Knights of Anathaeum A Stone in the Road

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Hector

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Caravan duty. It was... one of the least luxurious jobs a squire could be put on. But, Hector supposed he was glad for the opportunity. It was real work, after all. Far from the safety of the Monastery, and it implied that the Captains were beginning to consider him more capable.

That or they were short on able bodied sworn.

He liked to think it was the former, rather than the latter.

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"Oh, young Hector," Syr Chadwick chimed in, breaking the squire out of his train of thought. "To be so carefree, so full of life and unconcerned with the greater truths of this world." the elf-orc waxed on. "Is truly a wonderous thing,"

Hector blinked, and looked over at his superior. "Um, excuse me, Syr Chadwick?"

The sworn dawnling smiled, wide and warm and knowing. "Come now, man, do not think I do not know, nor that I have not seen!"

Hector was not sure why, but his cheeks flushed red with embarrassment. "I, I haven't a clue what you are reffering too, Syr Chadwick,"

"Ha!" Chadwick laughed. "The longing glances upon the horizon? The deep bouts of silence that overcome you, man!" The sworn's eyes narrowed, and his smile turned greasy. "You have a sweetheart that posses your mind,"

"A, a sweetheart?!" Hector near fell off his saddle, and his rouncey snorted and shook its head in displeasure. "I have no such thing!"

"Come now, man! There is no need to play coy!" The knight sworn waggled his eyebrows. "So far from the Monastery grounds, who would ever hear? Syr Xokuk?! The man nary speaks!"

Hector looked away from Chadwick, brow furrowed. "As if I would even tell you if I did, Chadwick," the young half-elf muttered bellow his breath.

"Ho, daggers then is it?" Chadwick steered his steed closer to Hector's, and all the while the wagons rolled. "Is it Innis?" Chadwick pressed.

"Innis?!" Hector near fell out of his saddle.

It was the sound of pounding hooves that caused Chadwick to straighten up, eyes hard as he snapped his attention to the horizon.

Syr Xokuk charged back, his courser at full gallop, his pole-axe brandished. "Highwaymen to the east!" Syr Xokuk2.jpg

"Syr!" Chadwick stirred his horse forward with a snap of his reigns. "Number?"

Hector gulped hard.

Syr Xokuk's horse neighed as he brought it to halt. "A dozen or so, caught a carriage and its guard unnawares," he raised his axehead to show the way. "Ambush, laid in the woods,"

"Dastards," Chadwick said through gritted teeth. He turned to hector. "Ready, young squire?"

Hector nodded, and brought down the visor of his helmet.

Chadwick smirked, nod in turn, and did the same as he shut his on bascinet. "We will give a good charge, then it would be best to dismount!" Chadwick called out. A grunt set his horse to gallop.

"Ride fast and true, young Hector," Syr Xokuk said with a nod. "To the pain lad,"

"To the pain," the squire replied.

So sallied forth the knights of Anathaeum.


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Ophelia had watched the whole thing unfold, she had been walking now for a good couple of days. Eventually it felt as if her feet were bleeding so, not knowing the dangers the road would hold, the elf decided to climb a tree and take a nap but that idea was short lived.
Only being asleep an hour or so Ophelia was rudely awakened by screams coming from the road just below her, arrow in her quiver she looked down to find some bandits attacking a carraige.
She knew she herself could not take them on alone, instead she would use the height to her advantage.

One of the bandits had dragged a well dressed women out of the carriage, no doubt to have his way with her. Once Ophelias view of him was clear, she fired an arrow. It sailed through the air and caught the man in the neck, he lay lifeless on the floor. Seeing as the other criminals had not yet realized the fate of their friend, Ophelia jumped down from her spot in the tree and before the young woman could protest, the young elf had her hand around her mouth and dragged her into some nearby shrubbery.

She might not be able to save them all, but one life was better then none.
 

Hector

A Heart for Iron
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1656067550002.png
Tovarik wasn't quite fond of bloodshed. But he was fond of going hungry a whole lot less. So, when his boss, Mikel, rounded them up for the job, he kept his complaining to himself. Still, he didn't really like seeing Bobert drag the lady out of the carriage.

