Vision of the Storm

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Vision of the Storm

Post by Spectre on Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:40 pm

The large continent of Ajora fans out like a crescent, with the inside facing east. To the east of it’s easternmost point, and across the Whispering sea is a large off-diamond shaped icy mountain country called Midgard. To the south of this country lies another island country called Kubana, in the shape of a leftward moving paintbrush stroke. The southernmost point of the Ajoran ‘crescent’ is the land of the Regency- Fanethia. Across a small mountain range and to the north runs the rolling dunes of Ishtan, a dry desert. West of this across a treacherous mountain range is the land of Galgaroth, rivers and lakes a-plenty. North of Galgaroth on the outside bend of the Ajoran crescent lies the dense rainforests and rivers of Nemor. Out of the wood and across the riverlands to the east is the country of Nantenland, sat in the middle of plains, with spreading farmland. South of Nantenland closer to the ishtan border lies a small oblong peninsula called Liseria, the holy land.




Book 1: Vision of the Storm


"...for there were eleven beneath the Angel of Blood. Most feared by the minds of men was the beast of black lies. His down-turned spiraling horns weigh heavy upon his goatlike head, and his blackened eyes freeze the very soul they penetrate. Clawed hands and hoofed feet carry this beast in a twisting storm of ash and thunder, beneath his leathery coal black wings."
-Dracleau, 1:3


Prologue
In the kingdoms of Ajora, It was a time unforseen for all. Gremlins and ghouls from fairytales and myth came forth from the mountains, from the shadows of the trees, and the depths of the seas. Slowly spreading across the riverbeds, mountainsides, forests, and sprawling plains. Beasts in all manner of shapes and sizes stepped from the shade into the light, and began to carve out a name for themselves in ash and blood. It was a scar on the once beautiful continent. They began small, thieving from small camps and villages. This moved to attacking travelers and caravans, to the bravado of attacking small cities. I wish I could tell you that they were mostly unsuccessful, but none were prepared. The first month saw the fall of a few small traveler’s camps. The third, the fall of small farm towns. The fifth- the monstrous force of evil overcame some of the smaller cities. It was a chaotic storm of terror and malice...
The day before all this began, it was rumored by the priests in the peninsular Liseria that their seers have all shared the same falling dream: Visions they would see while they were awake- their eyes would roll back, they would proceed to black out and collapse (the non-believers tended to pass these off as epileptic- seizure episodes). They all saw a flash of light, a halo of pure rage and darkness lower from the sky, calling forth the minions of chaos. Flickering stills of death, despair, and the survival of their enemies brought by a coming storm. Followers of Evil will rule this land, they said. It would have been passed off by the Vicar and the Ajoran King; however the story was the same from all over the land. Imams of the Ishtar, Seers of Ruvelia, Shamans of the Midgardian mythos, and priests of Kubanese theisms....everyone who was touched by the greater magics saw the same thing. After the first month, all the major cities in the countries were made aware by couriers that something was wrong, and the King was calling a Summit of Nations. The first they've had since the beginning of the peaceful Rule of Lord King Laewyn.

From his sickbed, he called forth the heads of each country. The king was unwell, as it were. He had contracted some sort of illness that had him on a slow and painful decline. Fortunately, it did not prove to be contagious in the least. He swore to rise from his bed for the summit, as his beloved kingdom was at stake. In his age and sickness, he became more and more reliant on the words of the Ruvelian Vicar, and was dead set that the prophecies were true. To the chagrin of his Queen, he was still adamant on governing in his state. So they came. They all came. The red white and gold robes of Liseria, the proud and honorable Kubanese, the hardy Midgardians, the Rangers of the Direwood, the High Nobility of Galgaroth, humble lords of Nanten, the Sultan Lord of Ishtan, and the Royal house of Laewyn himself.

Each came in their convoys befitting of their countries. The large city at Faneth Castle, also nicknamed Crown City, was large enough to accommodate each country’s troupe without worry. The city was warm, and near the sea. Its architecture was beautiful, even to the people who have lived there all their lives. White and sandy colored stone, archways and pointed spires. Rectangular windows and hanging green ivy spotted with red flowers. It looked like it belonged near the sea, like a paradise on its own. Each house and their protectors stayed in separate parts of the city near the castle, booking expensive Inns.
Before the summit commenced, the throne held an extravagant feast, so the houses to eat and drink their sores away from their long, long journeys. Some travels taking a month or longer to arrive...

This will be the chronicling of the journey to chart the storm, and pull the shroud from the mystery...


Last edited by Spectre on Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Spectre on Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:43 pm

Desmun

He sat on the side of the bed before falling back with a sigh. His golden armor over his green vest rattled lightly against the golden gorget he wore. A tall rectangular window leading to a balcony shed a long beam of warm light into the room, and onto his face. He closed his eyes, but it wasn’t enough. All he saw behind his eyelids was a fierce red-orange color. He groaned to himself, and flopped a hand from his side to cover his face, palm up. He then moved his forearm over to cover his eyes. His off white colored shirt was soft against his eyelids and forehead. He hadn’t slept well during his travels. Once they left the woodlands of Nemor it was mostly wide open road, peppered with thin forests and mountains. He never felt secure in the 'wide open'... At least he was off the road now.

His sleep in the Inn's bed in the night passt didn't prove to be worth much either, as he now had a persistent throbbing headache, and his eyes felt dry and swollen. He and a few of the other Noble houses spent the previous night drinking hard, flirting, and singing loud. He remembered awakening an hour or two before sunup to a lady leaving his bed. Since then, he freshened up and got himself ready again.

He removed his arm from his face and breathed deeply, inhaling the smell of saltwater, and whatever type of sweet potpourri mixture it was sitting atop the table in the room in a glass container. It was all so different to him. He had been to the Crown City three times, and he was still unused to its charms. The slight familiarity made him feel a little better, at least.

He had spent some time here apprenticing with the prime lawmaker in the Royal Court at the beginning of the year, and his term had finished for a few months as he returned to Nemoria. Having just been here no more than six months ago, it didn't seem like he had spent enough time in either place.

He then heard the heavy knock at his door, the one he had been waiting for for a good forty minutes now. It was his uncle behind it, before swinging the door open with a creak, and hollering boastfully with a loud baritone,

"Good morning, Nephew!"

His stomach growled, and his face drained of blood, feeling feint for a moment.

"Ugh..." he replied as he sat up slowly, his forest green and brown embroidered cape unfolded behind him as he raised. "Not so loud-" he exhaled with a smile as he stood slowly, preening his short brown beard.

His uncle shook his head and placed his hands on his hips, then gesturing him to follow,
"Come, come. We haven't got all morning. King Laewyn will be waiting."

He steadied himself after standing, blinked his bloodshot honey brown eyes, gave a final strong breath of intestinal queasiness, and headed for his green-clad uncle.

Heading down the large square cobblestone streets, crowded by all it's people who were corralled by the magnificent white and sandy colored buildings. Desmun eyed all the well-placed shade trees, hanging flowers, and ivy growing at corners and near windows of facades and walkways.He and his uncle were followed by a few other young men clad in greens, browns, and golds.

"Ah your father dreamed of coming here for something such as this..." His uncle said, talking through a thick mustache and beard. He gave his nephew a hardy slap on the shoulder as they walked. Desmin felt a lump roll up his esophagus. He fought it down immediately with a sour face.

"I figured he'd be just as happy staying in the wood..." Desmun replied, "He was always kind of an introvert like that."

Giving a chuckle, Desmun's uncle shook his head and looked to the ground for a few steps.
"You may be right... Though it's not like -I- don't envy him..." he was The Lord Eugene Barast. The head of House Barast, and the leaders of Nemoria. He removed his hand from his nephew's shoulder. Lord Barast was a large man. Tall, Wide, and aging slowly. He had that look about him, that in years past he was a muscular, lean, bull of a man- and it was true. However he now gained some fat to cover his muscle, and his dark, pulled-back hair was beginning to sprout grey from the sides. "But he's my younger brother, and He is the rightful one to stay and protect the Direwood while us real men do business." he snickered and continued up a flight of stairs to the castle.

Well armed guards stood at the edges of the stairs, making sure there was no nonsense. Their plate armors shined in the hot sun. The city had become very crowded since news of the summit broke out. Everyone wanted to see all the countries together again, this was history. This hasn't happened in years...

"You're too much, Uncle." Desmun laughed back. He stood right beside his Uncle, and they remained in step. Behind them was Desmun's young brother- a sort of squire to Lord Barast. He couldn't have been any more than 13. What else, is he was dressed for the occasion. Dark greens atop browns and lighter greens, with a yellow shoulder cape and a short sword at his hip. Aside the young squire was Desmon's other uncle, the youngest of three. Dressed in Dark browns and green formal attire.

They finally found sanctuary from the hot sun as they reached the top of the stairs. Spires and buttresses, as well as the overhang to the entrance door of the castle's keep provided shade to them as they entered. The bustling city noise quieted exponentially as the enormous double door was shut behind them by two Guards. They entered the long throne room hall and took the first left at a large reinforced door guarded by a particularly dangerous looking soldier.

Stopping at the closed door, the Guard gave a look over all of them, looked at the ledger he had under his arm and nodded.


They entered the room with the clank of the door... King Laewyn sat at the end of a long rectangular table, slumped back in his chair. His long gray beard and salt and pepper short hair apparent in the sunlight from a nearby open window. The young Barast squire headed immediately for a chair against a wall, a good five yards from the table in the center of the room.

There, already sat at the table was the Head clansman and lord of the Midgard island. A large wooden round shield hung fron the back of his chair. It was painted white with a black howling wolf's head in the center. This was the Lord of clan Vargen, and his two cohorts sitting next to him. He was a rough looking man, Fur around his neck, and black cloth garments covering him. Long blonde hair and a short beard covering his strong jaw contrasted his dark clothing. His eyes a fierce blue locked onto Lord Eugene. He stood quickly and gave a smirk,

"Ahh.. Lord Barast!" he called as Eugene went to shake his hand, apparently they had met before.

Near the King stood the court lawmaker, who immediately recognized Desmon. He gave a content look as he approached and outstretched his hand to shake.

"Good to see you again so soon." his voice sincere.

"Likewise, Master Robben." Desmon replied taking his hand in a firm shake.

"Are you ready to get on with business?" he asked near sarcastically. He knew it would be a while before there was any business tended to.

"Ready as always." It seemed to set in on him the serious nature of this conference.

As time passed, The other members of the other houses entered, slowly making their way to empty seats at the table. Desmon looked eager to the door while making small talk with the others, in hopes of seeing any members of the houses he recognized from drinking games the night before....




Ehab


“The city looks beautiful from here…” he said in the Ishtan tongue, rolling his body with the walking sway of his camel. His voice was pleasant toned, as he looked to whoever happened to be nearby him at the time. Be it a guardsman or another of the Sultan’s chosen cohort. He was looking for ‘Ra’ as he spoke, he didn’t get a good chance to chat with her much yet, despite their long journey. He was on the other side of the convoy until now.

The Ishtan troupe was horses and camels, and large caravans carrying the Sultan Lord overseer with his most trusted inside, as well as tents and other temporary living quarters for the minstrels, mummers, and other performers hired to entertain the crew. The Sultan’s caravan definitely stuck out, though. It was a large and rounded, wooden and brass, painted with bright yellows and royal purples. The ensigns carried the flags on camelback, the long rectangular yellow field with a simple crescent in violet in the middle. They all appeared to be slightly relieved to be traveling from the sandy desert of their home to the thriving world outside. Even the servants riding on horseback looked to be in pleasant spirits.

They could all see their destination coming down from a small mountainside that ran down to a green valley leading to the Crown City. Even at their distance of another hour or two of travel, they all knew the city was enormous. It’s large walls around the bustling city, with white and cream colored buildings protruding atop the walls. There were plenty of stairwells and ramps and secondary, tertiary keep walls. Faneth Castle was a sight to behold; fit for a King.

Perfect for a defense situation, Ehab thought, looking at the several layers of the city. He had never seen the royal city with his own eyes, but he had read much about it, and seen diagrams. It was total other story to see it by his own eyes.

“I will write about this journey someday.” He mused to himself as he looked to his Camel, and patted his hump, as if he were talking to it. “And you will be in it, too, Rafi.” He huffed a laugh to himself. He was, in all reality, talking with his Camel. Ehab was a nice Ishtanian, had a lot of compassion and respect for his fellow man and beast. He has seen his fair share of bloodshed indeed, but he still held hope and faith. Ishtan was largely left alone save for rumors of fire spirit demons and djinn in the sands. Maybe the Monsters had no use of their people, didn’t like the heat and sand, maybe the monsters perished in the harsh terrain, or maybe they were just waiting. Regardless, most Ishtananian have yet to see any monsters. At least, any monsters that would prove to be a threat, and live. There were many cases of disappearances, but many of those were written off as cases of rebellion against the Sultan Lord still.
Ehab again looked about for ‘Ra’, and finally found her.
“Well, Rafi. I think I’ve found her. Let’s do some research, yes?” he whispered as he leaned foreward, sharing a secret with his Camel. His camel picked up stride as he approached the Ishtanian healer from behind.
-
As they arrived in their quarters, more than half of the unnecessary travelers stayed outside the city in their colorful tents. They all attended the feast, and Ehab enjoyed all the ‘southern’ delicacies. Then the drinking began with all the music. Always one to try and make friends, and experience aspects of different cultures, he drank… And drank…. And drank some more. He wasn’t much of a drinker to say the least. At least he was a fun drunk.
He remembers things in spurts from the night before. Laughing with the other pale skinned men and women learning songs in the common tongue. Watching the dances, and watching the women dancing. He remembered brothel women approaching him, but becoming disinterested as he tried to chat them up instead of getting physical. He remembered getting in an arm-wrestling match and “almost winning”. He then remembers waking up outside near the stables before going back in to continue socializing. At least he showed everyone a good time, telling stories and jokes. He spent much time with the Midgardians, as he knew the least about them. He didn’t learn much more that night, other than a few drinking songs, and that their men and women could drink wine like it was water. Though he spent ample time at least chatting with the Liserian Templars, the Nanten, the Nemorians, The trio from Galgaroth, the few Kubanese, and noble folk from the Royal city.
He awoke feeling tired the next day. He awoke, had time to attend one of the luxurious bath houses, received a shave, and broke his fast. He was ready to deal with the meeting ahead now. Food in his belly nourished him, and plenty of fruit juice and water rejuvenated him. Despite him seemingly being a wreck at the end of the night, he felt wonderful now. The morning sun had been rising and was now an hour before the meeting. He figured it was time to head to the meeting and hopefully see the other Ishtanians there before they went into the meeting.

The black shirt he wore underneath his dark purple scarf/shoulder cowl soaked up the heat well, and felt natural to him. The walk was a slow and pleasant one, taking in the details of his surroundings of both the narrow and wide streets. He slowly passed through The Market, gathered around a large fountain with a statue of a King long past who founded Fanethia as the seat of the Crown. Striding across the cobbles he headed toward the stairs that lead up to the keep door....


Last edited by Spectre on Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Ruu on Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:26 pm

Liathe


Liathe awoke with a start, breathing heavily, eyes filled with terror. As he sat up, he found that his sleep garments were soaked through with sweat.

"It was just a dream," he murmured to himself, but somehow he had trouble believing it.

These were different from the nightmares he had experienced after the horrible murder of his family. They were dark and cold and though he could never quite describe them, they always left him with a crawling, shadowy feeling of despair. Why couldn't he have a peaceful night's sleep just for once? He was halfway through clothing himself in the spotless white robes that designated him as a dignitary from the Church dedicated to the Mother.

"Just give me a few more moments," Liathe called as he swung his signature sky blue cape around his shoulders, emblazoned with a silver lion.

