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SV June 15th, 2012 10:03 PM

Hyrus [IC: Rated M]
My favorite number is six.

Legend June 17th, 2012 7:08 AM

Varian Sigmund and Cassandra Alexandera- Village on the Outskirts of Dalenham

Varian grasped his axes tightly as he slowly pulled them out of the body of the orc he had just felled. One was stuck right on the orc's eyes, penetrating deep through the skull and entering the brain. The other dangled from the orc's chest, where his entire chest was collapsed and caved from the impact made of the axe swing. Varian positioned one foot on the orc's body and heaved the two weapons out of the corpse. Wiping his left axe (which was covered with the brains of the orc) across the clothing of the corpse, he glimpsed around to see nothing but the broken or mangled corpses of their foes around. Varian stood from the orc's body and grinned for a second, satisfied with the work his group had done.

Varian's eyes now traveled across the village in search of his companions, but were unable to spot them instantaneously. He did, however, from the corner of his eye, spot a trail of blood leading into a corridor between two houses. Knowing the reputation of one particular member of his mercenary group, Varian had a feeling he knew exactly where, or more specifically whom, the blood trail led to. Varian casually walked to the blood trail as he adjusted his axes on the baldric across his back in their traditional 'X' position. As he approached the blood trail which seeped into the corridor, he noticed the sliced limbs and heads of orcs which polluted the path. As the corridor narrowed, the blood, limbs, and entrails of the orcs seemed only to grow, and as did their stench. Varian covered his nose with his arm as he passed through the area.

The path opened to a brighter courtyard, which was littered with well over a dozen bodies of orcs, their limbs, blood, and innards decorating the streets like bits of wine and bread after an ostentatious party. And right in the center of it all, sitting on top of a pile of slayed orcs was a petite, yet striking woman with short, unkept, red hair and a large, two-handed claymore in her hands and an open bottle of liquor in the other. Cassandra Alexandera, known to Varian as Cass.

Varian stared at her with his usual cynical, dreary-appearing look, which really was only his normal facial expression. He eyed the area filled with orcs, wondering to himself if this was done all by her own hand, but figured he'd ask instead. Cass liked to gloat as much as the next sellsword, after all.

"Was this all your hand, then?" He asked her, motioning to the orcs in the area. He wouldn't be surprised if she would say yes. After all, she was probably the best fighter Varian had ever met.

"Oi! Varian! Come to join the party eh? I'm afraid you are a little late. I seemed to have massacred the entire village," Cass said with a wave and a robust laugh, before draining the bottle of liquor into her mouth. Cass rose from her comfortable seat of a dismembered orc corpse before gently descending down to Varian's level. She was lucky that her pile of bodies resembled a poorly constructed staircase. Despite being far from sober, Cass managed to not trip and crash into the ground. Then again, Varian was all too aware that she has had years of experience drinking and walking. As she crept closer, Varian couldn't help but notice that despite the carnage Cass had left in her wake, she was relatively free of any injury or blood. All that was on her clothing or person was the caked on dirt of months of dirty travel and combat. Even her sword (which Cass proceeded to put back in its sheath on her back) was free of blood, though Cass probably licked the blood off in her deranged intoxicated state.

Shoving her empty bottle of booze into Varian's chest, Cass removed the flask of old alcohol from her belt and began to take a few whisks of that in her boredom. "Ugh, this Swamp crap from the south tastes like orc piss," Cass complained before shrugging and drinking more. It didn't matter to her. Booze was booze. "Anyway, think those rookies we picked up are still alive? That pretty elf probably got a bunch of axes stuck in her. She didn't look like much."

Varian eyed the empty bottle Cass handed to him before throwing it off to the side, and looking around again, wondering if the other two really were dead. He shrugged. "I guess we'll wait and see. They may be green, but I usually know how to pick them. Come on, we'll meet them at the gates of Dalenham. We've earned another drink."

"I like the way you think," Cass replied with a wink before leaning to Varian as if to flirt with him. Cass was guilty of doing this all the time...with everyone she met. Varian wasn't special. "Well, let's hurry up. I am tired of this dump. Reminds me off that city down south. Yamcha was it called? Hell, like I remember. That place could be blown by little green goblins for all I care."

Roland Grey and Percival Grey- Port of Ekilore

Sir Roland of the House of Grey adjusted one of his dark-red gauntlets onto his arm as he prepared for his ship to arrive on Ekilore. He had answered the summons of the Monks of Ekilore in representation of Hector Reigncliff, his lord and who Roland believed was the true and rightful King of Ethora. It was an honor he could not describe, but Roland couldn't help but wonder of the circumstance of the summons. He assumed it was largely due to the assassination of the Ethorian king. If that was the case, he wasn't certain if he would take much pleasure in the visit. They would no doubt seek a diplomatic solution to the problem of the empty throne, and yet Roland would prefer if they would not meddle in the affairs of the Ethorians at all. Hector was the true king, and Roland had every intention of seeing him crowned, no matter who got in his way. Whatever the monks had planned, it usually came in the form of prophecy, so no matter if Roland wished not to have foreigners meddle, it would be foolish not to at least hear them out.

"My lord." A squire spoke as he entered, his head bowed with respect at Roland. "We have landed on Ekilore."

Roland nodded as he adjusted his sword onto his outfit. He picked up his shield momentarily, before deciding not to bring it with him. He was fully armored, but bringing his helmet and shield may give off the wrong impression to the monks, who were supposed to be largely peaceful and isolated folk.

"Prepare my horse, squire." Roland commanded the squire without looking at him. The squire looked at him confused.

"Your horse, my lord? But...the walk is very brief..."

"And you expect me to walk that distance?" Roland interrupted, staring at the squire for the first time. "I care not if it is one thousand leagues or twenty steps. I travel to the monks on behalf of the future King of Ethora! I must show not just the monks, but every man in sight that I am a worthy emissary for his grace, with my every movement and gesture."

"O-of course, my lord." The squire stammered. Roland motioned him away.

"Go! Or shall I make youcarry me into the Tower yourself?!" The squire yelped and departed quickly, leaving Roland chuckling to himself.

Moments later, Roland was upon his horse riding through the small wooden dock of Ekilore. He looked upon no one but the large Tower of Oculus before him. The sun beamed off his shining armor, making him appear even more radiating than he already was. He held perfect posture and a look which seemed to say that he was better than everyone else and he knew it.

Roland rode up to the entrance of the tower. His eyes was set on the enormous building the whole time he rode, even as he got off his horse at the entrance. The gray marble tower displayed the insignia of the monks right in front of it as it extended deep into the clouds. From his view, Roland could not see the top of the tower, and doubted anyone could from the island itself. Roland's eyes departed from the tower for one moment to see a surprising figure standing right beside him, someone he had no intention of seeing here. In fact, he had no reason he should here, unless he was representing another lord of Ethora. This made Roland livid, especially because the man was his younger brother, Percival Grey.

"You! What in Andal's name are you doing here!?" Roland demanded of him.

"Oh, it's you," Percival stated, barely acknowledging the existence of his so called brother. Percival was far too much into thought to bother in conversation with Roland. Percival was on orders from his new sworn lord, Robert of House Welm, one of the great houses of Ethora, serving the summons of the Ekilorian Monks. Having never been to the Tower of Oculus, Percival was admiring the sight before ultimately getting wrapped into what he assumed was politics and other complicated issues that while he had great experience with was aware that things often never go well for anyone. The Tower of Oculus was one of the great wonders of the world, having stood for as long as civilization existed, with myths and legends of Old Hyrus describing its ornate design in great detail. It's marble craftsmanship being the envy of many masons. It's sky stabbing height legendary. It is said that no matter where one stood, the grand tower could be seen.

"Don't 'oh it's you' me! Answer the damn question!"

"Same reason you are here. I am representing House Welm."

Roland's eyes were filled with anger. He had usually not let others bother him so, but his brother had time and time again tested him with his casual speech and indifferent persona.

"How dare you! Have you lost all that is left of your decency!? You are of the House of Grey, loyal to Hector Reigncliff, and yet you persist on your injudicious devotion to this feeble House with a swine for a lord! It is as if with your every breath you seek to single-handedly tarnish the reputation our family has forged over decades!"

"And what reputation would that be?" Percival said with little emotion, as if spending any emotion on the conversation was pointless. He finally met the burning eyes of his brother, though with an empty icy gaze. Roland gritted his teeth as he returned the gaze at his brother. Like many times in the past in their conversations over the years, he once again was resisting the urge to skewer Percival where he stood. Had he not held the name of Grey, he would have done so a long time ago. He stood silently, no longer interested in pursuing a conversation with his brother, but instead, more interested on the purpose of the meeting.

Skymin June 17th, 2012 6:36 PM

AVA - Village on the Outskirts of Dalenham


The orc's head toppled over as Avangeline delivered her final blow. She stood up straight, wiping the dirty blood off her brow, examining the remains of her battle. Of course, she had won, there was no doubt, but she had been sloppy. Caught off guard for just a second and swarmed by at least six or seven Orcs. Luckily, the dumb brutes were stupid enough to hit each other in the head with their own axes. If the battle had been against highwaymen or perhaps knights, Avangeline still would have been victor. She was good and she knew it too.

Still, sloppy. She sheathed her swords, confident she had wiped out the last of her 'ambush' and wiped her cheek with her thumb. That blood was rich red, not a murky and dull maroon; that blood was her own. She she had been grazed on the face? She would no doubt receive some kind of abuse for it. Even if she retold her story, it would still be the same treatment. Hopefully Varian would cut her some slack.

She kicked aside the carcass and headed back into town, looking for the rest of her team. They had come here as a group and as soon as the orcs came into view, Avangeline ran into the fray, probably a little too hasty. The threat had been eliminated anyways, so it didn't matter. She silently hoped that if there were any surviving villagers, they had escaped while the mercenaries were at their work.

She found herself back at the gates of Dalenham, their rendezvous, to see Varian and Cass (it seemed Alys hadn't returned yet), exchanging conversation. Avangeline waved as they noticed her walking down the road. It looked like they had fared as well as Avangeline had, with not much of a sign that they had been battling angry orcs barely an hour go. Actually, Cass stunk quite bad of blood. Avangeline quickly thought how she must smell. Horrible, perhaps. She didn't bother smelling for herself; she would have a nice bath today with her payout. And perhaps some meat. And a nice bed. Not the nicest bed, but an inn's bed was always better than rocks.

"Well, that was easy gold," Avangeline said as she came within speaking distance.

Swolligator June 18th, 2012 10:58 PM

Victoria “Alys” Taimor – An outlying village by Dalenham

”Victoria, listen to me please!” Elizabeth was far from pleading, verging on ordering Victoria to follow her orders; but this was an issue Elizabeth had no control over Victoria with. “You have to marry him; it will strengthen our ties with much of Ethora.”

For years Elizabeth had been pressuring Victoria to marry some noble from some major house in the north, and for every single day of those years she had refused. Ever since their parent’s death, Elizabeth had been made House Leader on their section of Ethora and almost constantly pressed the issue with her. She was not looking out for Victoria’s happiness, rather trying to strengthen her own political power and standing as one of the youngest House Leaders. Victoria refused to aid her sister without some sort of incentive; and moving to the frigid northern lands far from her home was not the best of reasons.

“Mother and Father may have left you in charge, but you will never control me. Never!” Victoria’s blood was boiling as she shouted at her sister within her private chambers.

It was not uncommon for the sisters to bicker; neither was it rare that Victoria would get upset or disagree with Elizabeth on a particular issue. A cool breeze washed over Victoria as the sun hit her hunting leathers strapped to her body. Within their abode in Rowanion, Victoria preferred to roam in her commoner clothes or hunting leathers, but today she had her hunting leathers strapped tightly to her body, bag slung over one shoulder and ready to head out. Victoria would miss the friends she had made with the populous of Rowanion, but she needed to get away, she needed to escape the grip her sister had on her.

“Goodbye, sister…”

The wooden club smashed into her shoulder, pushing Victoria to the side; her notched bow flying off somewhere into the distance. Cursing she grabbed her shoulder and pain quickly spread to ever corner of her body and small trickles of bleed began weaving down her arm. If her leather shoulder pads hadn’t taken the brunt of the hit, she would have had to deal with a broken shoulder making her bow completely useless to her. She could feel the hot breath of the orc looming over her, casting a wide shadow as it lifted its club up again for another strike.

“Sh*t,” she cursed, rolling to the side as the monster’s grunt was followed by the unmistakeable thud of wood meeting hard ground. She had rolled over on her sore shoulder, sending sparks of pain flying outwards from her shoulder. Cringing, she fumbled blindly for the hunting knife that sat comfortably by her waist. Despite having had years of no contact with Rowanion, the memories of the past still crippled her to this day; the memories flooding back at sometimes the most inappropriate time. She lay there on the ground beneath the hulking body of her Orcish foe, bow having skittered away out of reach and only a small hunting knife in hand to protect her. Victoria crumpled up her nose as the beast’s foul, rotten breath rolled over her body. She had one chance, one shot to kill the brute least she fail and die.

“Goodbye….sister…” She whispered beneath her breath as she thrust her body upwards in one fluid motion, springing forth and plunging the blade hilt-deep into the stomach of the brute. Blood sprayed out much the same as the roar that came from its throat. Victoria rolled out from under it as the Orc’s body fell heavily to the ground wincing as she again rolled over her injured shoulder. She walked over to her bow, dusting the dirt off it as she lifted it from the ground, notching one of her final arrows and aiming at the head of the recently felled Orc.

All around her Orcish bodies lay wasted; their blood fertilising the hard earth beneath them. Many held large gash wounds from Cassandra’s two handed Claymore or shallow hacks from Varian’s dual axes. Every now and then there would be one that would have sustained and elegant blow from Victoria’s fellow recruit, Ava; a half elf she had only just met recently. Rotating her shoulder, Victoria tried to work out the injury from her shoulder until the pain was just a dull throb. Weaving between the slumped bodies, she picked out all the arrows she had imbedded into their harsh, coarse hide. Many were broken and irreparable; more than she liked to have and by the end of her salvage mission, Victoria had little more than half a quiver filled with arrows. Kicking the dirt as she made her way back to meet the others at the gates of Dalenham, she hoped that the contract paid off enough to fill her quiver with arrows and her stomach until the next time she would be called for duty.

Up ahead she noticed Ava dart elegantly around an Orc before culling it in one fluid motion. The way she moved was so graceful, it made Victoria jealous seeing as in close combat she herself felt clumsy. But Victoria instead chose the bow, feeling the power as she pulled the string taunt then releasing it into an enemy’s body. Victoria followed behind Ava as she made her way to the gate of Dalenham, Cassandra and Varian waiting somewhat seemingly patient by the gates. She stopped nursing her shoulder as she got nearer, not wanting to appear weak in front of any of them. Slinging her bow over her shoulder, she slipped into the calm demeanour that was her alter-ego “Alys”, as if nothing had happened at all.

“So, what’s next?” she asked Varian, gazing up at him.

Legend June 20th, 2012 9:52 AM

Cassandra Alexandera and Varian Sigmund- Dalenham

"Gah! What's taking those two so long? I want to get paid already," Cass said with an ear wrenching moan. Always impatient, Cass never enjoyed standing idle for more than a few moments. If she ever bothered to give it much thought, Cass would probably admit as it be a contributing factor to her decision to leave her house and become a mercenary. But Cass never gave it any thought. She lived in the moment and this moment was being wasted on waiting for two rookies. Well, as far as she was concerned they were rookies.

