Sephiris: The Price of Peace

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Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:25 pm



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ORIGINS OF TÚLAMAN
======================================

There is the Creator. Before there was time, the the Creator begat a Son, and dwelt inside him. Together they made all things, beginning with heavenly realms. Then the universe was created to hold the stars, to carry the worlds, so that upon one of these worlds there would be life. The chosen world was named Túlaman, and it was formless and empty, ready to receive the foundations of life.

Light came first--it was there already in the form of the Sun and the Moons and the Stars--to illuminate the world and all that would be created upon it; Light, the Creator's Law of Righteousness. Next came Air: the Skies, the Winds, the Breath of Life, the Creator's Joy. A great sphere of Water was made, and all Túlaman was one huge ocean; Water, the Creator's Peace. Until Earth was generated beneath the waves, and separated the water into Rivers, Lakes and Seas; Earth of Field, Valley and Mountain, the Creator's Strength. Finally, Fire was set Túlaman's core alight; Heat, Stimulation, Healing, the Creator's Love.

Túlaman was set in motion, and Life was brought forth as plants grew, animals were created, and finally the first of each of the three races were made. Humans to uphold Righteousness, Elves to guard Life, Dragons to spread Love. For an age, all was in peace and harmony, and the Creator dwelt among his people. But over time, through pride, the races fell from glory. Eventually the knowledge of the Creator was lost, as the races turned their hearts and minds away. Then the Creator departed, and Túlaman rent itself in the agony of it's maker's absence. The great sea sundered the lands, creating isolated continents separated by vast oceans. But the Creator in his mercy would not leave the races to their own devices, to eventually destroy one another. To Túlaman he sent Archangels to represent him to the races, to guide their ways and teach them to remember their purpose. One day, when the races were ready, the Creator would return.



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THE LANDS OF TELMAR
======================================

This role-play takes place on the world of Túlaman, in the area of the world now known as Telmar.



The largest land mass of Telmar, known as Tanuvel, is nearly a thousand miles across. There are several mountain ranges from one end of the continent to the other, with a plentitude of rivers. Tanuvel is green with forests and fields, and wildlife abounds. Ruins are everywhere, mostly buried beneath the earth or overgrown by foliage--traces of lost civilizations that crumbled to dust as the land shook and rent and separated after the Creator's departure.

Around Tanuvel are a number of large islands, most of them exhibiting the same level of plenty found on Tanuvel. These islands have lower mountains and thicker forests, and there are fewer open areas, but far more wildlife. Despite the state of destruction and separation, Telmar--like all of Túlaman--is still verdant and rich in every form of life.

The Archangel Sephiris has charge over this area of the world. Telmar is her home, her burden, her purpose, until her mission is accomplished. Until the races reunite in harmony, and the Creator returns to the world.



======================================
THE HISTORY OF TELMAR
======================================

Sephiris, charged with bringing the people under her care back into harmony, told the races of the Creator whom she served, whose Son she answered to. She founded the religion to unite them, establishing rituals and ordinances to help them keep the moral law. Sephiris was also charged with teaching the races to re-discover their purpose. Humans to uphold Righteousness, Elves to guard Life, Dragons to spread Love. She spread the one language to everyone and assigned it to Humans, so that the religion would penetrate every corner of society. To Elves, she taught a new language, a language to commune with birds and beasts, forests and fields--to learn knowledge of the ways of the world, and to be its keepers. To Dragons, she taught another language: a language of Fire, that they might feel the Creator's Love and spread it throughout the land; this language had power over the elements of life, the power of resonance, the power of music, to teach all things to exist in greater harmony.

At first, all went well, and Sephiris began to hope that the Creator would soon return. But, over time, Sephiris' teachings were twisted. Humans became prideful; Elves sought to bend the natural laws of the world to their own ends by creating weapons and mixing potions; and Dragons used their language to bend the elements of life to their own will, rather than inspiring love and harmony. Humans learned the ways of Evil, Elves learned the ways of Death, Dragons learned the ways of Hate. But that was only the beginning.

G'sanarkath, a power-hungry Dragon, made himself a Warlord and set out to conquer the world--their known world of Telmar--that Dragons might rule. King Orion XXI of the Humans and High Lord Talien of the Elves stirred their people to rise up and meet the mortal challenge. War smothered the land, driving Sephiris away with its dark, chaotic energy, so that she could do little to help. Sephiris retreated and made herself a safe haven, hiding from the darkness that grieved and pained her so. Eventually, Sephiris fell asleep.

The war continued for sixteen years. Finally a ceasefire was called, and all agreed to separate from one another, lest, by the end of the bloodshed, there be nothing left. Boundaries were drawn, and the three races separated from one another. For many, many years, the boundaries were never crossed. All harmony between races was gone. After a time, however, contact between races was eventually made, at first in the form of merchants of trade. Merchants, who traveled about everywhere, were always looking for new places to sell their wares. At first the dealings with other races were done in secret, out of fear. Gradually, though, the practice was accepted, and trade between races increased to take a primary place in the arena of commerce. For several centuries there was no war between the races, and harmony began to slowly--ever so slowly--rebuild. Then, at last, Sephiris awakened from her slumber.



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TELMAR'S CURRENT STATE
======================================

These are the current kingdoms, dominions and territories of Telmar.
As shown on the map legend, Blue indicates Humans, Green is for Elves, and Red, Dragons.



Sephiris has awoken. She comes out of her slumber to find Telmar irrevocably changed. Humans have twisted and corrupted the religion she once taught. Elves have become reclusive and over-studious, in ways of war as well as in ways of peace. Dragons have become mistrustful and selfish.



And yet, life goes on. And there is good to be found in the world. Humans, Elves and Dragons live their lives in relative peace. Not in harmony, but at least there is no war. Suffering and wickedness abound, but there is also justice--after a fashion--and love.

However, compared to what once was, and what Sephiris must bring to be again... Telmar is in a sad state indeed. What peace there is cannot hope to continue, let alone improve on its own. Something must be done. And, now that Sephiris is awake, something will be....


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:25 pm



Telmar has thus far accomplished four hundred years without war. Each land has its own struggles, but there has never been an interracial conflict since Sakira's Treaty, the agreement accepted by all three races at the end of the Sixteen Years' War.

Sakira was a dragon, daughter of the warlord Gsanarkath. Sakira was against the war, but only after Gsanarkath's death and Sakira's subsequent rise to power was Sakira able to end the fighting. Sakira's efforts and great accomplishment in the cause of peace earned her a high place in history, especially among the dragon people. She, along with Gedrich, a human champion, and the elf Lord Talien, himself (who together with Gedrich slew Gsanarkath), are considered the heroes of the Sixteen Years' War and the founders of the peace that followed.

Sakira's Treaty ended the fighting by defining boundaries which the races, already separated in war, would agree never to cross in force of arms. For the last four hundred years, this treaty has held, and a semblance of overall harmony has at last been reached.

And, at last, because of this peace, Sephiris has awoken. Though, at first, very few know of the event. Religious leaders in human lands, astronomers in elven lands, and the ruling class of dragon lands are all aware of her awakened presence. Each separate people decides now for themselves what is to be done about her return. Meanwhile, however, Sephiris herself is also at work, calling in dreams to those with a mind to listen.

Synopsis
When Sephiris woke, all races felt her presence on some level. The elves predicted the event, though they knew not what would happen. They sent out investigative parties to ascertain the truth of the matter. Only then would they decide what is to be done. The dragons felt an increase in their magical abilities, and the high castes of Sakira-thani conferred together and sent out a small group to find the source. The human Zephirisian priests, deceived into the belief that Sephiris is Zephiris the Creator, were nevertheless attuned to the waking Sephiris, and felt strongly her rejuvenated presence. In Sephalia they keep the knowledge hidden from the public, fearing that they will disbelieve and so bring doom down upon them all; they instead petition the royalty to allow the priests to locate Zephiris' resting place, the site of her new temple. Meanwhile, the Zephirisian priests of Mandor have proclaimed the event to all the land. They held a great ceremony, marking those willing with a holy mark--a brand of fire and blue incense--to proclaim them sanctified to the search for Zephiris.

Human search parties set out across Mandor; human priests in Sephalia set to work on the same task; elven scout parties entered into neighboring lands to discover the matter. As all this took place, others of more innocent heart or open mind were gifted with mysterious dreams. Some tried to ignore or explain them away, but most were burdened to know what these dreams mean. A few have even come into contact, collaborating and coming close to deciphering the truth.

Several days after Sephiris woke, the Dragons of Karadan at last made known to their people what their highest magicians had felt: the increase of power. Many then readied themselves to join the search, not for glory but for power.

That night, black monsters appeared in the darkness, wreaking destruction wherever there were none strong enough to resist them. These unexplained terrors wrought confusion and fear throughout all lands. None have found an answer for these mysterious beings of smoke and death. The seeds of chaos have been scattered. Who, if anyone, will stand against them?


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:26 pm

Announcements
  • 11-28-09: Synopsis updated.

Rules for this Role-Play
  • Final decisions on anything are always up to Kalon_Ordona_II.
  • Respect your fellow players, as well as the story itself; no god-moding, puppeteering, and so on. We should all be long past the common faux pas of role-playing.
  • Let us avoid high detail in violent or sexual situations.

Guidelines and Suggestions
  • Write as if this story were to someday be published.
  • Be mindful of spelling and grammar.
  • Keep things like homophones in mind. Reign / rein, peak / pique, knock / nock, and so on. Use the right words; wikipedia or a dictionary can be very helpful if you're unsure.
  • Be active; try to post once every three days at the latest. If you will be longer than that, please let us all know in the OOC.
  • Please also be active in the OOC. This will add to everyone's overall coordination, cooperation, and enjoyment.
  • When posting, always remember to post your character's location. A handy method is to use bold and underline, and then add a tilde ~ at the end. This can also be a good way to switch between characters, instead of using things like a triple asterisk.
  • Please use the normal font size.
  • Please avoid using different colored lettering to identify different characters.
  • Please offer feedback regularly in the OOC.
  • Please do not be shy with your own suggestions and ideas.
  • And, of course, have fun and enjoy the role-play!


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:26 pm

Character Profiles

Kalon Ordona II
Áirhath Aeryän, Commander of the Ssandári Mercenaries
elf ; age 182 ; 5'7" ; brown hair tied back in three places ; green eyes ; lithe and athletic ; wears a dhiláthra of slate blue, silver, and yellow ; swordsman ; wields the dilssan ; red tattoo of a fire-drake over his left shoulder & upper arm ; appears fierce, focused and commanding ; has connections among the White Council ; speaks human language ; chivalrous, focused, tenacious ; racist, show-off, romantically ignorant ; overall: kind-hearted, calculating, adventurous.
Sehra-sithred S'harahe, a favorite to be the next ruler of Sakira-thani
dragon ; age 56 ; 7' ; white horns with a single black ring at the center of each ; white eyes ; slender ; wears black silk, and black rings on fingers and toes ; sensual and of surpassing beauty ; master magician ; status is higher than the elite of dragon society, among those worthy to rule ; speaks elvish ; benevolent, diligent, politically adept, has excellent memory ; intensely narcissistic, is jealous of and aspires to divinity ; overall: disciplined, confident, benevolent in her superiority.
Gado Tanager, "Old Finch" the birdman, the dreamer
human ; age 124 ; 6' ; short, spiky blond hair ; black-colored eyes ; has a small beard on his chin ; muscular but thinning with age ; wears comfortable, ordinary clothes ; retired warden ; mainly wields sword and shield ; often appears intimidating at first, until he flashes his cheerful smile ; married to wife: Scarlet ; has many connections in Oliphey, Sephalia ; dreamer ; regularly has significant dreams ; steadfast, empathetic, kind, good at riddles ; limnophobic (fear of lakes), often troubled about the dreams ; overall: cheerful and sharp-witted, yet a little haunted and eccentric.

Zephiris
Ezekiel Scorpius, Crown Prince of Sephalia
human ; age 21 ; short, spiky black hair ; big, ???-colored eyes ; wears fine, royal clothes and armor ; appears ordinary unless in royal apparel or of serious demeanor ; wields a swordstaff expertly, and other weapons to a lesser extent ; excels at military strategy ; loves his country and his people ; calm and collected unless family is threatened ; overly cautious, puts his country first--to a fault ; overall: calm, charismatic, willing to sacrifice anything or anyone for his country.

Ysopet
Sir Barthon Camlin, Knight of the Order of Gedrich
human ; age 43 ; 6'3" ; short blond hair ; bright amber eyes ; prominent scar starting at the hairline, centered over the right eye ; tall and muscular ; wears engraved, blue armor ; dual-wields arming sword and falchion ; appears commanding, intimidating, and righteous ; is popular in the Order of Gedrich ; is a prodigious knight ; possesses extensive theological knowledge ; unshakable in faith, loyal in friendship ; troubled by the loss of his parents, defending of his religion--to a fault ; overall: religious, rejecting to nonbelievers, utterly respectful to believers, thoughtful and slightly troubled.
Simion Altus, Sir Barthon Camlin's page boy
human ; age 10 ; 5'1" ; messy, sand-colored hair ; attentive, brown eyes ; skinny and lanky ; wears simple clothes: brown trousers and brown shirt, sometimes a round leather cap ; carries a dagger ; appears weak and small ; is a page in the Order of Gedrich ; intelligent and observant ; aspiring and determined ; easily angered by taunts ; overall: quiet, conscientious, responsible, loyal to Sir Barthon.

Blackrock
Lord Barin Mirland, mercenary leader of The Hawks
human ; age 52 ; 6'2" ; auburn brown hair and full, well-trimmed beard ; deep brown eyes ; athletic and muscular ; indigo tattoo on her lower back: a triangle with a horizontal line through it ; wears simple clothes, leathers, chainmail and much flexible plate armor, plus a T-visor helmet ; wields sword, shield engraved with Hawks emblem, and dagger ; also wears a plain silver hawk hangs from a necklace, under the armor ; appears commanding and somewhat grim, noble and yet rugged ; used to be a noble ; skilled with sword, shield, and halberd ; practical fighter ; somewhat knowledgeable of different places, cultures, and history ; good bargain hunter ; willful, determined, loyal, level headed, man of his word ; stubborn at times, short temper, somewhat perfectionist ; overall: sociable, respect-worthy, close with his men, savage-seeming toward strangers, honorable, diligent.

Digital Muse
Katerina Forbes, the shrewd, flamboyant captain of a merchant caravan
human ; age 49 ; 5'11" ; tanned skin ; long, wavy brown hair ; honey brown eyes ; slender and lightly muscled ; wears unconventional, flamboyant clothing: leather pants, a red shirt with puffed sleeves, an embroidered vest, varied jewelry, and a black sash ; wields the saber, whip, bolos, and long knife ; appears proud and knowledgeable ; merchant all her life ; has innumerable family and business connections in the field of trade ; speaks all three languages, is skilled in all facets of trade, has an above average education ; honorable, shrewd, personable, unprejudiced, natural leader ; too independent, control freak, embarrassed of her faith, willing to deceive ; overall: dedicated, motherly, vivacious, calculated risk-taker.
Tuuli Brendersen, half of an elemental pair with her twin brother, Tuula
human ; age 52 ; almost 6' ; extremely long, extremely fine, strawberry blond hair ; pale gray eyes ; strong build ; indigo tattoo on her lower back: a triangle with a horizontal line through it ; wears blue canvas pants, green linen shirt with embroidered sleeves, faded black leather vest, brown leather belt, soft leather boots, gray pearl drop earrings and a necklace with the symbol of Zephiris on a silver chain ; carries a cutlass, a curved long boarding dagger, an eating dagger, and a short bow ; appears shy and aloof, despite her sturdy build, unless her brother is threatened ; has connections among merchants and nobles ; fluent in Dragon ; skilled with many different weapons ; skilled fisherman, sailor, and navigator ; capable of wind and weather magic together with her twin brother ; strong together with brother, strong, shrewd, business sense ; weak apart from brother, follows her brother's lead ; overall: hard working, determined, solid, always moving forward, thinker, intuitive, perceptive.

Gadreille
Alelle Rhovanon, a wandering orphan of Mandor
human ; age 11 ; 4'10" ; brown hair ; ruddy brown eyes ; under-fed, skinny and dis-proportionate ; bluish makeshift tunic, brown trousers, black knee boots, and a gray wool cloak ; street-rat ; wields knife and slingshot ; carries a large, brown canvas satchel on her back ; appears pitiable yet capable ; has relatives in Sephalia ; has a few connections in Mandor ; headstrong, quick learner, savvy ; stubborn, aggressive, has difficulty creating friendships ; overall: headstrong, strong-willed, resourceful, but lonely.

Guilty Carrion
Kassela Voladea, Initiate of the Order of Valthea
human ; age 23 ; 5'9" ; haphazardly clipped, dull red hair ; polished black eyes ; toned and lithe ; fair skin, thin lips, mild curves ; wears gray tunic with black trim underneath light plate and mail armor, plain steel with black trim ; wields longsword with a shield on her back engraved with the emblem of her Order ; sword scabbard on left hip ; would appear commanding but for her youth ; the daughter of the leaders of the Order ; is on familiar terms with Baroness Denitra, who founded the Order ; skilled with sword and shield ; well trained in forging ; practiced but basic cook ; passionate, loyal, dedicated, proud, occasionally humble ; temperamental, self-conscious, struggles with pride, sometimes feels inferior ; overall: passionate, dedicated, unexpectedly fragile, hot-headed but heroic.

Stion Gyas
Brenard san Deccour, the traveling fencer with a marred face
human ; age 42 ; 5'9" ; shoulder-length hair tied back low, black with streaks of gray ; striking, amber eyes ; dancer's build ; wears simple clothes, durable and close-fitting, a leather vest, a belt with pouches, knee-high boots, and a wide-brimmed hat ; wields the rapier ; appears unsightly yet determined ; merchant background ; has many connections among merchants ; shrewd in trade ; master at fencing ; fast, agile, loyal friend and worthy foe ; sickly, face is marred, pockmarked because of a childhood pox ; overall: a wanderer searching for acceptance.
Z'anginthel "Than Gadan" Seka-Manh, the errant dragon knight
dragon ; age 98 ; 7'4" ; only one horn, white with a section of black near the base ; yellow eyes ; big and muscular ; wears simple, aged clothes and padding beneath steel plate armor ; appearance is quite intimidating ; wields a greatsword with a 5.5' blade made of hardened steel ; being mute, status in dragon society is lower than the lowest caste ; disowned from family and inheritance ; though mute, can read and understand dragon and human and can write a bit in human ; skilled in physical combat, easy to make friends, is a good listener ; cannot do magic, is too willing to sacrifice himself to earn a favorable status ; overall: honorable, a little child-like, loyal, attentive, unrestrained in battle, has spurned the dragon caste system in favor of the Zephirisian faith, is driven to make a name for himself.
Tuula Brendersen, half of an elemental pair with his twin sister, Tuuli
human ; age 52 ; fine, strawberry blond hair ; pale gray eyes ; tallish, heavily built and very muscular ; indigo tattoo on his upper back: a triangle with a horizontal line through it ; scar under the line of the tattoo ; wears blue and gray clothing: linen shirt, cotton pants and vest, light leather boots, an indigo scarf around his forehead, wide leather belt, blue sash, and a wide ring on the third finger of his right hand ; wields several different axes ; appears to be just a lowly sailor with a penchant for axes ; has connections among merchants and nobles ; fluent in Dragon ; skilled with many different weapons ; skilled fisherman, sailor, and navigator ; capable of wind and weather magic together with his twin sister ; effective together with his sister, strong, skilled, shrewd, hard worker ; ineffective apart from his sister, short temper, often acts before he thinks ; overall: rash, blunt, hard-working, unstoppable, ambitious, solid, dependable.

Reffy
Silahyie Selandrea, "Silli" the wondering, wandering elf maiden
elf ; age 80 ; 5'3" ; long, unkempt, dark brown hair, sometimes tied back ; deep green eyes ; slim and very feminine ; leaf tattoo on her ?left/right? shoulder ; wears simple clothes, some bracelets and beads, and a fastened shawl / blanket ; wields a sling and dagger ; appears enchanting, pitiable, and child-like ; not interested in romance ; skilled at communing with animals and nature ; confident, forgiving, cheerful ; flighty, forgetful, troubled by a sense of loss ; overall: wanderer, searcher, child-like, ineffective in conversation, pacifist.


