Dreadlords The Worth of Our Deeds

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Zael Castomir

Rogue Dreadlord
Character Biography
A drawing together of circumstance. This is how it came to be:

The Parents

Octam and Junis Verant had always been loyal Anirian citizens. Always. So when their firstborn son showed signs of magic, awash were they with a multitude of emotions: pride, for their son was destined to become a Dreadlord; fear, for their knew that they would lose him; love, sparked to a greater flame now that absence loomed; these and others.

Zettal, their hometown, was at present under the umbrella of the Republic, stable and loyal, not unlike the Verants themselves as it were. But though Octam and Junis knew that things were different under the Republic, that the laws had been changed, still...still...that ingrained sense of loyalty had as an inevitable part of it the feeling of obligation. Yes, obligation. That they had a duty to see that the relevant authorities at the Academy were informed, and that their young son Sven had a duty to become a Dreadlord and serve his country. This was the strongest driving force behind their decision, but not the only one. Indeed, this decision to give up their son was multi-faceted. Amongst all of the bright and positive reasons Octam and Junis might be able to conjure in casual conversation, there existed beneath all of them a darker reason, one unspoken, one threaded through with terror. They feared that perhaps, perhaps, just maybe...the Republic wasn't telling the whole truth. That maybe some magical children were spared for the sake of appearances, and that others were forcibly kidnapped in secret. Oh! They would much rather Sven be taken under peaceful terms. Yes, they would much rather prefer that instead for their little Sven.

They had met with the Proctor on the street just outside their meager house in Zettal. Everything was ready...but Sven, only three months away from his sixth birthday, was frightened.

"Mama! Papa! I don't want to go!"

Octam was kneeling before his son, hands on his shoulders, eyes glossy with tears. "You must, son. You have an incredible gift. You have to learn how to use it! You have to serve Vel Anir with honor! Make your mama and I proud."

Sven's own face was streaked tears, his eyes terribly red from it all, his breathing scared and labored. "Did I do something wrong? I won't do it again! I want to stay here with you! With you! I love you, Papa! I love you, Mama! Please!"

Junis was crying as well. It was hard for her to speak. "Sven...you didn't do anything wrong. Not at all! But you must go with the nice man. You must. Please, listen to your father."

And so this prolonged parting continued with agonizing slowness.

The Proctor

The nice man mentioned by Junis was none other than Proctor Penworth of the Academy, and even he, with his sloth-like tendencies, was beginning to lose his patience as the boy pleaded and the parents couldn't just bring themselves to push him along. He enjoyed the fact that this was taking a long time, yes, it meant more time away from the Academy and the dull duties he would rather have some other Proctor attend to in his stead—but did the boy truly have to cry so much? This would have been perfect if he could just excuse himself and go elsewhere, maybe to that tavern again to get some more of than Zettal mead, go for a nice relaxing sit and a read by the lake like yesterday, yes, something like that. But no, he was here, stuck waiting. He only accepted this duty because he thought it'd be easy, just like he thought being a Proctor (as opposed to a Dreadlord in active service) would be easy. And it was. It was easy. Just this part was annoying. Ah, and the return trip, with the kid snivelling the whole way, that was going to be a pain, so he imagined.

Maybe it was time for a change? Inquire about joining the Reserves? Now that sounded luxurious. But, as it happened, Proctor Penworth had a bad habit of procrastination even for things which were strictly beneficial for him, and so he'd yet to even look into the matter. He really ought to.

Yes, maybe he would, if his next few retrievals went like this. The last thing he wanted was to see a bunch of tearful goodbyes. They were to him like bird feces on a freshly polished shoe, a dirty mark ruining a whole ensemble.

So Penworth crossed his arms and sighed and waited for the Verants to convince their snot-nosed brat that he had no option in this matter.

The Rebel

Zael Castomir was in Zettal with a few other Rogues, and they had a mission. A simple one, nothing flashy. Zettal was currently headed by Baron Korrmir who was staunchly for the Republic, and the people, generally speaking, were for the Republic as well. And that was the key. Generally speaking. There were those in Zettal who wouldn't mind breaking away, those in Zettal who had power and who were opposed to the Baron and who could bring the masses to heel. Now, Zettal wasn't a big town, and couldn't possibly stand on its own if it were to break from the Republic too soon. So, funny enough, Gilram's plan here was to employ the exact same tactics as the original Revolution: quietly gather some allies, set a plan in place, and wait for the opportune moment.