"Calm down. They will be here soon," Varian replied with his arms crossed as he watched Cass twirl a knife around her fingers.

"And how do you know that? They didn't look like much…" Cass mumbled under her breath before pouting.

"Because I see one of them in the distance," Varian said, pointing in the distance. Cass mouthed an "oh" before returning to her knife twirling, acknowledging her defeat to Varian.

"Well, that was easy gold," Ava, the elf, said as she came to closer to Cass and Varian. She was too beautiful to be a mercenary. Cass assumed she was going to die on this job to kill some orcs (seeing how orcs can beat the average man with their superior strength), not giving her half the credit that Varian gave her. But he insisted and Cass wasn't in a position to argue seeing how she was drunk at the time. Despite that, the elven girl found a way to survive and Cass believed at that point, that maybe the girl would be useful to keep around.

"I've had easier," Cass said, tossing her knife into the air before sitting up and catching it in the other. "Surprised to see you survived. Maybe you got some potential after all," Cass said bluntly, before offering a genuine smile.

"That means she is happy to see you," Varian said to reassure the girl that Cass just remembered was named "Ava."

It didn't take long for the other mercenary to follow, of which Cass remembered was named "Alys." What's with all these people and their awkward nicknames, she thought. At least mine is nothing more than a shortening of my real name. “So, what’s next?” Alys asked directing her question to Varian.

"Now we go into the city," Varian answered.

"Finally!" Cass interjected before leading the way into the city.

Dalenham is the capital of Eveamoor and the closest thing to a real city in the developing nation of Eveamoor. Despite it's nearly 2000 year history, Dalenham has rarely developed, constantly living in the shadows of its sister countries of Ethora and Falke. Early struggles in the development of a formal government and a strong economy led to a gradual decline that has caused internal strife that has hampered any progress. Dalenham has become a city that strives to make its people forget that Eveamoor's failure to grow as a nation, but like many things in Eveamoor fails to meets its ambitious goals. The iron gates entering the city limits are rusty and aged, barely looking usable. However, to keep the townspeople from feeling totally insecure, numerous yet ill-equipped guards stand on the ramparts of the stone walls.

Upon entering the gates, one enters the central shopping district of the city unoriginally called "Market Street." Here, Dalenham shines. While not culturally exquisite, Dalenham is a peaceful, developed city with its stores, homes and various buildings built with a fusion of cobblestone and wood and various small stands scattered about. However, many of these buildings are quaint and small, built with function in mind. However, larger structures are spread out through Market Street (and the other parts of the market quarter) emerging as towers in the developing city. Anyone who knows anything about Dalenham and Eveamoor knows what these buildings are: Guild headquarters and/or outposts. Dalenham is the central hub for most businesses and as such many of the major guilds (and some minor ones) have established their headquarters in the capital. It is the sole reason that Dalenham has experienced its development. Leaving Market Street, one sees Eveamoor's true colors: a blending of poverty and regality. Larger homes and manors find themselves surrounding by small homes or shacks, representing a distinct lack in the middle class. One is either poor or fairly wealthy, with few in between. Aside from this, Dalenham is nothing remarkable except for the Mountain of Solace overlooking everything. A sole, lonely mountain resting in an open field, Mt. Solace is home to Dalenham's capital building, the castle in the sky is built within the mountain. It is said the King or Queen, can see all of Eveamoor from its towers. Or at least everything important.

The mercenaries entered through the gate and immediately saw the bustling streets of Market Street, with an eccentric mix of the rich and poor minding their own business as they walked about the cobblestone streets of the city. It was busier than normal, but that was likely because the day was still fairly young. "I will go on ahead and collect our pay," Varian said, holding up a cloth sack containing a trophy of their conquest, the head of the orc chieftan he had slain.

"Right," Cass said. "We'll be up at the Broken Keg. I heard they serve a decent drink." Varian motioned a weak wave as he walked along, separating from the group.

"Well, if you guys want to get your share you better head to the Broken Keg with me. He'll meet us there." Cass spat motioning the other two to follow her. Cass walked through the streets with force and confidence, with many bystanders simply making room for her. The beggars scattered themselves amongst the bystanders, hoping for spare change. Pickpockets roamed around, hoping to find a loose purse. The rich scoffed at the poor and the poor envied the rich. It was business as usual in Dalenham, and Cass loved the city already. It was chaos in its own way, full of intrigue and interesting characters. That being said, she knew how pathetic the people really were. Five minutes in the village earlier revealed that much.

After a few minutes of walking, Cass found the Broken Keg. As far taverns she heard about, the Broken Keg wasn't too bad, but it was far from ornate with your typical stone and wood construction and homely feel. Looks boring. But she knew how to make it entertaining. Without a word, Cass entered the building and eyed the people in the room. The Broken Keg was far from your typical tavern that Cass would frequent, being actually clean and well maintained. The bar itself had a shiny wood finish and a number of tables with richer patrons (and a number of the rare middle class present) pausing in their socializing as Cass stormed in. Even the band in the corner stopped playing their instruments. Cass enjoyed the attention, liking to think they were admiring her rugged beauty.

Cass had scouted the place out and realized that no tables were actually ripe for the taking. This never stopped her before in her quest to work hard and party harder. Walking up to a table near the wall with a small party of patrons calmly gambling and drinking, Cass loomed over them as she approached. The men looked a bit intimidated, but since they weren't shivering in fear, Cass felt the need to emphasize her point. Removing a knife from its holster, Cass drove it through the oak table, nearly splitting it in half. The knife was only a small breath of air away from the one patrons resting hand.

"Oh," Cass said with a fake gasp. "Seems I missed your hand. Let me try again." Before she had the opportunity to remove the knife, the group retreated, leaving a few coins behind as they panicked. "Hey girls! Seems I found an open table. Come join me," Cass called as she removed her knife and fell into a seat, kicking back and relaxing. A few moments later, a nervous waitress came over.

"W-what can I…I get for you?"

"Got any Golden Brew?"


"I'll take that. Preferably from Rowanion if you can manage it. Get these two whatever they want."

Kikpanther June 22nd, 2012 10:15 PM

Colin Arcamenel- Port of Ekilore

The breeze rolled through the cool air, wafting as if waves themselves. The boat, as all boats do, rocked back and forth as the current pushed it along to its destination (with help of mast and sail). The sight of the Tower, which expanded as the boat neared, was breath taking. A pillar which rose to the heavens, straight into the air without an end in sight. Even when looking at it it seemed impossible, that such a monument could be crafted by such, then, ignorant hands. Since the erection of this spectacle, the world had changed, morphing with discoveries and new ideas. Yet, this place went untouched, as noted by the lack of life that surrounded it, and yet... As the society in which they were all born to (whether poor or rich, dignified or hellish) learned, it somehow could not grasp, could not find out how such a... Wonder could be constructed here. How such a beauty, so impractical in idea, would be sought for and accomplished to such a degree. The craftsmanship of the old, somehow, managed to often outclass the new. This trend, it seemed, would not be one short lived.

However, grand as this sight was, it went without blessed view by the elven knight Colin. Instead of standing out in the air, soaking up the masterpiece which this was, he sat in the stomach of the ship, keeping himself as stationary as possible. Surrounded by what he considered boring, wooden structure, it was easy to hear the creeks and moans of the ship. His ears picked up every little movement, but he ignored them, as annoying as they were. His main focus was getting through this... Miserable ride. The movement of his current transport made it feel as if his organs were moving with him. When the boat went back, his stomach depressed itself, and when it came forward, it was crushed by the weight of the things around it. This lunchtime mashing that his body was going through made nausea Colin's companion throughout. The sickness made him hot, made him dizzy, made him feel as if he were being punished by the gods for doing... Well, he could not say! His ignorance could likely be the root cause.

Standing was an ordeal and walking... A terror to him. His only option was to sit, sit and be still. He feared what would happen in an even that he let his guard down, feared what demons would shoot from him if he allowed himself rest. So he sat, waiting for the boat to stop, finally, and staring at his horse, which stared back at him. The two of them watched each other as if having their own conversation. Horse, indifferent, stoic, stupid, as all animals were, and Colin frustrated, nauseated, and outdone as he had been for days now. His horse, with cream colored fur (almost as if it had a yellow hue) and brown mane and tail, had the dead-eyed, bored look that riding animals seemed to possess. As if getting on their backs and parading around from one place to another was their own personal Hell despite the shouts and whinnies that escaped them on occasion. The words she communicated silently were not quite so, however. Her eyes simply said, "Are you alright?" and Colin's would reply, "I wish to die."

What seemed like ages ago was a shout from above that signaled the sight of land. Their land, not those little ports where they stopped a "break" or "rest" or "travel". They were there, almost, and would be there today. He would be overjoyed when reached their destination finally. The crew had seen very little of him happy after the second day of their little journey and the more he was forced on the boat, the lest they saw him up enjoying the breeze. Up top, the shaking, the waves, the everything was much more pronounced. It was like a curse and, Colin, being a proud man, refused to let any eyes witness him become sick to the point of... of tossing his lunch to the fish. He chose, instead, to wait well into the night before he decided to award the sea creatures with his home made munchies. He also ate as little as possible, sometimes refusing absolutely when it was time to eat and a few times having been forced to swallow something down. When he did eat, he ate child's portions and always after he would be gifted with his worst nights.

Colin groaned when the ship began to drag, the resistance of wet sand beneath the water felt even though the wood and shoes. Shouts from above signaled the start of the sailor's work in bringing them fully to port. Colin groaned once more, forcing himself on his legs. As he rose, it felt as if his stomach were sinking down through his body and then fusing into his bladder.

"God's help me..." He whispered, though not from his will. Each step he took towards the door felt as though his gut was in shudder and his stomach were digesting itself. The steps... Oh, much worse. Pushing open the hatch, he pulled himself to the deck's floor. Immediately he was brushed by the breeze that came from the ocean. His hair, which had grown during this journey (though, of course, still kept tame and presentable), moved with the breeze, hitting him in the face as if they were trying to use his skin to clap for the sight before him. Colin would not lie, for a moment the image of this ancient tower washed away the pains in which he experienced. As did most viewers, surely, he automatically began to follow its height with his head and eyes, trying to see the tip, as many have tried and, as all, failed. His moment of relief and astoundment was interrupted by a firm pat on the back by a crew member. It was Aoibheann Corwin, one of the less annoying members. He was an elf, like all the crew members. Corwin was short, dark-skinned, and very, very stocky.

"Was I right to guess under two months?" It was true, they had gotten here in a relatively quick time, and could have been here earlier had they not chosen to make stops along the way. The reminder of how long they'd been traveling, though, made Colin feel exhausted, like he'd been stuck on the sea for thousands of years.

"Right indeed. I must remind myself to praise the captain for his very skillful sailing after I ready myself to meet the monks." Colin spoke with some effort, trying to focus his mind on his words and off of the plague going on within his body. His voice masked his strain, trained as it was to keep power, hide weakness, but his skin had gone a slight pale from the ordeal of this... Water sickness. It was for this reason and his clothing that he had to return to his quarters and further ready. Crewmen moved here and there all around the two, preparing the ship for a complete stop at the port. "Aoibheann, when the boat is fully docked, could you please have some men take Eetris out to stretch her legs? She's been standing for quite awhile. I can imagine she'd like to stretch her legs."

Aoibheann nodded. "Certainly, sir. Anything else?" Colin shook his head and confirmed the negative. Allowing Aoibheann to his duties, Colin mustered his might to take himself to his quarters. Now that the boat no longer moved, his stomach began to settle (though occasionally it would shift, forcing him to endure of short, but nauseating feeling). Typical of all elven boats, the rooms were of a comfortable size, giving just enough space for the guest to enjoy and then some. Colin's room in particular was able to hold a bed large enough for two. On the walls were small tapestry displaying designs that gave the viewer a comfortable or at home feeling. On the floor was a rug that had a very similar function. Unlike the horse rooms and like areas, the craftsmanship of the wooden walls were not boring. The fine oak used was very warm, contrasting from its fellows that made up the rest of the boat in an unknown, but very apparent way. The bed's post, the chair, the desk, and even the frame for the mirror were all carved and created beautifully. It weren't doubtful that fine hands were the mother of these things.

In the mirror, Colin readied himself for the eyes of others. As always, it was of great importance to look his best as well as appropriate for any given situation, and as such, he had brought with him many a variety of outfits. The exact reason of this coming meeting with the monks was mysterious, to put in little words. The message, which had resulted in Colin's coming here, alluded to very little. It was the enthusiasm of his then current town of living that had ultimately convinced him. While the letter did bring about his own degree of enthusiasm, the uncertainty of the mission it provided made him unsure if he should choose to go. At the time, he had also been given another request and its situation made the decision all the more harder. However, the citizens were very convinced that some other knight could take over the duty of the request and may already have. The townspeople were were sure, most highly, that this journey would become historical, create some sort of greatness. They had pushed him into agreeing with their overwhelming enthusiasm and odd ability to inspire. Wanting him to waste no time it was suggested he go by boat rather than riding to Ekilore. Boats birthed by elves were no doubt the fastest. Had Colin known the difficulties that would follow, he would have never agreed.

Clothes decided, Colin fixed his hair and face, delicately separating his golden hairs from his darker ones and fixing his complexion into one of high quality. With a comb he collected, aligned, and divided his golden locks. The arrangement gave his hair, when he'd pulled it back, a single golden stripe that displayed itself very neatly in the center. The other golden strands, which cannot be collected, were assembled in a way that made the black of his hair look darker and all the more vibrant. Satisfied with his appearance, Colin returned to the deck where all hands were now finished with securing the boat and were either relaxing in some way, carrying out simple duties, or were completely out of sight. He looked off his boat and to the island of the tower, immediately first noticing Aoibheann and two others walking Eetris and allowing her freedom off the seas.

Near their boat was another. It was of a large size and of the highest degree. Only an ignorant man could look at its bow and say it were anything short of magnificent. Also on the docks was another boat which was not so much amazing. Impressed by the sight of the first one, Colin looked into the island for the possible owner. Whoever possessed it must have been an important man. Colin looked to the island once more, interest heightened to a point. It didn't take him long to spot the figures of two men, one on the back of a horse, and the other on his feet, by the tower. He took a guess that the rider of the horse (also dressed elegantly) was the owner of the fine boat here. By their being here, Colin assumed they had arrived for the same reason he had.

Seeing he had stayed on enough, Colin came off of his boat, very ready to see what the townspeople had convinced him of doing. Stepping on the ground, however, felt as if he were on the seas. Accustomed now to the sway of the boat, the Earth now moved. He felt the side to side dips of the ground and, again, it triggered a nauseated sensation. Colin swallowed the groan, planning to depress these feelings with sheer will.

The island itself was not all that impressive. Grass was only abundant and some places and most of the scene was taken up by large areas of dark dirt; the Tower had to make up for its unfortunate setting. The two of them quarreled, it seemed, among themselves. Colin, of course, had not a single idea of what they were talking about, however, his ears were becoming deaf to their words as he noticed the features of whom he was coming before.

