Promise of Power (Mustakrakish/Ruu)

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Promise of Power (Mustakrakish/Ruu)

Post by Ruu on Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:47 pm

New Lanfort was a sprawling city, perhaps second to none but the location that housed the Royal Palace. Shops lined many of the roads and homes were clustered together in a claustrophobic manner. One would be hard pressed to find greenery, except perhaps for a few small gardens and some spring sprigs used to liven up dreary and drab homes. What had once been a prosperous locale, however, had now been abandoned in many places. Only the well-lit and well-built places were inhabited now, for the dark alleyways and rotting structures were the territory of the gangs now. Frequent gunfire could be heard as gangs vied for territory, the natural weapons as well as the more advanced firepower that had been found on the outskirts of the ruins outside the city. If such weapons could be found outside the ruins, what secrets did the innermost layers hold?

But there was one place where gunfire was not often heard and where the greenery remained untouched. It was a magnificent building with a detailed design that made it look almost like a masterpiece of art. Ancient runes and holy signs surrounded it, though for aesthetic reasons or spell binding purposes, it was not truly known. This building was the library of New Lanfort, and it was here the Matthew and Elizabeth Drackard lived. Town leaders at one point and now regents of the King, they were important people in the small town. But they had increasingly distanced themselves from the chaos around them, ignoring the mini-wars erupting around their stately home. Instead, they focused on protecting their books and, more importantly, their beloved child. Rumors abounded of lightning strikes coming precariously close to would be intruders, or a strange and eerie glow coming from the windows. Some said it was haunted, others that some kind of magic protected the place. Whatever it was, even the bravest of the gang members were afraid to go there.

And yet it was also rumored the secret to the ruins lay inside those very walls...And none knew those secrets better than the child, Caedyn Drackard. The only child of the wealthy Drackards, Caedyn spent his days reading continuously, stopping only to eat and to talk with his parents. Today, however, his parents had left to go to town for some food with strict instructions to stay inside the house. As long as he remained within the walls, he would be safe. They told him this every time, and he always responded with a nod and a few hugs before they left. For a while he was content to read, but he could not get out of his head the legend of Tyre Antinel. Tyre was a young man who had been forbidden by the elder of his village to leave to combat a ferocious lion that had been plaguing the people. But Tyre did not heed the warning of the elder, and left to face the lion with not a weapon in his hands. The lion was terrible and strong, but Tyre's will was stronger, and in the end he prevailed. He brought the stunned elder back the carcass of the lion and was forever renowned as a hero. Caedyn dreamed starry eyed dreams of solving the secrets of the ruins and perhaps bringing peace back to the city. Though he was very sheltered, he knew that something terrible was outside of the library. He heard the gunshots late and night, but when he asked what they were his parents would tell him nothing, but they would set their lips and look pale faced. Something bad was out there, and today Caedyn would be like Tyre! He would brave the dangers and save the people! Besides, he knew some magic and could defend himself, right?

After convincing himself of the necessity of leaving, he quickly took a golden bound book from his room, its pages lovingly worn from repeated reading. It was this book that held the stories of the Ancients who had once inhabited New Layfort, and it would be armed with this wisdom that he would pierce the secrets of the ruins. In his own mind, he thought he'd be done by nightfall, and home before his parents noticed he was gone, never realizing the journey was much longer...and that it would have been wise to pack other provisions.

Armed with nothing but a walking staff and protected from the elements only by his thin sky blue garments and a white cloak with a hood, he left his home, locking the door behind him. As he walked down the lane that led into the streets, the dangers were far from his mind. Little did he know how close danger was actually lurking...
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Re: Promise of Power (Mustakrakish/Ruu)

Post by Mustakrakish on Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:20 pm

Alexander squatted down in an alley, rolling the dice in the palm of his hand slowly.

“You know the longer you hold them dice ain’t gonna improve your luck boss,” grinned one of the men who stood around. Alex shot him a look and rolled the dice, and then shouted in despair when the numbers came up out of his favor. “Damnit Finch, I swear if I catch you cheating one of these days I will put a bullet through your skull.”

