Fable - Ask The Baron of Stonewatch

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Keia Merrenia

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It had been about two weeks since they’d arrived in the town of Stonewatch, where the castle of the newly ennobled Baron Christian Vide now resided. One week since his public ennobling, where he was given a cloak that bore his crest (you choose what it is), and was set in the baron’s seat. Keia had been there with him every step of the way.

The day they got to the town they had commissioned a new collar for her, a proper one. It was a band of silvery steel that hugged her neck snugly enough not to move easily, but not so tight as to restrict her breathing or blood circulation. There was light linen padding underneath it to make it slightly more comfortable and unlikely to chafe. The collar was enchanted too, by Keia herself no less, that at the snap of Christian’s fingers a chain would shoot from the collar to his hand, a good way to keep her in line.

Keia had gotten to work immediately, looking into ways that her particular brand of magic might best serve her lord in his endeavors as Baron. Executed criminals were always sent to her for necromancing. She always came up with good ways to use their remains. She furthered her teaching him how to use necromancy himself, rendering her slightly more obsolete the better he got, but she too was improving exponentially in an effort to remain useful.

But things weren’t all peachy from the get go. There were a number of bandits to be dealt with, and no real military save those left by the knight, who it turned out was now the Duke. They were well trained, well disciplined and fearless, but there weren’t enough of them to protect everyone from everything, and they were best used for training militia. Public order was intact but shaky, with bandits running amuck people turned to less honest means to stay alive, and sometimes even joined the bandits to stay fed, which just compounded the problem.

Baron Christian had a lot to deal with in this half forested mountain, half swamp fiefdom. And despite not being alone, it was not going to be easy.

Keia was up in her tower, working on researching ways necromancy might help with their issues, when she heard the door open, and turned to see her master standing in the doorway. She dropped to her knees and bowed her head, “Master. May I be of service?”
 
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Christian Vide

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The town of Stonewatch, a gift to him by the Duke in exchange for subduing the necromancer Keia. A heavily weighted deal in Christian's favor.
The keep was still under construction but they met with a representative of the people and got things moving quickly.

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He introduced himself as Bruce Fydorian, designed a crest and got an overview on current reconstruction efforts. Right now they were facing an issue with keeping workers since the only incentive to help rebuild here was settlement rights, but the issue arose when more immediate needs were only barely being met, namely food and shelter. This made the local bandit population grow larger and bolder. They started acting like de facto rulers of Stonewatch, making demands of the villagers as a sort of "Protection tax", and even openly trying to call him out from the front gate of his keep, which he didn't deign with a response just yet.

They weren't starting out with great resources either, only a handful of guardsmen at their wits end trying to simply keep these people protected. A few hunters supplying a butcher shop, an a small inn with watered down ale.
So... Really it wasn't a "Great" deal on the surface... But Christian, once again called Bruce, was prepared to turn things around.
The first couple weeks were basic administrative work, handling formalities that went along with becoming a Baron and doing his best to optimize what little they had to work with, which wouldn't be enough in the long run. Next up came the real work where they gave the people faith in their new lord.

He showed up in the tower that Keia had claimed for herself. She had taught him much more about Necromancy and had learned much herself, he had learned the art of animating corpses and could manipulate their construction a little, but so far he stuck with a mostly automated version he wrote into a spell.
“Master. May I be of service?”
He rewarded her with a smile for her subservience and approached her where she knelt, further rewarding her with a touch as he knelt down and lifted her chin to look at him.
"Yes, you may be of great service to me still. We've sat around looking pretty for long enough, it's time we talked tactics."
The lieutenants of the local banditry usually showed up around this time to mock and hurl insults, and he wanted to give them a proper answer this time.
 
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Keia Merrenia

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He rewarded her with a smile for her subservience and approached her where she knelt, further rewarding her with a touch as he knelt down and lifted her chin to look at him.
"Yes, you may be of great service to me still. We've sat around looking pretty for long enough, it's time we talked tactics."
The lieutenants of the local banditry usually showed up around this time to mock and hurl insults, and he wanted to give them a proper answer this time.

