Open Chronicles The War of the Kinniger Dutchy: Outriders

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Crows Call

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As the battle for the Kinniger Dutchy rages on, some who fight the growing vampire menace have not seen it fit to stay on the defensive. The vampire clans and castles remain unhindered, it's about time someone did something about that...

This is an extension of the battle for the Kiiniger Dutchy campaign that stretches into the frozen mountains and swamplands of the North-East Belgrath region, it will involve infiltration into the seven vampire clans of the mountains, rending thralls, destroying operations, harassing the vampire militants. It's likely that participants will stumble across ancient secrets as well.
 
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Crows Call

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(OOC: This one is IC, but I tend to break the rule with snippets like this, so you could use that if ya got something say.)

A tired man in white plate has just traveled a long way, for his will not his own. Tied on his back is the blessed/cursed blade, Crows Call and the specter that haunts it.

The vessel and the spirit have been walking for days through mudded fields strewn with the dead and the occasional mindless vampire thrall that mulled aimlessly, the vestiges of the last attempted siege of the Kinniger Dutchy by the vampire clans, before burning them to ash with the mighty strikes of Crows Call. Now the vessel was nearing death, as the crows call can only take full possession of a living vessel for so many days before its needs of the flesh may kill it.

The Vessel and the Warrior-Poet's Specter now stood atop a hill that sloped down into the thick bog below, the line between the domain of the living and the dead...
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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The cold, white substance that blanketed the ground crunched beneath every step Kiros took though the frozen landscape, his staff tucked into his elbows with his arms wrapped around his body for warmth. He'd heard tales of this 'snow' from books and literature back in Annuakat; frozen rain that falls like a feather from the sky in distant lands, draping all in a pure white blanket of beauty. And he had to admit, no text had done the sight justice; he had even taken a moment to rest and absorb the sight of it all on his first crossing into the snowline that was, to him, a hitherto unseen wonder. White rolling hills that glistened and sparkled under the glow of the moonlight, trees capped with an angelic white powder that dusted the ground whilst branches danced and swayed in the cold night breeze. In every which direction he could look the majesty of nature had captured the land and laid it's serene work of awe as far as the eye could see.

...But all that was many days ago. By now, he'd long grown sick of the stuff.

Onward he trudged, cursing the cold that had made a once reasonable sounding travelling distance seem so much longer. Even his hood and thick-padded gambeson beneath his robes, wise investments as they were, would only do so much to allay the terrible biting of the cold air that permeated this blasted frozen land. By the gods, who was it he was seeking that took up existence in such terrible conditions? He had to wonder if people actually live here and put up with this on a continual basis. If they did, Kiros couldn't fathom why - though the pondering did help to occupy time on his trek. Normally, the notion of pay would have occupied his mind; but much like bearable temperatures, they too were absent on this distant journey. While a monster hunter he may be; this was well outside the business of the organization. No, this accursed trip was personal business, his duty in this distant region being divine; not avaricious. He was here to seek someone specifically; though with no notion of what this person looked like, or even if it was a person for that matter at all. What he did know is that the one he was seeking out had to be someone with ancient Kaliti knowledge. For what triggered his arrival was a rare event indeed, one not seen nor heard of in centuries.


An event that neither he nor his deity had counted on ever occurring again...


An event that implied the possession of knowledge that long ought to have been forgotten...


A serious event that required the devoted priest's thorough and immediate investigation...





Someone had invoked Her name!

* * *

Upon another days travel, the worn and weary priest began preparing for rest, his quarterstaff buried in the snow as he leaned upon it in efficient laziness. His moment of melancholy was interrupted but a moment after it began, and Kiros's head would turn with an inquisitive gaze, his eyes fixated off in the distance where a lone traveller caught his steely, determined gaze. Or more accurately, his sword; a large great sword of old Kaliti design, which stood out in sharp contrast to the white of his plate mail and the surrounding landscape. The man himself looked utterly nondescript; and so Kiros hesitated. Could it be that he was just far too hopeful for any sign that this journey would come at an end? Maybe that's just the weapon he has on hand at the moment? After all, Kiros had gotten himself into similar binds away from his trusted quarterstaff; it wouldn't be an unheard of problem for a warrior or soldier either.

...With an errant gaze over the snowy hills, he let out a quiet chuckle that punctuated the cold air with a white, clouded breath. "Oh sure, maybe he just picked the damn thing up off the ground. Plenty of Kaliti weaponry around these parts, isn't there?" he thought to himself in sarcasm, completely oblivious to the irony of this doubt. No, there was no mistaking it; this man was a key person of interest. And so, with determination on his face, he set onward to discover one of two things; where this man had heard Her name, or how he acquired such an out-of-place weapon to begin with.

"You! What are you doing here?" Came the deep, bellowing words that echoed over the hills and through the chilly air. The priest approached with further urgency and haste, an inquisitive and determined look visible on his furrowed brow once his expression was near enough to be seen. Long, rapid footsteps took him further towards his target of interest, striding down the mountain and towards the unusual stranger before him.
 
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Crows Call

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The Warrior-Poet's Spirit and his vessel turned to see who had called upon them. To the Warrior-Poet's astonishment it seemed to be a brother of Sunaris, the white robes, the symbols, the golden trim... perhaps Sunaris's will persisted even after the end of his peoples glory? He had to stop himself. Was this but another delusion of his tattered mind? He could not miss the chance if it was not.

The vessel hobbled its way over to the brother, untied the blade from its back and callapsing to to snow crawled, holding out the sword as one would to a lord. Crows Call ebbed with miasmic red flame in anticipation, this was not one of small will, not one that could be fully possessed. It was one that he could bond to. The spirit called out to what it assumed was a brother of Sunaris, "Hail brother of the light... wield me... WIELD ME! LET US BRING HIS BURNING VENGENCE ON TO THE EVIL WITHIN THESE HILLS! LET OUR GODS LIGHT BURN THEM TO CINDER WITH US AS HIS INSTRUMENTS!"