He gently opened the door and smiled at the middle-aged woman who stood there. She too wore the garments of the Grand Church, but a gauze turquoise veil hid her soft blond hair that streamed to spill over shoulders. Her face was somewhat lined but her emerald eyes held a certain compassion, a motherly expression of love and warmth. She was shorter than Laithe, but was not shriveled or worn by any means. In fact, she held herself with a certain regal air that belied the laughter lines around her eyes. She embraced Liathe without a word, stroking his blonde hair tenderly as a mother would.

"Liathe...my child," she whispered, "Did you have another of those terrible dreams?"

"Mother Tirelle!" replied Liathe, looking at her in surprise, "I didn't realize you would be here."

Tirelle, Mother Superior and directly below the High Priest himself, gently brushed his hair from his forehead to feel for warmth, ignoring his words. She sighed in relief when she found no sign of fever. Liathe was indeed like a child to her, for she had been but a woman of 20 years when he had first been brought to the Church.

"You are not sick with any malady that I know of," sighed Tirelle, "But you must find a way to get some sleep. You look exhausted. Now...as to why I am here, I am representing the Church of the Mother. You would be a suitable representative, of course, but you are now Lord and Heir to Galgaroth. The duties to your country come first."

"I don't feel like a Lord of anything..." sighed Liathe, "I've just been...a mess lately."

"Don't say that," Tirelle replied, gently clasping her hands around his, "You have grown to be a fine young man. The loss of one's family is difficult for anyone. Just because you are the Lord of Galgaroth does not mean you must hide your feelings. Embrace your feelings and never lose your compassion for others. This is what will make you a wise and just leader as your father was."

A smile finally touched Liathe's lips as he replied, "Thank you, Mother Tirelle. You always bring me such joy...strength when I am weary."

"Yes, well...that is what I'm here for. Now, let us be on our way. The King awaits our arrival. And your young bodyguard...well, he seems quite eager. He was as jumpy as a fish. He nearly tried to take me out. He would have had a surprise waiting for him had he done so," laughed Tirelle with a twinkle in her eyes.

"Trystan means well. He just takes his duties very seriously. I don't think he can forgive himself for...what happened to my father and brothers, even though there was nothing he could have done. It was all so quick," whispered Liathe, his voice faltering.

"Your father would be proud of you, Liathe. Do not forget that. Let us not dwell on the past. Instead, let us look to the future for hope."

Liathe nodded and smiled as the two exited the room. A young man with jet black hair and piercing grey eyes stood at attention as they left. He was clothed in a simple blue tunic with breeches. Over his tunic he wore a breastplate and in his hand he carried a sword.

"Master Liathe. Mother Tirelle. We must leave immediately or we will be late for the meeting," said Trystan in a short, clipped voice.

"I'm ready, Trystan, at ease," replied Liathe with a light laugh, "We have plenty of time."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not long afterwards, the group of three found themselves inside the reinforced room. Tirelle immediately went over to talk with another church dignitary, while Trystan stood by him with eyes like a hawk. Liathe tried to ignore the severity of Trystan's gaze and looked around for a familiar face. He had traveled to the capital only once or twice and knew the only people he would recognize would be those who had stayed at the same inn as he. He finally spotted a young man clad in green and gold. Desmon...the young noble from Nemor. They had briefly met, though Liathe had retired early when the drinking games had begun. He wasn't used to such boisterous social gatherings having been raised in a church.

"Master Desmon," he said with a broad smile, "It is good to see you again."

Trystan continued to glare angrily, as if he expected half the people room to attack Liathe at once, but said nothing.
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Safton on Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:04 pm

Safton


Safton raised one arm, rolling his shoulder to work out the kinks from the long ride, bouncing lightly in the saddle as he and his “entourage” made their way through the market square and towards the keep. Lowering the arm, he patted his mount on the side of the neck and the animal tossed its head in recognition. Like his rider, the dark-haired Atticus was certainly a remarkable physical specimen: tall and muscled, even imposing. A warhorse, through and through.

To Safton’s right sat Rixel, astride her own, palomino-colored horse. They were flanked on either side by a knight carrying a lance and clad in chainmail, padded gambesons, and brigandine tunics bearing the sigil of the black lion of Nantenland. Behind the siblings was a small retinue of Nantenland’s top diplomats and scribes, as well as several more guards. The soldiers were all members of the Vanguard, the most elite of the Nanten fighting forces – they served as the personal bodyguards and expeditionary unit of Nantenland’s King Malcolm. The monarch took the matter of the Summit very seriously, having faithfully served High King Laewyn for many years. The monsters encroaching on Ajoran territory had created considerable concern, even panic, among the citizens and nobility of Nantenland. The armies had fought skirmishes with some of the creatures at the province's border in the past several weeks.

Rixel noticed the gesture and turned to smirk at Safton. “You look nervous, brother.”

Safton raised his eyebrows as he regarded Rixel. Light brown hair, fierce green eyes, slightly-tanned skin, with the lean build of a dancer... or a fighter. She had been graced with the looks of their mother. Safton, on the other hand, favored their father in appearance. Both of them, however, were warriors. That point was made abundantly clear by the recurve bow and quiver of arrows resting on the saddle behind Rixel, as well as the short sword sheathed on her belt. Rixel had never been content with the duties and station of a “proper” lady, a point of contention among some of the more traditional nobles back in Nantenland.

“Not at all. I’m simply trying to resist the urge to burn these clothes,” Safton replied dryly. As a rule, the knight was not fond of formal wear. Like many Nanten, he preferred more “practical” clothing than the fancily-embroidered black-and-red arming doublet and fine pants he was currently wearing. The head diplomat in the delegation, Darren, had been quite insistent that the two siblings dress in a “presentable” fashion.

Rixel chuckled, glancing around as the crowd in the market square regarded the troupe of riders with curiosity as they cantered through, hooves pounding loudly against the cobblestones. Those nearest parted, being sure to give the large animals and their armed riders plenty of room. After several minutes, the keep finally came fully into view at the end of the road. It was an impressive building – enormous, gray, and stonewashed. Crenulated walls and brightly-colored pennants topped the massive structure. It was clearly built to last in the face of an assault, whether by that of an army or by mere time and weather.

The party joined the crowd outside, most of which were attempting to enter the keep. Delegations from the other nations, no doubt. Safton dismounted in front of the stairs, rubbing Atticus behind the ears before allowing one of the squires to take him and the other animals away. He glanced up at the massive building, sighing before adjusting the black, hooded cloak. He raised one hand absentmindedly to lightly touch the pommel of the large greatsword strapped to his back. With that, he nodded to Rixel and the other delegates before proceeding into the keep.

After getting past the guard outside, the group entered the meeting room, filled with dignitaries from the various nations, all in their own colors. It was quite a sight. The diplomats made their way to empty seats, while Safton gave the chamber another scan. He spotted none other than High King Laewyn at the head of the table. He had never met the man personally, despite having come to Crown City several times in the past. He frowned. The rumors regarding the king’s failing health didn’t seem to be exaggerated after all, judging by the monarch's appearance.

He continued his once-over, another figure catching his eye. A young man clad in green and gold. He hailed from Direwood, Safton remembered. The two hadn’t spoken yet, but he had been present at the tavern the night before. Arafor had shared a drink with some of the other dignitaries, knowing the importance a simple drink and conversation could have when it came to creating goodwill. The Nanten knight hadn’t taken part in the rowdy drinking games that ensued afterwards, however, simply preferring to take a table in the back and watch the scene unfold. Rixel, on the other hand, had teased him to no end, calling him a “spoilsport” before joining in on the fun herself.

Safton sighed before moving towards one of the seats near his fellow countrymen, removing the longsword and its scabbard from his belt to lean it against the table near his seat.


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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Eternity on Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:07 pm

Ra'kishna

The travel away from their homelands was an amazing tale to be told. Watching the familiar sands become loose earth, then dark, rich and fertile soil. The smell of saltwater and dry sand soon faded into softer hues of greenery, and then came into a more rich, almost moist and lively fragrance of grass and oak. Many seemed overwhelmed by the chance to see these very sights, to travel this road, but while even she enjoyed it she still missed her homeland. The morning before they had left, she and Daqina, her mother, had rode to the sea, to watch the sun rise over the water with the desert cast behind the strip of beach. That was a sight she would miss, though this was an adventure she would welcome with open arms. Ra'kishna looked forward to the things that awaited.

One such thing that excited her as they approached, was the architecture. The capital city, made of whites uncommon to Ishtan, so pale in the contrasting canvas of green and brown, was beautifully crafted and oddly set up like a fortress. The palace's build was quite a bit different, perhaps not as ... big as this castle to which they would set sights to. Golden eyes peered out from the hood of a rich gold cloak seemingly of suede or velvet, draped around her figure with the crescent of violet on her back. A soft, violet silk veil of silk cascaded over her mouth, leaving only her eyes to be seen as she looked outwards, awe glittering in those youthful, adventurous orbs.

Her head at last turned away though. A smile draped over her painted bronze lips beneath the veil as she heard the soft chatter of others in their native tongue. She looked now over her people, these people whom she loved and would stand for in the coming summit. Everyone seemed happy, cheerful and laden with a rich glee of getting to see the sights they otherwise would perhaps not find before them. Some talked of the pale man's wine, others practicing the common tongue of the capital with broken words and spaced syllables. This happiness though, she knew was the surface of a deeper matter. Ra'kishna, while keeping a grand sense of positive outlook about her, was wise enough to know that what was to come, would be darker yet...

That night, they joyously came together as a united people of many colors, fashions, and tongues. Laughing ensued with tales of all corners of the world map, and drinking commenced with many- though Ra did not as easily indulge in the ale and honey wine like others. She had spent time around many others, more-so listening and talking of homelands, exploring the types of people she would be traveling with, and where they came from. It better filled her mind with the possibilities of what kind of outcome she felt would pull through here. And at last, even that rich night came to an end...

The day had come for the summit. She wore her attire ready to leave, though it was still rather fit for her presentation. It was oddly a bit more common for her, yet all over her in multiple facets could one see her national colors as well as the emblem of her homeland. She was wandering past the market space, her light amber eyes akin to gold spotting every unique ware of silver and silk on the tables, of the fruits presented freshly and unlike the more tropical and durable fruits of Ishtan. But alas, as she pulled her eyes up and kicked forth her pace, Ra'kishna began towards the back of someone familiar. Her flat-bottomed traveling boots silently hit the cobblestone as she raced, violet silks cascaded around her almost like a series of wraps, revealing clips of rich milk chocolate colored skin.

"Ehab." She called out, a soft but eccentric and smooth voice that was calming and pleasing to the ears like her mother's. "Good morning." She grinned beneath the veil, her eyes the only thing revealed for the moment as she would peer out, staring at the building they approached. But this was only momentary as she peeked over at Ehab, so seemingly alight. Her hands drifted up, slender, lanky digits pushing to her head wraps of silk and pulling them back before gently untangling them from around her neck. She revealed her face, considering women here did so as well and in her homeland she did as well when showing great respect to someone as to see her expression. She tugged the violet strip of fabric down and away, beginning to tie it up her right arm. "Are you nervous?" Was her next question.

Ra'kishna looked up now, finished with the subtle binding of the silk as her fingernails pushed through her short, rich black curls that were barely formed in tiny ringlets atop her head before her hair grew to an almost shaved point on the sides. Her angled, exotic face was a true show of Ishtan structure, with high cheek bones and her smaller chin, with the gauntness of her cheeks pairing with a full set of lips to pull off a smile that seemed enchanting and kind like her mother's. And just between- and a little above- her eyes sat the pierced stone of polished amethyst, contrasting greatly to the warm tone of her skin as the morning light struck the stone and caused it to glitter before she looked back outwards to the door.

"I am." She said softly in an amiable whisper, before waiting to follow Ehab inside. Once the door opened, a cooler environment presented itself, where a table beheld the people of the world. She looked now to the fewer people before her, some pale, some not, some of blond hair and others of darker locks like her own. Some even had hair like fire, of which she'd never seen. Her golden eyes peered about, but she held herself in an almost regal regard to these people now as she saw some catch her own gaze, bowing her head politely to them with that same inviting and kindhearted grin. As Ehab made his way around to his chair, she would be taking the one to his left, settling into it and folding her arms into her lap and looking up to Ehab. She had not truly gotten to know him yet, but she knew there would be time. Then Ra's eyes began to wander to the rest.

There would be plenty of time, to get to know all of them- and to get to know this darkness that was coming. For now, it was time to handle the political face of this problem before they set out to challenge it in whatever way was deemed necessary.
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Knifey Keith on Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:35 pm

EAMON

It had been some several days since the longboat had landed on the coast side East of Fanethia. The Chieftain Kjaren Vargen sent to represent Midgard at the summit; travelling with him was his son Roca The Vargen, and Eamon O Shannoc of the Carrag. Kjaren, Eamon and Roca had spent the last couple of weeks at sea; maritime travel was not Eamon's strong point. He became sea sick easily and though many Midgardian tribes were of a long sea faring tradition… Eamon's tribe was not one of them. He came from mountain folk, used to solid ground; whether it was flat, rocky or steep.

The two warriors and their lord had parted with the longboat and it's crew a day after landing. The last two days had been spent riding to the Capitol, only stopping to make camp and hunt when necessary. Eamon was generally a very talkative fellow, but he didn't have much to say to Roca. Though there was a mutual respect between them, the two men didn't much like each other on a personal level. Neither man thought too much about it, nor did they feel any disappointment or sadness about it. For men like themselves; loyalty, respect and honour were enough… They had no need for sharing common interests or ideas, no desire for friendship or bonding. They were warriors of Midgard, Roca being of the Vargen; a tribe known for their dexterity and resourcefulness, men of the black wolf- They were a clever people with a knack for analysis and thinking on their feet. Eamon was of the Carrag, a warrior tribe in the truest sense. Their mark was the red boar, their people famed for their ferocity, toughness and skill with blades. The two tribes operated very differently, the there Vargen (Or Faol as they were also often called.) thought before they acted, the Carrag acted without thinking.

The two warriors were similar and different in several ways. Their differences meant little to them; they had a job to do, the task at hand was what held priority for them. The safe travel of Kjaren Vargen was the task they had been charged with; the man himself not having said much in the last few days either. Though many Midgardians loved a good drink, the three men abstained from alcohol- A man who was of any dependability knew when the time called for drinking, and when it wasn't appropriate. They had to be at their best and clearest, this was hardest for Eamon… Drinking was one of his favourite hobbies. The lightly packed trio neared the Capital of Fanethia, it had been an exhausting few days; Eamon was looking forward to a big dinner and some rest.

As the three men drew closer, the nearby city loomed over them. The gates just a few fields length ahead, they had come to their destination safely and without incident. Both Roca and Eamon were hungry, thirsty and tired; Roca knew not what was on his fathers mind. Eamon knew not how to conduct himself when in the city; his two companions were of more civilised folk and had the ability to adapt to a more alien culture… Eamon on the other hand came from common blood, as Midgardian as they came. These Fanethians… Their language, their culture and their laws were unlike anything Eamon knew, he for the most part would lack even the most basic communication skills. He relied heavily on guidance from Kjaren when dealing with foreigners, the best trick Eamon had learned was just to keep quiet and listen out for instruction from his two companions.

The three warriors grew even closer to the city gates , their steeds slowing down as they approached. Eamon rested his right hand on handle of his long steel Sgian. Looking to his right at tall, blonde Kjaren; who even when sitting, still held great stature. His son Roca had more the look of what Eamon assumed was his mother, he was man of far darker features. His fair colour much more like Eamon's, the man not being nearly as long as his father; Roca also had the strangest green eyes… A trait that was treated with suspicion and hostility amongst the Carrag and similar tribes; often said that those with green eyes were descended from fairy folk.

Eamon leaned to his left, spitting to his side. His other two companions still silent, Eamon looked over at Kjaren again, waiting for him to speak; Eamon needing some guidance. "What now there boss?", Eamon asked the Vargen man anxiously. "Now we make our entrance, you two just let me do the talking. Be wary of this lands people, they view us as savage and uncivilised. Any excuse will do for them to turn on us, so we will not give them the satisfaction." He said in a serious tone, "They envy us for our bravery and our spirit. We will show them that we are a people of just as much sound mind and sophistication as they think themselves to be."