His touch brought a happy smile to her face, which soon turned into a positively wicked grin when he mentioned talking tactics. “If you mean get a surprise ready for the bandit lieutenants. I do believe that I have just the thing.”

She stood up only after he did and brought him down the inner stairs of the tower. The tower was designed to keep her projects as safe as possible, so it had two staircases, one outer one, which only exited at the top room, and the second inner staircase went down into the depths of the tower, even below ground. It was in the lower levels where she kept her more dangerous projects.

She had been working on this monster for a few days, and it was designed to be a ruthless killing machine. Much like her creations before her capture by the then knight sir Eberwolf, now Duke Eberwolf, it had charred black skin stretched over a thin body. No eyes, no face to speak of, only a mouth filled with horrible teeth, two of them actually. This was a miniature version of the human centipede that she had necromanced a long time ago, six torsos instead of twenty, each hand sporting wicked claws, and a head at each end.

She’d made three of them thus far. And they were all locked in the lowest level. They weren’t a threat to the Baron or his men, they had be preprogrammed to be able to tell friend from foe via the standard borne, which they could “see” despite being eyeless.

“These are the first I’ve made since we got here. They’re very good at tunneling to get to places, so they need to be able to sense vibrations, which they are good at. And they’ll tear someone apart with ease.” She said glancing proudly at the shredded carcass of a deer that was still somewhat fresh. “I’ve tested that theory.”
 
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Christian Vide

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“These are the first I’ve made since we got here. They’re very good at tunneling to get to places, so they need to be able to sense vibrations, which they are good at. And they’ll tear someone apart with ease.” She said glancing proudly at the shredded carcass of a deer that was still somewhat fresh. “I’ve tested that theory.”
He followed her down into the depths of the tower and saw her latest creation. It was indeed impressive and she was clearly proud of it.
"It's too bold."
Was his blunt response.
"The people do their best to ignore it but they are able to watch every time the bandits come calling, so far they see us doing nothing, but we're still unknown to them and if we suddenly come down with these as a response we will not gain their trust."

He slid his hand around her waist and pulled her against himself to comfort her.
"If there comes a time when we must use these we will need the full cooperation of our people, you would make another but they will supply the parts and thus have a personal hand in building something otherworldly. Getting them comfortable with the idea of a magic user in their midst is high on my list of priorities."
He turned her to face him and absently ran his fingers over her collar.
"Sorry to shoot your idea down like that. Can you think of anything else? I could simply go down and kill them myself, but I want to introduce you to the people in a positive light. If we both went down and killed them that could accomplish this... But we also need to show the people we are merciful so we can't kill all of them."
 
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Keia Merrenia

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He followed her down into the depths of the tower and saw her latest creation. It was indeed impressive and she was clearly proud of it.
"It's too bold."
Was his blunt response.
"The people do their best to ignore it but they are able to watch every time the bandits come calling, so far they see us doing nothing, but we're still unknown to them and if we suddenly come down with these as a response we will not gain their trust."

His words stung just a little, but his explanation was more than enough to tell her why they weren’t to be used as of right then, at least not in a combat situation, maybe as subterranean scouts? Or as things to prowl the forests for the bandits without being seen. But he was right, being in good public light was a necessary thing. And trust was even more necessary.

He slid his hand around her waist and pulled her against himself to comfort her.
"If there comes a time when we must use these we will need the full cooperation of our people, you would make another but they will supply the parts and thus have a personal hand in building something otherworldly. Getting them comfortable with the idea of a magic user in their midst is high on my list of priorities."

“Actually only dead criminals supply the pieces to ensure that the people aren’t afraid of being made into such things. But I’m glad that getting me excepted is a priority to you,” She said looking his way as she was pulled into his side. “I look forward Ron the day it’s accomplished.”

He turned her to face him and absently ran his fingers over her collar.
"Sorry to shoot your idea down like that.

She shuddered as his fingers ran over the smooth steel of her collar. “Think nothing of it Master, you bring up many valid points and you’re far more talented at such things than I.”

Can you think of anything else? I could simply go down and kill them myself, but I want to introduce you to the people in a positive light. If we both went down and killed them that could accomplish this... But we also need to show the people we are merciful so we can't kill all of them."