This wasn't supposed to be a combat mission. This was subterfuge, quietly in, make the negotiations, quietly out, and no one on the Republic's side would be any wiser.

Yet Zael and Jordis, one of the other Rogues, turned down the wrong street at the wrong time. They passed by the scene with Octam, Junis, Sven, and Proctor Penworth. They could have kept going. Proctor Penworth might have recognized both of them if he'd care to look closely under the hoods of their cloaks, but he wasn't paying attention. They could have easily just walked away.

But Zael stopped. Listened as Sven pleaded. Wet his lips and struggled within himself, but it was fruitless. He already knew he was committed.

And Jordis knew it too. Still, he said, "Don't do it."

Zael took in a breath.

And turned around.

The Confrontation

Proctor Penworth sighed with even more annoyance and decided that it was high time to put an end to this display. He stepped forward, approaching Octam and Junis.

"Time's up," he said. "I'll be leaving with Sven now."

"Just one more minute," Junis said as she pulled Sven into a tight embrace, kissing his forehead and his cheeks in a manner conciliatory, loving, sorrowful. Sven, so choked now, could not even articulate his protests and his pleas, and all that escaped him was pained whimpers and tormented sniffling.

"I-I'm sorry," Octam said to Penworth. "I know that you must be terribly busy, terribly busy, and that I've delayed you for—"

The tip of a knife burst through Penworth's chest, and the man's eyes exploded with shock and surprise. Zael had his hand on Penworth's shoulder, his knife buried as deeply as he could shove it into Penworth's back. Penworth managed to look back, and his trembling lips uttered his last word: "Castomir...?"

Zael said nothing to him. He moved that hand which rested on Penworth's shoulder to his face and with a fiery flash all that remained when the thunder and the smoke faded was the blackened stump of a neck. He let go of the body and let it fall. Then turned his attention to the Verants.

Junis had screamed in terror, clinging to Sven even tighter than before. Octam stared in a open-mouthed belief, frozen right where he stood. Zael walked up to him. Jabbed a finger into his chest. Said, "If I find out your son Sven is in the Academy, I'm comin back here, and I'm killin you." He glanced to Junis and added, "Both of you." Squarely back to Octam then. "Got it?"

Octam drew in a shuddering breath.

"Got it??"

"Y-Y-Yes, sir!"

"Good. You keep your boy close."

And with a parting glance to Sven, who stared up at Zael with both fear and amazement, he turned and rejoined with Jordis and the two of them started to run.

Which leads us to...

"You fucked us!" Jordis exclaimed as they ran.

Zael didn't argue. Not yet, anyway. Now wasn't the time nor the place. Once they evaded Zettal's town guard and got back to their hideaway, the closed diner with the other Rogues, then they could talk about what happened and what to do next. But right now? Zael had just killed a Proctor of the Academy in the street of the town, and that was something which naturally drew a lot of attention, even if the actual number of witnesses was quite low.

"HALT!" came the cry of a guard from behind them, this shout more so intended to alert any other guards who might be ahead to the present situation. But they, Zael and Jordis, were forcibly weaving their way through Zettal's large produce market, and the din, the crowds, were to their advantage.

"You impulsive son of a bitch," Jordis snarled again. "I told you, I fucking told you."

"Save it," Zael said. "We're—"

A guard, unaware, was ahead through the crowd, but Zael took no chances. A foot behind the guard's ankle, a sweeping arm to the guard's chest, and the guard taken by surprise fell flat onto his back and had the wind knocked out of him. Zael resumed his run. Both he and Jordis were in plain clothes and traveling cloaks, armed only with concealable knives, so they were at least light on their feet, a boon for the present predicament.

"We lose em, we're still in this," Zael said to his comrade, "We still can do what we need to do."

"You better hope so."

The two of them came out on the other end of the crowded market, and their sprint through the town of Zettal continued.