And with that the trio passed into the city gates, they were now in the heart of the realm. They had reached the summit, there Midgard would show it's strength and courage. The other kingdoms and cultures of men may see it acceptable to flee and hide at the mercy of these monstrous swarms. But Midgard would fight them down to the last man, woman and child.



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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Spectre on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:06 pm

King Laewyn shifted in his seat and gave a cough. Covering his mouth with a handkerchief, shaking lightly due to the stress it has put on his body, he cleared his throat. This was a sign that the summit was about to begin, as now everyone was in attendance. Everyone made their way to their seats if they were standing about chatting idly. Desmun still sat, and it again began to dawn on him. This was the first time that all the countries have met at once in near Eighty years. He eyed the King and scooted his chair foreward, grasping out for a stem of grapes on the table.

The table was long, and specked with wooden plates and metallic platters of bread, pastries, fruits, and cheeses. There was milk, and a multitude of juices in different pitchers available to the patrons on the table. Plenty of things to keep the emmisaries and the leaders of these large countries happy during what would likely be a long, long conference.

Blinking to the sharp noise of a last cough, he watched King Laewyn trying to prepare his lungs and his body for talking loudly enough for the entire table to hear. His face looked tired and pained. His body was weary now, as the chair slid back beneath him as he rose. This was not how he imagined his King. He had met him once before, but it still didn't seem like his dream. Desmun imagined a king, the way that Laewyn himself used to be. Some at the table would remember him in his younger days. House Grigori- now the royal house, has been on the throne for two generations. They fought in the hundred years' war and were finally able to bring the houses together in a summit of nations. They were generally well liked, but there was still rebellion, those resistant to change. There were still battles throughout King Laewyn's younger days. He was a proud warrior and even a hero in his youth. Fighting on the battlefield with the pride of a lion, and skill of a master. His actions as a youth gave him overwhelming support on the throne when his father was too old to rule. He was also known for being slightly lax for a ruler, especially as the years came to him. Some time in his sixties his health began declining slowly. Though now that the large storm has arrived- it seemed to be speeding his tragic decline.

He sighed and sat up straight,
"Gentlemen, you all know why it is that you are here." he said, his voice frail, but feigning strength. "Something is upon us that means to rid us of this land." he said, full conviction in his voice. It brought back the reality of the situation that was all but forgotten the night before. "We are losing ground at an overwhelming rate." He paused for a moment, leaning forward onto the table.

Desmun's eyes and ears turned to the Ruvellian Cardinal as he seemed to pass forbodings.,
"The storm brings a terrible omen with it.."

The blonde man from Midgard continued to reiterate their dire situation, "Our lands have been all but over-run. Most of the population of all Midgard has attempted to migrate from their homes to the Misty Mountain Hold, and the mountains. They have nowhere else to go."

The Head of the Kubana empire spoke up immediately after, "We are at complete loss. We are holding off swarms of these... these... abominations night by night! It is only matter of time before they begin gaining ground. We lost several of our port cities in the first night of their arrival!" His long scruffy eyebrows furrowed, and his mouth pursed underneaeth his long, thin mustache. Desmun found it hard to take their people seriously. Their smaller stature, their silly accents. Though he had yet to meet one head to head in battle. The Kubanese were fiercely loyal, and surgically precise in battle.

Attention was brought to the other side of the table once again as the Head of Midgard continued, "And look at what happened to Galgaroth. Such unrest has reached the people's morale. People are dying, killing other people. Even the noble house has been touched."

They all looked over to Liathe. Desmun passed him a look of sympathy. Yes... the Galgaroth family was almost all killed in one night's fire. An assassination no doubt... The king shook his head and spoke loudly before anything else could be said,

"I will not have this become a shouting match." he glared around the table. He was trying to get the subject changed, in case the wound was still fresh with Liathe. "I was not finished..." He continued to go over the statistics of how much ground each country had lost. Ishtan and Fanethia had yet to be hit with much force, but Galgaroth, Fanethia, Midgard, and Kubana were all hit with full force, The Direwood was also hit but not nearly as hard as the others, on constant watch for the vicious and clever elves. Liseria was starting to see the hordes at their borders and staving off small waves. Midgard was relegated to their final cities and mountains in the northeastern Quarter. Kubana was pushed back to the walls of the Kyuuden empire, and small outcrops specked across the island.

it was made clear that no country would be able to withstand a long campaign against the plague of monstrosities knocking at each country's gates. Maybe a few years' stalemate at best before being swept away slowly. The question was brought up then,

"Well, what do we do? We can't sit and wait to die!"
This was the question, spurred by the Kubanese empire that put almost everyone over the edge. Desmon's head fired left and right, as so many people began to pipe up.

"Galgaroth needs the help of Nemor and Ishtan!"

"Ishtan will not whore itself out and leave itself unguarded in case of attack!"

"Nemor can't give any assistance until we know her borders are secure."

then the Cardinal added again, his calm voice over top the chaos.
"The storm grows... It is only a matter of time... The gate of Abbadon will open, and the armies of Gehenna will pour forth, lead by Velius himself."

This caused a room's silence, and Desmun raised his eyebrows. That name- Nobody had heard the church use that name so openly in ages. In the Ruvellian religion, Velius was not a name to be passed around without the suspicion of severe misfortune or death coming to your door. A superstition that they were not to speak lightly of- this Velius. It was never forgotten who, or what Velius was, but everyone there, even the Ishtan sultan gave a blank, silent look. The King himself looked surprised that the Cardinal used the name.

"Cardinal Naemon-" the King plead, "You aren't serious..." he said, at first with disbelief and accusation, then giving a look with an air of sincerity and realization. The King had become a very religious man in the past fifteen or twenty years. His lips began moving before any sound came through, speaking as if he were reciting something- "From the unholy darkness..." and trailed off, muttering in the same tone, lips still moving inaudibly... Whatever he was thinking all of a sudden seemed to make sense to him. Glad he didn't share the same religious conviction, Desmun shook his head and his eyes narrowed. He then looked to see what the cardinal was doing. The Cardinal sat there, the same look on his face as he had when he sat down. Sincere, ready for business, holding a look of fatherly concern. Mouthing something of what appeared to be more Ruvelian scripture. For the first time, Desmun wished he payed more attention to his religious lessons.

The Sultan Lord spoke up, "You mean to tell me that your false gods are the reason for your demise?" he almost laughed. "Then maybe that is why none have touched the Ishtan borders." Chuckling, insinuating that the remain safe because they don't believe in whatever being they were speaking of.

The cardinal looked to the Sultan,
"Your most trusted Imams, and pujari had the same falling dream." he shook his head. "You know it's only a matter of time."

"And who is to say they weren't tainted by your Ruvellian donkeys?" he asked, "I had my pujari imprisoned as soon as i heard that he shared a falling dream with Ruvellian priests." he snorted. But, he was serious. He thought his pujari was lying to him. Then muttered in the Ishtan tongue under his breath, "He deserves to be hit with sixty shoes..." an insult to the Imam.

"It is a vision of Velius' coming. If you fail to recognize- in time you, too will fall to the darkness." he said, a sadness in his tone. Before the Sultan had time to retort angrily, the King again Interjected. Though it wasn't with his words. He got caught in a violent coughing fit. His main lawmaker sitting beside him called for help of the servants, who came to his aide. Blood could be seen gathering in King Laewyn's grey beard. The Cardinal himself ran to the King's aide.

Lawmaker Robben of the Royal Court called a brief break in the summit, so the Cardinal and the other servants could see King Laewyn back to his bed...




The men from all the noble houses began talking amongst themselves, some getting up and talking in hushed tones.....

Rocas

The three Midgardians stood in a small huddle.

"This is complete oxpiss." Rocas hissed in a venomous whisper, arms crossed and fidgeting his posture. He was the middle height one, son to Kjaran Vargen. He was certainly not the spitting image of his father. His father resembled the bear more than he did the wolf. Kjaren was often jokingly called the 'were bear' of the clan. Rocas was of average height of near six feet, but his muscle was natural. He was built for swift movement. He was an expert tracker and hunter, and he just sort of looked that way. He was rough around the edges, like he belonged in the snowy woods of the Misty Mountains. Stubbly beard, shaggy black hair. Jade green eyes hidden behind thick eyelashes. Everything seemed to be foreign when compared to his father.


"I mean listen to all the redrobes babbling on while our people are actually the ones dying." His voice didn't have a thick norse or celtic accent like most other midgardians had. . . .

Ehab

Ehab looked over to 'Ra', and the Sultan Lord, as they stood from their chairs at the table. Looping his left hand in his belt, standing comfortably, he watched as the others began standing as well, talking amongst themselves.

"Did anyone else see that he bleeds when he coughs?" he said in a hushed, worried tone. "That certainly cannot mean something good..."
he looked to the ground as he talked. If the King was incapacitated, then the meeting would be put on hold. If the meeting was put on hold, that would delay everything...

Desmun
Desmun stood with his uncles, wide eyed. It was obvious that the King was sick, but now- they were all witness to its sincerity. The cardinal, and his templars, as well as the King's advisor exited the room carrying the king to another chamber.

You could hear his shout-like coughs from down the hallway before the door was closed by one of the servants on her way out. It certainly did not sound good.

Though Desmun lead his family over, motioning for the emissaries from Nantenland and Galgaroth to gather with him. Odd, it was. Galgaroth and Nantenland were the two largest and most influential countries of Ajora. They were also seemingly constantly at war. In fact, their people were at odds since the times of Ruvelia 2,000 years ago; even vying for the throne beginning the 100 years war, 180 years ago. Galgaroth and Nantenland were vying for the throne after King Faneth passed, as it seemed the Faneth bloodline was wavering. Nantenland was in support of the young, but frail prince Faneth- as House Nanten was the godfather of the Prince, and Galgaroth was in support of their now widowed Queen- who was part of the Galgaroth family to begin with. It was during that war that Nemor seceded from Nantenland becoming its own sovereign country. Though now, that the Nantenland had changed powers, things may be different.

They needed to discuss the matters of their countries. If the King would not return, it would be upon them all to figure something out. Their lands couldn't take the onslaught much longer. They were all loyal to the King, but one life over the lives of many- the choice was obvious. None of them would let their people continue to die to wait on the health of the King to improve...

Desmun stood, his uncles behind him talking amongst themselves for a while. Awaiting the other two houses of the mainland to come near...



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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Ruu on Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:32 pm

After making small talk, Liathe made his way to his place beside Mother Tirelle, looking upon the King with compassion. He had never met King Laewyn, but the stories he had heard had not prepared for the sickness that had invaded the monarch's body. He wished he could help the King. Could not the blessings of the Mother restore him to health? And yet, not even the greatest of healers had been able to help the King. For now, there was little anyone could do.

The young man listened quietly to the troubles of the other countries, shaking his head. How could the mercy of the Mother allow this to happen? When the man from Midgard spoke of Galgaroth's misfortunes, Liathe stiffened as they eyes of all present fell upon him. He felt Mother Tirelle's hand on his, giving him silent comfort. He wanted to say something, anything, but could not find the words. Fortunately, the King was kind enough to change the subject and Liathe was able to breathe easier. He was still pained at hearing the tales of chaos and destruction...It hurt when he knew others were experiencing pain, for he was an acolyte of the Mother and always sought to help those who hurt.

His mind started to wander for a moment, but his attention brought back when the Cardinal dared to utter the name of Velius. He could almost hear Mother Tirelle grinding her teeth in pain and he bowed his head to hide the faintest trace of tears. Velius was especially cursed in the Church and his name meant death. Members of the Church could not hear the name without a display of weakness. He whispered a blessing to ward off the curse of the name at the same time as Mother Tirelle.

As the King was forced to leave due to illness, Liathe's heart swelled with pity. He looked over to see Mother Tirelle watching after the King, obviously wishing there was something she could do. She gently tapped his shoulder a moment later, motioning to the gathering of the people of the Direwood and Natenland. Liathe shook his head to clear it before quietly walking over to the group. Before he reached them, Trystan put a hand on his shoulder.

"Be wary young Master..." he murmured in Liathe's ear, "You know that the people of House Nanten have oft longed for your death. Even here where we must work together, trust no one."

"There is not time for that here, Trystan. Believe in the goodness of people. Have faith," Liathe replied softly.

Trystan shook his head, moving as close to the young noble as he dared. His fierce glare would be probably cause a lion to turn back in fright. Liathe joined the group quietly, nodding to Desmon and waiting for the delegation from Nantenland, while trying to ignore Trystan's uncomfortably close proximity.
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Safton on Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:27 pm

Safton


As the king was rushed from the chamber, the delegates began murmuring amongst themselves, with each conversation growing louder in time. It wasn’t quite a panic, but there was definitely unease among all those in the room. Safton was no exception. He turned to see Rixel’s green eyes already on him, her brow creased. He nodded his understanding.

They, like so many others, had come to this summit seeking answers. Seeking aid, in some cases. To be met with morbid news and a deathly ill king did not bode well. And the former in particular piqued the young knight’s interest. As a general rule, he did not put much stock in matters of mysticism and spirituality. He didn’t know what to think when he’d heard the rumors of dark omens that the priests back in Nantenland had witnessed. But to hear that all manner of holy men from across Ajora had simultaneously received the same vision… that was profound. It meant something. What that something was, he didn’t know. That was a matter best left for wiser men than himself as far as he was concerned.

“Safton,” Rixel’s voice spoke out, breaking into the man’s reverie. He turned to see her gesture to one side of the large chamber, where a small group had formed. The apparent ringleader of the group seemed to be the same young nobleman of Direwood. He was pulling together several of the delegates for a discussion. Taking charge, as it were. That was commendable under the circumstances. He nodded to the nobleman, standing up and gesturing for the other Nanten emissaries to follow.

“What do you think he’s after?” Rixel asked.

Safton cocked his head. “I imagine he’s just trying to get this sorted out as best he can. I don’t think we need to worry. He seems sharp enough.”

Rixel nodded. Safton froze for a moment when he saw that representatives of Galgaroth had been invited over, as well. That had the potential to create… problems. The people of Galgaroth and the Nanten had an extremely conflicted history, filled with war and feuding. Safton would know, having personally fought against, even slain, many a soldier from the nation.

Although the knight had carried out his duty, he tried not to hold Galgaroth and its citizens personally accountable. Some small part of him knew those wars were as much Nantenland’s fault as Galgaroth’s. Besides, they couldn’t afford to let petty squabbles interfere in these talks. They were far too important in their potential ramifications for the entirety of the continent.

Arafor turned, eying each of the Nanten dignitaries in turn. They had no doubt spotted the Galgaroth delegation, as well.

Fixing his steely gray eyes on them, he spoke in an even but firm tone. “Play nice, gentlemen.”

Taking the uncomfortable shifting and mumbling as signals of agreement, he nodded before grabbing his longsword from where it rested against the table next to his chair, strapping its scabbard to his belt. He did so casually, so as to avoid any possible undertones of hostility that the gesture might give off.

With that, he led the approach toward the foreign nobles. Upon drawing near to the young man in green and gold, he crossed both arms over his chest, so that both of his hands (clenched into fists) were touching the front of the opposite shoulder before bowing his head in the typical Nanten respectful greeting.


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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Spectre on Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:19 am

Desmun


It was here that Desmun wanted to start. He had an idea, but only being a young emissary he wouldn't be taken seriously at the table. The other house lords would be gathering, but the politics ran too deep with them all. He would deal with their emissaries. Though, save Galgaroth of course, as Liathe 'was' the house lord of Galgaroth, now.

Desmun knew about the conflicts between Galgaroth and Nantenland. Who didn't- but it was 'why' he called them both together with him at the time. Nemor, itself was once part of Nantenland almost 600 years ago. They should be able to come together on level terms. As the others gathered slowly, he saw the tense state that both the Nanten and the Galgaroth were in.