Watching the cart driver get shafted was bad enough. And when Gretchen got got... well that wasn't real fun either.

"Bloody hell, you all really should've just surrendered," the young man said to himself.

There was still some fighting in the distance, the guards were well enough armored at the van, but well, maybe they should've kept their best fighters by the carriage? That was just his opinnion though. And who the hell was he to make such suggestions. Just a bloody cut-throat. Well, now that was all he was now wasn't it?

"Oy, Randal," Tovarik called, to his mate, completely missing the shaft that flew through the air and punched through Bobert's neck like a knife through a tomato. "How long you think those guards will last against Lorent?"

Randal, 1656068283995.png a tall and burly kat-kin, grunt. "Don't know, Tov, don't care," he said as he sifted through the fresh corpse on the road. "Why don't you make yourself useful and go help out?" he stopped his rummaging, his ears twitched and he raised his head up and looked out at the distance. Toward the rear of the their little ambush, to the east of the woodland. "Shit," he hissed, and grabbed for the horn at his waist.

Two short blasts trumpeted out.

Interlopers.

One long blast.

Well equipped interlopers.

"Oh, fuck, fuck!" Tovarik cried out as he turned about, ripped his old sword from its sheath, his hands shaking against the hilt.

"Get into the rushes you idiot!" Randal growled as he pulled his sword free and hurried into the overgrowth off the side of the road. The thunder of hooves was growing louder and louder with each moment.

Tovarik hurried off the road, fell into a bush... and found two youngladies there in. "Oh... hello," he said with a stupid smile.

The mounted knights thundered by, straight on to where the fighting was thickest. Three horses, narrowed by the terrain. Chadwick took the lead, his warhammer in hand, kite shield in the other as golden light shimmered about him. A spear struck out at him and its old shaft shattered as it struck a magick barrier which rippled and held. Heavy iron head cracked into the side of one brigand, the heavy beak of a poleaxe cleaved another man near in two. Hector did all he could to keep in his saddle as they charged through.

"Form up, form up!" One of the bandits cried out. An older man with grey hair and a jagged scar across his jaw. "So some pisshead knights showed up! Ain't nothin to it but extra coin, lads!"

The three riders turned about beyond the cluster of brigands. There was still one guard, armored and upon their horse, fighting off a handful of the highwaymen, and with the distraction, they broke free from the mob and their horse galloped toward them.

1656069703896.png"Gods thank you!" The helmed man called out.

"No time for that just yet, good man," Chadwick replied as he watched the men form up. "There is work yet to be done!"

"I count Nine left standing," Syr Xokuk offered coldly.

"Very well, Nine brigands to our stout and mounted four," Chadwick smiled behind his helm. "Should be easy enough,"

"Never say such a thing, Young Chadwick," Xokuk replied.

"Good Sirs, they have captured my lady, we must, we must~"

"Calm, good man, I beg you," Chadwick cut. "We must not rush and do away with out advantage,"
"They, they have four spears," Hector added nervously.

"And I have not the mana to bring about a second shield so soon," Chadwick added.

"Hark!" Xokuk bellowed out. "Know you face the Knights of Anatheaum!"

"Piss off!" One big bellied man cried out.

Xokuk grumbled, but continued. "Surrender now, and your lives shall be spared!"

The guardsman blustered. "Spared???"

"Quiet," Xokuk cut.

"And if we refuse?" The scarred man called back.

"Then you will meet your end here and now!" Chadwick cried out.


"Ready your sorcery, young Hector," Xokuk ordered.

The squire nodded.

 
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Ophelia had kept her hand over the womens mouth and arm across her chest the rest of the ambush, watching everything unfold through their leaf blurred vision.
Ophelia struggled to keep the women still as she thrashed about as if the elf had not just saved her life, "Could you stop? Or do you wish for me to throw you back in with the wolves?"
The young ladies eyes grew wide and she violently shaked her head, making a muffled sound that sounded like "no".

