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Everhall
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Posts: 4137
Founded: Sep 23, 2014
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Everhall » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:31 am

The Crest of Death

Count Wymar of Nymeria


Two-thousand Nymerian riders thundered down the Gold Road through the Kingdom of Atlas at dawn, pursuing a target that was of utmost importance. Count Wymar rode on with his men, his shaggy black hair swaying with the gallop his horse, and contemplated what the coming conflict would bring. The attack on the crossing had hampered their progress somewhat, but even that had not been enough to stop the Gardener force from crossing the River Blacktyde into High Rock and beginning to march on the citadel. Nevertheless, for all the damage the raid had caused, Cedric wasn't about to allow a potential threat to gather to the south. Mettius Clement was a threat, an old legion general back during Melkor's days. He had fought several successful battles in the War of the Black Phoenix, so leaving him to join with the Atlean army to the south wasn't an option. Wymar had a great deal of respect for Mettius, he had even gotten to met him when he was still just a young lad. He looked up to the Dark elf, a symbol of Imperial Legion, of the Imperial way, of how the Ashen Empire had so successfully brought people together for so many years. He had been conflicted with these thoughts when they first set out after him, but now as he rode with his men they sat in the back of his mind as all he could think of wife and his five-year-old son back home. Stay safe, Rufila had said the day he left, And stay alive. You won't see me running this County for elven-years. The corners of his mouth widened pleasantly as he thought back to her words.

"Thinking about the Countess, Wymar?" a voice asked beside him between the thundering gallops of the horsemen. It was his Court Mage, Toralt, that had spoken these words, and he approached the Count on his horse wearing the dark indigo robes of the College of Mysteries.

"Her," Wymar laughed heartily, "And littl' Ian. I still can't believe he's so big now! It's almost too much to handle!"

"I know the feeling, Wymar!" Toralt replied as the Regiment entered into a sparse patch of woods,

Wymar raised an eyebrow jovially, "You? Really? I've seen women avoiding you like the plague! Some brand new experiment to scare them away; Toralt the Boogieman! Toralt the Dread Worshiper!"

"Very funny, Count Wymar," Toralt rolled his eyes, "Last time I checked I wasn't the one bending over for old' Cedric there."

"He's my liege lord, Toralt; how many times do we have to go over this?"

"He brought an army to our doorstep in order to get our men! Liege lord my arse! Worse bloody joke since whoever decided it was a good idea to call Azeilian 'Great'."

"Better than to have Nymeria under siege, Toralt. All I want is to get this war over and done with before Midyear; Rufila's expecting then so I want to be there for her. I just hope we catch up to Mettius in time to make it back to High Rock."

"Well I guess we're in luck," Toralt said, "The crest approaches." the column of knights emerged from the forest, revealing before them a small castle just beyond a crest of hills. Masons Crest; they had arrived.



Lhoris Varian of the Wise Council




It was coming down even harder now; the rain just wasn't letting up. As Lhoris exited the Temple of the Divines he couldn't help but tremble. His trembling was not any result of the cold rain that fell onto the stone beneath his feet, however. He clenched his fists, furrowed his brow, and had a scowl across his face; Lhoris was trembling with anger.

"Unless," he growled silently, "Absolutely useless!" he said louder this time. He thanked the gods that most able to witness his outburst of rage had taken shelter from the rain; the only ones there were him and his guards, "I ask her for one thing, one, single thing. A matter whose urgency demands answers… But she says no? Why?!" he put his hand to his face, "WHY?! Why doesn't she understand?" Lhoris figured he was talking to Fergus, who was the member of his guard with which he was most acquainted with. In reality, however, he knew he was truly talking to himself. "I'm not going to go to that assassin for help. I didn't want to bring him into this but… I'm going to have to meet an old friend."



The pouring rain in the capital did the College of Mysteries a disservice; one could barely see it in the torrent. The students and scholars that had once walked to and fro from its many wards and towers had abandoned the courtyard for their dorms, seeking shelter from the rain. Lhoris would soon join them, but he was not looking for shelter nor a dorm. He made his way with his guard towards the central building of the college, the place known officially as the Arcaneum, and entered into it after speaking an old Eldyaar phrase known only to those of the College: Enter to find knowledge, Turn back to keep bliss. There were no truer words for Lhoris. As soon as he spoke the phase before a door of iron-hard grass and vines, the door began to open, allowing him and his guards to enter into the Arcaneum unobstructed and unhampered, presenting a library filled to the brim with magical tomes and books of all shapes, colors, and sizes. The amount of knowledge stored before his eyes was enough to make a scholar cry, but Lhoris was not here to read books. He was here to speak to the Archmage, Selywin Cadmus.

The high elf approached a woman seated in the reception desk of the Arcaneum. His robes, dripping wet from the rain, would have been cause for laughter if nobody within the school knew who he was. "Alyvia," Lhoris greeted the dark elf woman seated before him, "It has been far too long."

"Indeed it has, Master Lhoris. Am I mistaken to believe that you are here to rejoin the College magisters? We could use someone like you, especially in these times."

"Unfortunately," Lhoris sighed, "There is only one of me, and right now, my top priority is to keep this Empire together. Where's Selywin? Isn't he usually in the Arcaneum Library?"

"You mean Archmage Cadmus? Well, on any other day you'd be right, but right now he's performing some alchemy experiments in his quarters that can be quite... un... explosive."

"Same old' Cadmus," Lhoris chuckled, "Fergus, men, wait here for me. I have to go have a chat with an old friend of mine."



The archmage's quarters were located in a large spiral tower that stuck up into the sky from the main base of the Arcaneum. Due to its height, a considerable number of stairs led to the room at its top: the quarters of the Archmage. Lhoris had once lived there himself, back when he was still younger and optimistic about the future. Funny how things have changed for the worse... The spiral staircases and the stone walls eventually led Lhoris before his old room, his old quarters, where his life-long friend stood just feet behind the door. It seemed wrong to Lhoris; it seemed wrong to get him involved in all the messes he had gotten himself into. But he had no other choice. Taking a deep breath in preparation, Lhoris put his hand on the doorknob and turned to enter the Archmage's quarters.

It was a mess. 'Mess' was a nice way of putting it. Herbs, animal parts, and spices were scattered giving the room a peculiar stench, unlike anything he had ever smelled before. The Archmage's bed lay fallow with books and scrolls some open and others closed. Multiple dividers ran short distances across the room, obscuring certain areas of what should have been a largely expansive room. Lhoris glanced around to catch a sight of Cadmus, dismayed momentarily by the thought that he had left in the time he spent making his way up the tower, but a voice from behind one of the dividers immediately allayed his fears.

"Eltzia, is that you?" a clear, cheerful voice said, "I hope you brought Ara with you because daddy's got-" a tall high elf man peered his head from behind the divider, "L-Lhoris is that you?"

The councilor grinned, "The one and only,"

"Hold on just one moment!" Selywin went back behind the divider, then came the crashing and bashing noise of glass and ceramic breaking as Lhoris could understand as Cadmus worked quickly to put away whatever alchemical project he was working on, "Just one more second!" he yelled out, "Lhoris, you aren't going to believe what I have been working on lately!" CRASH! "Oh... dammit." Cadmus reappeared from behind the divider and made his way closer to Lhoris, "Councilor Lhoris Varian, it has been a quite some time. About a decade hasn't it?"

"Indeed it has, Selywin. Far too long, really." Selywin was a bit taller than Lhoris, but kinder of feature and thicker of chin and jaw. His black hair was nicely kept and short with a small piece of hair hanging over his head. Stubble grew on his face as opposed the full beard that Lhoris stoked. The councilor took a look around the haphazard room around them, "I'm surprised really. How do you even live in a place like this? Your bed is literally covered with tomes!"

"The answer is that I don't," Selywin winked as he pulled a locket from his robes revealing a magic image of a woman and young girl, "My wife Eltzia and my daughter Ara aren't they the cutest? We bought a house in the city where we'll be just a walk away from the Nymerian Gardens" He held the locket like his family was there in front of him. Hugging it with all the loving and tenderness of a father to his daughter and a husband to his wife,

"I couldn't stand working like this, especially with how the Emperor been working me to the bone lately..."

"Julek's always been a pain for you, hasn't he? You shouldn't have expected less seeing as he is the Emperor now."

"Yeah..." Lhoris' expression darkened, "I shouldn't have. Listen, Selywin, I wanted to meet you today to talk about something along those lines. Julek specifically."

"Sure, whatever you need, Lhoris," Cadmus pulled up a chair from among the dozen that lay upon the floor, "So what is it that you need to tell me? Some juicy gossip? A tragic affair? Come on Lhoris spill the details." Before the councilor even began to speak, he began to cast the same anti-evesdropping spell that he had used in the Temple of the Divines to make sure that nobody was listening in on their conversation. As he did so, Cadmus' took on a solemn expression and said, "So it's this kind of conversation is it. I'd expect nothing less from the former Grand Inquisitor of the Shadow Legion."

His spell complete, Lhoris picked up a chair from those still on the floor and sat his head down, There's no going back after this, "I think Julek may have something to do with the attack on the Ruby District."

"Lhoris that's a pretty serious accusation," Selywin stroked his chin, "I wouldn't know all the details, but I can see where you can draw the connections, along with the night Princess Asoka was killed. However... you wouldn't just come to this conclusion on your own, would you? While yes there are some things here that would definitely benefit Julek as it happened, it's hard for me to believe that you'd immediately connect these occurrences to Julek. Something must have happened. You talked to someone."

"Resourceful as always, Cadmus," Lhoris chuckled, "You're right, I did meet with someone. A masked woman, sly as a fox and dressed in black." Lhoris clenched his fists, "She held a knife to my daughter's throat."

"Masked woman, huh...?" Selywin pondered for a moment, "How can you be sure that this woman isn't the assassin that's been killing anti-Julek nobles over the past few weeks? She matches the description almost perfectly."

"I not," Lhoris admitted, "Which is why I came to you for help. She said something dark surrounds Julek, something she's never seen before. I bet my life that it has something to do with the attacks on the city, maybe even the attack on the Shadow Legion. I didn't want to get you involved in this, Cadmus but... you're the only one I know who has the skills to help me figure out how Julek fits into all of this. The best place to start, of course, would be his mother. She was always... rumored to be involved in Dread magic."

"Say no more, Lhoris," Selywin smiled, "You have my support."

"Listen, Cadmus, I don't want you to get pulled in too far to my problems. You have a family now and I don't want you-"

"Relax, Lhoris, we've been through worse. Don't tell me sitting in the Wise Council all day has made you soft, has it? Don't worry. I have you-"

A knock came at the door, "Daddy!" came a young girl's voice.

"Hold that thought," Cadmus smiled, "Come in!" the door to the chambers opened revealing a graceful woman with her young daughter at her side beaming with light and joy. "Daddy!" the girl yelled running forward and tackling her father. He pretended to fall over defeated and said, "Oh you got me!" in a melodramatic way. "Eltzia, he turned to his wife, I thought you weren't going to come until later."

"I'm sorry, but Ara wanted to see you so much; its hard to resist her when she makes her sad face,"

"Oh, Ara..." Selywin said in a singsongy way, "What did I tell you about making the pouty face towards your mother? Looks like I have to give you the tickle monster!"

As he began to tickle his daughter much to her delight Lhoris couldn't help but watch the scene with unease. He looked at the family with unmoving eyes. Had he done the right thing involving Selywin in his problems? Part of him seemed to say yes while another part of him seemed to scream no! What was this feeling that was building within him, this feeling of foreboding that would not leave him? Every time he saw another happy smile it only got worse. Lhoris prayed to the Divines to have mercy on them all because he Dreaded what would happen next.

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Eroris Historical Society
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Founded: Jun 16, 2016
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Eroris Historical Society » Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:13 pm

The Battle of Mason's Crest
29th of Second Seed, 4E 901
Image

Combatants:
Kingdom of Atlas, Duchy of High Rock VS. County of Nymeria

Outcome:
Tatical Atlean victory; Nymerian Force Destroyed or Captured

Forces Deployed:
Kingdom of Atlas: 8,800 Soldiers
-Vasssals: 2,100
Duchy of High Rock: 2,650 Soldiers
Total: 13,550
______________________________________________
County of Nymeria: 2,015 Soldiers
Total: 2,015

Causlties:
Kingdom of Atlas: 428
-Vassals: 1,279
Duchy of High Rock: 34
Total: 1,707
______________________________________________
County of Nymeria: 1,691
Total 1,691

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Nymeria - Count Wymar Wakefield




Immediately, everything seemed wrong to Wymar. Before their column what should have laid an open road through the Crest towards the Fortress beyond it stood a firm line of Atlean infantrymen formed up in a line blocking the pass. "Slow down!" the Count ordered bringing is battalion to a much slower pace as they approached the Crest, "Something's not right here." Reinforcements were nothing to be unexpected; after all, Mettius Clement had retreated towards the Crest which was an important castle on the way to High Rock. Something stood out to Wymar, however, something that unnerved him. Their position, the way they were arrayed made no sense. If he were the Carcaster forces he would place his army at the end of the Crest, block his men between two elevated positions while a reserve force closed the trap from the rear. From there it would only be a matter of time until the archer and arcane bombardment overwhelmed the attackers. That was why Wymar had chosen to take a unit composed of cavalry in order to nullify any such trap. The thing wrong with the Carcaster formation was that it was so uninventive, so... Lacking in some of the considerations that a commander would do; that Mettius would do. Why? Wymar asked himself, Why does this make no sense. He looked to his side, and his eyes widened as he caught a glimpse of an Atlean soldier and he knocked his arrow. I've been tricked.

"Men move now!" Wymar gave the order breaking his horse into a gallop. An arrow whizzed past his head and embedded itself into the flesh of the man behind him. Damn! Wymar cursed, How could I have been so ignorant!? The Red Eagle banners of Atlas emerged from the forest around them, men in gleaming armor drew their swords with shattering battle cries moving forward towards him. They were unable to match the speed of Wymar's Knights, however. The Count thanked the gods that he had, at least, chosen correctly what forces to send after Mettius. He turned back towards the Crest, his hair flapping in the wind, and focused on one point, the armored soldiers before him, with narrow eyes of determination. There was only one option, one choice, that could potentially win him the battle, and even then, it was a risky move. He drew his sword and smiled wryly, "Give your mounts all you can give! We're heading straight for the trap!" With that order, the knights and mages of Wymar's force prepared their weapons and spells before they charged straight for the enemy line at the gates of Mason's Crest. Fire and arrows rained on the position.

Image



High Rock - Countess Adythe




Countess Adythe had been tasked with holding the center of the Atlean line. When she saw the Nymerian army she immediately knew that the tactical situation did not benefit her in the slightest. She and the three hundred infantry with her where completely exposes What in Dread were they thinking? Her men fidgeting nervously, she heard a few vomit. 2,000 mounted men were coming her way. That Duke of High Rock is a bloody fool. But she knew not to say such thing in front of the men she commanded. She could show any doubt.

“Right than men. That's the enemy. They are coming here, they are mounted. Who gives a shit. We were ordered to hold this position, and I will hold it even if Dread itself tried to move me,” her little speech had it intended effect. Men drew weapons, straightened their backs and gritted their teeth. If a woman was going to hold this line, they would too.

Somewhere in the woodlands atop the Crest where the rest of the army. Here sat the pikemen and archers who would make the noose tight and rain death from the sky. One of them had already knocked his arrow. He had taken aim at the lead horseman, sure that it was someone important. Then his heart sank into his stomach. That man in the front of the enemy had seen the glint of the sun upon the steel arrowhead. The trap had been found and the Nymmerians began there charge toward Countess Adythe.
Gods damned it. Gods thrice damned it but on her face was a smile. “Right, here they come lads. Make em eat-” She was cut short as a wave of arrows and magic crashed into her lines, mean screaming and dying and soon the Nymerians whereupon them.



High Rock - Heremond Carcaster




Shit, Heremond watched as the battle began, with him was the Order of the Rock - three-hundred knights in all. “Baerwald, sound the charge. Men of the Rock, stick to my ass and charge into glory.” A war horn sounded, banners where lifted all across the Atlean line. Down the slope of the leftmost embarkment of the crest charged 300 knights.

Heremond felt the wind blow past him. He was riding down a slope that most wouldn't even dare. But he had ridden this slope many times while hunting with his father-in-law. He knew where he could and could not go. He rode on. His lance lowered as he drew near the still charging Nymerian calvary. On the opposite flank, King Eydmn was charging as the wall. The thunder of hooves was deafening, the scream of men shrill, and the smell of blood and burnt flesh hung over the air. Closer, closer, closer yet the Knights of High Rock charged till Heremond felt the tip of his lance bite into the body of a Nymerian rider caught unaware. Behind the charge of the cavalry came the infantry, men armed with pikes and halberds to try and close the gap around the enemy.

His lance had broken, the tip stuck in the neck of some poor boy. Heremond didn't care. These men had burnt his lands, killed and raped his people. He would let them have it. He hacked into them with his sword, 'till his arm was covered in there blood. But he didn’t stay in the fray for long, the infantry would carry on from here.

Heremond thought that the Nymerains where encircled. The battle already nearly over. He was wrong.


Wymar




The Altean line came closer, closer, Wymar yelling a ferocious war-cry with his men as his cavalry approached the enemy. He leaned over to the right, sword in hand, and swung with all his might at the enemy as his horse ran into the line, cleaving into a young boy's neck before being raised again above his shoulder. Wymar would have been in a difficult position with his horse stalled before the line, but soon the rest of his Knights crashing into the thin Atlean formation, putting more and more pressure onto the line before the first Nymerian knight rushed through the now open Crest. "NOW MEN!" His cavalry funneled through the opening slaughtering more of the enemy as they trampled the sigil of Atlas beneath their horses. They weren't out of the danger yet, however. A number of archers had been arrayed on the hill on either side of the Crest forcing the Knights to raise their shields in preparedness. They numbered less than the countless forces left behind them but they were a danger nonetheless; an arrow grazed Wymar's arm sending sharp pain signals to his brain, the firing archer being the first to bear the brunt of a spell released by Toralt. Wymar looked back towards the end of his forces were the last cavalrymen had made his way through the shattered Atlean line. There was a noticeable decrease in the number of men that he had, but knowing the odds he was lucky he had made it out with so many to begin with.

"Close the pass!" Wymar shouted. The mages riding at the end of his column threw fireballs at the advancing Carcasters and Atleans behind them, sending a wall of flames in the air that lingered as the Nymerians rode towards the castle at Mason's Crest. There, Wymar found more forces gathering. They hastened to form their line out of the surprise that had been Wymar's breakthrough; and so, it was easy for the two-thousand horsemen to overwhelm the hastily gathered force. The smell of blood and burning flesh already permeated the air just seconds into the battle, and his sword was already stained with the blood of several young men. War was supposed to be glorious; war was supposed to be exhilarating. All Wymar could feel, however, was the need to survive no matter what. And he had a plan to do just that.


High Rock - Rodger Pithythe




The old man stood upon the battlements of his castle. Looking on at the battle the was unfolding before him. What was Heremond doing? His line had broken, the enemy was pouring out through the pass. Damn, damn it all. If only he wasn't so old, he would have gone forth and helped hold that line. But it was too late. He could, however, do one thing, and that was watch. He saw some of the survivors try and reform their line, and he watched them all die. He watched the Nymerians raise a wall of flame and cut off the rest of the army from pursuit.

But most importantly, he saw the enemy split in two. He had to tell Heremond. Had to warn him.

“Aried, get my armor and horse,” he called to his steward.


Heremond




How could this have happened? For a while, it seemed as if everything was going so well, his plan was going as it should. And now this. The enemy had broken through his line and kept him from pursuing until it was too late. Now it was he who was trapped in the bowl created by the Crest. “Damn it.” Heremond spat as Alywin rode up to him, “Alywin, tell Mettius and King Edymn that I am riding over the crest with a few other knights. We need to see where the bastards have gone.”

“Yes, m’lord.”

Heremond rode up the Crest along game trails. Deer liked to sleep in the day up here, the shade and thick foliage made for perfect concealment. Heremond only went up with thirty other knights, the flame on the road was still raging. Heremond stopped, a thought had hit him. The enemy could very well also be using the thick foliage to conceal themselves. Damn, damn them all. He turned around to get off the Crest.


High Rock - Mettius Clement




"The bastard's crazy enough to do it!" Mettius exclaimed as the Nymerians saw through the trap. They charged full gallop towards their line, and Mettius cursed again. Their only option would be to spring the trap and engage them before they could break through. He was on the opposite side of the crest of Heremond, and he looked across the way to see that Heremond had already reached the same conclusion, with banners raised and horns sounding. "Forward men, hoist colors and ready your sword arms!" Mettius bellowed before ordering his own group to charge.

It was bloody. They cut down as many enemy riders as they could, but they were too late, they already trampling through the center. Mettius had cut down nearly a dozen riders when the Atlas line reformed in the Crest. It was then when their mages set the pass alight, scorching everyone alive. Mettius swore again, and raised his sword to get the attention of a nearby officer. "Rally what mages you can, and start quelling that fire." He ordered, before turning to another officer. "You, reform the men and prepare for immediate re-engagement. I will ride southeast and meet with the reserves and bring them forward. As soon as that inferno is put out, ride south and ride down the Nymerians!" He barked before turning towards the reserve. "And send a runner to Duke Heremond letting him know of my plans!"

He took a dozen knights with him, and they traveled through old logging trails that had been long forgotten, nearly overgrown with brush. They rode hard and fast, the lives of every man still guarding the Crest depended on their swiftness. They shortly arrived at the camp where the reserves were, and Mettius met their commander, a Reachman noble. "Sire," Mettius said, giving a slight bow, forgoing most formalities out of haste. "The Nymerians have broken through, we need to march along the hills to engage them. The trap has failed, but we can still entrap them on this side if we move with haste." Mettius said.

"Very well." The commander said, "You and your knights will lead the way."

"Aye, I wouldn't have it any other way," Mettius said, and then turned north. "We'll march along the hills for protection and concealment from their forces, but once we draw near enough we'll march into the open behind them." He hollered to the commander as they rode at a moderate pace so the infantry could keep up. "I want you men with polearms to be at the front of our formation, along with my knights. Have archers cover us from the rear." He continued.

"The enemy will either turn to engage us or continue their assault on our forces on the crest. If the latter happens we will have to charge up the hill and attack them from the rear."


Nymeria - Toralt of Nymeria




One of the first rules of mounted was that you’d be next to useless going up and downhill. Going through forested hills; even less so. Toralt and his band of Nymerians, however, had no time for rules; as they galloped the best they count in the dense woodland of the hills, he knew that their plan relied on them disregarding the rules. Even then, Toralt knew that the chance for survival was slim, they all knew this, so he had dispatched twenty of his fastest riders to escape from the encirclement in order to warn the main army of the coming force to the south. He had done his part, and now he could only pray to the gods that everything went well. You can do it, Wymar; I’m counting on you.

Shouts from further within the forest awoke Toralt from his thoughts, ”There they are!” a man shouted pointing from one from one of the higher elevated hills. Atlean archers quickly acted on his sighting knocking and firing arrows into the Nymerian cavalry bringing several large beasts to the group. Toralt dodged as an arrow whizzed past his face landing in a small stream to his side before turning and releasing a spell of fire onto the firing soldier. Even then the situation remained dire as the Atleans still retained the high ground. They began to fire arrow upon arrow into the knights whose only protection was their shields and armor bringing down many of them in the process. What few mages Toralt has under his command did their best to counterattack as Atlean arcanists three spells down on the horsemen, but even then they could not match their sheer numbers as spells of lightning, flames, and entropy flashes across the hillside.

Toralt turned to the group of riders to his right to see how they were pulling through in the fight. These knights, not in the direct line of fire, were able to deal with whatever poor soldiers remained along the left flank of his unit giving Toralt pause for hope. However, this feeling was soon dashed by thunderous stomping and frenzied roars. Atlean pikemen emerged from the woods on his right flank driving their pikes into the charging knights taking horse and rider down in one fell swoop. Toralt reigned his horse to the side along with the other men of his company to avoid a similar fate, but the similar roars of others made the mage realize just what was occurring.


Mettius




They marched into the forested hills, banners lowered and horns muted. They couldn't afford to let the enemy discover their presence any sooner than possible. No man spoke, they knew they were drawing near to a fight. It was only when the Nymerian cavalry was visible when the banners unfurled and the horns sounded. They had caught their opponent in their flank, and Mettius hollered for a charge. The initial assault greatly reduced the enemy's numbers, however, once they had time to reorganize their forces it put the Atlas battalion at a slight disadvantage, fighting mounted knights in an uphill engagement.

The Nymerians lead a cavalry charge into the Atlean lines, the pikemen did well to retaliate, but there were more horses than pikes and spears. Cavalry raised dread throughout Atlean ranks for some time before being forced to retreat and ready for another attack. Mettius would ride to the front of the formation and spur his horse as he held his sword up high over his head. Any man who could still stand had mustered to hear his words as a bannerman raced to his side.

"Brothers! The end is near! Our enemy is weak, and we are strong! Defend yourselves for one more battle, fight well, and I promise that victory will be held within our hands! For The Rock! For Atlas!" He yelled, before barking orders to form a spear phalanx, men hurrying to recover spears from the fallen to take up positions of their own within the ranks.

Mettius, his twelve knights, and a small entourage of Atlean officers and knights stood in front of the formation, mounted. The ground shook as nearly 300 horses charged down the hill to attack them, a suicidal attack only meant to delay them. Mettius ordered a charge, and the two forces met in a small clearing at the foot of a hill. Once again the spearmen took as many mounted soldiers as they could, but once again they had to fend off the enemy cavalry. The mounted Atlean forces tried their best to defend their infantry counterparts, as did Mettius. He raised his longsword high in his hand as he struck down many Nymerian knights.

However, one knight charged fourth, lance in hand as he impaled Mettius' mount, Ivy. He cursed as he fell, and the enemy knight came around again, this time with their own sword raised. Mettius cursed loudly as he prepared to defend himself, and once the enemy knight had committed to his swing, Mettius swung his own sword with the might of fifty years of imperial experience and fifty more of knighthood, and his defense proved fruitful.

His blow cut the knight's sword clean in half, and the now unarmed rider was quickly dispatched by nearby infantrymen. By now the Nymerian knights has mostly lost their mounts, and they were now fighting as infantry amongst the Atleans, over the corpses of men and horses alike. The green grass of the clearing had been reduced to pulp and mud beneath the battle. Mettius looked up the hill to see a group of enemy knights, about twelve strong, take up a defensive stance as the Atlean infantry closed in to strike them down.
The enemy held quite strong, and one, in particular, stood in the center, shouting orders as they struck down wave after wave of Atlean infantrymen. Mettius bowed his head as he made his charge and spoke, "Lord may you hear my prayer, may the glory of your light banish the darkness of my foe!" He raised his sword high as his armor and blade were enveloped in flame. He struck down one knight after another until they were too few to hold against the infantry.

As the blessing of Aduranos wore off, the remaining Nymerian knights threw down their weapons to surrender. Mettius ordered that they be given quarter and that he required a runner. "There are too few riders here, the Nymerian force that broke through was much larger. Any man still mounted has become a scout, and any man with light armor has become a runner. I need someone to make contact with our allied archers still up the hill, and another to give word to Lord Heremond. All scouts ride west to find where the remaining enemy forces stand. Move!" He bellowed.

"Sir, this is their leader!" A foot soldier reported to Mettius, bringing before him a knight with his hand bound behind his back.

"Very well, bring him closer," Mettius said, and the prisoner was brought to Mettius. "Lad, I don't expect you to betray your lord, but a lot of our countrymen will die if you don't tell me where the rest of your forces are." He spoke.

"You're already too late, elf." The man snarled.

Image



Wymar




Sweat ran down Wymar's brow in the depths of the forest. Patches of sunlight were able to bleed through the canopy above his men's heads but other than that, they were completely shaded in darkness. This was is; their final chance for, if not victory, glorious defeat. He had already sent twenty riders north and west as he and Toralt had agreed to. By going west, they would circumvent the Atlean and Carcaster armies and then by going north they would be able to alert Cedric what had occurred to the south. Maybe he'll stop calling me useless now,[i] Wymar thought jokingly about his cousin. Putting his foot through the stirrup and remounting his horse Wymar looked down on the captive Carcaster men below him. Archers, the one that had fired down on him and his men as they passed through the Crest. He already knew what to do with them,

"Let no man besmirch your honor for being captured in battle. You fought well and true and I shall remember you all with my dying breath today. That goes for all of you, my brave men, who are willing to sacrifice lovers, wives, children, and homes just to stand by my side today. Know now that surrender is not the coward's choice because dying is easy, living is harder..." Wymar sighed before he firmly secured his helm over his head, "Now let us seek glory."

Wymar broke into a gallop with his remaining men, the remnants of two companies of mages and knights that had accompanied him down south to Mason's Crest. The hills started to become less steep, more round, as his cavalrymen made their way through the forest, and it became clear with every passing moment how close they were to combat. Wymar tenderly held his wedding ring in hand as the sun-filled plains approached before kissing it softly even as he continued to ride with his column. [i]I'm sorry,
he thought, I should be with you... Ryenar, give me strength.

His heart filled with determination as he placed the ring firmly back on his finger and his company rode out of the forested crest to open planes... and the exposed rear of the Atlean army. "CHARGE!" He gave the order. His eight hundred horsemen thundered down the Reacheon planes each man with a hand full of steel and a heart full of courage. The Atlean forces before them at first seemed to think the Nymerians were among there own cavalry, however, the furling banner of the golden sickle of Nymeria quickly informed them of their mistake. Desperate shouts were given, telling the other soldiers of the incoming assault but no, it was too late; they were already upon them. The Nymerians crashed into the Atlean line, but quickly began to charge off to the side, slaughtering as many men as they could before peeling off back towards the hills. Caught in this mad attack was Wymar, who leaned into his sword strikes even as knight after knight of his cavalry fell to the superior Atlean infantry and numbers. Eventually, sword encrusted with blood, Wymar ordered his men to fall back. They had taken heavy losses in the first charge, but for every fallen Nymerian Wymar was sure they had taken three Atleans. He ordered a charge again, his arching arm stabbed by an Atlean pikeman as he struggled with increasing difficulty to strike down the soldiers of Atlas. Once again Wymar gave the order to retreat and once again the Nymerians pulled back. The Kingdom of Atlas had formed up into a strong line of pike phalanx ready to take the brunt of another Nymerian charge. Few of his men remained on their horses, the few that did having maintained wounds of various severity. Blood covered Wymar's face but he was not ready to give up.

One last charge, one last moment of glory. The galloping steeds of Nymeria created a thunderous rumbling in the ground as if Ryenar himself drove the beasts towards the Atlean phalanx. They got closer, closer, up until they were just feet before the phalanx' long spears. This is it... Wymar felt it, This is where I fall. But a crash came from the left as the Carcaster cavalry slammed into the Nymerian flank. Wymar fell from his horse and watched in despair as his company crumbled.


Heremond




Heremond heard the sounds of battle dying down on the left flank, Mettius and King Edymn surely dispatching of the rest of the Nymerians. He had taken the knights of the Order to a position within riding distance of some of the reserves. A skirmish was said to have taken place a little distance from here. Most likely a small splinter force of Nymerians trying to flee the battle. Their current position would give him room to charge the enemy if they tried to go onto the main road. Before him lay the remains of the earlier battle. Dead men and dead horses. The toll was going to be high today. The Nymerians had fought like demons. Then, further down the valley, something caught his eye. Movement, a mass of cavalry coming down the Crest.

“Bearwald, is that ours? I thought the rest of the cavalry was on the other side of the Crest?”

“So did I,” all stopped and watched in horror as the force unfurled there colors, the colors of Nymeria. Wymar had outmaneuvered them, and now the unsuspecting Atlean infantry. “Oh, shit,” was all Bearwald could whisper.

“Raise the colors of the Rock and sound the horn. We charge Men of High Rock.” Heremond cried as he spurred his chestnut stallion forward.

There was still quite a distance between Heremond and the rest of the army, enough distance that the Nymerians were able to retreat and charge again and again. Each time the line of Atlean infantry seemed like it would break, each time it seemed as if Wymar would somehow snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Heremond could only pray that he would make it in time Damn you Wymar, damn you Julek, damn myself. The Nymerians were coming in for their third charge. Some of the Atleans where looking as if they were going to run for it. Three Hundred knights where no thundering down to the battle, formed in a wedge with Heremond at the lead, lances turned down. Closer and closer the two forces came. Heremond aimed for the leading knight as the two cavalry units collided.

Heremond aimed his lance at his enemies neck where the armor was weakest. He prayed that his aim was true and his enemy would meet a swift end. But the will of gods is a fickle thing, something bumped him, his lance went wild and caught the enemies horse, toppling rider and beast onto the ground. Heremond cursed. And drew his sword. A Nymerian knight still on a horse came at Heremond, a sword in hand. They meet in a clash of blows and parries before Heremond laid a blow to the young knight, not much older than his own brother. Heremond was covered in his blood.

He looked around for other targets, other men to kill, to meet his blade and his fury. But the Nymerians before him were either dead or broken. The counter charge had worked. Those Nymerians that survived were either trying to desperately get away from the battle or had surrendered. Heremond dismounted and removed his helm, his hair slick with sweat and blood. A few months ago he would have thought that this would have been impossible, Reachmen spilling their blood like this. But now here he was, the silversteel blade in his hands covered in the blood of men that at another time he would have called kin. As he looked about the carnage that surrounded him movement caught his eye.

He walked over to where it was out of curiosity. It was a man if you looked hard enough. Mud and blood covered him as he tried to crawl out from a dead horse. A lance shaft was sticking out of the horse just in front of the poor animals left back leg. Heremond knew what shaft had killed the horse, a carved initial on the metal where the lance head as attached to the wooden shaft told him. It was his own lance. Heremond walked over to the struggling man, sword in hand.

He walked over, he knew not if the man knew he was coming, he didn't care either. He placed a foot on the man back, the bloodied tip of his sword touching the back of the stranger's neck. “Give me a good reason why I shouldn’t kill you now Nymerian.”


Wymar




"Ugh..." Wymar grunted as he struggled to remove himself out from under his wounded horse. Mud and blood caked Wymar all over like a thin new layer of skin, covering all but what was under his dented helm, which, even then, was dirtied with grime. "Dammit-" Wymar grimaced; the horse over him had pinned Wymar strangely, causing him pain that combined with the rest of his aches to paralyze him. Don't give up now! he urged himself to keep going, Remember why you fight, remember why you live! He pushed against the beast over him even as his nerves commanded him to stop sending waves of pain pulsing towards his brain. He struggled in vain for a few agonizing minutes, barely even budging the horse lying on top of him. Finally, however, he managed to get one good shove into the beast's side allowing himself to slip from under his horse. Wymar heaved on the ground for a moment as a fresh wave of pain from his leg overwhelmed him; something obviously was wrong it, but just looking it over as Wymar did was not going to find it. The battle raged around him with a violent fervor with clashes of the remaining Nymerian cavalry and the forces of the Rock being waged around him. Wymar prepared to stand to rejoin the battle, but a foot at his back and a sword at his neck stopped him.

"Give me a good reason why I shouldn't kill you now, Nymerian."

It sounded like the voice of death, but one he strangely recognized. That wasn't important, however, to Wymar; what was important was that this man, in particular, was at his back with a sword at the back of his neck.Dammit, Wymar cursed to himself, My armor! The armor Wymar wore was clearly that of a noble, refined and dignified, it would only make sense for him to be like a magnet on the battlefield. He struggled to think of a way out of his predicament, scanning his surroundings for something anything that would help him. A long sword gleamed to his left. He smiled wryly.

"I have one," Wymar suddenly dropped to the ground and rolled to his left side, grabbing the long sword as he went and standing to face his opponent's familiar face, "I might just kill you first... Heremond."


Mettius




"What's your name, laddie?" Mettius said, looking down upon the knight.

"Ser Toralt, loyal servant of House Wakefield" He answered.

"Very well Ser Toralt, when I'm writing the history books I'll be sure to note your stubborn loyalty," Mettius said. The Reachman snarled and spit at Mettius' feet. However, he let himself waver for a quick second, gazing off into the forest, westward. Mettius matched his gaze, and the pieces fell in line. "I need every available mount and every available rider." He said, fellow Knights of the Rock gathering around with other nobles and officers.
They managed to round up little more half a dozen horses, which was enough for the remaining Knights of the Rock who could still fight. As Mettius rode he thought about the tactical situation. Once the Nymerians passed through the crest they split and assaulted either side of the defenses on the gap, knowing that they would be unable to seize the city. On the west, they would be matched with Carcaster cavalry supporting the Atlas infantry in reserve, who all were covered by the archers and mages in the hills. If Heremond were there, Mettius had no doubt he could lead their forces successfully against the Nymerians.

They found the edge of the battlefield, battered and littered with corpses. The smoke from the fire in the crest had come in hard over the battlefield due to a westwardly wind. The fog of war only grew as they found the location of the fight, which mostly seemed to be won. However, a few holdouts remained, and Mettius ordered his knights to join the skirmish while he sought out Lord Heremond.


Heremond




Heremond was not expecting Wymar to move with that speed. But he couldn’t let that throw him off. Nothing could, Heremond could not afford to slip up now, his very life was dependent on him doing so. He moved his sword to a guard position, ready to defend himself from a blow or to deliver one as needed. Heremond began to slowly circle, looking for an opening in Wymars defenses.

“That so?” said Heremond. In the old stories, someone would have given a long monologue right here. But there were not the tales of the old heroes that were told to Heremond by his father. This was reality, things were moving to fast for a man to properly think. He just had to do.

Heremond kept circling Wymar, who in turn began circling Heremond. Both looking for a chance to strike, both measuring the other in their minds. Wymar was a few years older than Heremond, but the way he held his sword told him the Wymar hadn't been given as rigorous a martial education as he had been given. The scars of the old Ash Elf where a testament to that. Moreover, Heremond had the better weapon. It wasn't unheard of for silversteel to cut right through mundane steal. That's when Heremond saw his opening.

He sprung forward at Wymar, thrusting his blade as he did so. Wymar barely managed to deflect the strike with his own blade, sparks flying told Heremond that the silversteel of his own blade had dulled out the blade grasped in Wymar’s hand. Wymar tried to counter Heremonds attack with one of his own, swinging at Heremond head. Heremond ducked and immediately went to attack Wymar’s exposed lift side. Here to Heremond didn't land a blow, Wymar jumped out of the way just in time. The grimace of pain on Wymar’s face told Heremond something else. His enemy was wounded, something he could exploit.



Damned leg, Wymar thought as he winced from the pain. His margin for victory was small, so he had to do everything he could to hide his injury. Heremond has seen it though, he was sure of it, so Wymar tried to stall for time as he circled Heremond with his blade,
“I was at your wedding a few years back, you know, when the world made sense. You should have seen yourself that day, eyes prideful and full of hope for the future. All I see now are the angry burning eyes of a killer. Ryenar must be laughing at us all down here...”