“I can think of a few things, one of which is that we prepare a trap for them, not an ambush. I think a pitfall trap could work. And if you intend to be merciful you could levy them into service. Or you could send me out alone if you’d like but I don’t know what people would think of that. I would be more than happy to go out there with you if that would be better.”
 

Christian Vide

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“I can think of a few things, one of which is that we prepare a trap for them, not an ambush. I think a pitfall trap could work. And if you intend to be merciful you could levy them into service. Or you could send me out alone if you’d like but I don’t know what people would think of that. I would be more than happy to go out there with you if that would be better.”
He was thoughtful as he ran his fingertips up her neck to her jaw and back down over her collar and to her clavicle. It was for her sake, touching and giving her human effection for her enjoyment. After one night in the forest she sold herself to him because of this, she was his property now and therefore her problems were his problems.
Getting her accepted by the populace was the first step in a far greater plan, but that could wait.
"I think a public display would be appropriate. Having everyone gather for the spectacle to watch us thrash the thugs into submission singlehandedly. The stories of heroes are built on far less. Then we could even start spreading rumors that we were once adventurers granted this stifling nobility."
He smiled down at her as his fingers traveled back up her neck to her cheek and his thumb brushed over her lips.
"Once their beaten we can think of some fitting way to utilize them, I enjoy the thought of programming them the way you do your creations... Perhaps we can do something along those lines?"
 
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Keia Merrenia

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He was thoughtful as he ran his fingertips up her neck to her jaw and back down over her collar and to her clavicle. It was for her sake, touching and giving her human effection for her enjoyment. After one night in the forest she sold herself to him because of this, she was his property now and therefore her problems were his problems.

His roaming touch was electric, making her stiffen excitedly as his fingers glided over her skin, and the collar that looped her neck. She stood rigid with excitement and fear as his touch often made her. She looked up into his face with pleading eyes, begging for him to either stop or go further.

"I think a public display would be appropriate. Having everyone gather for the spectacle to watch us thrash the thugs into submission singlehandedly. The stories of heroes are built on far less. Then we could even start spreading rumors that we were once adventurers granted this stifling nobility."

“I’m pretty sure that those rumors are already out there, especially since they aren’t actually rumors, being true and all. But yes, there would be something effective about handling seven men, just the two of us. And perhaps we might be able to put these things to use after all. They can burrow pretty damn quickly, which can prove useful in this instance, even if we won’t use them to actually fight.”

He smiled down at her as his fingers traveled back up her neck to her cheek and his thumb brushed over her lips.

She again stiffened and felt very nervous and very excited at his touch. His hand on her cheek and his thumb running across her lips made her breath start shaking with anticipation.

"Once their beaten we can think of some fitting way to utilize them, I enjoy the thought of programming them the way you do your creations... Perhaps we can do something along those lines?"

“Very possible, Master. It won’t be quite the same as necromancy, we’ll need to keep them alive, but definitely doable.” She said, her eyes looking down at his hand, wondering and I patiently awaiting what he was planning on doing with it.
 
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Christian Vide

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“I’m pretty sure that those rumors are already out there, especially since they aren’t actually rumors, being true and all. But yes, there would be something effective about handling seven men, just the two of us. And perhaps we might be able to put these things to use after all. They can burrow pretty damn quickly, which can prove useful in this instance, even if we won’t use them to actually fight.”
"You may be right. Though technically we're not adventurers, I'm a former assassin and you're a Necromancer. We didn't go out of our way to kill a monster or aid a town for a reward, but we can easily pass ourselves off as such, adventurers are in no short supply in Arethil.
Having your centipedes as backup is a considerable idea, though I'm surprised you think I need it."

He booped her nose.
"Or do I need to remind you how I killed five assassins and stood up to a vampire killing knight while wounded?"