Raptorman
Maliele, Felleiriel, and Erreliel, three terunari sisters of metal, stone, and earth
terunari ; 5'9" 5'7" 5'6" ; long hair, straight and golden blond, coarse and silver gray, flowing and dark brown ; wide-set eyes, gold, white, and brown-black ; all slender, willowy and smooth ; all wear long, simple, smooth, durable garments of gray trimmed in black, tied with a wide silver sash ; all appear enthralling, possessing an otherworldy beauty ; tenders of earth turned messengers for Sephiris ; influence over metal, stone, and earth through harmonic vocalization ; versatile and accomplished with their abilities, accepting of all individuals of a good nature; all avoid violence, abilities do not extend beyond influence over earth, are incredibly naïve in regard to any contact with humans, elves or dragons ; overall: cheerful, inexperienced, lovers of righteousness and haters of corruption, bringers of strength, quick to help others.

Erebus
Lucas Quinn, the somber Sword for Hire
human ; age 24 ; shoulder length, tawny blond hair ; deep blue eyes ; average height, slight but well defined build ; tattoo on his right arm: list of names; wears dark clothes, unadorned plate armor, and sturdy leather boots ; wields a hand-and-a-half sword and two matching daggers ; appears somber, thoughtful and somewhat sad, but also lethal and dangerous when required ; used to be a sergeant for the Sephalian Royal Guard ; has connections among royalty and nobility in Telmural ; speaks some Dragon ; knowledgeable about history and other races ; soft spoken, strong conscience, level headed ; troubled about his father's death, not very sociable, neither unlikable nor likable ; overall: enigmatic, polite, knowledgeable, cold, searching for purpose


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:09 pm

Prologue: The Search Begins

Sephalia > Telmural > High Temple of Zephiris ~ afternoon of DAY 1
The domed marble chapel was near to bursting with restrained excitement. Restrained by habit, rather than by command. But every priest and priestess worth the title had sensed it. Something was different inside: they felt awake, as if all their lives prior to this day had been spent in slumber. The high priest had recognized it first, and had called a mandatory gathering of the priests and priestesses--every single one--at the High Temple.

"Holy Priests of Zephiris," the high priest called out, addressing his brethren. "Some of you already know why you are here. Some of you have guessed. Some know only the feeling. Some have heard tell of their fellows. I will reveal to you now what has come to pass."

The priests, already silent, somehow fell quieter--many were holding their breath in anticipation. Each of them felt young again. Childlike excitement tumbled against aged resolve. That is, it had been, until the high priest spoke. Now all energy was diverted to focus on the high priest's words. Some of them already knew what he was about to say.

"Zephiris has returned!!"

The room came alive with a cacophony of praise.

"This day--!" the high priest tried to begin again, but the joyful noise did not cease. The high priest waited for a moment, and then brought up his hands. Gradually, the group quieted, but their faces still glowed with veiled ecstasy. "This day our Goddess has returned! We, who have wrought peace, have brought back our creator from her place in the heavens! However, others, unbelievers, do not feel it, because they are unrighteous. They will not believe if we proclaim the truth. To spread the joy Zephiris' return throughout all Sephalia, we must first convince the royalty. We will ask them to allow us to find proof. We will find Zephiris and worship her in whichever place she has chosen to set her new Temple!"

The chorus of praise resumed; tearful cries of joy filled the room, echoed from the walls, resonated with the soul of each ordained man and woman.

"Praise to the mother of our souls!" intoned the high priest, adding his voice to the deafening sound. "Praise to Zephiris, she who created all things!"

Mandor > just outside of Dor > Great Highplace of Zephiris ~ afternoon of DAY 4
The open hill was covered with priests, priestesses, monks, royalty, even members of the nobility. The high priest stood on a huge table of hewn stone. Behind him on the table blazed a man-sized pile of incense. "Arise, ye of Mandor, you who are persuaded that our creator has returned. Zephiris, the mother of our souls, waits for us we know not where! Arise, ye of Mandor, you who will answer the call and search out the new restingplace of our Goddess, the seat of her divine power! Come forward, ye willing, ye chosen; come and be marked, set apart for your purpose!"

The branding was about to commence. Holy, blue-colored incense would be poured into ritual cuts of varying designs, and then branded into the skin by flame. These willing, these chosen, their servants, and any who joined with them upon the journey, would be granted Zephiris' blessing. Their bodies holding always the sweet smell of praise and the mark of service, Zephiris' eye would always be upon them, to keep them from harm and guide their steps.

Then the search could begin.

Sakira-thani > Sakira > Palace of Sithred-makh Grendilkren ~ afternoon of DAY 1
The walls soared high in the palace of the ruler of Sakira-thani. Much of its height was open to the sky, the domed roof hardly visible where it capped the column-like arches making up the loftier portions of the circular wall. But the place was more than just a plain, cylindrical tower. It bent and curved gently inward and outward like a female's smooth form. This was one of the less-known places of Grendilkren's palace--not as grand as the throne room, not as cavernous as the festive halls. The legendary Sithred-makh K'handrar seemed almost out of place here.

"Panir send hi-gsen than desztan cen cenda hin-gsen. Tekmet tirpan gsend hi-gsen than desztan." Grendilkren's voice was perfect. He spoke in his normal voice--the higher voice--which was almost as deep as most male dragons' lower voices. Some of the dragons assembled in the meeting room knew the reason he had called them there. Some could easily guess. The reason was the sudden, subtle amplification of dragon magic. Magic, or, 'the Great Shout', had acquired more power. "Cen desztan: tansa s'hreta than Danr-K'handra teran dan. Handa dishek hin-mandra than sithra." They had to find the source. It was only a question of who to send. "S'yan tirne dishek?"

There was a moment's pause as Grendilkren's words ended. Then a fair-skinned female stepped forward. "Mandra," she said; her voice was as beautiful as her form.
"Sehra-sithred S'harahe: tirne dishek gsen?" Sithred-makh Grendilkren was a little surprised that she had answered the call. Not only answered it, but answered it first, and, it would seem, without hesitation, reservation or fear.
"Tirne dishek mandra," she repeated. Confidence, even eagerness, overflowed from her voice.
"Cen sen ten. Hi s'yan tirne dishek?" Grendilkren was pleased someone had stepped forward, regardless of his surprise that the someone had been S'harahe. But one dragon alone could not accomplish the task quickly enough. Grendilkren called for a second.
"Mandra," came a voice, a few moments later.
Grendilkren nodded. "T'hareth s'yan?"
"Mandra," answered another, more quickly.
"San s'yan?" A fourth call.
This time there was a much longer wait. Finally, one more stepped forward. "Mandra."
"Cen sen ten," acknowledged Grendilkren, again with a nod. It is good. "Hanta tenet tanis hi-gsen," he said to the rest who were present. They would return to their previous positions and duties. "San-gsen: pestra gsen mandra."

Sithred-makh Grendilkren led the four dragons to another, more secret room in his palace. There, he would detail their mission.

Karadan > G'nasirath > Palace of Sehra-sithred Zhengrebeth ~ afternoon of DAY 6
Zhengrebeth stood on the top of Gsanarkath's Tower, the very pinnacle of all Karadan, the highest point of Gsanarkath Hi-Gadan, the mountains named after the legendary warlord. All the island was visible, surrounded by sea, and on the horizon the shores of Hratherath, Darenath, and Sakira-thani upon Tanuvel. Immediately surrounding Gsanarkath's tower were the palaces of the ruling class, arranged in a spiral around the mountain's peak. Gsanarkath's tower was part of Zhengrebeth's palace, the place from which to address all the nation.

All the nation indeed seemed to be gathered around her, not only in the courtyard beneath the tower, but on rooftops and balconies as far as the eye could see. Zhengrebeth felt the cold wind on her skin, took a moment to enjoy the lofty height, a moment to steady her excitement.

"Marin thani!!" she began. She used both voices at once, but not in resonance to do magic. Her words reverberated high and low so that many might hear and understand the importance of this matter. A brief cheer rose and fell in response to the first sound of her voice.

"Tenet cidram tirten dan!! Tirme grakkep send dan than Telamar tirme!! Z'gan panir hi-mandra: dezsan cen sen. Z'gan panir hi-mandra: gande cen sen. Z'gan krag send hi-mandra! Tirme dishek hi-mandra sen! Tirme s'hretna hi-mandra sen!! Tirme panir hi-mandra sen!! Tirme gyarath hi-mandra sen!!" A new power was rising, a power that would shape the future of Telmar. No matter what stood in their path, no matter what obstacles they faced, this new power would be theirs. "Tirme cen send dan gserin!!!"

Another, longer cheer rose up, filling Zhengrebeth's ears like a roaring sea.

"Ten mishlem than Danr-K'handra thani-gsen!" She said, ending her announcement with a benedictory dismissal. May the Great Shout serve you well. Still cheering, the dragons gradrually filed out or disappeared from view.
"Ten mishlem than Danr-K'handra thani-mandra." She said, using only one voice, to herself. She smiled, knowing it would be so. Fate favors the strong.

Eldin > Daeinári > Gathering of the White Council ~ morning of DAY 1
A gentle breeze stirred the branches on the borders of the wide clearing. On every side stood the towering shapes of Shana Deth Dan Dhanath, the Mountains Of The Path. The Path. The Way. The vast mountain range symbolized the collective mental course of all elf-kind. If only the true Path was as visible as these mountains that represented it.

The White Council had been in session for two days and nights without food or rest. All Daeinári had been emptied. The capital center of Eldin needed to make room for the councilors from every elven land. Representatives from Eldin, Ardin, Daelin, and even Aera and Ena were present. It was a sea of white-haired elves, focused in heated debate.

The Gathering of the White Council had been called several weeks previous. It had taken much time for everyone to arrive from all corners of elven lands. Elven astronomers had long predicted a significant event, and the time was drawing near. The Council itself did not begin until a few days after everyone had arrived. On the second day of the White Council, the event occurred. All white-haired elves, being more sensitive to the paranormal than most elves, felt the change. The Council had by shared experience come to a long pause in the proceedings. No elf said a word for nearly an hour; they were getting used to the new feel of the world.

After that, the atmosphere of the White Council changed. Questions naturally arose and were answered and counter-answered for hours on end. On the third day, it was at last decided that too little was known. Inquiries would have to be made. Lands would have to be re-explored, including Human and Dragon lands.

The hypotheses were too many, the evidence too weak. They needed to ascertain the truth of the matter. Only then could they decide what to do about it. The White Council came to a close, and the councilors were dismissed to return to their homes, where they would spread the news to the areas under their charge. The elves recognized the widespread significance of this change. Whatever had happened affected all of Telmar. Clearly, troublesome times loomed in the near future.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Sun Aug 09, 2009 1:54 am

Chapter One: Shadows from Light

Eldin > a forest some miles east of the southern bend of Sildálina Anara ~ night of DAY 1
The night wind whispered through the leaves above as Áirhath Aeryän crouched beneath the boughs of a large maple tree. Spread out among other trees nearby were his comrades, his family, his brothers of the sword, the Ssandári. Áirhath checked to make sure his dilssan was loose in its thin scabbard, took mental stock of his equipment, and made several other minor, miscellaneous, necessary preparations.

The Ssandári Mercenaries had been tracking a group of elven bandits for four days. It was costing them more than they had bargained for in terms of time and expenses. Finally, tonight, it looked as if they'd be able to get this mission over with. They couldn't afford to take chances anymore: this time, no elf made a single sound.

Áirhath felt alive. He breathed deep of the cool night air, smelled the scent of leaves, flowers, and the distant waters of the Sildálina river. He could hear the constant droning and chirping of frogs and insects, the rustling of grasses and ferns, and again the distant babbling of the Sildálina. The moon shone bright overhead. It was a glorious night for an ambush.

The commander looked to one side and raised his hand, giving the signal. He looked to the other side and made the same motion. As one, the elves moved forward through the forest, scarcely disturbing leaf, fern or twig. As one, like the whispering wind, each dilssan was drawn from its scabbard. The Ssandári Mercenaries were on the hunt.

Sakira-thani > Sakira > Palace of Sehra-sithred S'harahe ~ night of DAY 1
S'harahe looked up, out a window, at the moon. It was so pure, so radiant, so worthy to shine upon her beauty. Soon she would be fully bathed in its glow, basking in its soft brilliance--tomorrow night, and for many nights after. S'harahe would likely be out of doors for quite some time.

Elsewhere in the palace, her departure was being arranged. There were so many preparations to be made, and the servants had to hustle to accomplish them before the following night. The other three dragons who had answered Sithred-makh Gredilkren's call would be making similar preparations inside their own palaces. The servants didn't know much about it, only that there was work to be done.

Oh, but what glorious work it was, serving in the palace of a Sithred K'handrar. And with Sehra-sithred S'harahe, whose clear, crystal voice often echoed throughout the inner walls, making hearers giddy with delight even as they worked. Even tonight, even now, that perfect voice resounded throughout the stone halls. It made their every movement, their every labor, feel as if it were in answer to the sublime call of destiny.

S'harahe's gentle, vocalizing melody took several minutes to end, but end it did, as all things must. S'harahe looked once more at the moon, as if in farewell, knowing how terribly she would be missed by that white face in the sky. She smiled sadly for the moon's plight--the poor moon, searching always for the dragon maiden and waiting to delight in her voice, then forced to wait all the day for the fiery sun to run its course before it could see S'harahe again. The poor moon. But S'harahe must rest, now. Rest and sleep for the coming journey.

S'harahe raised a slender arm and a soft, clawed hand toward the sweet, sad face among the stars. "Merna: ten nema." Good night, Moon.

Sephalia > Cedar Brook > home of Gado Tanager ~ night of DAY 1
Screaming. Gado Tanager was thrashing about on the bed as if on fire. Scarlet was awake and screaming, too, trying to wake her husband. To Gado, half conscious, he was on fire. His mind was numb and every nerve on his body tingled. He couldn't make it stop! Then, abruptly, the screaming ended and he sat up straight in one fluid motion, completely awake.

Gado was breathing heavily, panting, and his eyes were wide. His face and eyes darted about the room as if making sure he was really there and everything was as it had been. Then he looked to the side, laid eyes on his dear Scarlet, and the world was right again. He was still breathing hard, but he was no longer gasping for air in half panic.

"Gado, what happened? What could you have been dreaming?" None of Gado's dreams had ever affected him so. Scarlet's face was full of concern and worry.

Gado didn't know what had happened. He did know that if he didn't start talking about the dream, he risked forgetting some or all of it. It was already starting to fade. In a rush, he babbled out as much as he possibly could about the dream. There was a face, and the eyes... and feathers glowing. "I saw someone, but she wasn't human, I don't think. Or if she was it didn't seem that way and maybe that means something but we'll worry about that later... and there was. Light, and... and I was flying and--the clouds were all around and different colors--pink--I remember pink especially--and then... she, she said something: come find me come... here to... no that was, but then it changed and... n'oh! it's fading!" He grabbed his head and tried furiously to recall more. Scarlet was writing it all down. "...energy but it's all wrong and. Light, and... but there was wind even when I stopped flying, and then I could feel... everything...."

Gado didn't say anything else for several moments. Scarlet finished writing and asked, "Any more?"

Gado opened his eyes, took his hands away from his eyes, and shook his head 'no.' Then he looked at his wife again, straight into her eyes. "Something's different about this one."


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Guest on Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:48 pm

Mandor, Aram, Barracks of the Order of Gedrich ~ morning of DAY 1

“Sir Camlin. Lord Drake has requested your immediate presence in Court of Virtues.” Barthon Camlin nodded to the page, the young Simion Altus. Simion served Barthon as a servant in the barracks. The boy had only four more years left as a page before he graduated to a squire. Barthon thought he had done rather well with the boy so far, though he knew Simion still had a lot to learn. Simion straightened from his bow and, without making eye contact, skittered off to complete his daily chores.

Lord Walter Drake was a high-standing knight in the Order of Gedrich. He had trained Barthon personally after his father, Aldor, died of sickness. Lord Drake had done what he could to guide Barthon to success in the Order. Barthon owed Lord Drake everything, and when Drake called for him he didn’t waste time. Barthon walked through the long second-story hall of the barracks to his room. Lord Drake had requested his presence in the Court of Virtues, but to leave the barracks without adorning his armor would have him expelled from the Order, stripped of his knighthood, and left in the streets of Aram.

Barthon pushed open the heavy wooden door to his own room. The rooms of the knights in the Order were all simple and small. They had to be because of the fact that they were individual rooms rather than one shared area, like the pages and squires had. There was a bed against the wall to his left, a window looking out over the training grounds in the wall across from the entrance to his room, and two stands of armor against the wall to his right. Most knights needed only one stand for their armor. Barthon, however, had inherited his father’s armor upon his induction into the Order and his “knighting” under Lord Walter Drake. Barthon moved toward his own armor stand and began pulling down the armor, adorning it himself piece by piece. He didn’t wear his father’s armor; he likely never would. But he was comforted in having it there.

Fully armed and armored, helmet held under his left arm, Barthon marched out of the barracks to meet Lord Drake. The barracks themselves were rather large as they supported a fairly large number of knights. The Order of Gedrich was a very prominent Order in Mandor, and they held a great deal of political power in Aram. The long hall, which led off to other areas and storage alcoves, took Barthon directly to the stairway to the first floor. From there he made his way to the stables behind the barracks, exiting through a large set of heavy, wooden double doors. Barthon nodded to the squire standing at the entrance of the stables, and the squire sprinted off to retrieve his horse.

Barthon ran his finger along his favorite line of scripture, engraved along the wrist of his left gauntlet, as he waited for the squire to return with his horse. The scripture spoke of his duty to uphold Righteousness in the lands, through the use of either politics or weapons. Barthon had taken that duty to his heart, and he wouldn’t fail in that duty if it cost him his life. The squire returned with a large stallion, a destrier war horse, brown in color with a spot of white on its chest. While the knights typically preferred palfrey’s for city riding, Barthon didn’t want to waste the time. He was often sent on missions of great import, and he didn’t want to have to return to the stable to grab his destrier later.

The squire returned to his post as Barthon put on his helmet and mounted the destrier, whom he had named Aramis after the famous prophet of his own beloved city. While the prophet, perhaps, would not enjoy having his name passed onto a horse, the destrier had proven itself to be very loyal and dependable. It was the qualities, Barthon reassured himself, that were important. Barthon led Aramis out of the stable yard and into the wide streets that surrounded the barracks. The great city rose up around him, grand buildings of stone that portrayed the richness of his people not only in economy but in culture as well. Noble’s manors, bazaar’s filled with elegant shops, courtyards filled with artistic fountains and towering trees. At the center of this section of the city, surrounded by a spiraling road and buildings, stood the grand castle of Aram. Barthon’s Order was lucky to have established their barracks here, as most Orders were set up in the second district of the city, outside the walls surrounding the castle’s inner district. This was yet another sign of the importance of the Order of Gedrich in the city.

The Court of Virtues was not far from the barracks, and Barthon made haste. The road followed the curve of the wall surrounding the district, slowly spiraling inward toward the castle. The Court of Virtues was an open courtyard containing a central dais surrounded by many stone columns. The columns were carved with scenes and symbols of their religion, mostly pertaining to Zephiris herself. The dais and columns were themselves surrounded by a small river, which was itself spanned by three wooden bridges. Beyond the water, surrounding its entire circumference, were stone benches. Important leaders of the church or nobility often spoke here in the Court of Virtues, standing on the central dais, and the stone benches were often filled. But the courtyard was currently empty, except for Lord Drake.

Lord Drake was sitting on a bench facing toward the central dais. His blue armor kept him sitting upright and erect, though Barthon was sure his posture wouldn’t have changed without it. Barthon slipped off of Aramis and removed his helmet, tied the destrier to a post, and walked up to the knight.

“Lord Drake,” Barthon said as he bowed before the knight. “You requested my presence.” Barthon remained bowed until Lord Drake addressed him.

“Yes, Barthon,” he said, standing and placing a hand on Barthon’s shoulder to signal him to stand as well. “Please, dispense with the formalities. We have been friends since your father died, and while I respect your devotion to tradition, there is no one around to notice any deviance.” Barthon nodded, but he didn’t quite relax. Lord Drake was many years his senior, and it had been several years since he was forced to partake in the knights’ rigorous training schedule. The habits drilled into the knights were hard to let go of in a single day. But Barthon knew he could address him by his first name, at least.