The skinny man named Finch just grinned and scooped up the wad of cash and cigarettes that lay between all the men. “Its all in the way you treat the dice boss. Gotta treat em soft like a lady.” One of the other men coughed out a sharp laugh. “Like you’ve ever been with a woman Finch.” The other men all started laughing and Finch looked like he was about to make a comeback when all of them suddenly stopped laughing. “Hey boss, look whats coming our way…”

Alex looked over his shoulder to see a young boy, maybe ten or so years old, walking down the street in their direction. He was walking wide eyed and wonderstruck, his arms wrapped tightly around a thick book. If the kids facial expressions weren’t enough to tip the gang off that he didn’t belong here, his clothes certainly did. Rich colors and fabrics, clean and little to no wear and tear. Looks like the Corsairs just found a bit of a payday. Alex looked at the few men he had with him. He nodded to them and they all moved out into the street, walking towards the kid. A few fanned out left and right, blocking all avenues of escape. When the boy came within a few yards Alex whistled out to him.

“Hey there kid! You look a little bit lost…why don’t we help you find your way,” and with that the men closed in on the boy and quickly threw a bag over his head, snatching him up and carrying him off into the dark alley way where they came from. If anyone on the street heard or saw anything, they knew better than to try to help. This was Corsair territory.

They took the boy into the gang headquarters: an old abandoned warehouse within the industrial part of the city. They tied the boy up to a chair in a small room with only a single lamp that filled the dank room with shadowy corners. Alex leaned against the wall in one of these dark corners, and ordered one of his men to pull the bag off the boys head…
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Re: Promise of Power (Mustakrakish/Ruu)

Post by Ruu on Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:35 pm

At the sound of a voice, Caedyn blinked and looked up from his childish musings. A towering man with emerald eyes and a well-muscled build stood in front of him. Had he just asked if he needed help? Caedyn's opened his mouth to reply, when a bag was thrown over his head and he was roughly caught up by strong arms. His walking staff clattered to the ground with an ominous sound, and soon it was all that remained in the street to give anyone a clue of his passing by. He had just enough sense to continue to hold tightly to his precious book.

He didn't struggle, probably couldn't with how tightly he was held, as if he were some sort of prize. He could see nothing, hear little but the tramp of boots and the laughter of gruff voices. It was like some kind of nightmare he had previously had, trapped in darkness, unable to move, unable to escape. It was terrifying, a nightmarish ride in the dark. After what seemed like hours, but couldn't have been more than twenty minutes, the young child found himself seated in a chair. For a moment there was hope of escape, but coarse rope was tightened around him, binding him to the chair. At last the bag was taken from his head and Caedyn blinked in the harsh but dull light. After his eyes adjusted, he saw the tall, green-eyed man from earlier, who had asked if he needed help, standing ominously in the shadows. Caedyn had been sheltered, but he knew these men were in no mood to help him. He tried to look brave, but looked more like a frightened rabbit than anything else. Eyes shivering with fear, body shaking...It was a wonder he hadn't passed out. He quietly tried to calm himself, emptying his mind. He still had the ancient spells in his memory...The men wouldn't know about those, even if they took his book. They wouldn't realize until it was too late...

"W-what do you want with me? L-let me go...m-my Mommy and Daddy will be really angry," he whispered in a soft voice that sounded little used.
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Re: Promise of Power (Mustakrakish/Ruu)

Post by Mustakrakish on Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:54 pm

"W-what do you want with me? L-let me go...m-my Mommy and Daddy will be really angry,"

Alex stood with his arms crossed against the wall, and allowed himself a small smile at the kids words. The boy was terrified, almost shaking in his own skin. When Alex himself had been about this old he was already stealing and fighting over scraps of food against boys twice his size…this boy looked as if he hadn’t gone even a day without three square meals.

“I suspect they would be, though I am counting on the fact that they would be more scared than angry,” Alex said calmly, pushing himself off the wall and pacing towards the boy. He got directly under the light, standing right in front of the boy, and stopped. He already towed over the kid standing, but with the boy tied down to the chair he must have seemed gigantic. The pale glow of the lamp flickered dully off of the polished handle of the revolver holstered under Alex’s left armpit. Alex leaned in close to the boy, till their faces were only a few inches away. “How much do you think Mommy and Daddy would pay to get you back hm? Id say just about anything, especially if I sent them your finger wrapped up in a piece of that pretty cloak you’re wearing.” The few men in the room snickered devilishly as Alex stood back up. He glanced over at Finch, who was rifling through the gold-bound book the boy was carrying.

