Quest The Fires Undying

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Seska the Dragonslayer, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. Seska the Dragonslayer

    Member
    Seska the Dragonslayer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2019
    Messages:
    71
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    The wind howled outside, shaking trees hard enough to keep the snow from accumulating on them. It wasn't much of a blessing, though, for the wind howled hard enough to snap branches and uproot those too weak to survive such a colossal storm.

    The ancient Sidhe staggered onward, eyes fever-bright and face flushed. Her breth misted before her - it was terribly cold, and she was not really clothed for a climate such as this. And why should she have been? It was deep into spring, when the snow should have been melting. Not falling.

    Not howling in a raging blizzard that had come down from the heights of the Spine like a feral cat, howling and gnashing icy teeth at everything. She could still see that village in the distance, six or seven miles distant and lower down. There, there could have been warmth and safety, comfort. Not misery, such as here, this cavern cut into the side of a mountain with all the strange glyphs that she didn't see, and probably wouldn't have recognized even if she had. Down, deep into the bowels of the earth, coughing and hacking until she thought her lungs would explode, her head implode.

    The Sidhe's thoughts flitted this way and that, never lighting on one subject for very long. It was memories, ancient memories that assailed her mostly. The terrible heat of the fever that burned in her flesh threatened to erase it all, and her along with it. Hours, days wandering in the cold, trying to find shelter. She did not know, could scarcely have strung two coherent thoughts together in any case.

    Rest. I need....rest...

    She stopped. Unseeing eyes looked frantically around a room that had opened up from the main approach, deep within a mountain. A stone circle stood in the middle of the room, radiating a sense of sorcery of the highest order. But it was quiescent, for now.

    Gasping for breath, she collapsed against a wall. Fleeting images danced before her eyes. And, as unconsciousness claimed her, swift and tender as the embrace of a lover, some sepulcheral fire flickered into life.

    Dream, a voice whispered from nowhere...and so the tiny woman did.

    -

    Standing, looking over a thriving city, its people busy going about their every day lives. Only, she knew, there was an undertone of fear, an existential terror that could not be dispelled. The peasants were not, by and large, a very intelligent group of people, but even they could smell the blood in the water. For now, peace held sway over her lands, but it would not last.

    Could not last.

    The Sidhe shook her head, and turned away from the view, looking back on a room that held a great table and only four chairs around it. The advisors that were here made these things look undersized, as if for dwarves...but the fact of the matter was, it was her keep, and things were sized to suit herself. She flexed the wings on her back, thin membranes with traceries of veins that had a brilliant azure hue, then glided across the floor towards the maps on the table.

    "My Lady," one of the humans said at the table, and she silenced him with a casual gesture, looking down at the maps, at the markers that indicated armies and other kingdoms, the standards either blue, gold, or blood red. Representations of the holy armies of Angelique, Leto, and Barnabas respectively. Once, there would have been green as well, to represent Oleana...but the Goddess had fallen, was no more. Her followers had been scattered to the winds, their cities and temples razed to the ground, burned and salted. The Sanguine Fate had been the last bastion of the Goddess of Nature, and they lay dead, riven stone from stone. Blood ran in those streets fit to fill an ocean.

    And I myself had a hand in that fall, in that destruction. The smoke that had hung over Draci, the seat of the Ordo de Draconis - Templars of Angelique and her righteous Justice - had only recently been dispelled, the fires that had consumed the Circles put out. The Goddess had rained brimstone upon those people, left them broken and bleeding before the ground forces of the Order had marched in and slaughtered all before them. In the Great War, there could be no other answer, no other conclusion. The heathens must be cleansed, and it was by fire and sword that the cleansing was achieved.

    "Has Callis and the Gold moved from their stronghold yet?" the diminutive fae asked, and the human that had spoken first did not immediately reply. After a long, thoughtful silence, he bowed to her.

    "Forgive me, Lady Dragonslayer, but there has been no report. We have been unable to infilitrate their great cities. It appears that Divine Light stands ready to receive our blessing with open arms..."

    She scowled. "Receive our blessing. What a quaint way of saying receive our divine judgment. Their forces heavily outnumber us, Taldric, they and their unholy alliance with Those Against the Darkness." The two coalitions - guilds - had been working closely together, an unholy alliance of the pagan worshipers of Leto. The God of Chaos had no idea what kind of chaos was coming his way, though. Both of those heathen guilds were massive - the last reports, before the borders had become too closely guarded for any of her sprites and drow to pierce their defenses, had shown their armies numbering in the millions. They were a people of weak faith, though, and Seska was confident that they could slaughter them before they even reached her own borders.

    "Do your job, Spymaster," she replied acidly. "We need intelligence if we are to prosecute this Holy war properly.

    "Our forces stand ready, my Lady," another of the people at the table spoke up. The man was a beast, standing so tall he actually had to stoop down to avoid hitting his head. A nubash of the Droben people, he was surprisingly articulate for one of their kind. Long limbs and a hard carapace of stone, the black eyes close set in his squat face regarded the Ascendant of the Order placidly, gleaming with the rare intelligence that he possessed. "We have trained some sappers this time, Great One. The Ordo shall not be stopped by the fortresses and walls of the heathen. Not this time." To emphasize the point, the great creature flexed its muscles, the crackle of sinew and plates of stone rubbing against each other loud and, though she would never admit it to anyone, intimidating.

    "Very well, Teren. All of you keep our expenses to a minimum right now. I wish for our coffers to be strong when the peace is brok-"

    "My Lady!"

    The tiny woman snapped her head to the door of the chamber. A youth, wearing the gold and red of the Ordo, stood there, panting. Sweat streamed down the youth's face.

    "What," she began, eyes narrow, "are you doing here, boy? Surely there is nothing so important that you need to jump the chain-" she continued, but was cut off by the youth.