Taking a broad stance, he spoke clearly, and succinctly.
"I know you two have had your disagreements in the past- but let us not get caught up in issues that divided our father's fathers. We have all lost too much to let us remain divided. Just hear me out for a moment."

It was at this meeting that some of the others around began to take notice, raising their eyebrows.

Continuing to talk quietly to the dignitaries around him,
"None of our lords are willing to stand with the other. But what about us? My Lord Uncle will be too stubborn to lend a range group to assist anyone until they know their borders are secure, thinking it too dangerous to divide his defenses. I'm sure you're all the same." Desmon looked directly to Liathe, "Lord Galgaroth- your country is in the most dire need, and is the closest to us here in Faneth Castle. I know your soldiers are some of the best equipped, but they can't hold off forever." he then looked to Safton, "Ser Safton, I think you know what I'm asking here. I know you fought valiantly against the previous Lord Galgaroth's men." He didn't wait for any sort of action to let the Nanten Knight retort, if he would do so, "But we can't help the Nanten borders until we secure Galgaroth.... Galgaroth has an elite guard unit." Desmun then looked to Liathe. "Lord Galgaroth may be able to send them to Nantenland's borders once his own are secure." He knew he was asking a lot from Ser Safton Arafor. Some may see it as a slight against his country to fight for their rival. Especially since Arafor was once of the previous noble house.

A lot was at stake for the countries' prides. Even Ishtan and Nanten wer even brought in the middle a few times. The Galgaroth forces received aide from Ishtan sellswords, and Nantenland was in need of assistance. Nemor had hidden routes into Galgaroth, and Nanten and Nemor were finally beginning to ease tensions that began several hundred years ago when Nemor split from Nanten. But these weren't full blown wars, not since the 100 years war ended eighty years ago. At this point, Liathe's country couldn't refuse help- even from previous enemies, despite his possible feelings against the Nanten.

It was clear what Desmon Barast was asking here. None of the countries were willing to work together at this point, too afraid to leave their own borders for fear of their own walls collapsing. Especially since the countries had just been at full peace for a meager handful of years. It was a viable enough thought, but Desmun wouldn't stand for it. Something had to be done, and it had to be soon. He was going to convince them to stand alone against the hordes. Getting the 'two lions' to come together would be the hard part. He would hear what the White and Black lions had to say before bleeding over to Ishtan and seeing what they had to say...

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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Safton on Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:31 pm

Safton


Safton listened to Desmun silently he laid out his request. He’d been right – the young man was sharp. He was already thinking ahead, attempting to bypass the seemingly inevitable bickering amongst the nations.

But what Desmun was asking – to leave his lands undefended in order to rush to the aid of his country’s most bitter enemy – that would cause issues. The knight spared one glance behind himself to see that other than Rixel, none of the other Nanten emissaries were listening in on the conversation. There were no issues with the plan itself; Desmun’s course of action was sound. But Safton didn’t know if he could sell the nobility on the idea.

Nantenland was somewhat unique in the geopolitical scheme of Ajora. While most of the nations making up the Empire had a single lordly house that ruled the region and pledged fealty to the Emperor, Nantenland was an exception. They maintained a King and Queen, who in truth functioned as a Head Lord and Lady despite being treated as a monarch by those native to Nantenland. The monarchs of the Nanten had near-undisputed power in regards to governing the province, although there were nearly a dozen land-owning "minor noble" houses under them who were nonetheless vital to the smooth operation of the region. This quirk traced its origins back to the stubbornness of the Nanten people after being annexed into the then-spreading Empire of Ajora. The Ajoran Emperor of the time was willing to allow them the illusion of sovereignty and the Nanten were happy to carry on the tradition, all the way to the current "King" Malcolm. To avoid confusion, the monarchs of Ajora as a whole were referred to as the Emperor and Empress, or alternatively as the High King and High Queen.

Safton knew Malcolm would be reluctant to support Desmun's proposal, but Arafor had earned his respect – and trust – in the past several years. Not to mention that that, as the Head Lord of Nantenland, he still lamented the way in which the Arafors had been wronged in the past. The man remained eager to make amends, no matter how many times Safton had assured him that all was forgiven. No… Malcolm would listen.

The minor nobility, on the other hand… that was far trickier. Some were men and women of quality, no doubt. But others were stubborn and held grudges to no end. In theory, King Malcolm could send their troops into action with or without their consent. In practice, however, they were more than capable of delaying the deployment and stalling for time, consequences be damned.

Safton closed his eyes briefly, clearing his head. The nobility would listen. They would have to, or so much could be lost in the weeks ahead. The knight turned to see his sister regarding him, somewhat wide-eyed. Like her sibling, she held no personal grudge against Galgaroth and its citizenry. But it was obvious she was unsure what would come next.

Arafor sighed, nodding his head at last. “I understand, Lord Desmun. I will do what I can to mobilize our troops for Galgaroth.” To aid them rather than attack them for once, he thought dryly.

“However, there are some among my nation’s nobility that will object to this course of action. If nothing else, I can guarantee you the assistance of the King’s Vanguard.”

Safton turned to Liathe, fixing his steely gray eyes on the young man. “Assuming, of course, that Galgaroth will have us.”


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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Ruu on Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:06 pm

Liathe

Liathe listened quietly to Desmon's words, nodding silently in agreement. He knew his father and brothers had shared their differences with Nantenland in the past, but Liathe was not like the rest of his family. As much as he loved them, he had been raised in the Church of the Mother. He had been taught that each and every life had worth, and each person was to be treated with respect and dignity. He would not allow the folly of anger and pride to get in the way of an offer of assistance. The young man did not flinch under Safton's steely gaze, his crystalline eyes clear and bright. He smiled and taking two steps forward, knelt before the most likely astonished young man from Nantenland. Behind him, he could almost feel Trystan's piercing glare. If his guard had not been well-trained, blood most likely would have been spilled. As it was, the guardian was gnashing his teeth rather angrily.

"Master Safton...I would be honored to accept aid from your country," he said, his voice quiet yet filled with a hidden strength, "Lord Desmon is wise beyond his years. This is a time for all of us to unite. We cannot allow this evil to occur, for the One Who Cannot be Named to wreak his terrible destruction upon the world. I accept your offer and I pledge to give you whatever aid you will need to turn back the tide once my country is returned to order. And offer you anything you might ask as a token of our good will."

Trystan was clearly taken aback and had to bite back a strangled cry. Tirelle put a hand on his arm to steady him before she stepped forward to speak.

"Gentlemen. The Church of the Mother promises a safe haven for all those who are weary from every country, and rest as well as healing. But we also offer our priests who have been honed in battle. We understood that a time like this would come, and we have been quietly preparing. Though our priests can wield weapons, their true strength lies in their prayer and belief. They have been scattered throughout the lands, and should you need their assistance, they will be readily available."
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Spectre on Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:35 am

Desmun

His honey brown eyes flashed with hope.
"You could have a force ready to mobilize?" he asked, not sure he heard it right. That's certainly a lot more than he had hoped for. Good news, indeed.
He looked to Liathe who had openly accepted the gesture. Wide eyed, and excited, Desmun leaned back and crossed his arms before his chest.
"I understand that it may be an uphill battle to convince your lordship, Ser Safton. But deep down they know this is a dire need. Just get as many soldiers you feel safe leaving your borders to travel swiftly to Galgaroth Castle." he nodded.

Thinking a moment, one of his hands lifted at the elbow to run over his very short beard in an exhale. He then spoke through his hand before lowering it back to his chest.
"We will need to go to Galgaroth and inform them. It will take a few weeks for your forces to reach Galgaroth if your lordship agrees. Not to mention the time it will take us to get there." He then looked to Liathe, "We will have a few days time between our arrival and Nantenland's assistance- if they send it.... and despite your acceptance, I'm not so sure your generals and guardsman would be so inclined... We won't have much time..."

Looking to Tirelle.
"Your church will be a good place to start." he pointed to Tirelle several times in gesture and thought- she was on to something. "We should gather yours that are spread thin and head straight to the castle to inform Lord Galgaroth's guard captain and generals of the situation. I just hope Ser Safton is right about allowing a small force to assist."

He looked back to Ser Safton.
"I understand the implications. I know you yourself took up the sword against Galgaroth's men. This cannot be an easy decision for you." he shook his head. Desmun himself had lead range patrols into Galgaroth for Nanten's lordship during the small skirmishes. Scouting areas and leading raids and guerrilla assaults on small encampments so Nantenland could enter from the north, as well as the east....The politics were a little backward, but Nemor was never in bad standing with Galgaroth despite their [albeit] small effort against their pushes into the Direwood to counterattack the Nanten. Maybe it was because most of the skirmishes between Nemor and Galgaroth were against Galgaroth's sellswords. Maybe it was Lord Eugene Barast's negotiation skills. Desmun didn't know, and now, Desmun certainly didn't care.

These were real people. Just because their Lords made decisions, their people had to deal with it, even though they didn't have a part in it. He was glad they were able to be as malleable as they were in dealing with one another so abruptly. Now, hopefully the stubborn Ishtar would be so easy, and Midgard could spare a sword or two. The Midgardians felt the brunt of the invasions. Their insight and experience in dealing with the goblins and other beasts could provide a large advantage...
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Knifey Keith on Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:38 am

EAMON


Eamon had sat down on the long table beside Roca, to Roca's left- Closer to King Laewyn, sat Kjaren. Though the other two of his trio seemed more interested in Laewyn's words… Eamon did not understand, nor speak the language of the Fanethians too well; even if he did, their talk of diplomacy and politics would not engage him in the slightest. The young stocky man pulled his green and black plaid sash up slightly as he sat; quickly producing a spoon and one of his smaller knives. Eamon took no hesitation to dig in, slicing off pieces of salted pork and barely placing them on his plate before quickly gobbling them up. Meat was often the best way to appeal to a Midgardian stomach, the Carrag especially loved beef and pork- Roasted, fried or boiled, it was all good.

Paying little attention to Roac's comments or Laewyn's declarations, Eamon continued to scoff up the free food in a frenzy of hunger and gluttony. It quickly turned into a disruptive sight as the talk of suffering and terror didn't seem to register with the young Midgardian warrior. His thick, muscular arms; his rough, hard knuckled hands reaching for food. The only thing that seemed to far in reach was mead, wine and ale; more strategically placed within reach of other cultures… Almost as if Laewyn's people had engineered and arranged the table so they could predict where the Midgardians would sit. Making certain that alcohol would be hard to obtain, limiting the potential for gross intoxication on their part. Eamon still munched away at much of the food in reach, despite his lack of table manners and his veracious appetite making a spectacle to all those sitting close by…. Though he didn't much care, in fact he was oblivious to it.

In true Carrag fashion Eamon placed down his utensils and drew a dagger, unnecessarily thrusting it into the table. Locking eyes with another sitting across from him, he pointed to a jug of wine; signalling for it to be handed to him. He had enough of sobriety, near to a week and a half without drink; the three Midgardians had arrived in the capitol… Eamon felt he deserved a bit of drunkenness. Eamon continued to viciously motion for the jug of wine and despite that people even further along the table would start to take notice of his rude and appalling behaviour, Eamon leaned forward. "C'mon, fuckin give it here boss!" he barked loudly. Thinking not of what Kjaren thought, nor the consequences of his vulgarity.

Eamon came from a culture where the mark of manners was not to fight at the dinner table, Eamon didn't feel as if he was being rude or offensive. Simply that he was asking for wine, however other cultures (And many kinds there were.) sitting at the same table would not feel the same way.

His confident display of savagery was swiftly over shadowed by King Laewyn himself. The old man, though youthful in spirit was still subject to an ageing body; the man was dying. It didn't take a healer or learned man to see it; Laewyn was of considerably advanced age- Very few commoners would even near him in such. Laewyn was suffering the unfortunate , unavoidable consequence of true old age… A life style where illnesses were cured and treated by both healers and clerics, where conditions were hygienic and good food was always within reach, but nothing lasted forever. This man, despite being a king faced a slow death at the hands of the friction of time. Laewyn was gradually falling apart like all men did, granted far later than most- But withering away he was, his coughs of agony rung loud in the ears of all within the chamber. Many of the Emissaries and their entourage chattered amongst themselves, the scene provoking a very slight degree insurrection. Though the King held on tightly to life, though he indeed was a strong man and proven even stronger by age and condition… The confidence of a several few wained even further at the sign of his vulnerability.
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Spectre on Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:03 am

Rocas

Still standing in a huddle with the other two Midgardians....

"We just need them to agree to send us aide..." Rocas whispered, ashamed of the thought. "We can't h-"

"We can hold them off at the misty mountains as long as we need." he was promptly interrupted by his father's apparent mind reading ability over his son. "We are Vargen, and we protect our pack. We won't let the Misty Mountain Hold fall to the roughskins."

Un-crossing his arms and looking up in a sigh of frustration,
"Yes. We protect our pack..." he rolled his eyes, staring now at his boots. His lord father had some of what he thought were the most childish phrases, but he went along with it. He didn't finish his entire thought out loud....about 'protecting the pack' when there was no pack to protect, though. Their situation in their homeland was indeed a dire one. Their losses were great, but they would certainly- and probably accurately- say that the enemy's losses were greater in number.

There was a brief silence between the three, standing in a corner of the meeting room. Looking around, Rocas saw the others standing about, talking amongst themselves. Finally, he spoke up again, but kept his eyes on the smaller door on the other side of the room, the same one the Cardinal, King, and lawmaker left from.

Lifting his green eyes to a circular stained glass window high up on the wall-
“’Wonder how much time he’s got left?” Kjaren just looked at Rocas with a disapproving look that faded into a thoughtful one, he was thinking the same thing.

Kjaren’s face then twisted.
“I wonder why the Ruvellian church is so involved with this…?”

“They are part of Liseria,” Rocas retorted,

“But the High Confessor isn’t here.” The high confessor was akin to the highest of the Ruvellian Church’s heirarchy, and also the lordship of Liseria. “He would be here representing his country if it was a matter of Liserian importance, not just sending one of the high Cardinals to represent the church.”

Rocas shook his head, “Maybe he’s there commanding the Temple Knights at the walls of Labados Cathedral? Maybe he has taken ill? He is at an advanced age- even for an old Knight.” He smirked, the last one intending to be a joke. The High Confessor was a renowned Knight before he took up the robes of Ruvellia years ago.

“The red robes are the only church with an armed branch… Maybe that’s why they’re represented?”

“You've got a point,” nodded Rocas.

They continued their talk among themselves for a few more moments before Kjaren cut them all off with a raised hand. He was looking at something behind them all.

Turning slowly, Rocas saw that there was a group of mainlanders gathering. The Ranger in green who looked just older than him, the large Black Lion warrior, and the young Lord Galgaroth. Rocas’ eyes went wide, and his mouth near dropped.

With a raised eyebrow and a curled lip, Kjaren boasted, “now this… this is interesting.”

Midgard was not part of the ‘Hundred Years War’ that began one hundred and eighty years ago, but everyone remembered it. The ‘black lion’ hated the ‘white lion’, and they fought over power of the throne. At that time, it was House Faneth that still held the throne. The black dragon on a yellow field. People still remember this sigil, and pay respects to Faneth’s history. But the war was ended by the current King’s father. House Grigori, from Galgaroth took the spotlight, and the crown prince, still a Faneth, died of illness. Grigori was rushed to the throne with a wave of support from the entire mainland and married the widowed Queen. Despite this, Galgaroth and Nantenland still held grudges. They had some spotted skirmishes, some large enough to involve both Ishtan and Nemor in their fights.... Though the recent peace- everyone knew was temporary....

Now they were seeing some from both countries stand feet from the other, without swords drawn? It was a spectacle for everyone who noticed. Apparently Midgard was the first to see, as the Ishtani were still talking among each other, and the Kubanese were tending to their Emperor. Lord Barast was talking with lord Duncan, had no idea what was going on.

