Private Tales Whose Deeds Are Daring

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Heike Eisen

Knight of the Golden Blade
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There had to be someone willing.

Heike Eisen had spent a good day and half scouring the massive Allirian harbor for an agreeable captain. Ships had come in, docked, she had sought the ship's captain to ask, she'd be turned down, the ship would leave and another would pull in. Vessels of all sizes and classes came, and their captains to a man rejected her proposal. Here and now, as the afternoon sun stood sentinel amidst a spotless blue sky, Heike was asking just one more captain whilst aboard his ship.

"And where is this place yer tryin' to head off to, Herr Heike?" asked Captain Mendelev of the Thunderhead. He had the most promising tone of voice of all the captains today. Receptive.

Heike, with a renewed confidence because of it, said her piece, "'Tis an island, close to Falwood's eastern coast, and west of the Bayou Garramarisma. Mayhap you've heard of it? There seems to be no official name, but I have heard it called--"

"--The Fang," Captain Mendelev said, nodding grimly. "Aye. I've heard of it. What, by Astra's good graces, could you possibly want from there?"

Heike, straightening her posture ever so slightly, replied, "I have a duty to which I must attend."

"What sort of duty?"

Even if he seemed hesitant, now that he knew the destination Heike had in mind, he was still receptive--if her ears were not tinged with wishfulness and playing into a kindling of hope. Regardless, she had to press on. "I have told you that I am a Knight of the Golden Blade, but, as well, I am a honorary Templar of the Night Watchmen Chapter. Of this affiliation I have no insignia to provide proof, but I am a Templar all the same. The Night Watchmen have sent for me, and it is imperative that I secure passage to The Fang."

Mendelev pondered for a moment. "Night Watchmen...oh, the Pandemonium Crisis. That's where I've heard that name before. Heh, well, was my impression that they had all perished fightin' those demons."

"Many. But not all." Heike paused, and then spoke as sincerely as she could. "Captain, there is a saying that I have heard in Reikhurst--it may yet be prevalent throughout the world and among many martial orders and bands of warriors, but I heard it spoken in Reikhurst first. 'They whose deeds are daring claim victory.'"

She looked out over the Thunderhead's deck railing, to the dockworkers and sailors unloading and moving freight below. Briefly. Then back to the captain. "The Night Watchmen dared greatly, sacrificed much, and claimed victory in the Crisis. I went to them in a time of dire need, and they helped me. It is not only duty, but gratitude, to which I am obligated to aid in their mission at The Fang. What ill tales you have heard of that accursed island are likely true, for they have come to know that loathsome vampires are hoarding an unholy artifact there, and that these foul creatures guard it viciously. The Night Watchmen seek to destroy this artifact. They are few, but I am one of them, Captain. Despite this, we shall through daring claim victory. Will you help me go to them?"

Captain Mendelev, though obviously swayed by Heike's impassioned plea, said with a heavy expression. "I am sorry, Herr. I hate those bloodsuckers as much as the next right-minded man, and I hope that you find the passage you seek. But...I'm afraid that no amount of coin could convince me to sail to that forsaken island."

Heike, though disappointed, nodded cordially. "And so I am bound to try again, aboard a different ship. Fare you well, Captain."

With that, Heike disembarked from the Thunderhead, walking down the gangplank and to the docks, her plate armor rattling with each descending step. She placed her hands on her hips, head downcast in contemplation. Time was moving steadily on, and thus far she'd made no notable progress. Captain Mendelev looked as if he might be convinced, somehow, to sail for The Fang, but coin would do nothing to sway him. Perhaps she was approaching this wrong, to think these Allirians would speak only the language of currency. For many Allirians it was their wont, this was true. But what coin did she offer Captain Bronmarch of the Allirian Guard? None. None, and he still helped her. At the time Heike had been a miserable vampire, whom he'd scarce reason to trust over any other. But Bronmarch's example was clear: coin was not everything to every Allirian.

