mountain's, the clear sky, the winding river that flowed passed Akossa's eastern wall. The city itself looked miniature from this high up the mountain, though close enough to distinguish small moving speck's as distant people, as well as landmark buildings like the Great Amphitheater of Akossa, the city bath's, forum, temple of the ancients and so on.

Alone to his thoughts he patiently waited to see the Oracle, there always seemed to be such a long wait to see her, unless you were the Popular Consul, then you had instant access.

"Androcles?" asked the voice of a familiar priestess

He turned around to see Helene, the priestess with probably the most interesting face, bright blue eye's, big cheek bones and a long face and large forehead, long black hair down to her waist.

"The Oracle will see you now" she said

"Thank you" Androcles followed the priestess who wore a faint green gown, which seemed to be the only type of clothes worn by both the Oracle and the priestesses that tended to her and the garden and temple.

"Helene may I ask you a personal question?" Asked Androcles, Helene took her time to answer him.

"You may ask this one personal question, but I do not have to answer" She replied

"How old are you?...... I thought maybe 28? 30'ish?"

Helene once again took her time to respond to him "Those were nice guesses, but I am 35"

"Wow" Androcles then went silent as the two entered the stone pavilion where the Oracle sat on a stone pedestal, with cushions to help with comfort. On their way in they passed a wealthy merchant leaving, looking like the Oracle had given him good news.

"Ah, young Androcles, welcome" said the Oracle cheerfully, Helene then bowed and backed away from the pavilion.

"Hello Oracle" Androcles stood in front of the stone pedestal "May I have a cushion this time?"

The Oracle smiled and grabbed one of the dark blue cushions she was sitting on and handed it to Androcles who placed it down before kneeling to sit with his legs crossed.

"So you have a few questions for me" said the Oracle

"I want to know what the future holds for my house, and the Anthis name. If you can impart any wisdom to me I would be very grateful"

"Well, in Akossa today there are five truly great families. The Petrakis, the Sarantos, the Tantalo, the Galanis and the Anthis. The direct descendants of the city founders. I can tell you that one of these families you can trust, two of these families bear your no ill will, and one poses a danger to the future of your house"

"Which one is the enemy and which once can I trust?" blurted out Androcles

"At this time it is only you, your sister and Akakios Nymesa you can trust. From there you must reach out with your senses and feelings to discern who in this city can help you in your task to ensure your family name carries into generations to come"

"Hmmm ok, thank you Oracle. I'm also curious if you have ever seen me as the Popular Consul of Akossa, in one of your visions perhaps?"

The Oracle laughed heartily "Political power has always been strong with your family. If you take in Akakios' teachings and wisdom then I'm sure you will be well equipped to acquire that office some day in the future"

Androcles smiled "Thank you Oracle. Do you have any more words of wisdom for me?"

The Oracle thought for a moment "If you want to become a great city leader, one path to greatness would be to abolish slavery"

Androcles raised his eye brows "Impossible. any notion of abolishing the institution of slavery would be voted down vigorously in the Popular Assembly, almost all of the cities 29,000 citizens are slave owners and only citizens can participate in the Popular Assembly. As long as the Popular Assembly is packed with slave owners, any Popular Consul that tried to introduce such a measure would either be assassinated or forced from office" Androcles shook his head

"There are opportunities every day to make this city a free place for more people. I feel that you will be presented with such an opportunity sometime today, and tomorrow and the day after that and so on and so forth. If you do not yet have the strength and power to sway the Popular Assembly, then start with your own household, abolish slavery within your own household first and others will follow, in time"

Androcles looked down at the floor and shrugged "Maybe.... Another path to greatness would be?"

The Oracle sighed "Displaying great leadership during a time of hardship, like a siege. Or becoming a great adventurer, the world is full of possibilities"

Androcles stood up and bowed to the Oracle "Thank you Oracle, you have given me much to think about" the Oracle nodded in response, then he turned and left the pavilion. His two body guards then finished their consultations with some priestesses. When the oracle was unavailable, a consultation with a priestess was the next best thing, all of them were dedicated to the oracle and trained to be an oracle in case one of them won an election to that position, a position that was for life.

"Have a good reading?" Asked Androcles as the three made their way down the mountain path, passing people along the way.

"It was alright, but that Priestess Helene has a funny face don't you think?" replied one of Androcles' guards

"I think she looks interesting, in a strange way. Not ugly" replied the other guard

"No, not ugly" Agreed Androcles.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:28 pm
by Imperialisium
Twilight Fortress

The Twilight Fortress can best be described as, indomitable, and held a dominant position along the landscape of the Kelzmere region. While within the boundaries of the Elvrion Empire the Fortress was technically independent. It paid no tax, followed its own ordinances, and its military orders answered only to themselves. Initially a place of worship for Vaemidia and Avalar when the Valatar appeared on Mount Asaheim many centuries prior. The Fortress has accommodated the worship of the other Pantheonic Powers with shrines and annexes available along with clergy of all the Vaulted Ones being present in some form or another.

Crouched, wearing all grey dress and veil, was the Empress Mother. Taluria Tamerian, widow to the Emperor Maximilian vas Alfheimr. While her husband had aged and died as in the likeness of mankind Taluria had the long life span of the Mari, the Elven folk, and still remained youthful for nearing one hundred and fifty-years of age. Before her was a simple shrine, small and not ornate, bearing a statue of the likeness of an Elf she had known many decades ago. Inscribed on the pedestal in Adaenari was Eonwaris with the Saerheastan, Naedse, and Baldul translations being present to showcase how the Fortress caters to many peoples. Eonwaris was the Chief Priest of the Fortress for over three hundred years, longer than any before him, and had personally conversed with the Pantheonic Powers. Likening to them as a scribe for the Vaulted Ones. He was not worshiped too like an idol, but prayers could be said to him, in the hopes his spirit would give guidance and wisdom to those in need.

"It seems like you where here with us just days ago, old friend." whispered Taluria with a gentle tear of crystalline purity running down her supple cheek. She remembered his final words in the Winter of 590, having achieved the impressive age of 563 years, "Death comes for all of us, eventually, we must all be judged for our grievances and blessings. Do not fret over my passing lovely Taluria, I go to walk among the Vaulted Ones and live forever in their light; Nay, death is but another road we all must tread."

A year later in the Fall of 591 Taluria lost her father to old age at 452 years old followed in five years by her husband. The last decade of the 6th Century AL could be described as the hardest time ever to happen in her life.

But as she stood up she heard footsteps behind her and turning she saw a young man more in the likeness of her late husband than anyone prior. her grandson Maximilian, named after his grandfather, and she smiled in joy. Embracing each other Maximilian asked, "How are you grandmother?!" Her reply was one of joy at his visit.

"I am traveling, an expedition to the Shrouded Lands, I had come to see you before I set out." His voice was unwavering, firm, and excited for the adventure that laid ahead. But Taluria's eyes darkened for a moment at his words before returning to light. The Shrouded Lands were practically all uncharted, and rumors abound of horrible monsters and ghost haunting it's mists. For a moment she wondered if she held tight enough he could not go. But like her late husband her grandson was unyielding and bold. So she merely kissed his forehead and said, "Be safe. I will pray to all the Vaulted Ones for your safe passage across the Sea."

"I am sure Eonwaris will be with me in spirit." replied Maximilian. He never knew Eonwaris in person, but whenever he heard of the sage elf it was always in a positive light. Taluria shed another tear and hugged him again, "Yes, yes he will. Won't you stay for mid day meal?"

"Yes grandmother of course I can stay for the mid day meal."

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:35 am
by Rudaslavia
Valtmeris, Empire of Elvrion

The bustling streets of Valtmeris, the beating heart of the High Elven race, were parted by the rider. Upon his pale steed, the Moon Elf thundered through the crowds. He was a confident creature with an air of mystic enigma that could not be explained. Ancient medallions hung from his saddle, clinking together like a menacing orchestra of devils. They were distinctive Lunamari charms with notable cultist craftsmanship -- skulls, jet stones, and serpentine teeth that struck fear into the heart of each observer. They were relics of a long-dead age; the age of the rider's bloodline.

For he was Voriel Gorgos, the last Harkasian Moon Elf and sole heir to the fallen throne of his ancestors. His extravagance was evident in every aspect of his being. His knee-high boots of black leather were polished enough to reflect the sunlight. His spurs jingled with every stride of his magnificent mount, almost as though they were singing to the beat of the gallop. To match his boots, the Gorgos prince wore eccentrically stuffed hose that almost crossed a theatrical line of high-class fashion. His white doublet was lined by silken strings of black, mimicking the formerly popular wears of the Harkasian aristocracy. At his hip was a shining longsword, accompanied by an Elven longbow and quiver wrapped around his torso.

Perhaps Voriel's self-assurance was rooted in his physical characteristics. Despite aging over five centuries, he appeared young as ever. His high and pronounced cheekbones served to parade his deep gray eyes. His defined jawline was tipped by a sharp chin and perked lips that women only dreamed of kissing. His silver hair, thick and wavy, was groomed into a voguish style that combined the roughness of masculinity with the heart-warming virtues of the feminine sex. These were the gifts of the demonic lords...whom the Gorgos kings venerated as gods. Though Voriel himself had renounced his malevolent faith long ago, the effects of his ancestors' blessings remained. And so the Harkasian prince surpassed the average lifespan of his Moon Elven brethren. And by the gods above, he looked fantastic in doing so.