Kristen Pirian

Pirian's Chosen
Character Biography
"What happened?"

Kristen Pirian arrived at the scene of the Verants' home some hours later. Her intent was simply to pass through the town of Zettal just as she had on her way to Vel Anir city (the town, nestled between the Academy and Vel Anir, was one of the roads traveled through often enough for this purpose even if it was a more circuitous route). The local guard force—not Anirian Guard, but militia essentially—summoned her attention this time and urgently requested that she come with them. An incident, they said. An incident involving magic and murder. The murder of a Proctor no less.

And so she stood outside the Verants' home with a gaggle of guards, looking down at the headless corpse. Blood had long since stopped pumping, and all of it on the ground was dark and dry. The blackened frays of flesh on the corpse's neck gave their own hint as to how precisely he met his grisly fate. Before any of the guards answered her, Kristen had a moment to marvel again at just how inured she had become to such ghastly sights. Nearly three years ago she would have vomited. Now, even a grimace could hardly be bothered to make itself apparent in her expression.

"We don't know exactly, the only witnesses were basically the Verants," said one of the Zettal guards.

"It was all over so quickly," said another.

"His name was...Penworth, I believe?" said a third.

"Proctor Penworth..." She had a passing familiarity with him. More than anything, he was just distant as a Proctor, like everything was a nuisance to him, like he didn't actually want to be at the Academy for some reason. With fitting distance perhaps, the only notable encounter Kristen had had with him was watching him get irritated with Liza Newcastle during a Punishment she had to do for Everleigh Ebersol's Punishment Game. "Where is the family?"


One of the guards opened the home's door for her, and Kristen stepped in. Sven was in the bedroom with his mother, and Octam sat heavily in a chair in the common room, looking tormented by indecision. Kristen pulled up another chair from the kitchen area's table and sat across from him. The first thing she asked: "Is your son unharmed?"

"Oh...oh yes." He seemed to come back from his troubled reverie. "Yes. Yes, he's okay. He wasn't touched at all. Neither him nor my Junis nor I."

"Can you tell me what happened?"

Octam didn't have very much to tell, even though he and his wife had seen it happen right before their eyes. They had been so engaged with their son's trouble with leaving, all of their attention focused on him at that moment, that the assailant seemed to come out of nowhere, and Proctor Penworth was dead before either of them realized anything.

"But...that man...I don't know. All he cared about was that Sven didn't go to the Academy. He didn't rob us, he didn't kill anyone else, not even the guards as they chased him."

"I concur, that is quite peculiar." She stood, preparing to leave. All she could really do was briefly stay in Zettal as a token gesture, for what help could she provide? There wasn't much information to pursue the murderer, was there? The most distinguishing detail was the eyepatch, but what if it was part of some disguise?

"There is...one more thing," said Octam.

Kristen stopped. Looked back. "Yes? What is it?"

"Proctor Penworth said something before he was killed. I...well, I don't know. It sounded like Penworth knew him?"

"What did he say?"

Octam struggled for a moment, wondering briefly if there was much significance at all to it, but then said, "...Castomir."

And at this Kristen's blood ran cold.
  • Cthulhoo rage
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Zael Castomir

Rogue Dreadlord
Character Biography

Zael and Jordis didn't run straight back to the closed diner, no. They gave the pursuing guard force a great, merry runaround the town, hardly a cobblestone of Zettal left untouched. When they lost them, the two Rogues laid low and quiet in a secluded corner here and there. And, finally, after some odd hours, the two returned.

The diner was an ideal spot, so long as they weren't spotted entering the building. The owners, a sweet old widow and her spinster sister, were off to Vel Stratholm (for a religious reason they told absolutely no one about), and so the diner was left vacant in the interim. A quaint spot. They cooked for the locals, the widow and the sister, and the diner didn't have that rowdy tavern atmosphere—Zael could just tell from the well-kempt look of the place. The whole community seemed to be tight-knit, so far as he could gather. Man. Almost made him wonder how good life might have been if he'd been born in the right place at the right time to the right parents.

Instead, he'd have to make do with this life. Make do with fighting for fun, fighting for his cause, and fighting for the kind of Vel Anir he never got.