“What is it you need, Walter?” Walter stared at Barthon for a few moments. Barthon knew he was studying him again, judging how far his training and battle experience was taking him, determining how closely he resembled his father, Aldor.

“There is a gathering in Dor. I want you there. And take Simion with you. I’m sure he can learn a great deal from this.” Barthon shook his head.

“I don’t understand. Why do you want me to go? Do you expect trouble?” Walter shook his head, smiling.

“No, I don’t expect any trouble. In fact, quite the opposite. Something is happening that has the Temple in an uproar. Rumor has it...no. You will hear all about it when you arrive.”

“What?” Barthon asked, intrigued. “I would like to know what it is you are sending me into.” Walter hesitated a few moments before finally speaking.

“It’s Zephiris, Barthon. The priests are whispering about her return. Unfortunately, no one seems to know where she is. They are organizing a hunt. Well, organizing isn’t the proper word for it. They are sending an unorganized rabble of soldiers, knights and adventurers to search the four corners of Telmar. And that is why I want you there. The Order of Gedrich is the most trusted Order in Mandor. You, in my humble opinion, are our most trusted knight. Who knows what trouble the others will cause? I trust you will do what you can for our Righteous cause, for the good of our kingdom and our people.” Barthon was stunned: Zephiris had returned? What did this mean for their religion? What would it mean for the other lands, the elves and the dragons, and their uneasy peace with them? Barthon knew in his heart that he couldn’t turn this mission down. And he wouldn’t fail.

“I will find her, Walter. On my life and my honor, I will find Zephiris before the others, and we will ensure she is able to do what is prophesied.”

”I trust you will, Barthon. In fact, I know you will. Ride immediately with Simion to Dor. The meeting is in three days. Don’t miss it. And do yourself a favor and say hello to Jeanne.” Barthon smiled, and quickly bowed again. He hadn’t heard from Jeanne in months. He wasn’t even sure she still remembered he existed. Their time together had been brief before she had to return to her duties in Dor.

Barthon took his leave of Walter, riding back to the barracks to collect Simion and what few supplies he would need for the journey. Barthon’s heart was beating intensely in his chest. He was being entrusted to search for Zephiris, above all others in the Order! That meant a great deal to him, after everything he had given the Order. This would be greatest mission ever undertaken, and Barthon would be at the heart of it.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Zephiris on Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:25 pm

Royal Palace in Telmural, the capital city of Sepahalia ~

Sighing as he walked on, he nodded in response to a greeting by a servant that went past. Formalities, he would loved greatly to do away with it. That way, those whom he had grown up with would be closer to him. He knew that servant's name- Sera Leslie. They had been friends at one point, but thanks to his status, and hers, the friction it caused between her and her other fellow commoners forced the two to separate.

The beautiful scenes on the walls depicting a couple spending a romantic time together seemed to be stark irony now, as Ezekiel glanced over at it. He was now at the entrance to the Hall of Nobility. From here, he would be able to walk all the way in, and return to his room, the second closest to the Throne Room, which was a straight walk down the Hall of Nobility.

The Hall of Nobility was built back then by King Orion XXIII, his grandfather, apparently out of the sheer desire to flaunt his wealth to the other races. As such, the inner walls of the Hall was inlaid with gold, and other precious gems. Even it's exterior was not neglected. Built like a Temple, it had steps that led to a great door, which had to be opened by two guards standing by the side.

More notably, King Orion XXIII specially ordered several artists to paint several scenes on the walls. It had been widely speculated that the couple may actually be King Orion himself and his wife, but Ezekiel wasn't interested in this little detail. Usually, there would be several of the Nobility or those of high status in the Palace relaxing in the Hall, but seeing as it was already late into the night, Ezekiel believed he should be enjoying a relative peaceful walk.

The guards, seeing him come closer, promptly swung the doors opened. Ezekiel strolled in, and as expected, the Hall was almost empty, save for several Nobles that was there for various personal business. As always, they bowed to him upon seeing him. Ezekiel sighed, nodding once again in response.

Immediately dispensing with ceremony, they resumed their conversations as the Prince continued on his way back to his room. His eyes wandered around at the walls, layered with gold that reflected the light from the torch meant to illuminate the place. There were some intricate designs on the walls too, which were probably quotes from the Scriptures.

He wasn't exactly a religious person, but as dark eyes rested its gaze on the words inscribed on the walls, a religious man came close. Turning swiftly to face the priest, his arms folded together, as the priest bowed as a mark of respect to the Crown Prince. "Is anything the matter?" Ezekiel asked, his voice lackadaisical.

The priest kept his head low, as per tradition. "Your Highness, I have an urgent matter to report to you." He said. If it was urgent, why wouldn't he immediately spit it out? Ezekiel watched the priest doubtfully. He didn't seem at all flustered, so the news must either be something good, or something close to that.

"What is it?" Ezekiel prompted, breaking the momentary silence between the two as the priest reported his intent. Bowing ever lower, the priest spoke. "My lord. Our Great Lady, Zephiris, has awoken!"

Taken aback, Ezekiel's eyes widened as he stared back at the priest in disbelief. "Is this the truth you speak?" He questioned, suddenly distrusting of this recent news. To this, the priest only nodded, his head still bowed low. However, to Ezekiel, this was somewhat shocking news. Zephiris having awoken would no doubt shake the world.

But how would this affect the human nation? Would it be something good? Or does it spell trouble? Having grown up being taught the legends of Zephiris in his religious studies, Ezekiel knew just how powerful Zephiris was. What if the other races managed to convinced the Goddess herself that the other races were evil? Who is to say what will happen to the humans?

"I pray you are not lying, or are wrong in telling me this, and thank you. You are dismissed." Ezekiel continued, turning back in the direction of his room as he began pacing, paying no heed to the response of the priest behind him.

The Crown Prince, however, was already lost in his own thoughts. He was already planning his next moves, he was already planning ahead. It was this very habit of mind that he encompassed, that defeated his brother, Ophiuchus, to attain the title of Crown Prince. He was going to use this to the human race's benefit.

'First, a group of strong knights to seek out the Goddess. The other races must have felt Zephiris' return too. It'll be best to prepare for a clash that may strain relations so much so that a war breaks out.'

Ignoring several nobles that greeted him as he passed, the door slammed shut behind him. 'Second, I'll need to convince my father to let me lead the search.. Praise be to the Goddess for my father's swift recovery...'


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:12 pm

Eldin > a forest some miles east of the southern bend of Sildálina Anara ~ night of DAY 1
The Ssandári Mercenaries sprinted through the foliage, coming all at once on the bandits' camp. A large number of elves waited for them, wielding small bows (elves had neither the strength nor stature to use human-type longbows), pairs of long knives, and two or three elves even bore dilssan.

Both groups, bandits and mercenaries, were arranged in loose formation. It is dangerous for elves doing battle in large numbers to be close to one another. An elf needs space to maneuver, open space free of sharp surfaces or other combatants, even allies, otherwise the risk of injury--that is, death--is too high. Aiding an ally in battle was not as simple as standing beside them and hacking at the enemy. Skirmishes between elves essentially consisted of a multitude of simultaneous duels.

The bandits let fly a hail of arrows--not toward the mercenary group as a whole, but toward one elf at a time. The arrows were light, and they didn't travel far, but even one of them would be deadly to an elf. Sure enough, one of Áirhath's number was struck down by that first volley. It was nearly impossible to dodge that many arrows at once. These bandits knew what they were doing.

The mercenaries sprinted to reach the enemy before many more volleys could be fired. Elves are quick and work well naturally as a group. Two more arrow storms were unleashed on Áirhath's brethren, felling one more, and piercing the hand of another who nearly--but not wholly--dodged them all. By that time the bandits dropped their bows, flinging them into a central area. The mercenaries were upon them.

Of utmost importance during elf-against-elf combat is to make sure no enemy gets the chance to attack from behind. Most battles naturally turned into two concentric rings of leaping, dancing warriors, with the larger group on the outside. In this fight, the bandits had the greater number. Once the battle was joined, the mercenaries in front picked their targets and started fighting, while those yet to engage hurried to do so. With more bandits than mercenaries, this quickly turned into the usual pair of circles, with the bandits making up the larger circle on the outside.

However, close combat was the Ssandári life, their specialty and their creed. It quickly became clear that the bandits were no match for the deadly dance of this dilssan-wielding troupe. After a few moments, several of the bandits fled. "Dánë!!" Áirhath called, ordering some of his group to pursue the cowards. Several did, breaking out of the circle and making a dash for it, back on the hunt. While this left fewer of the Ssandári to fight the main body of the bandits, those who left knew their commander would not have issued the order if he was not convinced of victory.

Within minutes, the bandit group was decimated, all except for the leader--one of the bandits who wielded a dilssan. "Lli!" Áirhath called, before anyone could interfere. Their duel had lasted since the beginning of the battle, and Áirhath wasn't about to let anyone else influence the fight. Many more mercenaries went off to pursue the remaining bandits, while the rest formed a wide circle around their commander and the enemy leader.

Dilssan rang against dilssan as the two elves leaped at each other and struck in midair. The blades struck again as the two landed. Both elves swung and dodged incessantly, often leaping, almost dancing. The ringing of their blades was nearly rhythmic, as if keeping time to their dance. Weaving, leaping, spinning, striking, the duel dragged on. Áirhath's opponent was almost as muscular--for an elf--as he was. In the end, Áirhath's greater stamina was the deciding factor. At the first sign of his opponent's weakening, Áirhath unleashed a flurry of vicious strikes, most of which were blocked by the bandit's dilssan. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and on the eighth strike--a forehand horizontal slash--the enemy weapon was sundered. Áirhath spun around to deliver a backhand final strike that sliced open the bandit's throat and ended with Áirhath's blade held out high to his side. Áirhath didn't move until the elf bandit dropped to the ground, more or less dead instantly, gushing a pool of watery blood.

* * * * *

In the aftermath of the skirmish, it was discovered that six of the Ssandári Mercenaries had fallen. Two fell to the arrows. (The one with the pierced hand managed to survive.) Three fell during the main battle. One was found dead who pursuing those who had fled into the forest; presumably one of the cowards had felled him using some clever, unforeseen trick. Hunting bandits was dangerous work, but even so, this ranked among the most costly fights the Ssandári had ever faced.

While most of the elves tended the fallen, some were tasked with gathering the evidence of their victory to present in return for their reward. That is, cutting off the right thumb of each of the bandits and putting the dismembered digits into a sack. The mercenaries' employers would burn them later on, after the Ssandári returned.

Those Ssandári who had been killed were carried to the river. There, a large cairn was put together slightly off the riverbank, into the river. The lowest quarter of the mound of stones was under water, with the six fallen comrades inside. The river flowing around the structure, while the top was covered over with more stones. Each of their dhiláthra would eventually be returned to their families, along with any other items or keepsakes the dead would have wish to be passed on.

By this time, dawn approached. Their task done, the Ssandári Mercenaries headed back to their current employers, to collect their reward.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Stion Gyas on Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:36 pm

((This is half of the post, I'll post the next half soon.))

Entertainment District, Dor, Mandor~
Perhaps Brenard’s favorite thing about the Entertainment District was the small arenas spread throughout it. While not grand, the structures were built by skilled hands and shone with the beauty of simplicity. Like most human buildings, the structure consisted of wooden support beams holding the stones that made the brunt of the structure. The entire structure had been built about a dirt ring.

A low stone wall surrounded the ring, barely reaching chest height. Wooden railing stood atop the wall, preventing curious fans from falling into the ring. It also served to keep cowardly combatants from making a fool of themselves. A small platform behind the fence leads to three terraced rows of stone benches.

Brenard looked out at the near-empty arena from the ready room. A few clusters of children had gathered, hoping that an interesting duel might take place. From his spot just inside the room he could see his opponent readying himself. The man was only a fencer of the fifth echelon, barely a master, yet Brenard himself had seen worse upsets. Not to mention taking part in a handful.

The merchant’s son has prepared himself some minutes ago, removing his belt and daggers and wrapping his rapier in a length of cloth. The blade would no longer cut, but it would still hurt like hell. Brenard grinned at the thought, and flourished his blade, carving an ornate “B” in the air. A motion from the other ready room caught his eye.

A short bald man stepped from the cool twilight of the ready room into the afternoon sun. Squinting, the judge hustled across the ring, leaving puffs of dust in his wake. The judge waddled into the room and squinted at Brenard. His eyes were so dilated that he likely only saw a dark outline of a man.

“Brenard san Deccour?” When he nodded the judge continued. “I’m sure I don’t have to repeat myself, but fight clean and don’t aim to kill. Understood?”

Brenard smiled; nodded. “Understood.”

“Perfect.” The fat man said. “Don’t enter the ring until I call you.”

Moving in his waddling hustle, the judge hastened to the center of the ring. Brenard liked the man; he conformed to tradition and loved his job. The fat man cleared his throat and announced in a clear voice. “Ladies and gentlemen, today I am proud to announce a duel between masters.” The children around the ring perked up. Brenard could imagine their ears quivering like a rabbit’s. Their muted gossip ended suddenly and silence filled the ring. “I will be judging and refereeing this combat between Eo Caliga, a fencing master of the fifth echelon and Brenard san Deccour of the third echelon.”

The silence was deafening. Many of the children knew of him, the underdog who defeated many of the top duelists in Mandor to take second place in a tournament held in the capital itself.”Combatants, if you will.” The judge stated the question, aiming a hand at each of the ready rooms and bringing them together in a resounding clap.
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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Guest on Sat Aug 15, 2009 6:37 pm

Mandor, Aram, Gateway, Lower District ~ morning of DAY 2

Barthon rode comfortably atop his stallion, Aramis, his destrier war horse. Simion Altus, Barthon’s page boy, was riding Barthon’s palfrey, a grey horse fit for light, easy riding. Simion stayed to the left of Barthon, slightly behind his great destrier. Aramis would not have tolerated the palfrey’s presence any closer. They rode in silence down the Gateway, the great street that cut through the Lower District of Aram. The city, built slightly along the mountainside, sloped downward toward the southeast. The Lower District was nearly level with the plains beyond the outer wall. The two inner districts rose up along the mountainside, with the castle in the inner district sitting above the city with a grand view over the surrounding terrain. The city, viewed from a distance outside of the walls, was a grand sight indeed as it seemed to be a part of the mountain itself.

The Gateway led to the gate itself. The street was lined with residential buildings, small stone and wood structures that housed the many middle and lower-class families of Aram. The area was considerably nicer than most cities Barthon had visited in his life: Aram was rich enough for most of its inhabitants to live in comfort, even here in the Lower District. Unfortunately, that didn’t prevent certain shady spots from cropping up. Barthon knew of a few Orders in the city that dealt with a rising level of crime in the streets of the Lower District. Barthon himself was not afraid to lay a heavy hand on those in violation of the laws. The king did his best to provide for the people of his kingdom, and the Church provided for many people who showed even a modicum of loyalty and faith. Only the selfish could become outlaws and brigands in this society.

As the two approached the sturdy gate, Barthon looked over his shoulder at Simion and spoke in a low tone. “Remember, Simion, the importance of humility. You have been tutored in an Order of high standing. Our ways are different…in some aspects easier. You will be taunted. Do not take their words as a strike against you.”
“Yes, Sir Camlin,” came young Simion’s response. At the age of 10, Simion was beginning to develop a sense of pride, as well as a healthy degree of self-respect. In the midst of errands, he was beginning to be introduced to a certain degree of hostility, if not healthy competition and personal pride, from members of the lower Orders of knights in Aram. The boy usually responded predictably, with the fight ending in a moderate punishment for the page boy and a wink and whispered congratulations on a proper fight. But Simion trading taunts and insults with the city guard would be outside the influence of the Order. The boy would be in for more than moderate punishment.

As the two riders approached the gate, Barthon brought his right hand up to his face plate, palm of the gauntleted hand facing inward. The salute was the tradition of the city guard, rather than the Order of Gedrich, but Barthon thought it more respectful when dealing with the city guard to honor their own traditions. Barthon would expect the same respect for his Order’s own traditions. The two guards responded in kind, and the heavy wooden gate slowly began to swing outward, both doors groaning and creaking in protest as the chains struggled against the weight. The gate’s operators remained out of sight within the wall. Small square windows in the wall allowed them to observe the outside so that they would know when to open the gate.

Barthon held his breath as they passed by the guards. He watched them out of the corner of his eye, and his gut tightened as the guard on his left looked toward Simion. But as the boy passed, he received nothing more than a playful glare. Crisis averted, Barthon thought silently. He relaxed and began breathing the air as they passed beyond the walls. Barthon enjoyed the city, but it couldn’t match the beauty of the world outside of the walls. Green plains surrounded the southeastern road, and sparse forests dotted the landscape beyond. The road was surprisingly empty for this hour of the morning. The sun had not yet risen over the eastern horizon, though the sky was grey with the hint of light. The gate was usually kept open for those hoping to conduct their business early. But there was not a single merchant wagon in sight. There were no travelers hoping to complete the pilgrimage to the remains of Aramis, the prophet, deep within the Church compound in the castle. As far as Barthon could see, the road was empty.

“What is going on?” Simion asked. “Why are the roads empty?” Barthon knew the boy often had errands to run down in the Lower District of the city. Page boys enjoyed the luxury of being able to interact with the traveling merchants and other odd characters with exciting stories to tell. No doubt Simion was hoping to at least catch sight of a few of them this morning.
“I would assume it has to do with whatever is happening in Dor. Perhaps this is even bigger than Lord Drake thought.” Barthon wondered why he had assumed it wouldn’t be big. It was Zephiris they were all talking about. Anyone was free to join the search, and they would all be branded heroes whether they discovered her location or not. The only reason the streets here at Aram weren’t yet crowded with citizens heading to Dor was because word had not yet reached the masses here. By the end of the day, with the gathering only three days away, the entire city would probably know. And then Aram would be busy again, though with more people leaving than coming in.

Barthon eyed the distant Doriath Mountains. The road would cross east over the southern edge of the mountains, passing near a great fort there, before heading south again toward Dor. Near the end of the day, they would reach the mountains. A long ride with an early start would have them at the gates of Dor by nightfall the following day. They would get a good rest before the gathering on the third day. Barthon wasn’t sure what to expect, but he couldn’t continue to delude himself that it wasn’t going to be big.

Mandor, on the road just north of the city of Dor ~ noon of DAY 3

The road south to Dor was wide and lined with waist-high stone walls. Barthon was startled by the increased traffic the closer they got to the capitol city. It seemed as if every farm and small town they passed on the way to Dor was emptying out onto the road. Simion was forced to ride directly behind Barthon as they tried to weave their way through the thick pedestrian traffic. The dust cloud kicked up by the stream of feet, hooves, and cart wheels made it hard for Barthon to breathe. The sound of people talking was louder than it was in most cities. He could only guess that they were all discussing the same thing: the return of Zephiris and the gathering in Dor. Barthon couldn’t guess how many of these people actually planned on joining in the hunt or were just going to see the great gathering.

Simion closed the distance to Barthon as much as he could and spoke up loudly. “Sir Camlin, I’ve been thinking since we first left Aram.” Barthon slowed his horse and waved Simion over to ride next to him. While it wasn’t easy navigating through the stream of people, some people recognized him as a knight and gave him a little more room than they afforded others. He took advantage of that now as he squeezed his page in next to him.
“What is it, Simion?” Barthon asked as the boy moved up next to him. The boy continued looking straight ahead, his eyes unfocused and looking contemplative.
“If Zephiris does return…what does that mean for the three nations? According to the scriptures, her return is supposed to bring unity between us and the dragons and elves.” The boy stopped speaking for a moment. Barthon was about to answer his question, but as he looked at Simion’s eyes, he realized the boy wasn’t yet done. There was something forming in his mind, a question he found important enough ask about, despite the possibility of another long lecture. Sure enough, Simion looked at Barthon and continued speaking. “It seems to me that hunting for Zephiris in the hopes of being the first to find her is…counter-productive. If the elves and dragons try to find her before we do, and we do the same, then we are not working in unity. Whoever finds her first will try to play for power, will they not?”