From atop his horse, it may have been the best angle to view him. He had fair, blonde hair, locks shining from the sun's light (even at such a subdued time as this) and resting upon his head in a manner that seemed to, somehow, ask for respect in itself. His skin, which only bore a slight tan, was flawless, traveling over his body smoothly as if silk. The sight of it made it seem as if it would feel just that way (something Colin now wanted to test). He wore clothing and armor of yellow, red, and brown, his steed decorated with the same colors. The white colored horse, on its front, had the image of a golden Spartan, the sigil of Reigncliff.

"Good day, my lords," Colin greeted when he came to full approach. Though moderate, his close proximity to the handsome knight gave him an uncomfortable, yet appropriate sensation. The heat that was produced from an unknown function on his skin made it even the more worse. He wished for it to end, and quickly. The more these feeling occurred, the more his stomach would tighten, worsening his disposition all the more.

Skymin June 25th, 2012 5:19 PM

AVA - Dalenham

"Uh, thank-you," Avangeline said with a returning smile as Alys joined the other mercenaries. Right, so everyone had survived! Well, why wouldn't they anyway? It was only orcs they were up against, not fire-breathing dragons. Hah! Imagine that, dragons in Hyrus.

“So, what’s next?” Alys opened with. Avangeline took a moment to scan her up and down. It seemed she had faired a bit worse than Avangeline herself had. She wasn't sure to feel some kind of empathy or pity her. It didn't matter, at least she was alive in the end. That's all that really mattered right? Perhaps not to Avangeline, but she wasn't sure what Alys' self-morals were.

"Now we go into the city," Varian answered.



* * *

Dalenham was no mystery to Avangeline; she had spent a great deal of her life in this city. It was here where she first began to feel independent and free, no longer trapped in castle walls. She smiled as her memory began to point out buildings to her; the thieves guild where she had first started, the different houses of different clans which she had jumped back and forward from, trying to find her place, the alley in which she had spent her first night in, how much dirtier it seemed during the night, the inn which she had saved the life of the innkeeper from a drunken swordsman. This was her home away from home, though Falke seemed like a far off memory now.

Market Street, as she recalled as the group strode through it, was a place she had treasured most. The things that they had on sale, the people here who shared their stories, it was all different every week. Avangeline enjoyed the business of it all. Within the crowd, she felt like an average, everyday person.

"I will go on ahead and collect our pay," Varian broke Avangeline from her ponderings, holding up a cloth sack containing the head of the orc chieftain. It smelt positively disgusting.

"Right. We'll be up at the Broken Keg. I heard they serve a decent drink," Cass said. Varian gave a nod and with a wave, separated from the girls. As soon as he had gone, Cass turned to the others. "Well, if you guys want to get your share you better head to the Broken Keg with me. He'll meet us there."

Avangeline didn't argue. She hoped to eat something enormous and filling and the best place to do that was a pub. Of course, they didn't sell the greatest food but it was far better than berries and raw fish. She followed Cass, lifting her arms in the air to squeeze through marketers and customers. Several times, Avangeline had gotten glimpses of precious stones and jewellery which she would have loved to stop to look at but unfortunately, pay was better than window shopping. Though she tried to be polite, she eventually gave up and followed directly behind Cass, as people seemed to move at the sight of her.

The Broken Keg, in Avangeline's eyes, was a dump. Of course, it wasn't the worst tavern in Dalenham but for a pub near Market Street? The amount of business they would receive should be able to at least give them the profit to buy decent furniture. But, again, being Dalenham, the customers probably paid with sword rather than gold. And on closer look, the better tables were occupied by the richer customers. Makes sense; the more you please them, the more they give.

What humoured Avangeline the most was not the poor man becoming even poorer or the courtesan in the corner obviously flirting with the rich noble but the reaction to Cass' entry to the pub. Everyone stopped to look at the mercenary as if she was a ghost or something. Cass did not falter at the silence, instead striding in to find a table. Avangeline could see herself there were none that she could call tables (there was a man in the far corner eating on a barrel and crate) but that barely stopped Cass, successfully scaring the living daylights out of some men. Avangeline laughed from behind; it would have been far more funny if she had broken a chair leg or something.

"Hey girls! Seems I found an open table. Come join me."

Avangeline gracefully stepped over a fallen chair, picked it up and joined Cass, placing her hands on the table. The cut was clean, the one on the table. With a little more applied pressure, the table would have been split in half. Avangeline was pulled from thoughts when a waitress scurried over to take their order.

"W-what can I…I get for you?"

"Got any Golden Brew?" Cass took the first order.


"I'll take that. Preferably from Rowanion if you can manage it. Get these two whatever they want."

"I'd like... hmm, grilled sliced potatoes and skins and a little mead, pleases and thank-yous," Avangeline smiled at the waitress.

Rokusasu June 29th, 2012 4:33 PM

Rhoda Dreyan - Port of Ekilore

Agog with excitement, the shortest passenger aboard the ship from Gallen leant further over the edge, her hair whipping about her round face and her lips receiving a battering from the briny sea air, not that she cared for how chapped they became. In fact, her cheeks were more ruddy than usual from exposure to fresh air, as opposed to the stuffy substance in the Mindirion atmosphere - she had been able to tell the difference as soon as she emerged from the mountains and stepped into the world of man, and Rhoda knew at that moment that she would never return home again - not for long anyway.

"Careful lass!" the human who had been escorting her for most of the journey, after her dwarven companion who had taken her from Mindirion had left her by Lake Rudel ("I can't swim, and I ain't walkin' 'round the bloody thing!"). "Don't want you falling in!"

"It's fine!" she beamed brightly at him, stretching her neck skyward and releasing an uninhibited giggle. The journey had been an amazing one at that, and she wished that there had been more time to spend at each little town they stopped in. She didn't even mind the stares - dwarves rarely made it this far south - and her enthusiasm and mannerisms were almost alien to the normal townsfolk. The food was delicious, fresher than what she was used to, and she had been able to try different kinds of ale too. What a night that was, three days ago, when she had been the only one in the tavern left standing! Admittedly her head had been pounding the following day, and her belongings seemed heavier than usual, but it had been absolutely worth it.

The plethora of people she had seen, both human and elven, had also been overwhelming. Many of them were extremely beautiful in her eyes, with the graceful way in which they moved (especially the women), and the men were so much different compared to the stocky dwarves back home! Each had his own distinct smell - which she had been adapting to, there were nearly as many new smells out here as there were humans (some scents more familiar than others) - and often told of the place he worked and how hard he toiled. Some of them even sported a sheen upon their skin that accentuated their shirtless bodies, clinging to every well-defined contour, it was a lot more pleasant than her father's ruddy face when he consumed too much ale and sat too close to the fire. That was another thing, chimneys! Oh, and the dark plumes of soot they belched out! Of course, she was aware that the smoke from dwarven fires went into a chamber somewhere in the mountain that connected to a fresh air supply, but she had never seen the grey trails streaming from a rooftop before.

If only Rhoda possessed some magical tool that could capture the sights she had seen far better than her memory, something that would fall victim to the passage of time. She frowned a little and stepped back away from the edge of the boat. Speaking of the passage of time... How long had it been since she left the mountains?

"If you look now, you'll see the island ahead," informed one of the crew, perhaps seeing the subtle change in her expression. "We're not far now."

Rhoda offered him a polite smile and crossed the deck; sure enough a large silhouette loomed in the distance. Admittedly she had not considered the nature of her quest beyond it being very important, and now as her mind wandered, butterflies made their way inside her stomach (a colloquialism that had horrified her at first) and began their frantic fluttering. She willed her digestive juices to destroy the strange sensation, and even bobbed up and down in an attempt to disturb them. She imagined herself as a bottle.

"Are you okay?" She stopped immediately at the voice behind her.

"Yes!" came her squeak. "I'm just very excited to finally be hitting dry land again!"

"We didn't get on this boat too long ago," mused her escort, "but aye, can't imagine your folk being natural sailors."

She chuckled in agreement, picturing her father and all the other men she knew. Their heavy armour would probably be enough to sink a vessel of this kind! Though, the fact that she couldn't swim had been very much on her mind prior to them boarding, but she had been reassured that someone would dive in after her, should she fall in. Her hesitation had been short lived when she espied one of the younger sailors, and much of the trip had revolved around watching his very strong arms working around the ship. Ah yes, he had a nice face too but those muscles!

- - -

There were a few other boats of varying size and grandeur already docked when their own finally reached the port, and the woman spent the time waiting for them to anchor writing notes about them in her journal. Sadly she had no knowledge of the different types of wood, only stones and a few gemstones, and made a mental note to harass a carpenter at some point on her journey, or even marry one.

When she was told they could get off she quickly shoved it into her bag, along with her quill and ink (making sure to cap the latter, she had already learned the hard way that it was capable of ruining one's clothes). A man was waiting for them with a pair of horses in tow and she swallowed thickly. Horses weren't the best thing for a dwarf, surely they could have provided her with a pony?

"This is where we part, lass," her escort explained, "but don't you worry, I'll be sticking around for a while so we might see each other again."

"Okay," she nodded, somewhat distracted by the prospect of mounting a horse. "Um, here."

He responded to her show of coin with a hearty laugh.

"I've already been paid, don't you worry!" he tousled her hair like one would a child. Rhoda grimaced but did not back down.

"Think of it as my own gratitude, like with those serving girls in that pub."

He had not the heart to tell her that they accepted money because of their profession, or that their profession involved going to bed with whichever man (or even men) had paid them, and humbly accepted the handful of coin.

"May the Nine watch over you," he mumbled quietly, the smile not fading from his thick, chapped lips.

- - -

Horseback riding was a lot easier when there was a young, strapping stable hand sitting behind you on your mount. All she had to do was cling to the front of the saddle and enjoy herself, he controlled the mare with clicks of his tongue and the reins. The landscape around them was subpar compared to that which she had previously experienced, but she was in no mood for sight seeing. Rhoda spent much of her journey contemplating the lad's age. Having a husband younger than she would be strange, considering her mother was her father's junior by ten years. At the same time she would not want a man much older, because she wasn't the sort who wanted to be looked after.

It was almost disappointing for the tower to come into sight, and Rhoda racked her brains for a way to make the lovely man behind her stay for the entire quest, but alas the horses moved quickly. There were a few figures up ahead, slowly but surely she could distinguish them better from human-shaped blobs to actual individuals. And as she caught view of the elven male, well, all thoughts about snaring the stable hand vanished. Why were surfacers so pretty?!

She dismounted as elegantly as she could, cordially thanking the men and quickly ducking behind her steed to adjust her hair. When it felt right beneath the touch of her fingers, she straightened to her full height, puffed out her chest and strode confidently towards them. Ah, there was a knight too, but he wasn't as pretty as the elf - was pretty even suitable to use for a male?

Of course, she had never even considered her own race as something they might react to, so greeted them in the same manner as she had done at every other stage during her journey. Even if it offended them, it would be a decent ice breaker.

"Hello there, you don't happen to know where I left my stilts, do you?"

Legend July 3rd, 2012 12:15 AM

Percival Grey- Ekilore

"Good day, my lords." This was the only phrase that brought the end of the silence to the brothers. Percival turned from the tower to see who greeted him, only to realize that the elf that stood before him seemed to give his brother more attention. Percival was all to used to it. Not again, he said to himself. It always seem to be like that. Percival sighed and closed his eyes, enjoying the light breeze. It calmed him down a bit. That was until another made themselves known. It was a dwarf, a cheeky one too.

"Hello there, you don't happen to know where I left my stilts, do you?"

"Can't say I have seen them," Percival said with a smile. He liked this one. Less awkward than the elf at least.

A loud, screeching creak came from behind the gathered as the large iron door cracked open revealing an average sized and plump bald human wearing opulent brightly colored robes. Percival recognized the man's profession immediately. He was an apprentice of the great monks of Ekilore, dedicating his entire life to their surface often in the pursuit of knowledge. There was often a trade off however, and one had to look no further than their title to discover the sacrifice. These men were called the Eunuchs. For generations, men would come to Ekilore and pledge themselves to the monks, revel in their teachings and then perform whatever was requested of them. Some stayed in the tower. Others were planted in the courts of the various kingdoms.

"Greetings my lords," the eunuch began as he made eye contact with everyone, before gawking at the dwarf ever so slightly before smiling. "And lady," he said with a bow, before preceding to open the door further. As he did, a rush of cold air (thought a Highmen of Vanaheim would likely such a rush a summer breeze) swept through Percival, though he tried to rub off the chill as soon as he could. He didn't want to show weakness, especially in front of Roland. His brother didn't need another excuse to chastise him. "Come in. The lord monks have been expecting you for some time. I do fear a few of them become oh so impatient." Percival led the way through the great iron door, hoping the others would follow in suit.

Percival stepped into the tower, with his footsteps producing a slight echo. As the rest of his gathered peers came into the tower, the Eunuch closed the door creating a thunderous 'clank' that reverberated throughout the base of the tower. "Welcome to the Oculus Tower," he said as he took a position as the leader of the group. The group found themselves at the base of the tower, standing near the middle of a large circular room build around a golden platform squarely in the middle. The room was fairly well lit, at least well enough for the group to behold what many called the "Grand Library." It was Astrum to any person who considered themselves a scholar would call it Astrum, as the greatest written works called this library their home. The bookcases that housed these works ascended deep into the dark abyss above them. If the matter of the monks was not a priority, Percival would love to spend a few weeks in this tower.

Works of art were scattered about, often lying on the blank walls between the oversized bookcases. There were paintings on the walls depicting characters, emotions, events in histories and some harsh realities in the world. Feasts were balanced by famines, health to pestilence, peace to war and life to death. Glorious moments in history were immortalized, as were some more subdued moments. However, the most thought provoking pieces of art were pieces of art with interesting characters as the subjects. There was a prince appearing to sleep on his throne, a woman enjoying men drooling over her beauty and a man bathing himself in his gold and riches. Percival could not recognize such figures, though some bore a resemblance to figures he recalled studying. Percival wanted to ask about them, but the Eunuch seemed far too focused on leading the gathered up the small metal staircase onto the golden platform.

When the gathered took their respective positions on the platform, Percival became breathless for a moment as his eyes were set on a mural. He couldn't understand what captivated him so, but he was lost in its details and majestic design. The mural towered over the gathered at well over two meters tall, and about one meter wide. The frame surrounded the painting in a bright golden color, with decorative streaks of texture across it, as if to further demonstrate the significance of the image within. The painting itself utilized bright, beaming colors, the likes of which could produce a feeling of euphoria in even the greatest artists. The style of painting involved unusual brush strokes and indistinct lines and shapes, giving it a rather mystifying sensation, probably done purposefully by the creator. The mural itself contained at the foreground a gathering of men and women, their knees bent as if they were praying, or perhaps worshipping. They faced the direction of a lone figure on top of the painting, positioned on the hill. The figure’s arms are stretched outward, as if acknowledging their prayers, or perhaps forcing them down to the ground. The image is so vague that multiple interpretations could be given. Perhaps that was also purposefully done by the creator.

Above the mural was another set piece that quite literally gazed into Percival's being. Another rendition of the monks' symbolic eye loomed over the base level of the library. It was as massive as the one on the tower, with a seemingly glowing red eye that pulsed in the soft light provided by the torches. The other Eunuchs at the base did not seem to be bothered by the gaze of the red eye, minding their own business whether it be cleaning, organizing, reading or studying various novels and works. Some were appearing to write as well, while others were simply minding their own business. Regardless, there was a certain peaceful serenity about everything. Percival enjoyed the view. It was a far cry from what was happening on the mainland.