“Very possible, Master. It won’t be quite the same as necromancy, we’ll need to keep them alive, but definitely doable.”
He nodded, "Yes, they wouldn't be dead... I suppose the idea is more along the lines of ultimate brainwashing or a lobotomy, but with the soul."
He knew his attention drove her wild, and he'd been busy this last week so he couldn't sate her desires.
He snapped his fingers and the chain to her collar appeared in his hand.
"I apologise for being a poor master, I'm afraid I've neglected you. Let me remedy my forgetfulness. We can talk more after you've been satisfied."
He didn't pull the chain but he started walking and led her back upstairs to her bedroom.
 
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Keia Merrenia

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"You may be right. Though technically we're not adventurers, I'm a former assassin and you're a Necromancer. We didn't go out of our way to kill a monster or aid a town for a reward, but we can easily pass ourselves off as such, adventurers are in no short supply in Arethil.
Having your centipedes as backup is a considerable idea, though I'm surprised you think I need it."

He booped her nose.
"Or do I need to remind you how I killed five assassins and stood up to a vampire killing knight while wounded?"

When she was booped on the nose she rolled her eyes with a smile. “No I don’t need reminding. I was thinking more along the lines of a precaution not as a necessity. But feel free to punish me for such insolence should the mood strike you.” She said rubbing her backside on his hip teasingly.

He nodded, "Yes, they wouldn't be dead... I suppose the idea is more along the lines of ultimate brainwashing or a lobotomy, but with the soul."
He knew his attention drove her wild, and he'd been busy this last week so he couldn't sate her desires.

“Precisely.” She’s said affirmatively.

He snapped his fingers and the chain to her collar appeared in his hand.
"I apologise for being a poor master, I'm afraid I've neglected you. Let me remedy my forgetfulness. We can talk more after you've been satisfied."
He didn't pull the chain but he started walking and led her back upstairs to her bedroom

She shuddered in anticipation as her leash was suddenly there. She looked him in the eye, “there’s no need to apologize Master. But I’m not going to complain.”

She dropped to all fours, and crawled obediently behind him. She made sure to let her hips sway generously. He knew what she wanted, and he knew exactly how best to handle her.
 

Christian Vide

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“No I don’t need reminding. I was thinking more along the lines of a precaution not as a necessity. But feel free to punish me for such insolence should the mood strike you.”
He chuckled, "In such a situation, my mood would strike you, not me. But you already know that I don't have moods."
He gave her butt a slap when she rubbed against him. If he knew what she wanted it was in no small part due to her skill at asking for it.

“There’s no need to apologize, Master. But I’m not going to complain.”
He brought her upstairs and pulled a chair to the middle of the room.
"Bend over the chair." He commanded as he removed a leather switch from the wall.
Her masochism was one of her quirks that he couldn't completely understand. He had an incredibly high tolerance for pain and could endure much. She didn't have such a tolerance but made up for it in deriving erotic pleasure from the pain inflicted on her.

He held the switch loosely in his hand while he waited for her compliance. She was obedient to him, totally and completely, the Duke had nothing to worry about in that regard as she wouldn't dare go against his orders especially after their ordeal in the forest.
But Christian had no plans remaining obedient to the Duke, perhaps he accounted for this, but Christian only obeyed for as long as it was useful to do so.

"This isn't punishment, Keia. Your creations impress me and I shall reward you with the perverse pleasure you crave."
 
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Keia Merrenia

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He chuckled, "In such a situation, my mood would strike you, not me. But you already know that I don't have moods."
He gave her butt a slap when she rubbed against him. If he knew what she wanted it was in no small part due to her skill at asking for it.

She hummed happily when her butt was struck, “but haven’t you noticed that that’s changing? Even if just a little. You’re smiling more often, and I’ve noticed that they are getting more genuine. It’s subtle, but I think you’re starting to feel again.”

He brought her upstairs and pulled a chair to the middle of the room.
"Bend over the chair." He commanded as he removed a leather switch from the wall.
Her masochism was one of her quirks that he couldn't completely understand. He had an incredibly high tolerance for pain and could endure much. She didn't have such a tolerance but made up for it in deriving erotic pleasure from the pain inflicted on her.