His satchel was filled to the brim with a series of scrolls. Oh, the prince had such great ambitions. He would achieve the glory he was so cruelly denied by those filthy witch gods. He halted at the gates of the palace, hurling the trinkets of his Gorgos forefathers to the feet of the imperial guards. "I am Crown Prince Voriel Gorgos!" he announced with pride. His voice was so...majestic. Powerful. But insecure within. There was a weakness in his heart that he could never manage to vanquish. "Heir to the throne of the fallen Harkasians! I seek the Empire's highest authorities, for my propositions bear the tidings of praise and triumph!"

PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:48 am
by Dixmix
Battle of Tykor,

It is uncommon to see such lands as devoid of the Vaulted Ones as these. The very region had been usurped by the Werewolves of old and free to mock our Gods in freedom. The legends and books of Engar are considered heresy by many nations but ones always shows itself among different circles in the world.

It is called the Moonlight Travels and it is known as the only book that people can travel to Engar and come back.

- The curious travels of Hethern Lands,
by Canius Covinus

The battle of Tykor was a surprise defeat by the Werewolves. Both kingdoms of Uulust and Tumor had called to arms and combined their forces and started to put hardened silver and steel together to kill the Werewolves. They suffered 120 to the Wolves 300.

This alone made Ze'vash mad but he was warned about the dangers of throwing the newly sired in the fray without an alpha to lead them. The cult leader and the First Phase always bicker and show their teeth as The beast starts to show and take over.

However, Mael Senshar had walked in to say,"none of you have trained your soldiers to fight in the day?" Ze'vash spoke back,"and, just what do you know about training Werewolves?" While Senshar didn't know how to train the Weremen, but he told them he used to be the merc captain for the Mad Count and his rebellion in the East and lost the love of his life to the Imperial troops.

It didn't matter now, what did that there needed a professional army among the Werewolves and believe that actual reinforcement of such reforms will work.Engarians weren't known for their skills with swords as much as their animosity towards each other. Begrudgingly, Ze'vash agreed to train the best soldiers that the packs have the ability to fight in the sun and learn to control their forms better. Only around 300 were able to be trained and they can do war where the Werewolves will take the blunt of the damage at night.

They have become the first of what is known as the Matu, or Sun Wolves. They couldn't actually change in day time but they had the greatest control over their beast than anyone in the pack and they were led by Mael Senshar. The training was rushed but produced results as they were more used to the changes much more than the normal Werewolf. They will be the commandos and the elite forces and will serve their purpose as the Cult prepares to march against to conquer the north and spread across Engar.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:19 pm
by Elerian
Volyoria, Kingdom of Gweylessa
King Raolin Greysong
Throne Room

The Old Lion sat atop the Ruby Seat, the throne of Old Volyoria, piled high with velvet pillows. A great barking resounded off the high walls of the Throne Room as the Old Lion was taken by yet another fit of coughing. It took nearly a minute for the King to settle down before the proceedings could go on. The throne room was packed with courtiers from places near and far, and yet the least boring thing that had happened this far on that day was the King's bellowing coughs. The lull of private conversations soon resumed as it had many time before once the King finally quieted himself. It was well known that the King was firmly in the grasp of Consumption, and for all the innovations of Volyoria and magics that the land could offer, they were only able to prolong the inevitable; the King had maybe a few more months to live. Then, the Kingdom would pass to his unpopular son, the Crown Prince Alarin.

Yet, even with the succession set in stone, there was something brewing in the capital that even the blind could see. A hushed conversation between lords here, and a malevolent glance there were evidence of this. This was not uncommon in the King's court, yet all of it pointed to a growing rift between the Crown Prince and his younger brother, Prince Galvian. What was set to happen following the King's demise was anyone's guess, but one thing that could be assured was that it wouldn't be good.

The Old Lion loathed court life. Just when he thought he could grasp some concept or plot, he was almost always thrown for a loop. Raolin preferred the gentle sway of a horse beneath him, and the harmonious sound of steel kissing steel. He had it made in his mind that he would rather die by the sword than die drenched in his own piss in the middle of the night. It was a fitting end for a man of his caliber, to die by the sword. And if Raolin could help it he would prefer to put some meaning in his death rather than riding off to be killed by a band of motley bandits. He intended to make his death mean something to his people, to prove to himself that even at his age he was still worth more than roving pack of Goblins. With Vigilance on his hand he would not even feel the fatigue creeping into his bones before he died, such was the way he wanted to die, and so it would be.

Raolin shifted uncomfortably against the hard glassy surface of the Ruby Seat. The Throne that had long been used by the Volyorian Kings as a symbol of their power was made from solid ruby, mined from the Grey Mountains. It had been hard to sit on even in his youth, but it was almost unbearable now, yet it held a certain sense of power. Raolin motioned for his Herald to silence the room, and within a few moments all was dead silent. Raolin stood, while he was old, he could still manage to do most of his daily necessities without the need of any assistance. Raolin cleared his throat, and a few moments later his booming voice carried through the whole of the massive throne room.

“Lords and Ladies, I have gathered you here today to announce a fast approaching event. I intend to ride out one last time to try and unite our ancient realm. I wish to call upon all of you to contribute your men and sons to my last campaign. Only when the Ungarn have been tamed, and the Volyorian realm reunited may we have peace. I thank you for attending, and I should hope to see you all by my side in the coming days.”

Raolin nodded his head at the assembly, and motioned for his herald to announce his exit. Once the herald was finished, Raolin exited his Throne room. He proceeded to go to his apartments, all the way fretting about his coming demise.

Ruins of Ah-Kurdan, Mor Doram
Ukavior ro Ul‘exilun

Many of his kin had asked him to allow their people to remain in Ah-Kurdan. It lay within a fertile valley, and the ruins could have provided shelter enough for a dozen or more other tribes. With their proximity to the Dwarves who had sheltered them for a time, they would even have friendly neighbors, a foreign concept to them several years prior. Here they could prosper and create a new Orcasi Kingdom. But Ukavior would not have it. If he had not had his vision, then maybe he would allow it. But, not since then had he allowed himself to rest even for a moment. Ukavior could at least empathize with their concerns. What lay just beyond the safety of Ah-Kurdan lay their ancestral homeland. It had been blasted by the God’s fiery anger, and now there was little but sand and humans.

They’d begged him in the end to stop his madness. Ukavior could not allow desertion of their grand quest, so he’d been forced to make an example of them. Now, few spoke of staying, and if they did it was in hushed voices.

In the time since then all the Orcasi had been tasked with training with weaponry, or gathering what food and water they could find. And with the coming of spring, the passes were once again open to travel. On the very day it was safe enough to leave, Ukavior ordered their march, and with heavy hearts they left their new found home. It had been nearly a week since they’d left Ah-Kurdan, and the second day since they;d entered the desert. It was hellish during the days and incredibly cold at night, which is the only time suitable for travelling. Several of the Goblins had tried to desert on the first night, but they’d been caught and strung up to bake the following day as an example for the other Goblins.

It would be a hard and long journey, but once they were across the desert, the journey will have been well worth it. It was said however, that a large human nation had risen in the deserts, but should the Mor Doram keep a low profile they would likely get through unnoticed. Though, only time would tell.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:34 am
by Of the Quendi
The Imperial Palace of Taozhou
The Imperial Province of Yangshao
The Xi Dynasty of Sanheguo


Xiangu Xiao Chi, Empress Mother of Xi

Springtime the Shuxandi Period's First Year

There was blood everywhere. On the great floor made of green marble and jade streams of dark red blood was slowly forming as the visible and undeniable proof of the horrid crime of regicide. Of parricide, nay worse, of theocide. The great velvet curtains concealing the imperial chambers from the outside world, though made of burgundy colored silk, was sprayed in the dark blood in such quantities that the burgundy color could not conceal it. Where once the perfumes of the finest courtesans, women of immense beauty, or the aromas of sacred incense there now was a pungent metalic smell in their air in the chamber.

As her eyes was drawn, inexorably as much as she resisted it, towards the corner of the grand chamber from which the streams of blood flew Xiao felt her heart pounding rapidly, desperate to avoid the inevitable. But Xiao knew she had to see. See the robe of silks once of a yellow hue, now soaked in and discolored by the blood of the one who wore it. The most powerful man in Xi. Emperor Gaozhang, Lord of the World.

The bloated body of the man who once ruled the greatest empire of all time was still moving, blood still slowly pumping from horrible and many wounds inflicted upon him by sharp blades. It had grown immense over the past five years. Always a man tending towards the fleshy Emperor Gaozhang had found that the Mandate of Heaven granted him a certain largess to indulge his many and varied taste for worldly pleasures and as a result had swollen to the size of three ordinary men. It was little wonder that a body so large contained great quantities of his dark muddy blood.

As she approached Xiao's eyes drew from the dimension of Emperor Gaozhang's mighty frame to his face. The face that even if it in past youth and vigor had held a resemblance to the sire of the bloodied emperor, Zhengshi of Xi, had long since been tainted by the corruption and excesses of an amoral life had miraculously escaped the thrusts of assassins blades, and when Xiao saw the twitches in the corner of the emperor's mouth she realized in horror that the emperor was still alive. His assailants had slashed his veins open spilling his filthy blood everywhere. They had broken and shattered his bones. They had hurt him with dagger and sword and fist and yet he lived. The Emperor lived.