The bushes infront of them ruffled and right at their feet fell a man, "Oh... hello," he said.
Ophelia pulled a displeased face and then extracted a dagger from one of the small pouches around her waist, let go of the women and grabbed the man by the scruff of his tunic, dagger now inches from his neck. "I suggest you either ran back to what ever hole you crawled out of."
Ophelia let go of his shirt and pushed him back with force.

The sound of horns filled the air and voices followed shortly after.
She looked at the man, a sinister smirk crossing her face, "Or, I can hand you over to what ever gentlemen have come to the ladies rescue then?"

"Well up you get,"
Ophelia looked over her shoulder, "You aswell miss."

The trio emerged from the shrubbery, coming face to face with the Knights and their new captures, Ophelia with her dagger digging into the mans side and the ambush survivor following closely behind, a tramatic expression on her face.

"I think you boys missed one." She announced with a smirk.
 

Hector

A Heart for Iron
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Tovarik smiled nervously, his fingers a twitch and wiggle. "Right, right," he said as he rose up to stand with the lady elf who had been hiding in the weeds.

When her voice rang out, he could see old Grivok's head turn, and a palm hide his eyes as he shook his head. Tovarik didn't need to hear it, but felt his name whispered on the wind.

"Great..." The young newly-turned-brigand frowned. "Now I'll never hear the end of it,"

"Alright!" Grivok called out. "Alright now! We'll break and run," he cried out.

A armored glove latched onto his shoulder and pulled him down. "Grivok, what in the gods blue blazes do you think is going to happen when we turn round?"

From the mounted knights, a ripple of fire manifested in the air about their heads. A wash of gold and red and white that shimmered in the daylight. Droplets of flame fell from the long body of burning shimmer, and at its core there was something more.

"Bloody hells," one of the grey beards cursed. "There's a fookin sword there in that fire, Vaden, nothin we lot can do against a bloody flaming magic sword," he cursed beneath his breath.


"You will surrender?!" The loudest one among the mounted lot called out.

Grivok grumbled, still tucked behind his shield in their porcupine formation. "Aye-"

A scream from the rear, a flutter of fabric and then the muffled sounds of panic.

Tovarik's eyes went wide. "Randal!" He shouted back, and felt the prick of the dagger against him. "Wait, Randal, we must,"

"Shut it, Tov!"
The big cat man growled. A long knife out and held against the young lady's throat.

"Hector," Xhokuk grunt. "Take aim with your sorcery, be ready,"

The squire nod. A pit already in his chest from holding the manifestation of fire aloft. He steadied his breathing. The hostage was far. How could he...

"I thought we had agreed upon your surrender!" Chadwick called out,

"We are, Syrs, we are!"

"Lady Valdaria!"
The old guardsman called out.

Grivok bellowed out. "Randal, you no good flea bag! You are going to get us all killed!"

Randal growled, and squeezed the young lady tighter. "Damn it Grivok! I told you it was too soon for all this, that we weren't ready!" He scoot back into the brush, "Now I'm going to make sure I get out of this one alive, with or without the lot of you,"

"Randal! Was it!"
Chadwick called out. "Don't be hasty now, Randal!" His voice was oddly cheery, despite the steel strung tension underlying it all. "You take the lady, and we will have no recourse but to run you down like a dog."

Randal snarled, and stopped his retreat.

"Randal, we... we have to give up, man," Tovarik whimpered.

Randal looked to him, and to the others still bunched up in their shield wall. He hissed harsh and threw Lady Valdaria down to the ground with a thud, turned tail and ran away.

Xhokuk narrowed his eyes. "There is movement,"

"Well... What is going on over there?!"
Chadwick called out.

Hector sweat lead drops down his brow as he watched all this unfold. Breathing in and out, in and out as he held the flaming sword still burning in the air.

Ophelia Tirion
 
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Ophelia examined the nails on her free hand. This was taking way to long, she had an appointment to take a nap in a tree and all the built up testosterone surrounding her was starting to bubble over.
"Alrighty then." Ophelia with drew her dagger and placed it back into its small holster.
The young lady she had just rescued from near death had just finished getting thrown about, but then again - it was no longer any of her concern. She had done her good deed for the day.
With a pointed finger Ophelia gestured towards her previously established perch. "When you ladies finish your tea party you can hand over my reward ey, Ill be up there." As she turned to leave, the young elf made a remarke over her shoulder, "And by gods, if you are going to send the man to a firey death then bloody well get it over with!"
All talk and no action, typical!