Kiros Rahnel Sung Na
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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His thick-soled boots pounded down the snowy slope upon his approach, only slowing down in quizzical confusion as the stranger turned around. He was caught by utter surprise upon this show of the roaming stranger's poor conditions; his white knuckled, vice like grip on his staff relaxing as the likelihood of confrontation dwindled at the warrior's collapse, and even further at his offering. His pace slowed to a brisk walk, with short, shallow breaths of air to recover from the speedy pace that the first sight of the man had spurred him to take. Kiros, now standing tall before the kneeling man, was stunned at the display. This was certainly a first, as no others had prostrated themselves before the outcast Annunaki priest.

His usual patient demeanour had been worn down from both the weary journey his own consuming concern for his deity. “Identify yourself!” He uttered with focused authority; the sight before him had already called into question all assumptions he had made up to this point on his journey. “Who..What are-” his question began until his words suddenly trailed off into silence, his gaze now locked on the decoration along the ancient weapon. That symbol...it was not Her symbol. But he had seen it before; adorning the walls of Her temple those many, many years ago- one that hardly seemed remarkable at the time. And here, before him, the sword was offered – yet he wanted answers. He certainly needed them before he’d lay his hands on such a weapon as Crows Call. Taking a long, calming breath, Kiros composed himself before his reply.

“Before I do...Before I may put aside my holy focus; I must pray.” he spoke in response, kneeling down with his forehead pressed against his quarterstaff, held upright on the ground before him. It was a statement both true and untrue; untrue because he had no actual such requirement, and true because there was absolutely no way he was proceeding further without divine guidance. Not when he was dealing with a blade that sheds a red miasma, a warrior that collapsed to the ground and a strange, ancient god. “I trust you understand, brother of the light” he followed up with a tone of warmness before he closed his eyes, and began his silent prayer.


Itra!

I have found it. I know not what it is, but it is laid before me. It is a soul most ancient, bound in a blade bearing the likeness of your sacred halls. I know not why, I know not what it shall do. But I beseech you – be this an instrument of evil – to deliver me from it! Grant me a sign that I might stay my hand.”



The prayer was quick, and yet, Kiros remained in motionless posture for quite some minutes after. A quick player would not allow him to hear her divine words, or gain divine insight, he knew. But he further knew that if matters were of enough importance, there would be a sign. He was here on Her behalf this time, for Her security; surely She would respond if needed now. And yet, the cold and snowy hillside remained silent.

With opened eyes, Kiros slowly rose to his feet, taking one last concerned look around him to ensure that no such warning was given. With slow hesitation, he reached out with one long arm and set the grip of the weapon between the thumb and forefinger of his open hand, eyeing the sword with tension in his eyes as his hand began to close, finally wrapping his hand around it. With caution in his mind and tension in his body, he would pull the offered blade from the warrior’s hands.

“...What are you?” He thought to himself, eyeing the peculiar blade in his hand.
 
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Crows Call

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As soon as the blade was taken, the white plated warrior collapsed in the snow. Broken and unconscious, but yet clinging to life. Crow's Call now severed from its previous wielder now bonded to it new wielder, this follower of Itra. Itra, the spirit assumed, was a vestige of Sunaris, another echo of the spirits past that lived in half-light.

While in the blade, the spirits mortal senses have fled. Replaced with the silence, cold, and utter dark of death, only broken by the glaring lights of the living. And now the blade looked upon its wielder, as its wielder looked upon it. This was no weak minded or willed warrior in need of a fate making blade, this was a crusader of light. One that he would gladly bond, fight, and die with.

Crows Call could now hear, see, and feel through his new battle brother: albeit at a significantly lesser degree. The bond also came with an interesting form of communication, allowing this bonded weilder to glimpse into the world of death in order to speak to him.

The spirit pitied his new battle brother, he knows all to well how unpleasant it is to be ripped from the living realm and into his accursed limbo, but he wished to answer his question. To do so he would need to have his senses pulled away from their god.

The spirit allowed his battle brother to glimpse into the realm of death, then spoke to him though the Crows Call, with a voice the echoed into the darkness, but with an intentional whimsical gusto, "I am Crows Call, the Blessed Blade, the Cursed Sword, the Fate-Maker, the Warrior-Poet's Spirit, the *formally* last follower of Sunaris... the spirit trapped in his own blade for eternity. By happenstance, or should I say divine providence, is now bonded to you. So then battle brother... we have so many abominations to unmake. So many dark places of the world to relight. So many battles to wage, songs to sing, and so much mead to drink, eh?"

Kiros Rahnel Sung Na
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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Kiros took a half-step back upon witnessing the stranger’s collapse, kneeling down to turn his head so that he wouldn’t suffocate in the pale snow coating the earth. “Is he alright?” He thought to himself, taking some relief in the cloudy breath rolling from the warrior’s helmet. He was alive! And so long as that fact held true Kiros held the power to help him; a benevolence he attempted without hesitation. With one hand on the grip of Crows Call, he reached out with a hand to work his divine magic and call on the power bestowed upon him by Itra. He managed to stabilize the warrior and mend his strained body, before Crows Call pulled him out, his divine connection replaced by a sense of cold dread with visions of the realm of the dead invading his mind’s eye.

“Be calm, Kiros” he thought to himself, tending to his own morale in the absence of his divine connection. “She will be back, you have Her sign; keep faith in Her absence”

As the stalwart priest steeled himself with these thoughts, his visions would grow clearer; the dreadful noise losing distortion until it became a murmur. It was with a sudden shock as this murmur grew clearer and louder until it became a booming and jovial voice.


"I am Crows Call, the Blessed Blade, the Cursed Sword, the Fate-Maker, the Warrior-Poet's Spirit, the *formally* last follower of Sunaris... the spirit trapped in his own blade for eternity. By happenstance, or should I say divine providence, is now bonded to you. So then battle brother... we have so many abominations to unmake. So many dark places of the world to relight. So many battles to wage, songs to sing, and so much mead to drink, eh?"