Heremond had gone back to looking for a new opening, a new place to strike. He remembered his wedding day. The sun was warm and the fragrance of the grass was sweet. A beautiful summer day five years ago. A day the Heremond would remember for the rest of his day as one of the most joyous moments of his life. Now here he was, covered in the blood of men who had once drunk toasts to his good health. Ryenar was laughing alright. He spat.

“Shit changes when everything you were hopeful for starts to be burned,” Heremond replied, still searching. Wymar was clearly favoring one leg over the other, it showed in the way he stood. “And you had a hand in that Wymar.”

Wymar tried to say something. But it was too late, Heremond was already attacking. He made for a jab at Wyamr’s chest. Just as in the last attack, Wymar tried to block the blow. But the time Heremond wanted it to happen. The two blades meet. Heremond deflecting in such a way that Wymars blade was caught in the cross guard of Heremond blade. Hermond twisted his wrist and clinched the blade. He knew had control. Wymar tried to free his blade, but Heremond held as hard as he could, pulling the now defenseless Wymar closer, delivering a savage kick to his opponents wounded leg.

Wymar gasped as the sharp pain caused his vision to blur and bile to rise into his throat. The next thing Wymar knew was that he was on the ground, a heavy foot on his chest. He looked up, those burning angry eyes of a killer were now staring down at him, and once more a sword point was at his neck. All he could do was pray for his Rufila and little Ian. I am so sorry, so, so sorry he thought as tears came to his eyes.

“You came here, you burnt, you killed men, women, and children. Now I will spill your blood, just as I will spill Cedric's, just as I will to Julek's.” Heremond said in a voice that no longer sounded like his own a voice the terrified even himself. A small part deep inside was screaming at him to show mercy, to let this man live. It was drowned by the shout for blood, for vengeance.

The silversteel blade poised to strike. Heremond brought the blade down.


Mettius




After a few minutes of searching through the battlefield, he found Heremond, standing over what appeared to be another noble. Mettius quickly dismounted and ran towards the lords. He recognized Wymar, another Reacheon Noble that was subservient to the Gardener crown. As Mettius closed the distance with long strides that made his armor emit a heavy clinking noise, Heremond raised his sword to finish off the noble.

It was as he brought down the blade when Mettius reached out with his hand and grabbed Heremond's forearm, using all his might to restrain the angry lord. "Heremond," he said. "Heremond!" He repeated, and finally, the Duke relented. "Look around you, the battle is won. Let us end the bloodshed upon these hills." He spoke, before releasing Heremond's sword arm.


Heremond




Things were moving as if they were in a dream. Everything was so vivid, the smoke that was wafting into the valley from the magical fire set on the Crest. The brownish read of the blood and mud. They way every sound seemed to be muffled like his ears were filled with cotton, the distant cries of the battle as it wound down, the whimpering of wounded men. All distant and irrelevant to Heremond. All that mattered was that his sword spilled the blood of Wymar Wakefield. Even now, that tiny piece of Heremond Carcaster that hadn't been consumed by that need was begging him to stop. That if he killed this man, he could never go back. Never go back to the Heremond of before, the one who had stared into the future with hope as he took his wife's hand. That would die the moment Wymars life drained away.

"Heremond," a voice called to him. Was it his father's? He felt a strong hand on his sword arm "Heremond." No, it was not his father. It was another voice, one that he knew a well as his father. A voice that commanded the same amount of respect. It was Mettius’ voice and Mettius’ hand that stayed his blade. That small part of himself sighed in relief. The rest was not so ready to give up the chance to spill the blood of a man who was responsible for the rape of the dutchies countryside.

“Why should he live? Why, Mettius? He is as responsible for the crimes against my people as Cedric and Julek are.” Heremond's voice was more like a snarl. It was as if a wild animal was speaking through the young duke.

“The bloodshed had to stop at some point m’lord,” Mettius replied, in his ever calm and clear voice.

All Heremond could stare. Stare at the elf who had been a part of his life since the day he was born. A man he had called friend, a trusted counselor. And deep down Heremond knew he was right. What would killing Wymar do? Would the burnt villages be rebuilt? Would the fathers who died here today return home? Would the children weeping in the allies of High Rock regain the innocence after seeing the face of war? No. They wouldn’t. Killing Wymar wouldn't do anything but breed more hate and draw more blood.

“Take Wymar away, he's no a prisoner of High Rock,” Heremond drew closer to Mettius, close enough so that the word he said would only be heard by him, “The next time I kill a man, it will be Cedric Gardner, and if you dare stop me I will see you ran out of the Reach.”

Mettius managed to crack a dry smile, "If I do, I'll see to it myself."

Heremond walked off. The battle had been won, but he felt hollow inside.
Last edited by Eroris Historical Society on Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Ithalian Empire
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Founded: Jan 19, 2015
Father Knows Best State

Postby Ithalian Empire » Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:47 pm

Heremond Carcaster


Heremond was sitting in the tent that just a night before he had planned the battle he had fought in just a few hours ago. Outside stood a guard, the only living soul who dared get near the Duke. The tale of the incident between Heremond and Ser Mettius had spread like wildfire through the Atlean camps. There where even rumors spreading through the tents of High Rock that Mettius would soon find himself on the way out. Heremond wasn't thinking about that though. In his hand he help a thin gold chain with a locket.

It wasn’t anything to special, the craftsmanship was what was expected for something that had been worn by a lord of a major city. However what interested Heremond the most was the picture inside, not one of those hand painted ones that some poorer folk had, no. This was captured with magic, almost life like in appearance. In his hand he held something that he had almost destroyed. Something he had set off to try and protect. It was a picture of a women obviously in the later stages of pregnancy, and a young boy around the age of five. Heremond knew who the where, the wife and child of Wymar Wakefield. Divines, what am I becoming?.

If Mettius hadn't stopped him, Heremond knew he would have killed Wymar. That he would ahve made this woman a widow and there children orphans. Had he not set out to keep that from happening? Had he not vowed to avenge those who had died? To bring justice? What would killing Wymar do? It would do nothing but breed more hate and father more violence. A young boy would grow up to by a young lord with a heart of hatred for the man who had killed his father. A wife would be made a widow and bear a child without a father, and she would hate Heremond for making it so. No, that is not what Heremond wanted. And, in his anger he had said thing to Mettius that he had not meant to say.

“Baldwin!” Heremond called, the guard outside the tent jumped.

“Yes m’lord?” He replied, his voice just barely restraining the sounds of fear.

“Bring me Mettius. There are matter i wish to discuss.”

“Y-yes m’lord.”



Mettius Clement


After Heremond had stormed off Mettius set about handling the after battle tasks. He gathered various head counts from casualties to prisoners. He reformed the forces in their camps, and did his best to repair the chain of command, filling in spots that had previously belonged to men who died. This took many hours, and by dusk he had finally finished his duties. He was tired, and in the back of his mind he still fought to keep out the rumors he heard. He knew they were untrue, but the thoughts still bothered him.

Duke Heremond didn't seem pleased at Mettius' intervention. The Duke had set out to spill blood, and one of his most trusted advisers restrained him. Mettius understood Heremond's hate, but he didn't regret anything. Wymar was a noble just like Heremond, who answered his liege's call to arms similarly to Heremond. Wymar wasn't the enemy, no. It was Cedric who was the enemy, as well as Julek. Mettius spent his life with the Empire close in heart, but with the change in leadership, he couldn't abide with the Tyranny. Willing away a family's lands on a whim to another wasn't the way to lead the Empire.

Mettius sighed as he sat in his tent. He let down his hair and washed the dirt off of his face. He looked into a mirror before proceeding to clean his hair. It had been a long day. And another long one before that, and likely would be another long one tomorrow. The short days of peace were gone, lost to the war, just like Mettius' promise to Heremond's father. His thoughtful respite was shortly interrupted by Ser Baldwin.

"Ser Mettius," Baldwin started, before noticing Mettius' state. "Duke Heremond wishes to see you." He spoke after a second.

"Very well. Thank you." Mettius said, before tying his hair back and dawning his armor again. The day isn't over yet. Mettius thought as he reached Duke Heremond's tent.

"You summoned me, m'lord?"




“Yes,” Heremond replied,”Sit.”

As Mettius sat down at the table across from him, Heremond placed the locket in front of him. “Look at that, and tell me what you see.”




"Hmm." Mettius started as he picked up the locket and apprised it to himself quickly, definitely an expensive piece of jewelry enchanted with the picture of a woman and a child, no doubt belonging to a noble, likely Wymar if he would venture a guess. "I see the other half of House Wakefield, the side that doesn't step foot on the war path." He spoke.




“I came close to destroying that Mettius. So close to turning that child into an orphan, that woman into a widow. Gods! Killing is easier when the man you kill doesn't have a name, or a family. When they are just something that is trying kill you. Mettius, I hate this, I hate this war, I hate the killing, I hate what I fear I will become. Mettius, most of all I hate Cedric Gardener. I meant it when I said the next man to die by my hand would be him. And, I thank you for staying my hand today. If, if I should ever come close to doing something like that again, stop me.” Heremond grew silent, his thought turning over in his head.

He did indeed hate the killing, the dieing. It was all wrong, unnatural even than men should do this to his fellow man. How to stop it? How to keep more from dieng? Who really needed to die for this war to end?, the answer came to him as quickly as he asked the question Cedric or yourself, if Cedric dies than the war can end, if I die the same happens.

“Mettius, only one more man needs to die for this to be over.”

"Aye m'lord. Battle is easy when you're consumed by hate, but afterwards the dust settles, and the hate dissipates, but the blood still stains your hands. That's when you realize it's not the enemy you hate." Mettius said. He spoke from his heart, from years and years of experience. "How do you plan on killing Cedric without engaging our forces in battle?" He asked.

“Cedric Gardener does have a Ser in front of his name. Should I challenge him to a duel, his honor demands he accept. What's more is I intend this challenge to be made before his army and the people of High Rock. We will send an envoy to give him the challenge as our army approaches.” Heremod decided to not tell the elf that he intended to be that envoy. “Should he decline he looks craven before his own army, and to the people he intends to rule.”

"That may be, but a man who sends riders to pillage the countryside in his name? I doubt he abides by honor much, but his confidence alone might just be enough to get him to humor you." Mettius said. "If I may, I wish to lead the envoy. We'll approach under formal parlay."

Gods damned. Heremond couldn't help but feel that the elf had somehow deduced that Heremond wanted to lead the envoy himself. “You are probably right. Cedric has done little to give himself a sense of honor,” Heremond thought back to that day in the Wise Council when Cedric and his fat brother had rent Lhori’s name after the disaster at the Fiery Strait, “But a man like that will have a sense of arrogance about him. I don't doubt his thinks he can kill me in single combat. If it is your desire that you request is granted. Now, I think it's best if we try and get some sleep, at first light I want this army marching north to High Rock.”

"Aye. I'll pass word to the knights and officers." Mettius said before excusing himself with a bow, and leaving the tent to fulfill his duties.



They broke camp before dawn came, Cedric Gardner was surely marching on High Rock and he surely new that Heremond was marching to meet him. Many of the men had slept ill, the events of the day before had replayed in there dreams of some whilst other thought to there families and what the following days will bring. Heremond had been afflicted by both, the lack of sleep had become a displeasing constant these days. He mounted his horse and, with the King Eydmn and Mettius riding with him motioned the column forward.

They wouldn't stop till the could see the Rock itself. Destiny awaited.
Eat ,Drink, and be mary, for tomorrow we die.
PRAISE THE FOUNDERS

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Zanera
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Ex-Nation

Postby Zanera » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:55 pm

Alyndel and Herrius
Road to Herrath
A Day and a Half From the Cabin



Image



As fluffy clouds passed over the warm sun, great shadows ran upon the ground. A breeze ran with the shadows, fields upon fields upon fields of grasses waving in the wind as if waves of a great ocean, wildflowers of white, purple, and gold spreading their sweet scent across the air. Often times along the long road to Herrath these grand fields were culled and broken, tilled over and seeded with the food of Men and Elves, whatever a man could grow in the rich soil of these august lands. The vastness of these flat lands could drive an elf of mountainous Eldrion mad, but millions of people walked the fields of the Reach everyday, basking in the sun and envying no one. They went out unto the fields, and lived by them. And sometimes, they even died by them. The Reach could best be defined by the relationship to its land. Therein was its main strength, though it was not safe from failure. Rots, diseases, frosts, trampling and war. These things could wreak havoc on the fields of the Reach, things that could turn a population boon into the death of tens of thousands. There were numerous forms of accidents that could take place upon the field, from a kicking oxen to the mis-swing of a tool. And so, not only does the Reach often live by the fields, but also dies by them.

"You know full well lovage is more useful, it's just two hundred times more practical than lavender. It can clean a slash so you don't need to get an amputation and every other part is good eating. No one else but you or a starving beggar would put lavender in a soup!" proclaimed Alyndel.

"Lovage is mediocre compared to lavender. When you eat more like a noble then you'll know that lavender is not only a lovely flower, but it also makes for an excellent hint of flavor in anything of sophisticated taste," argued Herrius, before smiling," Even besides the taste, the smell of it upon you can help you attract a woman, and that is often a healthy thing for both involved!"

"You sleep on the ground and make stew from wild onions, drop your haughty tastes! I need to eat!"


The time to make camp and stew supper was upon them, and one set out to gather water and the other to gather whatever wild foods they could find. Alyndel took off his bear head and placed it beside their supplies in a nook of a dead tree. A splitting path through a hilly area diverted them entirely. One found the stream they were looking for, Alyndel. A stream from some source uphill flowed down into a sort of small valley with a pond, surrounded by cattails and resounding with a chorus of frogs. The stream was the ideal place to get the water from, so Alyndel bent to one knee and dipped the small pot in the stream, filling it as much as he could. It wouldn't be truly safe until boiled some, but a stream was still a hundred times more sure than a pond. After he was done, he stood up and looked around. There were many plants growing in the field surrounding the pond, but there was one in sure supply: lovage. Back in, heck, even his days in the Red Gauntlet, especially those days, he was made known to the herb. Every part was good for something. The leaf was good for cleaning a wound. The root like strong celery. The seeds like a spice. He set the pot down and gathered some of them. He smiled, thinking about what memories it would bring back between Alyndel and Herrius.

Herrius was looking for greens among the hills. It was rare that they nabbed some meat, so he was mostly looking upon the ground. It was there that he saw the hare. It was sizable, and likely very quick. A brown lump in a field of flowers and grasses. Casting an invisibility spell and stalking forward, he noted the direction of the breeze and walked against it. The soft grass, although still flattening under his feet, was silent as he walked across it. The hare poked its head up and looked around. Herrius stopped. The hare could see him flattening the grass now. After a few moments it set its head back down and Herrius continued. As he neared it, ready to grapple it like a farm-grown one from a cage, the wind shifted and the invisibility spell wore off. Herrius merely stroked its fur as it bounded off up a hill. He cursed, and looked around at all the plants available in the field. Lavender, sweet lavender. That's mostly what he saw. A beautiful plant for advanced tastes, something both Herrius and Alyndel could enjoy. Herrius had advanced his tastes during his stay on Vval. He had met many highbrow people an eaten what they usually ate. Lavender was rare on Vval but easily imported. It was a taste he had grown fond of. As for Alyndel, he had met with many nobles, counts and lords and feasted at their tables in his time as a knight. He would understand the taste completely. Plus, they both needed to smell better anyway. Herrius picked some wild onions and carrots, as well as much lavender. He smiled as he thought about the taste-testing they'd partake in.

They both met back at camp. When it was time to add some extra, they both pulled out what they had picked.


They both sighted a lone horseman coming up the road from behind the hill they were camped beside. The rider had metal armor upon their arms and a leather jerkin upon their abdomen. They looked to be of high breed, and Herrius grinned," Let's ask him what he thinks!"

Alyndel was about to protest. They simply looked too biased. They'd obviously go for Herrius' lavender, rather than for Alyndel's lovage. When the rider came closer, however, they didn't seem to be of gentle stock. Their jerkin was scruffy, their grand armor dented and scratched. Their hair was near-wild. The rider looked like they were mad about being kept out of the family portrait, and they also had a scar or two upon their jaw. "I wouldn't count on 'em too much, Herrius."

They both approached the road, and as the rider neared they approached him. Herrius began," We mean to eat. However, my friend thinks lavender is ridiculous. I argue that its taste is worthy, as if it was a lemon straight from Pandora. The smell of the flower, too, can attract a certain encounter that can boost anyone's health. Someone of your high taste can obviously appreciate its culinary applications and its ability to make one smell fresh."

"I argue," began Alyndel," that the lovage is worthier. Its dried seeds can make for decent spice, and its root is like celery when you don't have any on hand. Its leaves can help clean even the nastiest wounds. You are obviously a man of action, you can appreciate how much it does for a simple fighting man's stew. And when your wound needs cleaning, you can grab up some of its leaves and boil 'em. That saves a leg, y'know."

Herrius rolled his eyes. "So, what d'you think? Sweet lavender, or grungy lovage?" he asked. Alyndel elbowed him in the ribs. Herrius massaged his ribs but kept looking at the rider.

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Ithalian Empire
Minister
 
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Founded: Jan 19, 2015
Father Knows Best State

Postby Ithalian Empire » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:55 pm

Baldric Carcaster
Road to Herrath


He had been riding steadily for the past six days. He had only taken the bare necessities, food, mostly cheese and hard tack with some salted and dried meats, a water skin and his armor and his sword made up the rest of his kit. He had taken some money with him, just in case. He made sure to ride as far south as he could before crossing the river, the war had started and he could see the evidence of it all around him as he spent the better part of two day riding through High Rock. A part of him told him that he should have stayed and fought with his brother, but that side was quieted by the yearning for adventure, adventure that he hoped would bring fame and maybe a little fortune. If anything it would serve to distinguish his name from that of Heremond Carcaster.

He didn't stop in any inns, he didn't want to risk being recognized by any of the innkeepers. Instead, he slept in the ditches along fields and in the hedgerows of orchards. He had generally begun to look unkempt by the fourth day of his travel, his hair was dirty and unbrushed as well as his clothes. He, however, had managed to keep the dignified look of a noble. Things had been going smooth and he was making good time when the fifth day came and things changed.

He was riding just outside of a small hamlet, the hills where rolling and the field had been sowed. The smell of sweat grasses and spring were on the air. It wasn't too much unlike home, but in High Rock, the air had a sharper, colder quality to it as the cool mountain breezes cam down from Eldrion. As he rounded a curve in the road he saw it, a wagon stopped on the side of the road a merchant and his family on the side, their wrist's tied and all but the merchant where gaged. Three young reachmen boys armed with daggers and short swords had where surrounding them while a man of about thirty years of age was rummaging through the merchant's wagon.

"Where is the fucking money Winfirth? You damned well better have it you fat shit, else one of your daughters will spend the night with us." Baldric heard the older man say.

"Oh gods have mercy, Aldfrid, I already paid your toll." The merchant, whose name was Wiunfirth cried out. Baldric knew that if Heremond was here a lance would already be through one of the bandit's throats, but he wasn't Heremond. He would wait for his time to strike.

"Bull-fucking-shit, I know you 'ave more, and I want it. I can have my silver, or I can have the red-haired lass."

Winfirth started to shake, whether it was from anger or from fear of a mix of both Baldric could not tell, "I-i have no more money Aldfrid, you took it all. I have nothing, nothing at all. Take me, kill me if you must, but leave Ymma out of this. She hasn't don-"

Aldfrid punched the merchant in the face, "Shut up, do you hear me, shut up. You owe me, and I have named my price, and now its time to pay. Boys, take the wench."

The three younger boys took Ymma, in the process the knocked the gage out of her mouth. She screamed and kicked at the started to drag her away. "NO, NO ALFRID, DONT DO THIS, PLEASE, OH DIVINES HAVE MERCY. YMMA, GIVE MY YMMA BACK!"

This was Baldric time. He drew his sword and spurred his horse to a gallop. He aimed the horse at one of the bandit boys, the collision sent him flying as Baldric rode over him. His sword found the arm on another that was dragging Ymma away. The girl screamed as blood spread out from where there was once a hand. The bandit dropped to the ground screaming. The one that Baldric ran over was laying still. Alfrid and the last remaining bandit had drawn their weapons and were ready to fight.

"I am going to skin you alive boy." Alfrid spat at him. Baldric gave no reply and began to attack. He swung, by Alfrid parried the blow, the second bandit attacked, a lunge that missed both rider and mount. Baldric heard them both swear. He turned to remount his assault on the bandits. This time Baldric changed tactics. He charged so that only one bandit was in a position to attack him. This was the last of the three boys, perhaps he was thirteen years old. He wouldn't be getting any older, Bladrics blade sliced through the boy's neck, severing veins and tendon and eventually the spinal column.

Alfrid was too shocked to do anything when Baldric rode him down. He dismounted and untied the ties and gags of the merchant family. The merchant tried to offer him some of his wears, because true to his word the merchant was indeed flat broke. Baldric refused, the merchant even hinted at offering his daughters hand in marriage. But, once more Baldric refused. He did, however, accept the invitation to eat dinner with them and to spend the rest of the night in their camp.

It was later that night, Winfirth and Baldric were sitting around a campfire. Winfirth, Baldric had found out, was a small time merchant dealing mostly in silks and porcelains on his way to do business in Stormdenn before going back to his home in Herrath. The four bandits that Heremond had killed were a constant thorn in Winfirth's side and had indeed taken most of his silver and copper.

"So, what is a high born lad like you riding the roads like some vagabond, eh?" Winfirth said as he puffed on a pipe.

"How do you figure I am high born?" Baldric replied Winfirth snorted.

"Boy, a blind man could see that you've gotten yourself a formal education in the art of swordplay. The way you ride that rather expensive looking horse tells me you've been in the saddle since you could walk. Only high born can afford that."

"I suppose I am running away."

"From what? Don't you have some castle of town to lord over when the old man kicks the bucket?" Winfirth studied Baldrics face," Oh, I see, you aren't the one who inherited the land and title then. Thrown out by you elder brother than to secure his own ass?"

"No," Baldric replied, the merchant's questions getting a little on his nerves, "My brother was everything my father wanted in a son. Strong, handsome and smart. I was his disappointing middle child. I am running off to make a name for myself."

"Chose a hell of a time to do that. Anyway, ill be sure to spread the name of Baldric when I get to Stormdenn. And if you ever find yourself in Herrath, don't be afraid to stop for a visit."

The next morning the two parted ways, Winfirth south and Heremond west. It was again a boring day compared to the previous excitement, save for evidence of a small skirmish near a dilapidated cabin. He road on till midday, his stomach rumbled with hunger. He spotted a fire up ahead and rode towards it. As he approached two elves came up to him, a Mayaar and a Valyaar from the looks of it.

" We mean to eat. However, my friend thinks lavender is ridiculous. I argue that its taste is worthy as if it was a lemon straight from Pandora. The smell of the flower, too, can attract a certain encounter that can boost anyone's health. Someone of your high taste can obviously appreciate its culinary applications and its ability to make one smell fresh." said the ash lander.

"I argue, that the lovage is worthier. Its dried seeds can make for decent spice, and its root is like celery when you don't have any on hand. Its leaves can help clean even the nastiest wounds. You are obviously a man of action, you can appreciate how much it does for a simple fighting man's stew. And when your wound needs cleaning, you can grab up some of its leaves and boil 'em. That saves a leg, y'know." The high elf made his case.

Baldric thought, he had eaten both. Lavender during the winter feasts, used as a garnish on various meats and soups. Lovage was something he had eaten when on hunts with his father and brother, its hardy flavor was well pared with wild game and pork, and Mettius had tought him about the medicinal porperties of its leaves. Bladric made up his mind.

"Niether are truly good on there own gentelmen," He dismounted and pulled out a slab of jerkied beef, "However, roasted or boiled with meat the both are quiet good."
Eat ,Drink, and be mary, for tomorrow we die.
PRAISE THE FOUNDERS

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Everhall
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Founded: Sep 23, 2014
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Everhall » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:53 pm

The Masked Woman

Lhoris Varian


Lhoris gingerly held the clear, empty vial in his hand, his eyes looking over every meticulous detail in the light of the Archmage's quarters. Blue, crystalline dust lay unused at the vail's bottom, casting a bluish glow as the light went through it. Glimmerdust... Lhoris thought - one of the most potent drugs on all of Eroris - the only clue left behind on the day of Asoka's murder. He sighed as he thought back to an event that seemed so long ago.

"That's it I assume?" Cadmus asked gesturing towards the vail, "The Glimmerdust?"

"Precisely," Lhoris threw the vial to Cadmus, "Take a look at it yourself, you may be able to find out more than I could." They were all situated around a table in the Archmage's quarters covered with missives and maps of the city from when Lhoris was High Chancellor. Most of it wouldn't help them exactly, but it was good to get a barring of where everyone was to be going.

The Archmage inspected the vial for a moment, looking over the faded raspberry symbol that once covered the drug's front. After a moment where he stared at the symbol intently, Cadmus turned to Lhoris and said, "This is Raymond Knight's concoction, correct?"

"I gathered as much," Lhoris sighed, "I saw to it personally that an agent was dispatched to the Undercity to find any connection Raymond and Asoka's assassins had. Unfortunately, that also happened to be the day the cultists attacked from the Undercity and decimated the Khalata. I haven't heard from her since."

"That's strange then..."

"How so?"

Cadmus turned to Lhoris, "You would think assassins skilled enough to infiltrate the palace, kill a Prince's wife, and get off without leaving a single trace would make sure to leave nothing behind. You could say that they were in a rush to escape before help arrived, but an assassin knows how to make a quick exit without leaving nothing behind. From the looks of it... this vial was an elaborate trap to lure one of your agents into a place that they knew they could capture or eliminate her; the Undercity."

"Wait just a damned moment," Fergus stepped forward from behind Lhoris his eyes full of rage, "At you saying that this Raymond Knight has something to do with the attack on the Ruby District? Divines damn him; Kuruth willing I'd love to bash his head in." To Lhoris watching as the Nord stepped forward with his words of rage, it was understandable why he felt so strongly about the man. Tanya and Fergus had both been members of Ruven's guard. Apparently, from what he had heard, they were especially close. However...

"I'll do you no good," Lhoris put a hand on the Nord's shoulder, "Raymond was among the few killed in the Undercity during the attack. Guards found him dead. in the Undercity market."

"Which," Cadmus, continued, "leads me to a certain conclusion. While yes, this obviously was a trap in order to force our hand into the Undercity, their attack on the Ruby District seems… contrary to their overall goal, does it not? Up until then, you would have assumed the Khalata had something to do with Asoka's assassination, but now that's simply not the case. What I'm theorizing, and this is just preliminary, is that Raymond actually did have something to do with the overall plot which is one of the reasons why they may have killed him."

A member of Lhoris' guard who had been leaning on a wall with her arms crossed near the back of the room, a Reachman named Kya, was the next to speak, "What would a sleazy prick like Raymond want to do with a group of fanatical Dread cultists? I knew him back when I was stuck in the Undercity; all he cared about was his bottom line. Teaming up with Dread worshipers seems like the furthest thing from what he would do."

"Lhoris, if you would explain," Cadmus gestured to the former High Chancellor.

"That's a legitimate question, Kya, one which would poke a hole in Cadmus' reasoning if it were not for one thing: Glimmerdust is an essential ingredient of Dread worship."

"What? Why haven't I heard of this?"

"Because you're not supposed to. Since the Empire of Atticus, the official reason for the outlawing of Glimmerdust was just as you know it today; it was potent, dangerous, and it was a drug that could turn an average working man into a hooked addict in just a day. The thing is though, when its combined with the purpose of Dread worship, it can greatly increase the user's connection to the dark realms they serve. That, Kya, is why you've never heard of this before, and it is for that reason that Knight could have gotten caught up in this mess. What better way to make a quick Ashen?"

"Exactly," Cadmus moved forward to lean over the table, looking over a map of what was recorded of the Undercity, "Whatever she must have discovered, your agent, Llavesa, while she was in the Undercity must have forced their hand in some way. The longer we sit here discussing it, the greater the chance we lose our opportunity to find out what. Kya, you lived in the Undercity for a time, correct? Is there anyone Knight was close to, any family, friends?"

"He was married," Kya said as he approached the central table, "Some woman from the Uppercity named Irma, probably twice his age the old crone."

"Is she a Reachman?"

"No an elf, and from the looks of it she hasn't taken much from her Eldyaar ancestors. I've never seen anyone look that old, especially if they're an elf. Could be worth visiting her to see what she knows."

"We'll go with that," Lhoris interjected, "Whatever it may be at least it's something. Kya, you're with me, we'll go to the Undercity and find out what we can from Irma - by force if we have to. Fergus, you and the others keep watch over the College and keep Cadmus here out of trouble. I appreciate your help, but I don't want you to get wrapped up in any consequences we may face. Because if my suspicions are true, which I pray to the divines they aren't, we're going to need a lot more than ourselves to bring Julek down.


Image


Dark, cold, and decrepit; those were the words to describe the Undercity. Entering through a door through what was still the ruined Ruby District, Lhoris and Kya made their way into Isnhrion's dark underbelly, disguised under dark hoods of course, and prepared to make their way towards Raymond Knight's former residence. Wooden beams lined the pathway, supporting the earth above them in order to keep the tunnel from collapse. The dying invalid that laid next to one of these beams in entrance to the Undercity, a narrow path constricted by a small waterwheel run off of the water of Lake Tormac, paid them little mind as they came further down the path into the city proper, revealing a marketplace overflowing with the types of smugglers and vagabonds that made the Undercity the Undercity. Contraband, from provinces far away, was peddled in the streets; men, their lust insatiable, were led by their escorts to their beds; and thieves, their fingers slick, searched throughout the market for pockets to pick.

Disgusting... Lhoris thought looking at the scene. Here he was, in the capital of the Empire with a den of crime and illegality beneath his feet. The Khalata and the Wise Council had a deal that one would not interfere with the other's affairs. Lhoris hated that deal with a passion, however, and grit his teeth and clenched his fist at the thought of the weak-willed High Chancellor that had agreed to such an agreement. Kya, however, took him from his thoughts,

Extending her arm and pointing towards a particular path out of the marketplace she said, "That's where we'll find Raymond's home, just down that pathway."

"Fine," Lhoris grumbled, "the sooner we get this over with the better."



They came before their destination just a short walk from where they had been at the entrance of the Undercity. It, like most houses in the Undercity, was haphazardly constructed and supported by crooked beams. It was two stories tall, making the unevenness of its build all the more noticeable in the dark expanse of the underground, and possessed one window to the outside, the one on the second floor leading into a darkened room.

To be sure that they weren't being followed, Lhoris performed a quick spell of detection in the area; finding nothing, he gave Kya his nod and allowed her to approach and knock in the front door.

Silence. "Ms. Knight?" she asked after a while, "It's Kya, checking in. I heard what happened so I decided to drop by," As she said this the sound of slow movement emerged from within the house, and within a few seconds the door creaked open a nudge to allow a bright yellow eye to peer through,

"Kya?" a woman's voice asked, "Could it be that you've returned to me finally?"

"Yes, Irma," Kya nodded, "just me and my associate."

"Associate?" Irma inquired as she opened the door fully. Lhoris was shocked; Kya was not jesting when she said the woman was the embodiment of a crone. She was elf no doubt because of her ears, but besides that, she had failed to retain much of the natural beauty that defined the Elven races. She was short and stunted, standing a little under five feet from what Lhoris could see. Her face was wrinkled and worn, much like Lhoris' own, though it failed to possess the same noble bearing and rouge attractiveness that he possessed. On no, instead, it gave the woman the appearance of an ancient which from straight out of the wives' tales.

"Who's this then?"

"Glarald" Kya replied, "Glarald Ercan. He's here to get involved in you-know-what."

Irma raised an eyebrow, "Ah indeed... Well then, come on in you two; I'll whip us up some tea." the old crone turned back to re-enter her home with Kya and Lhoris following close after her. While they did so, Kya turned back momentarily to Lhoris and flashed a giddy grin and the High Chancellor couldn't help but roll his eyes at the frivolous gesture.



As soon as he entered the home of the old crone the smells of herbs and alchemical ingredients laid haphazardly in all directions assaulted him. Garlic from the ceilings, Elderroot from the kitchen, and animal fat from the shelves. Kya wasn't joking when she said this woman was a major alchemist... Let's see how much she knows...

There was a table in the middle of it all with three chairs arrayed so that two would be on one side and one would be on another. Irma gestured for the two of them to take a seat as she prepped a kettle of cold water to place over the fireplace to boil. Taking a seat as she did so, Lhoris' eyes wandered around the room, looking for something, anything that would stand out to him. Other that the copious amounts of herbs, however, nothing truly seemed noteworthy. Irma finally finished placing her kettle over the fire to boil and soon turned to Lhoris and Kya before she took a seat before them.

"So, Kya, what would you have me do with this young man?"

"Young?" Lhoris raised an eyebrow.

"Ah, I'm just yanking your chain, Mr. Ercan. When you get to my age everybody seems old wouldn't you think?"

"Yeah, I guess so," there was an akward silence for a moment, "I assume you know why we're here: to discuss matters concerning the crystal posion - glimmerdust, as it is widely known. From the looks of what you have here, you seemed to be quite skilled at making it yourself."

"Whatever do you mean?" Irma put on an expression that only pretended to be offended, "I'm just an aged old woman trying to make my way in this dark, cruel world. Surely you could understand that. Though of course, I may just tell you something... for a price, of course."

Lhoris, wordless reached into his pocket and threw flipped a gold Ashen into Irma's hands, which the woman looked over with eyes full of greed. After biting it to confirm its worth, Irma looked to Lhoris and Kya and asked, "What will it be?"

"We need Glimmerdust, lots of it," Kya answered, "Twenty, maybe thirty crates if we are to attain the amount we need."

Irma raised an eyebrow, "Why would you need so much dust?"

"Oh nothing," replied Lhoris, "except for the purpose of Dread worship." Irma's face darkened, Got you, Lhoris thought triumphantly. Though she had only shown it for a second, Lhoris could tell that he had said something significant; something she knew the meaning of. It only strengthened Lhoris' convictions in finding out just what she knew.

"I-I'm not sure what you're talking about, Glarald. I'm not aware of any connection Glimmerdust may have to-"

"You are clearly aware, why else for your reaction then? Why else for your response? I can understand why you fear admitting it," Lhoris said as he stood, "because that may have been what got your precious Raymond killed."

Irma collasped onto the floor with a face of stunned disbelief, "N-no, how did you-"

"Because I'm not some Dread Mage, Irma Knight," Lhoris pulled down his hood, "I am the former Inquistor Lhoris Varian of the Shadow Legion, and I too have a bone to pick with whoever killed your husband. Tell me, Irma, what you know and I will help in whatever way I can in making sure these cultists are brought to justice."

Irma looked up into Lhoris' unshaking eyes, so full of determination, so full of sorrow. She was almost convinced to say something, to expose what she had been told not to all those years ago by her lady... but then...

A reflection passed across Irma's eyes too quick to see. In the moment after it had past, Irma's took on an expression of Dread, "She's coming..." she murmured.

"What?" Lhoris hadn't been able to make out what she said, "What did you say,"

"Please leave, now!" she suddenly jerked up, "I think we had a very nice conversation, wouldn't you say? I think you and Kya should get going immediately."

"Hold on just one bloody second," Kya interjected, "you haven't answered the Councilor's question."

"I will just..." She looked around nervously, "not right now! Uh... go to the marketplace. Yeah the marketplace... and buy some crystal shards from Alan, yeah... Once you do that I'll talk..." She seemed to calm down a bit, "I'll tell you anything."

"Good," Lhoris said, "Kya, stay-"

"Both of you need to go," Irma insistened, "I have to get something ready privately..."

"Fine," Lhoris aquiested, "but don't think that you can escape with me gone. I already placed spells in effect for that very scenario. We'll be back Irma Knight, from which that time you'll tell me everything you know about the cultists."

As he and Kya exited the home Lhoris couldn't help but ponder the reason for her strange behavior, What does she have to hide? She's clearly not accustomed to the game... So, who's the one pulling her strings? Lhoris had no answer, so he was left to search for one as he made his way with Kya back to the marketplace.



Lhoris thanked the gods that Alan was relatively easy to find. An Aduran with a Nordic father, he was far from the least conspicuous shop owners. For, as Irma had said, his sales specialized in crystals used for Glimmerdust which shone brightly even from the dim fires of the Undercity beneath.

"So," Alan inquired as he handed the satchel of crystal dust over to Lhoris, "What brings you down her to ol'Alan? I haven't seen you before and usually the only people who come looking for me are those looking to make Glimmerdust,"

"Don't get me mistaken," Lhoris sighed as he accepted the satchel and placed it among his belongings, "I'm doing this for Irma Knight, she owes me something I'm due."

"Ah, Irma Knight..." Alan shook his head, "I pity her, really. We all do. Losing your husband to a group of deranged Dea'ra worshippers has got to hurt deep. She doesn't even belong here, in the Undercity. From what I hear she used to live up in the Uppercity with the nobles and the merchants. It's a shame what Azelian did to her."

The Aduran's last sentence perked Lhoris' interest, "What do you mean, 'What Azelian did to her'?" I've never even heard of Irma Knight before today...

Alan sighed, "Well, most don't know this but... she used to be a handmaiden under one of the Empresses."

Lhoris' heart skipped a beat, "What did you say?" He asked with his voice trembling with fear. It's just a coincidence, Lhoris told himself, It doesn't have to be her."Which. Emperess?"

Alan stroked his chin, "Hm... Almalexia!" He snapped his fingers, "Almalexia was her name! Hey, where are you going?" Lhoris had already started running back towards the home with Kya at his back. I made a mistake, he thought, I've made a horrible mistake.



Immediately upon seeing the house, nothing seemed wrong. Lhoris and Kya had sprinted in order to reach their destination faster, and so they were breathing heavily as they made their way up towards the front porch and the door into the house. Nothing, Lhoris thought, But we're not out of the woods, yet... He knocked on the door, Knock, Knock, Knock; No response. Knock, Knock, Knock; still nothing. He prepared to speak in order to call out to the old woman within, but before he could get the first word out, the door to the house slowly creeped open, with no one behind to open it. Lhoris prepped a spell of fire in hand, "Be on the look out; our objective is to find Irma." With that said, Lhoris and Kya crossed the tresshold into Irma's home.

It quickly became apparent what had happened there. Everything, furniture, herbs, rugs, carpets, chairs; were tossed everywhich way; it was a clear sign of a struggle. A trail of crimson blood began in the center of it all, continuing on until it disappeared behind the stairs that led to the second floor. Lhoris advanced with vigilance to the spot where the blood supposedly ended and found that it continued onward up the stairs into the narrow hallway that was the second floor. Damn, he cursed, Only one way out of there... The hallway was bad for Lhoris in the way that a narrow hallway was bad for a warrior with a long sword; while yes, he used magic, some of his most powerful spells affected a large area, an area that would include Kya. He had to be cautious going up there, or else he could inadvertently kill his own ally.

The wooden steps below him creaked loudly as he followed the blood trail up the stairs and into the second story hallway. The one window that the home had lay at the far end of the hall. There were two doors on either side, one creaked open and one closed; the blood trail happened to go through the open door. Damn, we'll have to take both at the same time. He signaled his intentions to Kya who followed behind him. He was to take the open door, while see was to take the closed one, the one closer to the staircase. It took but a moment for them to get into position, each one stationed just off to the side of their door. Lhoris held up his hand and gestured: 3, 2, 1 They opened their doors.

