Where the Heroes Die IC (Closed)

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Where the Heroes Die IC (Closed)

Post by Guilty Carrion on Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:50 pm

A frigid breeze rolled through the darkened trees, swirls of snow dancing in the wake of its passage. The moon hung low, a waning crescent standing vigil over the sleeping world below. Towering pines stretched up to feel its pale light, casting shadows on the ground below in a maddening cris- cross of intertwining shapes and forms. Many a wolf stalked the woods, their howls a haunting lullaby to those who intruded in their domain. After a long week of scouting, however, she was more cautious than might be deemed necessary. The scout watched every shadow as if it held a legion, and twitched at every branch that snapped under foot. Pale green slits searched for the tell tale signs of passage, but with none to be found, she pressed onward. They were nearby, she was sure of it.

As another echoing call sounded, Anasha paused in her stride, and looked off towards the source. Close, but not too close. With one last sweep of the surrounding trees, the warrior continued on her way. Thick clouds rolled from her lips with every breath, the pervading cold creeping in on her body despite the cloak held tightly round her body. The first breaths of winter had come quickly after the all too short fall, but that was the way things had always been, and always would be until the end. The faint flicker of firelight caught her eye, and Anasha’s stride broke into a soft jog, eager to feel the warmth on her skin. The soft snow crunched under her leather boots, and the sound of idle chatter greeted her ears as she reached the small clearing that housed the camp. The shadow’s cast her face into darkness beneath the hood, but it was preferred that way.

A low growl sounded from the powerful dog that lay by Jovan’s side, and the heir of the Benaisse turned his gaze on the newcomer, before speaking a stern command. “Hush, Ragnavald.” Resting its head back in its paws, the dog’s dark eyes never strayed from the form at the edge of the camp. The warrior rose from the log he had claimed as his seat, thick cloak sweeping wide around his body as his hand rested on the axe at his hip. Thick bear pelts clung to his shoulders, stretching two powerful strides carried him over to her, harsh hazel glaring at the slightly smaller form of his sister. “What word?” His voice, powerful and strong, was low, meant to keep the contents of their conversation private, a clue she soundlessly clued in on.

“You are close. A day’s ride and you shall arrive. Twilight at best.” Her voice was far quieter than his, but she seldom spoke louder, so it was not difficult for him to catch the whisper. Turning wordlessly, his gaze swept over the gathered group, and a slight frown tugged at his lips. “No foes to speak off. From what I could see, a soul hasn’t treaded the ground since the attack.”

A stiff nod was her reply, and she lapsed back into silence, knowing her place well enough. “Good. I have yet to prove the metal of these companions…I would not dare risk battle with inexperienced warriors.” He started forward, Anasha following at a respectful distance from his back. The group had lapsed briefly into silence at his departure, and with a simple wave of his hand, the few conversations that had remained died and attention shifted to him. “Tomorrow, we shall reach the fort. All of you are to be on guard and alert. No one has been sighted by the ruins, but I will not risk an ambush. I shall keep first watch, then Eviga, then Sidika.” A few eyes drifted over to the faceless form behind him, and he swept an arm out in front of Anasha. “Do not concern yourself with her. She will do as tasked, and I expect the same from all of you.”

A cold glance back at her and the heir looked to his companions once more. “That is all. As you were.” He sat down once again beside Ragnavald, a gloved hand stroking the dog’s head quietly. Anasha stood silent over his right shoulder, pale eyes flicking over the group. Many clans were present, a curious thing. Jovan had spoken briefly about their presence before she had left the keep, but to see this many…it surely was the work of Tórfa, not Jovan. An idle glance at her brother’s face told her as much.

Jovan was usually stoic, but the grim face he wore now spoke of deep thought, as he quietly examined the gathered clansmen. First came Hallvard of the Eldgrim, a clan that had fallen out of contact with the Benaisse after the departure from the hallowed halls of Ka’urderen. A recent caravan of metals was to be the first step of renewing their bonds, and the warrior had accompanied it down. The caravan leader had immediately offered Hallvard when Jovan had requested a warrior to accompany him, and whilst the man’s enthusiasm was curious, it would be a more welcome sight than defiance.

