The Sack of Vaasa

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The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Ruu on Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:17 pm

The Temple of Alumina once stood shining in the center of the port town of Vaasa, a symbol of hope in dark times. Now, however, the Temple was burning...Rumors of ruthless warbands had surfaced in the city, of course, but it was believed that the gods and goddesses, especially Alumina, would be protection. How wrong they were...

Those inside the Temple, however, were the picture of perfect calm. Even as fires raged, the shouts of knights and soldiers echoed through the halls, and the clash of steel resounded ominously, the priests and clerics prayed silently within the Inner Sanctum. In their midst stood a young boy, eyes wide with barely concealed fear. Those very eyes sparkled with the color of amethysts, the deep color contrasting sharply with his sun-bleached hair. He was slight of frame, and his sky-blue robes made him seem even smaller and more forlorn than he really was.

"W-what's happening, Father Leo?" whispered the child, unable to hide the tremors in his voice.

"Do not fear, child," said the granfatherly old man, "The protection of the goddess Alumina falls upon us, as long as this is safe."

Solemnly, he approached a golden altar, shining with a faint light. And though the light was faint, it conveyed a warmth and beauty that caused one to feel as if they were being caressed lightly by the sun on a spring day. This was the hallowed and legendary crystal of Alumina. It was said to possess great power, but only one person had been able to activate the light inside. That person was the child...

"Caleb...As long as you protect this crystal, our hope cannot die. Even if they take our bodies, we will be one with Alumina. Now, there is no time...Caleb, take the crystal and go. Run as far from this place as you can, and talk to no one. Go to the city of Verde. There is another Temple there. Our brothers and sisters will care for you."

"B-but...but I..." stammered Caleb.

"No time, take it!" said the old man urgently.

With trembling hands, Caleb reached out to touch the sacred crystal for only the second time in his light. As he touched it, the crystal began to shine like a beacon for a brief second before retaining its original intensity. The clerics and the priests listened quietly, as if they believed the power of Alumina had suddenly halted the attackers. But the crackling of flames and the cries of ferocious warriors were coming dangerously close. Father Leo quickly threaded a silver chain through a miniscule hole on the top of the crystal before fastening it around the child's neck, hiding it beneath his robes.

"Go now!" cried the high priest, eyes alight with rare urgency.

Caleb bit back a sob as he turned and ran, so used to obedience that he was not able to disobey, even when his heart was telling him not to leave.

As he ran blindly through the halls, out of the gardens, and into the streets of the city, his heart raced with fear and his mind scrambled wildly to make sense of the recent events. Everything had been so lovely and peaceful. There hadn't been an inkling of the attack coming from the sea. The military had been the first target struck, and the few soldiers that remained from the naval bombardment had been easily swept away by ruthless attackers. All that left were the Temples, and though they were peaceful, they too had been subjected to fire and the sword. Perhaps the invaders feared the powers that were whispered of, though such powers had only ever been used for good...

So wrapped up in thought was Caleb, that he didn't notice three men clad in iron mail, strutting through the streets as if they owned them already. By the time he looked up, it was too late. The soldiers had spotted him. One of them, acting as the leader, smirked and gestured to the young boy as he carelessly hefted his sword.

"And where do you think you're going, kid?" grunted the soldier with a nasty grin.

Caleb nearly fell backwards in shock as he backed up warily, "L-leave me alone...I-I didn't do anything to you."

"Awww...how cute. He thinks because he didn't do anything, we'd just let him go," laughed one of the soldiers.

"Quiet," snapped the leader, silencing his partner as his eyes narrowed, "You! You where the clothes of an acolyte. No one was supposed to have left the Temples alive. With what sorcery did you escape?"

"I-I didn't...I couldn't...please...just let me go," sobbed Caleb, nearly making himself sick with fright.

Three swords were suddenly produced from their scabbards and aimed at the child. Caleb continued to back away, only to find his back to a wall, quite literally.

"Sorry kid, but we've got orders. Kill anyone of those accursed mages and take anything we find from them. Looks like your luck's just run out," taunted the leader.

Caleb gently touched the crystal hanging around his neck, hidden from sight. What was its power, he wondered. Would it help him here? No..he couldn't use it to attack...But maybe, just maybe he could distract. He closed his eyes, whispering silent prayers.

"W-what's he doing, sir?" asked one of the soldiers warily.

"Ignore it. Let's finish this messy business before anything strange happens."
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Tortured on Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:43 am

Because most people believed that the term ‘safety in numbers’ meant that they stood a better chance of surviving, the groups of frightened individuals scattering the streets were many. Few, if any, were alone. Many hid inside their homes, or tried to build their own military style fronts in the side streets in order to defend their city. Soldiers and knights were far too busy defending against the intruders, and so large parts of the city went unprotected.

It was through those unprotected areas that Odin came. He was alone, and on foot. He had never liked horses, but they had always liked him even less. They tended to lay flat their ears and bolt at first sight. He had no problem with that, and had always enjoyed using his own legs for walking. Wasn’t that the reason they were there in the first place?

Steps were careful, and strides were short as he kept his body close to walls. Quite often he moved along the rooftops when he was able. The views helped him to determine where he needed to go next. That and no one really paid a lot of attention to such things, their eyes more interested on the ground before them. Such lack of battle skills made it incredibly easy for the Knight to move further into the city than he should have been able to. Alone it was easy. There was no one to bark at him. No one to screw things up. No one to annoy the shit out of him.

Screams came from directly below him, and he offered a quick glance. A child was there against a wall, begging for mercy. A single man was moving closer, and Odin could almost see the saliva trickling down his chin.

“Sick fuck,” Odin whispered. There was a moment of deliberation. Should he save the child and go against his own man, or leave the young one to her fate. He had a job to do – they all did. No where, though, had Odin seen anything about rape or torture. When he had been banished from his kingdom, he had almost been sad about it. Now, seeing this display before him, he wished no one had allowed him back into its dishonorable walls.

Kill them all.

That voice in his head, he had heard it before. Kill them all. Destroy everyone. Leave no one left alive. Child, woman, man, it didn’t matter. Orders were mixed in his mind, twisted by his own cold ideals. They all had targets, but Odin’s were different now that he was seeing this. Now… everyone had a potential target upon their back.

Using the building’s craftsmanship, he carefully scaled down. The man was ontop of the girl now, hands sliding into places they should never go at an age so young. There was a slight hesitation on Odin’s part before he dropped down from a short height. Clasping his fingers together, he brought both hands down like a hammer. He used his momentum from falling as an added advantage to his power, slamming his fists into the back of the offending man’s neck. Fellow soldier or not, it was a disgusting act that never should have occurred.

It was then, at that moment, that he heard another young voice. This one was distinctly male, but he could hear the tears in the tone. The girl forgotten, even though her little voice called to him, Odin crept toward the other young one who was in trouble. A corner was the only thing separating his eyes from the sight, and he closed the distance rapidly.

The boy was incredibly young, and wore robes. His back was too a wall, and he had three soldiers closing in around him. Three.

Blue eyes growing narrow, the knight knew that he wouldn't be able to sneak up on the men. Risk his life for the child, or walk away... that was the question. He barely even thought about it before he was rushing from around his corner. His cry of battle rang through the night in the same instant as his sword was drawn. His other hand was pulling out a short knife, and it was flying through the air even as he was running. Odin's heart pumped great amounts of blood through his system, adrenaline and shocked rage fueling him. As the knife hit home into the upper throat of one of his fellow men, his sword was cutting upward in a violent arc. Guts spilled everywhere, bits and pieces of war attire flying through the air with all the gore.

"RAAAAAAAH!" Odin's next cry was like thunder as he turned on the last man. His eyes were wide and wild, like he had been possessed by a demonic entity. Teeth were bared, his breath hissing. The blade's edge caught the light, though it shone scarlet instead of golden. Driven by a primal kind of fury, the knight felt the sword slide into the side of his remaining opponent. It blasted through ribs, and tore through lungs. Fingers strong on the hilt, he went down to a knee as his fellow soldier fell.

Breath was panting as he tore the blade from the body of the man, his chest rising and falling to such an extent that he thought he was going to die of too much oxygen! Slaughtering one of royal blood was one thing, but turning on his own men...

"Let's go, we need to go." There was a natural growl to his voice, like he was part beast and not all man. Eyes were still untamed as he collected his knife, and sheathed his sword. And then his fingers were gesturing to the boy, his steps taking him back toward the way he had come. It would remain 'empty' for only a short amount of time. Escaping the city now was key, no matter what it took. He would even leave the boy behind if he had to.

Survival was everything.



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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Alexis Sapphire on Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:54 am

Swords clashed against shields, battle-cries sounded out from every direction. Every few seconds, there was less of a clashing sound and more of a dull thud as a sword would have found it's way into the weak spot of another's armour or slashed violently against mildly protected skin.

Arrow fire which had been a large part of the battle at the beginning had now given way to a more direct and personal level of violence. Hundreds of men in close quarters were jabbing their weapons methodically as though there were not enough room to swing those weapons widely.

Outside the city, lined infantry marched casually towards the gaping holes in the wall. It was almost an impossible sight to behold as merely an hour before, the wall spat arrows with tormenting accuracy towards any exposed cavalry unit that was nearby. It was only through a mixture of excessively raw gunpowder that was compiled into restricting bags and barrels, that the offensive moved with success. Explosions rocked as flaming arrows met the rolling barrels and bags that clung to the gate.

Prior to the explosions that rocked the walls, cavalry of all type were being pinpointed and picked apart by the Alumina archers. While they traded kills back and forth with the highly skilled and dealy accurate horse archers below them, there was nothing horses could do to penetrate the walls.

From a nearby hill, Arianna sat across her imposing black mare of a horse, dark plate armour providing appropriate protection. Pinned to her shoulder armour plates was the extremity of a modest red cape. The wind, depending on how vividly it blew turned this cape into a modestly visible flag of sorts. The real defining characteristic that isolated Arianna on this hill top from the four generals to her left and four to her right was that in place of a helmet, she had shoulder-length flowing dirt-blond hair.

The 9 horses and similarly-armoured riders (except for Arianna's defining red cape) began to advance in columns meeting the infantry who marched towards the city at a calmer pace.

The fighting that was taking place in the city was growing, billowing smoke and flames were spreading rapidly. There was clearly less of a need to 'flood' the city with men now and it was becoming more of a parade for supporting troops than it was an assault.