Sunaris! He searched his memories to determine if this was a familiar name or not, but could determine nothing. But his was a holy god! Both this and friendly tone of his poetic voice gave Kiros some further reassurance, and he answered his reply back into the darkness. “Divine providence, you say? You organized this through fate?” He replied inquisitively, thinking back to the beginnings of his journey into Belgrath. “That could explain it...” The curious priest gave thought to Itra’s call that brought him here those weeks ago. He knew nothing of how fate worked, but no event could have hastened his arrival any faster than an urgent mission by Her own word. But with that potential answer came further questions; If She bid him here, what called upon Her to do so? Can fate call out to a Deity? He would no doubt need to communicate with Her soon; but that would have to come later.

“The Last Follower of Sunaris? I as well am the last follower of Her Light”
It was not the proper title, but he dared not invoke her name out loud without reason; especially in this land of the dead. “And if you know where we’re going, that will gladly cut down on travelling time though this freezing place...Oh, we’re far from Amol-Kalit.” he answered affably, though even his strong will began to get somewhat restless. Hospitable as he would remain, the severed connection would bring growing discomfort to the strong willed priest.

“Soon enough...” he reminded himself.
 
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Crows Call

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This new battle brother spoke of that place again. Amol-Kalit, the place mentioned by the vampiric dame and Sir Kinniger... If this man was from that land, then it is potential bastion for his gods will. He would have to travel there in time, should fate and Sunaris be willing. But for the time being he had other matters to attend to, and he could feel his new battle-brother growing anxious, because of what he assumed was to do with the cold dark grip of death that he now glimpses.

Crows Call spoke only once more to him before once again blinding him to the realm of its personal limbo, "I sense your anxiety and fear battle-brother... Dread not! For our gods have brought us together to complete a righteous crusade! To the north and east, teaming hordes of the undead walk in darkened halls and broken villages that are but a bitter reflection of the lives they once had. I have faith that our gods have brought us together to grant them mercy, and we shall not be found wanting in faith! LET US BEGIN THE PURIFICATION!"

With that final pious declaration, the new battle-brother was released from the dreadful sights of limbo and back unto the senses of the living. Now with the benefit of two walking as one. The bond was made, the partial possession complete, the Warrior-Poet's spirit could see, hear, feel, smell, taste, and touch through his wielder, as if the spirit was a mortal, day dreaming. Of course he could not take full possession of this new vessel, but there was no need, conviction through faith would see them through.

Crows Call's flame ignited in a yellow ethereal flame. The time had come to bring mercy and judgement upon the undead and necromancers in these accursed swamps and valleys, and with the two pious souls working in tandem... there would be no force save for the will of the two's gods to spare the wretches of this place from their fate!

Kiros Rahnel Sung Na
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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“Hah, of this I have little doubt. So it would seem, brothers bound in divine duty; then let’s travel fast, both to purify and depart these frigid, inhospitable lands! Between my magic and your blade we should do well against these undead abominations. I've seen what I can do to them with a but stick in hand, I await the time to see what I can do with you!”

As his senses came to him, he noted the warrior’s absence. Wide, oddly spaced foot-tracks imprinted upon the snowy hillside telling of a man in celebration of survival and victory, one that Crows call would likely share with him on the long journey through the frozen bog lands that laid beside the rolling hills. Blades of frost-coated grass crunched beneath his footsteps as Kiros travelled over the ragged terrain, treading over mounds of snow that topped long-frozen vegetation all along the icy landscape. Tucked in his belt was Heirahit, now cut down to a meagre 45cm with the remainder of the staff strapped to his back. He wouldn’t do without his holy focus, and neither would he do without his staff. The sword was his ally, but ultimately has his own will. Even his magic could end up countered or turned...but Kiros could always count on a big stick to remain exactly what it was, no matter the situation.

It would be a journey of several days, with the pair breaking for camp each as the safety of the daytime sun began to depart them, hiding behind the mountains to the west to cast a shadow over them upon waning. At camp, there was time for merriment and tales; Kiros was eager to hear of Sunaris, and yet was hardly one to talk of his own deity, peculiar for a priest; most would herald their deity at any opportunity. Kiros explained it as a required oath; an odd one, but likely one Crows Call could sympathize with. After all, he was clearly loyal, a much well regarded quality among the devout no matter the deity involved.

As the sun began to fade for the last time before their destination would be reached, the pair broke for camp again. In addition to the makeshift shelter and the warm, crackling campfire that kept the cold night air at bay, Kiros took the extra time to construct a makeshift altar. He took out a sack of broken branches and sticks he had gathered over the days, arranging them to build a very crude box in the snow before draping a silk cloth over it. With his shortened Heirahit, he traced out a circular pattern out around it, and with a pair of candles lit the construction was complete. Now he could hear the answers he asked of Itra, and perhaps even receive guidance before venturing into the village that awaited them

***

“I could not ask you firsthand; but I took your sign. Can you tell me, is this sword true?” He posed his question and waited in silence, one minute, then two; ultimately breaking the silence another two minutes later.

“Itra?”

“I do not know”

It was a learned response; while the individual words were certainly in the vocabulary of the gods, the phrase was not. But, the term served useful when dealing with Her mortal priest when She had no other response to give. He had asked for an answer She did not have; so She didn’t deliver it. Since She had taken in her priest Kiros though, She had begun to learn the difficulties the mortals had in understanding and communication...

The reply gave him a tense pause; but he continued. “Please understand; I’m unable to comprehend silence...And Itra I-”

“I do not know”

She cut him off; the answer as stoic and monotone as the first. He had a request, paused, then spoke Her name. She understood, yes. But She had no appropriate response, so she used the phrase again. The mortal mind is odd indeed, mused the goddess.

“Forgive me if I’ve upset y-”

“Fret not, you’ve not crossed me”

She replied in a tone far warmer. In one of Her better moods, She thought this oddly humorous.

“If there is anywhere We should search, it is here"

"Questing with this relic may lead to answers I cannot scry for."

"Yet I can aid; I have prepared a new power to bestow upon you"

"It should serve you well, blinding foes and burning undead"

"Receive it and know; I watch over your journey”


The conversation continued for a while; though She had little other warning to give

***

With their correspondence concluded, he set about breaking down the altar and breaking camp for the day. Bound in respective divine duties, the two set off, Kiros with Crows call in hand to continue the half-day of travel that remained between them and the infested village in need of purification...
 