    "The Light has moved, my Lady! Lady Eisheth has been overrun. The city of Daemonica has been overrun, and the Warlady has fled the city, and the Letites are slaughtering everyone...."

    Silence cloaked the room. Even the Sidhe was at a loss for words. Obviously, there was little honor in war...but a certain code of conduct had always been expected among the guilds. Callis had just thrown it all away, striking a much weaker foe in a bid to finally bring the Great War to a close. Secretly, she was surprised it had taken so long.

    Composing herself, she turned to the others in the room. "It is time, then. Do not let the populace know. Not yet. Put our plans in motion." The others nodded to her before bowing, and leaving to take care of their tasks.

    Soon, very soon now, would the temples and the circles raise their prayers to the heavens, beseeching the Great Goddess' intervention. Memories of the fall of the Sanguine flitted about in the sorceress's head, of the divine retribution and the blood that would flow in the streets once more. The only question was whose blood would flow the most, by the time it was all said and done.

    -

    The undercurrent in the city was indeed that of fear.

    For years the wars had raged unchecked, realms falling by the sword or by sorcerous fire or, quite often, by both. Thieves in the night coming to slit the throats of the people, to instill fear and despair among the populace of various realms as the leaders of the great warring nations fought their battles using the citizens as chips in the great bargains and gambles. The peasants knew that their lives were worthless to those that ruled from the top.

    And that there was a Jihad ongoing, the three great Churches of the world tearing each others' throats out...well, that was known too.

    Among Draci, the city of the Ordo de Draconis - the Order of the Dead Dragon, slain by the great guilds' own matriarch - the chief religion was that of Angelique, the Goddess of Order and Justice. Her temples were in many parts of the city, and it was to these places that people went to worship, to pray for an end to the violence that was killing millions of people across the world. Their 'great' leaders ignored the pleas of the common folk to bring an end to the strife, to coexist with their neighbors in peace. It wasn't the mighty, after all, that were the true victims of the constant bloodshed. It was the common man who suffered beneath the yoke of war and the terrible oppression of serfdom.

    While their aristocratic elites might think they could hide the truth from those within their domains, they were of course sadly mistaken. Word of the imminent war was already there, being whispered among the common people, who looked to the north and west with a sense of foreboding and fear. The banners of the Divine Light could be seen, if only in the minds eye, and the terrible armies that would topple the walls of the city first, and then rape and pillage their way to the gates of the great Dragonslayer's keep itself....

    They knew. Quietly, in ones and twos, they tried to flee the city. Only to be stopped at the gates, and turned around. There was no escape, and so many resigned themselves to their fate, while others tried to prepare for what was to come, knowing full well that it was unlikely that any would survive.

    -
    Morning sunlight streamed in through the window, landing on her face. She was already awake, staring at the cobweb infested ceiling and wondering, not for the first time, where the hell she was and how she had come to be here.

    Aeyliea sat up in her bed - well, a bed. Motes of dust danced in the shaft of sunlight streaming through that window, and she took a moment to take stock of her surroundings. The room was small and cramped, the bed she had been laying on narrow and hard, the mattress lumpy and uncomfortable. She could smell smoke quite heavily in the air, and sense the heat as well. Somehow, she knew this was somewhere in the mountains, and that the heat was a blessing of the work she had done her whole life. Strange. The information seemed to come from long experience, only the old horse warrior knew that she had never lived in the mountains, too. She had been born on the plains, a tribeswoman of the Norei...and at the same time, she knew that she was a blacksmith for Torey Gildhorn, working in his smithy in the city of Draci. She remembered apprenticing under the man, a rare woman working in this occupation. Only...

    ...only, looking at herself, she was exactly as she knew herself to be.

    What was she doing in a city she had never heard of before, with the memories of a person she was not? It stank of some kind of magic, and she made a superstitious gesture to ward off evil. Was she caught in some kind of twisted spell? Or was she ill, having a fever dream?

    It was awfully fucking realistic to be a fever dream.

    Dressed in a woolen shift, she stepped out of the cramped room and directly into the forge itself. The fires were burning low, and no one was tending them at the moment. A variety of tools in various stages of being forged lay around the place; she knew that the classic image of a blacksmith was nothing but swords and lances, but the truth of it was that they did far, far more business making horseshoes, nails, hammers, and other tools of that nature.

    Which makes absolutely no fucking sense, she though to herself. She knew how to plan raids, knew how to fight, knew the tactics required to defeat an enemy. Knew how to wield a sword with deadly efficiency...and yet, she also knew how to make that swords. And that was not anything she knew that she had done before. The odd duality was...disconcerting.

    Activity. A man with large muscles stepped out of a side room, the wild light in his eyes indicating something was clearly off. "Ah, Alanna," he said in a clipped manner, looking her up and down in a very deliverate way, if a bit distractedly. "We need to go, my dear. They say we can get out of the city from the south, that they are not turning people back just yet. Not just yet." She could hear the lie in the man's voice, could see the despair and the resignation as well. Whatever the strange memories in her head were, they said nothing about what he was speaking of.

    "I....what are we leaving for, Tor?" she asked. Other memories surfaced. Indecent ones. She pushed them aside.

    "Don't be daft, girl. The Letites are on their way. Sharpened teeth and all." His eyes looked wild at the prospect, and not in a good way. "Angelique should protect us from them but...you know what they do when they catch unbelievers in their pagan God, right?"

    She did. Somehow, she did. Burned alive, at the stake, or cut to pieces. In her particular case, they would probably rape her, and then kill her in the most agonizing way possible. There were never any stories of survivors, or people kept under thrall to their new Lord and Master, only that of bloodshed, of no quarter given. Aeyliea knew she should feel terror at the prospect - all the things running through her head, as if another person was there and she was just playing the part. That sickening ball of worry did not affect her, though, not as it should have.