Barthon couldn’t help but smile at the page. Simion was indeed a smart boy, except when it came to holding his tongue when it wasn’t prudent to waggle it. The fact that he could point out something so few people could see was testament to that.
“You are correct, Simion. It will cause strife between our nations. But we now have no choice. Our leaders, King Orion and the Church, acted the same as the leaders of the elven and dragon nations: we acted in our own interests. Rather than collaborating, we made it a competition, a power play as you so eloquently phrased it.” Barthon winked at Simion. “But have faith, young Simion, that our King knows what he is doing. If we can secure Zephiris location before the other nations, we can prevent them from doing harm to Zephiris or our current peace. Instead of garnering power, we will instead do what has been entrusted to us: to act in the name of Righteousness and restore Zephiris to her proper place, as the ordinate power in Telmar. Once that happens, there will be no strife between the nations other than by the will of Zephiris herself.” Simion didn’t respond to Barthon’s answer. He had returned to staring off into the distance, at the slowly growing outline of the magnificent city of Dor. If his answer had satisfied Simion’s doubt, he gave no sign of it.

Great Highplace of Zephiris in Dor, the capital city of Mandor ~ afternoon of DAY 4

Barthon and Simion had left their horses at the Silverlight Inn, not far from the open hill that marked the Great Highplace of Zephiris in the city of Dor. The inner district of Dor was filled with sacred sites pertaining to their religion, and this was one of the largest and most used sites for ceremonies. Despite the large size of the area, the place was packed with people. The top of the open hill was covered with priests and priestesses. The high priest himself stood on a huge, stone-hewn table. Behind him on the table burned a large pile of incense, nearly eclipsed by the high priest and outlining him in a glow of flickering flames and sparks. People had long since stopped trying to cram their way into the enclosed area, and had started moving high onto the surrounding buildings to stare from rooftops or windows. Within the Great Highplace, the people were arranged by their social status: adventurous members of the nobility at the forefront, flanked by knights and soldiers, where Barthon stood with Simion. Behind them were the middle-class citizens of the cities of Mandor, all intent on doing their part in locating Zephiris, the mother of their souls. All total, there were nearly two hundred people surrounding the hill, waiting in silence for the high priest to speak and tell them of their destinies.

Barthon’s heart was racing. This was the moment he would cast a shadow over his father’s reputation. This was where Barthon would stand out in history not as the son of a great knight, but as a great knight himself who partook in the hunt for their goddess, their mother Zephiris. Barthon even entertained the fantasy of himself being the glorious knight who discovered her location and brought harmony again to the world. The glory that would bring to his Order!

The high priest raised his arms high above his head, palms facing outward toward the large group standing below him. His deep voice bellowed out from him, echoing across the hill and falling upon the hungry ears of the listeners: "Arise, ye of Mandor, you who are persuaded that our creator has returned. Zephiris, the mother of our souls, waits for us we know not where! Arise, ye of Mandor, you who will answer the call and search out the new resting place of our Goddess, the seat of her divine power! Come forward, ye willing, ye chosen; come and be marked, set apart for your purpose!"
A great cheer arose from the crowd, from those standing around the hill as well as from those watching beyond, in the buildings and the streets. The priest lowered his arms and stepped down from the table, the smell of the burning incense wafting out toward the crowd and dispelling the smells of the hundreds of dirty, sweating people. It was the smell of glory, and of hope. It lifted Barthon’s heart. The high priest was replaced by the lower priests and priestesses, who carried the materials they would use to mark the searchers: the brands and blue, liquid incense. They pulled the group forward, little by little: first the nobility, who were branded, blessed, and sent away to prepare.

Next came Barthon’s group, the knights. He removed his right gauntlet, exposing the light skin beneath. The priest wielding the brand, a tall, bald man with sharp green eyes and an almost feral grin, stepped up to him and placed a hand on Barthon’s shoulder to recite the proper scripture. Once finished, the priest grabbed Barthon’s hand and stretched it forward, palm down, and placed the brand on the skin. The smell of incense mixed with burnt skin wafted into Barthon’s nose as he clenched his jaw in an attempt not to squirm or make a sound. He looked directly at the priest, a smile etched on his face despite its own unruly attempt to open in a snarl. The priest lifted the brand away and let go of Barthon’s hand. Permanently etched onto his hand was the symbol of the Holy Knight of Zephiris, an ancient Order that no longer existed beyond legend. Barthon’s jaw dropped: he would have considered such a mark heresy had it not come from the Church itself.
“Go now, Holy Knight, with the blessings of Zephiris, our mother, Orion, our King, and of the Church.” The priest turned from Barthon and beckoned Simion forward. The boy stepped forward eagerly, though Barthon could see the fear in his eyes. To his credit, after the recitation of the scripture when the priest pressed the brand against the skin of his hand, the boy didn’t flinch. Barthon smiled proudly. Simion received the same blessing as Barthon had: while he was not yet a knight in the Order of Gedrich, he was equally a knight in the Order of Zephiris as the other knights partaking in the quest. He would be treated as an equal by the others, despite him still being under training. It was a great honor for the boy. Barthon would have to make sure it didn’t go to his head.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Stion Gyas on Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:21 pm

Entertainment District, Dor, Mandor~

Brenard glided out of the ready room, balanced on the balls of his feet. Little puffs of dirt blossomed out from beneath his feet. The very top layer of dirt was thin, and quit slippery, and mixed with straw. Beneath it the dirt had been pound flat and hard. It reminded Brenard of trying to balance on wet river rocks.

The fencer of the fifth echelon himself was a tall man, standing half a head taller than Brenard. His muscles flowed like water over shallow rocks. They barely pushed at the skin, but the man moved with an air of power and grace. Brenard’s opponent moved in a fair imitation of Tom Cat Stalking, not so much a form as a confidence booster. He moved towards the center of the ring, rolling his shoulders in exaggerated arcs and with a slight spring in his step.

Both duelists stopped five paces from the center of the ring. There was silence as both men saluted one another, exchanging formal greetings. Eo saluted first, as the most junior combatant. He brought his fist to his right eye, presenting the back of his hand to Brenard. “Greetings, Brenard san Deccour. May your feet slip and may your strikes falters.”

Brenard mimicked the movement, bringing his left hand to his left eye, presenting the back of his hand. The blade of his rapier stood above his head, pushing the wide brim of his hat up. Sunlight shown on on scarred face and his opponent visibly blanched. “Greetings, Eo Caliga. May your feet slip and may your strikes falter.”

Eo dropped his salute just before Brenard finished his greeting. He brought his blade down even as he took a several step running start, before lunging into a variation of The Swooping Pelican. He aimed his cloth covered blade for Brenard’s chest, below the breast bone. Such aggressive attacks were used to take skilled enemies down quickly, hoping to catch them by surprise. A collective gasp rose from the audience as Brenard brought his blade down. The Eagle Strikes met Eo’s blade, forcing it down and left, safely away from Brenard.

The master of the third echelon stepped forward and turned about, moving out of the range of a desperate backhanded swing at his knees. Eo slid to a stop and faced Brenard, his face red with embarrassment and anger.

This time Brenard advanced first. His feet slid across the dirt, leaving long tracks behind him in a maneuver he called The Swan Gliding. Abruptly, Brenard’s blade whipped out, whistling through the air. The Cat’s Swipe met A Fortress Wall. Eo countered with a thrust that Brenard turned aside with a flick of his wrist, and Brenard countered himself.

The duelists began moving in a flurry of blows, gliding away from strikes that required no parries. Just as suddenly as the flurry began, it ceased, with both men stepping back. They began to circle, trading explorative blows, feinting and parrying.

He is skilled for a fighter of the fifth echelon. Brenard lunged, exploring a gap in Eo’s defenses. The man parried the blow low, and, noticing the gap himself, attempted to cover it, leaving another break. Brenard smiled, and feinted with a long and low lunge. Eo’s blade came slowly to the defense; met nothing but air. Just before his rapier would have struck Eo, Brenard flicked his wrist up and right, clearing his blade in the process. He brought his rear foot up in a flash, throwing his weight forward, and stepping out with his fore foot. Bringing his rapier across in a backhanded stroke completed the maneuver. The duel ended with Brenard’s blade at a stunned Eo’s throat, and both men smiled.
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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:06 pm

Sakira-thani > Sakira > Palace of Sehra-sithred S'harahe ~ morning of DAY 2
S'harahe woke with the sun. Her gentle eyelids slid open as fresh sunbeams caressed them, and the she-dragon arched her back gracefully, enjoying the feel of the silk cushions and soft gold leaves sliding under her. She held this stretched pose for a few moments, taking several deep breaths of the cold morning air that came in from the windows. (Dragon windows were never paned or shuttered, even in winter.) The springtime mountain breeze washed over her lightly clothed form, making her feel full of life. Refreshed, S'harahe sat up and began to fold her splayed wings. She then stood, smoothly stepping out of the pile of cushions and onto the polished stone floor.

Four female servants and two eunuchs were ready and waiting when S'harahe allowed the sheer silk cloth to fall from around her body. Hands with dull-filed claws caught the cloth--little more than a see-through silk blanket--before it touched the floor. S'harahe's scent was heavy on the cloth; huge amounts of revenue were drawn from the selling of these to competitive bidders. The eunuchs carried it away, while the female servants stayed.

Exposed and radiant, S'harahe turned toward the sunlit window and gifted the sun with the pleasure of viewing her glory, and in return the sun caused her fair, whitish skin to shine like the morning star. Reverently, after several moments, the four other she-dragons clothed her from behind. Tenderly, delicately, they wrapped her in a long, black silk cloth of the type she favored, careful never to touch her. When they finished, S'harahe turned and, by way of reward, gently touched each of their faces, like a goddess bestowing love upon her children.

"Cen gsen theled," the Sehra-sithred almost sang, high in her lower voice, bidding them be blessed. She used the singular form of address, even though there were four she was speaking to. S'harahe was unusual in many ways, and one of them was that she employed servants of a much lower caste--and much younger age--than was customary. As a result, S'harahe's servants did, in fact, view her as if she were a goddess. The four female servants, already aroused and then to be so lavished with favor, might very nearly have fainted from the thrilled pounding of their ecstatic hearts.

S'harahe motioned for them to return to their other duties, and the servants, reluctant to leave but overjoyed to obey, filed smoothly out of the towering room. Moments later, S'harahe followed. There were many preparations still to be seen to before all would be ready for her departure.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Zephiris on Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:16 am

Royal Palace in Telmural, the capital city of Sepahalia ~

[Flashback]
The sun shone its first rays into the room as the Prince opened his windows. This was one of the very few moments he could do this, despite its simplicity. The room smelt of his scent, which was really, his royal symbol, the Gladiolus. Dark eyes of onyx wandered over to the various armaments that adorned his room's wall- proof of his mastery over those weapons present.

It went over them over to his favored weapon of choice- the spear. Reflecting the rays of the sun off its metallic surface, Ezekiel strode over to it, and removed it from the wall. A smirk formed, as he swung it round him expertly, as if an enemy stood behind him. Ending this strange behaviors with a sharp, forceful piercing strike to his back, Ezekiel quickly regained composure.

"Looks like I may have to do this over again some time soon... I hope my skills have not turned rusty yet." He muttered to himself, ambling over to the golden chain mail and leg guards that he had the servants put on his bed while he bathed. By tradition, servants were supposed to help put on his armor, and when he was married, his Queen would. However, by Ezekiel's tradition, he denied the servants this supposed 'honor'.

Holding the relatively light armor up, he donned it. Having done this since he was given the set of armor, he didn't take long to equip it. Then, sitting down, he proceeded on to his leg guards.

Sighing as he did so, he began musing to himself again. "What will the day be like..?" He fitted the leg guards on his right leg. "A group of knights to be led for the sake of humanity. To seek out the Great Zephiris.. For what..?"

Pausing momentarily, he hunched over, his expression becoming serious as he thought an answer to his self-imposed question..
[/Flashback]

The sun shone on brightly, into the throne room. The throne room had been specially designed to allow for the sunlight, wherever it may be from, to illuminate the throne in a beam, providing the King an imposing aura of power and might.

Furthermore, the gold adorned walls of the throne room reflected more of these light, making the room almost blinding. Only the King would remain unaffected by this- since it was also designed to make it comfortable to his eyes, as he observes his subjects.

Ezekiel closed his eyes, bowing his head.

"And thus, Your Majesty?" He spoke. The murmuring of the other ministers gathered in the Throne Room did not cease, as they discussed amongst themselves the suggestion that their Crown Prince had just suggested. The King, his father, rested his head on his hands, propped on the arm rest of his throne.

Finally, he spoke. "Go ahead. You have my blessings, my son, Crown Prince, Ezekiel Scorpius. Go on, and seek the Goddess." He announced, standing as he did so. His voice held the strength that would make one's knees weaken.

And it did. The ministers all knelt, in acceptance of this announcement. "However, there must be no revealing of this event to the other races, nor our own people." He continued. "I thus order you all, my loyal ministers, to seal your lips, and keep this a secret."

"Commander General Ludivon Manm, you will see to it that the Crown Prince goes with an elite force of soldiers."

Stepping out from the line of ministers, a fully armored man stood out, bowed and knelt. "Yes, my Liege."

Ezekiel's expression remained cold as his head remained bowed low. "Thank you, Your Majesty." He added, his voice equally chilling. Echoing his response, the other ministers followed suit, thanking the King..
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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:18 pm

Sephalia > Cedar Brook > home of Gado Tanager ~ morning of DAY 2
"I'm coming with you."

Scarlet's insistent voice filled the large bedroom. Outside it was light, but the sun did not shine, and would not until it crested the mountains behind them later in the day. Gado sat on the edge of the bed. Scarlet stood over him. The covers remained in disarray.

"It's not a walk in the woods, Ess. There could be danger."
"I don't care; I'm not letting you leave, off on your biggest adventure, without me."

Gado looked unconvinced, unwilling on one hand that his wife should be displeased, and unwilling on the other that she come into harm's way. He had no clear idea where his path would take him; he only knew he had to follow it or he'd go mad. He knew in his marrow that last night's dream was nothing less than the call of destiny, the revelation of the path toward the culmination of his life. It felt as if all he'd ever done faded in comparison to his new purpose. The goal was all-consuming.

Scarlet sat next to him on the bed. "You could be gone for a long time; do you really want to see me waste away here without you? Besides," she poked him playfully in the ribs, "old age hasn't quite caught up with me yet." Gado looked over and lifted a hand to her cheek. Her face had less wrinkles than his own, and her eyes had never lost their virility. He would love nothing more than to take her with him, but there were just too many questions. Scarlet put one hand on her husband's chest, gravely serious. "I won't let you die without me. If there is danger, I'll face it by your side same as always, and don't you try to tell me different." She melted into him, laying her head on his shoulder.

Gado circled her shoulders with one hand and held her forearm across his chest with the other. He sighed in happy defeat. "Goodness knows I'll need that quick mind of yours, now more than ever." The old man held his beautiful wife close in his big arms and kissed the top of her head. "I love you." Scarlet brought her head up and kissed him proper. So it was settled.

Scarlet spent the next few hours writing letters and--just in case--their will. Gado saw to getting the house in order and having a look at some of his old weapons--just in case. They would be leaving that very day, and Gado knew exactly where he would be going first: back to Oliphey, where there was a large church of Zephiris. Something about the dream told him he would need Heavenly Mother's guidance.

Eldin > Érudan Dallathen, between Sildálina Anara and Anara Chunalië ~ morning of DAY 2
The sun shone in the eastern sky ahead, bringing to life the grassy farms, sparse woodland and wide fields across which Áirhath and the Ssandári mercenaries ran. They had covered more than seventy miles in eight hours, and were now just over half way to Dallathen stronghold. There they could finally rest. That is, after collecting their reward.

Ahead loomed what appeared to be a short line of tall trees. Closer, it became apparent that the trees formed not a line but a circle, a wide, unnatural circle of closely set, thick, tall, deciduous trees, their branches joining to form a continuous green canopy. This was the great stronghold of Dallathen, the Encircling Wood, an ancient haven that had even outlasted the Sixteen Years' War of times past. With time the stronghold only became more and more impregnable, as long as elves remained to tend and defend it. There were no other trees or homesteads nearby. Nearly two miles in diameter, the perfect circle of trees four hundred feet tall was a sight to behold.

Áirhath ran up the steep ramp of enormous roots--the gaps spanned by thick, taut, almost solid, leaf-woven bridges--to pass through one of the hundreds of gaps between the trees. The growing trees were joining together, one with another, and eventually they would become a single, solid wall. Already it was so, down near the roots. The gaps narrowed inch by inch with every passing year, and currently the entrances accessed by the ramps were about seventy feet off the ground. A similar ramp led down the other side of the root-wall. Elves were everywhere up in the green-lit, shady branches of the trees, but no one challenged, acknowledged or even greeted the Ssandári mercenaries as they passed through. They had been spotted afar off; they were welcome, but greetings were given inside, not at the door.

Inside, entrants were presented a breathtaking view. Once up, over, and down the ramps of the root-wall, the true beauty of the Encircling Wood could be seen, for within sight was the whole of the circle of trees. Whereas on the outside one could at most see half of it, on the inside each and every tree was viewable in a single moment. It filled all the horizon in every direction. The place was stimulating, feeding the core of an elf's being. And elf could breathe deep, here. Dallathen.

Áirhath turned and beckoned his fellows jocularly, grinning and laughing. "Ennalë, lli dhila! Ssandári, natathalia!" Come, my kin! Ssandári, to the spoil! Their reward awaited them.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:30 pm

Mandor, Dor, the Silverlight Inn ~ night of DAY 4

Barthon and Simion sat at a table near the center of the common room. Their plates were filled with sparse amounts of duck and garlic potatoes, all that could be given out due to the number of customers in the inn. Barthon would not even have been able to get a room if not for an arrangement the Order had with the owner of the Silverlight Inn, an arrangement they had with at least one inn in nearly every major city in Mandor: there was always a room available for a knight of the Order of Gedrich. Tonight, there wouldn't be a single room available anywhere in Dor. What with the branding and the beginning of the hunt, there were more people here than the city could hold. The common room in which Barthon sat with Simion was filled to the brink with a crowd of hopefull adventurers, or enthusiastic would-be-adventurers who were only here to experience the joy of the crowd before they disappeared back to their normal lives the following morning. Barthon listened to the conversations that swam around his ears.

"I'm telling you, Jasper, she's in the Blue Mountains!" The man speaking had a thick beard tied in two braids, with small beads and emblems decorating the black mess. Blue, ornate tattoos decorated the edges of his dark eyes. His mountain accent was already thick with spirits.
"And how would you know, mountain man? Have you seen her, then, eh? No? And why, of all places, would she be at the top of a bloody mountain?" This man, Jasper, was more clean shaven than the other, and his dark brown eyes still had the clear gaze of a man not yet drunk. Barthon wondered if perhaps the man was, or had been, in the military. The two were sitting at the table next Barthon's, just behind Simion. Simion tried to tilt his head to listen to the two without seeming like he was eavesdropping.

"She's a goddess, you imp! She can look over all the lands from her high throne. And when she speaks, her voice will echo through the mountains and be heard by all."
"That's rather poetic," said the clean-shaven man, Jasper. "I'd ask if you read that in a book, but I'm not sure you can read." As the heavily bearded man's mug hit the table with a loud thump, Barthon spoke up.
"And where would you look, good sir, if not in the mountains?" Barthon didn't really care where the man wanted to look, but he did hope to eat the rest of his meager dinner in peace. A fight would prevent that from happening. The two men looked over at Barthon, and then back at each other. They smiled widely before standing up and pushing their chairs over to Barthon's table. Without asking permission, they sat themselves between Barthon and Simion, on Barthon's left-hand side.