"Once you find the stone, do not have it moved, put the temple under strict guard."

The generals gave accomodating nods which were barely visible beneath their helmets. More notable however was the flose-fisted strikes to their breast-plates in a way that mirrored certain 'Roman' traditions.

"Yes Master General..."

The casual stride of the mountainous horses brought the generals into line with the men who were now marching casually through the gaping holes in the wall. In the distance, sounds of crying, yelling and fighting still persisted, but it was clear that the fighting near the walls had ended a little time ago.

It was now just a matter of time, continuously pushing through the streets and killing everyone in the way.

"Where's Odin stationed?" her voice was casual enough that only the general riding beside her could hear her question.

"Well... I believe he was with the advancing east wing my lady..."

There was a momentary pause.

"-... But then again, Odin is... well... Odin."

This could only earn a nod of concession from Arianna. It was true after all. From what she had seen of Odin, he was one gifted warrior, practically in the thick of every battle. It was sometimes easier to keep an eye on him that way. Irregardless however, once battle hit, there was no way to control the men in the front lines. Unleashing Odin on the enemy had often been key to a successful break-through that was then built on by piling troops against them.

"Indeed he is..."

For the time being, the battle was critical. Odin could always be a wildcard of sorts so while keeping an eye on him wasn't the 'most' important thing in the world, it was never the 'least' important thing either.

The horses advanced steadily, the men marching in such unison that their steps were distinctly numbered rather than a rabble of men blurring through a city.

The generals fanned out down the streets depending on where most of the commotion could be heard and where their units were moving according to the battle plan. Arianna of course remained on the main road, headed for the central Temple of Alumina.
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Ruu on Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:23 pm

As Caleb closed his eyes for what he thought was to be the last time, he felt a sudden warmth. He was at peace as the soft light of Alumina touched his heart, though his outward appearance didn't change. Alumina had heard his prayer and he was not alone. His heart surged; perhaps the goddess would use a display of power to frighten his attackers! But that was not the method of choice by the goddess, for her way was to allow events to unfold on their own. The young boy was not aware of how close his savior was, and how unlikely a hero the man would be. Had Alumina touched his heart, or had his desire to stop a horrific crime been the only motivation necessary? The young child would not know for sure, but at a later time he would reflect that Alumina had smiled on him that day.

The taunts of one of the soldiers were cut short as he gurgled in his death throes, a knife lodged into his throat. There was a cry, the sound of a primal animal, and when Caleb opened his eyes he half expected to see a lion or a tiger. To his surprise, it was knight, a knight clothed in the armor of the opposing side. Even more shocking was when a second soldier fell to the powerful slash of a cruel, sharp sword, and the survivor was slayed by the same method.

The child bit back another sob at seeing so much blood and gore, bits of it flying to splatter his once sanctified robes. Never before had he such terrible violence, and it felt as if he would pass out at any moment. He had little time to reflect on this however as his newfound protector spoke.

"Let's go, we need to go."

Many things ran through his mind, but Caleb couldn't think of anything to say. For a moment, he gaped at the man, seemingly like a giant. His eyes were sapphire, his hair the color of chocolate, and his stubble serving to make him look more man than beast, if that were possible. And yet...there was something else about him, something, perhaps a sign from Alumina, that made the boy want to trust him, even if he were on the other side...No thought of trickery ever entered the child's mind, because lying was one of the greatest sins in the Temple. And so he resolved to go with the man, though he couldn't quite say that because his mind was still reeling with shock after everything that happened.

After a few seconds of staring, his emotions got the better of him, and he ran forward, throwing his arms around the tall soldier.

"T-thank you so much, sir..." he whispered, his voice choked with sobs, "Y-you saved me from....from those people...T-they wouldn't believe me that I didn't do anything wrong...T-they were...they were going to...Oh...Sir...you must be the nicest person in the world..."

Only eight years old and still very naive, he didn't understand the urgency of leaving the place where the dead men lay...
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Tortured on Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:20 pm

Odin was moving, and from the corner of his eyes he saw the little girl falling into line behind the boy. She was quiet and had wide doe eyes, her age about fourteen. After a few shy steps, she let out a short gasp and rushed into one of the side streets. She had been frightened by some noise, far off in the distance. It had been enough to make her flee, but Odin cared not. Just as he didn’t give care toward the boy. He could go fuck off too if he wanted to!

A few strides, and the boy was hugging him. Hugging him. Instead of going frozen, like his body wanted to do, he lifted his arms between them and gave the other a firm shove. It was enough to untangle him, but not enough to hurt or send him to the ground.

"I said we need to go." His voice was harsh and raspy, the growl more prominent than it had been in his last words. “If you want to hug someone, then go after the girl.”

A snort flared his nostrils as he started moving again, holding several fingers up toward the young one, in case he decided that he wanted to spread more physical joy around. Not only was there no time for it, but Odin didn’t care for it. Not at all. There was a reason that he had no children, no wives, no lovers, no nothing. He was without all of those things, and while he sometimes yearned for it… most days he rejoiced in his solitary life.

“Stupid child,” he whispered under his breath. “We’re in the middle of a fucking war, and he thinks now is the time to play nicey nice.” More mutterings followed, too quiet for ears to hear.

Uncertain if they could go back the way he had come, Odin slid into a narrow alleyway, one that was cloaked with darkness. He waited there, near the back, and pulled out his map of the city. It was crumpled and old, but most of the roads, buildings, and such were the same. It wasn’t the most reliable piece of information, but it was all that he had. Placing it up against one of the walls, he etched his finger along lines that depicted streets. The alley they were in now wasn’t drawn, but he knew where they were.

With a nod, and a plan in mind, Odin folded the map and replaced it on his person before looking at the boy. “We need to get out of here. They’ll be looking for us both now, but you need to be the map. If you want to live, you’ll do as I ask. We need a route that is off the beaten track. A route that will take us out of the city, and far beyond its walls.”

He hated… hated… working with other people. This was, however, a survival necessity. All he could hope for was that the boy followed through well enough with the plan that they got out alive. As he waited impatiently, something else sparked in his mind.

The guards.

So many.

Since when did it take three armed men to kill one small boy whose balls probably hadn’t even dropped? His eyes narrowed slightly as he took another look at his new companion. The expression on his face held no compassion, just a strength and a brutish nature that was contradicted by a sharp intelligence. There were beasts with only mind to destroy, no thought to any of it; and there were weak men who outsmarted their opponents with mental prowess. Seldom were there both, and Odin prided himself on being one of them… or so he often stated in his head.

As much as he wanted to question the boy about what had happened, there just wasn’t any time. That would have to come later, if they survived. His head shook a little, and he gave the smaller shoulder an impatient prod. They needed to go. Now!

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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Alexis Sapphire on Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:26 pm

The panic in the streets had significantly declined by the time the generals had reached the bulk of their men. Most of the activity now centered around 'post-battle' activities. Such activities included the teasing and taunting of injured enemies, the raping of women and even children was not overly rare. Some of the soldiers had the common sense to take their 'prize' to a secluded location to have their way with them but for the most part, it was a group activity where you would figure there was some kind of grand spectacle occuring.

Arianna had steeled her heart long ago to such activities. Even the most disciplined and orderly of empires, even the greatest advanced engaged in war. This was as much a part of war as fighting the battle itself. One could not lead an army if she was queezy about the victorious follow-up.

Accompanying her along the main road towards the temple was the only general of the 8 who's direct authority was over the unit of men who was pushing on towards the temple. Arianna's authority was over the army as a whole and so she had no direct unit of men to be responsible for. She made her way to the temple out of sheer interest in her prize.

Her eyes scanned the scene of mockery and debauchery as she steadily advanced. The soldiers did a more than efficient job of making sure that their post-battle pleasures were not in the way of the other marching men or even more importantly, their leaders.

"Every time." She uttered to the general at her side as she shook her head in some form of evident disapproval.

"Men have audacious ways of keeping morale my lady." The general responded by scanning the same scenery that Arianna did.

"Everytime a battle ends, the men break into a rabble." she commented half conceding that her general was right. The only way she could maintain a disdain for their behaviour was by criticizing the effect on the army as a whole.

"That they do my lady... but you must admit, it is a rabble that forms after a decisive victory. In order to perform greatly in the field of battle, their morale must be high. If post-battle indecencies ensure the morale that leads to a victory 'during' the battle... you will find yourself weighing the good against the bad."

She could only nod with a mumble of accord. Arianna would not be satisfied to lead a bloodthirsty gang around the world. She was going to be known for establishing the greatest empire the world had ever seen. These expectations required that her men be vicious and tenacious in battle, but civilized and respectable among their allies. This almost seemed to be impossible when being great 'warriors' relied on giving up all manner of discipline.

They approached the temple as dozens of men slouched about, some wiping off their blades, others leaning against the walls of the temple and sharing stories of certain fights they had just had.

The first soldier to stand and strike his breastplate began an immediate chain reaction which turned the slouching 'gang' into a uniformed standing unit once again. Arianna could only roll her eyes at the sight. For better or worse, her men had provided her a victory. The temple was in good shape it seemed.

"No one's been inside?" She asked as she dismounted from her horse, her actions mirrored by the general who had been with her all this time. The first man to salute seemed to feel the obligation to speak for the group of men who had accumulated at the temple.

"No my lady. We were the first to arrive here and the only to not move through the city, Those were your orders?"

The answer seemed satisfactory as she began to make her way up the steps.

"Those were my orders." She offered the confirmation simply because the way the soldier worded it made it seem like more of a question than a statement. She scaled the stairs as her sub-general pursued. Behind them, the men gripped their blades and began to fall into column as they would have needed to in order to fit into the entrance of the actual temple.

The boredom of staying guarding the temple or the relaxation of it... depending on what the soldiers felt at the time had given way to the unknown. Since no one had been permitted to enter yet, they had no way of knowing if anyone was staying hidden in the temple to hide or ambush them.

Once inside, Arianna's men fanned out, looking behind each corner, careful not to touch anything of seemingly foreign value. As though her studies had made her intimately familiar with the outline of the Alumina temple, Arianna's slow approach to the cradling box could only be explained by her fascination of seeing it for the first time. The markings on the walls, the amazingly clean upkeep of the building itself. The very structural integrity was representative of the entire culture which was rumored to be almost alien in comparison to others.

Approaching bannered curtains, they easily gave way to her armoured gloves and arm protection as it folded inwards revealing the item that she had been seeking. She advanced towards it, her fingertips gently fixing against the corners.

