View Full Version : When A Goddess Dreams (IC)
28th Oct 11, 8:53 PM
When A Goddess Dreams
When a Goddess dreams, her thoughts give way
to the world and times which mark our day.
And the lives of men, their fates entwined,
are all but phantoms within her mind.
Opening lines from the Book of Dawn
Chronicles of the Sacred Covenant
Translated from Angelic Scriptures by Grand Apostle Eriana Solaris
The Year 950 of the First Age of Reclamation
War! That is the one word on everyone’s mind. Although it has not yet been officially declared, it seems as if it is indeed inevitable. Even now nations and governments all across Galian are making preparations and choosing sides. As of now, only a single nation has publicly announced its position. The Isle of Deren has made it clear that it will offer assistance to the Elves and Lauran of the Emerald Mountains should the two races go to war with the Galen Empire. However, most other nations have followed the path of the kingdom of Dasa, publicly taking neutral stances even as they attempt to turn the situation to their advantage. With such storm clouds on the horizon, some are working diligently to avert the rapidly approaching disaster. The Angels of the Great Temples have been striving day and night to prevent the skirmishes along the Galen border from escalating into a full-blown conflict. The talks have been so constant that the Ascendant of the Southern Temple has been seen entering and leaving the Imperial palace of Galadran almost daily. Even so, tensions are high, and the ranks of both the Elven and Imperial armies seem to swell by the hour.
Meanwhile trouble is brewing to the West as well as South. Several weeks ago the Caldren Federation dispatched troops to Kren in an effort to suppress a handful of skirmishes occurring between noble houses vying for the seat of the recently assassinated king. However, instead of quieting the fighting, the influx of foreign troops has served to only fan the flames into an all-out civil war. Yet even in the midst of such dark times, there are a few sparks of hope. The human kingdom of Idrea has agreed to act as a moderator between the clashing factions within the Federation, and both sides have agreed to a meeting to discuss the difficult issue of succession. Simultaneously the Emperor of Galen has agreed, most likely at the urging of the Angels, to send an ambassador to the Elven city of Haleil to meet with prince Tessan Salemon in the hopes that the Empire and Elven kingdom can work together to avert a war.
The fact that the Emperor has agreed to such talks is surprising to say the least. With the rise of demon attacks within their territories, the Elves cannot afford such hostilities with the Empire; and even now unofficial dispatches have been sent to seek out help from any nation that may offer it. With this being the case, such a meeting with the Empire is their only hope to avert a war they are not prepared to fight. However, such is not the case for Galen. There has been very little word of demon attacks within the Empire, though no one knows whether this is because they have not occurred or if the Empire itself simply refuses to allow such reports to slip past it’s borders. Even so, the human nation has an army far superior in both size and condition than their elven neighbors, so they fact that the Emperor is willing to meet with the Elves is a pleasant, though very unexpected, surprise.
29th Oct 11, 7:21 AM
Imperial Palace of Galadran
Yael sat in her squat quaters, going over the letter that had been delivered to her. The imperial crest stamped across the parchment trapped her gaze and held it, filling her with fear. Why? Why would a mere ex-gladiator, however prominent, attract the notice of the Emperor himself? She rubbed her left shoulder, biting her lip. The guards were waiting outside, and there was only so long they'd wait patiently. She threw the letter down on the rough wooden table and began to change. She shrugged on her leathers and then began to don her armour. Her armour and the sword were the only fine things in this dank room. She used that time to think and plan. An audience with the Emperor, at a time like this. She didn't like it. Above all, war was in the air, a war between the Empire and the elves of the Emerald Mountains. She'd heard rumours of a peace mission but she didn't believe it for a moment. More misdirection, most likely. In times like these, you had to choose your side. Her loyalty had never been to the imperial crest, at least not as more than a form of words.
It wasn't as if she hadn't considered this a thousand times. She'd made plans but her nerve had always failed her. Well, not today. She picked up her silver helmet with gloved hands, sliding it into place over her long black hair. She slung her greatsword and sheath over her shoulders and slid her smallswords into place around her belt. Then she picked up the imperial summons and slid it into her belt. A moment later, Yael took a deep breath, then slunk into her bedroom. She pulled the bag she'd prepared from under her bed and slung it over her shoulder, then opened the window. The drop to the alley beneath was too high for a normal human to survive, but she'd chosen it for that reason. She drew two short-swords, releasing her fingers. Blue light glowed around the blades as they took flight, shooting out of the window and piercing the cracks between the stone blacks. Yael jumped out of the window, landing on top of the first blade. Strengthened by her magic, it held her weight. She jumped to the second blade then down to the ground, rolling and standing smoothly. Despite the weight of metal about her, she didn't make a sound. That was her mastery of metal. She raised her hands, retrieving her short-swords, then slunk to the stables.
The one extravagance she'd brought with her own money was her horse, a great black warhorse. At the time, she'd considered it a prestige purchase, part of the myth of the Half-Moon Knight. But perhaps that had been for the sake of this day. She saddled Ebonheart, speaking to him with her beast-tongue. "Good boy. Gather your strength. We ride far today." Then she mounted and tugged the reigns, directing him out of the alley and onto the street at great speed. She gave Ebonheart his head and he responded, leaving the guards who had been despatched to bring her to the palace shouting in impotent fury. Yael rode as fast as she could, letting Ebonheart swerve through the crowded streets of Galadran as he pleased. The poverty and the slaves and the misery, she'd leave it all behind. Within ten minutes she'd reached the gates. The guards were inspecting everyone who entered and left, yet another sign the country was approaching a war footing. She rode quickly towards them, glaring imperiously down at them. "Make way! Imperial business!" She pulled out the letter she'd been given and waved the crest at the guards. "It's urgent."
The crest and her commanding voice was enough. The guards let her through. Yael gave Ebonheart his head again, accelerating to a gallop as she strove to put distance between herself and the imperial city. The easy part was done, the next stage would be harder. It would likely test her and Ebonheart to their limits. But she had a plan. Anyone would suspect she'd head straight for the Emerald Mountains, and that was her eventual goal. She'd ride towards them by daylight, then break towards the Shadowed Forest under the cover of darkness and make that her initial destination.
It was a do-or-die plan. But the empire had taught her freedom could only be obtained by risking your life.
29th Oct 11, 7:59 AM
Tia sighed as she hid in the forest canopy. She didn’t understand why the elders had given her this mission. Dealing with humans was against the Sinopa’s rules. Humans were trouble, even if they claimed to be coming in peace…
Elder Karya had granted her something she couldn’t believe for accepting, though. Tia glanced over at her right shoulder where, until yesterday, the hunter’s mark had been incomplete. She had, after nine years, finally obtained adulthood though she was sure it was against the rules to grant it after a failed pilgrimage. They had broken centuries old tradition for her sake and, though the position of Lorekeeper had already been granted to another, the elders had promised her a position “worthy of her talents.” They hadn’t told her what it was…
She saw the boat docked on the river below; a small ship carrying at most two dozen people. Lanterns lit the deck, hurting her eyes that were used to the darkness of the forest. The fools.
With a quick graceful leap, she landed on the forward deck of the ship, in front of a well-dressed man in clothes she recognized as Deren in origin. Guards around her tensed as she quickly held up her hands to show she was unarmed. She bowed.
“Tia. The Crimson-Eyed Hunter, as ordered,” she said hurried, “Before we begin I suggest dousing those lamps; you’re only attracting the attention of the forest hunters and this will be bad enough with the human empire around. We’ll talk later, ambassador, but for now let’s get moving towards the closest tribe.” She spoke the word human as if it was one of the most disgusting things she could think of.
The ambassador merely nodded and several of the guards did as she instructed. Good. The vermin at least know how to listen. A moment later, the vessel left the shore, gliding southward. Tia perched on the prow, her sharp eyes looking out for danger.
29th Oct 11, 11:32 AM
It was a dark and ominous night when two hooded figures arrived in the "Dragonskin Tankard". The tavern, as usually during the night was filled with screams, loud singing and music. The two didn't pay attention to the drunken crowd however. Instead, they immediately headed for the man that just ordered two aggressive drunks thrown out.
"I'm looking for someone." The first figure asked, putting the offered drink away.
The innkeeper laughed sincerely at his request. "Who'd that be, mysteryguy? Some shady character selling traps and poisons?"
First of the two strangers reached beneath his cloak, showing a small insignia. The sight of it quickly wiped the smile off the innkeeper's face. "I wouldn't be holding a criminal here, would I?"
"I'm not interested in your shady deals." The figure muttered, showing a small stone with a triangle etched into it. The man started to sweat, his eyes shifting as he started to look for an escape route. "I have something he'll be interested in."
"He... he's upstairs." the innkeeper coughed, pointing his finger at the wooden staircase occupied by a bunch of drunks. "Asked not to be disturbed."
Dragonskin Tankard, second floor
"I heard you were in town." The emmissary finally revealed his head. "It's hard for someone like you to move undetected, not anymore at least."
"Lack of discretion is helpful when I want to get rid of an annoying tail." The mage rose from his table, carefully closing the tome he was reading. With a metallic snap, the book's belts sealed by their own. "So tell me, what do you want before I lose my patience."
The emmissary grinned, throwing a sigil on the table. Daevas's sight remained focused on it, along with the envelope that soon appeared near it. "What's in it for me."
"Wealth, treasure..." the emmissary answered cheerfully. "His Highness rewards people who achieve results."
The mage burst into laughter, slowly circling the emmissary. "His wealth doesn't move me, lackey. I can take it myself."
"He knew you'd say this." with those words, the messenger unbuckled a small pouch from his belt. Slowly, he moved his hand near the tome. The metal casing began to shake - along with whatever the man was holding.
Seeing that the mage's attention suddenly shifted, the emmissary clutched his hand around the shielded runestone. "You'll risk it, Flamebringer? I heard stories about how far you'll go to acquire one undamaged." he eyed the envelope. "He values allies like you. Powerful allies."
"Send my regards to His Highness." the mage bowed, grabbing the envelope.
Minutes later, a dark figure left the town, quickly disappearing in the darkness.
29th Oct 11, 2:20 PM
These Lauran are smart, these lanterns would only point out their existence. Their existence being something that was to be protected. Several guards immediately doused them as the ‘guide’ sulked off to the boat. She obviously didn’t want to have anything to do with us, but it wasn’t her choice. After a half hour, Iles quietly called out to the Lauran “How far til we reach this other delegate?”
Tia bristled at the human voice. "It's far enough, human," she sneered, "Time-wise? I do not know. Have patience though I know it doesn't come easily to your kind."
“Comes easy enough for those of us who sail oceans.” Iles replied. Too smart, he thought. Before he could say anything further, the delegate opened his stupid mouth.
“Fox, you should practice your patience on not just travel, but also on other races.” He hypocritically stated, matter-of-fact, almost like a priest. Iles just shook his head in the darkness in disgust over the man’s stupidity.
"Fox?" Tia smirked, though she hadn't even turned her head, "My tribe does not measure time the way outsiders do, that is all. Things simply occur when they occur and that is all there is to it. If I was to hazard a guess we should arrive near sunset if all goes to plan."
"Perhaps" Iles began in an attempt to interrupt any further 'smack talk' "We all should practice the patience of silence, as our enemies are likely nearby. Sunset is a perfectly acceptable landing time." And given the current, Iles thought to himself, would mean they are about fifty miles south. Since we don't have an actual timeframe, slow and steady will win this race.
"There is no one close enough to hear," Tia stated matter of factly, "The Forest would warn me of intruders, though, human, it would be preferable if you came closer so we do need not speak so loudly."
Iles rolled his eyes, as obviously both these ‘homeland’ Lauran and Derenians had several things to learn of each-other “A pilot of a ship never leaves their post, and no offense to the rest of my crew” He paused and looked around. None of them looked back at him “We will all be better off for me to remain here until we reach shore.”
"Very well," Tia replied tersely. In the dim light, the Lauran shifted at her post and whispered words the others could not hear. After a moment she stood up and walked over to Iles and the delegate. The amber-haired Lauran woman eyed the pilot suspiciously; an odd, savage sight aboard ship with her rough clothing and tattooed skin. She sniffed the air, heavy with the stench of humans. "You are an odd one, human," she said to Iles, "even amongst a ship of humans that claim to come in peace. I warn you, contact with the other tribes will be difficult. Lauran tribes rarely speak with one another, much less those from outside of the Forest. The Sanopa are especially difficult and yet you have managed to force me here." Her crimson eyes were hard in the dim light.
Iles glanced down at the glove that covered his left hand before returning his attention to the river. With a careful twist he brought the ship safety pass a large submerged boulder that could have ripped a hole in the ship. He then replied to the Lauran “I didn’t expect for them to send volunteers. If it wasn’t for the Empire, I’m sure you and your kin would have been more than happy to keep us out of your hair.”
"I...didn't have much choice in the matter," Tia admitted, "I committed a great offense in the past and this...is penance I suppose. Penance for cowardice. There are no Senopa slaves, did you know that human? We believe in death before capture...and I failed to live up to those convictions. It was joining this foolish quest or being an outsider in my own tribe."
Iles nodded “Death before dishonor, I can agree with that. And perhaps this ‘foolish quest’ won’t be so foolish after all. But as you have said, ‘things simply occur as they occur’, as we shall see what lies around the bend.” He finished as the ship was brought about a slight curve in the river, which promptly doubled back and returned to its original course. An old river, Iles thought to himself. May take a little longer, but no matter.
"Perhaps, Mr. Whitepetal," Tia replied, "Uniting the tribes is a worthy cause, but I fear you humans will just make things more difficult. Many Senopa believe your nation of Deren is a myth created by the Empire to catch our kind, but not all tribes believe in such things. I...do not see things the way the elders do anymore and there are a few who see things my way...Sinopa and otherwise," She held out her left arm, displaying the symbols of a different style than the rest of her markings, "Several tribes believe in my cause even if my family does not. I am considered more than a Sinopa now..."
Iles eyed the mark, and after a short bit he lifted the glove off the back of his left hand, enough for the glow of his mark to shine, but not enough for it to illuminate the deck. He then continued silently piloting the vessel ever southward.
Tia's eyes narrowed slightly but she didn't comment. "Many of the Lauran tribes call me Forestwalker. I am a child of the Forest itself, not just the Sinopa. I will guide this group, but at the first hint of betrayal I will disappear. Humans are not welcome in the Shadowed Forest. Your presence foreshadows a coming darkness." With that, she turned to face ahead.
Iles did not reply. He knew that he was on their turf, and even in the river it was still their advantage. She probably knew every danger that this river had. No need to fret about us backstabbing, at least from me, He thought to himself, Can’t say the same for the lady and her assistants.
29th Oct 11, 4:48 PM
The rustling of leather and burlap mingled with the clanking of steel as the column marched down the wide road, banners fluttering against the strong winds bringing a biting chill. A shrill cry of brass cut through the noise and as one the army began to move, the pikemen in the back advancing through the ranks and fanning out, the heavy footmen behind plunging their spiked shields into the ground to form a wall in front of the pikes. Behind them, the rest of the army arranged themselves, the archers in the back notching arrows.
Silence took over, the only sounds the occasional creak of a man adjusting his footing and the frigid wind. Farther beyond the formation, on a flowered hill overlooking the men, a small group of mounted knights gazed out at the army.
"Too slow," Lautrec growled, shaking his head with a frown. "They're still not getting it."
Lautrec signaled for the bugler, the young man nodded as he sounded the order to return to marching formation. These men would need much more work before they were ready for combat.
"General Lautrec, sir," a voice from behind called out. Lautrec gave a light pull on the reins, his dark-brown steed obediently turning and facing the young man. Lautrec could tell from a glance it was an Imperial messenger.
"Mmm. What is it? I'm busy."
"A message from his Highness, sir," the young man saluted before handing over the envelope, crest up.
"From the Emperor himself, eh," Lautrec took the message, looking over it before nodding back to the messenger. "All right. Dismissed."
Lautrec rode a couple of feet away from his subordinates and pulled open the envelope, breaking the seal. He read it over, snorting when he was finished.
"Denerbrand," he called out, turning back to the others. "You're in charge. Make them bleed."
Lautrec turned without another word, riding down off of the ridge and back towards Galadren.
Lautrec rode through the gates of Galadren, returning the salutes of the guards with a quick one of his own. He trotted through the crowded streets, the people moving out of his way and shouting words of praise and respect as he rode past. He acknowledged them with courteous bows of the head and waves of the hand; the support of the common man was a powerful weapon. He'd earned the adoration of many over his long career, and he wasn't going to simply throw that away.
He headed through the commercial districts, climbing up the sloping roads towards the center of the city, where the Imperial Palace lay. Gradually, the clamor of the commoners began to be replaced by the gentile bustle of the nobles. He passed his own residence; no one waited for his return in there. He didn't spare it a glance, instead continuing on until he came to the grandiose gates of the Emperor himself.
29th Oct 11, 6:30 PM
"TelSkaal, you've done well during your tenure as the cleric of Kerma, however you are needed elsewhere. There have been increased sightings of Demons around the world lately and your encounter was no exception to this increase. This is a distressing change as it is directly at odds with our desire to keep peace in the world to make our Goddess happy. The high priestess at the Northern Temple has information pertaining to this outbreak. After you confer with her we would like you to heed her instructions for what you are to do next. May the Goddess's blessing be upon you."
- Father Hesperides.
Tel read the message again as he continued his path towards the city of Saint Clara. He trotted along the road with purpose knowing that this could be the first important assignment that the order had given him. He paid little heed to the tall blooming trees and flowers as he traveled towards the city. His thoughts were solely on what awaited him once he arrived. He shook his head out of an unpleasant thought and continued on passing several towns in the span of just two days. In mere hours he'd reach the city and then he could rest for a few minutes to prepare himself for his meeting with the High Priestess.
Shortly however he stopped dead in his tracks upon seeing a Ra'Gen body on the road. He carefully made his way closer to the body thinking he had come upon the tragic victim of highway bandits, until he saw a small rise and fall of the giant's body which relieved Tel that the Ra'Gen was still alive and also brought questions to mind. Carefully setting down his pack he opened up his herbal supplements and found his smelling salts. Observing his patient Tel noticed that he was significantly older than Tel himself, perhaps a hundred years or so older. He also notes that the man is armed with a spear and wearing very old armor. Reaching over to the sleeping giant, he put the salts under his nose.
"Wake up sleepy there's a while till the next town, and I'm getting you there whether you wake up or not" tel said in his normal blunt tone.
Kargen felt the salts course through his aching body and shortly, but surely began to wake up. Some seconds passed before he realized he was not where he should be. Alarmed, he jumped to his feet, clutching his spear in a defensive stance.
"Who are you!?" he roared.
Caught off guard by the quick reactions of his "patient", Tel jumped back in surprise and skipped back himself. As the man grabbed his weapon and set his stance up, Tel looked back at the hammer on his back. Upon hearing the other Ra'Gen's loud urgent question, he responded,
"I am TelSkaal of the Order of the Goddess's Blessing. I mean no harm, I came upon you while heading to the next Saint Clara, and decided to help."