Without answering Barthon's question, Jasper asked his own. "And where would you look, knight?" Barthon looked at the man for a few long seconds. He hadn't actually thought about where he was going to look yet, but he wasn't sure he wanted to spout off his ideas in here, where anyone could hear and become inclined to follow him.
"I haven't decided yet. We might wait a few days before heading out, to let the crowd disperse."
"We?" The bearded man asked. He squinted at Barthon, and then looked over at Simion. "This little runts goin' with you, eh?" He bellowed out a laugh, and nudged Simion on his shoulder with a large fist. "Are you his servant?" Simion glared at the man without answering. Barthon glared at the boy. Now was not the time for him to try to establish dominance or try to gain respect.
"Answer the man, Simion." Simion glared back at Barthon for a moment, but before he could answer, the large man spoke loudly. "Ten Eych's the name. And this rather gangly fellow here is Jasper," he said while shoving Jasper in the shoulder. "Who might you be, knight?"
"Barthon," he answered, "of the Order of Gedrich."
"The Order of Gedrich?" exclaimed Jasper. "It doesn't surprise me to see one of you here." Jasper looked over at Simion. "You must be his page then. Simion, was it?" Simion nodded.
"Yes, Sir Jasper," Simion said, a bit more easily now that he was afforded a small bit of recognition.
"Just Jasper, please," he said with a smile. "I don't care for formalities. But, please tell me, Barthon, does the Order have no idea where they might find Zephiris?" Barthon didn't fail to recognize the layers of hidden meaning in Jasper's question. He realized instantly that this man was a bit more sly and intelligent than he might have originally thought. By assuming that the Order had an idea of where to look, and that they were an entity separate from the rest of the populace, he was stating that perhaps Barthon was here for another reason.
"No, Jasper," Barthon said. "The Order has no idea where to look. As far as I know, I'm the only one they have sent to look, though we have branches in other cities."
"That's a damn shame," said Ten Eych. "Mighty fine fighters, those Gedrich Knights. Might be usefull to have a few of 'em when heading into dragon or elven lands."
"Why would we look there?" Barthon asked. He already knew why, and he knew it was a really bad idea.
"Well, tell me this Barthon: If Zephiris were here, in Mandor, or even in Sephalia, don't you think we would already know?"
"Where is this coming from, Ten? Didn't you just say she was in the Blue Mountains?"
"Well...I did, yeah. But you've got to keep your options open, ya know?"
"I think Ten is right," Barthon offered. "I think Zephiris might very well be at the top of the Blue Mountains."
"Oh, don't give me that crap!" Jasper shouted. "If she was in the Blue Mountains, then you would know! I think Ten is actually on to something, that she isn't here in these lands at all. If we want to find her, we have to look beyond our own lands. We would know if she were here."
"Would we," Barthon asked. "How are we any better than the elves or dragons? We've all fallen since she left."
"Don't you ever get tired of hearing that bullshit?" This from a new voice, from just behind Barthon. Barthon leaned his elbow against the table and turned to see a tall man in a traveling cloak, with long brown hair tied back with a leather cord. Barthon could see the hilt of a sword penetrating the folds of his cloak. His brown eyes were staring intently at Barthon, waiting for a response. Barthon obliged.
"Who are you to question the scriptures?"
"Who am I? I am Lord Duiran, of the royal House of Omoron. And you, Gedrich Knight, carry no weight of authority with you."
"I don't recall claiming that I did. But without faith in the mother of our souls, you carry not a hint of common sense with you, Lord Duiran of the faithless House of Omoron." Barthon watched as the man's hand shot toward the hilt of his sword. Barthon stood, throwing his chair back with his legs and reaching for his own sword. Three other chairs scraped back behind him, and he could hear the sounds of other swords being drawn. Behind Lord Duiran stepped forward four more men, all heavily armed and armored.
"If you don't watch your tongue, knight, I will have it removed." Lord Duiran slowly drew his sword, lifting it up toward Barthon's face. The sea of voices that had filled the common room had lowered to a small din. Ten and Jasper moved up to stand next Barthon, and he could hear Simion clamber up onto the table. Before Barthon could offer a response, the owner came running up to the group.
"I'll not have any bledshood in here tonight, gentlemen! This is a holy day! If you can't keep your peace in here, then you can spend the night outside. I'll have your rooms ready for the next on the list!"
"No need, good sir," Lord Duiran said as he sheathed his sword, aiming instead a large grin at Barthon. "My point has been made. Show me to my room." As the group left, following the owner of the Silverlight, Barthon and his new friends sheathed their weapons.
"Pompous ass," said Ten Eych, just loud enough so that Lord Duiran might have actually heard him. The man didn't slow or turn around though. Barthon nodded and sat back down in his chair.
"Please, gentlemen, let us sit and finish our night in peace."
"No," Ten Eych said quietly. "We are leaving now, Jasper and I. You wanted to wait a few days until the crowd dies down? Well, we're leaving now before the crowd heads out. Are you with us? There is no sense in waiting around for the likes of him to get in our way," Ten Eych said, referring to Duiran Leben. Barthon thought about it for a few moments. His standing as a knight in the Order of Gedrich would draw friends as well as enemies. It would be nice to have a few friends to watch his back on the journey. He glanced at Simion, who had returned to his seat. Simion merely smiled, silently giving his opinion of wanting to have a few traveling companions. Barthon nodded.

Both Jasper and Ten Eych clasped Barthon's shoulders. "Good to have you on board!" Jasper said. "Let's get out of here then. There are a few things to do before we head out. And we need the rest of the group."
"The rest of the group?" Barthon echoed. "I thought it would just be you two?"
"Its only four more," Ten Eych said. "No worries! They are just as likeable as we are." Ten Eych beamed a smile through his heavy beared. Barthon merely shrugged, and then stood and followed the two out of the inn, waving Simion to follow behind him.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:14 am

Eldin > Érudan Dallathen, inside the stronghold's Command Hall ~ morning of DAY 2
The stronghold of Dallathen bustled with activity. This was not normal. It had not been this way when Áirhath and his company were here last. Even this time, the level of activity was not immediately apparent. As the Ssandári made their way across the close-cropped grass between large wooden buildings, here and there they began to see more and more signs of commotion, elves walking about or training or running to and fro with messages or on errand. By the time they reached the Command Hall, the company had to wait until an opportune moment to slip inside without getting in anyone's way. Because the Ssandári were a large group, and because of the traffic in and out of the Command Hall was high, the 'opportune moment' was long in coming. Once inside, the Ssandári moved off to one side of the entrance, to assess the situation before moving forward.

The Command Hall was not as large as many of the other buildings inside the encircling trees, but it was still an impressive structure. Unlike most simple elven dwellings built of wood, the Command Hall--and several other buildings of the stronghold--was built of crystallized deadwood, using perfect blocks of various shapes and sizes. The long process of producing such a material was a testament to the elves' patience and alchemical prowess. The polished, multicolored, marble-like result was as beautiful as it was strong. The spacious Command Hall interior was full of steps, columns, desks and alcoves, with potted plants sitting on ledges or in corners of the wall or hanging from the ceiling near the columns. The ceiling was flat, though there were different levels to it: higher in the building's center than at its fringes. The place was crowded (that is, compared to normal elven lifestyle; this was nothing compared, for instance, to a large human inn on a feast day). The Hall was divided into two areas: the larger common area--where the Ssandári were currently standing--was for officers and stronghold heads-of-staff to conduct their administrative business; the smaller, walled-off area beyond was for special vaults and for commanders' offices. The mercenaries didn't need to see any commanders to collect their reward. They'd been recruited by officers who were responding to complaints from nearby homesteads. The mercenaries were just looking for an officer to talk to--one that was not busy.

By now, the level of activity was starting to bother--and worry--Áirhath and his company. In addition, nobody stood around long enough to be asked what was going on. At last they spotted one silver-haired elf sitting down alone at one of the desks. Áirhath led the way while the others followed.

"Naeí chindya dhän lle dhanath," said Áirhath, using a traditional elven greeting: May there be blessing on your path.
The silver-haired elf looked up and nodded congenially. "Aeris nin lle san lle," he said in response: Life to you and yours. "Hána lle elecher?" What is your business?
"Lli äenen Áirhath Aeryan. Lli äenen Dan Ssandári; lli--" Áirhath had only just finished the introduction and was about to explain their business, when the officer apparently recognized them.
"Ssandári selssan! Sëlthien, sëlthien! Asteha, lle ansserarië lle erech?" Excellent, Excellent! In that case, you have accomplished your task?
"Dan hyechr aer sunndha, san lli tílen ilarda." The bandits are dead. Áirhath brought out the proof--the small sack of thumbs--and placed them on the desk.
"Sëlthien! Lli heyara dantë," said the officer, most pleased, accepting the sack. "Lli tílen naith. San ilachth: lelali nin llíredan." He stood up, and beckoned for them to follow him, "Lelali, lelali," to where the commanders were expecting them. "Nalla chathë dene lle."

'They wait for us?' Áirhath glanced back at those behind him; he was as confused as the rest of his company. The officer said he'd bring their reward while they talked to the commanders. There didn't seem to be any reason to worry, but Ssandári couldn't help but wonder even more what was going on. They followed the silver-haired officer, as he had beckoned, and climbed the wide steps--the same steps as those just inside the entrance, only more of them--to the inner offices. The group turned a corner, keeping to one side of the wall so as not to hinder messengers and other elves on their way out. Arriving at the offices wasn't such a grand experience, though, since the decor was basically the same as back in the common area. If any of the Ssandári had expected a higher level of extravagance, they were disappointed. However, when the thin, silver-haired officer directed them toward a certain desk--a considerably larger desk compared to those in the common room--Áirhath and his mercenaries got their dose of grandeur. There, behind a dark-haired elf who presumably was one of the stronghold commanders, stood a white-haired elf in the full regalia of the White Council.

"Ssandári selssan," said the Councilor. Ssandári mercenaries, "lli tílen hahena erech dene lle." I bring another task for you. "Daelen lle, dan Irrarsil Dhallath." You are needed by the White Council.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Stion Gyas on Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:40 pm

Southern Blue Mountains, Mandor

Z’anginthel “The Mountain” Seka-Manh planted his feet wide. The Dragon blocked the soul pass through this stretch of mountain, and had held it for a fortnight against three others. To the Dragon’s right a shallow cave’s mouth opened. A pile of timber lined the far wall, and he knew several logs hid a smaller opening, where a full pouch was hidden. Each of the three knights had yielded to his blade, but he was merciful, and left them with all they carried. Save for half their coin purse.

The mute knight stood steady, burly arms crossed over barrel chest as a fourth challenger approached. The man sat astride a large mount, as had all the others. Unfortunately, even a destrier could not carry One Horn. The human’s breastplate glittered in the morning light as he reined his mount to a halt. A pair of boys came up alongside the man at a signal.

Z’anginthel waited patiently as the knight bent to one of his pages. Reluctantly, the page dismounted, handed off his reins, and came forward at a trot. The long-haired boy stopped halfway and cried out his master’s challenge.

“Sir Knight, Sir Barista de Leccouer requires passage!” His voice, high and shrill, but firm, echoed through the pass. “He requests you stand aside, or face him in knightly combat!”

The Mountain’s only reply was to raise a hand. He held a rolled parchment clutched in his claws, and tossed it the short distance to the page. A pair of pebbles tied to the sturdy goatskin carried it the full distance. The page knelt to take the scroll, and returned to his master. The knight tugged his gauntlets from his hands, tucking them behind his belt buckle. Held at arm’s length, the human perused the note.

Good Sir Knight,

--I challenge thee to knightly combat. This challenge of arms is to be fought to the yield, with the price for defeat to be named. For no mount can carry me, this trial of arms shall be met on foot.


A whispered conversation sent the page boy back between the pair. Now, as before, the boy appeared yet smaller between the two peaks to his left and right. “Sir Knight, Sir Barista accepts your challenge! My master requests that he be given sufficient time to don his armor before meeting you in this trial of arms.”

Z’ang nodded his assent, and took the four steps to the mouth of his home for the past two weeks. Deftly the Dragon unbuckled his belt, settling it against the wood pile, and removed his blade, scabbard and all. The plates of his greaves rattled as he knelt, bowing his head. His mouth formed the words to a prayer for victory, but no sound came forth. He remained bent so for several minutes.

The Dragon Knight rose, pulling his blade with him. A claw traced a facet cut into the sapphire of his pommel. A faint ringing announced five and a half feet of steel leaving the scabbard. Z’ang took his place at the pass’s center as the page announced his master taking the field. The combatants saluted each other, blades raised, before launching themselves forward.

The human bellowed some battle cry, his shield raised. Z’ang remained silent as he charged. Barista’s upraised shield caught the Dragon’s down stroke and the knights dissolved into a blur of steel. The sharp sound of steel on steel told the story of the battle. The thud of Dragon steel on wooden shield punctuated each line.

The Knights fought back and forth, gaining ground once, only to lose it next. Sir Barista cursed under his breath, the sound of his voice muffled by the lowered visor of his helm. He cursed the footing, and the pass, and the Dragon’s long blade. He cursed the Dragons, and their height, and their steel. He cursed Z’ang’s lack of cursing.

What Sir Barista did not know was that Z’ang cursed many of the same things in his head as he fought. He knew from experience that the footing was horrible. Pebbles were like to slip out from beneath your feet, sending you sprawling. The pass itself was high, and cold, and funneled winds at night. While his blade offered him reach, it was ungainly at times. He cursed the Dragons, his brethren, for their self-serving ways. He cursed his height, as it made it difficult to defend his legs. And he cursed his voice, for its absence.

One Horn’s thoughts put him in a foul mood, sinking him into anger. The Dragon gritted his teeth and swung hard, in a level cut at waist height. Sir Barista’s shield turned the blow, but the Knight lost his forward momentum. The Dragon’s next strike forced the human back a step. As with the next, and the next. Soon, it was all Sir Barista could do to prevent the flurry of blows from crashing down upon him.

With each successive parry the Mountain moved faster, swung harder, until, with a resounding clang the metal rim of Sir Barista’s shield snapped. The next blow found a grain in the wood, splitting a corner from the shield proper. Sir Barista panted, his breath sounding like a bellows from the holes in his helm. He turned the Dragon’s next strike with his blade.

Grave News pulled back again and again, crashing down on Sir Barista’s upraised blade. The Dragon steel chipped at the human’s blade, until it hardly resembled a sword at all. In a sudden change of tact, Z’anginthel the Voiceless turned his blade into a horizontal slash. Grave News struck the Knight’s arms at the elbow, driving the plates of the man’s couter (Elbow armor) into a valley. The snap of bone could be heard, and Sir Barista cried out in pain. The force of the blow drove the human to the ground, and he crumpled into a graceless pile of flesh and steel.

Z’ang leveled his blade at Sir Barista’s throat, angling it to drive above the man’s gorget. His mailed left hand took a grip halfway down the blade’s length. Do you yield? Z’ang desperately wished he could utter those words.

“I yield, Sir Knight!” Sir Barista cried.
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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Reffy on Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:40 pm

Elven Lands: Ena: Shana Chaldena: Home: Beginning DAY 2 ~

Silli-Silahyie had woken with a start. Her hair wrapped about her face and ears, her night-gown twisted about her torso and her face covered in beads of sweat. The night had been difficult. Filled with weird dreams that made no sense, that now she could hardly remember. She only knew they were disturbing. She turned over frustrated and angry at the pathetic night of sleep. Having felt like she only really got two full hours, when it should have been seven. She would try to get back to sleep but the annoyance had fully woken her up. It would be no use now.

The light was only just creeping in to her small bedroom, highlighting the small paintings Silahyie had done with her mother. The beautiful landscapes in the paintings seemingly haunted in the early light. The birds were only just waking outside, the gentle tweeting slowly rising and falling. It was a chilly morning, possibly due to a late frost. It blew into the room through the window which had been left open all night. Silahyie could sleep no other way; not that having it open last night had helped at all.

Believing that trying to sleep now would not do any good Silahyie decided to rise, maybe even take a walk. A walk was always good for clearing her mind and any worries. She sat up on the bed, pausing for a good two minutes, trying to sort out her head. The troubles from last night still whirling around in her memory but for no evident reason why. Without thinking she put one bare foot on to the small tiled floor and gasped at the coldness of it, quickly withdrawing her foot again. She paused, rubbing the foot, her eyes squinted against the oncoming headache and lack of sleep. Mumbling some thing inaudible she placed her foot on the floor again and slowly rose, planting the other one quickly to better get over the shock of the cold.

She padded over to the small vanity desk in her room. It didn't contain much. A few herbs she had gathered, her paintbrushes, a small hand held mirror and her traveling items. Her family wasn't overly wealthy, they made do with what they could get and lead quiet a happy life. She picked up the small reflective piece of glass and glanced in it. Seeing the slightly blood shot eyes and ruffled hair she put it down again quickly and made a half-assed attempt at tying her hair back. There was no way she would be able to look pretty today with those eyes and pale skin. Lack of sleep really did not suit Silli-Silahyie.

Silahyie spent another couple of minutes slipping into her usual attire. She had decided that a walk really would be best. Away from the hustle and bustle of her small village and the prying of her parents. The quiet of a walk would ease the headache which was now thumping inside her small skull. She slipped on her shorts and t-shirt, then attached her flask, dagger and sling-shot. You never really know if you will need it. Wild animals, no matter how hushed by Elven words, were still wild and could attack. Then of course there was the worry of ambush. Not that they had seen much of that on the small Island of Ena.

Quietly she left her room trying not to disturb her sleeping parents. Not waking the parents would be a good idea. They naturally rise in about twenty minutes any way, she knew this from habit. They were early birds and liked to get to business early, so they could have the afternoon free to trade and gossip. She slunk to the kitchen, avoiding the creaky wooden slates and grabbed a small husk of bread, then filled the flask. She had wanted to grab some fruit as well but there was none to hand when she looked and she did not want to cause a fuss and wake the parents.

With almost a hop, skip and a jump at the aspect of being free for the day and able to wander she was at the door. As soon as her hand rested on the door she remember the argument that had happened last time she had gone wandering. Her Mother had never looked so pale or upset before. She was an adult now, but that never stopped your parents worrying. Realizing that returning home with out some thought to her Mothers health would not help her headache, Silahyie quickly turned around, finding a spare piece of paper and an already damp paintbrush. She scrawled a note and pinned it to the door. It wasn't a very long note.

