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Old April 29th, 2013, 02:30 AM
Retro Bug's Avatar
Retro Bug
the apex predator
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
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Tamor Bellfiend (featuring Auden Radke)
Ryuuse, Shinguo
Theme Song: Hear Me
Valiantly the other brave Knights of Ekilore rose up to conquer the fiery beasts that stood in the way of victory. Meanwhile Tamor and Auden sat in the same position on the ground. It felt rather serene; Tamor sat with her legs carefully tuckered beneath her fragile body, positioned directly to the right-hand side was a mess of a man, Auden. Uneasiness still lingered and washed over Tamor as she swept her thin fingers through his messy hair that had gathered dirt, rock, and even bits of flesh. Niolas rested quietly on her left shoulder his eyes were focused on the battlefield instead of his owner. Despite her best attempts and multitude of prayers nothing could restore Auden’s mana, he was forced to stay back from the fight as her healing magic slowly coursed through every inch of his being. The mage’s mind wondered away from her second dearest companion and focused on the battle that raged on ahead. The Grey brothers somehow managed their way to the Necromancer; their weapons were advantageous against a horde of undead but would soon fall short against a mage as powerful as the one that sat upon the throne. Mages typically never fought close combat, as a general rule it was much easier to strike down a dangerous foe from a safe distance especially when those foes had extremely well forged weapons and were well skilled with them. Even at a distance Tamor knew the warrior’s weapons and armor were forged from the finest Reigncliff steel, it wasn’t as great as dwarven steel, nothing could best dwarven steel, but it still crafted well. Tamor’s time in Yarne had taught her this yet she was still novice at forging her own weapons not that she required such items. A finer duo had not graced Tamor’s eyes; Roland and Percival moved in sync never once questioning the others movements. A sense of jealousy pinged somewhere deep and well hidden in Tamor she longed for that feeling of absolute trust. Without hesitation Tamor buried the feeling deeper hoping eventually she’d be able to suffocate it until it ceased to cause her pain.

The Necromancer engaged the two knights in a close range fight, a very unusual thing for a mage to do. Perhaps his vast years under the apparent tutelage of Dabel had infected his mind with such madness he had forgotten that he wasn’t a god himself. A barrage of spells was unleashed as the Necromancer took on the first brother, Roland. Miraculously the swordsman had made his mark on the staff wielding mage but it hadn’t come without repercussions. The mage was nimble Tamor noted as he had managed to catch Roland’s armored arm and release magic energy that led him to crumpled onto the ground. Something overwhelmed the Necromancer as he doubled over in pain without any outside forces inducing it. Before the chance to finish off the swordsman arrived Percival stepped forward, now he too would receive the same fate. The second brother acted as more of a defensive wall his moved protected himself but also dealt blows given the opening. It was foolish courage and death was eminent if their battle continued much further. Without a second thought Tamor delivered a swift prayer to the Nine, then one separately for just Tella, her patron goddess. As the Necromancer was forced to defend himself his spells became more dangerous and sickly in power, he was a darkness that needed cleansing. All around Tamor the vile undead transformed into heaps of flesh and bone, their form had lost all its shape. In his hands he held two pieces of his staff, a battered Roland had somehow managed to slice through it at some point. Upon realization that his precious staff was damaged beyond repair the Necromancer went into a fit. Roland and Percival were at the end of a spell that threw them backwards. The elven archer, and newest member of the Knights of Ekilore joined the ranks of the brothers, as did the fainted mage. The sixty-foot gap between the duo and the rest of the knights was as noticeable as ever; Tamor wished they could unify their team.

“I-I-I need to get you out of here,” Barely audible Tamor spoke directly to her companion who had regained enough strength to stand but not without assistance of his sword. The dark energy that shimmered around the Necromancer had intensified within the last few seconds; this was only the beginning of his mighty wrath upon them. She couldn’t knowingly allow the Necromancer to steal another comrade away from her not even one she had to suffered abuse from. The Necromancer had summoned the wicked energy into creation that could’ve only come from Dabel’s imagination, the aura that emitted from it made Tamor sick. Almost immediately he dealt out his spells to each of the Knights, some of them grabbed shields to protect themselves while others simply tried to dodge the attack to no avail.

“Get-“ Words took up more time while actions were immediate. Tamor left the words in her mouth and hoped the risky moves she was about to take validated her words later on. The foul energy slammed its might into each one of the Knights threatening to dissolve their existence. Its reached was incredible; it had even managed to find Tamor and Auden who were over seventy feet away from where the Necromancer stood. Before the energy could make an impact Tamor launched herself forward, this life she had been given was of little meaning but Auden at least could complete the mission granted to them by the monks. Back toward the incoming assault Tamor’s caring eyes rose up to meet Auden’s dazed ones.

As the toxicity of the attack ate through Tamor’s robes and flesh it surprisingly had managed to leave the insignia of Raelus’ mage’s guild untouched. Tamor fell to her knees despite her best attempt to stay upright; the spell bore and ripped its way deeper into her frail body as she clinched the dirt between her trembling fingers. Her skin had started to peel back in places where the sickly spell had briefly touched. It redden in color as the bubbles of puss and blood became apparent. Her nostrils caught the strong smell of her own disintegrating flesh; a pungent odor that left Tamor’s sense of smell numb. The burns were more severe on her shoulders and triceps than anywhere else. Agony settled in it was more painful than Tamor had imagined, it increased with every passing second and heighten with the slightest of movements. The quickness of her actions had left her unable to summon the divine magic she held before the Necromancer displayed his frightening power. Words, divine words, held power too as Tamor made evident as she began chanting the hymns of the Holy Mother, Tella. A feeling of relief wash over her the wounds began the fast process of healing herself her damaged tissue reverted back to its previous state. The Necromancer’s tricks were best used on those who lacked the power Tamor had been granted by the Nine. Energy restored itself, which gave her the ability to stand and face the spawn of Infernum, but what Tamor saw made her wish she had stopped standing. Swirls of sinister energy occupied itself between the hands of the Necromancer his eerie smile grew wider as the blacken flames did. Dabel had created those flames; they were wicked souls that threatened to consume Aerion in its entirety. Their darkness wafted throughout the entire room chilling Tamor to the bone, dark magic permeated Tamor’s senses and thoughts. A pressure wrapped around her throat, the sheer force of it dropped Tamor back onto her knees with her hands clutching at her neck trying to break the strength of the wicked. The foul, corrupted aura created by dark mages was potent; it was an experience Tamor had never had the displeasure of encountering. It was tough, it was brutal, it was the exact opposite of the magic she used. Sanity and clarity was brought back through prayer Tamor stood on her feet though she felt ill the hymns, verses, and prayers that guided her day to day pushed her through the pain. She accepted her future fate as the nefarious flames of Infernum drew closer; it was her duty to protect Auden in his current weak state even if that meant directly taking vile spells.

Tamor stood up again; her reckless attitude had come to a surprise to Auden. Stupid girl. Auden thought as he shot air backwards throwing his body towards hers. In one fluid movement he wrapped himself around her front, and kicked her to the ground before turning to face the incoming flames. Before she went down Niolas flew up and away from the scuffle. "Damn." He said as he threw his arms out, releasing his own flames to block the Necromancer's destructive flames, though drained of his mana they did little more than slightly weaken the Necromancer's attack. The flames engulfed his body quickly, they burnt away most of his already dirty robes and the frontal skin as he forced out air magic to put the flames out and protect his face. The pain was immense as he turned back to Tamor with blood running down from his eyes and ears from the use of magic when he hadn't any mana or so he thought, an extremely dangerous practice that he'd never done before. He took a careful step backwards toward a grounded Tamor, he coughed blood, and it sprayed from his mouth. He brought up what was left of his robes to wipe the red substance off his face and grinned. It had been some time since he had fought this hard no one in quite some time had gotten his mana near this level, it was almost refreshing. He kept his composure and then he stared down at his toy that he had continually risked his life for with wonder.

A startled Tamor found herself being forcefully knocked to the ground. It was alarming as she saw the shadows of a man she thought was as good as gone, at least from this fight. His actions had honored his deal that he made with Tamor; he had protected her life instead of the other way around. The burns had consumed their fair amount of material, Tamor gasped as Auden turned toward her. His skin was seared; the dark mage’s spell had performed a number on the Knight of Ekilore that stood before her. In an instant she gathered herself from the ground, she ignored the pain that throbbed and the fact that he had violently taken her down.

“A-A-Auden?” Tamor muttered meekly as she firmly pressed her hands onto the afflicted skin. It began to recover as soon as her hand was set against it, “"Why, why are you doing this to yourself?”

"I already told-" Auden started, but his vision became tinted with red as he looked straight at her blood leaked from a gash on his eyebrow. Unable to contain himself blood filled his mouth and was released as he was thrown into a coughing fit. He also bleed from the ears the blood dropped onto Tamor’s hand, as she looked him in the eyes. "I'll protect you with my life."

What would’ve seemed like a sweet gesture only reminded Tamor that that was his obligation to her. Nonetheless her eyes began leaking liquid of their own but hers was clear in color, tears. “I need to get you out of here!” She slowly shifted her hands from his chest to his face hoping that the speed of his healing would increase if she were closer to the injury.

Despite the move the blood continued to flow from his brown eyes, Tamor’s divine magic had managed to slow the rate of the flow but not completely able to stop it. Weakly he brought a hand to her cheek and wiped away her tears. "You're probably the only one who can beat him now," Auden stated clearly, and immediately coughed up more blood, some of it splattered onto Tamor’s face while the rest dribbled down his face. "Don't worry about me," His body began swaying forward, for a second he almost fell forward onto his companion. "Go stop him Tamor."

“No, I can't, I won't leave you!" Tamor said with determination, the other Knights would do just fine, wouldn’t they? "Y-you need me here and that's where I'll stay!" Her voice was filled with raw emotions, but the sound of fear was most prominent.

"If you don't kill him, I'll kill you instead." His words were forced; Auden had leaned in closer for a more personal effect. He then brought his other hand to the base her neck as if to emphasize his point even further.

Tamor disregarded the placement of his hand he had sworn to her that he would protect her life and that protection included his own attempts as well. "I'll protect you, but at least let me get you to safety!" Before he had a chance to reject Tamor positioned herself by his side and bared the burden of his weight.

Auden sick of her stalling picked her up by the neck, "Go now Tamor." Unlike hers his voice didn’t displayed any emotions.

It wasn’t right, Tamor shouldn’t have to kill again not this fast. The Necromancer despite his wickedness was alive; he breathed the same air she did. As she scoured the battlefield she noted that her comrades were all incapacitated. It truly was up to her, but Tamor wasn’t ready for that responsibility, what if she failed? If she took care of the Necromancer without killing him that would solve at least one of her problems. A burdened Tamor took her leave from Auden’s space after she prompted him against a wall. Steps brought her closer than ever before to the man known as the Necromancer, her lips moved subconsciously reciting the last prayer.

“What do we have here? A scrawny haggard, I see.” An overconfident tone was used as Tamor gotten within ten feet of the man.

“By thy wish thy will shall be fulfilled by the one true goddess, Tella,” Tamor’s words were no longer mumbles but audible sayings.

“Tella?” A heartily chuckle escaped from his mouth, Tamor found his disrespect appalling. “My lady, you’re praying to the wrong god, for she is not I!”

As if ‘I’ was a cue the Necromancer threw up his hands, the same ones that had caused the death of many people, and returned the deadly fire to his hands once more. The only reaction that Tamor gave to this statement was the slow movement of her thin lips as she lowered her eyelids. The Prayer of the Nine took a lot of concentration and dedication to memorize the entire scripture. These flames appeared eager to serve their master and seemingly in response grew larger than before, Tamor readied herself as she summoned the restoration properties of her divine magic through her own enchantments. A perilous battle such as this was a key piece in their soon to be known history as Knights of Ekilore, this is where they would fail and perish or succeed in order to defend Aerion against greater evils. The energy wrapped around her tiny frame began to glow into a bright, golden hue as its ever-changing form began shifting into the familiar thin, flexible blades. Its comfort reassured Tamor of her safety and the power of the Gods and Goddesses that watched over her. By pressing firmly into the ground with her dominant foot Tamor sped forward with the speed three times her regular amount. As soon as Tamor’s boot had made its imprint and left dust swirling in its absence the Necromancer released his burning rage. The flames approached Tamor at almost the same speed she was traveling at, they lapped up the oxygen and doubled in size. Quick as she could Tamor stopped in place and thrust her palms together in front of her, which made one single blade of energy and parted the flames as if it were made of water. Flames licked at her clothing and body yet were unable to completely consume her. How foolish was that to run into battle without a plan, especially with a foe that had consummated with the dark arts. Unfortunately, Tamor didn’t have time to worry whether or not her comrades were in the way of the Necromancer’s attacks. The gap between them was significantly less than it was before, it would be a game of cat and mouse with a slight twist from here on out. In an attempt to perfect her technique Tamor willed the blades of divine energy into sharper, longer, and more flexible versions of themselves.

Without a sound the Necromancer had ran forward, on a moment’s instinct Tamor did the opposite, he clearly was trying to engage in close combat. A pile of bones lay in front of the Necromancer their cries of temptation were too loud for them to be ignored by the elder mage. One handedly he retrieved the leftovers of his old servants as he began casting dark magic with the other. Clueless, Tamor stood there with her eyes never leaving the sight of the ominous clouds that enveloped the bones that lay in his hands. The spell had tainted the appearance; they had been elongated and shifted into that of a longsword, standard hilt included. Here they were spell-casting mages yet the both occupied weapons that belonged to the less magically gifted. At that very second their eyes met and a chill ran down her spine, Tamor knew this was only the beginning of a battle that would only end in one of their demises. She brought her arms forward and thus crossing the Blades of Light, also the name Tamor had given the spell, before both opponents took off from their respective places toward one another. Their weapons kissed and kissed again, the Necromancer eyes brightly gleamed as he pressed more of his weight into his newly crafted weapon into the middle of Tamor’s crossed blades. The Necromancer moved boldly, his moves were strong and without hesitant while Tamor’s moves told a different tale. She moved around the battlefield gracefully making light and carefully timed movements. As fast as they had come together they split apart repeatedly, their constant clashing resulted their separate energies meeting. Swirls of bright gold and deep indigo combated at each other neither gaining the upper hand when they clashed. Both parties grew tiresome of their back and forth combat going nowhere but only one was devilish enough to try a new tactic.

“I heard a tale once, care to hear it?” His voice irritated Tamor, he was trying to sound regal but he was no king nor god. The Necromancer continued without an answer, “Tella was not the good deity she is now made out to be."

“Speak another ill word and you shall find yourself without a tongue,” Tamor spat, those who dare utter treacherous words against The Nine deserved an eternity in Infernum.

"Tella was nothing more than a harlot, more so than that Alksa Goddess," The Necromancer stated with a wave of his hand as if it were an everyday fact. He continued with his fable, "In fact, I'm willing to wager that Tella has laid with any major deity in that pathetic religion, females included. She never could control herself!"

Tightly she clinched her fist, Tamor seethed with anger and her face contorted with rage as she breathed forceful breaths through her nostrils. Powerful emotions clouded her easily influenced judgments, she knew this yet Tamor couldn’t allow him to get away with it. His speech had come at a price, his life. It was time to get serious Tamor thought as she removed her robes in a hurried fashion, which left her in just a white shirt, beige pants, and her always present Mage’s Hood. In a flash she became a blur filled with a mixture of anger and determinedness. The Necromancer had already predicted her path and twisted his body according to avoid the mass of golden energy that threatened him. His sword followed his twist in an outward horizontal motion; it sliced deep into Tamor’s leg as she had moved passed him. Blood soaked the tip of his bone blade, a maniacal laugh escaped from the deranged mage’s mouth. He taunted Tamor as she stood their checking her first injury it was needless to worry seeing as her magic had already ceased the blood flow and worked at closing the wound altogether. It was clear that this spell of hers wasn’t something the Necromancer had been expecting as he let out a string of ancient curses. Any worry his face had shown had soon faded, the dark mage had fought plenty of divine mages and they all perished beneath his godly might. The anger hadn’t eased up from Tamor’s mind as she launched herself forward for another set of attacks on the Necromancer. Her attacks were sloppy, there was brute force behind them but that was it. There wasn't any coordination or strategic thinking happening as Tamor raged on. Deflection was a skill that the Necromancer became well versed in he waited for openings in her attacks and then struck blows that cut far into the skin. Blood seeped into her vision, Tamor already seeing red carried on with her vendetta. The battle had become personal, it had become the Necromancer's playground in Tamor's mind. His twisted words fueled the rage that flickered inside her he had discovered her weakness and exploited it without hesitation, a devious man indeed. His voice penetrated the deepest layers of her psyche, his effect on an individual was astonishing. The words hadn't only affected Tamor's psyche but her magic that included the energy that surrounded her. Its shimmer became more similar to that of an electric current, which caused the effectiveness of her moves to lower as it shifted back and forth between the two states.

It didn't take long for the Necromancer to gather more bones from the various piles that littered the battlefield he was now being chased around. His newest trick had almost come to fruition, Tamor didn't even see the smirk that overcame his face, she was much too busy botching attacks. Her loss of breath was evident by the way her shoulders moved up and down rigorously every time she stopped in place. Closing her unfocused eyes in battle wasn’t a good plan but they burdened her like weights she couldn’t lift so she allowed them to rest momentarily. Immediately she felt something painfully bore itself her leg, her throat echoed this sentiment. With her eyes now wide open she noticed the thin, white barbs that were connected to a thicker central source, a bone, which was now partly buried in her flesh. They were identical to the ones the Necromancer now twirled in his hands with a sneer. Insistent pain throbbed in her leg, this was a noticeable difference between this attack and any other attack the dark mage had landed thus far. Swears trickled out of her mouth, trying to remove the source of pain resulted in bloody fingertips as she was pricked by the moving barbs. There was a slight vibration, a trick the other mage must have implemented in order to stop the healing process and prolong the agony. The knight with a sword would have to surgically remove it with under her strict direction unless he had prior experience in the medical field, which is most certainly doubted. Unfortunately what they lacked was alcohol to sterilize the warrior’s weapon before he cut into her flesh, but this was all assuming she would finish this battle alive. Pain had helped subside her anger, which brought her clearer thoughts back to the forefront of her mind once again. A scarcely scathed Necromancer beckoned more energy into his hands via incantations. The tongue he used was strange and made little sense to the divine mage. Its color was a blend of indigo and black, almost as black as his soul she imagined that was if he had retained his. The consequence of letting the spell come forth towards her was a fate that she didn’t wish to experience in this lifetime or the next. In a clear effort to distance herself from the enemy Tamor took a few willing steps backwards, just enough to give herself enough breathing room as she went through the thought process of her next move.

An increasingly foul smell came from the mass of energy that formed into maturation in the deadly hands of the dark mage. Decisiveness wasn’t her strong suit, as she knew at any moment the spell would need to be combated. It wouldn’t be an easy task especially since her energy had transformed into a form that she hadn’t previously tested out. An opportunity like this was the best instance for her to appease some of her curiosity but it was also threatening if somehow it tipped in his favor. Calmly she stood there a mere twenty feet away from the doom cloud that loomed in the Necromancer’s palms as his incantation came to an end. Energy no longer extended outside the amount that flowed over her body but instead what appeared to be zigzag lines. When she commanded it to all gather at her palms it created a massive sparking amount of energy that wasn’t easily contained. Luckily the Necromancer had released his spell into the battlefield, which allowed Tamor to do the same. She thought of the natural electrical element and eased into controlling it that way, the way Tella would do it. Her limited time of possessing this trait had worked mostly in her favor yet the spell still ate through her spell and embraced Tamor with a repulsive touch. Her organs seized up, her skin began peeling backwards turning black and brittle while some of it fell off into chunks. A classic rotting spell, her insides and outsides were gaining the appearances of festered wounds full of puss. This spell would be the ultimate undoing to any spell caster that hadn’t be knowledgeable in the arts of healing. Eislynn had been a supreme magician in the way she wielded the divine arts she was blessed with having and passed those skills onto her sole apprentice, Tamor. Overcoming the effects of the spell was relatively easy once she boosted the speed of her internal recovery spell. Like any fighter would have done Tamor was on top of the Necromancer’s movements before he had a chance to cast another spell. Her speed had been affected by the bone-barb stuck in her leg and the more she disregarded the pain the more it throbbed in response. Gifted in agility wasn’t only the younger mage but the elder as well; her golden blur was matched with a dark indigo one. The discharge of her energy sparks was the only weaponry she had at her disposal that slowed the actions of her opponent; its stunning effects were incredible. Overall damage had yet to be fully assessed as Tamor couldn’t handle a lot of it without explosive results. Tamor was uncertain; she didn’t want to dispose of him, but was there any other way to finish this battle? Tella wouldn’t approve of all this bloodshed yet would the rest of the Council of Nine? It was a tricky move, if she went behind Tella’s back the results wouldn’t be pretty. Perhaps if she received their blessings it would potentially outweigh the outrage of Tella.