"Order? Saint Clara?" Kargen asked puzzled. Looking around the area he noticed he was no longer in that hellish mine. Where rocks had once covered the lands, trees were now abundant. Kargen tried to take another step back but immediately felt a surge of pain run through him.He groaned as he clutched his ribs with his free hand. 'The fight!' he thought. 'The mercenaries'. Desperately trying to pick himself up, he groaned once more before falling to the ground, unconscious.
Tel rushed over the the fallen and confused Ra'Gen and heft the giant onto his shoulders. Tel began to sprint as hard as he could to Saint Clara. this man was injured and needed immediate attention!
29th Oct 11, 10:45 PM
“Pardon me… Ms. Sinopa, I believe it is. Am I correct?”
Tia turned to find a young woman, probably twenty years of age, standing a few feet away from her. The Fox Lauran was certainly surprised that, despite her excellent hearing, she had not heard the girl’s approach. The stranger stood slightly taller than Tia, and possessed striking blue-green eyes that peered from beneath the hood of the cloak she wore. Although she was dressed in clothes that looked as if they belonged to a common sailor, she held herself with such pride and poise that Tia could immediately tell this woman was anything but.
The stranger lowered her hood, and the Fox Lauran watched as long snow-white hair fell down to the small of the woman’s back. The hair was tied in an intricate braid, the end of which was decorated with a heavy blue gemstone. However, the removal of the hood revealed far more than simply the woman’s face. Pure white canine ears peaked out from under the stranger’s carefully combed hair, and when she smiled at Tia, the Fox Lauran could see that some of the girl’s teeth were far longer and sharper than any human’s.
“Allow me to introduce myself.” The young woman said, giving a small bow as her eyes gleamed eerily in the moonlight.
“I am Faiel Whitetail, ambassador of the noble King and Queen of Deren. Forgive me for not revealing myself earlier, but I had to be sure you were the one I was waiting for.”
Tia sighed. Another one of her people trained to be a human servant. It broke her heart to see her people twisted so.
"Tia Sinopa, also called Forestwalker by many of the tribes," she said tersely, avoiding even eye contact.
“It is a pleasure to meet you Tia.” The young woman said, her smile unwavering as she approached the Lauran. “I am very pleased that you have agreed to meet with me as a representative for your Tribe. I am very well aware that you and your family do not generally interact with outsiders. It is an a honor that you would make an exception for me.”
"It was a request, though I am unsure why a child was chosen for such a task," Tia said, still avoiding the other Lauran's eyes, "An elder should represent us in such matters, not a failed hunter."
“Is that so?” Faiel laughed, walking to stand next to Tia. “Well, I can’t say I would agree with that. I may be young in years, but I have experience when it comes to matters of both people and state. I learned long ago that while older men and women may have us young pups beat in age and experience, they have a far harder time leaving behind the familiar.”
The young woman turned away from Tia and glanced skyward, her eyes agleam in the light of the twin moons.
“That is why I much prefer dealing with younger individuals, such as yourself.”
"They've trained you well," Tia snorted, "Did they torture you until you no longer desired the wilds or were you born to those already broken?"
“They?” The Lauran chuckled as she turned back to face Tia. “If by ‘they’ you mean Humans, then yes… and no.”
The young woman pulled back the sleeve of her cloak to reveal the white skin beneath. Her arms were smooth and gleamed in the moonlight, but the area around her wrist was tattooed with a strange design.
“I was but a pup of five when I was stolen from my family at the edge of this very forest. The men who took me had plans to sell me off to some rich merchant, or at least that is what I can remember. But all these plans came to nothing. Four weeks after I was kidnapped, a band of horsemen road into the slaver camp where I was being kept and slaughtered every last man there. I thought that maybe they were bandits, or perhaps other slavers who wished to take us as their own catch. However…” Faiel paused, giving Tia a smile as she rolled her sleeves back down.
“The fact that I am standing here before you should tell you that this was not the case. No, these men were of Deren. Men… humans… who risk their lives and freedom to save those Lauran captured by slavers. So yes, humans have done me harm. Tortured me, and branded me a slave; but they have also saved my life.”
The young woman sighed and turned her full attention to the Fox’s face.
“But enough of me and my past. Let us now discuss you Tia.”
"Then you were denied your pilgrimage by humans as well," Tia stated, lifting up her left foot for a moment to show the old brand, "As well as a life with your tribe. There isn't much to discuss with me, I'm afraid. As I said, I'm just a child by my tribe's standards and a poor representative of their methods. You see these, on my left arm? These are why I am called Forestwalker; I truly belong to no tribe, but in a way, I belong to many. I'm just a guide here, nothing more."
“And that…” the white-haired woman muttered. “Is why I requested specifically to have you, Tia, sent as the representative of your tribe. I told you before; though young in years I am well versed… “trained”… as you called it, in the workings of the world. Because of this, I have knowledge that even your Elders, with all their years, lack. For you see, tonight is not the first time I have heard the name Forestwalker. I know of you, and your travels. This is why I requested you as your tribe’s representative.”
The young woman fell silent and glided across the deck to stare at the shoreline. As she spoke, her ears drooped despondently as she seemed to remember a time from long ago.
“As you correctly stated, though I was young when I was captured, I could not undertake a Pilgrimage even when I returned to my family. However, I was offered another opportunity, one that changed my life forever.”
The woman spun back to face Tia, and immediately her ears perked up in excitement as her eyes blazed with a deep inner fire.
“You see, I am the daughter of Harkan Whitetail, brother of the Queen of Deren. Knowing that I might never be considered a full member of our Tribe, when I was eight my father sent me to Deren to train at the royal palace. Since that time I have lived within two very different worlds. Half of my life I have spent here in the Forest, and the remainder I have spent in Deren. Some, like your tribe’s Elders, would view this as a terrible fate. However, every night before I sleep I thank the Goddess that fortune has led my life to this. For I have something that all your Elders’ years and wisdom cannot give them. Perspective.”
"How fortunate for you then," Tia stated, "That my cursed fate is a blessing when it comes to your goals. As I said before, I am just a guide here. My perspective is rather meaningless. When we arrive it will be up to you to convince the elders to listen, not me. Most tribes see me as some sort of joke."
Faiel nodded solemnly, and once again the young woman’s ears sank, this time out of pity more than anything else. However, it was with an understanding smile that she walked back to stand next to the Fox Lauran.
“Such a fate…” The white-haired Lauran whispered. “…is only a curse if you allow it to be. For it can become a blessing just as easily. Do not allow yourself to think that your role in these times is meaningless; and do not think that I asked you to come here simply because I was in need of a guide.”
“When it comes to your tribe, and the Elders who lead it, my words will mean nothing to them without you there to help them understand. The unfamiliar scares them. As it will always do for those who have become too rooted to what they know. However, for those of us who are deemed young, it is different. We may indeed suffer similar difficulties in accepting what we consider ‘strange.’ But I have found that it is far easier for us to change then them.”
“So think now Tia!” Faiel continued fervently. “Think to your ‘cursed’ fate! How many of these men and women who lead your people do you think have seen what you’ve seen? Know what you know? They have heard of the Empire’s forces, but you have seen the glinting of their armor with your own eyes. They may be aware that more of our people are being enslaved every day, but you have heard the wails of the families who have lost those dear to them.”
The young woman was silent for several moments. When she continued her voice was low but urgent.
“I need you Tia! I need your help while speaking with your tribe. Because in the end all my words, all my feelings, every theory or argument I could put forth, will mean nothing to your tribe without the right perspective.”
“If they will listen," Tia said, not with anger but with sadness, "They never have before and you're asking them to join with humans when I was only trying to get them to ally with fellow Lauran. You may be an ambassador of Deren, but to most of them I am no better than a human. They consider me a traitor to everything that it is to be a Lauran. Their eyes and ears are closed to one such as me."
With a small sigh Faiel nodded before giving Tia a sad smile.
“One such as you suffers greatly when they are surrounded by those too blind to see that the world will not stop turning simply because they wish it. When a tree is young and flexible, it can stand against even the harshest wind, for it knows to bend and flow when there is a force that it cannot stop. Meanwhile, trees that have grown stiff with age, they will stand still regardless of how fierce a gale becomes, and in the end they are the first to fall.”
“Can I convince your tribe to help us?” The white-haired girl stated with a shrug. “I do not know the answer to that question. What I do know is this! I will do all I can to help them understand that we need their help. I do not suggest that they ally themselves with humans. Nor would I tell them to unite all Lauran under a single banner, though my heart would leap for joy if I could live to see such a day. No… all I ask is they help us protect what is theirs. Protect their land! Protect their freedom! If they can give us that much, then should the worst happen and war sweep this land, at least they will know that they need not fight alone. And hopefully… we will know the same.”
"If they have sent me, they most likely have already decided," Tia said with a slight smile, "Elder Karya said that, while the slavers have ruined me becoming Lorekeeper, they had something else in mind. My tribal mark..." she indicated her right shoulder where the foxhead symbol of the Sinopa was enshrouded by the leaf pattern her tribe used to indicate the Shadowed Forest itself, "Is not the proper mark of a Sinopa hunter..." She channeled her water magic, causing a small bubble of water to rise from the river and float before her. At the same time, the tattoo of her "tribe" started to glow green softly, "They used the sacred inks...reserved for only the elders and others who are fated to do great deeds for their family and yet that is something other than the mark of the fox..." she paused in contemplation, "Faiel, I believe the Lauran people will one day stand united. However, my family has marked me as someone...beyond them; I am Sinopa and yet I am not. They recognize that I am different from them, but do not see it as weakness or me lesser for it," Tia faced the ambassador finally, "You are a child of two worlds and, perhaps, I am a child of none. I have no true family. I do not mean that as an insult to my tribe, but I do not fully belong with them anymore."
“Well my friend.” Faiel replied with an encouraging grin. “If that is the case, then I would humbly request for you to allow me to assist you in finding a home where you can truly belong. If your tribe has already made a decision, as you seem to think they have, be it good or bad I do not know if I or anyone else can change their minds. But I can tell you with all honesty that, while I may disagree with your Elders on many points, I do not doubt that they marked you correctly as an individual destined for great and wonderful things. Please, join me on my voyage Tia. Our pilot, Mr. Whitepetal, is a sailor of great skill, and I trust him and every member of this small crew with my life. However…”
The girl paused and gave Tia a small wink while switching to the language of the Lauran.
*…it would be nice to have another here whom I can talk to easily. For you see my bodyguard, whom you have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, is a man of great strength, but very few words.*
The armored giant of which the woman spoke looked towards his charge impassively before grunting to himself. "Our goals are entirely different, it would do you well to remember that"
*You misunderstand,* Tia replied, also switching to her native tongue, *If they have sent me, they have pledged their support. My words were clumsy: they are my tribe and I am part of them still, but I think, and I suspect they do also, that I am something more than that. If we are to rally the tribes together they will need a representative. You represent Deren to them, but I will stand for them if they'll have me. This mark they have given me shows that I am not just of the Sinopa, but of the Lauran in general. My tribe has challenged me to speak for the Lauran race as a whole!*
The werefox breathed in deeply.
*I accept their challenge and will accompany you to that end. We will break the back of the Empire without them seeing the blow coming.*
“Oh how I do so hope you’re right.” Faiel muttered, once again switching to the human language. “And yet even more I hope that we can avoid war all together. It is a fleeting hope I know, and yet one that I hold dear.”
The white-haired girl fell silent, and once again her eyes turned skyward as she inhaled the cool night air. Immediately the woman’s ear’s perked up, and Tia could see her cloak shifting due to the wagging tail it hid. With a smile Faiel returned her gaze to Tia’s face and placed a gentle hand on the Fox’s shoulder before motioning towards the ship’s stern.
“I have very much enjoyed our conversation Tia.” The Lauran stated happily. “Would you do me the honor of joining me for a late dinner? I am told that we Wolves enjoy our meat slightly rarer than the other Lauran tribes, but I am sure what food we have can be prepared however you like.”
29th Oct 11, 10:46 PM
Aesrinura lay nearly crumpled upon the ground eyes closed as the inert siren dwelled in unconsciousness. Her neck bore a slight red mark from where her slave collar had once been, with the new white mark ever apparent upon the back of her neck as well. She was still dressed in her theater clothes which surprisingly lacked a knife mark. The material was a fine silky silverfish that almost seemed to enhance her blue shifting skin.
The material formed a rather elegant dress that prominently displayed her left leg while obscuring the right. As well as baring her right shoulder along with her sides, despite the lack of shoulder material her left arm still bore a sleeve that attached to the dress flaring out dramatically near her wrists. Despite the dress’s rather fanciful appearance it really was less expensive than most noble’s clothing and was designed specifically to allow the former enslaved actress a great deal of freedom of movement while putting her on display for the acts. Her feet were bare having had little need for shoes even before being captured.
The siren was surrounded by a layer of frost, along with her body being covered by the chilling snow as well. Though other than this oddity, she looked normal, though unconscious at the moment.
30th Oct 11, 9:48 PM
The enormous doors in font of Lautrec swung slowly inward, and the Imperial officer found himself standing to the entrance of a massive chamber. The walls of the room rose several hundred feet above his head, and the ceiling was decorated with intricately designed patterns and runes the man could not begin to comprehend. The marble floor of the was inlayed with gold and silver plates which mirrored the patterns overhead, and in the very center of the chamber sat an enormous throne of silver and precious gemstones.
“Welcome general…” The man sitting atop the throne greeted, his voice reverberating ominously around the room. “It is good to see you lost no time in getting here.”
"Of course, your Majesty," Lautrec brought his arm to his chest in a salute, bowing his head as he knelt. How long had it been since he'd had been here, since he had to kneel before the Emperor? "What would you have me do?"
As the knight dropped to his knee, the emperor rose slowly to his feet before walking towards Lautrec. The armored man was dressed head to toe in ebony armor which gleamed in the light of the surrounding candles. His helmet, which he placed atop a small table next to the throne, gleamed with golden runes decorating its black surface and rubies adorning its front in the form of a blood-red dragon. The removal of the helmet revealed a man with pure white hair tied back in a short ponytail, with scars crisscrossing and aged face. However, while he appeared old in years, his blue eyes gleamed with a fierce fire that belied his age. As he approached the kneeling man, the emperor had a small grin on his face, however, there was not a trace of warmth in that smile.
“Stand General.” The black-armored man commanded as he came to stand several feet in front of Lautrec. “Your service to this nation and its people has been exemplary over these many years. It is for this reason that I have summoned you here today. I have a very special mission I wish for you to take. Should you complete it, know that your rewards will be great indeed.”
Lautrec rose without a word, meeting the Emperor's steel-eyed gaze with his own. He ignored the praise heaped on him, knowing it to be little more than flattery to gain loyalty. Instead, he focused on the tone, the subtle body language, and the true meaning behind his summons: the 'mission.'
"Whatever it may be, consider it done, your Majesty," Lautrec responded. Be it a trap or an opportunity, he knew he couldn't refuse. It didn't matter; he'd use it to climb up, all the same.
“Very good.” The emperor muttered, turning to walk back to his throne. “Daevas, say hello to your new ‘bodyguard’.”
The sound of slow, hard footsteps coupled with subtle cling of metal filled the throne room. A tall figure in black robes emerged from the doorway, slowly walking towards Lautrec. Fires in the room seemed to lean towards him as he walked past, their light dancing on a rune-inscribed metal case chained to the mage's belt.
"It's my honour to work with one of your Highness's trusted." he turned to Lautrec, bowing as a sign of respect to the knight. "I am Daevas the Flamebringer, Adept of the Third Tower. In service of his Highness."
Daevas...Lautrec had heard of him, in rumors and hearsay. The Idrean pyromancer himself was here, eh? And Lautrec was to accompany him...how interesting.
"Mmm," the Galian general bowed his head towards Daevas. "General Lautrec of Vandimion."
"A brilliant choice. With General's abilities, I see barely any risk to our mission." The mage's confident tone bordered arrogance. "I was made aware that there would be two arrivals. While Lautrec's skills lift him above mere two, we seem to be missing someone."
I have been informed…” The emperor answered with a dismissive wave of his hand. “That our third will not be joining us. She fled, I am told, while her guards waited for her to change. Those men have already been dealt with, but her vanishing is no real loss to us. Cowards reveal themselves all too easily, and their actions betray their true selves. This particular coward will pay...when my men...finally catch her, but at the present our plans are better off without her.
The Flamebringer laughed, stepping down and standing besides Lautrec. "We'll probably meet her. If she knew anything about the mission, she'll surely try to stop us." the mage's eyes briefly lit up with a sinister flame. "Who knows, it may even be a pleasure to meet her..."
"Better we lose her than rely on a runner," Lautrec nodded, agreeing. "If she interferes, I'll deal with it."
Lautrec began thinking about what this mission could be, to involve such a team as himself and the pyromancer, along with this unnamed yellow. Typically, Galen used armies rather than strike teams. But he held his tongue and instead waited to hear what the Emperor would say next.
“Now then, down to business.” The Emperor announced as he once again took his seat. “As I’m sure you have already heard, I have accepted an invitation from the elves to meet with their prince in an attempt to find a mutually beneficial way for our two nations to avoid war. So tell me general… what are your views on this meeting? Would you be pleased if out two races could reach some sort of...understanding?”
"No," Lautrec said without a moment's hesitation. "There can be no understanding between us; we have always fought and will continue to fight. All they're doing is buying time to gather their strength. True peace will occur once we have crushed them so utterly they never again dare to stand against us."
“Excellent!” The emperor growled, giving the knight an approving nod. “Then we are in agreement. There is no reason to make peace with those who are weak. No! Instead it is the duty of the strong to climb atop all others, using them as steps to reach even greater heights!”
"Ah, what is it to crush the weak, nothing!" Daevas laughed. The fires seemed to burn brighter for a bit, mimicking his tone. "Let them gather their best. We shall crush them despite their pitiful trials, strong and weak alike."
“Indeed we shall.” The emperor muttered, his cold smile never changing. “However, the first blow must be decisive! One strong enough to shake their morale to pieces! That is why I have brought you here general. As I said, I have already informed the elves that I will be sending an ambassador to meet with their prince in Haliel, an elven city on the border of their mountains. Daevas...here is...that ambassador! As for you general, it is my wish for you to accompany him to Haiel… playing the role of his personal bodyguard.”
Despite himself, Lautrec let slip a small grin as he listened. The three of them seemed quite alike.
"I understand completely, your Majesty." With one strike, they'd blow away their enemies like a great typhoon. He wouldn't have it any other way. "No harm shall befall you, Flamebringer. My shield and sword are yours, to crush our enemies."
"And whatever flame you need shall be yours to command, General." Daevas answered. "The only to ever reach me is no longer a concern... and I've even improved since then."
