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There are tales of ghouls and the dead rising along the Eastern Allir Reaches. The Templar chapter based of Allria has gone to investigate the matter... and perhaps bring to an end to whoever is at the root of this evil...

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OOC:
A necromancer seems to be ravaging the Eastern Allir Reaches(near the spine). Some of the Templars are trying to stop him/her. Feel free to join in as a survivor, a passerby, maybe the necromancers servant!

Tales Light After Dark

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Gerrard Duvont, Nov 18, 2018.

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  1. Gerrard Duvont

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    Gerrard Duvont Devil of Murant

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    "Ah, there we go," were the first words she would hear as she woke up. It was two full days since they had left an assassin's charred corpse by the lake. That had, fortunately, left two horses to bring them to the nearest town.

    "Sorry," he said with little sympathy. "Thought it best to wake you so had some smelling salts fetched. Not the nicest way to wake up but it's been two days."

    As it turned out the closest thing here to a medical professional was the local store owner who had some bottles of 'medicine'. Probably the county quack had sold them when passing through. Ointments for hairloss, nerves and 'overtalking' were unlikely to help.

    Audreyn was in a large, comfortable bed. Light streamed through an open window. Gerrard sat on a chair at the head of the bed and was still putting the stopper back in a small glass vial. She was wearing a thick cotton nightgown under the covers. The clothes she had been wearing, now clean and dry, we're hanging over the back of a chair at the foot of the bed.
     
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  2. Audreyn

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    Audreyn groaned, a hand fluttering to her head as she blinked in confusion. "What happened?" she slurred, letting her head fall back and her eyes slip back closed.

    The memories bubbled up, souring and twisting in her gut.

    Her eyes tore open, staring at the ceiling as a wave of stinging tears pinched at her tear ducks.

    "Oh," she croaked, finding the answers to her own question. She found back against her grief, her jaw tightening in anger instead. "He got away." She briskly sat up, only to find her body swaying and falling back into the pillows as blood pounded too hard in her head.

    Welp. No taking on the world just yet.
     
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  3. Gerrard Duvont

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    "Afraid so," Gerrard replied softly. "You were face down in the dirt and at that point I was left with bluffing that I had any more spells prepared. It would be best if you carried on getting some rest. You're going to need to eat. You're going to need to eat a lot. I don't care if you don't think you're hungry force down as much as you can.

    "Magic always has a cost and what you just did has done some damage. Inside you. Next time listen to me."

    He scratched his beard at the corner of his chin. "I'm going to leave here in two days. You can come with me if you want. At least until we've put some distance between us and the lake and covered our tracks."

    His generosity went that far at least. Could have left her here at the inn but it would have felt like losing if the assassin had returned to take her. He couldn't stand losing.
     
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  4. Audreyn

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    His words overwhelmed her, leaving her pressing heavily back into the bed of clouds.

    She had never been on something so soft before, and that was almost a distraction in itself. "W-wait." She managed to pull herself onto her elbows, trying to force some clarity to her as she looked at him in confusion.

    "You're going to leave me?" The question was full of genuine shock, so naive was the girl that gaped up at him in tangible vulnerability.

    "But you- but you can't. I need you. I- I- I have no else."
     
  5. Gerrard Duvont

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    "For goodness' sake girl I said you could come with me," he snapped. Gerrard sighed and help up both hands apologetically. He recalled exactly what she explained had happened and tried to see things from her perspective - not his strength. She had been forced to watch both her parents murdered and then been cast out by her village. He could stand to show a little more patience.

    "Stay here and rest and eat. I will go and get you a tray now. I'll get you somewhere safe when you're strong enough to ride."
     
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  6. Audreyn

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    That wasn't what she heard. She heard the after. After they were away. After they were past this hurdle. He was going to leave her.

    Which of course after a moment of thought... made sense to even her.

    But the stinging of it filled her body, leaving her staring mutely as he turned to leave. A sob hitched in her throat once she was truly alone, her grief pressing full force into the back of her eyes.

    He'd return to find her still present yet under the blankets, shuffling just enough to let him know she was alert. But underneath hot tears fell swiftly down her face, her pride driving her to bite the sheets to keep back the noise, her grief raw and unrelenting.