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Crows Call

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If the Warrior-Poet's spirit was not in the state he was, he would laugh heartily at such a most glorious and righteous a call, but alas, he could not. Nor could he risk wasting what power he has left to pull him back to hear something ultimately pointless. The spirit had said his peace, and unless significant in deed, he would not speak again until he tasted the life blood of the wicked.

As they traveled along the slopes of the hills and into the cold bogs that lay below them, Crows Call struggled to remain. At the power it was, it was a candles weak flame in a blizzard. Nothing kept it and the spirit within from being banished back to the dark and cold of the realm between but the sheer will of the warrior to stay in existence. He had prayed to his gods for strength or salvation, the spirit screamed into the void, "Sunaris, grant your champion strength to overcome! Lunis show me mercy, grant one of your children succor from your bosom!", but found no reply, and in their silence grew the desperation of a dying animal, trying to stay in the realm of the living with just its will. The spirit was loosing hope of release from its miserable existence, but not faith. Never his faith.

As his new battle-brother broke for camp to rest himself, the spirit watched though his eyes and looked deep into the flames of the camp fire, it warded away the cold, the bugs, and the dark. He wondered that if he was to be resigned to his fate... was that all that would be left of him? A force that consumes the wicked, and wards off malicious forces from the weak and good? If so, it was a sacrifice that he had no fear for.

As his vessel built a shrine to their god, or just his god, it seemed to respond to the vessel's questions. Even watched over him. Something that the Warrior-Poet's spirit was envious of, to a point that he even felt slighted by his gods. The spirit quickly shut the idea of this out of his mind. His gods were eternal, they light the skies, day or night! How dare he question them even for a moment. He would not loose faith in them, in Sunaris, his faith remains unbreakable, burning and brilliant as his god.

In the days travel, the Warrior-Poet's specter considered the world around him as seen trough the eyes of his new vessel. Something had hit it in the time since, it knew little of its battle-brother: neither the path he has walked or his truest name. A dishonorable shame that would simply not do, current circumstances or no. As they continued he spoke to his battle brother once more, tearing him away from the light just briefly, "Hail battle-brother, before we enter glorious combat, I would know the name and the path walked be the one who wields my power."

Kiros Rahnel Sung Na
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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As he broke down the altar, he could only wonder what his companion would make of it. What was said between him and his god, well that was private.. But even simply holding communication with a god, even a lesser one, was indeed a rare and awe-inspiring event, one reserved for the highest of priests in a clergy... A qualification Kiros happened to meet by default; being the sole member of his. That his companion was of ages past was for the best as well; one of modern times and practice might judge him more harshly, he worried.

He had received some advice on how to handle an introduction. Crows Call would no doubt be inquisitive about Itra, despite explicit instructions to keep such knowledge beneath Her veil of secrecy. Oh, She hated worship. And prayer; to Her, Kiros’s rites and rituals were a means to an end; the use of a mortal pawn to search the world for what She could not. Devotion and obedience were mandatory, but worship always earned Her ire. Still, She had permitted him to speak of Her, but not by name nor by specifics. As odd and open to interpretation as these restrictions could be, he had learned well how to navigate them.

“Ah, brother! I am Kiros Rahnel, a prophet of Her Holy Light! And well, to be truthful my new brother..” he answered; the sudden disconnection between him and the sword having prevented their proper introduction days prior. Perhaps conveniently; it was for the best that he had the benefit of divine consultation. It injected his words with a sense of sincerity and truth. “I was not always a follower, there once was a time where I knew Her not. I was raised far away, in a town near Annuakat, chosen by birth to join the priesthood. It’s a legend of our folk that the gods mark those chosen for their service by the colour of their eyes. An odd requirement, looking back.” he commented. It seemed to be unique to them, he had not encountered anything similar through his subsequent travels through Amol-Kalit. “But we were a conquered people, and required to provide a force of conscripts to the kingdom of Annuakat; a service I completed bravely I might add. Taught me to fight and protect. Also ended up teaching me Who would truly look out for me in my time of need.” He continued, in reference to Itra. “She would be there to provide protection when none others would; so it made sense to me. The clergy I left behind thought otherwise; bah. A tragic lot. Imagine a church where betrayal is common; where brother cannot trust brother, where services are sold to the highest bidder instead of being delivered to those in need. It was good fortune that I was delivered from them.” he answered, the story summarized yet truthful throughout.

“As for Her, well, as I’ve mentioned She is a most mysterious deity. Perhaps I know Her true name; I do know how to address Her. But, to do so is to call attention needlessly; a grievous sin. She acts not upon want, but need.” Kiros paused, taking a brief moment for breath and to gather his thoughts on explanation. “You see, ages ago when this name was known, it was invoked wrongly. Needlessly. So She forbade it’s mention so that She may do the what is needed; unhampered by petty calls to do what is not. And my quest? Hah...friend, you might not believe that I share the same question. I know what I do, and who I do it for. And I have received many explanations why, but they conflict and are incomprehensible. I suppose such is the direction of the gods, in the end a lesson no? I need not truly know; only to have faith.” he concluded; speaking words that mostly held true. He had actually tried to be honest and share as much as he possibly could with his new comrade in arms. There were no falsities in his story; but he did know a little more than what he spoke of, and regarded his duty much differently than he implied. These lies of omission were necessary, as to include them would’ve been a sin worthy of divine ire should She hear it; and She was certainly listening at the moment.[/I]

“I can only hope you don’t disdain me...Conversion can be a controversial thing. But when shown the path of true light, what can one do but walk it?” He concluded his story with a pause before speaking next.

"But now brother; I should ask likewise. Share with me of Sunaris and you?"
 
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Crows Call

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The spirit mulled over what his new battle-brother, that he now knew as Kiros, had asked him. He could not answer all for he could not remember all. So much of himself was lost to time, spent in the eternal battle against wicked forces. What could he tell him? The spirit could not even remember his own blessed name, nor even his own features. On top of this, he could not recount any of Sunaris's tales word for word as he felt he could in the past, he could just barely remember snippets of recent events, some of his actions that have changed fate, and things from his death. If he was even a he...