Course, all the present mean-mugging from Jordis and Cami "The Countdown" Camille suggested they were none too appreciative of all that.

Zael crossed his arms. Said, "What?"

"What do you mean, what?" Jordis said. He then appealed to Cami, saying emphatically, "Do you know what this asshole did?"

"Speak," said Cami (in that creepy, flat tone of voice of hers).

"He killed a Proctor. In broad daylight. In the middle of the street."

"There was a Proctor here?"

"Yeah. Penworth," Zael said. "Kind of a lout. Probably should have left him alive, to be honest, he would've done more harm than good for the Academy. He did chaperone me and Delaney Lennox in Elbion, so that was alright."

Jordis huffed indignantly. "Is this all some kind of a game to you, Castomir? Just having fun? Just ruining this mission at our expense? Huh? That it? Take this seriously."

"I did, and I am."

"I fucking doubt that! You kicked the hornet's nest! Now the whole town is stirred up! You think it was all worth it for, what, one kid?"

Zael took a few steps forward. Stood right before Jordis, and though the other Rogue had half a foot on him, Zael looked up with a gaze undaunted. "Yeah. I do. That kid, and every other kid like him, is the whole reason why I'm even here."

"I drowned a kid that looked just like him when I was an Initiate," Jordis said coldly. "Part of a mission. Had to get his father to talk. It was easy. I'd do it again. I heard the Academy went soft after the Revolution, but you lot..."

"That right?" Zael said, his voice level and with a subtle, deadly edge. "How bout you and me take a walk down by the lake."

The two men stared hotly at one another until Cami, calmly and coolly, slipped her arms between them and gently parted them, stepping into the space between. "Kill each other later," she said. "Now? Now we have to discuss how to make the best of a bad situation."
  • Cthulhoo rage
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Sable Pembroke

The Bulwark
Character Biography
Apprentice Pembroke had accompanied Kristen on this leg of her journey. He had thought the new title would be an uncomfortable change in a post-graduation world, but so far there had been little in the way of remarkable differences. Just...less class and more field time. He was still being mentored on his route towards acquiring a level.

In honesty he was shocked that the higher-ups had given him such a mundane mission. Ever since graduation, Sable had been a hair's breath from snapping at any moment, a volatile vessel of barely restrained rage. His commanders had seen to it that the appendice was assigned very violent outlets to that anger so far. That he'd be allowed to simply travel alongside an old friend was odd. It had actually been kind of nice. Peaceful.

Until Kristen was called to the home of the Verants, that was. Sable saw the signs. He heard the words. Took in the scenario. Before Octam had even given Kristen the name, Sable already knew. Fury bubbled in his veins.

The moment he felt it appropriate, he announced his intent.

"I'm going after him, Kristen. Don't try to stop me."
  • Nervous
Reactions: Kristen Pirian

Kristen Pirian

Pirian's Chosen
Character Biography
Gods, was Kristen worried about Sable the second they arrived on the scene outside of the Verants' home. She wasn't incredibly versed in his goings-on since he graduated from the Academy, but...she knew enough. Their travel together (until passing through Zettal again) belied all that word of mouth—uncharitable word of mouth, so far as Kristen was concerned, for none of it sounded like the Sable she knew.

Yet there was so much which could be told through stark silence. So much more through the eyes. Even one's very aura. The whole time Kristen was speaking with Octam, she could feel it radiating off from Sable, uncomfortable heat and fury, like a volcano on the brink of eruption. It gave credence to the reports of Sable's post-graduation missions, of his conduct therein.

Gods, she was worried. Worried that Sable, this caring and noble man with a truly magnanimous heart, might be in danger of becoming like Edric. Which was to say, little more than an animal, consumed by rage and naught else.

Outside the Verants' home, just as they stepped out and Sable announced his intention, Kristen knew what she had to do.

"I will not, for we must go. It is our duty." And with ambiguous meaning, one final addition seemed to speak itself from her lips. "We take care of our own."

She had to stay by Sable's side, no matter what. This wasn't just about Zael anymore.

Sable Pembroke
  • Dwarf
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