“Give me that,” Alex snapped as he snatched the book from Finches skinny fingers. “Ain’t got nothing good in there boss, just a bunch of childrens stories. Might fetch a few coins out on the street, but it don’t look like it got much value.” Alex ignored him and flipped through the pages slowly. He had heard of books like these, fairytales about a past that no one thought existed. Magic, ancient beings of great power, all rubbish. Or was it? Alex had also heard the rumors, that the ruins outside of town contained some kind of great power. Something that could change the city, maybe even the world. He hadn’t put much thought into going out and searching the ruins for himself, but he knew that if there was something there, than it would give him the edge he needed to seize this city by force, and place himself at the head of it all.

“Everyone out,” Alex said loudly, “I wanna talk to this kid myself.” The men looked around at each other, shrugging their shoulders. “I said OUT!” Alex shouted angrily, reaching for his pistol. The men practically tripped over one another trying to get out the door before their leader started firing off shots.

Once he was alone with the kid he walked up to him tossing the book into the kids lap. He pulled out his revolver and popped open the chamber, checking the shells inside. It was a big, long evil looking gun. Black steel gleamed along the long barrel, and the handle of dark wood was polished to a dull sheen. A winged skull with crossed sabers was engraved into the handle. He popped the cylinder back into the gun with a loud click. “I’ve killed a lot of people with this gun, and the man who used it before me killed even more,” he said quietly, just above a whisper, “Now, I don’t want to add you to that long list, but if you don’t tell me everything about this book, and what’s inside it, then there won’t be much left for me to dump on Mommy and Daddys doorstep…” He glanced down at the book, “Now start talking…”
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Re: Promise of Power (Mustakrakish/Ruu)

Post by Ruu on Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:16 pm

As Alex answered Caedyn's pitiful question and toothless words, his heart plummeted. What if his parents were really scared? They were very powerful, but if they were frightened of Alexander, what could he do to Caedyn? As the street-hardened criminal walked ominously towards the boy, he wished that he could shrink into the size of a mouse of scurry away. He instinctively pushed himself backwards, wanting to distance himself from the gang leader, but unable to because of the cruelly tight bonds.

“How much do you think Mommy and Daddy would pay to get you back hm? Id say just about anything, especially if I sent them your finger wrapped up in a piece of that pretty cloak you’re wearing.”

At these words, Caedyn choked back a sob.

"Y-you...you wouldn't do something so terrible," he whispered faintly, "I-if you do...y-you'd be just like the big bad wolf in that story..."

The child nearly sighed with relief when Alexander's attention was no longer focused on him, but his eyes widened when he saw Finch glancing over the pages of the book. Not many people could read the ancient script inside, but it wasn't a chance the boy wanted to take. His parents had always warned him something dangerous would happen if the book fell into the wrong hands. Why had he ever taken it from his home without even a word of protection? Why had he even left his home in the first place? Tyre was far from his mind now and all he wanted were his parents' loving words...He wished to be far away from threats and dangers he had never before experienced in his life.

He looked up, realizing he had been daydreaming. The gang leader was saying something about talking to him alone. Caedyn stiffened; whatever this was, it wouldn't be good...When Alex reached for his pistol, even the battle-hardened criminals ran for their lives. Caedyn's tiny frame continued to shake, and he could practically feel the color drain from his face. Peace...calm...he had to be at peace...His parents had told him from the time he was little if he ever got into danger to keep himself calm...Remember the rhymes they taught him, and everything would be fine...But they most likely had never considered him leaving the home himself and coming face to face with a notorious lord of the city's underworld.

Alexander approached him, the gun appearing extremely threatening. Caedyn knew exactly what it was, having seen pictures, and he knew of its destructive capability.

“I’ve killed a lot of people with this gun, and the man who used it before me killed even more,” he said quietly, just above a whisper, “Now, I don’t want to add you to that long list, but if you don’t tell me everything about this book, and what’s inside it, then there won’t be much left for me to dump on Mommy and Daddys doorstep…Now start talking...”

The words were made even more menacing by the soft tone, a warning of serious and deadly intent. Caedyn couldn't wipe the image of the winged skull from his mind. It seemed as if it were laughing at him, taunting him in his helplessness. But...obviously the gang leader wanted to know the secrets of the book. He would never, ever find them without Caedyn, of that the boy was certain. So maybe...just maybe he had a little bit of room to work.

"I...I..." he stammered, taking a deep breath before continuing, "I'll...tell you want you want to know. But this book has lots of things in it...What do you want? One of the rhymes?"

Without waiting for a reply, Caedyn continued, repeating the words from memory as quickly as he could, words that really weren't in the book, but Alexander wouldn't know, hopefully until after it was too late.

" Ropes, ropes...go away, come again another day. The lamp will sail to light the way. Ropes, ropes, go away..."