    Shame made her want him gone. Anger kept her driven and composed. But nothing could stop the tears. Her body spilled them without her consent, grieving even if she didn't want to.

    He could place down the food and leave and she would be all the same for it.
     
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  7. Gerrard Duvont

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    Gerrard had a bowl of stew, two large chunks of bread and even some real butter. There was a small glass of wine on the tray too. He wasn't very good at apologising but he had hoped this would make up for snapping at her.

    Audreyn could hide under the sheets, but she didn't manage to quite silence the sob. He stood by the door with the wooden tray in his hands unsure what to do next. There was a bedside table he could leave the tray on. He could try and talk to her about what came next.

    This was more difficult to deal with than a damned Steel Coin carrying assassin.

    "Audreyn, I've got some food, do you want me to leave it here?" he asked. When in doubt, shift the decision onto someone else.
     
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  8. Audreyn

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    Ahhhh crap. He knew. And was pitying her. Which was like, even worse than him knowing and not pitying her, which was a fate she'd much prefer right now.

    After a moment of amplified grief, she shut herself down and angrily whipped her face dry. The sheets were so soft, which was a fact she felt was odd to notice in this moment. She took a silent breath then pushed the sheets back. "What. No. I just fell asleep again," she lied, glaring at him defiantly and daring him to state otherwise.

    It was rather unconvincing, considering the state of her eyes, but she did not waver from it. She was not just grieving her dead parents. No.

    She wordlessly held her hands out for the tray.
     
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  9. Gerrard Duvont

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    He handed it over, expression not giving much away of what he was thinking. Gerrard gave a small nod and took a step back from the bed.

    "That seems likely," he said in spite of the moisture still glistening around her eyes. "You burned yourself out badly. One of them didn't get away at least. No sign of the other one, but it seems unlikely he would rush back off to Elbion empty handed just yet."

    Gerrard stepped and looked out the window as if he might be down there watching. "They are dangerous men. Mages who take contracts to kill. Only the most wealthy noble can afford one of them as an assassin and they are quite effective."
     
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  10. Audreyn

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    She rested the tray on the bed, abruptly realizing he was right. She wasn't hungry. But the feast before her looked too tantalizing to not pick at, a slight sense of wonderment about her as she scooped up some butter with her pinky and ate it.

    "I don't understand," she croaked, clearing out her unused throat. "What would a noble person want with my father? Or me?" She glanced to the window too, brought to a slight edge by the way he glanced out of it. Would she ever not be in danger then? She slowly sat up a little straighter.

    "Is he out here?"
     
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  11. Gerrard Duvont

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    "Somewhere, but not right outside the window," he said. Gerrard turned back towards here and decided that now was about as safe as ever to explain in more detail. That furnace was devoid of fuel now which meant he wasn't risking her burning the inn to the ground. It was a nice inn.

    "They're scum. They get their recruits from two places. Firstly, they offer freedom to mages that have been locked away. Secondky they purchase or steal children with magical talent. You're a bit old for what they normally go for to be honest. They prefer them malleable so they can shape remorseless murderers."
     
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  12. Audreyn

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    "...Oh," she breathed, sitting back. "That makes more sense..." She grew quiet as pieces to a puzzle began to click into place, the girl seeing connections that were always there, she just hadn't paid attention.

    "We moved when I was young. I had always thought- well you see." She frowned, tightening her fingers on the blankets and twisting them in her grasp. She blinked back a stinging tear from her eyes, unsure how so could even explain it. This spanned out her whole life, she could grasp that now, events here and there that were obvious in this new light.

    Her face contorted in building grief before the wave passed and she pushed it aside.

    "My father sold me," she stated, trying to process it. "... To pay a mage to save my mother." She had always wondered how he could have ever afforded that, but in a childish wave of naivety she never questioned it beyond her father had just made it happen.

    Her shoulders slumped a little, unsure how she should feel about that.

    "And then he tried to hide me."

    It was obvious to her now, the midnight move, the change in names. Her father had said they were running from a vengeful landowner who was going to sell them as slaves. But truthfully ... they were running from his debt.