Ravin Kel, there was little to be said of. The man was quick to volunteer for hunting whenever the need arose, and he would bring back enough food to feed them all well for the next day. Although he was going to exhaust his horse if he kept insisting on packing every little scrap of the animal with them, but there was very little that could be said to talk the man out of it, so it was simply let go.

Grinding his teeth quietly, his eyes flicked over to Jah’Kol. If Jovan had had any say in it, the Drai’skal would not have been allowed to pollute the fort with his presence, let alone accompany him. Cowards, everyone of his clan, without the courage to stand and face a foe like a true clansmen. With luck, the wretch would impale himself on a spear and burden him no more. Not far from him sat Istvaan Thrace, a much more welcome clansman from the high clan of Starveros. Aspiring champion, and a man of much strength like himself, it was easy to tell he was of a high clan, and for his presence, Jovan was thankful. With so many lesser, they might think it wise, no matter how foolish and easily they would be defeated, to make an attempt at his life. One never could be too sure with the ravenous lesser.

At the mention of ravenous, the heir spared a glance over to the war dog of Rilkros, making note of the beast’s calmer demeanour despite the presence of his own, and that of Varianne’s wolf. Both of their clans, the Krarkris and the Astarin were strange, although the Astarin were far more so in his eyes. The man had shown himself to be one of a sharp tongue, but thin skinned when words bit back. Time would tell if his attitude would become a problem or not, but for now, he was welcomed. Varianne, however, was far different. The woman was docile, far more than any person he had ever encounter, and her mind always seemed detached from the world around her, focusing instead on the trees and creeks, instead of the possible threats that each could hide. More than once they had had to stop and retrieve her for wandering off, and Jovan expected to simply abandon the woman if she chose to do so again.

To his right, sat Eviga, the reason for this entire journey. His clan, the Somnus, had been attacked, and subsequently destroyed, leaving only himself and a handful of survivors, who had come to the Benaisse seeking aide. With any luck, they would find a trail at the fort to follow, and find the clan responsible for the destruction, and bring the might of a Great Clan against those who saw fit to defy the will of the Benaisse. A cold grin spread on his face, his remaining canine glinting in the low light of the fire. What a glorious day that would be, and with luck, Eviga would be in the thick of it, a bloody vengeance fit for the tables and halls of any clan. A powerful hand clasped the Somnus’s shoulder, and Jovan gave a nod of affirmation. “Tomorrow, we will begin our hunt, and I promise you blood by the end of it.” He released the shoulder, no more words spoken between the two.

“Hm?”

Turning to his left, Jovan cast Sidika a curious look, only to find his own answer in the arched brow of the archer. Of all the clans present, the Kömyndel were the most welcome, the Benaisse having been allied with the infamous horse clan since before they had even walked the halls of Ka’urderen. She herself was even ranked amongst his personal allies, having been at the keep since the spring to oversee the breeding and introduction of new stock into their lines, and on occasion she had indulged him in the odd spar, proving herself capable with the sword as well as the bow. A ghost pain from a well placed strike to his shoulder flared a reminder of an unexpected defeat, but a welcome friend. “A simple promise, Sidika. Nothing that needs concern.”

"As you say, Jovan." A moment of silence passed, before the metal clad warrior chuckled, and held up three fingers towards his companion. Her brow raised again. “Three?”

“I wager three tankards of ale, that I’ll kill more men than you in the next battle we face.” A jovial grin spread on the woman’s face, and she raised her hand for a shake.

“I believe we have ourselves a wager, Jovan.” He clasped her hand back, chuckling at her enthusiasm.

“That we do. You best be prepared, Sidika.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Even footsteps echoed loudly through the darkened halls, the leather soles of his shoes clapping against the stone in a steady rhythm of movement and purpose. A gloved hand knocked once on the thick wood door, before the figure stepped slipped inside soundlessly.

A cloaked man stood quiet over a large table, eyes swiftly examining the map before him, a detailed, if outdated, rendition of the lands of Kiuas. The newcomer clasped a hand to his chest in salute, as the cloaked figure slowly turned to face him, pale blue glint of his helmet glinting beneath the veil of his cloak.

“What word?” His voice was death silently, and carried the authority of a king, and the man visible shivered at the sound.