Roland approached the mural and observed it intently, as if to decipher its meaning. The eunuch walked over and stood beside him, as if sensing that the knight has questions.

“I am not familiar with this artwork. By whom was it painted?” Roland inquired at the eunuch.

“It is unknown who painted the mural of Ekilore, as it unknown the origin of many of the other books and paintings displayed here.”

“I see.” Roland said, continuing to admire the mural. “I am unfamiliar with this style of artwork. I have been educated in all manner of art known through the lands, but this style…eludes me. It is as if the painter purposefully distorted the images.”

“An excellent observation, my lord.” The eunuch replied. “Have you any conjecture as to why this was done?”

A smug look of narcissism seemed to appear on Roland’s face, as if with every word he spoke, he was educating the eunuch more than vice versa. Roland’s edification was obviously great, but the praise might have gone a bit to his head. “Well…under normal circumstance, this would be a simple depiction of a group of folk, perhaps servants, bowing to this other.” He said, pointing at the figure in the mural above, with his arms extended. “Yet the way the artist blurred every figure, including the one standing above the populace, it appears as though they intended to present the possibility that this isn’t exactly as it seems.”

“What are you implying, my lord?”

“Observe here.” Roland said, pointing over to the hand of the figure on the hill. “Notice how he holds his hand out. On one hand, it would appear that he shepards the people from harm and is their savior, and they, in turn, show their gratitude by bowing to the figure. But because of the distortion, it could easily appear that this figure is the harbinger of their destruction, and the people bend their knees in plead of mercy and compassion. The only real question is what the true account is.”

The eunuch smiled and nodded. “Perhaps we will never know.”

The Eunuch turned to the others then, having finished with Roland. "Now my lords and lady, do stay on the platform. Hold on to the railings if you feel like as though you will fall off," the Eunuch said, before pulling a small lever. The platform shook violently before suddenly moving. Percival lost his footing before catching himself on the railing, holding on to dear life. The Eunuch smiled and stood still, clearly used to the sensation of the moving platform. "We shall be there shortly," he nodded. Percival adjusted slowly, eventually being able to stand up at one point. The platform ascended up the tower at a fair speed, fast enough to make modest progress but slow enough that the gathered could see the bookcases ascended high into the tower, at the various paintings decorated on the wall. Percival could of sworn he saw the characters from before continue to be the subject matter of various works of art, as if part of a series chronicling various lives. A story was being told, but he failed to make sense of it.

The platform came to a stop in a dimly lit stone room free of the opulence of the base of the tower, with a small iron door leading out of the room. It was rather depressing in comparison, but clearly it was a room that saw little idle use. "Come this way," the Eunuch said continuing to lead the way before pausing at the door. "I must warn you. The climb up the next of stairs is quite perilous. Stay close to the wall and you shall be fine."

"What do you mean 'perilous'? Percival asked, crossing his arms in skepticism.

"Oh, you will see," the Eunuch replied opening the door, only to once again unleash strong gust of wind upon them. The Eunuch walked through the door with the gathered into, showing another sight to the group. This one was received by a mixture of intimidation and awe from Percival. Intimidation in that Percival feared for his own well being. Awe in that he could see the world of Hyrus from his vantage point. From the kingdoms of Ethora, to the snow capped mountains of Vanaheim, to the sands of Rastra, to the islands of Rolsten and Shinguo to the coast of Falke Percival could see from this own two eyes through the thin white clouds of the blue sky. Never before would he see such a sight and tried his best to etch into his mind. He didn't imagine it would be too hard in the end.

Over the gusts of wind, Percival could not hear anything the Eunuch said, only capturing a few words here and there. Nothing really made any sense, but he did heed his advice and practically hugged the wall with his life in the balance. The Eunuch lead them all the stairs, making their way around the door until they appeared to be behind the door. The view of the world that made Percival feel like a small child in a dream world was obscured by the room that only myths told of: the observatory of the monks of Ekilore. It appeared that the monks admired the view as much as anyone else as the observatory had every wall crafted by pure glass. Only the sold stone foundation and the pointed marble roof were exceptions, though the iron door and marble archway the gathered stood underneath (with marble walls on each side to protect them from elements) that stood before them could mentioned in the same sentence.

"We are finally here," the Eunuch said, this time being clearly heard by Percival. "Now we must wait for the monks to receive you. It should not be long."

Swolligator July 3rd, 2012 7:00 PM

Victoria “Alys” Taimor – Dalenham

During her several years of wandering looking for hired work, never had Victoria been anywhere near Dalenham. A rogue attempt to destroy a man’s business in Curilan was the only time Victoria had been in Eveamoor and after that she was glad to be out of the country. However Dalenham was an exception. Market street caught Victoria’s attention; it was enormous and had hundreds of vendors selling everything from flaming arrows to cow dung. Above the stall roofs she could see houses bordering the square-like street; a blend of high society and low society mixing into one. Dalenham seemed like one big business city where merchants flocked day by day to sell their wares.

“Hey girl!” came a sharp, raspy tone from a nearby stall. Looking around, Victoria came across the old man; skin like parchment and deep set eyes. She pointed to herself, making sure he was talking to her, “yes I’m talking to you, silly girl.”

Victoria’s blood began to boil, oh how she disliked to be called girl, but regardless she stopped following the others to approach the man. “Yes?”

In his frail hands lay a small bottle with green liquid resting carefully in the bottom. The bottle was triangular in shape, the liquid barely reaching up to the neck. “This, is ‘Dragon Fire’, a mystical substance that will burn through wood, stone, even steel. Yours for only fifty silver.”

Victoria looked at the man like he was insane, “One, I don’t have fifty silver on me, and two, I don’t believe in liquefied pig sh*t.” She turned on her heels, leaving the man stunned and quickly made her way back to the rapidly disappearing Cassandra and Ava.

Victoria followed Cassandra to a small, dingy tavern called the “Broken Keg”, wandering inside after the other two and waiting patiently as Cassandra bullied their way to a table, almost severing a person’s hand in the process. She felt a pang resonate inside her as Cassandra ordered Golden Brew, specifically from Rowanion; almost as if she knew that behind the façade of “Alys”, the real Victoria hid. Eying her carefully, Victoria took a seat opposite her, but to the left slightly.

"I'd like... hmm, grilled sliced potatoes and skins and a little mead, pleases and thank-yous," Ava followed by smiling innocently at the waiter. The way she carried herself, gave Victoria the impression that she was of somewhat high birth, but she knew nothing of Ava except her fluid movements and perfect execution of attacks that made it seem as if she was floating on air.

“Raelus Fire Ale for me.” Coming from a largely shipping city like Rowanion, Alys had often drunk some of the imported beverages with the locals; even the alcoholic ones. Brewed in the Hills of Fire of Raelus, the brew consisted of mostly pyro-weed; a potent plant. The Ale itself was tasty and somewhat spicy, however the pyro-weed gave it a ‘kick’, that unless you continued to drink the ale, would produce a slight burning feeling in the back of the throat. The paradox of the situation was that the more Ale you drank, the hotter the burning feeling in the back of the throat became. Despite this, Victoria had taken quite a liking to the ale.

SV July 3rd, 2012 8:09 PM

Varian Sigmund- Dalenham

Varian walked casually through the streets of Dalenham. For the most part, the people of the city paid him no heed. It was not so unusual to see a Highmen in Eveamoor. In fact, it wasn’t highly abnormal to see pretty much any race in the country. Its reputation as a frail nation caused many to travel here and exploit it, and thus travelers from Vanaheim, Falke, Ethora, and even Miracyia was a customary sight. For the most part, many did not care either way, and those who did were usually in no position to do anything about it. Thus was the fate of Eveamoor.

But Varian cared neither for the political or economic situation of Eveamoor nor its citizens. What he was most concerned with presently was receiving the reward promised to them for the job. He turned right on the corner, exiting from the Market Street and heading down a smaller, shabby street. The buildings which stood here were even less impressive than those on the main street. Most were old and looked like they stood upon their last inch of life, on the verge of collapsing. Horse manure was all across the pathway, no one bothered to clean it up. In fact, no one bothered to do anything on this street. It wasn’t like many people bothered to venture here. Varian walked into the second door from the left into an old, wooden tavern. The inside reflected much of the outside: old, filthy, and for the most part vacant, except for a few men on the second level, drinking, and a the tender of the tavern, who stood behind a wooden table who wiped the table, acting as though he was cleaning. Varian noted at the odd paradox of this, seeing as it was painfully obvious the place had not been clean since the Occupy Dalenham movement.

The man at the bars was a short one, at least to Varian, probably not coming up to his shoulders. He had long, black hair he kept in a ponytail and an untrimmed beard. His face was covered with grime and dirt, to such an extent that Varian could not tell his true skin color. His clothes were modest for the area he occupied, but he would probably look like a beggar if he traveled anywhere beyond it. The man’s supposed name was Edward, but Varian was certain that was an alias. But Varian didn’t care. To him, he was just his contractor, a middleman between the client and the sellsword. The contractor would hear the requests of folk for certain jobs that needed to be done, and the client would deposit the gold with them. Mercenaries would then seek out these contractors for potential jobs, and if fulfilled to the best of the client’s demands, the gold would be given to them. Varian always preferred receiving his money from a contractor rather than the actual client. With a contractor, it’s a simple checklist to see if every task assigned is complete, and the exchange commences. When handling an actual client, it becomes more personal. Jobs wouldn’t be about rescuing a man or a woman, but rather rescuing ‘my brother’, or ‘my betrothed’. You feel that you’re not working to get paid, but to help someone. And while that might sit well with others, it gives Varian a feeling of added responsibility which he doesn’t want placed on his shoulders. Making sure his men (or in this case women) are paid and alive is dependability enough for him.

Edward looked up from his cleaning job and acknowledged Varian’s entrance with a wave of his hand. “Ah, Varian! Back so soon. Is the job complete?”

Varian nodded as he lifted up the sack he was carrying around and dumped the contents of it on the table. It was the head of an orc, or the chieftan of the orcs to be precise, the ringleader in the attacks. The head rolled out of the sack and landed facing Edward. Edward made an aggravated face back at the head and sighed.

“Gods, I hate it.” Edward said, shaking his head. Varian looked up at him, wondering what he meant. “I hate it when they look at you when they die. Makes sleep much harder.”

“It’s just an orc.” Varian replied casually.

“That does not make him any less alive. It doesn’t make his eyes’ last sight of he who killed him any less damning.” Edward retorted, placing his hands on the table as he continued to gaze at the head.

“If you are so worried about the damned eyes of every creature I fell, the next time I bring one in, I’ll pluck them out before entering.” Varian retorted, a hint of impatience able to be detected from his tone. To this, Edward snapped into a smile and removed the orc head from the table, placing it into the sack and putting it below.

“Right, the money. The money.” He said, searching for a particular bag below. Varian noticed he marked every one of them with something different. He assumed each one applied to a different job. “How fares the village?”

“Sabamin still stands.” Varian said, crossing his arms as he waited for him to bring out his bag.

“And your company?” Edward said as he brought a bag with an ‘S’ labeled on it. Edward dropped the bag onto the table, with the sound of coin being heard when it impacted the table.

“No casualties.” Varian said as he opened the sack and dumped the silver onto the table. Edward sighed and rolled his eyes in response.

“Must you always do this?” He inquired, clearly irritated by the act. Varian began counting the silver, now lifting his eyes from his task as he monotonously answered back.

“Thrice before have you tried to swindle me.”

“Those were innocuous jests!” He said. Giving up, he threw his arms up in the air and leaned back on a table behind him, crossing his arms as he watched Varian count. “Bah…do what you want.”

For about a minute, the two remained silent, Varian busy counting the gold while Edward wordlessly observed. Of course, Varian had just cause to do this. He had known for some time that Edward had some tie to the Shadowfox Guild in Eveamoor, and Varian knew as such their reputation as thieves. Eventually, Varian concluded the count and separated each stack into four equal portions, fitting them all into separate sacks he carried on him.

“All in order, then?” Edward asked, to which Varian nodded, turning around and heading for the exit. “Excellent. A pleasure doing business with you. Pass on my regards to Cass.”

Varian waved a hand back as he exited the tavern and went back to the street. He turned the corner once more, and proceeded down the Market Street, people still walking down, busy tending to their own affairs. Varian stayed his course as well, heading into the “Broken Keg” tavern. It didn’t take long for him to spot the others, who sat at their own table next to the wall. He acknowledged them with a nod of the head before proceeding to the table. He took out the sacks which contained each of their silver and dropped them in the center of the table.

“Your payment, miladies.” Varian said slightly mockingly at them with a slight bow of his head akin to that of bowing to nobles, before sitting down and joining them at the table. “Ten silver for each of you. Job well done. Especially the two of you.” Varian said, motioning to Alys and Ava. “Perhaps you’re not as green as I initially thought. Now then…” He said, as he turned and whistled at the bartender, a stout man with a rather thick mustache.

“Orbrigg Ale!” Varian yelled at him. The bartender went to fetch the drink, groaning as he went. “Highman Brew, Raelus Ale, Ethorian Liquor, Falkan Wine! Makara help me because I'll never understand! Why is it that every foreigner that passes through Eveamoor never orders a drink that was actually made in Eveamoor?!”

“The good folk of Hyrus will buy goods of Eveamoor the day Eveamoor makes something worth buying.” Varian replied calmly and coldly. The response was an eruption of laughter across the tavern. The bartender flicked his arm in Varian’s direction and continued to prepare the drink. Varian turned back to the others, and eased into his seat, finally able to relax after a hard day’s work.

Skymin July 4th, 2012 6:31 PM

AVA - The Broken Keg, Dalenham

Avangeline accepted her own bag with a grateful smile, almost immediately checking the bag to see if her payment was correct. 7... 8... 9... 10 silver pieces. This would keep her well fed for the next few weeks. Of course, Avangeline like the splurge, so she expected this to last two weeks, three max. First stop? Well, the markets did look nice but she really needed a new shoulder plate. And gloves. And boots. Dammit, she'd have to get her swords sharpened too. And there was this really nice bow and arrow set at the blacksmith, made from Miracyian oaks trees. The shop tender told her it was hand-made from the elves as well. All the more tempting.

Dammit, she needed more money now! How long could that blacksmith hold the bow and arrow, she wondered.

"Thank-you," she said to Varian and his compliments. She didn't really need them though, it was only polite to accept them; She knew she was good. She would have asked for more but by the light '*****' of Cass' bag as it was handed to her, she knew that they had all received an equal amount. The waitress returned with the requested food and beverages. Avangeline dug deep into her other coin purse, counting up six or seven copper pieces and handed it to the waitress, with two extra pieces as a polite tip. The waitress smiled, tucked them into the pocket on her apron, thanked Avangeline and walked away. It was only kindness on Avangeline's part; by the looks of the bar, the girl must receive terrible pay.

She chewed politely on her potatos, dipping the pieces into the sweet but spicy dip the waitress had provided. She left the skins in the middle of the table; as hungry as she was, Avangeline figured sharing would be a thank-you for not being the worst companions in the world.

"So what now? Do we part ways?" Avangeline said as she took a sip of her mead. Mm, it was sweet. Probably a little sweet, but she gave props to the Broken Keg for actually getting mead with bubbles in it. "I have no plans for any of the months to come, do you?"