    She blinked, another piece of the puzzle falling into place. "Wait, I've done magic before!"
     
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  13. Gerrard Duvont

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    "He did well to hide you for so long," Gerrard said. It was about the nicest thing he could think to say. "Those were power trackers and murderers."

    Magic always demanded a price. In this case it had taken more than it had given. Her mother's life had been paid back and her husband taken too. Anger flashed across his face. There were no laws or science behind this. It was simple revenge.

    "They called me a monster but I have never sought the power of death. Nor the power over others than is kept in line with magic. I won't let them catch you again."

    He took a breath. "And how did you use magic before?"
     
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  14. Audreyn

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    His words reassured her, the girl blindly trusting them to a fault. Just like that, she felt the problem of her safety had been solved. And perhaps food and shelter, though his previous wording had her wary and on edge, fearing this adopted state would only extend so far and then she was on her own.

    She understood the real world worked that way, but she had never felt the brisk coldness of that reality before. It gave her a strange sense of anxiety.

    She tried to squish this out, focusing on his questions instead of the chaos of her mind.

    "I-...I don't really recall if I'm being honest... a memory bubbled up for a moment .... but... it slipped away." She frowned, her brows furrowed as she tried to reach for it again. But the harder she tried, the more it alluded her. Magic.

    She blinked, then abruptly asked, "Why do they call you a monster?"
     
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  15. Gerrard Duvont

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    Gerrard winced. He had perhaps fooled himself into thinking that the question wasn't going to be asked. They were not pleasant memories and he preferred to look forwards rather than back. He couldn't let mistakes drag him down. There was only doing the right thing next time.

    "I was remove from the college at Elbion. That's where many of the greatest mages learned their art. They were not happy with the direction of my research. Without their resources and the great library I failed to see that an experiment I had planned would go wrong. It went very, very wrong."

    After what had happened in her village it seemed unnecessary to explain just how magic could go wrong. There was a defiance in his gaze, but it wasn't directed at Audreyn.
     
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  16. Audreyn

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    She grimaced, retreating into herself a little at that. "...Didyoublowupstufftoo?" She asked, her voice small and regretful.

    As it stood, she did not like magic. Not at all. It was unwelcome and the cause of her life falling apart, but it was also violent and deadly. She still felt weak from it. And she knew at any moment, she could snap and do it all over again.

    The loss of control was not something she liked.
     
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  17. Gerrard Duvont

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    Every corner of his body seemed to weigh ten times as much. He couldn't even lift a finger from the floor. All he could do was scream in agony as the mark was seared into his chest. Feel the heat across his face as the burst free from the summoning circle and burned through the ceiling of his home.

    "It didn't go well," was all he would say. His left hand came up to his chest subconsciously. His thumb rubbed against the mark he had been left with through his tunic.

    "I will make sure that doesn't happen to you again," Gerrard said firmly.
     
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  18. Audreyn

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    She slowly nodded, appreciating the stranger more deeply in that moment than she had so far. She fell back into the pillows, feeling abruptly tired again. Still, she listened to his words and reached out, taking bread and dipping it in the stew to eat on slowly.

    "Thank you," she added, her voice appropriately soft. "For... all that you've done. I-... don't have money for this food, or your time," she added, a little discouraged by the realization of how little she actually had.

    "But i'm a hard worker. Nobles need servants, right?" She asked, a touch of determined light in her.
     
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  19. Gerrard Duvont

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    "You should..." he started to say. He had been about to say sit up when you eat. His own upbringing was already pointing out that he was in a woman's bedroom and should not linger. Pointing out her manners was definitely a step too far.

    "...make sure you rest when you can. Do not worry about the cost. I don't particularly need a servant right now. Nor am I a noble. Technically they stripped that away from me. If you listen carefully and show some aptitude then maybe you can help with my work."

    Gerrard wasn't used to be thanked for his actions. He was used to small minded fools criticising him for daring to push the boundaries of what could be achieved with magic. He cast an awkward glance around the room and gave a curt nod as if deciding he was content with the situation.

    "I am in the room across the room if you need me. Out the door to the left is the front room where you will find the innkeeper if you need anything else."
     