"Undánë dene ha Danathen. Neith hyerna." Which roughly translated as: "Gone for a walk. No harm."

~~~

Elven Lands: Ardin: Small fishing town of Cleastuar. End DAY 2~

Silahyie had wandered for the entire day. Lunch had been taken during the peak of the day, when the heat made walking uncomfortable. She had taken it a little way up into the mountain, resting beneath some trees. She had eaten the husk of bread and only a few drops of water remained in the flask. She did find a few berry bushes on the trail but had only taken about a handful. Her mind wasn't on the journey or surviving; or even being safe. It was still lingering on the weird night. Weird nights like that don't happen very often. Usually she would sleep the entire night and wake up dribble covered, face planted into the pillows. This night still disturbed her.

The journey had been uneventful so far. When ever she met some body on the road they would step-by to let her passed. They saw the deep thinking that scratched across her face. The loss that echoed within her eyes. The beaten down shoulders as she slouched through the tall grasses. Nobody wanted to interrupt her. They continued on with their daily lives like she had not even been there. Bringing in the crops or trading with a few travelers. Even the animals had been scarce on the journey. She had seen a few shrews scurrying about looking for food. Once or twice she had heard a big cat on the hunt and a few birds of prey had called out. She would see the animal but it would not register in her mind. Just another shadow flitting by while she wracked her brain.

By now she was on the edge of a fishing town. Cleastuar. Home to a few hundred Elves trying to make an honest wage. She didn't enter immediately. Feeling second thoughts about having to communicate. Of course she'd have to enter to at least refill her supplies. She walked the rural areas watching the people fix the broken nets and re-bait the traps for the next day. It was very peaceful in the sticks of the town but she had some how expected more people. It seemed like only the older people were here. Where were the younger Elves?

The sun began to set and the temperature drop. Silahyie stood on the cobbled road and stretched, breathing in the cooler air. Wanting to enjoy the last few minutes of peace. In that moment she realized that her parents would probably be very worried about her by now. She had not left any information about where she was going and it was now too late to travel back to Shana Chaldena. Silahyie rubbed her head in confusion. How had she traveled so far and lost track of time so easily? Had she done it on purpose? The walk felt good, very good. If she had stayed back at Shana Chaldena she suspected the headache would have only gotten worse. Quietly she decided that she would stay at Cleastuar for the night, refill her supplies and return home tomorrow. She would buy some of the fish for her parents and check out the local gossip. Make it seem that her journey had been on purpose and some thing she had done to help her parents.

The troubles were silenced for a while as she thought about home and her parents. She changed direction and headed into the town. It did not take her long to find an inn. It was in the center of town and appeared to be where a lot of noise was coming from. Music and chattering. She paused for a second, wishing that it was quieter. This was obviously where all the young people were. The place looked pretty simple and well kept but it looked like there was some kind of celebration going on. Probably a good days catch or some thing. She put it to the back of her mind and pushed the door open. Inside was pretty much as you could guess. Dancing, singing, drinking, lots of obnoxiously drunken people patting each other on the back and making promises they couldn't keep. The noise drowned out any thoughts about last nights dream.

Silahyie made her way to the bar. She found what appeared to be the owner, who seemed just about as plastered as the rest of the patrons. He was sat slumped in a chair with a younger female Elf talking too him. His was a rounder elf than most, his face was sunken, his hair greasy and unkempt. The younger Elf was flirting with him and distracting any attention he should have been paying to the bar away. He would laugh and she would chuckle, the obnoxious tone rippling over the bar. Silahyie rubbed her head, this was not what she was expecting.

"Aheila! Rynae san ireta?" Silahyie made hand motions as she said the words to try and get the message across. Hello! Room and food? Short and to the point. The landlord, who seemed pretty irate about being interrupted, leaned forwards grabbing a key and thrust it at Silahyie. Then he pointed towards a table of food that had obviously been laid out for the celebration.

Silahyie took the hint. She grabbed the key, then a few slices of bread and fruit with a flagon of mead and headed up towards the room. The inn was tiny and only had a few rooms and it appeared that most of them were already in use. Some of the doors left open, with young people inside giggling. Glasses on the floor, their contents spilt, clothes strewn across hallways in a hurry. Silahyie didn't look out of respect but again wondered what the party was about. Elves didn't normally behave like this, at least not in Shana Chaldena they didn't.

Her room was simple. A small bed with a blue quilt on, a desk with no items in it and a little window which faced the docks. Silahyie quickly sat down, eating the bread and fruit. It wasn't much of a meal but she was pretty hungry and didn't really care. She was lucky to have gotten anything from the state of the inn below. She saved some of the fruit and refilled her flask, setting it aside on the desk. Then, not wanting to stay awake any long, she curled up on the bed, pulling the quilt closer for comfort and protection. The noise from the patrons below kept her awake for a good hour until she fell asleep.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Guest on Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:30 pm

Mandor, Dor, Northwind District ~ night of DAY 4

Barthon and Simion walked a few paces behind Jasper and Ten Eych. They were walking up a broad avenue in the Northwind district, heading toward a wall of tall buildings, each one of them filled with shops selling just about everything imaginable. Simion's eyes were wide open, his jaw hanging loose.
"I've never seen so many things before! Can we go in and look around?" Simion looked up at Barthon, a look of pleading plastered across his face. Barthon shook his head.
"We have things to do, Simion. Its up to Jasper and Ten where we go right now. If they decide to head into a store, we will follow. Remember, we aren't here to sight see. We're here on a mission." Simion lost his smile and stared ahead at their two companions.
"You're right, Barthon. I apologize. What we are doing is far more important."
"Just remember that," Barthon said, "whenever you start having doubts about completing the mission. Remember how important it is, and that it must be done, no matter what." Simion continued on in silence, but Barthon knew the boy would take what he said to heart.
Barthon himself couldn't help but stare at the buildings that surrounded them. Aram was a city built by design: it had an artistic feel among its flowing streets and buildings. While Dor lacked the design, it more than made up for it in sheer size and content. Many of the buildings here were simply massive, stone and wood structures that were constantly built higher due to lack of space along the street. The lights shining through the windows, even at this time in the night, attested to how alive the city was. This wasn't Barthon's first trip to Dor, but every time he visited he was still amazed by the sights, sounds, and smells.

And the smells were particularly strong in this district. Trash, rotten food, and human waste were all left out in the streets. Those in desperate need could be seen rummaging through the mess, searching for anything that might be of use. The rest of it would sit there until the weather wore it away. The smell would always be here, though. The stench was absolutely awful, though Barthon forced himself to show no sign of it. Simion lacked that control, and his nose was continually scrunched up on his face. He constantly wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, as if hoping to keep the smells from settling on his tongue. Jasper and Ten Eych didn't seem to notice. They continued walking forward, talking and laughing and pushing or punching each other for a well-said joke. Barthon only wished they would hurry up and get where they were going.

As soon as the thought had entered his mind, Ten Eych and Jasper turned down a small alleway to their left. Barthon and Simion followed, with Simion as close Barthon as he could manage without stepping on the knight's heels. The stench in the alley was even worse than it had been on the streets. Trash lined the walkway, and dark fluids dripped down the walls beneath the windows from which they had been poured, making sticky, foul smelling puddles on the ground. Barthon did his best to avoid most of it. He knew he would still need to give his armor and thorough cleaning and polishing as soon as he had the chance. He couldn't help but smile watching Simion lift his legs high in the air and place them careful around the build up of trash. He was a boy of ten years, but he didn't always act as if he was. Barthon knew he had himself to congratulate for that.

Ten Eych and Jasper stopped at a wooden door set into the wall on his right side. Jasper rapped on the door three times, and then both he and Ten stepped back. The door almost immediately flew open, slamming aginst the wall beside the doorway. Out stepped a large man in a greasy apron that was probably at one time white. The stains that covered it made it impossible to label it any particular color. Jasper spoke quickly to the man, too quiet for Barthon to hear what he had said. The man grunted before disappearing back through the doorway. The light pouring from the open door highlighted Jasper and Ten Eych's features, and threw miniature shadows of them on the wall behind. Barthon was surprised to see a look of fear on Jasper's face, though Ten Eych showed no expression whatsoever. Barthon didn't really know what to make of it. Either Ten Eych didn't know as much as Jasper about the place, or he simply wasn't afraid of anything inside. Barthon wouldn't have been surprised if it was the latter. Ten was enormous, appropriately fitting the phrase "a bear of a man." He could likely take on any man inside...whatever the place was.

But if Barthon had so far been caught off guard, he was stunned by what he saw step out of the open doorway. It wasn't the same man as before, or even any other large, dirty, or absolutely menacing man. It was a woman.
She stepped out, looked up and down the alleyway, pausing to stare at Barthon and Simion for a few seconds, and then finally looked forward at Ten Eych and Jasper. She held her hand out, and Jasper and Ten each took turns to firmly shake it.
"Are we ready?" she asked.
Jasper nodded. Pointing at toward Barthon, he said "This is Sir Barthon Camlin, a Gedrich knight, and his page, Simion. They will be accompanying us on the search."
The woman looked at Barthon, her eyes suddenly widening.
"You brought a knight? Are you out of your damn mind, Jasper?"
"It's alright, Inen," Jasper said defensively. "We could use his help, and you know it." Teny Eych nodded sagely, agreeing with Jasper. The woman, Inen, put her hands on her hips and sighed.
"It had better be alright, Jasper. Where are the others?"
"We haven't picked them up yet," Jasper explained. "We will get Cid first, and then find Quentin and Brenard."
"Well," Inen said, waving her hand down the alleyway behind Barthon, "let's get going. We're burning moonlight!"


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:12 am

Sakira-thani > Sakira > Palace of Sehra-sithred S'harahe ~ afternoon of DAY 2
Sehra-sithred S'harahe stood at the center of a wide floor near the main entrance of her palace. As the most powerful of the four dragons preparing to set out, S'harahe would be leading the company, and her palace was to be the starting point of their journey. The other dragons should arrive at any moment. So S'harahe waited, gazing at the bulbous spires of the city, visible through the arching entryway, gleaming in the afternoon sun. How happy they were to be observed by her very eyes, affording her a source of pleasure.

Sithred-makh Panis'hret was first to arrive, along with his entourage. S'harahe hated him; she hated that he was coming along, hated that he was first to arrive, hated that he existed in the first place. Panis'hret had a talent and a reputation for getting what he wanted--and what he wanted, S'harahe knew, was the throne. As far as S'harahe was concerned, that would be one thing he would never acquire. Panis'hret was among the few whose magical prowess could, at a stretch, be said to approach her own, but S'harahe knew how far such a stretch would have to be. She didn't even consider him--or any Sithred K'handrar--a rival. The only rival she acknowledged was the current ruler, Sithred-makh Grendilkren himself. She hated Panis'hret not because she feared his potential, but because Panis'hret so openly refused to acknowledge her superiority.

Panis'hret was young, only ten years older than S'harahe. He was tall, dark-horned, yellow-eyed and handsome, with tanned skin and corded muscles. A known lecher, Panis'hret was never shy about staring S'harahe up and down. That was another thing he would never acquire, S'harahe told herself, and his open pursuit of it was another reason to hate him. Indeed, S'harahe ached to spill his blood. Were it not against Grendilkren's laws, she would have done it years ago.

"S'harahe."
"Panis'hret."

Omitting a dragon's title is considered the height of familiarity, or the extremity of rudeness. In their case, it was both. Not another word was spoken; Panis'hret merely moved to the side to wait, as S'harahe did, for the other two dragons to arrive. Before very long, they did: Sehra-dregan Mishera--who idolized Panis'hret--came first; then there was Higeth-makh Kaladar, who S'harahe recalled as an aficionado of the elvish language. Kaladar was also tall and handsome, like Panis'hret, but he was at least fifteen years older than S'harahe, if S'harahe rememberd correctly, and he boasted none of the younger dragon's lecherous habits. Stripe-horned with eyes like the morning sky, Kaladar remained surprisingly unmarried. Still, as Kaladar was a caste below her, S'harahe would never have considered such a match, assuming the thought were to enter her mind in the first place. Goddesses didn't marry. As for Mishera--beautiful enough, with yellow eyes and black-ringed horns, a few years older than S'harahe, though a bit on the short side--S'harahe couldn't help but notice and disdain her barely restrained worship of unworthy Panis'hret.

Sehra-dregan Mishera and Higeth-makh Kaladar both exchanged greetings with S'harahe first, Panis'hret second, as proper--though Mishera obviously would have wished otherwise. That done, S'harahe called her entourage to join them, assembling at the entrance. Per Grendilkren's laws, dragons of Sakira-thani are not allowed to employ servants ranking higher than four castes beneath them. While most dragons pick servants from the highest caste they are allowed, S'harahe was indiscriminate, hiring any skilled servant regardless of caste. This earned her gratitude, loyalty and even worship, but it was also necessary to hire them in greater numbers, since a higher-caste servant because of magic alone was naturally more skilled than a lower-caste servant. Hence, on a journey such as this, S'harahe brought with her those higher-caste of her servants, if for no other reason than to keep the other three dragons and their servants in line. All told, there were sixty-six dragons present. Panis'hret's entourage consisted of sixteen dragons; Kaladar's, fourteen; Mishera's, eight; and S'harahe's, twenty-four. With all assembled, S'harahe pronounced that the time had come, and the company set forth, out of Sehra-sithred S'harahe's palace and into the warm, afternoon sun that shone over the cold, magnificent, mountaintop city of Sakira.

Sephalia > Oliphey, near the south-east bank of Barocula Lake ~ evening of DAY 2
That evening, Gado and Scarlet arrived at Shadewood, between Cedar Brook and Oliphey. It had taken the aged man and his wife longer than anticipated to make ready for their journey. Since they knew they would never make it all the way to Oliphey that day, they decided not to push themselves as they would have, and instead walked at a leisurely pace along the beauteous road to Shadewood town. With everything they were carrying, even taking it easy they were tired by the time they reached their destination.

"Now don't you think we should have brought a horse and cart?" teased Scarlet as Shadewood came within sight.
They'd been over this before, and Gado had been the one to carry her pack for the last hour. "Ehh, it's not so bad. Though I guess I'm not in such great shape as I thought I was."
"Nonsense; we've walked this far easily enough. I just think it would have been easier with a horse and cart, is all."
Gado shrugged--no easy feat for an aged man carrying armor, weapons, and most of the baggage. "Takes money."
"We're old; we're supposed to spend, not save."
Not old. Aged. Still, Gado decided not to shrug a second time. "We'd have to take care of the horse."
"Stable boys," Scarlet reminded in a melodic tone.
"Not always. Besides, carts have to be maintained, too. I'd rather not have to worry about it; too much bother. And anyway we'd still be sore, just in different places."
"All right, all right," Scarlet half sang, half sighed.
"You can take your pack back, now."
Scarlet laughed sweetly and obliged. "Silly old man."
Gado smiled.

In Shadewood town, Gado and Scarlet went straight to an inn. It was, in fact, the only inn. Shadestar Inn, home of the finest maple-sap ale to be found anywhere east of the Majestic Mountains. Gado and Scarlet weren't exactly winebibbers, but maple-sap ale from the Shadestar Inn wasn't to be refused. When the night of merriment came to an end, Gado Tanager went to sleep happy and content.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Reffy on Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:29 am

Elven Lands: Ena: Small fishing town of Cleastuar. Beginning DAY 3~

Bleary eyed, Silahyie looks up. Before her lays a huge hall. The wood is so polished its practically beaming. There are tables and chairs for everybody but the place still appears packed full of people. Elves, Dragons and Humans. Women, men and a few children, all sharing the same space but separated by race. They are all arguing. The noise seems to shake the peacefulness of the entire building. The arguments shatter the harmony that the building should convey. Silahyie cannot tell why the building should be so revered but knows deep down that this should not be happening. She tries to speak up but nothing comes out. She does not understand the situation. She keeps on trying until some thing changes. The room starts changing, a little at first. A pink light seems to fill the room slowly. The arguing stops ...

"Uuuuh!"

Silahyie sat up in bed. The quilt was wrapped around her legs in an awkward way and the smell of alcohol assaulting her nostrils. Another fitful night. She hadn't jumped awake today but the headache was still here. Weird dreams, that still did not make any sense. She could remember a little. Some thing about a room and people, of all races, but nothing else. She rubbed her head but this time did not try and figure out the dream. Deep down she knew she would not understand it. If she hadn't figured it out yesterday she probably wouldn't today. Thinking about it all day would only make the headache worsen.

What she did know was that she needed to go home today and apologize to the parents. Without pause she got up, putting on the same clothes as yesterday and attaching her traveling gear. This time she wrapped the cloak around her waist, wishing to feel the cooler air on her arms. She didn't have a mirror to check in so just pulled back her hair in the hope it wouldn't look too messy. No point hanging about, especially if she had that long walk back. It still surprised her how far she had walked yesterday, and her body didn't really ache from it either.

She pulled the quilt back on to the bed as tidily as she could and left the room. The hallway appeared a little cleaner than last night. No drink spillage could be seen, or the bugs and all the doors were closed. She could even hear a louder person snoring. The party must have finished pretty late and it looks like some body took care of any problems or dirt. Perhaps this wasn't the dive she thought it was. She bounded down the stairs and found the bar-side again. This time it was manned by a lady, a lot older than the one she had seen the landlord with yesterday. She seemed pretty friendly, even offering a smile while she washed the glasses by hand.

"Eltheran!" She said once Silahyie got near and grabbed a stool from under the bar. A simple morning greeting. Nothing too flowery. Silahyie wasn't going to stay but the woman was very friendly and she probably could do with a cooked breakfast.

"Eltheran." She returned with a small smile. Today felt good, even if the headache was still here. "Ireta? .... Seledh" Food? She almost impolitely asked but then remembered her manners and tacked on a please.

The lady paused her cleaning and called back to the kitchens. "Cooked eggs and potato. Thank you!" It was in a language she didn't recognize. Silahyie guessed it could be a human language for some body employed here. Elves didn't really like to do the dirty work any more, employing those who needed the money. You always found some body of a different race in ports. Travelers who had spent all their money and were stuck. The language sounded clumsy and the lady, although practiced at it, sounded awkward. It also looked like the lady dislike using it but had to resort to doing so.

Silahyie watched the lady work for a while trying to think of some kind of conversation. She was never very good at talking. Eventually she remember the party last night as a good question. Some gossip for her parents and maybe where to find some fish. "Hána ien dan chindeill dene?"

The lady chuckled in remembrance but also seemed to try and hide a little anger. Her eyes showed happiness but also regret and hurt. Silahyie could only guess the small hurt was about the man and the girl who had been overly flirting behind the bar. last night She wondered if the man and her were supposed to be partners but decided that asking would not be a good idea, especially if she was serving her food.

"Ha sëlthien herethal san níeurin selsa dhanala" The lady replied. A splendid catch and new trade route. So that was the party. Business as usual. Silahyie wondered if checking out the trade route would be a good idea, for her parents. Her curiosity was piqued. A very dangerous thing for a wanderer, to have curious thoughts.

Food arrived, courtesy of a human male, who's smile was so large it appeared to be over taking his face. He didn't speak, just laid out a small plate of well cooked food. He probably couldn't speak Elvish, Silahyie assumed, turning her nose up to him but still smiling in thanks. She regretted looking down her nose to him and acting high and mighty the minute he left but there would be no use in trying to explain. Acting like that was the norm nowadays. Elves felt they were above everybody else. Probably quiet rightly so, considering their art work and ways, but that still did not excuse acting like an ass. She was silent while she ate the meal. Eating it slowly and enjoying the taste, even if it was a little over-cooked. He'd poached some eggs and laid a sauce over it and cubed potato, seasoning it with some thing she had not experienced. Because Shana Chaldena was so out of the way things always got here last, and the seasoning was one such thing. It was only a simple herb the humans had tried to cultivate.

"Nena nin syindi Alalë elecher?" Where to buy sea business? Silahyie asked awkwardly once she'd finished eating. She meant to ask where she could buy some fish but her thinking process didn't work, so it came out as bad Elvish once again. She was definitely not good at communication and especially not with some body who did not know her or her awkward way of talking. The lady seemed to understand and pointed towards the dock.

"Danael!" Silahyie placed two silver coins on the counter-top and left with a new bounce in her step. The dock was a good place to start. Buy some fish for her parents and perhaps find where the new trading route lead too. She'd managed to eat all of the eggs and only left a few potato's. Energy well renewed Silahyie felt on top of the World. She pushed out the inn and strode with purpose down to the dock. A sea mist had rolled in over night. The small drops of cloud misting over her arms and collecting on her fleece. She didn't push the water off, liking the fresh feeling; even if it was a tad cold.

At the dock Silahyie found a few varieties of fish. The normal cod, mackerel and shark. Then a few of the more unusual. Tilerfin, a rather unusual fish that was red in color and had whiskers to help it walk along the sea floor. Getera, a larger fish that when cooked tasted almost sour and was mostly used in soups. Heckler, finally one worth taking home. The oil from the Heckler glands could be used as a pigment to most of the paint colors her mother used and the flesh made a pretty good steak, since it was a rather medium sized fish that swam long distances. She paid a few copper to the man and hung it around her shoulder and head using some fishing line. Then she pushed further into the market to find the new route and where it went.