Even the head of Nantenland, Their Lord Duncan and Liathe Galgaroth’s father could barely be in the same room with the other without starting some sort of argument. The previously arrogant Galgaroth usually starting the friction, in Nantenland’s defense. That was the views of most about the two Countries. Nantenland was usually the good guy, and Galgaroth were usually the wrongdoers. People usually just considered them cut from the same cloth, however. In all fairness- they both provided much for the Kingdoms, and did their fair share of good, but people still remember the hundred years war before they remember the dams that Nantenland help build in Liseria due to flooding of one of the largest rivers. People remember House Galgorath hanging captured Nantenland ‘heroes’ before they remember that Galgaroth largely funded the repairs and restructuring of the Crown City, and housed the refugees that were left homeless during the war.

Even Rocas, one of the farthest removed from the situations remembers that the lions hate each other. Galgaroth was always referred to as having upturned noses and deep purses. They may be driven by things like honor, but most thought that it was because they were so concerned with their vanities. Nantenland were supposed to be dim-witted but chivalrous. It was a strange thing, reputation. Even in Midgard, there were houses –they called them ‘clans’- that were the same way. Reputation built on things their fathers did. Actions that sons, and sons of sons had to deal with and clean up and take the blame for. Rocas would forever have to deal with the fact that his father beheaded his cousin as a traitor. He knew in the back of his mind that someday he may have to cross swords with their sons and daughters. At least the ones who were once too young to fight. Or the ones who hadn’t fallen on the fields already. There wasn’t any animosity now, but time has a way of changing things.

But now, they were witness to something that hadn’t happened in almost two hundred years. The Nanten and Galgaroth coming together in conversation that didn’t involve swords, or sour words. He saw that the one doing most of the talking was the young ranger lord. ‘Something’ of House Barast, Rocas couldn’t remember. He looked just a few years older than himself. He supposed they were from the same generation, wrongfully assuming him to be the son of Eugene Barast, head of Nemor.

Rocas was looking at Desmun as Desmun turned from that group before walking to the Mudgardian trio.

“Is the ranger lordling coming this way?" he muttered to himself. Indeed he was.

His dark green cloak covering most of his golden armor, his confident stride and determined look. Up close the armor looked like it was dark colored steel or iron that had just been painted gold. A very good paint job, but up close it looked more like a subdued or dull golden color.

Rocas sidestepped from the trio to face the young lord from Nemor. Kjaren turned as well. "What do we owe the pleasure?" Rocas asked with a smirk.

"I'll tell you the same thing I told the Lions." Desmun looked to the two norseman and their highlander companion. "We all understand everyone's borders are being compromised right now. It is something that is becoming more than obvious. But standing alone won't get us anywhere. After discussing this with the two lions, we're going to ride to Galgaroth's aide, and try to gather their forces that have been spread out. With any luck, we'll see if Nantenland can offer the assistance of a portion of it's elite knights."

Kjaren furrowed his brow- "You, yourselves, are going to just go to Galgaroth, and stitch them back together?" he snorted.

without hesitation, Desmun gave a riposte, "Everyone else is too scared to leave their borders unprotected." He looks around the room to each person within, in gesture- "we all are here, away from our borders. What will it mean for us to be gone much longer?" He tilted his head, "We have to." he spoke dutifully.

"So what are you coming to us for?" Rocas asked,

"Midgard has taken the largest blunt force hit that we know of. You have fought the hordes for longer than we have. You could provide us with a good deal of insight to the enemy."

"You- as in.. Him?" Kjaren's voice was weary- and the two Norsemen looked to each other.

"I'll.. I'll do it."

"You would turn your back on Midgard?!" Kjaren's eyes became intense.

Desmun made sure no one else got time to speak after Kjaren's last word. "No one is turning their backs on anyone. Once we strengthen Galgaroth- they have the best equipped army. They can assist the rest of the Kingdoms while we can help you in Midgard. But it starts there. Help us, so we can help you."

Kjaren went silent. "We don't know how much longer we can hold out."

"Then we can have Galgaroth send troops to Midgard first. But it all. starts. there."

"You're so sure we can help Galgaroth?" Rocas spouted in disbelief.

"They have groups of clerics spread about their country who can greatly bolster their lines. They need to be united. We will be the thread who stitches them together."

Standing silent, they all started at one another, waiting. Kjaren sighed, and looked to Eamon. Watching and feeling a sense of both fear of leaving his country behind for a while longer, and duty. He knew this was the best way. From Galgaroth, forces would pour- if successful.

Going straight to Midgard was a death trap, cutting a path to the Misty mountain hold would be sure suicide with a small group. Plus, the storm between Liseria and Midgard would make the journey worse by sea.

"You, Carrag. I'll pay you- and your clan handsomely, if you go along." This would be the good standing that the Carrag would need back home. Rocas knew that Eamon was probably only here for the money. He certainly wasn't here for the politics. That was fine with him, as long as he did his job.




The conversation was similar when going to Ishtan.

Desmun left the Midgardians to talk it over.

Speaking to them, was like speaking to a stubborn child. Ishtan would not help the others without being payed handsomely up front. The Sultan lord was not happy to leave his borders unguarded in case they came to him in force. He wouldn't budge, and he would continue to be isolationist. The Ishtan would not interject with the Sultan there, his word is law, and he didn't want to hear from his other emissaries. Especially being religious, thinking the Ruvelians were being punished, and the Ishtan being saved. He wasn't going to go against this and risk his beloved people.

"We have spears to spare, especially right now." Ehab tried to argue,

"But what if that is what they are waiting for?" the doubts kept pouring forth. "I will not risk the lives of the people of Ishtan for your Ruvelian crimes."

Desmun couldn't reach him. Ehab gave sympathetic eyes, but that's all he could do for the moment. Not giving up, but allowing the Ishtani's time to think, Desmun walked away.




It was here that the Cardinal came back to the room. Everyone's eyes were on him. Eager for an answer, or for some sort of news, be it good or bad, the few seconds felt like hours. The Cardinal knew this so he lifted his hands to settle the group- Speaking kindly and softly,

"His Grace is at rest. We will continue our meeting-"

"Your Eminence, we have a solution." Young lord Desmun spoke, near interrupting the Cardinal. There were gasps, and the focus was now shifted from the House Lords to the protectors, the heirs, and the emissaries.


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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Ruu on Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:05 pm

Liathe

"I understand the feud runs deep between our countries, but I will speak to my generals and guardsman. They must listen to reason. If we do not accept aide from other, Galgaroth will be overrun," Liathe said simply in response to Desmun's words before standing back up and taking his place next to Tirelle.

"Some priests we will find on our way to Galgaroth," nodded Tirelle, "As for the others...I will pray to the Mother to bring them to us. They will come, have no fear. The Mother understands that this is a time of war and she will assist us in any way she can."

Liathe watched Desmun quietly as he went to talk to the other nations. Perhaps others could be persuaded to lend their assistance in the coming days of trial, but he knew that not everyone would come together now. No...unfortunately, even dire and more pressing need would be required before everyone decided that working together would be the only means for survival. The young man shivered as if cold, a shadow clouding his mind. Yes....dark forces were at work and there was little time. Even the Mother was worried...Turning to Tirelle, he could see her lips form into a tight line. She put a gentle hand on his shoulder.

"The darkness is gathering..." Tirelle murmured, "You feel it too...It hurts, does it not? But where there is darkness, there will also be light. Have faith. Everything will work out well."

"You rely so much on prayer..." mumbled Trystan, "What we really need is swords, and the swords of Galgaroth, not the dogs from Nantenland."

"You had best hold your tongue," Tirelle said sharply as she turned to face Trystan, "You do not understand what will be lost if we do not combine our powers and our efforts."

"Peace, Trystan," said Liathe gently, "All will be well."

Trystan sighed and shook his head but said nothing more.
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Safton on Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:26 pm

Safton


As Desmun left to speak to the Midgardians, Safton turned his own attention to the emissaries of his nation. He nodded to Rixel before walking to meet them.

Darrien, the official head diplomat of the Nanten delegation, stepped forward, the others following behind him. They were eager to hear what the conference had been regarding, no doubt. Darrien spoke first, “What comes, my lord? I suspect those wretches from Galgaroth had nothing worthwhile to contribute.”

There were some mild chuckles among the other Nanten at that, but Safton glared at the emissary, bringing a quick end to the laughter. The knight sighed before speaking for all of them to hear. “Listen closely. We’ve decided on a course of action. It is one that may leave some of you with… misgivings. But it is crucial that we pursue it for the good of Ajora.”

“But the High King…” Darrien began, a frown on his face.

Rixel interjected, shaking her head. “The High King is ill. We don’t know when,” the woman bit her lip, “or even if… he’ll recover. We need to act now.”

Safton nodded in agreement. “We cannot afford to tarry. There is precious little time available to us. That is why we have the beginnings of a plan in motion…”

Darrien crossed his arms, narrowing his eyes. “Very well, then, my lord. Let us hear it.”

Glancing over his shoulder briefly to glance at Liathe, “Galgaroth has been hard-hit by the incursions—“ Arafor began.

“And good riddance,” Darrien replied gruffly.

Without missing a beat, the knight continued, “and so we plan to aid them.”

There was a surprised silence at that, all of the emissaries blankly looking at their leader who had just suggested the unthinkable. Taking that as a sign to continue, Safton spoke again, “Galgaroth has a professional military and they are good at what they do, as many of us would know from personal experience. We need to set aside the past and do what we can to relieve the pressure of this incursion from their borders, so that their army could be put to use elsewhere. I need you to ride back to Nantenland and inform King Malcolm—”

“I will not allow this!” Darren sputtered angrily.

Safton raised his eyebrows. “Be reasonable—“

“Do not speak to me of reason when you seek to give aid to our most bitter enemies!” the man exclaimed, his face reddening.

“What would you know of that, Darrien?” Safton shot back, eyes flashing and his tone as sharp as the blade at his side. “You are no soldier. I’ve fought and killed men of Galgaroth even as they have sought to do the same to me. Yet I am willing to fight alongside them, because I know that we must either stand together or die alone and cut off. And I, for one, am not willing to throw away the entire kingdom all on account of some petty rivalry,” the knight paused, realizing that he was standing mere inches away from Darrien now, his jaw tightly clenched. The scene was drawing eyes. He stepped backward, calming himself.

There was a silence until the shifting of armor could be heard and a young man stepped forward. Knight-Lieutenant Lucas, a member of the Nanten Vanguard. “You speak truly, Lord-Commander. What would you ask of me?”

Safton nodded his thanks to the knight while Rixel glanced at him, remarking under her breath, “What a sad day it is when soldiers seek out peace more readily than ambassadors…”

Arafor drew in close to the knight, speaking softly but firmly. “Travel back to Nantenland with all due haste, Lucas. Go to King Malcolm and tell him all that has transpired here. Tell him that we need the Vanguard in Galgaroth as soon as possible, and that he must attempt to rally the nobles and their troops as best he can.”

“What of you and Lady Rixel, sire?”

“We shall ride ahead with the other nations,” Safton replied. "From here on out, you are in command of this caravan, Lieutenant."

The Knight-Lieutenant nodded, eyes wide. “Very well. I will begin preparations immediately.”

With that, the Nanten delegation began to gather their belongings. They’d be leaving the Capitol soon enough. Darrien and many of the nobles would no doubt be displeased with the way things were going. Safton could all too clearly picture the diplomat and his shortsighted cohorts angrily sulking all the way back to Nantenland, but he could hardly afford to satisfy everyone.

Safton and Rixel left the group, moving toward the front of the chamber where Desmun had approached the Cardinal himself. The two of them stopped just short as they heard his words: “Your Eminence, we have a solution.”

Well, Safton thought, here goes nothing.


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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Spectre on Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:40 am

The Cardinal stopped in his tracks and looked to Desmun.
"A solution... A solution to what?" he asked, unsure of what exactly Desmun meant.

"Desmun, what are yo-" His uncle spoke up- his eyes flared.

Desmun didn't think, but he acted on instinct. He knew his lord Uncle wouldn't approve. Just as most of the others would not. Though before he could continue, Cardinal Naemon's voice cut him off.

"Come. Introduce yourself at least." Cardinal Naemon insisted, trying to keep a cool head. He acted pleased to listen, but if looking at him, you could tell something was amiss with his temper and impatience.

"Your Eminence." He bowed his head, watching the Cardinal, and the others reproach the table, standing behind their chairs. "I am Desmun Barast, son of Darren, Nephew to Lord Eugene Barast of Nemor." he began. It was obvious that he was from Nemor, but he insisted with the titles.

He could already hear the muttering of the others around the table.
"It has come to my attention that Galgaroth has recently come under greater threat than the rest." He looked over to Liathe. "Their forces are divided, and coming under threat of final siege... They have Clerics of the Mother who have been spread thin, and scattered."

"Yes, we went over the details of the state of affairs earlier. What are you trying at?" His uncle again spoke up, impatiently.

"Let the young lord finish-" the cardinal at the end of the table spoke up, pulled out his chair and sat down. Most other lordship followed suit. Eugene was curious, and angry that his Nephew seemed to be up to something. Especially without his consent.

"Everybody knows Galgaroth has some of the best equipped soldiers. Even they cannot withstand this much longer. Not that many of us can... But in hopes that Nantenland can send a small troupe of soldiers to Galgaroth's aide, we can start a chain reaction that will strengthen everyone's borders."

He shot a look over to the Nantenland's delegates, one getting red in the face, and hastened his speech. He hoped what little time Ser Safton had with his delegates at least began a landslide of thought with them...

"But they will not get there in enough time. That is why I have gathered a small task force to ride into Galgaroth, and stitch together the lines of the Clerics of the Mother, that way they stand a chance against the hordes until the Nanten Knights reach them."

Desmun's lord uncle looked pale, and his mouth dropped. "You plan to ride there yourself, do you?" he almost made a jest out of his tone. He knew his nephew was capable, but he didn't think he would reach for something like this.

Desmun shared a look of confidence between each member of the group he spoke with as he continued dictating his skeleton plan.

"Lord Liathe has agreed to this. Ser Safton of the Nanten, Lord Rocas Vargen and his guardian have all agreed to personally ride with me. I'm sure we will not be alone," he shook his head. "But even still, if we do not act now: Galgaroth will fall, and that will mean more attention of the hordes on all of our homes. If Galgaroth survives, and triumphs, then they can send aide to the others in more need."

"But what if you fail?" the voice was worried, Desmun didn't pay attention to who said it, as his eyes were now locked onto his Uncle's. His eyes plead with Desmun's to not do this. Desmun shut his eyes and inhaled before responding to the nay-saying voice.

"Then it will be as if we hadn't left the Crown City at all. And everyone will fall, one by one. No one else has pledged solutions, only problems. Well here is the solution."

"Ranger Lordling thinks he can single handedly change the tides of-" a voice spoke, sounding like one of the Ishtan delegates.

"This will not be single handed. I've got an able group willing to ride beside me. I may not be the only one to be able to say this... But I have lead men against the elvenkind. I know to an extent what I am up against. But if the kingoms start falling... Can you say the same?"

"Insolence!" the same voice retorted- it was a delegate from Kubana.
There was a short silence. Desmun's jaw clenched, and his mouth pursed.
"I am finished here. I plan on leaving as soon as possible. All who plan on coming along should meet me in the eastern stables with all you will be able to carry. If no one else will try, then we have to."

A low rumble started raising, and Desmun was truly finished. He would not hear anyone telling him 'No' at this point. This had to be done or everything he knew was going to perish. To him, he would die by the hordes of evil regardless. Better to stand up and fight than lay down and die. There is a time to act, and a time to talk about acting. He was stalwart in his belief in this plan. At least, for now.

