Hidden 10 mos ago Post by TheDuncanMorgan
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TheDuncanMorgan The One True King

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By @TheDuncanMorgan&@Klomster
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Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by ZB1996


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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by TheDuncanMorgan
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TheDuncanMorgan The One True King

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@ZB1996 & @TheDuncanMorgan
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Hidden 9 mos ago 9 mos ago Post by Klomster
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Klomster The man, the myth, the legend.

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Creds to myself and @TheDuncanMorgan
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by Sundered Echo
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Sundered Echo

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~|After the Party|~

Darkness had well and truly overtaken Nyhem by the time Lana left the party. She was one of the last to go, and it was in a rather less respectable state than she would’ve preferred… She had drunk a little too much at the end of the party, driven to drown her memories with wine. She had planned to fly home, but she was at least cognizant enough to realise she was better off not trying to shape shift in her current state. She also refused a carriage, as it would not doubt leave her in a most unladylike state at the end of the inevitably bumpy trip. Similarly, she was too proud to have city guards escort her. Her manorhouse was not far away, and she was no stranger to walking at night.

And so it was, that she was walking from the palace back to Dionisa Manor, a little unsteady on her feet at times, but still keeping up a respectable clip. She gazed into every shadow, keenly aware, or at least as much as one can be through a wine fueled haze, of how similar her situation was to the night Aurelia met her end. Yet she saw nothing, and was confident in her ability to defend herself.

She was just considering how little she had to fear from brutish mundanes when she heard a sound from behind her. She barely had time to begin turning before there was a sharp pain on the side of her head.

Suddenly, everything went dark. She felt the sensation of falling, but she never hit the ground. Then there was no sensation at all, just inky blackness.

~|Some Time Later|~

Lana’s return to consciousness was a slow, painful experience. At first, all she could feel was a dull throbbing that seemed to permeate her skull. The floor beneath her was hard, and bitterly cold. Her dress was torn, and barely clung to her slim frame, providing almost no respite from the cold. She opened her eyes slowly, to the sight of a sparse, dimly lit room. Sunlight streamed in from a slit window near the ceiling, making her squint.

She tried to push herself up, but barely managed to writhe in place as she discovered that her hands were tied, and her fingers bound. She tried to cry out in pain as fear began to rise in her chest, but found she was gagged as well, with a rough cloth tied tightly across her mouth to stop her from making all but the most inarticulate sounds.

She struggled with her bonds for a moment, but quickly stopped when her wrists began to burn with pain.

“Don’t bother.”

A male voice came from behind her. A voice she knew, but speaking in a tone she had never heard from it. Inelegantly, she rolled to face it. Her hair fell across her eyes, but through it she could still see who the man was. He was sitting on a plain wooden chair next a small table, with a wall-mounted torch lighting his features from one side. She knew who he was. He just smiled. An evil smile, filled with cruelty and malice. There were iron bars between them. She was caged.

Awkwardly, painfully slowly, she worked her way up onto her knees. Now that she knew she could not use her hands, she could avoid toppling over. Once she was kneeling, she defiantly flicked her hair out of her face and glared at the man. He stared back. Slowly, a glowing halo of energy began to manifest around Lanaya’s head. Casting a lethal spell with a throbbing headache and no use of her hands or tongue was excruciating, but her hate and creeping fear drove her on.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

The man said. She ignored him... Until he raised a pistol crossbow and pointed it at her heart.

She stopped, letting the magic dissipate harmlessly. There was no way she could cast a spell before his bolt found its mark. Still pointing the crossbow at her, he stood and walked closer.

“I know you don't need your hands or words to cast spells Lanaya. But you will not use magic in this house.”

Then, he reached up and roughly thumped the ceiling twice. As soon as he did so, movement could be heard above, and a moment later the door to the small room opened. A big man in the garb of a common thug stepped in, holding a young girl and a dagger. The girl was bound similarly to Lana, but in the dim light she could only barely make out her features. It looked like Miriam, the young mage girl that her Guard Captain had saved before the riot.

“Remember this one? She’s like you. A vile witch. If you so much as glow again, I will hurt her. My men and I know how to cause a lot of pain without killing someone. Do you understand?”

Grudgingly, Lana nodded her head.