Thoughts of the Gods and Goddesses soon vacated her mind as she collected the minimal thoughts on how to proceed with the battle at hand. She bled from the thigh leaving her pants ruined with bloodstains like the condition her shirt. Being on the offensive now was for the best option as she could do it at a further range now that she had Tella’s Bolts, the name she had given to this newly founded spell, at her bloodied fingertips. She released a wave of energy sparks at the man who was an opposition to her and the rest of the Knights of Ekilore, and watched as the spell sizzled and crackled his wardrobe and didn’t feel the least bit sorry from him. Preoccupied with the state of advancements of her powers she had failed to notice the distance that had shorten between the dueling foes. The frequency of her attacks had certainly showed in the Necromancer’s clothing and physical body. Bruises and scrapes were in a multitude of locations where the eye could see and even where it couldn’t see. Though, from his lack of grunts and explicit words one wouldn’t have known that he had suffered any blows. Her mind wandered back to her fellow companions she had hoped that any stray spell casting hadn’t done too much damage or been aimed near them and if so they were properly able to avoid them altogether. In a move that Tamor hadn’t been expecting the fearless, heartless and cruel man held his arms out to her as he took several bolds steps forward. Her guard lowered as the curiosity to what he had planned infiltrated her thoughts, did he truly believe this would end the battle? Before she had the chance to objectify to the grasp Tamor was in the Necromancer’s arm. A smug look graced his face, it was baneful in appearance but Tamor couldn’t see this and was stunned at the event-taking place. The villainous mage had opened his robes between he crossed the field yet what he had concealed underneath went unnoticed by the other mage. His own ribs had been disgustingly disfigured, they themselves protruded outside his skin. In their current position his risqué plan had gone off without a hitch, his lips moved silently as the embraced soon became uncomfortable with how tight the Necromancer was holding on. The malformed bones of his body penetrated Tamor with efficiency; she hadn’t a chance to pull away before they were all the way through. Their size grew as the muted words continued out of the Necromancer’s foul mouth, he had accomplished his fiendish trickery. The screams died in her throat as a hand wrapped around her mouth, and the Necromancer allowed himself to stare into her golden eyes reveling in the pain she was in. Fits of coughs led to the removal of his hands, which let the blood flow from her mouth freely. The jagged tips of the bone spears were painted red with the blood of his enemy. His face lit up as he threw himself into a fit of laughter, he had defeated the so-called Knights of Ekilore and thwarted any so-called threat. Gods never lost, and that was proven in this battle, but it was a shame that no one would ever know the exact details that took place down here unless he wrote it himself. Barely conscious Tamor laid limp on his broad shoulder, the shame and guilt washed over her. How had she let one of the most dangerous men she has ever met take her in his arms or come within five feet of her? Very much alike to the injury in her leg she felt a vibration in the six holes that pierced through her body just underneath her chest, three medium size holes on the left and right for a grand total of six. A twitch in her sore arms gave her the last shred of hope; if she gathered the energy it might be enough. He was too arrogant to believe that there was any hope of her surviving that attack. In the same fashion as the Necromancer her lips parted with no sound coming from them. It was a prayer, but not to one single deity but to the entire council. The Power of the Council Prayer was one of the most unified prayers that were in the religion. Energy sizzled to life under the strict commandment of the prayer, its bidding awoken a strength Tamor believed she lost as soon as the embrace began. Zapping energy struck the Necromancer and stunned him, which in turned stopped the vibrations of the bones. Instantly sealing the wounds and the bones in place. Unable to break away the Necromancer still tried to struggle; he couldn’t believe this was happening he had already won! Numb in feeling Tamor placed her palms on each side of the Necromancer’s head and brought herself to stare into his glowing eyes. The zigzagged energy grew in size until it was enough to cover her opponent’s entire body as well as hers. A breath was let out as Tamor put forth the remaining energy she had into one explosive gathering of golden energy bolts. His howling for mercy was soon stopped as the power had ripped through the Necromancer’s body with deadly results. The ceiling soon gave in and buried what was left of the sinister mage under several pounds of debris; his soul belonged in Infernum now with Dabel and Lilyth. Tamor stumbled, she fell backwards unsure of where her fellow journeymen were but also unsure of her own health. There she lay gasping for breath unable to move her lips in order to say the enchantments she needed to increase the healing process. Tamor felt angst as she verily believed that there would be tedious work involved into ridding herself of the lacerations the Necromancer had created on her as if she were his misguided muse gone wrong. Blood started to pool around her body soaking her backside yet Tamor lips formed into something she hadn’t done in awhile, a smile. In an unusual fashion she had conquered their first real enemy, but they would only get stronger and more difficult from here on out. For the first time since they had left Oculus Tower Tamor really felt as if she was a Knight of Ekilore.
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Last edited by Retro Bug; May 7th, 2013 at 12:16 AM.
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  #102    
Old May 2nd, 2013, 05:43 PM
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Kiklion
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Anlem Taegor- Currilan, Eveamoor

Anlem released a long sigh. He had walked since he awoke and hadn't stopped, save for bathroom breaks and a chance to eat. He'd sold his riding animal in the last city he'd visited--Dalenham, it was--and had since then carried on on foot. He didn't exactly mind it, but it had its moments where it became tiring. Still, he enjoyed the opportunities it gave him, like natural scenes and odd people. He had seen a few on his way here in various towns. Like a man who always talked in riddles or women who only sought for men with certain colored hats. Yes, he'd met a few characters in his time and had recorded each encounter in his book which he held open now. It was large and stored many pages--more than a thousand, Anlem was sure. He sat on his rock and wrote slowly, deliberately, and with purpose. He didn't sit in a wood, but there were enough trees and scene and animals that the image was all too perfect for a moment of consideration. He sat a wrote about the trees and their swaying leaves or how the wind leaned on the grass. He wrote about how the birds chirped and the animals barked from their hiding places. Finally he wrote about the shadows, the sun, the air, the sky and how their energy and beauty fed Aerion. He closed the book.

Anlem stood up from the rock, storing his book back into his satchel and continuing on. His feet ached but he refrained from complaints. Anlem walked in silence; a smile on his face, the air enjoyed. He walked for about half an hour before nature became less like nature and he had an old, crude sign standing before him. The sign was made out of what could pass as petrified wood. It had been eaten through and parts had fallen off from the work of termites and weather. The writing on the sign was old and faded. It took a moment's study to find out what it said: Approaching Currilan. Anlem smiled. A town meant a tavern. After his walk, he could use a drink. Trusting the sign's honor, Anlem continued on his path. Soon enough he could see shops and homes in the distance and even sooner he arrived in Currilan.

Like all places in Eveamoor, Currilan was nothing impressive. The technology and the buildings were old; it felt as if he were stepping into the past. The people of Currilan, Anlem learned with a quick scan around, were tall and thin and weak looking. Some of them were short (though not dwarves) and looked just as thin or were alternatively muscular, but still hardly a threat. Anlem laughed inwardly at the sight of a Currilan man trying to lift a sword he had no business trying to wield and then again at another's attempt at running. He would have stopped and written, but he was thirsty now. After a little looking and a quick bit of directions, Anlem found the tavern. It was obscure and hidden, not because of some purposeful planning, but because it looked as old and similar as everything around it. He felt thirstier from the thought of drinking and his feet ached more from the though of sitting, but he made no complaints or comments. Anlem continued on to the tavern and entered.

Once inside, the dwarf was taken by surprise. Instead of a typical scene of hardy, drinking men, there was a group of severally injured people and a medical staff attending to them. Besides them, another man--who looked as exhausted as the others were defeated--sat heavily in a chair with a drink on its way. The only one who didn't look exhausted was a women who stood with a man lingering around her. The woman was large-breasted and was about average height--for humans, at least. Her hair was short and red and she carried a large sword with her. The sword was not only a pleasing surprise, but made the man next to her look weaker and subordinate. The man had straight brown hair and was clean shave, save for a bit on his chin. He was lean--the squirrel-y sort--an wore attire of reds and blacks. His clothing looked costly, but also older as they were becoming visibly worn. He resembled the people of Currilan, but instead had an air of capability around him. His glaive may have had something to do with that. When Anlem approached, he greeted them politely.

"Sorry to be bothersome, but if I may ask," he continued, "what's happened here?"
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Old May 12th, 2013, 08:46 PM
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Varian Sigmund, Cassandra Alexandera, and Anlem Taegor- The Strutting Stagg, Curilan Eveamoor



"Depends on who's asking," Cass spouted at the broad dwarf with long red hair who walked into the bar. His red hair dropped down to his shoulders, fusing with his beard. Though that could be the alcohol talking at them point. She rose from her seat and walked over to the dwarf, and for once towered over someone. "You should give me a reason to tell my story, dwarf."

Without much of a pause in between, the dwarf shrugged. "Just simple curiousity." He smiled then. "A story before a drink? I'm only interested."

Cass smiled out of frustration, before rolling her tongue in her mouth. This dwarf's cheeky smile pissed her off. Today was not a good day to piss her off. "Do I look like some court jester to you? Huh. Why in all of those underworlds those religious nutcases talk about should I entertain you so you can enjoy your crappy mead a bit better?" Cass yelled at the dwarf, glaring into his eyes, before slowly reaching for one of her knives, trying her best to hide such movement from him. Killing him would really solve everything.

The dwaf's smile had disappeared through Cass' short rant and he now eyed her for a moment. He only looked away towards their injuried comrads shortly before bringing his eyes back to her once more. "A jester? No, not at all. More like... A character." He smiled again--a sort of admiring smile--before continuing. "Obviously you haven't come from anything funny--unless, of course, you all were trampled by a horde of men too much in a hurry to watch where they were going, then I may have something to smile about. The lack of shoe marks makes me think otherwise, however. No I didn't ask for a laugh, I asked because I was exactly what I said I was--interested. I wanted your story because I wanted to record it--if you don't mind, of course--and share it with others. By the looks of things you have a tale more than just I would be interested in."

Cass gawked at the dwarf, totally astounded by him. "You're a writer?" Cass paused for a moment, trying to gather everything in her head. "HAHAHAHA! Dwarves can actually write?!" She was beginning to lose everything. "I thoug- I tho- HAHAHA! I though all dwarves could do was swing axes and grow beards!" She began to lose her breath, gasping for air. The lack of oxygen was causing her to lose her balance, gripping onto the bar for support as tears ran down her face. "Va-Va-Varian! Get a load of this guy! AAHAHAA!"

“Cass!” Varian bellowed from his seat, not turning around to view the two of them arguing. “Stop torturing the dwarf.” He turned his head slightly to take in the appearance of the red-bearded stunt of a man, before motioning his arm to have him join him at the table, just as his order of Orbigg Ale arrived. As the barmaid began placing the drink onto the table, Varian snatched it out of her arms, and quickly brought the mug to his mouth, savoring the liquid's taste as if it were a cure for all of his problems. In his case, it somewhat was. “You’ll have to excuse her, we’re all a bit…stressed.” He didn’t feel it important to mention she was always like that.

“Work happened.” He said in his thick Highman accent to the dwarf, settling even further into his seat, trying to be as comfortable as he could, only to have his brain remind him of the nagging injuries that he had received. It was an impossibility to try and get comfortable no matter how hard he tried. Despite this, he continued to do so. “We’re mercenaries by trade. We had just returned from a job. I suppose you could say it didn’t quite go according to plan.” His thoughts went to Alys, who was taken to a private room to be examined and treated by the fat man’s physicians. "So...what's your business in this sh*thole country then? Cass is right, you don't meet many literate dwarves. At least not around here."

The dwarf took his seat just as Varian finished asking his question. "I've just been traveling," the dwarf answered calmly, seemingly unaffected by Cass' laughs and jeers. "I don't have much of an aim. Whichever place provides the most for me to write." He laughed then. "Though it wouldn't hurt to have a job."

Varian eyed the dwarf curiously, taking another large gulp of his ale. Despite only a few gulps, he was already almost done with the mug. He gave a motion to the barmaid to send him another. It wasn't as if he would be paying for them anyway. And even if he did, he wouldn't mind spending the coin right now. He needed it. Varian looked over the dwarf, his eyes catching sight of his rather large warhammer that the dwar carried. "Do you know how to use that thing?" Varian asked, pointing at the weapon he carried.

"Use it!?" The dwarf asked in disbelief. "I was practically born with it! Why do you ask?"

"Because some people carry around a big weapon to look important," Cass interjected, drying her tears. "I haven't laughed that hard in days. Let's keep him."

Varian shook his head, but debated the thought nonetheless. He finished his ale just as his second one was brought, pounding the empty mug on the table, and wiping his mouth with his arm. "If its a job you're looking for, you should try our line of work. We could always use another man." He knew this to be true, especially if they were to be traveling around as a band. He wasn't sure if the entire group would stick around, so a fresh recruit wouldn't hurt at all. "And if it's a story you're looking for, or some inspiration to write, I'm sure you'll find that along the way."

The dwarf said nothing for a time, presumably going over things in his head. His face went through a change or two. from slight amusement to serious consideration and then to a nonchalant conclusion. "I'll join you." He finally said. "How much does it pay?"

Varian raised his eyebrow, quite surprised at the sudden acceptance so casually by the dwarf. He picked up his second order of ale, and took a large gulp of it. "That depends on how much the employer offers. But all payment is split equally." He put down his mug, and extended his arm to the dwarf. "Varian Sigmund. I suppose you could say I lead the group."

"Anlem Taegor. I suppose you can say I don't."
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Old May 12th, 2013, 09:14 PM
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Percival and Roland Grey- Ship of Captain Richard Crewe



The ship that the company had departed upon was surprisingly steady, especially considering comments Roland had made earlier regarding the vessel when he had first seen it beside the Tower of Oculus. Yet either because of the calmness of the water or the sturdiness of the underbelly of the vessel, no significant rocking was experienced. Roland hoped that this would be the norm for the remainder of their voyage until they would reach their destination. Upon the deck of the vessel, the knights Percival and Roland lingered, Roland seated down, examining a closed paper in his hand, before looking over the edge of the ship at the clear blue water. Percival huddled in a corner staring deeply into the shard of the Orb of Ardor, claimed from the Necromancer following his defeat at the hands of Tamor.

"Isn't it strange how such a small little gem can make one so powerful? Makes you wonder, doesn't it?" Percival said aloud, rhetorically. "If one small piece can make a wizard that powerful...imagine the whole orb. Gods. It makes me believe that those monks may actually be able to accomplish what they said they want to."

Roland turned from his observance of the sea towards his brother, who was observing the shard they had obtained from the body of the Necromancer. "If you stare into that any longer, you'll bleed your eyes out." He replied. He didn't want to say it out loud, but the truth of the matter is that Roland had similar sentiments. Though perhaps he was too prideful to admit that he was wrong before, so instead he wished to change the topic. He sat up, stretching out his back, hoping to get that resounding crack. After a bit of struggle, the pop came, and Roland relaxed again. "Hah...that was quite a celebration. By foreign standards, at least. And why not? We basically saved their pathetic country from destruction! Although, between the two of us, I think it's only a matter of time before some other travesty would befall those little people." He looked up into the sky, recalling the party that Yoshuro had thrown for their victories. The entire town had come to see their heroes on that day, and many from across the country would pour into the port city to celebrate.

"I do hope you are wrong about that," Percival said, taking his eyes off the shard. "A country rich with history and culture such as Shingou will hopefully live long enough to share its tales. Including our own."

Roland snorted in response to his brother, recalling his time differently. "Yes, I do believe their women were quite...cultured. I do say, such foreign mysteries surround them. And they were quite thankful to share."

"I didn't need to know that," Percival said with a sigh. Then his attention turned to Roland's hand. "Is that letter you got back at port? Who's it from?"

"Isaac Ethered of the Lionsguard." Roland chuckled. "I supposed our work here has not gone unnoticed." He stood up, walking over to Percival, and playfully hit on his armored shoulder. "'Tis a good thing, brother. You may yet bring House Grey to glory. You've certainly shown your capability in Shinguo."

"Something tells me Isaac is not sending you good news, but thanks. I guess," Percival was unsure how to take Roland's compliments. Bring House Grey glory was hardly a goal of his, especially considering the numerous conflicts Percival had with both Roland and their father. Percival couldn't even remember the reason why he so abruptedly abandoned his responsiblites in the court of Bludrock and House Grey to begin with. Regardless of the motivations, justifications and reasons, at the end of the day Percival Grey could hardly be considered Percival Grey any longer. The name held little meaning to him, for he turned to one of his many friends in the courts. His true older brother: Robert Welm. He was a man of peace and ideals, something House Grey when it adopted loyalty as its weapon. "What does Isaac want?"

Roland looked down upon the letter, opening it up and reading it aloud:

Spoiler:
The 24th day of Tella, 1792, Founding of Civilization

Dearest Roland,

I write this letter in the hopes that it will reach your hands safely, and thus insinuating that you yourself are in good health and high spirits in these troubling times. It has been quite some time since you had left to the isle of Ekilore upon the invitation of the Monks. In fact, when last we conversed, it was the end of Makara. Though the circumstance of your current journey remain a mystery even to me, I have heard of your latest exploits in Shinguo. If this be the noble work that the monks have bestowed upon you, then I wish you the best of luck. Though if your mission is to free the land of all predicaments, you shall be quite busy for many more months. In which case, allow me to elaborate on the status of this …eventful world we inhabit.

I suppose ‘tis best to start where the heart is, at home in Ethora. The Lords are feuding, with Elizabeth and your lord Hector threatening to go to war. Welm tries to stay their hands, but I am uncertain how long that would last. Crosland is appearing to remain neutral, while House Morok is keeping to itself. House Larson, on the other hand, delivers daily threats declaring that they will likely secede. So in other words, dear Roland, it is politics as usual.

As you know, relations between the Highmen and the Falkans are deteriorating rapidly. High King Hroaldr of Vanaheim, as his moniker “Ironfist” suggests, has a mind of metal, and an appetite for battle. Over the years we’ve heard countless reports of the deteriorating situation in the frostlands, but now more than ever, it seems likely the two nations are going to war. I can only hope Ethora won’t be dragged into the conflict.

Yet below on the continent of Rolsten, the situation does not appear to be any more favorable. Palaven and Raelus have long been at each others’ throats, and their respective leaders have never seen eye to eye. It is thankful that the Silver Authority in Ellessar still stands to mediate hostilities between the two nations. Yet between the two of us, I fear the most they are doing is delaying that which is inevitable.

I suppose not all in Aerion is death and politics. I’ve heard an interesting tale of a group of mercenaries in Eveamoor who rescued the daughter of Albert Castell, the leader of the Golden Authority Merchants Guild. The rumors are that the group, I think there were half a dozen of them or so, managed to fight through an entire company of Steel Safe soldiers. The Dragons of Dalenham they call them! Personally, I think it is mere gossip among the poor of Eveamoor. It appears that the country has so very little excitement happening that they must turn to fabrications to remain relevant.

I do hope that you are well, wherever your travels will take you beyond Shinguo. I recognize a degree of concealment your quest must have, so it is doubtless you will be able to respond by falcon. Still, I shall keep a watchful eye over your ventures, and keep you informed when I can.

Regards,

-Isaac Ethered


"Heh..." Roland shook his head, reading over the letter to himself once more to confirm that which Isaac told him.

"None of that sounds good," Percival said, slightly sighing as he glanced at the shard again before staring up into the sky. "And hardly any of that sounds surprising."

"Well, I suppose that much is true." He closed the letter, walking again towards Percival and patting him on his shoulder. "One step at a time, brother. Even if the shard does not accomplish our goals, maybe our actions will."

"You do realize the next step is sending us into one of the problems Isaac told you about," Percival warned.

"Perhaps then we can root the problem at its source." Roland replied, walking over to the edge of the ship, and leaning over, examining the sky as it met with the water in the far distance. He stared west, into the direction they were traveling.

"I just hope that Yoshuro isn't sending us on some false lead. Do you really think that he knows, you know, him? He isn't exactly...weak. If you know what I mean." Percival joined Roland on the edge, looking out to the sea. The sea breeze was refreshing, hardly as stuffy as the lower decks that Tamor and Auden seemed to prefer for whatever reason.

"He said they were acquaintances. Friends. I say, expect the worst and you'll never be surprised." Roland replied, watching the water as it was split by the passing of their ship. "After all, the people aren't the friendliest by reputation alone. How much do you think their King reflects on their hospitality?"

"Let's consider his title. The Burning King, they call him," Percival said before slowly walking away from his brother. "I'll leave you with that."
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Old May 13th, 2013, 08:00 AM
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Joseph "Honest" Sherman - The Strutting Stagg, Curilan Eveamoor

Honest didn't pay much attention while he followed the small group back to wherever they came from. Instead, he cleaned the blood off of his used knives and then carefully daubed them in poison again. He was beginning to run low, so he should stock back up when he had the chance. Every now and then he'd sneak anxious glances at the heavily wounded girl that Varian carried. Honest, being merely a merchant's son, had never seen anybody seriously wounded before, let alone on the verge of life and death. He wasn't exactly used to battle. How would a mere novice survive in a group of such proficient fighters? But he owed a debt, he reminded himself. (He will survive; he always does.)

When they finally arrived at the inn, the girl they'd rescued showed more life than she had throughout the entire ordeal and rushed towards her father. He wondered what his own father would have done if he'd known that Honest had been kidnapped by professionally trained bandits. It was a good thing he didn't have to find out. His father shouldn't have to deal with that kind of anguish--not after Honest's mother had died years previously.

Honest watched in interest as Varian and the client had a heated argument, becoming quite bemused when a physician suddenly appeared so that he could inspect Honest's shoulder. Proper cleaning and clean bandages were always welcome on an injury, of course, but he wasn't used to the treatment. (Nobody had ever bothered, not for him.) He hadn't seriously injured himself for a long time, which was probably a miracle considering his lack of experience with fighting.

When the mayor announced he was actually the leader of the merchant guild, Honest's jaw dropped in surprise. This meant his father was this man's subordinate in a way. He'd never even have dreamed he would meet someone so important on his journey. All the things he could tell his father when he returned, well, it might just blow him away. When the mayor went on to invite them to a night of free lodgings and beer, Honest found himself very conflicted. He'd never tried alcohol before, although he'd heard much praise for it during his travels. He'd never been in an environment where he'd felt comfortable enough to purposely dull his senses and fighting ability. And even if he was, there was something about losing even one iota of control over himself that deeply unnerved him. (Control. Control was everything.)

Still, he was curious. Especially now that he'd encountered someone like Cass, who was still so incredibly strong even with her affinity for alcohol. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad to try a little bit? Just this once. What would happen, anyway? Tonight of all nights, surrounded by such strong warriors after a harrowing experience, he should be able to let himself go a little. What is freedom if not being able to try things you want to try? (Maybe the alcohol will be enough to make him feel.... real.)

It was enough to convince Honest to accept the ale that was offered his way and take a cautious sip. The taste was more palatable than he'd expected and the warmth that bloomed in his belly was quite pleasant. Making a note to limit himself to one glass for now, he stayed around Cass, unsure of his position within the group and clinging to what amounted to his only connection to the rest of the mercenaries. A jingle of coins when he shifted positions was enough to remind him of part of his promise to Cass. Before he could offer her the money, however, a dwarf walked up to them and initiated a conversation.

Cass did not react well, initially, to the point that she reached for her weapon in anger. Honest watched the discourse with a wary eye, although he wouldn't have dreamed of intervening. He relaxed again when Cass suddenly roared with laughter upon discovering that the dwarf was also apparently a writer. This definitely caught Honest's attention, although he wasn't sure what he felt about it (not that he was ever sure). Being able to write generally meant that you were from the upper class, and Honest tended to avoid those types as much as possible. He'd been used as a messenger before because who better to trust a secret letter to than somebody who couldn't read? At the same time, Honest felt a grudging respect for the dwarf. Reading was definitely a skill that took much time and effort to acquire. Any simpleton could pick up a sword and run someone through with it, even on accident. Literacy was not a product of accident.

Apparently the dwarf could also fight. It was a combination that Honest had only ever witnessed in the most brutal officers, back when he served in the military. Officers had to write, but they never really had to fight--not when there were plenty of soldiers to do the job for them. Honest couldn't help but instinctively distrust the dwarf. Despite knowing that reading was not a sort of magic granted only to those of noble birth, it still felt mystical how somebody could look at a few dashes and interpret meaning from them. Besides, he'd never ever had a good experience with those that could capture words on page. He couldn't be sure this... Anlem would be any different.

Huh. His mug was now almost empty. That was quick. He only half paid attention when the dwarf joined the mercenary group, choosing instead to languidly stretch. Another jingle from his coin pouch met his ears and he hurriedly sat up once he remembered. Quickly extracting a few coins for himself--food, poison and emergencies--he moved closer to where Cass was.

"Here, like I said." Honest presented the pouch of money to her. It was still a sizeable amount, although nowhere near what he had originally. There was just nothing to be done. He then turned to Varian.