He opened the door to exit the room, spun on his heel, and closed the door quickly behind him. Spinning around, the air left his lungs as saw that the Queen was standing mere feet from him, as she was heading for the door, herself. His eyes widened and he stammered a bit before bowing, "Your Grace."

She wore a blue and golden embroidered dress and atop her ageless face and black hair sat the Queen's golden crown. This was what he saw first.
"I heard what you did in there, young Ranger". Her voice was a confident one, yet smooth. "You are brave... Let us hope that you are not stupid, as well." she meant that as a compliment, and a statement to bolster his resolve. Since he was staring at his boots, he was unable to see the queen's impressed half smile.

She smiled and nodded her head to him as she walked past, the guards opened the door for her. After passing through, the guards closed the door behind her. Desmun exhaled- he had never seen the queen up close before. She was beautiful, and appeared young. Though behind her sad blue eyes was a wisdom and strength fitting of a Queen. The marriage was no doubt to ease tensions between the Grigori and some of the noble houses of Nantenland. With the dark hair and light eyes, he assumed she must have been from the hill-country there...

Desmun regained his composure, turned for the castle's entrance and sped off to his inn-room to gather some of his belongings. His footsteps near a run's pace, he was filled with adrenaline still. People around him were a blur- mere obstacles to him as he made his way, slithering between people's shoulders. Everything he said and did in that conference room was coming back to him now. It was like it was someone else saying and doing everything. Desmun Barast was a brave soul, but to go up against everyone in the Summit to pledge his own actions separate from his house, and his country, and everyone else? His joints turned to jelly and he had to stop himself. Gathering his awareness now, he was on the balcony of the Inn, ready to pass through his door before he had to stop. He spun around on his heel and dropped his weight on the stone railings, his gut was wrenching. It didn't feel as if he were going to hurl, but he needed air. Wiping his brow of the sweat that began to bead, he tried to breath regularly. Deeply inhaling and exhaling, trying to calm himself, and mentally come to terms with what he just started...

"God save us..." he said under his breath. The sun looked as if it were just a little after noon. People walking the streets below him were oblivious. It still amazed him how none of this conflict seemed to touch anyone here. Still leaning against the balcony railings, he inhaled once more, and collected himself. "I can do this."

Stepping inside his room, he threw open the closet door and gathered his leather bag, swordbelt and sword. He threw some random provisions within his bag, and grabbed a few other things he would need for a trip, and tied his belt around him. The weight of his sword on his hip felt right; it gave him comfort. He then left for the stables.

It was a large stable barn. It smelled like horses, sweat, and a hint of manure, however not overpowering. The sun shone over the barn's peak and into Desmun's eyes. He lifted a hand to shield his vision to see a younger lad tossing hay into the stables. Calling to the stableboy for his horse, Desmun dropped his bag at the outside of the barn and stood, waiting patiently. The boy returned moments later with a smile on his face, leading a brown courser at his side.

"There we are" Desmun nodded his head to the boy, looking to his horse. Light brown in color, strong, but light and agile. Upon seeing his horse, Desmun's expression changed into a smirk. "How'd you know she was mine?"

"Oh I can't forget a horse from the direwood, sah. She's strong, but could outmaneuver a deer, wot wot!" he laughed. His speech pattern reflected that he was likely from a slum originally. Though even as a stable-boy, it beat being a meager thief, and growing up without a home.

"You've got a good eye, lad."

"Oy, I try, sah. Not much good with people, so I s'pose I've got'a have summin." The boy said it with pride, and Desmun liked that. Maybe one day, someone, or even Desmun himself would come back to take him under his wing.
Taking the reins in one hand, he patted the young boy's head and thanked him. He called to the boy as he scurried away back into the stable, and tossed him a few coin. The boy snatched the coins from the air in excitement.

"Thank you, sah!" he turned and ran off, likely to tell someone he'd just been tipped. The boy was grateful, humble, and pleasant. Wishing the boy a better future, he turned around. He hated the class system that was ever present, and treated everyone generally with the same respects. He fixed his saddle and saddle bags upon his horse's back, and lead it over to a grassy, open area next to the stables, waiting to see some familiar faces. Desmun squatted under a tree, and patted his horse's front leg, looking to the stable just few yards away. His horse returned his affection by nudging the back of Desmun's head with it's nose. Smiling to himself, he took in these small moments of comfort, knowing they would be all but gone soon.

He then saw movement out of the corner of his eye coming toward the stable-
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Oddball Alice on Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:19 pm

It was dawn, and as many were still sleeping or falling into bed after a long night of drinking, one had already been up for an hour. A fearsome warrior, in appearance more like a statue, was seated bolt upright on top of the bed, facing the early sun. It was covered in heavy plate and leather armor, black and red, with a ferocious red dragon’s face for a mask. It was lifelike, the teeth glistened in the sun. Even in this time of what was supposed to be rest, the figure had heavy weapons strapped on its back, a nagitana and a longbow, as if expecting battle any second. Silently, it stayed there, unmoving until a knock came at the door, and a squire entered timidly. He was eyeing the motionless figure with fear and respect, the boy was probably 13, 14 at most, walking very timidly, as if glass was under his feet. Obviously nervous at seeing the figure, he didn’t speak at first, the figure spoke first in a surprisingly feminine voice, but the undertone had an harsh edge, intimidating and by no means friendly.

“What is it, boy?”

Startled, the boy stammered out,

“Milady Senihime, his Lordship is ready to go to the meeting, did I awaken you?”

Senihime, “the Demon Princess”, got up with ease, as if her massive armor weighed nothing. Getting off the bed, her intimidating form was more prominent, as she was much taller than most of her homeland. As she rose, her body stiffly upright, and walked over to the boy, towering over him in an intimidating manner. He cowered slightly, to which she grabbed the back of his shirt, saying gruffly,

“Never cower, it gives your enemy strength. It dishonors yourself. I am aware his Eminence is waiting.”

With that, she dropped him with surprising gentleness, walking past him with no acknowledgment, until his shaking voice said after her,

“So you really do sleep in your armor?”

Senihime paused, half turning her head, and the big black eyes stared him down. Then she turned, and proceeded to walk out of her room. Outside the inn, his Lordship’s entourage was waiting. Senihime acknowledged her country’s leader with a stiff bow, her hands together, before proceeding to a huge black war horse. The horses’ armor matched hers, the red standing out wonderfully against his glossy black muscles. It’s face was covered with a matching red mask, only its black eyes and muzzle was visible. Senihime mounted her dark steed with ease, their imposing figures causing many of the locals to stare . They stiffly walked into position behind the leader of Kubana, seemingly unaware of the eyes and surroundings. She patted the horse’s neck, saying softly,

“ Dagon, these foreigners look as if they have seen a ghost.”

That was her closest attempt at humor, and it was too quiet for most to hear. Dagon’s head lowered slightly in response. Onlookers gathered to watch the Kubana entourage, their flag of red, yellow and green waving in the sun, the stern look of the warriors and their leader belying the joy those colors usually conveyed. Their numbers were small, at most four, including Senihime, who trotted stiffly behind their Emperor, the others behind her, followed suit. There was no joy in their faces, clearly because their nation had been hit harder than some. There was no display of riches they customarily brought, no servants, no extra luxuries of any kind. The feeling was of solemn formality, something that seemed to suit Senihime more than her companions, her towering and intimidating figure stealing the show. Her lord was clad in the robes befitting his station, a small man swimming in the colors of her homeland. Senihime did not respect him, he appeared small and weak, not befitting his position of power in her eyes, but since it was her duty to lay down her life for him, she would do so.

The other three had obviously been partying the night before, their eyes were heavy and red, which made Senihime annoyed. Herself, Senihime abstained from all forms of pleasure, drink, drugs and sex. She felt it could ruin a soldier faster than any war wound could, and swore to chastise them severely when they all returned home, if not sooner. However, she thought, perhaps it was a welcome escape from the destruction at home. Senihime herself had been slightly depressed at the sight of her people, wounded, homes destroyed, their lives ruined. What bothered her more was leaving her father, who although he would not admit it, was in failing health, his years caught up to him tenfold, he was in his sixties but could now barely walk, something that had been hidden from all for some time. His massive and normally healthy frame was now debilitated by arthritis and other ageing problems, something his frame hindered rather than helped. Still, Hiroshi the Dragon would appear to his people in his full suit of armor, riding a horse to disguise the fact he could barely walk. His people loved him, the children would give him presents on his birthday, and the parents would give their lives for him. It had been semi-successfully kept hidden that now Senihime did all the tasks her father once did, and let him take credit, however the Emperor knew of her father’s health. Leaving her father, especially in these dangerous times, bothered her to no end. Even he could not mask the sadness in his eyes at her departure. Senihime knew he could no longer protect their people, and would probably perish alongside them instead of running. If his people were dying for him, the last thing Hiroshi Nagashi would do was run, the old bear was too proud to do otherwise.

So, even though the surroundings were beautiful and might be interesting to some, Senihime paid little attention. All she wished to do was fulfill her orders and go home to her father. As they entered the castle, and proceeded to the meeting, Senihime heard and saw little, not caring otherwise. Senihime looked around the room, nothing the Midgardians, the Isthans, and all the other houses, undoubtably here to play politics like her own lord. They battled back and forth over whose lands were worst hit, which appeared to be useless, since almost all were heavily damaged, but then, that was politicians. Senihime listened a little more when the question of what to do was posed by her lord.

“Well, what do we do? We can't sit and wait to die!"

A valid question, Senihime supposed, and one she cared to hear the answer to. A tide of voices piped up, giving no solution, but still she paid a little attention. It appeared, listening to the Cardinal, that the current events had something to do with their religion, something that made very little sense, since her own people worshiped differently, but then, Senihime wasn’t one for religion, her meditation was more a calming and focusing exercise than anything else. She noted the King’s failing health upon entering the room , only to have it cemented in her mind when he was ushered from the room. Her lord murmured quietly to her surprise in the King’s health. Silently, she nodded stiffly, barely moving, as if she was a statue, ignoring most of what he said, she was not brought here to decide the fate of her country. That was his job. Senihime noted the groups around the edge, no doubt deals were being made in light of the King’s health. Her own party was off to the side, stubbornly refusing to join in, fussing over the weak Emperor. Senihime wondered what was going on, even she knew of the blood feuds, she was answered by a young lord stating he wished to get a small task force together to try and face the problem head on. Now that actually sounds like a solution, finally! Senihime thought, of course her Emperor refused, expected given the weakness he exuded, and without a sound , when the other brave ones exited, brave souls judging by their manner, Senihime followed them wordlessly, her Emperor stood agape at her abandoning him. She heard angry words behind her, honestly not caring, saying quietly as one of his puppet soldiers tried to stop her,

“I refuse to follow one so weak , cowardly and without honor. He would rather our people die than do anything about it. He can play his games, but I will save our people with or without his approval.”

As Senihime exited the castle, she remembered the lord , Desmun the others called him, requesting all interested parties to meet him at the stables. In her usual stiff and stony fashion, Senihime walked toward the stables, seeing Desmun, stopping a few feet away from him, stiffly bowing her head slightly, her hands together. She stood there a second, somewhat awkwardly, saying in her feminine, slightly harsh edged voice,

“Should I get my horse, or shall I wait here?”

No introduction, nothing other than that slightly terse sentence. Senihime was not used to introducing herself, or really any other social interaction. Generally, everyone knew who she was, and all she did was say a few words, and it was done. Judging by the fact everyone else was likely strangers, Senihime just stood quietly to one side, waiting for others to make the first move.
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by That's Great Bob on Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:21 am

Jorlon


Regrettably the night before was a haze of drinking and revelry, what things could be deciphered from the foggy images led Jorlon to his current location at the stables near the edge of the city, in a roundabout way. It hadn't been too long ago, that, perhaps by chance or the strange hands of fate that Jorlon, while attempting to ease the throbbing pain in his head while standing outside the inn, saw a 'familiar' face pass by. Desmun, was it? Jorlon thought briefly. He was someone he'd seen the night before, one of the few faces that bounced around his blurred memory. There was something in particular about this young man, a young man from Direwood nonetheless, that held Jorlon's interest. Pursuing his interest, Jorlon walked from the side of the inn and followed the man as he made his way to the nearby stables. He watched as the stable-boy fetched the man's horse, a fine beast it was.

When Jorlon had arrived the night before, he recalled how the stable-boy was treated by his horse. Flaring nostrils and the impatient stamping of hooves made the boy a bit nervous and led Jorlon to stable the horse himself, which he didn't mind and in fact had intended to do all along, he was used to tending to his own creatures. Perched on the top wooden plank of the stable housing his horse, was Jorlon's other companion, his hawk, blinding cap still on to keep the bird calm. "Good morning, Nvorsk" familiar voice soothed the bird and he persuaded it to move onto his gloved hand then onto the thick leather plate on his shoulder. Jorlon patted his horse's chest then untied the reins from the stable and led the horse out, nodding to the stable-boy with a smirk as Sjortar whinnied and was kind enough to leave some manure on the stable floor before departing.

Making their way outside, Jorlon led Sjortar around the stables and to the grassy clearing he'd seen Desmun move to. When he entered the clearing he spotted the man's horse, and Desmun himself crouching near a tree. Moments later however, a person clad in strange foreign armor approached and posed a question for Desmun.

“Should I get my horse, or shall I wait here?” It was the female voice that gave away the gender of the figure. She must not have seen Jorlon, for she paid no mind to him, or perhaps it was deliberate and she intended to ignore him. That couldn't be allowed, not on a good day, especially not on a day where Jorlon was already irritable.

"Desmun, was it?" Jorlon barked his question, looking to the man, now ignoring the ironclad figure only feet away. His voice was rude, yes, and it was intentional. After all, she was only a woman, all that armor and weaponry was most likely just for show, she would almost certainly have difficulty moving in such armor, senseless posturing. Sjortar had taken to biting at what little blades of green grass remained, completely ignoring the others around, even when Jorlon placed Nvorsk on the pommel of the saddle. Not waiting for an answer to what he already knew, he proceeded with his rather direct line of questioning. "What's a strange couple like you waiting for out here amongst horses and their shit?" He did a bit of posturing himself, rolling his shoulders and adjusting the large axe on his back. It was really no business of his, but strange and dangerous things were happening these days, and when strange things happened around you, it did a person good to be aware of those happenings.
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Safton on Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:50 pm

Safton


Safton and Rixel had watched, breathless, as Desmun finished up his speech to the Cardinal. The Knight-Commander had been right – the young man was wise beyond his years. Charismatic, too. He delivered the speech well. Whether it would have any lasting effect remained to be seen. As the young lord left the main chamber, Safton watched to see the doors he passed through open moments later to admit none other than High Queen Julia of Ajora.

The monarch was taller than average, with an air of flawless poise and elegant grace that was obvious to anyone who so much as glanced in her direction. Dark-haired, fair-skinned, with deep blue eyes. In several ways, her appearance favored that of Safton. This was no coincidence – both of them hailed from Nantenland.

The room fell silent momentarily as the Queen entered. Safton was the first to bow, followed quickly by everyone else in the chamber. She raised one hand and gestured for them to carry on. Conversations quickly began again following the interruption. The Knight-Commander and Rixel bowed once again as the Queen approached the two of them.

The monarch smirked at the gesture. “Come now. Is that any way to greet an old friend?”

Safton smiled despite himself, standing up to face the beautiful Empress. “Only if that friend is one's rightful High Queen, Your Grace.”

Julia smiled. “It is good to see you again, Ser Safton. It has been many years.”

The knight nodded. “It has.”

Julia turned to look at Rixel, who was clearly somewhat dumbfounded. “And Lady Rixel. You’ve certainly grown since last I saw you!” the woman remarked happily.

Safton’s sister smiled at the comment. “An honor to see you again, Your Grace.”

Returning the smile, the Queen gently said, “Would you mind terribly if I borrowed your brother for a moment?”

“Not at all,” Rixel replied quickly.