“The men are ready sir. The provisions are ready, and his Majesty sends his blessings and approval of the plans.” The figure nodded, hand drumming idly against the pommel of his long sword that hung loosely in its scabbard at his hip.

“And of my request?”

Another gulp. “Granted. They are already on their way from Calhiem. We should expect them within the month sir.”

A sliver of a smile spread on his lips, and he dismissed the man with a wave. As the door groaned shut, the cloaked figure took the dagger lying beside the map in hand, and with a single sweep of the blade, slashed the small fort near the bottom of the map into oblivion.

“Then it begins.”
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Re: Where the Heroes Die IC (Closed)

Post by Guest on Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:33 pm

Istvaan Thrace glared at the meager fire. Even if it was used for cooking, he didn't like having a visible signal during a hunt. He snorted; there hadn't been any attempt to even find a depression to put the fire. It wasn't even that cold for the tough northerner, he was only wearing his chest armor, and linen pants. The rest of the armor was neatly piled behind him on the polar bear cloak and armor. Thrace had a small bladder of oil, a rag and sharpening soap stone. His forged blades were out, and each were tested along his right forearm. The tight leather bracers showing his rank were quite helpful in keeping the cuts relatively clean and to stop bleeding.

There wasn't any of the normal sounds of sharpening, as his method of sharpening had generated a slight concave point, instead of a convex point, and they were still razor sharp. Instead, the rag was polishing his iron alloy swords. Thrace had taken care of his throwing knives yesterday, and his forearm still itched from the healing cuts. If he was more skilled with them, like his father, he would hunt small game with the throwing knives. It was a catch-22; the easiest way to practice with throwing knives was to use them in drawing blood from others instead of shredding one's own forearm, but a large amount of skill was needed to lodge a blade into a moving target. He had a different problem with the long chain and ball currently wrapped around his right arm. It wasn't that he didn't have the skill or intelligence to use it correctly, it was just he was not heavy enough, not big enough.

Thrace had one more problem. He didn't trust himself sparring with anyone. The girl with the whip would make an adequate partner, testing his reactions if nothing else. A prolonged sparring match would leave her weaponless, though. It wasn't sheathed in metal, and thus was easily cut if he could anticipate the motion. Prolonged contact would fray even the toughest leather. Even if she was low clan without a hold, in a raid, a sword was a sword. That she was beautiful was a fact he kept to himself.

The one he wanted to fight was the Benaisse heir. The man treated his own blood like garbage, which made his boil. He wanted knock some sense into the too-confident man. Family was what kept you alive in this land. The metal armor might even be enough to keep Jovan alive. It hadn't helped the heir apparent of the Thrace house three years ago when he caught Bernst abusing his little sister. It had been more difficult to cleave through iron, so he simply followed his natural preferences, going for the joints, tendons, major nerve clusters, and arteries.

Still, the older Benaisse would be a better match for him, but politics kept him from fighting the great clan adherents. The bowmen, and the poisoner would only leave blood on his blades. That left the Eldgrim and Kel. Eldgrim would be a good partner, if they both didn't take it to seriously and end up killing each other. Kel would be a good choice. The man had ambition and drive. Thrace sheathed his blades and stood up loosening his shoulders. Thrace watched the Benaisse enter, and start bantering with horsewoman. From the teeth in the man's grin, he was anticipating a slaughter. Thrace could provide that, and his teeth became apparent under ferally curled lips. He sank down weight down into his heels and walked over to the last of the Somnus. If the man was a skilled fighter, Staveros might be interested in gaining a solid ally in this part of the land. Thrace's eyes sparkled darkly in anticipation.

“Benaisse promises quite a blood letting tomorrow. I know you want to let a river of blood out with your own hands, and I would like to help crush those cowardly curs. If you don't mind, Somnus, I will cover your left.”

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Re: Where the Heroes Die IC (Closed)

Post by The Melancholy Spirit on Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:34 am

Eviga had remained silent when Jovan spoke to him. The words barely reached his awareness. The firm grip on his shoulder did. The man gave a nod without looking to the Benaisse war leader. They weren’t at war though. The man was an heir and sent on what was a scouting group of somewhat dire importance. Eviga lowered his head toward the snow, letting out a heavy sigh.