"So..." he scratched the back of his head and smiled. (The one he practised in front of a mirror for hours after he observed that this was what people did when being friendly. Or sometimes malicious. It was still difficult sorting out some of the distinctions sometimes but he was learning.) His voice was easy, his posture relaxed; he was looking about as non-threatening as possible with his glaive still strapped to his back. "If you could use another person, I hope I'll do?"
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Old May 20th, 2013, 05:51 PM
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Varian Sigmund and Cassandra Alexandera- The Strutting Stagg, Curilan, Eveamoor



Varian gave a brief nod to the one that he found out later was known as 'Honest', a casual sign of acceptance in the group. He didn't quite feel the necessity of giving an entire speech to each new member that would show up. They'd learn what's what as time would pass, and slowly adapt into their lifestyle soon enough. Besides, Honest had proved that he was capable of fighting in the bandit fort.

***Six days later***

As he drank outside on the porch of the Strutting Stagg, Varian thought on the events of the past week. Soon after the two new members, the dwarf Anlem and the glave-wielding Honest, had joined, Varian made it perfectly clear to the others that they were free to do as they wished. If they wanted to stay with them, that would have been fine, and if they decided to leave, that too was their choice. Over the course of the next six days, Xeye, Evelynn and Bofvar decided to part ways. Varian didn't ask any reasons for their departure, nor did he harbor any ill will towards them. The mercenary lifestyle was an unforseeable one, likely to change at any moment. In the past, he and Cass had to part with other partners, either by their voluntary departure, or more usually, their death. It was a reason he had never decided to get close to any of the people that he worked with. In their line of work, many mercenaries knew as they fell asleep that their next day could very well be their last. There wasn't room for attachments to people. Cass was Varian's exception, but those were very rare nonetheless.

But the situation that they were placed in took an unexpected turn a few days ago, when a local man of Eveamoor began sharing a story he had heard about a group of mercenaries who had apparently taken on an army of well-trained soldiers. Varian assumed it first to be another example of typical Eveamoorian gossip, but as the man delved deeper into his story, the Highman suddenly began getting distinct similarities between their own previous mission, and the supposed fairy tale. It was their last job. Unknown to the mercenaries from their resting point in the Strutting Stagg, the story of their successful rescue of the daughter of Albert Castell had spread like wildfire. It happened first in Curilan, then traveled south to Dalenham, and beyond. Reports flowed further, going into neighboring nations, until their fame had reached the corners of the continent. The Dragons of Dalenham, someone saw fit to one day call them, and the name seemed to catch on. Varian and the others had little say in it, as the people of the world would see and say only what they wanted to. It wasn't long before some people had even started to come to them for jobs. Even as they rested in the tavern, some locals had asked for their assistance in a few matters. Most of them were petty, but it was still strange to Varian how their luck had suddenly turned, how they as mercenaries were not sought to be hired instead of the opposite. Of course, he would have to decline most of their job requests merely because the others were still resting. Most of the group had recuperated, and Alys too, although unconscious, had begun to show signs of improvement. In fact, as the free lodging and food was soon to expire, Varian would soon be tempted to accept one of their offers.

It was quite a position to be in, and whether he had to have time to adjust, or simply because he couldn't sleep, Varian leaned over the side of the handle of the tavern outside, drinking his ale in silence and darkness, wondering what to make of all that had happened to them.

"So 'Dragons of Dalenham' eh? I could think of a better name if I was sober for more than a couple of minutes," a voice said coming from behind Varian. "I am surprised you haven't done anything about it. You tend to care for appearances."

Varian casually turned his head to see Cass approaching his position from the side. He brought his drink to his mouth and took a sip, before turning back to observe the night sky of Eveamoor. In the great distance to the northern moutains, he could see dark clouds forming, perhaps a prelude to a storm. He wondered briefly if the storm would reach their area below. "There's not much I can do if everyone is saying it. But Gods, if it had to be dragons, why did we have to be from Dalanham? I don't want to represent the sh*t-filth of the world."

Cass shrugged at the idea. Unlike Varian, Cass didn't mind the simpler things in life. Dalenham represented simple more than any other city in the world (emphasis being on city) but she could see his point. Varian usually had one. "I am more stuck on the whole 'dragons' bit. I mean why did we have to be named after a fairy tale? That is what I don't get." Cass took a big gulp of her ale and throw the cup behind her, before taking a seat on the steps leading up the front porch of the tavern.

Varian joined her on the porch, sitting down beside her as he finished what was left of his own drink. "Heh," He began, looking at the sky again, particularly towards the mountains, where the faint sound of thunder could be heard. "You know, in the religion of my homeland, it is said that dragons did once exist. They exist in another realm, Ormurheim, and that passage could be done through the Enebrus, lightning bridge. They say a lightning storm signifies an opening of another realm into Aerion. Yet we of the north, much unlike other people, viewed them not as mythic beings, but as our mortal enemies. The old enemies, and when the times comes for Ragnarok, the final enemies." He looked down at his mug, seeing the thing was empty, and so placed it to the side of where he sat. "If I were a more religious Highman, perhaps I would have taken the name as an insult. But, I'm not."

"Where I come from dragons only exist in the myths and stories that you tell children at bed time. They are ancient powerful creatures that little boys dream of and over eager knights kill to prove themselves to their beautiful princesses. I'm sure you heard a tale or two. They are too many to tell. But then, one day, they all disappeared. Poof! In a puff of smoke. They say that the last dragon died sometime in the Heroic Age, but nobody knows for sure really. After all, there isn't any proof they were around in the first place. No bones. No caves full of treasure. Not a single thing exists. Makes me wonder why you Highmen put so much value into your stories, when the rest of the world begs to differ," Cass scoffed at Varian. The Ethorians loved their myths and stories, as did everyone else. The nobles especially as they could actually read all of them, wheras as many had to rely on spoken tales told by their elders. The most popular were the ones of heroes slaying dragons and entrenching their names in legends. But that's what the dragons were: nothing but stories. Tall tales. Folk legends. Myth. No living creature in this world or the next has ever seen a dragon. Yet, or so it seems, that the Highmen contiuned to believe. It truly dumbfounded Cass. How could Varian's people still believe it?

Varian looked at his discarded mug. He picked it up from beside him, and stood up. "Perhaps faith, perhaps foolishness. Only the Gods know." He was about to head back inside to fetch himself more ale, when there was a sudden rustling in the nearby trees. Varian looked closely, the damp night air doing little to help him gaze at the rustling. However, a moment later, a figure seemed to walk through the bushes. This seemed a bit strange to Varian, who noticed quite a bit of open paths leading to the inn. There was no necessity for the person to walk through bushes. It almost seemed as though he wanted to, for whatever reason. If the Highman had to guess, it was for the purpose of secrecy. It was a hooded person, masking their appearance with a dark brown cloak. Upon close observation, Varian could see the dirt and tears in parts of the cloak. The material also seemed to be a bit different, not unlike cloth he typically saw. He caught a glimpse of the man's face and hands, the skin darker than his own. Whoever, he was, he did a fairly good job of hiding it. But Varian had one suspicion, judging by the foreign nature of his appearance. The man could have been from Rastra.

This made this scene all the more strange to the Highman, as the Rastrans are seldom ever seen outside of their sandy dunes. Yet, as if sensing Varian's abnormal take on the situation, the man walked right over to the pair of mercenaries, stopping not two meters away from them, and merely looked at them from under his hood. Varian stood in place, oddly looking at the man as he expected to say something to him, but seconds passed, and he did nothing but stare. It was perplexing, Varian wondering if the man was perhaps mentally unstable. Eventually, Varian decided to break the silence. "Good evening." He said in his thick, Highman accent. In a surprisingly quick response, the man in the hood responded with a simply, "No."

"Hmm?" Was all that Varian responded with, now in the back of his mind wondering if this was going to get out of hand. He kept in mind that his hand axes were still in their place inside the tavern, by his bed.

"No, I do not believe it is a good evening. The land is drenched and muddy. An ill smell fills my nostrils. And from what I see, a storm is on approach." After he had spoken his mind, the man fell silent once more, and continued to gaze at Cass and Varian. Varian, on the other hand, cocked an eyebrow and took a step back. "Right, well. I'll be off then." He finally said, and proceeded into the inn. But the mysterious man once again spoke to Varian before he left the area.

"I am wondering if you truly are dragons." He said candidly. Varian paused again, staring at the man. He continued. "Notoriety spreads like a potent disease, but I wonder if there is truly any claim to it. A dragon is said to have been a beast of unimaginable power, one without rival. I wonder if you are that capable."

"Why don't you pick up a weapon and find out." Varian replied bluntly, his eyes glaring into the man's.

"Oh, I intend to find out, for I come to you with work." He replied back just as quickly. Varian rolled his eyes. "Look, no offense to you, but we have no intention of working for your garbage. Besides, our group is currently resting..." Varian trailed off, as the man hand suddenly turned around and began to head off the same way he had appeared from, back into the bushes, before disappearing into them. He exchanged a look of bewilderment with Cass. The entire meeting had been strange. But just when he thought it was done, the man suddenly re-emerged from behind the bushes, this time, a chest with him in tow. The chest looked relatively heavy, but the man seemed to carry it with very little trouble. It became more apparent how heavy it really was as he approached the pair of mercenaries, and dropped the chest with a surprisingly heavy and loud thud onto the ground. He then opened the chest. In an instant, Varian's jaw dropped.

Inside the chest, all manner of jewels, gold, and gems lay spread out, almost overflowing from the container. It was an assortment of valuables the likes of which Varian had never seen. The diversity of the ornaments were by themselves astounding, but the brilliance of the light that shone from them made them that much more impressive. In a single chest of overflowing precious items, relics, and gems, there was enough light emitting from it to light up the area, almost making night into day.

"Perhaps now you would listen to a man and his garbage?" The man said, his tone, his very look unflinching nor showing any sign of affection by the jewels themselves. Varian looked down at his mug, then at Cass. He was tempted to smack himself in the face to see if he was dreaming. He shook his head wildly, but the sight of the amazing chest of treasures still remained in his vision. So, perhaps momentarily because he simply didn't have the words to speak, he nodded for the man to continue.

"Very good. My name is Agarra," He began. Varian noted the strange name he possessed, only further proving his theory of possible Rastran descent. "I represent an interested party. Their interest lies with something that you possess." He turned his gaze from Varian to Cass. "A small jewel," He said, pointing to Cass. "Something you would have recovered from your last venture. Bright red in color, appearing as a shard."

"Your face is about to be bright red after I beat the **** out of you and leave you bloody! What do you want with my gem anyway? Add to it some collection of yours?" Cass spat. She didn't like the man. He was shifty. Difficult to trust. Mysterious. "Varian, you can't be taking this guy seriously. Last time we took a job for some a shifty guy we walked into a fort blind as a bat." Cass drew her sword, "How about I chop him down now and simply take his gold here and now?"

Varian put a hand up, motioning for her to quiet for a moment. He wanted to hear him out.

"The gem is...special. It has unique properties, and there are more than one copy. In fact, there are multiple shards across the globe. If you should accept this contract, we shall be in a long-term partnership, where the rewards would be beyond anything you can imagine. This chest is but a taste of what you will receive. The treasures of a thousand cities would be yours."

"And what exactly is it that you want us to do?" Varian asked, now crossing his arms. He tried to act as relaxed as he could, even if his heart beat at such a rapid rate. He hoped the man wouldn't notice. He could have potentially just landed the client of a lifetime.

"I would like you to recover these shards. My associates and I shall be feeding you information on their whereabouts, and you will collect them for us."

Varian uncrossed his arms, walked down the path towards the steps. He peered inside the chest of treasures, picking up a single gold coin, perhaps just to see if the stuff was real, as it was. He dropped it back inside, eyeing the man known as Agarra just as he eyed him back. "When something is too good to be true, it usually is. It can't be a simple pick-up job."

"Oh, but it is not. I will not lie to you. Recovering each shard will be challenging. There will be obstacles, whether each shard will have created them, or some other predicament will arise that will provide an encumbrance. However...there is also a more...perceptible obstacle." He walked from behind the treasure chest, closing the handling, and instantly the brilliant light had disappeared into the night sky. "Nearly a month ago, a group similar in size to your own traveled to the isle of Ekilore. Their quest became to collect these shards. Your quest is to attempt to collect them before they do, and if necessary, stop them. By any means necessary. In fact, should you run into them at any point, and I can guarantee you shall very soon, I recommend that you kill them."

It was a lot to take in at a single moment. Give the grand scale that this job would require, it would have been foolish for Varian to try and accept it right on the spot. "This is a pretty hefty thing to accept on a whim. I'll have to discuss this with my team."

"I find there is nothing to discuss," Agarra responded impatiently. "My associates and I are impatient. You will decide now, and relay your answer to your team after. So I ask you, dragon of Dalenham, make your choice. Will you take this job, or will you not?"

"Gods damn it," Varian cursed under his breath. He began pacing back and forth, trying to decide what to answer to one of the biggest, if not the biggest question of his life. As a single mercenary, he would have had a lot less trouble answering the question. He only had to answer for himself, and thus he could live with it either way he answers. With this, he speaks for a group of people, some of which may not be on board. The pay-off would be enormous, life-altering for them all. But would the cost be too great for even them? Every mercenary strives for gold, and they had just hit the jackpot with this job. On the other had, every mercenary also strives for self-preservation, the extension of their own life by any means necessary. In this way, perhaps this job would be their death. He looked at Cass, a fighter he had depended on for so long, someone who fought with him through the best and worst of their sellsword days. "Do you have my back, no matter what?" He asked, looking for her input in a conflicting position.

"I wouldn't be much of a mercenary if I said 'No' would I?" Cass began, scratching her head. The promise of riches entinced her more than anything. In fact, she felt it was a rather easy decision but she could understand Varian's concern. He was not the risk taker she was, being far more wary of things. She lived for thrills really. "More importantly, what kind of friend would I be if I let you go out there alone?" She said finally. In the end, Varian was her friend and if he was in, she was in.

Varian gave the man a deep sigh, finally coming to a conclusion. They would never get an opportunity like this again, and if they were to succeed, whatever they would have wanted from the mercenary life would become theirs. Fame. Fortune. Glory and Honor too, if that was their cup of tea, though the Highman doubted the others fought for such things. Even if it was simply the pleasure of the job, what finer one could they find than one with such a prize? "Alright, Agarra. We're in."

One would think the man would have been pleased to hear the news, but all he gave as a sign was a simple nod of the head. "Very well. Then from here, head south to Palaven. I will have a ship prepared to take you to Ashera from Yamcha, and then you shall make your way to Garrius, to meet with the Voice of Palaven, their head of state and holy leader. He is said to have information regarding the location of a shard."

Varian nodded in understanding. He had never been to Palaven, but had heard all sorts of rumors above the degree of their devotion to the supposed One, their one True God. This just got even more interesting. At this moment, a thought came into his head. "How will we be contacting you?" Agarra picked up the chest he brought, and began to drag it away through the bush he came out of. "Do not worry. I will contact you." He said, and disappeared back into the dark of the night without another word.

"Well, that ain't suspcious at all," Cass said.

Varian nodded in agreement. It wasn't an oddity to have a secretive employer, but this might have been a tad too much. Still, a contract was accepted, so they had work to do. Heading back inside the Strutting Stagg, Varian looked around to see most of the other mercenaries drinking or loafing around. It wasn't late enough in which they were all asleep, which was good. "Lads and lasses, we've got a new job, and boy is it a big one." He declared. As Varian concluded his explanation of their new, potentially long-term job, Cass posed a question.

"Alright, well which one of you f*ckers are joining us?"
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Last edited by SV; May 21st, 2013 at 12:31 AM.
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  #107    
Old May 21st, 2013, 02:59 AM
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Victoria Taimor – Rowanion, Golden Islands


The glowing orb of the sun sat high in the expansive blue sky beating back any clouds that tried to form in the clear sky. The sound of waves could be heard crashing against the not so far away cliffs while the taste of salt hung in the air. It was a beautiful day in the Golden Islands, one the citizens hadn’t had in a long time. The Seaquails sprinted for shelter amidst the brush as an arrow ploughed into the ground only centimetres from their feathery bodies, squawking madly.

“Hah! You missed!” Victoria taunted the muscled boy beside her.

“Closer than you could have ever made,” he retorted, making his way through the brush to retrieve the arrow now sprouting from the ground.

“Sure,” from his previous position she notched her Bow, drawing the string back before letting it fly.

“Watch it!” He cried as the arrow imbedded itself into the thin, sinewy tree by his head.

As she joined him in retrieving her arrow from the tree, he grabbed her, pulling her in tight to his muscled body. She could do nothing but look into those hazel eyes of hers that stared back at her, almost as if they were staring into her. She could not doubt it, there was definitely something flying between them but there was no way it could ever work out. She was the second child of a Major House, while she wouldn’t become the successor to her parents, she would be wed off to one of the other Major Houses in order to form a closer alliance and an even closer chance at the Throne of Ethora. Tyler was the first son of the town blacksmith, he wasn’t quite royalty, he was nowhere near her status as an individual and so they never could be an item. But she could not shake the feelings she had for him.

“Hands off, I’m royalty,” she spoke, nose high in the air.

“Ha, you’re not royalty, far from it.” He pulled her in closer.

“We’ll see about—”, Victoria didn’t have time to finish before one of her parent’s heralds interrupted their time together.

“Oh, uh, sorry I didn’t mean to interrupt,” the herald stuttered, taken aback by how close the two of them were, “your presence is needed in the royal chambers immediately.”

Victoria could tell from the urgency of the page’s voice that it was important. “Tyler, I’ll be back,” was all she said once she managed to extract herself from the boy’s weakened grip.

The page was less knowledgeable of the terrain than Victoria, and as such, she left her far behind as she tore her way through the sometime thorny underbrush. All manner of thoughts began racing through her mind, faster than she raced through the underbrush, but no manner of thought could have prepared her for what was to come. Storming through the doors of Rowanion Keep, she bolted up the stairs, and down the halls, disturbing a number of the maids in their day to day rituals of maintaining the keep. Down one hall and up the other, she burst into the large room that was reserved for her family affairs, only to find Elizabeth and Alexander swamped by officials.

“Eliza, Alex, what happened?” She gasped through large intakes of breath.

“Vic, how nice of you to join us,” Elizabeth’s soft voice commented, yet something sounded off about it.

“Eliza, what’s wrong?” Victoria pushed forward, making her way across the room and past the surrounding officials to find both Elizabeth and Alexander sitting on chairs, Alexander as pale as the White Jellyfish that washed up on their shores while Elizabeth hid beneath he large sleeves. “No, no, no, no, no no!” She continued to yell, tears now flowing more freely from her eyes.

A small piece of parchment fell from her sister’s grasp, addressed to the three siblings. The parchment was charged at the edges, the letters faded with wear and from salt water exposure, yet she could make out the barely legible Ethoran script that belonged to their Swords Master. Her hands shook as she picked the letter up off the cold stone floor, her heart racing within her chest.

Quote:
Dearest Elizabeth, Victoria and Alexander Taimor,

Whilst sailing back from Ashera, our ships were attacked by the Mages of Raelus. I hope this letter finds you, but I regret to inform you that your parents did not make it past the first barrage, and that my ship is soon to fall.

For Kin and Country,

Swords Master Daemon Kerrigan

The letter fell from her trembling hands as she sunk to her knees. One of the officials tried to console her but she dropped her shoulder, letting their hand slide off. As tears flowed from her eyes, she cursed the Burning King and his madness; she cursed each and every one of the mages that burnt her parents’ ships to the bottom of the floor. She cursed the gods that hung over their heads for forsaking her parents to die a watery grave. Getting to her feet, she sprinted out of the hall, the heavily robed officials barely managing to catch up with her as she fled the scene, tearing through the castle and out the gates. She raced through the town, tears flying behind her as she ran full pelt away from the damaged parchment with its damned words.

Standing on the southernmost beach of Rowanion’s island, she screamed, yelled and cursed at the murderous outline of Roleston. She spat profanities, swore curses and yelled, fully enraged at the Burning King whose orders took her parents from her. “Dabel shall twist your soul in Infernum until the end of time! Lilyth’s demonspawn shall feast on your bone marrow while you wail in pain.”

Tyler’s grip once again encompassed her entire body as she let herself slip into his grasp. Burying her face into his chest she cried in pain at the loss of her parents, she cried at how helpless and distracted she had been when they had ultimately met their fate. “By the Gods, I vow that my arrow shall strike down the Burning King, my face will be the last he sees before the demonspawn of Infernum drag him to its depths.”

“Shh, don’t say such things, Victoria,” Tyler consoled her, stroking her hair.

“Tyler, I will one day make my way to Rolsten, when that day comes I shall have an arrow in my quiver, one with the Burning Kings’ damned name on it. I will pierce him through the throat and watch his life drain from his eyes. Only when I do that, will I allow myself to live.”

“Victoria, do not do this,” Tyler’s voice was chocked up, by Victoria had sworn to the Gods. Pushing Tyler away, she made her way back to the castle, dragging her feet through the town as the townspeople, her townspeople watched with sadness in their eyes. In the distance, she could hear the bells tolling, announcing to the city and nearby isles the deaths of her parents.

Several Months Later…


“Victoria, I would like you to meet…”

“I know who he is,” she spoke, cutting Elizabeth off, “and I’ve already told you, I will not go through with it.”

“Could you excuse us for a moment, kind sers?” Elizabeth addressed the Knight and his accompaniment. They had travelled far, from one of the northern houses of Ethora, a partnership Elizabeth had spent the last couple of months setting up to further consolidate her rule over the Golden Islands.

“I told you Eliza, I’m not marrying some North Ethoran swine! He probably has disease riding in his pants!” Victoria spat.

“This marriage, Victoria, is the one way we can show the other Major Houses that House Taimor is still within its ranks! It is necessary that you two marry to consolidate this alliance!” Elizabeth pressed on, urging her sister to consider the proposal. The man was from a wealthy Major House and quite dashing looking as well.

“If it’s so important, then why don’t you marry him?”

“I have my own marriage prepared. We can even get married at the same time in the eyes of the Gods. It will be a wedding befitting our Major House status.”

“I said no, Eliza, and I stand by it. There is no way in Infernum you will make me marry him!”

“Hold your tongue, I am the leader of this House, and my word goes. You will marry the kind Ser and you will be a good wife to him.”

“Our parent’s didn't die and make you Queen, so I refuse to go through with this ridiculous proposal!”

“Our parent’s died and I was put in charge. So yes, my word is law, and I AM Queen around here, just because you’re my sister, doesn’t mean you can go running off with the blacksmith’s boy! Oh don’t look so betrayed, everyone knows of your little fling with him, it’s the talk of the town and besmirches our parents’ good name!” Elizabeth was beyond furious now.

Calling her officers to let the kind Sers back into the room, both ladies resumed their facades as the men knelt in front of them. “Lady Victoria of the House Taimor, will gladly accept your offer of betrothal, she will depart with your contingent in the morning,” Elizabeth spoke, much to Victoria's disgust, “We thank you for your patience and kind offer you have endowed us with.” Smiling, the Sers thanked both the ladies before returning to the guest chambers she had provided with them.

“I’ll be in my room, packing,” Victoria announced, leaving the room and ascending towards her chambers. Once inside, she tore off the Ethoran silk dress Elizabeth had made her wear and tossed it to the floor like discarded rags. From her drawers she drew her hunting leathers, strapping herself into the tight fabric before slinging bow and quiver over her back. In a rucksack, she piled as many clothes as it could handle for the journey ahead. Victoria separated her coins into pouches, stashing them in her boots, quiver, rucksack, almost anywhere that would hold and conceal them.