This was it, enclosed here would be a stone that would make the basis of her new empire...

As she twirled the cover upwards, her eyes dimmed. A few seconds passed before her lips curled into discontent.

Her fingers permeated the casing in some strange event that maybe the rock was hidden in the box somehow. Maybe a false bottom? Maybe as part of the design? It was rumoured to be great after all.

Nothing.

Seconds more passed... a panging slam of the cover back down closing the encasement brought a few eyes from the temple walls to the curtains she had disappeared behind, and now reappeared holding the empty crate of a box.

"Did anyone leave here?" She turned now, out of habit to the first soldier who had spoken upon her arrival.

"No my lady. Anyone who exited was killed in the street."

The affirmation nods came from men around him. He wasn't lying it seemed. It was so very unlikely that everyone in the room would have conspired against their ruler to take a stone that maybe 1 out of every hundred men had heard about in the first place.

"Well it's been moved then. There is an acolyte of Alumina out there who has not been captured." she uttered as she made her way back to the entrance of the temple. Her steps were mildly quicker and more frustrated.

"My lady... no doubt many people would have fled the city before we had surrounded it?" her general now took the initiative of engaging the conversation once more.

Armour clanked and swords were re-sheethed as the men moved to follow her maintaining an even pace.

"These people wouldn't have let some random civilian take the stone. They couldn't appreciate the value. They also wouldn't have given it to a warrior. The tendencies of warriors to fight in almost any situation would put the stone in more danger than if it was simply in the hands of a civilian who wouldn't be in nearly as many fighting situations."

She made her way down the steps in a quick stride. Her general merely a step behind each time.

"There is an Acolyte who is out there. He or she... has the stone."

Reaching the base of the stairs, she turned back to her horse, though her attention remained on her general.

"Take your men. Move swiftly... find me prisoners."

The general's eyes darted from side to said, his head not quite ready to tilt in confusion.

"Prisoners?"

"Yes. Someone here... God willing, knows where an Acolyte would go in the event of the city being taken. Unfortunately, it's too late to change the orders for the men in the front lines."

She turned around, her eyes providing a gleam of a proven point.

"You understand... the difference between unleashing an army on an enemy and conducting civilized warfare. So now we need to make a change to the current order. You will take my seal of approval and ride forward. Hopefully before the last person who can help us has been killed."

The general nodded in acknowledgment.

"Men... move out. Secure the docks." his eyes then turned back to Arianna who had mounted her own mare.

"If you want prisoners, I'll find some."

There was the slightest stretches of a grin on Arianna's face, though she'd not let her general see it. She forced a 'Hyah-!' and gave her horse a stern heel jolt which caused it to winnie into action and take off in the opposite direction where she herself would also spread the word that the order had changed.

For a 'gang' of men who would engage in post battle rape and taunting, there was no doubt going to be time to get information from a few people before they were mercifully issued a swift death.
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Ruu on Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:38 am

Caleb had barely had time to register the young girl was following them, but by the time he had turned around, she had been gone. He wanted to go after her, to help her, but even he realized that wasn't such a wise idea.

When Odin pushed Caleb away, the boy's first reaction was to be hurt and his amethyst eyes widened in sadness. He had merely been thanking the man; why had he pushed him away? The words, still edged with that growl that suggested more of a beast than a man, held a sting to them, but then again...what should he have expected? The man was clearly from the invading side. It was a wonder he had saved the child at all. Besides, warriors weren't supposed to be as comforting as the clerics of Alumina were...The warriors were there to protect the city. Though...it seemed like they had failed in their duties...

It was then that the knight began to move, muttering things Caleb could barely hear and couldn't understand. He hurried after the Knight, not wanting to risk getting left behind. He was at least bright enough to understand that this man was probably his only chance of escaping the city alive and with the stone intact. As they drew into the alleyway, the battle-hardened warrior pulled out a map and examined it before turning to the boy once again.

“We need to get out of here. They’ll be looking for us both now, but you need to be the map. If you want to live, you’ll do as I ask. We need a route that is off the beaten track. A route that will take us out of the city, and far beyond its walls.”

The youthful acolyte nodded his understanding. Odin wanted him to find a route only he would know, an inhabitant of the city. Fortunately, he had been allowed the freedom of wandering the city when it had been peaceful, and knew of it well. The only reason he didn't use an alternate route before was because he knew where most of them led...But now that he had a warrior with him, they might just make it...

"I-I...I'll do anything you say, Sir," he said with wide eyes, having just enough sense to lower his voice to just above a whisper, "I owe you a debt of servitude for saving my life. Alumina would demand nothing less than that I help you. I...know there is one way we could get out of here...There are...secret tunnels and passageways through the city. But...the only thing is...some people say there are monsters...A-and the ministers of Dorran are down there. T-they use dark magic and serve the god of darkness...T-they're very powerful and very scary...a-and they probably have more power now that...that..."

He couldn't finish the words...Now that all his friends and everyone he had ever known had been consigned to the sword. He couldn't hide the tears that were beginning to well up in his eyes once again.

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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Tortured on Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:43 pm

“Is it impossible for you to keep your mouth shut?” Odin kept his voice low, a hiss among the faint breeze. “The more you speak, the more likely someone is to hear you. The next time you say something irrelevant, I will cut out your tongue and stuff it up your ass.”

A growl followed as he gave the kid’s shoulder a little bit of a shove. Here he was, risking his very life and honor for a child, and all the boy could do was stutter and mumble. The glare he gave was short lived, as his eyes took note of what he was wearing. Robes. They looked religious, like he had belonged to some sort of temple or church. He remembered hearing something about that in the briefing, and that they were not to enter its walls without Arianna’s presence and okay. Had Odin gotten there, he probably would have gone inside regardless, but that was well beside the point now.

Irritated enough that he decided to take things into his own hands, the Knight strode over toward a pile of bodies. They were draped over each other, most of them adults. Near the middle, as Odin pushed them off, was a boy about Caleb’s size. His throat had been slit, his head bashed in, but his clothing was in good condition. The fact that it stunk held no meaning for him. This entire place stunk, as did he. Such were the realities after a slaughter like this. He couldn’t even consider it a battle.

“Come over here.” Odin’s tone was a snap, but there was something tolerant in it this time. He had chosen to take the kid along, so he might as well treat him at least semi fairly. “What’s your name?” He raised an eyebrow at him while he took off the dead child’s shoes. His pants came next, each foot freed before he tugged the pants down off of small hips. The pants were given a shake, to remove most of the debris, then laid down on the ground. The shirt, just a simple dark brown tunic, was removed next. He took extra care doing this, not wanting to get any blood on it. This was a more difficult task, but he managed it, just getting a small amount of crimson on the neck. Shoes, socks, and shirt were laid beside the pants, Odin’s eyes shifting once more to Caleb.

“You have to put these clothes on, and remove the ones that you have. I don’t stand out that much, being an invading soldier… of which there are many… but your robes, and even your hair, screams ‘come kill me’. Since I need you to get out of here, and I’m sure you’re thinking the same… don’t argue, or speak, or anything. Just do it. When you’re finished, I’ll put your clothes on this boy. It won’t take long for my superiors to figure out that something’s wrong.” He gestured, pointing at the clothes as he stood up and took several steps backward.

Why do I always end up with the shitty jobs? Odin thought to himself, his blue eyes staring at some point away from his smaller companion. I’m a knight, I shouldn’t even be here. Fuckers, all of them.

Rubbing leather encased hands together, his gloves old enough to not make a lot of noise, he turned his head back to Caleb. He gestured at him to hurry things up. His senses were straining, as attuned as a human’s could be. Each sound that he could hear, every bit of movement, was noted. He was ready to run if necessary, but it was in his nature to stand and fight instead. His pride had always told him that it was the better way to go.

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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Alexis Sapphire on Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:49 pm

To conflicting instinctive emotions, the city began to come alive with the sound of crying and whimpering again. Until now, the advancing authority figures in the army had endured a fairly quite ride through the city. By the time they had reached an area, the front lines had already swarmed it, crashing violently and slaughtering everyone in their wake save the few rare cases where someone hid quietly.

Those who had managed to hide had either made the mistake of thinking it was safe to leave their hiding places, only to be caught by the second wave of troops flooding the area... or they were cautious enough to remain in their hidden spots after hearing the 2nd round of slaughter. Whichever the case, by the time the generals rode through the area, the people within were either still quietely hiding or dead for having left their hiding places.

Now however, the generals arrived to larger noises of clammer and panic. Disdain, fear, anger and frustration even as the killing seemed to come to a halt. Instead, there was physical restraining, severe beating and more shouting.

When the men were no longer ordered to kill everyone on sight, there arose a need for crowd control. Prisoners were bound, then funnelled into small groups or lines which were too small to encourage a rebellion, but large enough that the number of groups could be small enough to be managed by the invading forces efficiently.

Arianna rode casually along the rode she had chosen opposite her secondary general. The process of chaining and lining up prisoners became a primary duty for a good third of the men who had invaded the city. To her appeasement, she could see scattered troops walking up and down the lines of prisoners asking about Acolytes. Had they seen any? Where would they be hiding? Some men even took the initiative to offer leniency to prisoners who's aid resulted in the capture of any remaining acolytes and the stone from their Temple.

Arianna's eyes had turned to the faces of the prisoners as she rode. She was intrigued to see how they'd react to being asked about their stone or if they'd be willing to volunteer information to save their own lives. Her horse did not stop however and she made her way along the road until she arrived at one of the few remaining buildings of the city where a cluster of her generals had taken up formal positions.

She dismounted her horse giving it a series of soothing strokes as she walked beside it. The reigns were immediately taken by the nearest soldier who would walk the horse over and secure it with others. The generals were stood around a map placed on a central table. The estate seemed to have belonged to some noble family of Alumina if Arianna had to guess. Nonetheless, it would serve her and her generals well as a base of operations and future planning.

Arianna scaled the steps that bypassed her generals, the clanking of glove armour to breastplates again sounded in her presence as she walked by. She acknowledged them with little more than a nod before continuing up along the stairway. Her left palm rested tenderly on the hilt of her sheethed sword fixed to her left hip. Her right arm curled to her side as it held the helmet that she judged no longer to be a necessity. Her bow and cylinder of arrows had been placed at the resting point near the other equipment that the generals had placed to the side.

