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Dragons of Patria Sole: Duke In Pruss IC

  1. #1
    Wandering Swordsman Lestaki's Avatar
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    Dragons of Patria Sole: Duke In Pruss IC

    Drakkenheim, Berlain
    The dour servants acting on the Duke’s orders once again roused the Princeguard from their beds at an ungodly hour. Drakkenheim was high and cold, with lofty stone walls that isolated it utterly from the sleepy city beneath. The Throne’s mound lay behind the keep and cast the whole building into shadow at this time of morning. For now, it seemed, Oberhoheit was sleeping.

    Prince Frederik ate a sparse breakfast. He looked tired and low spirited, perhaps as a result of reading in his room until the small hours of the morning. For the most part, he spent his time talking to his best friend, Hans Berend Von Katte. Normally, the bright and genial Hans would seek to bring his fellow members of the Princeguard into the conversation, but today they sat apart from the rest and talked in low voices.

    The meal was interrupted by the arrival of Drakkenheim’s master of arms, Konrad Bayer. Though of common stock, he’d earned a ferocious reputation among the Princeguard for his brutal sparring. Only Viktor had the vigor to keep up with the old soldier in a fight. “It’s time, your highness,” Konrad said flatly.

    Frederik avoided the old man’s gaze. “I am not well,” he muttered.

    “When you are Duke, you will fight battles when you are not well,” Konrad said.

    When all protests proved futile, the Prince nodded his assent.

    “We’ll be there shortly, Konrad,” Hans said. He waited for the old soldier to leave, then stood up and rapped the table with his knuckles. Once he had everyone’s attention, he spoke again. “At ten o’clock tonight the Princeguard will gather in the library to discuss a matter of the greatest importance. That means all of you. No wandering off on nocturnal adventures.” Hans glanced sidelong at Maximillian and Myska.

    “This is in my name. Please come,” Prince Frederik said.

    “And this is to remain between us. Don’t mention it to outsiders,” Hans said. He picked up his greatsword and slung it over his shoulders. “When you’re ready, your highness.”

    The Prince and those of his companions who chose to accompany him changed into padded doublets and trooped out to the training grounds.

    Konrad picked up a blunted sword and stood casually at the far side of the circle chalked on stony ground. “In your own time, your highness.”

    The thin air stirred as the few officers brave or stupid enough to spar at this time of morning stood to attention and saluted. The Duke Frederick Wilhelm I had come to the edge of the circle to watch. Though he was short for a Rider at a mere 6’10”, his gaze was intense and battered down anyone foolish enough to make eye contact with him. He folded his arms and watched in silence as Prince Frederik bowed his head.

    The Duke was accompanied by two of his most trusted advisors, the clever Field Marshal Grumbkow and the severe Lord Bishop Sigmund Pankraz Minden. The Field Marshal was a gifted member of the lower nobility who became indispensable to the Duke despite not coming from a Rider family. The Lord Bishop, by contrast, was a towering and ferocious Rider of the old school who approached preaching and military drill with the same unbending will.

    Seeing no alternative, Prince Frederik picked up a blunted sword and stepped into the chalk circle. He glanced back at his father one last time then closed his eyes.

    (Compel: Softhearted. Frederik is resigned to defeat and simply wishes to get this whole thing over with as quickly as possible rather than attempting earnestly to defend himself. Frederik gains a Fate Point.)

    (Both parties roll initiative- Notice + a dice roll- to determine turn order in a physical conflict. The Prince goes on 2. Konrad goes on 0.)


    Prince Frederik’s eyes snapped open and he launched a clumsy head-on charge. Apparently the suddenness of his assault left the veteran flat-footed and he closed to strike the first blow.

    (Fight to attack vs Fight to defend. The Prince rolls 2 in total. Konrad rolls 7 in total (!). Konrad succeeds with style on his defence and gains a Boost: Impeccable Timing.)

    Konrad’s eyes narrowed as the Prince stepped in, then he slid sideways and parried the thrust at the last possible moment. Even trained observers were caught off-guard by his ability to check Frederik’s thrust with no margin of error whatsoever. Frederik’s stance crumbled and Konrad moved assertively to counter-attack.

    (Konrad rolls 4 and chooses not to use his Boost. Frederik elects not to defend and takes 4 shifts of damage. By taking a -2 Consequence, he reduces this damage to 2, and takes the remainder as Physical Stress. -2 Consequence: Bruised Ribs)

    Konrad’s riposte smashed hard into Frederik’s ribs with a tremendous crack. His eyes widened slightly and he looked chastened by the fact he struck as hard as he did. Though Frederik was off-balance and would likely have been hit regardless, it is clear to educated observers that he didn’t even attempt to parry the blow.

    Frederik dropped his sword and doubled over, clutching his ribs in pain. Hans sprinted to his side, worry painted clearly on his open face.

    Konrad coughed as he helped the prince stand up again. “My apologies, your highness. I followed through with too much-”

    His apology was cut off as the Duke stormed into the circle. “That was a disgraceful display!” he roared. He pushed Hans out of the way with one hand, nearly knocking the young man over in the process, and lifted Frederik off his feet. “A man would be able to return a simple strike like that, but you didn’t even try, you snivelling, misbegotten whelp!”

    Frederik hung his head and offered no defence. He appeared resigned to the abuse, just as he was to a swift defeat at Konrad’s hands.

    Frederik’s silence only appeared to infuriate the Duke further. “Are you deaf or just dumb? I’m talking to you, boy! Every day you disgrace me with your mincing, effeminate foppery, and yet I must believe you are my son? If I didn’t have a modicum of faith in your mother, I’d think you another man’s bastard rather than despairing of my own flesh and blood!” His tirade intensified moment by moment as he continued to denounce his son.

    Konrad had no standing to contradict the Duke and merely stood to attention and stared into space. Grumbkow and Minden watched with utter indifference. The Princeguard exchanged glances. Perhaps someone should say something.

    Or perhaps the Prince was right. It might be better to just let it happen.

    The Hall, Drakkenheim
    Meanwhile, those members of the Princeguard who have remained behind finished a more leisurely breakfast. Some did so out of indifference, while others did so out of consideration for the Prince, who disliked having large numbers of people watch him attempt to do something he was quite bad at. Chief among them is Maximillian Betancourt, who was not adverse to swordplay in theory but had no intention of risking his good looks against a brutal commoner like Konrad.

    The hall was brightened by the abrupt arrival of Princess Friederike Sophia Wilhelmine, the Prince’s older sister, along with a few of her friends. The Princeguard knew her well as she doted on her younger brother and commonly took his side against their stern father. Wilhelmine’s eyes swept the room before settling on Maximillian. “Good morning, Betancourt. I hope you’re well,” she said.

    Maximillian flashed her a winning smile. Before he could reply, however, she thrust a rose with a letter tied to it on him. It was commonplace for the nobility to request the services of a Laksaeka Cultist by such a mechanism, though normally they would use a little more discretion. Maximillian sat back and carefully opened the letter.

    I require your assistance on a matter of the heart. Please visit me in the library as soon as possible. Take care that none marks your passage.

    -Duchess Sophia Theresa

    Not a request from the beautiful young princess, then, but no less intriguing for that. In the meantime, some of the most eligible ladies in Berlain were in attendance. So much to do, and so little time.
    Last edited by Lestaki; 23rd Feb 16 at 7:16 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by n0z
    Generally I find posts can be short, long, super long, or Andkat long. I tend to read the first three categories.

  2. #2
    Drakkenheim, Berlain
    It wasn't the knocking itself that reminded the poor, half-sleeping girl that she wasn't at home anymore; rather, it was the precisely measured, even sharpness – just so, a clear half-second between every impact, with that infuriating mechanical precision everybody born and raised in Pruss seemed capable of – of the dull rapping against the reinforced wooden frame that told her that yes, in fact, she was in Drakkenheim, and things were expected of her.

    Not that she knew exactly what the no-doubt grim-faced servant outside her door wanted, of course, but the young girl had long ago decided that anything that required her to be up at this infernal time of "day" must quite manifestly be of Rilath, and therefore her sacred duty to avoid at any cost.

    She groaned and rolled over, very sorely tempted to employ her half-dozen pillows as a buffer against the dour monster at her door. Perhaps he'll think someone assassinated me. I can probably sleep for another hour if he runs off to tell the duke that Aryeh's great-great-great-granddaughter was murdered in his very halls.

    The knocking continued unabated.

    "Yes! Fine! Give me a minute, for Jalren's sake!" Cassandra shouted in the general direction of the door while fumbling for her robes. Sighing and running a hand through her errant shock of snowy hair, she fumbled her way across her shadowed chambers towards the door.

    Pausing to wait until just the right moment, she swung the door open in a great whirling motion in the hope that she'd dislodge her uninvited guest.

    The surprisingly fresh-faced servant, momentarily unbalanced, caught himself with a half-step forward and found himself looking down at a very unhappy-looking scion of the Ascaes Erue.

    "Um..." The boy (he looks about as young as I am, Cassie noted to herself, bemused) stammered out, entirely unsure how to proceed when confronted by a pair of narrowed, glaring crimson eyes.

    "Yes? Can I help you?"

    "It... it's morning, my lady."
    "No." Cassandra replied, with a tone very suggestive of finality.
    "N-no?"

    Taking advantage of the boy's disoriented state, Cassie snapped out a hand, seized the boy by the wrist and dragged him a few steps into her chambers in the direction of the window, at which she jabbed an unhappy finger.

    "Look out there." She demanded, pointing outside, at the entirely shadow-shrouded world that was Drakkenheim at this hour of the "day". "Look out there, and tell me what you see."

    "That... that is the mound of Oberhoheit, my lady."
    "No!" Cassie snapped in response, sweeping her hands about to encapsulate the entirety of the view of outside before continuing, "That, what you see there, is not morning! That is darkness! Shadow! Night time! A world bereft of Jalren's light!"

    The boy took a fearful step back, desperately desiring freedom from this evidently deranged member of the imperial line. Of course, one could never say that a member of the imperial line was insane... such was the problem he was confronted with, really.

    Cassie finally sighed, her willowy frame quite drained of what little energy it possessed at this hour.
    "... oh, fine." She said at last, grumbling to herself. She allowed herself the luxury of a slight pout as she turned back to regard the poor servant boy once again. "What do you want?"

    "The, ah... that is to say, um, the Duke..."
    "He wants me to take my leisurely time waking up, fetch myself a glass of wine from the cellar, and enjoy my breakfast in my chambers?" Cassie smiled sweetly up at him.
    "Ah... no, my lady."
    "Yes, I suppose that would be rather unlike him, wouldn't it? What is it, then?"
    "He requests your presence – that is, all the Princeguard, to attend the Prince on the training grounds."
    "Oh." Cassie's expression turned to a slight frown. "I see."

    The entirely flummoxed servant boy was quiet, evidently unwilling to say or do anything that might send this mad girl off on another mad spiel.

    Cassie sighed again. She waved a hand in a shooing gesture at the servant boy.
    "I'll be along as soon as I can, okay?"

    The boy gave Cassandra an awkwardly swift bow and then, glad of her permission to depart, beat a hasty retreat as fast as his legs would carry him in any direction that would not lead him into further proximity with this obviously unhinged member of Aryeh's far-flung brood...

    Training Grounds, Drakkenheim

    Frederik’s silence only appeared to infuriate the Duke further. “Are you deaf or just dumb? I’m talking to you, boy! Every day you disgrace me with your mincing, effeminate foppery, and yet I must believe you are my son? If I didn’t have a modicum of faith in your mother, I’d think you another man’s bastard rather than despairing of my own flesh and blood!” His tirade intensified moment by moment as he continued to denounce his son.

    Cassie winced. Despairing of her incessant compassionate streak (and that slow, sinking feeling in her stomach she got whenever she was about to do something very foolish), she took a step forward from her position in the wings the moment the Duke took a pause for breath in his (rather long by this point) stream of unpleasant invectives...

    "Sir? If I may?"

    The duke turned to regard her with a look of mild surprise. Of course, "mild surprise" in one possessed of such lofty station can very rapidly turn into "great displeasure" and "murderous intent", so his vaguely disarmed visage brought Cassandra very little comfort, but...

    "That was a rather telling blow our Prince sustained. And, ah..." Cassie grimaced, forging bravely onwards as delicately as she could, "if I might bring to your attention the tale of the great Rider El-Hashem and his wondrous armour..." She coughed lightly to one side, sensing the Duke's growing displeasure with her present line of argument, then kept going.

    "... well, such vicious blows to the chest, as my ancestor the great Prince Laurus proved quite aptly, can result in rather, um... unpleasant complications a little down the line. Perhaps it would be best if the Prince were to see the physicians, perhaps the court mage, before he resumes his training?"

    The Duke returned his gaze to his son – who was, naturally, growing quite uncomfortable being held up by the endless reserves of a Rider's strength, but was otherwise very much not bleeding to death from his wounds.

    "Yes, well," Cassandra made a 'hmm' sound and avoided meeting the duke's eyes for more than a second or two. "El-Hashem also seemed quite healthy after the first two blows. Then his already battered ribs all gave way at once to nought but a glancing impact – little more than a feather-fall to the floor, really, no further off the ground than our Prince is right now – and then there wasn't very much that anybody could do."

  3. #3
    Member Deunan's Avatar
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    Drakkenheim, Berlain

    Myska had heard the servant approach even before he arrived at her door. The maid didn't know how to walk, one stomping step after another. In truth, the servant was coming fairly late. Dawn had already broken and Myska was awake, probably even before the servant herself. She was also already dressed and waiting for the morning wake and the freedom that came with it, the girl dared not to be seen outside of her room beforehand...her room, it still amazed her to no end.

    "M'lady?" The servant knocked on her door.

    "Open the door, it's alright." What followed was a momentary silence. The servant on the other side expected a drowsy noble, someone she would have to rouse. She slowly opened the door and the two women met their eyes. Both seemed wary of the other, wide, alert, wondering what would follow next. The servant couldn't help but notice a dagger. Hidden but just about visible, an unsaid threat. The fact it was just for show, a deception Myska put forward to the world was a different matter entirely.

    The servant started slowly "M'lady, I did not expect you to be up already. The riders, they are expected in the hall." "Oh, I'll be down then. Thanks." Myska said brusquely still unsure how to talk with any of the servants and made way down below.
    "M'lady, sorry to intrude, but your hair. The way it's put up is unusual, almost.." Myska interrupted her. "I've never been good with a comb." She shook her head and wondered if just how much she was still missing.
    "M'lady, perhaps I could help you then perhaps. It won't take long. I'm certain of it." The servant girl found at least some resolve. Whoever this noblewoman was, she looked lost. Like a mouse someone dug out of it's winter nest. Her eyes, the way they kept darting around were unsettling, but this was Drakkenheim, some strangeness was to be expected. Still she would have to ask the other servants about this one. She led the other woman to a chair and began to fold her hair in the proper fashion. Neverthless it was impossible not to notice how tense the noblewoman was.

    Later at the Training Grounds, Drakkenheim - after the spar

    Myska winced when she saw Konrad hit the prince across the ribs. It was a strike that was meant to be felt. Big, strong and brutal. Right across the ribs. She doubted the prince would be able to sleep on them for a fortnight at least. The man Konrad was a brute. One, who would probably feel utterly welcome on the street. She'd bet whatever meager possessions she had, that he probably visited a whorehouse regularly. And he probably did his best to make the prostitutes fear him. Nobles could do that. He looked like someone who enjoyed inflicting pain.

    Still it was odd to see the prince let himself be so soundly beaten. Even at first glance he was strong. He's heart just didn't seem to be into it. He was like one of the scholars that sometimes made it to the poorer districts of the city. Brash, strong and tall. At least until the locals cornered them in a dark alley. Then they just crumpled with barely a hit. Afraid of fighting.

    Somewhere during the duke's tirade, her mind wandered for a bit. She noticed Cassandra confronting the duke, it was a spiel obviously, a way to protect the prince, but it did make the man stop his tirade.

    Myska was afraid as well. But she had learned how to take a beating. It was a careful line to walk. Falter too quickly and you'd anger the beater even more. Be too defiant, refuse to show weakness and you'd likely end up dead. No, taking a beating was an art. You had to cry and ask for mercy only after you were really hurt, after you knew you could barely sleep from the pain. But that wasn't how a prince was supposed to fight. He should have stood tall and proud. A shining idol a symbol and made Konrad feel his wrath. It was maddening that he didn't and utterly confusing.

    The prince clearly had the strength to carry this out. And when he didn't, he ought to have fought dirty. This was a fight of equals, not one where the one doing the beating held all the cards. And even when he didn't have the necessary skill or strength. "He should just have gone dirty. Kick sand into Konrad's face."

    With that her eyes went wide. She had accidentally said those words out loud. Anyone could have heard them. She looked around nervously and tried to melt into the background.

  4. #4
    Forum Farseer Akranadas's Avatar
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    The Hall, Drakkenheim

    Maximilian re-read the note once more as he leaned back into his chair while holding the long stemmed rose to his nose.

    "I require your assistance on a matter of the heart. Please visit me in the library as soon as possible. Take care that none marks your passage."

    -Duchess Sophia Theresa


    He had only seen Duchess Theresa a handful of times, true she was of a different kind of beauty, older to be sure but age hadn't dulled her subtle beauty; It was a good way to see how the Princess herself would age once she reached her mothers age. It was intriguing why the Duchess of all people would request an audience with a mere Princeguard, especially under such secretive circumstances, still Maximilian wasn't once to decline an audience with royalty.

    Maximilian reached over the table to grab a small loaf of bread, however he managed to knock over his cup of wine causing a small amount to splash upon his uniform. "Blast it" he shouted, as he grabbed a cloth and began to dab the split wine from his clothing. "If I don't get this to the laundry maids straight away it'll be ruined" He shot up from his seat and made his way to the exit of the hall, but not before turning around and say "And I see you laughing Pieri" as he left.

    The castle was massive, but it was still easy enough to make your way around it if you knew how castles were laid out. As he made his way to the castle, he passed all number of guards and servants; every time one of them neared him, Maximilian would appear to be frantically trying to get the wine out of his clothing. It was true, that Maximilian hated dirty clothing, dirty places and dirty in general, but he could play on it for the people watching, adding to the rumour that he was some sort of unnatural neat freak. Soon enough he found the Library and began to walk through the isles looking for the Duchess.

  5. Gamers Lounge Senior Member Boardwars Senior Member  #5
    FREEZE! Mokino's Avatar
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    Valentin Estate - Six months ago


    The faded walls of the once prestigious foyer glowed in the starlight from the cracked dome above, a pale memory of glory days long passed. Ancient portraits lined the entryway, most recently shredded and torn. Some had been turned to ash via magic. She'd always added some extra flourish to her work...

    A brief scream echoed through the ancient halls, cut short as the blade finished its duty. The man slumped lifelessly in her arms, caught in the last moment before he'd have struck the floor. The hooded woman leaned in close, lightly kissing his forehead. For just a moment, his eyes met hers.


    "Rot in hell, you bastard," she muttered, kicking him aside and alighting the corpse.


    The figure found a seat at the foot of the staircase, pulling her hood back to reveal a mane of fiery red hair. With what seemed like an amused grin, she watched the pyre.

    "Are you finished, my Lady?" a second dark armored woman arrived from the upper levels, her steps leaving no sound even in the empty hall.


    "It is done, Felicia. Mother has been avenged." Lady Pieri Valentin stated with an amused sigh, "How is Elma?"

    "Your sister seems shaken by this ordeal, but I believe she will understand in time."

    "You know, some of the staff actually surrendered when they saw my face..."

    "And?" Felicia sighed. The spymaster could guess what had happened.

    "Those who wished to leave have left," Pieri idly juggled her dagger, twirling it through the air, "But more than I expected have chosen to stay. I will have to find a way to reward their loyalty. And yours." Felicia's surprise was obvious. The knife slipped, cutting the Valentin hier's palm. She erupted into laughter, the first joyous sound the manor had likely heard in a very long time...



    Pieri's quarters - One hour before the gathering


    "Lady Pieri!" Felicia pounded on the bedroom door. There was no response, but that wasn't unusual; Lady Pieri could sleep through a clash between dragons or at least that's what the heir's retainer suspected. Still, it wouldn't do for Pieri to miss breakfast...

    The spymaster retrieved one of the many pins hidden within her dress, slipping it gently into the lock. The lock, only intended to allow privacy, surrendered quickly to her assault. The tinkling sound of glass bottles made Felicia sigh as she slowly opened door.

    Only to find that her master was already awake and in the middle of changing into her morning dress. Prieri glanced at the newcomer, face flush from drinking. A glance of pure annoyance. Pure disgust, mixed with pain. The retainer knew that look all too well. The Lord seemed to enjoy punishing the Lady's late night indulgences.

    She handed the bottle over, as usual. The strange concoction that the Lady Herself had invented to deal with such circumstances. As usual, the stench was utterly repugnant. Felicia did not dare to ask the contents.

    With a nod of thanks, Pieri slammed the door shut, reappearing moments later in her usual attire. She'd even gone to some slight effort to tie up the mess of fiery hair with ribbons, Felicia noted approvingly. The Lady was even forcing a smile, the only clue of last night's...activity being a slight twitch in her eye.



    The Training Grounds

    Pieri watched from the back of the ground as the prince fell, though she noticeably winced when the Duke spoke. Her hand idly clutched at one of the many daggers hidden within her dress. She knew that humiliation all too well...

    She chuckled at Myska's words, loosening her grip on the blade, "Fighting dirty, huh?" Pieri's eyes twinkled with mischief, "That's just not how things are done in the court. Dirty fightin's best left to the assassins and other scum of the Earth."

  6. Tabletop Senior Member  #6
    Fluffy Necromancer Andkat's Avatar
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    Training Grounds

    Clad in but homely cotton and sober silver, Farrukshiyar made a humble approach before the Duke, bowing low to the stern eminence before him as he commenced his elocution. "My esteemed Lord, Master of Germania by Divine Decree, Punisher of the accursed Sclaevs and craven Austren, oh Iron-Willed and mighty Duke of Dukes..." he continued with his usual preamble. "I implore thee, calm thy stern heart, for as you can see" Farrukshiyar swivels grand-eloquently to the battered Prince Frederick "this callow youth, this unbloomt flower of Germanic grandeur, struggles dearly impositions alien to his upbringing!"

    "For you see, my lord, reared here amidst the soft indulgences of grand palaces, reposed sunlit in feather beds, every whim indulged by softhearted maidens" Farrukshiyar exclaims as he gestures to the stark austerity of the benighted gray fortress in which he has most wretchedly found himself "how can one repudiate our poor Prince for being stranger to the strains and hardships of existence!"

    "Great duke" Farrukshiyar continues. "I beg thee, I plead thee, condemn not this youth for his innocence! Let him first taste life remote from these gilded halls..." Farrukshiyar pauses bemusedly, eyes scanning insistently for gold filigree, gilt inscriptions, really anything aesthetically pleasing at all, before continuing "...and let him take to the road! For beyond this sheltered and amply blessed realm you know as Germania lie travails uncounted and perils innumerable, each fit as crucible for the courage and virility of so noble a young man! Let him first see the world with his own eyes, so that the rude revelation of the cruelties in store should he lapse in his lordly vigilance serve as stimulus to his undertaking the hardships you justly see fit for one of his elevated and praised station!"

    SOMEONE GET ME OUT OF THIS PIT OF DISTILLED TEDIUM

    "Naturally, I, Farrukshiyar, Rightful Heir to the Peacock Throne of Fabled Pars, would be more than pleased to offer you humbly my services, for though I claim princely right to a realm foreign in faith and character, I would share in the spirit of the magnanimity towards which all exalted lineages ought to indulge one another, the hard lessons of mine own peregrinations, and offer guidance to this youth as he strikes out to see with his own eyes that which you would carve into his soul with mere words alone! Although it pains me greatly to relent from my rightful duties to my people, I would dedicate myself wholly to the education of this youth, with whose joyous amity Ahura Mazda has seen fit to bless me!"

    SORS, PARI, TOLEDO, EVEN CURSED MUSCOVY WOULD BE BETTER THAN HERE

    Farrukshiyar punctuates his speech with another bow, exaggeratedly sharp and sober in some distorted, farcical reflection of the Duke's vaunted military regime.


    Roll: Deceive (+2)

  7. #7
    Training Grounds

    Viktor realised what the Prince was doing before Konrad’s blade struck home. And if he could notice it, then the Duke most certainly would have. He sighed inwardly. Didn't Prince Frederick realise that this would only further ignite his father's temper? What was the point of it? Predictably, the Duke started to list the countless ways his son had failed to live up to his expectations, even going so far as calling his heritage into question.

    "Sir? If I may?"

    They all turned to look at the young woman who interrupted the Duke's tirade. To his surprise Cassandra rushed to the Prince's aid. He'd never seen her muster the courage speak up against Duke Hohenheim himself before. Viktor smiled to himself and crossed his arms. A deer staring down a drake? If anything, this should be interesting to watch. Myska even suggested the Prince should have fought dirty.