“What do you think you are doing?” Elizabeth’s voice rang through her room, shattering Victoria's concentration.

“I’m sick of this, I refuse to listen to you anymore. You sold my soul to this Ethoran swine and I refuse to go through with the marriage. You have no control over me, none at all! I never want to be your sister again, I never want to see your face ever again!”

”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.”

“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.

A cool breeze washed over Victoria as the sun hit her hunting leathers strapped to her body. Now 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. The marriage had been the final straw, she was cutting her ties with the family, for both sides, she would cease to exist on a familial plane.

“Goodbye, sister…”

Victoria “Alys” Taimor – Currilan, Eveamoor


Sickly smelling potions mixed in with the thick, moist air of Currilan as Alys stirred in her sleep. From darkness she could hear voices beyond, but not close enough for her to identify what they were saying or who they belonged to. Images flashed before her eyes as her mind reeled from all the new information now pouring into her brain. Last she remembered, she had been backed up against a stone wall, bow in hand and vision blurred so badly it was just a mess of colours. Her arms had drawn back the bow, letting it fly before relaxing once again. Blurred images flashed past again, a hulking figure falling to his knees before Alys’ vision shifted and her body lurched. She felt the pain as something, someone carried her out of the dark caves and into the blinding light of day. That light continued to beat down on her as seven or either shadows waved about, above her blurred vision. She felt needles jap her skin, pulling the flesh together and people yelling, ordering each other about as the poured over her. She lay there feeling helpless, wishing that her one friend, Castiel, could be beside her.

From her window, and all too familiar squawk rang in her ears, and in the pale moonlight, the silhouette of a large falcon draped across her bed. With a flutter of wings, she felt Castiel’s sharp beak brush against her cheek. He nudged her gently, as if to cast his concern for her health, but she smiled weakly at him, hoping he would understand that she was fine. He had watched over her sleeping body like a guardian angel, never leaving for longer than it took for him to find a field mouse to munch down on.

“Castiel, my friend” she croaked, “I missed you.” She struggled to raise a hand, putting all her effort into patting the feather friend’s soft plumage. He squawked again before nestling by her shoulder.

One of the healers came into the room to see what the commotion was, relaying to the other healers on staff that Alys was awake and, more importantly, alive. She drunk deeply from the stagnant tasting water they gave her, her throat drier than the deserts of Rastra. While the water was foul, she assumed that no doubt it contained several medicinal herbs that would aid in her recovery. Once finished, they helped to prop her up in her weakened state.

“How, how long have I been asleep for?” Alys asked wearily.

“A week, miss,” one of the healers slipped.

“A week? Where are the others, are they still here?” She pushed, she felt bad for getting seriously injured in battle, but she hoped they hadn’t just left her to die in Currilan.

“Relax, miss, they are in the tavern-proper, discussing amongst themselves. Once we have you ready, we will take you to them.”

Finally relieved, Alys relaxed back into the warm bed she had been lying in. From how it sounded, it seemed like she was the only one to get badly injured, which she cursed herself for even getting into such a situation in the first place. She was an Archer after all; Archers had no place being in close-combat like she had run head on into. While she let the healers check up on her, she turned her head to watch Castiel now resting on the window sill. They had been to Infernum and back before, but this time she had come closer to the Death Lands more than ever. Remembering the vow she took those many years ago only solidified in her mind that she was almost ready to depart from this group of mercenaries to take on the one man she had vowed to kill.

With Castiel by her side, Alys felt near unstoppable.
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  #108    
Old May 27th, 2013, 01:58 PM
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The Dragons of Dalenham - The Strutting Stagg, Curilan, Eveamoor



"Obviously, we aren't forcing anyone to do the job," Varian stated, adding on to Cass's previous statement. "We are mercenaries by trade, free to pursue whatever jobs we wish. Cass and I are taking this job. The rest of you are free to accompany us if you so choose. But mark me," He stared at each of the mercenaries gathered around in the small inn, "This one looks like it'll be for the long haul and it won't be lacking in danger. There will probably be a few nasty surprises along the way."

Ava sat off to the side, sharpening her swords on the whetstone she had bought back in Dalenham. "What about Alys? We're not going to leave her here, are we?" While she was eager to carry on, she was concerned about the incapacitated teammate of hers lying in one of the bedrooms.

"If Alys is fit to go, and wants to go, then I have no qualms in taking her along. She proved herself well enough in our last job." Varian responded, taking a seat in his chair, and motioning for the barmaid to bring him a drink. She gave the Highman a glare, mostly because it appeared to other patrons that they had been drinking for free for almost a week, which was detrimental for business. She had grown tired of explaining that they had been paid for up until the end of the week, which was tomorrow.

"Whose talking about me?" Alys shuffled out from the hallway, kept upright by one of the healers who lead her over to a seat for her to sit down. She was notably thinner than she had been before, and a lot more paler looking as if she was ghost, although sever wounds would do that to you. Clutching a mug of thick, murky healing potion, her hands shook as if the mug weighed twice as much and it looked like it took all her effort just to drink from it. "Have we got a new mission?"

"Oi!" Varian yelled out loud, lifting his fresh mug and toasting to Alys. He wanted to mention how she had given them quite a scare for the injuries that she had received and the long duration she had been in a coma. He wanted to say that it was good seeing her up and about, but in the end, he decided against it. He figured that as their leader, he had to maintain a certain personal distance between himself and the others. Their line of work allowed for little in the area of friendships, and Varian wasn't eager to make friends only to have to end up dealing with the pain of burying them later. Alys had survived the last job, but there was no telling that any of them would survive the next. "Yes, we just received it. Long-term employment. Big payment, put mildly. Certainty of danger. We'll fill you in on the details later, but those that are joining up with us are heading to Palaven tomorrow. If you're fit to go. If you want to go, you're free to tag along."

Alys' heart skipped a beat and what little colour had returned to her face rapidly left at the mere mention of 'Palaven'. Her mind cast back to her history in Rowanion as her hands gripped the the mug harder. "We're...we're going to Rolsten?" she stuttered in confirmation. She wasn't in a state now to even lift a bow, much less draw it to strike, but the vow still played over in her mind. A free trip to Rolsten was all she needed; she would just have to gain all her strength on the way there before confronting the damned island that had taken her parents. "I'll go," she stated determinately, "I'll ride a horse until Yamcha, if I can't strike a target by then, I'll stay behind."

"If Alys is going, then I am too." Ava piped up, casting a weary glance over at the feeble Alys, the girl, even in her weakened state, was ready to charge into battle again. Even before the bandit fort, the two of them had happily fought side by side, looking out for one another and creating a bond between them. She wouldn't let Alys fight without her; someone needed to take care of the close combat.

Anlem sat towards the back of the tavern. He didn't say anything while this commotion went on around him, but only wrote in his book in silence as he had been doing the passed few days. The exchange between Alys and Varian was not particularly important to him so he put half his attention on the conversation and the rest on his prose. He looked up from his work when they finally finished, half wondering how girl in a coma could go from weak to determined and half of a mind already made up. Their chatter had given him time to think and consider and he was more than ready to state his answer.

"If that's two then I'll be three," he answered without hesitation.

"I'm sorry, who are you?" Alys asked meekly. The dwarf who had spoken had not been one of the few that had journeyed with them to the bandit keep in the first place, yet he seemed to be counting himself into their band of mercenaries, something Alys wasn't too happy about. Surely he must have heard of their tales already and was quick to jump on the bandwagon. Had their tales really made it that far and wide while she had been asleep for the entire six days?

"Mm?" Anlem turned his head to the injured girl which he learned through the conversation was named Alys. "Anlem Taegor," he answered politely, "a pleasure to meet you. I came here six days ago."

If Honest had heard correctly, the injured woman was an archer which could be a very useful person to have in a group. In a battle he was particularly wary of archers since they had a much greater range than he did, and it was nigh impossible to dodge or block an arrow from afar unless you spent more time looking at the sky than at your surroundings. And then you'd die anyway. He would much rather have an archer on his side than against him, although she probably wasn't quite as effective in close combat--leading to her earlier condition. The dwarf, on the other hand, was a writer-who-could-use-a-hammer. Having never seen him fight before, Honest wasn't too sure how well he would cope in a fight.

In any case, his answer was quite obvious. Even if he hadn't pledged himself to Cass he would probably have still agreed to go. Aligning himself to this group, with their increased notoriety, was bound to increase the amount of work they could do. And while work sometimes lead to death, every mercenary knew that a lack of work meant starvation.

"I go where Cass goes," he said easily.

"We didn't ask you," Cass said, giving Honest a sly smile. She was going to force him to come regardless if he wanted to or not. That is what servants do anyway. They follow their master without question.

"Good," Varian said with a nod. He turned to look back at the counter. "Now that we have that settled..." He whistled for one of the barmaids to approach. She walked over to the Highman with a smile, opposite to the other one who served them. Varian casually leaned back in his chair. "Have you got any Ormur Firewater?" He asked her, not looking over towards her when he spoke.

"Ah, I think we imported a few cases not a fortnight ago, so you may be in luck." She replied.

"Give me six mugs," He ordered, before looking over the others. He wouldn't have expected any of them to have heard of it unless they would have visited the country at some point. It was very popular among the Highmen nation, but also in some nothern parts of Ethora and Eveamoor. In Vanaheim, there were three main celebratory drinks customarily performed in toasts: Haegard Whiskey was for the dead. Vanaeras Wine was for celebrations. Ormur Firewater was for luck. "Here, if you have the stomach for it," Varian declared, as the barmaid brought six mugs of the potent Highman liquor, appearing like crystal clear water. "I'd expect the real dragons amongst us to still be standing after this." He uttered, raising his mug in the air to be met by the remaining five mercenaries.

Honest regarded the mug quizzically. He hadn't had a lot of alcohol in the last week, and he'd definitely never had anything so clear. From Varian's words the drink was very strong, but it couldn't be that bad if it looked like they'd just fetched it from a well. He clinked his mug against Varian's, a tradition he'd never actually partaken in before, and then took a large sip. The burn that followed the liquor down surprised him and he was immediately more relaxed.

After his toast, Anlem also took a look at his mug. He'd never had a taste of anything from Vanaheim and certainly nothing with a color like this--clear, yes, but nothing so pristine. He took a heavy gulp and immediately regretted it afterwards, coughing from the drink's heavy burn. In hindsight, he realized that anything with the name "Firewater" wasn't going to be friendly to the throat and that he probably shouldn't have done that. He wondered for a moment if the burn was worth it, but as the drink's affect washed over him he concluded that it was.

Alys gingerly reached for the mug, hand shaking badly enough for the drink to spill all over the floor before it even reached her mouth. Out of nowhere, one of the healers swiped the drink from in front of Alys and took it up to the bar, exchanging it for another mug of the stagnant "medicine" water she was currently drinking. Obviously she was not allowed to drink alcohol, so sourly accepted the new mug of "medicine" water, raising it to Varian's mug before taking a large gulp of the thick liquid.

"What's this about dragons?" She asked quizically after the warm liquid slid down her throat.

"Something the locals gave us," Varian replied, taking a large, satisfying gulp of the burning liquid. The aftertaste alone stung in his mouth. The drink itself burned as if someone lit a match in his mouth. It indeed was Highmen liquor, and Varian missed it sorely, burning sensation and all. He slammed the mug satisfyingly onto the table and let out a deep sigh as he continued to speak to Alys "We've gotten quite renown from the last job, as you can imagine, our client being Albert Castell. The locals started calling us the Dragons of Dalenham, and the name somehow managed to stick."

"The what?!?!" Alys blurted out, almost losing her mouthful of medicine, "the Dragons of Dalenham? I mean come on, a fairy tale from a cesspool? You've got to be joking Varian, at least they could have called us something cool like 'Mercs of Aerion' or 'The Syndicate'." She shook her head dissatisfactionally, taking another large gulp. Firstly they had picked up these two nobodies while she was asleep, and now they had given themselves a name? It was ludicrous as if the whole world had suddenly turned upside down while she was knocked out.

"We're not the only mercenaries in Aerion," Honest pointed out bemusedly as he took a sip from his cup. "That could get confusing." A part of him quailed at the thought of confronting someone--however minutely--who obviously had seniority in the group, but that part was definitely getting quieter the more he drank.

"I didn't make the bloody name!" Varian boomed, picking up the potent liquor and taking another swig of it, letting the burning sensation pass through his insides. He suddenly felt a warming sensation pass over his entire body. He was feeling the effects of the combination of the Firewater and his previous drinks. "As I said to Cass before, the people will make their trivial names, and at this point, there's nothing we can do to dissuade them otherwise. Like it or not, that's what Aerion now calls us. I say, if it gives us clients, f*ck the details."

"I don't quite mind the name," Anlem commented. "True, they could have picked something better than Dalenham, but I think it has a bit of a charm to it."

Varian shrugged, taking another gulp of the burning liquor, the aftertaste potently remaining in his mouth. "Whatever works for you," He commented, then placed his mug down, and figured now was a better chance to find out more about the newcomers. "I don't suppose anyone of you are from Palaven, are you? You don't seem like the type. Where do you hail from?" He asked, though he supposed Anlem was most likely from the mountains of Mindirion, and Honest from Eveamoor. That's what he seemed to think fit the bill.

"I actually come from a little farm to the south," Honest explained happily with another sip of his drink. For all he knew, that was true. He thought he remembered days of toil underneath a burning sun; the smell of cracked dirt and water too precious for him to drink. But he also remembered oceans and the sting of salt water on his wounds, and the suffocating cold-dark-damp of mines, and the clashing of swords in battle, and about three hundred different versions of his family.

"I come from Falke," Anlem answered after Honest. "Though by the way I left, I don't think my family would accept me saying that."

"What, did you murder someone or something?" Varian asked bluntly. "I have no qualms with a murderer. Murder is just killing without the knowledge of payment."

"Oh, no. It was much more tame than that--a bit boring actually." Anlem took another drink of the Firewater which seemed to burn more fiercely than the last time. "I cared more about writing than fighting--a big thing in my family--and it didn't exactly go so well. They took it a bit like Cass did at the beginning, but then they started to look at me a little contemptuously so I left." He shrugged as he finished, not seeming all too affected by his family's decision.

Varian shrugged, also taking a sip of the burning liquid. He felt the heat emit from his mouth as he exhaled. "I suppose what's in the past should stay buried there. What exactly do you write about?"

"Anything I see. I haven't found anything to focus on. Well, until I ran into you all, that is." Anlem answered. "I figured I'd write about our adventures now. We might as well give this living legend a story, right?"

"Heh..." Varian snorted, looking down at his mug, which was now almost done. He felt the warmth of the liquid flow through his body, but most notably at his throat and mouth. He shook his head at Anlem's living legend comment. Is that really where this was headed, or were they thinking too much of themselves now?

"Might as well..."
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  #109    
Old May 27th, 2013, 06:17 PM
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Retro Bug
the apex predator
 
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Tamor Bellfiend, Percival Grey, Roland Grey, and Dulinhel Elenren
Ship of Captain Richard Crewe
The days and nights flashed by Tamor, she had awakened in a slightly groggy state alone. Niolas had refused to come beneath the deck, not that she blamed him, as he liked his freedom. Recalling brief moments of consciousness from days past enabled her to fit some of the pieces to her puzzle together. Before the Necromancer's inevitable defeat surprisingly by her own hands Tamor had managed to maneuver her hands into a position where she could snatch the jewel they were after. Unconsciousness seized her but not until after she watched the light glimmer off the surface of the precious shard. One of the other knights must have pried it from her hands as the next time she awoken it was gone, but at least they had retrieved it. Shock was still settling in, their foe, a tough one at that, had fallen at her might. Power had pulsed through her during those last few actions, a power that she hadn't felt before. Almost as if she had tapped into a different side of the same divine source, though Tamor didn't let herself dwell on it too much. The party had come and gone in a flash, The Knights of Ekilore had been chanted more times than she had imagined was possible. Not to mention the individuals that had thanked her and spoke kinds words, words she hadn't heard in quite some time. Yoshuro even had her robes repaired by the best seamstress in Shinguo. Happiness settled in, even though it wouldn't last long Tamor still soaked it in while she could. It hadn't lasted long at all once Yoshuro announced their next destination to his friend, his friend The Burning King. Enjoyment came in sparse moments after that, Raelus was a haunting memory that kept coming back to her like a nightmare. Anything enjoyable about Raelus had died with Eislynn her divine arts mentor. The Bellfiends were a prominent elven family in Raelus due to their military involvement, her grandfather, Tamnor Bellfiend, was very high in the chain of command yet Tamor's caring had stopped her from learning what position he was. While her mother, Anyine Bellfiend the Censmage (second in command), had taken stake in the Mage's Guild that was responsible for fireballs that gave the King his title. More Bellfiends took hold in other places, but Tamor hadn't had a lesson in her family history, either side.

Curiosity brought her to the deck, where she spotted some yet not all of the knights. Percival and Roland were conversing amongst themselves, would it be frowned upon to go up to them? A brown shape dove down from the vast, blue sky and perched itself comfortably on her left shoulder. Approaching individuals was a hard task for Tamor as she never knew what to talk about, and she doubted they wanted her company. She stood there idly lost in thought of the perfect way to begin a conversation with two armored men she should trust with her life in the future.

As Percival turned around to retire for some time, he almost literally bumped into Tamor, the hero of Shinguo. "Oh, hello there! Feeling any better?"

A minor collision snatched her mind from its wandering state and brought her back to reality, Percival Grey stood before her. “M-me?” Tamor stammered and then preceded to look both left and right before she determined he indeed was speaking to her. “I’m-I’m healing at a steady rate now, are-are you okay?”

"We shall be fine," Roland interjected, looking up and down the woman before staring off to the sea. "You should look to your own wounds, if you still have any. I'm not sure how the Rolstenians deal with pain." He said, forming a grin on his face, clearly insulting the woman. The extent of Roland's racism was beyond that for the elves and dwarves, but also for other continents and nations. In fact, he viewed more favorably those from Ethora than anywhere else, but perhaps most particularly in Bludrock. "Ah, but then again, you did quite well against the summoner of the dead."

"Ignore him. Roland tends to be judgmental of others. He considers you a valuable ally nonetheless," Percival said, trying to make up for Roland's lack of manners.

As if the golden hawk could sense the maliciousness behind the insult he puffed out his feathers in an attempt to appear threatening, while Tamor lowered her eyes instead of making eye contact with the other brother. The insult ingrained itself into Tamor, its roots taking hold of her emotions for an instant before she overcame it. “Once we get hom- to Raelus I’m sure The Burning King would be overzealous to show you, Ser Knight.” Tamor replied, and then nodded to Percival. “As I consider you both, and I thank you all for without all our efforts I-I couldn’t have…” Her voice trailed off as the battle memories flashed through her mind.

"Oh, come now, none of that," Roland said, walking up to Tamor, and placing a hand upon her shoulder. "You are a Gods damned Knight of Ekilore. Have some pride for your position and yourself. You shan't survive if you do not develop some sort of amour-propre in your own abilities." He walked passed the woman, staring towards the back of the deck as a few sailors worked. The Captain shouted orders to them as he steered the ship. "Moreover," Roland began again, still gazing over the back of the ship as he addressed her. "I should like to know more about our next destination and its...respectful sovereign. Tell me, what can you tell me about Raelus, and the one who calls himself the Burning King?"

"The 'Burning King' is a pompous bastard who enjoys terrorizing his citizens, purely for the advancement of his nation. His nation being his own coffers of course." the elf woman, Dulinhel, spoke from where she sat unnoticed till now at the bow of the ship. Her whetstone scraped against the blade she held in her hand, the metal flashing as a new edge for the blade was honed. Sighing, she sheathed the blade underneath the cloak of hers, and stood joining the rest of the group. "As ambassadors from Ekilore, he shouldn't cross us. That doesn't mean he wont find some way to profit from our visit, however."

The sudden urge to defend her sovereignty was a feeling almost all Raelussians felt when their King was insulted in such terms especially from an outsider. "My King, my king is just. Our nation prospers, our people too. The citizens of Raelus are tough and with that requires a staunch King, his ways may be... unyielding or may intimidate but leading Raelus takes a Burning King." The meekness in her voice fell away, though Tamor did not met the elven woman's eyes for fear of her own identity falling away. Granted Tamor had only met the Burning King thrice, could she let his honor be questioned? His Majesty didn't take well to criticism that much was well known throughout the land. Auden was surely a better source of information, after all he served the King as a solider she recalled. "Efficiency, safety, and victory is what he has brought to our realm, each King has their own methods but lets not disregard the results."

Roland began to chuckle. "Spoken like a true drone embracing the doctrine of a madman. But I suppose you are free to believe what you wish. Although truth be told, from what you have described, his methods may be unconventional, but he is perhaps an effective ruler." Roland turned now to the elf Dulinhel. "And you? What of your story? I expect to be a bit more familiar with those I shall fight with, especially the ones who had not joined us in Ekilore."

The elf gave a slight smile at the knight. "My history is not particularly important, not to you at least. Most of it is long and boring, nothing you would be interested in. As for not being at Ekilore, the Elven Council and I have...not been on good terms as of late. I heard about your quest, and having nothing else to do at the moment, have decided to accompany you!" She started walking away from the group, down to the lower levels of the ship. As she strode away, she called over her shoulder, "If it helps, I could have killed you much earlier. Doesn't make much sense to tag along just to kill you later." And with that she was gone.

Percival frowned, "And here I was going to ask for a bit of a story."

"Elves do not have much to tell. They are too busy chanting prayers for the Gods' mercy deep in the woods, or something of the like." Roland said, ridiculing their new elven companion as she left the others.

"And you Ser Knights, what tales do you have for us?" Ethorian men they were, Tamor knew that much. "Or tales to spin in your case," Tamor turned toward the elder brother. The jest was lighthearted, but Tamor had no doubt Ser Roland Grey had plenty of tales to tell. In Raelus there was rarely news of Ethora besides the civil war they were on the brink of. Palaven, Ellessar, and Bredon were all that was told. An earlier memory came forth to Tamor's mind, hesitation gripped her as she didn't want to seem too prying. "Brothers, yet you wear... wore different sigils. Surely there must be a tale in that?"

"That is due to our differing allegiances," Percival began, not giving Roland the chance to speak at all. He already knew how Roland was going to respond, first with bias then with criticism. A story free of such, one of the truth was what Tamor deserved. "While it is true, we are brothers, you have no doubt seen that we do not see eye to eye on most issues. This is partially due to how we were raised, but moreso with a difference in personality. My personality and idealism was not welcome in the House of Grey or of House Reigncliff, of which House Grey is sworn to. I decided to leave and ally myself with House Welm because of that," Percival paused briefly. "Lord Robert Welm is a different leader than Lord Hector, lacking his ambition but he displays concern for his people. I much rather follow such a man like that, rather than a warmonger. Though being from Raelus, you may not have such an option, but I imagine you could sympathize at least."