As she moved walked past a few pillars that kept her on high ground without actually 'entering' the estate, she was able to oversee the remainder of the city, straight to it's outer walls. It was quite a sight to behold. small dark figures swarmed around like dots while a variety of coloured clothing gave the 'prey' civilians of Alumina a perfect contrast in her scanning of the events.

Men still fled... women ran. A few people still fought, the fighting however seemed to attract several dark armour plated figures to the action and as such, was only a matter of time before the battling defender was struck down with a near-lethal blow. It would end the 'fight' and instigate several minutes of scorning torture from the troops who had accumulated due to the clashing swords or... every so often, a brief violent death was inflicted due to mere frustration at the time.

The men in their heavy armour were not quite so fast at running in the open as many of the Alumina civilians who had managed to make it to somewhat open ground. It was clear that when the troops advanced in column, they would corner and methodically capture or kill everyone, but until the line actually made it there, it was a bit of a spectacle to watch isolated troops running after civilians who fled that much faster for their lives.

At one point, abandoning their discipline of rank, the men seemed to removed large percentages of their armour just to be able to run as fast as some of the people they had been frustrated by. One such case seemed to stand out to Arianna.

In the near distance, a handful of men had gathered around a flagpole. It was an odd occurrence but this flagpole was different than the type Arianna was used to. Flag poles often seemed to be simplistic rods with the banners adequately tied into place in order to take advantage of any wind whatsoever. This flagpole seemed to have a bunch of chizzled hooks along the sides. Clearly, the pole was more advanced and could be used to specifically strap the banners in a variety of ways, or maybe even multiple banners at once. Most empires utilized string or strong cable for this purpose but the Alumina city had actually carved the design straight into their pole. It would have meant significant welding of some sort to the metal rod.

At the top, there was an circular bowl-like structure that was clearly designed to stand 2 or 3 people for tying on a flag near the top. This bowl structure however, provided great cover for what seemed to be a young girl. Arrows struck the bowl one at a time, clanking against the metal. A small chuckle came to Arianna's lips as the girl seemed to be tossing stones at the handful of men who assembled at the base of the pole. One of the men had a bow and arrows, one held a torch, the others seemed content to take turns trying to climb the pole. Night fall had come and the torches were much more visible now through the sheer bright light of their flames rather than the smoke they emitted which was more visible in daylight hours.

Arianna shook her head, the little girl couldn't have been more than a child, while her tossing of the rocks was futile, it seemed to be the only thing she could do from there. Unfortunately for her men, they lacked the nimble fingers and small physique that would have allowed the girl to grip the pole's hooks while they could do nothing but scratch their hands on it.

Arianna descended the stairs from the opposite side making her way towards the handful of men at the base of the pole. The archer that was with them continued to keep his bow suspended, looking for a quick release whenever the girl seemed to peek her head over the bowl top.

"That'll do for now." Arianna's voice came a little late to stop the archer from firing yet another arrow which clanked violently against the metal and twirled falling randomly to the ground again.

"I said-..." she began to reiterate herself though the archer was already gasping an apology.

The other men could only gulp in anticipation or fearful tension. It was as though this archer's very life could depend on whether or not Arianna interpreted his latest shot as a release that came too abruptly to be stopped by her order, or if she interpreted it as a spiteful release just because he wasn't thinking clearly having missed so much.

The archer was the first to bow in leaving... then 2 others of the handful. The torch-bearer stood there as Arianna seemed to take an interest in the girl.

"Quite the little climber, aren't you?" she called out. Her index-finger wrapped around the nearest hook as though to assess whether or not she could even try it. Being this close to the pole, you had to appreciate the height. There was no way Arianna would be able to climb this thing.

The girl seemed to shake timidly, though her head remained visible now that the numbers had decreased.

"You're-... You're one of them?" the girl called out as though unsure of what to say to such a remark.

Arianna's eyebrows jumped in acknowledgement of the obvious.

"I guess so." she could only answer blatantly. She really didn't know what else to say to the girl.

"They-... they attacked me." The girl uttered, leaning over the bowl as though to look around and see if it was some kind of trick.

"They attacked me and I ran."

Arianna simply nodded. "I see that."

A few seconds of silence passed as Arianna held her hand out for the torch and gave the remaining soldier a casual hiss to move along.

"Look... are you planning to stay up there all night? I don't know if you've thought this through-..."

The girl clearly hadn't thought it through and Arianna knew it. This was an instinctive escape from an immediate danger. Instinct always took over in cases like this. Ideally, no one would want to be isolated on a flag pole. It would never be a plan... but if being chased vividly enough by a most terrifying force, you'd be amazed what you will do at the moment in order to avoid it.

Arianna's plan was simple... take this girl out of the 'moment' of danger, and give her no choice but to think about it. When you had time to think and second guess what you did to survive that moment of danger, your interest would then turn to how to survive the 'next' moment.

The girl however didn't answer in the way Arianna wanted.

"They listen to you."

The girl's remark caused Arianna's eyes to focus in a perplexed nature. They listen? Who listens? This was a highly spiritual city after all it seemed...

"I'm sure that they do." Arianna responded in a broken up sentence not fully understanding what the girl was saying.

"You tell them to leave, and they leave."

This of course earned immediate recognition from Arianna. The girl was talking about her soldiers obeying her commands.

"That's generally how it works. Soldiers need to be told what to do. They need to be told to go, come, stay, stop..."

The girl began to shake her head with an innocence that Arianna could only tilt her head towards.

"Nope. mmmm, nope they don't."

Arianna cracked a grin. "Oh? And what makes you say that?"

"Well, they didn't stop when he told them to."


Arianna's eyes all but rolled. She had no idea what the girl was talking about.

"Well no... clearly a soldier won't stop if someone from another army tells them to stop. They have to-..."

Only she was interrupted again by the innocent voice intent on proving a point.

"Oh but he wasn't. He was with them. With you guys... er... I think?"

Arianna's smile started to deteriorate. Men who didn't follow orders. Raping, pillaging, it always left an impression on the civilians of a conquered people.

"Well... the rules of war are different my child. You have to do what you are told... or there are consequences."

The girl seemed to slouch over the side of the bowl as though she were somewhat bored. Her arms dangled freely.

"I guess you're right. They got punished badly. Very very badly."

Arianna's deteriorating smile dropped into a perplexed glare. Yes, she didn't approve of everything he soldiers did, but there was absolutely no authority given to one soldier to turn on another soldier while in battle unless there was a very good reason. Much less in front of the enemy. Generals often executed soldiers who didn't obey the rules but this was done behind closed doors. This was not done where enemy populations could see division in the horde.

"What are you talking about child?-... Look, would you like to come down here and tell me?"

The girl seemed to shake her head immediately. While comfortable enough to talk to this woman, the girl seemed unlikely to feel the same level of comfort in giving up the height she had gained.

"Well, they were going to attack me, and he said something. Or yelled at them, or... I actually don't know. It happened so fast. They didn't stop and he killed them."

Arianna's eyebrow quivered in curiosity.

"How many? How many did he kill?"

The girls fingers seemed to interlock as she rolled her wrists out of boredom.

"Three. Maybe more? I tried to follow them but they were too fast. Too fast for me. I have small legs. I run slow."

She seemed to be distressed by the remark, almost depressed, but her eyes seemed to bound into confidence as she finished her thought.

"But I climb good. Yeah? I climb really good."

It was clear that the 1 story had different points of interest. What mattered to Arianna wasn't the girl's escape or her excellent climbing, it was this soldier who killed 3 or more of her men.

"Yeah, splendid. You climb splendid. This man. Was he dressed the same as the men that were here?" she looked gesturing to her troops here were still prancing about as though the girl needed a reminder of what they looked like.

"No-noooo." the girl shook her head vividly.

"He had more colour than just the heavy black you have on. The men he killed looked just like you all. He was dressed different. The temple boy that was with him was more colourful but they were fast. I'm... I'm not fast."

Arianna's lips pressed together in momentary annoyance.

"Temble boy-..."

The girl seemed to nod slower now, as though she were getting tired of telling the story.

"Yeah, our temples are the best in the world. Well... I think so anyway. They're big, they're beautiful and very colourful. The men who work in the temples are very nice. The boy was a nice boy too. And fast-... he was fast. They were gone and then there were more black men so I ran here."

The little girl let out a sigh again. Clearly her lack of speed depressed her by comparison.

Arianna's understanding was that her major armoured units were the 'black men' the girl talked about that had chased her to the pole. If this girl was telling the truth, then one of the few knights in her force had turned on them.

If it was Odin... she'd have his head.

"Alright... thank you for everything. Now... it's time to come down okay?"

The girl shook her head again, this time mumbling something about how Arianna couldn't make her and really, Arianna didn't have the time to try to climb an impossible pole.

She took a knee by the base of the pole. The wooden beams near the base that had been placed in order to mark the land for the pole hadn't been removed. In every civilization it seemed, the very basis of a flagpole's foundation wasn't changed. The Alumina civilization just seemed to do things bigger and better.

Letting her torch rest against the wooden beam, small light began to flicker. She stood, letting her torch drag along the second wooden beam. Then the 3rd... and finally the 4th as she finished circling the flagpole and ended up back where she began. The fire seemed to feed off the pole and hug the metallic rod from the base, but the metal rod clearly couldn't catch fire by design.

Letting her torch fall to the center, Arianna turned her back on the girl. There was nothing immediately around the flagpole that could catch fire, so there was no worry of a chain effect, but the flames grew steadily until they were healthily feeding on the wood and carressing the pole vividly.

"The longer you wait, the more it'll hurt." Arianna's voice trailed off, confusing the child somewhat. What did the woman mean 'hurt'? They couldn't get to her up here. No one could.

She looked down over the bowl as smoke rose, causing her to cough and then sit down back inside the safe cover of the metal design. The smoke didn't seem to bother her much if she kept her head down.

Something funny was happening though... as moments passed, her eyes fluttered shut, then open... then shut again. She shifted about in some discomfort.

The bowl was getting warmer.[i]
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Ruu on Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:06 am

The same expression of hurt appeared again at Odin's words, soon replaced by terror at his threat. Would the Knight really do as he said? Caleb had never met one so angry...so violent...Even the soldiers of Vaasa had been trained in dealing kindly with civilians, for they all followed the way of Alumina. But once again, Caleb remembered that this man was responsible for saving his life. It was his duty to follow the other's commands, unless, of course, they broke any of Alumina's sacred laws. And there no law against silence, in fact, it was strongly encouraged. Having made up his mind, he nodded in response to the Knight, indicating he understood.