    By the ancestors, what sorcery is this? Aeyliea - the real Aeyliea - felt an intense disquiet. Here was a situation she did not understand at all. There was simply nothing to do except play the role given, until a reason not to.

    "Lets go, Alanna," he said, and she shook her head. "Let me get dressed, you great oaf," she replied, and then hurried off to do just that. All the while trying to think about what it was she was going to do, and what the hell, exactly, was going on.
     
    Anima, Ynsidia, Rhys and 1 other person like this.
  2. Smiling One

    Member
    Smiling One Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2019
    Messages:
    121
    Location:
    Nowhere...... yet everywhere!
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    The Iron Victory began to sail against the desert plains heading towards the Ocean. Captain Willis Reede stood on the pole behind the Fore Topsail shielding his eyes looking at the deep blue ocean that he was about to go on. It had been a fortnight since he and his crew sailed across the desert with no sign of water in sight. Willis' crew still had barrels of Rum but food supply was dangerously low. To be back at sea meant they could fish mitigating the food crisis.

    Beads of sweat formed around the young captain's brow but were quickly brushed away by the gust of wind blowing in front of him. While grateful for the cool air, Willis frowned as it made accelerating harder than since the wind was blowing in the opposite direction of the sails. Willis looked down to his crew who moved with a purpose, they were exhausted and hungry like Willis but with his careful navigation, Willis was able to lead his loyal crew towards the sea. The Sea Shanty: Oh Billy Riley! was heard below, the crewmen were swabbing the decks, trying to adjust the sails in order to have the ship move faster.

    Willis smiled seeing a sandy hill ahead, "Captain!" First Mate: Molly announced. Molly was Willis' second and lover. The two of them have endured a lot during their voyage on the Iron Victory. "Steep hill down below!"

    Willis nodded. "Aye! I see it!" he shouted. "Prepare lower sails!"

    Molly smiled and relayed her Captain's orders, the ship began to slide on the sandy hill heading downwards even closer to the sea. Willis leaned forward, both hands clutching on the rope as the crewmen began lower the sails allowing the ship to slide. As Willis held on, he felt the wind starting to blow behind his neck. The gust was strong and could give them the boost that they needed. "Molly!" Willis shouted. "As soon as we reach the bottom, full sail!"

    "Aye Aye!" Molly responded. When the ship landed on the bottom, Molly ordered the crewmen for full sail. The massive white fabrics opened up and the wind propelled the Iron Victory forward its momentum carrying it at the sea. The crewmen cheered as the ship entered the ocean. The smell of the sea filled up Willis nostrils while he struggled to keep himself from smiling. The sea.... how he missed it.
     
    Seska the Dragonslayer and Anima like this.
  3. Anima

    Member
    Anima A Shadow

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2019
    Messages:
    93
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    They sat on the bed in the brothel together. Shadha on the edge. Anima crossed-legged behind her.

    The room adorned with colorful silken finery hanging from the ceiling and draped from the ornately carved wooden posts and canopy of the bed and dangling in front of the window to obscure the outside and filter the light leaking in through a lens of red and pink and deep blue.

    Slowly she braided Shadha's hair. Braided it and then unbraided it. Ran her fingers through it from time to time. All as they talked. Shadha, of the men she'd taken and the gossip and rumors about Alliria. Anima, of her travels and the people she'd met and the things she'd done with them.

    Shadha was used to her now. Friendly. A welcoming embrace when she had no other. And some spare coin. The way of brothels. Anima understood it. Accepted it. This, or suffer lethargy. Perhaps, if she should be so lucky, it may yet become more than a transactional relation. And she could bask in Shadha's energetic, lively, giggly presence whenever she wished. An invitation in. A true friend.

    Perhaps.

    Anima brushed Shadha's hair with her hand after having unbraided it all once again. "But he wasn't dead," she said.

    Shadha glanced back over her shoulder. "Whaa~at? You mean that mercenary fellow didn't kill him too?"

    "No. Udalof didn't."

    "So what'd you do?"

    Anima grinned. "You woke him up."

    Shadha's brows jumped up. Her jaw dropped. And she giggled some and brought a hand over her mouth, "Oh, you did not! Guy was a bandit! He was gonna kill you. He probably tried to kill you, right? He probably did. Yeah, I think so."

    "He didn't."

    "Oh. Oops. I ever tell you I'm bad at guessing things, Anima?"

    "You have."

    "I thought so. Hmm. Must be nice to have a good gut instinct. Mine is always wrong."

    "Not all the time."

    "Oh, that's nice of you to say. But hey, don't let me distract you. So what'd you do?"

    Anima leaned in close to Shadha's ear and whispered. "You let Messer live. And you told him to torch that town."

    Shadha shivered from the closeness. The quiet words. "And...did he?"

    Anima draped her arms over Shadha's shoulders and entwined her hands over her stomach. Swayed with her gently as they both sat on the bed. Whispering. "Yes. He did. Messer and the rest of the bandits. And you enjoyed it, didn't you? Watching. Basking in the fright and the sorrow and the pain. The massacre. The burning. The peace of Iron Lake shattered. A rare and sweet delight, to be witness to such a tremendous thing."

    And she told her of Messer and Peter's battle. Of the stand of Udalof and the untrained miners against the bandit leader and his men. Of sitting on the shore of the lake with Peter after it was all done. As most of the town behind them turned to ash.

    A long moment of quiet.

    "But why?" Shadha said. Curious. Not judging or condemning. Just curious. It was why Anima liked her.

    Anima rubbed her head against Shadha's own. Feeling her hair against her cheek. Said, "You are not a good soul. You observe them. Bask in them. Admire them. But you are not one among them, are you?"

    Shadha adjusted and turned and looked at her. "I don't think you're so bad."

    Anima just smiled. Leaned in to Shadha and hugged her for a long time. And said nothing.