"That is your problem, Percival," Roland interjected, crossing his arms as he glared at his younger brother. It was a conversation he would have rather had in private, but he couldn't contain his disappointment with his brother any longer. "You think and speak like a philosopher when you should act like a knight. I care not your personal feelings for Hector, or House Reigncliff. Why do you not understand that as a knight, your duty is bound to your House, and to the house of your master? Even if you do not agree with their politics, you must service your lord, with your life if need be! It is not about preference, it is about loyalty." He turned, glaring at Tamor for a moment, before returning his gaze to Percival again. "And even if it was, I see no problems with Lord Hector to begin with. He is a fine leader, and a man worthy to be called King of Ethora. In fact, I intend to make it so."

Percival sighed, holding his head, dragging his fingers across his face, before looking over to Roland. "Loyalty has blinded you more than I can hope. Truthfully, I suppose this is expected of you. You never once considered that Hector is not fit to be king have you? The man is nothing more than a glorified general, fighting Eliwood's wars and protecting his self-absorbed pride with axes and armor. The man is no king, brother. You would see that if you did something else with your time other than fight in tournaments and bend your knee."

Roland gritted his teeth angrily, but decided to conclude the argument, figuring later they would have a chance to continue it should they choose to, and he was certain they would. "Bah...enough of that. I am more interested in your... companion, Auden. You two seem to be on quite friendly terms. Did you know of him before the arrival in Ekilore, or do Raelussians naturally develop bonds that quickly?"

"He's..." Not Human. Sadistic. A demon spawn from Infernum. All of these in one, but Tamor knew she couldn't speak a word of it. At the exact moment of the mention of the name "Auden" Niolas body posture became aggressive in manor. Her body, small in frame, began to show her utmost uncomfortableness, Tamor continued, "An old family friend, and a protector of sorts, much more than I could ever ask for." It was weird, she never thought of how much Auden truly meant to her, but he had sworn an oath to protect her life in exchange for his secretive nature being kept and just that. Tella only knew the fate that was in store if she accidentally let it slip, Astrum nor Tella were things she wasn't quite ready to be introduced to just yet. Any such feelings to the same degree were very unlikely, Tamor knew, rather convinced, that only she was only a continuous nuisance to him and a means to further fulfill his urges. "Raelussians only truly trust their king, you're below a low-born fool to believe anything else."

"Hmm..." Roland hummed, looking intently at Tamor as if wondering in which way he should reply. He eventually shrugged. "I suppose 'tis luck that drew the pair of you together on this quest, then. I suppose since the two of you are among us, I imagine your influence in Raelus will be beneficial to our ventures there? You would have some influence in your own country, I expect?"

A bite on her lower lip temporarily paused her reply, graciously giving her time enough to ponder her response. "We-I..." Tamor thought it best she only spoke for herself given loss of Auden and hers relationship had for seven years, "Yes, of the military persuasion." Given that Tamor had introduced herself as Tamor Bell from Raelus as a poor attempt to conceal her background. Baring the last name Bellfiend was a sizable weight to carry, especially in Eldur. "You only matter in Raelus if you're from a strong, victorious military family or high born," Tamor stated matter-of-factly.

"Hmph." Roland let a grin spread across his face as he stepped over to the front of the ship, looking toward the sea to the direction of the country Tamor described. "I am beginning to like our destination more and more."

"Yeah," Tamor sighed, whatever events that happened in Raelus were bound to have her encounter various obstacles and challenges. What the Nine had in fate for her, specifically Tella, Tamor only wish she knew. But a seer she was not, and Raelus was her home no matter how much a distaste she had for it at times.

"At least someone is..."
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  #110    
Old May 29th, 2013, 08:34 PM
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Raikiri
Vanguard
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: New York
Age: 23
Gender: Male
Nature: Brave

Raelus






Eldur. The pride of Raelus. A impregnable fortress of steel and stone. It's high, thick walls and strong imposing gates tower over the surrounding rural villages. It is a structure that has continually evolved, having adapted to the military culture that first gave it life. Eldur has grown and grown into an greater fortress, having lasted through many sieges. It is said that Eldur's might is so great that no army has even come close to taking it. Some legends say that Eldur has never even been scratched. An unscathed fortress. Untouched. Undefeated. Perhaps it is because of the Twin Towers of Eldur at the center of the city, at the heart of this demonic fortress. The Twin Towers of Eldur act as the seat of the King of Raelus, being the tallest and largest towers of the central castle of Raelus' steel capital. They appear as two spear-like towers of stone and steel, anointed at the top with an observatory. Rivaling the greatest towers constructed by man (Oculus Tower excluded) the Twin Towers of Eldur have crafted a great legend since their construction in 873 FC. They are great watchtowers, said to see much of Rolston at the highest vantage points. It is said that such a structure strikes fear into the hearts of soldiers for Raelus can see all. Know all. Defeat all.

Or perhaps it is simply the smoke that rises from the city, obscuring it in a black aura of mystery. For none know the horrors of the machinations of the industry within the high black walls of Eldur.

Within the walls of Eldur are the oldest of the modern marvels dubbed "factories" and its most esteemed military academies. "Factory" is a term coined by the Raelusian engineers that first conceived the idea of "mass production", another term coined by the warrior kings following the second war with Ellessar in which the countries came to a conclusive tie. A compulsive need for more weapons and armor came to being. There needed to be a "mass production" so to speak of military equipment. Anything from swords, to shields, to siege weapons. The tools of war. Of conquest. Hence the "factory" was invented. Factories first sprouted by in Eldur, developing new machines to rapidly produce weapons and armor at little to no cost to equip soldiers, employing blacksmiths and engineers to operate them. Soon, as the experiment continued to evolve, they sprouted by in smaller locales and the military ports along the coast, employing trained workers to maintain the machines. The military academies had a similar tale. First opening in the early 800s FC, the first and finest academies opened in Eldur as well, but later moved to local villages to train soldiers at a lower cost for more rural families. For Raelus needed soldiers. Raelus always needs soldiers.

The journey to the great city of Eldur had been a long one. Hardly an arduous journey, for the sea between Shingou and Rolston was the ever calm Trader's Waters, a body of water seemingly designed for easy traveling. The Trader's Waters were aptly named, bestowed upon the first adventurous merchants of the Heroic Age. It was a body of water that rarely experienced the harsh storms of the Sea of Storms. In fact, it appeared to always be calm, easy to navigate, often with favorable winds. The only difficulty would be the crowded ports because of how popular and easy the waters were. Everyone wanted to cruise on the gentle Trader's Waters. Clear skies made ancient navigation easy as well. It was because of these conditions that shipbuilders consistently built smaller ships in the south. They took advantage of these conditions, favoring the fast voyage over the secure one. Journeys were to be short, efficient and economical. Unless you of course happened to be a merchant vessel chosen as a victim by the vigilant Privateers of Raelus. Then your journey would be cut even shorter.

Luckily, the Knights were not such a group and their captain had guaranteed a safe voyage. A small stop at Old Zealand made the lengthy journey slightly more relaxing as their were welcomed by the so called "Harem Prince" Declan, who was appropriately named to say the least. A brief stay calmed their nerves and allowed the weary Knights to experience land, if only for a brief moment.

Following the excursion on the small island nation, the voyage continued until they made landfall at Raelus a few weeks later. Raelus lacks in trading ports, with every port town founded on the military principle of the nation. Within every port, a military base is built right on top of it, crowding the small merchant outposts and smaller merchant ships. Ports instead are filled to the brim with the large warships that drive the "Burning Navy" of "The Burning King" Christian Calason, Second of his Name, High Admiral and King of Raelus.

The "Burning Navy" was the igneous idea of then Admiral Christian Calason. Ship to ship combat, at least in the southern seas was very basic. The entire goal was to corner your opponent's ships with the hopes they will either crash, be overtaken by the elements or you could board and raid the ship, sacking it completely. It was formulaic and predictable. Christian Calason, a master tactician, sought to change it completely. Incorporating the Mage's Guild of Raelus into his crew, he invented the idea of launching fireballs at his opponent's ships either as a means of trapping, or better yet, attacking the ship bringing it down in a blaze of glory. It was a deadly innovation. After several trials by fire, the new idea spread throughout the navy, earning his epithet and bestowing a new title to the branch "The Burning Navy."

Percival found himself at the mercy of the Raelusian welcome, with only Captain Crewe having the tact to effectively communicate to the Raelusian guards at the port. They demanded comprehensive statements of intent, cargo listings and intended length of stay. Captian Crewe handled the majority of it, fearing the Percival or Roland would speak out of turn, fearing that their quest to save Aerion would end before it truly began. Luckily enough, they made out of the small port town with enough horses to make the four day journey to Eldur alive and well. Captain Crewe had to bid farewell, apparently receiving another job in mere hours of landing. Percival had hoped that people of Raelus would be more welcoming and he would not been Crewe's eloquence of speech to get through the fiery disposition of the people of Raelus.

The military lockdown on the ports were only the beginning, misplacing Percival's hopes greatly. The paved roads of Raelus made the journey easy enough, however, frequent checkpoints existed on these roads. Common folk were hardly welcoming to the travelers when the Knights stayed at smaller villages for rest and food, seemingly shunning the outsiders. Was it fear? No. Raelusians are hardly fearful. Was it a sense of national pride? More likely. The people of Raelus always saw themselves as superior, not needing to associate with others. Roland called them "elitists" but was he really one to talk? Percival only bowed his head. He tried to be polite to the people of Raelus. It seemed to help, at least at times.

The long journey to Eldur, luckily enough had come to a head. Now the Knights stood before the great gates of the fortress. It stood at an impressive height. Percival could not begin to guess what its height was. Quantifying it would be nigh impossible. At least in his state of fatigue. "Halt. You are now in the presence of the great fortress of Eldur! State your name and purpose!" The head guard of the gate ordered. He was heavily armored, equipped in black full plate mail. A platoon of guards had been stationed in the area, many on the walls with crossbows. Others with axes, spears, and swords. Eldur, as to expected, was in lockdown. Breaking through this fortress would be a crowning achievement, if it could be done.

"My name is Percival Grey. We are of the Knights of Ekilore, here to seek audience with your esteemed King Calason, second of his name. We come in peace," Percival stated, calmly as he could as arrows were being aimed at his companions.

"As if I haven't heard such a story before?" The guard objected. "I highly doubt our King would miss having an audience with you. Perhaps I should cut you down instead. Maybe we would get promotions for our heroism instead."

"Why would you do such a thing?" Percival protested, eyes gawking at the guards in total surprise.

"Tell me, boy, do you know anything of our situation here? You could be spies for the enemy."

"Do you know anything of the world?!" Roland roared from behind Percival, before striding beside him. "We are the Heroes of Shingou! Your King would do himself a great favor permitting us to enter your city gates. Also, his friend Yoshuro of Shingou said we would be welcome. Surely, you do want your King's reputation to be stained by your own poor judgement."

The guard paused and looked around the Knights, whispering amongst his comrades. "You may enter. If you wish to see the King, head for the center of the city. Relay the same information you gave me to the guards at the castle gates. They will permit you to enter. I will see to that. May the flames of Eldur guide you."

The massive gates of the fortress swung open and the Knights entered as quietly as they could, taking in the sights and sounds of Eldur proper: a dark, dreary city of stone buildings adorned with red roofs in a grid like pattern of cobblestone streets. It was a organized city with a constant police presence, keeping the populace in check. The city quarters were clearly outline with a military, residential, industrial and commercial district each. The heart of the city was reserved for governmental matters and of course the grand Raelusian castle, with the Twin Towers of Eldur watching over all. The streets themselves were hardly decorated, but clean enough. Trees and and flowers with fiery red foliage outlined the streets with some charm, but it did little to remove the dark ambiance of the city. The people themselves held little enthusiasm for the new arrivals, turning away promptly and going about their business. Overall, the streets were relatively quiet, a far cry from the reception they received in Shingou.

"Home, sweet home, I suppose. Right Tamor? Auden" Percival said to his companions. "Let's head to the castle first."
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Old May 29th, 2013, 09:48 PM
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Palaven







The Theocracy of Palaven. In many ways, one of the most unique nations not only in Rolsten, but in all of Aerion. As most other countries, Palaven is united by a culture which the citizens embrace. However unlike other nations which are united by common language, dialect, values, norms, ideology, social structure or ethnic distinction, Palaven is united by a common religion, the Church of the One True God. It is for this reason that it is one of the most tolerant countries in terms of immigration, professing peoples of all races, including men, elves, and dwarves. It is the closest nation to an absolute religious state, with over 99% of its population following the Church of the One. Being a theocracy, the head of state of the country is the religious leader Armand Terrin, known by the people of Palaven by his official title of the 'Voice of the One', as in Palaven he is believed to be the holy link between Aerion and the One, with the Voice believed to be able to speak with the One Himself and dictate His will.

The city of Garius was built as the epicenter of their religion. Nicknamed the 'City of God', it was built entirely out of the finest materials known to man. Angelic-white marble paved the flawless, shining streets of the city, and alabaster stone made up the architectural arrangement of all buildings. Garrius is a city of privilege, haboring all that was valuable and substantial in Palaven, most notably the Great Cathedral of the One, home of the Voice, around which the city of Garius was constructed. It is an imposing and radiant structure, the largest in diameter of Garius, and by far the most magnificent, decorated with engravings and inscriptions across the outside. For the very few who have managed to enter, it is said to be even more impressive, a home built literally for God. Also around the city was the Tower of Absolution, where the Palvanese Senate holds their meetings and sessions. It is the tallest building of Palaven, but also boasts decorative designs across the exterior of the structure. There were also over four dozen smaller (in relation to the Great Cathedral) churches across the city, acting both as the places of worship and the schools for the people.

Built for aestheticism rather than fortification, it is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, accommodating half a dozen capacious public parks, which are decorated with fountains and statues in dedication to the One or some religious context of the One, an abundance of religious, historical, and artistic museums, and celestially decorated theaters upon which plays are performed. All structures are maintained to the highest degree to ensure continuous cleanliness, and crime is almost non-existent. It is a city of pleasure and revelry. Of beauty and artistry. Of security and safety. However, what it lacks in high walls and hefty defense it makes up for in the sheer abundance of soldiers inside of the city, having one of the largest standing armies in a single city in Aerion.

Yet not all of the citizens are allowed to live inside this beautiful paradise. As was earlier suggested, Garius was a city a privilege. Quarter requires a thorough background check, as well as proof of religious piety. There is also a hefty tax upon first request of entry, and following one's confirmed residence into the city, continuous tax which would be collected yearly. For such reasons, much of the peasants and even some of the middle class live in surrounding villages, as well as in port cities and small towns. They too pay a tax to Garius, albeit a much smaller one. Many of these are supposedly in very horrendous condition because of the lack of funding and enforcement. Besides the extensive costs it has taken to construct Garius, most funding goes to the capital as well, leaving very little for those who dwell on the outside. Although some of the larger cities endure, smaller towns have barely enough to survive. Crime is rampant, disease is ever-present, and occasionally, riots break out. However, they never last long, as they are either quickly put down or literally, those who riot simply die out.

It was a country Varian never thought he would end up visiting, as the nation rarely allows foreigners who aren't of the religious faith. Trade is heavily regulated and often restricted to the port cities, most notably Ashera, where the bulk of foreigners would dwell. They are often quite poorly treated, frequently ridiculed and beaten by natives, to which the guards often cast a blind eye. In some cases, death because of religious differences would also occur, usually without response by the theocracy. However, their experience turned out to be much different. Upon arrival of their ship which Agarra commissioned, the mercenaries were instantly picked up by soldiers at the shore, and placed into decorative carriages with cloth to obstruct the view from the windows. From all that was rumored about Palaven, Varian wondered if these cloths were designed to keep the people of Palaven from seeing the mercenaries, as it would be an oddity, to say the least, of outsider mercenary foreigners to be taking a leisurely stroll through the countryside, or if the cloths were designed to keep the mercenaries from viewing the rest of Palaven, as upon their two day ride to the capital, they had little chance to view the countryside, as few stops were made along the way, and all were away from any cities or towns. With all the rumors surrounding the extent of the abhorrent conditions of the people outside of Garius, it would have been possible that they were shielding their view of such sights as to continue to present the idea that Palaven's true depiction was that of Garius.

As for that city, even Varian, the uncultured mercenary who had no real interest in the arts of sights, was impressed. It was a city to behold, and one where he knew they would certainly stick out like sore thumbs. The cloths around the windows of the carriages were removed, and the doors were opened into the bright, shining city. Beyond all of the sights that the city presented, Varian also saw the people as they walked through, some of which conversed with each other, and others who went upon their day merrily. They all appeared well-mannered, polite, and highly intelligent. It was also somewhat strange. All talks Varian could hear had something or other to do with the Voice. In almost every dialogue, their names were mentioned, or the sentence was begun with a greeting in relation to them. In on particular example, a man greeted another with, “The Voice guides your light,” which Varian took to mean hello. He overheard another, in which a man told another in departing, “The One protects you.” Another interesting concept was their referral of outsiders as “infidels”. Varian thought the word an insult at first, but as he had spent more time with the guards over the few days, and from what he had seen at shore, it was apparently a normal way of referring to outsiders who did not embrace the faith. It was all centered around the ceremony of the religion. Varian found it surprisingly intriguing. He had never been seen such overwhelming devotion from an entire population towards one single ideology. Others professed unity and togetherness in similar fashion, but those countries who say that they were religious always had the minority who were opposed. In Palaven, in Garius, everyone preached a similar ideology. Everyone was on the same page. Everyone thought the same, and everyone talked the same. Everyone had the same high level of devotion. It was now becoming clear to Varian why some began to treat Palaven with a bit more appreciation. When an entire population is behind a single ideal, in this case a religious ideal, with such passion, the results could be deadly for their enemies.

At least, that was the face the city presented, and for now that was what Varian had to accept. The guard who had escorted them to shore quickly motioned for them to continue on their way. “Welcome to the City of God. Follow our path, infidels, as we tread the path of the One.” The guard ordered to the group, Varian assuming that they mean to follow in their ceremonial way of speaking. He did his best to ignore his referral of the group as 'infidels' so casually, again reminding himself the term was not an insult here. “Refrain from conversation with those in the path of the One, if you will. They are not used to seeing infidels among the streets of God.”

Varian looked around to confirm what the guard meant, as the people of Garius gazed upon the group of odd mercenaries in bewilderment and shock. Some younger children, who were also dressed in fine clothes, tried to get a closer look at them as they walked the streets, only to be forced away by frightful parents. Most of the citizens saw them as a part of a plague, people who were untouchable. Many kept their distance, but none averted their eyes. One citizen of obvious noble birth finally approached the group, gazing upon them many of the others did prior, and then spoke to the lead guard. “The One protects you,” He said to him in a smile. The guard nodded, and the well-mannered man continued. “I am interested, sir, as we all are, what you are doing with these infidels. Are you perhaps proceeding to make an example of their sacrilegious ways and burning them at the stake?” Varian quickly turned his gaze to the man, a bit surprised by what had come out of his mouth. Did he just say burn them? He had a feeling that bit wasn't shrouded in ceremony. He meant what he said, and the normal citizen said it so nonchalantly, as if it were normal.

“Nay, citizen,” The guard replied. “These infidels are to be brought before his Holiness himself. The Voice has use for them.”
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Old June 1st, 2013, 03:43 AM
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Auden Radke and Tamor Bellfiend
Raelus
Theme Song: Planet Hell & Hear Me

The journey to Raelus had been once again been a long and tiresome boat trip, leaving Auden to vent his frustration on infrequently on Tamor. Their relationship had slowly been growing closer, with Tamor starting to show slight pleasure every now and then at his touch. They had stopped at Old Zealand on their way to Raelus, a peculiar place with a so-called "Harem King" who ruled over it. It was a fairly lax island, in Auden's mind at least, but was a nice change of pace; especially when compared to being stuck on a boat for weeks straight. The boat trip was overly calm through the famous traders waters, allowing for plenty of time for the knights to converse with each other, though this rarely happened as they had seemed to have already formed smaller groups within the larger one. The few conversations Auden had with the others had been rather tedious, except for the egotistical Roland, whose personality tempted Auden greatly; nothing better than crushing someone who thinks they are better than you.

Finally, their travel ended as the Knights made land at Biskar. As he disembarked, he took in his surroundings. It was a typical military port, very common in Raelus, most of the ships that were docked were mainly military ones, bringing slight nostalgia to Auden as he reminisced about his time as a Privateer while climbing up the ranks. One particular skirmish with the Palvanese came to mind as he recognised a ship that he had fought besides. That particular battle had been rather enjoyable as the small fleet he was a part of had ambushed a larger Palvanese fleet. The battle was short and destructive as the mages of Raelus, Auden included, decimated the Palvanese before they had a chance to react. The burning ships lead the sea to appear as if it was on fire, a pleasing sight in Auden's eyes.

Two guards approached Auden as he walked along the dock, trying to get him to stop before seeing his RMC uniform as his robe parted with his steps. Nodding in respect the guards moved aside as Auden continued onwards, leaving his "comrades" behind to deal with the (local Customs and such.) Leaving the hassle behind he made his way through the port with ease, towards the (information place/board). After committing the faces of the main wanted people to his mind he turned and left for the stables to procure a horse.

Quick to notice Tamor watched as Auden made a swift departure away from the rest of the knights, including her. An aching ping ran rampant in her, had she done something ill in meaning to upset him? Tamor had not noticed any eagerness in him to return to Raelus, but perhaps she had wrongly observed. Despite being kept in enjoyable (sans Roland) company Tamor couldn't detain the almost overwhelming feelings she had to return to Auden's side. Was there an understandable reason for this sudden feeling? Dependency? Loneliness? Or was there a stronger and deeper emotion at play? Astrum forbid she admit it to herself, instead of dwelling on a subject of little importance (at least at the moment) Tamor temporarily parted ways with the Knights with a simple nod, hoping that was enough. Upon seeing the guards Tamor hesitated but in the end warily leaned into the ear of the nearest guard and disclosed information she hadn't told the rest of the Knights, well, not fully, due to the circumstances that were too dear to her heart to reveal. There was a brief flash of shock that rippled across the man's face, not that Tamor unfairly blamed him, but without wasting another moment she went on her way.

If one wanted transportation other than foot then it was to the stables, Tamor actually recalled meeting the husband and wife who owned the horses that she suspected Auden was off to obtain. Her father, or rather her faux elven father Kanien Astry had taught her the necessities to mounting and riding a horse on these very pastures. Heat lapped at her skin almost as if it intended to char it that day. Kanien, despite his military upbringing and position, was patient in ways her mother had never bothered to learn. It was his name she cautiously spoke to the guard, it was known that she was the daughter to the man known as the greatest admiral, after His Grace, in Raelus. His death had happened in an explosive weapon testing gone array, it dealt quite the blow to a young Tamor, but now she couldn't even remember his face. A name such as his would surely be written down by all the scribes in the land a thousand times over, his lavish achievements stretched that wide on a simple piece of parchment paper. That and being childhood friends (and well into adulthood) with the current king had its perks, even after death.

"You, you left me," Tamor spoke gently, as Auden had his back turned toward her and to not spook him or the horses. Niolas plucked at loose feathers on her shoulder to make room for those that were growing in underneath the ones that were currently showing.