Terror gripped Xiao. How could he live? How could any mortal endure such an attack and yet draw breath. Truly Gaozhang was Heaven's chosen that his heart still beat after all those cuts and thrusts and slashes and blows that his form had been dealt. If the emperor lived all had been for naught. The empire would fall, war and strife would return to Sanheguo and the sacrifices of the Xi would have all been in vain, Xiao realized. Yet as she looked into the eyes of Son of Heaven Xiao saw that her terror was nothing next to the one she saw in the still lively eyes of the emperor.

As she peered into Gaozhang's eyes Xiao was stunned to see them wide open in uncontrollable fear and terror. Never before had Xiao seen a fear comparable to what she saw in the eyes of the bloated decadent emperor, a maddening fear that had driven out every other thought or feeling leaving Emperor Gaozhang more beast then man as he peered back at Xiao.

Slowly, almost reverently, Xiao approached the massive corpus of the terrified Emperor desperately clinging to life. She knelt down besides him, his fearful gaze following her. With one hand she gently caressed his fleshy face, in the other suddenly she held a razor sharp knife. Planting a kiss on the forehead of the Emperor Xiao slit his throat with her knife, spilling the blood of Heaven's chosen sovereign and ending at last his life and his fear.

With a silent drawn out gasp Xiangu Xiao Chi, Empress Mother of Xi awoke from her dream finding herself in her own bedchamber in the Imperial Palace of Taozhou, her slender elven frame covered in cold sweat and her heart pounding. Xiangu Xiao Chi sighed. Then she took deep calming breaths feeling her body slowly but surely relaxing. When she gracefully rose from her bed the ethereal elven regent of Xi had shed the terrors of her night. "Dehai." She quietly called out in her melodious and serene voice.

Moments later a eunuch in his early twenties, with an innocent child like face entered the Pavilion of Beautiful Scenery kowtowing the Empress Mother. "Your Majesty." The eunuch greeted his mistress in the falsetto voice neither male nor female in nature of his the third sex. "I had my dream again, Dehai." Xiangu Xiao Chi spoke to her servant. "How many times now since my dear Ying became emperor? Uneasy is the head that wears the crown the philosophers tells us, but I did not perceive that I should be so haunted at nighttime by the past when the future presents so plentiful challenges for me to contend with." The Empress Mother mused as her devoted factotum approached her and with strong fingers began rubbing the empress mother's temples gently.

The sleep deprived empress moaned lightly as her eunuch aide worked his magic on her. A year past when she dwelled with Ying among the dryads and elves of Wulang forest Xiangu Xiao Chi had needed no rest or sleep. Then headaches and nightmares and exhaustion had been unknown to her. No more. The weight of her power, of her crime, had weakened and diminished her physically and mentally in ways she could have never conceived of. The empress sighed. "Well." She then spoke. "How fares the Empire this ... Morning?" She asked looking through one of the windows of her bedchamber observing how the night had given away to a very very early morning.

At that question the rhythm of Dehai's massage of his mistress's temples for a moment grew unsteady. Anticipating bad news the empress took a deep breath. "Majesty." Dehai meekly spoke. "An emissary arrived in the night. Abbot Li Gong of Shaolin Shi Temple has issued a declaration calling for your Majesty's deposition as regent." Dehai, apologetical as if he was personally responsible for the bad news, declared. Xinagu Xiao Chi sighed once more nodding slowly, her emotions concealed behind a neutral demeanor. "Has the council taken any action?" She asked. Dehai shook his head slowly. "Good." Xiangu Xiao Chi declared. "Then convene them for a meeting, I must ascertain which of the councilors I can trust to aid me against this obstinate monk." Xiangu Xiao Chi ordered, before her mind wander to her nightmare and the terrified gaze in Emperor Gaozhang's eyes as she extinguished his life.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:43 pm
by The Starlight
Rudaslavia wrote:-snip-

The Imperial Palace
Valtmeris, Elvrion Empire
625 AL

The Crown Prince of Harkasia was met by two crossed spears, bidding him go no further. They were held by two of the Emperor's Blades, Saerondr's guards and personal elite unit. One of them picked up the trinkets with his spear, examining them for a moment. "You will wait here, Crown Prince, and I shall see if the Emperor wishes to see you." Turning with a nod to his fellow Blade, he went off, the trinkets held aloft by his spear.

A little time later, he returned. "The Emperor will see you now. When the herald announces you, enter the throne room and walk to the dais. You will bow, and then, you may propose your proposition to the Emperor. Follow me." With that, the Blade led Voriel to the throne room, and stood beside him.

A herald soon cried out, "Behold, Crown Prince Voriel Gorgos, heir to the throne of Harkasia." As the Harkasian entered, he would see the faces of the great Valtmar staring down upon him, Saerondr the Great, upon his dragon-friend, Valkunr the Mighty, Iseril Tarembor, Isebrir Tarembor, Irithren Tarembor, and many others of House Tarembor and the Valtmar. The throne room was a place of grandeur, and yet simple elegance, for Saerondr II was not especially keen towards unnecessary extravagance.

And there, the High Emperor of Elvrion, King of Menevrion, Saerondr II Tarembor, The Twilight Star, The King Upon the Mountain" sat, Voriel's trinkets on his lap, a silver circlet on his fair brow, the great spear Siryamíl in his right hand and Nammalúin sheathed on his hip. "Rise, Crown Prince Voriel," he said, "and let us speak of this proposition of yours." He raised an eyebrow at Voriel's extravagance, but made no mention of it."

The Palace of Wood
Tarsamar, Elvrion Empire
625 AL

Eluthiel Illuvien looked out, from the balconies of her palace in Tarsamar. A pale, white star in the livery of brown and green surrounding her, being the forest, she thought of both the days passed and those yet to come. Their position was precarious. Though Elvrion had now lasted some 120 years or so, there was still tension. Tension between Taraemari and Valtmari, tension between them, and Alfheimr. As for the former, that would take time, but much progress had been made, and there was still much more. But the external threat of this situation with Alfheimr could no longer be avoided, nor cast aside. It had been ten years since they had sent a delegation to Alfheimr, to settle this matter of Altma, and it was time to try once more.

War, if it came to that, would not bode well for either Empire, but the ruins of the earliest of all the elven cities could not remain under human control. Altma had to be rebuilt, it was the key to total unification. There, many, many years ago, Valtmar and Taraemari and even Sulaemari had dwelt there together. That glorious city had been the crown of Elvendom upon Gaea. The Empire could not remain separated upon a map either, and Fregar's Stead was the connecting piece, also owned by Alfheimr. The Elves had lost much over the ages, much that could not be recovered. But what could be recovered, must be, and that was what had to be done. Writing a quick missive, she gave it to one of her messages, to go to Valtmeris and tell her brother that the time had come, once again.

Finding her cousin and best friend, Vaemidia Illuvien, captain of her company and of the Rangers, she asked, green eyes twinkling, "Shall we go on that hunt, dear cousin. Let the horns be blown, our annual hunt has begun!" Eluthiel said.

"Indeed, Eluthiel. Let us go forth." Vaemidia said, walking to the royal stables, where Vaemidia's wolf, and Eluthiel's stag dwelt when not in the forest. Picking up spears, and bows, they went forth, their merry laughter ringing throughout the forest, the Company rushing to follow. And the hunt had begun.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:09 pm
by Damak Var
Andran Fortress

Cut off from the sea by ships, surrounded by the legions of the Republic Army, Andran Fortress would not hold. Siege lines were drawn as thousands of legionnaires made camp and settled in for a long bombardment. Skirmishers had been raiding any parties coming out of the fortress long before now to cut off their food supply. Engineers of Dwarves and Men built trebuchets to reign down death upon the unenlightened savages. The first assaults began after a few days. Legionnaires advanced with heater shields under the cover of artillery, archers and crossbowmen who kept the enemy hiding behind the crenels of the battlements. They wheeled up the siege towers and ran forth with ladders to begin the overwhelming attack. First into the fray were the orcs clad in heavy plate armor and two handed weapons. Their ferocity paved the way for other troops as they hacked away at the defenders without mercy.

What the legionnaires first did was make their way over to the gate house, hacking with maces and axes, screaming curses and war cries. Centurions yelled at their men to shed the blood of the infidel as the battle hysteria settled. It was a kind of joy that inflicted men who were in the thick of fighting. Capturing the gate, they opened it. Winching up the portcullis as more legionnaires poured over the walls. Archers as well who took up positions to fire down at reinforcements. Once the gate was open it was all over as the rest of the army came streaming through. They slaughtered the civilians inhabitants, men women and children. Those who had provided aid and comfort to their hated enemy. Babies had their heads dashed across the walls and children drowned in horse troughs.

"Do the work of the Gods! Slay the savages! Absolve yourself of sin with the blood of thine enemies! Holiness awaits!" Yelled a Priest who was among them with his hands raised to the heavens.

Of course, any female over the age of 11 was raped first. Some of them too young to have had their first blood. Soldiers dragged them into a clearing so that their deaths would not be in vain by pleasuring the faithful soldiers of the Republic Army, willingly or not. To serve the Republic was the highest honor one could attain and to not do so before death would be shameful. The Praetor in command looked on approvingly at the action. His soldiers needed their fun. It would keep them placated. Three soldiers had a girl no older than 15 bent over a barrel right in front of the barracks. Two held her down while another pock marked legionnaire thrusted behind her and grunted. Her face was full of agony and despair. A Priest walked up and stroked her hair.