As Heike thought further on what to do, she did not yet know that there was another who was also seeking passage to The Fang.

Ander'ashan Merellien
 

Ander'ashan Merellien

The Fallen Guardian
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"Get out of here, elf! No coin, no passage! And certainly not to the damned Fang!"

Another door shut on his face as Ander stared at the worn wood, the crackling sound of the door closing right in front of him echoing inside his head in a long and annoying loop, like it had been for the majority of that day.

Discovering the details and the possible location of a dangerous relic, sure to bring havoc and death to the populace, had been a far easier task than achieving means of transportation to the island in which the artifact was supposedly hidden. Ander'ashan had been tracking that illusive object for weeks now, his skills as a tracker far outlying his alarming lack of social tact amongst others who were not of his elven kind. In fact, he hated himself for ever stepping foot inside the city called Alliria, with so many loud voices disrupting his already ill afflicted focus.

Not a moment went by that Ander wouldn't think about the destruction that befell his hometown of Avhalos, and with no more tears left to cry and without a big enough stone to hide his shame underneath, there was but one thing he could do - walk. And he was walking now, for months, at times aimlessly, wandering from city to city, village to village, discovering every crag and crevice of those lands, places so foreign to his limited knowledge.

A Guardian with no place left to defend, his skills could only be fit for other purposes now, and Ander seemed to have found one. A hunter, but not of animals - of monsters and relics. Sometimes, both. From past experiences, he had learned that they were often very closely related, with monsters always trekking about places filled with dangerous magics, and this island, this... Fang.

That seemed to be a place of eerie legends, which served only to spur him into quicker action.

That's what the people had told him, the ones who bothered to hear his pleas. Some humans weren't at all bad, even in a place such as that. They were the ones who pointed him towards those docks, where he could find a ship to take him to the Fang, where the relic would be located.

He had to get his hands on such a thing. If there were answers to be found on what happened to Avhalos, on what kind of evil forces burned it to the ground, Ander theorized that something of a similar force could provide them.

But on that moment, he was at a dead end again. He had no coin to his bearings, and Ander had come to understand such a thing carried great importance amongst the humans, dwarves and other races. As far as he knew though, elves, especially from Aendreasas, had no use for such things.

Another closed door, more loud and rude voices shouting at him, unbothered to even ask his name, merely calling him an elf, the tone of disgust on their voices being made evident as they sent him away, each and every time. But as he turned to face that enormous collection of vessels patiently waiting to depart, he noticed a pair of people talking aboard one of those ships.

Growing tired of being refused and assuming that one of those people would happen to be the leader of the vessel to take him to the island, Ander walked with steadfast determination on his steps, passing by the woman who was just aboard the ship, noticing the disappointment on her eyes. He had faced enough disappointment for that day already.

"Human." He called to Captain Mendelev, boarding the ship in surprising speed and already standing a few paces away from the man. His voice was rasp and his intent solid throughout every word. He wanted passage, and he would not be denied again. "Are you the leader of this vessel? If so, you will take me to the Fang. It is a matter of great importance."

Heike Eisen
 
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Heike Eisen

Knight of the Golden Blade
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Captain Mendelev scarcely had time to think on the knight's request, the coin she had offered for what was a relatively short voyage, and if his refusal--

(what would his brother think?)

--was the right thing to do for his crew, for himself. Scarcely time at all when another person boarded the Thunderhead and came right to him. Mendelev had looked back up and noticed him only when he was already off the gangplank and on the deck, coming toward him. Speaking.

The surprise was evident on the captain's face.

"The Fang?" He blinked a few times, shaking his head in mild disbelief at the chances. Aloud, he mused, "Twice in one day...ha."

Mendelev sighed and placed his hands on his hips. "Great importance. Don't tell me yer also one of those Night Watchmen Templar." His tone became heavier. Apologetic even. "Look. I told the other one that I wasn't going to do it, and now I'm telling you. I wish you all the fortune the gods have to give on your mission, but..."