"Well, I didn't need you." He replied without turning around, continuing to ready his horse and saddle.

Tamor mouth became agape, and color flourished in her cheeks, as she became ashamed that she had followed. "Where are you going?" Tamor inquired voice full of hurt, but eager to get the answer.

Turning he smiled at her before taking a step towards her and caressing her cheek, "To do some cleaning."
"You don't clean," Tamor stated bluntly, his touch no longer affected her in the same manner as before even though she knew what those hands were capable of doing. With her eyes fixed on his Tamor attempted to restate her statement in another form, "What are you really cleaning?"

Leaning in he whispered into her ear, "People." Slowly he pulled away from her, gently caressing her before turning back to his horse, with a smile on his face.

Fear crept into her facial expression and settled in her golden eyes, "P-P-People? Why, why would you do that?" A clumsy step back led to her to slip and fall, as Tamor fell Niolas flew to the top of the nearest wooden stall and perched. He remained a close enough distance to keep a close look on the duo that stood beneath him.

Hearing the sound of slipping Auden released a burst of air in Tamor's direction, cushioning her fall. "To keep my country free of scum." He stated as he tightened a strap of the saddle. "They are hardly people."

"But they are people still, why is it your duty to do so?" Graciousness for his sudden usage of magic was only apparent in her sigh of relief. She felt an urge to question Auden in his entirety as a person, prodding a mother bear with a dull knife is what Tamor imagined what this process was similar to in appearance.

"Would you prefer if you were the only person? Or would you rather if I just played with innocent people?" He replied, finishing securing the saddle. "My job is to clean up the countries scum."

"Why are there any people? Why are you like this? Who did this to you?" The barrage of questions leaked from Tamor's mouth before she could stop, and she wished she had. Her fate was sealed whether that was in Astrum or Infernum, she continued on, "You mean, your job was to kill those who were criminals and even then under orders, you are a Knight not a vigilante, or have you forgot such things?"

Within mere moments Auden was on Tamor, picking her up by her neck he looked into her eyes as the skin around her neck began to burn under his magic. A smile came across his face as his free hand pointed towards Tamor's bird. "How badly do you want to know?" He asked her as his grip tightened.

Struggle, as per usual, was utterly useless, it was as if Auden had the strength of a thousand men and Tamor could not compete. Yet her airway was open enough for her to spew words out, "Tell me, or do you lack what an eunuch does as well?"

Crushing her windpipe more, he slowly dropped her body to his level, still looking in her eyes. "That was awfully brave," He said with a caring tone in his voice. Bringing her in closer he looked into her eyes as they began tearing up. Slowly he moved his face in to hers, keeping their eyes locked the entire time before his lips softly met hers, and after a few moments he released her, allowing her body to fall the floor like a sack of potatoes.

Nothing in her seven-and-twenty years of living had prepared Tamor for that moment. Her confused mind slipped into a frenzy, what had he just done and why had he done it? Was it to humiliate her and remind her how powerless she was against his might? Given the chance to fight it Tamor knew in the end that she would have, or would she have? Thoughts blurred together as if they were one but its jumbled outcome relayed little information to Tamor regarding her true feelings of the matter. The remaining questions had died on her lips as they parted to let his in. Speechless, Tamor lingered there on the ground unable to bring strength back into her arms, however Niolas was the exact opposite. Talons dangerously poised, wingspan fully elongated, and silent like a true predator before it ravaged its prey. Niolas dove down from the rafters to meet Auden's face as his talons aligned perfectly with the victim, Auden.

A calm smile remained on Auden's face as he watched Niolas dive at him, taunting the bird. With speed Auden's right hand shot up, catching Niolas legs with surprising ease. "That wasn't smart now was it?" He asked as he took complete control of Niolas body, throwing the bird to the ground. A puff of feathers and slight thud accompanied its fall from the sky. A flick of his fingers caused a caw to escape Niolas as a blast of wind slammed against the bird's body. "Are you done bird?"

Hands planted firmly in front of her aided Tamor in the prolonged process of getting up as she was visibly shaken from the earlier incident. "I'm not," She answered staggering to her feet, despite it being intended for her hurt avian companion. Tamor launched herself at Auden, hands curled into fists upon impact. In appearance the swings looked more mighty than they felt, and upon delivery they lacked the force needed to do any real damage. Tears flooded her eyes and cascaded down her rosy cheeks, her ongoing punches got weaker and slower with every blow. Eventually they ceased altogether, yet her fists laid against his chest and the only sound she made was the occasional sniffle.

Interesting... Auden thought to himself as Tamor weakly pounded at his chest, barely even phasing him at all, in reality nothing more than an annoyance. Stopping she leant against his chest, continuing to sniffle. He wrapped his arms around her body before pulling her in a bit. "So are you done yet?" He asked pushing her back slightly and looking at her tear ridden face.

The embrace had been unexpected but welcomed, his body heat was felt, yet Tamor could only think of her injured friend. Out of blurry vision Tamor spotted Niolas and left Auden's immediate presence for a brief moment as she knelt beside her feathered friend. Tamor prayed to each of the Gods before she placed each of her hands onto Niolas. Her magic restored his consciousness, and she gathered his large body in her arms before returning to Auden. "We better get going, shouldn't we?" Tamor made sure she emphasized the word "we" each time she spoke it.

Without saying a word in reply he took the reigns of the horse that he had been preparing and lead it to the exit of the stable. Tamor wondered if this was his way of politely telling her she wasn't coming with, had she endured all that for naught? Surely he would turn around to face her, Tamor was hoping for it, she couldn't return to the Knights otherwise. Auden continued towards the exit, checking the saddle and reigns as he walked. Happy that they were secure the exited the stable, mounting the horse. "Hurry up," he said without looking back. A look full of gratitude would've greeted Auden had he looked at Tamor. With Niolas healthy enough to take flight Tamor let go of him by throwing him into the air, his wings opened and took him high into the open sky. Tamor took Auden's outreached hand with a smile plastered on her face as she mounted the horse, arms wrapped lightly around his waist.

The next couple of days were full of pleasure for Auden, as he quickly hunted down six wanted men as he made his way to Eldur, with Tamor in tow. During some of his torture sessions he forced and tricked Tamor to help out, healing his victims as they neared death just so he could inflict more pain on them. Their screams of pain brought him great pleasure as he slowly took their lives away. By the time they had made it to Eldur he had killed the eight criminals that he had committed to memory, each scum tainting his homeland. Forgiveness from the Gods was beseeched by Tamor, as she thought surely after she healed the first Auden would leave him well enough alone, that innocent thought had been instantly poisoned. These were the acts of the befallen, individuals that had strayed from holiness such as Lilyth and Dabel, leaving Tamor to think that she perhaps did belong in Infernum. A sickness boiled up inside her stomach until it eventually gave way multiple times, retching on sight of the mutilated bodies. The Gods were quiet as ever, Tamor vowed to never again aid in the torture of another human body, within reason. Night terrors of the marred corpses would surely be in her dreams instead of Tella and the heavens of Astrum. After those days had passed Tamor's mind still wandered back to that moment in the stables, she relived it vividly and examined the situation with copious amount of detail, yet still couldn't distinguish the meaning behind it all.

It had been four days since Auden and Tamor had left the other knights, and four days of pleasure for Auden, through the torture of the criminals and the psychological torture he had been inflicting on Tamor over the course of their trip. The duo had dispatched of their horse to a guard who swore an oath to return it to its rightful owner. If almost by pure luck of the Nine Auden and Tamor saw the rest of the Knights of Ekilore paused ahead of them. The annoyance in a guard's voice was heard, and the phrase she had heard too often growing up, "May the flames of Eldur guide you," greeted them. With a nod she and Auden were welcomed back into the group without any questions asked, Tamor couldn't bare admitting her sins to anyone but the Gods.

"Home, sweet home, I suppose. Right, Tamor? Auden?" Percival asked, it wasn't much of an answerable question, at least not one that could be met in all honesty. "Let's head to the castle first."

"Sweet..." Tamor had an ample amount of words she had wished to substitute for that of which Percival had chosen. Trying to sound more tolerable of their destination Tamor exclaimed, "Joy, the castle!"
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 05:35 AM
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Joseph "Honest" Sherman - Palaven

Throughout their journey, Honest found himself mostly ignored by the mercenaries he was accompanying. He found this quite welcome; he was used to being met with avoidance and distrust. The apathy he sensed from most of the others was more than he usually hoped for when finding himself a part of a larger team. Truthfully, he had also taken to avoiding contact with the dwarf wherever possible, still finding himself discomfited in the presence of the other newcomer.

The whole trip was uneventful, although he'd greeted the prospect of travelling by ship like an old friend. Nobody who'd been in the army for any length of time could hope to avoid sea voyages--or, not where he came from (wherever that may have been). Sometimes he would feel himself slowly being driven to insanity due to the fact that he had no tasks to do while on the vessel. (Uselessness was intolerable.) Most of the time, he found himself perfectly satisfied to be sitting alone and staring at a wall for hours on end. (He had always been well trai-- ...behaved. Well behaved.) By the time they had alighted from the ship and were ushered straight into a waiting carriage, Honest was unequivocally sick of all the confinement.

Or, he thought he might be. Should be? He wasn't sure, but there was some kind of irritable undercurrent running through his skin, although that was probably his imagination as well. He dismissed this train of thought easily. It wasn't of all that much concern to him either way.

The windows of the carriage were covered, which was quite disappointing. He'd heard stories of Palaven from his mother since he was a child--about their sparkling city and their spiritual devotion, surrounded by black corruption. It was a shame he couldn't see it for himself. He would have loved to describe the land to her when he arrived home. Alas, all he could do now was wait.

When he was finally able to step down from the carriage and take in the wondrous sight of the city, Honest's jaw dropped. This was so far removed from his life as a fisherman's son that he found himself floundering a little in his own inadequacy. Everything in sight was so bright and clean and overwhelmingly majestic. He was so starstruck that he didn't notice the way the local citizens were eyeing them as though they were rabid dogs. (Much.)

One of the guards gestured for them to follow him. “Welcome to the City of God. Follow our path, infidels, as we tread the path of the One. Refrain from conversation with those in the path of the One, if you will. They are not used to seeing infidels among the streets of God.”

Honest's brow furrowed in confusion. What were infidels? He had never heard of the term before, although he understood that it was a word that referred to their group. Perhaps it was what they called mercenaries here in Palaven? One thing was for sure, though. The stories certainly had not exaggerated the piousness of the people of Palaven. Far from relaxing, however, Honest began to feel wary. His grip on his glaive tightened almost imperceptibly when a man appeared to summon the courage to approach the group and greet them politely.

The man spoke with a smile. "I am interested, sir, as we all are, what you are doing with these infidels. Are you perhaps proceeding to make an example of their sacrilegious ways and burning them at the stake?"

Honest blinked, wondering whether his mind was playing tricks on him. That probably wasn't the case, though, considering he couldn't even fathom what the word sacri-what-was-it even meant. Unfortunately, this meant that apparently they were in a place where it wasn't inconceivable that they would be burned at the stake. (Burning flesh; he didn't understand how anyone could even stand the smell...)

"Nay, citizen. These infidels are to be brought before his Holiness himself. The Voice has use for them."

Honest did not feel any less wary, even after hearing the joyous news that they weren't to be executed for whatever reason. Not when they were now only alive as far as their apparent usefulness extended (and wasn't that a familiar situation). He slipped into his smile nevertheless, making sure he looked quite agreeable to whatever would happen next.

After all, he had never seen so many soldiers in one city. It was probably a bad idea for them to antagonise them in any way.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 03:24 PM
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Anlem Taegor-- Palaven

The passed three weeks had been... Interesting. It was hard to say eventful, since a lot of it was dull traveling. There had been some moments that were worth remembering. A few jokes, a few amusing people at bars, a few humorous arguments, and maybe a fight or two (fights which may or may not have involved themselves). Every worthy moment he had recorded. The story of the mercenaries seemed like it would have no problem growing.

The second chapter was destined to begin, albeit slowly. Their first stop was Palaven, a religious country far to the south of Aerion. It was no secret how devout the poor citizens of Palaven were. Anlem actually wasn't very excited to enter the place, though he didn't make a show of it. He'd already had his run with too much religion and wasn't quite excited to be meeting it again. It seemed as though he would have little to no choice in the matter and would have to grin and bare it. It probably wouldn't have been too bad if it were any other religion but they were headed for the One's brightest torch. The Church of One was of his least favorite religions of all the ones he knew. Luckily (if you could call it lucky) their travels would delay them long enough for him to reason with himself that this trip may not be as bad as he was making it.

That's what he hoped at least.

His hopes faltered a bit when they arrived on Palaven's port and was taken to the city of Garius. They were loaded into carriage which, though not a devil to the eye to look at, could have been bigger. Though he felt he was too close to Honest (whom he hadn't traded many words with for the time he'd known him) and too close to the wall it still wasn't that bad. It only got worse when, at nearly every stop (which were all very beautifully made religious houses run by spiritual leaders) a friar or maybe a poor soul would speak to one or all of them about the One. Their speeches, which were all laced with religious fervor, were either said with the purpose of converting them or to recount some sort of great awakening of some sort. By the fifth, Anlem was not paying attention at all. He only nodded and gave disconnected agreements to their points. The only time he felt violent was when a Palaven man on what he called a religious journey felt the need to ask him how it was possible he could survive "knowing he was destined for Infernum" and how he couldn't imagine a life where one was so instantly d*mned. However, Anlem was a survivor and particularly good at not letting others know how he felt about them. And so, exhausted, he'd made it to Garius.

Garius! It was a grand city indeed! Compared to the filth of Curlian and the decay in Yamcha, Garius was like Heaven itself. All of the roads marble, polished, beautiful. The city could be described as nothing but pure; the citizens dressed as though they were all in the hall of the One. The scene would have been better if it weren't for the fact that those same citizens were giving them odd looks. Their whispers were loud enough to be audible, but low enough to be incomprehensible and they all seemed to be waiting for something to happen. The soldier advised them not to speak to any of the citizens (which Anlem had no qualms over), but it seemed as if the citizens themselves had something to say. A man of noble birth approached the lead guard and asked casually and politely if the six of them would be burned later in the evening. As the guard confirmed the negative, Anlem smiled.

"Very polite of you all, but your efforts would have been futile if you tried. Aren't you aware that Anguin can't burn?" Anlem asked, referencing The Children of Anguis. The Children of Anguis, or just The Anguin, is a cult settled predominantly in the Hills of Fire. They are pious (maybe as much if not more than the Followers) in their belief that Aerion is a lost piece of Infernum and are adamant in returning it to their father, god, and king, the fire snake Anguis. Proof to their radical nature, the Anguin vowed to bring all other religions to Infernum starting with Palaven. In their declaration they claimed to one day invade Garius where they would steal the Voice and throw him into their sacred volcano in Ryuuse so he may be fed directly to Anguis himself. Though it was a decade ago, The Anguin continue to be the most at odds with the Followers in Palaven.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 09:22 PM
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Raelus Part 2



Roland thought for a moment that he caught a tone of displeasure from Tamor as she described their journey towards the castle. He debated in his thoughts as to whether he should address it, as he had, to that point, learned very little of the nature of Tamor and Auden's relationship within Raelus beyond what he was told. If she didn't seem very eager, he wondered what it meant. He decided to ask a bit more about it as they proceeded inside the iron gates of the fortress. "So, is there any other information we should know about before we encounter your King? Anything unexpected? Any irregularities? Security around the area certainly seems tight."

"Best do to remember thy manners, but as a distinguished knights I do hope that much is already covered," Tamor stated, stricten with surprise that this Grey brother had spoke without being spoken to, especially to the likes of her. His occasional glances, as few and far in between as they were hadn't gone unnoticed. However they were the least worrisome thing that she had to think about, her travels with Auden hadn't set her mind at ease in the slightest. Luck lately hadn't been on her side, she wished to the Gods, primarily Kinath, they not encounter her grandfather this afternoon or any relatives that made their stake in His Grace's council, castle, or presence. "I wouldn't touch your weapon, nor would I mention the Nine, blessed as they may be, His Grace does not take kindly to such..." Tamor took a brief pause, and sought forgiveness for what she must to do next, "smut."

"Heh, I see," Roland stated as he walked forward towards the direction of the two towers erected in the center of the dark yet organized city. "I suppose he views himself as a practical man because of his lack of religious motivation. I have heard of the type before." He looked left and right at each citizen he passed. Most hardly gave them any attention, merely going about their business as before. If anything, stereotypes of the people of Raelus as a cold, bitter peoples seemed to be spot on. However, soldiers and guards stationed around the city monitored them more extensively. They glared upon the odd group, as if waiting for one of them to make one false move, break one meager law and pounce upon them. Roland wouldn't give them the satisfaction of such an option. He had often been the model of civility and propriety in his visits to other nations, especially when representing Reigncliff. His arrogance may seep in on occasions, but not to the extent of ever being a problem. 

Up the cobblestone streets the knight went, their destination of the castle growing nearer with each passing step. It was only as they approached closer that one could notice the magnitude of its size. Indeed, there were few constructions in the world that could match the monumental castle and the two towers. Upon their journey thus far, the Tower of Oculus would have been the only such structure to compare to them.

"Is it just me or does everyone appear to have an ill temper?" Roland commented on the general disposition of the people of Raelus. "Perhaps they need to get their King's royal sceptor out of their sh*t holes." He added with a slight chuckle.

A sudden tug to Tamor's mage hood was brought on by the looming castle that was to be upon them soon, "Strangers are not to be trusted, no matter of their status or reputation." The truth had been told by Roland, Tamor herself would've chosen more appropriate wording, especially in the midst of the capital. Raelussians had taught this was the way to act for generations, herself included. The closer they drew to the castle the more chances, despite all her prayings to Kinath, Tamor had of being recognized, as well as Auden, but she had separated herself from his side. "With tensions from the northwest rising we refuse to take any chances." Niolas who had been settled in quite quietly took off into the sky until he was out of sight. Joyous as Tamor should be to have the luxury to have an audience with His Majesty she could not bring herself to allow such feelings to occur. "Might I add, when we get to the castle keep those... inelegant sayings to oneself. Otherwise you might find the King's spector in the same place. Unless, you are one who derives pleasure from such actions. It would surprise me not to learn that be the truth."

A look of surprise mixed with irritation suddenly made it upon Roland's face, somewhat surprised that the usually timid Tamor would speak in such a way. "I am no fool," Roland snorted in response to Tamor. "I am familiar with the King's moniker. I should like that my flesh not to be incinerated."

"You must not be an Anguin, I see," Tamor replied light-heartedly, The Children of Anguis also known as The Anguin were rumored to have base in the Hills of Fire. Eislynn had been adamant that as a user of the divine arts one must not only know their own religion but all others. The time she spent feverishly learning was about them had reassured her faith belonged to The Council of Nine. "You shall grow even more familiar with it by the time we depart this island, and I hoped that be soon."

"You hope that I should grow familiar with this nonsensical...'religion' soon, or you hope that we would depart this island soon?" Roland inquired, gazing intently at Tamor from beneath her hood as he tried to decipher her intentions. Their pace never slowed as they continued to approach the castle of the Burning King. Roland had a feeling since near the beginning of the entrance into Raelus that Tamor was reluctant to return home. He was unsure if it was true, but the way she acted in regards to her country seemed...off to him.

"My Knight, why not both?" She questioned, but simply for the rhetorical effect. How she longed to visit and lay flowers at the grave of Eisylnn and be done with this place, at least the capital. If she developed the courage in time Tamor wondered if there would be a moment where she could slip away to Yarne where her true father, not Kanien, kept shop. Would he take it as a disturbance, as the later years of her life his keenness toward her had severely lessen. A constant reminder of the mistake he had made those many years ago, her mother presented the same behavior, which left her truly alone now that he was gone as well. It was difficult to come back to a place Tamor felt so removed from not to mention how unwanted she felt. Everything was happening so fast, even the speed at which they walked seemed faster.

Auden was yet in the mood to deal with the guards, and as such kept his hood up as the group walked through the militarized capital towards the castle. Not much had changed since Auden had left the capital, he still recognized a majority of the guards as they got closer to the castle. Every now and then a guard would recognize him, leading to a slight nod in respect. Ah, the capital.

The group had finally approached the gates to the castle. If it had looked impregnable from afar, then even more so that image resonate in close proximity. The castle walls were high, clearly a mix of stone and steel, much like its exterior counterparts. However, the taste of the kings of Raelus have decorated the castle with a distinct taste. The sigil of Raelus was draped over the sculpted spiked walls on large banners. The spiked walls were clearly a tactical vision, possibly from the Burning King himself to invoke fear, but also to make such a climbing of the walls nigh impossible. The castle itself appeared to have several walls, each encircling the next, constructing a large "superstructure" of a fortress. The inner walls appeared to be taller, yet not as thick. Regardless, imposing described them just as well. Looming over all the walls, at the heart of the fortress were the Twin Towers, decorated in the colors of Raelus watching over all.

At the door, a number of Raelusian soldiers stood guard. Roland visibly saw the grip of one of the gate's guardsmen over their lance tighten upon their approach. In as subtle movement as he could muster, his own arm cautiously crept to his sword hilt, and tightened around, if only as a precautionary measure.

"Ser Roland and Percival of the House Grey, along with Heva Azcadelia Erva, Dulinhel Elenren, and Sers Auden and Tamor of Raelus." Roland stated aloud to the guard. "We seek an audience with his Grace Christian Calason, second of his name, High Admiral and King of Raelus."

The Knights endured a very scrupulous gaze by the guard, intently watching Roland as he introduced each of them, before finally stepping aside and allowing them entrance into the fabled castle. The doors creaked, the sound of bulky metal as they grinded over each other and opening up. The Knights underwent a succession of doors before entering the castle courtyard. Unlike its counterparts in Ethora, Percival noticed a relative lack of plant life. Nothing but stone and steel. Tall marble statues encircled the central castle, framing the main entrance and went around it; artistic dedications to past legends in Raelus' history. Heroes, Kings, Princes, Admirals, Generals. Anything to immortalize the men and woman that constructed this castle. This fortress. This country.

Thanks to this artistic display, it made finding the entrance easily. The guards on watch opening the steel doors for the Knights, and they entered the main hall with some apprehension, at least on the part of Percival. The main hall was far different than the halls that Percival had grown up with in Ethora. They were often opulent, with rich decorations illuminated by grandiose writing. They had floral decorations and fine artwork from the greatest artists. Guards were often posted throughout these halls, but it did not matter. The music from the throne room even occasional echoes throughout the halls, producing a entrancing reason to continue. Robert Welm's was the only real exception, mostly because of Welm's reputation for more less expensive taste. Though Roland would have him understand it was because Welm's relative lack of wealth. Roland was a poorly educated man as well, at least his ignorance made Percival believe such a fact.

The halls of Castle Eldur were dark, with ironically little lighting in the blackened stone halls. Red carpets mapped out the floors while red tapestry hung on the walls, all decorated with the sigil of Raelus. The walls were decorated in paintings documenting the proudest moments in Raelus' history. Epic battles mostly, including the the founding of Raelus by Lord Bryce Drake and first grand victory of the Burning Fleet.