Irma was face down in a pool of her own blood with her eyes rolled back in the darkness of the home. Multiple stab wounds were on her back, suggesting that she had tried to run from her assailant. Lhoris would have looked at more of her injuries to see what exactly had attacked her, but as he looked further down he knew what had done her in: both her legs had been torn from her body. By the Divines...

"URGH!"

"Kya?!" Lhoris ran out into the hallway to see Kya being thrown to the wall with a knife embedded in his stomach. She was still alive, as evidenced by the pained expression on her face, but it was clear whoever had done would not leave her in such a state. A figure in black emerged from the second room with their dark robes shimmering with the color of night. A devilish red mask wit ha grin covered her face; Lhoris was sure she was a she, as she possessed figure and the shape of a woman. A blade emerged from her robes,

"No!" Lhoris grabbed onto the assassin's arm to yank the weapon from her hands, "Run Kya!" The assassin at first attempted to continue her attack on Kya, but Lhoris' interference was becoming impeded her attack. Eventually, the assassin turned the blade on the councilor, flipping it in her had as you rip into the arm Lhoris was holding her's with. "AGH!" the shock put him off balance, a mistake Lhoris knew the assassin would exploit. He counted her lunge with an attack on his own, a fireball, blasting the two of them apart from each other and to the other ends of the narrow hallway between them. The sanguine crimson stained the dull carpet beneath him,

"Just who the hell are you?!" He demanded. She stood there without a response, "Fine then," Lhoris spit on the ground as he held on to his wound, "You've choose the wrong mage to deal with today. Even with one arm Lhoris still had access to one of the widest selections of spells that were available to those willing to find them. He choose one of them, Dragon Infero, to finish the job quickly with the assassin, releasing a massive torrent of flame and magic to destroy his target. Lhoris breathed slowly, allowing for the eventuallity to flow through his mind. He visualized it, cultivated it, and soon his arms moved to recreate it. Taking his uninjured hand into a fist, he twisted it as he punched forward, sending a massive dragon of flame towards the mysterious woman, lighting the hallway on fire as it went. The spell should have destroyed him, but just before it made impact, she held up her own hand and from behind her mask, her eyes began to glow red. He realized what she was about to do,

"NO-!" It was too late, she met his spell with an even breaker one of her own, the blaze roaring as it flashed between colors of blue, white, and orange in a torrent that would put most expect elementalists to shame. Lhoris had no time to think about this though, he only had time to run. He looked towards the end of the hall behind him where the window laid, and made a mad dash for the exit. The flames were are his back when he jumped up and shielded his eyes from the glass and he bust through the window, falling to the ground as the flames carried on above his head. He landed with a thud, watching in horror as the Irma's house began to be engulfed by flames. Lhoris was one of the best elementalists in Eroris, but even he knew, that whoever the woman who had attacked him had been, he would never stand a chance.
Last edited by Everhall on Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Zanera
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Ex-Nation

Postby Zanera » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:06 pm

Alyndel, Baldric, and Herrius
Camp Near Crossroads to Herrath/Stormdenn



"Niether are truly good on there own gentelmen," He dismounted and pulled out a slab of jerkied beef, "However, roasted or boiled with meat the both are quiet good."

"I can hardly catch a rabbit and this fellow comes along and pulls out half a cow!" exclaimed Herrius.

"Aye," said Alyndel. "He's starting to turn out to be a wonder. You should come over to our camp and throw that in the pot. What is your name, traveler?"

“The names Baldric, and yours?” Baldric replied as he followed the two elves to there camp. The two looked like they had been around the block a few times, no doubt they had with how long elves live.

"I am Herrius and that is Alyndel," said Herrius, pointing to himself and then to Alyndel. "We're heading to Herrath, though currently we are having a hefty struggle with supper ingredients, that you have thankfully resolved."

“Herrath you say? Mind if I join you? I happen to have some good friends in Herrath.” Baldric had taken quite a liking to the merchant and his family, and he truly wished to see them again, who knew, perhaps the would have work for him, “And what draws two yaar like you to that city?”

Alyndel looked at Herrius. Herrius shrugged. "Well, you have beef. And I assume you have a good sword arm. You might make good company. In Herrath, we have a friend. He is with Sokva, been with her for a hundred years."

“I see,” Baldric replied, “Well then, let's get this stew going.

"Agreed," Alyndel and Herrius said together. They started walking over to the pot. When Herrius saw that the fire was faltering, he quickened his pace and threw some tinder onto it before placing more sticks. "Well, show us a new recipe young sir," said Alyndel.

“I may not be much of a cook, but I do know that this damned salted beef is far too hard to be eaten without boiling. We should place that in now.” Baldric said, trying to recall the stew that his father had made on there hunting trips. He had always used fresh venison or whatever other animal he had killed that day. He had what he had. “Now, we don't need salt, the meat has enough in it.” He cut a large strip of the meat off and began splicing that, letting the chunks fall into the water.

“Is the lovage in seed? We can use that as a good substitute for pepper, and of course the stocks for celery. From what my father taught me, the roots can be used like a tuber if you boil it enough.”

Alyndel ran his fingers over the lovage. "It's probably too early for it to start sprouting seeds. Everything else is in good condition for cooking."

“Alright then, mind cutting that up?” Baldric continued to work. Slicing another strip of meat into the stew. The water had started to go into a rolling boil, it would take an hour at best for the meat to get tender enough for them to chew with comfort. Now, for the lavender. It wasn't as hardy a food as the lovage, the only part that was really edible was the flowers, the stems to woods and foul tasting to be good for eating, whilst the roots were inedible entirely. In truth, it was only good as a garnish or candied in crystal sugar. But it was what Bladric had to work with. He took some of the leaves and put them in the broth like he had seen some do. The delicate flavor could prove a worthy complement to the taste of the lovage.

“There, we should have something at least edible in an hour.”

"Then we have an hour to talk before we eat," said Herrius, as Alyndel pulled out a dagger and chopped the lovage.

"I'd like to get to know our new traveling companion," continued Herrius. "Where do you hail from? Been trying to escape that mess in High Rock?"

Baldric couldn't help but feel the guilt again. He should be going back home, back to fight by his brothers side win or lose. But he pushed that aside, hopefully before anyone of the elves noticed. He would have to lie, but he would sprinkle some truth in the tale he would spin.

“Aye, my father was a minor noble under House Carcaster,” it felt weird to refer to his own family like they were strangers, “We where one of the first to be raided by that damned Gardener army. I have nothing left back home, my brother has probably died in some field fighting for Heremond Carcaster and my father died in our manor house. So I am going off to meet a merchant friend of mine and see what prospects there are for me in Herrath.”

Herrius noticed something odd on the Reachman's face. Well, not odd, more...familiar. The boy's countenance passed from a pained one to normal one. As the boy told his story, it was easy to see why. Herrius opened his mouth to say something but Alyndel, staring severely at his lovage cutting, said first," It's unfortunate that you had to lose so much to aid someone like Heremond Carcaster. That war is as screwed as the rest of them. One side is greedy filth, and the other is led by a damnable. Going into a good job might wrought a better life for you. Gods knows I'll probably return to Aarendell and become a bookkeeper, myself."

"Never mind my friend," said Herrius. "He just had a bad experience at High Rock. Perhaps Heremond had bigger things on his mind, but I agree with my friend's central point, Heremond can be unfair."

Oh, they had no idea. Baldric though back to the events of two years ago. A mercenary whos bragging seemed for to large for any Reachman mecrenary had come into the city. He had started to challenge any an all who dared fight him in a duel. Knight from the order tried and failed, guards tried and failed. And all the while the mercenary grew rich from the bets. Bladric challenged him, to put him in his place and get a fair amount of coin as well. The duel started out well, Baldric seemed to have the upper hand, than something changed. The mercenary was damned dirty cheat, his sword enchanted in some way. Heremond arrived and not only stopped the duel, but so thoroughly thrashed the mercenary that the man was barely able to walk. Baldric had to burden the shame of having to be saved by his brother, and what was more, being reminded that he was once more living under Heremonds shadow.

“He can be, at times. He has a temper as well, I once saw him beat a mercenary near to death with his sheathed sword,” Baldric knew there was more to his brother than that. Heremond was honorable, he ordered his best apothecaries to treat the mercenary before sending him off on his way, he only intervened in the duel because he only saw his brother on the ground with an enemies blade over him. Was Heremond not fighting now because it was his home in danger? “Heremond Carcaster may be many things, but I do not think he is damnable.”

"Well when one sends you down to a crazy Aduran condottieri to get lathered in pepper juice and then flayed, you start to think that that one is pretty damnable," said Alyndel bitterly. He chucked the lovage in the pot, and Herrius began stirring it all up.

"I understand your plight Alyndel, though mind he looked troubled and was desperate for even a 300-man mercenary band's aid. That smoke was burning villages I reckon, and besides, he's a young one yet. He has a lot to learn," said Herrius. "Anyway, what does your merchant friend sell?"

“Valyarian Porcelains and silks mostly. He picks them up in the ports of Atlas and Stormdenn and sells in Herrath. Though,” Baldric remembered what had transpired but just the other day, “Banditry seems to have increased. He is by no means a very wealthy man and is unable to pay for any armed guard. We meet on the road just as he was being robbed, damned brigands would have taken his eldest daughter captive if I hadn’t stopped it.”

The reality of what Baldric had done that day slowly began to hit him. Those were the first men Baldric had killed. He had heard that some men had vomited when the killed there first man, some wept. He knew Heremond didn’t eat for two days after he killed a man for the first time. Yet, here was Baldric, sitting around a campfire with two elves waiting for lunch. Did he feel bad for what he did? No. No, those men deserved death. He didn’t feel a damned thing about killing them.

"Ryenar damn it. Or rather, Ryenar already damned it. He sent you. If I was that merchant I'd offer you a well-paying job on the spot," said Alyndel.

"I would too, but I'd also not be wealthy enough to offer one apparently," said Herrius. He took up some of the stew with the spoon and tasted it. He tilted his head side-to-side and kept stirring. "Where's this merchant currently? I guess we could help guard him in exchange for lodging at Herrath."

“He said he was going to Stormdenn to pick up a shipment of wares. I left him but this morning, I am sure he can't be to far away.”

"That's a bit far off course. Think it's worth it Herrius?" asked Alyndel. Herrius opened his mouth, then went to his pack and retrieved a map. It was likely based off of centuries and centuries of lost and found meticulous work. It would be sufficiently accurate, which is why Herrius trusted it.

"Well, at this point in our journey it won't make much of a difference, just a few more days to Herrath. Darath isn't going anywhere, and we could use some free lodging and food at the end of our journey. There's a net benefit to it, if we can catch up."

"We can go early tomorrow morning. Backtrack and then go south to Stormdenn to catch up."

"No, no, he might get too far ahead of us for us to catch up, especially if he's on horse or using a wagon. We'll have to go after supper. We'll have to eat this stew fast."

"Damn. I wanted to really taste it."

“I could always ride ahead and catch up with them faster than the three of us could” Baldric suggested.

"I wouldn't want to inconvenience him, he probably has deadlines to meet. I know when I was running the Gauntlet that it was tough to do that, especially if we had to stop for whatever reason," said Herrius, biting his lip.

"Well if he goes any further without protection meeting any deadlines will be meaningless if he gets robbed. It's just like any caravan protection job. No point in protecting the caravan if we let it get robbed," said Alyndel.

"Yeah. Still. Baldric, this is your slab of beef. You can eat supper and then ride out to fetch the merchant and get him to wait for us. We'll head out as soon as we're done, washed up, and packed."

"Alright, sounds like a plan than." Baldric said as he began to serve himself some of the hot stew.

He surmised that Winfried had maybe started his travel at around ten as his family was still washing dishes and packing camp when he left. He also knew that the wagon was slow and they maybe had traveled only a handful of miles already. he figured he could catch up with the merchant and his family before sundown at the leatest.

Herrius calmed the fire while Alyndel got himself some of the stew and began to blow on it. Alyndel said nothing. He merely sat and ate, swishing the stew around his mouth a couple times. Herrius got himself his own bowl and took a spoonful. "Yeah. A bit good," was all he said, as he finished up his bowl and got another of the stew, as well as Alyndel. Baldric finished eating and made sure he had everything, then walked over to his horse, mounted it, and took off back where he had came from. Herrius finished up and started organizing their belongings as Alyndel had another half a bowl. "It's near time to sleep and I gotta walk like, half a damn night," he said.

"Well when we get to Stormdenn we'll get an inn. We'll have to walk for it first," said Herrius. Alyndel finished up and began cleaning up the dishes. Herrius helped Alyndel put his stuff on, including his bear head with the glowing blue eye sockets.

"Those glowing eyes have been helpful in the dark, we'll have a fine trek to the merchant," assured Herrius. Alyndel shrugged. They double-checked the campsite and their packs, poured water on the fire, and then they started off toward the merchant.

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Everhall
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Founded: Sep 23, 2014
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Everhall » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:49 pm

A Mother's Love

Somebody

He was falling. Falling like before. Before when he still had purpose, when he still had a name. Ruven, it was. A noble, dignified name for a noble, prince; he was none of those things. As the circular walls of the cavern around him raced upwards as he fell downwards he wondered if the pit had an end; if the Leap of Ryenar had one this surely had to. If not... well.. all that was left to him was to think, to ponder. He was strangely calm for how disturbing it had been first walking through an abandoned city and then being pushed by some unknown entity into a pit. It was devoid of light, save for two ghastly eyes that seemed to bore into him accusingly, loathingly in some form of hatred. He couldn't explain it much to himself, but those eyes, they also looked sad.

The walls that had been rapidly flying past him stopped as he entered into another cavern. He barely had time to glance at the darkened surroundings before SPLASH! he crashed into the water below him, knocking the air from his lungs. He struggled to pull his head above the surface but he still wore the same silver steel armor that he had worn during the Proving. He couldn't do it; he didn't have enough strength. Death would begin to clutch at his throat in a matter of minutes. He struggled with the idea for a moment, unable to allow death to claim him before his time, but... what was left for him? His wife, his love, was gone; his future, his daughter, was gone; his father, his sire, his torment, was gone; and his mother was also gone. What had she said all those years ago? He struggled to remember in the murky waters of death.

Stormclouds churned in the sky and thunder boomed through the valley during the night. Torrents of rain, hail, and snow fell from the sky over the imperial city, Isnhrion, as its denizens struggled to find rest in the cold winter night. It was a strange occurrence really, such a violent blizzard in the heart of Ieros Valley. Some were saying it was divine punishment for the betrayal Melkor had reaped on the Empire; others said it was just another storm.

For Ruven Ashen, however, it was terror incarnate. Lightning striking from the sky, thunder rumbling the foundations of the Ember Tower, the place he thought he was safest, made the storm and blizzard outside seem like Dread incarnate to the young Mayaar. He shook violently under his bed as the storm progressed outside; every flash a new terror, every thunder a new monster.

"Dad..." the boy whimpered. He was supposed to be there; he had told him, he knew he was supposed to be there. But he wasn't like he always was. Lhoris had told up he had to deal with something north of the city. Something about the Lake Tormac flooding? No, it didn't matter he needed him if he was to get through the night, he needed someone.

The door to his room opened, letting the light of the illuminated hallways of the Ember Tower fill his room with light. A shadow entered into the light. Peeking from his blanket just a smidge, the boy asked, "Dad?" Before the figure revealed itself.

"I came as soon as I heard, Ruven," Selene smiled sweetly, "It's okay, I'm here now."

The boy felt for a moment a ting of joy before he remembered what his father had said, "I can't! Dad said I shouldn't bother you, said that I should be able to sleep on my own! I just can't-"

"Sh," she soothed her child as she moved closer, "Azelian can be a bit... hard sometimes. I think it's perfectly reasonable for a five-year-old boy to be afraid of lightning but... your father seems to disagree," she sat at the foot of the boy's bed. Patting a place next to her, she said, "Come Ruven, I want to tell you something."

Emerging completely from his covers, the boy crawled over to his mother and sat with legs hanging over his bed at her side. "What your father fails to understand about you, Ruven," she began, "Is that fear does not equal weakness as long as we don't let it control us."

"Dad says I won't amount to anything unless I grow up... Stop being a child and start acting like a man. But every day," his voice choked up, "I fail, and every day it gets worse! I just can't mom, I can't!"

"Never say you can't!" Selene looked her child in the face, "Never let anyone tell you that you can't, that you won't, or that you're unable to. You are my son and you are capable of great things. There's always light at the end of the tunnel, all we have to do is reach for it."

The words mollified the boy's crushing mood. Of his father, of the storm, of everything that had faced and endured. When it all came down to it, he always had her to help him, no matter what his father would say. Things... weren't going to be so bad.

"Mom?" a voice said from the door. There a child stood, only just slightly older than a toddler holding a stuffed Phoenix in his hand. The two boys looked almost exactly like, almost to the point of being twins. They didn't share a parent, however, and while the first boy's eyes were a grey color, the second's was crimson red.

"What do you want, Julek?"

"I-I was scared," he whimpered, "It was noisy and I had this dream; I-"

"Julek," the first boy snapped, "you're almost four years only in a few days, you keep lying about having the same dream over and over again."

"It's true, I-"

"Both of you stop it," Selene halted the confrontation, "Julek, am sure it's nothing to worry about. Go back to your room and we'll talk in there, okay?"

Julek nodded, "Okay..."

"Good," Selene turned back to Ruven, "Now it would be best to get some sleep. Remember if all goes according to plan we'll be heading south tomorrow. Just remember to STAY ALIVE!


Ruven awoke from his thoughts, his last breaths of air now newly formed bubbles in the water around him. Dammit, he cursed remembering everything that had happened to him after that day, everything Julek had done. He could not die now while his brother still walked. He could not die now while his brother still ruled. He could not die now while his family went unavenged. Hatred fueled him and used what means he could with his only remaining arm and his two legs to swim back up to break through the surface of the water. He gasped sweet breathes of air from the cold cavern space, grateful to be free from the confines of the deep. His sword, where was his sword? He searched the murky waters from it but it was difficult to see from the light. Another thing I've lost... he thought to himself before finally beginning to swim towards the body of water's shore.



Ruven dragged himself out of the muck and onto the dark rock beneath him, breathing heavily afterward from the strain he had placed on himself. Throughout all the time he had spent in the place he was now he had been on the move, taking one moment to rest seemed a reasonable action to him. The cavern, however, was not done with him.

As he lay there, his breathing slowing as he got a hold of himself he looked around what surrounded him and saw two small points of light radiating just yards from his head. What in Dread... the Lights twitched. He rolled to the side as another shade lunched forward at him, its dark claws passing just inches from his exposed face, before disappearing back into the darkness. Ruven watched with shaking eyes the speed at which it had struck at him. It was unnatural and unsettling, and this mere moment of distraction hampered him as another came from behind him and struck him in the back.

"URGH!" He felt the shade's claws sinking into him, blood erupting from a wound just above his shoulder. But then he crouched as the monster attacked, using its own momentum with his remaining arm to throw the shade off of him and to the ground just before him. It wasn't enough, however, it stood again, and it looked him straight on with twitching white eyes. Its claws extended again into talons and it lunged forward to strike at his face.

He could do nothing. Without a sword in his hand, he was little more than a warm body unable to protect itself. Even then, without his right arm he surly had lost the master swordsmanship he had honed from a young age. All he could do was block, a left hand raised to stop the monster before him from gouging out his eyes. But then... It happened.

FWOOSH!

An explosion emerged from his hand, an inferno of ferocious fire roaring like a thousand lions in the dark, cold cavern. Light filled the area around him, expanding rapidly to incinerate the shade before him in a flash of fire and destruction. Ruven could hardly believe what had happened himself as the white flames faded from exsistence, only their cooler orange cousins were left as evidence of what had just happened. He stared at his hand gingerly for a moment, The Toll... he thought, I... didn't incur the toll... He had no idea what had just happened, and we wanted to know, but his spell had revealed something to him. In the brief moment the flames had illuminated the cavern around him, his superior Elven eyes caught sight of something in the distance. Doors; a pair of hard, iron doors. He did not know where it would lead, but seeing how it was different from everything he had seen in the forgotten city above, it was clear that it could be a potential exit. He prepared to move forward but he noticed something. Light, small points of light everywhere opened in pairs of two, shaking and making the same hissing sound of the shades that had attacked from before. Ruven made his hand into a fist, subduing the aching fever within his mind,

"Now I understand why you're twitching; you're all locked in here with me."

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Spindle
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Founded: Aug 04, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Spindle » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:05 pm

Sinnweld
Imperial Highway
The Reach


Words flowed out from the Reachman, twisting and twining into knots as she fumbled mentally to unwind and absorb them. One sentence was not for her, and she did her best to file it away through the haze of exhaustion and the slow embers burning through her muscles. The second was directed towards her and she pushed through her fugue to meet it, clumsily unpacking its contents. A Mayaar as a master - perhaps unsurprising, given their predominance in the arcane arena - but there was something else in there which she tested against the tip of her mind, unsure of quite what it was. Turning it end over end, she did her best to consider.

A distinctly animal - if not, she realised as her knife withdrew from her sheathe, quite feral - growl rolled through her perception and Sinnweld prepared to meet whatever new threat was hurled her way. The rabbit-creature hopped into view, nose twitching. Letting what little tension she had been able to bear drain, her knife returned to its sheathe and Sinnweld watched it make its little pantomime in her general direction. Quite what it was trying to say she was unsure, and when he chuckled her uncertainties redoubled. Condescension or commendation?

It took her a moment longer than it should have to realise that the Reachman was talking again. The leaves on the trees around her were flickering in and out of focus, and she let her head tilt to one side before his words slowly sunk into her thoughts. Young? Was she young? She had been young before, she knew. But that had been a lifetime ago - mud and blood and screaming faces separated her from youth. But then again, that was age where it was hard to see - and she suspected that compared to the silver flame, she had taken but her first tentative steps from comfort.

The thought chilled her.

Without warning her knees buckled, as a wave of golden energy tore into her. The embers in her bones found fuel and leapt, hissing and cackling, into inferno, a scorching pain which wracked every muscle and set her teeth grinding together. For a moment Sinnweld wondered if the Reachman had turned on her, then a calming ocean washed over her body in a heavy wave. It pressed down like a sheet of lead, whispering sweet satisfaction if she should just surrender and collapse and let herself heal for an hour or a day or a week.

Gritting her teeth, Sinnweld slowly forced herself onto trembling legs and glanced across at her opposite number. She would need to conclude this battle here - ascertain who had lost their capabilities, who would need to be taken care of, who was still in fighting shape. The rabbit-creature sat before her, eyeing her inquisitively. Every so often it would glance from her to the silver flame as if it were attempting to gauge her against the other spellcaster, who chose that moment to make what was apparently his closing statement.

Beware preconceived notions, indeed.

Closing her eyes, forcing in a deep breath, she nodded.

"Where do you go now?" She asked, "And would it be too much trouble if we were to join you?"
Disclaimer: Nothing said here is the product of a rational mind.
So...apparently I'm a decent writer. Um...wait, what?
Relativity, nukes in space, nukes in atmosphere, LASERs, MASERs, kinetic weapons, missile and kinetic CIWS, impactors and centripital force.

And, of course, for anything at all, you can always go here.

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Ithalian Empire
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Founded: Jan 19, 2015
Father Knows Best State

Postby Ithalian Empire » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:06 pm

Baldric Carcaster


The ride had been pleasant. The day was warm and clear, the air clean and fragrant and the sky clear save for the few wisps of clouds. The sun was starting to set, the sky was aflame with the color of a day dying, oranges and deep reds painted the sky as the sun began to slip below the horizon. Just as Baldric has suspected, the merchant and his family hadnt made it much more than twelve miles from there start point that morning. He rode up, turning the bend in the road to see the wagon of Winfrith on the side. His family getting ready for dinner. In total, Winfirth had a family of seven, him, his wife and five daughters.

Winfirth spotted Baldric first, "And what brings our nameless lordling back to us, eh? Decided to come with us then?"

"Indeed I have Winfirth. No one should travel about without some armed guard these days," Baldric said, the statement was true enough, "Besides, I may have met a pair of elves who are interested in work."

"Hmm, work you say? You know that I don't have the money to pay for armed guards. As much as I wish I did," the merchant looked back at his family while the laid out a table, "Will the be willing to be paid once we get back to Herrath?"

"From the sound of it, they wouldn't mind being paid in a warm cott and a good meal."

"Well. Lucky for them I can do that. Where are they?"

"Maybe a half days walk behind us."

"Well, I suppose a longer rest wouldn't hurt us. Come Baldric, eat with us."

Baldric couldn't refuse the offer. The stew he had made midday had been good, but nothing compared to the meal that Winfirths wife Mindred had made that night. It was a simple meal of homemade bread and fish with a pie for dessert, but there was something in the way that it was made that made it taste so good. Most of the dinner was spent talking about business. And that wasn't going well. Winfith complained that the foul business with the marauders had cut off a major source of his silk stocks, and the unrest after Emperor Azelians death had only worsened the problem. Baldric didn't say what he knew on the matter of the marauders. He told them the same story he had told Alyndel and Herrius about his life. He felt that pit of guilt inside him when they gave him their condolences.

"Damned shame too, Atlas was always a good place to do business. I may not have ever met Heremond Carcaster, but the reputation of his father is well known. Goodman he was. Such a shame his lands should go up like that."

Baldric felt even worse for lying to the merchant. He had gained their trust, saved there lives once already, eaten at there table twice. They deserved the know who he was, and he figured they would one day when he was ready to tell them the truth. The dinner went on, and all the while he kept catching the oldest of Winfirth daughters looking at him. It was the red-haired girl the bandit had wanted to take captive, her name was Ymma. And to put it simply she was beautiful. Her hair, a bright red color, flowed over her shoulders in rivulets of fire as the setting suns light caught it. Her eyes were a deep green and even after the event of that day was full of laughter and life. Everything about her was perfect in Baldrics eye. They finished dinner and Mindred and the girls started to clear away the table.



The Next day the began to travel once more, Alyndel and Herrius no doubt a few hours behind them.
Eat ,Drink, and be mary, for tomorrow we die.
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Zanera
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 9717
Founded: Jun 28, 2012
Ex-Nation

Postby Zanera » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:45 am

Alyndel and Herrius
Road to Stormdenn
Meeting Up With the Merchant Wagon



"This is grand. Haven't had to haul ass like this since the Gauntlet," said Alyndel.

"Not even when you were an errant knight?" asked Herrius.

"Your lack of timeliness is frowned upon but it doesn't get you whipped."

"You've gone soft, haven't ye? Always on a horse, feasting with nobles, covered from head-to-toe in armor. I bet you never wore a moleskin after you donned that armor."

"It was nice in that it kept me from passing out drunk in a ditch."

"Ah. You got to pass out in a warm bed."

"Can't remember much of it of course. Can't remember the point of it, if there ever was one. I was just running away I guess. I've been trying to fix that."

"You sure ran away from Nimshat."

"You bailed me out on your own initiative. I would've taken ten whips, maybe even twenty out of principle alone. He was going to take it too far, so I went along with you."

"Yeah. He was probably dealing his version of personal justice."

"Personal justice? How was it personal before we escaped?"

"A long time ago, just before he joined up with the Gauntlet, he was bent up about a major job in Eldrion he was swindled out of. Tracked a dire bear for days just for some random adventurers to take credit. He had a ghastly wound, someone pushed him the wrong way, and he ended up beaten and thrown in a dungeon. He was probably taking your punishment personally as some form of justice."

"Because I was a Mayaar?"

"There's thousands of years of prejudice between Man and Mer. Can't clear it up over night I guess. He didn't treat any of the Mayaar in the Gauntlet any differently from any other race, so I guess he chose you because you're a deserter and that's a pretty bad stigma."

"Gods damn. Hey, is that them up ahead?"

"I believe so. Let's hurry."


They walked up to the caravan, Alyndel nodding to Baldric. Herrius said," I heard you required some assistance. We can protect you in exchange for a bit of lodging when we reach Herrath."

Winfirth looked the two yaar over. They looked like they had seen there fair share of scrapes, and they wheren't asking for much. For the price of a few extra rooms and some food he would have protection for his whole family. He would give as much as he could for that.

"You must be the two yaar Baldric talked about. To keep my family and good protected I would pay you, and if this trip is a good one, perhaps some coin could find your way."

"Coin isn't too, too necessary. An old-fashioned barter is all we need. Fighting elves fight for you in exchange for a room or two of the affluent man's lodging and decent food at the end of the journey. Besides, you deal in Valyarian culture and a Valyaar can appreciate a man with an appreciation of our culture," said Herrius, smiling. Alyndel raised an eyebrow and looked around. It was a good day for walking. Nothing seemed out of place. Hopefully it would stay that way to Stormdenn and Herrath.

"Indeed. That damned fleet of pirates is making trade to Valyaria hard, prices are shooting up, haven't heard anything from my supplier in Drogon since that started. Now it seems like we are getting our fair shair of trouble. Azelian wouldn't have let bandits charge toils in his empire." Winfirth said "But what can we little people do but ride through it like we always have. Than it is agreed that you will provide me and mine protection to Herrath in exchange for lodging."

"I fought for Azelian once, as a mercenary. The War was such a bloody business we mostly just wanted it over. Azelian's reign is going to have to be left to the historians, but I can personally attest to his place in the War," said Herrius. "Aye, if that's our deal, you have our swords. Well, sword and spear."

"You could be armed with a nothing but your fists and stones and it would be better than what I had. If it weren't for Baldric..." Winfirth trailed off, he was still troubled by what had happen on the road side. How close had he come to loosing it all? "Anyway. What brings two Yaar to Herrath?"

"Personal business about a long-dead friend of ours. Once we wrap that up we'll be getting out of Herrath. By the time we're out of the city we'll be even and out of your hair."

"I see, well, glad to have you with us none the less."

"Glad to have some stable company along the way, too."

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Tysklandia
Diplomat
 
Posts: 516
Founded: Apr 15, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Tysklandia » Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:31 pm



Wolf of Wolfhelm

Chapter I.


Road to Wolfhelm
Hilltop Overlooking the Ymir Valley

Aedric Smidr - Brenna Smidr - Balgruf Durnaldir - Talgir


The group had settled down by nightfall on a hill overlooking the valley. The fading twilight displaying a beautiful sight over the Ymir lake and its fishing boats, the snowy mountains in the distance, the great pine forests that walled the valley and of course the walled city of Wolfhelm and the farmsteads which surrounded it. The flicking red glow of torches appeared soon after the sun began to set, betraying the presence of civilization in the otherwise pitch darkness of the moonless night.

On their hilltop, the group had secured their horses and prepared their tents and campfire for the night. Brenna stood over the fire, humming a soft tune as she tended to the stew that would be their dinner for the day. Talgir sat a fair distance away, cleaning his knives as he had finished skinning the deer that had donated to Brenna's stew. Balgruf sat on a fallen tree stump, a chainmail vest draped his knees, muttering about the carelessness in which his companions took care of his craft in his native tongue as he repaired a few broken rings.

Aedric, however, stood at the edge of their camp, staring at the lights of Wolfhelm in the distance, as his mind wandered to the events that had made him leave, nearly 5 years ago. He had heard rumors that the head of Smidr family was at his estate, so he wouldn't be forced to meet his brother face to face tomorrow. Their broken relationship had been something that had gnawed at him for the past years, he had been arrogant then and had allowed his frustration and jealousy to become a rift between them. But if he saw his brother again, would he be able to apologize for his actions? Before he could answer the question he had asked of himself, a soft hand pressed on his shoulder and a soothing voice appeared from behind him.

"Everything will be fine Aedric... It has been years, your brother will be fond to see you again, I am certain." Brenna had sensed the worry of her companion growing in the past few days and was powerless to calm him down. They had both left their families and their expectations behind when they had eloped. They both wanted to see their home and families again but were troubled about how they would be received if they did return. Aedric worried if his brother could forgive him and Brenna had broken her father's heart when she left with but few words as goodbye.

Aedric placed his hand on Brenna's and they both gazed into the valley below for a moment before returning to the fire...
Balgruf and Talgir had completed their chosen tasks and had already begun their meal when Aedric and Brenna joined them. The dwarf believed it best to change the topic of conversation so in between his meal his gruff, thick voice spoke out to discuss the following day.

"If the Lycanthropes are with more than a handful, we'll need Silver. A lot of it." Baldric pointed to Brenna her Truesilver-spear, which leaned against the tent she shared with Aedric. "That one weapon will not be nearly enough. We will need Arrows, Bolts, swords. Without it, we won't stand much chance."

Talgir put down his plate, having finished his meal quickly as he always did. Wiping his muzzle clean with a piece of cloth. "I agree. My arrows will not pierce lycan flesh as a Silver one would."

"Balgruf, can you find us these silver weapons?" Aedric leaned over the smoldering fire and the metal pot that held the stew. filling his own bowl as he spoke.

"The rumors and fright should make sure silver is easy to find within the confines of the city. I will find a forge that can make sure we have the tools we need to deal with the lycans." As the group agreed, Balgruf set down his finished meal and took his pipe. Talgir stood and prepared his bed for the night as Aedric and Brenna remained by the fire, a little while longer.

Road to Wolfhelm
Fields around Woflhelm
Aedric Smidr - Brenna Smidr - Balgruf Durnaldir - Talgir


Six horses and three ponies walking through a muddy road, passing homesteads and farms, carrying a warrior, a shieldmaiden, a dwarf, and a lupan is not a sight you see daily in the lands of Norravag. Farmers took a moment from the days work to see them travel through the fields, up to the shores of Ymir, Upon which the fortified city of Wolfhelm was built. Its ancient, but still formidable walls protecting the Nordic city that produced and traded most of the food in the nation.

"What are you going to do?" Aedric rode at the front, Talgir flanking him closely.

"You do not need me as you go into the city. I will stay with the horses, I will wait until you have prepared." The lupan has been odd, even for his own kin. He disliked crowds and cities like the plague. They had become accustomed to letting Talgir have his way, let him have his peace outside of city walls as the rest of the group took care of finding contracts and goods inside. His keen eyes had already spotted some fenced fields barren of livestock which he could approach to let their horses rest for a few days, a few trees and shadow would be all he needed for a piece of mind during that time.

"Your choice Talgir, we'll find you once we have done our business inside the walls, Anything you need?"

"If my pelts can be sold for a fair price, I will be content."

Aedric smiled and nodded, he wasn't a fair tradesmen, but he was sure Brenna could fetch a fair price for the animal skins he collected on their journey. Talgir had no true need for money, but he liked getting rewarded for his skills. His time in Valaried had marked him as restless and without a true purpose. Having the recognition any skilled tradesmen deserved often game him peace of mind. It was no effort to give him that.

As they came upon a crossroads, The group disembarked and re-organized the horses, leaving most of them with Talgir and taking only a few toward Wolfhelm, filled with Balgruf his tools and some goods they could offer for sale on the markets. They split off then, Talgir leading the bulk of their animals off towards a nearby farmhouse as Aedric led Brenna and Balgruf into the city of Wolfhelm...

City of Wolfhelm
The Smith - Balgruf Durnaldir


Balgruf had seen his share of Nordic cities, Valaried, Stormgard, Argin... He had even seen Ceuron in his handful of years traveling. Nords often said Wolfhelm was the most... Reach-like of the Norravag cities, even though Balgruf himself could not see the comparison. The cities of the reach were larger and in terms of construction and infrastructure, often more impressive. Norravag lacked the economy and riches of the south and their cities were plagued perpetually by age and the problems that brought.

He passed the series of large boathouses that marred the shoreline and made his way through the bending streets. Engraved wooden houses on stone foundations dominating the sides of the simple cobblestone roads, flanked by dirty and muddy ditches. Men toiled in Butcher and tailor workshops and women manned stalls which sold bread and produce, yelling loudly to advertise their wares. The cities of men and elf were to Balgruf, a rather loud affair, and chaotic affair. But he himself, however, was perhaps equally, a strange sight to behold. A dwarf, stepping through the streets, his heavy armor only partially obscured by his thick winter cloak. The head of his Dwarven axe visible through the fluttering fabric of his winter garment and the foreign shape of his shield, slung on his back, clearly marking him as a warrior. His strange arrival was perhaps made even more enticing by the thick nordic pony he dragged alongside him with a rope, the poor beast seemingly encumbered by clanking tools and materials as Balgruf trudged through the streets looking for something.

He would find that something quickly enough. Wolfhelm was not light on forges, as were few Nordic cities. Smithing and the art of forging tools and weapons seemed to run as much in nordic blood as it did that of the dwarven people.
Many, if not all, advertised weapons and chainmail of varying quality, alongside nails and farming tools. These were not the forges Balgruf was looking for. Closer to the cities keep, where the Jarl and his garrison sat, on the bank of a small strong river, sat the distinct shape of a knowledgable blacksmith. A waterwheel powered their forge and he saw no tools or nails displayed for sale. Nordic blades and spears, simple but effective suits of armor and chainmail were displayed amongst their wares. Balgruf approached the house, stopping himself from entering as he heard the song of hammer beating on hot metal from the rear of the house.

As he turned the corner, he saw the blacksmith working a blade with passion, the red-hot glow of what soon would be a decent blade for a decent warrior capturing the analytic eye of the master smith from a foreign land. As the craftsmen were absorbed by Her work, Balgruf had ample time to observe her workstation as he tied his pony to a nearby pole. He had become accustomed to the forges of men, a stark difference with the complex and enchanted works he and his father had once build back in Dwarven lands, and this was the same. Crude, simple, but effective.
A large stone pit, filled with coal was attached to a large bellow, which could be worked by the waterwheel to allow for the constant build-up of heat. Several Anvils dotted the small clearing and two large smelting cauldrons lined the walls of the house. It would be enough for what he needed, the dwarf surmised.

He removed his shield and cloak for comfort and enjoyed looking the Nordic woman work as he smoked his pipe. He had seen but a few nordic women work a forge before, but none could approach the skill of this woman. Her technique was flawed but passionate. A welcome change of pace to the blacksmiths he had encountered in his travels. He never expected to find someone his equal in skill or technique and had remained unsuprised. But to find someone with similair passion, that he had not expected.

Minutes passed as the shape of a blade became clear and it was time for her to reheat the blade. She raised from her anvil and turned to approach the forge as she saw Balgruf watching her. If she was startled or frightened by his sudden appearance, she did not show it. She placed the half-finished blade back on the anvil and addressed the dwarf with a commanding tone.

"You are not allowed back here. If you wish to buy, you must speak with my father inside. I will not offer you any wares."

"I do not wish to buy your crafts, although they seem admirable. I wish to acquire the use of your forge and I will pay for it." Balgruf smiled as he could grow to like this human. She was feisty, but not in a tone that annoyed him, as many Nordic women often did.

"What would you use it for, sir...?" The woman her voice tilted as her eyes shifted to the pony behind Balgruf and the many recognizable tools that hung from the saddlebags adorning the creature. Her eyes widened for a moment as she recognized Balgruf as a dwarven blacksmith and she could not help but be intrigued and perhaps even enthused.