“Good.” He said, then turned to his man. “Take her back up stairs.”

Panic was starting to set in now. This man knew a great deal about her, and about how to properly restrain a mage. Far more than she had ever imagined.

“Now that you understand your position, we can have a proper talk.”

He made stepped back and put the crossbow down on the table, then took a key from his belt. He opened the cell door, and stepped inside. Lana tried to stand, but he pushed her back down roughly by the shoulder. Then he went to loosen the gag, stopping at the last moment.

“Remember, no magic. Speak common only.”

Then he pulled the gag off. The moment her mouth was free, Lana spoke, spitting her words quickly and harshly at him.

“You’re a dead man Thanatos. Let Miriam and I go right now and I might be lenient at your tri-”

She was abruptly cut off as Thanatos slapped her. She toppled to the ground from the force and surprise, landing hard on her shoulder.

“I don’t think you quite understand Lanaya. I am in charge now. I am going to give you one chance to do this the nice way. Far more than you deserve, you murderous bitch.” Anger was creeping into Thanatos’ voice now. “You took my father from me. Then you took my inheritance. What vile magics did you cloud his mind with to make him leave House Thale to you?”

Lana crawled back onto her knees before responding. She refused to beg from on the ground.

“I didn’t even have to cast a single spell on that old buffoon once. He was smitten the moment he saw me. Being young and beautiful was all the ‘magic’ I needed.” She told him, truthfully, though her voice was laced with disdain. He clearly didn’t believe a word she was saying. “Did it ever occur to you that he just didn’t like you?” She added spitefully.

He hit her again, and again she fell to the floor. This time she cried out in pain as she landed on her already bruised shoulder.

“Do not speak of my father like that! Dominus Thale was a proud man, a great man, until you arrived!” A moment passed as Thanatos fumed, Lana getting back up even more slowly this time. He was the first to speak again. “You will give me back my House and my Title.” He demanded angrily. “And you will give me all of House Dionisa as well.”

Lana looked at him incredulously for a long moment, then, mustering all the defiance and hatred she could, simply said -


She winced expectantly, but no strike came. Instead Thanatos looked down at her blankly and spoke, with remarkable eagerness. “Fine. I was hoping you’d say that. Now we can do this the hard way.” He motioned for her to stand, then seemed to even help her rise to her feet. But the moment she was up, he slugged her in the stomach. She doubled over in pain, and he let her slowly fall to the ground once more. Then he tied the gag back over her mouth, far tighter than it had been before. Tight enough to cause pain.

He stalked out of the cell then, retrieving a pointed object. As he drew closer, she saw that it was a dagger… But no ordinary dagger.

It was a Dragonbone dagger. Her eyes went wide with fear, and panic set in.

“You really should’ve just agreed to my demands Lanaya. But I’m happy you didn’t.”
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by Fallenreaper
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Housewarming Gifts

Location: Nyhem to Claus’ temporary base
Time: Afternoon, 1 week and 2 days after the party
Collab with: @Klomster

Nyhem was locked within the autumn season. The rain drizzled across the city’s scenery, bringing the cool winds and salty air inland. Leaves were tumbling from their throne branches to pile across the cobblestone streets only to be cleared by busy feet treading the worn down pathways. Among the crowds was a blue skin female, the half-elven Dyril, on her way to the city’s gates. Her shoes slicked along the hard surface as she avoided the sprouting puddles collecting in the path’s holes and muddy steps. It was times like this she found herself missing the Elven architecture in Beilokias where water flowed into small made treads then shipped its merry way back into the local lakes or rivers. All out of sight and mind.

As Dyril approached the positioned guards, their indifferent expression told her everything. They neither stopped or cared for her presence while she edged past them. One only glanced long enough to note her appearance before giving a sound yawn.

She wore nothing that was made to draw attention.

A cowl was draped about her head, covering her neck and head from sight. Along the black dyed cloth were silver floral designs with a simple line edge, nothing too fancy. A dark poncho covered a slender tunic dress with the skirt ended just at her ankles. Her boots kicked the ends as her legs pulled along the road and brought her straight past the gate frame. On her arm, she balanced a basket filled with goodies that Kiseo had made up. Dyril suspected they would’ve been rather traditional to the Mao’s culture compared to the Elven one where well wishes were simply made. Those were often followed with secret wishes of misfortune, embarrassment, and worst within closed doors.