    And they took off their clothes down to their underwear and slipped in under the fine blankets together and rested their heads on the pillows and Anima fell asleep in Shadha's embrace. Gentle breath on the back of her neck. The sensation of touch. Closeness. A cradle of warmth.

    Yes. She could dream.

    In the company of another.

    She could dream.

    * * * * *​

    Anima awoke.

    A room. Much like the one in Alliria. A bed and a window and silken finery. But the bed itself was different. Window on the opposite side of the room. Different colors of finery.

    And she was alone.

    She sat up.

    Dim. The window wasn't facing the sun. Difficult, to tell if the sun was rising or falling. Quiet. But she knew that somebody had been here. With her. Not Shadha. Someone else. Someone she knew and didn't know. Somehow.

    Anima ran a hand down her face. Had she lost herself in a Masquerade again? Maybe. Maybe not.

    The smell of sweat. Of sex. In the sheets. In the air. Faint and lingering.

    Anima rolled out of the bed and to her feet and stood. She was wearing somebody else's clothes. A light pink chemise. Her feet bare.

    She looked at her hands. Normal. So it seemed.

    A thump. On the other side of the closed door of the room. Anima scanned the room for her sword, her left bracer, or her boots. None seen. No weapons at all.

    She moved quietly across the room. The light shuffling of her bare feet against the smooth wood of the floor.

    And she pressed her back straight and firm to the wall next to the hinges of the door. Waited.

    Listened.
     
    Smiling One likes this.
  4. Rhys

    Member
    Rhys New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2019
    Messages:
    2
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Rhys stepped into the mirror-realm of dream and thought as one steps through a door. He arrived in a place of his own making, created from a memory not his own, but one he had encountered years ago and adapted to his own purpose. An oak tree, hundreds of years old, grew tall and wide in a field of grass, grazed by horses in the distance. Small blue flowers bloomed beneath his feet, and birds sang above. He sat with his back against the tree, soaking in the sun’s warmth and the birds’ song. The feeling of calm he absorbed in this place was important, here. Grounding was important. And the perception of safe haven was important. Nothing could harm him here save his own mind. It was not a place to bring one’s earthly fears.

    His physical appearance in the dream-world was similar to his appearance in real life, though he was able to control how his features were projected, and made a few adjustments. He stood tall, with red hair and freckles, a short beard, and ever-present glasses. The wizard’s robes he wore were of a deep sapphire green, and of course were heavy wool, for he was always cold. He appeared somewhat gaunt and underfed, and if one were to ascertain that he spent far too much time in a dream-trance or with his nose buried in a book, they would be correct. Turning to what he thought was northeast in his haven, he stepped forward and traveled in a few steps of thought to the City Center of Belgrath.

    Belgrath’s reflection in the dream-world was magnificent, having stood for so many thousands of years that it had burnt its steadfast image brightly into the mirror-realm. It was just midnight in the city, and the roads bustled with dreaming souls who re-visited their daily interactions in their nightly thoughts. They did not notice him, and he walked among them freely. Their dreams appeared and faded around him, often with indiscernible meaning, occasionally disturbing and powerful, and always as private as he could leave them, averting his eyes. His purpose tonight was specific, and lay higher in the city.

    Rhys had dutifully memorized the layout of the City Center, and he gradually made his way though winding tunnels, beneath glorious lanterns, and up endless staircases to the manor that he sought. The grand front door was locked, but Rhys willed it to recall its open state in the real world, and it creaked open loudly, allowing him to walk through into the house’s quiet interior. Feeling he was somehow trespassing - perhaps he was - Rhys quietly kept to the shadows, walking down the dark halls of stone to the lord’s bedroom, where in the real world the man lay sleeping. He stood in the center of the room, and began a manipulation of the dream-world that usually allowed him to locate the dreamer, from whence he could follow the man’s sleeping consciousness and observe his dreams for the rest of the night. Spying on someone’s dreams was not exactly an honorable use of his magic, and Rhys went through the motions of the spell with some distaste.

    But the spell was not working. Rhys, perplexed, repeated the manipulation several times, to no avail. He sat down on the edge of the bed, wondering what could be amiss, when he noticed something strange. A faint outline of a burning ring, its border decorated with flaming runes he did not recognize, hovered over the bed where the lord’s sleeping form would be. He knew it for a spell, but its effects were not familiar. The fact that it echoed in the dream realm told him that it had something to do with the lord’s sleeping consciousness, and that it was very powerful.

    Rhys considered the situation. Depending on the skill of the sorcerer who had cast the spell, the risks of investigating its effects or attempting to reverse them could potentially be dangerous. However, he knew with certainty that the consequences of not completing his task tonight were quite severe. He decided he must try.

    He was careful. He first manipulated the room, dimming its light and enlarging the image of the burning ring that he might inspect it more closely. Though the runes upon it were unfamiliar he studied them meticulously until he had memorized a few and felt certain he would recognize the rest if he encountered them again.

    Rhys then considered, if he too become bound within the spell, would he be able to free himself again or would he become trapped against his will? Rhys was no ordinary dreamer, and it was not unreasonable to think that if this spell ensnared one’s dream-consciousness he would have more control over his situation than most. He also carried several protections that may have some effect. Unrolling his sleeve, he held the spell-rune tattooed upon his arm up to the flaming ring. The tattoo glowed a silvery-green, seeming to expand across his skin as a protective shield. He smiled, his confidence growing. This should work; he should be able to explore the spell’s effects and return to his haven once he was done. Or, at least, he had reason to hope.

    Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and let his dream-consciousness pass through the ring.

    ----------

    He snapped to attention, squinting at the sun shining directly in his eyes, and standing still and proud in a line of gold-and-red-clad soldiers of the Order of the Dead Dragon. A man, a commander, walked before them, speaking orders and meeting the eyes of each man along the line. Rhys did not want to meet the man's eyes, but Aaron met them proudly and fiercely, memorizing his commander’s orders specifically and with care. It is my duty to stand, my duty to listen, my duty to heed he thought. Rhys thought. Aaron thought? Suddenly Rhys was afraid, as he had never been afraid in a dream before.