"Be proud my child. By giving comfort to Paletine's soldiers you serve the Republic. Tis holy." He said softly. "I think she understands. A quick death for the child. Bless you soldiers. Blessed be the faithful." When the soldiers were finished a brawny orc unceremoniously sliced off her head with one swing of his great sword. An Elvish archer kicked it away with a chuckle.

Justice had to be done and the unenlightened cleansed of their sins. Once the soldiers were taking their joy they mutilated the women and young girls while they were still alive. This was done mostly by cutting of their breasts and sodomizing them with the points of spears. A righteous fate for the tainted whores that bed or were spawns of the soldiers here. Their bodies were burned to further purify their souls of the filth that was their northern enemy. A mercy the Praetor believed they did not deserve but gave anyway.

As ordered, the soldiers manning the fortress that surrendered were spared. The Praetor had them marched outside the Fortress, stripped naked so that the Gods could see them truly as they are. Those sinners and savages who dared defy the might of Paletine. A torture detail awaited them. First, hot irons were used to blind them. For those that refused to see the light had eyes that must be possessed with evil. An evil that had to be purged before they went to their deaths and the beyond. Once blinded, one by one they were crucified. A forest of crosses stood before the fortress.

"Their deaths will take too long." The Praetor stated as he watched.

"The agony will help to purify them before they go to the afterlife. We must do what we can so that the Gods will have mercy on them. Paletine serves all Gaea and the Gods. Our mission is holy." Said a Priest embedded with the Army. He relished in the moans of dozens of enemy soldiers nailed to crosses. It was the most holy sound that he had no doubt would please the divine powers that be. "Oh Hadius! Accept this offering of death! May it please you and have mercy upon the dammed! Forgive them!" The Priest cried out. Tears of joy streamed down the Priest's and coated his cheeks.

"They will die and painfully. Just sooner. Prefect! Order the men to spear them!" Ordered the Praetor. Right away, the legionnaires in charge of the mass crucifixion speared the unenlightened men who were nailed to the crosses through the abdomen. They would not die right away and the wound would be painful.

"Praise the Gods! Praise the Republic!" The Praetor shouted at the men. They raised their weapons in the air and shouted their victory cries.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:39 pm
by Rudaslavia
Imperial Palace
Valmeris, Empire of Elvrion

"Oh, but your wish is my command, Imperial Majesty." Voriel remarked with distinct enthusiasm. He bowed in an overtly histrionic fashion, but his manner of doing so was not disrespectful. The Gorgos prince's movements exuded vitality and spirit. "Indeed, it is my command."

With a quick (and yet somehow unthreatening) motion, he unsheathed his sword and caught it by the handle. "What I offer, dearest Majesty," he began, carefully running the blade over the surface of his palm. "Is my blood." Crimson fluid rushed from the cut. The thick droplets rolled over the surface of the Lunamari weapon. "My tainted, bewitched blood." He glanced toward Saerondr with a grin. "My servitude, great Emperor."

Voriel placed the blood-soaked blade upon the floor as his enigmatic wizardry healed the wound. "I foresee death, Imperial Majesty." he warned. "Death we've not seen in generations; mighty thrones clashing for global domination amidst incomprehensible catastrophes! This is the dawn of a new age -- the dawn of empires! I seek to advance my Mari brethren. In the coming days of competitive expansion, Elvrion will be unstoppable. My ambitions, directed by your most glorious leadership, will bring about success that will place the gods themselves in awe!"

He bowed once more. "For centuries, I've crept through the shadows as a hired killer and thief. I've bred carnage for coin...and I assure you, dearest Majesty, that I am a master of my trade. But I seek a greater purpose. I was born to be a king, and yet had my kingdom ripped from my arms!" The Crown Prince smiled. "So I shall serve the will of other kings. Who better than my high-born Valtmari and Taraemari cousins?"

The Gorgos unveiled a great map from his satchel. "Behold!" he announced with excitement. "The Shrouded Lands! The untamed cesspit of Gaea! My proposal, dearest Majesty, is overseas domination! The cursed realms of the Shrouded Lands, teeming with unspeakable evil, blanket treasures that will saturate Elvrion's pockets with gold! I seek an investment of one-thousand marks towards an officially sanctioned military expedition to the uncharted islands! Such a location would provide a strategic naval base to counter the oceanic influence of Alfheimr, Paletine, or even...the dreaded vampires themselves."

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:32 pm
by Imperialisium
Imperial Palace

Valuryan had been walking down the hall adjacent to the throne room when he saw Voriel enter with one of the Emperor's Blades in tow. The High Lord of Ramiene and High Prince of War paused for a moment. His brow furrowing. The Elf was undoubtedly a Lunamari but he felt an unsettling presence. Like a shadow had descended upon these high halls and mighty bastion of Elvendom. That was when he felt the warmth of his sword through the scabbard. Drawing Saelring, the sword of his father Azuryan, the blade glowed a malevolent red. A sign of an enemy, specifically a Demon or similar, for Saelring had alone slew the Demon that nearly killed Azuryan in ages past.

The guards in the hall looked at Valuryan and then his blade. They immediately grew tense and alert as Valuryan walked up to the closed doors of the throne room briskly. "Who is in there?"

One of the Blades outside of the door spoke up, "A Crown Prince Voriel Gorgos of Harkesia." The blade looked at Valuryan with concern, "If everything alright my lord?"

"Harkesia?" Valuryan muttered to himself. He was well versed in Mari history and lore but that name escaped him. Still, Saelring was never wrong when a foe appeared, and he wouldn't let this pass up.

"This...Crown Prince...does not go anywhere in this Palace without our eyes on him." Valuryan was not captain of the guard by any means. But he was respected and his loyalty was never in question. His office as High Prince of War further confirmed his martial authority even if it was primarily administrative in times of peace.

The Blades acknowledged this with nods and some departed into side halls. Blocking every known door so that when Voriel left he could be watched inconspicuously. Valuryan resumed his walk slowly as he re-sheathed Saelring while thinking, "What does Saelring sense...No demon could possibly breach these walls without us knowing"

The voice in the back of his head shot out, "The Dark Ones have other servants than Demons..."

If the Emperor was indeed in danger than they should act at once and seize Voriel when there was still time. But at the same time Valuryan had no authority to violate someone who potentially was protected a noble diplomat. He would not violate that nor undermine Saerondr's authority on the matter. Therefore the best he could do was make sure Voriel was always accounted for.

Moving out onto a balcony Valuryan looked up to see an eagle soar by. He whispered a silent prayer to Vaemidia, Goddess of Life.


Maximilian rode Westwards towards Palan's Landing. It would still take time to get there, and his guard rode behind him. The traveled mostly across country after leaving the Twilight Fortress. Mount Valaheim dominated the view Eastwards. They had crossed the Atanos near Bayren where Valuryan had rendezvoused with the rest of his party.

He would ride West to Palan's Landing and board one of the three ships he had commissioned for this journey. A journey that could take months by the safest routes. But Maximilian was not his brother Rudolf, he was not content to rest on his wealth and nobility, but sought adventure in all its forms.

Only the drumming of hooves filled his minds as he put such thoughts behind him.

Night's Cold Embrace
Rumor's From the North

Spring had come, but cold winds arose from the North and spread from Midheim. Ice formed in the North Sea and all the water between the northern Shores of the Continent and Midheim. Making them dangerous for ships to navigate the extreme northern trade routes from Trondjvoll. Sailors told stories of how they could see yellow lights in the fog to the North, and that when they sailed closer the lights would seem to never move, but they could never get close enough to see who they belonged to. Like the distance never changed. Then, the fog would thicken and the lights would be off.

One horror story from a sloop that sailed into Palan's Landing a day prior told how the vessel had been grounded on ice that formed suddenly through the night. The crew had disembarked to begin chipping at the ice to free the vessel. Tying ropes about themselves in case the ice gave way and the mariners still on the ship could pull their brethren to safety.

That was when the night mare started. The ice was thick and almost like a bridge trailing off through the fog North. A gust came in like a blizzard and sight beyond a few feet became impossible. The crew retreated to the ship, but out of the twelve that had left only eleven returned. The crew attempted to brave the blizzard to find their friend, bellowing his name, and ringing bells.

They never found him, and when they returned again this time there was only ten. The crew was now growing frantic as they searched in boats about the ice. They found the eleventh man's body, or parts of it, frozen into the ice with shocking fear on his face. The crew fled back to the ship and battened down the hatches after that. The captain, a burly man named Torosan bolted all the doors in the hold himself before moving back to the cabin. A watch was set to look out the sliding ports and windows of the cabin. They saw nothing, but lights in the distance to the North, and nothing through the fog as it surrounded the vessel.

That was when they heard beating on the door to the main hold. The voice of the twelfth man shrieking in terror to let him in. His cries were cut short by the sound of something sharp stabbing into his flesh. The cabin boy slowly opened the port hole and recoiled in terror as a limbless, headless, torso plunged into the water. Torosan slammed the port holes shut and ordered everyone to arms. The sailors emptied their small armory of a few crossbows, daggers, a couple swords, many spears, a voulge, and a couple bows with stocked quivers carried by the mast men.

Torosan slid open the view slit of his door separating his cabin to the main deck. His several crew behind him, and seeing nothing he opened the door slowly. The creaking of the hinges were eerie as the shaking crew crept out onto the main deck. Torosan himself, a veteran of the Paletine Legions, seemed uneasy and his hands shook. The cold itself was unnaturally bitter and biting to the flesh. It was Spring, and the cold should have receded to land and further North to allow passage across the Northern seas.