She obeyed immediately, though disappointed that they weren’t using any leather cord to bind her, or any of the racks she had made, but she was being whipped, so how could she complain? She laid her stomach and pelvis across the chair, letting her upper torso lean down over the edge of the chair, her legs spread far so that her feet remained on the floor while her butt was low but out. “Do you want me gagged Master? Or would you rather my screams be heard?”

He held the switch loosely in his hand while he waited for her compliance. She was obedient to him, totally and completely, the Duke had nothing to worry about in that regard as she wouldn't dare go against his orders especially after their ordeal in the forest.
But Christian had no plans remaining obedient to the Duke, perhaps he accounted for this, but Christian only obeyed for as long as it was useful to do so.

The Duke was well aware of this. And lucky for the duke, his several thousands of veteran men were more than capable of overtaking the new, autonomous fiefdom should the contract be broken. And despite the man’s skills, and how tough he’d be on his men during training, they would always be outnumbered, outclassed and outgunned. The Duke had the numerical advantage, he had the advantage of training, he had the advantage of experience, and he had the advantage of the people. The people were well aware that the Duke no longer controlled this land, but they knew who he was and what he had done during the war for them. An open war would lead to civil strife, which in turn would destroy or at least hurt his economy. The Duke was an honest man but he was no fool.

"This isn't punishment, Keia. Your creations impress me and I shall reward you with the perverse pleasure you crave."

“I know it isn’t Master. I thank you for this.” She said with a sultry grin.

(A few hours later)
Keia lay breathless and sore or the stone floor of her tower. Her butt was red and sore, as opposed to the usual pale color. She looked up at him with tired, satisfied eyes. She had a number of choice objects inserted into choice places, and would be left there to keep her on edge. “Th-thank you Master.”

She struggled to her feet. “So now we need to speak about our plan. Oh dear.”

She sat down in the chair, thanks to how sore she was she couldn’t stand, and that was either a good idea or a big mistake, maybe a bit of both. She gasped as she sat down, and a whimper escaped her mouth. “Unless you already have one in mind.”
 
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Christian Vide

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“But haven’t you noticed that that’s changing? Even if just a little. You’re smiling more often, and I’ve noticed that they are getting more genuine. It’s subtle, but I think you’re starting to feel again.”
He said nothing. He was good at pretending, it might be possible that he's somehow managed to fool himself as well as everyone else.
He appeared as a normal functioning person when around others, he let Keia see his true face far more often than anyone else but he also would often show her expression because he knew it added a level of communication and she enjoyed it.
But if he felt anything in accompanying his façades they hadn't stood out or been of any significance to him.

“So now we need to speak about our plan. Oh dear...”
"Unless you already have one in mind.”
He thrashed her backside and abused her for hours, her ass and legs were all marked up with angry red welts that even ran down the backs of her thighs.
She was under orders to not remove those objects from herself until permission was given.
Sitting down after such an ordeal would be extremely painful, and arousing with the objects inside her, she was better off trying to rest on the ground.
"We'll go and face the bandits together. But we must pretend to be intimidated by their threats, seeing weak prey they will become bold and continue to try to intimidate us. When they draw close is when we strike. We will subdue them and they will become our test subjects in our first series of reprogrammed soldiers."
He stood over her in front of the chair and reached down to touch one of the objects, wiggling it in a little more snugly.
"Your task is to come up with as many procedures as you can in order to test our theory once the captives are in our possession."
 
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Keia Merrenia

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He thrashed her backside and abused her for hours, her ass and legs were all marked up with angry red welts that even ran down the backs of her thighs.
She was under orders to not remove those objects from herself until permission was given.
Sitting down after such an ordeal would be extremely painful, and arousing with the objects inside her, she was better off trying to rest on the ground.

Her red ass and thighs were shown off by her long but narrow loincloth of green cloth, letting her cheeks be seen while remaining acceptably covered. And the thrashing via flexible but straight leather whip had made her day. It was something that defied explanations, it was something that was simply understood. But she didn’t much care, her lust for torment had been sated, for now.

Sitting down just made it feel better as far as her masochist preferences were concerned. “Wow, Master, you are exceptionally good at this~”

"We'll go and face the bandits together. But we must pretend to be intimidated by their threats, seeing weak prey they will become bold and continue to try to intimidate us. When they draw close is when we strike. We will subdue them and they will become our test subjects in our first series of reprogrammed soldiers."