Swolligator July 4th, 2012 9:25 PM

Victoria “Alys” Taimor – Dalenham

Victoria handed four copper pieces to the waitress once she had placed the Fire Ale in front of her, nodding her head slightly in a gesture of gratitude before taking the sack of silver that was intended for her. Looking over at Ava counting the coins, ten in total, Victoria assumed that they were all given the same amount and pocketed the bag of coins without counting. Ten silver would be enough to fill her quiver of arrows, even allow her to indulge in some more exotic arrows like Miracyian Flexwood arrow shafts that curve at the apex of their flight path, or perhaps Mindirion lead arrow heads, strong and durable, that also leach water from the victim’s body; even a small gash enough to make a muscle fail. She was sure she could find a Rastran merchant within the mass of stalls outside that sold Desert Scorpion venom she could lather the tips of her arrows with.

The possibilities were rather endless, but she needed to make sure she stayed sustained so she could work; least she not get work in the coming weeks. Taking a swig of the Fire Ale, she felt the spicy liquid tingle on her tongue before sliding down her throat. After a while, the ale left it’s hot residue on the back of her throat and Victoria shivered as the familiar sensation of a slight burning tingling warmed the back of her throat bringing back memories of Rowanion.

“So what now? Do we part ways?” came Ava’s voice from beside Victoria, stirring up her memories of drinking with the locals of Rowanion and bringing her back to the present. “I have no plans for the months to come, do you?”

Victoria looked at Ava as if to say ‘you don’t mean to join as a band of mercenaries, do you?’ while she was with some pretty amazing people, Victoria was too used to working by herself and being with other people would either slow her down, he make her less independent. “All I’m doing is looking for work, if you’re offering any, I’d happily accept it.” She needed to get by in this world, and any work was money.

SV July 9th, 2012 3:53 PM

Roland Grey- Ekilore

A tense moment of silence had begun between the brothers. Roland tried for a moment to pretend his younger brother wasn’t even there next to him, but that he was alone in front of the immense Tower of Oculus. Yet for all his effort, his brother’s face and words remained in his mind. Roland scrutinized the tower in front of him instead, trying to determine how long the monks were planning on making him wait.

"Good day, my lords." A voice stated behind Roland. He turned to see the origin of the voice, observing an elf. Roland scrutinized the elf’s clothing, before addressing him. It was a habit he had often done in the past, as one’s clothing often could exemplify one’s status in life, and that therefore would determine how Roland would respond to that individual. Like many of his kin, the elf’s skin was flawless and clear, and his stature was tall and appeared elegant. His garb was one of quality, complimenting the rest of his appearance. Roland conclusively determined that the elf was either of noble birth was a knight. Either way, he was worthy of an acknowledgement. But that fact that he was an elf diminished the acknowledgement was to get. Roland, after all, wasn’t particularly fond of the other races, including dwarves and elves. Roland eventually responded to Colin with a slight nod of his head.

"Hello there, you don't happen to know where I left my stilts, do you?" Another voice asked the group. Roland turned and saw the short figure of a dwarven woman, standing next to a horse of her own. He showed a look of displeasure at her appearance before the monks. He knew not why elves and dwarves were invited to the council meetings. They usually attended to their own affairs in their respective countries. Their presence here was unsettling for Roland, who was still trying to ascertain the purpose of the meeting. Either way, Roland was not fond of the dwarf, though there were very few he was fond to.

"Can't say I have seen them," Percival said with a smile. Roland gave Percival a look of disapproval. Now he liked her too? Of course he would.

“Perhaps you left them back in your cave, dwarf.” He replied coldly, and before anymore could be said, the doors of the Tower of Oculus began to open, and from them came one of the many servants of the monks, a eunuch.

"Greetings my lords, And lady," He said to them, eyeing each of them. He led them into the tower, where they were to be taken to see the monks. Roland watched the eunuch curiously. He had heard of the servants of the monks, but beyond this, had not much information on them. Theirs, and their masters for that matter, was a secluded life. Roland moved forward into the tower, the cool air of the inside rushing past him. Inside was the sight of the well renowned “Grand Library”, a room that many dreamed to enter. A source of knowledge and information unlike any in Hyrus. To the day, Roland knew not where or how the monks acquired all of the ancient books and scrolls that they did. But then, no one knew much about the monks to begin with.

Between the oversized bookcases of the many books across the walls of the tower there were empty spots where picture hung. There were countless depictions of events and faces, half of them quite pleasant, depicting serene scenes or faces, while the other half were dire in appearance, with immortalizations of dread and sorrow. The contrast was stark. Roland saw many pictures, a few catching his eye as he scanned over the room. These were by far, in his eyes, the best done, including an elf surrounded by the bodies of man, a woman engorging herself in plates upon plates of food and drink as she relishes in its taste, and a large figure standing upon a mountain of broken corpses, a large axe in his arm raised victoriously in the air. Perhaps the most intriguing, however, was a mural on the opposite side of the tower.

Roland approached the mural and observed it intently, as if to decipher its meaning. The eunuch walked over and stood beside him, as if sensing that the knight has questions.

“I am not familiar with this artwork. By whom was it painted?” Roland inquired at the eunuch.

“It is unknown who painted the mural of Ekilore, as it unknown the origin of many of the other books and paintings displayed here.”

“I see.” Roland said, continuing to admire the mural. “I am unfamiliar with this style of artwork. I have been educated in all manner of art known through the lands, but this style…eludes me. It is as if the painter purposefully distorted the images.”

“An excellent observation, my lord.” The eunuch replied. “Have you any conjecture as to why this was done?”

A smug look of narcissism seemed to appear on Roland’s face, as if with every word he spoke, he was educating the eunuch more than vice versa. Roland’s edification was obviously great, but the praise might have gone a bit to his head. “Well…under normal circumstance, this would be a simple depiction of a group of folk, perhaps servants, bowing to this other.” He said, pointing at the figure in the mural above, with his arms extended. “Yet the way the artist blurred every figure, including the one standing above the populace, it appears as though they intended to present the possibility that this isn’t exactly as it seems.”

“What are you implying, my lord?”

“Observe here.” Roland said, pointing over to the hand of the figure on the hill. “Notice how he holds his hand out. On one hand, it would appear that he shepards the people from harm and is their savior, and they, in turn, show their gratitude by bowing to the figure. But because of the distortion, it could easily appear that this figure is the harbinger of their destruction, and the people bend their knees in plead of mercy and compassion. The only real question is what the true account is.”

The eunuch smiled and nodded. “Perhaps we will never know.”

As the eunuch and Roland finished speaking, he approached the middle of the tower and asked for the others to accompany him there, and hold onto the railings, if necessary. Roland didn’t quite understand. That is, until the platform below them began to arise at the urge of a lever pulled by the eunuch. How it became to be, Roland did not know, but the platform below them traveled at great swiftness to the top of the tower. Roland grabbed hold of the railing as he steadied himself, but eventually got used to the tempo of the moving tower. Throughout the sides of the tower, Roland could see the continuous pictures alongside bookcases all throughout the tower, but the velocity of the moving platform prevented him from making out what was shown on them. He caught glimpses of the characters before at one point, perhaps a continuation onto the account of their lives. He wasn’t sure. Eventually, though, the platform came to a halt in a small room with an iron door leading out of it. That was to become the next leg of their passage to the top, and according to the eunuch, it was a perilous one. Roland again, did not immediately understand, but he soon figured it out. The door led to a path to the top from the outside, where gusts of wind rushed passed the gathered. There were now walking on the outside of the tower. Roland held onto the railing of the tower as he made his way up, the wind rushing past his eyes. Roland questioned why on Hyrus the monks would ever make such an unsafe path towards them.

And then he saw it. Before him was the view the monks saw everyday. The world of Hyrus stretched before him. The lands of Ethora directly in front of him next to the nation of Eveamoor. The white peaks of Vanaheim to the north, and the deserts of Harat in Rastra beyond them. The lush green forests of Miraycia were far beyond them, but even they could be faintly seen by the naked eye. To the very south was the island of Rolsten. All before him was the land of Hyrus. It was hard to imagine how something so beautiful could be presently filled with so much strife. It just seemed so impossible. Roland let go of the railing as he marveled at the view in front of him, almost forgetting where he was.

“By the gods…” He whispered to himself, unsure if what he was actually seeing was true. From the top of the stairs, Roland could see the eunuch addressing them, but he was too far below to hear what was being said. Roland finally snapped from the sight of the view and proceeded to the top of the stairs, still taking the occasional glimpse at the lands below.

But there was business to attend to, and Roland tried to push the amazing sight before him into the back of his mind and focus on the real task before him. He waited patiently by the door as the wind still gusted at him, waiting for the monks to receive them.

The_Original_Raitan July 9th, 2012 6:34 PM

Elijah Chapmann - The Broken Keg
Elijah grinned as he came through the doors, his eyes scanning over the insides of the tavern. It didn't sound as if it was going to be this nice, but it was better for him. He had ran out all of his options on the nicer side of town. Long story short, he had been kicked out of each and every one of them. Seven to be exact. They could not handle the truth, and Elijah is the harbinger of truth. In one of the restaurants, he had asked for a new waitress. Why? She was far too ugly to wait him. Her teeth were absolutely... ew. Just ew. Elijah really didn't want to relive that.

Elijah decided on taking a seat at a table next to a group of people. His decision was helped by the fact it was the only table available, but nonetheless he had gotten a seat. He rushed out a sigh of relief as the waitress came up to him. She was at least a little bit attractive. Much better than the other ones. Elijah grinned at her.

"W-what can I get y-you, sir?" She overlooked his armor quickly, before looking back to his eyes. It was as if she was assessing whether he'd be a threat.

He continued to grin at her. "How about a roasted chicken, and a simple glass of water. I don't drink." She nodded, but he didn't exactly let her go just yet. "Oh, and compliments on the establishment. It's not nearly as gross as I thought it was going to be." Elijah had a genuine smile on his face, while the one forming on the waitresses was forced. She was obviously confused, but asked nothing to go back to the kitchen.

After about ten minutes of waiting, the woman came back with his meal. Elijah took out the coin required to pay for the meal, slid the money over to the waitress, and thanked her for bringing the food out politely. Elijah slipped out a throwing knife from his belt, twirling it in his fingers. Finally, he was going to get some food in his stomach. He had been starving the whole evening. He stopped the throwing knife when it pointed down, and cut the leg off of the chicken. Elijah took it, and took a small hesitant bite out of it. To his shock, it was actually pleasant. He had thought it was going to be burned to the crisp, let alone moist. Elijah smiled some more, and took a small sip of his water.

When Elijah first came into the Broken Keg, his plan was as simple as get in, eat, get out. Thankfully his ears didn't fail to pick up the conversation behind him. The word that literally made him look up from his plate was 'work'. Typical Elijah. He turned his chair ever-so slightly, and examined the group closer. His deep blue eyes moved from person to person, before his calm, clear voice spoke to them. "I apologize to have over-heard your conversation, but you have work to be done? My name's Elijah Darryon Chapmann, and I'd be glad to be of service." Elijah put on his trade-mark smirk.

SV July 11th, 2012 7:05 PM

Varian Sigmund and Cassandra Alexandera- Dalenham

After everyone had counted their pay, the drinks were brought towards them. Ava enjoyed hers with some potatoes while the rest of them stuck to their drinks. Varian took a few gulps of his Orbrigg Ale before slamming the goblet on the table, satisfyingly letting the aftertaste develop in his mouth. Ava asked a question that was probably on everyone’s minds (Well, probably everyone but Cass). Usually, Varian and Cassandra traveled without others. This was often due to their inability to find additional fighters on par (or close to) their skill, or the simple fact that everyone else they employ die untimely deaths. Such was the life of a mercenary. But in this situation, the two of them seemed to fulfill both categories: they were skillful, and thus far, they were alive. Alys suggested the notion of becoming a mercenary band, and at this moment, Varian couldn’t think of any reason to decline.

Varian picked up his goblet and drank from it again, contemplating the notion. “Well, in our line of business, work usually finds us.” He set his mug down on the table again. “I haven’t actually been I a group in quite a while. I say let’s give this a go, unless Cassandra has any objections.”

Cass downed her order in a single gulp, already ordering a second round and braving the fire ale that Alys ordered. It was apparent that she was going to let some newcomer out drink her. She needed more. She craved more. "Oh, was that an invitation to talk? Yeah, sure. I don't give a crap."

As Varian prepared to speak once again, he was interrupted by a clearing of the throat of a short, stout man in front of him. The plump man wore a large, hooded black cloak, and although Varian was no connoisseur on clothing, he could tell it was crafted of luxurious material, perhaps silk. The man kept very well hidden that which he wore underneath, but Varian could have sworn he saw some sort of jewelry on his garb. No matter how well the man probably tried to hide it, he was evidently quite wealthy.

“Excuse me, sirs, but I do believe I overheard that you are in fact mercenaries, is that correct?”

Varian looked back at the others, and then turned to the man in the cloak. He put one arm over the back of his chair as he continued to gaze at him. “I suppose we are.” Varian finally replied, much to the apparent joy of the cloaked man.

“Splendid!” He exclaimed, perhaps too loudly for which he intended, causing him to look around the tavern to make sure nobody else heard. After composing himself, he spoke again. “I am in desperate need of assistance, and I have no one else to turn to. My daughter has been taken by brigands. They took her north and are holed up north in a fort just outside of Curilan. I have sent others to try and release her, but none have returned. I implore you, please rescue my daughter!”

In Varian’s eyes, the man seemed sincere. It was against his better judgment to usually go directly for the client instead of through contractors, but he seemed like he was distressed and in desperate need of assistance. But Varian knew the others might be tired from just accomplishing one mission, and might have liked to stay in the city for a few nights before going on another job. He disliked the notion of turning down a potential client, but the lives and well-being of his group would always take precedence over the client.

“Sorry, but we’ve only just returned from a job of our own, and we’re tired. I’m sure you can find ano-“ Varian was suddenly interrupted by the man in the cloak. “How much did you earn on your last job?”

Varian looked at him curiously, bringing his mug up to his mouth and taking a gulp of the ale, and replied. “40 silver.” The man was quick to respond.

“I will pay you 40 silver to each of you, and an additional 100 to be split amongst the survivors upon completion.” He said, unflinchingly. Varian nearly spit out his drink from his mouth as he heard the offer. He place the mug down on the table and eyed the man suspiciously.

“Who are you exactly?” Varian questioned him. The man in the cloak looked around for a moment before replying. “I am…a reputable merchant wishing only to have my daughter returned to me.”

"Most 'reputable merchants' don't mind sharing their name," Cass said with a gulp of the fire ale, shaking her head at the taste. It was stronger than she expected. She glared at the merchant, before Varian grabbed her by the shirt dragging her close to him.

"What are you doing?" he asked under his breath.

"What? I don't trust him. Looks...sketchy."

"Says the drunk woman with the giant sword." Cass rolled her eyes. She knew Varian was right. He usually was.

"Fine, fine," she said before releasing herself from Varian's grasp. She downed the Fire ale, and throw the bottle down to the ground with a loud shatter, capturing everyone's attention. "What?!" She roared to the crowd. "Hey bartender! Another drink before I start flipping some tables!"

The merchant took one look at Cassandra before returning his gaze to Varian. "You'll forgive me if I don't share my name, but I came with the job offer under the intention of secrecy. Had I not wanted that, I would have chosen a more…direct way of getting my daughter back to me. This offer shall only come once. Either accept it, or do not.”