But then the throne room. The words of Raelus are "Trial by Fire." Undoubtedly metaphorical, representing Raelus' desire to grow stronger through direct challenges. Tests of strength and resolve. Words to live by, no doubt. Raelus has proven time and time that trials by fire make you strong. Raelus has risen through the flames to be amongst the elite. But this metaphorical guide, the closest thing Raelus had to any sort of organized religion, had take a literal vision in the throne room of Eldur. Built at the base of the Twin Towers, the throne room was a large room, vacant of any opulent decoration. A single red and gold carpet was placed at the center leading towards the elegant pair of steel thrones (with red seat cushions to tie together to Raelus' limited choice of royal colors) seated at the back of the room, the flag of Raelus draped behind them. Leading up to the thrones were two rows of blazing torches; the titular trial by fire. They illuminated the room with pure excellence, revealing the room to truly have little decoration aside from the banner of Raelus and the steel thrones of the King and Queen. Plain. Practical. Efficient.

Percival and the other knights accepted the trial, walking forward with some spirit in their step. They finally got the audience with the king of Raelus, the man that is to help them. He was seated in his throne, talking with his advisors briefly as the Knights approached. He appeared to be a tall man, being a few inches taller than Roland with a broad build, clearly taking care of himself despite his growing age as indicated by his slightly graying black hair. The gray had yet to dominate his hair, but the gray streaks were readily apparent even in the poor light. His skin tone was of a light tan, possibly a result of early days on the boat in the constant light of the Trader's Waters. Percival joked in the privacy of his own head that it was because he spent too much time by the fires in the throne room, but he would never say that aloud. His eyes appeared to be dark brown, with little life in them. They were stern, cold even. Ironic really, but there were clearly the eyes of a warrior. Now, they were ones of a king. King Calason's face had few impurities. A single scar slashed across his right temple and he had a little stubble for a beard. The features did not seem to age his face too greatly, but he still appeared to be a man in his 40s, looking no older than expected to be. In fact, he may have been appeared younger due to the excellent condition he kept himself in. He wore no crown. He didn't need one. Instead he wore, a dark red cloak, with his black plate mail underneath. Paranoia perhaps. More likely, habit. His bastard sword rested by his side, in easy reach of his sword hand. They were little accessories on. Some pleasantries did not seem in his nature. His wife, the Queen, sat beside him in a slightly smaller throne for a far smaller person. She paled in comparison to her husband, but seemed just as frightening. She was distinct blonde, appearing younger than the King by a few years, yet her eyes were a cold blue. They carried the same intensity as the King. Perhaps more so. That or Percival was reading too much into it.

"Hail Calason, second of his name, High Admiral and King of Raelus. We are knights, venturing from Ekilore to Shinguo and now to your Grace's Great Hall for counsel in our noble quest. We come at the behest of Yoshuro of Shinguo to seek guidance from your Grace," Percival said, taking the lead with a kneel as they reached the King. Roland followed suit, with the other Knights presumably following as well. Proper manners in the presence of royalty were needed to guarantee any degree of success.

King Calason rose from his seat, grasping his bastard sword as he descended down the stairs to meet them. Percival raised his head ever so slightly to meet Calason's eyes for a brief moment. The King moved to his head to the guards around him. With a single swing of his hand, the Knights of Ekilore were surrounded, grasped tightly in the powerful arms of King Calason's elite guard. Grunts of resistance were overcome from the silence of strength. "I don't know any Yoshuro of Shingou. Take them to the dungeons."

"But your grace, this is Auden and Tamor of Raelus. Shouldn't we-"

"Did I stutter? Take. Them. Away."
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Old June 5th, 2013, 07:41 PM
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Varian Sigmind- Garius, Palaven



To those that were close enough to catch Anlem's reply, there were gasps, murmurs, and looks of absolute shock as the citizenry eyed the group with disbelief and growing animosity. Varian himself, fully aware of the extreme reputation of Palaven, place a palm upon his face and shook his head. He knew this wasn't going to end well. The Theocracy of Palaven treated all other religions in a heretical manner, but perhaps the one 'religion', (or more suitably referred to as a cult) which it looked upon most lividly was the so-called Anguin. If there were a less favorable retort to have been slung the way of the Palvanese citizen, Varian couldn't think of it.

"You..." The man began, Varian noticing his face visibly turn red, and his expression change from the bewilderment of the guard's reply to the passionate abhorrence after the dwarf's insult. "How dare you..you...blasphemous HEATHEN!" He cried, as he swung aside his ornamental cloak to reveal a sword inside of its hilt around a silver belt on his waist. He unsheathed the blade immediately, enclosing his arms around the hilt of the sword and bringing it above his head in a preparatory stance to attack, his sights set on the dwarf. "Yours is a pestilential life. Your very breaths you take are poison! It shall be my pleasure to perform the duty of God and purge your existence from the face of the earth!" He ran forward without any visible concern for the guards which stood nearby. His sights were set upon ending the life of he who had insulted.

Yet the head guard who he had spoken to earlier, as well as three other Palvanese soldiers, grabbed the man, two of them holding his arms and bringing down the sword before he could swing it, while the other two held him back by his shoulders. "Unhand me!" He commanded. "He is a heathen who has insulted myself, the Voice, the One, and all of Palaven with his corrupted tongue. As by the laws of God, I am in my right to end his life!" He struggled to get passed the guards which held onto him, trying to reach over them and grab onto Anlem.

"We cannot allow you to bring them to harm, no matter that which they have said. The Voice demands it!" The head guard yelled, holding the man back. The man still struggled to break free, but he eyed the guard now. "Why does the divine Voice allow such infidels to breathe?"

"Do you dare question his decisions?" The guards asked the man back, in quite a hostile tone. The man, sensing that he would not get his blood then, back off, straightening his outfit and sheathing his sword. He glared with hate-filled eyes at the dwarf as he began to wander off, but not before giving some parting words to him.

"My name is Arnold of House Tyrann. Remember that name, and me, for they will eclipse your final thoughts before your demise in this world, and your eternal damnation in Infernum shall begin." With those final words, he departed. Varian snorted, looking back at the guards as they proceeded back to the head of the group to continue leading them onward. He noticed the guards glare from behind their white helmets at the group, particularly Anlem. He wondered if they were not under orders from the Voice, if they would have protected them like that.

"Looks like you're making friends," Varian said to the dwarf. He looked back at the Palvanese citizen once more, who cursed quietly to himself, then proceeded to follow the guards. "I'd say we best watch what we say here." He declared to the other mercenaries.

The rest of their venture through the beautiful streets of Garius were a bit less eventful, though much of the citizenry continued to glance at them with shock and animosity, though none had approached them again like the other man did prior. Eventually, the guards came to a halt in front of what Varian presumed was our destination. Without a doubt, it was the largest structure in Garius, a tower of contrast. On one hand, it boasted secure gates of a few meters in height, with dozens of guards stationed all across, both on the exterior and interior of the grounds. It appeared as one of the more impregnable structures, a defensive bastion of military might. However, as Varian and the others would approach closer, they also noticed intricate designs across the structure. Words were inscribed upon the walls, words Varian assumed came from the holy book of their religion. There were also statues of ivory and marble across the exterior of the tower, many appearing to be figures of prominence, importance, or divinity. "Welcome to the Tower of Absolution, infidels, headquarters of the illustrious Palvanese Senate. If you would follow me inside, the noble head of the Senate would like to speak with you briefly."

Varian followed the guard inside, the others who were also leading them remained outside of the tower, taking posts nearby. He noticed as they talked among themselves, and judging by their constant critical eyes in their direction, he assumed they were the main topic at hand. Inside of the Tower, Varian first noticed the distinct smell of candles burning, incense. It was a distinct smell, something you would expect more out of a church than an administrative building. Yet as he gazed more into the larger room they found themselves in, he almost felt like he was in a church instead. Murals hung from the walls, the depictions all of some spiritual or religious manner. They were beautiful, hanging through golden frames and kept in select areas of other tapestries as to enhance their artistry. There was also stained glass upon each window, with figures painted across them in bright, opalescent colors. Man appeared as a man, wearing a simple white robe with few designs upon it. There were many different pictures of men in such robes, but few were the same. If Varian had to guess, these were possibly depictions of the past Voices of Palaven, as only they would be the subject of such devout art.

"Welcome!" A voice echoed behind them, being carried into the large room and bouncing across. The call came from an older man, perhaps in his 60's as could be seen by the intense grayness of his hair, what little was left of it, as his was becoming noticeably thinner on the top. His eyes were bright green, appearing both affectionate and stern, and this was only heightened by his wrinkly smile. He had a rather large nose, fairly thing in width but protruding quite a bit. His clothing was extravagant, as many in Palaven appeared to be. He wore white robes, with jewels and decorations of gold and silver all embedded into the outfit. As he came to a halt a few paces before the group, he nodded to the guard, his sign to be dismissed from the area, who bowed before the man, and walked to the edge of the room, where Varian noticed other guard stationed, no less than a dozen on each side of the large room.

"Merek Culliver," The decorated man said with a slight nod of the head. "I am Head of the Palvanese Senate, the Will of the Voice of the One. Welcome to the Tower of Absolution!" He said merrily, keeping his gaze for the most part on Varian, who stood at the head of the group. In an attempt to appear polite (and not say anything that might piss the man off), he returned the nod of the head.

"Varian Sigmund." He replied, trying to keep it as brief as he could as to not risk somehow accidentally insulting the man.

"I must apologize ahead of time. Unfortunately, the Voice, blessed be He, shall be unable to meet with you today as was previously scheduled. He has asked that you spend the remainder of the day in the Tower of Absolution, where you will dine and sleep. It must be quite an honor for you. Infidels have not ever stayed inside the Tower." He placed an arm on his chin, looking over at the side of the wall as he thought. "In fact, I do believe this is the first that infidels have been allowed free passage throughout the city. Most unusual."

He smiled at them, this time looking over each one of them for a few moments before gazing toward the next mercenaries. As his eyes passed over Alys, however, he did a double take, and then squinted at her, scrutinizing her for a moment. His eyes suddenly became wide. "By the One's Grace...Victoria?! Victoria Taimor?" Varian turned to look at Alys, cocking an eyebrow at her. He had heard the last name of Taimor before. Taimor was the ruling House of the Golden Isles. Which would have made Alys a noblewoman.

"I hardly recognized you in those clothes. What on Aerion are you doing here? With these...well, mercenaries. Why are you-" He was suddenly cut off, as a younger man in a church-like robe walked up to Merek and whispered into his ear. "I see..." He said to himself, before returning his attention to the mercenaries. "Well, the life of a statesman is a busy one, I'm afraid. I must attend a meeting with my fellow senate members." He brought an arm up, motioning for the same guard to approach once more. "Your chambers are through the doors to the right." He said, motioning the an adjacent door. "Dinner will be served in the Grand Ballroom one the second level. You shall be allowed free reign throughout the tower to anywhere that does not have a guard stationed at the door. I...highly recommend that you remain inside the Tower for the duration of your stay tonight. The people of Garius are not quite used to infidels such as yourselves. However, should you decided to venture out, I insist that an armed escort shall accompany you to...protect you. I shall see you hopefully at dinner, though my schedule may turn out to be busier than I imagine. In such a case, I shall see you before your trip to the Gracious Voice in the Grand Cathedral tomorrow. The One light your path." He ended, leaving the group standing in the middle of the large room inside the tower, as he hurriedly walked away. A sudden final thought must have crossed his mind, as he turned back to say parting words to the Highman.

"You travel with very peculiar companions, Ser Varian." He smiled, gazing first upon Alys, then turning his gaze towards Anlem, to which his smile turned into a frown. Without another word, Merek went about his duties, leaving the mercenaries to be led by the guard to their quarters.
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Last edited by SV; June 5th, 2013 at 08:04 PM.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 01:36 AM
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Anlem Taeger-- Tower of Absolution

Very quickly it seemed, Anlem would learn just exactly how great the reflexes of Palaven nobles were. He seemed as though his face went from white to read in an instant and just as quickly he was able to reveal his formidable (and beautifully made) sword. After receiving some very direct insults, which referred to his poisonous and pestilent body, the noble Follower came to attack him! Anlem may have made a move to defend himself if he didn't rely so heavily on his trust of the fabled piousness of these very people. And, with no enthusiasm to betray him, the guardsmen did exactly as he suspected they would and he was left even without dust on his skin. As the nobleman struggled with what could easily be said was complete disagreement with Anlem's ability to breathe, he took in the moment completely. He was unable to write the moment down since he had no surface to place his ink and dip his pen and it was obvious now he would be forced to recount the events later.

Finally calmed, the nobleman turned to leave them, but before he departed he gave Anlem his final words. "My name is Arnold of House Tyrann," he said. "Remember that name, and me, for they will eclipse your final thoughts before your demise in this world, and your eternal damnation in Infernum shall begin."

Anlem smiled at Arnold's parting words and with the enthusiasm of a friend parting friends he gave his own. "May you burn in Infernum!" He called back. An insult anywhere, but the Anguin culture where it was instead polite words of departure.

"Looks like you're making friends," Varian said to Anlem and he nodded in wholehearted agreement. "I'd say we best watch what we say here." Varian declared to the other mercenaries as they followed the guards.

"Oh please," Anlem said. "Don't you see these fine streets? The One walks with us here!" Now, onward! Their walk through the rest of Garius was indeed beautiful but much less fun than the previous moments had been. The citizens looked at them with the same shock as they had before. In time they all came to a halt at their destination. Anlem did not even need to be told what this building was, he already know. He could recall descriptions of the tower, the tall, silver gates, it's intricate carvings, the ivory and marble statues, and of course, the legions of guards. The Tower of Absolution, home of the Voice. They were finally here. Inside, they were greeted by the smell of incense, a smell which made Anlem smile. As they did outside, the members of the Tower stared at the group and whispered amongst themselves, flashing their critical eyes. The church-like building was more than Anlem expected, and as he looked at it, he could not understand why he would expect anything less. The followers of the One may have tended to be extreme, but they were superb architects and artists. Each picture of passed Voices were made with extreme detail. It showed them all as one of the true divine and it was hard to question their holiness from the portrait, even by the eyes of a hard critic. As well as portraits, the Tower's interior was decorated with stunning murals, all of which displayed rich honor to the power of the One and his gracious power as well as the powers of the Voice himself. Yet, it made no hesitation to show also the consequences of any action against these two entities. It made Anlem wonder for a moment how closely the One was really walking with him and if it were even in the same direction. His thoughts, however, were interrupted by a greeting from behind them.

"Welcome!" The voice echoed, its greeting sounding more like a bellow as the noise bounced on the holy walls. The owner voice was an older man who looked to be possibly in his sixties. His hair was gray and thinned and his face was wrinkled from his age. His bright green eyes showed gentleness and the pureness of his greeting, but also the capability of a stern hand. He was clad in white robes adorned embedded jewels, gold, and silver. He stopped a few paces from them and dismissed the guards before addressing them further. "Merek Culliver," The decorated man said in introduction. "I am Head of the Palvanese Senate, the Will of the Voice of the One. Welcome to the Tower of Absolution!" He said merrily. The Senator Merek spoke more to Varian (as he was at the head of the group) and being the receiver of these greetings, Varian nodded his head and introduced himself in place of the others. "I must apologize ahead of time," the Senator continued. "Unfortunately, the Voice, blessed be He, shall be unable to meet with you today as was previously scheduled. He has asked that you spend the remainder of the day in the Tower of Absolution, where you will dine and sleep. It must be quite an honor for you. Infidels have not ever stayed inside the Tower." He placed an arm on his chin, looking over at the side of the wall as he thought. "In fact, I do believe this is the first that infidels have been allowed free passage throughout the city. Most unusual."

Anlem thought he'd feel honored with information like that, and he was! If only he had arrived in this place with a better view of it, maybe the start would have begun as nicely as the end seemed to be. The Senator looked over the each other them and when his eyes landed on Alys (twice, actually). Instead of calling her by the name they all knew her as, he called her Victoria, Victoria Taimor to be exact. Anlem recognized that name, as most would, and didn't leave Varian as the only one to take a look at her. If what the Senator said was true, then she was much more important than originally thought. Anlem turned his head back to the Senator as he went on about how odd it was to see Aly-- Victoria here (and with them of all people). He was cut off when a young man whispered in his ear and informed them that it was time for him to depart.

"Your chambers are through the doors to the right." He said after calling for a guard and motioning to an adjacent door. "Dinner will be served in the Grand Ballroom one the second level. You shall be allowed free reign throughout the tower to anywhere that does not have a guard stationed at the door. I...highly recommend that you remain inside the Tower for the duration of your stay tonight. The people of Garius are not quite used to infidels such as yourselves. However, should you decided to venture out, I insist that an armed escort shall accompany you to...protect you. I shall see you hopefully at dinner, though my schedule may turn out to be busier than I imagine. In such a case, I shall see you before your trip to the Gracious Voice in the Grand Cathedral tomorrow. The One light your path." When he finished the Senator turned away and began to leave, but before he could properly get away he stopped and turned back to Varian. "You travel with very peculiar companions, Ser Varian." He smiled, gazing first upon Victoria, then turning his gaze towards Anlem, to which his smile turned into a frown. Without another word, Merek went about his duties, leaving the mercenaries to be led by the guard to their quarters.

"News travels fast around here, doesn't it?" Anlem commented with a smile as they followed the guards. He was eager to know if their rooms had a desk so he could get to writing, but the idea of being able to wander the halls of the Tower was just, if not more, exciting. "I'm not sure whether I should end my day now in our quarters, or travel these magnificent hallways and see more. I won't doubt it's worthwhile. Why, we've only been here a few short moments and it seems we've already learned so much." He turned his head to Victoria, an enthusiastic smile played on his face. "Wouldn't you agree?"
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Old June 18th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Percival and Roland Grey- Castle Dungeon,Eldur, Raelus



"How dare he?" Roland was heard saying from within the darkness of his own cell. He paced back and forth, livid from the actions of the Burning King. He kicked over the one stool that occupied his small cell, and continued pacing. "Imbecile! Ignoramus!" Roland cursed, as he continued to fume. "I hope the Nine plagues him with misfortune for as long as he shall live! Never have I had to endure this sort of poor treatment in my life! I swear to all the Nine hold holy that should I escape from here, I shall slit his throat!"

"I am sure he has his reasons," Percival said, sitting on his uncomfortable bed in the adjacent cell. "So I would hold your tongue and quit the dramatics. Unless you want him to have a reason to keep us locked up in here even longer." Percival leaned against the wall and tried to come up with a logical explanation for the actions of King Calason, only to remember something that would possibly lighten the mood. Or at least piss off Roland. "That and I highly doubt the Nine will plague him. They don't practice religion in Raelus. Remember?"

After holding a glare at his brother for a few moments, Roland finally gave up and sat down on his hard bed. He let out a deep sigh. "I should like to think the Nine's will would reach even the unholiest of places, when we need them most..." He thought on this for a moment, sitting in silence and staring at the dirty floor of his cell. He spoke up again. "I just do not understand why. We have Raelussians with us, and that fool of a King still locks us up. We are not peddlars off the streets. We are Knights! And surely he would have heard of our exploits in Shinguo."

"Maybe Shinguo is the problem. It seems Yoshuro was misleading. Or at least put too much faith in his relationship with the King. And for that, King Calason doesn't trust us. Perhaps the man is just paranoid," Percival said, matter of factly. It wouldn't be too far from the truth, at least Percival believed so. After all, Raelus appeared to be on constant watch, much like most of Bludrock. Roland's behavior was a bit jarring considering that. He should be used to such treatment.

"Perhaps. Or his walls not only keep the hordes out, but perhaps they also keep the insanity inside." Roland crossed his arms and looked up at the ceiling of the cell, which had not much of a different from the ground below. "It is times like these that I would wish that all the people of Aerion embraced one simple culture, the Ethorian way. Cultural diversity can be so...troublesome sometimes."

"That is what we call ignorance, brother. Attitudes like that are what get us in situations like this. You will do well to realize that," Percival found himself disliking his brother more and more as this conversation went on, wanting nothing more than something to intervene and end the conversation.

The opening and close of a steel door signified the answer to Percival's prayer. Two guards, fully encased in black chainmail with the sigil of Raelus on their chest, approached the cells of Auden and Tamor. "You have been summoned by the great King Calason. You will be escorted by us." With their orders announced, they opened the doors, locked the two in chains (for reasons unknown) and shuffled out of the dungeon in a matter of minutes.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 01:11 AM
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Varian Sigmund- Tower of Absolution, Garius, Palaven



Varian had split from the other mercenaries in his company as he had began to walk around the many different levels of the Tower of Absolution. He wondered for moments at a time if it was wise to leave them alone, particularly Cass, who was much like a child when it came to matters of subtlety. And Varian knew enough to understand that they had to be careful what was said in this country. From matters of culture to matters of wars, and of course, religion, any negatively or poorly phrased utterance could result in mingled body parts or the removal of such extremities altogether, something he wasn't very motivated to see happen.

So, for most of the evening, Varian did his best to keep out of trouble from the Palvanese, though guards on every level continued to glare at him uneasily. It was a very edgy situation in which he found himself. On one hand, most of the Palvanese had shown nothing but courtesy and decorum towards them, although there was the occasional glare and mumble. On the other, everything that they seemed to be doing was hidden behind some sort of double meaning. They would show politeness, but it seems the people here may have a deeper culture of brutality than they let on. At least, that was what the Highman thought as he wandered. Of course as a mercenary, Varian tended to not care about the disposition of his clients. That is, unless it somehow threatened himself or his group. The question was: did it?

Varian was now on one of the higher levels of the tower, looking across all the majestic wonders which lay inside the decorated building. He was not much of an appreciator of art, yet even he had to admit that the Palvanese had some pretty fancy artifacts inside. He was drawn to a large window, decorated with white hold, with glass so clear the it almost didn't look like there was any to begin with. A few guards talked at the side of the room to themselves while simultaneously watching the Highman, as Varian approached closer to the window, and looking out into the city. It was, perhaps to a more cultivated man, a spectacular view of the city. A city made of the finest material, with noticeable points sticking out from all around the city, these taller structures being mostly churches. The largest and perhaps most beautiful structure which he had spotted was a large domed building, which he was certain was the Cathedral he had heard about, where the Voice of the One resided. Directly below him, just outside the gates of the tower, he noticed a mob of citizens gathered around a raised platform, with a few men on top of it. As he leaned closer to the window, he noticed this as a sight he had seen throughout his travels all too often, for rarely, no matter the country he visited, do they change. It was an execution.