“However, do not think that protection is your only role general.” The black-armored ruler chuckled. “Yours will be the strike that shall allow our plans to come to fruition. While Daevas is in council with the elven prince and his attendants, you are to make your way to Haiel’s Guardian Shrine. Once there, destroy the shine by any means necessary! Then once you have accomplished this task, return to Daevas’ side and assist him in his… duties.”
"Perfect," Lautrec's grin grew wider. Shrines were typically not targeted during war; they were considered sacrosanct, off-limits. They protected a town from demons. And that made them the perfect targets. Lautrec himself had developed many battle plans involving the destruction of the shrines...that the Emperor himself realized their military worth again proved his worthiness to rule. "It will be done."
“Most excellent!” The emperor laughed as he reached into a pouch at his waist and withdrew a rolled-up scroll with a strange seal. “Daevas! You know what to do with this when the time comes. Now go! And may victory smile upon you! When you return from this mission, your rewards shall be great indeed! "
31st Oct 11, 6:29 AM
Yael rode herself and Ebonheart ragged for the sake of staying ahead of any potential pursuit. As the setting sun bleed orange light over the rolling plains around her, she raised a hand, letting a crow who flew down from above perch there. "How was it? Any messangers or soldiers?"
The crow cawed, roughly providing her with the information she'd required. Men on fast horses had been dispatched to alert the garrisons in the region, and a number of horsemen were pursuing her right now. She was certainly popular, if she warranted this much attention.
"I understand. Good work." Yael pulled a small lump of bread from her belt, offering it to the crow. Ebonheart trotted along the rough track between the fields, ignoring the crow that flapped around his head. "I have one more task for you. Pass a message from crow to crow until it reaches the Shadowed Forest, the great old forest in the direction of the rising sun. The elves and lauren there have the knowledge of your words, just like me. Find a strong looking one and tell them I am coming. An ex-slave and a warrior, an elf who wishes to reclaim a life among her own people and fight for their sake. I'm riding to them, but I may need their help."
The crow called its acknowledgement, flapping its wings and taking to the sky again.
Yael turned Ebonheart as night fell and changed course, riding through fields of corn in the direction of the Shadowed Forest. It was a deception that would only hold up for as long as night reigned, but if she was lucky, that would be long enough. Exhaustion gripped her body but she fought the desire to sleep and whispered encouragement to Ebonheart. They still had a way to go. At length they reached a forest, a hunting preserve of a local lord. Yael guided Ebonheart into the trees, settling them into a secluded nook. She whistled, a long and piercing sound. Another crow descended from above, perching on her arm. "Watch over us. If any armed men come close to this forest, wake me and tell me."
The crow cawed and took flight.
Yael collapsed, leaning against a tree and closing her eyes. She was used to sleeping rough.
31st Oct 11, 8:21 AM
“Well look at what we have here…” The elderly Fel’Geth chuckled as he studied the two individuals before him. “I’m glad you both were able to come on such short notice. I can assure you, I will be adding a substantial bonus to your fees to accommodate for any… troubles… this may have caused you.”
The three men were currently seated at a large round table in the dining house of the Jal’Sep family compound. The current head of the family, Gen Jal’Sep, sat across from his guests. The elderly Fel’Geth was dressed in flowing robes of the finest silk with golden trim running along the arms. Next to him stood a young woman, a half-breed by the color of her skin, who seemed content silently staring at the family’s “guests.”
“Tell me Koz…” The elderly man inquired as he took a sip of wine from a jewel-encrusted goblet. “How is your family doing? It’s been far to long since any of you have come to visit.”
“My family has been doing well Gen.”Koz took a moment to look over the others at the table and briefly consider his words. “But if this was just about business, I would not have been the one invited and doubtful these other guests would be present. So can we dispense with the pleasantries and get to the matter at hand.”
"Very well." The elderly Fel'Geth chuckled. "You young one's certainly need to learn some patience."
Gen placed the goblet on the table and folded his hands contentedly as he gave a small sigh.
"I have asked the assistance of you two because our family has a bit of a... problem. And while our family generally prefers to keep such events 'private' I fear that we do not have any men to spare at the moment."
"And what is this problem you speak of" Rah questioned taking a apple from the table "My Master seemed very keen to the Jal'Sep family in their hour of need"
“Well, it is rather embarrassing. But I’m afraid one of our slaves managed to escape from us. Not only that, but it stole a very important item that my family has been developing for generations. I would request that you two join my apprentice…” the man motioned towards the woman at his side before continuing “… and retrieve my property. While I would certainly enjoy it if you could bring my slave back alive, it is not of the utmost importance. However, the item it it’s possession… I will make you both very rich men if you can return it to me undamaged.”
Narna finally rose her face, challenging both the men to dare say anything against her. For his part Koz put a hand to his forehead rubbing his temples trying to come to terms with the situation. Tasked to be an errand boy to retrieve something a slave stole and worse still needed to be brought back alive.
"Instead of selling us the pressrelease line, how about you explain in detail what this slave took, and why you would permit one to have access to it if there was any chance they could escape?"
Why must the living be so ambiguous Koz posited to himself.
"I too would like to know this" replied Rah as he took a bite from the apple "Why would let such a slave mingle with such an important part of your families wealth, yet you do not care if we kill him?"
"That is a Jal'Sep internal matter. You will get well paid for doing the job as well as keeping these things in mind." Narna said to the men, feeling the need to speak.
For the first time since his guests, arrived, Gen’s face darkened as he brought his hands to his chin. The man stared silently at the two Fel’Geth in front of him before finally giving a small nod.
“It’s alright Narna.” The Gen muttered, before turning his attention back across the table. Scowling at Koz, the man did his best to keep his voice steady. “I suppose there is no harm in telling them. If you must know the ‘item’ of which I spoke is a crystal. A very special gem that we have created using 500 years of our family’s occult knowledge. We were hired by the king of Idrea to create this stone, and he will be most displeased if he finds that it has gone missing. As for how this slave obtained it, or even knew about it? I do not know. I have already tortured and killed the slave-guards, but they knew nothing. And there has never been a time I have allowed a slave near my workshop!”
“Very well, but I have another questions then. What type of Slave was this?" Rah asked "Was it human or Lauran?" Meanwhile Koz simply leaned back in his chair content that the living were finally spilling some truth from their gums.
“Neither…” The man muttered with a dismissive wave. “It was an elf. One I bought many years ago. But as I said, the condition of the slave is of no concern to me! All I wish is for you to return the Fellstone to my possession!”
"What assurances do we have that we won’t be spirited away after completing this task? If this was a simple retrieval mission you would not need specialized services such as myself and what I can only assume to be a tracker." Koz gestured towards Rah.
"A good observation my friend" Rah Nodded.
“As I said...” Gen muttered, as he withdrew a small pouch from his pocket. “We do not know how the slave escaped. But what I do know is this! The Fellstone was sealed behind the strongest alchemic barriers I could buy, in addition to several seals of my own creation. The slave was shackled every hour of every day with a Slave-Collar of the highest quality, unable to use any magic of any kind! Someone helped this slave escape! Stole my stone!! And I want them DEAD!!!”
The man roared the last and tossed the pouch across the table to Koz and Rah. It slid to a halt several inches in front of them, spilling a small fortune of gold coins and precious gems.
"There will be five times that if you bring my stone back to me! Ten times if you also bring me whoever is responsible for this outrage!!”
"And of the slave? An Elf slave is worth quite a bit gold these days" Rah inquired
"I care nothing for a slave that steals from me. If you bring it back alive so be it. If not, then just as well."
"Very well, I will do as you wish. Find this Slave and Stone of yours and return to you once we have it" Rah replied
"Very well then Gen. However while I cannot speak for the hunter, gold will not be sufficient for my services."
"He said we could kill the slave, a new undead puppet perhaps?"
Koz stared at Gen. "I will accept this task on behalf of the family provided that when we call upon your kin, you will do unto us one favor to be determined at a later date"
The old man chuckled, an evil sound devoid of any real amusement, and his eyes narrowed as he studied Koz.
“I’m no fool Koz.” Gen muttered angrily. “Though you seem to think of me as such. I would never make such a promise without knowing exactly what it is you want of me. You know what my family is capable of, so ask what you want straight out. You’re a Fel’Geth boy! Make a specific demand or none at all!”
"And what of you!" Koz's demeanour changed. "You permitted an artifact you clearly prize to be lifted from your house. It is clearly important enough to outsource to those well above the rabble in the desert streets. No you summoned us to assist in the retrieval, while gold may satisfy others. My family does not work for coin. If you wish to employ me, you will honor one favor which they will call upon at a later date."
Gen stared silently at the younger Fel’Geth, then slowly a small smile appeared on his face.
“Very well...” He assented with a nod. “So be it! As long as it will not harm my family or it’s practices, we shall do this favor for you. Do we have an deal my young friend?”
31st Oct 11, 12:29 PM
Kargen opened his eyes and found himself standing within a barren wasteland. A blood-red sun shone overhead and all around the Ra’Gen was dry and cracked earth with the stumps of long dead tress rising from the ground.
“Well…” A voice hissed from all around Kargen. “Beast of the mountain halls? Do you recall the events that that brought you to this fate?”
Kargen turned around to face the voice, only to see he was alone. He walked around aimlessly, trying to find a sense of direction, but to no avail. All he could hear was the maddening sound of a distant laughter. To his right, to his left. It was the voice of a being as old as time. Everywhere at once, and nowhere at all.
“Show yourself, creature!” Kargen bellowed. At once the ground beneath his feet trembled, and the earth rose up as the sky suddenly began to darken. From the newly opened earth a foul mist arose to swallow the land. Rapidly the miasma spread across the ground until at last the Ra’Gen could see nothing but the constantly swirling mist. Slowly the darkness reached Kargen, and when it did the old Ra’Gen heard a sizzling sound as a foul steam began to rise from wherever the mist touched him. At once a great figure appeared before him, cloaked in the darkness that now consumed him. Judging by what little he could see, Kargen could tell that the creature was massive. However, aside from its size, the heavy vapor obscured every other feature of the beast. Everything except for its burning red eyes.
“Death would claim you.” The creature hissed, even as the mist continued to eat away at the Ra’Gen’s skin and scales. “Death has already marked you for his own; deep in that black pit where you fought and were buried. I alone have stayed his hand. For while you mortals may bow to Death; Death itself bows down before me.”
Kargen tried to listen to the words of the towering being, but the pain of every passing moment was proving too much to bear. And then he remembered. The mine, the mercenaries! He recalled the fight, a blade slicing through his armor and piercing his chest. He saw the mercenaries leave, and the thundering sound of explosions burying the mine. His fate was sealed. He looked up, matching the creature’s gaze with his own.
“Then why spare me?” Kargen said with what little will he had.
“Why?” The creature laughed, apparently amused by Ra’Gen’s question. “What a pointless question... What is the reason to ask a purpose, when your mortal mind could not comprehend the answer? Would you rather I had left you in that abyss? Kept you buried to drown in your own blood, or to feel the life squeezed from your body by the mountain stone?”
The mist suddenly wrapped about Kargen like a serpent’s coils, and immediately the old warrior let out a roar as he was racked by an unbearable pain that began to spread across his back. “I have chosen you to be my champion!” The voice sneered, the eyes burning as fiercely as any blacksmith’s furnace. “I have given you power to take vengeance on those that would have cut your life short. Is that not reason enough for you… mountain beast?”
Kargen, still bound by the mist, hesitated. Champion? It took no scholar to see that this was clearly a Demon. Maybe THE Demon. “Revenge…” Kargen led out. The idea of making those responsible pay for their transgression was tempting, but to be a Champion of Hell meant to bow down to creatures of unnatural evil. Creatures who crave misery and destruction above anything else.
The pain intensified. He could see the creature’s patience dwindling. A decision had to be made. Life over principle? Or death over damnation. With regret, Kargen stretched his arms "So be it. But do not think I bow to you, creature!"
The creature gave a bellowing laugh, and the warrior felt the world around him crumble away as he fell into darkness.
“Bow to me?” The demon’s voice hissed in his ear. “What purpose could that possibly serve?”...
31st Oct 11, 12:46 PM
Edge of the Emerald Mountains
Yael rode Ebonheart hard, gripping the reigns. The mountains were in sight, but behind her was the thunder of hooves. They were on the horizon, Garen's horsemen. Their dogged pursuit had haunted her every step from the moment sun had risen. Without the guidance of her crow friends, she would have been encircled and trapped long ago. As it was, desperate improvisation had led her away from the Shadowed Forest and down towards the Emerald Mountains. Well, either way was fine for her. She gripped the reigns tightly. /"Just a little longer, Ebonheart. We're almost there."/
Her horse whinnied in response to her words, accelerating to a gallop as he strove to cover the remaining distance in a single burst. As she reached the edge of the mountains, she looked back to see the Galen horsemen reigning in their horses and turning back. Going any further would end in war. Even if that was what they truly wanted, now was not the time.
Yael dismounted and guided Ebonheart on foot as the horse caught his breath, looking around the leafy lower edge of the mountains with interest. Her eyes widened in surprise as a crow descended on her and began to caw. /"I see. Good boy. I'll follow./" She left the beaten track, following the crow into a clearing. A beautiful siren was sleeping there, clad in fine silk clothes. Yael knelt by her side, hesitantly touching the woman's shoulder. "Wake up. Are you hurt?"
Aesri didn’t respond at first, though after several seconds the Siren’s eyes snapped out letting out a brief cry. Before her eyes managed to focus on Yael, widening with a start as she scrambled backwards in surprise her gaze snapping around as if looking for more people and then shifting back to the armored woman speaking softly almost in a low song, “Please, do not hurt me.”
"I won't hurt you." Yael pulled up her visor, looking down at the Siren. Her eyes settled on the livid mark on the siren's neck where a slave collar had once been. "I'm probably someone similar to you. My name is Yael Ravencroft, known to some as the Half-Moon Knight."
The siren impulsively moved a hand up to her neck where the collar had been at the Knights gaze, briefly rubbing the area while looking up at the elf. “I am Aesrinura Faerythlin,” She gave a pause, “Originally of the Azure Kingdom.” Aesri slowly stood up, though her eyes continued to study Yael cautiously.
"That's a difficult name," Yael said with blunt honestly. She raised her hand, letting the crow who had guided her here settle there. She pulled another scrap of bread from her belt and fed it to the bird. "I won't ask about your circumstances or talk about mine. But I've come here from outside, so I need to find locals to approach for guidance. Will you come with me?"
The blue shifting hued Siren looked about the landscape once more, from the less mountainous region in one direction, the the forested peaks they stood at the foot of. The sight of which inspired some awe in the woman before she finally gazed back at the elf, “I…don’t really have much choice, I honestly do not even know where I am…or how I arrived here.”
She brushed some of the stubborn frost from her clothing before speaking again, “I am more commonly known as Aesri the Water Dancer, among other…stage names…Aesri is fine however.”
"This is the Emerald Mountains, Aesri. A home of free elves." Yael paused for a moment, whispering to the crow. /"Find me the nearest elven settlement, then come and guide me there."/ The crow cawed and took flight, disappearing into the forest. Yael turned to Aesri again, grasping the reigns of her horse with her right hand. "You ride. I'll walk him to our destination."
She eyed the horse as if with distrust, the siren having never ridden one, briefly clasping her hands behind her back, “I can walk…its been a long time since I have just walked…or swam” She frowned lightly but shook the thought away, “Walking is fine.”
"Don't be stubborn. You were collapsed in this clearing, and it looks like you'd fall over in a stiff breeze," Yael said. "Just ride. Ebonheart is obedient, and if he's troublesome I'll scold him."
“I’d…just fall off, I’ve never ridden before. I feel fine though, other than a slight chill.”
"It does not take a tremendous amount of skill to sit on a horse while I lead it at a walking pace," Yael said. "But if you insist, I'll let it be."
“I’d just feel more comfortable walking with my own legs,” She spoke rather melodically
Yael shrugged. "Let's go." She turned and led Ebonheart back towards the forest trail.
Aesri gave a nod before gingerly following the armored elf, her eyes continuing to look about warily as they walked on.
31st Oct 11, 4:32 PM
Dinner with the ambassador had been fairly enlightening. It had been fascinating to meet the diplomat, who was Lauran by blood but not someone her tribe would consider a proper one. Tia found herself respecting the wolf girl despite this. These Deren folks were an interesting bunch. She had returned to her perch at the bow, sniffing at the air and occasionally asking nearby animals if they’d seen anything unusual. So far, at least, the journey was peaceful.
There was a slight rustle from behind her as Veough's armored form appeared out of the darkness. It seemed impossible for one so large to remain quite so silent. The armored giant remained stationary, seated ontop of a barrel with his right arm rested against the head of his hammer. A unnatural glow seemed to be emitting from the man's helmet as his mask turned to regard Tia. "How was the dinner?"
"Not bad, guard," replied Tia tersely, though most of the edge was gone from her voice. It amused her that here was a human who served one of her people for once.
Iles has a quiet meal at the wheel. A piece of pan-fried chicken, some bread, and a few carrots. He enjoyed these as the ladies had theirs below decks. Glad everyone is settled, for now, he thought. He watched Tia, the were-fox and Forestwalker, returned to the bow where she kept her watch. As she settled down and talked to a few feathery friends, a boy scampered up to the deck and saluted.
“Couldn’t see anything above the canopy, sir. No smoke except for ahead.” He reported.
“About as good as we’ll get. If they have forgone torches to close in on us, they’ll likely have a guide of their own. Keep an eye up high boy.” Iles commanded, wanting to give the boy exactly what he signed on for; a taste of life as a sailor. The boy simply nodded as he scampered off. Iles then noted one of the bodyguards making his way to Tia. He shrugged and continue his vigil, watching for dangers below the surface.
There was silence for a moment as the armored form observed Tia before speaking once again, "You always seem to feel uncomfortable around humans, why?" the armored giant asked.
"Humans are outsiders," Tia deadpanned, "It is Sinopa law to not deal with outsiders."
"I see..." Veough murmured, his head returning to watch the passing forest canopy. "Why change these laws to meet the Deren then?
"I do not know," Tia admitted, "I was sent by the elders to meet with the Deren ambassador. I have heard other tribes speak of Deren many times, but not the Sinopa. They sent me...perhaps because I see things differently than they do? My elders have marked me as someone more than a Sinopa. I am...also an ambassador of sorts."
An inaudible grunt came from Veough before he spoke again. "If you intend to represent your people you need to have more confidence in yourself, it seems you are uncertain of many things at the moment"
Tia sighed, raising her left foot off the deck so Veough could see the old brand. "Humans gave this to me, " she stated, "Kept me prisoner and tortured me for several moons before I was able to escape and dispose of my captors. I learned some very important lessons about your kind back then. First of all, I cannot trust the words of a human."
Veough's head cocked slightly to the side as he regarded the mark with curiosity. "I can understand why you hesistate around humans now" Veough said before getting up to leave. "I won't bother you unless necessary then"
"Thank you," Tia said to the giant, "But you're not a slaver are you? Who are you?"