"I am Balgruf of Mol Darihn and I am looking for some Silver blades. I have looked around the town, but I have seen nothing of worth, solid silver weapons will break and shatter, even against lycan-flesh."

"The blades me and my father make have no equal in Wolfhelm! There is no way to make proper silver weapons without true silver and we have no such ore inside the city, the silver from the eastern mines it is all we have, how else wou-" The woman stepped forward, interested in the proposal as she began to hope the dwarf would say what she wanted to hear.

"Help me and I will teach you."

The woman stopped in her tracks as her eyes widened as she processed the possibilities. Her father was a renowned blacksmith in Wolfhelm and his wife had died before she could give grant him a son. She had spent her life trying to prove to him and Wolfhelm that she was worthy of being his successor. Knowing even a single trick or technique from a famed dwarven blacksmith would mark her work for decades to come.

"Wait here! I will find what we need!" The woman bolted inside the house and he could hear the frantic and enthusiastic yelling of glee from inside the house. Balgruf smiled as he refilled his pipe.
This would be easier than expected...


City of Wolfhelm
The Warrior and the Mage - Aedric and Brenna Smidr


Aedric walked the streets of Wolfhelm with a sense of nostalgia. The city had not changed a bit since he had last been here, half a decade ago. The roads, the houses, and even the people seemed the same. This made him all the more aware that there was some feeling of dread, however tiny, that had its grip over the people. Even as the stoic nords went about their business, he could sense people were agitated and uncertain. This, in turn, made him uneasy and his wish to get to the Jarl's keep quickly was firmly squashed by Brenna her enthusiasm.

The daughter of a blacksmith had not enjoyed ample opportunity to visit Wolfhelm often in her childhood and she had but one or two clear memories of the city. A sea of market stalls, craftsmen's workshops, and a crowd the like she had never seen. Wolfhelm had not changed she noted to herself in glee. Although she enjoyed her adventures with Aedric dearly, she always had been drawn to the opportunities one could find in a city. Books, per example, where nearly impossible to find in villages and hamlets and a proper tailor was hard sought outside of the confines of city walls. Brenna dragged Aedric through the city as she haggled the wares they had brought inside the city with glee and Aedric was forced to promise that they would return to the markets to visit the bookbinder, the tailor, and the apothecaries after their business was concluded.

After these few hours of torture, Aedric his wife could be convinced that they had pressing matters at hand. Brenna relented, realizing that her husband, still conflicted about the conflicted memories Wolfhelm brought Aedric. As they left their horse in the capable hands of a stable inside the city walls, Aedric and Brenna moved to the Jarl's keep, wearing the tools of their trade. Brenna Smidr had her Nordic shield slung across her back and carried her War-spear, layered with a coat of glittering True-silver, the appearance of glowing embers illuminating runic enchantments etched into the metal head of the weapon. Aedric approached a guard, his thick cloak and wolf pelt scarf not able to fully hide the massive blade that was slung across his back, the blade nearly reaching to his ankles.

"I am Aedric Smidr, and I come here for word of a Lycan in Tanner's Crossing and the reward on its head."
Last edited by Tysklandia on Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Warces
Civilian
 
Posts: 1
Founded: Nov 13, 2018
Ex-Nation

Postby Warces » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:41 am

Aedric and Brenna Smidr
Jarl of Wolfhelm's Castle


After these few hours of torture, Aedric his wife could be convinced that they had pressing matters at hand. Brenna relented, realizing that her husband, still conflicted about the conflicted memories Wolfhelm brought Aedric. As they left their horse in the capable hands of a stable inside the city walls, Aedric and Brenna moved to the Jarl's keep, wearing the tools of their trade. Brenna Smidr had her Nordic shield slung across her back and carried her War-spear, layered with a coat of glittering True-silver, the appearance of glowing embers illuminating runic enchantments etched into the metal head of the weapon. Aedric approached a guard, his thick cloak and wolf pelt scarf not able to fully hide the massive blade that was slung across his back, the blade nearly reaching to his ankles.

"I am Aedric Smidr, and I come here for word of a Lycan in Tanner's Crossing and the reward on its head."


The guard looked the two adventurers up and down. At first he was hopeful but his shoulders soon sunk. There were a few that had tried, and then had failed. It was a bad sight whenever an adventurer had been discovered. That werewolf was tougher than most others, but many still held the hope that the ones that would finally slay it would show up. While the guard doubted the chances of these two, as formidable as they looked, he could not stop them from seeing the jarl about the job and reward. "Enter, and go straight, you will reach the jarl. Don't veer off anywhere when you enter, no funny business."

Aedric nodded and motioned Brenna to follow as they passed the guard without more words. he pushed open the thick oak doors that marked the entrance to the Jarl his estate and they both walked inside.

Sitting upon his throne, Jarl Störn Break-Hammer leaned over the left arm of his chair, debating with his steward whether to raise taxes by 2% or to keep them the same. The jarl argued they could not be raised when fears of the werewolf were still active. The steward argued they could hire just enough militia more with which to slay the werewolf, as well as recompense those that had lost too many livestock to the beast. When the two adventurers walked into the hall, the jarl breaking off his debate with the steward. "You come before Jarl Störn Break-Hammer, have you come to ask about the werewolf?"

Aedric and Brenna stood shoulder to shoulder as they both made a minor bow, giving respects to the Jarl of Wolfhelm. Aedric took the word as his noble blood, even if minor, often greased doors otherwise more difficult to open. "I am Aedric Smidr, me and my kin are four experienced warriors all. We have heared of the werewolf that plagues your lands. And if the gods bless our hunt, to claim the reward on its head." Aedric spoke firmly and clearly. Letting no doubt or fear be known in his voice as he adressed the Jarl.

"You've my blessing, too, if it'll help you any. The werewolf has a few more wolfish bastards up in Tanner's Crossing, some old bandit fort. They are beginning to eat more livestock then we can stand to replace. The reward is now one thousand five hundred silvers. Bring me the head of each werewolf from Tanner's Crossing to me, and my steward will bring out your reward. I swear this upon my honor."

Aedric bowed slightly, showing his respect. He was but a mercenary to the Jarl of wolfhelm, he knew this. He had no place to remain at his court longer than was neccesary. His stomach turned slightly as he réaliséd that after all his years, he still felt out of place in the presence of men like his brother, a thane and men like the Jarl of Wolfhelm.

"are their warriors who have survived encountering the beasts? The knowledge they could share would help us immensely." Before Aedric could turn to make his exit, Brenna interupted and spoke up. Her head held high as she addressed the Jarl. She looked the typical Nordic shield maiden and as such not terribly out of place. But the scar that dominated the part of her face were her left eye used to be, would indicate to any mage in the room that she had once incurred the toll and as such, was a caster of magic herself.

"There are few that have survived the werewolves, mainly civilian farmers that managed to hide or get away from an attack. I believe one of them was Inga Idle-shield. She used to be a battle-maiden, but she's a farmer's wife now. At least, used to be."

"Where could we find her? We would speak to her, before we depart."

Shoki's Village. She's been staying in the chapel there since she has no where else to go. If she will not speak, I ask that you do not press her. She is a strong woman, though."

"We will not press if she still grieves my Jarl, We understand."
With that, everything seemed to be said as Brenna turned to Aedric and nodded, signalling that she had the information she wanted. Aedric turned to the jarl and bowed slightly as he spoke. "Then with your blessing, we shall begin our hunt."

"May your hunt be fruitful."

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Everhall
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Founded: Sep 23, 2014
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Everhall » Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:43 pm

A Final Farewell

Lhoris Varian


Lhoris' arm tickled slightly as the light magic worked to mend the bloody wound he had received during his fight with the masked woman. It was a flesh wound really, only bringing minor pain; even then, it could not go untreated. He sat in a chair in the Archmage's tower with his guards around him as Cadmus used Light Magic in order to mend his injury. He would have done it himself, but the Arcane Fever weighed heavily on his mind after he had used magic in order to fight the masked woman and heal Kya. Their mission, it seemed, was a complete failure. Not only had they failed to receive any new information concerning the cultists, but they had also failed to even match their opponent in power. It was frustrating, infuriating really, and Lhoris had the lingering feeling that whatever the cultists were planning was soon to come to fruition. These were the thoughts in the Councilor's mind as his wounds continued to be mended together like stitches, or they were until the Archmage completed his work and stood, relaying his completion to Lhoris.

"Thank you, Selywin," Lhoris held his right wrist with his hand, "Honestly it feels better than it did before."

"Now don't go injuring yourself in order to make old pains go away,” Cadmus cracked a jovial smile, ”You’ve already had your share of close calls in the past old timer, it's a wonder you can even take a beating after all these years.”

Lhoris hung his head down as he stared at his newly healed arm. Though Cadmus' magic had healed his newest wound, others still remained memories from his time as an Inquisitor, one of the bulwarks against the forces of dread. Thin scars ran down the length of his arm from all manner of close calls with crazed cultists. One particular scar (one which Lhoris would rather not talk about) came from a seductress from a brothel in Summerset back when he was much, much younger. Memories of that event and how boisterous the laughter of his fellow Shadow Legionaries had been when rumors of it spread brought a small smile to Lhoris' face. He remembered then; all of them, his allies, his friends, they were dead. It wasn't very common for an elf such as himself to live as long as he had, many of his allies had died in war or from just old age. Those that remained, those that still remembered him and the times they spent together, had most all joined the others in the grave when the Shadow Legion was destroyed, and the thought of this drove Lhoris to a single conclusion.

"Cadmus," he said in a low voice almost too silent to recognize, "I don't want you, Fergus, Kya, or anyone else to remain involved in my charades. From now on, I'm going to be doing this alone."

"What?" Fergus eyes widened incredulously. He approached Lhoris and slammed his fist on the table, "I'm sorry, but I'm not taking any of that crap! You need, us High Chancellor, more than you think, and we all want to be apart of bringing Julek to justice!"

"No, you don't understand," Lhoris looked away distant, "It wasn't giving you a choice, that was an order."

"I'm sorry, sir, but I'm going to have to disobey that order."

"Why..." Lhoris growled in a low tone, "do you insist on testing me? Do you want to know why I don't want any of you involved anymore? I've lived my life with one mission of protecting the world that I live in, the friends that I've made, and the people that I love and I'm failing. I'm failing at it. All the signs were there for Melkor and I did nothing, nothing but watch. He killed the love of my life, he left my daughter without a mother and it was all my fault. I watched for eighty years as the Empire I love became corrupted by infighting and laziness and I did nothing. I watched as the man who was my friend turned two, young boys into dogs snapping at each other's throats and yet I did nothing, nothing but add to the fire and now we're here." Lhoris hung his head, "People often said behind Azelian's back that I was what made him the great. Emperor Azelian... Ashen, The Great... But that's not true. I never made anyone great. I was just more of the same. Even then, I always had faith that I would be able to protect the ones I love and care about. But now... I'm not sure of anything... And that thought terrifies me."

The room hung in muted silence, the only sound being that of the depressed sky weeping torrents of rain on the capital. Lhoris sat his chair with his head hung throughout all of this, waiting for any one of them to respond. Cadmus took a step forward,

"Lhoris," he said as he approached. They stared at each other for a moment, Lhoris waiting to see what Cadmus would do. It was to his surprise then when it was not words that came from his friend's mouth, but a fist that struck him across the cheek.

"Dammit, Cadmus!" Lhoris cursed, "What in Dread was that for?!"

"Don't you feed me that crap, Lhoris!" Cadmus stood back up to his original position. Smiling he said, "We've all got as much of an interest in getting this solved as you do. If it takes a punch to get that through to you, then I'll gladly give it to ya. You don't have to do this alone."

"Selywin, but, your family-"

"Hey, the way I see it, the work that I'm doing will make it sure that they're safe. I don't want my daughter growing up under the Second Black Phoenix I can tell you that." Cadmus glanced out the window at the rapidly sinking sun, "Listen, Lhoris, I think you've earned a bit of a rest. I and the others will learn what we can from what you got from Knight's house. Don't worry, we can handle this."

Lhoris opened his mouth to object but the stifling yawn showed him the truthfulness of Cadmus' words, "Fine," he sighed, "But once I'm back I'll repay you that punch two times over, Selywin. You can bet on it."

The Archmage chuckled, "Yeah, I always do."


Selywin Cadmus
Later...



"Damn," Cadmus cursed a yet another charred piece of parchment crumbled like dust in his hands, blowing in small particles across his illuminated table, "Just had to make it hard for me..." The leaned back in his chair and sighed, putting his hands to his face in frustration. The sun had long since set behind the pristine peaks that marked the border of Ieros Valley, and so the only light that remained in his room was the half of a candle that was slowly flickering on his desk. The others had long since left, not of their own choosing, of course, but because Cadmus had sent them away. Fergus, as always, protested but the Archmage had stayed firm; he thought better when he was alone; it was just his way.

He leaned forward in his chair with his hands hanging over his legs. Cadmus did not know how long he had been at it, but his drooping eyes told him that it was well past time that he stop his work and head to sleep. He considered it for a moment, mulling it over in the slow thoughts of his fatigued mind, but decided against it; he had to find at least something tonight. The only problem was that he had little to work with. Much of what was in Knight's house had been destroyed by the fire that was caused by the masked woman Lhoris had fought, probably exactly what she had intended. What Lhoris and Kya had been able to save wasn't much, just a few dust-covered letters and wine-stained parchments whose quality ranged from completely incomprehensible to the downright insane. What could it all mean? Whatever it meant, Cadmus couldn't divine the answer sitting there mopping, he sat up in his chair and pulled another parchment from his stack of papers. It was a short piece, most likely a small letter, but the contents of the message baffled Cadmus.

86th of Qhfx 9R 388

gur cebzurq puvyq neevrf. zryxbe quq abg gur va inva.


"What in Dread?" he looked at the parchment bewildered, "How much of a loon was this woman, you can barely understand a damned thing. Crazy old-" Cadmus went to toss the letter aside, but then he paid closer attention to the supposed date. The 86th of Qhfx 9R 388... It was so... utterly random. Most, no, all people knew the count of days in the calendar of Eroris and the count of months as well. From Dawn Star (1) all the way to Dusk Star (12), even the most idiotic of peasants knew the months of the year. Could it be that she couldn't write? Cadmus asked himself. No, he concluded, what would an illiterate person need with letters and missives? There's something more to this... Cadmus' scrutiny focused on one particular mark: 9R, placed where the era number would be. He took his quill and hand and crossed the mark out, replacing it with the standard '4E' that signaled its place in the Fourth Era. It hit Cadmus then, an idea, growing slowly at first, a few marked letters on a separate piece of parchment before it gained more traction in his head. Before long, he had written the entire alphabet down and even the basic numbers used in every mathematical equation. "So..." Cadmus whispered, "The 86th of Qhfx 9R 388 is actually the... 13th of Dusk (12), 4E 833? But isn't that-" Cadmus took a small gasp, "No, it can't be." he began to write with furious vigor as he translated the whole letter with the same code.

"I need more," he concluded, taking one letter, and then another from his pile, looking for one that was similar in creation to the first. Fortunately for Cadmus, it did not take long for him to pull another coded letter from the pile.

7th of Snyyfgne 9R 389

bhe wheq, bhe erirynguba unf orra urgenlrq. numq ebyyuat, ynhtugre sybjuat.


"The 2nd of Fallstar (11), 4E 834," Cadmus whispered, "A... head? What? By the gods... they were just rumors not... By Ceros..." he chose another letter from the pile.

70th of Zuqlrne 9R 328
1st of Revelation, AoD 0


WHYRX, gur cebzurq puvya, rzrtrq qenaqrq gur fba bg punbf, gur fba bg KHIHF.


"The... 25th of Midyear 4E 872? That's quite a jump... wait..." Cadmus dropped his quill, his eyes widening, "Th-...th-..." he couldn't get the words out. His trembling eyes remained focused squarely on the word he had translated. He abruptly stood up, "I have to tell Lhoris. I have to tell the council right away- huh?" he turned around to see a young, white-haired little girl standing a little ways from him. "Wh-what are you doing-" the words caught in his throat. The girl's eyes gleamed a hellish red and a devilish smirk was scrawled across her face,

"Hello, Archmage," she said a girl's voice with malevolent intent unusual for her age, "it's nice to meet you. Well, actually," she held up her hand, "'Hello' isn't really the word I'm looking for," her fingers extended into claws.

Cadmus backed up, staring into the girl's murderous eyes that looked so familiar, "Nice eyes you got there," he readied a spell in his hand.

"Those are your last words? Wouldn't you rather scream?" her black claws lunged towards him as he launched a summoned dagger into the girl's head. The talons struck him in the shoulder as he tried to dodge, sending a burst of pain through his body, but the dagger flew true, striking the girl in the head allowing blood to gush out. "Ugh!" Cadmus grunted with pain as the talons were pulled from his skin. He had to make it out of there! He had to tell Lhoris! With an arm to his shoulder, be began to limp towards the exit from his study. Once there, he pulled on the door in order to escape but nothing moved, hampered by forces unknown to him.

"Dammit!" he cursed, "Alyvia!" he called for his student, but a dark shadow crept over him. A woman, wearing a mask appearing from what seemed to be darkness itself slowly approaching him.

"So very sad, Cadmus," a girl's voice said. Cadmus watched with unbelieving eyes as the girl he had wounded with a danger stood from the wall she had been thrown to and casually pulled the summoned dagger from her head, "Look's like you're getting sloppy."

"Just what in Dread are you!?"

"Just a humble servant, Archmage. You are a very smart man, Archmage. Did you even think that that would be the cause of your death?"

"Come on have a heart, will you?" Cadmus replied as he prepared an electricity spell in his hand, "I have a wife and daughter waiting for me, so that last thing I'm going to do is die on them!" he turned around to release the spell before found himself face to face with an emotionless Eltzia brandishing the blades the masked woman had drawn. Cadmus froze in horror, "Oh god-" He was stabbed through the crest. Not one, twice, thrice, the sound of metal passing through flesh coming again and again and again before he fell to the ground in a pool of blood, his spell having long since faded from his hand. "UAH!" sanguine crimson came from his mouth as the Elitza faded away back into the Masked Woman holding her bloodied blades looking down on Cadmus. The girl slowly approaching having healed completely from the wound Cadmus had inflicted on her, "Good night, Archmage... it was fine meeting you."

He watched in eyes increasingly devoid of light as the two of them disappeared into a black gate that opened in the corner of the room, even as his blood continued to pool on the floor and on the door behind him. A small metal locket fell from the inside of his torn robe, opening on the black floor. The picture of his wife and daughter inside would swam in a pool of his own blood.


Lhoris stood before his friend's gravestone where he had been laid to rest in the center of the gardens. A familiar presence near him stoked the anger in his heart in his soul, "You..." he growled, "you did this..."

To be Continued in
The Monsters Among Us Part 1,2, & 3; The End of Act 2 of the Brothers Storyline
Last edited by Everhall on Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Arengin Union » Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:34 pm

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Bellenwhod, Norravägg.




It had been a few weeks since Hankir and his daughter had gone hunting, in fact the girl had opted to remain home most of the time and focus on reading, cooking, and practicing with her bow from time to time. Hankir for his part was still taking part of work as village guard and hunter. Most recently a large pack of iarims had been spotted a few days ago and with the weather calming down it was the best chance to get rid of them before they grew in larger numbers. Iarims were a pest around these parts, when one den was cleared two more appeared a few weeks later and they ate crops, stole food from houses as well as other valuables and sometimes they killed babies and little children. Last time Bellenwhod didn't take care of an iarim infestation in time it had caused the death of a whole family. This time the village had gathered some men and sent them out to get rid of the dens as usual, Hankir was among them.

Eliminating one of the dens was not difficult, in fact Hankir and his fellow Nord Birard managed to destroy one den with ease, now it was up to the other two groups to do the same, both of them had been away from camp for a while as both Hankir and Birard gathered around the fire, Birard sharpened his dagger as Hankir simply sat on a log and kept his sword close.

"You would think that they'd be back by now. A frost goblin den doesn't take that much time to destroy, just set some fire on entrance burrows and that'll take care of the rest." Birard said while giving some finishing touches to his daggers sharpening.

"They'd be fine, probably had to kill some of the stragglers. I'm sure it'll all work out for those two." Hankir answered with little care as he then took out a piece of bread from his satchel and began eating.

"I've noticed that your daughter stays home more and more." Birard said after a few minutes of silence from the two men, still sharpening his blade.

"She's just growing. You know how children are at that age." Hankir answered with a stern face, looking down on the fire as the cold wind began to caught up.

Birard nodded for a bit, a gesture of agreement since he himself was a father as well. "You've given any thought that maybe she's bored?"

"Well we're living in the most secluded region of Eoris Birard, I think we're all bored."

Both men gave some small laughs. Birard then made a strange remark.

"Maybe she and my boy could go out sometime. They're getting to that age now." Birard gave a look of slight raise of his brows at Hankir who simply smirked while shaking his head.

"Runold? Your son? Ha, Birard if there's anything I worry more about than Adria's well being is being entangled with any boys like that."

Birard seemed a bit taken back by the comment but he left it at that.

"I think she just needs some alone time, she's been kind of moody in recent days." Hankir said to no one in particular.

"Ah you know how children are. I remember I wasn't even 10 years of age before me and me father were at each other's throats." Birard finally sheathed his dagger and kept himself lying down on the fur mat near the fire.

Hankir began reminiscing about his own father, how rough he was and how he shaped him for years to become a fierce warrior. "It's been too long since I've thought of my father, my mother not that much."

"How so?" Birard asked with little concern but only to make it seem as he was listening.

"Well one died when I was still in my youth, my mother and I traveled around Eoris. She died of old age, I only hope she's with the gods now."

Hankir and Birard kept the small talk for a while until finally Reggier and Elm arrived from the woods, both men seemed a bit rugged as they settled near the campfire with the other two nords welcoming them.

"Well fine of you two to join us." Birard said while eating some berries from his satchel.

"They were a lot, more than we expected." Reggier said while sitting on the wooden log next to Hankir, setting his great sword on the side.

"Horm and Valge haven't arrived yet?" Asked Elm with some worry.

"No, they must've run into a bigger den like you two. It is getting dark soon, I hope they get back before we have to pack up and head back." Hankir said while looking over his shoulder to the forest, it was a grim sight to say the least, the deep and silent woods of Norravag so ominous and filled with mysteries most didn't know of.




A single bright red apple stood on top of a large tree stump, cold wind blowing as always and the sky a combination of white clouds and sun shinning through from time to time across the valley. The Nord girl Adria standing several meters away from the apple and measuring the wind with her fingers, then she pulled the bow's string to make sure it was stern followed by setting the long arrow on it.

Adria was ready, she moved her head to get the hair out of her face and pulled back the arrow and aimed. She aimed up and she tried her best to predict where the wind would lead her arrow. With faith in her eyes and trying to boast confidence she let go of the arrow and it flew across the yard, faster than a blink. For a second or so Adria thought she'd got it, but it had not been the case, the apple was not even grazed as Adria saw the arrow stuck in a tree trunk some centimeters from the apple, the snow had been scattered from it by the impact.

"Damn..." Were the only words muttered by the girl as she began to walk towards the apple in the stomp, she picked it up and took a bite out of it. Her gloved hand protected from the bitter cold as did her overall outfit of pelts and warm fur, she then looked at the arrow stuck in the tree, what a shame she thought.

Out of nowhere a voice made Adria flinch, "You know you could've just used the fire spell I taught you." It was Achidian at the other side of the fence of Adria's home, snooping about as he did when Hankir was away from home. Adria smiled at the sight of the mage.

"Not all of us like to rely on some magic tricks you know." She boasted sarcastically as she moved towards the stuck arrow. Achidian moved at her pace as she walked.

"Well maybe not, but it sure is more practical than some sticks and a string. Practicality is not reliance when you're good at what you do." Achidian countered while giving a brag smile.

Adria pulled the arrow from the tree, it was still in decent condition despite the impact. She had been trying her best to practice archery as her father wanted her to, he was not the most adept at the practice himself but thats why he wanted her to learn, he could easily use swords, axes, maces, or any other weapon. She for her part was weaker than most and as he once said "Learn your disadvantages and use them to your strength" whatever that was supposed to mean.

"Father should be back soon Achie... You should leave." Adria said with an indifferent expression.

Achidian simply nodded with obvious disdain, he tried his best to teach the girl her truest potential but she was too hesitant to learn more than the basics. Too enthralled in her father's words that she missed what she herself wanted.

"Alright. Well you should try and give a read to the seventh chapter, it talks about focus, it'll help with your archery." Achidian began walking away leaving Adria alone as she gave deeper thoughts to her life in Bellenwhod, never fully fitting in and sometimes feeling as if her own father was estranged of her. She knew it was her fault, she'd been trying to ease his worries by being less outspoken but it was a struggle when all she wanted to do was just stand up and let him know her true feelings, feelings of anger and frustration she herself didn't understand.

Adria was then brought back to reality by a scream, a loud one, then several noises coming from the other side of the village. Achidian himself stopped on his walk as he then saw smoke coming from not so far in the village. Everyone exited their homes or stopped doing their work as the screams became louder and suddenly a storm of arrows began falling down on the village, some had fire on them and feel right on the dry roofs and began to set fire everywhere. Adria took cover as Achidian ran across the square, readying his destruction spells and putting on his hood. Village defenders exited their works and homes to see what was going while there were already some dead on the ground due to the initial storm of arrows.

Adria looked around her with her dagger out and ready to defend herself if need be, her heart pumping she then noticed her own house had several fire arrows stuck on the roof. She quickly did her best to put them out as she began to hear the sounds of fighting and more screams of panic, what should she do? Where was father?!

"Father!" Adria promptly realized.




The four men were tearing down the camp, the tent was teared down and the bed mats were packed. Home wasn't so far so they hadn't brought any horses. Hankir was putting the fire out as he then heard noises coming from the woods, he turned around with caution as he then saw a figure approaching from the now darker forest, the sound of twigs and branches breaking made it apparent that there was someone there.

Then a soft and weakened voice spoke, "H-help." It was Horm, struggling to walk as he was dragging his sword with his hand and trying to find balance with the other ones.

Hankir and the others looked at him with confusion as Birard then approached the man, worry in his mannerism. "Horm, what happened, where's Val-" Birard was cut by the sudden sound of something quick whizzing by, the three other men saw as an arrow had pierced through Birard's neck and he struggled to breath while gurgling blood, he crumbled to the ground. Horm then fell face flat on the ground to reveal his back had been shot with at least 5 arrows. Suddenly the other men didn't even get five seconds to take in what had just happened before more arrows began to fly out of nowhere. Hankir and the others took cover as best as they could.

Hankir, Elm and Reggier then began crawling down on the ground towards the bushes near a treeline, arrows still flying everywhere. "We've got to get back to the village! Follow me!" Hankir yelled as the other two men followed without question. The unseen assailants kept firing arrows nonstop as the three Nords scurried away on the ground.
Last edited by Arengin Union on Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Everhall » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:09 pm

The Monsters Among Us;
Part I


1st of Midyear (6), 4E 901


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Lhoris



When he had heard what had happened he didn't believe it, he couldn't believe it. It just wasn't possible, of all the things to happen it just wasn't possible. The mere thought of it weighed Lhoris down like lead as he slowly with each tentative step made his way up the Archmage's tower. Only when he opened the door and saw Cadmus' bloody, mangled body full of sword blades wounds did he finally accept what he knew was true, that everyone knew was true: Cadmus was dead, and it was all his fault.

The funeral followed within the week. It was a mellow affair, very few people were actually invited; it was just his way. Fergus, Kya, and the rest of the guardsmen were there, along with a few notable members of the College of Mysteries. Cadmus' wife Eltiza was there with their daughter, Ara, holding her hand, both dressed in black along with the rest of the attendees. The new High Chancellor Harwin Sentinel made a brief appearance near the middle of the funeral, giving his condolences to Cadmus' family and patting Lhoris on the shoulder talking about how hard it was to lose a friend. Lhoris knew it all too well, unfortunately. Of all the days he had been in Isnhrion this one had to be the day that it finally stopped raining, it would return late in the night, but it would arrive well pass Cadmus' funeral. He truly was a man deserving of the world's tears, because he was one of the few that still had principle, had honor in their dark, cruel world. One speck of light among others in a sea of darkness. With his passing, to Lhoris, that world had just got a bit darker and even more dangerous.

"Mommy..." Ara said in a quiet voice he as her father's casket began to be buried in dirt, "Why are they putting all that dirt on daddy?"

"They're burying him, dear," Eltiza replied sadly,

"But if daddy gets buried then he won't be able to do his work."

Eltiza's eyes welled with tears, "Ara..." she lifted her daughter into a hug over her shoulder,

"Daddy said he has a lot of work he needs to do!" Ara cried reaching out for her father's casket, "No, stop it! Stop putting dirt on him! Daddy!!" the scene was hard to watch for all those present. Fergus had his hand over his face, Kya looked down in gloom, all while Lhoris, wise, collected Lhoris looked on downcast. He was never wise, for all he did was loose.

He was the last one remaining once it was all said and done. Remaining in the graveyard of the Nymerian Gardens as the setting sun turned the sky vibrant shades of red and orange as it prepared to rest before the start of next day. He stood at Cadmus' gravestone, a look of solemn grief on his face and reflected on their friendship, "Given an honorary medal by the Emperor for bravery and courage in the service of the Empire... You always did want one of those fancy medals... but did you have to die for one? I was the one that was supposed to go first but you beat me to it. You got it all backwards. You damn, crazy fool..." he said silently.

"Councilor Lhoris," Kya approached him; she was still dressed in her funeral clothes.

"We arcanists as a whole, we really are horrible creatures, aren't we? There's a side of me trying to desperately grasp true resurrection, right now. I think I understand what drove all those crazies, those maniacs into necromancy. They could bring back so many people that they've lost..."

"Are you alright, Councilor?"

"Yeah..." Lhoris looked up, "It's just that it's a terrible day for rain."

"What do you mean? It's not raining."

Tears strolled down Lhoris' face, "Yes... it is."

"Oh," Kya understood, "so it is. If you need to stay a little longer, there's no issue. Fergus, I and the others are at your side for whatever will come. We'll head back to the inn in the meantime. Just ask if you need anything."

"Thank you, Kya." The Reachman began to make her way out of the mostly abandoned gardens. Lhoris, however, stayed, continuing to ponder back to the times he and Cadmus sent in both the Shadow Legion and the College of Mysteries. These memories were nothing but painful looking back on considering he knew the outcome of their friendship: one buried in the ground murdered, another alive but useless, absolutely useless. He had failed both of his friends, Azelian and Cadmus both, and had outlived them when he clearly had no right to. He had failed his best friend's sons in the times that they needed him the most and now one was dead and one was on the path to destroying the Empire. I'm a failure... Lhoris gritted his teeth, A rotten failure. Everyone that had depended on me I've found some way to fail them! Is... it a curse of those that live as long as I to always look back at the times when everything was okay when everything was alright as points on the path of decline? A younger elf would have said no... but right now I'm not sure if I can answer that question...

Suddenly, he sensed something familiar that sent alarm bells ringing in his head. A presence he had not felt since the last time he was at Varian Manor, a presence that denoted ancient power and foreboding. He shifted to stare towards were the first Masked Woman stood, balanced on the branch of a rising cherry blossom. Anger stoked in his heart, "You..." he growled, "you did this..."

"Did what, Lhoris?" she said in her cold monotone voice, "From all accounts, this outcome seems to be entirely of your own making."

"Don't feed me that shit, you bitch!" Lhoris approached the tree, "I should burn you and everything else in this gods-forsaken garden."

"This is what I can't stand about you humans," the masked woman looked down condescendingly on Lhoris, "It's never me, or my fault is it? It's always you, they, them! The enemy. Your blind egos will be the death of you."

"Just what in Dread do you want? You've already caused enough trouble as it is."

"It's not about what I want, it's about what you seek to know, Lhoris. Something that your Emperor would rather not be discovered. Something that Cadmus found out much to his eventual despair."

Lhoris' eyes widened, "What is it that you know? That... Cadmus found out."

The masked woman smiled evilly under her mask, "Just seek out the tomb of your Emperor's mother, Almalexia. Once there, all will be revealed."


The Brothers



Two souls born to the same sire, but of two different mothers. One, a dark, manipulative woman who ensnared an Empire through the lust of a man, the other a kind-hearted, gentle soul that the cruel world didn't deserve. They struggled down their path, one full of destruction and death, another full of salvation and loss. As Ruven struggled to move forward against all the forces that told him to stop, to halt, and as Julek struggled to remain true to what he was meant to do, they both closed their eyes and remembered. Remembered the day, it seemed to them, that everything went wrong.

13th of Dawn (1), Year 841 of the Fourth Era


Quiet, serene night had fallen on the southern coast of Eldrion with the vibrant stars stretching in bands across the sky. It was one of the things Julek truly enjoyed about being south out of the snowy capital which, during winter, was often the subject of relentless storms. The winter of 838 and 839 had been truly awful, however, dumping heaps of snow upon Isnhrion from clouds that blocked out the sky. Julek was grateful then that he had the chance to come down here with his family for he had always found a particular affinity for the stars. His mother, though not really his true mother, always said that the limit was the stars in what he could be in all the time he had in his life. He had told her he wanted to be a knight, valiantly defending Eroris from moon men and Dea'ra. As she always did, she had smiled her bright smile and said that one day he would be. Julek hung his head in shame in his room; he shouldn't have made her angry.

Why had he felt so... compelled to take that dagger that morning? Julek had no idea. What perplexed him, even more, was his compulsion to take the blade out on a kitten his brother had found. That wasn't something normal people did, was it? Father would surely frown upon it, but he frowned at most things. What really snapped Julek out of his previous conviction to put an end to a defenseless animal was the way he surrogate mother had reacted: pure shock and horror. Julek hoped to make amends when she finally came to see him, and so sat quietly in his bed in the manor.

Knock, Knock, Knock

A knock came at the door. "Julek?" Selene, the woman he could call a mother asked on the other side of the door, "Sorry it took so long for me to get back; may I come in?"

"Yeah," Julek replied softly. Selene was one of the few people Julek could actually talk to about the harrowing nightmares that gripped him while he slept. Her openness and willingness to hear him out really helped him in some of his darker moments. Ruven... was of no help. While he and his brother got along well, there was always some unspoken rift between them and Julek's father, Azelian... the way he always seemed to look at him, a look of regret, a look of distance, the way he acted whenever he went to go hug him, unnerved Julek.

The door to his room opened with just a creek, allowing just enough space for Selene to slip in wearing her nightgown before shutting the door.

Julek pulled up his blanket to his nose, "W-where's father? You said he would be here when you came to talk to me."

"Your father is-" Selene sighed, "Your father will be late... Again. Something he's gone to do with the High Chancellor. You know how he is." Julek looked down, "Anyway," Selene continued, "I came here to return this." she reached into her nightgown and pulled out the ornamental dagger he had threatened to use on the kitten, neatly placed in its wooden sheath.

Julek averted his eyes from the blade, "I don't want it," he said quietly.

"Julek," Selene sighed, "your father gave this to you for a purpose. Even though he's distant you know that he still cares for you because you're his son. Keep it." She placed the blade on the sheets of the bed as she sat down next to Julek. Patting a spot right next to her, Selene waited for Julek to crawl from under his sheets and sit on the bed, hanging his legs over the edge just like her.

"Mom," he said trembling, "I'm scared. I'm scared not because of the widow's tales or the monsters in the stories but because of my dreams. My nightmares, what they might make me do. They keep coming more horrifying more terrifying every single night and I can't take it I'm at my limit! I know what people call me behind my back: demon child, bastard, unholy mimic. Today just goes to show that they may have been right."

"Don't you ever say that!" Selene suddenly startled him. She had raised her voice undoubtedly but even still her words still flowed with compassion and sweetness, "The people that try to define us, define you don't know the slightest about who you really are. No demon child would be as loving and caring as you. Ruven, your brother, for all the times you disagree knows this which is why he treats you as if you were his twin! If we are to allow ourselves to be defined by how others see is monsters will become men and men will become monsters. The only reality that exists is the reality that exists inside your heart, no matter what anyone, Lhoris, the Court, your father has to say. You're no bastard, Julek, you are my son just as much as Ruven is. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

Julek looked towards Selene with widened eyes. Never before had he received so much caring so much love. He had always felt that there was nothing behind all the time spent all the lessons learned from his step-mother, but what she had just said dispelled any doubt from his mind. Tears began to run down his cheek, "I'm sorry," he murmured, "I'm sorry, I"m sorry, I'm sorry!" He buried his head in her chest and she wrapped her arms around her to comfort him, "I'm sorry for being a terrible son... from now on, I'm gonna try to make everything right."

"I know you will, that's what you Ashens always do."

Julek truly believed what he had said. This would be the day everything became right. A dark sense came over Julek in that time, however, with his eyes beginning to gleam a bloody red. The eight-year-old Julek could not have been more wrong.


Ruven's dreams were strangely pleasant on the day everything went wrong despite what had happened with the kitten earlier that day. He dreamt of the adventure and the wonder he would experience once he finally came of the age old enough to join the legion, and even, at one point dreamt he had flown soaring in the old sky domain of the Moreans that once, in a time long forgotten, lived on the floating isles that the Light-Born in the Second Era and now the College of Kuruth lay upon. Ruven's dreams, however, were just that, dreams and the smoke the slowly seeped into his lungs broke into his dreams in its same chocking form, and the Prince soon found himself waking from his slumber.

Ruven's eyes flew open with a gasp, his lungs trying desperately to make up the smoke that filled his room that he had been breathing for more than a few minutes. Fire! he realized rolling to his side. He fell out of his bed with a thud as the sound of the roaring inferno grew within the manor, it was abundantly clear to him that something, somewhere had set the house alight. He crawled across the floor for a moment, its rough wood scraping some of the skin on his arms before he finally reached the door to his room and revealed the raging conflagration that had engulfed much of his home. Ruven's heart pounded. He was on his feet now, shielding his face from the blaze that had engulfed much of the second floor coming from the right side of the manor. The smell of burning wood came from there, along with the heat that threatened to singe Ruven's short hair. The air within the manor, once cool with the winds of winter, glowed a hellish red with the fires of Dread. It would be difficult to beat back the burning flames that blocked his path towards the stairs and escape, but with a little bit of ice magic, it would be possible. He was about to make due on this plan but then he realized just from where the blaze had come from. Julek's room... his eyes trembled, It started in Julek's room! He ran turned to his right and ran towards the flames stopping just shortly before he fully caught himself in its heat.

He stuck his hand out and shouted, "Frostbite!" it helped him concentrate on performing the spell, and small white particles of ice began to shoot from his hand, noticeably sapping on his strength. Whatever it took, however, he would save his brother and he soon found himself entering through the burned door of Julek's room. Inside, the roof had partially collapsed over part of where Julek's bed should have been and the source of the flames presented itself in a point in the room where the torrent reached up like arms obscuring a corner of the room from view. Ruven watched the sight in horrorstruck awe before a voice called out to him, "Ruven..." it struck him like a rod. Slowly turning towards where the roof had collapsed, he found his mother there badly burned and pinned under one of the beams of the roof.