    But his amusement turned to despair once he noticed the Prince of Pars making his way towards the group. Viktor had already spent far too much time listening to the self absorbed ponce witter on about stuff he didn't care about, and now the fool was planning to talk the Duke down? He only hoped Farrukshiyar wasn't about to waste everyone's time. Again.

    "My esteemed Lord, Master of Germania by Divine Decree, Punisher of the accursed Sclaevs and craven Austren, oh Iron-Willed and mighty Duke of Dukes..."


    With every other word of Farrukshiyar's overly long speech Viktor felt himself die a little more inside. He was wrong. Farruk wasn't planning on convincing the Duke to lay off. He was planning on boring him to death. Nevertheless the boy had a point even if it took him several weeks to get to. Frederick would be better off if he didn’t have to suffer under his father’s constant, suffocating attentions. Some fresh air would do the boy good. Unfortunately for Farruk, Viktor would rather die than agree with him. But with the remainder of the Princeguard defending the Prince, he realised it would reflect badly on him if he just stood and watched. He sauntered over to where Hans tended to the prince.


    - You will get in his good graces, one way or the other -


    Viktor crouched down next to the Prince and carefully put his fingers on the bruise. Frederick winced in pain, obviously making a great effort to make his injuries seem more severe than they were. Even though Viktor secretly agreed with the Duke, he knew that his place was to defend the Prince. He waited patiently for Farrukshiyar to finish before speaking up.


    “That was not the way yer supposed to do that, you know?”

    Viktor patted Frederick on the back before turning to the Duke and bowing.

    “My apologies Duke, the blame lies with me. Yesterday I shared some stories with the Prince of my time in the Eisenwald regiment. I even attempted to teach Frederick a little trick I picked up from the veterans. Obviously I did not do a very good job. Flesh over bone. Against a superior opponent who will undoubtedly kill you, sometimes it’s better to take the hit and retaliate than to let yerself be torn to pieces."

    As he spoke, Viktor slowy traced a finger across his chest. Even through the stiff leather he could feel the thick scar tissue ache under his touch. An old memory briefly flashed through his mind, but he pushed it aside and looked the Duke straight in the eye. "It requires a great deal of courage and an iron will to sacrifice yer own flesh and blood to bring the enemy down. But my Lord is undoubtedly well acquainted with such a resolve.”


    - I don’t care what you have to do. Understand? -


    He nodded to the Prince and grinned. “Of course, timing is incredibly important. Move in too early and the opponent can adjust their swing. Move in too late and you end up with a blade in yer gut. Risking yer own death, well...” Viktor bent over and picked up Frederick’s discarded blunted blade. “You would need the courage of a dragon to pull such a feat without proper practice. Thankfully, this was only a practice sword.”

    With practiced ease he wiped the grin off his face and lowered his head in supplication. “My sincerest apologies, Duke. This would not have happened had I not filled his head with foolish tales of bravery. Lady Cassandra is correct in her observations. I beg of you, please grant him some respite. And while he rests...


    The things we do for our family...


    "...Farrukshiyar and I would be happy to show you how it’s done.”



    [Deceive]: State that the lie "Teaching Frederick yesterday" is truth
    Compel: [A Poisoned Heart] Involve Farrukshiyar and possibly get to beat him up in mock combat
    Preload Fate invoking [A Poisoned Heart] if it would change failure to success (+2 on skill roll)
    Last edited by Kronoch; 24th Feb 16 at 8:00 AM. Reason: Words

  8. #8
    Wandering Swordsman Lestaki's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    The Courtyard, Drakkenheim
    The Duke folded his arms and listened with mounting impatience while the Ascaes girl rambled about ancient warriors he’d never heard of. Prince Frederik smiled at the apt reference, which only troubled the Duke further. But he was still momentarily distracted. “Is any of that true?” he asked rhetorically.

    “It is indeed, your majesty,” Grumbkow said. “She’s referring to the Third Battle of Benaisalem, when Prince Laurus-” He broke off as the Duke stared at him and fell silent.

    “I’m aware enough of the perils of blunt impacts, but the problem at hand here is his ineptitude and spinelessness,” the Duke said to Cassandra. But her red eyes pricked at him and he took a deep breath.

    His irritation was roused again by chatter from the gallery, but Lord Bishop Sigmund strode forwards on his immensely long legs to pre-empt his master’s rebuke. He looked down imperiously at Myska and Pieri. “Don’t you dare chatter like chambermaids in the Duke’s presence. It’s a great kindness of him merely to let you two into this castle, so don’t impose any further on his patience,” he snapped.

    “If they think sand would make the difference against me, they are welcome to try, my lord,” Konrad said. He stared ahead with a blank expression, but there was a trace of humour in his words.

    Sigmund snorted. “No one asked for your opinion.”

    The Duke turned his back on this sideshow, content that his companion had taken matters well in hand. Prince Farrukshiyah approached him with his characteristic eloquence and implored the Duke to consider dispatching his wretched son and more importantly Farrukshiyah himself anywhere but Drakkenheim.

    (Deceive vs Notice- can Farrukshiyah disguise his true intentions? His result is 1, the Duke’s result is -1. Success!)

    The Duke nodded along with Farrukshiyah’s speech and clapped the man on the shoulder when he made his offer to teach Prince Frederik the harshness and wonder of the journey. “Well said, my good man, well said. I’ve been wondering about such a thing in my idle hours, but perhaps there’s truth in your words. I will think on this matter.”

    “I rather doubt it,” Grumbkow muttered. He glared at Farrukshiyah, but now that the Duke has entertained the idea, no one dared contradict it openly.

    Prince Frederik blinked suddenly with the air of a prisoner who has just spotted an unexpected chink of light.

    “Of course, a foreign court just wouldn’t do. It would have to somewhere suitably austere,” the Duke muttered to himself. “Perhaps Sibir or Apamea would suffice. Or Jalren’s Temple in Artaxandria.”

    Frederik blanched.

    Seeing the Duke had relaxed a little and was distracted, Viktor decided to make his move. Having brushed down the Prince, he turned to the Duke and offered a more valiant explanation for Frederik’s poor showing.

    (Deceive vs Notice- can Viktor convince the Duke of his words? His result is -2, the Duke’s result is -1. He spends a Fate Point and invokes ‘A Poisoned Heart’ for a final result of 0. Success!)

    At first, the Duke looked sceptical at this unlikely story, but Viktor’s obvious passion and his particular eagerness to demonstrate the technique at hand with Farrukshiyah’s help win the Duke over. Having previously been mollified by the efforts of the others, he nods in acceptance of the words. “It was still a poor display. But perhaps that is part of learning. You should have told me, Frederik,” the Duke said.

    Grumbkow sighed in resignation as the Prince stammered and deflected the question. “The children these days have no shame,” he said, closing one eye and staring through Viktor.

    “In any case, someone take the Prince to the court healer,” the Duke said. “I am a busy man, but I am intrigued to see this demonstration.”

    He turned expectantly to Farrukshiyah, who has abruptly been ‘volunteered’ by Viktor for the painful-sounding exercise.

    In the meantime, those who would rather extract themselves from the situation could do so honourably by accompanying the Prince back to the castle. Hans had already put an arm around the Prince’s shoulders to hold him up as they began the walk back.

    Drakkenheim, Library

    Maximillian carefully picked his way through the court library. Though it was once quite small and tediously theological, Prince Frederik and his tutors had augmented it with several thousand new volumes.

    Duchess Sophia Theresa smiled when she saw Maximillian. She was sitting at a desk close to the back of the library. The hazy rays of morning light poured through the arched window behind her. “I’m glad you’ve arrived so promptly. Don’t worry, there’s no risk of encountering my husband here,” she said. She smiled at her own joke.

    The Duchess is accompanied by one of her closest friends, Countess Gerlinde. The Countess is a little older than the Duchess and knew her when they were both girls in Hanofer. She nodded politely to Maximillian but said nothing more.

    “I need Laksaeka’s grace to restore two young loves that are being thwarted by dark intrigues,” the Duchess said. “The proposed double marriage between my children and those of my brother August is foundering on the rocks. I’m sure someone has poisoned my husband against the entire enterprise.”

    Maximillian knew the proposal well enough. By marrying Princess Wilhelmine and Prince Frederik to Prince Frank and Princess Amelia of Britannia, the Duchess hoped to shift Pruss into an alliance with Britannia’s Duke August George II. It’s pretty doubtful whether they could really be called love matches under Laksaeka’s domain, but Wilhelmine and Frederik did seem amenable to the idea. The Duke is far more doubtful of the wisdom of this course, however.

    “By means I won’t discuss here, I’ve seen my husband’s latest letter to my brother. It is the most obstinate, nasty, unreasonable, demanding letter I’ve ever seen, slathered in bile and invective perfectly calculated to ruin my children’s joy,” the Duchess said. “The hour grows late and I have no time for half measures. You must take back that letter from the imperial couriers before it is sent tonight and destroy it. That will buy us time to unpick just who is behind these dark intrigues.”

    Maximillian smirked. Though he listened politely as she took his hand and beseeched him to act now for the sake of her children’s future happiness, he knew well enough she was trying to drag him into a deadly court intrigue. But the rewards were proportionate to the risk, at least. If he succeeded, the Duchess would owe him and the Betancourt family a great deal. What to do?

    The Duchess smiled winningly at him as he watched her patiently. “I’ve heard the Princeguard includes some strong characters with… unusual skills. I assure you that if you work with your friends to accomplish this, you can do me and my son a great service. I would not forget such a thing.”

  9. #9
    Member Deunan's Avatar
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    The Training Grounds

    Myska grew even paler. It had not just been the lady Pieri that had heard her, the Lord Bishop had as well. She felt the urge to excuse herself, to try and claim she didn't mean to impede the princes' training. But realised that would have been a mistake. Every single one of these people was dangerous and most were high born. They didn't want her among themselves and they expected a certain amount of deffering. But at the same time she had to put a line somewhere. The Duke nor the Lord Bishop brought her here and she doubted they would decide to easily remove her. It was the dragon that did it. And while she sometimes felt the urge to curse at it and even though she wondered just when it would abandon her, standing up to herself was at least somewhat necessary.

    Myska took in a long slow breath and glowered at the Lord Bishop with a steady irreverent look. She wanted him to know that she wasn't just some mewling welp.

    [Deception - no bonus - attempt to give forth a sense of not actually being afraid.

    They're going to throw me out again. And I don't even know this city. Winter is coming and I haven't eve had the time to prepare.

    Once the exchanged happened, she followed the prince and the others inside. She didn't join the group, instead just shadowing it at a safe distance, even though the longer skirt made it somewhat harder to do so. One of the tutors that tried to teach her the very basics insisted she wear it, how it would be not proper to avoid doing so and she didn't wish to anger her teachers.Though she still didn't understand the appeal of books. Everything took ages. A page of densely packed text more than an hour. Sure, she knew that those that read a lot could do so faster, but there was no way they could do it that much faster. Not to mention how droll everything was. What use was a text of history or philosphy. Most of all when a dragon carried it all in it's head.

    She watched the group move further away and turned the other side towards the kitchens. There might be some scraps that no one would notice missing. Pieces of stale bread perhaps, maybe, if she got really lucky some cured piece of meat.

    Old habits die hard and those as ingrained as Myska's even harder. She'd been in the castle for weeks no. But she still built little caches of food. Things that could be kept for weeks. Stale bread might not be much of a meal, but it was a feast when you went hungry for a few days.

    Compel: Myska tries to secret some small scrap of nonperishable food from the kitchens to hide for later. Behaviour that is very odd for a member of the princeguard

  10. Gamers Lounge Senior Member Boardwars Senior Member  #10
    FREEZE! Mokino's Avatar
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    "It would be my honour to escort his highness," Pieri answered in an apathetic, yet cheerful tone. Walking beside the prince, she gave him a playful jab in the ribs, prompting a grimace from the heir. Hans shot her a angry look.

    Once they were out of sight of the training grounds, the assassin became her usual talkative self.
    "First, I apologize for that, but it's best to keep up appearances in front of the men," she stated apologetically,

    (Roll Lore: Healing, Pieri's result is 5, great success)

    "From thow you can still manage to walk upright, I think it's just bruised. You must be a lot more durable than you appear, no offense." She held up a hand, channeling a small amount of magic to cool the Prince's injury.

    Frederik nodded. "I know he's never serious with me. Konrad's very strong," he said.

    "You didn't do too badly, all things considered," Pieri shrugged idly, "Just gotta work on controlling the pain reaction a bit. Like this," she pulled back the sleeve of her robe, revealing an arm covered by scars. Nonchantly, she ran her dagger along the length, drawing blood, "You learn in time. Takes a lot of suffering too, but hey that's life for you."

    Frederik's eyes bugged as he stared at the scars, then he swiftly averted his gaze. "Is there really any merit in pain for pain's sake? You and my father alike make an idol of suffering, as if merely suffering enough will make me a man. But that's deeply irrational."

    "Haven't you been listening? The pain isn't the important part," she replied as she traced a finger along the cut, applying a finite amount of heat to seal the wound quickly, "The important part is learning how to hide it from your enemy or any other who may take advantage of you. To make it clear that torture will not work on you. That it's not a weakness you possess. People like Konrad are the type to exploit any weakness they perceive. What do you suppose the real trick to power is, then?"

    The prince's eyes light up for the first time. "Even a slave can force down their pain and stand on their pride. To refuse to show any weakness before those who oppress them. But though there may be a strength in that, a slave they shall remain.

    Power is the ability to change the world, to impose your will on others. At the last, it rests on violence. Even if I could hide my pain perfectly, I would be no match for Konrad. But we are not barbarians, and I have power over him by an accident of birth. Or what my father calls 'providence'."

    Frederik smiles faintly and pauses to take a breath. "There is no trick to power. Power is just time and place. One day I will have the power of life and death over this duchy, but if I met a blackguard with a knife in a dark alley, that man would have power over me. So power must be governed by reason and wisdom. You must understand where you are strong and where you are weak, and act accordingly. That judgement is the key to preserving and expanding power, but it's no trick. It's an arduous thing. Even my father toils daily to protect it, in his own way."

    "Well said your highness," Pieri clapped her hands approvingly and laughed, "Ever the philosopher as always. I just worry your games with Konrad may push him too far one day. You may need to...remove him before that occurs. I know you're not fond of such...dishonorable acts., but hey that's why you keep me around, right?"

    Frederick rolls Notice: he gets 0, Pieri gets -1. Frederick wins

    Prince Frederik stopped short and glowered at Pieri with what ferocity he can muster. The general impression created was that of an irked hatchling pouting at its mother. "If that's a joke, it is in poor taste, Pieri, and I find no humour in it."

    Hans jumped on the Prince and Pieri from behind and wrapped his long arms around their shoulders. "Enough gloom. You're here as the Prince's companion, Pieri, just like the rest of us. Friends. We have to love each other, since few people love us in this place."

    Frederik blushed and looked away, apparently thrown off by his friend's candor. "I suppose so, yes. We must stick together."


    Pieri slipped from Hans' grasp easily. "I am a Valentin," she said lightly, "Frederik is a dear friend, but my duty is to remove those who would threaten his position. Until I am a Rider, that is what my name requires of me regardless of any of my personal thoughts on the matter." She shrugged, "Just how it is."

    "I know of your family. But I won't permit it," Frederik said. "Though my situation is intolerable, there are better ways."

    "Just wait a little longer," Hans said.

    "Yeah, all in good time, I know," Pieri smiled softly, "In the meantime Fred, don't push yourself too hard for the next couple days and keep some ice on it. Lest someone sees you limping around and decides it's the perfect opportunity to put a knife to your throat. As for myself, I'm going to see if I can find something to drink. I've already had enough of politics for the day."

    OOC note: Pieri can be assumed to be returning to the Training Ground
    Last edited by Mokino; 25th Feb 16 at 4:33 AM.

  11. #11
    Training Grounds, Drakkenheim
    It was, Cassandra allowed, a suitably impressive portrait of Prussian tenacity and discipline; she just wished that Prussian tenacity and discipline didn't have to be so infernally grey. If she didn't know better, she would swear that she had accidentally slipped sideways into one of Rilath's twisted half-worlds – one specifically crafted for the sole purpose of driving her insane from lack of aesthetic stimulation.

    She tugged at her hood and angled her slender frame sideways to shield herself from a sudden blast of arctic wind, no doubt hurled her way by some cruel and fickle deity displeased by her likening the Prussian weather to the vicious schemes of the arch-enemy.

    "The eyes, they're wonderful," she muttered under her breath, "but the skin? Please, can I not just once wander outside in a stiff breeze without feeling like somebody's trying to stab me?" Cassie had learned early on in life that despite not technically being an albino, she did indeed share their rather delicate complexion – so every time it got a little cold out, she felt as if her skin were being prickled by a thousand tiny knives.

    And that was to say nothing of the sunlight... a particularly memorable weekend spent perfecting her impression of a white-haired lobster had ensured that the poor girl never ventured outside without something handy to drape over herself as a last refuge against the cruel and uncaring elements.

    A second blast of chill wind bracketing the willowy scion was the cosmos's sole response; evidently, it was not particularly impressed with her lamentations of ill-fortune. She elected to find a small alcove to hide in until the wind abated; thankfully, this happened swiftly enough that none stumbled upon her in her time of terror, and she promptly emerged reinvigorated, with her brightest smile radiant upon her pale features.

    In any case, the "portrait of Prussian tenacity" in question was, in fact, little more than the training grounds; Konrad's latest batch of impressively dour-looking recruits, who were all dutifully beating upon each other with poorly balanced iron rods in some sort of contest to see which of them might develop the most severe case of brain damage before the day's end.

    (She, watching from her hidden alcove, watched as one of the men stumbled and fell to one knee amidst a particularly spiteful gale – and was, naturally, promptly rewarded by being clubbed on the head by his current sparring opponent. Though the resultant dirt nap was unhealthily long by any sane estimation, Konrad later assured her that the man had only lost a few hours of memory in response, and was therefore considered more or less fighting fit.)

    She made her way between the bewildered recruits, many of whom paused in their training to stare slack-jawed at the girl cheerily weaving without a care in the world between their ranks; attired in her dearest friend's latest fashion offering of a rather curious rainbow-hued scarf that bathed in the ambience of Cassandra's mostly latent flame – the kernel of untapped power that dwelt safely nestled in the heart of her soul – and responded by casting off streams of gentle prismatic light that flowed along with the invisible, twisting currents of wind in the air to produce swirls of radiance that found themselves swiftly scattered throughout the training grounds (causing no small amount of distraction, naturally).

    "Konrad!" Cassie called out, her soft voice almost lost amidst the clamour of battle. Konrad's response was a sharp glance in her direction as she caught his attention; presently, the master-at-arms was locked in a sparring match with one all-too-eager recruit.

    Unfortunately, it seemed that this particular recruit hadn't gotten the memo of "how fights with Konrad always end" – apparently, he seemed to think that he was in with a chance. His blunted blade crashed down on Konrad's half a dozen times, each step driving the veteran soldier back some infinitesimal distance - enough to make the rookie think he was doing well, not enough to mean that he actually was.

    Konrad, of course, was mostly playing possum – letting the boy wear himself out against a half-hearted defence that, ultimately, was never going to actually break, and gently but surely tempting the boy into diverting his attention away from his footwork...

    The master-at-arms gave a very slight, disappointed shake of his head as the boy took his final, doomed step – and Konrad lunged, switching from languid prey to lunging predator in the time it took for Cassie's heart to take a beat. Naturally, the boy crashed painfully to the floor.

    Cassie smiled pleasantly.
    "You did much better than I did, you know." She offered to the fallen recruit, her tone sympathetic.
    "That's not saying much." Konrad replied easily, without thinking – perhaps still riding that little victory high, even if it was against a lukewarm challenge at best, he'd momentarily forgotten who he was talking to. Just for a second, of course.

    "My lady." Konrad immediately stiffened, his back instantly striking that impossibly ramrod straight pose that all Prussian backs did that made them all look rather like toy soldiers, in Cassie's estimation.
    "Cassandra." Cassie smiled.
    "My lady Cassandra." Konrad replied, without missing a beat.
    "Yes, quite." Cassie frowned.
    "My lady." Konrad agreed with a slight nod.

    "May I have a moment?"
    "Certainly, my lady."

    Stifling a groan of protest, Cassandra ushered him to a mildly more deserted place – in the shade, naturally, where she would not be forced to suffer the indignities of the blasted Prussian wind.

    "It's about this morning, anyhow."
    Konrad's head inclined fractionally in a nod.
    Cassie sighed.
    "May I speak plainly?"
    "You may speak however you want. My lady."

    "I'm worried about the Prince."
    Cassie thought she saw Konrad's head tilt quizzically. By about a quarter of an inch. Perhaps it was just the wind.

    "He's... he can do better than that, surely? I know that he has no striking talent for these matters, but... he has some skill, does he not? I have seen him show that kind of promise many times before – against less formidable combatants than you, to be sure, but..."

    [Rapport: Failure – Konrad does not trust Cassandra enough to disclose his opinions on this matter.]

    Konrad frowned. Or rather, his existing half-frown deepened in intensity.
    "He shows some promise as a swordsman, you are quite correct. His first charge, for instance, was inspired. It would have worked on a less experienced opponent." Konrad's jaw tightened. "The issue is simply that..."

    "You can speak freely." Cassie continued, trying her best to sound encouraging. "I'm only trying to help."

    "He simply needs to work on his fundamentals; his drills, his conditioning... he requires more sparring with other soldiers of his level." Konrad sounded as if he had rattled off this particular response about a great many soldiers a great many times before; it was more or less true, Cassie surmised, but still far from the whole picture. He wasn't exactly being helpful. And all she was trying to do was help the man they both served.

    She frowned in irritation, narrowing her crimson eyes at the aged warrior as if intending to spear him somehow upon them.
    "Very well, then." She concluded at last, her tone a little clipped. "If you think of anything that might help our Prince, my door is always open." She turned on her heel and made to depart.

    "Figuratively, anyway. It's very cold in Pruss this time of year."

  12. #12
    Forum Farseer Akranadas's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    Brisbane, Australia
    Drakkenheim, Library

    Maximillian knelled down before the Duchess and placed a soft kiss upon the top of her hand, “For you Duchess, I will do this task with great honour and care”. He stood up once more and bowed curtly to the Duchess and Countess Gerlinde before turning on his heels and exiting the Library slowly as not to draw attention to his movements.

    He made his way back to his quarters, after all he still needed to change his shirt; suspicion of his whereabouts would arise if he came back with still soiled clothing. As he walked through the halls, his mind fell towards the task that the Duchess had given him – it sure was surprising to learn that Princess Wilhelmine was being promised to some far flung Prince in another castle across the ocean. Maximillian always had a thing for Wilhelmine, she wasn’t the most pretty girl he had seen but she was pretty enough in her own right; it was more her attitude and the way she held herself that made her beautiful. If he did this task, and she got married of, he doubted he would ever lay eyes upon the Princess’ wonderful smile again. All the choices in this task were daunting and equally full of consequences. He decided to play it over in his head as he changed his shirt in his quarters.

    ”The Duchess is clearly acting in what she perceives as the best interests of her children” he thought to himself, undoing the buttons of the wine stained shirt and placing it carefully onto his bed “But is the interest more about protecting the Prince from the Duke’s own manipulations and expectations or is this a power play to marry in her own family to secure their grip on the kingdom and plan to push the Duke out altogether.”

    Opening the beautiful ornate wardrobe supplied by his family, he took his time selecting a suitable replacement to his current attire [i] “Walking away altogether was out of the question, I have been called upon by the Duchess to assist”[i] Maximillian continued to think to himself, as he took a nice white crisp shirt from the rack inside of the wardrobe “But the request from the Duchess isn’t truly within the realm of what a Laksaeka devote should be doing, as arranged marriage is seldom about love”

    With his shirt finally done up and his clothing all straightened, Maximillian exited his quarters and made his way back to the hall. “Perhaps the way to approach this matter is to get the feelings of both the Prince and the Princess. After all, it was their love and happiness that was a risk in both instances”

    It didn’t take too long for Maximillian to get back to the Hall, and it didn’t look like many had missed his brief absence from the goings on either. He scanned the room carefully as he walked back to where his meal was and grabbed his glass of wine. Maximillian spied Wilhelmine still within the Hall and confidently strode across the room towards her.

    “My Lady” he said politely, bowing and flashing her a smile “You look as beautiful as ever today. I wished to thank you for delivering the note and the rose to me” He could sense her nervousness and decided to switch the conversation a bit “I’ve actually come over to talk to you about your Brother, Princess. I know you care very deeply about him, as do I as one of his Princeguard – but I must ask, is he happy my lady? I’ve noticed he seems unwell, and as member of the Princeguard I want to ensure our Prince is happy and well, as I am sure you do as well”

    Roll: Rapport (+2)

  13. #13
    Wandering Swordsman Lestaki's Avatar
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    London, Blighty
    Myska
    Confronted by the infuriated Lord Bishop, Myska attempted to maintain a facade of steady dignity.