Mendelev wet his lips. Pursed them tightly as he looked off to the side for a moment--a man conflicted if there ever was one. He stowed that conflict, flattening out his expression with new resolve, and he said to Ander, "You just missed her, by the way. She's right down there, on the docks."

And Mendelev pointed.

* * * * *​

A shame that the Night Watchmen had already set sail, yet it was to be expected. Their sanctum was far to the south of Alliria, down in the peninsula of the Allir Reach. A farther voyage to The Fang from there certainly. Heike couldn't know if they had already made landfall at The Fang, if they were still en route, or whatever their situation was.

Not unless she could find some means of passage to The Fang herself.

Perhaps the most intriguing part in the message Heike had received was the allusion to others . Others--mayhap more Templar Chapters? The message did not elaborate, and again, she could not know unless she could secure a way to The Fang. If there truly were more than just the Night Watchmen Chapter, then the scale of the mission (and its peril, surely) was greater than she had originally thought. Making its import all the more pronounced.

Heike, out of a sense of persistence and out of the clutch of desperation, glanced back up at the deck of the Thunderhead from the docks.

She squinted. Shielded her eyes from the rays of the afternoon sun.

Was that man now with Captain Mendelev?

And then the captain himself pointed down at her.

Ander'ashan Merellien
 

Ander'ashan Merellien

The Fallen Guardian
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Once again, he was met with refusal.

Ander was having a hard time swallowing the denial, the excuses. He had to get to that island, he had to dispose of that artifact before yet more evil could be unleashed upon the land, and he certainly couldn't walk on water or swim there fast enough. He had to board one of those vessels, but each and every man responsible for them denied him, with disdain.

He was tired, not only physically after walking around those docks in search of guidance and passage, but also frustrated. Were all the people of that city so careless in regards to evil? Funnily enough, such behaviour reminded Ander'ashan of himself, from a time when he believed himself strong enough to slash and tear apart any sort of evil that appeared in front of him.

The elf wouldn't let such similar fate befall another city, claiming more lives.

He had noticed the looks given to him by the crewmates who were still walking around the deck, tidying ropes and carrying boxes. As occupied as they were, they feared that confrontation could turn to violence as Ander stepped forth, his fist clenched and his mouth set as if he was about to battle, but Captain Mendelev continued to talk, stopping the elf in his tracks as he paused to pay him attention.

The captain pointed to someone far from the ship, the very same person who Ander had seen conversing with him just moments before.

She looked at them just as they gazed at her, and without any further planning to his undertaking, Ander felt himself curious enough to momentarily give up on his task of persuading Mendelev to take him to the Fang, so that he could walk over and talk to that woman he mentioned.

He had mentioned something else, calling him 'another one' of the Night Watchmen Templar, but he had no notion of what that even meant. He tried recalling that word, 'Templar', from the many books he had been forced to read in his training, but to no avail.

Alas, there was no more time to dwell on memories as the elf now stood in front of the woman that had been looking at him moments prior.

He felt something different coming from her, a unusual force that was unfamiliar to him, but it made him feel more at ease for the first time in that place.

"Do you seek passage to the Fang as well, human? Can you help me reach it?"

It was a surprise for Ander to even entertain the thought of asking for help, but much of his pride had already been crushed the day Avhalos fell.

Heike Eisen
 
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Heike Eisen

Knight of the Golden Blade
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Fortune could be fickle, chance fleeting. Here, however, was quite the fortuitous coincidence indeed. Watching the elf come down the gangplank and to the dock and over to her, all while thinking it surely had to do with some other business, it was to her pleasant surprise to be proven wrong. Well. Mayhap her notion about the larger scope of the Night Watchmen's mission to The Fang was correct.

Heike smiled in greeting. Said, "Yes, I do indeed seek passage there."