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  20. Audreyn

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    She nodded a touch eagerly, not hesitating. She would make that maybe a yes. Even if it meant having to use more of that devilish magic. It was the least she could do to make up for his help and to stay in his good graces, which she fully intended on doing now.

    Her situration was too precarious not to.

    She shimmied deeper into the blankets, until it was closer to her chin and she laid by the tray. She gave him a look as if to say 'yes sir', sensing his departure as picking at the food to show him she'd be okay.

    As he turned to leave she finally spoke out again, whispering one more time, "...Thank you."

    She kept a wave of tears from her eyes, her face disappearing inside the glass of wine.
     
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  21. Gerrard Duvont

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    Gerrard stopped at the door with his back to her. He stayed motionless there with one hand on the handle.

    "You're welcome," he said quietly before slipping out of the door, leaving Audreyn to her grief.

    Padding across the corridor he returned to his room. There was a large intricate circle drawn out across the floor in white chalk. A small bronze plat sat on one side, surrounded in a perfect circle of chalk that broke the patterns.

    Decided that he was less likely to be interrupted now he removed his shirt and knelt down in the centre of the circle, facing the bronze plate. Pricking his thumb he smeared.a drop of blood across the plate. Numbers were etched into the rim and he twisted it in a particular direction. He closed his eyes and attuned his mind to the magical energies focused by the circle. There was work to be done if those assassins were going to return. The pattern scarred into his chest started to burn fiercely.
     
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  22. Audreyn

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    The two days he had given her had done her good. The rest and the ability to grieve brought a sense of strength back to her composure, her skin pale but her back straight as she knocked on his door that third morning. She was back in her dress, the simple cotton old and worn out, the hem hitting her legs a good five inches too short. But it was hers and it smelt like home, so she dawned the dress and left behind the nightgown, afraid of him being charged for it.

    She had no belongings, so it was easy enough to stand there empty-handed and offer him a thin smile as he opened the door. "... I'm ready."

    She sounded more confident than she felt, not wanting to admit how reluctant she was to leave this area. Even if it ended up being unkind to her in the end.
     
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  23. Gerrard Duvont

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    There was barely a hint of chalk left on the floor. His travel bags were packed and laid out at the foot of the bed. Gerrard was scribbling something into a bound sheaf of papers.

    "Good. You look like you've got some more colour back and we need to get on the road," he said curtly before murmuring to himself as he finished a sentence. He blew on the pages gently and left them open to dry.

    "Now we need to..." he trailed off as it finally dawned on him that despite having two days he hadn't purchased anything she might need for the road. Nor had he looked into finding a horse. Something had drawn his attention in his research and once his spells were prepared he had spent most of his time in deep thought or angrily scribbling. He didn't want to ask if there was anything left at her home.

    "Actually we need to get you some travelling things. We might be a week on the road." Gerrard left his paper to try and picked up his purse and coat. There was a chill air in the mornings now before the sun chased it away. Soon the sun would be too lazy to even do that.
     
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  24. Audreyn

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    She winced ever so slightly. "I'm really fine like this?" She offered, not knowing what travel would truly entail. It was suffice to say she had never been much of anywhere, the effort it took him to reach this village showing just how improbable it was to do so. Of course, in retrospect, it made sense now. Her family had been in hiding.

    She stepped into the room, a curious gleam to her as she tilted her head at his work as he left it behind to air. "What were you doing?" Came the innocent question, her eyes scattering to the faint chalk outline on the floor as well. In fact, she took in the whole room, more than curious what the life of a noble looked like. Even if it was a traveling one.
     
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  25. Gerrard Duvont

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    "I was thinking about how to increase the entropic value of a magical construct within an adiabatic barrier... How do dispel a spell once its been contained. It kept me quite occupied."

    He cast his gaze across her, raising an eyebrow at her assertion that she was fine as she was. Gerrard knew that he wouldn't be able to tolerate an assistant that couldn't think for themselves. And he had enough for a stubborn nature that he didn't need more of the trait around.

    "Five day ride to where we are going. Do you really think you'll be fine on foot with nothing but that dress?"
     
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