“Ah, a preying mantis tactic. I suppose it would be appropriate. And with your talent for illusion and my capabilities for inducing fear directly, we should be able to make it work.” She said with a pained, weak smile.

He stood over her in front of the chair and reached down to touch one of the objects, wiggling it in a little more snugly.
"Your task is to come up with as many procedures as you can in order to test our theory once the captives are in our possession."

The object went further up and she gasped, before whimpering rather pathetically, “y-yes m-ma-Master~”
 
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Christian Vide

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“y-yes m-ma-Master~”
He ran his fingertips across her exposed skin.
He was fairly expert at bringing her pleasure, though in doing so he was usually supposed to kill the woman he'd seduced after she was quivering and helpless.

“Ah, a preying mantis tactic. I suppose it would be appropriate. And with your talent for illusion and my capabilities for inducing fear directly, we should be able to make it work.”
He nodded and straightened.
"Of course, and I'll reiterate, gaining the trust of the people is our priority so don't do anything that would reflect badly on you or me by extension." He tapped her stomach just above her groin indicating her insertions.
"That includes keeping these hidden. You'll be wearing them as well when we go to fight them so be careful lest the people start thinking wrongly of me."
 
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Keia Merrenia

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He ran his fingertips across her exposed skin.
He was fairly expert at bringing her pleasure, though in doing so he was usually supposed to kill the woman he'd seduced after she was quivering and helpless.

She whined again, she hated and loved his horrible teasing.

He nodded and straightened.
"Of course, and I'll reiterate, gaining the trust of the people is our priority so don't do anything that would reflect badly on you or me by extension." He tapped her stomach just above her groin indicating her insertions.
"That includes keeping these hidden. You'll be wearing them as well when we go to fight them so be careful lest the people start thinking wrongly of me."

She looked up at him, “while we’re fighting? Master, are you sure? I don’t think that...”

She stopped herself before she said any more. She didn’t want to question his command, which usually resulted in less pleasant punishments.

“Yes master.”
 

Christian Vide

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“while we’re fighting? Master, are you sure? I don’t think that...”

“Yes master.”
She was learning but he wouldn't have punished her for questioning this one. It wasn't a tactically sound or responsible thing to do. All it accomplished was further asserting his dominance over her and gave her a challenge, he was curious if she could cast her spells while so distracted.

He lifted her chin to look at him, "Will this be a problem for you? I'm willing to change my mind."
 
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She was learning but he wouldn't have punished her for questioning this one. It wasn't a tactically sound or responsible thing to do. All it accomplished was further asserting his dominance over her and gave her a challenge, he was curious if she could cast her spells while so distracted.

He lifted her chin to look at him, "Will this be a problem for you? I'm willing to change my mind."

“N-no. I’ll be fine. I just need to practice a little, and I’ll be fine. Really.”

She had no problem with this, she was speaking truth, with some practice she’d be able to cast just fine with those things in her. She was still shivering while he teased her further.
 

Christian Vide

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“N-no. I’ll be fine. I just need to practice a little, and I’ll be fine. Really.”
He nodded, "If you say so. Now go and prepare our experiment. I'll send for you when the bandits arrive."
He left her and descended the main stairway into the keep.
Most of the guardsmen patrolled the village but a few watched over the keep. He went to the captain and told him to let him know when the mocking bandits showed up.
This request alone made the captain perk up, it meant that something was about to happen, that changes were about to be made.

Christian went to the courtyard to be away from the guards and village petitioners, he had a plan now for addressing their issues so there wasn't any use in hearing them repeat their pleas for aid and action.
He drew his dagger from the sheath strapped to his thigh, a straight blade with both edges sharpened to a hairs breadth.
He looked at his reflection in the polished steel and looked at himself for the first time in a long time.
Clean shaven, hair cut short... But these aren't what he looked at... His eyes gazed back at him, staring back into his own soul... The gaze of a killer as if he might just as easily kill himself as anyone or anything else he'd ever killed.