A soft sphere of light appeared over the book, as if something important were about to happen, hopefully distracting from the real intent of the spell. The ropes began to slacken ever so slightly, and soon Caedyn knew he would be able to move his small frame. Without warning, the lone lamp seemed to shake of its own accord, tipping over towards the boy's captor...If this could distract him just enough, perhaps he could escape...If it didn't...however, he knew he'd be in big trouble. He hadn't even stopped to think how he would escape the other members of the gang; his only focus was on distancing himself from the threatening man and the gun.
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Re: Promise of Power (Mustakrakish/Ruu)

Post by Mustakrakish on Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:14 pm

" Ropes, ropes...go away, come again another day. The lamp will sail to light the way. Ropes, ropes, go away..."

Alex was about to slap the boy across the face and tell him to stop mumbling out this gibberish and give him what he wanted to know, but suddenly the book in his hand began to glow. Alex looked down, seeing the ball of light hovering just above the pages of the book. He dropped the gold bound volume as if it had just burned him, stepping away from it and pointing his pistol at Caedyn without taking his eyes off the book.

“Magic..” he hissed under his breath, spitting out the word like a foul taste. “What did yo…” before Alex could finish his sentence the single lamp began to shake and tilt towards him. Alex’s eyes snapped up to the light, seeing the flickering flame leaning towards him. Instinct took over, and Alex turned his pistol towards the lamp and fired. The revolver jumped in his hand, a loud boom echoing in the small room, deafening both Alex and the boys unprotected ears. Broken glass showered the two of them, and oil scattered across the floor, only to be instantly ignited by the falling bits of flame. Flames lit the room with an orange glow, and though small, the heat washed across the two of them, causing Alex to throw his arm over his eyes to involuntarily protect his face from the sudden blast of fire. He cursed loudly, and reached for the boys chair in order to drag him out of the room…
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Re: Promise of Power (Mustakrakish/Ruu)

Post by Ruu on Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:09 pm

Caedyn couldn't help but cry out in shock at the sound of the terrible gun and cowered. He attempted to cover his ears with his hands, but failed because the ropes were still too tight, only partially loosened by the half-cast spell. He fully expected to feel a jolt of pain and eventually the cold claws of death sinking into his body, but he quickly discovered the shot hadn't been aimed at him. He hadn't counted on Alex's lightning reflexes, or for him to instinctively shoot at the lamp. As it exploded with a terrible fury, he could do little but flinch as glass shattered over his vulnerable body. This was followed by a burst of heat that caused another sob to escape his lips; his only saving grace was a quickly uttered spell of protection, that at least shielded him from burns, though did not save him from discomfort.

His thoughts of escape had quickly been blown to pieces by the sound of the gunshot and the shock of the exploding lamp. Because the spell had not been finished, the ropes still held his body tight enough to the chair. He probably could have wriggled free eventually, but he was still in a state of confusion and terror. His plan had literally backfired on him, and he could only whimper in fright as his captor began to drag him from the room. Once fear was replaced by a bit of contemplation, Caedyn realized that he would most likely be in a great amount of danger. Alexander had been willing to cut off his finger and send it to his parents before the incident...He couldn't imagine what the gang leader would be willing and capable of now that Caedyn had tried to escape. With all of the lessons learned from his books, why hadn't he heeded them? Of course something as precious as the knowledge of an ancient and great power would be coveted by power-hungry individuals. And he had left his home with little thought for this, foolishly believing that his spells could protect him from any danger. If he could not pass the gates of his own home without falling into such a predicament, how terribly would he have fared in the ruins of an ancient yet dangerous civilization?

Shaking his head and scattering glass as he did so, eyes the color of the winter sea looked up with apprehension.

"I-I'm sorry....I-I didn't mean...I only wanted to...I was just scared..." he stammered, unable to get any of his words to form properly.
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Re: Promise of Power (Mustakrakish/Ruu)

Post by Mustakrakish on Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:27 am

Alex spun the boy around to face him, his face close to the babbling boy.

“What the hell did you….”
“Boss!” Alex was cut off as Finch ran up to him, pausing only to look over his shoulder at the flames beginning to spread in the room Alex and Caedyn just left. “Uhh what happened in there…?” he asked quizzically.