Varian sighed and leaned back in his chair. He looked over the faces of the others. Cassandra would be willing to go, he was sure of it. Alys said she was looking for work anyways, and Ava had no plans at the moment either. He tried to read their faces, and without waiting for a particular response from them, spoke back to the merchant.

“Alright. We accept.” He said, picking up his mug and finishing the rest of his ale before slamming it down hard on the table. The merchant seemed overjoyed.

“Thank you, warriors!” He began fiddling in his pockets as if looking for something, but did not necessarily pull anything out. He continued to speak. “Now, I know you wouldn’t want to set off right away, and without any knowledge of the mission. Tomorrow at the break of dawn, meet me in front of the gates of Dalenham, ready to go, and I’ll bestow upon you the first half of the payment. Is this acceptable?”

Varian nodded, and the merchant smiled. “I will see you tomorrow, then. I cannot thank you enough.”

“Save your thanks for when we actually finish the job.” Varian said coldly. The merchant nodded in understanding, and departed. Varian eyed him the entire time while he left the tavern, before leaning over to the others. “Sorry I didn’t ask your opinions right then, but he needed an answer. Besides…” He said, turning first to Ava, “…you said you had nothing you were doing for the next few months and you…” he motioned to Alys, “say you’re looking for work. You’ve both proven your talent in battle and we can use fighters like you. Let’s all stick together a while longer.”

Varian motioned to the bartender. “Oi! Another round for the four of us!” He yelled at him. The bartender was quick to yell back. “Aye, I’ll get you your damn foreign pisswater!”

"And I will shove it up your ass!" Cass yelled in a drunken rage.

"I apologize to have over-heard your conversation,” Varian turned behind to see who had begun the conversation, “but you have work to be done? My name's Elijah Darryon Chapmann, and I'd be glad to be of service."

Varian eyed the man closely. Even while sitting down, he could tell the man was tall, probably even taller than him. He had black hair, and He wore chain mail armor under a black chest plate, and a smug, satisfied smirk across his face. Varian noticed his sword, which had an engraving on the hilt of the letter “E”. He took a drink of his next round of Orbrigg Ale just brought to him, and spoke.

“That depends, boy. Is that weapon just for show, or do you know how to use it?”

CrumbledCandyWrapper July 12th, 2012 6:35 AM

Raelus to Ekilore ; Expedition
Ladamer Vanhaussen
Raelusian Palace Throne Room

"...This does not bode well, Ladamer." the Raelus King mused through the vibrations pulsing through his body.

His pacing back and forth across the majestically large throne room walls had gone on now for a least several hour. Hours that slowly began to work on the ever patient nerves of his loyal Lamapourean aide.

"My Lord, you fret so easily." Ladamer said, arms folded as he quietly calculated his lordship's form. "Surely the summons is of noble affairs. Anyone in your stature should no more than expect invitationals such as these..."

"But why from Ekilore?!" He yelled, throwing his hands up as his revolutions had made him face the elf once more. "Why would monks of Ekilore require my solicitation at such an event?"

Ladamer, with a soft sigh, walked back over and retrieved the letter from the palace throne, where it rested for most of Calason's dreadfully prolonged fit. He skimmed it over for mere seconds, one of the hidden bonuses behind having decisive elven eyesight. The messaged played in his head much slower than it was read on paper. Ladamer knew it would be a minute before he had gathered the message in its entirety, so he stood in his usual place beside the palace chair and folded his arms in thought.

Ah yes, ... he murmured under hushed breaths. Now then, Lord Calason. Allow me to gauge the severity of this situation ...

The message, having finally processed in his minds eye, began playing back to him as his train of thought provided a smooth voice-over:

Lord Calason of the throne of Raelus,

As it stands, our time is brief. We, the monks of Ekilore, request that an envoy be sent from your castle grounds to have an audience with us within two months time. The location has been predetermined by the head of our eunuch tribunal, and he asks that you humor our plea by joining the rendezvous faction, to be held at the Tower of Oculus.

Your presence is of great importance, my lord, so of course it was only natural we request that someone of knightship or from your court address the matter urgently.

Your participation is greatly appreciated,

Monk Daedelus of Ekilore

What seemed like a long-winded message, only lasted about thirty seconds when met with Ladamer's quick registration. The letter in itself was by no means a threat or an order, merely another strongly urged plea of attendance from a human; requests of which Calason had no trouble sending Ladamer off on in the past. What was it about a summons from a monk or an Ekilorian man that caused his King to squirm and display such flimsy action? The answer was one that definitely needed further explanation.

"Are you somehow familiar with the Ekilorian's, King?" He asked with his calculating tone. The question made King Calason falter, causing a bit of alarm in his advisors ever so striking facade.

"...No..." Calson answered after a brief moment of hesitation. "No, it's nothing of the sort, Ladamer ..."

Ladamer, dressed in his everyday draperies, trotted over to Calason and stood by his side. "If there's something that troubles you as to why the Ekilorian's would request an audience with the ruler of Raelusian people, then--"

"I told you, there's nothing! Just a fit of panic is all!" His King grew quite defensive.

"Then why the unrest? The sweat forming over your mantle, or the throbbing from your temples? Does the privledge of duty excite you to this magnitude? Or is there something you're not--"

"I shall ride out in one weeks time!" Calason yelled more loudly than necessary. With a quick flick of his wrist, he acknowledged his aide. "Prepare my steed and armour, make sure they are well nourished and prepared for my descent from Raelus ..."

Ladamer rolled his eyes, something that very quite often happens when dealing with most of the rash decisions his King makes. His mind momentarily raced over to the ship burnings of old that granted King Calason his infamous title. He brushed the thought off with distaste as he spoke.

"King Calason, you and I both know there can be no preparation for your stead. King's are seemed lowly and frail, should they ever leave the confines of their countries. The letter asked that you perhaps send a envoy, someone who could relay the message back to you once the audience was met."

Ladamer knew exactly what he was doing. The king was unnerved and vulnerable, any sense of probing and trying to lead Calason to the right conclusion would definitely prove to have his benefits, should the right option be chosen, that is.

It didn't seem to get through to Calason what Ladamer considered. He took another sigh and pushed harder. "If only you had someone to call on for tasks such as these. Someone who you knew could be entrusted with the knowledge of foreign affairs ..."

Calason was the type of person who didn't quite know when he was being toyed with, unless it became obvious through voicing the deceit to him personally. Ladamer knew just what to say, and how to say it, to get his King to do whatever it was he so desired.

It took him a minute, as he reclined in the satin feel of his throne, to gather the face of someone worthy of such a duty. Ladamer had no choice but to wait for it, though, seeing as any further clues would blatantly give away who he really had in mind.

It usually didn't take him THIS long ... he would have taken the hint, or at least have caught on to it, by the time Ladamer had even begun addling him on.

Come on ... will you just say it al--

"You'll be my envoy!" FINALLY! King Calason snapped underneath Ladamer's unimpressive glare to his lordship.

Still Ladamer at least had to PRETEND he was shocked, lest he end up giving away his ulterior motive. With as much emotion as a mime at a one-man festival, he mused, "Oh! Me, my lord? But... but whoever will uphold their duties as your Palace Advisor in my stead?"

Calason's mind was set, hopefully the answer to his next question need'nt require much goading. "It will be fine, Ladamer! I'll have my best men, well as far as best goes, anyway, to uphold your duties while you're away."

There was still one last matter to have Calason address though, the bonus addition to what Ladamer really had intended all along.

"I-I'm flattered by the concept, my lord ... but..." his eyes trailed off, as if in worry (Ladamer was quite the actor today, as much as he secretly despised using such treacherous tactics on his own King). Still, it needed to be done to assure the safety and defense of Raelus during what was sure to be a long trip by sea.

Calason became frantic. "What? ... What is it, Ladamer?"

Feigning a smile from parsing his lips, Ladamer spoke up again. "It's just... someone of courtship is only to be held accountable to represent the King in matters involving Knighthood and the like. I'm but a militiamen, in charge of disbanding your troops ..."

Calason pondered this, since it was most certainly true. What was he to do about it though? There was a dreadfully massive amount of work required to upgrade Ladamer's status into political affairs and out again upon his return.

Seeing his lord's plight, Ladamer invoked a third session of leading his King along. "If I may, my lord?" Calason nodded his response. "There are ways to have me accompanied by guardsmen, as to show my bump into becoming a member of the courts..."

This got his attention. "Yes? Go on."

"If you granted me courtship, and kept me in charge of militant affairs, you'd have no obligation to complete the necessary paperwork that ties along with it. All I need do is have a few guardsmen in tow, who'd proudly wave your banner as they introduced me as your advisory..."

King Calason was skeptical, sure, but he had to admit that Ladamer had found a pretty clever loophole to the laws of the court. Surely no one would dare, contest Ladamer being giving military and political control in Raelus. It'd certainly raise eyebrows, but if anyone deserved the promotion, it'd be him most definitely.

"Ladamer Loure Vanhaussen. Militant Advisor and Political Aide to King Christian Calason of Raelusian Knightship ..." King Calason played Ladamer's new title out loud. The thought of it all almost made Ladamer want to cheer, but he'd never do that, not in front of the King at least. "The name will have to do for the moment, and the ceremony in the courts will take place upon your return.

Ladamer nodded, "A wise choice indeed, lord Calason. The townspeople will hear news of the courtship with open hearts and ears..."

To this, Calason also nodded. "As they should ... I'll have the men prepare you the finest ship the Lamapoureans can muster. You'll leave within the week..."

This actually managed to raise an eyebrow on the loyal advisors forehead. "...But, sir... the day is Friday, the week is almost over?"

Calason reclined in his chair once more, eying Ladamer with latent prejudice. "Then you'd best prepare yourself, Lamapourean." He squished and molded the letter of the monks into a petty ball and tossed it aside, landing somewhere indiscriminately behind the palace throne.

"You played your way into courtship ..." Calason mused with squinted eyes, making the breath in Ladamer's throat catch. "Congratulations... let's hope the goading on and deceit was worth it..."

With one last flick of his wrist, he shunned Ladamer away, proving something Ladamer had (until now) never thought possible. Still, Ladamer followed suit and exited the Throne Room with earnest, keeping his upright stance as he treaded out.


En Route to Ekilore

Many Lamapourean men and humans had joined Ladamer on his journey to meet the audience of eunuchs of Ekilore, as per King Calason's request. After what transpired on that previous Friday, Ladamer wouldn't dream of asking for anything of the sort, he could more than likely do it himself. That is, if his promotion into courtship wasn't just a ruse from his King, whom as of late had exhibited incredible prowess in distinguishing Ladamer's deceit from nonfiction. Perhaps Ladamer was getting too easy to read? Was his infamous cunning becoming so meager that even the readable King Calason could interpret it? The thought almost drove Ladamer insane; it would definitely be a moment before the elf felt he was ready to forgo any negotiations between militant rebels again. Looks like it'd be a lot more fighting than talking from here on in.

Most if not all of Ladamer's belongings dressed the huge hull of the vessel. Clothes, herbs and foods, even crates containing canisters of his special acupressural needles, lased with the venomous poison they were known for. Whatever he didn't feel the need to story would be placed inside the ship by crewmates or nameless guards he knew supposedly take up the task. So instead of doing much labor, he stepped onto the ship and awaited his departure, which luckily came shortly after.

The the trip lasted well under two months time, seeing as the captain followed Ladamer's advice and avoided the Sea of Storms. The first leg of their trip took them through the Traders Waters, named unimaginably due to the mass amounts of mercantilism that passes through its avastments. Once they'd made their first day-long rest in Old Zealand, they continued their expeditition towards the rapid waters surrounding Arawaga Hills. They instead traveled along the length of Shinguo, passing the capital, Zhongshen, past the sanded range that was Shizabaku, and into the Deep.Blue towards Ekilore. All of which took about a good month and a half, and they arrived at their destination just at the stroke of midnight that would be the day of the meeting.

During that time, Ladamer took it upon himself to bring along reference material to study, based upon where they were traveling, and what stops they'd make along the way. He'd completely memorized the customs of the people of Old Zealand and Zhongshen, all of whom struck him as odd compared to life in Raelus. Shizabaku definitely caught his attention once he'd learned of the exotic desert-life that inhabited most of the land and surrounding areas, kind of like the woods behind Old Lamapoure.

It came as no surprise to him when he came in full-view of the Oculus Tower and its massive marble exterior. The rumors definitely held true, in that it was as never-ending as the skies themselves, and you couldn't tell where the top was just by a glance. Eager to take a look inside, Ladamer had his shipmates dock the boat and he hurriedly ventured inside. Judging by the vast number of ships already docked ahead of him, he'd imagined he was already dreadfully late, so he blemished into the crowd of individuals already talking to the Ekilorian eunuch already.

After a rough journey to the top of a hidden observatory, Ladamer definitely found himself in uncharted territory, so to speak (it was definitely on the map), and the characters around him looked as if they'd been summoned to this area for the same reason.

The actual reason though, was indeed its own mystery.

Kikpanther July 13th, 2012 8:59 PM

Colin Arcamenel- Ekilore

To Colin's great pleasure, his greeting has earned him a nod from his knightly beauty. The other who stood with him, on the other hand, did not respond. He could only guess this one--relative, companion, or stranger to the Reigncliff knight he admired--was deaf to sound or common greeting or didn't have the sense to respond or... Well. From behind him he heard the pounding of hooves. Looking back, Colin was greeted by the sight of a boy on its back. This person seemed more like a stable lad than someone who would be asked to participate in this... Task that the monks had asked of them. To his--and many other's--luck, someone else came from behind the horse. She wasn't necessarily more impressive than boy, but seemed like a more likely choice. She was a dwarf by height and by image. She had a stocky body and rounded face, some of the features of her head were undefined, save for her nose which was pointed. She had small, disproportionate eyes that were a muddy brown, much like her hair which she wore in a ponytail. Her face bore no makeup, but to compensate for the difference, it seemed, she had a womanly figure (for the standard of a dwarf) and a large bosom.

She strode over to them with confident steps. When she reached them she greeted them with a joke rather than the proper term, but despite that, it managed to make Colin smile minutely. Before he could, the other member of this party answered her; he'd not seen them. It was a comment from the Reigncliff knight that made the small smile leave him. It was then that the doors were open, and from their mouth, an eunuch appeared, greeting them all and then allowing them inside. Once entering, a rush of cool air, from an area unknown--and it did make Colin curious as to where this air was coming from--the top of the tower, perhaps--hit the body with a force that would send shudders into all not ready or properly clothed. The entrance to the tower was also the entrance to what was known as the Grand Library, a place rumored to hold every book ever written. The name seemed to be a bit shy of the reality however. The library was indeed grand. What wall that wasn't covered by a bookcase was instead hidden by a picture or tapestry, and these bookcases, which were in no sense of the word rare, stretched themselves high into the top of the tower, so high in fact, that one could not see where it ended. For something like this, grand could not possibly be the only word. Strange could come up after much thought. If one did not think about the practicality of this arrangement, one could wonder how it were organized. By author's name, or by year of creation? By region? By language or message? Or maybe by it's focus for age. A book for a child on the bottom and for the oldest of men at the top. Perhaps, even just as likely, it were arranged by a set that only the monks and their servants could truly understand. He was curious to see exactly what was here and learn how things were arranged as time passed. Though, of course, that would be after he asked an eunuch how the books above were meant to be acquired. He saw no lift or a frighteningly tall, rickety latter. It was possible that these books were never touched because of their absolute inaccessibility. Or maybe they were chosen to be up there because of, possibly, a way to preserve them in the less visited air of the higher towers? The Grand Library was almost as old as the Tower itself, no doubt that there were books that had been alive for a time unimaginable. And who could say, that a book so old had not become so delicate that a single touch could make it crumble?