Torosan looked about the deck and around the main mast, nailed by ice, was the limbs and head of the twelfth man. The sailor with the voulge soiled himself while others began to cry and pray. That was when the fog swept in and the lights seemed unimaginably close, right before the ship, and the men below decks heard the cries of Torosan and his companions pitch up high. Like a fight had broken out. The cabin boy, a young lad named Megor, ran to the captains door and froze. The head of Torosan nailed to the door by a spike of ice, his jaw a gap in horror and surprise.

The crew bolted the sleeping hold and barricaded the doors. Twelve hours later by some of the men's reckoning the fog broke and the sloop was freed from the ice as it melted in the dawn light. The crew cautiously walked out on deck, removed their Captains head from the door and their companions limbs from the main mast, but no bodies of the others who had gone out with Torosan were found. Just giant bloodstained across the entire deck like someone had sought to construct some macabre painting.

The crew fled aboard their sloop immediately after that. Fleeing back to Trondjvoll and hence to Palan's Landing.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 5:08 am
by The Armed Republic of Dutch Coolness
Volyoria, Kingdom of Gweylessa
Venniael Hezroze
The Drunken Goat Inn

It had been a long journey. The vampire had traveled from Palan's Landing, along the Southmarch Castle she had once called home, to finally arive here, the city of Volyoria, where the king of Gweylessa himself held court. It wasn't her intended destination - indeed, the vampire did not have one - but it was good enough. The Kingdom had, in recent years, prospered under the rule of King Raolin Greysong, who was said to never have lost a battle. There'd be plenty of jobs here. Plenty of gold, plenty of blood - would that it were like this everywhere.

As soon as she had arrived in the city, Venniael had made for one of the more luxurious inns in town. The Drunken Goat Inn was, despite it's name, a relatively clean accommodation, with it's own stables and large, private bedrooms available for hire. She had led her horse to the stables, slinging her saddlebags over a shoulder before hiring the best room available, leaving none any wiser on who she truly was. Her mistress had always taught Venniael to feed regularly, and this was not something she felt like neglecting. The vampire climbed up the stairs, a slight smile across her lips.

Entering the room she had just hired, she threw her saddlebags on the floor, the things landing with a loud thunk before she locked the door. Venniael started pulling off her riding gear, stretching her arms as she was released of the weight before falling onto the room's bed. The bed was soft and clean. The innkeep hadn't spared any expense on this room, it seemed, and rightly so, considering the amount she had to pay for just a week in it. She breathed a sigh of relief, closing her eyes. Yeah, she'd stay here for a bit, carefully covering her identity, monster that she was.

"Monsters," Mistress Hezroze had spoken, "do not exist." Venniael, only 25 years old, had looked at Natalia confused, not knowing what the vampire lady meant. The raven-haired woman gave her handmaiden a soft smile, a rare thing indeed.

"People like to invent monsters, so that they feel less monstrous themselves." The vampire paused for a moment, letting the words sink inn before continuing to explain what she meant to her apprentice, still looking confused. "When they get drunk, beat their wives, starve their people, when the Paletine crucify innocent people, when they rape girls not even into puberty, they like to imagine that they are not so bad. They imagine that the creature that enters cottages at night, the vampire that drinks blood, the dragon burning down towns, are worse than they are."

The vampire gave a soft smile again. "They feel better then. It makes them feel better, and makes their life easier, thinking that there are things more monstrous than they are. Monsters do not exist, Venniael, for they are but inventions made by people to make their own lives easier. Remember that when a vampire hunter comes looking for you, a mob in his pursuit, naming you a vile monster. Remember it well. Do not let them get to you, lest you become like they are, inventing monsters to justify your own decisions. You'll be better than they are, because you shall not hide from the actions you commit behind stories and legends of things worse than you. Do you understand?"

Slowly, the blonde handmaiden gave a nod. "I think I do." Her mistress rose, motioning for Venniael to do so, too. "Good. Then remember this well. Now then, come. We have some fancy nobles to attend to." Humbled, the handmaiden stood up and followed her mistress, giving a final nod in reply and closing her eyes.

The blade bit deep, cutting open the man's abdomen, his entrails falling on the floor the second the blade left his body. The blade found its next victim, a fierce-looking warrior wearing boiled leather armor over his body, an axe in his hand. He did not wear his helmet, and his head came clean off. The woman's blond hair was stained red as blood splattered her face. The last man standing was shaking, now, his comrades slain by the two undead woman and the armor-clad creature that followed them. He did not shake for long, smashed to the ground by the blonde, the vampire unto him as soon as he lay on the ground, tearing his neck out as she gorged on his much-needed blood. Saturating the taste, she rejoiced, and closed her eyes.

She opened her eyes, and rose. She had not slept, for she did not need to sleep, instead meditating, dwelling on her past memories as her body rested. And what memories she had... Venniael stood up, and walked to the window of her room. It was dark outside - she had been here for quite a while now, it seemed. Food. Yes. It was time to eat - everyone ate in the evening and, so she decided, she would not be an exception to that. She would eat downstairs, and then feed. Probably, the vampire decided, she would lead someone to her room before feeding on their blood - a willing victim was always better. Changing into her dress, the vampire smiled to herself. Today was a good day, she decided. As Venniael walked downstairs for her evening meal, she could not help wonder what the future would bring here, in Volyoria.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:01 am
by Of the Quendi
The Imperial Palace of Taozhou
The Imperial Province of Yangshao
The Xi Dynasty of Sanheguo


Xiangu Xiao Chi, Empress Mother of Xi

Springtime the Shuxandi Period's First Year

It was the middle of the hour of the horse in the the splendorous council chamber of the Imperial Palace in Taozhou, the Huaxian Xi Dynasty's eastern capital. Precisely in that moment when the sun, whose essence is Yan, reached its zenith on the blue Sanheguo sky and bathed the inner courtyard of the palace, whose essence is Jing, in its rays Xiangu Xiao Chi attended the Imperial Council.

The banners carrying the symbols for the four cardinal directions - the Black Turtle for north, the Green Dragon for east, the White Tiger for west and the Red Bird for south - was raised as the Empress Mother made her entrance. The center, the fifth cardinal direction, whose color was yellow, needed no banner as Xiangu Xiao Chi held in her hand the divine hand of the Emperor of Xi, who was garbed in the finest golden silk from head to toe. Yellow was also the color of the earth which he, who was also called the Son of Heaven, ruled over. Finally, as she entered the council chamber with Ying's little hand clutching hers, Xiangu Xiao Chi had accomplished her goal. She now sat right by Xiangdi's side on a throne almost as grand as his. The price had been high, perhaps even too high, but after more then twenty years of arduous labor Xiangu Xiao Chi held in her hand the power over all of Xi and she would allow none the take it from her. No matter the cost she would persevere.

The little boy besides Xiangu Xiao Chi through whom she had dared reach for the power over the greatest kingdom on earth sat his throne uneasily, shifting in his seat, eager to go play rather then sit at meetings he was still too young to understand the purpose of. His great silk robe was splendorously decorated with twelve embroideries signifying the imperial might and power. There was the three legged crow representing the sun, the hare crushing the powder of immortality in a mortar symbolized the moon, the festoon of sun discs depicted the star constellations, the mountains containing the dwellings of gods and sages symbolized immortality, the dragon, the pheasant and the fenghuang, symbolic animals of the imperial power signified that the ruler was dexterous and determined but there was also the algae of wisdom, the flame of virtue, the nourishing grains seed, the ax of authority and the mystical figure of Ya. Ying however looked neither dexterous, determined, wise, virtuous or authoritative. He looked like a little boy already bored with the pomp and circumstance that has suddenly become his life six months past when he went from obscurity in exile to dominion of the Middle Kingdom, the Land of the Three Rivers, the Xi Dynasty.

Xiangu Xiao Chi smiled at her little boy. Despite his tender years and his inability to fill his illustrious robe the Empress Mother saw in her son's fine features, half elven half man, half Xiao and half Zhengsi, the makings of a great emperor. As she gave her child a small nod he smiled at her, eager to please his mother, and announced in a voice softer than a eunuchs and lacking in authority and seriousness; "Let the council commence."

That was the signal everyone had waited for. Standing around the council table in the middle of the great council chamber members of the interim regency council of Xiangdi bowed deeply before their emperor, before taking their seats around the table. Xiangu Xiao Chi gave her son a smile to show him that she was satisfied with his order.

Then the Empress Mother turned her gaze to the council, her smile dying in her eyes and on her lips. Few of Zhengshi's able councilors sat around her son's table. The wisest had retired before or during the reign of Gaozhang rather then be tainted by its corruption and decadence. Others had been deposed or even killed by that depraved emperor and replaced by sycophantic courtiers more amenable to the pleasure seeking former emperor. Many of those closest to Gaozhang had however abandoned him near the end or been purged by him as he became more paranoid and despotic. As a result the council of Xiangdi was a mere shadow of the great councils of Zhengshi and Xuanzhong. A bunch of old decrepit fools, spineless lickspittles and debauched pleasure seeking nobles. And yet for all its weakness and corruption Xiangu Xiao Chi had already learned that she could not dominate the council.