She soon found an interesting poster about the new route. It was handmade and well painted, making her quickly wonder who painted it, because the artist would be competition to her Mother, who was one of the best on Ena and quite possibly Ardin too. The poster detailed the new route and whoever painted it seemed rather excited. A detailed map with a dotted line and sea monsters drawn around the edges. Very professional and pretty. The route went from Cleastuar-Ena to Alareta-Ardin, probably stopping off again in Northern Ardin, then on to Danathi-Eldin. No wonder they were celebrating at the inn last night. Never has there been such a huge trading route established. Excitement aroused Silahyie got to wondering how long the journey would take and if a visit to Eldin would be fun. Eldin was bordered to Sephalia and Sakira-thani. Plenty of people to meet, new places to explore, trading to be found. The excitement made her forget about her plans to travel home.

Silahyie found the next boat leaving and paid her dues. The fish in tow, for cooking aboard the ship; it would save her money to feed herself any way, and pick up food in the next port. Headache and home completely forgotten she boarded the ship. It was pretty small, for such a long journey, but quick. It would make the journey quickly but not be able to carry much. Unlike some of the bigger ships which would take ages and carry almost whole continents. She quickly found a nook to rest in and settled down for the journey. The ship was mostly wooden with few metal parts. Elves didn't like to use metal. It was a clunky material and not very pretty.

It took most of the morning for the traders to load up. Mostly it was fishing gear, herbs and potions, and a few pieces of art. Then it was set sail for the open sea. The mist lifted as soon as they left the shallow waters. The great sea stretched far and wide, only broken up by the small dot that would be Ardin and the ever shrinking Ena. Silahyie leaned back against her small nook on the boat and sighed. She caught a few short naps, in between the more choppy parts of the sea. The short trip took about eight hours and was mostly uneventful. A small leak had spouted, meaning they'd need to stay in Alareta-Ardin a little longer than they would like to have done, but that was ok.

Silahyie cooked the fish on a small fire pit down in the hull of the boat that was usually used to keep travelers and fishermen warm. Then ate a good handful of the fruit and some of the fish for lunch. She did spend a good couple of minutes talking to a young man from Ena but he soon drifted away after a while of being in Silahyie's presence.

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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Reffy on Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:09 pm

Silli-Sila: Alareta-Ardin. Large dock. DAY 3 evening

It was around early evening when the ship arrived at Alareta, Ardin. It had managed to stay in one piece; which was a surprise to most. The leak was big and needed a lot of work to get it fixed. Probably meaning an overnight stop in the larger dock of Alareta. One of the men fixing the leak said it would be a good few hours before any progress was made. Most of the traders weren't happy about this as they wanted to get to Eldin and start the trading. Time spent out at sea or not at the destination was time wasted in their minds. They huffed and puffed at the Captain, who stood with a sorry smile on his face and scrunched eyes, early warning of a headache setting in. He had told them to go spend the night at Alareta and enjoy the atmosphere and most had agreed, albeit in a snarky way. Silahyie was not bothered, another stop did not worry her. Its not like she was in any rush to get some where.

The dock at Alareta was a lot bigger than she had expected, with a market to the East side. People selling live-stock and produce grown on their farms. A lot of the buildings were still wooden and decorated lavishly, with a few clay brick and mortar buildings sprinkled throughout. The pavement covered in cobblestones. The people who walked there were covered head to toe in beautiful garments. Tailored within an inch of falling apart due to weight and too many holes. Hair tied back in massive swirls. It appeared that the people of Alareta were a lot more image conscious and a lot more high and might than her home town. The market was closing down for the night. Collapsing tents, talking loudly, wages being divided and small spats of arguments over prices brewing. Elves liked their relaxation and their mead and always closed shop early. Celebrations like the one in the inn at Cleastuar were pretty common.

Silahyie thought about going for a walk but there would not be much to see. The market was closed and the inn's already starting to bounce. She sighed deeply and leaned back against the ships railings. Joining one of those celebrations was not what she wanted to do. All that noise and having to talk to people, away for the wildlife and open air. She momentarily coughed at the idea, rubbing her head at the slight throb that had come back.

An early night was what she needed the most. A good sleep, since the last two nights had been horrendous. It took her a few good minutes to pack away her fish and small belongings then head down to the fire pit. She would sleep there. Most of the crew and traders had gone off to join the celebrations and would probably get room and board there. It would be peaceful.

She slowly crept down the stairs to the fire pit and found it void of people, as she had hoped. With a large yawn and absent rub of her mildly throbbing head she curled up comfortably, with her cooked fish close and her fleece wrapped around her shoulders. It did not take long to fall asleep. The gentle rocking on the ship attached to the dock helping. The dreams that followed the same she had seen last night. Still unable to speak up and the curious pink light.

Silli-Sila: Alareta-Ardin. Large dock. DAY 4 morning

“Seledh anahë!”

A cold and greasy hand grabbed a hold of Silahyie's arm, telling her to please wake up. She was quick to stumble out of her slumber, grabbing her dagger in defense, which was attached to her belt, and hold it towards whatever had woken her. After a few seconds of adjusting to the light she realized it was just one of the male workers aboard the ship. Rather sheepishly she lowered the dagger and slipped it back in the holder on her pants. She looked again to the man. He was young in age, for an Elf, but had wisdom beyond his years. His eyes reflected this. His hair was long enough to be tied back and covered in grease. His hands, although slender like most elves, were covered in cuts and dirt. The clothes he wore were tatty.

“Hána?” Silahyie managed to ask what, her head still lightly throbbing and currently not the only source of her annoyance, considering the nasty awakening.

“Lli undánë dene Alalë. Dan aeurl aer sseya” The man replied courtly, letting go of her arm. He told her that they would be departing for the open Sea soon, the mending of the ship having been completed. As he said this he was indicating that she should move or she would be under-foot and probably hurt. Silahyie could see what he meant as she quickly looked up to see more men pulling in some rigging and tying off other parts.

“Danael” She tried to smile but the wake up call and headache made it look more like a grimace. The man did not pay much heed to her any way. He was already half way across the deck to help an older man who appeared to be struggling. For a second Silahyie found herself lost in the man's actions. He had been kind enough to wake her up, and probably as gentle as one of his type could be. He would probably make a good ... Silahyie stopped herself before getting to that part.

Remembering where she was and the warning the man had given her Silahyie quickly got to moving. Gathering her belongings and getting out of the way from possible trouble or hurt. No use going home having been hit by rigging swinging or stomped on by careless men doing their jobs. Her Mother would be furious if even a hair was hurt on her head. She blushed quickly at the thought, settling herself back down in the nook she had found the previous day.

It was just after sunrise, as far as she could tell. The red and orange hues just leaving the sky. The sky was pretty empty save from a few white fluffy clouds. Excellent sailing weather. The Sea waves barely even an arms length in height. The Ship had been set free from the dockside already and was drifting away with easy. On to Eldin. With that thought in mind Silahyie got to eating. She still had the majority of the fish left, having only ate scraps last night. Another two days rations at least. After that she would have to bargain with the men aboard, some thing she did not look forward to.

As for the headache, it was still here. She had never had a headache last this long. The same dream had repeated itself, but was still sketchy, at least she had gotten some good sleep. Her body finally felt a little refreshed. After eating, and trying to freshen up, Silahyie snuggled back into the nook. Not much else to do on a Ship besides sleep. Talking to the crew would be a possibility but she doubted they would want to speak with her. Especially the way Silli-Sila speaks. They would probably want to make the lost time up.


Last edited by Reffy on Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:30 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Wed Sep 09, 2009 4:22 am

Sephalia > Oliphey > Church of Zephiris on Dove Street ~ evening of DAY 3
Gado Tanager stepped alone inside the church, closing the door behind him. Scarlet wasn't with him; she was tired from the long walk from Shadewood town. Gado had been tired, too, but being back in his city had given him new energy. Too worn to come along, Scarlet could only stay behind at the inn they had selected for that night. Gado had none of the vigor of youth, but neither had he become decrepit or fragile. The big old man walked through familiar streets almost aimlessly, though he did know where he was going.

Through the many memorable lanes, Gado had finally arrived at the church, where he hoped to petition Zephiris for guidance. Gado had had no dream last night, and he had not expected one; he had only just begun his quest for answers to the dream. That no more dreams were forthcoming only proved that his instinct had been correct: this dream was one of his most important, indeed he believed it to be the most important, of all. That was why he was here. He would need all the help he could get.

The church was mostly empty. The room was not quite cavernous, but the vaulted ceiling did serve to make one's footsteps echo. Gado stepped down the aisle of pews, toward the thick wooden railing where people could kneel to pray. Two or three people were there now, solemnly whispering their petitions. Gado took a place among them, kneeling down on the padding in front of the railing. He prayed to Zephiris the mother of his soul, needing her wisdom, her guidance, her help to find the answers that he would need to solve the riddles of his dream. "Grant the request of your humble son. The love of the Mother for her children be with us all; let it be so."

"Gado? Gado Tanager? Is that you, old man?"
Gado looked up from finishing his prayer. Gado recognized the voice. "Young Semric Cloudwether?"
"It is you!" the priest exclaimed in a whisper. "My! but you've got old!"
"'My' how you've grown," Gado retorted good naturedly. The two made their way over toward the pews, where they wouldn't be bothering anyone. "Why the last time I saw you you were stealing from Old Man Hedgewig on Baker Street."
"And getting chased off by the best warden Oliphey ever had," added Semric, as if he was proud of it.
"I see you got smart and mended your ways? However did you come to join the church?"
"Ehhh, long story. Suffice to say I saw the light. But how've you been getting on over past Shadewood all these years?"
"Eh, long story," said Gado, sparking another quick round of hushed laughter.
"You got old?"
The old man shrugged and nodded. "I got old."
"So what brings you back to your old city eh? Warden Tanager?"
"I'm not here for long. See, the thing is..." Gado looked around and lowered his even further. "I've been having these dreams for years, dreams that tell me how to help people. Sometimes they're in trouble, sometimes they just need something to talk to, sometimes they're just lost or they've lost something, but the dreams always mean something. You know I never read much of the scriptures... does Zephiris say anything about dreams? Night before last I had one that topped them all, so just I had to come here and try to make sense of it."

An odd look had come over Semric. His eyes were wide. "Did it feel as if nothing else mattered anymore?"
Gado sobered, nodding, not quite sure what to make of the sudden change coming over Sem.
"I've been studying that very subject like mad--dreams--ever since the same night," said the priest. "But then late yesterday evening a courier comes to me with the greatest news I think I'll ever hear in all my life." This time it was Semric who checked to make sure no one was paying attention. His voice lowered to a barely audible whisper. "I believe you've been Called, or I wouldn't tell you this. It is surely the Mother's love that you are here. My friend... Zephiris has returned."
Gado's face bloomed astonishment. "Is this true!? What if--!"
"Shhhhh! Quiet down!" Semric whispered. Gado had forgotten himself and had spoken out loud. Semric pulled him up. "Akh, come with me."

The priest led the former warden behind the prayer railing, toward the back of the church and through a doorway. Semric closed the heavy door, so the two could talk normally without disturbing people or drawing attention. "It's true," he said, "Zephiris has returned, but we don't know where in Telmar she could be waiting. The church is reluctant to tell the public, afraid they will not believe and so bring down sorrow or wrath upon all Sephalia. Even now we're petitioning the royalty to allow us to search for the place she has chosen to be her new temple. It cannot be chance that has brought you here tonight."
"Zephiris... oh, could it be true...!"

Eldin > near Sildena, only a few miles from the border into Sephalia ~ evening of DAY 3
Áirhath looked up toward Dhashan deth Anatar, Anatar's Pass. Anatar Aeryan, the elf lord of Ardin, long ago convinced the White Council to help the Sephalians construct a serviceable pass through the Mountains of Mist, creating another trade route that brought a steady stream of human merchants and traders into Eldin. Without Anatar, elven lands would not have had the benefit of so much more human trade. Áirhath had always been proud of his history, of the Aeryan Family.

"Áirhath Llíredan, lli aeleth heyara srénn sen nna Sildena. Sildári chyun dhanathári nnáe sundra." Commander Áirhath nodded without looking back toward the elf who was speaking. Titanya was right, of course. They should all take rest back at Sildena for the night, since the humans over in Sephalia disliked travelers coming through the pass during the night. "Naeí lle dánë sen. Lli ilith ethalë." Áirhath gave them leave to go without him. He'd soon follow.
"Háei, Llíredan." Titanya and most of the others did as Áirhath had suggested. Five stayed behind, keeping at a fair distance, to watch over their Commander.

Áirhath needed to be alone for a few moments. He needed a chance to digest everything that was happening. If the actions of the White Council were any indication, this was a very important time in history. Something big was going on, and the elves needed people like him, capable and resourceful, to find out what it was. The White Council had recruited the Ssandári mercenaries to make a short circuit through parts of Sephalia and Sakira-thani, gathering what information they could whilst playing their normal mercenary role as a cover. The plan was to return within two weeks, hopefully having answered the question: How much did other races know about the change that had occurred.

If necessary, the Ssandári would need to actually perform mercenary tasks for employers. It could be done, and it would be advantageous in several respects, but it could easily put a strain on their deadline. This was nothing like a normal mission for an employer; the welfare of elven lands might be at stake. Áirhath breathed deep of the cool, twilight air. He was more than a little anxious to have all this on his shoulders and those of his company, but he was also quite ready to rise to the challenge.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Guest on Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:22 am

Mandor, Dor, Northwind District, the Fire Grotto ~ night of DAY 4

The group stopped at the Fire Grotto, a tavern notorious for its brawls and shady patrons. Barthon honestly wasn't surprised that this was their next stop, considering the location they had found Inen. He was beginning to wonder whether or not it had actually been a good idea to agree to travel with Jasper and Ten Eych and their four "friends."

The Fire Grotto was a large two-story tavern. The lower floor was concrete, and the upper floor, where the beds would be located, was made entirely of wood and dotted with rows of tall windows, all radiating the soft yellow glow of candle light. The lower level had only two windows, both large and square and located on either side of the front door. The door itself, made of wood, seemed to have been smashed and punctured on multiple occasions, and only haphazardly repaired. Shafts of light pierced the door and created patterns on the dark street in front of it.

Simion nudged Barthon as they approached the tavern. "Are you sure we want to go in there? You might attract a bit of attention..."
Barthon nodded. "You are right, my perceptive page." Barthon stepped up closer to his three companions, Jasper, Ten Eych and Inen, who were walking together side by side and telling some story between them that seemed to Barthon to be more than exaggerated.
"Simion and I will wait outside," Barthon stated. "I know the reputation of this place. My presence will be...unwanted."
"Nonesense!" Ten Eych said jovially. "Your reputation precedes you, Gedrich Knight! More than half of the men in their will be fighting over who gets to buy you a drink."
"That doesn't negate my point," Barthon said. "I will wait out here."
"Really, Barthon, that won't be necessary," argued Jasper. Barthon didn't fail to notice Inen rolling her eyes. "We will be in and out, and most of them will be on their toes in expectation, not sure what to do. We will be gone before they even register what they saw."
Barthon had his doubts, well-founded doubts in his mind, but he didn't argue any further. Without simply leaving the group, they wouldn't relent before he walked through that front door.
"Keep an eye out, Simion," Barthon whispered to his page. It was hardly a necessary instruction, but Simion nodded in acknowledgment.

Inen stepped forward to open the door, which she did with embellishment. The sounds of jeering and laughter died down momentarily as the woman stepped through the doorway. Jasper and Ten Eych followed, and the commotion from within continued, if not more loudly than before. Barthon could easily hear Ten Eych's thunderous voice above the rest. As Barthon stepped through the door way, it was as if the noise had been sucked of the room; complete silence filled the tavern common room. Barthon's hand moved toward his sword, and he had to force it to return to his side, relaxed and steady.

Ten Eych broke the silence with a large grin and wave of his hands toward Barthon. "Sir Camlin, Gedrich Knight! He is here by our request, and you'll do well to treat him as one of us!" The silence continued, but Barthon could almost feel the tension release from across the room. Conversations began to spring up again, first faint whispers, and then a dim murmur that would be all that replaced the ruckus from before.

Barthon followed his companions to a long table in a secluded corner of the common room. Several men were sitting at the table, though only one was dressed in lighter colors. The rest were all cloaked in dark colored clothing and long beards, with a red circle pierced by three red arrows marking their shoulders. The man in lighter clothing had blond hair, instead of black, and there was a spear set against the wall behind him. As the man looked up at Ten Ecyh, the color drained from his face. His mouth moved as if to form words, but he could only stammer. The other three men all turned to see the group approaching. Ten Eych moved up to the blond man, placing a heavy hand on his shoulder. Speaking to the darker men, Ten said "This man owes us several thousand in the king's weight in gold. "We've been looking for him for a week." Ten Eych stared at the stacks of coin on the table, and the dice in the blond man's hand. "From the looks of it, we'll be doing you all a favor by relieving him from your presence." Before the three men could argue, Ten hoisted the man up by the collar of his shirt until he was standing, and then guided him from the table. The man reached back for his spear as Ten pulled him away.

Barthon followed the group, thoroughly confused as to what was going on. The commotion seemed to return as soon as Barthon stepped out of the tavern, despite the splintered door shutting behind him. Ten Eych slapped the man on the shoulder as soon as they were out on the street. "I told you not to gamble, you sheep-brained idiot! If I'd let you sit there for a minute longer, they'd of come after us with swords!"
The man smiled, nudging Ten in the ribs with an elbow, and shaking a small sack tied to his waist with the other hand. "I was winning," he said.
Ten actually looked shocked. "Well, well, well....that has to be a first. I wasn't exactly lying when I told them what you owe me."
The man's eyes moved to Barthon and his page. "You got him?" Barthon's eyes widened. Jasper winced and Ten Eych seemed at a loss for words.
"You knew?" Inen asked, looking at Ten and Jasper and as surprised as the other two looked, though for obviously different reasons. "Why in the name of G'sanarkath didn't you tell me?"
"The question is," Barthon interrupted, stepping toward the group with his hand resting on the hilt of his sword, "what is going on."
"Hey now, Barthon, just take it easy." Jasper held his palms up toward Barthon. "We aren't against you, nor are we doing anything illegal here. You're honor and integrity are fine. Let us just explain what Cid here means and I'm sure you will understand."
Barthon crossed his arms and set his feet apart, a stance indicating he wasn't about to be pushed around. "Start explaining," he ordered.

Jasper looked at Ten Eych and Inen, both of whom were looking back at him expectantly. Jasper took a deep breath and launched into a lengthy explanation. "The six of us, including Quentin and Brenard, met just before the branding. We were all here for the same reason; we'd all heard the news. Everyone in Mandor has, by now. At the Great Highplace of Zephiris, we saw you, the only knight of your order. Being the most prestigious order in Mandor, we decided it might be a good idea to have you along. Most of the wandering bands won't make it far. They will be hunted as brigands by those like Lord Duiran, or they will simply give up before long. Having a knight along for the ride would be like a free pass into lands we would otherwise not have access to. Ten and I found your inn, and we managed to get your attention, as well as your help. The rest of the group have been scrounging for information, any sort of tips as to where to look first." Jasper looked at Barthon expectantly, hoping for some sort of sign of his story having been accepted.

Barthon looked down at Simion. "What do you think, boy? Is Jasper telling the truth?" Barthon had already made up his mind, but it would be a good way to test Simion's perception, and a way to throw the rest off balance.
Simion placed a hand on his chin and studied Jasper's face, and then Ten Eych's. "He's lying. Inen didn't know about us until now."
Barthon smiled as he drew his sword. The boy would be a great knight someday.
"Wait!" Jasper called, holding out his hands. "Alright, I was just trying to make it short! It was just Ten, Cid, Brenard and I. We decided; Inen and Quentin were already in the city, but they weren't with us. We decided to travel together before, but they weren't with us when we decided to include you. I swear, Barthon, we mean you no ill will!"
Barthon slammed his sword back into its scabbard. "Good enough." Barthon pointed an armored finger at Jasper and Ten. "But don't think I won't be watching you. Or the boy."

Jasper nodded gratefully, and Ten nodded, the large smile returning to his face. Inen simply crossed her arms and sighed. "Can we continue, then?" Inen asked. "We still need Quentin and Brenard, and it is getting later. If we take much longer, we can forget about that head start."

"Where is Quentin, then?" Barthon asked.
"In the Northwind Chapel of Saint Roul," Cid responded. "It isn't far from here. I'll show you."
"Then let's go," Barthon said.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Guest on Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:27 pm

Mandor, Dor, Northwind District, Chapel of Saint Raul ~ night of DAY 4

Barthon noticed Simion stumbling as they walked down the wide street toward the Chapel of Saint Raul. Barthon knew the boy was tired, but there wasn't much he could do for him at the moment. Besides, Simion was training to be a knight. He had to expect long nights and hard work. Barthon himself was tired, he had to admit, but he had enough adrenaline coursing through him in anticipation of searching for Zephiris.