Colin let his eyes go away from the walls of knowledge and to the more visual pieces that hung with them. The scenes depicted on the wall were... Interesting, if he could find a word. Some were clear, telling stories of a battle or oppression, some were cynical, mocking old kings and once worshiped figureheads, and others were impossibly vague, forcing the viewer to inquire on its message or secret. Of course, the grand majority, maybe none of them, were signed or dated. Whoever had created them was lost to the unknown and, dead or alive, their masterpieces, worthy of the greatest of all libraries, would be a secret they kept to themselves. That is, if the artist were aware of their accomplishment at all. There was one picture, in particular, that had caught his eye almost as quickly as the Tower's books had. It was strange to him and the meaning was something that he could not entirely place. It was not the largest picture, but a modest sized one, large enough to observe from afar, but not so big as to force itself to be known.

It rested to the left of them and, like the others, was not signed nor dated. It showed a scene of a village or town. Quaint homes went down towards the horizon in two bordering rows until stopped by the image of a background forest. Though somewhat dark, the trees were calm and from behind them in the horizon an intense light from a sun, hidden behind the trees, created a spectacle that was pretty, in little words, and calming. In the square of this place was an empty scaffold and before it was a boy. To Colin's eyes he could guess he were poor for his clothes were dirtied and soiled, ripped and torn. The barefoot peasant had both hands covering his eyes and face as if in shame. To one side of him was an an angel, wings spread open, showing perfect and heavenly white plumage and clothed in equally holy robes. To the other side was the clear visage of a devil. Unlike the angel it was not clothed or represented as devils normally were. It was shown as a dark-skinned fellow dressed similarly to the poor man in the center. Its clothes were torn and raggedy, but instead of the thing layer the poor man wore, its clothing was thick as if it had prepared itself for a cold day, though by the picture, it was clearly a warm and sunny one. The devil stood with a hunch, back curled like the top of cane. His right hand did the same thing, fingers mimicking claws, while his left had a crooked finger in a beckoning gesture. The devil's face was predictably malevolent. A cold scowl on his face and evil eyes beamed at the peasant boy. In contrast the angel's face was of a calmer, more welcoming demeanor. Like the devil the angel beckoned, though with an outstretched hand instead of a finger. The two of them, by the looks of it, were calling to the boy to come to them. The theory was backed by a short sentence written in yellow underneath the peasant. "Come closer..." it said. With the devil demanding and the angel cooing the boy seemed unable to choose where to go, thus, putting his hands over his face.

"Interesting..." He muttered as he looked. Colin did not quite know what this picture meant, but it had drawn his interest and he attempted a search to find it, though he could hardly draw up a reason. Taking his eyes away from the portrait, the words on the painting seemed to echo in his mind. With another glance at the picture and then away again, the words did not seem as clear as they had been before. Almost as if they were addressing the boy, but in fact, Colin himself or, more intended, the viewer. Forcing his mind on something less intriguing he became aware of the activities before him. While others stood by the Reigncliff knight and the eunuch that had let them in discussed the possible meaning of a picture before them. It was a large piece, much larger than the one that he'd been viewing. It showed simply a man on a hill, arms outstretched to people below him. The way it was painted, the image came out as if it were being seen through an opaque glass or in a vision rather than face to face. It didn't seem particularly outstanding to Colin but it had piqued the interest of some of the others here and had even arose a what-would-be-short discussion. For the moment he listened, he admired the apparent intellect or, in the least, the ability of deeper comprehension that the Reigncliff knight had seemed to possess. He looked away, preferring to listen than to watch, and turned his attention to the other members of this group they seemed to be conjuring. His eyes went to the dwarf in particular who had introduced herself so cheerfully and had not gotten the response she desired (or so he assumed). He found a little charm in her and was similarly drawn. Being the only one who seemed to speak since the start of this second journey, she was the least awkward to be near.

"Hello," he greeted when beside her, "I hadn't the time to introduce myself while we were still behind the doors. Colin Arcamenel, my lady. And you would be?" After a few moments he heard the eunuch call for them. He gathered with the rest towards the center of the tower onto a railed platform. He urged a warning to hold onto the railings if needed. Colin didn't quite understand why it would be necessary until the floor itself began to move, and not only move, but upwards towards the Tower's sky! The sudden movement made him stumble, but he was quick to catch the railing and stop himself. It was strange how this happened and Colin could think of no explanation, but he settled with that mystery to be something he'd learn later. He looked over the railing, watching the ground leave them for a moment, before turning his attention to something else. The walls moved downward while they went up, the books hidden from their sight by height now coming to them and the other portraits revealing themselves once again. His eyes went into the direction of the village portrait that had caught his eyes not long before. He could not see it like he had then, but seeing its outline, the worlds echoed in his mind. Come closer... He could not explain why he was compelled to do so, but obviously he could not now. He decided with himself that, when they came down and if he had the time, he would give this picture a closer inspection.

The eye of the monk's imposing symbol followed them to their stop: a room with an iron door. Colin was somewhat disappointed. The ride made him expect their destination to be one more grand. As the eunuch approached the door he warned of peril in their continuing steps and Colin could only wonder what peril a monk could bring him and in a tower no less! When the door was opened the ideas that came to his mind were not so ridiculous. A gust of wind burst from the door as well as the light from outside. When he reached his turn onto the steps, Colin gasped at the path he'd now be taking. An outdoor staircase. The stone steps wound around the tower, ascending to the top in a serpent motion to the top. As he stepped out he looked upwards, only to see more steps above him and more of the tower's height, which still would not reveal the top even from this level. Looking again, he could only thank each of the Nine for the blessing of the steps being block instead of old and unstable wood warped from years. Colin took notice to keep close to the wall and not look around too much as to stop himself from wandering, but the idea was almost impossible. Around him the sight was marvelous! Hyrus, stretching across a vast distance and out of sight, concealing homes and mysteries within it that were even more the thought provoking when seeing it this way. From this view Hyrus seemed not only a masterpiece of nature, but a being of secret. It was almost as if he were not born in this place. Of all the portraits that lined the wall on the interior, the Tower's external display was of the best by far. He could see the mountains, the dark trees, and even the sands of places he'd never been. The water had never looked so pretty and so calm.

He could hardly take his eyes away, but he had to remember to look ahead. Not only to keep his feet on the Tower, but to reach whatever he had come here for.

The_Original_Raitan July 14th, 2012 11:16 PM

Elijah Chapmann & Cassandra Alexandra - The Broken Keg
"Is that a challenge?"

Elijah kept his smirk. He continued to direct it at the gruff man, his light, icy blue eyes examining the man. His gaze went from bottom to top of the man in a swift motion. There was one thing that rang out at Elijah from looking at him. The Nation of Vanaheim. He had met a man from there once before in the shop back home. Of course, he had a much fuller beard, but the clothing was similar. Fur pelt, rough-looking, and the hair. It all screamed, 'Vanaheim'. This made thing more interesting in Elijah's eyes. A multi-national group.

Elijah lowered his smirk into more of a grin, and politely offered a proposal. "I'm a man that believes in action over words. So, would you be interested in testing my ability with the blade?" He drummed his fingers against the hilt of his sword.

"Oh! A fight!" blurted out the red haired drunkard in Cassandra as she rose from her seat, only to stumble over the chair. "I got this, Vary. Lemme at em!" Her face was a deep red, clearly intoxicated behind comprehension. It made sense as she has been drinking since this morning even before the job over in the outskirts. Boring days like this caused her to drink more than usual though that could be an understatement in it of itself. Practically tripping over herself to face the aspiring recruit, Cass attempted to stare into the eyes of Elijah, but the alcohol had better plans: "You're pretty cute, ya know? If I wasn't about to kill you, I'd do other things," she said with a hiccup. "Oh well, a fight is a fight! Make the first move!" She dared with a half glare, half stumble.

Elijah looked down at the drunken red-head, his eyebrows scrunching down as his narrowed at the woman. She was obviously under the influence of alchohol. The one thing she reminded him of was, well, wh*res. Prostitutes, hookers, courtesans, whatever you want to call it. He tapped his chin as his expression went into a completely neutral phase. Elijah shrugged to himself, and pulled out his sword. If she wanted to fight, then so be it. "I will have to say, you're pretty attractive yourself, madame. The choice in your clothing makes you remind me of a wh*re however" He grinned at her, and got into a better stance for sword-play. "Now let's get this over with."

"Oh. Oh no you did not just say that!" Cass grew angry with her flushed face becoming a fiery red. With her instincts taking over, Cass snatched the Orbrigg Ale from Varian's hands and threw the drink at Elijah. Sadly, she missed his head, dumping the contents on a nearby patron. Normally one to complain about a failed cheap shot, Cass shrugged as the drink was a serviceable distraction and she lunged forward with a tackle, knocking Elijah off his feet. She mounted the man and pulled her arm back to deliver a furious fist to his adorable face.

Elijah didn't even move when she threw the bottle at him. She missed him pretty badly, and this caused him to laugh. Was she seriously trying to cheap-shot him while drunk? Really? He laughed harder, but it wouldn't last long. "Oof!" He hit his back, and his sword dropped to the ground beside him. Elijah's eyes darted to the red-faced red-head, and he allowed her to pull her arm back. When it came back down though, it would find itself trapped inside Elijah's grip. He held her wrist, and quickly switched their positions in one roll. She was on the ground, and he was on her lap. He used his other hand to grab her other wrist, and move it back into the other hands grip. With Elijah's left hand holding the drunk girl's arms above her head, he used his right hand to take out a throwing knife. He held it up to her throat. "Checkmate."

Cass gulped, but not out of fear. There was a bad taste in her mouth and she had to get it rid of it. Was it defeat? No...more like surprise. This guy had some moves. A sly one he is, but not quite good enough. Cass shook her legs to make sure they weren't trapped, but also to feign some sense of struggle. She had a few clouded ideas forming and she was simply going to go with the best one at the time. But in typical fashion, she tossed them aside for something far less...elegant. Cass raised her head, swung it back before head butting Elijah with enough force to knock him back. Elijah reeled back in surprise and Cass raised her legs to her chest and kicked Elijah in the stomach. She flipped to her feet and stumbled over, botching the landing terribly. "Where is it? Where is my sword?!" Cass screamed, before squee-ing in joy at finding her giant blade. Cass clenched the blade tightly her grasp, dragging it across the floor over to where Elijah stood. Raising it above her head, Cass brought the heavy blade down with a large, yet predictable swing. She was going for the kill.

Elijah's smirk disappeared off of his face, and his hand went to clutch at the spot of collision. What the hell was that?! He gritted his teeth at the kick on his stomach, and forced himself to get up off of the ground. Looks like the kitten has a bite to her. Elijah's icy blue eyes followed where his assailant was going, and he looked right where his sword was. The woman was imbetween him, and his weapon. And Elijah didn't exactly want to kill someone of their group. That might mean being killed himself, or being un-allowed to get some work from them. He thought of his options, and he had the perfect one. Elijah dodged the sword, and made a good distance between him and her. He looked to the bar-tender. "Beer!" Without hesitation, a bottle of some brand of alcohol was tossed across the room to him. Elijah dodged yet another swipe from his enemies blade, and he swiftly moved behind her. He raised the bottle quickly, and struck her in the back of her head. The bottle shattered, and she fell to the ground with a thud. Elijah went over to his sword, and placed it back into it's sheath. He turned back to the man from Vanaheim. "Good enough for you?"

Silver Rogue July 15th, 2012 1:11 AM

Arlen Franeo - Oculus Tower, Eiklore

"Damn sailors." After hours of delay, Arlen finally arrived at Ekilore, the sailors he employed making excuses and miniscule reasons to stop in a port and replenish food and repair their ship. Now the boat was a half a mile or so out in the sea, the front half partially impaled on a rock submerged just below the surface. He scoffed at their novice mistake, no man from Vanaheim would have made the same mistake. Arlen had to take a life boat to get to shore, braving the elements alone in the small life boat with only his gear to keep him company.The docks were mostly empty when he arrived, only a skeleton crew for the few ships at the dock maintaining and repairing their ships for their voyage back to the mainland. As his small vessel bumped up against the dock, he cursed the incompetent crew he had sailed here with. He jumped out a, skillfully making a cleat hitch knot with the bow line to secure the boat to the dock, leaving most of his gear in the boat, hoping nobody would mess with it.

As he finished tying up the boat, he tucked a shortish knife into the folds of his clothing. He had been warned by a friend not to bring weapons with him into the tower, as the monks had a very nonviolent approach on things. But he was a military man, and he never went anywhere without at least minimal protection. Even a small blade is better than nothing. He stretched for a moment, then made his way up the beaten path that led towards the tower. It was not an attractive island, mostly rock and dirt, with the occasional grass growing here and there. The tower seemed to stretch above the clouds, its marble walls dominating the landscape. He marveled at the architecture of the building and what it must have taken to build such a thing. Although the sea breeze was strong, the tower stood unmoving, the wind not seeming to affect the gleaming tower at all.

As he approached the large wooden doors, a monk opened one to greet him. The monk was clothed plainly, wearing mostly brown and his head was completely shaven, the perfect image of a monk. He approached a bit nervously, as if something was wrong. "E..excuse me sir, can I help you? Are you here for spiritual or intellectual guidance, or...?"

Arlen smiled and laughed, "Guidance? No, I am quite fine in terms of guidance. I was summoned however, for some sort of meeting here?" Arlen handed over the papers that he had received to the monk, who quickly read through them to ensure that they were legitimate. They had been affected slightly by the rain that the sea, but Arlen had done his best to maintain the quality of the papers...for the most part.

The monk nodded energetically, "Ah, yes! I do apologize, please come with me, right this way." The door opened as the monk approached it, and he beckoned for Arlen to follow him. As he entered the tower, he was astonished at the pure amount of knowledge contained within the walls of the tower. Huge book cases went from floor to ceiling on the main floor and many following floors as well, and large masterpieces of art line the walls, taking up every available space on the walls. Some of the art Arlen recognized, having seen replicas in palaces or mansions, but the majority were new to him, each telling stories. He just stared at the walls for the moment, then turned and started following the monk once again.

"...and you are a bit late, but hopefully that should not cause too much of a problem. We were prepared for latecomers, the rest of the group should be just up ahead."

"Well, I wouldn't be late if it weren't for those imbeciles back on the boat", Arlen grumbled.

The monk gave him a strange look, "The Creator has a purpose for all things and all people, whether they be stupid or intelligent, beautiful or ugly. He is perfect, therefore all He can create is perfection. Therefore, by insulting one of His creations, you are insulting the Creator Himself. Perhaps there was a reason that the Creator wanted you to be delayed, a lesson to be learned, or a greater danger to be avoided. No one can know but the Creator."

"I thought monks were supposed to be accepting of all religions and putting trust in intellectual things rather than theological", Arlen replied, a bit surprised.