As soon as Xiangdi had ordered the council to commence the Chancellor, Cho Tsuilai, rose and bowed deeply before the emperor and empress. Chancellor Cho, the imperial archivist during Gaozhang's rule, had become chancellor upon the accession of Xiangdi. He was a tall and limber old man with white hair and beard who had once been a learned scholar and a diligent official but upon whom age had begun to take its toll. From within his dark somber robe the scholar-official procured a scroll, presenting it before the child emperor. "My Lord the Son of Heaven." The old man began. "Your most humble servant, Abbot Bodhabadra of Shaolin Shi Monastery besiege and humbly supplicate his Sovereign, the Son of Heaven." The chancellor declared.

Ordinarily a sign from the emperor would have been required for the council to review the scroll from Li Gong but the council no longer expected imperial involvement in its affairs and the chancellor quickly opened the scroll on his own initiative. "Venerable abbot Bodhabadra declares." The chancellor spoke. "That it is an affront to Heaven that a woman, neither human nor of the divine dynasty of Xi, should sit at the council of the Empire. He besieges and humbly supplicates of the Son of Heaven and his council that the woman, Xiangu Xiao Chi, as the Son of Heaven's most venerable mother not be tarnished by the tedious and crude work of running Great Xi. He implores and counsel the Son of Heaven to appoint from within the ranks of the Princes and Dukes of Xi a regent to aid mighty Emperor Xiangdi rule Great Xi. So does venerable abbot Bodhabadra petition the Son of Heaven." Chancellor Cho declared.

As the old chancellor presented Li Gong's petition Xiangu Xiao Chi sat silent on her throne allowing no discernible outer response to show her feelings towards the petition and the petitioner. She listened with the utmost intensity to the words of Chancellor Cho. She had always known that he was no ally of her but nor did she regard him as an enemy. Yet, though the chancellor only presented in the most neutral fashion the petition of another Xiangu Xiao Chi detected just the faintest hint of approval in the words of the chancellor. That surprised the Empress Mother. She had long known that her enemies where many at her son's council and beyond it and the gloating and antipathy she saw shine right through the submissive and composed demeanors of the rest of the council did not surprise her, but she had not known that Cho Tsuilai the stoic philosopher had joined the ever swelling ranks of her adversaries.

The empress however did not react to the petition. She knew better then to engage in a discussion over her own presence at the council with the exiled general Li Gong, turned abbot Bodhabadra of Shaolin Shi. But Ying thought differently. The bored little boy had been awoken from his apathy by the mention of his mother's new name. "No!" The little emperor suddenly shocked his council by shouting, his voice suddenly containing a will and authority that befitted the emperor of Xi better then an eleven year old boy. "My mother must stay with me." The emperor, with a finality in his voice that, despite the childish order, impressed Xiangu Xiao Chi, ordered.

At that the council could do little but bow deeply, repeatedly before the imperial throne. But eventually Chancellor Cho, with absolute humility and subjugation before the imperial throne, objected. "Most Illustrious Son of Heaven, Emperor of Xi." He declared. "Every man at your council would sooner take his own life then deprive the Emperor of his mother." Cho said with a gusto. "But it is exactly to not deprive the Emperor of his mother that I suspect the venerable abbot of Shaolin Shi makes of you this petition. After all was it not better, my Son of Heaven, that your most holy mother was to spend her days in the harem with her son, sooner then leave her son's side to attend to the affairs of state?" Chancellor Cho declared, throwing himself down on the floor before Xiangdi with a vigor Xiangu Xhia Chi had not thought the old man capable of. As the other councilors meekly declared their agreement with the chancellor bowing deeply before the emperor Ying was confused by the reply.

A soft smile crossed Xiangu Xiao Chi's lips. She was touched by her son's naive attempt to defend her. While the councilors bowed before her son Xiangu Xiao Chi reached out towards her boy, with her hand gently caressing his dark haired head once. It was the loving gesture of a mother towards the son but to Chancellor Cho and the council it was also an undeniable and indomitable gesture of power and might. Had one of them dared to caress the emperor so the offending hand would have been cut of and burned before they would have been killed. For a moment as they exchanged a gaze Xiangu Xiao Chi saw genuine antipathy and disapproval in the eyes of Chancellor Cho.

Then Xiangu Xiao Chi cleared her throat and meekly addressed the council. "Revered councilors, I readily step aside and return to the imperial harem for any Prince of the glorious House of Xi. Tell me merely, which of these princes would you name my son's regent?" The empress softly but pointedly asked, knowing full well that no member of the council, or even Li Gong for that matter, could be keen on placing a Xi prince as regent of the dynasty.

Of the five sons Emperor Zhengshi left behind at his death two, Xi Ke and Xi Tai had not survived the reign of their brother Gaozhang. Both had met a violent end early in Gaozhang's reign. Thus, when Gaozhang met his own end at the daggers of assassins, apart from Ying only one prince, Xi Zhi, yet lived.

Xi Zhi had miraculously survived his brother's despotic reign because he was at once as pleasure seeking, depraved and corrupt as his older brother Gaozhang, yet so thoroughly lacking in wits and skill that he was perceived as being no threat to Gaozhang. Prince Zhi served as governor in the Baiyin Prefecture of the Daiyang Kingdom where he had earned a reputation for gross incompetence and rabid cruelty and won himself the byname Zhi the Beast.

A small smile appeared on the empress's lips as she saw the reaction of the council to the prospect of putting such a man as Prince Zhi in charge of the dynasty. Even her most virulent detractor seemed unwilling to allow for a Gaozhang the Second to accede to the second highest office imaginable. So no one answered the empress's innocuous question.

Finally Shang Qiangxi, a young junior official and one of Xiangu Xia Chi's few allies, slammed his hand down on the council table. "The council must reject venerable abbot Bodhabadra's petition. No Prince of Xi must rule Great Xi." The young councilor declared, receiving a few approving nods from fellow councilors. Chancellor Cho gave the youth an angry gaze. "No prince, no." The chancellor conceded. "But venerable abbot Bodhabadra, in his great wisdom, mentions the dukes of Xi. The sons of Xuanzhong of Xi would do well as regents for emperor Xiangdi." The chancellor aggressively, but toothlessly, retorted. The sons of Xuanzhong had been relegated to obscurity by the sheer enormity of the talents of emperor Zhengshi and those few who still actively partook in the government of Xi where ally- and powerless.

That the rest of the council soon concluded without much need for deliberations and chancellor Cho, too wise to fight for a lost cause, willingly relented. "Very well then." He declared turning towards emperor Xiangdi, who had long since lost any interest in the council and seemed abut to fall of his throne out of boredom. "Most illustrious emperor, the council commends to your divine person that on the matter of the appointment of a regent the petition of venerable abbot Bodhabadra is rejected." The chancellor declared.

Caressing her son's shoulder Xiangu Xiao Chi gently nudged her son to nod at the suggestion, keeping a neutral demeanor as she defeated the dangerous petition without speaking a single word against it. As she had known and expected that she would.

But as Xiangu Xiao Chi had feared the power struggle didn't end there. Keeping a respectful and submissive demeanor Chancellor Cho quickly moved on. "However." He declared. "On the matter of the retirement of Empress Mother Xiangu Xiao Chi to the imperial harem I believe that venerable abbot Bodhabadra has offered much wisdom. The Son of Heaven has requested not to be parted from his mother, so let us part the Empress Mother from tedious council and state affairs." The chancellor declared.

Nodding politely as she could do little else while the rest of the council, even Shang, declared their agreement Xiangu Xiao Chi eyed the chancellor coldly. She had underestimated his hostility towards her greatly it seemed. It was a mistake she would not make again. The chancellor smiled briefly at his victory. "Then the council do agree." He declared. "Alas without the radiant presence of Empress Mother Xiangu Xiao Chi in council, and absent a regent for the Emperor, I fear the empire will need a more vigorous and able chancellor then I." Chancellor Cho spoke. "I am an old man ill suited to lead the Empire in these trying times. Therefore I would propose to the council that it appoint another, younger and much stronger then I to lead it." Cho spoke.

A surprised murmur went through the council chamber, even Xiangdi seemed momentarily interested in the words of the chancellor, at Cho's surprise decision. The empress did not join in the murmur but she was, once more, caught of guard by the machinations of the former archivist. "I propose ..." Chancellor Cho spoke while Xiangu Xiao Chi clenched her teeth anticipating the name. "... the most worthy Duke of Yang, Zhangsun Fuji, as my replacement as chancellor." Cho spoke, confirming Xiangu Xiao Chi's worst fears.

Zhangsun Fuji had been one of Zhengshi's closest allies. An able general and skilled politician, but most importantly the younger brother of Zhengshi's wife, Zhangsun Fuji had as chancellor played a key role in discarding Ying's claim in favor of Gaozhang when Emperor Zhengshi had unexpectedly died. Since Zhangsun Fuji had retired to the duchy of Yang he had been granted by Zhengshi when it became clear that Gaozhang would suffer no interference in his rule. Together with Li Gong Zhangsun Fuji was one of the many Zhengshi supporters who now that the dark years of Gaozhang seemed at an end was coming out of the woodwork eager to influence the minority reign of Ying. Of all these people however none had the power and influence of Zhangsun Fuji, and none had as cold a relationship with Xiangu Xiao Chi as the duke of Yang.

The council responded with enthusiasm to Cho's news and on Xiangu Xiao Chi's face was an elated smile suggesting that she could think of nothing better then to appoint her mortal enemy chancellor. "My emperor." A smiling Cho spoke. "Will you approve of the Duke of Yang as chancellor?" Cho asked. At that Xiangdi turned to his mother, at once quelling any mirth from the council.