    [Deceive vs Notice, 1 vs -1. Success!)


    Lord Bishop Sigmund met her steady, unflinching gaze and frowned. “At least you still have our eyes. The dragon’s blood in you still burns,” he muttered. Disconcerned by her quiet dignity, he turned and strode back to the Duke’s side without another word of complaint.

    Myska exhaled when she thought he was out of earshot. Defiance had not come easily to her.

    As the group dispersed, Myska headed for the kitchens, much like a squirrel hoarding nuts for the winter. Even this early in the morning, the servants were hard at work, but with her old grace she managed to slip inside a little used side-door and grab a few steaming loaves of bread waiting to be cut up. She was ready to make her mistake when she heard heavy footfalls approach from outside the door.

    “I don’t care how good they are, we won’t tolerate adulterers in this castle. I don’t expect to be troubled in this way again,” Lord Bishop Sigmund said. He pushed open the door with one hand before Myska could retreat. He took in the situation at a glance and sighed. “Hofmann, take care of the matter on the lines I expect.”

    The steward bowed his head and stepped past Myska.

    Before Myska could react, Sigmund’s huge hand had seized her by the collar and dragged her out into the corridor. “I would have words with you, child,” he said, closing the door behind her with his free hand.

    For an ordinary noble, taking food from the kitchen would be an unquestioned right. But to her eternal misfortune, Myska was no ordinary noble, and other standards were applied to her.

    (Both parties roll initiative to determine turn order in social conflict. Myska goes on -2. Sigmund goes on 4.)

    Sigmund takes the chance to denounce Myska’s theft in booming, stentorian tones.

    (Provoke to attack vs Will to defend. Sigmund rolls 3 in total. Myska rolls 2 in total. She takes 1 point of mental stress.)

    “This behaviour is not becoming of a noble of Pruss. You demonstrate a greater awareness of your situation and act with integrity or you will reflect poorly on the name of honoured Naufragium,” Sigmund said. His voice moved like a living thing as one of Pruss’s most powerful speakers hammered the poor girl before him.

    Myska fought to remain calm. Though this was irksome, the Lord Bishop had responded favourably to her quiet defiance before. Perhaps she should argue back and question his motives. Or perhaps it would be wiser to focus on defending herself from his accusations. Sigmund was a busy man and surely had better things to do than this.

    The Hall, Drakkenheim
    One of the Princess’s companions, the beautiful but headstrong Julia Sommersett, smiled wryly as Maximillian returned to the hall. “First he goes, now he rushes back again. The Children of the Rose are a busier lot than I imagined,” she said.

    The other, Kathrin Minden, was the graceful niece of the formidable Lord Bishop Sigmund. “His haste aside, was the change of clothes really necessary?” she said.

    Maximillian smiled gracefully despite the teasing. It was ever the fate of a lone gentleman to suffer thus in the company of several ladies.

    Princess Wilhelmine returned his greeting politely and listened patiently to his question. Her eyes linger on his face for a moment, though they have the air of a courtier’s scrutiny rather than a maiden’s reverie. “You should know as well as I do that he is most unhappy in this place. He is subject to great pressures as the presumed heir and there are those who treat him unkindly,” Wilhelmine said.

    “Perhaps the Prince needs a distraction from all the goings on with the Duke,” Maximillian explained, taking a sip from his wine. “Sometimes escaping the things that are keeping you unhappy can lift your mood, maybe he needs something like that?”

    Wilhelmine nodded. “I’m sure that would help. I know Frederik feels that way. But we can do nothing without father’s consent, and that man is loath to let the Prince out of his sight. He thinks the boy is becoming an effeminate fop, and will only continue to do so if he isn’t constantly watched. And yet to my eyes, nothing emasculates my brother more than his father’s wrath,” she said.

    Maximillian nodded sympathetically. “But even the Duke agrees he must be wed, of course. You’re close to him, closer than anyone I know My Lady. Does he have an eye on anyone in or out of court? I do not judge when it comes to affection.”

    “Perhaps I’m being naive, but to my eyes my brother is very pure. He never quite knows what to do with ladies, and I’ve never heard of him regarding one with warmth. He was kind enough with darling Amelia when they met but it wasn’t very, well.” The Princess broke off for a moment. “I’m told he mostly raved about a Franks play he’d read recently on the story of Aodipus.”

    Julia giggled. “I’ve heard poor Amelia was quite overawed.”

    “My brother being my brother, it’s hard to say what he really made of her,” Wilhelmine said.

    Maximillian nodded. “Putting that aside, I suppose, what do you think we could do to help him out?”

    “If I knew how, I’d have done so long since. Truthfully, I despair of the whole matter,” Wilhelmine said. She rested her chin on her hands and sighed. “Something must change. But how to persuade the Duke of that? It would take a miracle.”

    Healer’s Hall, Drakkenheim
    The Court Healer, Lady Elisabeth Feuergrau, is pulled from her work tending to an injured servant to treat the prince. She is Myska’s cousin from a cadet branch of the Feuergrau family and a very able healer who won over a skeptical Duke to be confirmed in her current position.

    With Pieri’s information, Elisabeth quickly grasps the situation. She briskly strips the prince and applies ice to his vivid bruises in order to reduce the swelling.

    (Elisabeth rolls Heal to treat Frederik’s injuries. Her result is 1, so she spends the free invoke on the ‘Excellent First Aid’ advantage Pieri was able to create earlier to boost her result to 3. This is sufficient to treat the Minor Consequence, changing it to ‘Soothed and Iced’. It will heal after the next full scene.)

    With her work done, she lets the Prince pull his shirt on again while she prepares some medicine to dull the pain. “You can still do physical exercise, but take regular breaks. If any questions you on that, they will answer to me. Still, this should heal soon enough.”

    “Yes, my lady,” the Prince said. He looked vaguely disappointed.

    The Prince was duly turfed out of the Healer’s Hall and headed to attend lessons with his favourite tutor, the Franksborn Jaime Duhan. The more scholarly members of the Princeguard had the opportunity to join Frederik, though it was short on excitement.

    Meanwhile, Hans headed to the lower mound, where the Princeguard’s drakes were stabled. Perhaps he was planning to go on a ride later, or perhaps he merely wants the company of his drake.

    The Upper Mound, Drakkenheim
    As the morning built to a more decent time, the Throne Oberhoheit clambered out of his hoard and sunned himself at the apex of the castle. This immense crimson dragon commanded all other dragons in Pruss as a result of his ferocity and his great cunning.

    He was accompanied by Ungebrochen, the dazzlingly fast Branden Bluewing of the Minden family. The smaller dragon perched gracefully on the castle walls and engaged his old friend in conversation while they waited for the Tenders to offer them food. Soon enough, the Duke and the Lord Bishop would greet their dragons and ensure everything was in order.

    Until then, a particularly brave or foolhardy member of the Princeguard could freely approach the two dragons, if they so wished.

  14. #14
    Forum Farseer Akranadas's Avatar
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    The Hall, Drakkenheim

    Maximillian thought on the Princess’ last worsts for a moment – it was true, persuading the Duke to do absolutely anything would indeed take a miracle. Perhaps though, maybe Maximillian didn’t need to persuade the Duke at all, more change the direction of his ire towards a more formidable and equal target. Sticking with the Duchess’ original request could possibly result in this outcome once the Duke learned of her moves against him, allowing the Princess to see if the match was suitable… but that would also mean that the Princess would be equally matched… a shame but there were other lovely ladies to give affection to.

    He flashed a smile towards Julia Sommersett before wrapping up the conversation. “I’ll see if I can work a miracle Princess but right now, I am sure my absence is being noted” Maximillian said before bowing to the group of girls “I bid you all beautiful ladies a farewell…” his eyes shifted back to Julia, he hadn’t really noticed her much before this meeting “… I hope to see you all again soon”

    With that he proudly walked through the hall, he knew the task of finding this courier would be a difficult one. Skulking around the halls of the castle grounds wasn’t something Maximillian was skilled in doing, he could talk his way in and out of any situation, befriend potential enemies and seduce a lady if the action required it, but locating a slip of paper and then stealing it would be something much above his skill set. “I’ve got it” he thought to himself, he would need help but would have to be selective on who to enlist with this task, there had to be someone in the Princeguard he could trust with a task, even if he didn’t share the full details with. He decided to go through his opinions and observations of the current Princeguard to gauge their potential enlistment;

    “Cassandra Erue” he thought ” Beautiful in a different kind of way, but he didn’t know much about her. He could take the risk, but would she help?”

    ”Pieri Valentin” the she was familiar to him [i]”Tall and Knowledgeable, but noticeably had violent tendencies. Sneaky enough to be unseen and enough of a difference to not be normally associated with me”

    “Viktor Eisenwald” the name cropped up in his mind ”An unsettling man and rather dull in appearance. His skills in combat would be beneficial in a fight but this required some intrigue and subterfuge

    ”Myska” He only knew of her first name “Someone who clearly knows how to keep secrets, but should she be trusted to keep his?”

    ”Farrukshiyar” the man with a mouthful for a name ”More a drunk at this point than a potential ally, but he did have skills”

    ”Perhaps before I decide, I should find out potentially where the letter is, who’s potentially guarding it and if there is a way to get in there” he thought to himself before leaving the hall once again. The clash of sparing echoed through the halls from those taking part in the training; no doubt he’ll take part soon enough but right now, this task was consuming him. As Maximillian was rounding a corner when he accidentally collided with one of the servants, there was a clang of pans and a flatter of sheets as the contents of the servants basket spilled across the floor.

    ”I am so sorry” Maximillian said in instinct as he bent down and began to help the servant gather the dropped items “This was all my fault, I should have paid more attention to where I was going” As he handed the items back to the servant he noticed it a fairly plain lady; cute nose and a nice looking smile; she seemed awfully embarrassed for the clash between Maximillian and herself. “It’s okay” he said, placing a hand on your shoulder tenderly and handing her the items.

    “I’m just sorry, My Lord” she said, her eyes darting from his to the ground “I didn’t mean to crash into you”

    “The fault is more mine than yours, I’m Maximillian, what is your name?” he asked her, removing his hand from her shoulder.

    “Gwendoline, My Lord” she replied quietly.

    “Now Gwendoline, I want you to smile about this; have fun with this moment and laugh about it with your coworkers” Maximillian continued, smiling at her as he spoke “I am sure they’ll get a good time from knowing you managing to knock a Princeguard down onto his ass” He chuckled “If I could asked one favour though” he said placing a his hand upon hers “You wouldn’t happen to know when the servants tend to the Courier’s quarters would you?”

    Roll Rapport +2

  15. #15
    The Lower Mound, Drakkenheim

    Now where are you going, I wonder?

    Now, a member of the Princeguard venturing into the fiery depths where linger the drakes wouldn't be particularly unusual, or even notable, really – but something about the length and speed of Hans's stride and the furtiveness of his gaze happened to catch the attention of the ever-watchful noble girl and her all-seeing pair of scarlet eyes.

    So, having determined that something was unquestionably afoot, Cassandra hastened after her fellow bodyguard, taking delicate care to stay far enough back that any errant glances shot her way wouldn't oust her before she could cause some suitable diversion...

    Bidding a temporary farewell to the comforting blanket of golden sunlight that had finally arrived over Drakkenheim, Cassie descended warily into the twisting maze that lay beneath Oberhoheit's mound.

    Thankfully, beneath all the silk and finery of a dragon's threads, she always came equipped with a sturdy pair of walking boots – she had learned from an early age that prancing around in anything else was generally an open invitation to disaster, and she had no particular present wish to be roaming around in the cracked, uneven underground that played home to the great red dragon's attendant horde of drakes without anything on her feet.

    She lowered her hood, letting her white hair unravel down her back, and rolled up her sleeves to her elbows – with beads of sweat already starting to appear upon her pale brow, it was far too hot to stay completely covered – and proceeded.

    The tunnels beneath were blessedly more than wide enough to allow Cassie to wander more or less comfortably, given their inhabitants; periodically the tunnels cracked open and spilled into vast caves filled with scale-filled shadows gleaming with the light from reflected flames. Most of them scarcely registered her arrival, sparing her a brief glance before realising that the Ascaes girl was not, in fact, bringing them anything to eat.

    Once they realised that all-important truth, they returned their attention to their tenders, who were attending to that particular need...

    Cassie trailed Hans through the mound, deftly shadowing him through the tunnels – ducking around crackling fires billowing out plumes of black smoke driven upwards through the ground by abundant chimneys.

    After a brief interlude wherein she lost him for several minutes after a plume of errant smoke blasted her in the face, leaving her pale features covered in a thin film of soot and ash, she at least came across Hans and several of the tenders, dispensing large chunks of meat to the assembled drakes of the princeguard. Resolving to creep in closer and surprise him – a fine repayment for sneaking around, in her opinion – Cassie crept through the many shifting shadows of the mound towards the group, and...

    [Opposed, Stealth vs Notice: Draw – Alas, Cassie is unable to sneak up on Hans.]

    … unfortunately, while Hans was sufficiently distracted, she wasn't quite quiet enough to attract the attention of her own drake, who would recognise her anywhere. More to the point, Aritania wasn't precisely the type to permit Cassie to skimp on her sacred duty of provisioning her beloved mount with food for one second, not even in the service of shock, awe and amusement.

    Aritania, therefore, arose from her repose with startling alacrity – alarming both Hans and the drake tenders, who all found themselves briefly wondering whether the girl's drake had been struck by a bout of temporary insanity – and bounded over to where Cassandra was creeping about with terrifying speed, her footfalls crashing and rumbling in the deep.

    There were, of course, precisely two things capable of rousing the great silver-scaled beast with such vigour and haste, the other naturally being imminent and deadly peril.

    Hans, naturally, followed Aritania's flight with rapt attention – as one does when a chariot-sized killing machine decides to start moving about very quickly in a relatively confined space – and frowned when he caught sight of Cassandra lurking in the shadows.

    “Cassandra?” He asked, frowning. “What are you doing here?”
    “Failing at stealth, it seems!” She called back, her voice a little strained, from behind the great bulk of her drake.

    Aritania, in response, nosed the young girl with her snout – almost bowling over the relatively thin scion of the Ascaes line.
    “You,” her drake began, with the air and gravitas of one about to announce some profound truth, “are covered in soot.”

    Cassie frowned. Placed a finger to her nose and rubbed.
    “Yes,” she replied, “I suppose I am.”
    “Why,” her drake asked, her voice deep and resonant, “are you covered in soot?”
    “Well, Aritania, I think you'll find that it's quite smoky down here.”
    “Yes...” the drake nodded its massive head. “Yes, I suppose it is.” She nudged her rider, once again almost sending Cassie sprawling to the floor. “You should be more careful. Alsterrecht would be unhappy if anything were to happen to you.”

    “Well,” Cassie grumbled, “I certainly do my best. But it can't be helped. There were important schemes afoot!”

    The great drake blinked at her, then slowly ambled back over towards the hulking pile of meat Hans and the tenders were feeding to the drakes of the princeguard.

    “Mm...” Aritania rumbled. “Will you feed me now?”
    “Oh, very well,” Cassie grinned obligingly, following her friend over to the others. Hans, naturally, continued to frown.

    “Cassandra?” Hans was still looking at her with a serious expression, a far cry from his usually open and cheery demeanour.

    She shrugged innocently in reply.
    “Sorry. I saw you sneaking about, and I got curious.”
    “Mm.” Hans replied.
    “And now I find you here with enough food to provision our drakes for...” She ran her eyes over the pile of food. “A very long journey indeed, by the looks of it.”

    “So, where are we going?” She grinned.

    Hans blinked in surprise.
    “You pay attention to the feeding habits of drakes?”

    “Hey.” Cassie chided him, wagging a finger in his direction, “I pay attention to a lot of things, I'll have you know.”
    As Hans mulled over how to respond to this newfound information, her smile turned mischievious.
    “After all, knowledge is power, right?”

    Hans responded with a wry smile. “That sounds like something Frederik would say.”
    Cassie grinned. “And he'd be right to.” She sighed. “His father really doesn't give him enough credit.”

    “No.” Hans replied, frowning once more. “He doesn't.” With a sigh, he heaped another chunk of meat upon the ravenous drake's pile.

    “So!” Cassie resumed, returning to her earlier point. “Just where are we going, anyway?”

    [Compel - “The Girl From Nowhere” - with her past a mystery, Hans can't be sure of the girl's motives.]

    “I want to trust you with this. I do.” Hans began carefully, a trace of that earnest, open expression Cassie usually associated with the man shining through from underneath his oddly businesslike present countenance. “But I don't know a thing about where you're from, or your past. You just appeared one day in the halls of the Archenberns, and now you are here by the Prince's side. Honestly, that frightens me. It happened all too quickly, and little has been said about it."

    He tossed another scrap of meat into the air, which was deftly snapped up by a flashing set of wickedly sharp teeth. Hans looked back askance at Cassie, who was watching the drake's display of agility with evident fascination. “I'm afraid you'll have to find out tonight along with the others. I am sorry.” He had the good grace to smile apologetically, at least.

    Cassie waved a hand airily.
    “Oh, well,” she replied easily, smiling. “It was worth a try, right?”
    “I can't argue with that.” Hans agreed, evidently pleased that she hadn't taken it personally. The two of them generally got along fairly well, after all, and it'd be a shame to sour that with secrets.

    Aritania nudged Cassandra again (Cassie stumbled and had to catch herself) evidently desiring to be fed sooner rather than later, thank you very much.
    “Okay, girl, you're right, you've waited long enough...” Cassie patted the great drake's flank.

    “Hey, Hans? You, uh, mind if I...?” She gestured vaguely at the hulking pile of meat.
    Amused, he nodded. “Be my guest, of course.”

    “Right, then!” She grinned, rolling up her sooty sleeves a little higher before picking up a bloodied hunk of nearly-raw meat (getting herself positively filthy in the process) and waved it in Aritania's direction.

    “Eat up, Tania. We've got a long way ahead of us before long, it seems."

  16. Tabletop Senior Member  #16
    Fluffy Necromancer Andkat's Avatar
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    You will see me again at the Gates of Saint Romanos...
    "Praised lords, I am honored at the generosity of the esteemed Sir Eisenwald in deeming myself, but an itinerant foreigner, stranger to your doughty ways and resolute faith, a fitting partner for the encapsulation and celebration of the cherished military virtues of Pruss!" Farrukshiyar sweeps his gaze towards the pugnacious knight, beamingly bright expression as plastered on as his platitudes, only the slightest twitch of his eyelids betraying his true feelings. "A felicitous penance, indeed, for inducing, with the best of intention, the good Prince to those most unbecoming of exertions."

    Oh wretched is my fate! I would reckon it an act of Providence if there was but a single artisan of sufficient capacity in this entire benighted province to mend my robe after a tussle with that barbarian! Not to mention that I'm still sore from that Teutonic brute of a chambermaid...

    "Nonetheless, I must beg your Ducal Highness due forgiveness, and with a heart heavy with contrition heap contempt upon my failings. For in the distant, summery courts of Sors, it is reckoned that that battle is best which is not fought at all, and that to spare oneself a blow through subtlety and grace is most good and proper! And whilst I have witnessed much roughness and violence in my many travels, I must confess that not in all lands have I perceived a military virility comparable to that which is now laid bare before me in Pruss- and I must acknowledge myself, in spite of the multitudinous ways of war to which I have borne witness, to be but a neophyte in that rarefaction of soldiery vigor on display from the discipline of the humblest man-at-arms to your steel-spined eminence . Whilst I am eager to apprehend such manly strength to the extent to which my faculties are capable, I cannot but imagine that my efforts to illustrate those arts that all the world acknowledges as being of singular esteem amongst the Prussians would be akin to no more than the graspings of a child before that which those lauded exemplars gathered here before us could demonstrate."

    Farrukshiyar lets out a sigh, and inclines his eyes, locked in an expression of measured deference, towards Friedrich-Wilhelm. "Now, good Duke, if it is your pleasure, I, Farrukshiyar of Pars, will with earnest and unashamed heart undertake this noble endeavor...."

    Action: Deceive (Farrukshiyar attempts to bait the Duke into assigning Konrad or another retainer or vassal to the contest instead): Skill Bonus: +2
    Fate Point Invoke: "Hostage-Prince of Pars" (Farrukshiyar is playing upon the prejudiced contempt for the "effeminate easterner" well-worn into the minds of the austere Duke and his friends, in the hopes that it will induce the Duke to avoid the potential embarrassment of Farrukshiyar either putting up a pathetic spectacle that will be painful to watch or of this Persian fop actually besting a true Prussian warrior before the sight of the whole palace).

    Total Modifier: Deceive +4

    Action: Notice (Farrukshiyar is attempting to analyze the Duke's reactions in order to gain insight into his personality)

    Total Modifier: Notice + 0
    Last edited by Andkat; 26th Feb 16 at 1:52 AM.

  17. #17
    Wandering Swordsman Lestaki's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    London, Blighty
    Maximillian
    Maximillian regarded the comely maid with warmth as he turned on the charm. He enjoyed his work.

    (Rapport vs Will. 0 + 2 vs 0. Laksaeka smiles on her favoured child. Success!)

    Gwendoline blushed in surprise at the kindness and humour of a noble who might normally be expected to chew her out or worse. Thrown even further off balance by his question and the touch of his hand, she responded without thinking. “In an hour or so, sir, after we’ve finished cleaning the noble’s quarters here in the inner castle,” she said.

    The Courtyard, Drakkenheim
    The Duke nodded politely as Farrukshiyar prattled on. The men of the middle kingdom would never use one word when five would suffice.

    (Deceive versus Notice. 2 + 2 vs 1. Farrukshiyar invokes ‘Hostage-Prince of Sors to upgrade his Success to Success with Style! He gains a Boost.)

    Thoroughly mollified by the ritualistic invocations of Prussian manhood and martial prowess, the Duke burst into laughter. “Fairly spoken, my good man, fairly spoken. Not everyone can be a warrior of Pruss. This is why my fop of a son is so frustrating- he has six centuries of dragon’s blood in him, but squanders it all in reading irrelevant things. In any case, let’s see a proper contest. Konrad!”

    Konrad tried and failed to suppress a smile as Viktor’s machinations unravelled. “Your will be done, my lord,” he said.

    Farrukshiyar took the opportunity to study the Duke closely.

    (Notice, -1 +2. Farrukshiyar cashes in his Boost to at least manage 1. The following Aspects are revealed: Stern Spiritual Duke, Narrow-Minded)

    At the very least, it is clear to the Prince of Pars that the Duke is more merciful to others than he is to Prince Frederik. Perhaps, of course, he simply doesn’t expect much from men born outside Patria Sol.

    A madcap impulse bubbles up in Farrukshiyar’s mind. If the Duke is being biased against his son by his ideal of Prussian manhood, how does the Throne- unencumbered by such biases- regard the favoured prince? Now that the Throne has stirred himself from slumber, perhaps he too could be tricked into revealing valuable information. And the sooner Farrukshiyar could defuse the farce between father and son, the sooner he could make the Duke agree to let the Prince go on a journey. And not just any journey, a journey to a civilised city with a court worthy of the word.

    (Compel: Whimsical Impetuosity)

    Meanwhile, of course, Viktor was confronted by his own difficulties. Konrad was already standing absolutely still at one edge of the circle. With the Duke’s eyes on both of them, perhaps there was no way to escape yet another painful confrontation with the gifted veteran.

  18. #18
    Member Deunan's Avatar
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    Myska

    Myska expected the Lord Bishop to vent his frustration with the prince, the duke and whoever those adulterers he had talked about on her. To strike her for daring to take the piece of bread. She inwardly braced for it and was surprised when the strike itself didn't come.

    Why isn't he venting? What's keeping him at bay?

    She took a steadier look at him.
    Notice +1 - try to create an advantage - look at his disposition
    Result - Sum of All Four : -4 | Fudge Word Value: Sub-Terrible, Abysmal

    if success



    If Failure on notice

    She shrunk back from the man. She thought he was clearly seething with anger. Myska was never meant to be in Oberheim. Someone more deserving of being chosen ought to have been selected for the princeguard, not this lowly forgotten child of a "seamstress". She had heard stories of the fury of the Lord Bishop. How he had supposedly counseled the duke against heretics. How he did his best to keep faith within the Pruss clean as the King intended.

    A mere thief like her was just a weed growing in his pristine garden. And no one wants to see weeds taking root in their garden. The girl gulped and tried to spot a way out. But there wasn't any. She would have to take his shouting and maybe whatever else came next. The Lord Bishop was a busy man. He wouldn't waste too much time on someone like her... or at least so she hoped.