"Mom!" Ruven ran towards the collapsed ceiling, but first, he had to extinguish some of the flames that formed a small ring blocking his path. The effort was quick and easy, though it placed further strain on Ruven's young mind still unaccustomed to the Arcane Fever. "Mom!"

"Ruven..." she said weakly.

"Where's Julek? I need him to help me lift this up!" Ruven placed his hands under the ceiling on top of his mother and began to lift. His efforts were wasted, as the heavy roof on top of his mother barely even budged as the flames grew ever closer.

After several moments of this, Selene spoke with a deathly look in her eyes, "The fire is spreading, Ruven; it's no use. Just take Julek and run!"

"I don't even know where he is! Just a little more and I can get you out!"

"Son, listen to me, I cannot feel my legs. Even if you got me from under here I can't run. Do you understand?"

"Then I'll just carry you, MOM!" Ruven continued to lift.

"Why can't you just listen to me for one second of your life! Please just listen to my one last time! Take Julek and run!"

As she said this, the source of the flames that rose from the corner of the room slowed, and from it, a lone boy slowly descended from the air with eyes glowing blood red. As soon as he hit the ground, however, his eyes shut close and he remained there motionless on the ground. Julek? Ruven couldn't believe his shaking eyes. No matter what had happened, he first used his spell to carve a path towards him. "Julek, what have you done!?" Ruven demanded; there was no time. He reached out to grab him but the heat of his skin nearly burned him. "Damn! Mom, I'm coming back to get you!" Ruven tried again to use his spell to open a path in the flames but a sharp blinding pain like a million daggers in his head stopped him as soon as he tried to cast it. "Ugghhhaaa!" he struggled to maintain his balance, "Come on!"

As he said this, a soldier, a guard of the Order of the Phoenix leap into the room patting at the flames on his jacket. Selene looked towards the soldier with a look of relief, "Hawkr, take Ruven and Julek and get them out of here!"

"Not without you, ma'am!" the guard yelled over the flames which roared in intensity, "Agh!"

"Just do it!"

Hawkr nodded grimly, "Wait, what are you doing!?" Ruven said as Hawkr ran through the flames over to him and heaved Ruven over his shoulder and Julek in his arm, "You bastard, we need to save mom!" Hawkr began to run out of the blazing inferno.

"Live on, Ruven!" Selene yelled out to him, "Don't go..." she said quietly to herself.

"No, STOOOOP!" Hawkr had just moved to leap over the upstairs railing with Ruven and Julek in hand, as the roof of Julek's room came crashing down and the screams of a woman rang as fire engulfed the manor.



Julek opened his eyes with a gasp. When he did, he found not the wooden ceiling of the manor, but the red moon Fastus, and the blue moon Usalda and the night sky over his head. Julek sat up and looked at the two people next to him, one was one of the members of the Order of the Phoenix, the group tasked with defending the Ashen family, the other Julek recognized as his brother, Ruven, but... something was different. Aside from the burn marks, he bore on his arms and face, he had a look of utter trauma on his face. The thing that surprised Julek the most was that, at a time like this, Ruven usually cried, like the time earlier that day when he had threatened that poor kitten's life. Julek went to reach out for his brother but out of the corner of his eye he saw it; the manor engulfed in flames. It sat before the Mountains of the Moon and its many peaks, though the inferno that burned within it and the smoke cloud that came with it seemed to tower over the miniscule peaks. It hit Julek then. It had happened again, one of the dreams, one of the lapses, and he had no idea what he had done while it had control over him.

"Ruven..." Julek stood and approached his brother who still sat slumped on his knees on the hilly ground, "What happened? Where's Selene?" Ruven trembled, gritting his teeth, "Where's Mom?"

"Don't you call her that!" he rose and slammed Julek to the ground with a punch. It was so unexpected Julek didn't even have time to block it, "You bastard!" Ruven cried as he punched Julek again, a second time, before Hawkr, the member of the Order pulled him off of Julek,

"Calm your ass down you brat!"

"No! He did it! He killed my mom!" Ruven struggled against Hawkr.

"What?..." Julek couldn't comprehend what he had heard. As he sat up from the ground, wiping the blood from his face he couldn't even fathom the idea Selene... dead? Because of him? Because of what he did? The blows to his face stung fiercely, but they hurt all the more knowing who had dealt them, "Ruven?" he asked with trembling eyes,

"Shut up!" as Ruven said this, the rapid clopping of several horses grew in sound and number, before a small company of horsemen, fifteen, maybe twenty rode onto the hill from behind them, stopping just feet from where the two brothers and the guardsmen were. Lhoris, the High Chancellor rode at the company's head,

"My Gods..." he murmured staring at the fire in shock from his brown charger.

Another horse, a white one, quickly rode up, its rider the man Julek feared the most at that moment: Emperor Azelian. He dismounted quickly, garbed in his light armor used for hunting, and began to run towards the inferno, "My Emperor!" Hawkr reached out, just enough for Ruven to break free of him.

"Selene!" Azelian yelled as he ran towards the blaze, "Selene!" he was yards from it now, "Chancellor Lhoris get every mage you can get and-" before he could finish the manor began to collapse on top of itself in a display of flame and smoke. Azelian collapsed onto his knees as the scene unfolding, "RAAAAAAAAAAAA!" he screamed in a cry of pain. Ruven and Julek both watched on speechless. Julek, however, after a time, began to approach his father even as the inferno continued to burn like a bonfire before their very eyes. Before long, Julek was just behind his father.

"I-I," he choked up, "I didn't want this dad," he shook with fear, "I didn't mean this. I didn't want this. I never wanted this." silence, "Please you've got to believe me I-"

Azelian stood up stiffly, "Hold your tongue you insolent child," he said in a voice flowing with hatred and loathing, "The only thing you've been good for your entire life had been discord..." the Emperor looked back at Julek. The boy squirmed under his glare, eyes narrowed and brows furrowed seething with venom. He then said something Julek would never forget, "You're no son of mine, monster."


Has it really been that long since then? Julek asked himself, When I was still myself?

Has it really been that long since then? Ruven asked himself, When Julek took everything?

They both sighed in their own recollection and turned in their dreams towards one another. BUM BUM They locked eyes, BUM BUM a heartbeat passed between them, BUM BUM They both stared with wide eyes at themselves as they appeared in the present day. BUM BUM... BUM BUM... BUM BUM... BUM BUM.. BUM BUM.. BUM BUM, BUM BUM, BUM BUM, BUM BUM, BUM BUM, BUM BUM,BUM BUM, BUM BUM, BUM BUM, BUM BUM.

It all flashed between their eyes. Dread, the Ren, the Machine, the MADNESS, the bodies. An incoherent number of voices and screams cried out in agony. The sky opening; THE LIGHT! THE LIGHT! Hands reached down from the heavens, calling for, burning for-

"MISERABLE SELFISH FOOL!
YOU'VE KILLED US ALL!"


Both awoke shaken and drenched in sweat. Ruven to the grassy plains of the Reach as riders with blue and yellow banners approached him, and Julek as the sunset in the capital of the Empire. Both were uncertain about what they had just seen, but it terrified both of them.


Meanwhile...




The crypts of Isnhion were easily available to all citizens within the city. Almalexia as an Emperess would usually be buried in the Royal Crypt in the Temple of the Eight, but Lhoris knew that Azelian had specifically insisted that she be laid to rest here, in its deepest reaches no less. Finally, by torchlight in the darkened tombs of Isnhrion, Lhoris found her sarcophagous marked by her name and the date of her death, "The 2nd of Fallstar (11), 4E 834?" Lhoris murmured. Nevertheless, he placed his torch on an open support on the wall next to him a proceeded to move the top slab on the coffin with his hands, letting it fall to the floor.

"By Gods..."




To Be Continued In:
The Monsters Among Us Part II; The End of the Second Act of the Brothers Storyline.
Last edited by Everhall on Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Arengin Union
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Arengin Union » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:25 pm

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Bellenwhod, Norravägg.



"Hurry! We've got to get to town!" Hankir yelled out at his two fellow Nords who were running alongside him, they had managed to escape the ambush from the unseen attackers, now it was getting back to town and assembling the men to defend it. Little did they knew the chaos unfolding at Bellenwhod as they got closer to it.

Elm was running behind the other two Nords, he was angry. He had just seen his friend die, they'd been living in these parts for years and he had just left his body behind to be robbed and desecrated. "That scum is going to pay for what they did to them... By the gods they had famil-"

"We all have families Elm, we need to get to town and make sure no one else dies! Come on!" Hankir interrupted, he too was angered at the death of those men, he'd only been living here recently compared to them but they were good people and now they were dead, Valge probably was as well. He had to get to town and make sure Adria was safe and get ready for the fight to come, for years the town had been dealing with larims and sometimes goblins and other creatures but never anything that would manage to ace a man's throat so precisely. Whoever had attacked them were no simple bandits.

The three men ran across the snow, passing by leafless long trees and closing into town. They ran without stopping, determined to get to town, their breaths fogging into the cold of the Norravägg forest. All of them moved quickly across the snowy dead forest until finally getting in sight of the town, what was first hope turned to a shocking and worrying revelation as the three men saw fire coming from houses in the village and heard screams of suffering as well as fighting from the distance. The sun began was beginning to settle and the three men despite the initial shock kept going towards the village, weapons drawn and ready to fight.

The three men approached the town with caution, the fires were spreading despite the snow and the animals near a burning farm were scattered around as the stables had been opened to let them out. Hankir lead from in front with his sword drawn while Elm protected the rear and Reggier the middle. The screams of agony and fighting got louder as Hankir and the other two Nords grew more nervous and angsty.

As the group made its way from the outskirt farms to the inner town they saw bodies on the flow, many of them with arrows stuck into them or gashes all over their body, some had wounds that looked like bites in their necks. Burning arrows stuck to house roofs, marks of gashes on broken doors and blood everywhere.

"What the hell happened here..." Hankir said under his breath. More yelling was heard from afar at the other side of the village, Hankir and his fellow Nords promptly ran towards the screaming ready to fight whatever was attacking the village.




Adria ran across the village road leading to the square, she saw the guard towers burning as she ran through the streets of the town, bow at her hand she wanted to help, she had to make sure her father was okay. It was chaos, women and children running in the opposite direction to Adria as the men and teenage boys of the village assembled to fight the ones that had attacked their village. Adria got a bow from her quill as she approached a corner where she saw all the men rounding up to fight off the attackers, the screams of battle were getting close as Adria drew he bow and arrow and turned around the corner to meet a sight of horror.

The was dozens of them, dozens of... beasts, massive beasts that were tearing apart the men of the village. The village defenders fought regardless, despite the fear and these creatures attacking with fierceness. The most shocking thing was that many of these beasts used weapons and armor, shields as well as bows. From afar into the treeline beyond the village, shooting fire arrows at the village and burning everything they hit.

Adria shook off the shock and terror of the sight, shooting an arrow that hit one of the beasts that was on top of one of the village defenders, the thing was trying to bite at him. The arrow had little effect other than get its attention, then the man on the ground used a dagger to cut at the throat which caused the beast to die shortly and fall to the ground. Adrian continued firing arrows at any of the beasts in her sight, firing fast and trying to be precise, but as she did so the screams of battle turned into screams of fright as the beasts overwhelmed the defenders and began to kill them one by one, biting into their throats or stabbing them repeatedly with their hatchets and swords, some even used the sheer strength of their claws to rip the men apart.

Adria couldn't concentrate as she began to miss shots and then couldn't even take any more arrows from the quill, she stood still in terror at the sight of so many of the people she knew were being killed by stronger and more agile creatures and she was powerless to do anything. As she stood there motionless one of the beasts noticed her, it approached, its yellow eyes shinning in with the contrast of the dark and the fire. It growled as it switched from walking upright to going into a quadruple position and ready to pounce on the girl, her eyes tearing and too scared to move.

The beast's breath fogged into the cold surroundings as Adria shivered with dread, the creature looked like a wolf but it alongside the others walked like men and used weapons of men, it was a sight she had never seen before. The thing readied to pounce at Adria, jumping towards her and ready to bite at her neck.

The wolf man was then stopped by a sudden bolt of electricity which made the creature fly across the field and lay dead on the ground. Adria looked at her side to see no one else but Achidian, his mage hood on as he cast spells of ice and electricity. The mage fired the attacks at the creatures while the men that survived tried to retreat.

"Adria! Get behind me!" The mage yelled as he killed another wolf beast with an ice spike ejecting from his palm. Adria came back to reality as she then clumsily made her way to Achidian alongside the remaining village defenders. Achidian now had a clear area with only the wolf beasts standing in front of him he then began to read a scroll of fury, making weird movements with his hands and feet the mage was surrounded by an orange mana, then his hands punched the ground which made several cracks on the earth and fire ejected from the cracks to engulf the wolf beasts.

Achidian went back to normal and looked around him to see that the wolf men were dead, their bodies burned to a crisp and the ground largely destroyed and burnt. He felt tired, a sudden heavy weight on his body, he had used most of his power to do this as a last ditch effort to save the village. Adria and the surviving Nords approached from behind, curious at the sight.

"Are they all dead?" One Nord asked.

"What were they?" Another one said.

"We should gather the bodies, by the gods we lost so many." Another Nord said with a saddened tone. Adria kept silent but let out a sigh of breath that it was all over.

Achidian for his part was glad the scroll had worked but then what was relief turned into a grim realization as the mage saw more wolf beasts coming from the treeline, this time it wasn't just dozens, it was hundreds, maybe thousands. Achidians eyes widened at the sight of the wolf beasts charging towards the village, this was not going to end well.

"RUN, NOW!" He screamed turning around and grabbing Adria's hand so she would follow him. The other Nords began to run, many scattered in fear as the creatures approached closer and closer to the village. The sun already set and nearly all of the village in flames it was all either escape or die.

Achidian and Adria ran towards the latter's home, they needed to escape the village and there was no time to waste. "Come on Adria! We have to leave!"

The two ran together, Achidian still holding onto the girls hand. Adrian then remembered her father, she let go of the mage's hand, "What about my father!? I'm not leaving without him."

Achidian was perplexed at the girls demand. "We'll find him! But we need to leave now!"

"No! I'm not going anywhere without him!" She then turned around, her bow in hand and taking an arrow from her quill she began sprinting back. Achidian didn't know what to do, he looked around him, the stables were there and there were horses ready to leave, but the girl was going alone to find her father, he couldn't leave her, he knew her destiny was more important than his.

"Wait!" The mage said with a somewhat regretful voice. "I'm coming with you."




Hankir, Reggier and Elm were closing into were the screams were coming from they readied their weapons to fight but only found their fellow Nords running away in fear, some leaving their weapons on the ground. They didn't even stop when either Hankir, Reggier or Elm asked what was going on. The fires were already engulfing the entire village, the night sky had an orange tint from the fires. The three Nords then looked at the horizon from the direction the others were running from, the sight of hundreds of silhouetted figures running towards the village, loud roars were heard.

"By the gods!" Reggier said with shock.

"T-there's hundreds..." Elm said in fear.

Hankir for his part knew what they were and that they didn't stand a chance against so many. "We need to leave. Get to your horses." The Nords then split as they each went to their stables to get their horses and any gear their could get along the way.

Hankir ran across the town square, the wolf men were already entering town and destroying everything in their path. Hankir didn't even bother to fight them, he ran to avoid them as they began flooding the town unburnt houses. Screams were heard, Hankir was scared, he ran as far as he could towards his home, he had to get Adria and leave.

As he passed by the town's main tavern the Nord was suddenly tackled by one of the beasts appearing out of nowhere. The Nord and the monster rolled over the muddy floor with the fiery village around them. Hankir did his best to fight back as the beast tried to bite into his neck, mouth snap after mouth snap its teeth got closer while Hankir tried to hold it at bay. The beast was strong, Hankir was too but he was too distorted by the creature that he could barely hold it back.

The Nord finally let out a scream of fury as he then punched the repeatedly and then pushed it off him. Grabbing his sword he got into fighting stance, the wolf beast walking upright prepared its own weapon, a hatchet covered in the blood of a villager. It growled at the Nord as they both slowly walked sideways focusing on each other. Hankir was confused to see such a creature using a man's weapon, he also wore some lose cloth as clothing and even had a shoulder pad made from bone.

With little time left the Nord then said "COME ON YOU ANIMAL! ATTACK!" out of frustration.

The beast's eyes gleamed and then it spoke. "You will die, Human!" this shocked Hankir even more, this was no ordinary men turned into beast, it was beast turned into man or something worse. Then the pounce came, the wolf beast jumping towards Hankir with his weapon ready, the two connected blades and a series of quick movements ensued between the two, blocks and attacks from the two. Hankir managed to hit the creature on its right hind and near its unprotected shoulder, the creature then furiously began attacking and managed to cut Hankir's arm, this made him less than confident as he realized the other wolf beasts were approaching.

Hankir had no time for this. "Just die already you freak!" Before the two connected blades again the wolf beast was hit with an arrow on its chest, this gave Hankir the perfect opportunity to pierce through the abdomen of the beast, quickly piercing through he then pulled the sword out and hit the beast on it's head, killing it. Hankir took heavy breaths and turned to see Adria and Achidian behind him, the girl had landed the shot.

"Daughter?" Hankir said, tired and sweating.

"Father!" The girl ran to embrace his father with a hug. Achidian for his part watched for a few seconds before reminding them that they had to leave.

"Hate to interrupt the father-daughter reunion but we have to leave, and leave now!"

Hankir looked at the mage, nodding in agreement he let go of his daughter with his sword at hand he agreed. The trio ran back to the stables only to find them burnt down and no horses remaining.

Achidian was visibly frustrated. "Now what!?" He said.

"Argo!" Hankir and Adria said at the same times. The two ran towards their home, Achidian following behind, not far from the stables they approached the barn at the back, their horse Argo was inside and quite alarmed from all the noises outside. A black and study horse that had been Hankir's loyal animal for years.

They opened the barn door and Argo began to freak out, rearing and panicking. Hankir was quick to calm it down.

"Oh, oh, boy. Be calm boy. We have to go quick Argo." The horse quickly calmed down and while Adria began to get her shoulder pads and leather pack from the wall Hankir got the saddle and halter set on the horse, he then set his shield hatchet and his backpack and got on, he grabbed Adria's arm and pulled her up and set her front of him, Achidian jumped to the back and hold onto Hankir.

"GO!" Hankir said as he spurred the horse to gallop. The horse began galloping away and passing by Hankir and Adria's burning home. The horse passed by the edge of town and into the main road leading out of Bellenwhod and towards Frosthold. As they galloped out into the wilderness Adria and Hankir saw as there were horse and human bodies all over the place, and the beasts were everywhere in the forest and were taking the survivors they found away. The screams and call for help were haunting but there was nothing they could do.

Though managing to get out of town unnoticed the trio's luck ran out as soon they found themselves spotted by beasts in the forest, the ones that weren't busy capturing the survivors began got on all fours and started to chase after the steed and its riders.

Achidian heard the roars and growls and looked behind him to see several wolf beast chasing after them, "Hankir! We've got company!"

The Nord looked behind him quick and saw the wolf beasts chasing fast and trying to bite at Argos hock. Hankir pushed on the horse to go faster, he drew his hatchet from the side of the saddle and got ready to fight them off if he could. Achidian readied his electric bolt spells, he fired a couple, hitting only one wolf beast, he was still too weakened from using that scroll.

Hankir swung the hatchet back, hitting a wolf beast in the face, he then tried to kick them with his boots with little effect. Adria stayed close to her father and helped guiding the horse though she was scared by what was happening. Achidian slowly realized the beasts were gaining on them, they weren't going fast enough because they had too much weight, that weight was him, he knew what had to be done. The mage got a hold of gold and blue ring from his hand, pulling it out he handed it to Hankir who was rather confused.

"Get to Wolfhelm and find a man named Kallaes. Tell him Achidian sent you and give him this, he'll know what to do." Achidian yelled at Hankir.

"What!? Why are you giving this to me!?" Hankir asked in confusion, still keeping eyes on the road towards Frosthold.

Achidian smiled, "You'll have to tell her sooner or later. Good luck!" Achidian then let go of Hankir and landed on the ground, enacting ice and electricity spells with the little energy he had left he ejected an ice spike and hit a wolf beast with it, then used ray bolts against another, drawing their attention the wolf beasts stopped chasing after the horse who was able to gallop faster.

Hankir looked behind him, he saw the mage standing alone against the beasts and being surrounded by them and still firing ice spikes and electric rays until he was overwhelmed. Hankir set his hatchet on his saddle and pounded his armored chest in respect. Adria noticed this and also that her father was now guiding the horse. She looked behind him and saw that Achidian was no longer there.

"NO! We have to.. We!"

Hankir cut the girl out, putting sense into her "Its too late. He did it to save us. We need to get to Frosthold. I have to keep you safe. Im sorry." He kept riding, Adria didn't say anything, she just let out a tear for her friend. The father and daughter rode on into the night towards Frosthold.
"I do as I please"
-King Abraham Markev final words before jumping into a cage to fight a lion.

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Eroris Historical Society
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Postby Eroris Historical Society » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:30 pm

Parley at High Rock
2nd of Midyear (6), 4E 901
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Heremond Carcaster



They had stopped marching. The Rock was visible now, a few miles away at most. They were close enough that the could see the smoke of Cedric's fires, untold thousands of camps that lay in the fields in front of the city. Heremond had set up his command tent amongst the other tents of the lords and other nobility of Atlas. It stood out from the others, not because of its bright colors and waving flags, but because of its drapery. A grey cloth with nothing but the colors of High Rock snapping in the wind above it. It could have been mistaken for the tent of a low born mercenary if it weren't for the guards in front of it or the foot traffic in and out.

“Baldwin,” Heremond called, the guard came in. He still had Wymars locket sitting on his field desk.

“Yes, m’lord?”

“Have Lord Wymar brought in here. I have a few questions for him.”


Wymar Wakefield




Wymar's father had always told him how excruciating it was to lose a battle. He had thought he understood why, he knew, of course, that one would rather win than lose in a battle, but something in the way his father always said it implied a deeper meaning. The look in his eyes, maybe, one of sorrow. Wymar could only now grasp what his father meant as he sat with his hands tied to a beam in the center of his wooden prison pen. The feeling of defeat went much deeper than Wymar could possibly imagine. While yes, there was the aforementioned loss that weighed heavily on his mind, there was also the cost of his loss. His soldiers, men who he had grown acquainted with, became friends with, lied trampled into the ground by the thundering hooves of warhorses. Many others had been worse, with limbs and bodies burning or cut in half in the savage painting that was war. To make it all worse, many of those deaths were in vain because ultimately Wymar's gamble had failed, and his men had paid the price for it; their families had paid the price for it. Meanwhile, all Wymar had to do was sit in his cell and wait, wait until the thousand campfires of the Gardener army and the thousands of men that came with them came to his rescue sending thousands of other sons and husbands to their graves, or the reverse happened to them. Either way, Wymar could see clearly the toll war demanded on its players and every pawn soldier that came with it.

"Look, there he is," a voice said near him. Wymar opened his eyes to the night, to the Atlean camp, where a small group of Carcaster soldiers - four to be exact, one helm-less - approached his prison pen.

"What could you want?" Wymar looked towards the soldiers.

"None of your damned business, Nymerian," said the helm-less soldier, "We're bringing you to Duke Heremond, so you best not try anything."

"Of course, of course, nothing but love for the young duke."

One of the soldiers moved to undo Wymar's bidding to the pole and raised him to his feet, quickly retying the binds on his arms.

"I believe they were a bit tighter before," Wymar said silently, "would you mind doing it better?"

"You dirty Wakefield," the soldier moved towards Wymar. Before he could get behind him in order to tie his binds tighter the Count head-butted the helmet-less soldier sending him to the ground with fresh blood on his forehead, "Why you little-"

"Apologizes," Wymar quipped, "I must have slipped,"

The soldier growled in frustration as he got back to his feet, "Bloody cunt..." he turned to his soldiers, "Men, take the Count to Duke Heremond immediately! I won't have him up my ass for this delay. I gotta go wash my face off..."

With that, the three remaining soldiers took ahold of Wymar's arms and began to lead him to Heremond's command tent.





Baldwin popped back into the tent, “M’lord, Count Wakefield.” Baldwin moved out of the way as the other soldiers brought Wymar in. The Count still had blood and mud plastered to him from the Crest, some of it his, most of it from his own comrades. The guards sat Wymar down on the chair opposite of Heremond.

“Untie him.”

“But m’lord, he a prison-”

“I said untie him. He can't get far if he tries to run.” The guard did as Heremond ordered, “Good, now leave.

Heremond handed the locket back to Wymar, “I believe this is yours. You have every reason to hate me, every reason to want to kill me. But I need your help, or more people will die, more widows will be made and more orphans will starve come winter. I need to know everything about you cousin.”

Wymar took the gold locket gingerly in his hand, wiping the subtle dirt and grime from the battle from its patterns slowly with his thumb. He sighed finally, "You're really forcing my hand here, are you? Well, I'm sorry, you shouldn't expect me to tell you anything except that you're likely to lose against his army."

"I don't intend to fight his army; I intend to fight him. You said something earlier, and to started me thinking. I am not a butcher, nor do I wish to become one. Your cousin, or I, are the only ones that need to die." Heremond reached under the table and grabbed a bottle of wine and two glasses, " However, there are many in the Dutchy who would rather see Cedric burned alive than to sit on the awful chair in High Rock."

Wymar could hardly believe what he was hearing, “Are you seriously considering fighting Cedric fucking Gardener? You’re madder than I thought you were, that man’s been slaughtering fools like us since either of us were born.”

Heremond knew that already; he had been told that his plan was insane when he told Mettius. However, it was the only plan he had that didn't end in a bloodbath. He thought for a moment, indeed Wymar was right; Cedric had spent most of his life in the legion, no doubt fighting more battles than Heremond had heard tale of. But this was the only way, "Madness seems to run in the family, Wakefield, but this is what I have to do, and believe me I do not want fight Cedric in single combat. But that alternative will be far worse. So, tell me this. If I issued a challenge, in front of his army to single combat, would he accept it?"

Wymar sighed as he took his glass and took a quick, long drink of wine, “Cedric for all you can say about him isn’t a coward. Even if you challenged him without his army..." Wymar looked Heremond straight in the eye, "he would accept.”


Mettius Clement




He rode at the side of Heremond, as their forces made for High Rock. Their plan was daring to say the least, and if Heremond failed, then they'd likely find themselves in a hard position. Mettius wished he could stand in for Heremond, but it wasn't his place. Only Heremond, Duke of High Rock could rightfully challenge Cedric, not Mettius. It didn't matter that Mettius had been serving the Duchy long before Heremond's father was born. It was Heremond's burden to bear, a burden gifted to him by his very own bloodline.

The only thing Mettius could do was hope that his training for Heremond would be sufficient. The harsh days of dueling, learning how to block, how to be as agile as a fox in heavy armor.

As the Atlean Army made camp in preparation to meet with the Gardeners, Heremond had gone about preparing himself for the next step of their plan. Mettius was overseeing many things, from logistics to make sure the soldiers were ready for battle. After some time Mettius was called to Heremond's tent. He was sitting across from Lord Wymar, apparently after the two had spent some time conversing. "It is time,
Mettius." He spoke.

"Yes, m'lord. I'll make the preparations at once." Mettius responded, before exiting the tent. He gathered dozen more knights, and meet with Heremond at the front of their formations. One knight held a white banner, the accepted sign of parley. Mettius headed the formation, insisting that if the enemy fired a barrage of arrows, that he'd catch the first one. When they drew within shouting distance, Mettius called out to the Gardener lot. "I am Ser Mettius Clement, Marshall of High Rock's Forces. See Heremond Carcaster demands an audience with Cedric Gardener under formal parlay!" He hollered from atop the mount he had been loaned.


Cedric Gardener




The cooling winds that tempered the rising spring heat of the Reach flowed through the Gardener camp and into Cedric's pavilion, moving the flaps in small waves. The Gardener prince sat with his legs crossed a foot and a half away from the war map that sat in the center of the pavilion of the surrounding areas. Around this map stood his commanders: Baron Angmund Oustermund, Lord Leofing Knight, Sir Garmund Saeva, and his son Hereric Gardener. Together, they formed Cedric's inner circle with the notable exception of Count Wymar Wakefield.

"Twelve thousand men," Baron Oustermund muttered placing a wooden eagle on the position of the Altean army, "Edmyn has truly outdone himself this time."

"We have how many men at our disposal again? Fifteen-thousand?" Lord Knight inquired,

"Actually, thirteen-thousand," Oustermund responded, "Count Wymar went and lose two-thousand of our best horsemen at the crest."

"I knew that young son of a bitch didn't have what it took to be a commander," the knight, Sir Garmund smirked in his rough, cruel voice, "Went after Mettius Clement looking for glory and all he got was a bunch of dirt over his head ten feet under. Nymerians... always the pushovers."

"That's my cousin you're talking about," Cedric said in a calm but authoritative voice, "Whatever you may think of him you three he's actually helped our cause in more ways than you can imagine. By Midyear's end, we'll be dinning the halls of Atlas."

"Mighty bold prediction to make when we haven't even beaten Edmyn's army yet. Just how do you expect us to-"

"No need to worry," Hereric interrupted Knight, "My father has a plan, and by the end of today victory will be assured."

Saeva scoffed, "Grand talk coming from someone who's never fought a battle in his life." As the knight said this, a foot soldier from among Cedric's ranks entered into the pavilion from the entrance.

Cedric looked up towards him, "News from Wilking?"

"No," the soldier shook his head, "Duke Heremond and Mettius Clement have approached the camp under banner of parley, they seek a meeting."(edited)

"A parley, huh..." Cedric muttered, "Tell them I accept and to prepare to meet me shortly." The Gardener stood from his chair and turned to his son and squire, "Prep my horse and armor and get your own, men likewise. We have a parley to attend."





It was fifteen minutes later that a small group of horsemen emerged from the boundaries of the Gardener camp and towards the position of Heremond and Mettius displaying the proud stag and antlers of the House of Gardener. At its head rode Cedric who towered over the others even on horseback in his silver armor emblazoned with the colors of his House and the black warhammer laid in his lap. A rather imposing Dark Elf rode at his side coldly looking forward at Mettius on horseback. He was joined by four other notables, including Lord Knight, Baron Oustermund, and his own son along with Sir Garmund who gave Heremond a smug look. All together with the horsemen included Cedric's party numbered fifteen men all armed and ready to fight should something arise. Cedric was the first to talk once he came face to face with Heremond.

"It's been a while since Isnhrion, Carcaster. Seems you've decided to become a rebel. Now, what did you do to my cousin?"

Heremond watched as the fifteen Gardeners road towards him and his men. All told, he had chosen five men to accompany him. Mettius, Bearwald, Alwyin, Thurstan and Ser Ostric. Fifteen riders met them. He could already see a rather large and imposing Dark Elf riding with them. He turned to Mettius, “Does every damned noble in the Reach have a Valyaar in their court?”

It wasn’t long till they met. Indeed, it felt like a year had gone by since they had first met in Isnhrion. “Seems like you decided to lick Julek’s balls. Wakefield is alive, for now. Now, I assume you're here to parley. Here are my terms, I Heremond Carcaster, Duke of High Rock challenge you, Cedric Gardener to a trial by combat. Should you win, High Rock is yours, should I win your armies will leave this land and no Gardener will ever enter High Rock for all time. These are my terms.”

“I see you’ve gone straight for the point, Heremond. Your father would be proud of you. Suffice it to say I’m grateful you have not killed my cousin and as such, I’ll accept your challenge. Not that I wouldn’t if you did, Heremond Carcaster.” Cedric’s eyes narrowed as he grabbed a hold of his hammer and shield in his hands and he dismounted his horse along with Heremond. He took up a fighting stance brandishing his shield in his left hand and his war hammer in his right, “Now, shall we begin?”

Image


Heremond dismounted his horse, “Ready when you are.”

He drew his sword and raised his shield. Cedric was armed with a war hammer. To some, this was a clumsy weapon, best given to peasants and men at arms. A poor man's weapon many nobles Heremond knew believed it to be slow and clumsy. Heremond had also seen these men lose their lives to bandits armed with similar weapons. No doubt Cedric was a far more skilled wielder of this weapon than a bandit. The hammers main strength was in its simplicity. A sword was a work of art, it took many hours for a skilled smith to make a blade, that same smith could forge several hammerheads in a day. Not only was it cheap to make, but it was also easy to kill with it. A sword needed gaps in the armor, the space between plates, the rings of chainmail. A hammer just needed to make contact, the momentum did the rest.

However, there was one thing true about a hammer. It was an unbalanced weapon in most cases. This was the natural result of having a heavy chunk of metal on one end of a pole, a proper counterweight would simply be impractical. In truth a hammer was a weapon best used with two hands, Cedric’s left hand was holding a shield. Heremond's blade, forged by smiths of a long-dead civilization and made of a metal lost to mortals was a finely balanced weapon, easy to wield with one hand as well as two. He also had on more advantage over Cedric. He was younger, his body less shaken by the rigors of a hard life. He would have to be fast and nimble if he wanted to win this fight.

He watched Cedric, studied his movements. Heremond was always shifting his stance, tensing his muscles to make for a lunge before relaxing and going back to a guard, never letting Cedric know exactly what he was doing. Cedric no doubt was doing the same. Both men waited for the other to make a slip or to make the first strike.

Cedric stared down, Heremond, looking over the young lord as he prepped himself for battle. The sword he held shined with a silver gleam the color of a moon; silversteel no doubt, the ancient alloy of the Ren. Heremond would be a formidable opponent certainly, and although Cedric felt confident he would best him, the last thing he would do was underestimate him. In the end, they both stood, weapons were drawn and shields raised waiting for each other to strike. A crow shrieked in the distance.

Now! Cedric lunged forward towards Heremond. Though be all means it should have taken him a few seconds to close the gap between the two, Cedric closed the distance between himself and Heremond faster than it ought to be catching the Lord, if momentarily, off guard. His hammer swung above him towards Heremond only to be blocked by the crushing sound of metal hitting steel as Heremond's shield was brought up to take the brunt of the blow. The engagement seemed to remain stagnant for what was only a moment before Heremond raised his sword to thrust at Cedric's exposed face. He, of course, expected this and brought his shield up while bringing his head below it to deflect the attack. The silversteel blade, however, moved faster than Cedric had expected as a result of its lightweight make, allowing it to cut a gash across his right cheek due to his evasive maneuvers.

Cedric acted quickly to correct his mistake, using his shield to bash Heremond's arm upwards, and use the opportunity to strike again, this time from below with his hammer on Heremond's shield. The Lord's sword was now above his head, so Cedric took the opportunity to lift his foot and kick Heremond square in the abdomen sending him reeling backwards. Cedric backed away as well taking a moment to wipe the blood from his cheek with a wry smile,

"I commend you, Carcaster; old general Clement has taught you well. You are more than a formidable opponent."

Cedric was fast, faster than any man his age had any right to be. His attacks where in rapid succession, but each blow and counter blow seemed to go by at the pass of hours rather than the mere seconds in which they happened. Heremond did, however, manage to press his advantages, and landed a blow to Cedric. Not that it had its intended consequences, but Heremond had drawn the first blood of the bout.

Heremond spat on the ground, “You are not too bad yourself for an old man.”

Heremond wouldn’t wait, he feigned a lunge at Cedric’s face, his shield went up. At the last second, Heremond changed the direction of his attack, sidestepping and sweeping his sword in a silver arc and Cedric exposed right side. Cedric saw this at the last moment and moved away, the tip of Heremond sword digging to steal and cutting flesh. A minor wound that wouldn't even leave a scar. Now it was Cedric’s turn to attack.

Heremond had struck hard it was true, and the momentum of the strike had caused him to expose his side. Cedric stepped in and swung with all his might. Heremond was only able to move away in time for the blow to glance off his armor. But that was enough, the metal buckled under the blow and Heremond felt the air being pressed from his lungs and a sharp burning pain swallowed up his left side. He knew not the extent of his injury but injured he was.

Cedric could see, it, the slightest grimace in Heremond's face as his hammer slammed into and glanced off of his armor; this was his chance. Though he, himself had been struck in his arm, it was but a flesh wound that would only give him discomfort as he swung his hammer. Heremond's injury, on the other hand, seemed to have had a much greater effect on him. Cedric would not waste his chance. As Heremond stumbled forward, still dealing with the effect of Cedric's strike, Cedric turned heel on his right foot, bringing his shield over his head to slam Heremond in the back sending him forward, though still on his feet. Cedric pressed his advantage, then, Heremond turning around just in time to meet them. He spun his hammer in hand and struck below at Heremond only to be met by his stalwart shield. Before Heremond could respond, Cedric retreated behind his shield only to slam into Heremond with it, only worsening his balance to the point that he almost fell over. However, it would take more than that to defeat Heremond Carcaster. He remained upright and ready to take on more punishment. However...

A knight on a horse bearing the banner of Lenora rode into their site of parley without a helm His common face was bruised and bloody, with a long, red, gash across his forehead, and his light brown hair was covered in grime. He had a look of loathing aimed directly at Heremond. He dismounted quickly with his sword drawn as he approached the Lord of High Rock,

"You fucking snake," he spat at Heremond's feet, "Lord Gardener," he turned to Cedric, "The Carcasters have broken the truce."


A Few Minutes Prior




The sergeant was mounted, just like the three men with him. Everyone in the Atlean camp knew of the parley, but no one had trusted the Gardeners to keep it. These men had burned and looted and destroyed much of the land they claimed they had a right to, many of the Atlean troops had lost loved ones, wives, children, father and mother on top of the burning and trampling of there hard worked hard earned lands. How could they trust such mean as that? So, in companies and battalions without anyone really giving any command they had begun to patrol, keeping an eye on the enemy just in case.

These four men, three mounted men at arms and a sergeant were riding just inside one of the tree lines that separated two fields. There was sign that the Gardeners had been here, broken twigs and hoof prints told them as much. They would proceed with caution just in case they were still in the area.

“What do you suppose it's like to be one of those lords?” said one of the men at arms, a rather young fellow by the name of Hesmut. He motioned to the tents clearly visible even from here, a vast array of tents with banners snapping in the wind.

“I don't know,” said an older soldier, Deormod was his name, “ What does it matter anyway? They still shit like the rest of us.”
“Will you two shut up. You’ll get us all killed.” snapped the sargent. He himself was an old campaigner. A native of High Rock he had seen his fair share of fights in the Legion. He figured that joining the militia and settling back down at home would have been a good note to ride off into in his golden years. Divines damned those lords.

A twig snapping somewhere in the opposite tree line. A deer most likely, this time of spring they were moving about, looking for food. The sergeant looked closer just to be sure, his heart leaped up to his throat. The glint of metal, unmistakable amongst the greens and dull browns of the tree line. “Fuck, there's that patrol. Right you three, you know-” A sharp twang and the scream of a dying horse interrupted the Sargent, a bolt was embedded deep in the neck of his mount as he had the dying horse fell to the ground.

Without order and on instinct the young Hesmut fired the crossbow that he armed himself with. The sickening sound of flesh being rent and the scream of a dying man told him he had found his mark. Another bolt flew at the now three mounted men at arms and the sergeant who was struggling to get out from under his horse. There foes where now attacking. This was it, this wasn't a patrol. At least thirty knights seemed to flow out from the tree line. Deormod picked up the sergeant and the four men rode away.