    This was no dream. He smelled the fires of war and the sweat under the leather armor. He felt the hard stone beneath his feat, the sun burning his cheeks. He did not watch this dream, he experienced it. What spell was this, what trap had he walked into?

    Aaron and his comrades were ordered to the south gates to turn back any residents trying to leave the city before the enemy’s imminent attack. Attack? thought Rhys. Panicking, he experimented with control of Aaron’s body, and found he could move the fingers on his left hand. He chanced a glance down, and found himself clad in leather armor and carrying a sword on his left hip. Oh gods... he thought. Where was the Belgrath lord? Certainly this was not his dream. He must be close by. The commander, perhaps? How was Rhys to learn which of these other projections held a second consciousness? And how was he to free him? Surely the answer was to find the consciousness controlling the spell...

    Rhys did not want to follow the other soldiers to the city gates, but he knew that he must, and Aaron’s legs ran so confidently beneath him that it was much easier not to interfere. They jogged the city streets in a line three wide and ten deep, and the city’s residents shied away from them, their eyes wide in fear. Why would a city’s people be afraid of their own protectors? Rhys explored Aaron’s memories, and found that Aaron knew only a single mantra of righteous justice; he bore an intense hatred for all that it stood for, but it brought food to his family’s table and protection from those who would kill them, and so he gave this goddess his life and loyalty. Rhys felt pity welling up inside of him, for it seemed these people, whomever they were, knew only the suffering and hardship of war.

    But nowhere in Arethli was there such a war, or had there been that he had read of, and this was no city he recognized in reality, memory, or history. Surely this place must exist, or have existed, for a conscious mind to be able to experience it in such detail?

    They arrived at the gates, where Aaron and the others of the Order reinforced the existing guards and helped turn the peasants back into the city. The peasants shouted, some crying or screaming in fear and despair - let them out, they did not wish to die. “You must stay in the city!” Aaron and the others replied, repeating the words they had been given. “Here the Goddess protects us, outside we are at the mercy of the Letites. You must have faith!”

    They had no faith left; fear had driven it from them, fear and hunger and the certain knowledge that no-one would protect them. The mob began throwing rocks and tools, striking the guards. They pushed their way forward, gaining several feet, and taking down a guard. And so it was that the commander ordered Aaron and the others to quell them.

    (OOC: Please let me know if I've overstepped - I'm happy to revise if needed!)
     
    Smiling One and Anima like this.
  5. Ynsidia

    Member
    Ynsidia -Luckiest Witch With Bad Luck-

    Joined:
    May 18, 2019
    Messages:
    110
    Location:
    Vel Anir
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    #5 Ynsidia, Jun 4, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
    Ronnii didn't know what to make of her, but he had to hear it from her lips again; this was the most profoundly bizarre thing he'd ever encountered during questioning. The rotund, middle aged inquisitor of the guard smiled, but his wide, blue eyes blinking rapidly told on him. He wasn't happy, but disturbed by what he'd heard. Ronnii had to hear it again, just to make sure the woman wasn't simply insane.

    "Alright, from the top."

    "Of what?"

    "Sorry?"

    "Top of what?"

    "Your story, from the top."

    "Stories have a beginning, Sir, and an end, not a top, or bottom."

    "Don't get testy, girl. I'm the person who decides whether you go into a neat little prison cell, or into a catapult and launched over the wall! Now, from the start, tell me your story..."

    "But I already explained to you all that I know."

    "Well, do it again!"

    The inquisitor found the ostentatiously dressed teen frustrating. Any other teen he could box the ears of and get them to tattle or run, but this teenage girl seemed a bit more complicated, and foreign...perhaps even dangerous. Magic was a wild thing, and sometimes the young practiced it but suffered the results of failure, fallout of miscasting things. That might be what happened here. Regardless, the bronze skinned girl huffed at him, crossing her arms as she fixed scowling black eyes on her black tresses, tugging on her tight braids.

    "Does my head grow rope?"

    "How should I know? Get on with your story."

    "Very well."

    She cleared her throat and leveled her gaze on Ronnii.

    "I am in a dream world." she declared flatly.

    "And why is that?" he asked for the second time today, repeating the motions verbatim.

    "I am left handed in the real world. I also wear iron shackles, always, in the real world, but don't have them on me now." she explained.

    Ronnii nodded, there was no change in her story thus far, in fact, she was answering identically as before.

    "The importance of these shackles?"

    The teenage girl groaned.

    "I was abducted as a child into slavery, but kept my shackles; I wear them in memory of someone who helped me survive those times."

    "Okay, are you some sort of performer, or practitioner of the arcane arts?" and Ronnii indicated the numerous sigils on the table between them, the face of each adorned with some sort of mysterious, stylized symbol.

    "No. I believe those might be religious icons..." she answered, sounding irritated. Ronnii sat back in his chair, eyeing the girl, and the various charms.

    "Are you part of a cult?" he asked.

    "I thought I was telling my story from the start, but I see that you really meant to ask me the same questions over again from before." she snapped at Ronnii, the inquisitor slapping the table hard in response. The girl didn't flinch, and instead leaned in and pounded the table with both hands.

    "This is pointless!" she bellowed.

    Ronnii leaned in, nostrils flaring, face flushed with anger.

    "Than tell me who you are, and stop feeding me tripe!"

    The girl snarled back.

    "I do not know who I am, and I do not know how to properly prepare the first, nor second stomach, of a cow for consumption!"

    Ronnii leaned back, expression softening, he smirked shallowly as he reached over to the only other object on the table. Under pressuring, she was holding up, her responses natural, and the same answers as before. He gripped a scabbard with both hands, then grasped the ornate handle, and drew the Rapier from the scabbard. It was truly fine quality. But the writing on the strong, just before the hilt, was of interest.