For a lingering moment the emperor looked to his mother for council while she looked at the council with cold eyes in a silent battle of wills. The smiles died on the faces of the councilors as they realized that they had not yet bested their empress. Finally Xiangu Xiao Chi smiled politely and nodded slowly, prompting Xiangdi to nod at the council. "I do." He declared.

A battle was lost, Xiangu Xiao Chi knew, never again would she underestimate the retiring chancellor so much, but the war was not yet lost. Zhangsun Fuji could be chancellor all he wanted but without a regent only the emperor spoke for the emperor, and the emperor was an eleven year old who did what his mother told him. Confined to the harem or not Xiangu Xiao Chi would not be sidelined. She remained master of the fate of Xi and not Cho, nor Li Gong or Zhangsun Fuji would set her aside. She had lost a battle but the war for power over Sanheguo raged on. That she would not loose.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:28 am
by The Starlight
Rudaslavia wrote:-snip-

Imperial Palace
Valtmeris, Elvrion Empire
625 AL

Saerondr rose from his throne walking down the steps of the dais. "It is a hard thing to trust a Harkasian moon elf, I'm sure you understand. But their Crown Prince? That is an entirely greater and more difficult matter. You offer your servitude you say? Harkasia served the Dark Ones. Dark cannot serve light. Let us now speak of your ambition. A man born to be king does not easily bow down to an emperor, as you have done. Do you not wish to reclaim Harkasia? What personal gain do you seek?" Saerondr asked, beckoning for a table to be brought for his map. Once one was brought, he continued. "Is there any evidence, of this treasure? You call them cursed. Do you not think the gold that you presumably will bring back will also be cursed. A naval base, you now say? Communication between here and the base would take several months to go back and forth. Is it really plausible for it to be effective. You have no idea of what you will meet there, Crown Prince. And yet you wish for a thousand of my marks in these unstable times. You have failed to convince me, Crown Prince. But the deciding factor, is Harkasia's worship of those who would cast us into shadow. But I will hear you. If you can answer my questions, I may reconsider, Saerondr said, placing Voriel's trinkets on the table and sitting back on his throne.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:26 am
by Rudaslavia
Imperial Palace
Valtmeris, Empire of Elvrion

Voriel's expression was stern, grim, and solemn in every way. The enthusiastic light in his Moon Elven eyes had vanished. "Harkasia is dead." he said to the Emperor, gazing into a distant memory. "There is nothing left to reclaim. Nothing but crumbling towers...mummified corpses...and the unforgiving blizzards of the North." He turned back to Saerondr. "I am a relic, Your Imperial Majesty. I am as the treasured diamond at the depths of an ancient ruin. I am the last of my kind -- crushed beneath the overbearing weight of time."

The Crown Prince softly chuckled. "You speak of 'darkness,' and how it cannot serve the 'light?'" He shook his head. "We all house an inner darkness, Imperial Majesty. We are born with it. Unlike those who'd reject their instinctual evils, my forebears embraced them. Indeed, there was a time when I did so as well. Until, of course, my faith turned against me...and I realized that 'gods,' be they 'virtuous' or 'wicked,' are no greater than the men they oversee. My soul is predestined for eternal suffering. I do not look to divinity for comfort; I look to myself. I am not darkness, nor am I light."

In a split second, the Gorgos reclaimed his vibrant energy. "I seek glory and might, Imperial Majesty. I seek to become your Viceroy over Elvrion's transoceanic colonies. These colonies, Your Majesty, will be forged out of the Shrouded Lands! In my days as a rogue, I met a vast array of pirates who spoke of the uncharted isles -- realms of death and violence that bolstered wealth beyond humanity's wildest dreams! Oh, my urge to civilize such barbaric lands have grown into an obsession! But I cannot do it alone. No, no, no! I need the aid of my Elven brethren. In exchange for authority over the colonies, answerable only to the might of your family's throne, I will make Elvrion the greatest power Gaea has ever witnessed! I will ensure the defense of your sea-bound ships as a trained commander."

He came closer to the Emperor. His tone grew darker and filled with a passionate hate. "I do not fear the curses of the Shrouded Lands, Your Majesty." he muttered, pondering on Mystika's betrayal. "I have seen things...such horrible, petrifying things...evil that cannot be expressed in words. I've gazed into the eyes of sin and debauchery. I know how to fight it. I know how to kill it. No treasures of the isles will reach your shores without cleansing. This, I promise. This, I swear."

Voriel graced the Emperor with yet another bow. "You are hesitant. Let me prove my loyalty to this great empire. Before you grant me the requested investment, allow me to raise a voluntary unit of rangers to fight on your behalf. In the name of Elvrion, I shall spill blood -- but only if you'd wish it. Only if you'd command it. With your permission, I will serve you diligently for two whole years. During this time, I will prove my worth. Should I die, you'll have nothing to lose. Should I'll have everything to gain. And at the final hour of the two year mark, I shall depart for the shores of the Shrouded Lands to carve your blessed colonies out of the black-hearted wilderness."

He stepped back with one last bow and a grin that could charm the skirt off a goddess. "Do you agree to these terms, Your Imperial Majesty? Will you let me serve you and my Elven cousins?"

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:33 pm
by Dixmix
The Second Battle of Tykor,
625 AL

The second battle was more of a bloodbath in the Werewolves' liking than anything else. The use of the Sun Wolves to get into Tykor was needed for the battle as the burned down the armory and broke the silver-lined swords before nightfall when the Wolf horde came to feast. The last vestiges of hostile armies in the north of Engar for both kingdoms of Uulust and Tykor had sent their surrenders and their kings became sired by Kagos and the whole of Engar was worried about the Werewolf threat had became something to combined towards.

However, Kagos and Mael Senshar had notice that they won't win but wanted to put an end to this war. So they went to the Southern Tribes and wanted to settle things down for the good of both their kind and Engarians. They begrudgingly agreed to the idea because they didn't want the Werewolf to grow anymore than they already did.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 12:06 am
by Elerian
Voyloria, Kingdom of Gweylessa
King Raolin Greysong
Small Hall

“Your Majesty,” a stout counselor broke the tenuous silence, "men and women flood in from all across Volyoria and beyond to be apart of this grand expedition. They have even taken to calling it the Exalted March, they say with you at the army’s head they will be unstoppable, even in the face of the Ungarn. The old realm is within your grasp, you need only reach out and take it” The counselor spoke with fierce conviction and seemed to want to continue, but Raolin raised a shaky wrinkled hand.

In his current state it was hard to believe he had once been feared and respected by man and King alike. But even for his frailties he held a certain fire within his composure that spoke volumes to his character. No matter the odds he would not surrender. Not to any foe on the field of battle, or even to death. It was this fervent determination that had once inspired men to live and die by his side, but now it was only the memory of that which drove men to die in his name. It was a sad truth, but one he did his best to accept.

“I had anticipated many men to come, but not in this volume. At this rate we’ll only be able to clothe and equip half these men, and feed half again that many.” Raolin let out a great sigh and began pacing up and down his Small Hall, the place where he and his councilors met. “If this keeps up, my son will be a pauper King by the time he takes the throne.”

“My lord,” said a steward, “if you were to raise the taxes on Tho-.” The King stopped in his tracks and spun on the man. “Raise the taxes and have half my Kingdom in rebellion by Summer’s end! Is that what you’d have me do?” Raolin grasped for his chair and fell into a fit of coughing. When he was finally done, he drew his hand away from his mouth to reveal a small amount of blood. The counselors looked at one another mortified, but they held their tongues lest they incur Raolin’s wraith. The King looked up with something akin to shame in his watery eyes. “Begone! And don’t return until you have a solution to my woes.”

After they were all gone, Raolin sank into his high backed chair and let out a heavy sigh. He was decaying even faster than his court mage had predicted. It was ironic that having bested all his problems in his youth, he now had one problem he could do little about. He let out a mirthless laugh and immediately regretted it as he was reduced to coughing again. When he was done he called out for his Red Guard, a young lad who’d only joined the Guard the year before poked his head through the oaken doors.

“Yes, your majesty?” he asked flatly.

“Send me my son, Osrim.” With nothing more than a respectful nod the lad was gone.

Raolin let out another sigh and settled into his seat. Raolin knew he was to die in the coming battle, he would make sure of that, but before he died he wanted to ensure that the legacy he left behind would last. Several minutes passed before Osrim walked through the door. He was by far the most handsome of his sons, and his reddish blonde hair paired well with his crimson armor, and cloak. Being one for formalities Osrim walked to within ten feet of his father and knelt on one knee with his head downcast.

“Arise my son, we have much to discuss.”

Volyoria, Kingdom of Gweylessa
Prince Galvian Greysong
Lady Palm’s Dollhouse

Galvian lay on velvet red sheets stark naked with an arm around two similarly dressed buxom women. Lady Palm’s was his brothel of choice while he was home for the discrete services, but more so for the women who gave the servicing. After his many affairs had been made public knowledge, his father had insisted on him using a more trustworthy brothel. Illegitimate sons were a dangerous business, and Galvian was sure he had more than a few, but he cared little. His thrice damnable brother had taken the throne that should have been his, and his lady mother both. Something Galvian could never forgive him for.