More talking sprouted up around him. He ignored it until it eventually died down. It didn’t take long for someone to speak again though. And this time they were talking directly to him. Eviga lifted his head, long blonde hair cascading down and framing his face. He growled at the man’s words and shifted on his seat.

“What makes you sure blood will spill? What enemy do you know of that stays in a conquered and burned village for long?” Eviga let out a grunt as he placed his hands on his knees and stood. “Besides, I saw my home briefly before we headed north, there was no one there. We’re looking for signs, not bodies.” He gave the man a stern glare before turning and moving away a few feet. He stopped momentarily.

“Besides, if I was an irrational blood lusting lap dog I’d have went after the bastards and no one would know of the slaughter of my people.” He exhaled heavily. “Watch your own left.”

They were the last words he spoke before walking to the edge of the camp and staring out into the darkness. Frigid air nipped at his exposed face, his breath forming plumes of stark grey that rose into the void above. He swallowed, closing his eyes and forcing the emotions down where they belonged; buried beneath the rugged and impenetrable surface of the warrior. It was something that became harder to tell himself was truth as each day passed. Those who believed it to be absolute truth never knew the sting of true and utter loss. Not like he did.

Images of his daughter flashed against his eyelids and he opened them. The trees stood as silent monolithic silhouettes against the fading firelight. They seemed almost threatening in their stance. He expected his enemy to jump out of them in an instant, or for the trees to be nothing more than an illusion and reveal themselves as enemies. He was then cursing them with his eyes before looking away.
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Re: Where the Heroes Die IC (Closed)

Post by Crazy Hobo on Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:20 am

Hallvard's eyes casually drifted around the small group of clansmen, as his arm almost subconsciously sharpened the spikes on his morning star with a Steel. It wasn't as if the weapon needed a terrible amount of maintenance, but sharpening his weapon had become a habit of Hallvard's. Glancing down and finding the weapon in order, Hallvard clipped the molded leather sheath onto the head of the morning star and set it to the side, still watching the rest of the group. His eyes mostly found themselves resting on the yet unnamed figure that had taken it's place behind Jovan. From Jovan's remark, the figure was female, but that was all that was it. Hallvard banished the thought from his head. Jovan was right; she was really rather unimportant. As long as she was capable in battle, Hallvard was fine with her, and frankly, the less she talked the better. Hallvard's thoughts returned to drifting, and he found himself touching the scar on his head, the memories coming back as he did so. Hallvard chuckled as he recalled the man who had put that scar on him, and the look on his face when Hallvard's morning star buried itself into the man's throat. He made the most beautiful gurgling sound as he collapsed. Simply beautiful.

Hallvard's attention snapped to that Thrace character as he tried talking to Eviga. It was a hilarious exchange in Hallvard's eyes. Hallvard then stood, an amused smile resting on his face, and walked towards Istvaan. Hallvard's movement caught Istvaan's attention, but Hallvard let several moments pass before doing anything.

"You are so stupid." Hallvard said, a laugh that sounded nearly like a cackle erupting from his mouth, "You actually beg to ally yourself with the Sumnus when his entire clan is dead, and a powerful Great Clansman stands only feet away." Hallvard cracked his neck slowly before continuing, "The way I see it, you are a coward that tries to attach itself to anything it can, but is to afraid to approach someone like Jovan. You're going to get killed, and I will laugh." Hallvard snorted, "I have seen the way you stand; you think you are somehow better then every clansman here, but you are too much of a coward to do anything. Instead you forge alliances with the ones you think you can grab at just to increase your tiny base of power. You're the sad, sad king of a sad little hill. I would kill you now, but for the moment I cannot. Just wait, Thrace. My weapon wants to taste your blood, and I just hope that it gets to you first."