Veough paused and turned to face Tia. The glow behind his helmet seemed to ebb and flow in brightness as he hung his hammer around his back before replying. "I am a blacksmith" He said simply.
Tia simply nodded in reply as she climbed off of the prow. She made her way past the giant and to the pilot's side. "There's a fork in the river ahead, you'll want to head to port. I know the water seems calmer on this route, but it is a trick."
Iles simply nodded and took her advice once the fork came. There were a few looks back at him but none dared to climb up to his post. He looked over to Tia and asked "A little bird told you that?"
"We are heading into the heartland of my people," Tia stated, "the other route would lead through an area occupied by spiders several times as large as our blacksmith friend and many, many times as deadly."
A shiver crawled down Iles' spine, though he did very well to hide it. He could remember as a small boy that one of his friends got bit by a tiny black spider with a red hourglass-shaped spot on it. His friend didn't live very long, and the prospect of fighting something HUGE and deadly wasn't his idea for a quiet evening though the woods.
"Oh don't worry," Tia said in an almost teasing tone, "They rarely come this far north and only then at night. You can tell they're around because the woods get unnaturally quiet," she paused, hearing only the bubbling of the river and the odd creak of the ship, "Odd, we should be hearing the crickets right about now." She winked at the Pilot.
As the fork they took was more narrow, Iles had to keep an even closer watch to the banks, to make sure he didn't cut corners too closely. He replied to Tia with seriousness "as long as you are able to alert us before they come aboard, ma'am, we won't have much of an issue."
"You never hear them," Tia stated with a smirk, "Until that horrible hiss right before they strike. That's the fun part." She paused for a while again, watching the dim woods, "...But they're in a dormant period this time of year anyways."
"The fewer things to worry about, the better" Iles remarked "the fact that we now have a river and piece of land between us and our enemies is all the better, even though I wouldn't mind a good fight… been a while"
"The Forest will test you eventually," Tia said quietly, "As it tests everyone who trespasses within."
"Then it is a forest to be respected."
1st Nov 11, 8:08 PM
(Deep within the Shadowed Forest)
The boat continued quietly down the river, the only sound asides from the bubbling water coming from the occasional call of a bird from the river’s edge. As the group continued onward, the light of the rising moon began to vanish behind gathering storm clouds. In the stern of the boat the Deren ambassador sat silently as she studied an unrolled map of the forest through which they now traveled. As the roll of distant thunder reached the boat the young Lauran’s ears twitched at the low rumble, but otherwise the woman’s attention remained fixed on the parchment before her.
Suddenly the boy who had been keeping an eye on the forest canopy darted down from his post and ran to Iles’ side.
“Sir!” The boy gasped as he grabbed at the man’s sleeve. “Something’s wrong with the clouds up ahead.”
The pilot turned his eyes skyward at the now cloud-covered heavens; but he was not sure what the boy was talking about. However, it did not take him long to find out.
Overhead the sky began to change color, the dark storm clouds slowly shifting from black to a fiery red color. Meanwhile the sound of thunder which had grown louder with each passing second was now rolling in from all sides of the forest. The reverberating booms were strong enough to be felt in the chests of the men on deck, but not a single bolt of lighting could be seen arcing across the sky. The birds with which Tia had been communicating gave a few terrified shrieks and then immediately took to the air, wheeling about to disappear into the thick forest canopy. For the briefest of moments a break occurred in the clouds overhead, and the temporary aperture revealed a sky that looked as if it had been set ablaze. The hellish sight chilled the blood of the men on deck, causing several of the sailors to moan in despair.
*Damn!* Faiel growled angrily in the Lauran language. Jumping to her feet the ambassador stuffed the map into a pouch at her waist as she glanced quickly around. *It seems we're cursed with the Dark Father’s luck! Why did a Gate have to open here? And now of all times?*
For several moments the continuous rumbling of the sky halted, and the boat and her crew were left in utter silence as they waited for what they knew was to come. Sure enough, after several seconds of calm there came a crack of thunder louder than any that had occurred before it. The reverberating explosion was immediately accompanied by a violent gust of wind that swept through forest ahead of them, felling several trees before striking the boat head on.
Almost immediately the sky overhead darkened once again as the hellish glow faded away. Within moments the storm clouds had disappeared to once again reveal the moons and starlit sky.
(On the edge of the Emerald Mountains)
A deep *caw* of a raven overhead gave Yael a warning even before the sounds of shouting men reached her ears. Immediately the elf grabbed Aesri by her shoulder and dragged the siren deeper into the trees of the forest’s edge. Only a few minutes later there came a rustling from the bushes ahead of them as a man emerged from the undergrowth, plowing headlong through the area the two women had been occupying earlier. The stranger was tall, easily six and a half feet in height, and the lack of a shirt allowed both elf and siren to see that he was heavily muscled. The man had a thick mane of golden hair that hung down to his shoulders and that perfectly matched both the tufted tail that swung freely behind him, as well as the ears protruding from beneath his yellow tresses.
However, it was not the man’s hair, nor even tail that drew the women’s attention. Instead it was the pair of wicked looking crossbow bolts protruding from his body that attracted the pair’s notice. The first bolt had imbedded itself in the stranger’s abdomen while the second had apparently entered below his left shoulder blade. The blood dripping from the man’s wounds stained the forest floor as he ran, and it was not difficult to see even more blood falling down from the corner of his mouth.
From their position concealed in the bushes the elf and siren watched as the stranger took cover and pressed his back against the aged bark of a large oak, breathing heavily. Seconds later a pair of Galen soldiers broke through the thicket and charged straight ahead, their eyes pealed for their quarry even as they glanced down at the blood trail they were following.
The giant made his move just as the pair were passing the tree behind which he hid. With a roar he grabbed one of the two men by the neck with a clawed hand while simultaneously delivering a kick that sent the soldier’s companion tumbling away. The trapped soldier grasped franticly at the arm that was lifting him off the ground, the man’s legs flailing wildly as if he were trying to run on air. A second later a cracking sound could be heard and the man’s movement’s quickly ceased. With an angry growl the giant tossed the soldier’s body away as he sprinted towards the second soldier.
However, the armored human had already managed to rise to his feet and was clearly prepared for the attack. Sword held at the ready, the soldier braced himself and with an angry yell swung the steel blade with all his might. At the same moment the blond giant took a mighty leap, jumping not only over the strike but the stunned soldier as well. The tailed-stranger flipped in the air, showing far more grace than a creature his size should be capable of, and crashed feet-first into a tree before instantly propelling himself back towards the human. The two bodies collided with a tremendous thud that immediately sent the soldier to the ground with the giant on his back. It was over in an instant, and before the man had even stopped skidding his attacker had reached down and snapped his neck as well.
With a disgusted snarl the stranger got to his feet, apparently stumbling from the pain of his injuries. Already additional shouts could be heard from the way he had come, and the giant quickly tried to sprint away. However, he had not gone more than a few meters before he doubled over, coughing up a large puddle of blood onto the leaf-covered ground.
Road to Haiel, town of Varrock
A lone, hooded figure moved through one of the town's streets, dimly lit by scarce lanterns hanging by the doors of various estabilishments. Whoever was left on the street at that time scurried out of the way - the newly arrived was clearly headed for the lord's castle. Nobody but people of certain importance would dare to trespass during the night.
As it approached the gates, four shadows moved out from a dark alley. Unlike others, they didn't just move out of the visitor's path. Instead, they walked directly into it, barging the figure's way in. Their clothing was visibly different from the town's citizens - dressed in rags of various colour and damage. The leader was a muscled human, towering above the rest - two more men and a visibly malnourished elf.
The visitor stopped just before the leader and slowly raised his head, facing a wide grin on the leader's face. "Hold there, pretty boy." The man chuckled. "This is an important road. Important guests like you have to pay a toll."
In response, the guest smirked and reached beneath his cloak. Then, he quickly tossed a shining coin towards the leader, who instinctively grabbed it. A loud scream pierced the darkness and the slave opened his palm, letting the red-hot metal out. "You..." he quickly recovered, used to the pain.
"Emperor's will. Out of my way." The mage hissed, looking deep into the escaped slave's eyes. "Your lord won't be pleased if I damage his property."
"What a shame we don' give a shit 'bout our lord anymore!" one of the slaves exclaimed. Unlike the leader, he was much less intimidating - his rags weren't as worn out and he lacked the muscles that came as a result of hard work. It was obvious he was one of the unfortunate men sold to slavery because of their debts.
There was a short laugh from beneath the hood. Flamebringer shifted his eyes to the rebellous peasant. "Ah. I'm sure he still cares about you." accompanied by cracks of broken glass, several lanterns shattered as the fire inside rose in size. The mage lifted his hand towards the slave, and four streaks of fire raced towards his body, entangling it in a tightening loop of fire.
"You won't be so smart-looking with that hand up your a-" the leader's assault was stopped int its' tracks by a split of the fire that just began to burn away the peasant's skin. Two flaming serpents scurried on the ground, quickly reaching the slave's legs. A stench of burning skin filled the air and the human screamed in pain, panically trying to put himself out. The flame however, seemed to move away from his hands, quickly growing as it fed on the slave's body.
The third man tried to escape, but a massive spark jumped from the two already dying men to him, setting his clothes and hair ablaze. Suddenly, without even as much as a scream, the slave burst into a massive pillar of fire - becoming nothing but ash and bones. Out of the escaped trio, only the elf - having collapsed to the ground out of fear survived. His eyes were focused on the mage - his body seemed to pulse with power, sight focused on the victims. The mage slowly lowered his hands, letting the fires die. Then, he started to walk towards the elf, his slow step echoing in the now completely deserted street.
With a rattle of armours, town city guards approached the scene. Both had their swords unsheathed but seemed hesitant to approach. "What's the problem here?" one of them asked.
The mage stopped, looking down on the sole survivor. "Silent night, isn't it?" he took the hood off, and presented the seal. "Daevas. In service of His Majesty."
"Scum." One of the guards kicked the burned remains. "Glad the town isn' on fire."
"Could be if I was really bored" the mage lifted the elf by his neck, pinning him to the wall. "So how does it feel to escape? Ah, must feel wonderful. The thrill, the risk." with a wicked smile, he presented the slave a ring bearing the imperial crest. The inside of the ring slowly started to change colour before the elf's eyes, becoming red-hot much like the coin before. Still smiling and holding the escaped creature in his grasp, the mage pressed the burning metal against its' skin, burning the image of a dragon into it.
The guards behind him laughed. "See, that's the kind of mage we need here. Sure knows the word 'fun'."
With a smirk, Daevas pushed the slave towards them. "I think those gentlemen are tired." he spoke in a very polite tone. "All this running... I think they deserve some ale. And if I read your markings right, you'll go to a tavern and fetch it." he pointed the direction. Seeing the elf hesitate, one of the guards whispered into his ear. "Remember the whip? Sure you do. See, this man can make the whip become a luxury. So you better..." before he even finished, the slave was gone, running off into the empty street.
"Ain' much of a use anyway." the second guard spat. "Lord kept him mostly 'cause he was annoying. Kept him on the works till he'd die." he turned around, but didn't see the mage. The footsteps resumed as he continued his march towards the castle's gate.
When he was about to knock on the steel door just by the closed main gate, the mage stopped. Maybe it was just his body having moved out of the heat, but the night had become unusually cold. Daevas slowly looked behind, but saw nothing aside from a frail figure serving something to the two town guards. Smiling, he knocked on the steel door of Castle Varrock...
4th Nov 11, 6:16 PM
Tel ran as fast as he could with his unconscious package strapped to his back toward Saint Clara. The large city loomed on the horizon, just before the Azure Sea. It's coast so large in the west there were white beaches, while in the east of the city there stood a cliff face that held a towering temple overlooking the ocean. Tel rushed up to the guards at the gates of the city garnering a defensive response to them as they prepared to take violent actions against this mountain of a being rushing them,
"Stop where you are, or we'll be forced to subdue you!" One guard said with a slightly forced tone (as addressing one almost twice your height can be disconcerting).
Tel came to a halt in front of the guards' weapons, and replied to their challenge, " I am TelSkaal of the Order of the Goddess's blessing. Please let me pass, I have business with the Northern Temple, and this man needs medical attention immediately." Tel replied putting his hands up in the air in a passive manner. He eyed the guards hesitantly as they dropped their weapons. One guard in particular came forth and addressed Tel.
"Cleric TelSkaal the High Priestess's people told us of your arrival. I am Captain Barkley, I was told to inspect your *clears his throat* marking to validate your identity before you entered the city to send word that you would be at the temple shortly." The man was clearly uncomfortable with checking people over personally. Tel in a hurry undid his tunic to show them his mark which glowed a faint gold. Convinced Barkley allowed him into the city and sent his message ahead to the Priestess of TelSkaal's arrival.
"Go ahead to the temple, there are some of the best healers in the region there." The captain urged the young Ra'Gen to go to his objective. Wasting no time, Tel sprinted through the town as fast as he could.
The message arrived a full minute after Tel ran into the Temple asking for medical attention for the wounded man on his back. Two healers were summoned immediately and the injured man was taken away. Before he knew it, Tel was being dragged away himself as he saw the man go in another direction. Tel was led to the back of the temple to where the High Priestess was praying. He was told to wait for her to finish so Tel decided it prudent to pray himself and kneeled down and bowed his head.
4th Nov 11, 8:12 PM
The crew of the small vessel glanced around quickly, their eyes peeled as the studied the shoreline for any movement. It seemed as if everyone was holding their breath, not daring to make even the slightest noise as they waited.
Tia tensed at an invisible threat. Her hair stood on end as a low growl came from her throat almost of its own accord.
Suddenly their came a rustling from the tree line, and every person on deck tensed as all eyes were drawn to the movement. However, a moment later there was a loud shriek as a bird emerged from the underbrush, it’s wings flapping furiously as it made for the far shore.
Iles finally broke the silence, a cold sweat breaking on his brow "all hands, prepare for combat!" drawing his pistol in the process, ready for action.
Barely a second later moment later there arose a terrible roar from within the forest to their left. A sound so loud that several of the men had to clasped their hands to their ears.
From her position at the stern of the ship, the ambassador allowed the cloak to fall from her shoulders, revealing the strange shirt she wore beneath.
Tia sighed as she drew a handful of throwing knives. Stupid humans were always trouble.
Silently, Veough took up a defensive position besides Faiel. His helmet turned to regard he carefully before his mechanical voice grated. "We should see cover below decks, outside here the danger to you is greater"
A cracking sound shook the boat, and a moment later several trees to their left tumbled into the river, sending out small wave as the hit the water’s surface. Revealed was an enormous creature, standing easily 20 feet tall, with skin as black as coal. Its eyes glowed bright orange, and from its gaping mouth could be seen two ivory white tusks that gleamed in the moonlight.
For a moment the behemoth stood staring at the boat and its crew, standing on two hind legs while a serpent-like tail thrashed wildly behind it.
As the men on the ship moved into a defensive position, the beast gave a wicked looking grin, as claws nearly a foot in length emerged from its fingers.
"That's not native," Tia hissed, "What in the name of Gaia did you humans bring to our land?" The were charged across the deck of the ship and leapt onto a nearby tree. Within seconds she was out of sight.
The moment the Were made her move, so did the leering creature. With a massive leap the beast leapt into the air, landing in the water just to the stern of the ship. For several seconds it’s gleaming eyes could be seen glowing beneath the surface before suddenly vanishing without a trace.
Almost as a reaction, Iles held his fist up high, signalling to the crew to stop what they were doing. As he stared back in the direction that the demon was last seen, the entire ship seemed to have been filled with statues.
Subtley, Veough wove his magic, concentrating on his expanding aura until it had expanded across the entire ship. Two copies of the iron bodyguard drew their hammers as they shimmered into existence besides him. "I would strongly recommend retreating ambassador" One of the armored giants insisted again.
Fiael shook her head, refusing he guard’s suggestion of retreat. Silence returned to the forest, and all across the deck men kept their eyes peeled, waiting for the creature to reemerge. Next to Veough, Faiel drew a pair of short-blades from where they hung at her sides and slowly spun on the spot. The moonlight gleamed from the Lauran’s eyes and her ear’s twitched slightly as she listened for the slightest sound.
From her perch, Tia observed cautiously. Silence was key. It'd taken the fools too long to realize it though. In the Sinopa heartland they wouldn't have reached their trial age.
Suddenly the entire vessel trembled violently, the shock sending most of the men tumbling head over heels. With an earsplitting roar the beast emerged amidship, wooden planks breaking like toothpicks as it burst from below deck once again into the cool night air. In an instant it grasped one of the men with a clawed hand while whipping it’s head past a second pair, drawing yelps of pain as the sailors were sliced by the beast’s gleaming tusks.
The man caught in the creature’s grasped screamed wildly as it seemed to study him, almost amused. Meanwhile the two other sailors thrashed about wildly on the deck, black foam pouring from their mouths as dark veins began to appear all over their bodies.
Iles immediately dropped his fist, though it seemed everyone wasn't watching for hand signals to get back to business. He leveled his pistol and took a shot at the beast.
Tia watched the creature almost with amusement at how idiotic the humans had been, though she was also angered by the knowledge the bastards had brought such a monster to her sacred home. A hand slipped to her belt, feeling the various pouches strung there until she found the right one. A terrible poison made from the glands of the spiders she'd teased them about before. Carefully, she dipped each knife into the mixture one at a time. As Iles took his shot, she used the noise to fling her knives at the beast's back in a tight circular pattern.
The bullet struck the creature’s chest, causing the beast to snort loudly. A moment later Tia knives sailed through the air and embedded themselves into the unselecting enemy’s back, causing it to give a loud howl of pain. Immediately its tail came to life, wrapping itself around one of the blade’s hilts and pulling it free. The blade of the knife was covered with the monster’s black blood and it seemed as if the metal was steaming in the night air. Slowly the beast’s tail brought the weapon to it’s face, and the everyone stood silently as the creature gave the blade a loud sniff before turning to glance over it’s shoulder at Tia.
“A marvelous flavor girl.” The beast chuckled; its voice sounding like the roar of a blasted furnace. “Though it pales somewhat to my own.”
In an instant the tail whipped back around, sending the knife streaking back at the shocked Lauran. At the same moment the beast leapt forward, tossing the sailor it held overboard as it lunged for Iles.
Tia leapt to an adjacent branch as her knife embedded itself into the wood behind where she had once stood. Without even time to think, the were lept into an adjacent tree, rustling leaves, and then she was gone again.
Veough remained stationary and emotionless despite the chaos. At some silent command, two versions of the armored warrior charged forwards at a pace to quick for one so heavily armored. Leaping across the splintered and ruin decking towards the beast, one of the twins leapt upwards to bring its hammer against the monster's back in a mighty down swing whilst the other one manuevered around to its front to distract it. "You go no further foul beast"
Once again the creature’s tail sprang to life, thrashing through the air towards the armored man attacking it from behind. Meanwhile the beast continued it’s forward charge, it’s eyes locked on the pilot who stood before it as venom dripped from it’s gleaming tusks. Suddenly there was a blur of movement as a figure ran past the human and leaped towards oncoming beast. With an enormous bound Faiel leapt into the air, flipping over the creature while driving one of her swords into the back of its neck.