"Ah well, you see, I specialize in theological information. And while I do believe in a single Creator, I do believe in other elements of other religions as well. As a man from Vanaheim if I do believe, you believe in polytheism, or the belief of many gods, where as I believe in one. However, I came to the conclusion of one God after much study of all of the various religions. I do believe that all religions have some proof in them however. For example, your worship many gods, but I believe in my one God who encompasses all of the traits and powers of your many gods. So I take elements from many religions that seem to be accurate and mix them together for my own religion, with a few personal beliefs mixed in."

Arlen just shook his head with confusion. "As interesting as this discussion is, I have a meeting to attend. Perhaps we can discuss theology some other time if we ever get the chance."

The monk just smiled, "Indeed! Well, the rest of your group is standing there on the platform/ I would get up there before they leave. Perhaps the Creator will bring us together again sometime. Farewell." And with that the monk walked off, no doubt to dissect some other religion for things to add to his own.

Arlen watched the man for a moment, thinking about the interesting things he had said about religion, before brushing it away. Things happened because they happen, not because some overlord is dictating every event in a man's life. As interesting as the conversation was, Arlen still believed that it was nonsense. Only moments after he had stepped on the platform did the monk seeming to be in charge of the group speak up.
The Eunuch turned to the others then, having finished with Roland. "Now my lords and lady, do stay on the platform. Hold on to the railings if you feel like as though you will fall off," the Eunuch said. Then he turned and pulled a small lever beside one of the railings, and the platform began to rise.

After a few minutes of rising, the platform came to a stop, slowly grinding to a halt. The monk in charge spoke up once again addressing the group. "Come this way," the Eunuch said continuing to lead the way before pausing at the door. "I must warn you. The climb up the next of stairs is quite perilous. Stay close to the wall and you shall be fine."

"What do you mean 'perilous'?" one man asked.

"Oh", the monk replied, "You will see." He opened the door and wind blasted into the tower battering the unsuspecting group. After the initial shock wore away, the group went through the door single file, Arlen taking up the rear. He swung the metal door shut behind him, then turned to see a magnificent view. The island of Ekilore seemed tiny, the ground below hundreds of feel away, death mocking them, taunting them to take a peek over the edge. Past the island he could see all of Hyrus stretching out before him, from the distant island of Rolsten to the northern peaks of his own country Vanaheim and the island of Snowshire just beyond that. His eyes never left the spectacle as they wound their way around the tower. As they came to the opposite side and the view of Hyrus disappearing from view, hidden by the tower, Arlen looked out towards the empty ocean, stretching mile after mile of complete emptiness. Arlen vaguely wondered if anything existed out there, if there was anything besides their own continent.

After a short, but incredible walk up the stairs winding around the tower, the stopped at another door, and the monk gestured to wait. Content with spending a few more minutes with the incredible spectacle, he leaned his back against the wall and took in the natural beauty of Hyrus stretching out before him.

Swolligator July 17th, 2012 7:47 PM

Victoria “Alys” Taimor – The Broken Keg, Dalenham

Victoria leaned back on her chair, gently sipping her Fire Ale feeling the cold liquid flow down her throat and produce a slightly warmer sensation in the back of her throat the more she drank. She couldn’t help but laugh as Cassandra, after only a couple of drinks, threw herself in a drunken frenzy and rage at a man who had happened to turn around and talk to Varian. She watched Cassandra toss the beer at the general direction of the man, catching a nearby Patron in the head. Although the fight was entertaining as Cassandra drunkenly bashed this man, Victoria was rather sick of fighting. They had a job now, another one in fact due to the merchant that had approached them before, so she was hoping to have a little bit of down time to relax; ultimately to let her aching should heal. What worried her was whether or not she would be able to string her bow. Right now, she had to use her left hand to drink with; the pain being too much for her at this time.

Instead, Victoria turned her focus from the pub brawl to Ava next to her. The fight soon ended in Cassandra copping a beer mug to the head while the victorious fighter stood overtop, proclaiming his worthiness at beating a drunken woman. Victoria inwardly scoffed at the man, how could someone think they were strong when they had just beaten a drunken woman unconscious? Victoria wasn’t too sure she was going to get along with someone like that.

“So Ava, what is your story?”

Skymin July 17th, 2012 10:46 PM

AVA - The Broken Keg, Dalenham

Another job! And so quickly! A bright smile creased Avangeline's face at the pay rate as well. Forty silver! That was enough to... well, Avangeline could definitely afford all of those things she had been thinking about before. When questioned if she wanted to, she replied with a happy nod and swallowed a potato skin. When a man fell into the conversation, introducing himself as Elijah Darryon Chapmann, Ava tuned out to watch Cass. Only those born of high birth and wished to brag or those who faked their birth introduced themselves under their full name. Avangeline, not really wanting to share her name, had only introduced herself as Ava when she had first met Varian and Cass. She smiled again and sunk her mouth into the warmth of her scarf as Cass was victor. A voice pulled her out of her trance.

"So Ava, what is your story?"

"Hm?" Ava turned to her companion and raised her eyebrows. Well, a chance to get to know each other! That sounded like fun! "Well, I ran away from home when my father wanted me to marry a person I barely knew. That was five or so summers ago. So I became a mercenary! I am," Avangeline stood up, drawing her swords and striking a pose, "Ava! The red-scarfed elven maiden, who seeks vengence upon all of the men who have ever wronged her! Her scarf is tainted with the blood of her enemies! You'd be wise to avoid crossing paths with her!!"

She gave a laugh and sheathed her swords, feeling a little silly after finishing her mead. Yes, it was such a silly story. She had almost died of laughter when she heard a bard sing a delightful story of an red-scarfed Elven witch who cut off the heads of the men who she slept with. It was so flattering!

"What about you Alys? What's your secret?" Avangeline said with a wink.

SV July 18th, 2012 1:46 PM

Varian Sigmund- Dalenham

"Is that a challenge?" Elijah said with a smirk. Varian sighed and took another gulp of his ale. He wasn't in any particular mood to challenge anyone at the moment, but decided that for this particular job coming up, one more person might not be such a terrible idea after all. However, not much to his surprise, a drunk Cassandra offered to bout on his behalf. Varian was used to this sort of thing by now, so he just shrugged it off and allowed Cassandra to have her fun. It was nice to blow off some steam after a job, and this was her way. Well, one of her ways.

Varian watched the fight unfold in front of him, beginning with insults flung between the two, before they began to fight. As Varian prepared to take another gulp of his ale, Cass in typical fashion, snatched it out of his hands and threw it at Elijah. It missed him, and the contents were instead dumped on another patron of the bar. Varian sighed and stood up, walking over to the patron as he prepared to draw his own sword and stopped him prematurely.

"Oi, hold on now." Varian began. "No need to get worked up over the actions of a mad drunk. Let me buy you and your companions your next round." The man looked at Varian for a moment, and after deliberation from the others who sat next to him, decided to accept Varian proposal and sat back down. The barfight between Cass and Elijah continued behind Varian, who unlike most of the other patrons of the bar, didn't pay it much mind. "Oi! A round for these lads here on me." He told the bartender, whom he tossed a few pieces of copper to. The bartender, who was looking at the fight, quickly snapped out of it and returned to pouring the drinks. This wasn't the first time Varian had covered for Cass in this way. It had often become a regular thing for him to keep an eye on her off the battlefield (she needed no assistance on it). Varian in the meantime returned to his table with Alys and Ava, just as Elijah had knocked out Cassandra with a bottle to the head. Varian took one look at Cassandra passed out on the floor, and then back to Elijah, before coolly speaking.

"You're in." He said to him. Needless to say, Varian intended to hire Elijah from the start. They could use the extra sword. Whether he dies or not, the man could at least be used as a distraction for a short time at the very least. And who knows? Perhaps he might be even more useful than Varian first envisions.

Ava and Alys meanwhile had gotten into a conversation of their own. Varian listened slightly to them as he began drinking from his new round of Orbrigg Ale he had just received. Varian took a look at Cass, who still lay on the floor, and sighed. "Well, might as well get her off the floor..."

He knelt over and picked up her body. In her unconscious state, Cass was apparently having some sort of drunk-filled delusion, and she continued to speak in gibberish and flail around a bit, perhaps still assuming she was fighting someone. Varian easily slung her body over his shoulder as he proceeded to get her out of the area. Cass flailed once more, her boot accidentally hitting a patron right on the head. He yelled in pain, and stood up.

"Hey, Highman! Just what do you think you're doing!?" He yelled at Varian. Varian, unsure of what happened, turned his body around to face the man. "Hmm?" He said as he turned, only to have Cassandra's foot connect with the man's face once more. He doubled back, and held his nose, in which blood now flowed freely from it. Varian examined the patron, confused as to how he acquired the injury. "You ought to check on that nose, friend. You would not want to dirty up the place with your own gash."

The patron angrily huffed at Varian. "My own gash, is it?!" He grabbed for a bottle he had close by it and flung it right at Varian. Varian, who anticipated the bottle, ducked down, and the bottle flew to the other side of the bar, nailing another patron square in the head. The patron instantly fell to the ground, blood able to be seen from his head. His companions with him all gathered around. One of them, a bit taller than the others, looked over to the side of the bar where Varian stood. Varian noticed an insignia on his shirt which prominently displayed the colors of the League of Warriors, a figther's guild in Eveamoor. Great.

"Who threw that bottle?!" He shouted. At this moment, Cass had temporarily come to for a moment, her vision blurred, but noticing Varian looking off into the side at someone. She reached for a bottle positioned at the side of the table, and threw it in that direction, missing the Lead of Warriors member badly and instead hitting the side of another patron on the far side of the room. The man yelped, and clutched his arm in pain, and his own compatriots, seeing the League of Warriors man standing, assumed he had done it. The third party began entangling with the second, and the League of Warriors men aimed at both Varian and the initial man and friends upon who's boot Cass had connected with. Varian, seeing that he was in the middle of both side's conflict, threw Cass's body right at a man who attempted to strike him. Varian then grabbed his ale and downed it all in one go, before smashing it onto the face of a man behind him. All around, chaos erupted. Varian turned to Ava, Alys, and Elijah.

"Oi! Don't just sit there! Get off your as*es and start hitting people!"

Swolligator July 19th, 2012 3:53 PM

Victoria "Alys" Taimor - The Broken Keg, Dalenham

Victoria listened intently as Ava recited a rather brief and vague history leading up to why she was here, giving Victoria the suspicion that she wasn't really keen on telling her where she came from or who she really was, making it out like she was less than what she was. They way she moved, the way she held herself and talked was something between the common folk and the high classes. However while Ava talked, Victoria's attention was drawn to her rather elvish features and ears, giving her the idea that she was from Miracyia, but she also looked rather human as well. Victoria had never seen a half-elf before, and was unsure if Ava was, or if she just happened to look similar to elves. As soon as Ava finished reciting her story, Victoria felt a shiver roll down her spine as she downed the last of her Fire Ale, Ava's story resembling strikingly similar to her own.

She was on the verge of replying to Ava when chaos erupted all around them and through the noise of the brawl came Varian's booming voice; "Oi! Don't just sit there! Get off your as*es and start hitting people!"

Immediately after his call to aid a bottle flew past Victoria's head, rustling her hair as it sailed past and shattered against the wall behind her, showering Victoria with shards of glass. She rapidly ducked under the table as another bottle sailed for her, gathering her composure before re-emerging in order to fight.

Her first opponent was a rather large, burly man who came running at her, hands open as if to choke her. The man's face was contorted in rage and anger as he flung himself at her to which Victoria stepped aside, the man running into the wall behind her. Disorientated, he flung out his arm in her general direction, catching her sore shoulder in the process. Pain flooded her body as she sank to her knees, grimacing in pain and clutching her sore shoulder. Out of anger and pain she shot her leg out at the man, catching him in the side of the knee. She couldn't hear the sickening crunch as the man's knee broke, but she did hear his roars of pain, retreating victoriously to recover herself.

As she was backing up a pair of muscled arms wrapped around her body, pushing her arms light against her body and feeling up her chest as they enclosed around her.

"Well, well, well, what is a feisty young brood like you doing in a bar like this?" Came the gravelly voice.

Instinctually, she flung her head backwards, aiming for the man’s nose but instead smashing her head into the side of his chin; giving Victoria more pain than the man received. She could feel his hands cupping her chest, making her increasingly angry as he continued to feel her body. Reaching down, he only just managed to sink her teeth into the firm, muscular flesh of his forearms, obtaining a yell of anguish and pain in response. However these moves did little but make the man squeeze Victoria’s body harder until she began to find it difficult to breathe. Flailing with all her might, Victoria tried to free herself from the man’s grip however every move of hers only garnered a stronger grip on his behalf. Loosing air quickly, black dots began to flood her vision and she was sure she would soon fall unconscious.

Skymin July 19th, 2012 4:59 PM

AVA - The Broken Keg, Dalenham

She was quite disappointed that she didn't get to hear the rest of Alys' story, Varian inviting them to the bar fight before she had the chance to tell it. The chaos quickly erupted but Avangeline smiled as the patrons yelled at eachother. Bar fights were always a good way to enhance the reflexes. Drunken men and women were always unpredictable and threw heavy swings. It was a chance for Avangeline to not only improve her already fantastic reflexes, but to show all of these oafs that she was a force to be reckoned with!

She was quick to grab a bottle and smash the end to create a pseudo-sword; actual swords would be too un-sportsman ship of her and she'd be far too dangerous if she was put off guard for just a moment (she didn't want to kill anybody if she didn't have to). Her first victim was a dwarf who was throwing his fists around at nobody. He advanced on Avangeline but was quickly put down by a left hand punch to the stomach, winding him. Instead of leaving him on the ground, she lifted the heavy dwarf and placed him on a table. Poor little man would get trampled if he was there too long.

Her second was a human who decided it would be humorous to swing a bottle at her forehead. Avangeline ducked then kicked his leg, forcing him to the ground. With her other foot, she landed a firm kick right in the testicles. That should keep him down long enough until he had learned it was never a good idea to mess with young half-elf maidens in bar fights.

She was yanked back by her own scarf, forcing Avangeline to step back into another man, this one burly and sour looking. He didn't smell very drunk, perhaps he just wanted to brawl, like Avangeline! She smiled at him and before he had time to figure out why, Avangeline jumped up, wrapped her legs around his neck and twisted herself down until she was on top of the man and his face was planted firmly into the cement. He was down. Nearly ripped the scarf too. The hide of him!

She heard a familiar voice, a yelp from a comrade. Alys was firmly caught within this man's grip and he wasn't just trying to choke her, he was groping her. Grabbing her bottle Avangeline darted over two tables and slid below the giant of a man, using the bottle to cut gashes into his ankles and shin. That didn't fell him but Avangeline didn't expect it to; her next move would make him wail. She grabbed a lemon from a glass that had yet to be smashed and squeezed it on the cut. As he began to cry, Avangeline moved up, quickly cutting his body up and down and pressing the lemon on it. Finally, he let go of her companion and held his arms up, trying not to move like he had just been badly burnt by the sun. For her final move and a reminder to never touch a woman like that again, she the bottle against his forehead, pressed the lemon on it and kicked him down.

"Never touch a woman like that, ever again," Avangeline said, sternly for the first time in a while, "otherwise you will find yourself without your means of manhood. You hear?" The man whimpered and Avangeline took that as a yes, and turned to her comrade, helping her to her feet. "I can't have you dying before you tell your story!" Her smile had returned, as if nothing had happened.

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