The half-elf pushed the thoughts away after spotting sight of the camp. The men’s rowdy shouts, boastering, and semi-military behavior made missing the place nearly impossible. At spotting her, one a young man rose then shot off to find Claus.

Claus was sitting in the command tent and approving and denying some of the suggestions and regular running bureaucracy of the company, papers and scrolls that needed approving by the company captain, things he had decided and just needed to approve, things that was just regular running things and a few things that sort of interested him for a few seconds. Like the report on how far along the repair of his armour had gone.

He liked the progress of the repairs that had begun the day before yesterday, but he cared less for the price.
In truth it was fair for a master armourers time, but that didn’t mean Claus had to like it.

With a quick tuck a trooper entered the tent and raised his hood before addressing his captain.
-”Steelhead, ‘lil Dyril is here.” A smile on his face, met with a smirk from Claus who responded.
-”Well, see her in then!” He hastily rearranged some of the papers on his desk.

Dyril was led in shortly after. Her hand reached for her basket, checking it was secured about her elbow, then looked at Claus. She pulled her hood down from over her head to rest at her shoulders.

“So, hard at work I see,” She gently gestured to the basket, “Is there anywhere I can place this?”
-”Put it here on the desk, since i assume we’re gonna explore what’s inside?” Claus answer was curious and of course ended with a smirk.

“Kiseo thought you would like a housewarming gift and she did tell me that each item symbolizes something for her culture. I don’t know fully what’s in side, but she was confident I would know them,” Dyril said as she sat the basket down.
With obvious curiosity Claus removed the cover to see what was inside. As he inspected each item he put it on his desk. Inside was some freshly made youtai, a fried bread Claus vaguely remembered from Beilokias, a candle he smelled but couldn’t place the scent of, but it was flowery, salt in a large pouch and a wine-pouch which he happily picked up and happily showed Dyril.
-”Aha! Wine, want to share with me? I have no idea what the scent is on this one though.” He said as he carefully ranged a toss and tossed the candle to Dyril. As she caught it Claus was setting up a pair of mugs.

Dyril mildly rolled her eyes, like a small sister annoyed by her drunken brother. She gently took a whiff and recognized instantly. A frown briefly graced her lips at when Kiseo had found the time to create a soothing scented candle was beyond her. Gently she set it back down then replied.

“Lavender. Its scent is suppose to soothe and relax anyone that inhales it, especially during times of stress. A few women use it in perfumes here in Formaroth, but the Mao use it for good health. I’ve seen this sold in Shingseng’s remedy shops.”

-”I see.” Claus was actually interested, but busy pouring the wine in the mugs. When he was done he offered one to Dyril and sar down with his legs crossed upon the desk.

-”So, what does the bread symbolise? And the other things as well of course.” He smelled the youtai deeply and put it down again. He figured he’d have some later.

“Well, from what both Kiseo and her mother, the bread symbolizes the hope you will never go hungry. The wine is for your life to have sweet experiences. I assume the other pouch is salt and that is for your life to always have some spice. Finally, the candle so your home will always be full of light and hope,” Dyril explained as she took her own mug, not surprised that Claus went for the wine first. He was never one to pass up the chance for a drink.

Spotting him sniff the fried bread, she then added, “She made it fresh this morning. I know this because, I had some for breakfast. She used sheep lard from a newly butchered ram. I’m pretty sure she’s making some potstickers and tofu, If you’re interested I can request she add another bowl.”

-”Ooh, some elven cooking. I think i’ll take that offer actually.” Claus checked the other pouch and it was indeed salt in it.

“The origins of potstickers and tofu is actually from the Mao culture. We just started to gradually absorb it into our own culture, much like we do with anything else,” Dyril corrected him.

Her lips curled into a softer smile, “Kiseo will be happy to have you, as would I. So, any idea how long before you could move into your new base?”

On that Claus fell back in his seat and exhaled in a troubled way.

-”The place was in a rough shape, all the inner walls needs to be stripped since the place had gotten damp in the insulation. Then the guys needs to put up new ones. I’ll however not put in as nice ones as was there before and they can forget embroidered walls.” He took a sip on his wine, a nice crisp wine.