A response was quick to form as thrity Knights of the Rock and seventh infantrymen went to meet this enemy force. They caught them as they were inspecting the sergeant's dead horse. A short but fierce battle ensued, with neither side have a real advantage and both being forced to withdraw, both claiming victory. A rider was sent to Heremond and Mettius to tell them of the betrayal of the Gardeners.



Heremond stood. That was something. A lesser man would have been dead and indeed it had taken Heremond all his skill to even be alive right now. The pain in his side burned like a fire and his breath came in ragged, painful gasps. He knew that at least one rib was broken. Cedric had followed up his strike in text book perfection. But Heremond was a stubborn man and refused to fall. By sheer will and a fair share of skill and luck, Heremond was still standing. He readied himself to either counter attack or to defend himself form Cedric inevitable assault.

So it came as a surprise when a knight bearing the colors of Lenor rode up and spat at his feet. The words he spoke to Cedric was even more surprising. Heremond did not hear the other horse man, bearing the red and blue of High Rock. The horseman dismounted and walked to Mettius.

“Ser Mettius, the Gardeners have betrayed us! The dirty bastards tried to assault our flank!”

Heremond heard this, even with his head swimming in pain, he knew that there was one chance now. Cedric would break parley, and a battle would be drawn. Heremond knew that his army and the army of the Atleans couldn’t face Cedric's army in open battle without taking casualties that were unacceptable to him. Heremond needed to get his army inside the city itself. He, like Cedric, had done, left the parely.

“Mettius. Get the army ready, whatever happened has fucked us over. We need to get inside those walls and soon.”


Mettius Clement




As the two parties meet in Parlay, Mettius had taken in their position and the position of every enemy archer in the area. They had chosen a spot near to Cedric's forces, dangerously so. When they had met, Mettius took note of Cedric and his following. One person in particular, another Valyar, was staring at Mettius. A scar ran across the face of the yaar, nasty and twisted along his cheek and over the bridge of his slightly deformed nose, stopping after crossing over his eye and splitting the brow opposite of the scar on his cheek.

It didn't take long for Mettius to recognize the elf.

19th of Fallstar (11), 4E 820;
The Emperor's Pass


The sun was setting over the horizon, the sky being painted a brilliant display of blue, pink, and gold with all the clouds being scattered lightly across the sky. Mettius stood looking as the sun fell below the mountains, contemplating. The battle they had engaged in many moons ago was finally over. It was harsh, a simple crossing into Leros Valley with minor resistance expected. However, they ran smack into a well encroached and numerous enemy.

The weeks slowly turned into months, and finally, the battle for Moresaid was won after many lives were claimed in the mountainous battlefields. However one fact had the entire army upset, they wouldn't make it to Isnhrion before winter. The soldiers knew this, and morale was low. Even some of the prisoners knew this and had caused a stir that Azelian himself settled. However it wasn't over, the prisoners were mocking and cursing constantly, and an order was given that would solve the issue.

"Bloody animals, I know what will shut them up. Cut out their tongues!" Azelian bellowed before storming off. And so the order was passed down until it couldn't be passed down any further, and Mettius was the one to do the deed. He sat with a dagger in his hands, watching the sunset, contemplating.
Long gone are the days of glory under Irvan. He thought, before standing up and going to execute his orders. His breath stained the air as he approached the prisoners who had been lined up. One after another was silenced until he reached another dark elf. The bastard bit his own tongue earlier, and spit a mouthful of blood onto Mettius. In a combination of reflex and rage, Mettius swiped the dagger across the yaar's face, a badly executed slice that left an uneven wound. As the prisoner cried out in pain Mettius took the instrument of diction from him and moved onto the next.


Mettius broke his stare, not allowing himself to falter. Heremond had been fighting well, but his aggressiveness gave Cedric a prime opportunity to strike.

Damn! Mettius thought before the battle was halted as a rider approached, bearing the crest of a Gardener, with their sword drawn. He cursed and spat at Heremond, and Mettius drew his sword.

"Watch your tongue, whelp!" He yelled as one of High Rock's own riders approached. A contradictory report. The true aggressor may never be identified, but for now, the fight was only beginning. One of the Gardener soldiers on horseback, angered by the words of one of High Rock's riders, took out his bow and knocked an arrow aiming straight for the heart of the Carcaster soldier who accused Cedric of breaking the parley. "You damn, dirty, liar!"

"Soldier, stand-" Cedric began, but it was too late. The arrow went flying straight into the Carcaster soldier's heart, who coughed up blood from his mouth before collapsing on the ground. Cedric looked back at his soldier incredulously, "You fucking-"

"Protect the Duke!" A Carcaster soldier yelled out. He charged on his horse towards Cedric within naked sword bared in an attempt to slay the Gardener. Before he could reach Cedric, however, he struck at the legs of the soldier's horse, sending him tumbling to the ground crushed under his mount. It was chaos then. Both Gardener and Carcaster soldiers turned their arms on each other, while some of Heremond's personal guards escorted him from the skirmish that had erupted from the spot of their former parley. Mettius cursed under his breath as he and Heremond galloped on their horses back towards their camp,

"Blood will stain the ground by the end of the day..."

Heremond looked back regretfully one more time towards the skirmish, before turning back directly towards his army. It would be war.

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Everhall
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Postby Everhall » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:32 pm

The Monsters Among Us
Part II


1st of Midyear (6), 4E 901



Image
The crypts in which most of Isnhrion laid their dead had been built in the old mining tunnels of the capital, much like the Undercity. For most, as opposed to an above burial, burial in the crypts was readily available. The only drawback was that since it was much like the Undercity built in the old tunnels of Old Isnh, graverobbing from that unsavory part of town was not unheard of. As Lhoris, torch in hand, made his way through these ancient crypts, he cursed to himself, having not questioned the masked woman further as to what he was to find in the Almalexia's tomb. What could this woman's game? She started this whole mess in the first place and yet she seems more than capable of finding out information I wasn't even aware of. What's more... why now to seek me out again? Why now to have me go on this wild goose chase to Gods know where? And why am I going to almost exactly where she said?! Lhoris sighed, the flickering fire of his torch casting in shadow in wild, chaotic shapes, "I suppose," he muttered, "It's because I have no other choice."

The deepest reaches of the Isnhrion Crypts were called the Midden, affectionately titled Deadman's Sepulcher by those in the Undercity. By the time Lhoris got there, all he could see was what he torch illuminated before him, making progress slow, and the way dangerous. One question that he still had yet to wrap his head around was why Azelian had placed Almalexia so deep in the public crypt in the first place. After all, it was custom to have Empresses of the Emperor laid to rest in the Royal Crypt in the Temple of the Eight. Even taking into account the controversy that surrounded Azelian and Almalexia's marriage it still made no sense to have her kept so far down in the depths. Unless... Lhoris thought, The rumor was true. There was only one way to find out.

He finally came upon Almalexia's crypt when he entered into a grey chamber which seemed to be near the bottom of Isnhrion's extensive crypts. Thousands of years had filled the tunnels with bodies and dust, but Almalexia's chamber seemed almost devoid of any other bodies, dust, or even wear in the stone. It was uncanny just how new that section of the crypts looked in comparison to the others. Nevertheless, Lhoris continued on to approach Almalexia's final resting place. It was still mindboggling just how beautiful she had been, Lhoris reflected as he looked over the sarcophagus shaped to look like her. Even if Azelian loved Selene, I doubt most men would be able to resist a woman like that... Other than the unique cleanliness of the chamber, there was really nothing else to note about Almalexia's tomb. Had the masked woman simply misled him? No, that couldn't be the case, however likely it might seem. If she wanted to kill him, which would likely be the purpose of her actions if she had misled him, why wait? She clearly, for all Lhoris' power, had the means to kill him. If she can get that close to my daughter, there’s nothing saying she can’t get that close to me... he thought to himself. So there clearly had to be a purpose to coming down there, wasting his time not seeking out Cadmus' murderer just to come down there. There was only one option left to him. Taking a deep breath of preparation as he slid his torch into one of the empty sockets near Almalexia's tomb, he placed his hands on the marble slab on top of it and slip it off of the sarcophagus.

"My gods..."

There was nothing there.


What in Dread is going on here?! Lhoris eyes darted as he searched for the answer, but it was cut short when the sound of approaching footsteps made Lhoris seek cover behind one of the stone pillars of the room, using a spell of invisibility to fully cloak himself in the shadows of night.

"Maaaaaan-" a young girl's voice complained as the footsteps continued along down into the chamber, "I can't believe he said I wasn't along to eat him! It wasn't like I was going to eat ALL of him, just the legs... maybe the arms. I'd see where I'd gone from there."

"Lying is unbecoming of you, Kireen," an older, much wiser voice said, "You know very well why we left him out like that, and you do best not to disobey our Lord's command."

"I'd never dream of it, Arken. You know I'm more loyal to our Lord than most."

"If you think that fourteen-year-old body will sway him, be my guest. Our Lord is one not prone to those activities," the one named Arken replied.

"What about that plaything we got him? He seemed mighty interested in her."

"Honestly, I'm not sure why he decided to keep her. She's useful of course, but on the surface, it didn't seem she would be all that beneficial to our cause. It seems that the Shadow Legion got to learn just how useful she was to us. Its a shame though that the spires were destroyed in the attack."

The Shadow Legion? Lhoris' eyes narrowed as he clenched his fists, They must be the ones that orchestrated that... that... those... Lhoris gritted his teeth, Bastards...just what in Dread are the planning? Lhoris slowly peeked around the corner of the pillar to get a better look at those who had entered into the room. The first to appear was someone who looked like a young girl in her pre-teens, maybe younger, but her blood red eyes and her pale white skin told Lhoris that this was no ordinary girl. Next, the man who had been speaking to her came into the chamber after her. He was a leanly built with a dignified posture and dark, brown skin as opposed to the white skin of his comrade, garbed in such ornate robes of black and red one might mistake him for a noble if it were not for the strange symbols the robes bared. His slick, black hair was neatly combed back and he wore a pair of rounded glasses that obscured his eyes from view.

"Now isn't this strange," Arken remarked as he looked towards the center of the room towards the sarcophagus, "It appears someone has been here before us." Damn! Lhoris cursed himself, I hid in such a hurry I forget to put the slab back on! "Come out now and I promise to make your death as quick as possible, remain hidden and well... I'll let Kireen have you." the girl grinned devilishly.

I'm gonna have to come out... Lhoris concluded, Because either way if I don't those two will pounce on me. Lhoris concentrated on the sight, on the law of eventualities and found the spell he wanted to cast. If I must die, then I'm not going without taking both of you with me. He prepared to cast the spell before a large black gate opened at the far end of the chamber behind them, and the two individuals, forgetting about his presence, moved to kneel at the figure that emerged from the gate.

That figure was Julek.

Clutching his head with a pained expression on his face, there was no mistaking him. Lhoris watched with shaking eyes as the Emperor walked sporadically with the assistance of a large, imposing Dea'ra beast that carried him forward to his bowed followers.

"Tonnokir," the dignified Arken began, "Is he himself at this time?"

"YES," the demon Tonnokir replied in its deep guttural voice, "THOUGH HIS LATEST DREAM TOOK A TOLL ON HIM."

Arken, along with the girl Kireen stood, "Dream?" Arken questioned, "What dream?"

"I saw him..." Julek growled looked up at Arken, "Now I know why I- why we're still here. I saw him; he's still alive. He's still... you bastards..." Julek looked down with his face contorting in pain.

"You still cannot accept it can you, my Lord? Your purpose. Your reason for existence. You were taught long ago what it means to go against what you were born to do, I surely hope you have not forgotten?"

"No, I just..." Julek's eyes suddenly widened before narrowing back into the cold expression Lhoris knew all too well. He took his hand off of his head and stood upright with a smirk on his face, "I haven't forgotten. Not. One. Bit. Now that we know that he's still alive, it's only a matter of luring him here for the well."

"We could always just send our little assassin his way to apprehend him."

"No," Julek shot down the motion, "Doing that might break his heart. No, I'll save that for a better time, maybe right before everything is said and done. Now then I-" Julek paused as he moved towards Almalexia's sarcophagus before he turned to look Lhoris dead in the eye, "Curious..." he murmured, "It's almost as if-" before he could finish, another black gate opened into the chamber, where another figure, the masked woman Lhoris had fought in the Undercity emerged from the dark depths. Julek turned to meet her,

"I see that you have returned. Have you done what I asked?"

The woman nodded behind her mask.

"Good, we're one step closer to completing our goals. Kireen, open a gate to the well; I'd like to tell the fellow acolytes."

"Immediately, my Lord," the girl bowed with a grin. A split second after she had done this, an enormous black gate opened behind her, which was entered in succession by Arken, Tonnikir, and finally, Julek. The girl, Kireen, followed after him along with Masked Woman, before the gate closed leaving Lhoris by himself in the dark chamber of Almalexia's tomb with only one thought on his mind.

Julek is a Dread Worshiper.





...there is no doubt in my mind that Julek Ashen now posses the greatest threat to Eroris in recent memory. He must be stopped at all costs before the shadow of dread falls on this Empire. Heremond, I am counting on you.

Your Friend,
Lhoris Varian


Even as Lhoris' trembling hand wrote this down in his inn room he could not believe what he was writing. Julek... a Dread Worshiper? the concept seemed to impossible but at the same time made so much sense especially after what he had seen in the catacombs. Nevertheless, he couldn't keep this information to himself subject to the fate of his life. He had to pass it on to someone, and he knew no better person than Heremond Carcaster. As he had finished writing the letter he received a knock on the door, Fergus, just the man he wanted to see, but he had a grave look on his face when he let him in.

"Councilor, I'm sorry for bothering you at this time of night but there's something I need to-"

"We don't have time for this," Lhoris cut Fergus off before he could finish, "What I need you to do right now is take this letter and a fast horse and get to High Rock now."

"But sir, it's something at-"

"Fergus," Lhoris looked the Nord dead in the eye, "This is a matter that concerns not only me but the entire Empire. If you don't deliver this before we're found out, it could mean the end of everything," he pushed the letter into Fergus' hands, "It can wait."

"It can't sir..." Fergus shook his head, "And it's all my fault... you've been summoned to the Ember Tower by the Emperor and... and..."

"And what?"

"Alesane has gone missing."





The halls of the Ember Tower were black eels as Lhoris walked through them, the once familiar pathways contorted with the feeling of dread Lhoris held in his gut. The corridor was strangely abandoned despite the security that typically ran through the palace, only guarded by empty armor shells and dim torches. Alesane, his daughter, his life missing? RIGHT after he had found out what Julek really was? It was no mere coincidence. That second masked woman likely had something to do with it, and Lhoris swore that when he got his hands on whoever meant to threaten his daughter that he'd rip their throats out. Even though this rage drove him down the darkened halls of the Imperial Palace, another sense gripped onto him: Fear. Fear of the pure unknown, the mysteriousness that surrounded his coming confrontation with Julek was almost too much to bear. If he lost that was it, his life, his family, his friends. He could only hope that Fergus reached High Rock safely.

Lhoris' time, however, finally ran out because soon after he passed another room of the imperial apartments, the double doors that led into Julek's study appeared before him, the same doors that had once led into his friend Azelian's study. It was funny in a sort of way just how much had changed in the month since his old friend had died; usually, the feeling Lhoris had when approaching the Emperor's study wasn't so abysmal. He chuckled at the thought of his past memories, instances where he would have been glad to come where he stood now in the service of the Empire. His fond remembrance was short-lived, however. In the end, they were just memories, nothing more than leaves in the wind adrift in the past. Right now, where all he felt was anger and fear of what he might lose, was all that mattered, and the thought of that still terrified him. Taking a deep breath of preparation, perhaps one of the last things he would do, he opened the doors of Julek's study and entered into the chamber.

The study was as well-furbished and extravagant as it always when an Emperor first began to use it. Several bookcases coving the two opposite sides of the chamber were filled with tomes and treatises from all around the Empire. At the far end of the room, a fireplace stood and just before it a desk that the man Lhoris had been dreading sat upon: Julek Ashen. He was dressed in night robes the color of the House of Ashen, almost the exact same robes Ruven had worn the night he and Lhoris had spoken about Julek and his mother. Almalexia... Julek sat there on his desk running a small locket through his hands.

Seeing as how he continued to ignore his presence in the study, Lhoris was the first to speak, "It's not often a lowly councilmember such as myself is summoned to speak directly with the Emperor. Don't you have Chancellor Sentinel to talk to on matters concerning the Wise Council? I doubt I'll be of much help to you tonight."

Julek glanced at Lhoris, "Councilor Varian, always the master with words. You would think you'd have a stick up your ass considering how many times you've spoken to me in witticisms and clever words. No, you know that's not why I've called you here."

"Is it room, sire? Remind you too much of Ruven? I know the feeling; I can't stand being in places that remind me of the people I've murdered."

"You don't sound like a man who wants to keep his daughter breathing." Lhoris' heart skipped a beat, the worse of his fears confirmed no less than thirty seconds. Julek was a man on a mission, that much was clear, and Lhoris had to tread lightly.

"You're a god's damned sociopath, has anyone ever told you that?" Lhoris shot at Julek his voice raw, "You kidnap my daughter, my only daughter, to threaten both her and my life? And you kill your only brother, someone I treated like one of my own just to grab power... It's simply despicable. Is there truly nothing too low for you?"

The room remained silent for a moment as Lhoris waited for Julek to respond. Instead, he simply stood from his desk and grabbed onto a pitcher of wine from the Golden Orchards of Summerset. He sighed as he poured the liquid into one of the clear, white glasses on the tray where the wine had been, "That," Julek said, "Is something that I’ve never been more regretful for.”

"Don't lie to me-"

"It's the truth!" Julek raised his voice, "What happened at the Proving, when Ruven fell into that pit, is one of the most regretful things I have ever done, and I have a lot to regret."

"Is that all you have?" Lhoris laughed dryly, "Regret? If I were to be completely honest with you I wasn't even sure you had any feelings. You say you regret the things you've done but I've seen nothing to support that being the case... Dread Worshiper.”

“So you know?” Julek turned to Lhoris, eyebrow raised.

“It seems I do. So, Julek, was this the secret Cadmus died for? Your little escape down the path of Melkor? You say you regret the things you've done but regret, however feigned it is, won’t cut it. You and you alone are responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children who did nothing more than exist in this cruel world that happened to include you. You’ve lied, you’ve slandered, you murdered your way to power disregarding the lives of your brother, your sister-in-law, and your unborn niece. Worst of all, you are the inhuman, vile, despicable animal...!” Lhoris voice bellowed, “...who killed my brother’s child and your brother’s mother. In short, you are nothing more than a monster wearing the skin of a man.”

Julek took a long, hard drink of his wine after Lhoris said this, not stopping until he had his fill. He bore not the face of the condescending man Lhoris knew, but a look of reflection and contemplation. It was still amazing just how quickly Julek could shift gears from a manipulative bastard to a man of contemplation, “What are monsters, Lhoris?”

“Excuse me?”

“What are monsters? It seems like such a simple question at first but when you think about it you’ll find that it’s not that easy to answer. Of course, you have your obvious choices: Dragons, Lost Ones, Dea’ra, but you never stop to consider that even though all these beings are monsters, they aren’t what a normal individual calls a monster on a daily basis. The true monsters, Lhoris, are us humans.”

Lhoris raised an eyebrow, “Oh, I was under the assumption that we were elves. Shows what I know.”

“Oh, but we aren’t. We share so many qualities with our human cousins it’s almost comical to try to separate the races of man and yaar in the way we have. After all, when have you ever seen two animals produce a child?”

“We were speaking about monsters?”

“Yes,” Julek tilted his head, “We were. The reason we humans truly are monsters is that for the most part when a poor farmer worries about whether his harvest will be stolen and his daughter raped he worries not of monsters, but of his fellow man. Monsters we hear about all the time aren’t the ones to go to such lengths to steal his produce and to violate his home, no, that is a uniquely human trait that only we possess. We elves aren’t exempt from this. We fight, we shout, we use violence for our ends. Tales are told of monsters taking the lives of many but the single greatest killer throughout all the eras has been us slaughtering not monsters, but people. We create these tales of mindless beasts out to kill you to fabricate some kind of illusory ‘other’ that cannot be understood or reasoned with that is unequivocally a monster that we can name. These monsters are real, but for the majority of a person’s life they aren’t what they worry about. But when it’s someone like you, that’s the monster, it seems too innately difficult to call them such because that in a way means that you too can become a monster. Simply put, whose fault is it for the dying farmer, the crying child, the disillusioned priest to call the man swinging a sword at them a monster? They’re right, after all, maybe then if we could realize this, we could maybe begin to fix this shit world.” Julek took another hard drink of wine, “Just maybe.”

“Would not that make you a monster, being able to kill thousands without batting an eye?”

“I’d just be like the rest of humanity,” Julek took another sip of wine, “So, yes, I suppose that would make me a monster, not that I choose to be one.”

“Are you saying you killed your brother and step-mother because you were forced to become a monster? That is the very definition of irresponsibility.”

“If you think a babe in arms is born ready to commit evil you are plain wrong. Regardless whatever someone sees as evil is always subjective to that person, but I digress,” Julek laid his glass down, “The reason I am the man I am today came not out of some grand prophecy, but from a mistake I’ve been trying to live down since I was eight. No one believed what I said, no one but you, but even then you still loathed me with every fiber of your being just like Ruven.”

“So then,” Lhoris smirked, “How exactly did I help make you, you? What’s the thing I’ve done that’s led you down this path?”

“Thing?” Julek chuckled dryly, “It’s more than one thing that you’ve alone done to drive me down this path, and it wasn’t only you. It was my father, it was Ruven, it was society, AND it was you. You were the only one that had a semblance of belief if what I said on that day, but you still had the eyes, the eyes of someone looking at a monster.”

“I suppose I was right in the end,” Lhoris smirked ceased, “Your here, exposed as a Dread Worshipper, playing exactly into the role society made for you even though you loathe it. Who’s fault is that but your own?

A chair stood between them now, separating the two of them from their piercing glares, yellow eyes stared into red, and red stared into yellow. “Though,” Lhoris began, “The one thing I can’t understand is why? Why are you doing all of this? Why are you a Dread Worshiper when your father rose to power specifically to stop one? Why kill Ruven’s wife and unborn daughter, and why kill Cadmus?! Most importantly... why is your mother’s coffin empty?”

“It’s simple,” Julek tilted his head before giving a glare into Lhoris’s eyes,

“My mother is Xuvius.”


The world froze at that moment for Lhoris as his eyes widened with the revelation, the only sound the beat of his heart as Julek’s words sunk in. Why wasn’t he moving? A blade was coming towards his face. He had to act and had to act now, so as Julek’s sword flew past his face, Lhoris ducked and threw the chair out of his way, and used a spell to pull the fire from the fireplace and engulf the room in its blue inferno. It was one of the most powerful spells he could use, only sparing him due to the protective shield he cast around himself just before he had done it.

After a few tense moments where the fire continued to rage around him, Lhoris ceased the spell, and the flames evaporated into nothingness, leaving behind the charred remnants of the Emperor’s study and Julek not in sight. Lhoris turned to leave, but a reflection from a blade coming from his right send danger signals to his brain before a Silversteel blade struck him in the forearm. “Gah!” His eyes darted to see the culprit. The second masked woman, wielding a long ragged, silver sword, and unrelenting in her mission.

She struck at his side again and he dodged, to his left next, and he dodged. She then feigned an attack at his rift again before bringing her sword to strike at his shoulder that would have landed true had Lhoris' own blade not come up to block hers, using the silversteel blade that had struck him before.

“I’m no one for these clumsy swords,” Lhoris growled as he shoved he Masked Woman’s blade off of his own, “But I sure know how to fight!”

"YOU AND ME BOTH!"

“What-“ A chill ran up Lhoris’ spine before a blade came sharp and fast into his back, burning as it slid through his flesh with ease. Lhoris struggled to face from where he was attacked, spell prepped in his right hand, but a knee came up to break his arm at the elbow, "AhhhhhhhHHHhh!" Lhoris fell to his knees dropping his blade, unable to face the person he knew had attacked him. Lhoris, knowing he had little time, tucked his head into his body and fired an ice shard with his unbroken left hand in the direction from which he had been attacked, but the magic failed to miss its mark. Instead, all Lhoris received was another stab to the back that made him fall to the ashen floor in a growing pool of his own blood. Lhoris braced for another, one last blow to send him to Dread, but Julek was the one that saved him this time,

"Asoka, don't. I want him to get up."

Asoka?! Lhoris struggled to look at the woman in the mask. Before he could, however, someone grabbed onto his hair and lifted his head for him to see the Masked Woman's face.

"Go on," Julek said as he held him there, "Take off the mask."

The masked woman obliged, revealing the cold, expressionless face of the Princess Asoka Ashen. Lhoris looked on agape at the sight as Julek's laughter increased, "Huhhahahahahahahaha- Ugh." he dropped his head back into the pool of blood.

"My lord," a voice Lhoris recognized as the girl Kireen said, "Do not allow yourself to falter at the moment of truth."

"Don't worry..." Julek managed to spit out from behind Lhoris, "I know what I have to do." An explosion went off in one corner of the study, one that seemed to rock the Ember Tower. Lhoris struggled to look towards where it had happened, but he soon found himself being lifted by the collar by Julek into the air and when he saw the Ashen Prince, Lhoris could not believe his eyes. His shirt was burned, revealing a lean, muscular body with dark, red scales running along the side. Though he still bore the same facial appearance, he appeared slightly taller and bore no damage from the flames save for a large burn scar across his back Lhoris was sure had not come about from his attack. His ears, already pointed for an elf, grew considerably giving the Emperor a demonic look along with his sanguine red eyes. The most notable of Julek's changes, however, were the two horns that now grew from opposite sides of his forehead.

Lhoris struggled as Julek began to carry him towards where the explosion had occurred, which the Councilor realized had been a blast used to open a hole in the Ember Tower.

"My dreams always end with me falling, falling endlessly for the rest of my days..." he had said.


Tears began to stroll down Lhoris' face as reality struck him. Alesane, Cadmus, Ruven... NO! He looked into the eyes of Julek, which contrary to what he expected, showed not the glee of being rid of him, but the slightest hint of regret and hesitation. Just what was wrong with him?! Before long, Lhoris was raised over the edge where he hung over the night sky of Isnhrion and the hard ground and lush gardens of the Imperial Courtyard, still struggling in the hands of Julek to break free of his grip.

"Julek!" Lhoris pleaded with him, "You don't have to be the monster! Selene wouldn't want this! She always knew what we didn't! She knew that you were good, that you were kind, that you weren't like this! So Julek, PLEASE!"

"My mother..." Julek's face contorted with conflict, Should he? Shouldn't he? What should he do!? He looked away at Lhoris, mired deep in the conflict that always seemed to rage within him. He made his final choice. He looked up with a smirk,

"You said it yourself. I will always be a monster."

Lhoris began to fall.





His heartbeat continued on weakly, the ceaseless beat that had accompanied him since birth slowed by the blood loss he had experienced. Everything ached all over, and blood ran down from the corner of his mouth as he dead eyes continued to look up towards the night sky. The one question Lhoris had while he lay there in agony was... Why am I still alive? The fall really should of killed him. Julek should have killed him. No matter how many times his brain racked at the question he had no way of answering it.

He lay on at the base of the tower, in a bush of thick shrubs that ran along the outer walls of the Ember Tower. It must have broken his fall, which was probably the reason why he still lay there immersed in a sea of pain. As he lay there, unable to move, his thoughts turned to his life, how he had lived it, and how he had failed during the entirety of it. He had come of age, joined the Shadow Legion met the love of his life Arya; but they were all gone. He had left the legion, joined the College of Mysteries, met his best friend; but he was gone. He watched as his niece married his second best friend, but they too were now gone. He had then lost the person who had been like a son to him, and now he had lost the last person he had left; his daughter. His life was failure incarnate. Alesane, Cadmus, Ruven, Azelian, Selene, and Ayra; all dead because of him.


"Lhoris Varian," a familiar voice said. Lhoris had to muster all of his strength to move his eyes to see who had spoken. The First Masked Woman sat perched on a statue above his head, and her mask lay unequipped in her hand. She had an unnatural beauty, almost like a fox. "It seems the incarnate choose to spare you, curious. It seems he may yet be in the resistance phase of his cycle."

"Uhhhhh..." Lhoris uttered a low almost inaudible moan.

"You've been quite useful in identifying the first incarnate. For that, on beneath of my Lord, I would like to thank you. Zei, will be pleased once I return to his side. So, if you think your life has been a failure, don't fret, you have done more than enough in service of the world; in the Akounate. Though I believe it is time I must leave, he'll be needing me soon."

The masked woman jumped down to the surface, where she landed on all fours. She then began to mold, back from an entrancingly beautiful woman into the nine-tailed kitsune that she really was, black tails flowing in the wind of the capital. She turned to leave, but her nose twitched as she turned her gaze to Lhoris. A twisted smile became scrawled across her face.

"It would be a shame to leave a meal out in the cold..."

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Meanwhile...

Atlas Bay, The Kingdom of Atlas




Lord Zei stood on the bow of his ship, looking out at the distance harbor of the Eroran City of Atlas. The people slept soundly in the dark of the night, unaware of what they soon were to face. Zei himself was in a contemplative mood, almost everything had gone perfectly until that point, but there was no use keeping their invasion a secret once he opened fire on that city. It sat there to peacefully so quiet. There were probably mothers telling their child stories to keep them in bed at night, fathers laughing with their children as they played around the house, thieves lurking in the shadows seeking out their prey, and nobles held in their castles ruling over the populace. Just like my village was... Zei's eyes narrowed, Before they came...

Who could punish a mother for wanting to tell one more story to her child? Who could punish a father wanting to spend more time with his children? Who could punish a thief who's forced to steal to make a living? Who could punish a noble anointed to rule over the people? Who could punish a husband who wanted to avenge his wife and daughter, and prevent the coming loss of everything he held dear.

"Lord Zei!" a Raj lieutenant approached the brooding owl, "Ground forces have landed as per your request."

"Good," Zei said as turned to give his helmsman the signal, "Kasai." Fire

The Akouteen Invasion Had Begun
End of Act 2 of the Brothers' Storyline


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Last edited by Everhall on Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Arengin Union
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Postby Arengin Union » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:14 pm

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Frosthold, Norravägg.



The front entrance to the city of Frosthold laid undisturbed as the sun had begun to rise on a chilly morning. The snow lightly falling and the docks of the city beginning to be filled with activity as workers, sailors, merchants, and people of all lives exited their homes, the inns, or the dirty alleyways where some had fallen into drunken ramblings. Life in Frosthold was not anything more exhilarating than living in the provincial towns and villages of the East, it had more traffic from more races and it was economically more active but it was never as vibrant or even known as Aleried, Wolfhelm, or even Tarnak. As people began to go on about their daily lives outside the walls was another story as a lone rider and their steed rode fast across the snowy outskirts of the city.

Up on the watchtowers at the front the largely bored guards inside them were playing a game of cards, usually this was how you passed time during the boring guard shifts while occasionally letting in the usual trade caravan, lonely merchants, or at times travelers from lands afar.

"What'd you got?" An older bearded guard asked his fellow guardsmen.

"A pair of triniets and a scroller." The one with long hair and a mustache said as he revealed his cards with confidence.

The younger guard with shorter hair looked less enthusiastic "One gullan and a follied" revealing his cards and setting them on the table top with little excitement.

The other two guards laughed. "Well I've got me three carakels and a scroller!" the first guard said with glee as he set the cards on the table, beating the other two who then rolled their eyes at the winner taking all the shells they used as the betting currency. Most guard captains frowned upon their men betting real coin on silly card games. Suddenly the three guards were caught by surprise as they heard yelling outside.

"Open the gate! Open the gate now!" A horse rider said down on the snowy entrance, his horse screeching and lightly rearing. The three guards looked at each other with confusion at the demand and at the sight of some random stranger turning up so early in the freezing morning.

"What business have you got here stranger!" The older guard said out loud towards the man on the horse.

The man controlled his horse, taking hold of it so it would calm down. He then answered the guards inquiry.

"I need to speak with the Jarl whoever it may be. There's been an attack." He answered with roughness, behind him the guards could see a girl holding on to him on the horse sadle.

The three guards looked at each other for a few seconds and after a few minutes the gate was raised and the door was opened. Several guards standing close and with their spears on hand and others ready to unbind at the first sign of hostility. They let the man in, he rode inside, slowly and with the guards around him keeping a distance. The man then got off his horse only the girl remaining on top, he noticed the guards very uneasy and ready to charge at him for anything, they also surrounded the entrance area as to not allow him enter the city.

Carefully choosing his words the Nord man said "I need to speak with th-"

The Nord was interrupted by a strong and aggressive voice "You'll speak with the Jarl once I say you can." The man wore heavier armor than the other guards, short crew cut hair and a goatee, a red insignia on his left shoulder. The two men interlocked eyes, clearly not on good terms. Adria for her part was trying to keep warm while also looking around her with nervousness at the sight of so many armed men in armor ready to fight. The Nord man for his part was also ready to fight if it was necessary, but that was not what he had come for.

"State your name and purpose." The man in battle armor asked.

The Nord didn't hesitate to answer "Hankir, Oreldon. This is my daughter Adria. We mean no harm, we come fr-"

"Oreldon? Of the Frost Criers?" The armored man interrupted again.

"Aye." Hankir answered.

The man then chuckled, his mood changed from a confrontational one to a more calm but still battle ready demeanor "Klegor Torvisversen, of the Sea Born."

Hankir smiled at the realization, "Brequd?" he asked to which Klegor nodded. Adria was confused for her part, raising an eye brow to the whole situation as she noticed the entire mood shift.

The two Nord then nodded to each other, both acknowledging each other, Klegor then gestured the guards to step aside. Adria couldn't believe what just had happened, a few seconds ago the guy seemed ready to stab at his father's heart with no qualms. What had just happened?

"I shall take you to the Jarl. Come." Klegor walked back to the city, accompanied by two other guards as Hankir lead his horse and followed the fellow Nord towards the Jarl's palace. Adria looked around her, the city was nothing like the village, it was bigger and it the walls were big and encompassed much of it. Vendors were setting up as people of different walks of life exited their homes to do their work, no longer was it just hunters, wood cutters, or farmers. She saw blacksmiths, merchants of exotic spices from as far a Pandora, wherever that was, and as they passed several inns she saw men in variety of armors carrying different types of weapons exit and entering at the same time. This was definitely different. But what had happened back at the entrance still bothered her.

"Father..." Adria said towards Hankir.

"Yes?" He answered.

"What happened back there? You two seemed ready to fight like two goblins would for the last piece of boar meat."

Hankir didn't answer at first, he kept quiet for a few seconds as he reminisced the past, he then gave an answer. "We're both from a similar past. As you grow older you meet people and also see them go, and sometimes bounds from the past don't truly go away." The father kept leading the horse and left the topic at that.

"That's it?" Adria said to herself.

"You'll understand when you're older. Rest for now." The father added. Adria was less than satisfied as she locked her arms in little amusement at her father's usual attempt to turn a question into a life lesson. She hated when he did that. Hankir for his part kept focus as they approached the Jarl's hall. It had not been a long walk, Frosthold was not a big city, at least not compared to the rest in the Region. He would have to be clear and swift with the Jarl about what had happened.




"It was chaos, fire everywhere and blood on the ground. Bodies pilling up on the streets and as we escaped we could see them picking off everyone that tried to escape. I even saw some being dragged away. They were beasts, yet they spoke like men."

Hankir's words caused confused and fearful whispering and chatter all around the throne room. Jarl Ymir Nør-Star heard attentively at the words of the Nord, her court consultants around her and all taken aback by such tales of talking werewolves. Werewolves had been an issue for years, but nothing of the magnitude that Hankir described. An entire village decimated by the beasts, it was tragic and something she was unwilling to accept.

"Please, continue." Jarl Nør-Star said to the Nord, disregarding much of the worried voices circling through room.

"My daughter and I were able to escape, I know not if any others made it but we must gather forces. These are not simple beast we've come to known, they are organized and they can talk and they seem to be capable of reasoning." Hankir's words again provoked much mumbling and whispering of concern but disbelief.

"Talking beast men. I have heard better tales from a child." One consultant said with little amusement of the story. Hankir raised his eye brow at the notion that he was lying, he didn't take kindly to it at all.

A female consultant with a more worried tone then said "What if its an epidemic? Could they get here?"

"We should call help from Iogæirsson!" Another one said.

More people began to talk out loud "I don't believe it, its probably just a few ferals!", "What about the other villages?", "How can we even be sure!" Hankir didn't appreciate all the chattering happening, they were wasting time when they had to assemble a force to deal with this threat, all these people did was ask and ask.

"SILENCE!" Klegor yelled out, suddenly it was all quiet. Jarl Nør-Star began thinking, Bellewhod destroyed by werewolves could create panic and unrest in the region, more so if the infestation spread to other villages. Bellewhod was mostly a hunting and gathering village but other villages in the area were of livestock and a werewolf infestation could lead to possible famine if it wasn't controlled. They had to take action and quickly.

"Captain Torvisversen."

"Yes my Jarl." Klegor answered.

"Assemble a force of 200 men, I want this beast infestation dealt with. I trust you to assemble the right forces." The Jarl ordered.

Hankir was in disbelief at what he had just heard, 200 men was nothing. It wasn't an army, it was a feast.

The Captain obeyed "It will be done my Jarl."

Hankir then objected. "200 men won't be enough, this isn't a few werewolves, this was hundreds of them. Maybe even thousands and they are armed, with men's blades!" The Nord was met with laughter by the some in the Jarls court, how ridiculous that simple minded beasts men who had lost all memory and reasoning were now carrying weapons it was. The laughter only irritated Hankir more, how could these people stand there and laugh when so many men, women, and children had died. Hankir and Adria both had seen it, death and destruction and here they were, the people who ruled them for some reason laughing about it.

"SILENCE IN THE THRONE ROOM!" Klegor once again yelled, letting the Jarl speak.

Though she didn't appreciate the laughing from her court the Jarl still didn't believe such story, or at least she was apprehensive of it given her experience "There has never been such thing as talking werewolves or them using men's weapons. They're just teeth and claws, they're animals, you must know we've dea-"

"They burned our village into the ground! We lost everything and everyone and you want to send a few hundred men into the woods! Our village men couldn't even put a fight!" Hankir said in a much more impatient mannerism.

"I'd measure my tone if I were you. We're sending soldiers, I am sure they can handle what some untrained farmers and hunters surely can't." A consultant budged in.

Hankir looked at the man, clenching his fists and his eyes widening at what he had just said. "I dare you say that again."

The man crossed him arms with little care for Hankir. "What you may think you saw was likely an illusion. A fantasy. It is obvious that some villagers armed with axes and picks wo-"

Hankir then immediately charged at the man ready to strike at him with his bare fists, he was then stopped by the guardsmen around the throne who all together got a hold of him. The consultant simply smirked at the sight.

"Control this savage at once." He ordered.