The spirit resolved to answer with as much transparency as Kiros had answered him, "I... I can no longer recall my name. I remember that my people called me a Warrior-Poet, I know my sword is called Crows Call, and I have come to take its name as my own, to a degree. In truth... I know not even if I was man or maiden, I assume a man do to my dedication to Sunaris, but I may very well be mistaken...

I can vaguely recall my last moments as... as... Forgive me, my thoughts become scattered. Can a spirit even have thoughts, I joke to lighten the mood. I can remember a battle against a cabal of necromancers that called themselves the Dread Lords... I can remember the last argument I had with what I assume was my wife, Aquailia the Huntress of the Annu Highlands... everything else is mist that I am grasping at, at the moment... heh...

I can tell you more of my gods however! I serve two, as does all of mankind, Lunis and Sunaris. Lunis is the sphere in the night sky ,though I'm sure you knew that, the mother of all things, and the wife of Sunaris. She is why we heal with time and dream, and she seals our wounds and grants us nourishment when we call out to her. Sunaris is the father of all, and I am one if not the greatest champion of! He grants us strength in desperation, fills us with joys and lusts, burns away the enemies of man with his wonderous flame, and lets his faithful use their lifeblood as well as the wickeds to send the evils of this world into oblivion!

Beyond that, their is little else I can recall to tell you..."
,the spirit ended with before closing the connection.

Kiros Rahnel Sung Na
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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(Looks like the battle is growing near and I can’t say I’m sure of exactly what scenario we’re heading into or how to handle it? I ought to look up some more on the Kinnigers; anyhow I’ll make a thread in the planning section to work out an idea of where to take this)

It was with some relief that he heard the tale and was not judged for his own. He wished he could have known more but it was with empathy that Kiros heard of the mystery beneath the identity and purpose of the sword he held in hand. “We are but what we are” he mused in thought; which such mystery do the gods write the pages of fate. Perhaps neither of them knew their true purpose or instructions in full; but at least they were united under dispatch by the divines. To have what he did was no small gift to be taken for granted, Kiros knew, as did doubtless all wielders of divine magic. His empathetic listening continued as the sword spoke its story; of the loss of family, of the loss of memory. Of happy life, of loving family. Of purpose and reliable brothers who fought in arms and not among one another. His own memories had been hardly as joyful; it was with sadness that he heard of Crows Call’s warm memories fading from his spiritual mind.


He could only wonder what had brought the necromancers here, so far from the hot and sandy lands of home. Yet here in the freezing bog they clearly were, and by divine direction - blessed be they that have it! As he heard of Lunis, moon goddess of healing and dream, he wondered if this had been the source of confusion with Itra; but could not truly know. And when he spoke further of burning wicked and evil; well that was surely something he could aid in. Kiros wondered how things would befall them once he was wielding both his own holy magic, and the sword Crows Call. Though the connection to the dreadful realm ended with relief, he had managed to hide his discomfort a little better this time. Better to know who he fights with before their time of battle. Once they were ready, he would venture off into the dim beginning daylight that crept over the horizon placing trust in both, onwards towards both the battle and the answer to this pondering.
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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The glassy crunch underfoot continued in cadence, bouncing off the trees that were a scattered mass of twisted silhouettes across the barely lit sky before them. Kiros strode on, with odd occasional scans of the scenery left and right – perhaps a bit less frequent than the savvy, battle-trained priest would normally take on the approach. No, here he would stride with speed and confidence with a benefit only uncommonly his; that of divine insight! With Her word of safety he even dared to break from camp early, leaving an hour before true daylight would break over the snowy horizon. They would ideally arrive in a couple more hours still, with all the benefits of daylight to aid in their holy cleansing.

Taking a pause, Kiros stood still and took in a breath of the crisp, barely morning air while the snap of icy twigs beneath boot continued...on? He waited motionless, still of breath as his ears took in further sounds, the sounds of unexpected company dwelling amidst the dense trees that his still-adjusting eyes could barely make out. The tension in his body swelling further up into his chest as the noises came to a sudden stop; priest and sword caught hapless but moments from their former camp site of safety. She had sworn it was safe to travel; while he should take doubt in this now he wouldn’t allow his mind to carry the thought – the situation before them didn't even allow for such time. He had his sawn-off holy staff – a sceptre now – tucked into the left side of the belt around his white robes, his empty hand a foot beneath it. He knew they were already caught – there was no mistaking this ambush. All stood still in the quiet and sparse pre-dawn bog while his mind raced to formulate his next action.

With a bursting snap, his paused body suddenly sprang to life and spun around with his hand deftly plucking the sceptre from it’s secure spot. He now stood facing his rear, catching glimpse of two vampiric ambushers with his long arm extended to what was his former right side during his still silent wait. With word, thought and faith he summoned forth a glowing white wall of radiance that cut through the trees and shrubbery around them and setting the field alight to reveal a staggering total of five beyond the all-illuminating curtain. With a turn of his head, his focused gaze took count of the remainder; three remained on their side of the glowing wall of protection.

-Radiant in nature
-60ft wide
-3 round duration
-magic may not pass or be cast through it
-no object or force may physically traverse, except:
-1 entity can spend 1 action per round to pass through the curtain, except:
-vampires; who generally do not mix with anything “radiant” peaceably

Kiros had at least chosen his opening move well, greatly simplifying the sudden obstacle set before him. The three charged on, two clad in chain and one in light plate. The well-armoured one approached with sword and shield in hand; while the other two carried glaives held up high. All three bellowed our their war cry as they approached, only breaking upon reaching close enough to meet by blade.

Their approach would take time however; time enough for Kiros to prepare one more holy incantation. His sceptre clutched tight in hand he gave it an authoritative shake and uttered inaudible words, his robes taking on a faint glow; barely discernible against the illumination of the wall beside him. The glow was already subsiding as he tucked the holy focus back into his belt to grasp Crows call with both hands. The first among the three was one clad in chain mail, wielding a hefty and intimidating glaive closing in towards them both. Kiros held Crow’s call at the ready, imbued with his blessing of might at the ready to deal the most devastating of blows against this accursed undead ambusher. Kiros prepared and took his swing, sending the blade Crows call into the side of the charging vampire with a titanic blow.