Julia nodded, extending the crook of her arm to the knight who was clearly somewhat surprised himself. Nonetheless, he took the Queen’s arm as she led him outside. Her bodyguards followed several meters behind the two, ever vigilant. Safton looked back over his shoulder to see Rixel, her eyebrows raised at him. He shrugged slightly before turning back.

Outside the main chamber and away from the din of dozens of simultaneous conversations, Queen Julia turned to face the knight. She sighed, unblinking. “It truly is good to see you again, Safton.”

“Likewise, Your Grace,” he replied.

“Oh, please. You can dispense with the pleasantries. What happened to the old days, when you used to call me ‘Jules’?”

“Hardly a fitting name for a Queen, don’t you think?” Safton replied lightheartedly, gaining some confidence.

“I was your friend long before I was your Queen, Safton,” Julia replied, her blue eyes shimmering.

After a pause, the Queen added in a quiet and serious tone, “I always wondered, all these years: Why didn’t you send word, Safton? After what happened with your family and Lord Pyral… I could have helped, you know. I could have spoken to my father.”

The knight shook his head. “I couldn’t. It wasn’t your problem to solve. You were a young Queen less than a year away from home. To involve you with the internal politics of two minor noble families in Nantenland…you would have lost all credibility.”

The Queen’s mouth was agape as she stared at the man. After a moment, she smiled sadly. “Always thinking of others before yourself. You haven’t changed in the least.”

Safton returned the gaze silently.

“In any case, it’s good to see things worked themselves out. Look at you: a Knight-Commander of the Vanguard. When I received word of your ascension, I was hardly surprised,” the woman spoke quickly in an attempt to change the subject.

“Are you happy here, Julia?” Safton spoke the words before he realized they were leaving his mouth.

The Queen seemed taken aback by the question. She stumbled to reply while the man quickly waved it away. “I’m sorry, that was out of line. I—“

“It’s alright, Safton. That… is not an easy question to answer. I was needed to stop a war and I knew what was expected of me. I would do it all over again, given the choice. I… have learned to take pride in my station,” the Queen spoke slowly and deliberately, her face giving away nothing outwardly.

Safton clenched his teeth, biting his tongue. He had no right to speak – he of all people knew what it meant to carry out your duties regardless of reservations. Still… he couldn’t help but have a reaction – anger, pain, sorrow; he wasn’t sure – to the Queen’s explanation. Despite her words, her eyes said all that needed to be said. Or maybe he was simply letting their history cloud his judgment.

“I see,” was all he said.

After another silence, Julia spoke up again. “You’re riding to Galgaroth with Lord Desmun’s task force, then.” It was a statement, not a question.

The Knight-Commander nodded. “I am.”

“You are this kingdom’s best hope right now. Know that. And know that I believe in all of you, even if others do not. I know the nobles back home will have reservations about this plan, so I'll send word to my father. Perhaps that will help persuade he and the others... but I cannot promise much.”

“I understand, Your Grace,” Safton said, his tone a bit sharper than he intended.

Julia frowned at the formal title and the sound of the man's voice. To the knight’s surprise, she took his hand in her own briefly. “Be careful, Safton.” Then she released him, turning back to slowly walk back towards the keep.

“As you wish… Jules,” Safton said quietly, watching her and her guards return to the enormous main chamber.

Arafor sighed, rubbing his eyes briefly until Rixel approached. “What was that about, brother?”

Safton shook his head. “Just wishing us luck,” he replied stiffly.

“I see,” the young woman replied with a quirk of her lips.

The knight chose to drop the subject. “Has the delegation left?”

Rixel nodded. “Yes, they were in quite the hurry after the speech you gave them.”

Safton nodded. “Good. I need you to go with them.”

His sibling frowned. “You’re serious? No, I’m going to ride with you to Galgaroth. I can help.”

Safton cut her off, putting his hand on her shoulder. “I know you can. But I need you to ensure that the message gets delivered. There are some who will do all they can to prevent the deployment of troops back home. Ensure sure that Malcolm knows we have his daughter's blessing. If that is not enough, I need you to remind King Malcolm of his obligations to Ajora and to our family, if need be.  Don’t let them ignore us.”

Rixel closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. “So you need me to pester the nobility the way I’ve pestered you all these years?”

Safton smiled. “Precisely. This task force – important though it may be – is merely a stopgap. Without the rest of the Vanguard and the lordly troops after them, it will be all for naught.”

Rixel sighed. “Very well. I’ll go. But stay safe, brother. Promise me?”

“Always, dear sister – and the same to you. I’ll see you in a few weeks.”

The two embraced before leaving to gather their supplies. Safton looked over his armor and weaponry – all in perfect condition, naturally. But the Knight-Commander was not one for complacency all the same. After changing into more practical clothing for the road and packing away his gear, Arafor made his way to the stables to fetch Atticus.


Last edited by Safton on Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:41 am; edited 5 times in total

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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Spectre on Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:56 pm

Rocas

Emerging from the other end of the stables was Rocas Vargen. Covered in his black cloak with long black furs at the collar, he lead his large horse to the tree where Desmun was squatted, Jorlon had said something sounding aggressive, and there stood the large warrior from Kubana as well.

"Jorlon-" he hollered with a chuckle. "Do you always sound grumpy, or are you actually trying to be rude?" he called out so they could hear him from his short distance, leading his large dark brown horse made for powering through cold drifts. He and Jorlon weren't necessarily 'friends' by any means, but they were friendly acquaintances from back home in Midgard. He had been happy Jorlon came along- he probably had need of a bit of a vacation, and something to keep his mind active. Jorlon and Rocas' father, Kjaren, were better acquainted. Stopping at Jorlon's side, looking to the other three, he smiled and shifted his shoulders, holding his quiver and composite bow.

Desmun

Looking to the large warrior- who was apparently also a Lady- he nodded.
"Glad to see you coming along for the journey- go ahead and fetch your horse. You'll need it." he nodded to the stableboys working away inside the stable.

He then turned his head quickly to note the large man who appeared to be from Midgard. Friendly enough guy, or so it seemed.

"You weren't at the summit, were you?" he asked, not recognizing him.
He then heard Rocas' interjection coming from their flank. "Ah, you 'are' from Midgard." he smiled. "I'm sure Rocas wouldn't mind filling you in- but we're all riding into Galgaroth..." he said, slightly more dismal.

Looking over to Rocas, he smiled, "So far this looks like it may be a fun party-" he chuckled. He had seen Rocas the night before and spoke with him- however not at length. Though they did entertain at the same drinking games, and bellowing out old songs of ancient heroes and myth. Desmun looked more hopeful now, seeing that his message had certainly taken interest in some. Others- like Jorlon, seemed to just come along for the ride.

Desmun looked off- getting a bit nervous that neither anyone from Galgaroth nor Nantenland were showing up...

Though he then heard another sound coming from the side that Rocas came from. The Midgardian and Ishtan horses and camels must have been stabled close to each other...

It was a man upon a camel. A fairly young man, with a black tunic and purple cowl-scarf over his neck and shoulders. Clearly from Ishtan. This man was also in the summit, as well. Desmun tried to remember his name, but as the man rode his camel closer, he finally got it-
"Ehab- I'm surprised to see you along for the journey..."

the young man piped up- "I may be a scholar, but I was trained with the sword as well. Besides, you may need an intellectual along for the ride."

Desmun shrugged. "The more the merrier, really. Long as you can carry your own weight." The ishtan man smiled and nodded his head. Ehab would be more important to the questthan they would know.

Desmun stood and looked around, still a little nervous, and watched Rocas stand casually next to his horse. Galgaroth nor Nanten had yet to show up....

"Great..." he muttered to himself, looking to the sun. He had been sitting in wait for near an hour now. Hopefully the rest would arrive soon... They may not be successful without Ser Safton's skills, and Lord Galgaroth by his side, he sort of counted on that. Hopefully he would see them arrive soon.
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Safton on Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:02 pm

Safton


Safton left the inn that had accommodated him and the other Nanten, all of which seemed to have already left. His boots pounded heavily against the cobblestone as the Knight-Commander made his way toward the stables. He was heavily-laden with packs and satchels containing supplies and equipment, not to mention his weapons. The man was carrying a load that would slow many men to a crawl, but his large frame supported the weight well enough to allow him a steady pace.

He realized that the others may already be waiting for him. It was a frustrating thought. Safton loathed being late for any engagement. Still, that was not the only thought swirling in his head. The horde that would soon flood across Ajora if left unchecked loomed in his mind like a dark shadow. He was unsure what the group would find in Galgaroth, but it would undoubtedly be less than pleasant. Although he would miss his sister's companionship on the journey, he was glad to know that she would be safe, at least for now. The realist in him understood that the coming darkness, if not turned back, would ensure that no one in Ajora was safe for long.

Despite all of these concerns, there was another which occupied his mind. The Queen. He could not forget his old friend's sad blue eyes as she explained herself to him. Slowly, his mind drifted back to the day she had left Nantenland all those years ago. Called away to fulfill a greater purpose: become a Queen, end a war. The conversation they had shared under the clear blue sky...

Safton shook his head, clearing the memory from his mind. He was the Knight-Commander of the Vanguard. He wouldn't be distracted like this. Couldn't be distracted like this. He had a job to do. Everything else could wait. Looking ahead, he saw that he was nearing the stables. They were a few dozen meters ahead of him. The man stopped, reaching into the collar of his shirt and fishing out a pendant. It consisted of a red gold circle hanging from a white gold chain. The circle was engraved on one side with the symbol of a rising sun. On the other, two swords crossed over a shield. Despite being very old, the necklace gleamed brightly in the sunlight as if it had just been smelted that morning.

With a sigh, Safton returned the amulet to its place under his shirt and continued ahead to the stable. He entered the front, stopping as the stable boy approached. "Can I help you, my Lord?" he asked timidly.

Safton raised his eyebrows. "I certainly hope so. I'm looking for a warhorse, Atticus–"

No doubt hearing the mention of his name, Atticus's distinctive snort could be heard near the back corner of the stable. Safton smiled, approaching the booth from which the noise had emanated. "Never mind. I seem to have found him."

The knight rubbed the horse's neck, regarding the animal and his remarkable blue roan coat, which seemed to have been brushed. His feed and water buckets were both full; he had been well taken care of. He flipped a coin to the stable boy, who joyfully caught it. The knight led the horse from the booth, fitting him with the saddle and travel bags before exiting the rear of the stable.

The man was somewhat taken aback to see a small gathering in a grassy clearing just beyond the rear of the stables. Desmun was waiting, as expected. With him were two Midgardians and an Ishtan man. The one that truly caught his eye was the imposing warrior, clad fully in armor. Only upon close inspection did Safton see that the warrior was, in fact, female. Looking at the foreign armor and curved sword, it did not take long for the Knight-Commander to guess that she hailed from Kubana, a land which the Nanten spoke little about and knew even less.

Regarding the group, Safton raised his eyebrows before speaking aloud, "I apologize for the delay. I had... matters to attend to."


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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Ruu on Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:18 pm

Liathe

Liathe had listened quietly to Desmun's speech and watched as Safton left with the Queen. Soon after, he returned with Trystan to his quarters to gather his things and to prepare himself for the journey ahead. Trystan glowered the whole time until they reached the inn.

"Master Liathe, I cannot be silent any longer! And if it earns me your disfavor or banishment, so be it," the young man suddenly spoke, eyes on fire.

"I know what you have to say, Trystan," sighed Liathe, sounding weary, "But it will not change my mind. We will ride together to Galgaroth's aid, and then we will support Nantenland. This is not a time to allow petty quarrels to cast a pall over the land. The one who shall remain nameless already has done that. We should not exacerbate it with bitter fighting."

"But they have murdered our people! They've attacked our borders, burnt our crops, destroyed our villages. How can you even consider working with them? How could you address them with such respect?" cried Trystan.

"Trystan...the Church of the Mother..." Liathe began.

"I care not," Trystan interrupted, "For your teachings. Liathe, you are the heir of Galgaroth now. And as such, it is high time you started acting like one!"

Liathe's face paled as he finished collecting his things, "I'm sorry I don't meet your approval Trystan. I can only be who I am. I will not change just because of these circumstances. But I will do what I feel is best for my people."

Before Trystan could reply, an arrow sped through the open window, narrowly missing Liathe's head.

"Down!" shouted Trystan, tackling Liathe to the floor as another arrow embedded itself in the wall, right where Liathe had been standing.

The door began to crack from something striking it from the outside, as a shadowy figure crawled through the window. Trystan crawled towards the window, swiping at the legs of the man silhouetted in the window. There was a cry of pain, a thump, and a cry as Trystan pierced the assailant's heart. The door caved in, revealing three more figures, these a bit more wary than their fallen compatriot. For a few moments, no one moved, before Trystan gave a loud cry and rushed at one of the men in doorway. Another cry as a sword pierced something vital, and the sound of swords clashing...Liathe struggled to his feet, when he heard Trystan cry out.

"Trystan!" shouted Liathe, just as a burly arm was wrapped around his neck.

"He's dead, just like you're gonna be. Can't believe you'd be so stupid with a single guard," grunted a harsh voice.

Without warning, the grip around Liathe was loosened and the man slumped to the ground. The Galgaroth noble found himself face to face with Mother Tirelle. He turned to see the man fallen to the ground, asleep, whether through prayer or a pressure point, Liathe wasn't sure. Tirelle gently took his hand and led him over to where Trystan had fallen, just outside the door, dying from multiple wounds.

"Trystan!" cried Liathe in anguish, "No...I..."

"Shhh...Master Liathe...I'm sorry...for speaking so harshly...I..."

Tirelle knelt before him, closing her eyes in prayer for a few moments, but shook her head after about a minute.

"It is his time, Liathe...even the Mother does not answer my prayers...Or perhaps the shadow has become too dark..." whispered Tirelle, eyes filled with pity.

"Trystan...I'm sorry if I..." Liathe tried again, knowing his own prayers would be futile if even Tirelle could do nothing.

"Don't be sorry...I should be the one...to be sorry...Master Liathe...be strong...you will make...a fine...ruler..."

Trystan's head slumped to the side, and he was gone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There was little time for a proper burial; Tirelle said a few words and then took Trystan's lifeless body, instructing another priest by the name of Andel to accompany Liathe to keep him safe. Tirelle was going to inter the body at the local Church of the Mother and then would rejoin the group. With a heavy heart, Liathe followed Andel to the stables. Everyone else was already there; much time had been lost during the attack.

"I apologize..." Liathe said softly, trying to keep himself composed, "We were delayed...by an attack..."

"Mother Tirelle told me to give you the message that she will follow behind. For now, I will act in her stead," said Andel quietly, waiting for Liathe to reveal what had happened.

Liathe could find no words, however, instead going over to his horse and preparing it for the ride ahead.
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Spectre on Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:38 pm

Desmun

Nightfall was coming. The sun was beginning to set on the horizon, and the sky was turning a golden orange color, and the horizons turning black.

Desmun watched as Ser Safton had arrived. "It's a pleasure again, Ser Safton. I'm glad you've made it. I honestly wasn't sure you would after some time." Desmun snickered. His face was reassured, but only for a few moments as his confident mannerism turned to hurried yet again. Lord Galgaroth was not here yet.

"Now you all realize we won't be home for some time.. yes? I hope you've all prepared yourselves..." his voice faded, "Gods, I hope -I've- prepared myself," he rolled his eyes in jest. He turned to look at his horse yet again, checking the saddle bags and his provisions. Enough to last him to Galgaroth it seemed. Maybe a little longer, but not much. "We may need to begin making a few torches. It's suicide to go riding at night without fire these days..." he looked around at everyone.

No matter how hearty the warrior, they could be ambushed and taken off guard without being able to see a few feet in front of them. Especially by the abominations that give more resemblance to men. Standing anywhere between three and four feet, with green to red skin tones are Goblins. Goblins aren't very smart, bu tin numbers, and at night- where they have the advantage of low-light vision, they can cut down a caravan of knights unprepared. Though they aren't hard to dispatch or scare off once they come out. The hob-goblins are another story. Hobgoblins are smart and tough. The size of men with neutral colors of skin. Thick fangs and growling voices. They have been the second most numerous monster seen and reported. Elves, on the other hand. Well, it's best just not to think about that. Everyone knew about each of these to some small extent....