A moment later, the Knight gave him a small shove, glaring at him, though the glare was soon replaced by a thoughtful expression. What was the Knight thinking about, he wondered.

The stone...they want the stone...

Caleb blinked, wondering if the voice he had just heard had been real. He wanted to bring it up to the Knight, but quickly decided it wasn't important enough. He didn't want to risk Odin's ire.

As Odin walked over to the pile of bodies, the young Acolyte couldn't help but feel repulsed at his callous treatment of the dead. The sight caused his stomach to turn, and something more...A pain centered in his heart, but not just the pain of losing loved ones. All the lives lost during the senseless slaughter, their voices cried out to him as if in supplication, and the stone resting near his heart began to shine with just a faint light, barely visible through his colorful robes. It was as if Alumina were sharing with the child what she felt at the moment. The pain was quickly replaced by a sense of warmth and comfort, however, as if the goddess herself were wrapping her arms around the grieving child. It was as if she were telling him that even in her pain, she still had enough love and compassion to comfort one of her distraught children.

Odin's gruff voice shook the young boy from his reverie, and he hastened to obey. When the Knight ordered him to exchange clothing with the dead child, Caleb couldn't hide the revulsion in his young eyes. The poor child...how could the soldiers and knights have been so cruel? No one had been safe from the slaughter, and somehow through the providence of Alumina he had been able to survive. It wasn't fair...How could so many innocents be destroyed? Looking up into the tall Knight's eyes, however, the Acolyte could see there was little patience there. Much as he hated to admit it, Odin's words were true. The child did stick out like a sore thumb and he would be putting them all in danger if he did not change his appearance. He wanted to at least acknowledge the order with words, but Odin had said not to speak.

It was a little awkward for him to be changing in such a public place, but he knew there wasn't any time for him to find a more suitable location. As he reached to pull off his the long, one piece outer robe, he hesitated. The Knight would see the stone nestled at his heart, if he hadn't seen the faint glow already. Father Leo had seemed to think the stone would be the target of the attack. If the Knight knew he had it, would he just take it and leave the child to fend for himself? Caleb wasn't sure if he wanted to know the answer, but there was little time to contemplate. Steeling himself, he pulled his robe over his shoulders, the gem glittering over his chest. As quickly as he could, without seeming to hurry, he donned the clothing of the other child, murmuring a soft prayer for the safety of his soul. When he was finished, he looked up at Odin with wide, somewhat apprehensive eyes, indicating that he was ready.
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Tortured on Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:51 pm

The myriad of expressions on the boy’s face were quite typical of the actions he was being told to follow through with. Odin had seen far too much war, death, and carnage for the sights and sounds to affect him anymore. He had grown cold to it, accustomed to the violence. Peace and love were a foreign thing to him, lost during his first few years as a soldier. When he had become a knight, it had made him colder still – and more defiant. That was more than apparent now, as he was paying more attention to the surrounding areas than to the bodies littering the streets.

What surprised him was the speed in which young Caleb donned the dead boy’s clothes. There had been some hesitation at first, but after that he did as he was told. There was a faint shine of relief in his eyes as he reached up to wipe at something on the side of his face.

A slight turn of his head to listen to a noise at the other end of the alley, and his eyes caught the shine of something on the boy’s chest. When the young one had been changing, Odin had offered glances here and there, trying to figure out why he had been so important. Surely he wasn’t skilled enough in battle to take on three men at once. The only thing of note that he could see was that crystal pendant around his neck. His eyes settled more prominently on it, his head canting to one side. The tunic covered the object of his attention, but he would keep it in his mind for later. There was no time for idle chit chat now.

Finally tearing his gaze from where he knew the crystal was, Odin’s mind was thinking. There had to be a reason why Arianna didn’t want anyone going into the temple. It surely had nothing to do with the safety of her men. So, it had to do with something that she wanted. Eyes narrowing, Odin let a faint noise exit his throat, like a ‘hmmm’. A lot of things just weren’t adding up.

Crouching down, busying himself with what needed to be done, the Knight grabbed the robes, and pulled them over the dead boy’s body. It didn’t matter if blood got on them, so he wasn’t as careful as when he had taken the other clothes off. Since he was self-aware, especially in the presence of trickery, Odin smeared more blood onto the hands, cuffs, and front of the robes. He made it look as though the child’s throat had been cut. Then, falling, he had rolled around, struggling to prevent the spurts of blood from leaving his body. He had, of course, failed.

Thankfully, it wasn’t necessary to hide their tracks. The tracks of soldiers and fleeing civilians were all over the place. Grabbing the dead body by the front of the robes, where there was already blood, Odin lifted him up and threw him toward one of the walls. The brutality of the army was second to none, and he had seen such actions performed in the past. Out of sheer, unadulterated amusement no doubt. One corner of his mouth twitching, he made sure that everything looked like it shoulder. This included the bodies which he ‘restacked’. Nothing could be missed. Everything had to be perfect. Even then, Odin never doubted that there was a chance someone would see through his little scene. Hopefully the robes of the boy would stall the soldiers, and Arianna, long enough for them to get out of the city.

“Let’s go, we’re ready now. Make sure not to travel anywhere that others have not. If we leave lone tracks, it will be too obvious.” The Knight gave Caleb a little shove at his back, impatiently encouraging him forward.

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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Alexis Sapphire on Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:06 pm

The ruins of Alumina had quited down significantly over next couple of hours. The prisoners had been lead out of the city walls to a make-shift encampement to the adjacent valley. Less than 100 prisoners had been turned into forced labour workers to dig their own future graves. Designs and work details were put into motion in order to keep the morale of the prisoners somewhat elevated.

It was decided that if the prisoners in a work camp figured their work was important or even simply useful to the invaders, that they might not feel so resigned to death. This would keep them occupied, alive, and generally out of trouble incase any of them needed to be talked to. The alternative was to have them sit idly by waiting to be called up one at a time. This of course meant they could talk to each other and have more time be... less than cooperative.

Having the make shift labour prison camps was a great way to keep the prisoners oppressed, beaten, occupied, busy and under control. One or 2 could easily be snatched at any time for conversation. The position of their camp in the valley was trapped between the soldiers that took up housing in the city, and the main horde camp at the other side. The reason for not keeping the prisoners in the city is that it would just be inconvenient to chase them around again if some of them decided to hide in the city they knew well.

Keeping the prisoners in an open place, easily seen and controlled, the horde had a very efficient way of ensuring no trouble. Anyone who ran would be trapped on 2 ends by the army's camps. In any other direction, they'd have to run in the open for miles before they would get anywhere. They would be ridden down with great ease by a horseman or shot from a distance by a skilled horse archer.

It seemed, after a great day of battle, the spirit of Alumina was finally destroyed.

Arianna's attention now, had turned to the 2nd part of their invasion. Establishing control of the sea. The wealthy port city proved to be much more lucrative than simply rewarding looters. Dozens of ships were abandonned by fleeing merchants and wealthy individuals trapped in the crossfire and killing spree. These ships would be put to great use, upgraded and established for Arianna's fleet. The ships that came from her distant land were still days away, but for now, these would do well for transporting and controlling trade routes.

So far, everything was absolutely fantastic in the way of the war. No city for hundreds of miles would be capable of opposing her force. Aside from a few walled fortresses, even if they united against her, they would be forced to do so in the open where her cavalry archers and heavy cavalry could just devastate them.

The only hold up... is that damn stone.

Her attention from the boats was immediately shared as the voice of one of her generals became audible.

"The men are going to turn the city upside down my lady."

It brought a mild grin to Arianna's lips as she nodded in acknowledgment.

"And the knights-?" She mentioned as though she needed to remind him.

"Oh yes. They are assembled in the temple as you requested."

She ran her tongue from left to right between her lips moistening them briefly.

"All of them?"

The general inhaled as though to provide the briefest answer he could, but inhaled a second time before exhaling naturally. It was almost a stutter only having said nothing to actually stutter on originally.

"It is-... as you expected my lady. All of them are present... except for..."

Arianna's eyes closed in bemusement, her head tilted upwards to the now moon-brightened sky.

"-... Odin."

The general's tongue slid into his cheek nervously as though confirming it was just as nervous as it would have been to have said the man's name himself.

"Yes my lady."
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Ruu on Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:32 pm

To his relief, the Knight either appeared to have disregarded the crystal at his neck, or he hadn't seen it altogether. Either way, Alumina's crystal appeared safe at the moment, and that's what mattered most to Caleb.

The child looked up at the Knight's words and nodded his understanding, moving forward as Odin nudged him along. He suddenly realized he hadn't answered the other's question. How terrible of him not to have at least told his rescuer his name! He had just been so unnerved by the sight of the countless number of dead, most of whom would not have proper burial rites, that answering had completely slipped his mind. Did he dare risk speaking again now, when he wasn't supposed to? Still...they'd be working together for a while. They had to at least learn each other's names.

"My name's Caleb, by the way," he said in the softest voice he could manage, never turning around, "I'm sorry I didn't answer before. What's...your name?"

As they walked, Caleb's eyes were darting back and forth, looking for some kind of sign, straining for the footfalls or horse hooves that would indicate a pursuit was underway. Only a few minutes later, the boy saw what he sought. Motioning for Odin to come over, he made his way to a seemingly nondescript wall. The only difference about this wall that was readily apparent was a faint sheen, as if light were reflecting off of it, though one might have easily mistaken it for a trick of the eyes. Caleb looked around nervously again before touching the wall and closing his eyes.

"May the light of Alumina...illuminate the darkest places," he whispered.

Without a sound, a doorway appeared in the wall, a vast set of steps leading into a gaping abyss. The young acolyte pointed down the doorway, indicating that's the way that they needed to go.
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Tortured on Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:45 pm

Finally, the boy was at least semi quiet. Odin felt his jaw relaxing slightly, tension born from the kid’s stuttering and vocals ebbing away. Now he just had all of the other things to worry about: enemy soldiers (some likely still lived here and there), the enemy period, his own soldiers, food, water, the kid, the crystal around his neck, what was inside the temple that Arianna wanted so badly, and a whole barrage of other things… not necessarily in that order.

His strides long and quiet, he followed after Caleb, letting his eyes close for a moment as he started yapping again. Oh, it was just his name… a question he had asked him minutes earlier. Shoulders rolled back into a shrug as he let out a quiet sigh, casting his eyes skyward. Someone help him, he was going to end up killing the boy before they even got out of the city.