Shards of ice rained down from the canopy, followed quickly by the other were. She formed razor sharp frozen blades over her natural claws as she fell full force onto the creature's head. Right before landing, Tia lunged downward with all of her strength.
Reacting quickly, Iles threw a small portion of water at the creature's face, intent on freezing it while. Manipulating the nails in the planks, Iles caused himself to be thrown upwards as the beast came charging closer. Now airborne, he drew out his cutlass and was ready to strike downward.
There was a spurt of black blood as the ambassador’s blade sank into the creature’s neck causing the beast to rear up with a howl of pain and rage. The ambassador hit the deck and rolled away quickly, grasping at the hand which had held the sword now embedded in the demon. Soon after Tia slammed into the beast’s head, driving it down onto the wooden deck with a sickening thump even as Iles leapt towards the now stunned creature.
Suddenly the creature’s tail swung around, wrapping itself round the human’s ankle in midair and driving the man painfully to the deck.
“Pointless!” The beast roared, even as blood rolled down its head from where Tia had struck it. Slowly the beast picked itself off the ground and turned, it’s eyes searching for the one who had knocked it down.
“I’LL DEVOUR YOU!” the demon bellowed, its eyes glowing fiercely as they spotted the fox Lauran. “CONSUME YOU ENTIRELY! BODY AND SOUL!!!
"When i touch the beast, slay it!" Veough yelled towards Tia and Iles. Freed from having to dodge it's tail, Veough now appeared at its back once again of it with an outstretched hand. "Lets test your strength" He murmured before initiating his mark as his hand made contact with the monster's tail.
Instantly the beast halted, it’s eyes going wide as if they saw something no one else could. It stood there transfixed, staring past Tia to something beyond the mortal world. However, already Veough’s hand was beginning to steam, the skin of his palm sizzling as it made contact with the venom coating the demon’s body.
"Sacred watcher, grant me the winds of protection!" Tia yelled as the Mark on her chest began to glow. A gale sprung up suddently around the foxgirl, enveloping her in it's protective gusts. This was going to be risky but she knew it had to be done, even if it disgusting her to be wasting this on protecting humans and their "pet." Tia awakened, her features taking on a more beastlike appearance then normal. Her hands became massive paws as her face elongated. It was painful trying to maintain the Mark at the same time, but Tia kept her inner beast in check enough to direct it towards the demonic creature. Tia lunged at the demonic creature with her claws, beast against beast.
Iles wiped the blood off of his face as he got up, the force of the Demon's tail throwing him against the deck broke his nose, he then once more prepared to throw himself at the beast. Then, he noticed that the guard's hand was sizzling on the beast's flesh. Concentrating hard, Iles began to pick one nail after another from the deck of the doomed ship and hurled them at the beast.
The nails from Iles’ assault sailed across the deck, striking the creature again and again and again. However, the behemoth gave no sign, of pain, it’s eyes remaining transfixes somewhere in the distance. Unfortunately the same could not be said for the man who grasped the demon’s tail. The sizzling of the Veough’s hand sounded as if it was lying over an open flame, and the steam coming off was thickening by the second. Although covered by armor, small black veins were beginning to spread up the human’s arm, and as Iles’ nails created fresh wounds upon the monster, black blood began to drip slowly down towards where he held on.
Suddenly the monster was thrown to the ground as Tia collided with it for the second time that night, her beastlike claws tearing open its neck even as she drove it to the deck. Black blood rushed from the gaping wound like a fountain, pouring over the deck like a spreading ocean of darkness. The force of the collision caused the beast’s tail to thrash violently, throwing Veough several meters through the air to crash into the mast.
Immediately the demon gave an earsplitting roar that quickly turned to disgusting gurgles as it’s claws grasped at its ruined neck. Meanwhile its tail beat wildly against the deck before grabbing an unsuspecting sailor by his leg before wrapping the man in its deadly coils.
Within moments the demon went still, the light fading from its eyes like the dying embers of a fire. Only its tail remained moving, crushing the man it already held even as it searched for more victims.
Finally, a sailor lept onto the end of the tail and skewered it against the deck, preventing it from killing any more shipmates.
Tia's awakening ended, the werefox returning to normal. Exhausted, she fell onto her back on the deck. "Damned humans," she muttered weakly.
Iles rushed towards the ambassador "Give the poisoned medical attention!" he shouted. Immediately any able-bodied man left to help dying friends with what magics they know. Iles himself began to slow the process that was already happening within her body.
Weakly, Tia managed to get to her feet and make her way to the ambassador. "This isn't like any poison I've seen," she said darkly, "Maybe the shaman cou...no. They wouldn't let humans anywhere near there..."
5th Nov 11, 6:11 PM
Tia shook her head. No, she couldn’t do that. It was going against the tribal laws completely. She looked over at Iles nervously as he aided the fallen ambassador.
“The closest tribe is mine,” Tia explained, “Though I’m not sure what kind of reception we’ll get. At best they’ll exile me for bringing you there. At worst, they’ll simply kill you all. My people are quite xenophobic.”
Iles looked up at Tia, his hands slightly shaking from the ordeal but with a look of determination, said to her "she either dies here from the poison or at the hands of your people. If we must chance it, we will. Someone look after that guard damnit!" Iles shouted to his crew, pointing at Veo.
Tia sighed. She didn't have much choice here. Caring about humans? You're going soft...and you know what that means in the Shadowed Forest... She shrugged off her doubts. It was the only chance she got. "Iles, I need you at the wheel; I'll direct you. I'll take care of the ambassador." Shortly thereafter, Tia and some of the other sailors managed to dump the massive creature overboard and burn its corpse at the were's insistence.
Iles moved on with a nod and took to the wheel as asked. Unfortunately, the vessel was slowly yet surely sinking beneath the waves. "Prepare the longboats, we'll have to go by them and shore before long." He kept the ship close to the far shore, and eventually she ran aground, only inches between the main deck and the river.
The group switched to the longboats quickly, Tia taking the lead vessel. Quietly they made their way along the winding river in silence and darkness, Tia giving sharp and terse orders when needed. Eventually, they started seeing the dim outlines of humanoid figures along the shore. Tia motioned for the sailors to remain quiet. Eventually the small fleet pulled into a cove lit by torches. As soon as the ships touched shore, they were surrounded by fox lauran wielding spears and bows. “Nobody move,” Tia whispered, “This could be…difficult.”
Several sailors gave Iles a quick glance, many in horror. Iles kept his determined look. He was not going to return without the ambassador. Not easily. He also glanced down at the guard, who did not look good at all. This was his only hope.
Tia channelled some of her magic to cause the symbols on her arm to glow. Boldly, she stepped off of the boat into a group of spears. The Sinopa hesitated at the sight of Forestwalker.
“I am Tia the Forestwalker,” Tia announced, “I bring a delegation from Deren who require the aid of our healers. I realise that the act I have committed is forbidden and I ask mercy upon these victims. I am fully prepared to take any punishments the elders deem necessary for this offence, but they should not suffer for my judgement.”
“I never expected to see our Tia protecting humans,” came a jovial voice from the shadows behind the guard. A voice Tia recognised, much to her dismay. A robed and hooded figure approached the boats as the tribe hunters backed away. The figure pulled back its hood as it entered the light, revealing the graying face of an older fox Lauran female.
Tia fixed Elder Karya with a determined stare. “Elder Karya, I beg you to send the healers! These are the people you sent me to protect. As you can see, I failed them…they’ve been poisoned---“
Karya cut her off with a raised hand. Almost silently, several robed Lauran slipped onto the longboats and disappeared with the wounded.
The elder approached Tia until they were standing face to face. Karya looked deep into the younger Lauran’s eyes.
“You have changed,” she stated, “You decided to bring humans here despite our rules because you deemed it necessary…” The elder looked over at Iles, “Tell me, human, what do you think of our wayward child?”
"An individual who holds fast to tradition whenever she can." Iles replied "I'm certain she'll go as far as to end her own life if required, though such a loss would be terrible." After a pause, he then said "She is a remarkable fighter, and as a man that has seen many shores there is nothing like her."
“That’s not the Tia I know,” the elder said with a chuckle, “There’s no need to lie for her sake; she has already been judged by the council and given a position where she can best aid the tribe,” Tia shuffled her feet nervously as Karya’s attention returned to her, “Now, now Forestwalker, no need to worry. You do know what that mark on your arm means, right?” Tia shook her head. She only had guesses.
“Forestwalker,” continued the Elder gently, “You are not bound by Sinopa tradition. You see the world differently than we do from your travels across the forest and forays into the world outside. That symbol recognises you as something more than the hunter or Lorekeeper you were training to be. Tia Sinopa, one day you will be a great leader. You are a great Sinopa, but you are something more; other tribes follow your voice where ours would be ignored. You possess a gift rare within our family; the gift of diplomacy and true leadership. You represent your family more than any of us and we need that strength with the threat of the human empire looming on us.
However, for now we will make room for your…companions to rest. They will need their strength for the battles to come…”
Tia stood shocked for a moment at the Elder’s words, before turning to address the sailors. “It seems we are more welcome than I expected,” she said in the human tongue, “We wcill find room for you here to rest while some of our tribe repair the ship. However, the Sinopa will require your aid in equal amounts. If you can assist us in any way, please speak to me; I may be the only one who speaks your language here.”
"Indeed and well met Forestwalker. I'm certain that me and my crew will help your tribe however we can" Iles responded, he then signaled for the sailors to disembark, himself helping Veo out of the longboat as they began their trek inland.
6th Nov 11, 2:14 PM
Yael raised a hand to hold Aesri back. "More are coming," she said, speaking in a low whisper. She drew one of her short-swords in her left hand, watching as the soldiers broke into the clearing. "Ten soldiers, three mages," she said, her eyes darting from target to target. "You stay here. I'll take care of them."
The soldiers closed on the fallen giant, swords raised to strike a finishing blow. Blue light surrounded Yael's shortsword as it too flight, plunging into the throat of one of the soldiers. Yael burst from cover with a ferocious war-cry, pulling her enormous sword from her back with one hand and swinging it with tremendous swords. The soldiers broke away, but one was too slow, and off his right arm at the wrist. He screamed in pain for a moment before she delivered a finishing blow with her great sword then pulled her blade back to guard. Her eyes darted from target to target beneath her lowered visor. "Flee if you wish to survive."
The captain raised his obsidian staff, gathering a wave of fire. "Kill her!"
The siren frowned briefly biting her lower lip as Yael charged off, her eyes looking over the brush at the incoming soldiers. Easily cutting through one of them as the others had pulled back to regroup away from Yael. Aesri spotted several unarmored figures even as the captain gave the order to kill Yael. Standing up she whispered lowly hands dancing around in figure eights as water coalesced about her hands. Eyes flicking back to the two mages hesitating briefly but quickly overcoming the doubt and unleashing the spell. The water about her hands dropping to the ground, nearly soaking into it as it moved off.
The two Imperial Mages were preparing their own spells to strike at Yael as the ground beneath them grew damp for a brief moment before freezing water rushed up beneath them, quickly becoming an icy spike that easily impaled the two lightly armored magi. Both giving brief painful cries before slumping against the giant spikes now growing red with blood.
Yael's eyes widened as the mages died. The soldiers recoiled slightly at the sight and she seized the moment, closing the distance between her and her foes. She swung her sword with another tremendous sweep. The nearest soldier jumped backwards out of range but blue light glowed around her sword as she swung it, the blade thinning and extending. She pierced his armour and gorged out his stomach, then tore her blade free and slammed it against the guard of her next target. Her first short-sword took flight again, piercing a soldier through the side of the head as he moved to outflank her and attack her from behind. Yael fought ferociously, her great-sword carving enormous arcs through the air and forcing the soldiers back. Her flying sword claimed another life. Her eyes burned as she regarded her enemies. Being outnumbered wasn't anything unusual to her. Her greatsword brought sure death, as did her flying short-sword. The Half-Moon Knight had no openings.
The mage captain gathered himself, tearing his eyes away from the sight of his mutilated comrades to unleash a storm of fire towards Yael.
Yael slammed her great-sword down, blocking the magical assault with cold steel. Her blade glowed red hot as the fire raged against it, but blue light ran down her blade, reforming it in an instant, free of any damage.
Aesri was fortunate in that the soldiers hadn’t realized where the magic attack on the mages had come from leading them to continue focusing on Yael. She watched as they encircled the elf trying to give her no escape, though the knight was rather adept at avoiding being completely corner, though on the defensive. The blue hued woman gave another louder chant that sounded almost like a song, twisting around arms outstretched as they moved liked willows in the wind. Several soldiers glanced towards the direction of the rather soothing chant. Water cascading all around Aesri before pushing her hands out towards the soldiers on Yael’s left side, sending a wall of water roaring at them.
The troops immediately moving to try and avoid the fast wave but failing as it hit like a sledgehammer, several were slammed into the ground with a pained groan but they began to get back on their feet almost immediately. Though reducing the pressure on Yael for several seconds.
Yael responded instantly to the opening, breaking to the left. Her great sword crashed down, ending one soldier's life, while her flying sword executed the second with brutal efficiency. Yael backed into the space created, eyes moving between targets. There were only three soldiers left, along with the mage-captain. They hung back, uncertain of their next move. "Aesri, deal with the mage." She had to stop them from going for the Siren. She stepped forwards with a practised movement, closing into range again. She fought all three soldiers at once, wielding her enormous sword as if it was weightless. But to them, her blows had weight, so much crashing force their arms went numb with every attempt to parry. One threw himself backwards to escape the flying sword and found the great-sword crashing down. He was smashed against the floor. Yael released her great sword, blue light glowing around the blade as it took flight and plunged through the neck of the second remaining soldier before he could react. She caught her flying short-sword, stepping forwards and trading blows with the final soldier. He managed three strokes before she broke his guard and cut him down, her eyes as cold as ice.
The mage captain apparently got it into his head to deal with the siren that had killed the other two mages and helped the skilled knight get back onto the offensive. Fire enveloping his blade before hurling it at Aesri her gave a brief cry of surprise dropping down to the ground as the fire swept past searing her shoulder and neck due to the sirens clumsy dodge. With a more graceful roll, Aesri got back on her feet, water enveloping one arm before lancing out curving through the air. A loud hiss resounding as the Captain blocked it with his fiery sword, turning the water to steam. Managing to follow through with a twist of her arm the steam swept around the man briefly heating up his armor before coalescing back into a liquid and careening around to slam into him. Unsteadying the man as the snake like stream of water continued to whirl about striking the armored captain repeatedly keeping him from doing much else for the moment.
Yael charged in, sheathing her short-sword as she moved. She caught the captain with both hands, tearing him free of Aesri's stream of water and pinning him against the ground with a vice-like grip. Blue light moved over his body, destroying his weapons and armour within moments. A ring of metal coalesced around his wrists, binding his hands. "I underestimated you, Aesri. You are a mage of some talent." Yael raised her right hand, letting her greatsword fly back into its sheath on her back. "Do you have healing magic? We should save this giant."
"I...I've never...fought before, the theatre mainly had me awe the crowd with water tricks," Aesri stated looking somewhat distracted as the fighting ended and she looked over at the impaled mages the realization of what she'd done starting to sink in.
"You're capable of more than tricks. I don't flatter when I praise." Yael frowned. "Aesri, are you capable of healing magic?"
She blinked looking away from the dead mages back to Yael and the fallen giant of a man. Kneeling before him the Siren began to softly chant in song drawing water around her fingertips, "I've helped heal, minor injuries. N-nothing this bad." She continued to chanting soothingly attempting to heal the grave wounds of the giant.
"Do what you can. My magic exists only to kill." Yael turned away, picking up the trapped captain and slinging him over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes. She whistled, calling for Ebonheart. The horse trotted out of the tree line, holding still as she bound the prisoner to him. "Thanks for the help."
"I couldn't help my master....only getting, stabbed. I just didn't want to stand by again," She stated lightly as her hands swepted over the wounded mans chest, washing away the blood and helping to lessen the injuries though he wasn't fully healed. "I think he'll live, more will take me alot longer. I'm just not practiced in healing grave wounds."
"You may yet get that practise. I expect war will come to this mountain range soon enough," Yael said. "I came here because of that. Either way, we should get moving. Things have become complicated... but if that giant can't walk under his own power, even I can't carry him."
"I'll...see what I can do," She stated softly before resuming her work, trying to help the injured lauran more with water magic even though she was not an adept healer.
6th Nov 11, 9:08 PM
Team Fel after much effort had finally tracked the elf to an abandoned mining town on the border of the desert, Talesa and the King’s peaks.
“God damn travel…” Koz muttered as he started reassembling meatsuit. “The next time I’m contracting better travel arrangements.”
Narna, looked at the mining town. "I have to say, I am more than happy to be getting out of the desert. The sun has not been...kind."
Finishing with the final stitches Meatsuit finally stood upright once more and in full control of his limbs. “Rah you’re the tracker here, where should we start?”
"Slaves are a predictable bunch, and an Evil slave is a rare thing indeed" Rah thought for a moment "Someone would have seen this creature running through the streets at some point.”
"Well if ghosts can talk, we're bound to find someone there." The hybrid said, before snapping to attention as she heard the man calling out.
"Who goes there!" A gruff voice called from a half demolished building to their left. "What do ya'll want?"
"Just travellers, tired from the desert." She shouted back, at whoever it was. Might draw him out.
"The sun has messed my head, I still thought we were back at home" Rah laughed before turning to the voice.
Koz remained silent not yet sure if this was foe or enemy.
"Travelers huh?" The voice grunted. "Well ya'll better done get. This place 'taint no good for strangers."
"What about some that need to buy some stores?" Narna said again. She wanted the person to come out first.
"No Place is good for strangers, but if we exchange names, are we strangers then?" Rah questioned "I am Rah, and you are?"
From the building emerged a large man, Fel'Geth judging by his skin, with baggy clothes and a large hat. The stranger stood nearly six feet tall, and seemed to consist of nothing but muscle. Scars crisscrossed most of his body, and what could be seen of his hair below his hat seemed to be turning grey. "The name's Wailn." he grumbled as he walked out to stand in the middle of the road, eying the newcomers warily. "I'd have to disagree friend, knowin your name still makes you a stranger here. If ya'll take my meanin."
"Yes, but now if you kill me, you'd know who I was and that would rest upon your soul for a lifetime" Rah replied "Knowing and not knowing change a everything"
It took nearly everything Koz had to prevent himself from cracking into a laugh with that comment.
"Don't worry, we don't plan to stay long, a few days at most. The horses need the rest. And Aru of K'sel" Said Narna. Hiding her name. She didn't know what the runaway slave might have heard or not. Saying her real name might have been a wrong idea.