“It was nothing,” Alex snapped, shoving the pistol into the holster under his arm, “Get some of the boys to put that fire out, now what did you want?” Finch snapped back to attention, look up at Alex. “Right, Reicher is on his way back from the ruins. He sent a runner ahead, apparently they found something.” Alex felt his lips curl into a smile at the news. Excellent, this was the big break he was hoping for, something that he could use to propel the Corsairs into glory and prominence in the city. “Good, that’s good news Finch,” he said, patting the small man on the back.

“That’s not all boss, Reicher is bringing company…”

The smile on Alex’s face fell immediately, his brows furrowing into a dark crease above his emerald eyes. Only one word left his lips, “Cultists?” Finch nodded, his face a grim mask. Alex cursed loudly, Cultists now? Cultists belonged to a relatively new street gang in New Lanfort, the Followers of the Ancients. Most people just called them Cultists because of the way they dressed, and the way they preached their zealous sermons in the city markets, calling for all to assemble at the ruins outside the city and give their souls to the ancient spirits in return for salvation. Alex thought the whole lot was bat shit insane, but for some reason the poor and destitute had lined up, joining the Followers of the Ancients in mass waves. Something about the thought of eternal salvation must appeal to those with nothing left to live for…

Something else about the Cultists were that they had an insatiable lust for everything pertaining to the ancient ruins, and would stop at nothing to get their hands on every last relic that came out of there. They assassinated nobles for their collections, raided gang strongholds and brutally tortured and massacred hundreds just to get their hands on anything that came from the ruins. And now they were coming here. “Get the boy somewhere safe until we have driven them off, I’m not done with him yet,” Finch nodded quickly, untying Caeyden and taking him off to a well protected room, locking the door after he had deposited the boy there safely. Alex grabbed a rifle from a rack off the wall, shouting orders to the Corsairs as they ran around, gathering at windows and loading rifles and shotguns in preparations for the Cultist assault.
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Re: Promise of Power (Mustakrakish/Ruu)

Post by Ruu on Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:28 pm

Caedyn's body quivered at Alex's angry words as he bit back a sob of fright. Fortunately, it was at this moment that the man known as Finch interrupted the conversation with news of the ruins. Unfortunately, not all the news was good. The child had heard of the Cultists, a group his parents utterly despised. They had spent years using their influence (and some said their magic) to put down these groups before they had really taken root. His parents had believed them to be dangerous, and said that they defiled the spirits of the Ancients with their doomsaying and death embracing practices. Caedyn also knew that they would have done anything to ransack the Library, but for a long time had been prevented by secret wards and protective spells. For them to be here...Alex's group must have found something important.

The child had little time to react as Finch untied him, locking him in a heavily fortified room. The boy looked around for a way to escape, but saw not so much as a crack in the wall. He sighed, beating his hands uselessly against the ground, allowing a few hot tears to sink into the dust. He wasn't sure which would be the better alternative; for the Cultists to win the battle and to find him or for Alex's group to drive them off. Either way, he was going to be a pawn in someone else's game. He desperately wished that he had the book back with him. If he had, he would have found some spell to aid him in his escape. He knew a few spells by rote, but most of them had to to with protecting himself, not with breaking free from an elaborate prison. Outside he could hear shouts and cries as the Cultists drove deeper and deeper into the compound. The battle must not have been going well for the Corsair's...

Without warning, pounding sounds could be heard at the door. Caedyn stood up, backing himself against the wall, eyes wide with fear. Splintering sounds could be heard as the frenzied Cultists continued to try to pry their way into the territory.

"Must be something important here..."

"I can feel it..."

"Whatever is here will lead us to..."

"Salvation is at hand!"

With a groan of protest, the door fell backwards on its hinges as five Cultists entered the room, eyes alight with frenzy. Upon seeing the boy, they grinned in unison.

"The Drackard. We've been waiting for so long," laughed one.

"You will help us!" cackled another.

"Get him boys!" shouted a third.

Caedyn closed his eyes, summoning calm to his shaking frame. One spell...that would be all he had before they came upon him...

"Fading, fading roses...a pocket full of posies...Ashes...ashes...you all fall down," whispered Caedyn in an eerie voice.

The Cultists hesitated for a moment a flower spilled from Caedyn's once empty hand to form a straight line between him and the attackers. Without warning, the flowers erupted into a wall of flame, a perfect shield. With a howl of rage, the Cultists threw themselves into the flame wall, only to be reduced to piles of ashes in a matter of seconds. The fire died away, leaving nothing left but Caedyn staring with horror in his eyes. What had he done? He hadn't meant to kill them with the spell, only to defend himself. Why had they run into the fire? Were they that callous about their own lives?
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