“My name doesn’t matter. Just keep your mouth shut unless it’s important.” His voice was tense, and he couldn’t help but give Caleb another light push as though to emphasis his words.

In the far distance, the knight could still hear the sounds of battle. There wasn’t as much of it as there had been, but the city was still fighting back to some extent. That made Odin a little more nervous, and he was anxious to get past its borders. Living in the moment, his thoughts not on the past or future, he was careful even when he set foot. There was near silence when he walked, as though he was a big cat slinking around the edges of trees and bushes in a jungle setting. Fingers gripped the pommel of his sword, the weapon held close to the ground, and with practiced ease. Most soldiers only knew how to use the blade end of a sword; Odin knew how to kill someone with both.

Stopping just behind Caleb, irritation flashed through blue eyes. It was a wall, why were they… oh. That was why. An eyebrow quirked in curiosity as the wall gave way, somehow, to a stairwell. His eyes cast back over a shoulder, and he didn’t need to think about it for long. He would rather follow the boy than to stay out in the streets as they were.

“Smartest thing you’ve said and done in your whole life I bet,” Odin muttered quietly.

Shifting his grip on the sword, as he needed to be ready in a different way going into closed quarters, he stepped onto the top of the first stair. A pink tongue licked briefly at dry, dusty lips before he ducked his head down and stepped into the stairwell.

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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Alexis Sapphire on Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:47 pm

Darkness had now densely taken the field of battle, the invader camp, the city of Alumina and the clustered pack of prisoners in between them. Grunts, muffled groans and sighs of relief as periods of rest were issued took up most of the sounds in the centre. In the main camp and even in the fallen city, the noise level had recently been brought down to respect the opportunity for sleep that the majority of the army had at the time.

Fire places crackled, the small percentage of men that were on watch were silent while those who were awake as support in case anything happened were capable of some chat around the fireplace. Eventually, they took up watch positions while those watchmen then had time to warm up around the fireplaces themselves and interact with others.

The generals met in the wealthy Alumina household to plan the next day of advancement. Their voices blended together sometimes in conflicting argument, though most times they were structured in turn, passing commentary around the table in a civilized manner.

Conversation had swapped to the talk of Odin and the boy that the soldiers had been questioning about for the remainder of the evening. The men examined the map thoroughly, rivers, hills, open plains that could be quickly swept by riders were examined. Talk of wooded areas, other ruins or nearby camps where they might hide were alternate topic points.

"They could be gone on a fishing vessel..." one of the generals had stated.

"Nay-m'lad... they'd get as far as a rock could be skipped from shore before they'd be caught in a blockade."

The thick accent and tone from this particular responding general identified him as a figure from the Highlands. He was generally out of place but when it came to riding, he was second to none. His cavalry unit were well trained and heavily armed.

"Ye can be sure they would have left on land."

A 3rd general made his voice heard in the fray.

"He's right. If Odin has in fact taken an acolyte with him, there is no way they could have made it to the docks without being seen. The docks were one of the first points to be swarmed."

Arianna's eyes studied the map, it was as though her mind was ahead of the current conversation her generals were engaged in.

"They'd go to Verde..." She uttered thoughtfully. The generals conversation seemed to ground to a halt. Some of them glanced straight to her, others intensely at the map to find Verde for some kind of opinion on her statement.

"Aye M'lady..." the thick accent seemed to take initiative once again.

"... Trade and translation, common distribution between Verde and Alumina. If there was ever a place to go should Alumina fall, it would be where they could be received as a familiar face."

Arianna nodded though other generals remained silent with folding arms or scratching heads of their own.

"There's a dense marsh... forest lands between the cities. There wouldn't be a very fast way for the army to get from one to the other. Fleeing acolytes or deserters would be able to get to Verde faster than any roaming army could."

She glanced around the map to alternates and couldn't find any reasonable alternative.

Noise gradually began to pick up outside, audible discussion, laughing, shuffling about. It was shrugged off at first as the men simply heckling each other over some food or playing around with some means of entertainment.

"A city to the south would risk travelling for miles upon miles of open terrain. Odin wouldn't go that way, he knows our horses would catch the open."

Another general spoke up at this point.

"Maybe not. Maybe he thinks he's gotten away free and clear? Just... you know... taken the stone and run?"

Cheering now seemed to replace the typical mumbling and grumbling that could be heard outside. Arianna's answer had to wait as she turned around. What was happening out there? She made her way to the entrance as a few nearby generals followed suite. This brought the other generals from around the table to follow as well.

"We found him! We found him..."

The noise level was a little more than would be considered 'acceptable' given that some troops who just couldn't give a damn were trying to sleep before packing their things for another march the next day.

To the generals however, and Arianna in particular, the carcass being dragged before them and dropped mercilessly to the ground at the base of the staircase brought more than a few risen eyebrows. It was... it was an acolyte.

They had found him.

The crowd of about two dozen men began to space out, allowing Arianna and the generals to circle the body that had been abandoned with his arms and legs spread out. Arianna folded her arms as the generals also tilted their heads in disapproval. For some reason, they had been expecting to find the acolyte alive.

"Our search just got twice as bad." One of the generals uttered using his right foot to give the corpse a readjusting shuffle onto its back.

"... If Odin is travelling alone, there's much less of a limit on how far he can travel. He can move night and day, small periods of sleep..."

Another general interrupted though the thought process was similar.

"-... he can go for longer periods of time without the need for food, he'll be infinitely harder to hunt."

Arianna's eyes scanned the corpse diligently, methodically and scrupulously. Something just didn't add up. Meanwhile, the voices of her generals seemed to begin discouraging the hunt for Odin just based on how much more effort would need to be put in.

Finally, Arianna's 2nd in command voiced a thought that was closer to her own than anything they had considered until now.

"He kills 3 men. He's seen going with the child. Why does he kill him?"

Arianna's arms remained folded.

"I don't think Odin killed him. That being said, Odin has always been a bit of a lone wolf. Maybe he just couldn't be bothered with keeping the boy alive beyond the initial confrontation?"

A brief nod gestured towards the corps. The words directed to those nearest him.

"And the stone... was he carrying a stone?"

Eyes mingled and exchanged glances of confusion with shrugs of ignorance.

"No my lady-..." the opinion echoed from man to man while others seemed to take her question as an opportunity to ravage the cloak and clothing of the body in an attempt to find said stone.

The generals by this point had formed a semi-circle along the staircase looking down at the site, exchanging remarks or grimaces of their own.

"I would suggest sending riders to the nearest villagers my lady." The general near the right end of the semi-circle volunteered.

Arianna's arms unfolded as she glanced up at the moonlight.

"Send 3 messengers to the 2 closest cities." Her eyes then turned up the stairs towards the room where her gear and weaponry had been placed for the time of planning and preparation.

"... The messengers are to provide vivid descriptions of Odin and make it clear that he is a wanted fugitive. Any city harbouring him will be put to the torch."

As she scaled the stairs, the generals seemed to fall back into a 2-man column on instinct. Re-entering the main chamber of preparation, Arianna turned to her loyal lieutenant. Her second in command was always a shield for her to stall the enemy with his brilliance, or a sword to plunge a devastating attack.

"Uriah-..." She stated quietly as she reached down and took an arrow out of her carrier cylinder which leaned against the wall.

"Yes?" he responded stopping almost surprised to see her pick up a weapon at this time of night.

She allowed her fingertips to trace the fine fabric of the lean wooden centre the arrow was created with. Her fingers then gently grazed along the smooth surface of the metallic tip while threatening the smallest of cuts with each inch that her fingertips grazed along the edges.

"I want 40 light horse archers taken..." she began the explanation of Uriah's special assignment by stepping back towards the map spread over the centre table. Gripping the arrow lightly along its centre frame, she allowed the arrow-head to point and trace loosely along the map where forests, marshes, hill regions and the 2 nearest cities were scouted. Large opening existed between the forested region to the east of their encampment and the cities even further east.

"20 horse archers are to ride in the direction of each city. They are not to enter the cities, let the messengers take care of information. These men are to patrol the open regions around each city."

Her arrow-head slid gracefully in tiny circles along the map where it indicated open landscape.

"These men are to keep Odin away from the cities. If he makes it inside one, there will be a longer process to find him. If a city opens their gates to him or refuses to turn him over, we will have to surround it and go get him ourselves."

Her arrow-head now delicately tapped the darkly coloured blobs on the map.

"... Odin is no fool. He won't walk miles and miles in open terrain, on the run from a cavalry-heavy army. He'll be making use of these wooded areas where the scouts have to get to within meters of his location."

Her eyes seemed to scan the map vividly as she spoke.

"... The 40 horse archers must constantly patrol the areas around the cities. If Odin arrives, take him."

"Yes my lady... but if he avoids the openings and the cities?"

Arianna's eyes left the map having determined her plan, her eyes moving back out to the majority of her army, resting for the night.

"Odin is a renegade on land that we are going to conquer. I will burn down every tree in a forest and smoke him out like a rabbit if I have to. If we keep him away from the cities, we keep him on the hunt for food and water. We keep him predictable in where he can go and what he can do. If he goes into a city, we declare that city to be in violation of our laws, harbouring a fugitive and if they do not turn him over, we surround the city."

Her eyes continued to scan the horizon...

"I want him Uriah... preferably in one piece."

The subordinate's breastplate clanked with the dullest thud as his closed fist tapped against it.

"It will be done my lady."

As his footsteps lead him down the stairs to begin assembling the 40 men for his task, Arianna's eyes shifted into the dark... scanning the direction between her position and the city of Verde beyond the trees in the distance.

Where will you go, Odin...

She often thought things through in a discussion manner while preparing for another offensive.

An acolyte would go to Verde...for obvious reasons. But you... where would you go... a stranger in this land.
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Ruu on Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:29 pm

Caleb blinked at Odin's muttered words, but couldn't quite catch them. Whatever they were, it was obvious the Knight hadn't meant for the boy to hear them. He knew they were both fugitives and it was necessary for them to be still and quiet. But...why did the older man have to be so tough? So stern and strict? But he was a soldier of the other army. Many of those soldiers hadn't had any qualms about slaughtering innocent women and children. The acolyte felt he should count himself lucky that the same hadn't been done to him.