    Will +0 - Going possum. Her experiences tell her that the one excercising power soon grows tired of it. The Lord Bishop won't forget probably, but he probably won't care terribly much

    The Lord Bishop noticed her distress and lowered his voice a little, but he continued his lecture. "There's a right and a wrong way to approach these things. Given your background, others will doubt you, so you need to be especially conscientious. I'm upset to see you continue to make simple mistakes that will only further fuel the rumours of others," he said.

    Will Combat ensues. The Lord Bishop attacks.
    Sum of All Four : 4 | Fudge word Value: Trans-Superb, Legendary
    Myska defends - result 0
    Myska takes 7 will damage


    The words felt almost cloying, like thick viscous oil that slathered her and tried to tear her down. But there, within that deep pit of despair was one bright nugget. It was the memory of the dragon as it came crashing trough the rafters and looked straigth at her. By then Myska had been far too exhausted to even be afraid of it. Maybe if it gulped her down, she'd be warm in the very least. But it did nothing of that sort. Instead just trotting closer and seemingly appraising her.

    Why should I care about what any of the others thing. Nauf is the one that's important. She found me and brought me here! If only she'd have left me with some guidance apart from be yourself, when what I am just isn't enough.

    Myska burns a Faith point - Chosen outsider
    Damage is reduce by 2 stages to 5

    It became clear to the Lord Bishop that the young lady had grasped the gravity and import of his words. In fact, it was starting to look like he had gone entirely too far. He coughed uncomfortably and looked away. "When then. I think I've made my point. The Prince thinks highly of you, I'm told, so keep doing whatever it is the Princeguard does. Goodbye, my lady."

    Choking down a sob, Myska scurried out of the Lord Bishops presence and left the bread with him. She tried to steel herself, but it just didn't work. The man's words had managed to hurt her far more than the fist of a crimeboss. Those could belittle her and hit her. But what they did had no real impact. There was no moral ground they could lean against. The only difference between them and her was that they were stronger, bigger, richer. It didn't matter. They were the same kind of scum as she was.

    The Lord Bishop on the other hand was a man who was convinced of his position. A man that could probably talk down a dragon.The girl made her way away from him, her dress feeling utterly binding. It was a symbol of a world that she didn't understand. Bright lit halls of a keep, opulence, a dress, an elaborate hairstyle. Those were all alien. Dark corners, meagre standings, comfortable pants and a short crop. Those were things she understood, things she could navigate. Myska tried to stem back the flow of tears, but it was was proving hard.

    Show no weakness, no weakness, no weakness, no weakness.... She thought as she moved closer to the edge of the keep. Perhaps no one would see her if she was lucky. Every step was proving tough and her face was turning to hard steel. No one was allowed to see anything. Her insides were wrenched apart. But still she moved forward, back towards the common the common grounds. She was close to shaking by now, but that could easily have been confused by anger.
    On the way she walked past Maximillian, but paid the man no heed, taking steady steps away, closer to where wells of the keep were. It was a frigid somber place, almost certainly bereft of any soul.

    End result of encounter
    Will Stress damage 6
    -4 consequence - Crippling insecurity

  19. #19
    Training Grounds

    Viktor knew when he was outplayed. He pretended not to notice Farrukshiyar’s smug self satisfaction as he stepped into the training circle. Well if they wanted a show, they would bloody well get one. He smiled at Konrad as he took position in the circle. “Hmm.. I suppose I’ll have to go easy on you. I wouldn’t want to rob the recruits of their trainer, now would I?” He brought his blade into the Pflug guard.

    “In yer own time.”

    Konrad ignored the taunt and gripped his own sword tightly with both hands. “When an opponent completely overwhelms you, right?”


    Combat



    Viktor didn’t even see the first attack coming. Konrad’s blade flashed past his guard and nicked his right arm. He barely had time to recover before the second attack came rushing his way.He desperately managed to deflect it and return with a riposte, landing a shallow hit on the Master of Arms. Konrad’s assault continued unrelenting, leaving Viktor no room to go on the offensive. Briefly he wondered if the man was actually trying to kill him, but he pushed the thought away and concentrated on the fight.

    Konrad slowly circled around Viktor. “Alright lad… Time to get serious. Are you going to stand there all day?” The Princeguard refused to rise to his challenge and kept up his guard. He had suffered enough defeats during practice to know what happened when you attack recklessly. Despite the neverending rain of blows, Viktor managed to hold his guard and retaliate. Tough the man didn’t even seem to feel it. In fact it only seemed to make him attack harder and faster. But then Viktor horribly mistimed a defense against an overhead swipe.

    As the veteran brought his sword down, Viktor realised he would be never be in time to deflect it. Not with his sword still in a low guard. So instead of trying to dodge it he dived into the attack, while at the same time swinging the pommel of his blade in the direction of the older man’s face. The blows landed near simultaneously. Konrad’s sword connected with the younger man’s shoulder before the veteran could put his full strength into the swing and glanced off harmlessly. The iron pommel of Viktor’s blade on the other hand, smashed into the man’s lower jaw unimpeded and sent him reeling.

    Konrad stumbled backwards and crashed down on one knee, clutching his jaw in pain. Viktor stepped back and nursed his sore shoulder. His mind raced as it tried to process what happened in the last few minutes. Did he just win? He could scarcely believe it. His cheeks were flushed, his hands were shaking and his breath came in ragged gasps, but the realisation that he beat the Master of Arms in a fair one-on-one contest nevertheless brought a grin to his face.

    The smile froze on his lips when the veteran shook off the hit like it was nothing, grabbed his sword and stood back up. Viktor quickly retreated a few steps and brought his blade back into the Nebenhut position. As Konrad readied himself for another attack Viktor tried to hide a flash of annoyance. Inwardly he cursed himself for celebrating prematurely. What would it take to bring this guy down? Had Konrad just been toying with him?

    “ENOUGH!”

    The Duke’s words echoed across the training grounds and both combatants slowly lowered their weapons. Konrad with obvious reluctance, while VIktor tried not to look too relieved. He glanced around the courtyard and was surprised to see that the prince had only just left the grounds. It felt like he had been fighting Konrad for hours, when in reality it had only been a few moments. He tried to regain his composure as he approached the Duke.

    “It was a nice trick. Perhaps not the most... elegant solution to being overwhelmed, but effective.” He rewarded Viktor with a curt nod. “I am glad to see that Konrad’s teachings rubbed off on at least one of you around here” the Duke said before he turned and left the training grounds, followed closely by the Field Marshall and the Lord Bishop. With the training over and the others minding their own business, Viktor headed back to his room. He needed a bath.
    Last edited by Kronoch; 27th Feb 16 at 1:06 AM.

  20. Gamers Lounge Senior Member Boardwars Senior Member  #20
    FREEZE! Mokino's Avatar
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    Not here
    Lower Mound

    The smell of the raw, bloody meat combined with the ash of dragon breath assaulted Pieri long before she could hear Hans and Cassandra. She stuck to the shadows as best as possible, her goal being the upper mound where the true great dragons rested.

    (Roll: stealth)

    (Stealth vs Notice. Pieri gets -3. Hans gets -2. Cassandra gets 2. Cassandra Succeeds with Style, Hans Suceeds, PIeri fails)


    "It seems our lovely little corner of the fortress has another visitor." Cassie flashed Hans an amused grin. "I'm not sure this bodes well for all your secrets and scheming, you know."

    "Well, this place is hardly a secret, I suppose," Hans said. He waved cheerfully at Pieri.


    "Figured you'd probably catch me if ye looked my way," Pieri shrugged as she stepped into clear view, "Guess it's breakfast time for our friends too?" She looked at the pile of meat with an odd, almost desiring, stare.


    "I wouldn't, if I were you." Cassie wagged a teasing finger at Pieri and chuckled. She glanced down at the ragged chunk of blooded meat in her hand and wrinkled her nose. "Not until it's cooked, anyway."

    "Cooked? Pah!" Akrayalcea said. The Prince's drake watched them with one eyes as his fangs methodically stripped bloody flesh from bone.


    "See, he's got the right idea," Pieri sliced off a small chunk of meat, eating it off of the blade. She smiled, blood dripping from her lips.


    Cassie grumbled and threw up her (considerably sooty and blood-streaked by this point) arms. "We're surrounded by barbarians, Hans! How? ?_How_? can you eat that? That's got to be terrible for you."

    "I feel the same way, but I've given up on questioning it," Hans said. He squatted by his drake, Seniraloth, and watched the two young women with a smile. "At least you two can get your hands dirty." He, too, hand-fed his drake some choice cuts of meat.


    Pieri laughed, picking up a another piece in one hand. She snapped her fingers and a brief flame lit the morsel, instantly changing it to a deep brown shade. "Even I'm not THAT crazy. Just fun to keep you straight-laced types on your toes."

    "Straight-laced? Is that how you see me?" Hans said.


    (Compel) "You, not so much," Pieri shrugged, gesturing to Cassandra, "the bastard. She overdoes it. Likely in an attempt to fit in."



    Cassie blinked once in Pieri's direction, taken mildly aback by the sudden comment. Then, once she had a moment to process, she immediately burst into peals of laughter. Aritania, great and silver and mighty though she was, seemed mildly startled by her master's sudden outburst, rearing back a couple steps (shaking the cavern a little in the process).

    “You know, Pieri, I think I like you after all."

    Hans relaxed his sudden tension when Cassandra responded with laughter. But he still frowned and stared down Pieri. "You're jumping onto unfirm ground for you, Valentin."


    "I meant no disrespect. Just that Cassandra should ease up a little as it comes across as unnatural from her. Hell, she's got more of a claim to the princeguard than me. Was just pure luck in my case." The assassin feigned a short apologetic bow before turning her attention to the drakes circling above.


    "Perhaps you should tighten up a little," Hans suggested. He stood and shrugged. "In any case, it wasn't a question of luck. That was the Prince's decision."


    Cassie, for her part, merely chuckled good-naturedly. Aritania, on the other hand, snorted in irritation and narrowed the eye pointed balefully in the young assassin's direction. Cassie reached out and placed a firm hand on the drake's shoulder in response, and Aritania stilled.
    “I hate to be the bearer of ill tidings, but this really is who I am. I've never been much good at pretending to be something I'm not, anyway."


    "Maybe you just need time then," Pieri suggested as she picked up a large chunk of meat, "In any case, Dusty's probably getting hungry." A small tornado formed around the assassin, rocketing her parcel skyward. "That's Destvaniel!" a drake with dark scales covered in white specks growled as she snatched up her meal.

    Hans snorted with laughter and turned away for a moment. But he kept his thoughts to himself.


    Aritania shook her great scaled head in disapproval, a human affectation she'd picked up from Cassandra herself, and returned to nosing at the still rather immense pile of meat before her.

    Cassie herself simply shrugged.
    “I'm content as I am. In truth, I suspect we'd all get along far better if we could simply throw off our masks and be who we are, and be free of all this suspicion.”


    "I'm...not great at wearing 'masks' either," Pieri shrugged, "What you see is what you get, for better or worse. Mostly worse, when it comes to the court at least. They're not fond of the scion of professional killers, understandably."

    Cassie chuckled wryly.
    “Aren't we all professional killers, in some sense or other?”


    "Indeed," Hans said. "In my experience the court is not so different from anywhere else. Like is answered with like."


    "A fair point," Pieri's usual wry smile returned, "I'm almost envious of you Cassandra. You get to build a reputation from scratch instead of being judged on your predecessors' actions."


    Hans opened his mouth to speak again but broke off when the Prince's squire, Cristoph Peter Keith, slipped into the smouldering cave.

    "You are required elsewhere, sir," the boy said.



    "I know. I'm coming," Hans said. He waved to the others. "Take your time. I'm sure the drakes welcome the company."

    "Pah," Akrayalcea muttered.


    All that came from above was the draconic version of a sigh.

  21. Tabletop Senior Member  #21
    Fluffy Necromancer Andkat's Avatar
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    You will see me again at the Gates of Saint Romanos...
    Oberhoheit's Mound


    Farrukshiyar springs gracefully from his drake as it brings itself down in a claw-worn cleft high on the scorched basalt slope before Oberhoheit's glittering mound. The creature, an alabaster spawn of Baraq's brood, gives a hiss of mewling uncertainty. The cracked and burned sheathe of flesh that was once its left flank quivers in remembered agony as it instinctively senses the dread majesty of the great dragon basking just out of sight. Farrukshiyar gives it a shrug of despairing resignation before trudging with purposeful care up the gentle incline, making for all the world as if he had clambered the whole height of the mount on his own power.

    Farrukshiyar descends into a kow-tow as he steps into the glittering morass of the great dragon's trove, gaze thrusting to the floor in a gesture of calculated submission as the dragon shifts its titanic age-worn skull to regard the intruding supplicant.

    "Oh Great Oberhoheit, Throne and foundation of boldly ascendant Pruss, mighty crimson eminence that has overmastered even the glittering scions of the All-Mother's praiseworthy brood, slaughterer of nations and butcher of truths before whose scarlet light all Germania quivers..." Farrukshiyar shuffles uncomfortably through the clinking mass of gilt currency and cutlery, pausing carefully with each breathe to verify the dragon's continued forbearance. "...I, Farrukshiyar, Prince of Pars, Blood of Sassan, Heir to the Peacock Throne, come before thee in homage as guest in your realm."

    From the folds of his multihued robes, Farrukshiyar produces a parcel wrapped thickly in fine velvet. Deftly unravelling its bindings, Farrukshiyar bows his head low as he raises aloft his gift- a sinuous mass of what appear to be interlocked, fused animal horns, thickly gilded and studded with precious gems, cold and dark even before the raging heat of Oberhoeheit's pinnacle. Purchased for a small fortune from a dubious and decrepit old merchant in the Spice Isles, Farrukshiyar had spent long evenings marvelling at the curious curves of the item, the interlocking appendages twisting and weaving into one another in a different way with each viewing to produce a primitive illusion of life, embedded sapphires staring outwards with what Farrukshiyar amusedly fancied as cold contempt for tawdry reality. Nonetheless, in spite of his sentimental fondness the young Prince had begun to grow rather weary of the piece. The incessant nightmares had been little trouble at first, Farrukshiyar having no difficulties finding better things to do with his evenings than sleep, but the growing tendency to intermittently awaken covered in altogether more blood than was typical had slowly but surely eaten away at his patience. He bore the withered peddler no ill-will, of course- he had loaned the necessary finances from a burgher of whose grisly exit a fortnight later he had already been well-appraised by his diverse friends in the Sumatran court, so he could hardly claim to have incurred any real loss for the privilege of ownership.

    Farrukshiyar suppresses a wince as a drake hued in deep mauve swoops down upon him with alarming speed. Moments later, it deposits the trinket before its towering progenitor, leaving in its wake only the desolate trembling of silk-clad hands.

    "I plead, like an infant before its father, forgiveness for not making sooner deference to your glory. For I came into your demesne as the guest and guardian of Prince Frederick, heir to your patronage and estimable scion of Pruss. I was at his side but moments ago, tending to his valiant strivings beneath the stern gaze of his stronghearted father. A fine young man, to whom all are blessed to be of service, it is certain."
    Last edited by Andkat; 26th Feb 16 at 10:35 PM.

  22. #22
    Drakkenheim - Morning

    Viktor brushed his hand along the wall as he wondered what to do. Every night the gates were tightly locked and heavily guarded. There was no way he could slip out without being noticed. He could try lying to the nightguard, but he doubted they were going to buy whatever story he came up with. And stealth wasn’t exactly his strong point.


    There had to be another exit.


    Notice [1]: Search castle for unguarded exits
    Result is 2, success.

    Viktor couldn’t believe his luck. In the space behind the workshops, a small gate was built into the wall. By the looks of it nobody had used it in ages. Behind the gate there loomed a large brick wall. Viktor realised that he was looking at the backs of the houses built in front of the wall. He had been under the impression that the houses were built against the wall, but apparently not.

    He tried to open the gate, but it wouldn’t budge. Of course, why wouldn’t it be closed. Viktor headed back to the main building headed up the stairs. This could be exactly what he needed, but how to open the bloody thing? As Viktor pondered the conundrum he rounded a corner and found Myska sitting on a windowsill. She appeared to be lost in thought, staring out over town.


    "Milady Feuergrau, what an unexpected pleasure! I didn't think I'd meet you here."


    The woman looked up at Viktor. There were no tears, but her eyes were still red.


    "Can I help you, lord?" Her voice was terse, strain kept at an edge.


    Viktor offered her a broad smile. "It is quite fortuitous that I found you here. I've run into a little problem I could use your help with." He leaned against the wall across from her. He hadn't spent much time with Myska, so he wasn't quite sure how to broach the subject. Viktor shrugged and decided to go all in. "I won't beat around the bush. I've found a... forgotten exit of the palace, but it appears to be blocked by a locked gate. I'd be in your debt if you could help me open it."


    "Are you certain it's not just rusted?" She shrugged at him and looked out of the window. "To be honest I am not sure I could open a door here, I think the locks are completely different, nothing similar to what's among commoners." She seemed somewhat reluctant to commit to anything, unsure if she could help Viktor in any way.


    "Oh, I very much doubt that. It's fairly old and of simple design, it just hasn't been used in a while." He stopped and tried to think of a different approach.


    "I should probably go feed my drake, doubt anyone did." She paused. Maybe if she made a half hearted effort, after which the lock would fail, he'd let her go. "Show the way" she sighed.


    "It's not far from here. If you help me out, I'd be in your debt. If you don't, then I won't bother you again." He led the way. "But I wouldn't have asked you if I didn't think you could do it. We were not chosen to be princeguard because we're people that can't... We are are people who can. The prince trusts in your skills, and so do I."

    Myska got up, stooping somewhat. "I know why you are here. Same goes for many others like the imperial scion. Me though?" She shrugged again and beckoned at Viktor to lead the way, her expression one of steel. The girl was standing barely to his chest as she walked slowly next to him.

    After a few minutes they arrived at the old gate. Myska slowly appraised it. It was old with metal inlets. It had likely not been opened in a long long time, but looked mostly clean and still oiled. She knocked on it, listening to the sound. There was no dull thud of rust coming from.


    "Seems to be clean metal inside." She muttered and pulled out one of the needles in her hair, bending it into a shape suited for a lockpick.


    "The make looks westian, good locks those."


    Her voice was focused somewhat. She knew how to pick a lock, it was a familiar thing. The palace still weighed heavily on her, but this might be a way out of it, away from all of it. She bit her lower lip and kept trying to tumble the lock, one cylinder after another. Viktor kept silent, not wanting to break her concentration.


    Stealth [2]: Pick the lock
    Result is 2. Success. This hidden escape route will create an advantage that may be useful later.

    The lock thumbled and the gate creaked loudly. "It was really old I think, probably anyone could open it"


    "See, I knew you could do it.!” His eyes lit up as he carefully stepped into the alleyway. In the distance he could see a cart passing by on the street. He turned and offered Myska a bow of thanks. "I am in yer debt, Lady Feuergrau."


    "Why did you want it open anyway?" She asked, glossing his bow over.


    “Sometimes I don't feel like explaining myself to the nightguard You know how dull and single minded they can be. You’d think Konrad intentionally beat their sense of humour out of them."


    Deceive [0]: Attempting to deflect question.
    Deceive 0 versus Notice 1, 0 vs 2. Myska is unconvinced.

    The woman raised an eyebrow. "I think some of those in Laksaekas cult would understand your needs"


    "It's not that. Family matters. I can't really talk about it, but I can assure you it's nothing malicious. I would appreciate it if this was kept between us.


    Why is he offering me this knowledge?


    She crossed her hands and remained silent, waiting for Viktor to either continue or walk away.

    Viktor realised he had said too much. "Anyway, it’s nearly noon. We’re expected at lunch. Excuse me.” Embarrassed with his lapse of care, Viktor nodded goodbye to the young woman and headed back to the palace.

    She watched him go. It was right not to trust him. The man had secrets and like most just wanted to use her without any kind of return. It was like all these nobles. A haughty use of those below them, they all had silver tongues, but rarely anything to back it up. She waited for him to to leave and then left for the drakes. If anything else, she could feed the one that tried to friend up to her. There was no way to make it stop, not even for its own good.



    Drakkenheim - Noon


    Viktor is waiting for the prince outside of the room (wherever he has lesson) "I'm glad to see you've recovered from this mornings ordeal. How are you feeling, my lord?"


    Prince Frederik half-smiled. "The pain has quite receded, which is a mercy. As to the rest, I'm grateful you and everyone else came to my aid," he said.


    Notice versus Deceive, 3 vs 0. Success with Style, Viktor gains a Boost.

    Despite his calm words, the Prince was unusually twitchy. Normally, he would trail behind his followers, but today he walked ahead as they headed for the hall. To Viktor's eyes, he was both nervous and excited, and had shaken off the morning's events with unusual haste. Normally he would dwell on them at length and brood, but this time his mind appeared somewhere else entirely.


    "That's what we are here for, my lord. We would be a pretty lousy princeguard if we didn't protect you from all of life's troubles." He hesitated a moment before continuing "Forgive me for being impertinent, my lord, but you appear to be a bit tense. Is something the matter?”


    The prince made a token attempt to claim otherwise, but he had always been a poor liar. "I'm contemplating a hazardous enterprise, but it's not something to be idly discussed," he said, waving a hand to indicate the castle around them.


    Viktor sarcastically raised an eyebrow. "I assure you my lord, your father would be quite happy to hear you desire to visit the brothels. I bet he'd even escort you personally."


    "The brothels are a den of spies," Pieri emerged from a nearby doorway, "You'd be amazed what you can find out with merely the promise of alcohol and fornication."


    Prince Frederik sighed. "I have no interest in such things. Are you an expert in such matters, Viktor?"


    "Only a fool considers himself an expert on anything, my lord." Viktor greeted Pieri with a polite nod. "My lady."


    "If you know enough about brothels to grasp the depths of your own ignorance, that indicates great understanding indeed," Prince Frederik said.


    "You need to know yer enemy if you want to stand a chance to defeat them. An ignorant man makes for easy prey. Don't you agree, milady?"


    "Of course," Pieri kept her casual tone, "The more you learn of them, the more weaknesses you discover. It always pays to have leverage."


    Frederik nodded to Pieri as they ducked into the hall for lunch. His eyes swept the room.


    "Then I assume it's a matter for another time." Viktor took one look at the food on the plates and despaired. Surely there must be somewhere in this town where they served a decent meal. "Might I suggest a change of venue? Eating out might be nice for a change, and it would be a good opportunity to inspire the townsfolk with your presence."


    Rapport versus Will. 1 vs -2. Success with Style. Viktor gains another Boost.

    "A sound proposal. There should be no danger if you are all with me," Prince Frederik said. He pulled a page aside. "Notify the others to meet us at the gates. Especially Hans."
    Last edited by Kronoch; 28th Feb 16 at 8:36 AM.

  23. Tabletop Senior Member  #23
    Fluffy Necromancer Andkat's Avatar
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    You will see me again at the Gates of Saint Romanos...
    The Upper Mound, Drakkenheim

    Oberhoheit blinked his vast eyes as he regarded the robed speck of flesh before him. For a moment it was impossible to read how the tower of scale and bone felt about Farrukshiyah’s approach.

    (Rapport +1, 3. Success!)

    “We forgive your tardiness, mortal. We welcome you to our ancient home; you are an honoured guest in our wide domains,” Oberhoheit boomed.

    Ungebrochen chuckled. “So the dragons of Pars, too, can train men well enough. Or was this one raised in Sors?”

    “We know not, but this one sat at Baraq’s feet for a long time without disgracing himself,” Oberhoheit said. The ancient red dragon lowered his head and stared at the potent arcane trinket he had been offered. Apparently satisfied by what he saw, he reared up to his full height. “Your service in my blood’s name does you honour, mortal, as does the sharpness of your eyes. Too many men see a sapling and scorn it, knowing not that in time it will become a mighty oak.”

    Farrukshiyar dips his head low once more, looking for all the world like a drinking bird. "I thank thee for they magnaminity and patience, great Oberhoheit. " He pauses. "I too have witnessed how the Duke, bearing the best of intentions, in o'erhasty judgment seeks to transplant the youth whole into the rock-ribbed soil of his ancestors. I fear that with with the unrelenting vigor he applies in all things, the Duke might only contrive to starve the boy of the richer sustenance his sharp mind demands. Great Oberhoheit, first amidst the Ducal Thrones, is there any wisdom that you would concede to spare lowly me, in seeking to bridge the divide between father and son, and ensure the prosperity of the good prince's growth?"

    “We have no interest in the questions of how men should treat men. Such wit and wisdom as you have would be far better suited than our words to such a matter,” Oberhoheit said. The dragon lowered his head to regard the tiny lump more closely. “When we raised our fledgling, the honoured Wildheit, there came a time when we drove him from his mother’s mound. He roamed the lands of Patria Sole as an impetuous youth, was bitten and torn by his elders, and crossed the great sea to reach lost Arcadia, where dragons knew no metalcraft and were ill-served by their drakes. Wildheit returned to us in our hour of need and rendered us great service in the Three Duchies War. So it was, so it should be.”