Hallvard walked back to his seat without bothering to wait for a response. Istvaan wouldn't attack for fear of Jovan, so Hallvard was confident to walk away. Men like him didn't last long, and they frankly annoyed Hallvard. There was a confidence in them that shouldn't be there. They thought they could tackle any obstacle, but given the chance they would hide behind their allies. It was disgusting. Hallvard knew that at any moment an enemy could kill him, and he never truly let his guard down. There were many, many men and women out there that could kill Hallvard, but he would never hide behind his allies. He would meet death head on if he truly needed to, and dance as close to it as possible in order to achieve victory.
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Re: Where the Heroes Die IC (Closed)

Post by Chainlinc3 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:39 pm

Varianne watched the fire as it crackled softly. Her Syvir had thus far been far too dramatic-- not only had she been recruited for a scouting mission, but her so-called allies seemed dead-set on tearing each other apart before they even reached the enemy. Perhaps she was being overly judgmental. After all, they had slightly shunned her due to the Astarin being a lesser clan, which left her with a somewhat impaired first impression. Still, it was overwhelmingly clear that the Drai'skai had few friends here, possibly none. And then that Somnus warrior had gone and bold-faced insulted the Starveros clansman, forming a bandwagon that Hallvard of the Eldgrim had been quick to jump on. Not that she particularly liked Thrace. For a brutish warrior, he seemed to think his leering was rather subtle.

She needed to think about the group as a whole. She appeared to have made a poor first impression on their leader-- and then a second and third to boot. She silently reached for her whip, unthreading the dagger that was tied to it's end. Her free hand retrieved a round ball of sap from a pouch on her side, and she affixed the orb to the hilt of her dagger. Makeshift torch complete, she carefully placed the sap-covered end near the flame and waited for the fire to catch. Dark flame, that's what the more superstitious clans called this discovery of the Astarin. The sap burned slowly and dimly, but let off abnormally high amounts of heat. She watched it with slight interest-- yellow tips of flame could barely be seen wreathing the sap. Light blue flame hung below them, and encompassed the bulk of the flame produced by the torch, but produced only a small amount of light compared to the yellow flames of normal wood. Varianne loved the smell these torches made as they burned-- the scent was hard to put a specific description on, but to Varianne it was inextricably linked with her caravan and home.

She paced a small distance away from the camp, then thought for a moment and positioned herself slightly closer to the Somnus warrior-- Eviga was his name, if she had heard correctly. She needed to think, and he seemed unlikely to try and strike up a conversation, so she might as well shed a small amount of warmth on him. She stabbed the dagger into the frost-covered earth, far enough from Eviga that it should seem incidental and she doubted he'd feel insulted, but close enough to shed a small amount of warmth on the solitary man. She sat, facing away from the central campfire, and called Vesper to her. With the wolf's great head resting in her lap, Varianne finally felt ready to ponder the days to come.

She needed to correct her image-- upsetting a greater clansman like Jovan with her foolishness was a bad move, and could possibly even bring harm upon her clan. She knew his respect would have to be bought in flesh and blood, and this saddened her-- any death without purpose was mourned by the Astarin, be it man or beast. Was it not the flesh, blood, and bone of Mother Ursa and Father Lupus which had crafted all of Kiuas? Why then, should the life of any other creature hold any less potential? A life wasted is a waste of the gift given by their celestial progenitors, and thus a reason for great sorrow. But yet, Kiuas was not kind to those who would not kill, and so she was ready to take yet more lives for the sake of her clan. She uttered a brief prayer to the Mother and Father, begging their understanding of the crimes she would soon have to commit. The only positive thing was that, for each kill she made, she would likely gain respect with each of her companions-- she would not have to slaughter in the name of each of them, but instead could prove herself to them all at once.

But focusing on herself would ignore the larger problem-- this group has too many strong personalities, too many people vying to be alpha. With Jovan firmly established as leader, it is likely the others will devolve into petty conflicts and possibly even bloodshed in hopes of somehow proving themselves worthy to Jovan and thus the Benaisse. She would need to keep an eye out for ways to unify the group. She was no leader, but she was well aware of the power a few well-chosen words could have, and if the opportunity presented itself for her to avert the group's seemingly inevitable collapse into infighting, well, she needed to be ready to take it. Returning from her Syvir as one of only a handful of survivors from the group… it would be disgraceful. She might even be forced to take another Syvir, or shift to another band that was less important as a diplomatic tool of the Astarin. Even worse was the possibility that she might not return at all, if things turned to violence. She was a skilled fighter, but many of these men seemed to be champions. If she were attacked, and could not flee… she feared it would only be a matter of time before she fell.
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