Barthon no longer walked behind the group. Jasper and Inen walked behind him and Simion, and Cid and Ten Eych took the lead. Barthon knew that these people meant him no real harm, but he was done playing their games. They could have told him from the beginning what their real purpose was and he was sure he would still be here following them around in the middle of the night. Barthon wondered if either Inen or Cid had discovered anything useful. If not about the location of Zephiris, which he was sure no one had any useful information about, then perhaps about the motives and plans of other parties that would searching as well. He refrained from asking, however, because he was certain the question would be raised once everyone was together.

The streets were lined with short, stout buildings, most of the windows dark and shadowed. It was already past midnight. Most of the residents of Dor had to keep a tight schedule, which meant rising before the sun. Sacrificing sleep wasn't a luxury most people could afford. Even Barthon tried to get sleep early in the night, so he could begin his duties with the early rising sun. But tonight was an exception for him and his new friends, as it was for all the other people still milling about and drinking within the taverns. Not many people were walking the streets, which relieved Bathon. A large group tended to make people nervous, or suspicious, and the last thing they needed was trouble. Anything that might delay them setting out for their search could ruin their plans.

Far down the street Barthon could just make out the outline of the domed chapel against the backdrop of the largest moon. The second moon was just above the first, smaller and dimmer but no less majestic being so near to its giant companion. A few lights could be seen from within the building, the flames flickering through the windows and contrasting against the night surrounding it. A wall surrounded the chapel and the courtyard, standing at nearly shoulder height to the average man. The wall was simply decoration, or perhaps remnants of a fortification from times no long forgotten by most. Barthon wasn't sure how old the building was. As they neared the chapel, Barthon could make out the wooden buildings that surrounded it, hugging the outside of the walls. These buildings housed the priests and monks that tended the chapel. The buildings were small and simple, suitable to their simple lives.

Barthon had never considered becoming a priest, despite his devotion to Zephiris. He had never really had the choice: since he had been born he was destined to become a knight in the Order of Gedrich. Personally, he found it more fulfilling and interesting than the life of a priest. Obviously this Quentin felt the same way, or he wouldn't be joining them now. As they approached the entrance to the courtyard of the chapel, Cid rasped his knuckles against the heavy wooden gate. The door immediately began to move inward, pulled by someone as of yet unseen. A shaved head came around the wooden gate, followed by a pair of hands, and then slowly his torso and a leg.
"Are we ready to set out?" The man asked. Barthon knew it had to be Quentin, though he had not really expected such hesitation from him, despite him being a priest. "They think I'm still in the chapel, reading over the scripture for tomorrow's sermon. I don't know what they will say when the find me gone, but I would rather not find out what they will do if they find me trying to sneak out."
"One more stop," Ten Eych said. "We still need Brenard. He is in the Entertainment District."
The priests eyes widened. "I can't go wandering around the city! What if I'm seen?"
"Just take off the robe, Quentin," Jasper said from behind Barthon. "Without that you are just another man. Besides, all eyes will be on Sir Camlin here."
"You are right," said Quentin, immediately slipping off the gray robe, and then looking cautiously back over his shoulder. "But, please, let us hurry!"

Jasper and Inen led the way back toward the Entertainment District. Quentin matched his pace with Barthon and looked up at him with an eager grin.
"You must be of the Order of Gedrich, Sir Camlin. I greatly respect your order, and their devotion to the scriptures and the Mother of our Souls. It is an honor to have you along on the journey." Barthon nodded, returning the smile. "Perhaps," Quentin continued, "we will have an opportunity to speak of the scriptures, you and I. And we could...theorize on where Zephiris might be found, and what it will do to our fair world."
"I would be honored, Quentin," Barthon responded. "Perhaps sometime when we are on the road?"
"Yes, yes, of course!" Quentin said quickly. "There is much to do yet." The priest looked over his shoulder again. "And we don't have much time."

Mandor, Dor, Entertainment District, The Three Pigs ~ night of DAY 4

The Entertainment District was quite different when seen at night than when seen during the light of day. It was emptier, for one thing. Barthon had grown used to the bustle and the noise that filled the district every time he had visited it. It was something new, and perhaps unsettling, to find the place so quiet. Yet, as it was in the Northwind District, the taverns were filled with late-night drinkers and conspirators.

One of the taverns in particular, with a sign of three pigs holding mugs dripping with ale, was filled with patrons loudly talking and jostling each other. That was where Ten Eych led them. Barthon sighed, inwardly chiding himself for having such faith in his new party of friends. For being supposedly honest people, they tended to enjoy the most raucous crowds. He wasn't particularly sure he wasn't breaking any codes he had sworn to honor by being here, following this group rather than leading them to the nearest guard house. But this was what was required of him to find Zephiris. It wasn't a job he could do on his own. They each had skills he could utilize on the quest, and if it came down to fighting, the more arms he had holding weapons the better.

Ten Eych led them into the tavern, somehow maneuvering his large bulk between the crowds of people that lined the entrance. They moved away less easily for Barthon than they did for Ten Eych, but he restrained himself from getting angry. These people knew they were taunting an upholder of the law, and they knew by his company that he wasn't here to do anything about it.
Inside, the tavern was just as crowded. Ten Eych stopped for a moment and looked around. His gazed stopped on a table near the center of the room. Only one man was sitting there, a large plate piled high with food in front him. When Barthon got a good look of his face, he understood why he was sitting alone. His face was marked by deep scars, more like pits than anything else. The man was seriously ugly. Barthon didn't normally judge people by their looks, but he could understand why this man would be avoided by others.

Having spotted the man, Ten Eych moved straight toward him. Barthon did his best to follow through the crowd, with the rest of the group just behind.
"Brenard san Deccour, the last of our entourage," Ten said. "If you have finished eating, we should be heading out."

Barthon looked around at his companions, almost shaking his head at the strangeness of it. He would be traveling with a burly man of the mountains, a man with previous military experience and a currently unknown occupation, a woman of very shady intentions who he would normally not associate himself with, a gambler, a priest, and now this scarred man. Barthon was sure it would prove to be an interesting journey.


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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:28 am

Sakira-thani > near Melanin, some 115 miles east of Sakira ~ morning, DAY 5
The mountains were magnificent in the pre-dawn light. That is, magnificent in their role as a background to S'harahe's radiance. Sehra-sithred S'harahe breathed deeply the thin, cold air of the high mountains. High-caste dragons had no need to fear untoward temperatures. No dragon worthy of the title K'handrar needed fear extreme heat or cold. Since higher caste dragons built their palaces at higher elevations, dragon dwellings never needed account for seasonal temperatures, for magic leveled them all.

The past two days had been extraordinarily dull for S'harahe. Or at least they would have been, had those two days not been graced by her very existence. All that had transpired was repetitive, surreptitious travel, avoiding cities by weaving through mountain trails or flying between mountain peaks. Sithred-makh Grendilkren did not want their errand questioned or known. Their road would eventually lead them toward northeastern Sakira-thani.

Grendilkren had through profound skill been able to discern the region from which the source originated--that which had caused the subtle magnification of the Great Shout. He had explained this when he detailed the mission to S'harahe and the others. Beyond knowing the general region, however, S'harahe and her company had no way of narrowing their search. Once they reached that area of dragon lands, they would have to search every uninhabited peak, every abandoned cave, every inhospitable valley. It would be a daunting task indeed.

S'harahe accepted and ate the meat which the servants had roasted. Kaladar stood nearby, talking of elvish language and new discoveries. S'harahe was hardly paying attention; her primary use for Kaladar was keeping Panis'hret away from her. Most of S'harahe's mind was focused on little else besides the mission, her surroundings, and all the ways in which the universe revolved around her. The sun, apparently sensing her impatience to be showered with golden light, obliged.
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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Digital Muse on Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:22 pm

An early morning fog blanketed the grass of the clearing making everything seem insubstantial and ethereal. The breath of the mules and horses threw up dense, wet clouds around their heads as they cropped the lush grass in the dawn’s first pink rays. The caravan began to stir to wake. The merchants, mule-skinners, cooks and even the hangers-on rolled out of damp blankets to gather about the 3 cooking fires set up within the camp. One particularly large silhouette wandered the edges of the camp, checking on the guards that had been out during the night and sent them in for a well-deserved hot breakfast along with a strong and bitter ground chicory drink. The 6 and a half foot tall human was almost as thick as he was tall. His name was Mualane and after the Captain of the 40 strong merchant caravan, his word was law. His lowered, thick brows seemed to put a perpetually disapproving cast on his deeply tanned face. Mualane preferred to be clean shaven and even shaved his head. This preference only heightened his forbidding appearance.

Like many of the merchants and crew of the caravan, Mualane’s clothes were an odd mix of the practical and serviceable clothes from all three of Telmar’s races; heavy leather pants of an indeterminate age, high riding boots, a heavy leather belt with a frog that a curved saber would hang from while in the saddle. This morning in the cool air, he wore a deep green woolen shirt with a heavy fur vest over it to keep him warm. Mualane stalked through the camp ensuring everything was in its place and as neat as the Captain demanded. A few of the crew of the caravan greeted him as old friends will and it still surprised those that had paid passage that Mualane’s demeanor was so out of keeping with his appearance. He was, in fact, a soft-spoken and gentle man who preferred the company of the mules and horses to people. Of course, on this trip, none of the passengers had been given the frightening opportunity to see him in a fight.

Mualane drew closer to the picketed horses and mules when the outer edge of his thick lips twitched up slightly. The dun mule that the Captain favored was missing. As was his saddle. So. Captain slept poorly again, did she? He thought to himself as he headed back toward a hot breakfast for himself. Before he got much farther, muffled hoof beats of the returning errant Captain reached his ears. Deciding to wait, he stood, rock-like, until Katerina Forbes emerged from the mists. Both she and the mule, Fate Strider, glistened with jewels of dew and sweat that had crowned them. He shook his head at her as she drew alongside him, “Ye know better than to run him in this damp, Captain. Ye’ll ruin his lungs, ye will.”

Katerina Forbes, Captain of one of the largest merchant caravans to ply the trade routes of Sephalia threw her leg over Fate Strider’s neck and leapt to the ground gracefully. Rubbing her mule’s neck affectionately, she nodded, almost contrite here away from the eyes of the camp. “I know. But, you know how he loves to stretch out, Mualane.” Katerina was tall, tall as most human men. Her leanly muscled frame was whipcord strong from a life-time working from the back of a horse. Like Mualane, she favored leather pants and tall riding boots. But where he preferred dark colors, she wore brilliant scarlet silks, gold sashes and silver jewelry. Unlike him, though, she wore her saber at her hip along with several long knives while she’d been away from camp riding alone. She pulled her leather gloves from her hands to rake her long fingers through her tangled dark curls.

Mualane looked to her slightly haggard face, which ordinarily shone with a natural smile, “I see ye had the dream again, eh?” He half-accused.

Her honey-colored eyes flashed in irritation when she looked up to meet his black ones. “You are more Mother than mule-skinner, Mualane.” As soon as she snapped at him, however, she regretted it. “Forgive me,” she asked and looked away from his unflappable countenance. “But yes. Again. It has been the same for three nights. The dark cave and the blinding light coming from within. I fear it, yet need to search for the source. I know I will be blinded, perhaps will even die, but I cannot ignore it.” She sighed softly, “Am I going mad?”

“No.” came the unequivocal answer. Mualane reached out to take the reins of Fate Strider. “Now. You’d best be about the job of getting these lay-abouts moving along the trail. Daylight is wasting.”

Katerina laughed brightly, she’d be lost without Mualane and his stalwart faith in her. She slapped her gloves against the palm of her left hand. “Right as always, my friend.” Long, purposeful strides took her swiftly toward the first of the cooking fires. “About time you were up and about!” She sang-shouted in greeting. Her clear voice rang out over the stillness of the dawn. “We’ve many miles before we can stop for mid-day, my friends. Up and about! The mountain pass won’t wait on us!” She wandered among her crew who were already scattering to their assigned duties like so many ants from an ant hill. To outsiders it appeared to be chaos, but to those within the hill, each had their duty and carried it out with alarming single-minded efficiency.

Katerina accepted a cup of the hot chicory drink from one of the cooks and moved to join a group of travelers who had joined the caravan while they’d made their circuit through the Elven lands. She smiled and greeted each warmly by name and inquired after their travel plans, showing a remarkable knowledge of the routes they’d need to take. One man with 3 mules worth of gigantic books was particularly interested in the route that would eventually lead to the Dragon lands. “What do you think, Captain Forbes? You have traded with the Dragons before. Is it true they favor beautiful books?”

“Well, Master Phildon. I can attest that the Dragon-kind do appreciate the beauty of the written word. I myself have escorted many a scholar to their lands.” She tested the waters just a little, “But we have a way to go before we head into Sakira-Thani. It may be months along the trail.” She tapped her chin with a fore-finger as if considering something deeply before continuing, “Once through the mountains and back into Sephalia, we have a number of planned stops there and then on into Sakira-Thani before we head back to Eldin.” She watched the man’s face fall as the true import of how long he’d be travelling set in. She almost smiled to herself, but refrained.

“But…but…I can’t possibly be away from my family so long! They have no other income!” The man fairly wrung his hands fretting over it.

Katerina again pretended to ponder, then sighed theatrically, “Well…I suppose I could help you out.” She made a face as if this were a true sacrifice on her part. “I could buy the books from you now, thus freeing you to return to your family with a fair profit.” She knew she had him when his face lit up with gratitude.

“Oh Zephiris, bless you, Captain Forbes! Thank you!” He grabbed Katerina’s hand and pumped it up and down. “Come to my tent, we shall talk of a fair price!”


Last edited by Digital Muse on Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:36 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added location)
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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Stion Gyas on Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:25 pm

Mandor, Dor, Entertainment District, The Three Pigs~

Brenard was happily finishing a trencher of roast fowl, pease and potatoes roasted in bacon grease when he felt a hand upon his shoulder. "Brenard san Deccour, the last of our entourage. If you have finished eating, we should be heading out."

Brenard sighed and set his fork down. My last home-cooked meal for who-knows-how-long. He swung his legs over the bench upon which he sat and rose. A gloved hand took up his favorite wide-brimmed hat, and settled it firmly around the crown of his head.

“Ten, you found me.” He said with half a smile, before motioning for the door. Brenard wormed his way through the crowds for several steps, before the patrons squeezed about to give him room. Halfway to the door the merchant’s son found himself staring into a blue breastplate. He looked up, and up and found Barthon. “Ahh, there you are. I was wondering if they would have any luck.

The blade master leaned to the right, to gaze around the knight’s bulk and found the others. “We are all here. ‘Last of our entourage,’ indeed.”

Brenard squeezed around Barthon, smiled at Simion, clasped hands with Cid and batted his eye lashes at Inen. Inen’s scowl sent him scurrying from the inn, wagging his hips. He took a deep breath of the cool night air and turned about.

Patiently, Brenard waited for the others. When they had gathered, he spoke. “I wasn’t able to guilt Lukas out of much, but I did weasel him out of rations for a fortnight, and a garron for Quinten. A moment, please.”

Brenard disappeared around the corner of the inn for some time. Minutes later, he returned, leading two horses. The garron was a small dark bay, light, and with a shaggy coat. A low-cantled riding saddle encircled the gelding’s back. He handed the reins to Quinten.

“He has most of the rations in his saddlebags.” Brenard told the priest. The bags were bulging, most barely closed. “Cheese, bread, salt beef and pork. Lukas also hid a wineskin or two in there, I think.”

The other mount stood several hands taller than the priest’s gelding. The blue roan rouncey snorted and shook its head and the gelding was pulled away. Brenard patted the stallion’s neck, calming it.

“Where do we head?”
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Re: Sephiris: The Price of Peace

Post by Guest on Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:10 pm

Mandor, Dor, Entertainment District, The Three Pigs ~ Pre-dawn of Day 5

Barthon spoke up before any of the others could answer. He was tired of playing by their games. If they wanted his help on this hunt, they could follow him and his orders. He was, after all, an upholder of the laws of Mandor, as well as its moral guidelines.
"We'll be heading straight for the Blue Mountains. It was Ten's idea, but I happen to agree with him." For once, Barthon noticed, relieved, Jasper didn't offer up an argument against him. Perhaps he was realizing Barthon's intent not to be lead around by the nose any longer. "We should leave immediately."
“The Blue Mountains?” Brenard shrugged. “As good a start as any, I suppose.” A slight breeze twisted the rim of his wide-brimmed hat. “It smells of rain on the morrow.”
"Let's hope not. That will hamper our progress." Barthon stared up at the sky as he spoke, but the twin moonlight all but washed out the stars anyway. If there were any rain clouds out, he would know by morning. "Simion and I must head back to the Silverlight Inn to get our horses. We will all meet outside the north gate within the hour."
"Who died and put you in charge?" Inen asked as she crossed her arms, spreading her feet apart in a stance that said she wasn't moving.
"Not now, Inen!" Jasper said harshly. "I apologize, Barthon. But she isn't used to taking orders. I know you are used to giving them, but we work together under the assumption that no one is technically in charge of any of us."
"You are outlaws, then."
"Now listen here...!" Ten Eych exclaimed, pointing a finger at Barthon.
“Outlaws?" Brenard asked, more calmly than Ten Eych. "No. We do what needs to be done. No more, no less.”

Barthon smiled. These were men who considered themselves above the common law. They considered it their right to do what was in the best interest of them and theirs. Barthon knew he would have a problem with that, under normal circumstances, but he was certain he would be following those same principles before the hunt was over. "Fair enough," he said simply. "Then, if you wouldn't mind," he said as he bowed toward Inen, "I think it would be prudent that we meet outside the north gates within the hour. The sun will soon be rising, and with it all of Zephiris' 'chosen'."
Inen actually smiled at Barthon, though he wasn't sure if it was forced. "That's better."

Mandor, on the road just north of Dor ~ Dawn of Day 5

The group traveled north in near silence, following the wide road as the sun's first rays slowly began to shine over the far eastern horizon. Simion was laying over the neck of his palfrey, fast asleep. Barthon held the small horses reins in his right hand, and his own destrier's in his left. Jasper, Ten Eych, and Inen rode ahead of Barthon and Simion, while Brenard, Cid, and Quentin followed behind. The two groups chattered among themselves quietly, though Brenard was happy to be left out of it. He was never one for unnecessary conversation, and he preferred to watch the three ahead of him, to learn of them indirectly through reliable, simple observation.

Suddenly Simion reared up from his palfrey, falling off behind it. Barthon yanked on the reins of the horses to stop them, and quickly dismounted. He ran toward Simion's still form on the ground. The boy's eyes were open, but he seemed stunned. Likely the fall had knocked the air out of him.
"Are you alright, boy?" Barthon asked while lifting him up to a sitting position. "What's gotten into you? You had more sense in your head when we left Aram."
"It was a dream, Barthon," Simion whispered, still trying to catch his breath. "I had a strange dream."
"Well, it's over now. Get back on your horse." Barthon helped Simion get back to his palfrey and remount. The others were not far away, all of them staring silently. Barthon remounted without another word.
"It wasn't just a dream," Simion said, looking intently at Barthon. "It was different."
"You know, Simion, you haven't addressed me properly since the branding yesterday."
"We are all equal here. We are all Chosen."
"Semantics, Simion," Barthon said. "If you want to consider yourself equal among us, then sleep when we sleep, and ride when we ride. There is no need to fall off your horse to sleep on the side of the road."
"You aren't listening to me, Barthon!" The tone in Simion's voice when he said the knight's name made Barthon want to hit him. "I...sensed her. In my dream. I don't think she is here."
"'Here' where? Where else would she be?" Barthon didn't know what to make of the boy's supposed dream. Dreams were just dreams, but Zephiris was powerful, and who could say what her intentions were.
"I sensed something, or some place, bigger than here. Bigger than what we are. There were others involved."
"Bigger, eh?" Ten Eych had slowed enough to have heard their conversation. "The Blue Mountains are pretty big, young knight, very tall. I wouldn't count it out just yet."
Simion just glared at the man, but he didn't respond. "We aren't going beyond our borders, Simion. If she isn't here, it is beyond our jurisdiction to find her."
"But it is not beyond your faith, or your devotion. You are traveling with 'outlaws' for a reason." Jasper looked back over his shoulder as he spoke, slowing down to close the distance. "I know that you would do anything to find Zephiris. I know that you will. You will find her."
"And how would you know that, Jasper?" Barthon asked, thoroughly disgusted with the man's constant word games. "Did you have dreams too?" Barthon couldn't keep the sarcasm out of his voice, and the hurt look on Simion's face told him that he had lost a bit of respect in the boy's eyes.
"No," Jasper responded. "No dreams for me. But I know the type of person you are. That is enough." Jasper waved a hand toward Simion. "Come, young knight, and tell me of your dream."
Despite Barthon's anger, he let the boy go. Would he take it upon himself to risk causing a war in the name of Zephiris? Did he want that honor that badly? They would cross that bridge when they came to it, he decided. They were heading to the Blue Mountains first. And they would search those mountains very thoroughly.

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