    With their discussion winding down, Oberhoheit turned his attention to his new treasure again. He snorted with pleasure as he contemplated the interlocking jewelled horns. “This is pleasing. If you leave our lands, bring another such as this to us when you return. That should be no hardship for the egg of the Peacock Throne.”

    Ungebrochen chuckled at the request. “Those are words to be heeded, mortal. The Throne hates being disappointed.”

    “All our words are to be heeded,” Oberhoheit said.

    "I could dream of no other course." Farrukshiyar nods as he begins to shuffle awkwardly backwards, eventually raising himself to his feet at a distance he reckons consistent with propriety. He genuflects once more in a gesture of gratuitous gratitude, before beating a retreat to his drake, the creature still twitching with ill-concealed anxiety.

    Roll: Notice +0, Farrukshiyar tries to read what he can into the personalities of Ungebrochen or Oberhoheit from his interaction
    Last edited by Andkat; 27th Feb 16 at 11:20 PM.

  24. #24
    Wandering Swordsman Lestaki's Avatar
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    London, Blighty
    The Upper Mound
    Farrukshiyah took a moment to scrutinise the demeanor of the dragons.

    (Notice +0, 2. Success!)

    Though dragons are notoriously inscrutable to mortals and could appear arbitrary at times, Farrukshiyah had been around them his whole life and had learned how to judge them. Oberhoheit was clearly both clever and proud, but his use of the pluralis majestatis was a little unnatural, perhaps indicating that he had begun to employ it relatively recently in his long life. Presumably this began when Pruss first advanced its claim to be a Duchy of the Sacred Empire and so chose Oberhoheit as a Throne. Ungebrochen, by contrast, was quite unguarded around his lord. Given Oberhoheit did not appear discomforted by this, this familiarity with the Throne was common to the dragons of Pruss, or else Ungebrochen himself was a remarkably close friend of the curve-horned red dragon.

    The Golden Fleece, Berlain
    At Viktor’s suggestion, Prince Frederik called the Princeguard together to venture outside the castle to the city beneath. Half-disguised by hooded cloaks, the assembled group ambled down familiar streets in the better quarters of the city. Soon enough they reached one of the Prince’s favourite haunts, a large inn that catered to officers, officials, and the social elite of Berlain. The painted sign depicted a winged golden ram wilting in the mouth of a stout red drake that bore a suspicious resemblance to Oberhoheit’s curve-horned brood. A dozen dragoon officers lingered at tables outside the inn and played cards while their drakes lolled around their feet and chewed on raw shanks of lamb and beef.

    The Princeguard were recognised the moment they stepped inside. Sofie, a regular waitress at the inn, smiled in greeting and curtsied. “Greetings, sir. The usual table?” she asked Frederik.

    “Can we have a room this time?” Hans said.

    “Of course. We’ll arrange it right away,” Sofie said.

    They were seated in a fine panelled room in the back. Some quite fine art adorned the walls and the lunch was as pleasant as ever. Perhaps exactly because the Duke’s court was such an austere place, the city played host to several expensive and luxurious establishments such as The Golden Fleece. The generous credit and frequent provision of wine on the house was the price the inn paid to the Princeguard for Frederik’s continued patronage, which did no harm at all to its reputation as the foremost watering hole of the high nobility in Berlain. Frederik, never a heavy eater at the best of times, did little more than pick at his food before sending back his dishes half-eaten. Sofie’s anxious enquiries on whether anything was not to his taste were barely disarmed by Hans, who did her best to reassure her. With food and drink readily supplied, Sofie finally retreated to let the Princeguard linger and talk.

    Hans nodded to Robert Keith, one of the Prince’s older retainers. The officer nodded and checked outside the room to ensure nothing was amiss before closing the door firmly and leaning against it.

    Prince Frederik sighed. “I was planning to discuss this in the evening, but I lack the art to deceive my close friends for long, so we will address the matter at hand. Life at Drakkenheim has become unbearable. Day after day, I fail to accomplish tasks that I am constitutionally unsuited for and my father curses my ineptitude, my effeminacy, my learning, my mother’s blood-” He broke off for a moment and paused to collect himself. “In any case, I am not a leaf to be blown about by the wind. I will leave that wretched castle, and if the King favours me I will never return.”

    “I’m told that certain prominent figures at court have been calling for the Princeguard to be dismissed and reconstituted. We’re apparently the bad influence at the root of Frederik’s perceived shortcomings,” Hans said. “Though the Duke is resisting their advice, he’ll always take their side over ours in the end. We have to move before then.”

    Frederik nodded. “I have no desire to be surrounded by careerists appointed by my father and answering only to Grumbkow and his set,” he said. “At that point, I really will have no escape. So we will go tomorrow, in the small hours of the morning. My father believes we are going on a hunting trip, which should buy us at least a few hours before our absence is marked. Hans and Keith have taken care of the necessary preparations. The drakes have been fed. We have supplies, weapons, shot, and plentiful coin. Our destination is Britannia, where my uncle rules as Duke. It will not be an easy journey.”

    “I talked matters over with the Prince, and we agreed that this is above and beyond the call of duty. We all have families, friends, loyalty as soldiers of Pruss to the Duke. Those who wish to remain may remain, and there’s no dishonour in that,” Hans said. “I will follow Frederik. You will all have to make your own choices.”

    “If you wish to remain, I understand. But if you bear me any love, I beseech you to say not a word of this to anyone until we are long gone. Neither my sister nor my mother nor anyone else outside this room understands our true purpose,” Frederik said. Tears pricked the corner of his eyes. “Please!”

    The Princeguard were momentarily silenced by the weight of what they were being asked to contemplate. For the Prince to abandon his post as a soldier of Pruss was desertion, and their loyalty to the Duke demanded they bring this plot to him at once in order to avert a potential disaster. But their loyalty as members of the Princeguard was to Prince Frederik before anyone else, and it did not take much imagination to see that his days of misery would continue for as long as he remained at Drakkenheim. Was there another way, or were they doomed to choose between their loyalty to the Prince and their loyalty to the Duke in Pruss?

    They were so bent on considering the matter that they failed to notice an eavesdropper lurking.

    (Everyone fails at Notice. Everyone! Maximillian and Farrukshiyar at least fail less and would succeed if they invoked an Aspect.)

  25. Tabletop Senior Member  #25
    Fluffy Necromancer Andkat's Avatar
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    You will see me again at the Gates of Saint Romanos...
    The Golden Fleece, Berlain

    Farrukshiyah was so overcome with joy at the thought of leaving this wretched city that he momentarily lowered his guard. But a lifetime’s experience as a Hostage-Prince at various courts had disciplined him on the importance of constant vigilance, especially when second-rate guards are nominally on duty. His ears pricked up as he heard breathing just beyond sight. Moving as casually as possible while the Prince talked, he slid open a window and nearly knocked over a dragoon officer pressing his ear against the glass.

    The officer jumped back with a start and tried to make a getaway, but Hans and Robert jumped the windowsill and tackled him from both sides before he could escape. Hans threw the man against the wall of the inn and jammed a pistol against his chest. “Good work, your highness,” he said to Farrukshiyah.

    "Now, Now, good sirs" Farrukshiyar begins, holding his hands out wide. "We are all friends here! Surely this stalwart man had been but perched on the precipice of offering his services to the good prince in his lamentable plight, torn with indecision between his profound love and that steely dedication to his lawful post drilled into him by the laudatorily stark and sober military apparatus of the praised Duke! He can but be reassured that an appointment in the Prince's service, to be ever at his side in both combat and carousing across the most glorious battlefields and most splendorous festivities, would enable him to follow that course to which his heart so clearly yearns, and so lend us valorously his much-sought aid!" Farrukshiyar snatches up a pair of wineglasses, raising one to his lips and proferring the other to the subdued man, coldly insistent expectation in clear evidence beneath his genial mask. "Now, gentlemen, shall we relent amicably from this rash misunderstanding?"


    Hans grinned and lowered his pistol. “As you say, sir. Warms the heart to see a patriotic man stand up for good old Prince Frederik, despite the risk to life and limb.”

    The aging Lieutenant they’d caught wilted between the two men and stared at Farrukshiyar with undisguised. “That isn’t- I wasn’t- I,” he said, then collapsed into incoherent muttering.

    Farrukshiyar turns to Frederik. "Now, my Prince, what say you to the admirable courage of this fine gentleman?"

    Prince Frederik blinked as he caught up with his companion’s quick mind. “Of course, such dedication is most welcome, and I would certainly provide it with ample reward at the end of my journey. I’m sure I could put in a good word with my uncle the Duke of Britannia and see about a suitable station for such a man of high valour and integrity.”

    The Lieutenant, apparently in desperate circumstances given his low rank at an advanced age, threw himself at the Prince’s feet and tried to kiss his knees. Hans pried him forcefully off. “You are most graceful, my lord! I will do my best to be of assistance!” the officer said.

    “Farrukshiyar, I trust you to guide him,” Frederik said.

    Farrukshiyar bows graciously, a twinkling eye trained on the grovelling officer. "Of course, my Prince."

  26. #26
    Member Deunan's Avatar
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    #boardwars
    The Golden Fleece, Berlain

    Myska shifted uncomfortably in the corner she took as her own, glad that no one was seemingly paying her any attention. She was perhaps the only one in the group that looked like she belonged outside the walls. Old clothes, her cloak tattered and patched up over the years. Really everything about her said that she belonged among the riff raff that surrounded the the alleys around the inn. Clothes she had put together during her stay in the palace and aged with dirt and soot. Nothing she'd dare be seen in by the nobles at any other day.

    Some of the other princeguard tried, Viktor managing to look the part perhaps the best. The prince on the other hand stood out like a sore thumb. His cloak too rich, the occasional flash of brocade below it. All in all, he looked like a princeling going out on an adventure.

    Worst of all was the way he held himself. Tall, stately and proud. Worst of all he didn't even realise it. The way he skittishly looked around at times was something he probably considered benefiting the common man. It made him stand out even more, he looked like someone with something to hide, rather than the slow bored disnotice anyone living with the rabble soon aquired. Worst of all, Myska didn't even realise she did the same mistake herself, just in the castle.
    Then there were Pierri and Cassandra, tall women, one an albino. Even with the cloaks eyes of many were probably drawn to them.
    Myska sighed and mumbled in a coarse street jargon. "W're all gaahing ta get flagg'd."

    She shook her head. It was like being stuck between an anwil and a hammer. She could try to stay in the prince's good graces and end up hunted by the Duke and Oberhoheit, or she could try to tell someone...and be seen as a traitor to the princeguard. Judging her options, the former seemed much safer than the later. Myska could dissappear if necessary, she could be lost and none would be wiser.
    The woman waited until the officer was escorted out of the room, before opening up.

    "M'lord" She mumbled a bit louder, wanting to attract both the attention of the prince and dreading it. She tried to keep her tongue clean, still as nervous as she was, the occasional slip up of an accent still showed trough.
    "Do you have a chosen course of action. A day at most, before they start hunting us. We can't stay on the roads, else a dragon will see us quickly, forests will be slow going for a drake, but the only way how to not be seen by men or dragons. And the drakes will be hungry. We can't trade for food and won't have time to hunt. For t'least a week. And evryone will know y'all lords and ladies, even without the drakes. The two ladies in particular will stick out, and thicker woods are filled with those who want to escape a dragon's fury. I am sure you're a good planner m'lord. But you tend to be noticed. I dan't think you want that."

    She forced the words out of herself. Flitting nervously between the prince, Hans and the other riders. Maybe, just maybe they wouldn't judge her too harshly for daring to say anything. But the plan seemed foolish, unprepared. Like a plan made by someone who didn't understand the world outside of palace walls.

    Roll rapport +0 - Myska tries to make the prince, or at least others of the princeguard think of the ramifications. They aren't probably prepared enough. They lack maps, a path or allies. They need a plan first and foremost. She's nervous about saying anything but feels that not doing so would be even worse.

    "I think there is much truth in your words, Myska," Prince Frederik said. "But when a pack of young people travel on drakeback on Patria Sol, they are either nobles or soldiers, and I fear misrepresenting ourselves as soldiers would be even more unwise. It's altogether too likely we'll encounter someone with the authority to question us. As long as I can disguise the fact I am the Prince, I don't think being regarded as noble is a problem. In a sense, an individual of common garb and demeanor riding a drake is more unusual than even Cassandra's distinct bloodline. With all that said, I think you are excessively concerned with the dragons. Oberhoheit and Ungebrochen are loath to involve themselves in what they regard as human matters and will only take flight if all else has failed. Or so I hope, at least." (edited)

    "If you have suggestions on ways to improve our plan, they're a blessing from the King," Hans said. "For now, we're largely relying on the speed of our drakes and the prospect of leaving Pruss as soon as possible."

    I cannot lie about having reservations in regards to this plan," Pieri stated, "Or that I am tempted still to warn your father due to its currently rather reckless nature. Caution is key. If any word of our escape reaches the appropriate ears too swiftly, the whole plan will be in jeopardy."

    Farrukshiyar waves a hand. "The Throne of Pruss's own child Widerheit traveled far and wide across the benighted expanses beyond Germania, lingering in realms that Oberhoheit could have naught but contempt for. Nonetheless, the Throne continued to hold him in high regard, and bore witnesses to his enduring loyalty in battles not long past. He is amply cognizant of the... realities at court, and I much doubt he will be easily persuaded to take flight in our persecution."

    Human affairs solved by human hands, right? Isn't that how it's always been?" Cassie agrees. "Even when Riders go to war, the dragons almost always fight each other rather than setting fire to the countryside. You always get a few exceptions, I suppose, like Britannia's Inferno or blood-crazed Tengri, but..."

    "Something tells me Oberhoheit isn't one of those."

    Farrukshiyar rises to recline at a slightly less obtuse angle at Cassie's words. "Ah yes! Dear Inferno! I was honored to be guest for a time to the glorious Ashwoods amongst whom that great dragon's Rider, the gallant Lord Gawain, numbers. Many nights did I spend in his fine company, and can think of no more valorous a comrade to have in wine and women! I am certain he will be thrilled to receive such distinguished gentlemen " Farrukshiyar casts an amused eye across the bevy of bastards before him as he speaks, "as ourselves with splendor and amity that is the Britannian custom!"
    Rapport to determine contacts- 0 +1, applying boost for +2, success with style

    Myska gulped and seemingly tried to melt into the shadows even further. She had heard of the dragon Inferno, at least from a beggar on the street. The man had been horribly disfigured and could barely do anything but lie down in a whimper. Apparently he had been a soldier, a member of a regiment that was waylaid by the dragon once. Sure the man had had a frankian accent, but no one deserved that.
    Last edited by Deunan; 28th Feb 16 at 5:39 PM.

  27. Gamers Lounge Senior Member Boardwars Senior Member  #27
    FREEZE! Mokino's Avatar
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    Farrukshiyar nods. "It would be wise, then, to prepare in advance a suitable ruse. Send forth a trusted man, known to be high in your service, on a drake to a distant court at all haste this evening. Ensure that he is seen and his urgency and destination reported. Much time and resources might the Duke squander in a futile pursuit after putting two and two together."


    "A reasonable suggestion. Robert, can you handle this task?" Frederik said. "Head for Sors."

    Robert Keith nodded. "As you command, sir."

    "Farrukshiyah, I leave the question of misdirection in your hands," Frederik said.


    "Not a bad start," the assassin grabbed a loaf of bread from the table, taking a large bite, "But I do believe you've just accelerated our departure. So, how are we leaving the city?"

    Myska looked at Victor, wondering if he'd mention the side gate.


    "The cover of darkness is imperative. Until then we must hold our nerve, regardless of... complications," Frederik said, glancing at the eavesdropper turned subordinate he'd suddenly gained.

    "Before we proceed, let's slow down. Are you all in? Or are you out?" Hans said. His eyes swept the room.


    "One moment, my prince." Cassie holds up a slender finger, then turns her attention to their curious interloper. Her lips form an amused, predatory smile; she leans forward slightly towards the aging lieutenant, and narrows her eyes of bright crimson - softly shimmering with reflected candle light - at him.
    "We ?_can_? trust you, can't we?"


    The man saw her crimson eyes and nearly melted with fear. "Of-of course! I am the Prince's man, through and through!" he said. But his desire for coin is clearly stronger than his loyalty to anyone in Cassandra's eyes. For now, that means he would indeed follow the Prince. Later is another question.



    "You're asking a lot of us, Fred," Pieri kept close watch on the spy, "I for one am already on pretty uneven ground with the nobility. How do you think 'Valentin assassin kidnaps the Prince as part of a conspiracy against the Duke' is going to look in the eyes of my enemies?"


    Excuse me, your highness. But there might be another way out of the castle. There's a little used gate behind the workshops that is out of sight, and more importantly, out of mind. It might be a tight fit for a drake though"


    "That's excellent news. Show Hans later, and perhaps we can make use of it," Frederik said to Viktor. Then he turned back to face Pieri. "I'm aware of that. But that's true of everyone here. No one who goes through with this will be regarded with any favour, so in that sense, your case is nothing unusual."

    "Like I said, we all have to come to our own decision," Hans said.

    "All I can offer is my thanks, which is a slight thing," Frederik said. He smiled apologetically at her.


    "I suppose I wouldn't be the first Valentin to finish life hanging by their neck," she replied after a moment, "Fine, I'm in. One last hurrah before the end, at worst."

    "While it pains me to go against a lord as noble as the Duke, I cannot but be stirred by the righteousness of your cause, my Prince. "

    Myska's eyes darted between the princeguard. "I don't have anywhere else to go my prince. But I don't think you would find me useful for anything. I'd probably just slow the group down."


    "Not at all. You have skills and experiences no one else here has, and that makes you worth more than your weight in gold," Frederik said. "You've seen things I'll probably never see."

    The girl looked at the prince, not really believing his words. "But none of those things will prove to be useful. I will try to scout in the very least for you." She conceded.


    "Myska, remember the Bloodied Falcons." Pieri caught the thief's eye, "Everybody assumed they were just a myth, but for over a century they managed to rule their own little shadow empire, by being smart enough to stay just out of sight."


    The girl paused for a moment. "I remember that song, tavern favourite between the Pruss and three duchies border. The end is always left out though, they all dangled." She said the end.
    "Eitherway my prince, if you wish this to stay a secret a return to the palace might be wise. The cooks were preparing a dinner."


    "Very true. Then let us return to Drakkenheim," Frederik said.

  28. #28
    Prince's Quarters, Drakkenheim

    "So." Cassie says, her voice a little uneven from nerves; certainly, she'd offered advice before, even counsel, but never in anything so resembling a... well, official capacity, she supposed. "Mind if I have a word?"

    "Go ahead," Prince Frederik said. He still seemed half-distracted, even in the safety of his quarters in Drakkenheim. He stared at a large map he'd laid out on his desk and weighed down at the corners with slight tomes of poetry and novels.

    "Picking out holiday destinations?" She ventured hopefully; not much of an attempt to inject levity, she knew, but even some feeble attempt was better than none, wasn't it?

    "If only. If I can't estimate our location and orientate myself after our night flight, things will go poorly for us," Frederik said. He tapped the map with his fingers. "I know Akrayalcea's gliding speed at night, but will that decrease when we travel in formation? That's the question."

    Cassie slid herself quietly into a seat opposite Frederik; uncharacteristically of Pruss (she thought, perhaps a little uncharitably), it was actually rather comfortable. She allowed herself a moment of relaxation as the soft cushions billowed out around her and smiled softly.

    "You've been thinking about this for a while, haven't you?"

    "For months. For most of that time I couldn't even trust Hans with a word of it," Frederik said. "Truthfully, it was more like a daydream at first. But I thought and thought about how to make it happen."

    She chuckles. "I know that feeling, yes."
    Tilting her head in curiosity, she continued.
    "When did you know you had to leave? For certain, I mean. When it stopped being a daydream and became real."

    "When I worked out it could be done," Frederik said. Sensing her seriousness, he turned away from the map at last and sat down opposite her.

    "Are you sure?" She asked, her voice quiet and serious. "You could be giving up a lot. The power to help a lot of people, even."

    "Perhaps. But was I ever the man to help them?" Frederik said. He sighed. "I understand. If I felt I could endure it, I'd try, but it's beyond endurance. Wilting under my father's gaze, isolated and humiliated, wishing for his death every day... is that how a son should live? Just waiting for his father to die?"

    Cassie blinked, surprised. She knew they didn't get along... she knew the Duke was vicious, petty, spiteful and cruel – had seen it with her own eyes - but even so... perhaps she had simply been divorced from that kind of naked hate, that contempt, for too long a time.

    Though, thinking upon it, she had never really felt it at all – certainly, in her past there had been people who'd tried to hurt her – heaped scorn upon her for all manner of things she'd done wrong, or things they thought she had, or...

    "I didn't know it was that bad." She admitted, truthfully. "You hate him that much?"

    "At times," Frederik said. His voice shook as he tried to find words. "I know- I know that he's just trying to do right by Pruss. But I can't be what he wants me to be and he will never change. Given that, it would be for the best if he looked to William. I'm sure of it."

    "Why doesn't he?" Cassie asked. "Your sister gave up her right to ride in favour of you; could you not do the same?"

    "I don't know. I've asked him that many times, but he just told me not to question the dragon's will," Frederik said.

    "This is what the Throne really wants?" Cassie wondered aloud. "Son and father turned against each other, each resenting their position..." She sighed, shaking her head in dismay at the madness of it. Attempting to get her mind off this potentially dangerous line of thinking (for whom would be permitted the luxury of believing that a dragon, of all things, had simply lost the whole damned plot?)

    "What is it he asks of you that you cannot stand?" She asked. "You can fight, can't you? Konrad told me as much."

    "Konrad says what he must to protect his own position. I have no martial ability," Frederik said. "As for the rest, my father wants a son in his own image. A King-fearing Protestator who knows nothing but theology and military drill. My disposition enrages him and the books that are my only joy in this place disgust him. Now he's doing everything in his power to end all prospects of my marriage." Frederik shook his head. "Do you see the pattern? If he doesn't control it- if it isn't his idea- he'll stamp it out. Not even my mother can go against him. And in time, the Princeguard too will be broken."

    "Konrad wasn't lying, you know." Cassie replied, saying the first thing that came to mind.

    Cassie smiles.
    "Unless...?" She prompts.

    "If my father consented to some enterprise that took me away from this infernal castle, I wouldn't be driven to this. But as I've said before, he will never change," Frederik said.
    Last edited by Sevorak; 28th Feb 16 at 6:14 PM. Reason: Details!

  29. #29
    Forum Farseer Akranadas's Avatar
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    Drakkenheim

    Maximillian returned back to Drakkenheim with the others, keeping to himself as they road through the streets and snuck back into the castle. The smell of fresh meals was in the air and there was energy of work that hang around the servants as they made their way through the castle, preparing it for the dinner ahead. He made his way to his own quarters, closing the door behind him they were modest quarters, nothing too fancy; just a family wardrobe, a small writing desk and mirror. He looked to the small pale of fresh water near his table, a personal request of his from the servant who tended his room. He slowly took off his cloak and undershirt, revealing his bear skin to the cool castle air. His thoughts drifted to the situation at hand:

    ”The prince is obviously suffering” Maximillian thought to himself as he carefully placed his clothing on a hanger ”The sincerity in his voice and the emotion on his face, it was easy to tell that this was difficult, dangerous and a cry for help”

    Maximillian sat down on his stool, pulled the small pale of water and sat it on top of his writing table. ”But is deserting his post as Prince and dragging us into his escapade the right way to get that help? Grabbing a small sponge and dipping it slowly into the pale of water ”There was very few voices of discontent in the Princeguard… only Myska, bless her, seemed overly concerned about this venture”

    He wrung out the sponge and began to scrub his arms quite hard ”What do I do though? He questioned ”Going to the Duke would result in the possibility of destruction of the Princeguard physically as the Duke would no doubt attempt to quash any collaborators”

    ”Myska, for all troubles in public speaking, had the most sense to bring up the real consequences of this action. It’s a shame that she could not persude the Prince or that Hans to abandon this action… in fact, they sped it up instead!” He dampened the sponge once more, before scrubbing his face ”Blast it. I cannot let the Prince make a decision that will not only get himself killed but every one of us.”

    With that, he threw the sponge back into the pale and placed it down on the floor of his room. Maximillian grabbed a piece of parchment and a freshly inked quill before he bang to pen his note.

    It is with the utmost respect that I have penned this letter to you and I hope it manages to reach you with haste.

    I have trouble news to share with you; your son, Prince Frederik, is about to do something incredibly foolish.

    I cannot describe what this is within the contents of this letter, just that if you have trust in me, you will know that it is serious.

    Speak to the Prince were possible and send your most loyal guardsmen to secure a gate behind the workshops.