"Once again friend..." the stranger muttered, looking at Rah as he pulled the brim of his hat lower to shield his eyes. "I'm afraid I must disagree with that there statement of yours. How in hell does knowin a fella's name make you any less likely to kill 'im?"
"Dead is dead after all. And I don't much see how a name makes any difference to the one makin a corpse."
"But now..." The man continued as he turned his attention to Narna. "Why would I want to be killin people I done just met? Seems damn foolish."
The woman raised her eyebrow. "That's something we can all agree on. Now that you're here, willing to sell a few things, or show us someone who is?" She asked.
"Sell?" the fellow laughed. "Taint nothin worth sellin around here. Least, nothin you folks would be interested in. Barely got enough food for myself, and I ain't much better off with water."
Koz’ interest peaked at that comment. “Something must be worthwhile to keep someone living around here.”
"What? A man can't live where others won't bother him?"
"A man can, a Fel'Geth wont likely relocate to somewhere with nothing of value or substance." Koz countered.
"You and your racial profiling." Whispered Narna quietle, so only her two companions could hear.
"Right you are stranger!" The stranger chuckled as he studied the younger man before him. "I sure as hell didn't come here for the scenery. But that makes me wonder..." the man muttered, his face darkening suddenly. "Why did ya'll come here? This damn town's as far into nowhere as hell itself."
"Profit. Why else?" Rah replied laughing "We're couriers delivering some high born Fel'Geth's mail to some Human, a couple more days away"
"You should know the type. Too high strung to use the regular services so they pick some lowly peasants such as ourselves to trek through the desert so that they may get wine or something, I don't know" Rah continued "But a person has to eat, and to eat requires coin. Job is a job"
"And that even when this damned sand get's everywhere." Grumbled the hybrid. "So is there a community here or not? Would be nice to know."
"Then ya'll doin your job dame poorly." The man called Wailn grunted. "Ya'll got yourselves lost friends. This town here's a dead end. Best get yourselves goin on back the way you came if you don't wanna keep that lord of yours waitin. As for community... I ain't sure you can call a single man a community."
"Lost, no I know exactly where we're going" Rah replied "We're were told to avoid the main roads due to the recent increase in robberies, our employer doesn't wish for us... I mean his letter to not reach its destination. I merely underestimated the length of the journey." Rah replied "Surely, a man such as yourself knows that the best way to not draw attention to yourself is to walk the road less traveled"
"Maybe so. But that requires a road, untraveled or not. This town ends at the mountain friends. Aint no roads 'cept the one you done took to get here."
"And what of the mines? How far into the mountains do they go?" Koz inquired.
"The road is ours. The person we ought to deliver the message is sadly on the move. You birng someone a mark of freedom and you would expect them to accept it." Grumbled Narna, loud enough for the man to hear. It was another lie, but close enough to the truth. She could try bargaining the slave's freedom for the stone, but it would never get given.
"Heh..." The man chuckled, as he studied the three figures before him warily. "Those mines go for miles. But there's only one entrance. All of them were sealed off years ago, and most still are. I had to dig open the main entrance with my own two hands. I'm afraid ya'll won't find anyway through those tunnels."
"One entrance you say?" Koz saw the splitting of hairs in his words. "How many exits then." He said with no expression.
"Same number as the road ya'll just took." The man answered with a grin. "One way in, same way out. So like I said. Ya'll best turn around and find some other road to take."
"You seem quite content with us turning around. What is in those caves to which you don't want us to see?" questioned Rah
"Taint nothin ya'll need concern yourselves with." Wailn laughed. "Though... I could always use some help diggin. If ya'll would be interested of course. Can't very well pay as well as that lord of yours can I reckon."
"What if we were to pay you to lead us through these mine shafts. Surely, you need the coin?" Rah asked, pulling a gold coin from his pocket before spinning through is fingers.
"We'll wouldn't be very smart of me to refuse money now would it?" The man responded with a chuckle. Buy like I said... taint no way out of those mines."
"Then dig us a way out"
"Well, I done got some of that Ra'Gen thunder powered lying around here." The man said with a shrug. "But that stuff is damn expensive. I sure as hell hope ya'll have got more than a few coins."
"You'll get your coins once we're through the mountain, you have my word" Rah replied extending his hand out to shake on the agreement
Koz eyed the exchanges between the two Fel’Geth, something clearly was amiss here. But the old coot was playing his hand rather well.
The man was silent for several seconds before shaking Rah's hand. "Ya'll have got yourselves a deal. Follow me and I'll pick up some powder from my storeroom."
The man turned and started off towards the cliffs at the edge of the town, motioning for the three to follow him.
“Keep watch over the horses meat.” Koz instructed to the abomination as he followed.
Rah leaned next to Koz and whispered "This man is going to betray us, that is certain. Best be ready"
“Always am, the living are that way for a reason.” Koz similarly responded.
The group made their way to a large cliff face in along which was a small hole, barely large enough for a man to duck through. Disappearing quickly into the hole, Wailn returned a moment later carrying a pair of lit torches.
"Best stay close in there friends." The man chuckled as he handed a torch to Rah. "I'd hate to lose some gold, because one of you fell down a pit."
"If we fall, wouldn't you just climb down and strip us of it anyway?"
“Depends how far down this goes.” Koz muttered.
"Heh, I'd rather not have to bother." Wailn answered with a shrug. "Seems like a damned waste of time. Now don't doddle. And stay close."
The man turned and ducked into the hole, his light holding steady as he waited for the others to follow.
Koz followed the man making mental notes of the paces taken and the directions turned in impeccable manner.
"Best let me go before you Princess, wouldn't want this person to end up with you alone. He looks like he hasn't seen a female in quite some time" said Rah shooting Narna a cheeky smile.
The man led the trio into the mind, making sure to keep his pace slow so that he would not lose them from sight. For over an hour they traveled, through winding tunnels that dug deeper and deeper into the mountain. Finally the man turned into a small cavern where there lay a small pile of thin metal tubes with thin lines protruding from there ends.
"Ra'Gen thunder sticks..." Wailn chuckled, picking up the cylinders and putting all but one into his belt. The last he held in his hand as he once again turned back to the cavern entrance. "Gotta give it to them giants. No one can dig like them."
(magic fel spacetime wormhole powers activated))
“Now then” The old man muttered as he studied the three Fel’Geth before him. “I should probably explain how these work.”
The elderly Fel’Geth held out the explosive cylinder and set the blade of his knife where the wire met the metal.
“I don’t know how them giants do it, but when you cut this here fuse, the thing starts to burn down to the end. And when it finally reaches the stick, boom!”
Wailn gave a heartless chuckle before continuing.
“When you hit the end, it takes about a minute to go off. But when you cut it here, the time is much shorter.”
"Hrmm.. Dangerous" Rah replied, "Mind if I take one?"
The woman of the group merely raised her eyebrows. Wondering just how long this would still take. If she had a choice, the elf would have been killed weeks ago.
"Well then... let me ask ya'll a question." The old man growled, his eyes gleaming dangerously as he held his knife at the ready. "Why are you here? And don't ya'll think I'm dumb enough to think there's a message involved."
The woman looked the man squarely into his eyes and told with complete conviction a truth, not the whole truth, but a part of it. "The person took something. And the message holds an offer of a trade." The fact that the trade was a slow or fast dead didn't figure in it much, she though.
"The offer is this female's hand in marriage actually, she is to be married to this person to allow the two great families to become one" Rah replied, adding to his ever increasing lie "I was tasked in protecting her, and we took this path to avoid the unwanted suitors who plagued her fathers days" Rah paused for a moment "Come now, if you were in love with someone as she is, would you not want to go through mountains to reach them?"
Once more Koz maintained his stoic face in the face of the words that reached his ears.
"Your stories seem conflicting." The old man laughed. However, while a smile came over his face, the voice that issued from his mouth was not his own. Instead it sounded like that of a young woman.
Narna had to suppress a momentary gag. What was the man thinking. Not even a bloody village idiot would believe I lie like that. "Yes true love indeed." She managed to say.
"If you want to tell a lie, you really should discuss it amongst yourselves first. So tell me... did Gen send you?"
“Cripple him.” Was all Koz said to Rah.
"Bad call." Was all the old man muttered before slicing the string with his knife.
"Bad Call?" Rah laughed "Your the fool that decided to pull a Knife"
"And the one that's about to explode." The figure laughed, his voice still that of a young woman's as he held the cylinder out in front of him.
"Good bye you three. I'm certainly glad Gen sent you. I was worried my escape would be more difficult."
The hybrid reached for her sealing stones, with a hope of casting a hellgate on the man hand. The hand that held the explosive.
"I suggest you two start running" Rah looked at his comrade "This man is going to help me open this mine up" Knowing that he wouldn't stand a chance in the tight corridors of the mine against such a big opponent, Rah quickly slashed his knife across the belt of the bigger man catching the Ra'Gen thunder stick and another slice to the back of his calf causing the big man to stagger backwards.
Nothing ever goes to plan. Koz inwardly muttered as he ran for cover thankful he had kept back.
The hybrid tried to finish the spell, before moving into cover herself.
The man fell backwards as the explosive broke in half under Rah's slash. However, an instant later there was a loud roar of air as what remained of the stick erupted, consuming the old man in a ball of fire as Rah was propelled across the cavern by the force of the blast and slammed into the wall. The summoned demon consumed in the explosion shielding Rah from the brunt of the explosion.
“Well fuck.” Koz spoke aloud at the scene that just occurred. “How bad are you hurt Rah.” Koz inquired not keen to lose an adept hunter in this quest.
"I feel like a horse just kicked me" Rah said as he pulled himself onto his knees, there were various cuts and scratches, some bleeding others charred. His clothing was also torn "Not something I suggest"
Narna dusted of her skirt as she walked to the two men. "What you just did was incredibly foolish." She snarled. "And I am not talking about jumping into the blast."
"Foolsih? Or Incredibly Daring" Rah replied with a slight laugh
"Well at least you arnt scraped up worse then I can tend." Koz rummaged through his satchel removing a generic healing potion. Koz produced a purple liquid flask. “Take a swig of this, anything that doesn’t heal I’ll stitch up or set if needed.”
Rah drank the potion as if it was the first sip of water he had after crossing a desert before succumbing to a brief slumber from his injuries.
Narna examined the remains of the old man. "I'm afraid that this is far from over. You heard his voice. He might have been just a proxy. And doesn't have the stone on himself either.”
“Agreed, but there was no ‘just’ about it. He was being puppeted from a distance. Likely by our target.” Koz commented as he began tending to Rah’s wounds.
Veough awoke into empty darkness once again. Quietly, he wondered where he was, all he could remember before this was the searing pain around his arm. The confrontation with the beast had forced him into an act of desperation, but he didn't regret it. Was this the afterlife? He wondered whilst looking around. If so he only regretted that he would never see that. Abruptly, Veough found him self aflame once again. This time his entire body was set alight, the unbearable pain forced him awake back into the real in a momentary fit of surprise. Slowly he looked at his surroundings, noting the drastic change of locations.
"Finally awake are we?" Tia's voice came softly from somewhere out of Veough's sight, "I'm sorry about the bonds, but the elders insisted. Humans are not exactly...well, even tolerated here." The foxgirl came into view, her normal armor replaced by loose fitting clothing of a cloth Veough couldn't identify. She wore a tiara of twisted branches, a green gem at her forehead.
The amored form seemed to relax a little at the sight of Tia. "I see, is this your village? I did not expect to end up here...The ambassador?"
"The healers expect her to recover but she needs more time than you," Tia stated, "Yes, this is my village and you are very fortunate to be alive. The healers didn't even want to touch a human you know..." She sat down at the foot of the bed, looking at him with a strangely gentle smile, "...but I insisted. We wouldn't have defeated that creature without your help."
Veough remained in silence for a moment as he stared up into the ceiling of the tent. "It seems i've caused you much trouble by bringing me here, you have my sincerest gratitude. It is relieving to hear the ambassador is safe however" Veough said before awkwardly looking towards his bonds. "Are these... still necessary?"
"As the healers' work is done, I do not believe so," Tia said, slipping out a dagger and cutting Veough's bindings, "I am permitted to make such judgement calls, provided that if you give my tribe any issues, I take responsibility. I do not belive you will cause such harm. Don't make me regret my actions."
Veough nodded his thanks towards Tia as he rose up and flexed his arms to retain some semblance of blood flow. "You're taking an awful amount of risk for someone you just met, and for a 'human' as well no less. This is contradictory to what you said earlier on the boat, so why?"
"You are a hunter," Tia stated, "A skilled warrior who risked his life for one of my people," she paused for a while as she struggled to find words in his tongue, "...Perhaps I should explain: I see beyond tribes, unlike most Lauran. I am not just a Sinopa, I am Lauran and I believe in protecting my people no matter the tribe. You risked your life to protect Faiel...I admire that. I know it sounds strange given my earlier behaviour. I must apologize for letting past experiences cloud my judgement. Perhaps some humans can be trusted."
"I see..." Veough muttered "Then i am grateful" The armored warrior bowed slightly, his large size making the fairly small tent seem all the more smaller. "One day i hope to return this favour, should you need assistance with anything do not hesistate to ask" Veough said as the glow in his helmet slowly returned to its normal blue tinge.
"Only if necessary," Tia said, "But thank you. You have seen my homeland; a rare sight for a human. Perhaps one day I will see this land of Deren with my own eyes. It is...rather intriguing."
"After all those years." Lord Varrock spread his arms in a gesture of welcome, seeing the figure that walked to the room. There was a faint thud outside, followed by a clang of metal. "I see there's only one of you now."
"Long story." The mage spoke quietly, saddling himself behind the long table. Immediately, one of the women accompanying Varrock rushed towards him, picking a tall bottle from the Lord's table. "I met your slaves tonight. A charming bunch."
"Anything left?" The aristocrat seemed not to care, interested more in the remains of meat on the bone he was holding in one hand.
Flamebringer accepted the wine. "An annoying elf. Figures he deserves a few more years of bread and water for being a wimp."
Lord Varrock burst into laughter, pointing the bone at the mage. "Haven't changed a bit! I still love your style. Wish there'd be more like you. Last time I tried to get help from the Academy? They sent some balding scholar here that tried to 'put the town's vices to an end'." He gestured at one of the servants who immediately scurried away into one of the back rooms. "We lack the fun types, like you and the girlie. Where did you lose her anyway."
The mage didn't answer, focusing on a plate of poultry that just arrived. "Too long to explain, Isaac." he finally spoke.
"So what brings you to Varrock once more?" The aristocrat asked. "Last time you were here, years ago. Ah..." he lowered his tone to a whisper. "Wardstones. Shards of power left behind by the Keeper of Secrets, master of a thousand keys."
Daevas stopped chewing and looked across the table. "We're here only for the night, Varrock. A duty to the Emperor." he spoke.
"Ah yes. I knew your deeds would attract attention of a higher... power." a mischievous smile appeared on the lord's face. "Wouldn't have anything to do with the incoming war, would it?"
"It may." the mage seemed too occupied by eating to answer. After a long while, he spoke again. "So the note I sent you days before. Anything on this subject?"
The man shrugged. "Nothing. The place is completely quiet." he frowned, seeing the mage slowly rise and walk clsoser to him. "No residue magic, nothing."
"You're sure." Daevas took a sip of the wine he was offered earlier, smiling towards the two girls and gesturing at them to get out of the room along with the servant. "See, I don't think so. I think you've just lied to me. I don't like being lied to."
"Would I ever lie to you, Daevas? After all you've done to me?" Droplets of sweat began to appear on Varrock's face as the mage approached. Suddenly, a wave of hot air skimmed across the table straight at the ruler. The man screamed and covered his face, but the impact itself was enough to throw both him and the chair on the floor. Shaking with fear, Lord Varrock backed himself against the wall and looked at the mage. "Why... why?"
"Because you're a lying, cowardly scum!" The mage hissed. As if by his command, the ground beneath lord's body started to smoke. With a short scream Varrock jumped back to his feet, only to find himself dangling a few inches above the ground with Flameberinger's hand against his throat. "What. Did you. Find."
Varrock's eyes bulged and he gasped for breath. "He... he took it. I swore not to tell, they threatened me! They said you wouldn't protect us from this!"
"Who did?!" Fires from the braziers seemed leaned towards the mage's figure, coming dangerously close to the ruler's face "Who was 'he'?!"
"The Academy!" Varrock fell to his knees, breathing heavily. "He had a seal of the academy." he lifted his head, but could only see Daevas's boots as he walked away.
"Never. Ever. Hold out on me again." The mage snapped off a remaining piece of chicken and held it in the air. The meat began to sizzle and quickly burst into a bright flame that rapidly cleared it to the bare bone. "Your failure won't be reported to His Majesty, Lord Varrock. Prepare your guards for anything."
The lord sighed - it wasn't much of a relief that he wouldn't lose the province when a greater conflict dawned on the land. His answer was nothing but laughter coming from the darkness, only amplified by the castle's walls.
Before it even dawned, the two men rode out of town, headed for Haiel.
8th Nov 11, 12:30 AM
Lautrec strode through the empty streets of Varrock, the weight of his boots leaving a commanding echo that cut the night as they hit the cobblestone. A soft breeze tugged at his cloak, bringing with it a drizzle of falling leaves. It reminded him of the forests of the elves. Just one of the many reasons he preferred the fortress walls of the capital. There was a certain comfort to be had from living in a city built from the ground up by the hands of men, conquering their environment and rising up out of the dirt.
A twinge in his leg made him grimace, casting out his thoughts of Galadren and replacing them with the grumblings of a soldier. An old injury, acting up at the most random of times. He stretched it out as he walked, preferring to keep moving if only to pass the time while Daevas finished up his business here.
"Aaah, not enough," he said to himself, shaking his head. He'd learned the value of patience from a young age, but right now he couldn't help but feel restless. He drew his broadsword out from his sheath, calmly and deliberately positioning himself into his one-handed stance, going through the forms serenely. While swordsmanship was a skill best developed by actual combat, one could still improve oneself via repetition of the forms and reflection. As he shifted from strike to strike he slowly sped himself up, his feet now kicking up chunks of gravel as he took a step forward with a flat thrust, flowing back into a diagonal cut with a half-step. If he were actually fighting, his moves wouldn't be nearly so graceful; he was much more choppy and headstrong, preferring heavy strikes. He was no artist like the elven sword dancers; he was something much higher: a soldier.
With a final cut, he sheathed his sword, taking in a deep breath of the crisp night air. Soon this lightness would be heavy with ash and fire, the ambiance replaced with the brutal sounds of war. He couldn't say he wasn't looking forward to it.
He headed back towards the gates, spying Daevas on his way back as well. With a nod, Lautrec slid his helm back on and mounted his steed, the motion jostling the small trinket pressed against his chest and sending a small jolt of cold steel through his skin.