He’d been willing to forgive him once, had he acknowledged his part in his mother’s death. Yet, the day he’d presented the thought to his older brother, several years after the fact, Alarin had nearly killed him. Galvian had tried to defend himself with his sword, but the Gods had graced him with hands only for the harp, not for killing other men. Galvian had lasted a whole three seconds against his brother before he’d been disarmed and Alarin’s sword was at his throat.

If Osrim had not been nearby, then Galvian surely would have never seen his thirteenth nameday. Osrim, younger by far than Galvian, and practically a boy still, had bested Alarin at an age most other boys were only just beginning to learn the sword. It was almost magic, but Galvian had been saved, and for that Galvian held nothing but warmth for his younger brother.

Galvian angrily shrugged off the thought of his hated brother and looked at the girls cuddled up next to him. A sly grin spread across his face, “shall we?”

Great Desert, Aerusalem
Ukavior ro Ul’exilun

Their progress slowed more and more each day. They’d been in the Desert for nearly two weeks and so far they’d avoided detection, or so they believed. Ukavior was on edge after several more desertion attempts, this time one had been a group of four Orcasi initiates. At this rate, Ukavior thought, he’d lose half his flock by the time they reached the other end of the desert.

It was hard on everyone in his flock, him included, but in the end it would be well worth it to secure the future of the Orcasi people. For far too long they had been prisoners to the other races, but Ukavior would be damned if he would let the other races and their false gods decide his people’s fate for another day if he could. But for now, he and his flock would be forced to suffer through whatever the false gods could throw at them. Yet, this was only the beginning.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 6:09 am
by Augusticinia
Dur-Ganar Ruins

Ininduul watched as his people slept on the Pelarin Mountains. As a young boy Ininduul had seen the Dur-Ganar Ruins they were Dark and Twisted. Pailen Legends now tell of it being infested of werewolves. Ininduul fingered the wolfsbane in his pouch when he heard movement. He slowly turned as the Eerie ruins played tricks with his mind. He knew where the prophecy was, it was in the Great Church. He wondered if the Oracle of Dur-Ganar still was alive. He heard a sound from the sky. It was dark and eriee. He looked towards it and saw a bird flying towards him. He rolled away as a Gryphon attempted to attack him. Ininduul took out his sword and prepared to fight. The Gryphon swooped down and took him by the talons. Ininduul could not move. As Ininduul was being constricted an arrow hit the Gryphon and Iniduul was left falling. Ininduul hit a rocky surface nearly dying. He had landed in the Great Church. He heard a voice coming from the Oracle. He was blinded from the fall but he heard the oracle's voice.

Prophecy of the Wild Hunt
If you wish to see the Hunters of the Sky
One great man most take the toll and die
The Black Fjord holds a secret of the Lich
And the Hunt may only be summoned by a Cwosto Brick

Ininduul slowly made his way back to the camp after eating Wrian Root which could heal a man but had horrible side-affects. When Ininduul made it back he collapsed onto his sleeping mat too tired to think of the Prophecy.
Ruins of Dur-Ganar

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 6:27 am
by Of the Quendi
The Palace of the Duke of Yang
The Imperial Province of Yangshao
The Xi Dynasty of Sanheguo


Cho Tsuilai, Chancellor of Xi

Springtime the Shuxandi Period's First Year

There was nothing austere about the palace of Zhangsun Fuji, the Duke of Yang, in Taozhou. Though the duke spent most of his time in Daiyang serving as regent over the former kingdom his palace in the capital was the second largest palace in Taozhou matched only by the emperor's and a place of wonders, built in the finest materials in honor of Emperor Zhengshi's favorite and courtier. For the aging chancellor Cho of Xi the palace contrasted sharply with the Five Truths of humaneness, righteousness, ritual, wisdom and integrity and with the Three Constants of compassion, frugality and humility of Master Zhongni's teachings which Chancellor Cho strived to follow.

Yet as the aging archivist waited in a magnificent antechamber to be bid into the chamber of the Duke of Yang he convinced himself that he had made the virtuous choice to break from Xiangu Xiao Chi. It was not right and proper that a woman and an elf should exercise such power on the Middle Kingdom as the dangerous concubine did. Perhaps the Duke of Yang had veered from the path of the Five Truths and Three Constants but he was still the man best suited to restore Xi to virtue, the old scholar-bureaucrat had concluded.

A servant interrupted Cho Tsuilai's musings when he opened the door to the Duke of Yang's chamber. The servant bowed deeply before Cho. "Revered chancellor, his highness the Duke of Yang will receive Your Excellency." The servant, a young eunuch, humbly declared gesturing towards the gilded door. Giving the eunuch a curt nod Cho strode into the chamber of the Duke of Yang.

The inner chamber was even more splendidly decorated then the antechamber. In a chair at a small table in the center of the room sat the Duke of Yang. The older brother of the late Empress Wendeshuang, was a man in his late fifties. He had a regal bearing and a upright appearance though age and a life too well lived had made him fleshy and deprived him of the vigor of youth. Still his keen bright grey eyes shone with the cunning and intelligence that had allowed him to maneuver and scheme during the reign of four emperors of Xi, and he exuded a confidence and strength that veered close to being arrogance and pride. He was garbed in the rich silken robe of a duke of Sanheguo.

As the Duke of Yang took notice of Cho Tsuilai he smiled at him. "Chancellor." He greeted Cho with a polite nod, but without rising and bowing before the chief official of the Xi dynasty, gesturing at an elegant ebony chair at his ivory table. "Welcome to my palace."

Cho took the offered seat and after exchanging the obligatory number of niceties and formalities he procured a scroll from his mandarins robe, presented it to the Duke of Yang and solemnly spoke; "Your Highness, on behalf of the Emperor Xiangdi of Xi, the Son of Heaven, I hereby present you with your imperial appointment as Chancellor of the first grade." The Duke of Yang smiled slyly, taking the offered scroll without opening it. "So it all went as expected? Li Gong's petition worked its purpose?" The Duke asked, barely able to contain smug satisfaction.

Cho lowered his head politely. "Indeed, your highness. Abbot Bodhabadra's petition convinced the council to order the empress confined to the harem and paved the way for your return to the political scene." Cho spoke with his brow furrowed. Before he could continue the fleshy Duke of Yang excitedly declared. "Wonderful news chancellor. Wonderful." Cho nodded. "Just so, Your Highness. But the council refused to heed Abbot Bodhabadra's call for the appointment of a regent." The chancellor added.

Those words provoked a shrill and angry outcry, not from the Duke of Yang. "What!" A sharp yet sensual voice called out imperiously. The chancellor turned away from the Duke of Yang looking in the direction from which the cry came. Standing in the door to the Duke of Yang's study was a woman in her late fifties with sharp, yet exquisite, features that bore an eerie resemblance to those of her brother Zhengshi softened only slightly by feminine traits. Garbed in a dark silk robe and with her long silver grey hair constricted by hairbands in a simple style the woman seemed to do her best to downplay those feminine traits and look every bit as powerful and strong as any prince of the Empire. So was Princess Xi Ping, Marshall of the Empire, to look at in her life's winter. Terrible and beautiful, stern and stunning, haughty and majestic.

The aging chancellor felt his heart jump a beat as he saw the famous warrior daughter of emperor Xuanzhong standing in the door. Though age had deprived her of her youthful sensuality and beauty it had granted the martially inclined princess with a dignity and majesty that exceeded even that of the Duke of Yang and which bore a great resemblance to her brother Zhengshi. As her cold eyes sought Cho Tsuilai's own he felt a shiver run down his spine. "How can the council have denied my nephew the regency?" Princess Xi Ping demanded.

Speechless before the infuriated imperial princess Cho did not reply, but the Duke of Yang did. "My dear." He spoke, calm and relaxed. "Prince Xi Zhi was never meant to serve as regent. I don't know why Li Gong felt the need to propose such a thing the Prince is entirely unsuited for the task." The Duke of Yang tried to assure the angry imperial. But Princess Xi Ping would not be assured. "What then was the point duke? To make you chancellor? What good will that do us when that woman still the imperial seal for her boy?" Xi Ping pointedly asked.

The Duke of Yang shrugged ponderously. "Small steps Your Highness, that is the sensible course of the skilled scholar-bureaucrat. Nature does not hurry, and yet everything is accomplished in the fullness of time, my princess." The Duke lectured to the angry princess with a finger piously raised. But Xi Ping would have none of it. "I am no scholar-bureaucrat Duke." She angrily retorted. "When I broke the armies of Tong upon the river Yonghai haste was my ally, dawdling was not." She barked. "And though I have heard that in war haste can be a folly, I have never heard of delay that was wise." She quoted back at the duke.

Looking from the two powerful opponents of Xiangu Xiao Chi chancellor Cho worried for a moment that words would be replaced with steel in their duel. But strangely the Duke of Yang choose to take Princess Xi Ping's haughty retort in good spirits, seemingly too pleased to have been made chancellor to take issue with the princess's words. "Perhaps Your Highness is right." The duke amenably conceded. "Yet when the Tong Clan retreated north the war was not over princess." He mildly admonished the princess. "By my appointment as chancellor and by the confinement of the empress to the harem we have won a victory. Now it is time to carefully marshall our forces to win also the next. The scholar-bureaucrat and the general can both agree on the sagacity of that counsel." The Duke said. "It is time for Li Gong to move against the empress from Yaikun while I turn the council to our control. We shall strike politically at the center and military in the periphery. So all under Heaven shall soon be liberated of the elf witch." The duke determinedly declared.