    "Do you know what these moon runes say?"

    The girl skewed at it.

    "A sword for Ynsidia." she read aloud.

    Ronnii grinned wider.

    "Who's Ynsidia?"

    The girl threw her hands up in the air, and shrugged.

    "How should I know!?!"

    "Are you Ynsidia?"

    "Certainly not! whoever goes by that name must be both ridiculous, and tacky!"
     
    Anima likes this.
  6. Seska the Dragonslayer

    Member
    Seska the Dragonslayer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2019
    Messages:
    71
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    [ Smiling One ]

    The vessel rose and fell with the swells of the ocean, the glistening blue stretching on forever behind them, but the distant land just coming into view for the first time in weeks. The man-of-war was but one of a few of the great vessels that escorted the transport ships that flitted between their greater brethren like schools of sardines around great sharks. The seas behind The Strife were dotted with dozens, with hundreds of transport vessels, their decks line and littered with soldiers, weapons stacked and stowed and gleaming in the hot sun.

    The Strife flew four flags on its great mast, the gold that marked the great God Leto, and beneath it the standards of the Divine Light, Those Against the Darkness, and the Warguard of Rage. Three great Guilds united under the banner of the only true god of this world, riding the sea as a single great host, a hammer to crush the heathen before them. That this was only one expedition among many and against many foes was meaningless to the soldiers who rode on those transports, and for the naval vessels themselves.

    Halgard had been a captain of the sparse naval presence of the Light for a decade, participating in many of the raids along the coasts of the Lost Knights and the Ordo, as well as the Sanguine Ones before they had fallen to the combined might of Angelique and her whores. And now, he had been granted command of this expedition, beneath Kallam at least, which was as fine a post as could be had by a common born man such as himself.

    The orders had been simple. The Strife and several other greatships were to escort the landing force until a beachhead was made and the soldiers had been disembarked, and then they would resume their previous operations: targeting merchantmen vessels and capturing them, plundering them, and then sending them to the bottom of the deep. Sanctioned piracy was also a dream of his, and the years had been exceptionally profitable.

    "Vessel ho!"

    Halgard looked up to the crow's nest, where the watchman was waving a flag and pointing towards shore. Perplexed, the ship's captain looked beyond, taking out a spy glass to try and see what it was that the watch had found. The masts of another vessel were just visible, but that vessel was in too shallow waters to be any great warship, and in any case it was alone. No flags were raised that he could see, which made him suspicious of the ownership of the vessel to say the least. The nearest port was thirty miles south along the coast, where the desert began to peter out. Where the realm went from those claimed by the Demonic Reality (and surely, if there was ever a place that needed to be cleansed of the pagans, that was one!) and where the Ordo de Draconis began.

    Too shallow, and strange. Things that the ships captain could not help but be made curious by. "Jorren? Signal to the next for them to signal to that vessel. Let us see where their allegiance lies." He paused, thoughtful. "And have the archers ready themselves. If they do not show the right colors, to the bottom they go."

    --
    [ Rhys ]
    --

    The door slammed shut as the guard stepped out of the building within the barracks closest to the southern gate of Draci. The man shook his head as he stepped away, heading across the inner courtyard of the garrison, nodding to people he knew as he went. There were hundreds of soldiers here, right now; the Captain of the Guard had called in all assets, and was manning every gate, every house and station, as the crisis continued to run its course.

    Tolvar had been through this often enough. The wars never ceased, after all, and it had been more than once that the armies of the infidel had managed to reach the gates of Draci. They had lost parts of the city in some of the worst fighting, either to ground forces that were later repelled, or to the unholy sorcery of the heathens. He couldn't help but feel a certain degree of unease every time the fighting flared up again, but it was a pattern throughout his entire life, and that of his parents, and his grandparents, and on back into the mists of time. The only thing that never changed was the conflict within the realm.

    "They figure anything out about that girl?" a man called out to him as he continued along to the main gates to check up on things there. Tolvar shook his head, but didn't break his pace.

    "She's some kind of changeling. The goblins prefer to use them for their scout work, the devious bastards," he replied. The man saluted him, and went back to obsessively sharping the one handed sword in his hands. Once, Tolvar would have been like him. In fact, even now, he felt a certain degree of trepidation over the coming battle.

    With salutes, the gate guards for the small fortification within the city walls themselves , the gate was opened by some mechanism from within the smaller wall itself, and the sergeant found himself amidst a sea of humanity, the stench of their unwashed bodies mingled with manure and smoke and a blend of a million other scents nearly knocked him off of his feet. They howled with rage and fear as they saw the garrison open up, and several soldiers accompanied him, making a cordon and keeping people back from the gates themselves. It wasn't very far to the city gates, either. The place had been designed to give support if needed there, which would be the most likely point of breach if any breach was made.

    A two dozen soldiers made a path through the peasants, violently if necessary. Rotten food was thrown at them, of course, and dung and bricks and any other detritus that was laying around, close to hand. It was amazing to him how they would take their anger out on the very same people that would save them from death or worse ere much mroe time passed.

    It didn't take long before the violence became more extreme, and the peasants rose up against their supposed oppressors. Tolvar raised his voice, ordering that the mob be beaten back by any means necessary, and couldn't possibly know that the detail at the gate, several hundred men strong, was doing likewise in the direction they were going. Blades were, for the most part, kept in their scabbards, but Tolvar had to harden his heart as he watched men and women and sometimes even children struck down by blunt weapons, trampled underneath the feet of the retreating crowd as it flinched back from its tormentors.

    In the wake of their detail, bodies were strewn on the ground, either unconscious or dead. The sergeant hadn't asked for this, but the people were too terrified to listen to reason.