“Now is the time brother; to see what possibilities lie with you in hand!”
 
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Crows Call

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(Fucking amazing, on the original Kinniger Dutchy thread: combat was more anime-ish, twirl-your-blade-'cause-cool=skill and success (REALLY NOT MY STYLE), this more down to earth, tactical combat is my cup of tea!)

Crows Call burned bright with the reddish ethereal flame of battle, as the six-feet of literal blazing steel dented the plates and heater shield of the heavy armored vampire, it went along the midsection of the dark steel chest plate of the heavy armored undead on its way to the glaive wielding one in front of the priest. It carved through the chain of the chain-mail-armored, lesser vampire as well, allowing the magic within crows call, now close enough to the flesh, to drain the life force and soul energy of the two armored undead and scorch the flesh of the target, and as they were lesser, turned all that was flesh and bone to a reddish-grey ash, filled with bits of metal, before being swung back around through the air forcing one of the glaive wielding vampires to jump away less it be struck

This action empowered crows call, granting it strength that was visible in how the reddish ethereal flame became stronger, brighter, and more veraciously licked hungerly at the air around it. This reinvigorated its wielder as well, reducing the fatigue of Kiros, even bolstering his energy, and sealing any light wounds if he had any. Kiros would need this as the other vampires now furious at the sudden death of their brothers, broke into a vicious frenzy, the ones on the outside of the holy ward, struck rapidly and with long heavy blows from their weapons, to no avail. The final vampiric skirmisher, wearing chain as the other, came charging and raising its glaive in a waiting swing that lacked any of the tactical maneuver of the assault before, attempting to end the priest with a berserking strike.

Kiros Rahnel
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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(Glad I could deliver! I did sense your thirst for fight scenes in Cauldwin’s post and wanted to write to it. I also saw you drop fight music before, so I dug through my list and found this for you too. Seems to fit the start of the fight well too.)

What power! With but the most inexperience of swings the great sword he held in hand flew far and true, cleaving naught one but two unholy foes with one fell swing! The sheer inertia of the swing spin him around, to glee turned disappointment, as the final foe managed to hop away from harm’s reach. A stick; that was well reliable sure. But this ancient instrument was a force of pure power! Never before did Kiros hold front-row tickets to such a wanton display of undeath righted! With his staff, he’d hold worry but with Crow’s Call, he held confidence.

“On my sign; if you can hear me. You will know it when you see it!” he uttered quickly as he gave the undead behind the wall of shimmering protection but the briefest of glances. It would hold them back for a moment more; the charging problem before them now would have to be solved with swiftness and certainty. Kiros put distance between himself and the former wall of protection; now a waning gate threatening to unleash the hordes of undead upon them. The lone vampire would have to do likewise, predictably following the man clad in bright white robes. He reached for his holy sceptre once more, with careful timing placing one more spell down – normally this rate of spell-casting would have left his resources temporarily depleted; but with Crows Call, he found his energies oddly renewed.

The sign would come and it would be a clear sign in the dusky morning as a flash of light erupted from his sceptre and from the kneecap of the howling and reckless abomination too! It was glaive against sword; a sword held in hand at the end of a long, lanky arm. He held faith and familiarity in Crow’s call abilities now, tucking the sceptre back into his belt as he continued to wield the greatsword in one hand with a lunging thrust; to catch the berserk but crippled vampire with the best of blows he could place directly into it’s cursed chest.

With this one felled, it would be time to face the remainder; the distance would thankfully buy some time for a brief moment of further planning.
 
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Crows Call

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(OOC: the music fits the scene well!)

As Crows Call was thrust into chest cavity of the final vampiric foe, easily piercing through the interlocking chains of its mail, and leaving it but a reddish smoldering pile of ash and bits of metal not unlike the other vampires, some of it power returned to it. The spirit could now project its voice into the living realm, making it both audible to other living creatures, and removing the need to drag its wielders perception into darkness to communicate.

With the third vampires death, a triumphant, if sadistically toned, disembodied voice roared from the blade, "YOUR MISBEGOTTEN LIFE IS OVER, ABOMINATION!!! RAAAAAUGH! HA! HA! HA! BRING ON A HUNDRED MORE!" , Just as the spirit yelled these words, a vaguely feminine black and silver robed undead with a twisted black oak staff that ebbed with spectral green energy moved to the front of the horde, and placing one of its thin pale hands on divine wall, dispelled the barrier. Charging past it, twenty to thirty rotting undead, in various states of undead, and wielding all manner of club, blade, and other kinds of killing tools, accompanied by two heavily armored, black-steel clad vampires wielding mace and chain rushed in at Kiros. As the undead horde closed in, the spirit bellowed with glee, "A fine welcome for us brother!"

Kiros Rahnel
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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The desperate throwing thrust of his attack sent Kiros lurching but another step forward as scorched ash and chain bounced off his thick cold-weather vestments. With those three down he glanced back up to the shimmering veil - but it was with a sense of shock that his eyes met not five but an uncountable horde beyond! They wore their faces in snarled expressions of malice, well lit by the shining wall as they awaited the sorceress’s lowering of the great glowing gate that held the wretched dogs back.

A fine welcome indeed...” Kiros thought in response to Crows Call’s words. Ah, the spirit of a warrior that stood in contrast to his own present concerns of self-preservation, clad in cloth such that he was. Better ground would be needed, and it would be needed promptly. Here, out in the open ground, they were too well at risk of being outflanked by the numerous undead horrors with demands for his blood and life! The support of the abjuress behind them filled him with a sense of knowing concern. Whatever blessings or incantations he might bid himself couldn’t be considered reliable; not so long as her presence remained as a counter to it. He held doubt though that she could move as fast as the hordes in her company could run; or his own long-legs could take him.

There was but two options that struck his mind in the escalating battle. To either hold his ground here and bear full reliance and faith upon the sword Crows Call alone with stamina full, or break for a hasty reposition to grounds holding higher value with his own divine magic unhindered. While it was with some hesitation that he would choose to move wayward from the fight, that it was the better of the two choices seemed apparent to him. But where to? The briefest of surveys would yield his answer; a small yet mostly unfrozen river ran behind him, from whence no enemy came. A short distance away, but it was far better to be cornered than surrounded.