"Ha, Ferrendal," he spurred the dark mare into motion, riding out for the land of the elves.
11th Nov 11, 6:30 PM
Tia quietly entered the healer’s hut as to not wake the Deren ambassador. Moving quietly in her earthen robes she took a seat at Feiel’s bedside, gently touching the wolf lauran with healing water magic.
If she wakes up, I doubt she’ll even recognise me dressed this way. Tia mused. The Sinopa and most Forest Lauran were seen as savages but Tia looked more like a cross between her old self and a noble in the robes the elders had given her. She’d even put a few beads in her hair. With a bemused smirk, she continued to work.
Faiel stirred slightly, her eyes opening slowly as she stared into the darkness of the hut. Turning her head to look at the woman sitting next to her the Lauran gave a tired smile.
“Well it seems I have my own angel looking after me.” The young woman commented with a small laugh. “I could not ask for a better sight to wake up to.”
The wolf-Lauran’s eyes suddenly grew serious, and the smile faded slightly from her face as she seemed to remember what had happened.
“How are the others?” She asked anxiously as she attempted sitting up. “How many did we lose?”
"We lost one," Tia stated solemnly, "I am sorry; I failed to protect you as was my mission."
“Nonsense.” The ambassador replied, placing a hand on Tia’s. “The fact that I am speaking to you now means you completed your mission perfectly. I was the one foolish enough to rush a demon head on. Though I might have revised my plan slightly if I had known its blood was so… potent.”
"It is a Sinopa tradition to taste of the blood of a fallen foe," Tia stated, "But I think it was prudent to break tradition in regards to that creature. You are in my village, Faiel, if you haven't realised it yet. My tribe is not known to be welcoming to outsiders, and yet...they conceded to my wishes. No, my commands. The hunters gave me the deference reserved for the elders," her left hand absently traced over the marks on her right arm, "The elders have marked me as someone...special, for lack of a better word. I have been ordered to only follow the traditions that make sense to me. It is strange..."
“I find that the world rarely makes sense when we wish for it too.” Faiel muttered, closing her eyes a she sniffed the night air. “It is not until we look back on what has already past that we are able to put the pieces in their proper places and make sense of the puzzle that is our lives.”
The ambassador chuckled and opened her eyes to once again stare at the woman who sat over her.
“It’s times like this that make my glad I never chose to be a philosopher. It seems far to difficult a job to piece together what is the real ‘meaning’ of our lives.”
"There is truth in your words," Tia replied with a smile, "The Elders say I will be a great leader someday and I actually believe them. I have an unusual gift for tongues and diplomacy, at least for a Sinopa. I doubt it compares to how you've been trained as Deren royalty...but I digress..." she held up her left hand, where a fresh tattoo had been made of a terrible fanged creature; a stylized version of the creature they'd slain, "I have completed my first Great Hunt as an adult, though most witnesses were humans. I think I understand what you meant by perspective and the Sinopa Elders seem to see it as a gift in disguise. Helping you was my pilgrimage; the slaying of that beast was a proper trial to become one of the Great Hunters who often are welcomed as Elders. But I see my place as elsewhere, at least for now. If the Sinopa wish to survive, we need to learn of the world outside our borders and the dangers, and boons, it represents..."
She went silent for a moment, watching the forest through the hut's open entrance, "Faiel, may I ask a favour of you?"
“But of course.” The young woman replied, her canine-like ears twitching with curiosity. “You only need to ask.”
"Tell me about Deren," Tia asked, "The humans I have met from your kingdom are...not what I expected." The fox removed two glasses from a nearby basket and summoned some water to fill both. She then took a pouch containing a mixture of herbs and poured a small ammount into each glass, "An herbal remedy that relaxes the body and helps clear it of toxins. Everything I have been told and experienced tells of our kind being used as the soldiers and servants for human lords, but here you are being protected by them. I need to understand if I can." She passed a cup over to the ambassador.
“The Isle…” the ambassador began, accepting the glass from Tia with a gracious nod. “…is a beautiful country. It’s forests are every bit as green as those of the Emerald Mountains, and it’s beaches with their roaring surfs are greater by far than any other nation I have seen. As for its people… they are every bit as amazing as the land itself. As flawed as we mortals may be the citizens of Deren recognize that every person possesses the same potential for good, regardless of race. On the island everyone is seen as an equal, and the natural right of freedom is prized atop all others. There slavery is seen as one of the greatest crimes one individual can commit against another and any slave that steps foot on the Isle can immediately consider themselves under the personal protection of the King and Queen. Free men from the minute their toes touch the sand of our shores.”
The young wolf-Lauran paused just long enough to take a sip from her cup before continuing, her eyes staring off into the distance as if she could see the Isle even from where she sat.
“On Deren humans, Lauran, and members from every other race work and live together every day of their lives. To we who call the Isle home, it is bizarre whenever we encounter people of other nations who bear hatred for others based solely on race. Even though we certainly understand the reasons and history behind such feelings, it is as strange to us as… well… as trusting humans is to you.” Faiel concluded with a small wink at Tia.
"It sounds beautiful. Perhaps one day I will see it with my own eyes," Tia said, tracing the tattoos of her leg until she came to the old slaver brand, "...I saved human lives when I killed that beast and I don't regret it at all. Humans are as varied as Lauran are, aren't they? I saw it in the other slaves; human, elf, Lauran...we were able to organise..." the fox let out a content sigh, "Everything's changed in the last few days. Elder Karya said it herself; I've changed. I used to dream..." Tia pulled out one of her daggers and turned it over in her hands, "...about planting this in some filthy human's heart. We Sinopa usually respect our prey but humans simply didn't deserve it. I'd have nightmares about being enslaved again often. All of that...seems silly now. My dreams the last few days have been good ones..." Tia's face remained a calm, gentle smile. All of the tension the foxgirl had shown while on the boat seemed to have vanished completely. Tia hadn't felt this much at peace since her dangerous, carefree days as a young hunter.
"Just as nightmares are windows into a troubled mind, so do pleasant dreams reveal a soul which is at peace." Faiel sighed contentedly as she lay back in her bed. "I am so happy for you Tia. Thank you again for what you have done for me today. I owe my life to you and the others."
"It was the mission assigned to me by the Elders," Tia pointed out as she stood, "But you're welcome. I think I should be the one thanking you, however, for giving me new insight. Rest up as we need to continue our journey soon."
"I will be staying with you, but this time it is not an order from the Elders. I feel like I may learn what I need to know on this trip."
"I am glad that you will be joining me." Faiel replied, closing her eyes to return to sleep. "And Tia..." she added just as the fox Lauran was leaving the room. "You may want to consider dressing like this more often. You're a beautiful woman, and this look suits you.”
Tia slipped out into the pale light of the moon and took a seat on a fallen tree. Softly she began to sing an old song she’d learned in her travels as a hunter; a tale of a Sinopa who was reckless and foolish. A silly girl who tried to reach beyond her means…
Shortly into her song, she became aware of the soft, trained footfalls of another Lauran hunter. The newcomer did not interrupt her, however, and waited until Tina’s song was finished.
“Such an odd song to hear from you,” came a familiar voice in a jovial tone, “I hope this doesn’t mean you have second thoughts,” it was Riza, the Lorekeeper and Tia’s rival when they were younger. The raven haired Lauran took a seat next to her.
“Not at all, Esteemed Lorekeeper,” Tia replied, “It’s just a pretty song.”
“That’s the spirit,” Riza said, placing a hand on Tia’s shoulder, causing Forestwalker to flinch, “Relax Tia, I’m not here to pick a fight. I’m here to clear the air between us. I know you wanted to be Lorekeeper so badly and deep down that desire probably still exists. I hope the truth is some comfort though. Do you know why they named you Forestwalker? Do you understand what that title truly means?”
“That I am Sinopa and yet I am not,” Tia stated, almost emotionlessly, “In a way, a partial exile that everyone treats like and Elder…”
“No, you misunderstand,” Riza said in a correcting, almost envious tone, “It is a greater honour than being named Champion Huntress or even…Elder. The Elders have foreseen change coming, Tia Forestwalker, and you? You are the agent of that change. They have decided that the Sinopa’s old ways must make way for the new. You are not fully Sinopa…you are what they believe the Sinopa should aspire to. You are…our future.”
“Someone who believes in the genocide of an entire sentient race?” Tia snapped back, “Some role model…” Even after she said it though, the words seemed hollow. “I’m sorry,” Tia said mournfully, her canine ears drooping, “I know that’s the only part of me you really admired, but that isn’t me anymore…”
“I know,” Riza replied calmly, her sharp blue eyes sizing up her former rival, “…You can trust those from Deren. What the ambassador said was true….I’ve seen the Isle for myself…”
“You have?” Tia replied, her ears twitching with curiosity.
“Once I ventured there,” Riza admitted, “As I believed we could use some new recipes developed there. I quickly became lost…but it was Faiel who helped me find my way home to the Forest. Enough, this isn’t why I came to speak to you. I bring you a gift; consider it an apology, as well as my recognition of the status you have earned…”
Riza produced a bundle and carefully unwrapped it, revealing a full set of armor made from shiny emerald and obsidian scales, each piece embossed with the symbol of Forestwalker. Tia touched one of the armguards gingerly, her eyes meeting Riza’s questioningly.
“Yes, it’s lizard mail,” Riza replied with a smile, “Three moons ago, during the last great hunt, we came across a nest of the fearsome Kret lizards. We barely managed to route the lot of them and I killed the pack alpha. The Elders granted me permission to craft myself armor from its remains, but I…wanted to make amends for the way I’ve treated you since your failed pilgrimage. Don’t argue, I can see that look. You deserve this; you’ll need it for the journey ahead. Go try it on.”
Tia nodded and smiled in thanks as she carefully picked up the bundle and headed back to her home. A short while later she returned, clad in the emerald and onyx scale partially covered by the robes.
“There’s no helmet, but I suppose this wouldn’t protect well against a skilled enough archer anyways,” Tia commented, “I’m surprised by the flexibility though and your craftsmanship is excellent as always.”
“It suits you,” Riza replied, “I’ve woven some minor enchantments within it to help you move silently as well. May you always be guided by the trees, Tia Forestwalker.” Riza took one last approving look at the other foxgirl before departing.
13th Nov 11, 8:45 PM
The large doors leading into the Haiel Citadel opened and a young elf wearing silver armor emerged, giving a deep bow to the human who now stood before him.
“Welcome Lord Daevas…” The elf greeted, his face showing no emotion as he rose once again to meet the newcomer’s gaze. “My name is Hallen, servant of my prince Tessan Salemon. My master is very eager to meet with you, and hopes that with your help our nations will be able to settle the disputes that are erupting across our borders.”
"The Emperor wishes alike." Daevas answered. "He wishes to deal them quickly before they slip out of control and.... escalate."
“Well I am very glad we are in agreement.” Hallen responded, motioning for the human to follow him. “Such a war would be most costly to both our nations. My lord is awaiting your arrival in the main hall along with General Dail of the Fourth Legion and Chief Advisor Fean. I shall show you there right away. Would you like for me to send a servant for food? I know it is a long journey from Galadren.”
"Thank you, but we had a brief stop before reaching Galadren." The mage spoke. Torching an elven city wouldn't make for a good day if he had died from someone's crafty poison by evening. "Perhaps later, when we celebrate our aggrement."
The young elf led Daevas through down several winding hallways, leading the human further and further into the depths of the citadel. All along the way they passed elves dressed from head to toe in gold and silver armor, though there were certainly a fair amount of servants as well. Eventually they came to a pair of large iron door which swung slowly open at a knock from Hallen.
Within the vaulting room was an enormous round table at which now sat three elves. To the far left was an ancient looking elf dressed entirely in silver armor decorated with precious gems. Next to him sat a much younger elf in golden armor with a silver circlet that sat gently upon his golden hair. The third man wore simple grey robes, and sat with a large tome open in front of him, a quill held at the ready to take notes in the ancient book.
As Daevas entered the room, the doors behind him closed with a loud bang, revealing the two guards stationed behind them. Across the room stood two more guards as well as a man wearing the crimson robes of a Mage of the elven court.
“Welcome Lord Daevas.” The golden armored elf greeted as he rose to his feet. “Thank you very much for joining us. Please, come take a seat. We have much to discuss I think.”
"Emperor's greetings." The mage bowed in a respectful greeting. "And honours of mine." he added, sitting as asked. "Indeed. My lord is worried greatly that the conflict will escalate and spiral out of his control. He prefers to act now and prevent uncontrollable bloodshed." His tone was calm and low - stripped from any hostility, as years in the academy taught. "With armies at both sides, it takes a single foolish general to seal the fate of two empires, destroying them both in a pointless slaughter."
"Indeed..." the elven prince responded, once again taking his seat as well. "It would be most regrettable if our two great nations were forced into such a war. It is for this reason that we have asked for this meeting. As you know, there have been a great number of conflicts occurring on both sides of our borders. I look not to place blame on whichever side may have started these hostilities, I simply wish to find a way to prevent similar events from occurring in the future. As you said, a single such battle if allowed to escalate could mark destruction for both our peoples."
"We're equally worried." Daevas spoke. If he counted right, the General was now on his way - he just had to play the prince's game until the signal was given. "That's why the Emperor wished to hear your suggestion first. He realizes that our race's nature can push us to... irresponsible, to say the least, deeds."
As the human finished speaking, a sudden low rumble shook the room in which they now sat. For several seconds the stones themselves seemed as if they were threatening to tear themselves apart. Then just as suddenly as the tremors started, they ceased.
“What in the Goddess’ name was that?” The prince asked, quickly turning first to his advisor and then the general at his side.
"I'd say it's time for me to read the Emperor's suggestion." Flamebringer reached to his belt and brought up the scroll. Without his second hand touching it, the script snapped open into a page. Letters of a familiar, dark font glimmered before the mage's eyes, as his eyes read them. Without even moving, his lips echoed with the sound of the incantation sealed within.
Immediately the ground began to shake again, however, instead of ceasing these tremors continued to grow stronger and stronger with each passing second. Overhead dark storm clouds began to gather, and soon these began to glow dark red as the sky behind them appeared to burn. Even as the ground continued shaking, the sound of rolling thunder could be heard from every point within the elven city, but no lightning could be seen in the storm overhead.
Suddenly a roar far louder than any before it erupted from within the city, the sound accompanied by a gust of air that shook nearby buildings to their foundation. This explosion was soon followed by another just as powerful… then a third… fourth… and fifth. Soon the explosions were a constant thunder, almost loud enough to drown out the screams of terror that began to spread across the city. Within the citadel at the city’s center the scroll lying before Daevas was consumed by flames that left nothing left but a pile of ashes.
"The Emperor truly doesn't wish for the situation to get out of control." The mage's voice ceased to be emotionless. Now it had the echo of power and inner chaos in it, making each word sound like the laughter of a madman. "That's why we have to act quickly." The mage laughed, as two lines of fire erupted from beneath his feet, speeding towards the Elven Mage. A wall of fire erupted upwards, sealing him within.
“Kill him!” The elven general yelled, jumping to his feet and drawing his sword in a single fluid motion. "And protect the prince!"
The two guards across the table jumped onto its wooden surface, placing themselves in front of the elven prince as he quickly rose to his feet. Simultaneously the two guards behind the human mage launched an attack from the rear as the general charged him from the front. At the same instant there was a loud cracking sound from within the fire that had engulfed the elven mage, and a moment later a pair of stone arrows rocketed out of the flame and flew towards Daevas.
"Kill... me?" Daevas burst into laughter, slamming his fist against the ground. The stone around him crackled from the heat, white-hot streaks of fire erupting it's cracks. The first of the stone projectiles fell apart from the heat, second however, turned into semi-molten bolt, skimmed too close to the mage's leg and left a sizzling mark. "You'll suffer for this..." Daevas hissed. The flames behind him split into two condensed, swirling projectiles. With a wave of his hand, the mage threw them at the guards behind him.
One of the guards dove out of the way, rolling along the ground before quikly getting once again to his feet. Unfortunately the second was not as lucky, and roared in pain as the flaming spear tore through the man's breastplate with a hiss of molting metal and pierced his chest, causing flames to burst forth from the elf's mouth and nose. However, the remaining elves were not ready to have let their friend's death have been in vain. The general lunged forward, his sword generating a whistling sound as it cut through the air. At the same moment the stone beneath Daevas' feet rose up, forming dozens of razor sharp spikes several inches in height. Two of these miniature needles slid easily through the sole of his leather boots and impaled his right foot. The moment the stone pierced the mage's flesh it morphed yet again, the needles becoming serrated blades ready to rip and tear muscle and bone alike.
"Pain?" The mage hissed. He knew the feeling, ice spikes tearing into his body and freezing the very blood in his veins. "You know nothing about pain." with those words, the rock began to melt, sizzling as it came into contact with the mage's flesh. "I live with it. I shape it." He grinned, as the firewall containing the elven mage began to thicken and come closer to his body, thirsting for his flesh. "I COMMAND IT!" With a mighty shout, Flamebringer stretched his arm towards the general and his guards. The fiery shield before him split into three roaring waves that skimmed towards the elves. The ones aiming for the guards picked up whatever was on the way - stone and furniture alike. The one aimed for the General however, reached for his sword - hungry to melt it's blade back to how it was born. The mage didn't even wait for the waves to strike - by his command, the fire of torches came to his hand, aimed to strike at the third guard, one left alive from his previous assault.
The guard behind Daevas cried out in pain as he was consumed by the mage's attack. However, within the roaring flames of Daevas' trap, the silhouette of the elven mage seemed to disintegrate. A moment later the stone of the floor morphed yet again as four spikes of stone erupted forth, elongating as they slid through the air towards the fire mage. Meanwhile the elven general gave a sinister grin as the surface of his sword glowed silver in the light of the flames that now surrounded it.
"Don't underestimate me boy!" The old elf yelled, his sword sliding cleanly through the flames; losing nothing of it's form. Meanwhile the armor the general wore began to glow as well, taking the form of glimmering liquid as it rose up over his head to create a helmet in the form of an eagle.
"I was fighting battles centuries before hell cursed your mother with your wretched soul."
"Surrender to me, and your death will be swift." The mage leapt to his right, trying to avoid the elf's salvo. Kneeling, he touched the ground. A thin line connected his palm and the stone floor where the general's foot would step. In a blink, the stone surface began to melt, turning into molten slag. Temporarily satisfied with at least delaying the general, Flamebringer turned to face the elven mage. His right hand rest atop of the tome and left - pointed the academy's staff at him. "WITNESS YOUR DOOM!" he screamed, sending a white-hot, piercing bolt into the fiery confinement, aimed at the levels of the mage's legs.
The bolt struck the legs of the mage, and immediately the figure shattered into a thousand pieces. Instantly a cracking sound occurred from behind Daevas.