    I do this for the love I have for Prince Frederik and for the kindness you’ve shown me.

    With Regards,

    Maximillian Betancourt


    With the letter written, he rolled it up tightly and tied it with a simple ribbon. Maximillian then spent the time selecting her clothing for the evening and tidying up his appearance before setting out to walk the halls before dinner. His heart was beating considerably harder than normal, the rush of knowing that he was potentially betraying his Prince and his fellow Princeguard weighed heavy upon his shoulders, as if he was carrying an entire mule upon them.

    He paced around the hallways, keeping to himself mostly; trying to avoid bumping into a fellow Princeguard, but as he rounded a corner he spotted her; the lowly servant from before, Gwendoline. Maximillian picked up his pace and headed towards the girl, stopping her as she was carrying a small try of cutlery. She smiled as he approached her, remembering the kindness he showed her before

    “Gwendoline” Maximillian said warmly, “I have a favour to ask of you if you don’t mind”

    “What is it My Lord?” Gwendoline replied with curiosity in her voice

    “I need you to take this” he said, placing the small letter into her soft hands, holding them together with his “I need you to take this to someone important. Do not open it please, do not let someone else see its contents. Take it only to them.”

    Surprised by this task, she replied softly but with a hint of fear in her voice “Of... Of course My Lord, anything” she took the letter and held it tightly into her hands before placing it in her robes “Who…Who is it going to?”

    “The Duchess”

    Roll +2 Rappot with Bless of Laksaeka used for both ensuring Gwendoline delivers the note successfully and that the Duchess trusts the contents.

  30. #30
    Wandering Swordsman Lestaki's Avatar
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    London, Blighty
    Corridor, Drakkenheim
    Maximillian moved with purpose. Time was running short, but he couldn’t afford to be careless. He’d seen the eyes on the Prince’s guard dog.

    (Stealth vs Notice, -1 vs 0. Hans has become aware of Maximillian’s movements.

    Rapport +2 vs Will, 1 vs 3. Failure. Maximillian spends a Fate Point to invoke Utterly Charming. 3 vs 3, tie, Success with consequences.)


    Gwendoline wilted from the pressure of the situation. Though the noble was pleasant enough, this time it was clear enough that she was being used. She gathered her resolve. “With all due respect, sir, I couldn’t possibly approach the Duchess.”

    Maximillian took her hand. “Gwendoline, I implore you. This is a matter of life and death,” he said.

    Her resistance crumbled before his unflinching eyes. “I understand. I will do what I can,” she said.

    Maximillian pushed her away as he heard footsteps heading towards them. “Go, now!” he hissed.

    Gwendoline took off at a run.

    “A lordling like you might not know, but no one comes here at this time of day. You were pretty unlucky to run into your latest flame here of all places,” Hans said. He stopped a few feet behind Max and put a hand on the hilt of his greatsword. “Call her back.”

    (Hans has an advantage: No Witnesses 1.)

  31. Tabletop Senior Member  #31
    Fluffy Necromancer Andkat's Avatar
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    You will see me again at the Gates of Saint Romanos...
    Drakkenheim Palace, Farrukshiyar's Suite

    Ensconced in the violet and ebony depths of his garishly appointed suite, Farrukshiyar langorously scratches out the last few lines of cramped Coptic comprising his missive. Swaying from drink, he idlely runs a hand over the smooth vellum as he reaches clumsily for an envelope. He hardly notices as his coarse movements upend an entire bottle of fine perfume, reputedly made from the innards of painstakingly peeled and crushed beetles in some sweltering far reach of the Indian Ocean, all over his desk, and certainly pays no attention to the now soaked and reeking parchment that he absently crumples and shoves into its prepared sheathe.


    Stumbling to his commode, Farrukshiyar wrests into his grip a large brass bell, which he begins ringing with an enthusiastically obnoxious fervor. A few minutes later, the insistent rapping at his lacquered oak door finally penetrates the inebriated haze of his senses. Languidly opening the portal, Farrukshiyar flashes a grin of malicious pleasure at the gaunt old man standing at attention, severe Prussian mien barely masking his irritation at being woken at so ungodly an hour, at the threshold of his apartment. "Ah Sauerbrunn!" Farrukshiyar grins as he proffers the sagging envelope. "Be a dear for me and deliver this to the good Sir Keith forthwith!"

    The elderly manservant's nose scrunches as if in reflection of his inward scowl, hairs visibly twitching at the nauseatingly pungent aroma. Sauerbrunn makes as if to utter an indignity, barely clamping down on his recalcitrant tongue in time. Sauerbrunn, dour as the halls of Drakkenheim after many decades of service, made little secret of his antipathy for Farrukshiyar, denouncing the debauched and insidious Parsian as a pernicious influence on the young Prince's character to any who would care to listen. Farrukshiyar had naturally wasted little time in securing the Duke's permission to have the fellow put on long-term retainer in his personal staff, positively delighting in the contortions the man went through to suppress any visible manifestations of his cantankerous loathing in sight of his nominal master.

    Sauerbrunn turns to leave, marching with tight-lashed soldierly dignity down the hall, when Farrukshiyar begins loudly ringing the bell again. The servant makes a stiff turn, expression furiously featureless. "I almost forgot" Farrukshiyar laughs as he lazily tosses a silken sack at the man, the package hitting the motionless servant's shin before landing with a mineral clink at his feet. "Ol' Keith'll need that as well!"


    Godspeed you valiant Britannian. If we falter in our flight, I'm going to need enough poppy to last the winter.


    Farrukshiyar stumbles back across the threshold and forthwith collapses onto the plush leather of his gold-filigreed couch. Feeling the agony of his accumulated intoxication bearing down upon him, Farrukshiyar lashes out desperately with his spasming limbs. At length, he contrives to seize a frenzied grip on a reassuringly heavy bottle of some hopefully narcotic fluid. Farrukshiyar carefully cradles his latest lover, drinking deep of its crimson substance as the first blazing embers of dawn pierce the suite's thick curtains, shadows of opulent embroidery playing across the haggard countenance of a man driven to his limit by the joys of life.


    Compel- Whimsical Impetuosity- Elated by the prospect of finally taking leave of severe Drakkenheim and dull Pruss, Farrukshiyar drinks and drugs himself throughout the entire night. He will awaken for the escape thoroughly inebriated and substantially sleep deprived.

    Deceive: Farrukshiyar dispatches Keith with a letter and package of cut gems addressed to a Sorsian merchant prince of dubious repute, selecting a messenger that he is certain will betray his confidence. He also ensures that several of the more garrulous servants are tending to the lower mounds at the same time, ensuring that the knight's hurried and furtive egress is witnessed by those most apt to bring it to the Duke's ears.

    Fate Point Invocation- Hostage-Prince of Pars- Raised in the halls of the Imperial Palace, Farrukshiyar has long experience with byzantine court intrigues- compared to which this is but child's play.

    Roll: -1, +2- Fate Point +2= 3, Pass!


    Situational Aspect: Cunning Misdirection (Farrukshiyar's ruse will focus the Duke's attention on the prospect of the Prince's flight to Sors, wholly opposite his true route), 1 Free Invocation
    Last edited by Andkat; 29th Feb 16 at 7:37 PM.

  32. #32
    Forum Farseer Akranadas's Avatar
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    Corridor, Drakkenheim

    Maximillian heard the sound of a hand resting upon the hilt of a greatsword, he knew Hans’ threat was real, that he would more than likely go through with whatever he was going to do. “Call her back” the words echoed through his ears, he could almost smell the bile at which Hans shoot the words towards him.

    Without turning around, Maximillian let out a curt “No”, he watched as Gwendoline looked back towards him as she was about to round a corner. She could clearly see the situation he was now in, Maximillian could see the concern in her eyes as he mouthed a silent “Go” and with that, she was gone.

    “Once the choice is made, the rest is consequence” Maximillian spoke softly, still refusing to turn to face Hans “You may not see me sparing off in the barracks Hans and you may never see a sworn or a pistol in my hands but that doesn’t mean I lack courage or bravery. That is what it took to do this Hans, not blind loyalty to a Prince” His fists curled as he spoke “I may be bound to the Prince as his Princeguard, but that doesn’t mean I follow whatever decision he makes”

    “If you cannot see that Frederick is in need of help then you are blinded by your love for him. What I have set in motion, you cannot stop. For what I have done is for the good of the Prince and for Pruss itself” Maximillian relaxed and turned to face Hans, he looked straight into his eyes, unflinching in his gaze “Do your duty"

    Roll Soldiery +1

  33. #33
    Wandering Swordsman Lestaki's Avatar
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    Corridor, Drakkenheim
    “Fine words. And if you had said even a word to the Prince about your evident doubts before now, they might have honour in them. But you said nothing at all before betraying us, so your words are empty,” Hans said. “Frederik’s Princeguard has no more need of you, Betancourt.”

    For a moment, the two men stared into each other’s eyes. Then Hans took a step forwards.

    (A Physical Conflict commences. Situation Aspects: No Witnesses 1, Confined Space. Notice vs Notice, 1 vs 1. Hans has higher Athletics, breaking the tie, and goes first.)

    Hans let go of the hilt of his sword and raised his fists as he charged in. Even without a weapon, the size of his body and his sheer strength were an unmistakable threat.

    (Hans attacks- Fight vs Fight, 2 vs 2. Draw.)

    Hans stepped in and threw a heavy blow towards Maximillian’s face, but Maximillian managed to follow the strike and block with both hands. Hans grinned and stepped back. “So you have some spirit, I see,” he said. He measured the distance between them while circling his prey.

  34. #34
    Forum Farseer Akranadas's Avatar
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    Corridor, Drakkenheim

    “Betancourts have never lacked spirit” Maximillian said as he felt Hans fist catch him in the side of the chest. Fighting was never his strong suit and he knew going up against a soldier like Hans was pure madness, if the man wanted him dead, he would be dead. It seemed that Hans simply wanted to teach Max a lesson here.

    "If you sold us to the Duke, I'd at least understand. But what are you even trying to achieve here?" Hans asked. He drove his fist into Maximillian's stomach. "That was a rhetorical question."

    He knew if his position was swap with one of his brothers, the situation would be different. All of them were accomplished warriors in various aspects of fighting. Max’s battlefield was the court, not a dimly lit hallway in Drakkenhein. Still he took the beating better than some might have. Perhaps it was pride and honour that provided him with some form of mental protection.

    It was the final blow that knocked Maximillian down, a quick jab from Hans’ fist to the eye of Maximillian. He felt himself lose his balance before landing hard on the stone floor. Max could already feel his eye swelling as a result of the blow. If Hans expected Max to simply crumble into a heap on the floor, he was mistaken… Max was black and blue but he knew in his heart he had done the right thing.

    "Well, I'd better take flight and see if Frederik can reason with his mother," Hans said. He knelt and put a shoulder round Maximillian. "But first I'd better get you to the healers. We Princeguard have to stick together, right, Betancourt?"

    “If you insist” Maximillian responded, making his way to the healers with the dog Hans following in his footsteps.

  35. #35
    Viktor’s Quarters - Drakkenheim

    Viktor sank into the luxurious chair next to the fireplace. The flames were stoked high, eagerly consuming the blocks of wood placed on the hearth. He picked up the book that lay on the table next to him. The collected works of some long dead writer. Viktor didn’t know his name and didn’t care enough to look it up. The book had been a gift of course. Frederik had been eager to share his passions with the princeguard and it would have been impolite to refuse. He opened the book at one of the final chapters and carefully extracted a piece of parchment stuck between the pages.


    Unbelievable...



    As he had done so many times before in the past few weeks, Viktor inspected the note that had cost him so dearly to obtain. There were only two lines. An address in Berlain and a date. Today’s date. He crumpled the piece of paper and threw it in the fireplace. He had need of it no longer. Thirty months he had searched for this tiny morsel of information. Two and a half years of work wasted, and for what!? A flight of fancy of a prince who had decided he was too frail to deal with the realities of life. For once in his life the spineless twerp decides to show some backbone, but today of all days!


    He hadn’t said much during the meeting in the Golden Fleece. He had merely sat in stunned silence as Frederik outlined his ludicrous plan. He had to support the prince, obviously. If only to save him from ending up dead in ditch halfway to the next town. But the concept of his prey slipping through his fingers after all the trouble he had gone through had not even crossed Viktor’s mind. It hadn’t been an option, until tonight. But then Frederik had opened his stupid mouth and it had all come crumbling down.


    Rapport [0]: Attempt to acquire book with places where to get supplies and safehouses for the journey.
    Result= 2. Success. You gather the desired information without incident.

    The little book detailing Eisenwald contacts, trading posts and warehouses throughout Pruss felt heavy in his pocket. He had hastily picked it up on their way back to the castle, but he had no idea if it would be of any use on their venture. Escaping from castles while riding drakes wasn’t exactly Viktor’s area of expertise. He had considered speaking to the prince, but decided against it. He was too distracted to think clearly anyway.


    Seething anger, crushing disappointment and the all encompassing desire to make someone pay for his misfortune waged a bitter battle in his heart. He leaned back and closed his eyes, listening to the pops and crackles of the firewood burning as he tried to set his mind straight. A moment later he chucked the prince’s precious gift into the fire as well.


    A petty gesture, but at least it made him feel better.
    Last edited by Kronoch; 29th Feb 16 at 4:24 PM.

  36. #36
    Member Deunan's Avatar
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    Later
    It had been a few hours since the tavern meeting and Myska was still worried, most of all for herself. Abandoning the princeguard would be seen as betrayal by everyone including Naufragium and not doing anything would end up with her being called a traitor anyway.
    The prince had really not thought anything trough the perspective of his subjects. While he may just make his father, the duke angry, he was essentially safe. The princeguard, particularly the less savoury members of it, had no such protection.
    And despite it all, she couldn't tell anyone, at least not at once, since that would doom the endavour from the very get go. What did nobles do in such a situation. She wracked her mind trying to find a solution, until finally she had an idea. A letter, that's what the rich did, wasn't it. Sealed so that only the intended recipient could read it.
    She was new to writing, but maybe, maybe she could let Naufragium know. Finding a piece of coal and parchment she began to write.

    naufrakigum.
    The prence prints wants to do a mistake. I did nat run, but trie to protecd. Gave letter to Elizabet for you.

    M


    Despite everything, she had to smile to herself. A small hint of pride crept into her. Her penmanship was utterly terrible, the left handed scribble something her tutors would chastise her for. But it was her own writing, not copying it from some musty tome without really understanding the words.

    She quickly rolled the piece of paper up and dripped liquid wax on top. Wincing she pressed her own fingers into it, creating a seal that no one would expect.

    She carefully opened the door and hid the letter in her dress. Slowly, yet purposefully moving to the chambers of the court healer. The woman was a Feuergrau, Myska thought it certain she would give her message to the family's dragon patron. She just had to think of a way to wake her up without her screaming.

    Roll stealth +2 - sneak to lady Elizabeth's quarters and wake her
    1. Myska's passage is marked but no one thinks much of her visiting her cousin for now. Later, perhaps, this will be remembered.


    It was quite late. A few servants were still about, but none seemed to pay Myska any heed as she moved closer to the inner chambers of the palace. A healer's position was prestidious and it did allow Elisabeth some luxury and privacy. The thief is calmed by soft candlelight coming from underneath the healer's door. She knocked and slipped in.

    Lady Elisabeth Feurgray, Myska's cousin, or so everyone believed in the very least, via a cadet line looked up from a large tome of medicine that had just arrived from Belgarie. Myska barely got sight of a painted hand before she averted her eyes, the layers of skin peeled off and every tendon and bone clearly labeled. It was an odd sight.

    "Myska, aren't you about somewhat late? I myself would have retired for the night, but a courier just brought this today. With the prince's injury, there was no time to peruse it yet." She noticed the former thief's confusion.
    "I am sorry, I keep forgetting where you grew up. You did clean up well. I meant I just wanted to read a few pages. What brings you to me?"

    "Lady Healer-" Elisabeth held up her hand. "I will stop you there Myska. Please call me Elisabeth, we are after all family. I am not one to judge Naufragium's choices. Albeit a dragon who names itself Shipwreck has perhaps a most unique disposition."

    "Uhm la-Elisabeth. Could I ask you for a favour? Could you have this delivered to Naufragium?" She carefully handed over the sealed scroll, afraid the words might spring up in flame.

    The healer raised an eyebrow at that and looked carefully at the seal and how it seemed to be an imprint of Myska's fingers.

    "I will of course have this delivered to our most esteemed patron. At least after it starts fretting around our patriarch, your grandfather. I swear the man will be the death of the poor dragon as stubborn as he is. But stay here for a bit Myska. Let me put a poultice on those fingers."



    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Once that was done, she'd have to prepare. Clean out the caches of food, coins and whatever small valuables she had hidden away over the months. Myska had a feeling that every single advantage she could bring with her would help. Maybe she also ought to take the small crossbow that was still wrapped in a waxed oilskin behind a few stones near the courtyard.

  37. Gamers Lounge Senior Member Boardwars Senior Member  #37
    FREEZE! Mokino's Avatar
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    Pieri had been ignoring most of the proceedings after her return to the palace, instead burying herself in books as she often did when stressed. She was currently pouring over a tome of maps of the local area, looking for the best escape routes if they managed to escape the city. After a moment, however, she slammed the book closed with a sigh.

    Resting her head in her palms, she slammed her forehead against the desk repeatedly.


    “You know, I felt much the same way when I tried to look through, um...” Cassie cast her gaze over the front of the rather dull-looking tome Pieri had been perusing. “'A Collection of Maps of the Drakkenheim Roadways'?”

    “Are you thinking of becoming a cartographer? I have to say, I can't in good conscience recommend it."


    She'd been hiding in the wings, lurking in an alcove out of sight, as tended to be her custom in places like this. It made surprising unwary bystanders a lot easier, and usually more enjoyable as they fumbled to locate the source of the disembodied voice...


    "I'm trying to memorize the lay of the land around the castle," the assassin shrugged, "Looking for ways to lose possible pursuers quickly and such. The more I think on it, though, the crazier this whole plan feels. Frederik is making a foolish gambit, running away just because he can't handle his father's strictness. He should've grown up in my family..." Idly, she ran a finger down her face, tracing the single but deeper scar that ran from forehead to temple.


    “Perhaps if he had, he wouldn't have survived to stand with us now.” Cassie replies, as gently as she can. “We all have things we can't stand; the prince has to do what he thinks he must to escape his pain, even if others are enduring worse.”


    "You don't get it, do you?" Pieri turned to face her visitor, her eyes intense, "You learn from pain. It's an essential part of life-no, it is life. Without pain, there is nothing. "


    Cassie frowns, and meets Pieri's gaze without flinching. “Pain is one teacher,” Cassie agrees. “But it must be used wisely, and never when another way would serve better.” She sighs. “There is no knowledge or wisdom in this world worth having that comes easily; we all must suffer in our way to reach our own horizons; in that, you are not wrong.”

    “But we are not dogs, to learn only through the lash. A teacher has to be more than just harsh, or he is no teacher at all – just a wicked man cracking the whip to gratify himself.”


    "My father learned that lesson the hard way," Pieri said with a slight hint of sadness, pulling a worn dagger from her robe and sitting it gently upon her desk. The blade contained a set of symbols. Runes of an unknown nature.


    "This is the blade I used on him. It bears his name and the date. It is the only gravestone he will ever have,"

    she paused for a moment, "Cassandra, I thought getting rid of him would fix things, but...nothing really changed. My family home is still a ruin, our dragon has been missing for several years, though that isn't abnormal for her...but the worst part, the part that cuts me so deep, is that my dear sister Elma still never leaves her room. I frighten her. To her I am one of the greatest evils that walks this Earth. I believe she may be right."


    “Sometimes violence solves things,” Cassie replies softly, “and sometimes it doesn't.”

    “But, for whatever it's worth, you do not seem cruel to me. You've simply suffered more than was your due.” She shrugs, a little awkwardly. “It has changed you, that much is clear. But that change was forced upon you; it was never something you chose. You only did what you had to, did you not? To save yourself.”


    "I shouldn't have hurt her," Pieri stated firmly, "I should have drawn the line before things reached that point but what's done is done." she sighed again, "I was considering telling the Duke our plan, you know. I was going to try and convince him to let us leave peacefully, but I don't think I'd be able to get through to a man like him."


    “No. Perhaps not.” Cassie sighs. “It seems that the only faraway destinations he deems appropriate are places even worse than here... places worse to the prince's mind, anyway.” She muses. “And Prince Farrukshiyar's.” Her frown deepens. “And mine, for that matter.”

    “Does everyone here ?_always_? arise at such an ungodly hour?" She exclaims in dismay. "How do they even continue to function when so deprived of rest?”


    "I'm conditioned to sleeping in short periods," the assassin shrugged again, looking at the dagger, "Just another part of his legacy I'll never be rid of."



    Cassie buries her head in her hands in mock dismay, clutching at clumps of her snowy hair.
    “Oh, the King save me from madmen with broken sleep cycles.” She flashes Pieri a smile. “Well, madwomen in your case, but...”

    She sighs.
    “If you really feel that speaking to the Duke and trying to sway his mind is the best course, perhaps you ought to speak to the others? Together, we may be able to persuade the duke to allow Frederik to leave peacefully. It would be better for all of us if we could.”



    "We risk ruining the entire plan by doing so," Pieri noted, "For now, I think I'll return to my maps. Just in case."



    Cassie nods.
    “For my part, I'm willing to try and plead our case to the duke, but only if the prince himself can be convinced to change his plan. Otherwise, I suppose we run.” She sighs deeply, as if a little annoyed with herself. “It may be foolish for me to arrange my loyalties this way, but I, much like you, cannot change who I am.”


    "As much as we'd like to," Pieri said with another sigh, returning to the book, "I leave dear Frederik to you. I've never been good with talking."

    Cassie chuckles.
    “You seem to be talking to me just fine.”


    Just before she goes to depart, she taps one of the old, worn leather-bound Pieri had half-buried under a stack of old magic books.
    “Hmm... the great Duke Althain and his holy blade, Calesvol? What a curious selection for a girl who thinks herself a monster.” Cassie winks back at Pieri over her shoulder, and departs, quietly smiling to herself.

    (Roll Lore +2, 2. Success. An advantage is created for the escape. Pieri has memorized the local terrain and knows optimum flight paths to escape pursuit)

  38. #38
    Wandering Swordsman Lestaki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    London, Blighty
    Healer’s Hall, Drakkenheim
    Elizabeth groaned the moment she saw Maximillian’s face. “For King’s sake, would you Princeguard get out of my hair for more than a minute?” she said. “And who did this, come to that?”

    “I did,” Hans said flatly.

    Elizabeth sighed. “I don’t even want to know. Now let’s see to you, my boy.”

    (Lore- Healing, 6. Maximillian’s -4 Consequence is changed from ‘Beaten Black and Blue’ to ‘On the Mend’. He will recover at the next full rest.)

    The simple application of a cloth soaked in water did much to reduce the swelling. She also cleaned up the cuts Maximillian had picked up when he had been battered, and even bandaged Hans’ bloody knuckles. “It was clearly quite one-sided,” she said. “There must be a more civilised way to settle one’s differences.”

    Drawing Room, Drakkenheim
    The Duchess could act swiftly when the time came and this was no exception. The moment she received the letter from a hysterical servant, orders reverberated from woman to woman to men who would do well to answer to her. Without the Duchess so much as lifting a finger, some of the most important people in the castle were gathered in her presence. Princess Wilhelmine arrived swiftly, unattended by her friends. Prince Frederik followed shortly thereafter along with those members of the Princeguard the Duchess thought would be useful or amusing to invite. Finally, Maximilian snuck in with Hans gnawing at his heels like a bloodhound.

    The Duchess leaned back on the couch and stared at her son. “I’ve received a quite hysterical letter from a certain quarter, Frederik. Would you care to elaborate on the situation?” she said.

    With nowhere to hide, Frederik went for broke and explained his entire plan in broad outline. Several times he tried to stop, but his mother’s silence was a sucking void that demanded to be filled, and time and again his frail voice was plucked to life again by her expectant eyes.

    The Duchess frowned when he finally finished. “I thought you weren’t that fond of Amelia,” she said bluntly.

    “What?” Frederik said.

    Hans kicked him under the table. “So I thought too, your highness, but I was quite mistaken.”

    Frederik coughed. “Amelia, yes. At first I thought she was just… nice, but I keep, uh, thinking about her, and now I’m sure she’s really very nice. Beautiful. Unforgettable. And so on, and so forth,” he said. He looked frantically for assistance from the gallery, but none was immediately forthcoming. “But I’ve come to believe that father will stop at nothing in preventing me from marrying her. No one here can oppose him, so the only way her and I will ever be married is if I do something drastic.”

    Here he was on firmer ground. The Duchess nodded in agreement. “It is indeed so. All my arts are barely sufficient to buy time. But I could never expect that you would attempt something so reckless and foolish,” she said.