Kiros turned and sprang off, heading over the bog with a careful glance to ensure there was no further foe; the presence of any more than none would be a tragic miscount on his part. He held Crows Call in hand and he reached for his sceptre yet again as he sped through the trees, their twigs and branches snapping abreast while his heels dug into the frozen earth with each bounding stride. His hasty motions took him just before the freshly formed thin icy shelf at the river’s edge, marking the boundary between firm ground and flowing water. Here, they would have to stand and fight; it was a superior place for the two to do battle, with no further ground to be gained. Kiros slowed to a stop and drew the sceptre again briefly, imbuing upon himself another blessing of holy might before his hand would holster the device and join his other in grasp of Crows Call; wielding it like it was an oar to his side, with one hand on the grip and one on the cross-guard.

And yet, he refused to move, or even turn around; rather electing to stand there appearing to be a fool who has run out of ground to tread! “Brother, I know you can hear me now. And I know you know the rules of battle; that we must appear weak when we are strong.” he spoke with quiet determination, his gaze aimed downward at the limited reflection of the oncoming horde in the gleam of the blade – or whatever parts thereof had not been stained with the burnt blood of the recently slain. “On my mark again, and by the blessings of both our gods may our deceit pay off and end in undeath corrected!” He added, even straightening his stance in a feigned conveyance of worry to further sell their foes on this ruse. When the time was right Kiros would unleash a spinning, swinging blow that would bring Crows Call around in a great, sweeping slash. If this worked, he hoped, they could fell a great many here where they stood their ground.

And Kiros would further have to keep watchful eye out for the undead sorceress as well... He could only hope her unable to keep up; a fraction of his attention would remain to keep aware of her presence. If he had his magic at the ready once she moved into range, he plotted, the opportunity for a first strike might be his...
 
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Crows Call

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As Kiros made a hasty retreat from the horde, the spirit in crows call bellowed indignately, "WHAT?! I do not run from the undead! THE UNDEAD RUN FROM ME!"

They ran through the woods until he suddenly stopped, the spirit asked aloud, "What are you doing! Move forward or fight! FIGHT BECUASE YOU MUST!" , before it stopped to listen to his plan, as good a plan as any.

As the blade was swung around a cleaved through seven of the hord, starting as the first ones shins, then end at the seventh's neck sending them all to ash, all the while singing,

"Oh, hei, le dei,
your race run!
Oh, hei le dei,
slaughtering you will be fun!"


Then the blade was turned to strike at the incoming number of feted corpuses in various states of undress once again, as it went through them and some of their weak clubs, sending them to ash as well, it sang in a rather unhinged tone,

"Oh, hi da da hei,
There is no peace for thee!
FOR I AM THOU RECKONING!"

Now with enough strength the Warrior-Poet's spirit manifested, ethereal grey in hue, wearing tarnished golden-brass plates and faded yellow gambeson, and wielding the ethereal golden equivalent to Crow's Call that burned with bright yellow ethereal flame rather than the bright reddish-orange flame of physical. Entering the fray a wide leaping slash, burning even further of this horde to a golden ash, and finishing his battle hymn,
"Huzzah! HUZZAH!
I am with you!
Hurrah! HURRAH!
I AM HERE TO SPLIT YOU ALL IN TWO!"

Kiros Rahnel
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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Oh, he heard the protests; how familiar they were. A fine quality in a warrior, Kiros thought, to snarl out for blood and fury when restrained from fighting; Crows Call must have no doubt been a favourite of those among all present among him in battle during life. Yet the protests were met with not ounce of compliance as the priest knew too the important role he had to play, and so kept metaphorical hand firm on the chains until the opportunity for maximum casualties was as hand. And as the warped reflections in his blade met his still gaze the both of them knew the time was upon them; Crows call certainly needed no bidding to fight.

His expression, still unseen to foe, was one of hidden anticipatory glee as the hordes closed in on him from behind. Kiros had seen what power the blade had wrought before under the power of his mighty blessing, and he turned about with a heavy sweeping strike – these expectations would be met with great excess. His grinning face of war lit up, both by his own satisfaction and the heated glow emitted wherever blade ripped through undead flesh. Seven! And oh, what great joy did he take in the final expressions of his foes; frozen so in shock and horror with realization of misjudgment on their face in their moment of death. It was with great enthusiasm that he swung the sword again, raising it high above head before bringing it back down and horizontal in another sweeping strike with great ferocity despite the blessing that faded from it. The sword, more empowered than before, cut and burned through a great many that had so foolishly rushed forth to repeat the fate of the former; adding to the scattered pile of broken weapons, piecework remains and ash that cluttered the area.

The bright flash of light, unique to the rest, caught his attention for a moment before the sight of something else took immediate priority. “There she is!” He focused himself as he saw the undead sorceress approach from afar; and all the better that her attentions had turned to the fatal distraction that, yet unbeknownst to him, Crows Call had provided. Kiros was more than ready for this temporarily inattentive abjuress, and took his sceptre in hand again to reach out with an extension of his arm. Looking down the shaft of the weapon, he focused his powers of healing – powers that, towards the living, could do no harm; but the undead were well exempt from this restriction. The holy symbol atop it glowed with light as the abjuress froze with a pained expression of shock. But an instant after, before she could make any reaction he furthered the spell; his sceptre flashed with another glow, quaking in the vice grip he held it in. The body of his arcane opponent stiffened up briefly before she was apart from stomach to clavicle; a spectacle of blackened blood and burnt, rotten flesh erupting from the excessive wound before her body collapsed lifelessly atop the snow-coated ground.

With his concerning obstacle before him he looked to his flank, spotting the spirit of Crows Call with astonishment. “I fight with you at side, as well as in hand? Our inevitable victory shall now be swift!” Kiros called back out to him with a battle cheer. “Let us clear out our respective grounds and crush the remainder!” he continued, turning from his ally to advance towards those charging at him from further upstream. Keeping awareness of all, he positioned himself as they approached, preparing his answer; one he was hoping to share with all that foolishly threatened him...
 