    They made their way to where others in the gold and black of the Order were falling back, the peasants having fled back and out of the range of those terrible weapons the army possessed, glaring malevolently across the gap where debris and bodies lay. Only just willing themselves to get the willpower to try again.

    "Where is Aaron the Shining One at?" Tolvar demanded as he reached the line of mean staring back, polearms out and ready to turn back another rush from the crowd, should they choose to try again. "I have direct orders from one of the Hands of the Order that must be relayed to him."

    --
    [ Ynsidia ]
    --

    The Inquisitor stared at the girl, his round face filled with an emotion most familiar to him. Disgust. The circular answers this apparent girl gave to him were irritating in the extreme, but on any other occasion he might have accepted it for one of the myriad oddities within the world, had her watched by some of his men for a while, and went about his day.

    But this was not ordinary times. This was the ending of an Age, he felt, when the heathens became more and more bold and careless. And violent. Already, several thousand people had been slaughtered in the night, slain in their beds. Men. Women. Children. Whoever was doing it was indiscriminate in their executions, in their attempts to spread fear and discontent among the populace. The vaults of the main keep had even been raided, and the numbers of his own scouts and scum dead, hanging from rafters or from trees or in the streets had been numerous. Whoever it was that was doing these things was good at their job, and there was nothing he could do about it.

    Which was why this girl was so important!

    "I do not believe you," he said flatly. "There are those among the enemy that can change their appearance at will, but even if not for them, some of the heathen have become exceptionally good art infiltration."

    Torture never gave any answers, really. All torture did was provide and example to others who might transgress, because the one under such duress would confess to anything to make the pain stop. Any interrogator worth their salt knew this. And so did he.

    "Gerrard, please stoke the flames. i want the irons in the fire, and I want them white hot." Ronnii turned to the girl, a twisted grin on his face. "You know how this goes, sweetheart. I'll ask you some questions, and if you answer to my satisfaction I will just kill you, nice and clean. If you don't...." He let it hang out there. The girl was a commoner and worth less than his boots, as far as he was concerned. He wouldn't take any sick pleasure in what he was about to do, but do it he would.

    --
    [ Anima ]
    --

    "The Dragonslayer is mad," a male voice said, clearly heated. Hostile.

    Deven shook his hand as the other one, the one that had spoken, picked himself up off the floor. The room was cramped, as were most of the hovels that they, the peasants and people of this world, lived in. Such furnishings as there were were worn and old, relics passed down or scavenged or made right here in their home. It was amazing what could be done with a little twine and some wood, in the service of making chairs and things of that nature.

    Deven wore no shirt and just had his trousers on for the moment. He hoped that his wife had not been woken from her sleep because of this altercation. She had drifted off in his arms after a session of frenzied lovemaking partially driven by the despair of the continual war, and the imminent arrival of yet another invading force. It was, perhaps, a trite way to try and distract themselves from the brutal realities of their lives. Their son, the one whom was getting up off the floor even now, had a mouth on him. Just seventeen, he had refused the orders of the recruiters as they came around to conscript, vanishing into the night and not returning for weeks. Clara had been worried sick about their progeny since he had left.

    And well she should, as he was. They would hang him for avoiding the conscription, and likely impose penalties on he and his wife as well for it. As if things weren't already hard enough.

    "You need to go to the gate and turn yourself in, boy," he said in a low voice, but Tad refused with a shake of his head.

    "These wars are stupid," he said, spitting a mouthful of blood on their dirt floor. "Its all about the nobles and the church. As far as I am concerned, Angelique can burn. So can Leto, and so can Barn-"

    "You are a fool boy, to invke the wrath of the Gods on this house," Deven said, a touch unsteadily. He had raised his boy to be more careful of his words, and to show proper respect to the Maiden of Justice, but he had steadfastly refused. Due in no small part to his mothers' constant whispered words of denial of faith. Clara had been an adherent of Barnabas once, but he had converted her - he thought - to the true faith long ago, when they sealed their vows.

    Maybe he had misjudged, or maybe it was the boys his son ran around with during the days while he worked at the mill, risking life and limb to bring home what pittance he did.

    "Do you think we matter to them, Da?" Tad replied, insistently. And the truth was, that Deven knew he couldn't answer that question truthfully, because he knew the greater powers never cared for the people they ruled over. Only the Goddess did, in truth. That his son could not see this also was....painful to him.
     
    Ynsidia, Anima and Smiling One like this.
  7. Anima

    Member
    Anima A Shadow

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2019
    Messages:
    93
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Anima listened.

    Two men talking. An older voice. A younger. And she knew their names. Deven and Tad. And she knew her name. Knew it as if it had always been hers.

    This had to be a Masquerade. Last she remembered, she was in the brothel in Alliria sleeping next to Shadha. Nothing after that. Certainly not meeting and shadowing a woman named Clara. Not uncommon. To blackout in the throes of an obsession. For a few seconds at a time. For a few days at a time. But those--the long darks--they happened solely once in a Masquerade. A curious thing. To lack the memory by which she'd come to wear Clara's face.

    But it felt very much like one. A Masquerade. The inhabiting of another's life.

    Yes. A welling up of Clara's emotions. A sorrow and anguish, yes, but love. Love for the two men she heard on the other side of the door. As a wife to Deven. And as a mother to Tad.

    And one was far stronger than the other.

    Cherries. A radiant burst of the flavor of cherries, lining all her mouth and caressing sweetly her tongue. Powerful. The love she felt magnified by the stress of what was happening; a vague but large and looming threat that Anima did not fully grasp yet from Clara. Her knees buckled some and she slid down the wall, her heart pounding in her chest. An exquisite shivering. A savoring of the love that was not hers, but that she had been allowed to partake in.

    Is this what Mother felt toward her? Why she had done the things she had done? Why she continued to do them? It seemed hard to imagine. Anima did not think it so, but...Clara's love toward Tad was unlike any she'd experienced before in a Masquerade. Did all mothers feel this?