She knew nothing of the elf, of course. He wore not the armor of any Templar Chapter with which Heike had any passing knowledge. Not that it meant too much, that lack--the only reason she was clad in armor in the signature style of the Order of the Golden Blade was solely because of Tzuriel Alanthis's financial backing. Yet, even without the armor, she would have been a Knight all the same.

Still. What bound herself and the man before her together was a common goal, and a common impediment to that goal. 'Tis true, they each stood to gain from cooperation.

She extended a hand. "Herr Heike Eisen, Knight-Valiant of Reikhurst. And you?"

Ander'ashan Merellien
 

Ander'ashan Merellien

The Fallen Guardian
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There was something... different about that woman.

Ander couldn't tell what exactly, though. It may have been the fact that she didn't immediately looked at him with disdain, telling him to stay far away. Or how her armor seemed to capture a distinctive honor, almost like an aura that followed her. Even without knowing, the elf could tell that she was a great warrior, like he had been once.

Much differently from the other people he had met in that city, that woman's armor was apparent of her distinguished skill, crafted to the very details and embellished with care. Looking at his own clothing now, Ander could see only the ragged cloak that carried the crest of the Order of Guardians, stretching from his right shoulder and covering his back, while the only piece of metal that he still wore was the gauntlet that covered his right hand and forearm.

They were the last pieces of his old armor, the last signs of honor that had long since escaped him. He was no warrior anymore, merely a ghost.

After some time away in his own thoughts, Ander stared at the hand extended out to him by the woman, who called herself Heike. A interesting name, unlike any he had heard before.

But still, that was a strange gesture she proposed. What was she expecting?

Aendreasians had many different greetings and gestures, depending on their status and caste. Ander mostly greeted his companions with a simple bow of his head and a hand upon his chest, a sign of respect amongst warriors, but Heike held his hand out for him. After a fleeting moment of hesitation, the elf held out his hand as well, shaking hers awkwardly.

"Knight-Valiant of Reikhurst..." He whispered to himself, although she probably would've heard it. Ander looked back at her, raising his gaze from their hands to her eyes. He was most curious about that land, so foreign to him. "I am Ander'ashan of clan Merëllien, from..."

His eyes fell towards the ground again, this time filled with grief, rather than confusion. "From a land long gone."

Heike Eisen
 
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Heike Eisen

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This man, Ander, truly was from afar, if the manner in which he shook her hand was any indication. In many ways, Heike was much the same, a stranger in a strange land. All her life, until her vampirism, she had lived in Reikhurst, the social mores and customs of far-flung places like Alliria here, like Elbion, like the Kinniger Duchy she had not experienced firsthand. She had traveled far for those terrible five years afflicted with vampirism, but what did these travels amount to? Clinging to the shadows, avoiding the folk of the towns and cities she'd venture to, it was as if she'd not visited at all.

From a land long gone, he said.

From where, Heike could only guess. Her geographical education whilst becoming knight only encompassed so much, and was centered mostly on human and dwarven realms. The naming convention of his given name, his clan, she would not be able to tell apart from other elven names and clans. Still, he had a poise about him that suggested to Heike that he was a man who had seen battle. His attire was suited for unencumbered travel, and so while her first guess was freelance sellsword, it didn't quite seem right. Those sellswords and mercenaries she had happened across and worked with typically had a cheerful recklessness about them, with a side of brashness or boisterousness. Many, Heike felt, would sell their own mother for her weight in coins, if given the chance--maybe even for a pittance, if they wanted a drink badly enough.

That flash of grief from Ander? When he spoke of his lost home? That wasn't what a warrior of fortune would show--certainly not to a stranger.

Perhaps the crest on his cloak was a symbol from the land from which he hailed. Heike's hand drifted to her belt. Touched her own insignia which dangled there; a token which established her as a Knight of the Golden Blade, and which to her held as much proud symbolic value as the colors held aloft by a military company's bannerman.

She tiled her head. Receptive, as she asked, "And what land would that be, Ander'ashan? We both are made busy by a task set before each of us, but I would hear you speak of it."

Ander'ashan Merellien