"What a sorry excuse for a mage." A voice taunted him. A moment later a fist consisting of solid stone connected to the back to the fire-mage's head and sent the man rolling forward. The elven mage's mouth was curled in a snarl as he stood over the hole in the floor beneath him, his fist's and arms encased in a layer of stone. Meanwhile the general swore loudly as his foot sank into the molten slag created by Daevas, however with a powerful heave he pulled his leg free and immediately turned to face the man who had only barely avoided his sword strike.
"Words later." He scolded the elven mage. "Time enough once he's dead!"
Immediately the younger man gave a grim nod as the stone beneath his feet began to crack, creating fissures that quickly spiderwebbed away from him. As this occurred the general rushed forward, the sword he held splitting in two as he approached Daevas. With a loud yell he through one of the swords at the human, causing the blade to embed itself in the floor at the mage's feet. A second later the sword shattered, fragments of metal exploding outward in all directions as the handle clattered to the floor.
"Where did I leave? oh yes." The mage didn't even rise. "Do you think I'm a simple human?" The he felt the everlasting coldness of the Infinite Tome beneath his fingers. He did not speak, but words were heard echoing in the chamber. Then, a ring of fire appeared beneath the general's feet - crunching the stone and turning it into a molten pulp. The exploding blade cut into the Flamebringer's flesh, but it was too late for him to feel pain. Nothing would hurt him more than the darkest night. He lifted his hand, causing a mass of molten stone to climb the General's legs. Parts of the ceiling began to burst and explode, raining sparks of deadly flame from above. The mage slowly stood up, the hot blood sizzling as it fell. The blade in his foot simply vaporized in a white hot cloud. He spread his arms, sending a burst of heat and flame through the chamber to catch the enemy mage and knock him to the floor.
The general screamed as his armor started to give up. With a terrifying clang the metal finally gave up to the flame, bursting into pieces. The general's last effort was to look into the eyes of the young mage, in which he saw nothing but raging fire - much like the one that engulfed him. Then, his body went out in a single, bright flash - the fire, having satisfied its hunger, slowly retreated from where it had started. A fraction of it remained, circling the mage's legs. The flickering light brought up various symbols on the leather straps of his robe, along with the book that seemed to pulse with its own power. "I am the Flamebringer." Daevas's voice boomed in the chamber. The elven mage rose against him once more, visibly shaken after seeing the demise of the General. His eyes could barely rest on the dark figure approaching him, distorted by the heat. With a short snap, the staff returned to his hand. "I transcend your very existence." A bolt shot towards the mage's hand, burning a hole in it and causing him to grasp his palm. "Show me control!" with a burst of laughter, Flamebringer ran another bolt of fire through the man's leg, exactly where the elf tried to impale him earlier. The court mage clutched his foot, falling to the ground. Slowly, the fire spread from his hand and leg and his body started to smoke. "I would have spared you. I would have let you join me." He looked down at the mage. "But weak have no place in the world of the Emperor."
Let him go. This isn't a manifestation of power - it's simple brutality. A thought sounded in his head, read in a strange voice he couldn't place. Flamebringer turned away and behind him the mage's body was consumed by a burst of fire before he could even scream. Part of his mission was accomplished - now, it was only to interrogate the two shaking royal weaklings...
16th Nov 11, 8:01 PM
Faiel stretched and gave a loud yawn as she felt the warm rays of the rising sun on her cheeks. She owed the Sinopa her life, of that the young Lauran had no doubt. The poison which had been threatening to steal her life was all but gone, and the burns on her arm from the Demon’s blood had all but vanished thanks to Tia’s healing.
The thought of the Fox Lauran and their conversation from earlier brought a smile to Faiel’s face. She gave a contented sigh and allowed her tail to wag slightly as she glanced around the village. While the Sinopa villagers had given permission for the humans of their group to walk around freely thanks to Tia, Faiel was the only one asides from Tia who had never been restrained. While the villagers certainly didn’t trust her, at least she wasn’t human.
A loud piercing shriek rang through the village, and a few of the Lauran glanced about wildly to see where the noise had come from. Faiel simply smiled as she brought a silver whistle to her lips and gave a single blast. The pitch was extremely high and caused the wolf-Lauran’s ears to shift uncomfortably as she studied the sky. A moment later there was a loud rustling as a large bird descended through the trees and alighted on the ground in front of her.
The bird stood to her knee and possessed pitch-black feathers, except for a pair of golden plumes which stuck out from the back of its head. The Maka were a special species of bird which the Deren had trained as messengers long ago. They could fly for days on end with neither food not water, and their shrill calls, like the whistle Faiel had just used, were so high-pitched that humans could not hear them.
The bird before her had a large canister strapped to it’s back, and waited patiently as the young woman opened the metal cylinder and pulled out one of the scrolls inside. Faiel read the message, her face darkening with every word. Finally she swore angrily and spun on her heels in search for Tia as the Maka once again took flight.
To all envoys,
The Empire has made its move.
Two days ago the Elven city of Haiel fell to a massive demon invasion. There is currently no information as to how the city’s shrine was destroyed, but crown prince Tessan Salemon and general Dail of the elven Fourth Legion are both believed to have perished in the attack.
Apparently seeing the demon assault as a sign of weakness, a day after the destruction of Haiel the Empire initiated assaults against the following locations. The elven city of Jan, the elven military fort of Tashan, the elven military fort of Kailem, and the Rakshin outpost. As of this message, reports have arrived that the city of Jan is now under the control of the Empire. While fighting still continues at Kailem, Rakshin and Tashan have both fallen to Galen imperial forces.
All envoys bound for the northern and western nations are ordered to continue with their missions. It is suggested that all envoys enroute to the elven kingdom return to the Isle immediately. If you should choose to continue with your mission, discretion is advised.
Good luck. And may the Goddess’ will be done.
Admiral Allara Starcoat
DRN Grand Star
*** More to come
21st Nov 11, 2:58 PM
Lautrec took a moment to tighten the straps on his atypical midnight-blue steel gauntlets, frowning slightly at the subtle differences in weight and balance for this set of armor compared to his usual gear. He preferred the comforting familiarity of his scratched and tarnished set, but for his plan to work he'd have to ditch the jet-black cloak and burnt-copper armor of General Lautrec for a set of Deren steel. Misdirection could be just as powerful a weapon as a bomb, and if he could strike down the Elves and at the same time cast suspicion upon the potential enemy of Deren, all the better. At the very least few would recognize Lautrec in this getup.
With his armor on, he hefted his zweihander onto his back, snapped on his sheath and slid in his broadsword, made sure all of his various armaments were secured, then lifted up his shield, securing it to his forearm. He was keeping his signature garb safely hidden away along with Ferrendall, but he wouldn't go and fight without these. There was nothing personal about them; they were just things, to be used and disposed of when no longer of use. But in a fight for his life he fought best with the heavy blade on his back, the shield in hand, the bombs and firebottles strapped to his chest and sides.
Now fully prepared, he set off into the dark Haiel night. He had a strict timetable to keep, if he didn't want to keep the pyromancer waiting. He moved silently but quickly, his well-secured instruments making nary a sound as he worked his way to his target: the Haiel Shrine. A holy place, akin to the city's very own guardian angel. Which made him the devil that would slay it, he supposed.
Lautrec peeked out from his cover, sure no one would come near while he observed. Two Elven guards, garbed in the elaborate gold and silver armor of ceremonial guards, encrusted with jewels and inscribed with various runes and flourishes. They stood at perfect attention, scanning the surroundings; they were perfectly aware how important what they were guarding was, and weren't letting up, it seemed. No matter.
Lautrec crawled forward, as close as he dared without alerting the guards, a pair of poison-dipped throwing daggers in hand. His heart started beating harder and harder, pounding in his ears and throat; he took a deep breath, casting off the pre-battle jitters that always seemed to crawl out of his body. With a puff, he let loose, hurling the daggers at the uncovered faces of the Elven guards before throwing himself to his feet and dashing at the beautifully ornate doors of the shrine. The first guard fell wordlessly, a perfect blow, but the second staggered back a step, reaching for his blade as he saw Lautrec charging. The Galen General grabbed the Elf's head with his armored hand and smashed it into the thick iron door, bashing his way in as he struck.
He took in the shrine the moment the doors parted; massive, glimmering white pillars held up the divine shrine, stretching back about one hundred yards or so, intricately carved sculptures of beings from scripture adorning each pillar, as if holding up the roof. At the far back lay his target: the sacrosanct statue of the angel, hands clasped in silent prayer. The work was itself a national treasure if only for its craftmanship. But it was that which guarded the Elves, and so it was to be destroyed.
Instantly, he took note of troop deployment in the room as well; a second pair was to his immediate sides, guarding the door, a third pair was at the shrines led by two Elven mages, and four more were scattered about. Rather than strike at the ones at his sides, he focused his attention instead to a passage further off down the shrine and to his right. From what intelligence he'd been able to gather, that would be the secondary quarters for the rest of the soldiers guarding the Shrine. He'd need to neutralize them first or else he'd start getting bogged down in a fight he had no interest in.
He slammed his arm towards the guard on his left, brutally backhanding him with his shield as he ducked under a blow from the Elf to his right. He pulled out a pair of firebottles, hurling them into the corridor, a slight thrill running threw him as he watched the hallway burst into an inferno of magical flames, coating the floor and walls and licking the ceiling with blue-white gouts of fire. It wouldn't last forever, especially not if they had a water mage with them, but it'd do for now.
He turned to face the pair of Elven guards, the one he struck recovering fairly well for such a feeble race, and pulled out the zweihander, his hands settling in perfectly to the textured grip. The first guard lashed out with a vicious thrust from his longsword, cutting the air with the speed of his strike; Lautrec jumped back a step, out of the range as he mentally cursed the speed of the Elves. He swung his zweihander down, bringing his entire body into the rotation as he took a decisive step forward, bringing the massive shaft of steel straight down onto the injured Elf before he could take a defensive stance. The blow was devastating, crushing the golden helm and the head inside it before driving further into his chest, slicing through flesh and bone and spraying blood onto the walls of the shrine, the dark crimson contrasting with the immaculate white. The first Elf cursed in a foreign tongue, stepping in with a side slash as the other guards began moving in.
Lautrec pushed into the Elf's swing, shoving his shoulder into the the swordsman's arm and disrupting his swing before delivering a vicious headbutt, finishing with kicking the dazed Elf away before ramming his blade through the ceremonial armor, impaling the Elf and ending its life. With a sneer he tossed the Elf off of his blade; the frail creatures couldn't hope to stand up to the strength and skill of a Galen Man, the fools.
An arrow struck him in the shoulder, rebounding off of the armor but sending a jolt of pain through his arm. He turned, holding his zweihander in one hand as he manipulated another throwing dagger in the other, whipping the envenomed blade at a charging halberdier and striking true, the dagger embedding itself in the Elf's eye and dropping the wretch. Lautrec swiped out at another guard, bringing the full weight of his sword in a deadly side slash that barely missed, the Elf managing to bring up his heavy shield in time to deflect the blow, but not before being blown back into a pillar from the sheer force. Lautrec didn't give him time to recover, moving in with quick steps and deep breaths as he switched up his grip, bashing the Elf's shield aside with a thunderblow before striking three more times, a trio of heavy pommel strikes that sent the Elf sprawling to the ground, either dead or unconscious. Four left then, and the mages.
The thought sprang to mind as a raging barrage of fireballs shot across the shrine, the pair of mages finishing their spell. Lautrec cursed, dashing across the open hall before as the boiling comets blasted apart the stones at his feet. He dove for the cover of the pillars, striking the ground with his shoulder as he came to a rolling stop, taking a knee as he patted out the scattered flames on his leather. Damned sorcerors.
He took a moment to throw another firebottle down the guards' hallway, relighting the flames that trapped the reinforcments in. It seemed he had gotten lucky, and they had no option but to wait for the flames to die out; so all that was left was for him to finish off the surviving guards inside then destroy the statue.
Lautrec took out a smokebomb, lighting the device and hurling it towards the statue to blind the archers and mages as he took off towards the last defenders. The mages deftly blew the smoke away with superheated bursts of flames, but by then he had already closed the gap, clashing swords with the final pair of walls that defended the ranged guardians. Lautrec aimed low in a sweeping blow, striking at the legs of the pair of lancers, knocking them off-balance before continuing the rotation, adding centripetal force to his blow as he struck once more, cleaving through both of the ceremonial guards with a brutal blow, the bodies falling apart as they fell to the floor. He hurled another knife at an archer, this one missing its mark as it clanged off of his armor but causing the Elf to take a step back. Lautrec pressed forward, shoulder first as a stream of fire roared at him. His shield deflected a majority of the flame, allowing Lautrec to come within range as he swung down, bisecting the first of the robed mages before following up with a second strike, cutting down the other mage, gouging out part of his jaw and throat. The Elf fell to the ground, sickening gasps and moans pouring out as he died.
More arrows fell upon Lautrec, all blocked by his thick armor, and he struck out with yet another dagger, this one burying itself in the arm of an archer, the poison quickly taking effect as it paralyzed the limbs before starting to work on the lungs and heart, leaving only one archer left. Lautrec quickly disposed of the Elf, placing his sword back onto his back as he glanced over at the statue. He took out three of his four thunderbombs, satisfied that many would be enough to destroy the guardian seal, and lit the ready-fuses with a quick strike, tossing them at the base of the statue as he dashed for the door. The trio of explosions was met with a massive rumbling akin to an earthquake, the entire shrine shuddering as sculptures and blocks of marble rained down on the bodies. Lautrec sprinted out, his breaths getting heavy but not exhausted. He spared a moment to glance back as the shrine collapsed before turning back to the darkened streets of Haiel, heading for his supplies and steed.
He'd just started the war. It didn't bother him; if it served his ambition he would eradicate the very name of the Elves from the world. This was his first step towards true greatness.
25th Nov 11, 8:39 PM
OOC: There were two other part to this post, but my battery died so i lost most of it. I'll try to update it when i rewrite it.
(In the Emerald Mountains)
The giant Lauran gave a low growl, his breathing heavy as Aesri worked her healing magic. Suddenly the man’s eyes sprung open and the growl became an angry roar as his feline eyes narrowed angrily. In an instant his clawed-hand shot out, grasping the startled siren by the neck.
“Who are you?” He roared loudly as he bared his fangs menacingly. “Imperials?”
26th Nov 11, 9:16 PM
Sitting in one of the Sinopa village houses, Faiel glanced at the other members of their group. The two human men stood next to each other with Tia seated nearby. Faiel was across from the other three, her eyes unusually cold as she closed the letter she had just read them.
“The Empire is on the move.” The Lauran growled angrily. “And in a single strike they have crippled the elven royal army. The elves may yet be able to hold out. After all, they certainly hold the advantage while within their mountains. However…”
The ambassador glanced down at the scroll and shook her head sadly.
“Jan has already fallen, and the loss of Rakshin and Tashan means that the elves will need to regroup. These are serious losses, and even the mountains cannot provide them eternal protection. At least not against numbers as vast as the Empire.”
"The passes will allow them to keep the Empire's numbers from reaching their true potential" Iles replied, a stern look fixed to his face "Though they still can't hold forever."
"Once again, human problems become our problems," Tia stated dryly, "Let the bastards have the mountains. They will not breach the Shadowed Forest. The elves have lived here before and can again if they must. Those who survive the forest are deemed worthy of its protection."
Veough continued to remain impassive despite the news and simply chose to stay silent.
"I wish I could have your faith in the forest Tia." The ambassador replied. "However, I do not. It might be that the Empire will be content with taking the elves land. Though I see it as far more likely that they will not. I would never say that all humans are alike, but I have yet to find a human nation that would not expand it's borders if given the opportunity. No I fear they will come here too Tia, and the forests will burn beneath their armies' boots."
"Then perhaps my initial assessment of humans was correct," Tia said coldly, "Given this new threat my goals of allying our kind would mostly be hindered by human involvement. I am already attempting the impossible; Deren's involvement will only complicate things further. I am afraid I will have to take my leave. You have your mission and I have mine."
“It has been suggested that I return to the Isle.” Faiel confirmed as she turned to the human. “However, I have no intention of doing so. I will not be able to complete my initial mission. But I do plan to help however I can.”
“If you wish to not accompany me Tia, I certainly understand.” Faiel continued, giving the Lauran a sad smile. “While I do not consider Deren a human nation, I know that you do not trust humans, and I would not expect that to change over night. However, please realize that the Lauran will not be able to fight this enemy alone.”
"My views are not uncommon amongst our kind," Tia noted, pushing her fingers together, "And the Sinopa...are not well known to other tribes as well. Some tribes may be more difficult due to my presence...but protecting our homeland against this new threat must come first. If they refuse to listen due to me then they were already blind and without hope. The great River Mother and Earth Father will take them."
Veough glanced towards Faiel as he interrupted the conversation. "While i understand the relevance of this information for Tia, why tell this to a ship captain and a hired mercenary?" The armored giant mused with a tip of his head towards Iles and himself respectively.
"Pilot, though now de facto captain" Iles corrected Veo "I must know so that I can see about getting us something to return home in or, as now known, carry out our mission all the faster. As for you, it would be so that you can get the jest of what we may go up against sooner."
"Details are hardly vital to the fulfillment of either of our jobs" Veough shrugged. "This discussion is more suitable for the politicians and generals"
“The reason I am giving you both this information…” the ambassador answered slowly. “…is because the mission for which you both were first hired has changed. While I will be sending word to other Lauran tribes about the war and request their assistance, my new destination is the elven fort and city of Kailem. The elves need to know that they are not alone in this battle. If I can reach the fort in time, I may be able to assist them in the defense. Kailem is on the edge of the Shadowed forest, and should it fall it will give the Empire a strong foothold should they choose to launch a campaign against us as well.”
The ambassador paused, and turned to look Veough straight in the eye.
“I do not feel it proper to hold you or our pilot to the deal that was made without giving you both the option to leave should you so choose. I will personally write a letter to the King and Queen requesting that you receive the payment you were promised, even if you decide that we must part ways now. After all, the Empire does not forgive, and if you accompany me you WILL be deemed enemies of Galen.”
Iles looked down for a brief bit before looking back up at Faiel "I have never been friends with Galen, especially since they have promoted piracy in the past. Lost many friends to such riff raff. If I am not already an enemy to the Empire, may I be now."
Veough crossed his arms over one another as he brooded over his choices. "You know i don't care much for his war Faiel, my choice here is obvious"
27th Nov 11, 8:14 AM
Yael responded instantly, swinging her great blade and holding it against the Lauran's neck. With off-hand she drew one of her short-swords, letting the blade take flight and hover just above his heart. "We are no imperials. We risked our lives to save your life, and she has treated your wounds. If you are so depraved as to attack your saviour, I will cut you down where you stand."
4th Dec 11, 12:53 PM
Aesri squirmed about at the sudden grip from the Lauran, taken abit by surprise by the reaction. Though even her movements weren't enough to break away from the giants strong grip the Siren continued to try. Making several gasping sounds as she struggled to even breath, using one hand to beat on the giants trunk of an arm to little effect.
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