He led the way quietly down the deep, dark stairway, that soon became pitch black. It was impossible to see, but nothing was impossible with Alumina. A softly murmured prayer, and Caleb's body began to shine with a strange light, centered around the crystal lying at his heart. The light was soft, almost bluish in color, but it clearly illuminated the way for at least a few feet in front of them. The boy didn't say anything, but continued to walk. Strangely, the underground wasn't filled with sewage and waste as one would expect in the bowls of the city. It was a cold, unforgiving place to be sure, but if anything it was scrupulously clean, as if everything unwholesome had been scrubbed away...or as if the traces of unsavory activity had been meticulously erased from existence.

Right...left...left...right...straight...The boy led the man deeper and deeper into the tunnels, as if he himself had been programmed with some kind of traveling artifact. But his eyes were always wary, and the light radiating from his body would dim immediately whenever he heard a strange noise. Unfortunately, there were beings in the tunnels that utilized an absence of noise to find their prey...

Suddenly, two long skinny arms reached out to grab the child in a bone-crushing grip. Caleb's yelp was muffled as a scrawny, dirty hand was placed over his mouth. In the pool of light surrounding the child and his captor, one could see an elderly man with gaunt eyes, glinting like still burning coals. He was clothed in dark robes, the color of which appeared to be as of dried blood. Around his neck he wore a chain with a haunting design, an indescribable shape of hallucinating twists and turns and varying hues.

"Master Dorran will reward us greatly, yes....We have caught him! The Heart of Alumina! Alumina's Heart! For years he has been hidden among those accursed Upper Dwellers. But now, now they have fallen in their folly. Our dark magicks would have repelled the invaders, driven them back, yes? But they didn't listen, no...They took matters into their own hands, and look where it got them. Alumina...bah...she has no power and has abandoned all of you to your doom," hissed the elderly man, ranting and seeming to pay no attention whatsoever to the Knight just outside the circle of light, "We will take your heart and burn it with great joy. Master Dorran will rise again, burn the invaders in everlasting fire, and take this city unto ourselves!"

The old man's glee was short-lived as he suddenly screamed. The light around the child had grown to a white hot intensity. His eyes were like orbs of living Light, and it was as if his body had been possessed.

"The faithless die of their own folly," he whispered, though his voice held power and strength, "They have none to blame but themselves, for they cannot stand the light of truth."

The twisted devotee of the dark god screamed in agony as the light burned his eyes, his skin, his heart, his very soul...In only a matter of moments, there was nothing left but his blood-encrusted cloak, and that too was washed away with a wail. Meanwhile, the acolyte sank to his knees, breathing heavily, a disoriented expression on his young features. He looked up at Odin with a wordless question. What had just happened?

The light, however, had attracted other unwanted enemies...A low growl could be heard, a growl that seemed to come from all directions at once...
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Tortured on Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:04 pm

Where on earth was he being taken? Having to trust, no other choice when it got so dark, Odin found one of his hands resting on the boy’s right shoulder. Fingers gently gripped the shirt, pulling on it just enough so that he could barely see the crystal around his neck. That was the least of his concerns right now, and he had already decided to ask about it once they were away from the city. Then again, knowing Arianna, she probably had all the cities surrounding Vaasa out for their heads. He imagined she would have also let loose some of her soldiers and even cavalry into the other areas, but it was only speculation. The knight thought this way not only because he knew her well… but because he would be doing the same thing in her shoes.

Thoughts were directed elsewhere, and then evicted as Caleb’s murmured words caused light to flare around him. His eyes narrowed, and he knew it had to be that crystal. Odin had already figured out that the boy had something of importance on him, and now he was 99% certain that he knew what it was. Instead of speaking, he just kept walking, his hand not moving as he placed trust in the young one just ahead.

Odin’s blade shone when he adjust the angle of it. The hands reached and grabbing Caleb had his blood singing for death, and a hiss slid through gritted teeth. Damnit, he needed the kid in order to survive, and now that there was some magical crystal involved… well, the stakes had just been raised. The words of the old man, and his dress, reminded the knight of something. He couldn’t quite come to terms with what it was, and a growl followed the hiss. Fingers tightened around Caleb’s shirt as he prepared to rip him away, but something insane was happening. The light, it shone brighter and brighter. It shone so bright that he had to close his eyes and turn his face away. When his vision sort of cleared, swimming with colors in the dark, the old man was… gone?

Something nearby made a sound, an ominous one, and Odin took a small step away from the child. His eyes drifted closed as he let out a slow breath, knowing where Caleb was by memory and sound. Unable to really see because of the intense blast of light, he was going to have to rely on his blind fighting abilities. Even coming from every conceivable direction, he wasn’t afraid. As the growl came again, the knight gave one in return.

“Come on,” he whispered in challenge. “COME OOON!!!”

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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Alexis Sapphire on Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:27 am

The camp had quieted down significantly as nightfall deepened and darkness thickened. Hooves sounded abruptly and randomly as horses winnied and set off in multiple directions. The horde was never fully quiet or still for any amount of time. Nothing was more dangerous to a camped army than to have everyone sleeping at once.

By the dozens, riders constantly circled the encampments, men perched themselves at peak positions in order to provide an efficient watch. Along with one of these random squads of riders, Arianna circled the walls and debris from their attack. 2 out of every 3 riders carried a torch at this time and waved them about methodically searching.

Footprints...

Hoove prints...

Anything that could have indicated a detached or isolated set of prints would have been valuable on this land. The horde moved in groups, even in scouting parties, the very least that were ever together was an accumulation of 3 men. Unless there were stragglers or men became separated, Arianna would have been partially satisfied with isolated prints.

There was a frustrating sense of uselessness as the torches picked up nothing. It wasn't that they weren't there, it was just that during this darkness, there was absolutely no way to differentiate one set of tracks from the hundred others. Add to that, the fact that this was a village that was under attack, and you had to concede that there could be several isolated tracks headed out of the city as people would have tried to abandon it whenever possible.

With bitter disappointment, Arianna tugged on her reigns and the horse, letting out a chain of huffs began to rotate its stance. It shifted to the side, changing direction and began to move back towards camp where it was tended to.

Moments later, Arianna was laying down on a comfortable bed that had been so graciously donated by the former owner of this fine establishment. Other generals were already well asleep by the time so, as seconds turned into minutes, her eyes fluttered shut and she allowed herself to accept the fact that Odin was gone.

The search, the hunt... everything at this time of night was just obsessive. She knew it. What was she going to do if she found a trace of him? Was she going to have camp mobilized and have him hunted now while men slept? No.

She had done what was necessary. Scouts would be at the villages within hours, her quarantine horse archers would be constantly patroling and circling the only 2 villages that they could approach.

Odin would turn up eventually... and when he did, she needed her men to be good and ready to hunt him.

Meanwhile, in the morning, she'd renew a search for an acolyte. Someone had to have survived. Given it was very unlikely, but without one, managing the stone would be most difficult.
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Ruu on Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:30 pm

It was the obvious the creatures (or creature) surrounding them had some sort of intelligence. They had waited for the struggle between the child and the old man before letting their presence known. They were hoping the remaining prey were too exhausted to fight back. But they were still wary of the knight, who they could sense was battle-honed and ready for a fight. And the child had dazzled their olfactory nurse with his brief but intense sunblast.

It took a moment for Caleb to realize what was happening, but for some reason the growls continued, the creatures biding their time. A deep fear rose inside of Caleb; he knew Alumina would protect him from the unfaithful, but creatures? Could she bend them to her will as well? Or must he rely on the knight's silvery sword for this encounter? As an acolyte, he'd be near useless in a fight, having only been trained in the ways of prayer and healing. Unless....Could he produce that blast of light again? Perhaps the light wouldn't completely destroy the creatures, but anything that loved the dark so much would certainly abhor the light. The acolyte closed his eyes, focusing, though he still wasn't quite sure how the power of the crystal worked. No white hot light was forthcoming this time, however, but a steady glow served to illuminate the surrounding area.

Blinking, Caleb's eyes were somehow able to adjust quickly, but they were soon filled with horror at the scene before them. The knight stood a bit apart from him, ready for battle. Dark shapes had skittered back from the light, but beady eyes could be seen at the edges, eyes red with hunger and malice. And one of the creatures remained in the light, obviously a leader, eying them intently. It looked very much like a rat, only it was two times the size of the largest rat Caleb had ever seen, and two long fangs protruded from its gaping mouth. Its eyes were bloodshot, as if the creature never slept, and horns grew from its head. It was a grotesque mutation, and something that was most likely caused by the dark magicks of Dorran's devotees.

In a matter of moments the creatures were growing braver, starting to step into the light behind their leader.

"I don't think...the light will hold them long sir..." whispered Caleb, but to his horror his voice seemed to set them off.

With an inhuman scream, the creatures launched themselves at the pair...
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Tortured on Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:07 pm

The knight was filled with fuel, full of anger and rage that needed to be expelled. His grip on the sword was relaxed, yet strong. As pissed off as Odin was, wasting energy gripping the sword handle to death would only make his grave… and likely the boy’s as well. The creatures, to him, were just black blobs running in front of an even blacker background. The only one he could truly see was the supposed leader, standing out in the light illuminating from Caleb. As grotesque as it was, Odin felt no sense of fear. The only thing he wanted to do was drive his blade into its skull, and destroy all the others who went along with it. His ‘flight’ response had always been slightly demented, while his ‘fight’ response had always been more advanced and prominent. Running from Arianna and his own men killed him inside. Running from these stupid little creatures seemed like a waste of time. They would all have to die instead, because he wasn’t running.

When the kid spoke, Odin let out a quiet groan, his sword lifting. “What did I tell you about keeping your fucking mouth shut?!”

Oh yeah, he was totally going to blame this oversized rat charge on Caleb! Teeth grinding, he stepped forward, into the fray. Within seconds there was an arc of blood, spattering across the walls. More followed after that as the knight’s honed skills and battle tactics came into place. He was the better fighter among these beasts, but he didn’t have the numbers. It was just… him.

As teeth gnashed at the side of his face, an elbow jerked up, knocking the thing away. Another one came at him from the right side, and the pommel of his sword smashed into the side of its head. Teeth went flying, and the squeals of the damn things rose to a crescendo of painful irritation. Even as he turned to face the next rat thing, another was converging on him from the otherside. He had to use his two handed sword one handed, so that his other hand could keep them at bay from the other direction. It was a dangerous dance, and one that could easily lead to his destruction. He fought now not for Caleb, but for himself. The kid had that strange light thing going on anyway, he would be fine.