Hector
 
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Hector

A Heart for Iron
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"Syrs," Hector let in through strained breath. "I..." he held on to the flaming sword which dripped embers from its white hot form. "I believe," his eyes narrowed and his vision strained as he watched one figure retreat from the others it gathered around.

"Is he running away?" Chadwick asked, and raised a steeled hand up against the light of the burning sword.

"Yes," Xhokuk grunt.

A young woman announced herself, made jest at their expense, and even dared them to cast fire at their foes.

Chadwick raised the visor on his helmet, and a wide smile beamed across his face. "My, what a spirited soul," he said with a tinkling in his eyes. "Right, Hector!"

"We surrender!"
Grivok called out. "We surrender!" the big bellied brigand declared as he stepped forward and laid down his arms. His men hesitated at first, and then followed suit.

Hector let out a long sigh and the sword came undone. Its form cracked first. The white hot heat bled from that blade that was between the corporeal and not, and it turned from white to blue to red to air. A puff of white smoke. The last shimmers of a dissipating heat.

The young squire was glad it was done.

The knights rode in, the guardsman careful to stay behind their line as they crossed the surrendered brigands, when they crossed their main host, the guardsman raced toward the young lady, horse at three beats until he was at her side.

"What of our steel?" One anvil jawed man asked the still mounted knights.

Xhokuk looked to Chadwick, then back at the men who had lost their lives defending the carriage. "Leave it," the knight sworn said flatly. His eyes came back and stared, gaze like iron, at the man who dared ask. "And be glad you are not among the dead,"

Chadwick nodded. "Right so,"

The brigand grumbled and turned off to join those others who already dissipated through the trees.

Hector looked over at the tree which the young woman had pointed at not moments ago, walking over to it, unsure if she had left, or if she was hiding. "Hello?" he called out to her as Syrs Chadwick and Xhokuk watched the broken brigands make away.

Ophelia Tirion
 
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Ophelia had just gotten comfortable, the past six months without an actual bed to rest on would offer up such a skill. She had just closed her eyes, thinking herself to sleep with what you would spend her new coin on. Most probably new bottles, she needed some for a new 'elixar' she planned making. The woman finally thought she would have some peace and quite, that was until a voice echoed from below her.
Letting out a groaning out a groan, Ophelia would open bothe eyes and peer over the eadge of her purch.

"What do you want now? I have done nothing wrong and it is not my fault if that dolled up lady of yours has some bruising."
 

Hector

A Heart for Iron
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Hector raised the visor of his owl-faced helm and glanced up at the wiry elf who'd so deftly handled the situation.

"
You weren't scared?" He asked her, sincere in his concern. He looked back over the field they had traversed. Where the men had thronged about the carriage, and where the dead still lay, mangled and blooded. His eyes turned back to her in the tree. "I mean, a lot happened,"

The sound of horse hoofs trotting closer sounded in Hector's ear. "You there,!" Said the hot voice of Syr Chadwick, all resonant and sure. "Young lady, in the trees," he went on, and with his visor up all could see the sly smile he wore across his lips, and the way his eyes narrowed as she looked at her. "Well done," he affirmed as his horse came to a stop beneath him. "I have but one question for you, miss," his grin widened. "Have you ever heard of the Knights of Anathaeum?"

Xhokuk, who had dismounted from his horse and stood amongst the dead, grunt as he witnessed all that had been lost. "Hector!" the stoic orc called out, his voice as flat as an anvil, and Hector near started, his eyes wide as he looked over at the Sworn knight.

"Yes, Syr?" The squire managed.

"Come, help me pay respect to these who have passed beyond even the Loch,"

Hector looked back up at the young lady in the tree, then at Chadwick, grinning and proud, and he nodded and hurried off to aid the Knight of Dusk.

Ophelia Tirion