    “I’ve done my best to plan so that my, uh, venture will be a success,” Frederik said.

    “It’s quite wonderful. I was worried your only love was books, but evidently you are more passionate than I gave you credit for,” the Duchess said. Her face was a perfect mask; it was impossible to say whether she really believed his words or not. Regardless, she stood up and took her son’s hands. “You should have come to me, my child. I could have done much to assist you if only I’d known sooner.”

    “I was afraid of the consequences of involving you in such a conspiracy,” Frederik said.

    “Don’t fear for me. I’m clever enough to look after myself,” the Duchess said. She leaned back again and leaned her chin on her interlaced hands. “If you were merely fleeing to a strange court, I could not condone that, but my brother August is a kindly man. The Duke of Britannia has no reason to fear the Duke of Pruss. I will write a letter to him to explain the situation. If you present it to him when you arrive at his court, he will surely protect you. Wilhelmine!”

    “Presently, mother,” the Princess said. She opened one of the drawers and took out quill, ink, and fine paper. All three were swiftly presented to her mother in the centre of the room.

    The Duchess licked the end of the quill. “The marriages must be concluded as soon as possible. Your father will be wroth for a long time, but Oberhoheit favours Frederik, and I will do my best to manage the situation here. I will have my brother’s people approach him on diplomatic ground as well. Even my dear husband must understand that our excessive reliance on Austren is dangerous,” she said.

    “The marriages, mother?” Wilhelmine queried.

    “Oh, you’ll be going as well,” the Duchess said absently.

    “What?” the two children exclaimed together.

    “The arrangement was always for a dual marriage. This goes without saying, doesn’t it?” the Duchess said. She stared at the blank parchment. “Now how to begin?”

    “This will be a violent and hazardous journey,” Frederik said.

    “Why must I be dragged into Frederik’s madcap enterprise?” Wilhelmine demanded.

    Their protests were lengthy, vigorous, and utterly futile. “This is a decided matter,” Duchess Sophia said. “I will make the necessary arrangements.”

    Though Wilhelmine was a drake rider of some ability, her drake had not been fed double rations in preparation for a long journey. There was no doubt she would become a burden on the initial flight, regardless of her best efforts. But it was clear that this was the price Frederik would have to pay for his mother’s silence.

    “I thought the arrangement was doomed to failure, but perhaps this more forceful approach will finally vindicate our position,” the Duchess said. “I thank you for bringing this matter to my attention, Maximillian. I understand your natural apprehension, but my son must follow his heart. As a mother, I will support that in full.”

    (Deceive vs Notice, 1 vs 0. The Duchess succeeds.)

    As ridiculous as it seemed, the Duchess was apparently convinced that Frederik’s entire plan is for the sake of marrying her niece. Evidently she regarded this with approval.

    The Duchess tapped the parchment with her quill. “Now then, Maximillian. Putting this novel business aside, did you manage to attend to that little matter we discussed this morning? It is now, if anything, even more urgent than before.”

  39. #39
    Forum Farseer Akranadas's Avatar
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    Drawing Room, Drakkenheim

    Rage was what Maximillian was feeling right now, it was like a furnace in the bit of his stomach that hunger for fuel – it was like no feel he had felt before. He had risked so much to bring this to the attention of the Duchess, yet she brushes his commitment to her and simply supports the folly that her son wishes to do… as if it was all a part of the master plan. ”Novel, this mark on my face doesn’t indicate that this business was anything but novel” he thought to himself as he remained composed.

    “I have not attend to that little matter due to your son’s timing of his announcement of his plans to vacate the castle and the timely violence his retainer did upon my persons” Maximillian responded with a careful tone of respect “I regret not be able to complete your task that you personally assigned to me. If the circumstances were different…” Shooting a look towards Hans “I would have succeed in the task”

    “If you son had shared his intentions of being based upon love, instead of fear of his Father, I would have supported him in full and saw to it that he would have reached his destination.” he continued, wincing slightly as the pain of his eye shot through “However, the failure is completely mine due to believing that your son’s departure would interfere with the overall outcome of the assign task, resulting in the efforts of us both being completely irrelevant”

    Roll Rapport +2

  40. #40
    Member Deunan's Avatar
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    The palace ramparts

    Myska sat near the top of the rampants, watching the world go on in a distance. It was night and the stars were bright in the absence of the moon. A witching night by any other name. But oddly calming. She huddled down a bit against the cold wind and watched smoke billow in the dustance. The smell of coal was unmistakable.

    Myska wondered what exactly it was that she was doing here, why had the dragon chosen someone like her, rather than someone who could actually navigate the court. She was so lost in tought, she even missed the silent slithering of an oversized lizard. At least until the very same lizard coiled itself around her. Her eyes went wide and a scream almost escaped her lips, but the familiar colour of the scales stiffled it.

    The lizard, a drake in truth, let out a rumble, not unlike a cat's purs. Somehow Mutrab, for that was the drake's name had sensed her disquiet and came to seek her out. It released it's grip only after it felt Myska calm down and press against it's warm scales. It must have been sleeping close to the palace's furnace to be so hot. Mutrab angled it's head. It was an unusual drake, at least for where it was. For more sinous than many of those favoured by the riders of prus. It's colouring reminiscient of the feral drakes of Oghuz and Pars, a skyblue belly shifting into a motley of browns and greens on it's back. Who knew how Naufragium had managed to convince a brood of those to join it. Myska sometimes thought it must have convinced the brood, that living with tenders would improve their lot.

    It hissed. "You are worried little mouse. I can smell it all the way to the furnace, where my larger siblings crawl ever closer to the fire. I am worried myself in return, a worry sufficient enough to drive me into this frigid air. What is it little mouse."

    The girl closed her eyes and tried to explain everything she had experienced, how she did not belong. "Calm down little mouse. Sometimes not the biggest one of us leads a brood. Go see the one with healing hands that you share blood with. This worry cannot do for tomorrow's ride."

    The drake grabbed her and floated to the lower levels, before pushing her into the castle and watching after her like a stern mother. Myska just slumped, but decided to pay Mutrab's request, or more of an order she considered, heed.

    A moment later she was in front of the healer's door again and knocked.

    "In the name of the king! If it's another one of you princeguard doing utterly foolish things, I will make you drink a concoction of worth until you wish you never picked up a weapon."
    The door slammed open and Elisabeth looked out, only finding a sufficiently frightened Myska trying to sneak away.

    "Oh it's you, I thought you were Max, Hans or any of the others. Come in Myska, don't worry, I won't bite." She pulled the lightly protesting thief inside and held a lamp close to her.

    "I had noticed it before you know, the way your eyes were red. First you bring me a secret letter just for old Naufragium, clearly in tears before and now you're here a second time. Tell me what happened. Did someone hurt you?" She asked and ran a finger across the old scar on Myska's lip. It had clearly come from a heavily split lip. The healer wondered if someone tried to repeat it.

    "It's nothing like this." Myska confided, "I just don't belong here. The lord bishop spoke about it with me today and he was right. I should be in some gutter, trying to make it trough to another day. Not in a palace, sleeping in a bed or wearing any of this." She pointed at the dress. "Even Mutrab knows I don't belong here, it came up to me earlier and is worried about my actions."

    Elisabeth scowled at those words. "Mutrab doesn't think you don't belong. He was just worried about you. Also you really need to stop calling Mutrab an it. If you don't know, just ask."

    She smiled and gave Myska a hug. Explained to her how Naufragium picked her precisely because she was different and how an old geezer like the lord Bishop wouldn't understand. How she's in the exact right place to be. Or how Elisabeth herself could never get a respect from a drake sufficiently enough to let her ride one, whereas one had found Myska soon enough.

    Roll - Rapport - try to bring Myska out of her downward spiral
    Rapport, 5. 'Crippling Insecurity' is changed to 'Confidence Returning'. It will heal at the next full rest.

  41. #41
    Wandering Swordsman Lestaki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    London, Blighty
    Drawing Room, Drakkenheim
    The Duchess regarded Maximillian evenly as he explained the situation.

    (Rapport +2, 3. Success.)

    “I understand. I will admit the situation has developed in a way I did not anticipate. I am immensely grateful for the fact you brought this matter to my attention, though I can see that not everyone feels that way,” the Duchess said. She glanced sidelong at Hans and sighed. “In any case, I will attempt to do something about the letter. For your part, Maximillian, can I ask you to protect my children and deliver them safely to my brother’s court?”

    "As you command Duchess. I will do what I can to protect them,” Maximilian said.

    The Duchess smiled. “Thank you. If you succeed, you will have done me a great service. I will remember that hereafter, and you will be rewarded appropriately when everything has settled down again.”

    Nightfall, Drakkenheim
    Those member of the Princeguard who hadn’t already retired spent a tense dinner eating under the watchful gaze of the Duke and his followers. Though Hans did his best to lighten the mood, it was a somber occasion. The prince retired immediately after the dinner, and for the most part the other members of the Princeguard did likewise. Maximillian was subject to the calculated indignity of having his quarters ‘guarded’ by several dragoon officers loyal to Frederik. Though not a word had been said to him about the matter, this was beyond Hans’ authority. The order must have come from the prince himself.

    The die was cast, for better or for worse. It would be easy for any given member of the Princeguard to stay in their beds and let the others move on without them. Unheroic though that would be, they’d be able to avoid the trouble and risks of Frederik’s journey. Even Hans had admitted that would be an honourable course. But there were reasons to go as well. Some sought to be anywhere but the austere confines of Drakkenheim, while others hoped for adventure or simply the sight of new horizons. There were those who followed the Prince out of loyalty despite their doubts about the wisdom of his course. Whatever their reasoning, the time soon came for them to make their final decisions.

    Those who chose to go were woken at an ungodly hour by their squires and bundled into hard-wearing travelling clothes and long cloaks. With their favoured weapons to hand, they slipped through the empty corridors by the stifled light of lanterns and met up with their drakes at the foot of the keep. Their trusty squires had saddled the winged beasts and lashed the slender supplies they could bear on such a long journey to their scaled flanks. Frederik took Akrayalcea by the jaw and scratched the drake’s chin. “Now to leave quietly,” he said.

    "My prince, please step more lightly. You were taught to march and make others respect you. We have to be quiet now, I can lead the way," Myska said.

    Frederik nodded.

    (Stealth +2 to escape the castle undetected, 2. Failure. Myska invokes Unknown Gate to gain +2, 4. Success!)

    With the sometime thief in the lead and the drakes on their best behaviour, the Princeguard managed to slip unmarked through the night. More than once they were nearly discovered by patrolling soldiers, but Myska always managed to find one dark corner or another for them to hide in. It would have been almost impossible to move the bulky drakes past the heavily guarded main gate or over the top of the walls without being marked, but Myska confidently lead them back towards the workshops. There a rusted gate popped open at a touch and the drakes barely managed to squeeze through, one after another. Ever meticulous, Myska closed the gate after them and locked it after a little mechanical fumbling. The Princeguard led their drakes past a decaying and abandoned stretch of the old wall, then mounted the moment they came to open space.

    “If we’re lucky, it will be some time before the pursuit begins in earnest. That should make our lives easier,” Hans said.

    Prince Frederik secured himself on Akrayalcea’s back and nodded. “Next we must fly by night. It’s imperative we stay in formation or we’ll be scattered, but the drakes should be able to follow the leader even under these conditions. I’m as good a rider as any here and would be happy to serve as the vanguard, but I will consider your best judgement in this matter.”

    (Contest roll: Soldiery check to overcome. Who should undertake this roll and what resources should be expended if necessary?

    Players should also inform me at this point whether they are IN or OUT.)

  42. #42
    Forum Farseer Akranadas's Avatar
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    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    IN

    Drakkenheim

    Maximillian laid on his bed staring at the ceiling, the mutter of the guards outside of his room echoed through the wooden door making it impossible to escape the situation he was in. Whether it was Hans or someone else who had posted them, he was unsure; just that it was a horrible feeling knowing that your moves were being watched and that you needed armed guards to make him comply.

    What would his Father think of this situation, his youngest son almost a prisoner by a renegade Prince? It was hard to judge what Maximillian’s Father thought about anything, he loved his sons but didn’t show much affection. His Mother would simply blindly support him as she did to all her sons. Maximillian’s older Brother would probably try to rescue him, cutting the Dragoons down to get to his room.

    In a huff, Maximillian got out of his bed and began to pack what he could fit within his small travel bag. A few pieces of clothing, some parchment, his short sword and a small bag of coins all packed neatly into the travel bag. He then changed out of his more formal style of clothing, swapping it for a simple garb before laying back on his bed.

    Soon, his squire barraged in “I’ve come to… oh” the boy said meekly

    “Saddle my Drake” Maximillian ordered “I will go”

    Maximillian wasted little time, swinging his travel bag over his shoulder and sheathing his sword into his belt before slipping out of the room, but not before giving the guards a solid glare as he made his way with the rest of the Princeguard.

    Soon enough, he was stalking through the alleys of the town with Myska in the lead ”The girl had some skills” he thought to himself as she lead them through the shadows, avoiding patrol after patrol. ”The moon light even brings out the beauty in her” he found himself thinking as he followed her lead. The Prince seemed rather eager to hurry up and leave, forgetting that he had what amounted to a small platoon of people following him which included his sister.

    This is who Maximillian found himself next to; not due to some sense of attraction or attempting to claim a prize, after all she was promised to someone else now, and instead it was genuine concern for her well-being. It was clear already that her Drake was not prepared for this trip at all. He could see that she wasn’t where she wanted to be, and he could understand that – this wasn’t what she wanted, this was her brother’s plan that she had been dropped into.

    It was when they were in an open space and mounted that the Prince spoke up “Next we must fly by night. It’s imperative we stay in formation or we’ll be scattered, but the drakes should be able to follow the leader even under these conditions. I’m as good a rider as any here and would be happy to serve as the vanguard, but I will consider your best judgement in this matter.”

    Maximillian had plenty of experience flying drakes, probably equal to that of the Prince and he could take the Lead from Frederick. But there was a sinking feeling in the pit of Maximillian’s stomach that said he should… so he remained silent.

  43. Gamers Lounge Senior Member Boardwars Senior Member  #43
    FREEZE! Mokino's Avatar
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    Berlain Streets

    After swift discussion, the Princeguard agreed that Frederik was a reasonable choice to the lead. More to the point, Akrayalcea reared up and spread his wings. “I lead. Follow me,” he grunted.

    Frederik fought gamely to stay safe atop his muscular horn drake. “So it shall be,” he said. He glanced back at the others and smiled. “You could have chosen not to follow me. Perhaps that would have been the wiser course. I’m grateful that I will be undertaking this journey together with you all.”

    “There’ll be plenty of time for that in Britannia, Frederik,” Hans said.

    “Very true. Then let us follow our flames!” Frederik said.

    Akrayalcea kicked off the ground and flapped his wings. In a few heavy beats he had torn his way up into the sky. The other drakes followed him in close formation up into the night sky, with their large eyes focused on his long red tail and their ears extended to catch the sound of his distinct wing-beat. Frederik led his drake with a relaxed hand as he retracted the maps he’d burned into his memory. A compass was scant help on a night this dark, with no moon to guide their path. All he could rely on was his drake’s instincts and his own sense of direction. But straying a little from the course was a price he was willing to play. For now they simply had to go forwards as fast as possible.

    (Soldiery +1, -2. Failure. Frederik spends a Fate Point to invoke Scholarly Prince of Pruss and rerolls to get 1. Pieri invokes Master of the Terrain to add +2, 3. Success!)

    Perhaps because of his sense of urgency, Frederik swiftly lost all sense of direction as Akrayalcea reached his full flying speed. With no other choice, he was forced to rein his drake in and cast about left and right as he searched for the way forwards. His anxiety inevitably communicated itself to the drake pack, which became restless at being led this way and that. Frederik came close to hysteria before he closed his eyes and riffled through the maps he’d memorised in his mind. With a heroic effort, he managed to turn the group back towards the correct course and pick up speed again. Sensing his difficulties, Pieri spurred Destvaniel forwards and drew level with Akrayalcea. They hurriedly conferred in the dark and she drew on her own memories of the maps to help Frederik reorient themselves securely. With no more doubts in his mind, Frederik spurred Akrayalcea forwards to make up for lost time.

    They flew apace through the darkness for several long hours. At full tilt, the drakes bumped uncomfortably up and down as each beat of their huge wings reverberated throughout their bodies. The Princeguard were jostled along moment by moment and their bodies sank into a haze of pain and fatigue. There was no outward sign they were making any forwards progress at all, just the steady beat of wings and the formless earth below them. Now and again a hill loomed upwards but the drakes pivoted around such obstacles without missing a beat. After hours that felt like days, the first rays of sunlight slid across the horizon behind them and scarred the earth. Soon enough it was morning in earnest.

    At Frederik’s signal, they descended quickly and landed in a grove in the middle of a dark forest. The Princeguard dismounted and stretched their legs. An exhausted Frederik called Pieri over while the others talked and snacked on dried fruits and bread. “We’ve made good time despite my blunders. Thank you. But now we must confirm our present location as swiftly as possible and find the way forwards.”

    (Contest roll: Lore check to overcome. Lore +2, 3. Pieri succeeds- but the opposition will spend a Fate Point and invoke Night Flying. Failure!)

    (Pieri uses her fate point to invoke Master of the Terrain, negating Night Flying. Success)


    "The trees around us are blackened elms which only grow in a specific grove to the northwest of the castle," Pieri stated, placing her hand on the ground, "The ground slopes downwards to the south-no, southwest and I hear the flowing water of the Duke's River in...that direction." She pointed, "Which means we need to head...this way." She pointed, "If we stick to this ridge, the trees should provide us cover longer. Crossing the plains wouldn't save enough time to make it worthwhile."


    Compel: Suddenly, Pieri's entire mood changed as she approached the prince. "By the way, your highness, might I ask what the hell happened back there? That was, quite simply, a pathetic display and I know you're quite capable of better. At least, you need to be if you expect people to take risks like the one we did coming with you." She leaned in close, her cold eyes meeting his, "Last fucking warning: shape up or people are going to start considering...alternative leadership. Or die."


    Frederik blinked back his surprise and looked away. "I'm aware that my performance was inadequate. I will endeavour to do better in future. But I will not yield leadership of the Princeguard to anyone."
    "If you fail like that again...I'm not sure if you'll have much of a choice in the matter." Pieri stated.
    "If you wish to take the Princeguard from me, take my head," Frederik said. "I will not yield."


    There was a roar as Akrayalcea charged in suddenly, nearly knocking them over as he went for Dustvael. The speckled agile drake attempted to leap out of the alpha's path, but Akrayalces managed to grab hold of its tail, thrashing it to and fro. Dustvael slammed into the ground with a thunderclap, tearing trees from their roots as he tried to scramble upright. With a charging roar, he attacked his larger foe, managing to clamp onto Akrayalcea's neck. Victory was only temporary though as Akralcea leaned into the bite, obvious posturing that Dusty's small fangs had failed to harm the alpha in the least. With little effort, the alpha threw its prey to the ground once more, biting Dustvael's back a few more times just for good measure. The smaller drake, already weary from the flight, surrendered, lying flat with his nose to the ground. Arkayalces merely snorted preened, ignoring the shallow wounds to his neck as he walked away.


    Pieri shook her head and sighed as she examined her drake's injuries. "I don't want leadership Frederik. Heaven knows I'd be terrible at it. I was trying to warn you that we simply cannot afford these mistakes. I was able to bail us out this time, but what about the next? Or the one after that? We need to do better, get it?"

    "I understand. I will endeavour to do better in future, but you aren't telling me anything I didn't already know," Frederik said.

    "Probably not," Pieri admitted with a chuckle, "Let's both work on it then." Good. Dusty's wounds weren't life threatening, but he wouldn't be up to his usual speed for a while. She dug around in his saddle, producing a bag of salve. While she rubbed it into the drake's deeper wounds, she smiled softly.

  44. #44
    A dark forest in the middle of nowhere...

    “You're strangely calm for someone who's just been in a fight, you know,” Cassie began, trying to keep her tone as light as possible – not necessarily the easiest thing in the world, given the full-frontal reptile violence on display that evening, but, even so...

    “Penny for your thoughts?”

    "It helps Dusty relax," Pieri spoke in between whispering a unknown language to the drake in a soothing manner as she applied some light bandages to his wounds, the odd gentle smile never leaving her face, "Which is the best thing for him after such a long flight."

    “I think Aritania's the opposite.” Cassie grinned ruefully. “I think she likes it when I'm uncomfortable; my fault for being born such a feeble two-legged smooth-skin.” She chuckled fondly. “As opposed to a mighty four-legged child of the skies... if only we were so free to pick and choose the circumstances of our births, hm?”

    "If we were free to pick our circumstances at birth, would we even be the people we are today?" Maximilian interjected as he strolled over to the pair.
    "Better to be grateful for what you have now than to dwell on what could have been.”

    The drake raised his head, nuzzling Pieri affectionately for a moment before leisurely walking off. *She watched him for a moment; he'd be okay on the ground, but one of his wings had been torn in the scuffle and would time to fully heal. "That's easy for you to say," the assassin stated, "Mr. I-Banged-The-Duchess."

    Cassie raises her head inquisitively, very much resembling a curious owl in her choice of feathered grey attire.
    “Oh? He and the Duchess...?”

    Maximilian laughed.
    "Is that the rumour that's making the rounds?" He smirked. "Honestly, she's not my type."

    "I know," Pieri laughed in turn, "I just wanted to see Cassandra's face."

    The white-haired girl smiled good-naturedly.
    “No? Women of exquisite taste from the finest of the nobility aren't to your liking?” She teased. “Who ever does live up to your expectations? Not the kitchen maids, surely?”

    "It's not purely about status or beauty, it's about the person that I admire." He explained. "A strong spirit and a kind heart are worth more to me than any kingdom.”

    “Oh?” Cassie smiled wryly. “Should I take that to mean that you feel the duchess's spirit is somehow lacking in grace? Her heart not brimming with love and kindness?”

    "I know her type," Pieri interrupted, "A pretty face and a dark, dark heart. She's a Valentin in all but name."

    "To some degree, yes. Recent interactions have... solidified that opinion" he replied, rubbing the bruise on his eye. “Perhaps when we are a little more settled, I can explain more. I just wanted to come over her and say to Pieri, job good saving us back there.” With that, Maximilian turned and walked back to his Drake.

    "Um...you're welcome?" Pieri didn't even seem to know how to react to the response, simply staring at the departing man's back.

    “You know, our friend there seems a little dour for a chosen of the rose...” Cassie chuckles, shaking her head as Maximilian departs. “He isn't wrong, though. You did well back there.”

    "Appreciated, really," Pieri replied. She was watching the drakes again. Dusty seemed to be back to his usual high spirits, playfully snapping at a few closer to his size. "Looks like he's going to be okay at least," once again, the assassin's demeanor had become uncharacteristically light. As if Cassandra had blinked and in that moment, someone else had taken Pieri's place.

    Cassie smiled.
    “I'm glad he's alright. He seems like a kind soul. For a drake, anyway.” She grinned. “Now, I just wonder where he gets it from. Not the drake tenders, surely?”

    "Probably Elma," Pieri replied softly, "My sister. She always loved taking care of them. She's... a lot like mother. Rest her soul."

    Cassie shrugged, a little helplessly; though her life certainly hadn't been free from hardships – far from it, really – whatever adversities she'd been confronted with seemed to pale in comparison to Pieri's. Dealing with... well, deeper sorrows, was not something she'd ever been terribly good at.

    “Even so...” She tried to give a reassuring smile. “It seems that her kindness, such as it is, lives on in you. Elma, too. In that way, even though she's no longer with you, you're still carrying a piece of her heart down whatever road you choose for yourself.”

    "She made me weak," Pieri stated, "At least that's what father told me after she had her 'accident.' When it was discovered I was gifted in magic, he sent me away to study.," she smiled slightly, "At the imperial academy, I had to put on a pretense of normality; gossip, make friends, that sort of thing. And you know what? I enjoyed it. Once I was back home, however, I had to cut all ties and go back to life father wanted for me. Until, a year ago, I drove a poisoned dagger into his heart to protect my sister from...becoming like me. Only a monster could commit such an act, no matter the reason. That's why, Cassandra, I am who I am."

    “A monster kills without feeling, without regret. It does not pause after the deed is done to worry about the state of its soul.”

    “What matters is that you are free now. You can, if you wish, continue to be the person your father always wished for you to be.” She shrugs. “Or you can be something else. What your father did to you, that will be on his soul forever – the King will judge him as he ought to be. What you choose to do now – that alone is what answers the question of 'who is Pieri Valentin'.”

    "...Give me a moment," Pieri walked to the center of the glade, to where a narrow break in the canopy allowed a sliver of the morning sun's light to shine through. * Gently she removed the dagger that bore her father's name in the family cipher and stabbed it into the dirt, stomping it down with her foot until it was completely buried in the forest's soft soil. Folding her hands together, she recited a short prayer to Jalren, though it was unclear who she was speaking of as she asked for forgiveness. After a brief silence, she returned to Cassandra. "That....felt good." she stated simply.