Curious, Varian opened the window, causing the guards to stir from their conversation and be on alert, though they did nothing yet as they watched him closely. He poked out his upper half of his body from the windows, and watched in silence. Being so high up in the tower, he was unable to hear what was said, and the considerably loud yelling of the crowd didn't help. The man who was to be convicted appeared to be considerably damaged even before his execution, which made Varian presume he was most likely tortured before this. Back inside the tower, one of the guards made a pass closer to Varian, to observe the mercenary in a closer fashion. Varian payed him no mind, and continued to look on to the execution. After his presumed last rites were said, the man was laid upon a bench by his head. A second, larger man (or at least he appeared larger to where Varian was viewing from) came up to the criminal, and raised his axe. A moment later, a swift and resounded swipe removed the head off of the man, and it rolled to the edge of the platform. What happened next was something he was expecting, yet was at the same time also surprising. The crowd that had gathered to witness the execution would cheer. It was expected by Varian, because every execution he attended, that was the same reaction. Yet on the other hand, a part of him wondered if there really was something more majestic about Palaven, and in particular, Garius. In the end, he confirmed what he already knew. Beyond whatever their governments preach and their lords dictate, and beyond whatever banner is raised, in every country people were still just...people.

One of the guards now stood directly behind Varian, also looking down and observing that which the mercenary was observing. The Highman noticed this, and decided to test the water and see how the man would react to being spoken to. “You wouldn't happen to know what the man did, do you?” Varian asked, looking the soldier in the eye from behind his shining, white armor. He stiffened at this question, and seemed to debate whether or not he should answer him, probably because they were all given instructions to avoid doing so. In the end, he decided to answer.

“The man is Raelussian.” The guard replied. Varian eyed the man as he expected him to continue on with his explanation, but no such one was given. He eventually cocked and eyebrow and ushered him on. “And?” He asked.

“And, that is it. Raelus is the Kingdom of Infernum, a country doomed to burn eternally. We are instructed by His Holiness and the One to carry out judgment upon them wherever they may be.” The guard turned his gaze down at the execution site. “This infidel was caught crossing our border, and was taken to Garius to be purged of his wickedness.”

“Hmph,” Varian replied, not saying anything beyond that. The guard glared at Varian as he proceeded on, getting everything he wanted out of the conversation. Like the rumors suggested, the people of Palaven were as fanatical as they got. Their culture was so integrated with their religion that foreigners would risk insulting them, sometimes to a great degree, even from small talk in passing conversations. He learned that they could be brutal, yet at the same time loyal, civil and well-mannered. It was like a rose covered in thorns, poison in a rare bottle of liquor. That was how he saw Palaven, and the longer they would stay here, the longer they might be forced to take a drink.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 07:02 AM
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>> AVA
>> Garrius, Palaven

On the trip to Palaven, Ava had stuck to Alys like glue, trading stories and trying to learn what she could from her new friend. It as easy to see from an onlooker that both girls had their secrets, carefully avoiding subjects, though neither noticed, especially Ava, who was far more concerned with keeping her own past a secret than learning Alys'. Nem however, paid no attention to her master, sleeping most of the time like the big puppy he was.

Palaven itself though, was a beautiful city and was a large scenic change from the dirty streets of Dalenham. It was clean, white and most of all, perfect. This truely felt like a city of God, though being agnostic herself (she took her mother's stories of the Elven faith of the Nine and Tella as things to learn upon. Despite her family being royal, she never remembered participating in particularly religious activities) she felt out of place as others greeted eachother with phrases that seemed rather religious and holy.

The guards escorting them seemed to treat them like outsiders, referring to the "Dragons of Dalenham" as infidels, though this seemed like a normal thing, using the word several times in casual conversation. She was surprised the guards had not objected to Ava's direwolf companion, though the citizens of Garrius seemed much more interested, though Ava and Nem did their best to ignore them. Again, she was taken aback when the guard suggested burning the group of mercenaries. She kept her mouth shut though, trusting Varian and their contractor. It didn't matter that she didn't reply with banter; it was unlikely that these 'guards' could catch Ava, even with an army with Nem by her side.

Not everyone had the same idea as Avangeline, newbie Anlem speaking up to do the worst thing: say that he was part of something that wasn't this city of God.

"Very polite of you all, but your efforts would have been futile if you tried. Aren't you aware that Anguin can't burn?" he said. Avangeline wasn't sure if he was joking or purposely trying to stir up trouble, but Varian's face palm was well deserved, followed by the screaming of one of the guards. Nem stood ready by his master's side, but stepped back on cue when Avangeline pushed him back with her right hand. The guard himself was held back, but swore vengence on Anlem. For saying one statement? Sheesh, people here were touchy.

"I'd say we best watch what we say here," Varian told them, though Avangeline thought that was obvious.

They continued on with their tour, Ava admiring the view, until they reached what seemed like the tallest building in the city and much felt like a tower of importance. It was beautiful, but heavily guarded. It reminded her of Avangeline's home. Her old home. A castle protected by guards. Though this castle was much more intricate than any of her rooms, let alone the outside walls.

"Welcome to the Tower of Absolution, infidels, headquarters of the illustrious Palvanese Senate. If you would follow me inside, the noble head of the Senate would like to speak with you briefly."

Avangeline followed Varian, admiring the paintings and making sure Nem kept quite close to her. She wasn't sure what would happen if anything was touched, let alone knocked over by accident. He whined a little, unsettled by the lack of freedom he was recieving but it was of upmost importance that they were trusted by these people if they every wanted to be paid.

"Welcome!" a voice welcomed (obviously) them, introducing himself as 'Merek Culliver' and by the title he gave, seemed rather important. He looked friendly enough and his smile comforted Avangeline and Nem both. Avangeline couldn't help admiring his extravagant outfit, wishing she had one herself. Of course, it would only be something she wore once and then never touched again. Mercenaries really couldn't afford useless items. Varian introduced himself, then Culliver went on to state how they were incredibly lucky, being allowed into the Tower. Being allowed into the City. Being allowed to do anything. Then, something rather peculiar happened.

"By the One's Grace...Victoria?! Victoria Taimor?" Culliver seemed rather stunned. Who? Avangeline followed his eyes to the woman standing next to her, Alys. Who was Victoria Taimor? Being one who knew no other nation's politics but her own, Miracyia's and Eveamoor's, Avangeline didn't recognise the name immediately, though 'Taimor' rang a bell (but not enough to trigger a memory. House Taimor? Was that something she had heard of?). Varian seemed rather surprised but the older man's shock was cut short as he was suddenly whisked away, called by his duties. He ended their brief conversation with their sleeping quarters, dinner and if they wanted to leave the tower. Avangeline for one was hungry and she could tell Nem needed something too, but something told her the tension from Alys in the room meant that she couldn't get away too quickly. Anlem said something profound, to somewhat ease that tension, but Avangeline bluntly cut it with a knife of naivety.

"Who's Victoria Taimor?"
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  #121    
Old July 1st, 2013, 03:45 PM
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Tamor Bellfiend
Eldur, Raelus
Theme Song: Hear Me

For Kinath to bestow upon them some luck, a mere chance, to catch His Grace in a pleasing mood it would certainly take all the prayers Tamor could muster in those last few steps toward the castle door. The inside of the castle was everything it was rumored to be and more, though none of it interest Tamor in the least. It was more important, crucial, to keep her eyes focused on the ground below her feet, as she felt it might slip away at any moment. Letting Percival and/or Roland to deal with the guards instead of the Raelussians was most likely the better option in the long run. Accidental slippage referring to The Nine was bound to occur, references laced the sentences she formed and it was hard not to refer to something so dear, something so much apart of her. As the doors flung open and the chamber of the king opened Tamor managed a single prayer and a call for safety. His Grace's hair had grayed even more since the last time she laid her eyes on him, not that it was surprising. His and Her Majesty were as regal and poised as Gods, simply stunning.

It wasn't easy hearing Percival raddle on, Tamor dreaded the outcome of this event, and luck wasn't on their side. His Grace absorbed the words of the younger brother and had quickly decided he wanted nothing to do with them, and called for his guards to step forward. They were efficient and fast, it was to be expected out of the guards that protected the Burning King. Seized she was, Tamor didn't know what to do with the strong hands that tightly gripped her. Niolas flew from his position on instinct and only landed on Tamor's shoulder after everything had settled. "Auden," is what she wanted to shout, no, scream to Astrum, but the words died a silent death on her tongue. Instead she peacefully resigned like the rest of the knights eventually did. Disrespect would only backfire on them in the end, as would the Burning King if they weren't careful in the way they responded.

To end up in the dungeons was something one wanted to avoid, rarely did those that entered leave as intact as they were when they came. To keep her wits about her Tamor mouthed the hymns of The Nine, there was a rational reasoning behind the king's actions, and she just had to find it. Had Percival had a twist of the tongue, arranged his words in a way that might displease His Grace? Did each of them bow before him? There were so many factors, but none came together as easily as a puzzle might. The looks on the faces of the other knights were a mixture, angry, frustration, collected, and one was as stoic as ever. What were they to do now, rot in a filthy dungeon all night? No, His Grace was stern but not cruel, his ways were effective not wasteful.

Sitting idly was clearly something Roland was not fond of Tamor noticed as he walked around in his cell spouting off insults, a dangerous thing to do even in the dungeons. A stirring kicked up inside Tamor, his words were poison that ate away at her ever-so-calm demeanor. The strength it took to not say a word was almost unbreakable until his last few sentences came about. All her uncomfortableness about returning home and feelings for Raelus was put aside, an outsider had ridiculed her country like a savage ravaged a village.

"You Ser Knight are out of line with your outrageous ramblings and suggestions. The Ethorian Way you say, might I remind you this is the land who can't even decide who shall sit on their precious throne. You bicker and fight like little children over a precious slab of iron, and you want us to follow your ways? A simple culture you say? As if you lot can have anything simple but your minds. To follow such a simple way would be more than foolish, it would be a mockery of our way, the way we earned to have." The ways trickled out faster and faster as Tamor went on, no longer did she care for Roland but for her country and its monarch. She jabbed her finger toward Roland and with every word she spoke she grew in confidence and in anger. Small passing thoughts became structured sentences shouted at the other knight aiming to burn through his statements. The cell immediately felt smaller than it was the way she moved about in it all while keep her eyes trained on man who had spoken against her King and country. Then she raddled on, "Your lands might be vast but they are full of fools, fools such as yourself. You see yourself as something of honor, but all I see is a knight who doesn't know defeat and when to bite his tongue. I swear to you by Tella's name knight that you should hold that tongue of yours before you find it charred."

The steel doors that kept them locked in the dungeons opened and two guards approached, only for Auden and herself, "You have been summoned by the great King Calason. You will be escorted by us." They spoke and put them in shackles, it was clear what they were to Tamor based on how they were forged. Her guard eyed Niolas carefully like he was deciding if he could somehow work chaining the bird as well. Though, she had only heard of these from her mother, being placed in them had an indescribable feeling to it, almost as if a part of her was sudden... missing.

More surprisingly than that was the announcement itself, His Grace summoned Tamor, why? It was clear that he had only taken the Raelussians, oh how she prayed to the Gods to keep her safe. Seeing King Calason was one thing, but if she were to speak to him she wouldn't know how to go about that. The only thought that mortified her most was if her grandfather was in attendance as well. She had never spoke of a word of her departure to him, or her mother, but chances are neither of them noticed. To force shame upon her family would be unacceptable in both their eyes and that's exactly what this was. Once more Tamor found herself outside the king's room, how this resulted The Nine wouldn't even know.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 11:52 PM
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Victoria "Alys" Taimor and Varian Sigmund - Garius, Palaven


Phantom pain still racked her body as Alys made her way over to the window that Varian leaned over. She had recovered greatly since leaving Dalenham, mostly due to her eagerness to make it to Palaven and onto Raelus. For now, she was only biding her time.

"I hope this doesn't change anything," Alys mentioned to Varian with regards to the revelation of her identity, leaning out the window next to him, "but then again, hope is just an illusion..." an illusion she was trying to grasp at the moment.

Varian eyed Alys as she approached her and spoke to him. Without having to tell him, he knew immediately that she referred to the big reveal that happened earlier that day. It came as a surprise to him that she was of noble birth, but they all had their secrets, Varian included. He sighed, and looked out the window into the city below. "As long as you can keep firing your bow, I could care less about the rest." He turned his gaze from the window to Alys. 'We all have baggage. Some private, some not as much. In the end, I suppose it doesn't matter. I think the less people in our profession know about each other, the better things would work out." He thought for a moment, then spoke once more. "It's not in my nature to pry. Your business is your own, but I am curious why a noble-born chose this life."

"Hah," she laughed at his idea that she had chosen this life, Alys new fully well that one did not choose the paths they walked in life, rather life put them on that path for a reason. And all paths eventually lead to Infernum. "The Burning King stole my parents from me several years back, I just couldn't stand being around my family. Ever since then, I vowed that I would walk the path given to me by the Gods, become stronger, and steal the frozen heart of the Burning King from him."

Alys felt the dormant emotions stir within her, like twin dragons curling around her stomach, wanting to erupt forth. She clenched her fist harder, trying to fight back the tears in her eyes as she remembered the message sent for them. The last couple of years she had spent training, fighting and growing stronger had culminated in the moment she stepped off the boat onto the Island.

"Ah...I see..." He exhaled deeply, as she finally revealed the purpose of her mercenary life. It would make sense, as the Taimor house hailed from the Golden Isles, and there was much activity with Raelus through the Trader's Waters. Varian was silent for a while, debating on what he should say next. On one hand, he himself had personal experience with revenge. His father had died by an orc raiding party, and if he would have pursued them at that point and time, so many things would have been different today. Maybe, he might not even have been alive. On the other hand, he had no business getting into other's affairs. That was the mercenary code. And it seemed he was about to break it.

"Listen, I'm the last one to be doing this, but if you want my opinion, just drop it. The Burning King is in one of the most fortified castles in Aerion. You'd need an army to crack through those walls, and even that might not be enough. It's a fool's path."

"How can I drop the fact that He killed my parents, burnt them to the bottom of the ocean leaving me effectively an orphan!" Alys was starting to get roiled up, anger pulsing through her veins as she clenched her fists tighter, "he needs to pay for what he did, Gods help me I'll make that happen or die trying!"

Varian sighed. He understood what drove Alys. It made sense. When someone close to them was slain, some sort of retribution is expected. It made Varian briefly wonder why he didn't do the same for his father. Perhaps they weren't as close as he imagined. Either way, he knew he was a better man for not pursuing revenge. He wanted Alys to get that same chance. "You can drop it for two reasons. One, they're dead, and nothing you can do will bring them back. Two, you're alive, and you can actually still make something of your life." Varian looked down at the city below through the window. The body of the criminal was already being cleared away from the execution grounds.

"If I could bring them back, I would in a heartbeat, but there's nothing I can do about that now. What I can do is take from the man what he took from them." She looked to the horizon, seeing the bright smiles of her parents reflected in the light of the setting sun. All she ever wanted to do was make them proud, make them happy to have her as a child and there was no doubt in her mind that she could do that now, "I have made something of my life, I gave it all up long ago to become the person I am now that will take down the Burning King once and for all." Alys was adamant this was the path she wanted to walk, in her eyes, she could see nothing but the path she now walked.

The Highman shook his head at her response, a slight grunt escaping his mouth. "People have always died in the name of those long dead." He said, partially to himself and partially to Alys. He turned to her. "You'll die. You know that, right? If it was simple stroll to the castle of Eldur and knocking on the front gates of the throne, and slaying the man, you'd have my blessing. But Gods damn it, Alys, there's no way you'd make it. Why waste your life? You've got a place among us now. You're good with a bow. We can use you. And if we get the jobs done, we can live like kings!"

"You don't understand! I know I'll die, I accepted that long ago when I walked out of the gates of Rowanion. I'll never be able to fully live my life without having him having lied dead at my feet. I don't want to, I can't live like a King with his still alive, reminding me of the one reason my parents now rest at the bottom of the ocean!" She was starting to get frustrated with Varian, he didn't know how she felt, he didn't know what she was going through, he was just trying to use her like everyone else in goddamned Aerion. She slapped the side of her clenched fist against the marble wall, biting back the pain that now stung her draw hand.

She took a deep breathe in, soaking the last of the sunlight that fell upon the city. "Everyone has their paths to walk in life, my path leads me to the Burning King. Whether I make it or not is for the Gods to decide."

Varian was beginning to see that she had long ago made up her mind about this. It didn't seem like anything he would say could change her mind. "Gods damn this," Varian cursed. "Ullur calm our anger..." He muttered under his breath. "Fine then. You want this? I won't stop you. But at least think about it as we do this job. At least do that for me."

"I'll do it. This is the last job I work for you guys. I finish it, and I'm heading to Raelus. No emotions, no arguement, you let me part ways so I can do what I must." Alys turned her back, feeling the last light heat up her spine, "that's the least you can do for me."

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Old July 5th, 2013, 09:56 PM
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Nature: Relaxed

Varian Sigmund, Tower of Absolution, Garius, Palaven



The remainder of the day Varian spent wandering the tower. He debated going outside and seeing the city, but ultimately decided against it, as he didn't wish to somehow cause an incident that would further inflame the local citizens. He figured it would be best instead to remain locked up for the moment, and await the day's passing, so that they would be able to get on with their meeting with the Voice tomorrow, and figure out where the shard they needed to collect is. Dinner was eaten in the hall shown earlier in the day. It was spectacular, but as expected, none of the Palvanese Senate, nor any other dignitaries chose to join them. Instead, the Dragons of Dalenham enjoyed a quieter evening among themselves. Varian actually preferred it that way. If a noble of some sort would have to join them, the mercenaries wouldn't be able to act themselves. He preferred to let them act as they please, and say as they please, without the chance of offense to anyone. That was apart of the mercenary life after all: the freedom to do what one wished. Although, now that he thought on it, he wondered if some of the others wouldn't have minded dining with nobles to begin with. Alys, or Victoria, had turned out to be one. He wondered if any of the others were running from such a life as well.

After dinner, Varian departed to his quarters. Each mercenary was given a separate room, lavishly decorated with white, engraved furniture, including a desk with a copy of the One Holy Book on it, and a window with a view of the city. Varian discovered that dignitaries or people of high rank or importance were typically given these rooms when they were scheduled to meet with the Palvanese Senate, or on those rare occasions with the Voice himself. He learned that almost no outsiders have ever gotten the chance to meet with him directly, and even very few citizens have done so. In fact, the Voice would typically only be seen by Merek Culliver or another member of the Senate. Certain religious holidays would have the Voice come out onto the balcony of the Grand Cathedral, but few have seen the man up close. Varian took note of the groundbreaking event that was to take place, then. They, as simple mercenaries, with (presumably) no noble birth or background, would meet the man hailed as the bridge between the mortal world of Aerion and the One God. Even if he didn't believe in their religion (which he didn't), he understood the significance. Though, truth be told, he would have preferred to have given their instructions or assignment from a middle man, as to not risk some insult. The Palvanese were quite easily insulted, it seems, and as he heard, insult, even a minor one, to the Voice was punishable by death.

It was the dead of night. He turned in early to try and get a good night's rest for the following day, and he presumed he would do it easily even with the guards patrolling outside of their rooms. Yet as the hours passed, Varian found himself eventually lying in his comfortable bed, but strangely unable to sleep. He couldn't explain why either. He wasn't uncomfortable with his surroundings. There was no loud noises keeping him up. The weather was mild and the night air which breezed through his open window was cool and fresh. There was no pungent smell in the air like the one which lingered in Dalenham (or all of Eveamoor, really). He couldn't really explain why he couldn't fall asleep. It was almost as if he was forgetting something, as if something was out of place. He didn't know why, but he felt uncomfortable, like a lingering presence haunted over him and cast a dark shadow, preventing him from having a soothing thought. He tried examining the room from his bed, but the darkness kept most of it from him. He saw the silhouettes of furniture placed around, including the desk next to his bed, and a chair near it where he kept his equipment. He drew his eyes to the door, or the shadow of it, and saw it closed. He then looked towards the window, and the little bit of light which seeped through the opening. As he gazed long and hard at the window, a realization began to form in his mind. Below his bedsheets, his hand gripped his axe, anxious to try to make out his thoughts, when he suddenly realized: There was complete silence. No guards patrolled outside of the doors anymore, and probably weren't doing so for quite a while. His gaze continued to remain on the window, to which he realized that he himself had never actually opened that window. The reason he was having trouble sleeping was because the sounds of boots in armor stomping outside of his door, and the cool air blowing on him was actually making him too comfortable, and for that reason, he felt out of place.

Picking all of this up, Varian was quick to react when he heard the creaking of feet at the edge of the room. He shot up instantly, and threw his axe right into the corner of the room. The slicing of flesh was heard, and a loud thud followed. As he approached the side of the room, he could make out the body of a man, dressed in black, lying dead in a pool of his own blood. Varian leaned next to him, and flipped him over, ensuring he was dead. He saw the axe lodged right into his chest. He was covered completely in black, event a hood over to mask his face. He shook his head, removing the axe from the man's chest, and storming over to the chair where his other axe lay by his equipment. Hurriedly, he picked it up and headed out the door. Once in the hallway, he found all of the light were out, except one which still hung at the far end of the long hall, though it was dim and barely gave off any light in the area. There was not a single guard in sight, though Varian was sure he saw at least a dozen patrolling the halls before they all retired to their rooms. Probably paid off, or they're in on it too, he thought, as he ran down the hall and toward the other rooms where the rest of the mercenaries slept. Loud crashes and sounds came from a few of their rooms, causing Varian to pick up speed as he approached them gripping his axes tighter. The Dragons of Dalenham were the target of an assassination attempt.
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  #124    
Old July 10th, 2013, 04:50 PM
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Skymin
the knight
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: london
Age: 21
Nature: Quirky
>> AVA
>> Garrius, Palaven

After nobody had answered Avangeline's question and Varian and Alys (or was it Victoria now?) just disappeared, her and Nem left to go exploring. Of course, she wasn't allowed in a lot of places but she could admire the decor and imagine how much it was all worth. It was too bad everything was so heavily guarded, otherwise Ava could guarantee it would all go into her pocket and she would be out of this place faster than .

Dinner came and went and Avangeline was shown to her room. Again, it was probably one of the most well furnished places she had been since she had left her castle home in Falke, so she appreciated the comfort. And the sheets. Boy did they smell nice. It was a thousand and a half times better than what the merchant had given them. Maybe Avangeline could take the sheets and they wouldn't notice.

After she made a bed out of one of the many blankets on her bed for Nem, she slumped on the bed and it really didn't take long at all before she nodded off to sleep.

* * *

A bark and a lick on her face jolted Avangeline awake and she opened her eyes to see Nem over top of her, looking exceptionally worried. What was going on? Nem only did things like this if something bad was happening.

"What's going on, boy?"

There was a crash from outside and her door swung open. The marauder didn't waste any time and lunged at Avangeline, a glint from the light outside shining on his (or her) dagger, clutched rather menacingly. She rolled out of the way, landing a kick to the face, forcing him back onto the ground. Nem joined in, going for the neck. Avangeline picked up her things as her wolf pulled at his neck, turning her lovely white sheets into a murky red. Aw, now there was no use in taking it now that they were ruined.

She unsheathed her swords and made her way into the hall, greeted by a lack of guards and... someone was running towards her! She armed herself, but a bark from Nem told her it was a friendly. Oh! Varian!

"Varian!" Avangeline said, the Highman looking as tired as ever. "Do you know what's going on? Did a guy try and kill you too??"
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