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Aegnor Ransiren

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Aegnor wasn't used to riding these streams. Weren't there vampires about? He looked around nervously, certain a monster would jump out at any second. He had to be more careful from here on out.
The sound of fighting made him look around frantically. He saw two men fighting a horde of vampires. One was heading upstream, towards him. He abruptly stopped his vessel and ran below deck to find his sword.
After a fruitless search he found the knife he used to cut his fish. ''That'll have to do.''

He murmured. Racing back outside he jumped out of his boat, bellowing. He landed in a heap on top of a group of vampires and in their momentary confusion, stabbed them in their hearts. Trembling he stood up, only to be knocked down by another horde. He rolled across the ground, grunting. Suddenly an idea formed. He stopped rolling and ran back towards his boat. The vampires followed him. He gulped, hoping that his plan would work. 'Bones don't fail me now.'

He raced to the side of his boat, flipped, and landed behind his opponents. He whistled, and a blur of white jumped at the horde and growled. His dog, Leela, had arrived on time. She bit the vampires, and Aegnor proceeded to stab at them with his knife. There were more vampires approaching him, so he climbed aboard his boat and scanned the field for the two men he saw. The one running upstream!

He called out to the man, raising his raspy voice as high as he could. He had to notice him. He had too! He waved his bloody knife desperately. Leela barked loudly. Aegnor looked behind him occasionally to see whether vampires had followed him. Luckily none had. He stayed there, scared for his and the others' lives. Leela whimpered, and Aegnor rubbed behind her ear, grateful for the comfort. All they had to do was wait.

Kiros Rahnel
 
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Crows Call

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(OOC: welcome to the battle, gentlemen! Good have you on board, Aegnor!)

As the spirit cleaved through a couple undead, it could see through the sights of its limbo two lights of the living, surrounded by the dimmer lights of the undead. The Warrior-Poet knew that this only meant two things: a necromancer or the living were in trouble, either way, his eternal duty called him to action. He yelled to his wielder, "We have a live one beneath the boat at the river!" before demanifesting and remanifesting at the bank in order to close the distance, cleaving through a vampire as he did.

Aegnor Ransiren Kiros Rahnel
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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The elderly man stood out among the vampires with great contrast, a shouting force of deceptive fury armed with knife and determination alongside his determined hound that shared his bravery.
“I see you, welcome ally against the unliving!” Kiros called out to Aegor Ransiren in response to his motions, his tone invigorated by battle. “Victory and daylight shall soon be upon us!” He added in a reassuring shout as he sized up the four advancing opponents descending upon his position at the rivers bank. With an eager hand upon the trusty holy sceptre, he laid in wait and prepared his spell, summoning forth his divine magic into his sceptre. He was most eager to see what destruction could be laid upon his vampric foes with his most recently bestowed incantation; one delivered to him explicitly for undead demise. Kiros waited until his foes had come well into range, all assailants crowding around him with his attack at the ready. With a focused shout, he gave the sceptre a shake and invoked the incantation, but watched in terrified shock while no effect came. His jubilant spirit of expectant victory was washed away in an instant; crushed beneath sudden panic. His mind desperately scrambled for solution, any solution, as the first vampire to reach him began a hefty swing of his glaive. What took but a moment to happen would seem to last an eternity to Kiros, who’s busy mental search continued to race in despair for any means to invoke the spell – a search interrupted by the cold, painful bite of the polearms blade slicing through his robes and gambeson.

The strike was one of devastation, the blade slicing into into flesh and raking against rib bone, leaving behind scattered frayed ends of thread along the painful path sliced into him. Chilling air ran through the valley of his fresh wound, with bright red globules of his own precious blood leaping out from his body under the force of the strike before bouncing off the thin sheet of ice the now airborne priest was in tumble towards. Fearful eyes had but a moment to catch sight of his allies, the spectre of Crows Call and the new arrival by boat, before his badly wounded body plummeted onto the thin icy shelf. His upper body broke through the outer edge of the ice with a splash that sent ripples along the rivers surface before staining the water a disturbing, growing red.

The once peaceful river’s surface was now broken by waves emanating from his plunge, Crows Call in one hand beneath the surface with his lower body protruding onto the ice along with with his right arm, colour drained from his hand as he dug his fingers into the surface for any purchase he could find. Shavings of ice gathered beneath fingernails at the end of a clawed, shuddering hand, now drained of colour. A desperate twitch of his legs would tell of the fate he thought unavoidable now; one he could not see but knew was his. It took the form of glaive held high in the hands of the now laughing vampric ambusher, in but a brief moment of preparation for the killing blow, with the remaining three giving watch...

Aegnor Ransiren
 
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Aegnor Ransiren

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Aegnor watched as a man fell into the river. Who to save first? He thought hard. Leela was barking wildly now, trembling in fear. A small group of vampires had climed aboard his ship and were heading straight towards him. He brandished his bloody knife and charged. He sliced at two. He pushed one aside and ran straight for his nets.

On the other side of his ship, there net he had made himself was on a hook, suspended in mid-air. He controlled it using levers he had also made. The net swiveled in the general direction of the other men. He pulled a lever and released it. The net rushed down and splashed in the water. That would have to do for now. The two men might have to find a way to reach it on their own.

Behind him, Leela barked. He turned around and saw a vampire racing towards him, Leela in hot pursuit. Grimacing, he pushed the monster and Leela sprung into action, biting at its head. Grabbing it by the neck, Aegnor twisted its head and ripped it from his shoulders. Shocked, he stood there, holding the head.

A growl from Leela made him look up and saw an approaching vampire. He aimed and hit the vampire with his brethren's head. Aegnor turned around and puked. After a while he straightened and rubbed a hand on his mouth. ''Well, that's never happened before.'' He muttered. He brought his attention to the lowered net. Shouldn't they at least climb aboard using the net? Where are they?! ''Hey!'' He shouted. ''You can climb using the net! I'll raise it up when you're both ready!'' Desperately, he looked over the edge of the ship, scanning for any sign of them....