    Cassie grinned.
    “It should. I think. I'm not much of an expert on these things, but... you look better for it already.”

    "He has been given the proper rights, according to tradition," Pieri stated, "His name has been returned to the Earth and the family will no longer speak it. He will be forgotten in time, as he deserves to be....or something like that. My family understandably doesn't keep solid records of these things."

    “Something like that.” Cassie agrees. “Time to move on, yes?”

    "Yes, time to move on," Pieri stated, "Best get back on the road. We've stayed too long as it is."
    Last edited by Sevorak; 2nd Mar 16 at 5:08 PM. Reason: I missed a spot!

  45. #45
    Wandering Swordsman Lestaki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    London, Blighty
    Drakkenheim
    The castle rapidly devolved into chaos as it steadily became apparent that Frederik’s ‘hunting trip’ was a cover for the sudden disappearance of him and the entire Princeguard. It felt to Field Marshal Grumbkow to impose order and get to the bottom of the scenario. The missing drakes and the testimony of the Tenders told its own story. Now he bit his lip and stared at the castle’s largest map as he tried to piece together where the damned prince was. “Why this? Why now?” he muttered to himself.

    “I can think of a few reasons,” Konrad said. He watched from the corner of the room with the healthy detachment of a man with nothing to do until he was given further orders.

    “I was being rhetorical,” Grumbkow said.

    The Duke stormed in, followed swiftly by the Lord Bishop and a servant Grumbkow barely recognised. “We have him! He’s headed to Sors!”

    “Why do you say that, my lord?” Grumbkow said.

    The Duke stopped short as if thrown by his subordinate’s lack of enthusiasm. “According to his good servant of my crown, that Parsian dog Farrukshiyah sent a message to Sors using Keith last night. Plainly he is preparing the ground for my idiot son’s arrival. Konrad, get to work! We’ll send everything we have.”

    Sauerbrunn smirked in pleasure at the Duke’s approbation.

    “Konrad should remain, sir,” Grumbkow said. He wilted as the Duke glowered at him but pushed through. “As you say, it is now very likely that the Prince set course for Sors. But it is not certain. We should send the bulk of our forces in that direction while dispatching most of the rest to the other cardinal directions. In the meantime, Konrad and his squad will stand by and prepare their drakes for a long sprint.”

    “What use is that? He can’t have gone far, that damned fool,” the Duke said. “I want to send my best men to wrap this up as soon as possible.”

    “You once told me that a reserve is vital in war. I have always taken those words to heart,” Grumbkow said. “Let us reserve Konrad and his men for the decisive moment.”

    “Very well. See to it, then,” the Duke said.

    “It would also be wise to speak to the Throne, your highness,” Grumbkow said. “The drakes will be more energetic if they sense this matter is the dragon’s will.”

    The Duke frowned doubtfully. “I will take your words into consideration. But he is not one to be disturbed over such a trivial matter,” he said.

    Grumbkow cut off a sigh in the pass and forced himself to stand to attention. “Yes, sir. Then I will take the lead in this matter.”

    “Do so,” the Duke said.

    Upper Mound, Drakkenheim

    Ungebrochen was sunning himself when his rider approached. “Unusual of you, Sigmund,” he said.

    The Lord Bishop bowed. “I crave a boon, honoured father dragon. Please spread your wings in pursuit of the Prince,” he said.

    “This is a human matter. I am not interested,” Ungebrochen said.

    “Please. I beseech you in the Minden name,” Sigmund said. He knelt before his dragon and bowed his head.

    “Why are you so frantic? Surely this matter is in hand?” Ungebrochen said.

    “The Duke believes so, but I fear otherwise. My duty calls me to action,” Sigmund said.

    “And yet I refuse,” Ungebrochen said.

    “I honour your words. But here I shall remain until you change your mind,” Sigmund said.

    The dragon regarded the prostrate human uneasily and flicked his tail to punctuate the sudden silence. It was going to be a long morning.

    Forest, Pruss

    Prince Frederik let Pieri and the others ride on ahead and fell back a little to talk to his sister. “How are you both doing? I know this isn’t ideal,” he said.

    “You can say that again,” Princess Wilhelmine said. She rubbed the back of her drake’s bright ruby ruff and sighed. “Why go this far?”

    “This was the only thing I could think of,” Frederik said.

    “You could lose everything,” Wilhelmine said.

    “If so, then so be it. William can-” Frederik said.

    “He can’t. Not like you can,” Wilhelmine said.

    A brief silence fell between them as their drakes plodded through the forest. Ennerwania was clearly wilting from hunger, but she doggedly kept pace with Akrayalcea without uttering a word of complaint.

    “I’ve never understood why you insist it has to be me,” Frederik said.

    “Even if I explained it to you, you wouldn’t believe me,” Wilhelmine said.

    Frederik blinked at her but she made no further explanation. He shrugged. “I’m sorry you were involved in all this,” he said.

    “Not sorry enough to stop,” Wilhelmine said.

    “No,” Frederik said.

    Wilhelmine rested the back of her right hand on her sweat-stained forehead and stared up at the hole-riddled blanket of leaves above them. The morning sun poked fingers through the trees. “I’ve resigned myself. If nothing else, seeing Frank again won’t be so bad,” she said.

    “I’m glad you feel that way,” Frederik said.

    “You don’t feel that way about Amelia,” Wilhelmine said. It was a statement, not a question.

    “We are who we are. Our marriages were always going to suit one interest or another,” Frederik said. “I’m resigned to that.”

    “I feel sorry for Amelia,” Wilhelmine said. “She deserves better than that.”

    “She’s the same. That’s what it means to be a Duke’s child,” Frederik said.

    “I don’t want to hear that excuse from the man running away from court,” Wilhelmine said.

    Frederik laughed. “You have me there.”

    “Frederik, a moment, if you please!” Hans shouted from the front of the column.

    The prince made his excuses to his sister and spurred on to join his oldest friend at the head of the formation. The forest had previously been easy enough going for the drakes, but gnarled roots and ancient trunks were beginning to knot together like yarn and bar their path as they moved into the oldest section of the words. The thickly set trees and growing vegetation made for a formidable obstacle. Frederik frowned as he studied the scene. “This will be slow going. We’ll likely have to dismount,” he said.

    “Pieri says there’s a glade nearby,” Hans said. “Perhaps we should return to flight.”

    “Flight by day is easy, and we still have a lead on our pursuit. But if we do so, we will tire the drakes out. And we’ll need to find shelter soon enough, likely at an isolated farm or an inn,” Frederik said. “But if we remain, a stout man will have to hack through all this bramble and forge a path for the drakes. It will be slow going, and we’ll have to shorten our rest after today’s march is over.”

    Hans interpreted his master’s ambiguous words. “I will consult with the others immediately.”

    “Please do so,” Frederik said.

    (Contest roll- choose one of the following options:
    1) Take flight, then convince one or more locals to take the party in and feed the drakes. Rapport test to overcome.
    2) Remain grounded, and let someone forge ahead and clear the path. Athletics test to overcome.)

  46. Tabletop Senior Member  #46
    Fluffy Necromancer Andkat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    You will see me again at the Gates of Saint Romanos...
    Drakkenheim

    Farrukshiyar furtively stifled a belch as he stumbled down the damp-slick cobblestones of the dreary hall. Practically disguised as a beggar in the dishelved, wine-ravaged ruin of his bright salmon-and-silver sherwani, Farrukshiyar proceeded forward with grim resolution, knowing all too well that in his gold-embossed leather chest, almost as small as the chest he was hugging it to, lay all to which he could now bear claim and title. Packed haphazardly within were a mere few dozen sets of white-gold robes, protruding specimens even now browning beneath the dolorous burden of his desperate existence, and a paltry couple tens of thousands of dinars worth of assorted sundries, the Prince having mournfully abandoned all but those gifts of foreign thrones which he had held dearest to heart. In his other hand he clutched with a fugitive's desperation a stout bottle of absinthe, which in his fear-frenzied grip he could sense was already half-empty.

    Will it even be enough to last the journey? Farrukshiyar wondered dolefully. He kept silent in spite of his misgivings, all too cognizant of the import of his stoic example.


    Farrukshiyar mounted his steed with grim resolution, the faithful creature stuttering its usual incomprehensible gibberish as his favorite milkmaid tearfully chained his form, swaying mournfully like a barren tree in the autumn wind, to its scaly pearl hide. Bidding his beloved toadies a heartfelt farewell, Farrukshiyar soared into the silver haze of the pre-dawn sky, his mount following only reluctantly. Taking immediate evasive action, the audacious Prince darted to and fro through the assorted ranks of his loyal companions, defying all effort to track his trajectory as he dived heedlessly between clouds of morning moisture. But in spite of his fastidious precautions, trepidation refused to leave Farrukshiyar's heart- for the Duke's reach was long as his manhood, and that, as the serving girls had with fearful eyes assured him, was an extent incomparable indeed.

    The Forest

    Resolved to inspire his wearied comrades, Farrukshiyar snored with sober majesty atop his drake, lying with even-handed composure above the piteous squabbles of lesser men.
    Last edited by Andkat; 3rd Mar 16 at 2:28 PM.

  47. #47
    Pavelrinnessoren impatiently pawed at the ground as Viktor slowly loosened the leather straps and removed its rider’s harness. The drake had little interest in the conversation the humans were having and was instead fixated on the nearby forest. Its nostrils had caught the scent of a boar, and it was quite sure it had seen the leaves under the great oak tree move suspiciously.


    “If you want me to go, Hans, why don’t you just say so and be done with it?”


    Hans shrugged "Well.."


    “Yes, yes. The prince said ‘a stout man’ which rules out the girls. And I guess Maximilian can’t do it because you slapped the snot out of him..”


    From behind them came the sound of booze making an emergency evacuation of the body.


    “And Farrukshiyar is only good for vomiting down the side of his drake.”


    Once Viktor untied the final strap Pavelrinnesoren immediately made for the forest edge, thoroughly inspecting the place where it had seen movement in the undergrowth.


    “It’s just that I think chopping our way through the forest is a terrible idea. I can appreciate the need to stay hidden, but we are running out of supplies” Viktor said. “And you know how irritable the drakes get when they haven’t been fed in a while. We should really find shelter and supplies instead of stumbling around."

    With a victorious cry the white scaled drake's beak lashed out and snapped at something running away between the trees. Viktor sighed as the drake collided with a tree in his eagerness to eat the boar. Furious he may be, but clever or careful it was not. He put his pack on the ground and turned back to Hans.

    “But let me get this straight. You want me clear a way through what appears to be five miles of brambles, a path that has to be broad enough for drakes to pass, with a sword, by myself, after flying all night long, while we’re being hunted by the entirety the the Duke’s armies and every second we spend bumbling around is actively reducing our lead. “


    Hans nodded and gave Viktor his most encouraging smile. “We all have to pitch in, Viktor. I’m sure that if you make a good show of it this will all be done in a jiffy.”


    “I’m a guard, Hans, not a gardener.” said Viktor as he hung a pair of short swords on his belt, ”But I’ll do my best.”


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Athletics vs Soldiery, -1 vs 1. Failure. Viktor invokes Cunning Misdirection; the opposition invokes Unprepared Princess. 1 vs 3.

    Motherfucking whoreson lying piece of drakeshit...


    The brambles. They were everywhere. Every time Viktor thought he had reached the end of its nefarious infestation he would round a corner and find more of the insidious plants blocking the way. How long had he been here? Days? Weeks? Had the others left him behind, and were living it up in Britannia while he was left to die in a never ending corridor of brambles?


    There was only one thing to do. He had to eat brambles to survive. He picked on of the shrivelled fruits off a thorny branch and stuck it in his mouth. Oh! Ah! Ugh! Wrong season, wrong season! Disgusting! Viktor spat out the horrifying bramble and turned back to his work. Distracted by the foul fruit he had just put in his mouth, Viktor was too late to notice the branch caught on his foot.


    The princeguard shared a glance when a howling cry of frustration reverberated through the forest. Maybe they should send someone to check on his progress?


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Viktor spends a Fate Point to invoke Paranoia and invokes Poacher Turned Gamekeeper. 5 vs 3. The opposition spends a Fate Point to invoke All the Duke's Drakes. 5 vs 5, draw.
    “Hey kid, how are you holding up?’ Bretz looked around in confusion. The path appeared to be deserted, except for a tangled mess of brambles, cut branches and leaves littering the path. It took him a moment to discern the the human shape between the plants. He cautiously approached the fallen princeguard.


    “Boy. Boy! Are you okay?”


    A hand shot out of the bushes and janked the man down by his collar. Bretz swallowed hard when he brought face to face with Viktor. If looks could kill, then Bretz would have had nothing but a smouldering skull left above his shoulders.


    “Of course, the traitor comes to offer aid. Here to stab me in the back before running off and warn the Dragoons, huh?” Viktor pushed Bretz away and untangled himself from the bushes.


    Bretz coughed as he massaged his throat, “I assure you..”


    “I thought you were quick to offer your assistance. Didn’t even take you second to think about it, did you. Planning on playing the hero after ratting us all out, huh?” snarled Viktor as he pointed his sword as the helpless man.


    “I’m just here to help!” Bretz cried.


    Viktor blinked, taken aback. Oh right. He had let his emotions get the better of him for a second there. He nodded and absent mindedly handed Bretz his other short sword.


    “Well then, get to it. But remember. I’m watching you.” the princeguard whispered as he slowly disappeared into the brambles again. Soon the sounds of a furious battle between man and plant started again.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The others stared in utter shock as Viktor and Bretz returned from the forest path. Viktor’s clothes were torn, stray leaves were stuck in his hair and he had a haunted look in his eyes. He had scratches everywhere, some of which had even drawn blood.


    “It’s done.” he snarled at the prince. Viktor gave the others a withering look as he passed.


    “Not. A. Word.”
    Last edited by Kronoch; 3rd Mar 16 at 2:04 PM.

  48. #48
    Wandering Swordsman Lestaki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    London, Blighty
    Forest, Pruss
    Frederik blanched as Viktor swept past him. "King bless you, my friend, King bless you," he muttered.

    Hans whistled softly. "There but for the grace of the King go I."

    The trail through the forest had been long and hard. If it wasn’t for Viktor’s relentless grit in slashing his way through the undergrowth, they would likely have fallen hopelessly behind schedule. Even as it was, they had to march an additional hour to make up for lost time. Frederik panted for breath as sweat clung to his fair cheeks like dew. “I believe a stream goes through a glade just ahead of here,” he said. “We should be able to set up camp there and rest until nightfall, but we’ll need to secure more food for the drakes one way or another.”

    The Princeguard had been travelling for more hours than they cared to count with only brief stops for breakfast and lunch. The thought of blessed respite filled their minds as they pressed forwards and pushed into the glade.

    The grass had been burned away and strange chalk markings the blessed did not recognise decorated the ground. Inside the chalk, a number of rabbits, a lamb, and a deer had been bloodily killed. The corpses of a half-dozen young men and women wearing the simple clothes of peasants littered the ground. But those who looked past their initial revulsion saw that the dead wore rough-cut wooden pendants of the oak, the accursed symbol of Rilath. Their tanned skin was blotched white in places where they had shrivelled up like men and women twice their age.

    An enormous cloaked man dragged a fleeing woman back into the grove by her leg. She screamed for mercy but he drove a sword through her back without hesitation. Her blood stained the stream before he threw her body down onto the bare ground like a discarded rag.

    Hans drew his sword. He was not alone in this response. “Who goes there?”

    The Rider turned to face them. He was an unusually fat middle aged man dressed in breeches, an untucked white shirt and an ill-fitting jacket. He shook the blood off his sword and sheathed it. He leaned on a long, wizened staff as he regarded them with an amused smile. “Well met, youngsters. I am Lord Korbinian Salzburg,” he said.

    (Deceive vs Notice, 5 vs 3- Cassandra. The other characters rolled 2 or less. Korbinian spends a Fate Point to invoke Cunning Manipulator for a total of 7.)

    “We are honoured, Lord Salzburg,” Frederik said. “But this is most unusual.”

    “I have been intending to visit a relative in this region, but I heard on the way that the Antagonist’s cultists have been most active in the area. Alas, there is truth to the rumours,” Korbinian said. He prodded the woman’s corpse with his boot. “This place is positively crawling with filthy Rilath worshippers.”

    “So it would seem,” Frederik said. He glanced nervously at the enigmatic chalk circles and the sacrifices inside them.

    “And who do I have the pleasure of addressing?” Korbinian said.

    “Due to certain circumstances, I’m afraid I can’t say,” Frederik said. “I apologise for the grave discourtesy, but I have no choice.”

    “Hmm,” Korbinian said. He strode forwards and stopped a mere foot from the Prince. Then he reached out and put a hand under the young man’s chin. “You have a good face. It speaks eloquently of your noble character. I understand,” he said.

    Hans watched the older man carefully. “We are in haste, my lord, and must part from you here,” he said.

    “This land is more dangerous than you know. Though you are doughty, I cannot in good conscience let you proceed without my aid,” Korbinian said. Though the Princeguard tried to dissuade him, he was implacable. “I must insist. I will simply travel with you until the danger has passed. Fear me not, for I will keep your secrets and enquire nothing of your purpose.”

    Frederik sighed. “I am grateful. Thank you, my lord.”

    “I’m sure it is proper for you to go about your business as if I wasn’t here. But I’m soft at heart, so if you need any assistance, I will be more than happy to aid you,” Korbinian said. “I’m sure we'll meet again and you will be well-placed to return any such favours at that time.”

    “Thank you. We will consider it,” Frederik said.

    (Pieri rolls Lore Speciality: Occult to overcome. +2, 0. Alas, she recalls nothing relevant to this situation.)

    (The party gains a positive situation aspect, Korbinian’s Aid, with 2 free invokes. They may call on this at any time while he is with the party.)


    The Princeguard regroup to consider their next move under Korbinian’s watchful eyes. “Our provisions are running low and we simply must feed the drakes,” Frederik said. “If we forage carefully, we might be able to find enough berries, mushrooms and the like without leaving this forest. The more certain path is for one of us to leave the forest and purchase food at a nearby farmer’s market, but I’m very aware that fatigue presses down on all of us. Does anyone feel they could face such a task?” he asked.

    (Contest roll- choose one of the following options:
    1) Forage in the forest for food. Notice test to find enough to feed the drakes.
    2) Ride to the farmer’s market. Will test to stay awake and coherent.)

  49. #49
    Member Deunan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    #boardwars
    The clearing

    Myska threw a hateful look at lord Salzburg. She was still shaken from her encounter with the lord Bishop, but this man and the way he had acted brought back far too many raw memories. He was like those Jalren adherents that, once her mother began coughing up blood, had called her a sinner, someone who was finally shown the King's grace.
    Most did quiet down over time as her condition worsened, but there were some that never stopped. She didn't remember much of the woman that had given her life, most of her memories were filled with the sound of the coughing and the sadness in her eyes.
    In truth she had not lasted for long once the symptoms set in. That could have been six winters ago? Myska wasn't sure anymore.
    The man was a brutal murderer. Who cared that these villagers had worshiped Rilath instead of Jalren. Had she herself not found doubt in anything to do with the King, she would probably see Rilath as the saner choice. The angel promised freedom; a way to escape whatever was preordained.
    Mutrab noticed the way she was poised, the anger in the small woman and tried to put a wing around her to quiet her down. "Don't little mouse" The drake hissed and nuzzled her. Myska just pushed the distraught lizard away.

    "That man is worse scum than most street lords." She mumbled, loud enough for everyone to hear. "Those are at least honest about why they hurt people. Come on Mutrab, let's try and catch some fish before the wolves come." She tapped at the drake's nose and began heading towards the river the prince had mentioned earlier. In the very least, the smell of bodies wouldn't be so strong there.

    "Come, my child, I can't let that pass," Korbinian said. He adopted an injured but patient tone. "I am not deceiving you about my motives. I have no love of this duty, but it must be done. Wherever the cultists of Rilath spring up, curses and demons will inevitably follow and throw the people into chaos. For the sake of peace and prosperity, we must root them out wherever they hide and purge them. Though it is unpleasant, it is most necessary."

    The girl turned back towards the man. "You're just lying to yourself." She spat. "There's Rilath cults in every single city and until someone like you tries to uncover them, nothing happens. Some are even decent people. Knew a woman that ran a soup kitchen."

    "Then you have lived a blessed life. You should be grateful to the King and to Jalren for their protection," Korbinian said gravely. "When fools play Rilath's games, they consume only themselves. I have seen traitors of a higher rank, and though their words were beautiful and their sincerity was apparent, all their deeds collapsed into blood and ruin in the end. I have seen the ruins of whole villages consumed by Rilath's flame. I have seen demons eat corpses and drive children into Rilath's shadow for sport. I have seen great and noble men driven to madness and sacrificing countless lives in their misguided pursuit of impossible dreams. If you have not seen these things, then you know nothing of Rilath's true nature."

    "And I've seen those that invoke Jalren kill, rape and watch those around them suffer. Doubt there's too big a difference between their followers in the end." The girl finished; a sense of certainty in her words. Perhaps some words of those big and large musty philosophical tomes did make it past her clumsiness with language. And those old men that had written them talked of the infallibility of the King and the folly of man.
    If there was anything like the King, it was probably perfect. But humans weren't, they could only see facets of the whole and it was human nature to be what they are. For a scant moment, she wondered what a facet was.

    "I studied some of the rituals back at the academy," Pieri approached the two at a casual stride, "As examples of what not to do of course."

    "Men err. That is why the King forgives. We must hate all forms of evil while accepting the sinner. But those who turn to Rilath are different in kind from any other sinner. They have turned their back on the King and pursue a path that will surely destroy them and everyone around them. They must return to the King immediately, lest the Antagonist's shadow boil over and consume the innocent," Korbinian said. He nodded to Pieri. "You practice the runic arts, I take it? A dangerous business. I prefer to trust my fate to stout weapons."

    "Come on Mutrab, unless we do catch some fish, you might get hungry. Don't think the man would sit well with you." She tapped the drake's snout again and began to head out.

    "I do indeed, but that doesn't mean I abandon more practical ways," she gestured towards the daggers sheathed in her belt, "A blade. A spell. They both have their purpose."

    Korbinian nodded to Myska as she walked away, then turned to Pieri. "Wise words indeed. And you have the scent of one who knows how to use them."

    "Are ye lot done with your little get together? We've got work to do." Viktor approached the man with the villager's amulets hung around his sword. He dumped them before Korbinian's feet. "Speaking of work, don't leave yours half done."

    "Indeed so. I have been remiss," Korbinian said. He prodded the tree amulets with a foot. "Carved by the ignorant, they have little force. But nonetheless we cannot suffer them to exist." He knelt to pick one up and snapped it in half casually, then threw the pieces into the stream behind them.

    "We should do things the proper way," Pieri approached the pile and snapped her fingers, setting the lot ablaze in an instant, "They're not terribly potent, but a piece getting into the wrong hands could still inspire something worse."

  50. #50
    Forum Farseer Akranadas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    The Clearing

    There was something off about this Korbinian fellow, the way he held himself, the way he talked and the knowledge he was hiding behind his words. Still, the rest of the group seemed to tolerate his presence to a degree, and through that as did Maximillian but his guard was always up. ”I can’t quite put a finger upon it as to what it is about him” he thought to himself as checked his equipment “Would Laksaeka answer or provide protection?”

    It had been some time since Maxmillian had said prayer the Angel Laksaeka, and part of him was doubtful that she hear him in the situation they were in, let alone listen to him today. Maximillian check to see if any other the others were watching before him rested against his Drake Morrow, making sure he was somewhat hidden from the others before knelling down in the dirt.

    “Laksaeka, Angle of birth, love and fertility; it is your servant Maximillian Betancourt” he said to himself in a hushed whisper, his hands on his knees and his head bowed down with eyes closed ”I have tried my best to abide by your example, spreading the joys of love and helping those who love, continue to do so. My path has lead me to this junction, a clearing the woods with servants of your enemy Rilath stalking myself and this group. Rilath’s deceit fills the air here and the answers are not clear”

    [i]”As your servant all I wish for is some guidance and that you, as Jarlren’s shield to provide us with some protection during our journey so that I may assist with reunited a pair of lovers”[i] he reached into his satchel and pulled out some bread and seeds and held them out in his hands to the air ”As a loyal servant of all that is beautiful in this world, I over to abstain from your nourishing gifts and will provide my food to the lovers I travel with to ensure they reach their destination so their love my flourish”

    He placed the food back into the bag before finishing his prayer ”I hope, almighty Laksaeka that you hear my prayer. My faith in your is undying either way”

    Maximillian rose back to his feet slowly before checking on the condition of his Drake.

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