    A sting. Of envy. For Tad.

    And a secret wish that Mother had been more like Clara.

    Anima knew what she would do. Yes. She craved it. Escalation. Emotions pushed to even greater heights. The love Clara shared was exhilarating enough to be intoxicating. Could it be more? And more still? Where was the breaking point? She needed to find out.

    And she pushed herself back up to her feet and hurried to the window and gauged how best to strike it and then bashed it with all the might she could muster in her left elbow. Blood streaming down her arm in red ribbons, skin cut from the jagged glass that remained on the sill. A small, sharp, knife-like piece. Perfect. She grabbed it and tore it from the sill and brought the tip of the glass to her throat. The point poking into the flesh, a trickle of blood oozing down her throat.

    A tiny laugh. Brought on by the pain. She suppressed it, but couldn't suppress her wild grin. So be it.

    And she turned to face the door. Waited for the sound to draw Deven and perhaps Tad in. A gamble. On the love Deven felt for Clara. Or lack thereof.

    She would keep Tad safe. Or die with him.
     
    Ynsidia and Smiling One like this.
  8. Rhys

    Member
    Rhys New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2019
    Messages:
    2
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Oh gods no... thought Rhys, as Aaron plunged into the fray. He and the other soldiers used their armored bodies and polearms to push the peasants back away from the gate. But the peasants had the advantage of numbers, and the mob’s realization that it held sufficient power to potentially overrun the guards swept over Aaron like a tenable energy. As fast as he could blink a fist flew at his left temple, and had Rhys maintained control over his host’s body it would have knocked him flat. But Aaron’s reactions were honed by keen instinct and years of combat training, and Rhys—terrified—deferred to Aaron’s skill.

    Aaron easily dodged the blow by moving his head to the right, and followed up by crushing their attacker’s jaw with a strike from his steel vambrace. Adrenaline coursed through his veins, and Rhys’ own physical strength and power awed him. His knee broke a man’s ribs, and his polearm knocked a woman down as his right foot snapped her collarbone. Rhys wanted to be ill, run and hide, even merely close his eyes or turn away to dull the stench, but Aaron’s body refused to accommodate. He was left with the overwhelming guilt of having crippled, maimed, and injured innocent men and women without suffering any physical symptoms of horror or remorse.

    He looked into the eyes of the people he beat down, and saw only fear. But which would they fear more, when this was done? Their enemy, or their protectors? It’s for their own good, thought Aaron. Rhys wondered, would the City’s leaders say the same if only one peasant asked to leave? At what point did deciding the fate of a body of subjects benefit the City more than the individual?

    Aaron completed his task, the peasants held at bay for the moment and kept at a distance with the threat of the polearms. Bodies stirred on the ground, but he paid them no mind. His left eye watered a little, but it was surely due to the glare from the bright sun overhead.

    He heard his name, faintly at first, shouted across the line of soldiers. Aaron disengaged, allowing one of his comrades to take his place, and walked stoically towards a small group of soldiers led by Sergeant Tolvar. He stopped, standing at attention. “Sir,” he acknowledged, awaiting the man’s orders.
     
    Anima likes this.
  9. Ynsidia

    Member
    Ynsidia -Luckiest Witch With Bad Luck-

    Joined:
    May 18, 2019
    Messages:
    110
    Location:
    Vel Anir
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Torture. Or, at least the threat of it.

    Typical.

    Too bad this was a dream world. The pain, or anticipation of it, would likely wake her. Could one feel pain in a dream? Ynsidia, in spite of not knowing that she was Ynsidia, wondered if pain could actually be produced in a dream. If one didn't actually feel pain where they rested could they actually feel it within the fantasy of the shut eyes and fluttering eyelids.

    Then her thoughts drifted to why she didn't know who she was.

    In dream, one always knew that, or should.

    As Ronnii spoke his threat after commanding Gerrard to stoke some implements, Ynsidia crossed her arms and glared at the inquisitor directly.

    "Really!?!"

    She started.

    "Really!?!"

    She echoed.

    "I don't even get to live if I answer you to satisfaction!?! Which I've already done! Just run that damned gaudy Rapier through me then! Seriously, you're the worst! You'll burn the same answers out of me! The slavers treated me better than you, AND sang catchy songs when they weren't beating me for sport! Honestly, you're the worst!" Ynsidia shrieked vehemently.

    Seeing the retreating Gerrard, Ynsidia pointed after him.

    "I surrendered myself to him, and that garners me nothing!?! What is wrong with this place?! You all act like you're under dire siege or something!!!"
     
    Smiling One and Anima like this.
  10. Smiling One

    Member
    Smiling One Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2019
    Messages:
    121
    Location:
    Nowhere...... yet everywhere!
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    "Captain!" Molly shouted. "There's a ship approaching us! Starboard side!"

    Willis frowned grabbing his mini-telescope and saw a large ship heading towards them at half-sail. They were armed to the teeth with Archers placed around the bow and Willis spotted the watchmen on the crow's nest trying to scout them out. The fact they haven't attacked meant that they were likely scouting them out Willis had to make a decision. Placing his mini telescope down, Willis grabbed the rope that was hanging near the sails and descended down.

    "They haven't attacked yet," Willis muttered to his crewmen they were all weary and weakened after days of sailing across the sand dunes. They were in no shape to fight whoever these people are.

    "Molly," Willis ordered. "Bring out the flag that means that we want to parlay."

    Molly nodded and rushed to grab the flag rushing to the starboard side and waved it frantically so the opposing ship could see it. There was an air of tension amongst the crew many waited nervously for the ship response. Willis could even hear the pitter patter of a young lad soiling his breeches. Willis frowned his hands formed into fists. "Come on," he said. "Let's talk."
     
    Anima likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice