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

Interested? Find out more here.

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

Tales There's Daggers In Smiles

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Takama, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. Takama

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    Country Estate of her most exalted beauty Lady Elise of House Virak, Baroness of the Westlands and heiress to the grandest army of Vel Anir

    They called it a country estate but the Virak possession was more of a small citadel. Built for war, the pleasant facade and immaculate decorations didn't hide the functional arrowslits, thick walls, murder holes, and other nasty little surprises that any self respecting fortress had.

    The household guard were a pretty sight on parade but Takama knew that all those entrusted with the safety of the house were hardened veterans, survivors of campaigns both abroad and at home. Watchful eyes kept track of her passing as she rode her horse, careful not to make any move that was suspicious.

    The Dreadlord was escorted through the halls by two of the guard. She was allowed keep her weapons but she knew if they were drawn without permission, her blood would be the first spilt. The tall woman kept her hands by her side, she was dressed functionally in her armour, with her hair tied up in a turban. Her face was unveiled.

    She came to a halt before the throne, bowing on one knee before rising. "I came as soon as I was given your summons".



    Elise Virak
     
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  2. Elise Virak

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    Elise Virak Baroness Virak

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    Elise sat back on the gilded throne, its arms carved and beautifully inlained with a pattern of roses and thorns. The back of the chair held the same pattern, though its top was decorated with an odd almost snake like being whose fangs were bared.

    Her father had gold the entire thing garish, but Elise had always held a flare for the dramatic.

    When she took the throne of Vel Anir she would have a new throne designed, but for now this would due. It was uncomfortable of course, but that simply helped her maintain the posture of regality that she so much needed in times like this. Her face remained impassive as the Dreadlord approached, almost as if she was uninterested in the woman's presence. After a few seconds she shifted in her chair.

    "There is a minor noble to the north." She wasn't one for pleasantries, particularly with people of lower social standing.

    Takama had proven loyal so far, and perhaps in time she would be elevated, but for now the woman was still her social lesser.

    She must not forget that.

    "He is attempting to make contact with Elbion." Elise said with a frown. "Forge an Alliance."

    Her distaste was clear for that line of thought. Foreigners interfering in Anirian politics was...distasteful.
     
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  3. Takama

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    Takama feigned ignorance. Any fool could calculate strength, why show all your cards at once? She was used to the disdainful tone now, Vel Anirian nobility were not known for altruistic or generous behaviour. There was a clear class system in place.

    "Are alliances distasteful to Vel Anir?" she asked, "Elbion is a power in its own right. Not many wish to move against such a centre of learning and magic". She could hear the distaste in her mistress's tone. "Is a strong ally not better than a strong foe?"
     
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  4. Elise Virak

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    Elise let out a quiet sigh. She knew that the woman was testing her. Takama was not a fool, mostly because The Baroness did not abide by fools within her company. Had the woman no wisdom she would have been executed by now, something that Elise was sure she knew.

    "I will not have foreigners interfere in our business." Especially not one that could realistically challenge them.

    Elbion would not be a match militarily, their armies paled in comparison to even House Virak's troops. It was the mages that were an issue. Though hardly a match for the Dreadlord's, Elbion had many tricks and traps up it's sleeve that none of the Great Houses were keen to test.

    House Virak among them.

    "Besides." She waved a hand. "They'e not making an Alliance with me."

    The heart of the issue really.
     
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  5. Takama

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    "So the issue is then that they are forsaking the possibility of allying with Vel Anir?"

    Few could match Vel Anir militarily but there were enough enemies that if an expansionist war was launched, they would swiftly find themselves outnumbered and outmatched.

    "Have you said this to the lord? Or are you planning to settle this.....in another manner?"
     
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  6. Elise Virak

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    "The issue is they will gain power from this, and I don't want them to have that power." In fact, Elise didn't want them to have any power at all.

    House Hothra had always been on the opposite side of whatever issue she and house Virak had taken. They were of course just minor nobles, but still an annoying thorn in her paw. One that would be need to be done away with.

    "They will need to die." The statement was of course unabashedly open, but this was her home, they were surrounded by her guards. No one unwanted was listening. "All of them."

    The entire house.
     
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  7. Takama

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    Takama blinked, not quite sure she'd heard her mistress correctly. Assassinations were nothing new in Vel Anir but the extermination of an entire house? She took a breath, choosing her words with exceptional care. "An entire house mistress?"

    She wasn't sure if she'd temporarily lost her mind or not. "This could destabilise the entire city. A lord or minor noble is one thing, but an entire house? It will be hard to disguise this as an accident. Or even hide our involvement".
     
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  8. Elise Virak

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    "Unimportant in the grand scheme." She waved her hand dismissively. "Not the entire House."

    Idiot.

    She wondered if she would have to explain everything. "They are an off shoot of House Weiroon, cousin's I think."

    Elise of course knew much more than that. House Hothra was a cadet branch of House Weiroon. Minor nobles, and technically Takama was right even about their death causing a stir. Weiroon would no doubt be upset about the loss, but they would never suspect her or her father.

    Mainly because they were supposed to be allies.

    "If done correctly their deaths will serve my plans." Of course they would. "It just has to be done correctly."
     
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  9. Takama

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    "If you move against a vassal of House Weiroon, they will be sure to do the same against you should they find anything that leads to House Virak. They will not leave it go unanswered".

    Vel Anir followed the law of the wild. Show weakness and you would be torn apart. "Even a minor house will be wary of an assassin's blade or poison. Though bandits can strike anywhere. A strike in a rival house's livery?" she seemed to be sounding out ideas as they came.

    Elise had used one word repeatedly though, "What mistress, would 'correctly' involve?"
     
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  10. Elise Virak

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    She nodded her head to the words. Weiroon would be furious if they learned of what she was planning, even more so if she actually carried it out. The act was necessary though if she were achieve the next step in her plan.

    Elise needed her allies to grow bolder, and her enemies more fearful. "Recently I made a trip to the north."

    A tight smile touched her face. The journey had been...trying to say the least. She had kept the whole thing secret, covering her absence with a rumor of falling ill. Many of course had assumed that she was with child, though that had been dispelled upon her return.

    Thankfully.

    "There I procured a...force." Mercenaries, Dark Elves in fact. Useful, though utterly disgusting. She would use their kind in this. "They will draw eyes away from me."
     
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  11. Takama

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    Takama waited patiently for the explanation. Even within her own house, Elise had a habit of not letting the right or left hand know what the other was doing. Takama had been kept busy with her own duties but her mistress had been tight lipped on what the journey had involved.

    Her brow furrowed as Elise teased her with some details. "My lady, using troops anywhere from Vel Anir is not advisable. They will be sure to take one alive. Even the most fanatical will talk". In the end they all talked. "And you would entrust this task to barbarians?"
     
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  12. Elise Virak

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    "It won't be a concern." She said simply.

    The Dark Elves were needed for just a small amount of time, a wink really. In the grand scheme of things they too were simply a tool to be used, something to wave in front of the fools that controlled the other Great Houses.

    "They will draw eyes where I want them." Slowly Elise stood from her throne. "Prepare a handful of men you trust, ensure they're dressed as bandits."

    She motioned dismissively. "I'll meet you at the gates at Sundown."

    That would likely raise an eyebrow, Elise rarely handled these things herself.
     
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  13. Takama

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    Takama's teeth gritted at being kept in the dark but if the leader of House Virak deemed it appropriate then she had to deal with it. "Yes milady" she forced herself to say. She opened her mouth to speak more but Elise had already waved her hand in dismissal. Takama bowed and left.

    She picked a dozen. Practiced throat cutters and mother killers. They might have been garbed in ragged clothing with no uniform appearance but their weapons were of the highest quality. Takama had her double edged takoba and dark leather armour. Stealth and speed would be more important than protection for this. She hid her impatience by relentlessly checking her gear, coiling and recoiling a slim silken climbing rope.
     
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  14. Elise Virak

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    Elise road out on her horse just a few moments later, a beautiful black stallion which had obviously been chosen for it's grace and grand stride. There was a lithe beauty to it, and the Baroness sat atop it cloaked in black silk and fine steel armor which had been painted with the same night colors as that of her clothes.

    "There is a quarry to the north, abandoned." It was where she had been hiding the Dark Elves.

    They had been surprisingly content to camp there, perhaps because it was comfortable enough or perhaps there had been no work for them as of yet. That would change tonight of course. Elise intended for herself and Takama to lead the Raiders against House Hothra.

    They would need to be swift, but that was of no concern.

    "We'll head there." She motioned out of the gate. "Then I will tell you the rest."
     
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  15. Takama

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    Takama was surprised to see her come as well. Lady Elise was no stranger to red handed work but she had assumed her station would preclude her from taking part in a raid on a rival. It might be that the Baroness just derived pleasure from it. Takama knew that she herself enjoyed her work.

    She obediently spurred her gelding forward, keeping pace with Elise as she led the way north. The rest of the party fell in around them with four detaching themselves as outriders, forward and back. "Is there a reason I am being kept in the dark mistress?" Her tone was respectful and her voice low, for her ears only. "I live to serve".
     
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  16. Elise Virak

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    Elise glanced at Takama, seemingly annoyed that the quesiton would even need to be asked.

    "You are a cog in a very fine clock, Takama." As was everyone within her employ. They were but pieces of the same machine, a machine that achieved her end.

    That was how she saw everyone, even members of her own family. There were cousins related to her by blood that she would throw to the wolves in a heartbeat if it meant she could ascend to the Throne. Most of them were useless of course, but the thought was the same.

    "You do not need to know how to operate the whole clock." no cog ever did. "Just do your part."
     
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  17. Takama

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    It wasn't the worst rebuke but Takama knew not to press the issue. She was kept in the dark as much as her spymaster, master of assassins, various retainers, bodyguards, and all the rest of her entourage. Betrayal was a fact of life in Vel Anir, it was all about minimising the damage potential.

    "Yes mistress" she said, a little stung by her words. "I understand". She kept her mouth shut after that.
     
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  18. Elise Virak

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    "Good." She'd had to kill many servants as of late. Dreadlord's, Guardsmen, even a few maids. All of them had questioned her, all of them had reported to her father or someone else. In the past it could be tolerated, but now?

    Now she was forging her own path.

    Father wanted her to take over House Virak, he wanted her to make them strong, but she knew in his eyes she would only ever come second place. Kasim was still out there somewhere, and as long as that was true her father would always see her as a second option.

    He needed to understand she was the only option.

    More than that he needed to understand that her path was the only one that one be walked.

    Elise would make sure of it, and tonight would be a part of that. They rode together in a tight formation for nearly an hour, eventually cutting off the road until they fell upon a wooded path. After another couple of minutes they reached an ancient quarry, around it were arrayed dozens of campsites.
     
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  19. Takama

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    Takama found her hand straying to her blade as they neared the campfires. Dark figures huddled around them but she knew there were others in the surrounding darkness, not wanting to be seen. And bowstrings pulled tight and aimed at the riders as they approached.

    "Mistress" she warned. There were dozens of fires and only a dozen guards with her. She bit back her revulsion as a dark elf stepped towards them. What was Elise thinking bringing so many of their kind here?!
     
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  20. Elise Virak

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    "Do not be concerned." She said, her voice tight but low. The Dark Elf ahead of them would likely hear, their kind had ears fit for bats, but he would say nothing. So far these creatures had proven to be effective servants, something she found...redeeming.

    Disgusting as they were. "They serve me."

    "That we do, Mistress. Bound by our oath."
    The man just ahead of them bowed lowed to Elise. There was a hint of amusement to his tone, though it was clear that the words contained more meaning than someone else might think. Her fingers flexed on the reigns for just one brief second, and then she drew herself up a bit more.

    If that was even possible.

    "Prepare your men." She waved towards the elf. "You hunt tonight."

    She motioned for Takama to continue following her to the far side of the camp where a tent had been set up.
     
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  21. Takama

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    Takama's hand never quite strayed from her sword. They made her skin crawl. Bandits, raiders living on the fringes of society. Takama had traces of sand elf blood in her but their lineage was less tainted than the dark ones. Like chained dogs released to hunt.

    Why had they bound themselves to humans? Why were their oaths pledged to Elise? She had much to ponder on as she dismounted, standing at the tent entrance. Her eyes roved suspiciously, not at ease amongst these savages.
     
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  22. Elise Virak

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    When they moved inside Elise motioned for Takama to look at the parchment on the table.

    There she would find a detailed map of the estate they were headed to, drawn up by one of the Dark Elves in this camp. They were surprisingly gifted in some areas, though Elise would never actually say that out loud.

    To her they were barbarians, tools to be used.

    "Study these." She said absent minded.

    "The Elves will be our main avenue of attack." That much must have been obvious by now. "They will be our cloak."

    No one would ever suspect House Virak of using foreigners.
     
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  23. Takama

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    The map was only a sketch but extraordinarily detailed. Takama bit her lip as she studied it, marking the points in her mind. It was typical of manor houses outside the walls. Strong enough to see off anything short of a full blown siege. That or a swift assault in the dead of night.

    "There is enough of them to swamp any defenders. Their eyes see better than ours in the dark. And their archers are skilled".

    A plan seemed to be forming in her head. "You intend that they keep the defenders busy while our assassins get to the family chambers?". The map even had a rough scale written, "It can be taken with an escalade...but it will be bloody".
     
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  24. Elise Virak

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    "While we get to the family's chambers." Elise said simply. This was not something she would leave to anyone else, not when it was this important. She couldn't chance them getting away, she couldn't chance word of what she was doing to spread.

    Not now.

    "They need to die." She trusted her assassins of course...as much as anyone could trust in any servant, but this task was not one to be left second hand. "I will make sure of it myself."

    Plus, they needed to be killed...in a certain way.

    She would leave that until they were in the Manor House. Best to spare any details of that sort. "Bloody is better. After all, the attackers are savage foreigners."

    Worse, they were elves.
     
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  25. Takama

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    Now it made sense. Takama, the assassins, the dark elves. They were all just a means to get Elise Virak in the House Hothra family chambers. This wasn't just family business, there was a personal aspect involved. She felt a shiver run down her spine. Many would not see the dawn.

    "We ensure you reach there unharmed milady" she promised, this was bound to send ripples through Vel Anir. Especially when dark elf corpses were found strewn around a burnt out manor house a day's ride or so from the capital.
     
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