Though as the sun continued setting, Lord Galgaroth had arrived.

"Not to worry, Lord Galgaroth. I am glad to see you arrive..." He noted the other follower of the mother there with him, "Welcome aboard, Andal." he said with a nod, before looking to everyone else in his troupe. He was glad to have so many at his side for this. He put a foot in one of his saddle's stirrups and slung himself over his horse.

"We have about four days between here and Galgaroth Castle. Lord Galgaroth, you and Andel will have to guide us to your clerics' holds once we cross the borders." Desmun said. He gave another look to everyone in his troupe, committing them to memory, as well as giving them all unsaid thanks for agreeing to come along. He didn't really know what else to say...

He began to slowly lead his horse to the Castle gates to exit the city and head west toward the mountain ridge. Rocas leapt up to his horse, his black cape spun out and laid gently atop his horses back behind him. The horse trotted a bit before settling to a walk once caught up just behind Desmun's horse. Ehab smiled at everyone, and his camel- once lying down now stood, and began following Desmun to the Gates to leave the Crown CIty....





Off, more than a week's travel north in the country of Liseria, was a troupe of Knights. These were the elite of the eight kingdoms. Part of the Crown Guard. There was a small covered wagon that was lightly armored with about ten knights on, and around it. This wagon was parked out front of a small Monastery. It was tiny compared to what most would think of a cathedral, but it still held a stalwart beauty to it. The single bell tower at the entrance, and the tall stained glass windows- one on each side of the door. This Monastery could maybe house about 72 people within it's doors comfortably, and that's it. It was grey outside, and starting to rain. Storm clouds were coming to the monastery, and the winds picked up. This group was here to get the Crown Prince and take him safely to Ishtan, before moving him back home to Fanethia.


Liseria...
Ser Aeron

Thunder would flash, igniting the land below for a mere flicker of white light. Standing inside a small humble Monastery, Ser Aeron Sedolfus waited at the door, a few yards further in the room began the red carpet in the nave leading down the aisles, to the central pulpit. Dark candle light from the walls lit his golden colored armor, and his long red hooded tabard emblazoned with the white symbol of the Ruvelian faith. His hood blocked the light from his face, but he seemed to like it this way. The young knight seemed to fit right in here, as he was wearing similar colors to the decorations inside. The ornate carpets were crimson with golden yellow embroideries. On the pulpit, standing in wait was a Knight of the Crown’s Guard, her silver pauldrons shining in the dim light. She was chatting idly with the priest who was there, and beyond them kneeling at the altar was a young boy, dressed in white robes.

Getting bored, and rather impatient, Aeron leaned back in the doorway crossing his arms, resting against the narthex opening to the Monastery’s nave. Listening to the rain pounding the ground outside, the low rumble of thunder in the clouds, it seemed a grim circumstance. He could hear the hushed chatter of the priest inside. It was mostly idle chat that held no substance that he could hear, anyhow. He could then hear the young boy’s voice then speaking. Turning his head so he could try to use his peripheral vision to look down the aisle at the three, he then saw the boy was done praying.

“Good.” He thought to himself, “We’ve been here nearly an hour.” He lifted himself from his lean and walked a few steps into the aisle, showing the three inside that it was time to leave.

The wide priest’s hairless head shone in the candlelight as he leaned down and smiled to the young boy,
“Go with God, your grace.”
The boy smiled back and returned the remark. He then looked over to the Crown Guard Knight and smiled bigger- “Do we have to go now?” He was reluctant. Couldn’t have been more than eight or nine, but he was a sweet boy. Prince Tarwen spent most of his life in and out of monasteries at the order of his King Father. Especially now that the continent has come under attack.

The tall female knight smirked back. She had a motherly sort of aura about her when dealing with the boy. “We do. The caravan is ready outside.” Her voice was very petite for what she appeared. Taller than most women, she looked like a soldier. She clasped her gloved hands before her, sort of bowing her head to the boy, aquamarine eyes softening as she spoke to him.

“Prince Tarwen, are we ready?” Aeron asked- voice carrying from the other end of tha monastery. His tone was attempting to be nice, but he was given orders, and he didn’t want to wait around too long. The boy looked to him and nodded his head. The Priest patted the boy on the head before they had to part ways.

“Thank you, Father.” Aeron smiled to the priest, thankful to again be on their way. Aeron stepped aside, and held his armored hand out as a gesture for the Lady Knight and the Crown Prince to head for the door.

“Always a pleasure, Ser Aeron”. The priest followed the two as they walked down the aisle between the pew benches before reaching the archway of the narthex entry. “I’ll see you soon, Young Prince.” The man spoke with hope, stroking his long gray goatee.

“It won’t be long, Father.” The Lady Knight turned her head to look over her shoulder at the priest. Her assurance gave the boy much hope, but the priest was always worried about the Prince. Prince Tarwen had been under the tutelage of Father Marten for a few years now. He had grown attached, as it was easy to do. The boy was not like many would assume a Crown Prince to be. Not stubborn or arrogant. He was easy going, empathetic, and smart for his age. Unfortunately, though, he was frail. Born with a rather weak immune system, the time away from his bed was spent in eager and energetic adventure. At least, that’s how he’d like it.

Though just as the priest opened his mouth to again wish them fair travels, the wooden door they were heading for burst open, a member of the crown guard falling through. Catching him by the arms as he fell to his knees, Aeron’s heart started pounding in his throat-

“My Lady!!” he shouted to his comrade. Aeron just noticed that the dark curly haired knight had a crossbow bolt buried in his left shoulder, between his pauldron and his chain shirt. Letting the knight down slowly,

“What’s happened-?!” Aeron shouted, trying to look outside into the darkness, hearing swords clash, and muddled shouts. The now heavy rain and thunder made everything sound distorted. Ser Aeron moved the wounded knight to lean against the wall before he dashed out the large rectangular doorway into the loud pouring rain.

What he was able to see first- was the Horses drawing the wagon were spooked. Lightning flashed, and he was able to see knights clashing with men wearing green hooded cloaks. Ears pounding with his heartbeat, ser Aeron then saw a rugged man in a tattered green cloak winding a crossbow, and aiming it toward Ser Ruanik Stenhelm's back.

Dashing for him, Ser Aeron drew his longsword and cut the man down in seemingly one swift movement of his draw. Three green cowled men now lay dead scattered across the ground laying in rain puddles and mud, while the rest clashed with the dozen or so crown guard.

This was not good. The Prince was being guarded by a Father of the cloth, and a wounded Knight, hopefully that would be enough for now, as the greencloaks seemed to outnumber the knights around 2 to 1. At least, up front.


Last edited by Spectre on Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:18 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Gadreille on Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:59 pm

Antoiph

Antoiph held the wooden tree pendant to his mouth and whispered a prayer to Saint Ruvel. The rain had already soaked his dark brown hair, but he threw his green cloak hood over his head anyway. He took off running, his grey eyes glancing side to side to make sure his five companions followed him. The first wave of the Forgotten Brigade already hit, and now it was his job to use these men to push through the Crown Guard and enter the monastery…or die trying.

Death was imminent, either way. As Captain of this Forgotten Brigade unit, he was assigned to kidnap the crowned Prince Tarwen. After studying the monastery inside and out (a passing traveler from Nemor was welcome, and a brown cloak was far less noticeable than a green one) he realized that he didn’t have enough men to take Tarwen by force. What he did find was a hidden door in back, giving access to the river. The job Antoiph and the other nineteen men had was to distract the crown guard long enough for the other two to stealthily kidnap Prince Tarwen.

Antoiph charged toward the monastery door and was immediately engaged in combat. At forty two years, Antoiph had seen his fair share of fighting, but he was nearly outmatched by the knight. Every blow he landed was met by protective steel, and his lack of decent armor immediately put him on the defensive. He backed away until pressed against the wagon. His feet sank into deep mud as the rain fell harder, and Antoiph smiled. He may not be well armored, but he was a hell of a lot lighter than his opponent. He dropped forward suddenly into the mud and crashed into one of the knight’s legs. The knight slipped, and flailed to catch his balance – just long enough of a distraction for Antoiph to pull his dagger and jam it into the armpit of his opponent. Blood spurted onto Antoiph’s face, and the horses behind him screamed.

The sound made Antoiph’s heart flutter. He jumped away out of instinct. He could ride a horse well enough, but he was terrified to face a person on horseback. Being trampled was…well, he didn’t want to think about it. So he didn’t think as picked his sword out of the mud and killed the pair of whinnying animals.

He turned away from the carnage and assessed the situation. Most of the men on the ground were his own. Swords clashed around him, but the smell of blood was weak under the pouring rain. He glanced about to see if anyone had made it through the doors. After a quick mental calculation he realized that none had. There was no way to know if the two he sent from the river had succeeded unless someone made it into the monastery to confirm. There was one injured knight in the doorway, and all of the other knights were actively in battle. There was no time to try and win this fight by force, so he charged for the door, preparing himself for whatever the injured knight had to offer - and what lay within.
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Re: Vision of the Storm

Post by Safton on Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:04 am

Ruanik

The attack had come quickly and brutally. The Crown Guard hadn’t been prepared for it, not entirely. That was a grievous failure in Ruanik’s mind, for it was their prerogative to always be prepared for any contingency that may threaten the Crown Prince. Nonetheless, even as the men in green cloaks rushed from the wood line in droves, the guards did their best to hold their ground. They would make these green-cloaked bastards pay for every inch if it gave the Prince a greater chance at survival and escape.

Ruanik had been stationed near the front door of the chapel. As battle was joined, he advanced toward the nearest assailant cautiously, longsword and heater shield in-hand. He quickly raised the latter to block a knife that the man had hurled at his throat. He felt the light thud of the blade slamming into the barrier, heard the clang as it bounced ineffectually to the ground. As he lowered the shield, he found that the attack had merely been a distraction. The assassin had closed the distance and was swinging at the side of his helmet with a short sword.

Stenhelm sidestepped the blow narrowly, chopping at the man’s wrist in retaliation. The steel blade sliced through the light leather vambraces of the man with contemptuous ease, nearly severing his hand. Blood was spilled as the bandit cried out in pain. Nonetheless, he turned back to Ruanik and swung down with his good hand, which held a dirk. The knight caught the dagger on his shield, shoving it upward while chopping at the man’s now-vulnerable thigh with his sword.

The vibrations from the impact reverberated up through his arm as the sword bit deep into the muscle of the assassin’s leg. Once again he cried out before collapsing to his knees. Ruanik finished him quickly with a slash across the throat. No chances could be taken with the Prince’s safety. Even a mortally-wounded threat was unallowable.

Stenhelm turned quickly to ensure he hadn’t been flanked while engaged with his opponent. To his surprise, he was staring down a crossbow aimed squarely at his chest. Before he could even think to react, Ser Aeron blurred into action, bringing the man down in the blink of an eye. There was no time to thank the man or even breathe a sigh of relief, however. More green cloaks were converging on the chapel. Ruanik stepped back towards the front door – they had to tighten their perimeter.

Movement caught the Crown Guard’s eye as one of the assassins made a move. He was rushing towards the door, intent on getting inside. Stenhelm grimly made a mental note of the fact that the man’s blade was already stained red with blood. He moved with the sure-footedness of a trained fighter.

With nary a second thought, Ruanik stepped defiantly into the man’s path. He rushed towards the man, shield held outward in front of himself. The knight was no giant, but he was a large man all the same. He had every intention of serving as a human battering ram in order to keep the assassin at bay.

-----------

Antoiph hadn’t made it halfway to the door before one of the knights stepped into the doorway. The knight immediately caught sight of Antoiph and charged toward him, shield raised high. Antoiph cursed and spun, the shield glancing a blow on Antoiph’s shoulder. He ignored the scream of pain and lifted his sword, intent on slicing the knight from behind – but he was too fast. Already the knight had pivoted so that his shield took the brunt of the hit. Antoiph bounced off of it awkwardly and spun back into position. The two men circled one another, only briefly, before Antoiph raised his sword to attack once again.

The bandit captain brought his blade down in a brutal overhead arc. Ruanik narrowly managed to raise his heater shield in time to catch the blow which vibrated into his forearm through the metal barrier. Sensing an opportunity, the knight prepared to drive his own sword forward into his opponent’s gut. However, in his haste to strike down his opponent, the veteran soldier didn’t see the wickedly-sharp dagger gleaming in the assassin’s left hand. Antoiph thrust outward with the short blade, aiming at the gap in Ruanik’s armor below the shoulder. The area was covered only by chainmail, which the knife would pierce with ease.  The knight would bleed out in seconds. Stenhelm knew that he couldn’t afford to risk dying himself to land a killing blow on a single bandit; the numbers were too far in the assassins’ favor for that.

Ruanik pivoted, sidestepping just enough to allow the dagger to glance off of his metal pauldron. Upon regaining his composure, he rushed forward once again to slam at Antoiph with his shield – this was merely a ploy. The real attack would come from below, in the form of a vicious chop at the thigh from his sword.

There weren’t many options for Antoiph, so when the knight charged him with the shield, he decided to fall. Apparently the knight had been expecting resistance – he fell atop of Antoiph, and as they fell together Antoiph felt the bite of his opponent’s sword on his leg. He hadn’t even noticed the attack, but he was lucky; the sword had tilted off kilter and the wound that might have killed Antoiph became a mere inconvenience. He struggled to bring his dagger to the knight’s neck.

Ruanik rolled off of Antoiph, narrowly ducking the dagger, and swung the sword to in an attempt to bring about Antoiph’s demise via decapitation. Antoiph parried awkwardly, holding the opponents sword back with his own as he struggled to rise. Ruanik pushed forward, and Antoiph felt himself slipping backward in the mud. The sword’s edge reached ever closer to his skin, and Antoiph for the first time began to fear for his life. A sudden burst of adrenaline gave Antoiph strength, and he redirected Ruanik’s momentum to the ground beside him. He rolled away as the enemy's sword plunged into the ground that had just been beside his head.

The knight attempted, desperately, to yank his sword from the ground. The mud did not give, however; Ruanik could hear the popping of suction as it held on to the blade stubbornly. He was nearly caught off guard when Antoiph moved in from his right with surprising quickness, bringing the sword down in an attempt to chop at the knight’s neck.  Ruanik was forced to abandon his own weapon, leaping backwards as the bandit’s blade whipped downward inches from  his face, audibly slicing through the air.

The knight and his opponent squared off, Stenhelm now armed with nothing but his shield. Antoiph pressed his advantage and Ruanik was forced to improvise. He brought up his shield to block the incoming overhead sword blow before reaching up to grab the assassin’s arm with his free hand, all the while turning away from him and stepping inside the man’s legs. He used all the leverage available to him to throw Antoiph over his shoulder and onto the ground in front of him. Even as he did so, he felt the bandit’s dagger slice across the back of his left shoulder, having slipped past the plate and pierced the chainmail.

Antoiph grunted, stunned by the impact as he attempted to squirm away. His cloak was waterlogged and muddy, only adding to the difficulty. Ruanik brought his shield down on the man’s gut, knocking the air from him with a ragged gasp. The knight then drew his own dagger, kneeling down to press it against the assassin’s throat while his knee rested on Antoiph’s wrist. “Drop your weapons,” he hissed sharply. Ruanik felt the familiar flow of warm blood oozing down his back as pain wracked his mind.

Antoiph’s gray eyes held no menace as they examined the edge of the blade before glancing at the knight’s visor. Finally, the man acquiesced. The knight tossed the sword and dagger away before sparing a quick glance around the chapel. He could only hope other members of his troop – to say nothing of the Crown Prince – still lived.

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Re: Vision of the Storm

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