More blood sprayed, but this time it wasn’t from the creatures. One of them, a large one, had its jaws clamped around the back of his thigh, just above his knee. Letting out a yell that echoed throughout the place, Odin twisted his torso around, and used the intensely sharp edge of his weapon to severe the things head from its body. There wasn’t time to dislodge the jaws, though, as more were still coming. So now he had to battle it out with a head attached to his leg!

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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Alexis Sapphire on Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:56 pm

Uriah

The horses galloped furiously in the darkness along the open trail. They didn't present anywhere near the sound of an army, but rather raiders. Twenty skilled archers in addition to himself had now long since broken off from the other 20 headed in the other direction. Verde was about an hour's ride away. If they ran into Odin, it would have been along this path. There was no way he could have made it to the city yet, so the goal was to make it to the eye's reach of the city, and then set up camp.

With constant patrol, they would prevent anyone from approaching the city without first questioning them. It almost seemed ridiculous... all of this to hunt one man, but the truth was, he had killed 3 of his own. At least three of his own had suffered a death no one should have to fear when being part of a superior force.

Uriah's leading steed moved with great stamina. His lips quirked in resentment. Whenever he got his hands on Odin, the man would pay.

The idea of falling in combat is generally accepted because you are bested by an opponent or you fall in an effort to accomplish a tactical goal. Sometimes, the leadership makes bad decisions resulting in the unnecessary deaths of their men. But this... these three men were killed by someone they should have been able to trust.


Arianna

Dim light flickered throughout the near-silent room as the generals slept. Outside, foot patrols were on the march, riders even further out were in constant stride to catch anyone that might try to take advantage of the encampment to attack them. Inside this particular premises however, Arianna and her generals had little more to bother themselves with than the easily ignored sound of snoring.

With sunlight creeping ever forward, its rise would bring new life to a devastating force. Another day's march lay ahead.
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Ruu on Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:44 pm

The boy flinched at Odin's words. He knew he should not have said anything. He had just been so frightened; and words were comforting to him somehow. But there was little time to think as the onslaught began. The first wave of attackers seemed to focus on the more obvious threat, the battle-hardened knight wielding a blade. Perhaps in their primitive minds they believed they could have both prey as their dinners if they could neutralize the strong one first. The acolyte flinched at the spray of blood and gore, wishing he could do something to help, yet in his terror unable to think of a single spell that could lessen the danger of the situation at hand. Odin was a skilled warrior, but the attackers were so relentless and numerous, it would only be a matter of time before even the knight would be broken down.

Caleb's eyes searched the room for a weak spot, an idea, a memory tugging at the edge of his mind...His gaze soon fell on the "leader" of the pack, standing quite still, yet staring at him with a terrible intensity. In fact, the creature's gaze was not unlike that of the old man, saturated with utter madness, and overflowing with a deep well of nihilistic despair. The leader...if Caleb could strike it down or somehow frighten it away, perhaps the others would disperse. Without warning, however, a set of dagger-like teeth lodged into his shoulder. The boy couldn't help but to cry out with a sob, uselessly trying to shake the thing that had somehow attached to his body. A pair of razor claws sliced through his tunic, scoring his back.

"No...no...go away!" he whimpered, teeth clenched with the pain.

Don't worry, my child...everything will be alright. Place your trust in me.

At once the throbbing sensation on his shoulder and his back faded away as sleep overtook him. He laid his head on the ground, ignoring his wounds. His breathing slowly faded until it was barely perceptible and his heartbeat became all but nonexistent. His body grew cold to the touch; indeed, it was like he had died. His attackers hesitated, perhaps wondering if they had pushed the attack too far and killed the child already. The creatures pawed him twice and saw that he was non-responsive, even as the light began to slowly die around his body. They made a chittering sound before abandoning him to his fate. They would finish off the knight and then have two delicious meals. The small bit of intelligence they possessed would be their undoing...

Without warning, the light at Caleb's chest began to coalesce around his heart once again, and a pencil-thin beam shot to strike the "leader" directly through the eyes. The horrible mutant made a gargled, disgusting sound before collapsing to the ground, instantly dead. There was horrible confusion as the leader perished, and their hive-like minds were thrown off balance. Some skittered as if they were drunk, while others turned on their own kin. Still others made a terrified screeching noise and bolted into the shadows. Only a few continued to attack, perhaps those who had nothing left to lose or were still embroiled in the fray.

The child's breathing, color, and heartbeat returned to normal a moment later and he sat up, as if he had been asleep. He winced as he felt blood running down his back and his shoulder, pulsing with a terrible pain. He drew a few deep, shuddering breaths, trying to see if his ruse had been successful...
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Tortured on Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:45 pm

Blazing light or no blazing light, there were still a few of the revolting creature/beast/asshole things running around. Oh, and let’s not forget the one still attached to the back of his leg. He hadn’t even thought about removing it yet, as there were still four or five rushing toward him. Only one out of the group seemed to have any real purpose, though. The other four looked wobbly, as though their muscles were fatigued and exhausted. Their eyes had some weird wild look in them, too, which made Odin wonder at his own battle skills.

The ‘sane’ one checked its charge to slow down, which offered the knight an incredibly vast amount of time to react. The wall just behind him was pretty solid, so he sidestepped away from the thing. Its sword came straight down, then clanged off of the stone and bounced back. The blade sunk right into the beast’s face, cracking open its skull. Blood and brain matter poured out, bits of bone mixing in with it all.

“That was intelligent,” Odin mumbled before turning toward the four that remained. A few others just behind them were coming in as well, and he wondered just how coherent the ‘drunken’ ones were. He decided to find out.

“Hey, behind you!” He yelled, pointing with a frantic index finger.

As the four stopped in their weird gallop toward him and the boy, one of them turned around and started flailing its sword in the air. It wasn’t really a threatening gesture – it didn’t seem to mean anything at all – but the ones still pushing for battle turned their sights on their own. They likely believed they had been put under some spell to protect the ‘intruders’, which worked just fine for Odin. As they started to literally cut each other to pieces, the ones in the poorer states doing… poorly… the knight grabbed Caleb by the arm and hauled him to his feet.

“We really need to get going.” He knew enough about directions to know the way they had come. And, at the moment, there seemed only one route. So that’s where he went, breaking into a slow trot even though he could hardly see a damn thing. The head attached to the back of his leg was locked in place, and it bounced up and down with each stride.

Odin did his very best to ignore the fucking thing.

Tortured
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Alexis Sapphire on Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:39 pm

Sunlight crept over the distant hills sprinkling the vast number of men with the first few minutes of daylight illuminating their armour and well polished weaponry. The prisoners from the central camp had been given quite a bit of rest overnight. Arianna maintained that it was difficult to work a slave force during night-hours and possibly keep an eye on every single one of them. It was sometimes better to just let them rest in their chains where any bit of noise could be noticed, rather than have them all grunting and squawking while working and possibly not noticing some small escapee drifting into the darkness.

Arianna was back in her armour in no time as columns of men showed the first semblance of being formed. For the most part, breakfast was a scattered event taking nearly a half hour to feed the force. A half hour after that, the men were expected to be in place with their new assignments provided.

Atop her steed, surrounded by merely a handful of her personal guard, Arianna's dark mare galloped out past the central camp as though to simply flaunt her presence in a manner designed to discourage any from attempting anything silly. These prisoners could still be useful. If fast enough, healthy enough, obedient enough, they could be strung out in front of her battle-lines and used as a meat-shield the next time her army needed to fight. If she felt her enemy might lay scattered traps around leaf-heavy grounds, having them walk through before her armed soldiers advanced was also an option.

It always helps to have a few bodies to throw at the enemy... one of her generals always quipped at her. While she discouraged the waste of sacred life, there was never really any evidence she could provide to refute his comment.

Several minutes later, her proud black mare stood at the peak of the hill it had ascended. Her eyes scanning the vast terrain able to oversee miles to the left, miles to the right, bulky woods were clustered down her central line of vision which prohibited any view beyond about 150 yards.

Her eyes darted back to her assembling army, the prisoner management forces... then back into the direction of their eventual march. With all of this, she couldn't help but think of Odin once again. Could he be in those woods somewhere hiding out the night? Could he be along the constant clearing of path on either side, just beyond eye's reach?

There were times when having an army was more of a hindrance than a help. When it came to attacking large enemies or covering large ground, it was spectacular, but when it came to moving out, manoeuvring and hunting itself... it was harder and slower to move a host of 1000 men than it was to lead 10.

Soon, hunting parties would be delivering news of Odin's disgraced state to every walled city in the landscape. There would be nowhere for him to hide, nowhere for him to purchase food, drink, he would live the remainder of his days a hunted man-... if he were lucky enough not to be caught.

Heaven help him if he ever was.
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

Post by Ruu on Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:26 pm

Caleb's breath was soft and light, but it came in gasps. Never before had he felt such pain, and Odin pulling him to his feet made him feel as if fire had blossomed from his shoulder to his back. The beast had managed to take a chunk of his shoulder with it on its first attack, and the wound was continuing to bleed. The scratches on his back weren't quite as deep, but they were no less painful to a child who had been raised in peace. He relied on Odin's strength, allowing the knight to practically drag him through the dim corridors. There was a bit of light streaming from his body still, though it was barely enough to see by, reflecting his current physical condition.

He wanted to stop and rest but knew there wasn't time, especially if the creatures decided to attack again. But if they didn't stop, they would have to face the beast reeling and wounded from the last battle. Yes, there was a beast that guarded the exit to the catacombs, or so the child had heard. They said that the creature was a demonic spawn of Dorran himself, a monstrosity so horrible, its very eyes could shrivel your soul and consume your light. Why had he ever suggested this route? Every second they were getting closer to that final, terrifying enemy; he could feel it as if it were a black cancer, beginning to spread through his body. He had to warn Odin, even though it hurt to speak.

"Sir...sir..." he whispered, trying to bite back sobs of both pain and fear, "There's...there's one more...monster...guards the way out...m-maybe we...we should...go back..."

He knew the words were foolish as he said them. Going back could lead to more ministers of Dorran, and it would ultimately take them back into the arms of the waiting army. But he could not quell the fright that fluttered inside his heart. His vision was slowly beginning to fill with black specks. The blood loss was taking a toll on him. He knew if they could stop for a just a moment, he could at least rip some fabric from his tunic to create a makeshift bandage. The blood flow would have to be staunched or he would pass out.
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Re: The Sack of Vaasa

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