Keia had said that he was being more expressive as of late... But he wasn't so sure... If anything being expressive and false was common for him, the rarity is how often he takes off his mask of normalcy especially around Keia.

He sheathed the blade.

Ever since he could remember survival has been his only goal. But now that his goal has changed slightly he wondered if he would care if he was faced with death again.
 
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He nodded, "If you say so. Now go and prepare our experiment. I'll send for you when the bandits arrive."

"Yes master." She said standing up. She bowed to him as he left. Once he was gone, she got straight to work. All of it was theoretical, as she didn't have time to experiment with it, but she made a number of calculations, and predictions.

She also practiced using her magic with her 'distractions', and managed to get some basic spells to work with great difficulty.

She stayed in her tower preparing. Until at last the bandits came. She saw them approaching from one of the four windows. And she left her tower for the main room, and waited there for Christian.
 
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The Guards didn't even need to tell him, he could hear their jeers all the way from the courtyard where he had been training.
The watchman came in but he was already walking towards the main hall where Keia was already waiting.
He gave her a nod before turning to the few other guards that had gathered as well.
"We're going down there to meet with the bandits. Form a perimeter but do not interfere under any circumstance. Understood?"
The guards snapped salutes, their excitement to finally be doing something evident in their behavior. They all affirmed his orders and Christian turned to Keia.
"I trust everything is ready."

Then, checking his daggers are all strapped in place, he pushed the doors open and took the path to the main gate in the battlements.
On the other side of the gates three bandits were having a good old time hurling insults and cow manure at the walls, the others might be in the village or decided not to come.
The gate opened and Christian stepped forward with the guards immediately breaking off to carry out his orders.
He approached with a stoic expression, but not his killer face, as he made his way over to the mocking men.

"Oh Ho? Looks like the little toy Baron finally grew some balls! Coming out to face us and with only a whore by his side?"
He laughed loud and raucously.
"I doff my hat to you! You've really shown us you got balls but you should have grown a brain first!"
Christian stood twenty feet away from them and said nothing for now, letting them get their fun in before getting down to business.
 
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Keia Merrenia

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They all affirmed his orders and Christian turned to Keia.
"I trust everything is ready."

"They are Master." She confirmed. The only up-close weapon she carried was a single dagger with a shallow curve. It was good for dealing with enemies in a pinch but her prominence laid in magic.

She walked with him out to meet the bandit lieutenants.

"Oh Ho? Looks like the little toy Baron finally grew some balls! Coming out to face us and with only a whore by his side?"
He laughed loud and raucously.
"I doff my hat to you! You've really shown us you got balls but you should have grown a brain first!"
Christian stood twenty feet away from them and said nothing for now, letting them get their fun in before getting down to business.

The whore comment made her eye twitch in annoyance. A bedslave yes, whore, no. But she had a purpose there and it was not to talk. She readied her magic, and charged up her fire spell with the energy of the three troll souls trapped in quartz crystals, which were in her thigh-bag.

When signalled to move she'd allow fire to erupt in a wall behind them. Hot enough to keep them away from it, but low enough to let everyone from the village see through it.

There were seven lieutenants, two of which were actually women. And one looked the pair of them over hungrily. She'd be a prime subject for her experiments regarding mind control and the manipulation of living humans.
 

Christian Vide

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The other lieutenants arrived as well from their other places of causing trouble. So they were all present, good.
They laughed and jeered and mocked at their expense till Christian got tired of listening to them, not that their words bothered him, but their tones of voice were grating and cringe.
He raised his hand for silence, which of course they ignored.

"Oh? What now? you got something ta say to us?:
"Come on, just admit you're weak and let us take charge, we know you don't have what it takes to be a Baron so just roll over like a good dog!"


His voice was calm and level, which spoke louder than any slur they threw at them and it drew their attention. "My words are wasted on filth like you, but consider yourselves privileged to hear them."
The villagers had taken notice and had begun to gather around to see what would happen.
"You made a mistake coming here..."