"YOU DARE CALL YOURSELF A NORD, YOU'RE JUST A COWARD THAT HIDES AWAY WHILE LETTING OTHERS MARCH TO THEIR DEATHS!" Hankir yelled as he struggled with the multiple guards holding him back. "YOU ALL LAUGH WHILE ME AND MY DAUGHTER SAW OUR FRIENDS GET KILLED! SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!" Tensing his muscles in anger and trying to move forward to punch the smile out of that arsehole, Hankir still struggled with the guards as they also struggled to keep him down.

"There will be order in this throne room, Captain!" Jarl Nør-Star said with anger.

Klegor moved to stop his fellow Nord from acting like this, getting over to Hankir as he was still held by the guards who were struggling to keep him back. "Stop this now. If you keep acting like this I cannot help you."

Hankir looked at Klegor, he still scuffled with the guards for a few seconds before taking the advice of his fellow Nord and finally stepping back. Klegor patted him on the shoulder at the wiser decision.

"Let him go." The guards then left go of Hankir who tried to compose himself, yet he was still tense and felt an immense urge to just try again to go at the man.

"You Clan Nords are all the same. Stuck in your war like ways of the past." The consultant said with smugness and even beginning to irritate Klegor himself who for a second contemplated punching the little shite himself.

"Another word out of you Svarid and I'll have Captain Torvisversen put you in a cell." Jarl Nør-Star finally put her foot down, making Svarid shut his mouth. The old Jarl then turned her attention back to Hankir, guards still close by in case he tried anything again.

"You need to measure your temper young man." The Jarl said with quite a disappointed face, Hankir looked down on the floor in shame but also in agreement of the fact. It was a good thing that at least Adria wasn't present to see him behave like this.

"Forgive me my Jarl..." He said with pity and shame at himself.

The Jarl understood the man, losing a home like that was never something light and with stuck up people like Svarid around it was even harder to control one's self. She was a self made women who had risen from similar roots as Hankir and Klegor and so many other warriors and she had sympathy for him, maybe what he had said was not all correct but he had no reason to lie, especially with the service he had given to Nordkind and Norravägg.

"You are forgiven." The Jarl answered to the plea. She then gave some thoughts back to the situation at hand, the werewolf attack. She didn't believe such things as an army of werewolves brandishing weapons was possible but she would give him the benefit of the doubt.

"I want you to accompany Captain Torvisversen and his men back to Bellewhod and personally guide them through the area. If what you say is true about this, 'army', and the Captain and his men can attest to it then I personally will seek word with the High King on the matter. But for now this is purely a Frosthold issue. Your daughter Adria is welcomed to stay here." The Jarl waited for a response, Klegor for his part looked at the fellow Nord also expecting a response.

Hankir didn't really have much of a choice, if they went by themselves it would be slaughter and their deaths would be on him, but if he went with them and guide them they would witness themselves that it was no lie. He didn't want a battle, he just wanted to show them that this was bigger than just a feral infestation. But leaving Adria here, it left him uneasy.

"Can I trust that she'll be safe here?" He asked.

Jarl Nør-Star while giving a nod "I give you my word as Jarl."

Hankir gave some quick thought, it was better than nothing.

He finally let out a response, "I'll do it."
Last edited by Arengin Union on Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Albertae
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Founded: Oct 14, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Albertae » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:21 pm


The Imperial Camp at Herrath of the Reach, Camp Headquarters



Military Tribune of the Imperial Army, Lerexus Coronicus




Striking winds shook the flaps of the tent as the sun rose on the grassy plains of the southern Reach. The birds sang a song of joy, signaling the early morning wake-up call. Naturally, Lerexus had awoken an hour earlier, due to an old habit of his. Lerexus stood over his planning table, reading, "Phanostrata's Tactical Maneuvers", while simultaneously conducting a single player game of Orcish Warband. There it read, "The enemy may just as easily be perceived to be weak as you are to be strong, vice versa. Manipulate your enemy's perception with small detachments and you may find your target scrambling towards your awaiting larger force." As he read, he moved forward his Footman piece and captured a Horse. Then, the game was over, the Orcish Warlord had been surrounded by the larger force of Imperial pieces. He closed the book and assembled the game back into its container. Once he had finished, he took a moment to enjoy his relatively new command. Almost half a year, Lerexus had spent under the command of General Deridus. Quickly, he learned the general's quirks and instinctively read his character. As time passed on, he continued developing his viewpoint of the general and what he thought the man believed in. To Lerexus, General Oswuff was a loyal Imperial servant, however obviously eccentric. Lerexus viewed him as a worthy commander and a good example of a general. For a moment, he stopped thinking about the general to gaze upon the beauty of the Imperial Banner. "Oh, how I love my Empire", he thought.

Meanwhile, an Imperial messenger had just arrived at the Imperial Camp. The man roughly slid off his horse, obviously exhausted from many days of riding. The man requested to be taken to the General's tent. However, General Deridus had not arisen yet. The posted soldiers, promptly took the man to Military Tribune Coronicus' tent instead. The tent guards held open the flaps and allowed the messenger entry. He rushed in quickly, still recovering from his journey. Lerexus steered away from his momentary lapse and directed his attention to the urgent man in front of him. Lerexus asked, "Soldier, what news do you bring?" He followed with, "Be quick, so that you may eat and rest, obviously you rode for many days to deliver this crucial message."

The man pulled a letter from his satchel and handed it to Lerexus. Shaken, he told Lerexus, "Tribune, the letter delivered is meant for General Deridus, however, I fear that the content of it may concern even higher authorities."

Lerexus kept his cool and calmly opened the letter. He read over it and realized the importance of the letter. Briefly he looked up, into the eyes of the soldier and told him, "Soldier, you are relieved of duty for the remaining day. Report to the Quartermaster and have yourself cared for. You have greatly served the Empire on this day."

The man's face grew in relief as he nodded his thanks. Out he went, leaving Lerexus with a potentially serious issue before him. There had been reports of disturbances on the southern coast of the Reach. In the same region across from where Emperor Azelian had marched to meet the "marauders" besieging Evermoor. Quickly, Lerexus gathered his equipment and began putting it on. A guard came in to help him strap on his leather under-armor and sword. Lerexus put on his bracers and greaves, then left the tent with his entourage. He sped toward General Deridus' tent, letter in hand. When he finally reached it, he requested audience with the commander.



General Oswuff Deridus' Marquee




General Oswuff Deridus stood on the far side of his strategic map-table. A guard opened the flaps and relayed Tribune Coronicus' request of audience. Oswuff looked up at the guard and bid him to bring the tribune in. The guard nodded and stood back to allow entry to the Marquee. Oswuff looked dead-straight into the tribune's face as he entered, with an eccentric smile on his face. He exclaimed, "Coronicus, why if it isn't my favorite tribune!" Afterwards, laughing heartily for no apparent reason.

Lerexus took his helmet off and brought his legs together for a proud salute, helmet held over heart. He replied with clear voice, "General Deridus, I bring a report of disturbances to the south, a day's ride from here, carried by Imperial messenger, to be delivered directly to you." Then he came around the table and presented the letter to Oswuff.

Oswuff took Lerexus into an embrace and bearishly gripped him. He let go of the young tribune, who had grown use to his behavior, and took hold of the letter. Opening it, he too read the contents. Oswuff told Lerexus, "My boy, sit for a chat and perhaps a round of Orcish Warband. There is no other, who I fancy competing with." Smiling, he enticed Lerexus to have a seat at a smaller table meant for breakfast dining. Laid out on the surface was an assembled game of Orcish Warband. Oswuff pulled his own chair out, sat down, and awaited Lerexus.

Lerexus pulled out his seat and took the Imperial side. A faint smile came to his face as he began to analyze his best options against General Deridus, who he had competed with many times. On his side of the board was the Orcish team. On Oswuff's side was the Imperial team.

Oswuff swiped the board and switched it around so that he would play the Orcish team. However, once again he rotated it so that he would play the Imperial pieces, leaving Lerexus with the Orcish pieces. He wanted to see how the tribune would use different pieces and adapt to their usage. Softly, with a hint of instigation, Oswuff challenged Lerexus, "Let us see how the barbarian warlord fares against the valiant Imperial Army. Yes?"

Lerexus bowed his head acknowledging and aggressively took his first move against the Imperial pieces. He moved one of his Braves forward three spaces. Oswuff responded with a much more solid approach, pushing his Imperial forces together as a unit. One by one they captured each others pieces for over an hour. Lerexus had played his pieces as they were intended and Oswuff as his were. However, nearing game's end, it became evident that Lerexus' strategy had won out over Oswuff's. Now with too few pieces to utilize the true might of a solid, cohesive coalition of pieces, Oswuff's remaining pieces were rendered weak by the aggressive capabilities of Lerexus' Orcish pieces. Finally, Lerexus' pieces tactically rushed in on a full charge to surround the Imperial General, ending the game.

Oswuff laughed brightly after an impactful game of Orcish Warlord. He told Lerexus, "My boy, you are something unique truly. It is possible one day you will have no match, at least on the tabletop." At that moment, an assistant carried breakfast in for the two. Oswuff cleared the table and the servant set down the trays. Together, they began eating and Oswuff continued with his earlier statement. "Now, onto the business of this report. I understand that there are disturbances to the south. I want your thoughts on this."

Lerexus bowed his head respectfully and replied, "General, I think that these disturbances to the south are connected to those marauders besieging Evermoor. I think it best if you were to send me with a detachment of 50 legionnaires of my own unit to assess the situation."

Oswuff took Lerexus' thoughts and expanded upon them, "Very well, I bid you leave as soon as possible. Remember, Coronicus, information offers value in many forms. Be swift and be safe. When you return, we must discuss other matters regarding your position."

Lerexus stood up and pushed his chair in. Hand held over heart he saluted the General and then the Imperial Banner. Promptly, he left the tent and returned to his own.



Military Tribune Lerexus Coronicus' Tent




The guards drew open the flaps of the tent entrance for Lerexus to enter. Inside awaited Lieutenant Vesuvia Drusilla. She smiled brightly at Lerexus and warmly welcomed him, "Welcome back, my shining general!" She held her arms out in embrace as she walked towards him.

Lerexus gently smiled back and said, "Thank you Vesuvia, I appreciate your welcome." He walked forward and received her embrace, holding for a few moments. Then, he let her go and gave her their orders, "General Deridus commands us to the southern coast of the Grove Basin. We are to investigate reports of disturbances in the region, analyze the situation, and if capable, handle the issue."

Vesuvia glowingly smiled, reflecting her love for warfare, especially at the side of her one and only, Lerexus. She asked, "And when will we leave? How many of our finest men shall I assemble?" She was exuberant with joy for this coming mission.

Lerexus replied coolly, "Assemble fifty of our finest men, for we will depart as soon as the men have had time to feed and prepare for the journey. Consult the Quartermaster and ensure that our men will have sufficient provisions for a little over a week's time. When you have concluded this business, meet me at the outreaches of the Imperial Camp and we will begin our journey."

Vesuvia coyly teased Lerexus, "But when will we get to spend time together, there is no fun in being a Lieutenant when all you are good at is killing." She embraced him deeply one last time and left his tent to complete her tasks.

Meanwhile, Lerexus moved to the map-table and peered over the geographic description of the region they would be venturing into. He found that along the coasts of the Grove Basin, in the region they would be venturing, the landscape is flat and expansive, bound by small cliffsides along the coast. He pondered what might beset them in the region, but quickly put aside such thoughts.

Hours passed and mid-morning beckoned...

Vesuvia approached our drawn horses and rallied men. She gracefully swept herself over and onto the horse. Looking over at Lerexus, she grinned determinedly as her way of letting him know she was ready. Snap, snap. The reins of the horses went and off marched the tribune's unit. For three days, they would march with rests in between at villages along the way, all the while gathering information.



Southern Coast of the Grove Basin, Encounter with Strange 'Marauders'




On the third day, they came upon the most unusual of creatures. Forward scouts reported of beast-like creatures roaming in humanoid fashions. They were described as cat-like creatures and reptilian creatures. These reports somewhat matched the exaggerated accounts of the village folk. These beastfolk conducted themselves in a most crude fashion, yet somehow showed an air of superiority to themselves. Lerexus found them to be great mysteries, which he intended to pursue and analyze. On the same day, the original reports were confirmed and it was determined that these mysterious ones were the marauders causing disturbances on the southern coast. By the evening, Lerexus had found an opportunity to both learn more about the creatures and deal with them. He prepared his unit into groups of 5, maintaining 10 groups total, in close enough proximity to one another around the target camp. He knew that for success against 4:1 odds, he would need to maintain the element of surprise. However, Lerexus also intended to use the element of chaos in the skirmish. When the moon shone down at its brightest and the sentries were at their most vulnerable, the Imperial force would strike.



Ambush of the Strange 'Marauders'




The midnight hour...

Flames sprung up across the enemy camp as arrows dipped in oil and lit with fire hit their tents. The five man units rushed in nearly simultaneously, taking down an enemy at a time. Vicious combat and bloody devils arose from this chaos, in which neither side tentatively won. The marauders had lost a devastating number of their men in the fires and the ensuing chaos, however, unity quickly solidified under an Il'Nagi mage. Within minutes, the Raj soldiers were fighting with full conviction and confidence, showing the real superiority of the beastfolk over the Imperial soldiers. However, the Imperial five man squads managed to hold their own against the stronger and more numerous Raj. Soon, the ambush had reduced the two sides down to a group of one-hundred Akounate scouts, twenty-five of whom were still engaged in reconnaissance tasks far from the ambush, against the remaining 40 Imperial forces.

Lerexus looked across the midnight field, familiar to the sight of battle. He led his soldiers best he could, however, his earlier instructions had been solid orders, which did not warrant much follow-up. As he took in the battlefield, he sighted the enemy leaders. A Raj commander, an Il'Nagi mage, and a valiant Raj who had broken from the chaos. Prior to the ambush, Lerexus had designed a tactic, where the five man squads would overwhelm the enemy with the element of surprise, the chaos ensuing from the fire archer support, and the horsemen who would finalize a kill by running the enemy down, once they had been pinned in by the other squad members. Raj after Raj fell to Lerexus' superior advantage and tactics. However, those three leaders prevented a swift victory, which was exactly what the smaller Imperial force required. If the battle endured any longer, soon the five man squads would be too tired to continue these swarm tactics and consequentially fall quickly to Akounate blades.



The Three Pillars of the Enemy Morale




Lerexus called out to Vesuvia over the chaos, "Lieutenant, bring me the head of that reptile when I signal the horn! It seems to be a driving force of their morale and defense. Also, it would seem that reptile is an enemy mage. Be careful, I will see you soon when I have retrieved a head of my own."

Vesuvia grinned ferociously, with the fervor of an Orcish berserker and the determination of a Valyaarian. She rode off to challenge the Il'Nagi mage in single combat.

Then, Lerexus called out to a fierce fighter of his, a veteran spearman, who held hundreds of kills under Lerexus and previous commanders. "Edelmir, challenge that valiant Raj who is boosting their morale, and humiliate it before you kill it!"

Edelmir proudly called back, "Aye Tribune Coronicus, soon I shall be back with its blood on my blade!" The man rushed off to the emerging Raj who had attracted Lerexus' attention.

Finally, Lerexus found the enemy Raj commander, who he would be facing. He told himself, "I have to get my hands dirty as well." He kneaded his knees into his horse's sides and roared off to the enemy commander.



A Contest of Sheer Power!




The Il'Nagi Mage struck his spear out into the chest of an Imperial soldier who had let his guard down. The soldier slid off the spear and garbled to death on the wet ground.

Vesuvia rode in and then jumped off her horse into a roll, several feet from the enemy mage. The rest of the five-man squad backed out as they realized their lieutenant intended to engage in single combat. As they did, they roared in support of Vesuvia. She returned the call with a familiar roar of her own from the days of the Far Wastes. The men were stricken with confidence and at the same time fear. They reassembled and added a new member from the field to continue their objective. Now, it was single combat between the Il'Nagi mage and Vesuvia.

The Il'Nagi mage slithered forward swiftly, nearly unexpected.

Vesuvia met it within some distance and they began their bout.

The Il'Nagi, being the quicker of the two, took the opportunity to secrete a paralytic venom on its spearhead. Then it thrust the spear into Vesuvia.

Vesuvia parried the spear from a reasonable distance with her long arming sword. Then, she countered by taking a pace step forward and throwing a backhand swing toward the Il'Nagi.

The Il'Nagi mage slid to Vesuvia's side, avoiding the backhand swing. It followed with a counter of its own, where it pivoted all the way around and swung the spear to strike her right side.

Vesuvia knowing she could not move in time, dropped to her left side and rolled several paces away from the Il'Nagi. She then held her long arming sword out ready in a riposte stance.

The Il'Nagi swiftly slid towards Vesuvia and struck out with its spear at her thighs.

Vesuvia riposted the spear into the ground, however it left her open and distracted.

The Il'Nagi spit its venom at Vesuvia's upper torso with blindingly quick speed.

Vesuvia had been assessing the enemy's combat ability for the majority of this bout, however, now she realized close-combat would be unfeasible against such an enemy. In defense of herself, with no other options, she called upon the Ancestral Wrath of the Phoenix. A suit of bursting flames surrounded her like an armor and she was a beacon across the battlefield. When she called upon that particular skill, it was known that the situation had gotten desperate. Subsequently, the venom had dissolved upon impact or caused the flames to expand. Afterwards, the flames died down and she was no longer using the Wrath.

The Il'Nagi mage remanded itself a good 20 paces, hissing as it went at the intensely hot flames. Then, when it reached a safe distance, it began forseeing an eventuality of encircling flames.

Vesuvia regained her composition and steeled her mind. She then began to view an eventuality of she conjured aspects of the passage into a fireball.

The Il'Nagi finished extracting the spell and casted the spell on the ground near Vesuvia. Immediately, a circle of flames surrounded Vesuvia, large enough for two people. Then, it began slithering forward to enter the ring of fire and finish Vesuvia off.

Vesuvia understood what the snake intended and used her acrobatic skills to vault over the ring of fire. Now, she escaped the ring of fire, but lost the Il'Nagi.

The Il'Nagi witnessing her acrobatics skill, decided to reform its path and utilize the element of surprise. It released the ring of fire as a distraction, while it continued to slither towards Vesuvia from an unknown direction.

Suddenly, the ring of fire fizzled out and dazed Vesuvia in the newfound darkness. In a hit or miss attempt to defend herself, she held out the fireball, shot it off her hand, letting it explode.

The Il'Nagi mage was nearly been upon her when she let the fireball burst. The impact ruptured the snake's side and blasted off its arm. In an unintelligible language, a cry was heard followed by a call to action. The beast slithered away nursing it's wound, while it neared the end.

The war cries of the nearest Raj's captured the sound of the battlefield as they ran to protect their comrade. Many fell to five-man squads as they ran, a number close to seven or eight, however a good three or four Rajs made it to their dying Il'Nagi's side. It whispered to them with it's dying breaths, boosting their craze for fighting. Soon, they were charging at the wounded Vesuvia.

Vesuvia stood solidly, mentally shaken at the grotesque mass that was her hand. A finger or two had been blasted off and it was a bloody mess. She tried to compose herself and within a few moments of deep breathing, she managed to do so. Luckily, it had not been her sword hand that had been injured. She gripped her sword tightly and looked up at the charging Rajs with a new feeling of intimidation and desperation surrounding her, a new aura of ferocity.

The Rajs momentarily halted in fear of the woman who looked to be more vicious than any beast of war they had ever witnessed. However, it was quickly passed as they continued their charge once again, until they surrounded her.

She steadied herself and held her sword ready to parry sword blows.

The first Raj stepped a half-pace forward and swung overhead with a devastating amount of force.

Vesuvia met its motion with 2 paces forward and caught its sword arm by the wrist. She countered with slicing off the cat's arm.

The Raj hissed in pain and dropped to the ground, dying within moments from blood loss.

The second and third opponents simultaneously rushed Vesuvia, with a thrust and a side-cut.

Vesuvia pivoted away from the side-cut and swung the dismembered arm onto the thrust, deflecting it into the ground.

The Raj with its sword stuck in the ground, abandoned its weapon, instead choosing to use its claws in an overhead slashing motion. The other Raj, who had missed his side-cut had exposed its right side momentarily as it attempted to recover to its defensive stance.

Vesuvia took advantage of the exposed Raj, moved forward a half-pace and drove her sword into its shoulder. However, in her neglect of the unarmed Raj, she took a heavy blow to her backside. Her armor had been dented inwards by the towering Raj, causing her major discomfort as the metal dug into the leather. When the blow connected, it also gave her extra momentum in thrusting through the other Raj.

The remaining Raj, stepped forward a pace and followed up again with another devastating blow, this time a thrust into her lower back. The ironclaws of the Raj, accompanied by the great momentum of the motion, had dug past both layers of armor and met flesh.

Vesuvia cried out in pain, making a critical mistake in pivoting around. However, with the claws of the beast fully anchored into her lower back, she threw it off balance and onto the ground.

By chance, the beast landed on top of the sword stuck in the ground. The impact had directly broken its spine and relieved it of the anchor it had in Vesuvia's lower back. Like a cross, the Raj laid splayed out, fully paralyzed.

Vesuvia's vision blurred as the multitude of wounds had caused major blood loss. She wavered until she could find her sword still stuck in the other Raj. She pulled it out and gripped it with both hands. With a single downward thrust, she ended the wretched Raj, putting it out of its misery. Then, she searched for the Il'Nagi, even though her vision was blurring greatly and she could barely see. Putting her fingers to her mouth, she whistled for her horse. The war beast strode up and allowed her a steady perch to ride from. Within a moment, she found the dead Il'Nagi somewhat removed from where they had fought. She slid off her horse and removed its head. Then she strapped its head to the saddle of her horse, as she clambered over onto it. From there, she rode across the battlefield, to find a highly elevation position to display it from.



Warriors of the Valiant and Tested!




Edelmir held his spear in his right hand, halfway up the length, and an Imperial shield in the other. His breathing was steady in and out and through his nose as he ran towards the emerging Raj leader. He understood what his commander had tasked him with, this was not simply a mission to kill, but also a mission to wound. He would have to wound the enemy morale as greatly as possible when interlocked in combat with their new Raj champion. During this battle, Edelmir had already faced a few Rajs and emerged victorious. He understood how they worked for the most part, he thought. Quick and agile, they would likely try to overrun him and then swiftly put him to his death with superior strength. However, this was not Edelmir's death, he had a purpose in life and that was to serve the Empire. For him, serving the Empire meant he was essentially protecting himself and any he cared for. Within a minute, he had reached the champion, soon to be forgotten to history.

The Raj champion pulled its long curved blade from the chest of an unfortunate Imperial who's comrades were already struck down by the enemy minutes ago. An unknown call came from the cat-like beast, which garnered roars of approval from the surrounding Rajs. It looked directly at the approaching Imperial veteran, Edelmir, and sneered viciously as though it were taunting him.

Edelmir laughed gruffly as he thought about the different ways he would hurt the beast. By this point, he had reached somewhat over spear distance of the Raj champion and awaited his move. He even went so far as to taunt it by lightly tapping his spear on the shield.

The Raj hissed ferociously at Edelmir and zig zagged towards Edelmir as to avoid the spear's reach.

Edelmir held his spear steady not intending to open an opportunity of weakness for his target. Then he gripped the spear a little higher on the shaft and held his shield firmly while moving forward.

The cat had reached its sword's reach with Edelmir and swung a side-cut as it moved to Edelmir's right side.

Edelmir pivoted on his right foot to maintain defense against the cat and then took the side-cut on his shield. He could feel the power of the beast, yet knew he was still only toying with him.

The Raj champion continued with a flurry of attacks, which seemed to come almost blindingly towards Edelmir. It began with an overhead cut, then a counterclockwise spin cut, followed by a pommel strike to the upper torso, and finally a backhand swing. Despite this flurry of attacks and despite the intensity and power behind each impact, never did the Raj tire.

Each time, Edelmir took the hit on his shield and felt the reverberations through the entirety of his arm. Finally, he found an opportunity. Edelmir paced forward twice, now at a half-pace distance, and returned all the impact received with a devastating shield bash.

The Raj met contact with the shield right in its chest. The Raj had been flung a distance, sword flung from hand, and several ribs cracked under the impact. Struggling on the ground, it heaved in pain, gasping for air, finally managing to get up and break from its daze. The Raj reached down and retrieved a dead soldier's sword and readied himself.

Several onlooking soldiers stood shocked at the display, both in fear and angst over what had just happened. At first, the Imperial had seemed to be losing to the Raj champion, yet somehow the Reachman had conjured an inner strength to balance the fight. Imperial soldiers found hope and inspiration in this turn of the tides for Edelmir, while Raj soldiers felt the urge to interrupt the bout and overwhelm Edelmir. Nontheless, all sides stayed engaged in their own combat, allowing the two to continue unhinged.

Edelmir moved forward, now having upset the battle, ready to seriously fight the Raj.

The Raj had tested its enemy and understood the circumstances. It found that the Imperial was no trifling man and that a serious bout would be fought here. It too moved forward, although this time much more surreptitiously than before.

Edelmir analyzed his opponent and determined that the Raj would henceforth fight seriously. He maintained his spear's distance from the Raj and waited for him to approach.

The Raj knew that it held the disadvantage in reach, but had the advantage in speed and power. It moved forward and goaded the spearhead to strike.

Edelmir fell for the Raj's test and thrust forward, leaving the Raj and path to move past the spear. Quickly, he began pulling the spear back to match a new distance, while pacing backwards.

The Raj continued moving past the spearhead and was within striking distance now. It used both hands and gripped the sword to take off the spearhead section of the shaft.

Edelmir, sensing the Raj's intentions, threw the spear onto the ground and rushed forward.

The Raj, quickly readjusted his stance and brought the sword down on the now unarmed Edelmir's shield.

The blow created a quaking reverberation accompanied by a detestable ringing sound that sent Edelmir onto his knee. After receiving the blow, he transitioned to a shield roll right into the Raj.

The quick cat sidestepped the futile attempts by Edelmir and ran towards his new position.

Edelmir recovered from the roll and brought his shield arm back, while running towards the Raj.

The Raj nearly reached Edelmir and thrusted his sword towards Edelmir's upper torso. At the same time he prepared his left handclaws for a strike.

Edelmir side-stepped the Raj and brought the shield down onto the Raj's forearm.

The Raj's forearm splintered under the impact of Edelmir's shield, but his left handclaws connected with Edelmir's upper left arm. The Raj's eyes rolled up into its head momentarily as it nearly fainted. However, after several moments it regained semi-consciousness long enough to bring itself together.

Edelmir screamed in agony as his shield arm had been all but ripped off. He stumbled several paces backwards until he had fallen on his backside. After which, he began to lose consciousness and soon enough was nearing death.

The Raj, shaking greatly with every step, walked towards the unconscious Edelmir and prepared to end him and the duel. Suddenly, its head departed from its shoulders and flew through the midnight sky.

In the blood and gory fog of battle, only a few on each side had managed to witness the unknown horseman gallop past and take the Raj champion's life. Those of the Akounate noticed the Il'Nagi head strapped to the side of the saddle, while Imperial soldiers imagined the feeling of an intense determination of fire. For the Akounate forces, the effect was devastating. They only recognized one such Il'Nagi face, that being the one of their company mage. The Imperials took the sighting with great inspiration and a massive boost in morale. It seemed to them, whoever this unknown rider was, they favored the Imperial side and they had defeated two enemy commanders. However, disregarding both accounts, the matter was certain, the Raj champion had fallen to the unknown rider and soon the skirmish would end as well.



Tactics win the Battle, Action seizes the Victory!




Lerexus gently galloped towards the enemy commander, a towering Raj who seemed to be cutting down Imperials with nothing more than his claws, power, and momentum. He dismounted his horse and drew his steel sword. Holding it in one hand, he began conjuring a fireball from an eventuality in the other.

The enemy commander had taken notice of him now and determined by Lerexus' equipment that he must be the Imperial commander. Ignoring all other threats, the Raj began walking towards Lerexus, slashing away any foe that might stand in his way.

Lerexus, when sure the Raj had gotten within sufficient distance, threw his fireball toward the Raj's feet. When the fireball launched, he began conjuring a short-burst of lightning right after.

The towering beast, instead of rolling away from the fireball as to avoid impact, jumped through the air, landing a few feet from Lerexus. It brought its arm back and prepared a slash from over its shoulder.

Lerexus had analyzed the Raj and knew that he would have jumped into the air to avoid the fireball or rolled away, which would risk impact with it. However, he had not been prepared for the giant Raj to be so agile and acrobatic. His lightning spell was not yet ready, so he prepared to deflect the Raj's blow.

The Raj brought his arm down, biting his ironclaws into the steel metal of Lerexus' sword. Quickly after, he prepared a second attack with his other arm.

Lerexus was pushed down to one knee by the force of the blow. However, by this time his spell was ready. He aimed for the Raj's left thigh, intending to maim it.

The Raj brought his other arm down too quickly and Lerexus' spell was diverted from hitting its leg. It then paced backwards a bit to avoid another close encounter.

The impact of the second blow directly hit Lerexus' left pauldron, denting the metal, sending him into the ground, and dropping his sword. He rolled on his stomach several times to the left and slowly managed to get up, sore from the hits.

The Raj seeing that Lerexus was now regaining himself, rushed forward to beat him down again.

Lerexus kept his mind solid and composed himself against the encroaching giant. Steadying his body, he began to envision an eventuality of implosions and made the connection with the Raj's body.

The Raj reached Lerexus, dug into an aggressive stance, and began a flurry of slashes and jabs, numbering four in total: underhand fist, overhand slash, side slash, and lastly a frontal palm thrust.

Lerexus using his agile advantage sidestepped and dodged each attack as it came, while mentally continuing his charging of the spell. Finally, the entropy spell was ready and he aimed it at the Raj's upper chest.

Over a few moments, the Raj felt a sudden connection between itself and the small Imperial man. Then, in an instantaneous moment, the Raj grabbed at its chest as miniature internal implosions began rupturing the blood vessels in the left side of its chest.

Throughout the action of the spell, Lerexus had felt his magicka draining out. He was tapped out of Sight usage and could feel a debilitating migraine coming on. He had to end this quickly, but now had no magic nor weapon to finish the Raj. However, Lerexus still had his wits for the most part and saw that attacking the Raj's new wound would give the best effort. So, Lerexus brought his leg up and extended it into the Raj's chest as hard as he could.

The Raj, distracted by the entropy effects, did not notice Lerexus' followup, so the kick made direct contact with its chest. It caused even greater pain, which shook the Raj from his lapse of ignorance. The Raj grabbed Lerexus' leg while in contact with his chest and began swinging him around in a circular motion.

Lerexus was left defenseless in this situation and tried to become dead weight for the Raj. Despite his efforts, or rather no effort, Lerexus was soon swinging in the air. Then the swinging stopped and Lerexus was dropped to the ground.

The Raj had suffered a massive heart-attack after its weakened heart was overexerted, which caused a series of valve bursts. The gigantic beast fell over onto its side and died in that moment.

Lerexus got up and said quietly to himself, "Thank you, Wise Aimbelle of the Keep." He proceeded to cut the enemy commander's head off with his steel dagger and place it in a sack. Then he found his sword and whistled for his horse. Lerexus mounted his horse and then pulled a horn from the saddlebag, signaling for Vesuvia and Edelmir to rejoin him.



A Great End That Marks a Great Beginning




After some minutes, Vesuvia had returned to the rendezvous point. She had the head of the enemy mage strapped to her saddle, yet she looked worse than the dead beast.

Lerexus, despite his growing migraine, looked in fear of Vesuvia's condition. Never had she been so egregiously wounded. He called out to her, "Lieutenant, you must retire-" The debilitating migraine began, overwhelming his mind and thoughts. "You must-", he tried again. They overwhelmed him so greatly he slumped to the neck of his horse and held on for dear life.

An accompanying soldier called out, "Sir! We will handle Lieutenant Drusilla." He rushed forward to help the battle-worn Valyaarian down from her horse. The other soldier began to administer first aid to the heavily wounded lieutenant.

For several hours, the debilitating migraine continued and slowed until Lerexus had regained his functions.

Lerexus awoke and looked dazedly around him, the soldiers were tending to his dearest Vesuvia and the battle seemed to have drawn to an end long ago. Finally he managed to ask, "What is the battle situation report?"

The sleep-deprived soldier replied, "Sir, the ambush was a success, however losses were severe. Of the fifty men that were in this unit, 27 survived, 17 of which are wounded. Of the 200 enemy forces engaged, only 8 have survived or been discovered. The rest routed or have been lost from accounts. The enemy has fully surrendered and we have secured control over them. Two messengers have already been sent back to the Imperial Camp to relay the message of our success." He took a moment to breath and continued, "Furthermore, your orders to capture the enemy heads were also successes, however Sergeant Edelmir succumbed to his wounds after grievously maiming the Raj champion. Lieutenant Drusilla succeeded in her mission, however suffered massive blood loss and nearly died. There are also rumours that an unknown rider with a snake-head strapped to their saddle took the Raj champion's head as they were about to finish off the dying Edelmir. I believe that would fit Lieutenant Drusilla's description."

Lerexus exhaled in great relief. He then said, "We fought an impossible battle last midnight, prepare the men for return to the Imperial Camp. It's time for them to get real help and relief."

The messenger saluted Lerexus and left to go prepare the unit. Soon after, they departed, with the strange prisoners in line. Lerexus had given implicit orders not to tease or make contact with the prisoners whatsoever for their own safety. Within a few days, they would reach Imperial Camp, however the journey would not be without fault.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Last edited by Albertae on Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:11 am, edited 17 times in total.
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Postby Arengin Union » Tue Dec 25, 2018 10:05 pm

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Frontier of Norravägg



The wind blew with a cold familiar to that of the Northern frontier that was Norravägg, always cold yet not the same year round, it varied season to season but in this land it was always white and green. A luscious green canopy surrounding the white landscape of the forest, lakes and rivers flowing freely and unfrozen as the sun had been shinning freely for several days, it was the type of spring that the Nords were all used to. Sunny and green but still bitter and cold, but with it came calmness and a sense that Norravägg wasn't all the inhospitable and barren forgotten land of Eroris, the backwater of the Empire it was not, perhaps the frontier but not the waste of it.

Despite the tranquility that spring brought with it, birds chirping and elks barking there was an uneasy feel to the woods, one that the region hadn't seen since the days of the warring clans. Within it, on the road leading to the villages of the northeast, a party of over 200 Norse men and women warriors on horseback kept steady as Captain Klegor Torvisversen looked over from the rocky hillside, Naumudalr and Jorunnarstaoir could be seen from a distance, the flat crop terrains and different herds of animals were visible as were houses and buildings of different types. From where Klegor stood it all seemed normal, no werewolf attack in sight and no chaos at all, yet at the same time he couldn't spot a single person. These villages were not all different from Bellewhod, livestock focused and lightly inhabited. The difference was that Bellewhod was the most secluded town in the Frosthold domains, as well as Eroris itself, the party would have to transverse the two villages before getting to the outskirts of Bellewhod, the village was yet to be visible at all.

The Nord Captain guided his horse back to the party, all awaiting instructions and gathered close, carriages with several battle and camping supplies at the back. Hankir rode a white horse contrary to his loyal dark steed Argo who had remained back in Frosthold to accompany Adria. She had been less than happy about her father going back to Bellewhod but unsurprisingly had little say in the matter. Klegor approached the group, his helmet covering most of his face but with enough of a gap for one to make off his expressions.

"What'd you saw?" Hankir said, both hands holding onto the horn of his horse's saddle as he asked.

Klegor tilted his head a bit before answering, holding firmly to the reins of his horse. "Nothing much, all seems fine from here. We should get moving, we should cross into the valley before nightfall. I want to get a good look at the beasts before anything."

Hankir nodded, "Agreed. Carriages ought to remain at Naumudalr, they'd slow us down if we need to make a quick exit."

Klegor considered the suggestion, these beast had keen senses, if they wanted to make this right they would need to be quiet. The captain gave a nod of approval to his fellow Nord and the conversation ended at that as Klegor then addressed the entire war party.

"Listen, we'll move into Naumudalr and Jorunnarstaoir. I want everyone to keep eyes out for anything suspicious, carriages will stay back while we move into Bellewhod. Understood!?"

Klegor was given a simultaneous "Aye" from his war party and quickly they were on the move again, lines of riders at the front and back while carriages in the middle. The war party began approaching Jorunnarstaoir, as they began approaching the village they noticed that it was all eerily empty, no guards and no one in the streets, it was all quiet. Cows and sheep roaming around the farm fences and no one looking after them, not even a dog.

Klegor at the front with Hankir signaled the party to stop as they entered the town center, he began to feel uneasy at the lack of anyone alive other than him and his men. Hankir for his part had his hand on his sword, ready as always and circling around with his horse. The soldiers of the file all had their spears and swords ready as well as they looked around for any sign of life in the village.

Klegor then broke the silence "I don't like this..."

Hankir then added "When I passed through here it was business as usual. I didn't even make a stop but I could see plenty of people around." The two Nords kept quiet for a few seconds, the row of soldiers behind them kept a steady position but it was clear that tension and nervousness was high in everyone.

Klegor didn't waste time as he got off his horse and then spoke loudly so those at the front could hear and pass the order down the caravan. "Listen clear, I want a thorough search of the town. No one goes off alone, split in groups and look around!"

Again the commander was met by an "Aye" from everyone in the war party. Quickly the warriors began getting off their steeds and unsheathing their swords various groups began to disperse around the town. Hankir got off his horse as well, hitching it on the water well right at the center of town near Klegor's own horse.

"We should go look at the hall. We might find someone there, or at least some clue of what happened." He suggested to Klegor who was checking a map of the region alongside three other warriors. The captain set the map back inside his horse's pouch and nodded in agreement at the proposition, with no words the five Nords began walking up the town towards the hall at the end of the short hillside. Meanwhile groups of warriors entered house by house and barn by barn in search of any living soul. The entire town was flooded by warriors of Frosthold and despite looking everyone from home to home and spreading around in search for anyone all they found houses with broken doors and disorderly within, barns that lacked any cleaning, animals roaming freely and with little care. It was all so strange.

"This has to be them." Hankir said instinctively. Klegor and the other warriors only looking at him with perplexity, what if he was right. Army of werewolves, intelligent and organized like armies of any other race of Eroris? It was something no one had even fathom. But nor Klegor or his men had time for those ideas, right now they had to figure out what had transpired here, so far there had been no signs of fighting, not even a single drop of blood. This could not be werewolves, they would never be capable of doing something like this.

Klegor, Hankir and the other warriors approached the town hall, already it was surrounded by several warriors who were approaching to open the door only to find it locked, the windows however were almost all shattered and broken into, some of them barred from within. Hankir approached the front doors, indeed they were locked, stiff and unmovable. It was clear that someone didn't want something to get inside, it did anyway as the shattered windows were any giveaway.

Hankir moved towards one of the shattered windows, with the help of two others he was lift up and able to get inside the building, other warriors including Klegor himself did the same. As the men entered the building they were met with haunting darkness, only some glimmer of the sun coming in from where they had entered. Light barely coming in, most windows were covered by either wood or furniture, every other source of light had extinguished leaving only the contrast of deep darkness within the building. Hankir, Klegor and the others who had entered moved with fright as they stepped right into the darkness, soon torches were sent through the windows and the light revealed a haunting sight.