His eyes hardened in a glare, anger crossed his face as he crafted his demeanor to portray his character as Bruce Fydorian.
"You thought to have fun, to take what you want, to terrorize the people of Stonewatch and make them fear you..."
hidden behind his hand a knife dropped from his sleeve into his palm.
"Without a thought about what you should fear... You don't fear me now, but you and all who follow you and your boss will learn to fear me."

He glanced at Keia. The bandits moved their hands to their weapons, obviously peeved by his words but kept up their mocking behavior, pretending to be afraid as they bullied up close to him to intimidate him more.
"Oh no! So scary! I think I'll pee myself from laughter!"
Christian nodded to Keia. The time was now.
 
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Keia Merrenia

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She snapped her fingers and a wall of green flame formed a circle around the two groups. The fire was low to the ground so that the spectators could see what was happening, but too hot to get very close.

So with that Keia proceeded to summon a circle of ethereal swords to spin round her at a constant, even pace, eight of them total. Between the handle, the blade and the crossguard of each of the eight swords was a quartz crystal, from which their power was derived.

These spinning swords would be hurled like arrows at the enemy, cutting their legs and throwing their weapons from their grip, but this was only to distract them from the real threat that was Christian.

She was certain to keep intact the woman that had gazed at her and her master so hungrily. She expected a sword as it hurled her way, it transformed into chains, with shackles. They locked around her wrists, ankles and neck, sinched tight, but not too tight, and she was on the ground, immobilised. Now with seven ethereal swords to work with, Keia continued her onslaught, being certain not to outshine her master, not that she could easily do that even with her magic.
 

Christian Vide

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As soon as the flames blocked off all escape realization suddenly dawned on the bandits and they immediately drew their swords.
Keia performed well. The utility of her magic was extensive and she had her defense well planned.

The bandits were close to him. The closest felt a knife drag across the exposed flesh of his forearm and grate against his bones before he was able to fully draw his sword.
They had gathered to make a sort of half circle around him, but he was no longer in the middle, not giving them a chance to flank him he jumped behind the man he just cut and kicked his knee out from under him.

The rest of the bandits were torn between fighting off flying swords and dealing with Christian. The woman was imprisoned in chains and one couldn't draw his sword.
Christian faced them with a long dagger held in a reverse grip against his forearm and he was prepared to beat them bloody with just his bare hands. They tried to come at him all at once but got in each others way, a sword swing coming down on his head was easily sidestepped and the bandit felt the air forced from his lungs from the pommel of the dagger, choking another bandit went down.

Three bandits were now out of the fight. On the other side of the flames guards and townspeople watched as their lord and his magic user thrashed the lieutenants of the bandit lord.
Christian blocked another slash with his dagger and delivered a crippling nerve strike to his neck.

The three remaining bandits backed off, looking around frantically for a way out but flames blocked every escape rout. All that stood before them was a moderately dressed noble, and a scantily clad mage.
The subdued bandits were groaning on the ground, lacking the strength to stand and Christian couldn't help but feel a pang of disappointment at how easy this was. They were simple bandits, but he hoped to draw this out a little more.

The last three brandished their swords trying to put on a brave front that wasn't working very well.
Christian sheathed his dagger and picked up a discarded sword.
"You are all disappointments... All talk. You can hardly use a sword at all, did you think you had any sort of proficiency?"
He regarded the bandits with a pitying expression.
"I came overprepared. There was absolutely no reason to take you seriously."
He looked over at Keia and addressed her, "What do you think, Lady Merrenia. Should we take them all for ourselves or send one of them as a message to their boss?"
 
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Keia Merrenia

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Her flying swords did their job, and were plenty of distraction for the bandits that were trying to attack Christian and keep his back and flanks protected, more of a precaution than a necessity. But she still felt that it was best to be safe, after all, it only took one lucky thrust or cut and his life could be over in an instant.

Her swords also took to securing the disabled bandits so that they couldn't recover and cause them trouble. As the last three stood against the firewall, as close to it as they could bear anyway, her last three swords hovered far more threateningly, their tips all aimed at one of the bandits while her lord berated them.


"What do you think, Lady Merrenia. Should we take them all for ourselves or send one of them as a message to their boss?"

She grinned, "I'd say that none of them returning is message enough, my lord."
 
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