Markings of claws everywhere on the walls and the floors, blood on the floor and bodies all around, the stench was horrid as it began to pierce through their noses. Hankir kept the torch up and his sword ready as he moved through the hall, the others around him doing the same. The door had been blocked from the inside by a makeshift barrier of book shelves, seats, and other decor. The floor had bloody hand and paw prints, a cold air current flowing and only making Hankir squirm at the realization that they had been too late. Klegor and the other warriors within could only see the various signs of not a battle, but a massacre that had taken place within these walls.

"These monsters have no honor." One warrior exclaimed in disgust as he found a body of a man with his entire jaw and throat ripped from his face, whatever his weapon had been to defend himself it was gone, so was his armor. To take an opponents weapon and armor was seen as a dishonorable act given circumstances of what could only be assumed was a surprise attack, but such a beast couldn't have taken a man's weaponry that would be ridiculous.

"Captain, the village has been searched, there is nobody to be found. Torvig has taken a small group to scout the situation at Naumudalr." One of the warriors said to Klegor who was observing the body of what he recognized as the town's elder, Hronuth Alfariksen, ripped in half and his eyes wide open. The flames from the torches providing the only light and the shadowy sight of more bodies everywhere made the Captain and the other men's skin crawl. It took Klegor a moment before answering to the news.

Approaching the body of Alfariksen, Klegor knelled down to promptly close the body's eyes to make sure his soul would travel well he then answered, "Very well soldier, I want an encampment and a defense line around the village by dusk. Hankir, let's go!" the captain began to make his way to the door, the obstacles being set aside by several of the warriors. Hankir for his part was analyzing the claw marks and bloody paw prints. Mostly in pairs and almost none in fours, these were the same beasts that walked upright like men, not only that but some of the slashes on the walls were not from claws, but iron. The weapons and armor of the many dead men within the building also raised questions.

Hankir didn't say anything, he only set his hand on his chin with a sense of wonder and fear. The Nord then realized to the calling of Klegor and made his way to the door, it was now opened and Klegor had given the order to make camp and for the bodies inside the hall to be buried. Hankir exited the building to embrace the sun and the blue sky of the outside, a better sight but still haunting to see a village so deserted and forgotten. Warriors began entering the building and carrying out the bodies to bury them outside, Hankir waled towards Klegor as he talked to some of the men.

"These beasts are on the path to destruction." Hankir said with little care for formalities, Klegor and the others looking at him with looks of concern but also fear within their eyes. "I saw what they can do with callous might comparable to that of men, now I see what they also posses abilities of furtiveness that of men as well." The Nord got to Klegor and the others, the sun was already beginning to set down, it would be a few hours before dark, then they would be at mercy of them.

Klegor remained silent for a few seconds, giving thought on how to approach Bellewhod, if these beasts were as smart as Hankir claimed they were then it would be wise to first scout ahead, he still wasn't so convinced. This could've been the act of something else, Orcs or perhaps the Lost Ones had begun a return from so many years ago. Be it whatever it was he had to see it with his own eyes, "A few of us should approach Bellewhod. Leave the carriages back and the others to form a defensive line, we can then make a move after we make sure what we're up against."

Hankir objected to the idea, his expression one of frustration at such an idea after what they had just seen here, "Captain, we need to make our way to Aleried, the High King must assemble the cities we cannot face this by ourselves!"

"We are not facing it by ourselves." One of Klegor's men intruded. "If only a few men approach Bellewhod to see what we're up against then we can have a better fighting chance."

Hankir took off his helmet, running back his hair he tried to keep calm, but it was difficult with so many thick headed people not listening to him. The less the spent here the better, he didn't want to repeat what had happened back in the Jarls hall so he had to run with this but be cautious of the approach.

Hankir finally conceded to the idea, "Fine. But we have to be quick and we have to be swift. I know this area best, we can't stay unseen for long." He then added a condition, "While we're out there, you and your men follow my commands, I don't want anymore Nords to die. Understood."

Klegor considered Hankir's position, looking at the other men at his side he nodded and with no distrust agreed. The man did know the area and if it made him less tense to be at command for at least a while then he would be. "Very well. We should be going soon then."

Hankir gave a nod, "Get your things ready, we'll use the horses then go on foot." The sun was starting to hide away as clouds invaded the skies.
Last edited by Arengin Union on Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Eroris Historical Society » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:00 pm

The Battle of High Rock Part II:
Beneath the Walls

2nd of Midyear (6), 4E 901
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Heremond at the Field; Valeria Tanist 912 4E

Heremond Carcaster


How the fuck had this happened? Why do the Divines turn their backs on me? Heremond thought as they galloped to the main army. He heard the fight behind him and burned with shame. He should be fighting as well, not turning heel and running off. The pain in his side ripped into his mind, interrupting his thoughts. The camp was a flurry of activity. Sergeants where shouting orders at men as formations where being formed up.
Another rider approached, it was the King. “You Carcasters are fucking idiots. Putting everything on single fucking combat? You think the Gardeners are letting me keep my head if you had been killed? From the looks of it that almost happened.”

“Did you have a better idea, your Majesty?” Heremond asked, perhaps a little defiantly but the pain in his ribs was clouding everything.

“Watch your tone boy,” Edmyn said, a tinge of threatening menace in his voice. “As is, your stupid gambit has failed and a pitched battle is going to happen. Thousands will die. Any new brilliant ideas, Carcaster?”

Heremond thought. He knew that if he could break the Gardners center he could have a chance, but there was the unknown threat of Summersets forces, camped not a far distance off. Had Cedric courted King Wilking? Would the King of Summerset side with the apparent winner in the climax of the battle? He had no idea and no way of knowing. Cedric may even try and envelope the Atlean force, crush it against the walls of High Rock itself. No, Heremond knew that a pitched battle would bring disaster, yet withdrawing from the field would ruin both him and the King politically. No, they only had one option, push Cedric to the walls of High Rock itself and crush them there. Heremond told the king this, Edmyn noded.
“Then it's settled. A pitched battle it is.” Edmyn rode off to get his flank in order.

Heremond gathered his men, the men that had marched with him from High Rock a few days ago supplemented by Atleans. Together the numbered some five thousand men. Mettius would lead the center and Edmyn the left. The plan was simple, Mettius would drive in with the heavier infantry and elements of the cavalry and try and push the Gardeners center to the walls, Heremond and Edmyn would then sweep in on the enemy flanks and roll them up. A third force would hold back and provide protection the rear of the army in case the Gardeners tried to flank them or the worst came to the worst and Wilking joined the Gardeners. Once more Heremond had done all he could and it was now up to the Divines to favor one side or the other.

“Men of High Rock, here me!” Heremond shouted an action that caused him a burning pain. He would fight through that for his men. “Remember this! Remember this day! Remember your homes burnt, your wives and children made homeless or worse! Your livelihoods taken from you. Your freedom threatened! Remember that and hold it close. You do not fight so one high born can sit on a char or another. You fight for your homes, for your wives and your children, you fight to revenge them that were taken from you. On this day we will avenge our fallen kin, our burnt farms our pillaged village. You, my brave men of the Rock will live on form this day forth as great men and I am proud to call each and every one of you brother! Now to glory!”

The deafening cheer from Atlean and the men of the Rock rose up into the late morning sky. The Battle for High Rock had begun.

Cedric Gardener


Cedric struck down the last of the Carcaster soldiers that remained at the sight of the parley with a crunch, soaking fresh blood into the ground. The skirmish had been short and quick, even then, three of his men had been felled attempted to give chase after the Carcaster Lord. Dammit, Cedric cursed to himself, if only that soldier hadn't arrived I would have won High Rock by now with little bloodshed. I would have only have had to deal with Edmyn... and now... Cedric stared out across the field of battle at the gathering Atlean army, Blood will stain this ground.

As Cedric withdrew his hammer from the crushed corse of his fallen enemy, Sir Saeva rode up before him with a cruel grin on his blood-soaked face and sword in hand; he clearly enjoyed the trill of the skirmish, "I assume it's time to fuck the Atleans in the ass ain't it, Cedric?"

"Unfortunately," Cedric responded in a gruff tone as his own horse was brought by Fergus to mount, "Do as we've planned, ride to the secondary position and wait for my signal. With luck, we'll have this over and done with by the afternoon." Cedric placed his foot into the stirrup and mounted onto his horse, "Hereric! Rex! With me! We have a war to win!" Cedric sent his horse into a gallop towards his camp, where his officers were already putting out fires and preparing for battle. Soon, a long line of Lenoran soldiers found themselves ranked in formation a short distance away from the gathering Atlean force. The Great Stag banner flew high over the army with Cedric at it's head, watching as the morning sun peaked its head over the tall Fortress of High Rock.
"WHO OWNS THE REACH!?" Cedric bellowed to his men.

"WE DO!" his men yelled back in return,

"DO YOU HONESTLY THINK THAT WE'LL ALLOW OURSELVES TO LOSE TO THESE ATLEAN BARBARIANS DEVOID OF CULTURE!?"

"NO!" The men yelled back.

"THEN SHOW THEM THE POWER OF YOUR VOICES, SHOW THEM THE POWER OF HOUSE GARDENER! SHOW THEM THE POWER OF LENORA!"

Mettius Clement


The center of the formation was gathered, many thousand strong. Mettius rode in front of the formation, preparing to address them in the fleeting moments before the battle would inevitably erupt. He knew it would be hard to encourage them, he knew he couldn't speak to all of them, but he projected his voice as far as his lungs would permit.

"THE EYES OF THE EMPIRE ARE UPON YOU!" He bellowed. "Every pair of eyes, every set of ears, every citizen, they watch! They watch because we are here to set the standard to which the imperial citizen is to resist tyranny by! Like wolves they have raided our countryside, however, they show the true face of themselves here today, they wear the face of a vulture! Circling around destruction, picking away at our homes, taking what they can, but today we stop them! We show the Empire the true mettle of the High Rock sand Atlean soldier! Today we fight! Fight for our homes! TO ARMS! Raise the standard and sound the horns, let them come to us, right into our pikes and arrows! And we will send them to Dread!"

Heremond Carcaster


The Atlean army stood firm as there foe’s bellowed there war cries, the morning sun peaking over the dominating structure of High Rock and glinted off the steel of the fighting men of both sides. Heremond and his personal guard were positioned in the front of the army mounted upon there war horses. Beawald and Alwyin would be Heremond own adjuncts providing advice and commanding troops. To there right was the center of the army, commanded by Mettius. A few moments before a rider had been sent to the old Valyaar to give him the order to attack. The sounding of horns and the marching of thousands of men told Heremond that Mettius had begun his assault.

“I suppose it's time for us to do the same.” Heremond said to the two other Reachmen beside him, “Men of Atlas, Men of the Rock, forwards!”

The shrill cry of horns and the stamp of thousands of marching feet and trotting hooves began. Mettius would hit the center as hard as he could, but already the mud that still remained from the rain earlier in the week was beginning to slow Mettius down. The Gardener line was nearly as long as the Atlean and was moving in to attack as well. The two forces drew nearer and nearer to each other with every moment. Heart began to beat faster, stomachs twisted and sweat dripped cold from the brows of nervous men. Soon it would begin, soon the fate of The Rock and Atlas would be decided.

Everlid Carcaster - High Rock


She wasn't dreaming this time. The war she had seen play out over and over in her mind's eye had finally arrived at the doorstep of her home. It was almost surreal to see a scene that had only played out within her head be right there, visible to her and everyone else. She saw glittering armor as thousands began to march towards each other, banners held high. She heard the trumpeting of horns meant to rally men, command the forward, and to scare their enemies. She could only watch as the two forces began to clash.

Heremond Carcaster


They were a few hundred yards from each other. Close enough to make out individuals forms from the masses of armed men yet not see there faces. The center was still moving forward to attack, the flanks had begun to slow down. To Heremonds left he could see the high stone tower that the fortress of High Rock sat upon towering over the field, below it the walls of the surrounding city. The sun still clawing its way into the sky cast a long shadow over the field of battle. If he were to die here, then at least High Rock would be the last thing he saw.

Horns sounded and men surged forward, the Gardeners began their own attack. The battle had begun in earnest.

“Alwyin, get the archers to fire on the bastards. Bearwald, how do you feel about a good charge in the morning?”

“I would rather a bed full of whores, but this is almost as good,” Bearwald remarked. Heremond chuckled.

“If we win today I am sure you will have no issue getting that,” Heremond replied.

The sky above them was filled with projectiles, crashing into the Gardener line. Men and horse fell in a frenzy of screaming blood filled agony, slowing down there comrades charging in front and causing confusion and fear in their ranks. Elsewhere the sound of battle could be heard as the two masses of men collided. Now was the time to charge the cavalry. Trumpets blared and the sound of hundreds of hooves and yelling men drowned out all other sounds.

There was the initial shock of the charge, ranks where broken and men scattered in fear. Horses battered those who couldn't get out of the way while hooves crushed to dead and wounded alike, lances were broken and swords were drawn as the knights if High Rock and Atlas hacked into the enemy, plunging deep into there lines and killing or maiming many. Then, it was time to turn about and ready for another charge. However, Heremond didn't want his enemy the benefit of a few moment respite, missiles and magic continued to hammer the Gardener force without mercy, then in came the infantry, a forest of pikes and halberds. The great melee of the battle had begun. Heremond brought his cavalry around and struck again, this time hitting the distracted Gardeners in the flank.

It was a confused mess now, a mob of men hacking and stabbing into each other, a bloody orgy of violence. This is what Heremond found himself in, somehow he had charged too deep into the enemy. He was surrounded by the enemy, his lance broken. His sword drawn Heremond began to stab and slash into the mass of enemies that had come around him. He knew very much what would happen if he were to fall. His horse fell from under him, a spear sticking out of its gut. Heremond struggled to get out from under it. More horses and more shouts as he saw men wearing the colors of High Rock burst through. Now he was truly in the thick of it all.

Heremond lost track of everything else. Sword in hand, an enemy in front of him. That was all that mattered. The ground grew slick with blood and the mud of old rains. Men came at him and fell, Heremond's sword turned crimson with the blood of his foes. For a few dangerous moments, Heremond wasn’t even aware of the tactical situation around him.

His men, in the ferocity of their attack, had begun to push the enemy flank around, not breaking them, but forcing them to give ground nonetheless. The right flank under King Edmyn wasn't taking ground, but the hadn't given up any. The center under Mettius was as steadfast as there commander and had begun to push the Gardner center back. As it was, the entire battle was shifting, in the wrong way, with the Atlean force slowly positioning its rear to the walls of High Rock.

Still, in the thick of it, the burning in his side growing ever more intense, Heremond Carcaster fought on. Another man dead to his hand, another life was gone. His thoughts were on just one thing, bursting through to the other side of the enemy and killing as many of the bastards as he could. But something was wrong. He couldn't quite place it, but something was completely wrong with this battle. Then he heard it.

The low baneful drone of a war horn from behind him; the Gardener calvary smashed into the Atlean rear.

Mettius sat atop his horse, watching the Lenoran troops close in. They held a slight numerical advantage, however, Cedric had made a mistake, he, a defender, was attacking first. He exposed his armies to the battlements of High Rock, as well as Mettius' own ranged forces. He peered through his spy-glass, waiting for the right moment.

"Archers, battlemages, engage! Have heavy infantry guard them!" He yelled. From two sides the Gardener army was struck at, felling many as they charged harder. After a few more moments, Mettius ordered the archers and battle mages to the rear and for the cavalry to charge into the coming horde of defenders. It was gruesome, as the horsemen rode into their lead formations and trampled many men, they were just as gruesomely struck down. The cavalry returned, two hundred less than they attacked with, although they took four men for every one lost.

It was then when he had a brief realization, as the Gardener infantry clashed into the phalanxes and defensive lines of Atlas, where was the Gardener cavalry? Surely Wilking's forces didn't make up the entire composition of Cedric's cavalry. The sounds of galloping echoed in the back of his head, he looked over his shoulder.

Nothing.

All there was behind him was the scanty rear-guard element, and large swaths of forests. His mind flashed back to how he himself used the forests to disguise his forces earlier in the campaign. In the hast to make for High Rock they had to neglect ordering forward scouting reports, leaving large blind-spots for the enemy to hide.
"Ser!" An officer beside him yelled. "The Lenorans, they're assault is wavering!" He said, pointing out the slowing assault.

"Full charge!" Mettius yelled, committing all his foot soldiers to the attack, a gamble.

"Ser, you can't-"

"Full charge! He yelled, unseating ships sword and spurring his horse. "Cavalry to the rear, guard our rear flank!" He yelled as his horse sprung forward. "Charge men!" He yelled as he rode through the battle, bringing down his sword on any who wore the Gardener seal. "CHARGE"

After a few moments of brutal fighting at the front, the Atleans broke through, nearly routing the Gardeners.

AWWOOOOOO

AWWOOOOOO


Cedric Gardener


For as long as Cedric had been a soldier, a man embroiled in the horror and cruelty of war, he had known air seemed to freeze with tension as two armies faced each other across a battlefield. It wasn't exclusive to a pitched battle, every instance he had found himself about to fight for his life be it a duel or a small skirmish carried the same weight that seemed to cling around him, focusing his thoughts on the conflict ahead of him, suspending his humanity for one urge: FIGHT! An old Pandoran scholar in a book Cedric had read some time ago called this urge "The Beast" that part of man that lies under the surface until you put a sword in his hand. He didn't truly understand what that meant at the time, but thundering down the plains of the Reach, hammer upraised and mighty warcry bellowing throughout the air, Cedric had already learned long ago what it truly meant. War was truly a human sport.

"BRACE!" the Atlean mean shouted. The Gardener line crashed into that of Atlas, beginning the Battle in truth. Cedric's hammer swung in an arc towards the wooden shield of some young Atlean boy, whose defense crumbled under the combined momentum of his swing and his horse's gallop. The Atlean line lurched backward under the brunt of the Gardener effort, as the soldiers of Lenora hacked at lashed at the well-armored infantrymen. The first charge had gone well, however-

"LOOK OUT!" one of Cedric's men yelled. From the battlements of High Rock black arrows rained down from the stone matriculations of the ancient fortress. Cedric raised his shield just in time for one of the arrows to embed itself firmly in its wood, though the man who had shouted to him was not as lucky, clutching at his throat as crimson blood gushed from his neck. He was not the only one, several of the Lenoran footmen, unprepared for the sudden rain of enemy archers from the battlements fell victim to their deadly aim falling dead on the muddy ground below. Cedric cursed, If High Rock had been properly garrisoned the damage would have been much worse. Even then, he couldn't afford to lose soldiers like that, especially due to nature of plan he and Wymar had concocted. Cedric's clenched his fist firmly around his hammer, Forward! Forward! "FORWARD!"

His horse reared in the air before being stabbed square in the chest by a Atlean pikeman. It began to fall to the ground, aided by Cedric's weight, but the Lenoran prince was able to free himself from its saddle before it fell atop him. He landed on his back with a thud, barley avoiding the horse's body as it fell to his side, and immediately had to rise to the challenge to face a Atlean swordsman who came swinging at his chest. Without his shield he had to block the attack with his hammer from there he proceeded to used his strength to parry the sword from his weapon and bring its steel head barreling into the soldier's face which exploded in a display of bones and blood. The messy kill stained Cedric's face in blood, but the Reachman knew that it would not be the last man he killed that day, as he had known on many others. He felt the feeling now, the adrenaline the came from battle. He dreaded it, he hated himself for it... he revealed in it. The Beast.

The battle was a blur for Cedric Gardener. His muscles ached from the weight of his hammer and the impact of it into flesh and bone. His army did well, pushing the Atlean army closer to the wall, and even closer to the moment their plan could come to fruition, then finally-

AWWOOOOOO

AWWOOOOOO


Cedric felt sorry for the forces of Atlas in that moment. The horns came from the forest to their rear, and area of which any attack would be treated as a dire threat to the army. Cedric could see it on the faces of those men he faced before he felled them as the sound of horns echoed throughout the plains before the thundering sounds of galloping knights and horsemen overtook it. For those animals in the sky graced with a bird's eye view, the Gardener calvary, a section of their army that seemed to be conspicuously absent, assumably having perished in the Battle of Mason's Crest, crashed into the Atlean rear. Before long, they had their backs to the walls of High Rock, surrounded on all but one flank by either the walls or the Gardeners. This was, however, before another long horn, one which had not been heard before rang before echoed throughout the foothills of High Rock.

Cedric smirked at the sight, "Wilking, you dirty bastard."

The armies of Summerset crashed into the Atlean lines.

Image


Mettius Clement


Mettius was right, they had been outmaneuvered and entrapped. They had to make for the gates, but between them was the Gardener line. Trapped between a wall and an army, they would be bitter to fight. However, the archers atop the battlements did well to aid the troops on the ground, striking down many Lenorans. Mettius thought fast, thinking of a hundred ways to guard his rear and break for the gates. The infantry wouldn't move fast enough, but he needed the cavalry to guard the rear to buy time.

Maybe...

Everlid Carcaster


The battle had turned into a slaughter. She had watched it all from the High Tower. But know she was walking out of the Lower Gate House.

“M’lady, it's not safe, nor is it-”

“The proper place for a lady? Morcar, you are paid to ensure my safety, not to dictate to me where I go. Right now, my brother, your Duke is in trouble along with the rest of our kin. I would rather burn in the lowest depth of Dread than sit idle while the fight and die!” It was the rage behind the little Lady Carcasters voice that made Morcar stand still. Seldom had Everlid talked back, even more seldom had she done so with such conviction.

The came to the battlements of the first ring wall. Men had been raining death down on the enemy since the battle had begun, but now she saw just how desperate it had become. The army had become pinned to the wall, with no way out. They were almost completely surrounded with no room to maneuver. She would give them that room. She closed her eyes and began to think, searching the fast web of possible truths until she found something to her liking. It was a rush of pure energy, incandescent fur that caused the air to boil in its punishing heat. The blinding death was hurled towards the Gardener line, and with a shuddering clap and a pillar of smoke and fire, it went deep into the enemy. The rest of the mages of High Rock came forth, all save Alano who was fighting down there. Now the arrows and stones were joined by fire and lighting and the thunderous clap of doom.

The gates opened, and the men of High Rock and Atlas began to pour in.

Mettius Clement


"Battlemages!" He hollered, returning to his flank. "A wall of fire, between us and them! Make it happen!" He ordered, trying to recreate Wilking's maneuver at Mason's Crest, trapping their cavalry away from their infantry. Just in the nick of time, the ground erupted in an inferno, engulfing the cavalry's forward-most elements. "Cavalry, charge forward!" He ordered, riding himself and leading the cavalry as they followed him.

He looked over his shoulder, the flames reaching high, warding off the enemy cavalry for the time being. "Runner!" He yelled, and a mounted man approached. "Tell our archers to put some arrows through that fire to harass their cavalry!" He ordered before waving him off. He looked forward, seeing the field covered in hundreds, no, thousands of bodies. They just had to break the Lenoran infantry.

After fifteen minutes of fighting, the Lenorans could no longer oppose Atlean forces, completely losing cohesion and momentum. But at great cost, most infantry and nearly half of the cavalry had been lost. The archers and battlemages in the rear had to be covered, they likely wouldn't be able to hold out much longer. "All men, to the gates!" He yelled. "Cavalry, stand-fast!" He yelled. As the flames died down the cavalry would act as a rear guard, protecting the archers and mages retreated.

"Retreat lads! Retreat for your lives, quickly!" He yelled as they made for the gates.

Heremond Carcaster


The Divines really do hate Carcasters. It was the only logical explanation to the pile of shit that Heremonds life had become. Not a second fucking time Heremond thought as he struck down another Lenoran. He felt sick to his stomach. The air smelled of piss, shit, and blood. He feet stuck to ground more gore than mud and dirt. All around him there was death and bloodshed, he was one with it, his armor and sword stained crimson red with the lifeblood of many foes, yet in the deepest pits of his soul, he felt nothing but disgust and shame at what he was doing.

The entire tactical situation had gone to shit, they were now completely surrounded save for the walls of High Rock behind them. Now, the army of Summerset was bearing down upon them, all told the Atleans where now outnumbered almost two to one and in the very real danger of being completely encircled. Mettius would have seen this before Edymn or Heremond could. In short, the army of Atlas was in an unsustainable situation and if they didn't do something fast the battle, and the war, would be over barely a month after it began.

Heremond turned once more to swing his sword in an enemy, only to see the familiar face of Alwyin. The knight was covered in gore, his armor dented and scratched, his shield a barely functioning chunk of wood. It was his second mount Heremond judged.

“My Lord, we must fall back. We will all die here.” It wasn't often when Alwyin the Bold advised a retreat, but the whole battle was slowly turning into a massacre, already the Atlean lines where folding, the attack on the rear had done its work.

“Fall back into the city, I'll hold them off with the rest of the troops,” Heremond replied.

Alwyin shook his head somberly as he looked at his lord, "You damned fool..." Alwyin raised his sword.



Heremond awoke aware that he was slumped across a horse. How he had even gotten on the stead was a mystery. His head hurt as well, nearly as much as his ribs. Had be been hit in the head? He couldn't remember much of what happened after Alwyin found him. He opened his eyes, his head swam and the light stung, the sound of battle was distant know and the sound of hooves and feet on cobblestoned streets told him where he was. He was inside the gate, inside the city of High Rock.

He slowly remembered Alwyin calling him a fool before clobbering him in the head with the pommel of his sword. Alwyin. No. Not him, the brave fool had decided to fight the rearguard action himself. He heard someone shout his name, and he felt hands grasp him and pull him off his saddle, a call for a healer. But it was all a blur to him now, he allowed himself to be overtaken by the pain he had fought all day, and the darkness of unconsciousness took him. And in his dreams, he was haunted by the faces of the men he knew who had died because of him.



Heremond awoke, the sun was starting to cast the long shadows of evening. At first, he didn't know where he was, the last thing he remembered was the being pulled off a horse that wasn't his. There was a dull pain in his head and soreness in his ribs from where Cedric had landed his blow earlier in the day. How long had he been out? A few hours? A day? He couldn’t tell. He was vaguely aware of a presence to his left.

He turned his head, Eadwine was sleeping in a chair next to him. He felt daggers of guilt stab into him. He had failed, failed Eadwine, failed his family, his people, the men who had died outside the walls of his city. He had failed them all. For a small second, Heremond Carcaster had cast off all hope, but then, in the deepest parts of his mind and soul, a small glimmer of hope. He was still alive. And if he was still alive, then he could still fight. Cedric and that bastard Wilking may have bested him in open battle, but they had failed to kill him. And if there was one trait that had been past unto all Carcaster since Jerom had rose to power was a staunch stubbornness that no force save death could move.
Heremond tried to sit up, sharp pain caused him to let out a gasp. Eadwine stirred, never a heavy sleeper.

“You’re awake,” Eadwine said, her voice sounded was like music to Heremond's ears.

“To tell you the truth, I am surprised-” A kiss silenced him, a long and impassioned one that seemed to wipe everything, the battle, the war, all from Heremond' mind. It was as if nothing existed but the connection between him and the love of his life. Heremond could have stayed like that forever, but Eadwine broke away.

“You should get dressed, King Edmyn and the rest are waiting for you.”

Heremond dressed, simple clothes that many would consider below the grade of a noble of the Reach. But Heremond couldn’t give a damn, they were clean and comfortable. He entered the Great Hall and there he found the rest of the commanders who had survived. Many seats were empty, Alwyin's included.


“We are right fucked Heremond,” King Edymn said “We got our asses handed to us, and Wilking, the bastard, has sided with Cedric. Now, as you can see, we are stuck inside this city, and, here is the kick in the balls, we won't have enough food to feed our army or the peasants in this city for any time longer than a month. Do you see what kind of predicament we're in? Cedric's army will be the least of our worries if we start fighting amonst ourselves for the few scraps that remain inside the city! The only way I see us solving that issue is lessening the load.”

“Are you saying, my liege, that we force people out of the city?” Heremond asked with an incredious look on his face, he couldn’t believe what he just heard.

“Yes. I am saying that, Duke Heremond. What matters right now is the survival of our army, and that means anyone who isn’t fighting is not important. Is that clear to you Heremond Carcaster?”

A cold silence passed in the room. Inside of Heremond a fire was lit. His stony expression and clenched fist told all who knew him well what was going on deep inside.

“One thing is very clear to me my lord. What you suggest is tantamount to treason. I will not force my people out of that gate and into the hands of a man who has burned their homes, killed the sons, their daughter there wives and husbands and now threatens all they have left. I will not. I promised the justice, and you will damned well be sure that I will give it to them."

"Do you not remember your oath of fealty to me, Duke? By disobeying my command, you would be in open revolt against the Kingdom of Atlas and the House of Blacktyde. Now... expel the peasants, or I'll do it myself."

Heremond glared into the eyes of the Atlean King, "Fine. Mettius, I am calling upon the Old Law of High Rock. Every man, woman and child is to take up arms in the name of High Rock.” With every word, Heremond grew ever more firm, he would not leave his people to die like that. He was their protector, even if the Divines seemed bent on taking everything away from him he would still due his foremost duty as Duke.

“You are a damned fool Heremond Carcaster. A damned fool, you and every damned Carcaster before you. Gods know why I thought it was a good idea to aid you.”

“And I wonder if it was such a good idea to ask for aid.” Heremond said, “Mettius, I need someone who will give sound advice.” Heremond walked out, Mettius fallowing.

Morcar, the Captain of the First Watch was waiting outside the gate. “M’lords, I have a message for you. A man in the infirmary wishes to see you.”

“There are many men in the infirmary Morcar.” Heremond paused, “I didn’t mean for that to sound like that. I will go to the infirmary and speak to the wounded when time permits.”

“He was very insistent he sees you Lord Carcaster, he's one of them Mayaar. Strange fellow with one arm, says you two know each other very well from when you went to the capital.”

Morcar had indeed peaked Heremonds interest now, “I suppose we have all the time in the world now. Come, show me this strange Mayaar.”
The Infirmary was at present a sea of human misery. Those wounded from the battle outside the gates had come in here, many to wounded to walk and had to be carried by their comrades. Many more wounded had simply been left outside to their fate at the hands of Cedric and the Lenorians. The two men and the Valyaar walked between men on the ground or in cots. The moans of wounded men filled the air and the smell of death hung in the air.

“Here is the yaar who wishes to see you m’lords.”

Mettius immediately tensed and drew his sword, "Are you daft?" he demanded, "That's Julek!"

Heremond recognized the face, and he reached for his sword, but then he noticed something peculiar about the Mayaar's eyes. They were green... just like.. No, it couldn't be? Heremond dropped to one knee, more out of shock than anything else.

"Ruven... is that you?"

"It's been a while Heremond," Ruven allowed himself a wry smile, “I suppose we both look like shit now.”

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Ithalian Empire
Minister
 
Posts: 3171
Founded: Jan 19, 2015
Father Knows Best State

Postby Ithalian Empire » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:08 pm

Baldric Carcaster
On the Road the Stormdenn
The Third of Midyear, 4E 901

The small party had been traveling for the past three days, the two elves without mounts would hang back with the wagon and Winfirth. Baldric with his horse had begun to scout a few hours ahead of them, staying close enough that he could come to there aid whilst also being far enough ahead that he could become an effective set of eyes. At night they would pull off the road and make camp, eating the fine food that Winfirth's wife made for them and talking late into the night about days long past. Alyndel and Herrius would tell tales of their days in the War of the Black Phoenix. Winfirth, in his youth, had been a Legionary, but a fall and a broken leg forced him to muster our before his contract was up. Baldric mostly stayed quiet during these nights, there was little point in talking about who he was or where he came from, the expression of the mayaar was enough to put out any ideas about revealing his identity to rest.

By Winfirth's reckoning they where about a days ride from the great port of Stormdnn, they would spend a few days in the city and than head north to Herrath. if all went well in the city Winfirth would be a rich man and they three men he had picked up along the way would be richly rewarded. Not that Baldric wanted money. But there was no way he could talk the merchant out of it.

Baldric was riding ahead again. His mind was wondering, his thought turned to home as they often did on the road. What was going on? Had Heremond won? Was Heremond even alive? He felt waves of guilt wash over him when he thought about his home. He should have been there yet, fighting with his brother. But this was what he wanted? Wasn't it? He no longer walked in the shadow of his brother, the people he traveled with now knew him as Baldric. They knew him as the man who saved them from bandits, who made a good pot of field stew.

Movement to his left ripped back to reality. Breezes ears where twitching and the horse fidgeted in agitation. The sound of the birds had stopped. Something was very wrong. For a single second the world stood still before something burst from the thick underbrush. At first, Baldric could only see an orange blur colliding with him, throwing him off his horse. They landed hard on the dirt road, the air rushed out of his lungs. What was on top of him terrified him.

It was a man in shape, but everything else was wrong. It was covered in a short orange fur, at first Baldric thought it was a Lupan, but the short snout, pointed ears and long yellow fangs bearing down on him told him it was no Lupan. Its armor was also nothing like he had seen in Eroris. Baldric tried to hold the thing off with one hand, sharp teeth getting ever closer to his face and even sharper claws scratched at him. Baldrics fingers found one of his daggers, and with a flash, three inches of cold steel was buried deep into the creature's side. It disengaged, allowing Baldric to get to his feet and draw his sword. Two more of the creatures had come out of the woods, the one he had just stabbed said something in a language that he had never heard. Whatever they were, these cat men were not native to Eroris.

One of the new things approached him, along single-bladed sword in hand. Baldric made ready. It moved fast whatever it was, and Baldric felt the sting of the blad rip his skin before he could deflect the attack. If he couldn't be on the defensive he would go offensive. Baldric lunged at the creature, who was clearly not expecting him to attack after its own attempt. The blade drove deep into its chest and frothy blood spurted out of his enemy. The other two backed off, and Baldric mounted Breeze and road as fast as he could back to the wagon.

He was too late. Whatever in Dread those things where had attacked the wagon as well. The two elves where busy fighting, but there were to damn many of them. Than, Baldric, who had always calculated his risks before going into danger, did something very not Baldric. He spurred his horse and road as fast as he could, sword in hand. He wished he hadn't. He could see Winfrith, dead in the driver's seat, and arrow had hit him in the throat, his wife two was dead in a similar fashion. The first this he saw lost its head to Baldrics blade. another lost an arm to an equally savage swing.

Baldric dismounted, afraid to look into the wagon. Inside where Winfirths daughters, terrified but alive. He heard Alyndel curse and Herrius shout a battle cry.

"Baldric," it was the mayaar, "We have to get out of here. Herrius and I can hold this bastard off on our own, get those four out of here!"

Baldric did as he was told. The creatures, whatever they were, had become wary of them. He took the youngest two of Winfriths daughters and placed them on Breeze, he and Ymma would have to run alongside the horse as it trotted towards Stormdenn. The next few hours were a blur to them. The sound of the two fighting elves began to fade away, the youngest had begun to weep. But they had to keep moving. The ran or walked all night without stopping. By morning they could see the walls of Stormdenn and safety.

They where let in through the gates easy enough, the guards weren't in the habit of asking too many questions of a small group of kids. Baldric found an inn, one that he himself had once been dragged into with Heremond and Bearwald when they were in the city for his cousin, Loreus Seaworth's wedding. Baldrics uncle had been the Count of Stormdenn, his grandfather had been count before that and now it was Loreus who was Count.

He paid the innkeeper enough money to keep the three girls in one of the nicer rooms of the inn. They didn't have much, all the belonging of the girls had been lost in the attack and everything Baldric owned was on his back. He also knew that if Alyndel and Herrius had survived they would come looking for them, so he left a note for them with the innkeeper.

"Your leaving?" Ymma said, it was really the first words she had spoken to him since the had fled the attack.

"I have to tell Lord Seaworth what happened, whatever those things where they cant be left to just wonder the countryside."

"And who are you that you think he will listen? You're just the youngest son of a minor noble on the other side of the Reach." Ymma said, there was anger in her voice and fear. "Please, just wait to Alyndel and Herrius get here, I don't want to be alone here."

"I'll be back before sundown. Just stay in here and wait for either me or the two yaar."

Baldric made his way through the city. All cities were the same to Baldric, the same smelling streets, the same market stalls. The only difference was that some cities were larger than others, some had rivers cutting through them, others had tall towers rising out of there centers or served as capitals. Stormdenn was no different, save for the smell of salt on the air. It had been a long time since Baldric had seen his cousin. But he doubted Loreus would forget it.

It was five years ago when he and most of the Carcaster household had gone to Stromdenn to be guests for Loreus's wedding. It had been a long party, and most of the guests had become drunk on wine. It was the first time Baldric had seen Heremond drunk, Bearwald was very much in the bag. It took little convincing to get the young Baldric to sneak off with them into the city, there they stumbled there way to an inn and drank more. Someone bumped someone and soon Heremond and Bearwald where in the middle of a tavern fight. Baldric doubted if the two men remembered much of that night, but Baldric did. The two knights of High Rock won easily, the fight stopping just before the city watch arrived. When Seaworth and Hewatmund heard of what happened they Loreus had broken into a tear of laughter while Baldric father gave Heremond a verbal lashing worse than any Mettius had given a soldier whos uniform was out of place.

"Whats your business then?" asked what Baldric assumed was a steward.

"I am here to see my cousin, Loreus Seaworth."

The Steward looked Baldric up and down, "You, related to any nobility? Dont make me laugh. Piss off before I get the guards."

"Than get the guards. I am Baldric Carcaster, my mother was your lord sister. Now let me see him."

"Even if I believed you, I couldn't, Lord Seaworth is not here. He went with his army to aid his cousin Lord Carcaster. Left but two days ago."

Baldric left the steward. It seemed as if he was going to have to get word to his cousin about those things some other way.
Eat ,Drink, and be mary, for tomorrow we die.
PRAISE THE FOUNDERS

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The Legion of the Shadow
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 42
Founded: Dec 31, 2018
Ex-Nation

Postby The Legion of the Shadow » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:57 pm

Shelona walked into the familiar tavern and sat at the table in the back and waited. She knew her target would come in like he did every night, so she ordered a beer while she waited. "Hmm, he should be here in three, two, one." And as she hit one, a large Aduran man walked up to the bar and slammed a hammer against the counter. "Gimme somethin' strong, and make it quick! I gotta lot of skull smashen to do!" He laughed as if he had made a joke, and Shelona stood, pulled out her sword, and quickly ran up behind the man and put the blade against his throat. "Marcus Illius, you are wanted for the murder of several nobles' horses. However, they simply said that they wanted your head. They never said I needed your body." Marcus let out a small chuckle as he said, "Listen, girl. I know you won't kill me, so why don't you run along and play with dolls or someth-" He was cut short by the blade slicing his neck, and as he turned and grasped his throat, Shelona pushed her sword through his chest, killing him. She picked up his hammer with a grunt and looked at the bartender. "Better clean this up before his friends come along." The bartender immediately began dragging the body out a back door, and Shelona headed back to her client to collect her pay.
Last edited by The Legion of the Shadow on Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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