-”That with the fact I need to redesign some stuff to fit all the guys… weeks, months. I’m thinking weeks though, my men are efficient and are motivated to get a proper house.” A rumble of thunder in the distance as well as the rain increasing explained well the motivation. Living in tents in the rain isn’t exactly fun.

Dyril jumped then settled back down, realizing what caused the thunderous sounds. Her eyes shifted to what served to be the tent’s doorway before returning to Claus. She considered her next words before putting forth her questions.

“Do any your men have building experience? I rather you weren’t crushed because the foundation was poorly put together.”
Claus shook his head with a smile on his face.

-”Everyone seems to forget it, the Steel Fist are specialised in siege warfare, many of the men are proficient siege engineers. I have set up siege towers and trench systems with their help. We don’t build it pretty but we build it strong. There will be no problem there.” Claus was confident and happy, not at all annoyed as he might have been had another person asked the question.

“Unfortunately, my… grandfather interrupted that education about the Steel Fist,” Dyril pointed out, unbothered by Claus’ correction.

Her hands folded into her lap as she thoughtfully looked toward the tent’s entrance. She knew the storm was approaching, but her mind couldn’t help but actually wander back to target practice. Every thump of the arrow hitting its intended spot made her heart jerk in excitement. Claus’ praise, even if it was overdone, helped to spur on that desire to become better. It was almost an addictive sensation she missed out in her life.

She had her wine only half drained now. She was a light drinker when she wasn’t required to dig deeply into the cup, mostly because she liked her head clear and able to spot any trouble before it happened.

“True, but siege towers aren’t exactly buildings. What are you aiming to build within it? What purposes will it have, aside from housing everyone between tasks?” Dyril figured she might as well get her mind off archery with helping Claus.
With a slight tuck on his chin, he pondered a moment before answering.

-”The usual, an office for me and a couple for the lieutenants. Katrina needs one as well, on top of that i need a practice yard, fake targets, archery range, those sort of things. But mostly it’s gonna be for sleeping in.” Claus answer was to the point, with a realisation he added.

-”Oh, and storage. Lots of storage.” He leaned back with his arms behind his head, imagining the storage filled with cash and booze with a grin.

“Sounds pretty simple,” Dyril noted, finally giving into her desires.

She placed down the wine glass as she bluntly asked, “I’ll admit, my original purpose for coming was a bit selfish. I wanted another lesson in archery. I need an escape from the stress of finding someone to escort my carts when I finally find the ideal climate for the mandrakes.”

Claus looked at the tent wall and listened to the rain for a moment.

-”Well we ain't loosening any arrows today. Blame the rain for that.” He turned towards Dyril, the times in the Beilokias they shared as they did simple archery training now a cherished memory of Claus, unlike all the memories of the wars which began to make themself known again. He shook it off and smiled.

-”But you know you are welcome to come and train archery any time you want. Swords, maces and polearms as well. If i don’t have the time there’s probably someone who’ll help you out as well.” He stood up and went to his pack and searched for a moment and produced a small hunting crossbow.

-”AHA! Here it is.” He pulled out and strung his crappy little practice crossbow, he’d gotten it from his mother once and kept it for fun. Dyril had honestly loosened more arrows from it than he but he didn’t care.

She shone up when he brought the practice bow.

-“But we can practice your stance! Now show me how it’s drawn.” He handed the crossbow over with a smirk.
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Hidden 9 mos ago Post by ZB1996


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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Fallenreaper
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Fallenreaper ღ~Lil' Emotional Cocktail~ღ

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Kiseo and Jain

Location: Marketplace
Time: Early morning, Week 3 and Day 1 after the party.
Collab with: @JaisonJ97 with help from @TheDuncanMorgan

Kiseo collected her hooded cloak off the floor, wrapping it about herself and propping the hood onto her head. She glanced into the small hand mirror her mistress kept ensuring all the features of her feline face were tucked away before putting the looking glass away. Her arm reached for the handbasket then secured it into her elbow, fitted so to ensure it would stay. She needed more ingredients for the afternoon meal. Thankfully Dyril was out visiting with Ms. Zerrikan on her ship.

Casually, the Mao pushed her way through the doorway. Her feet silently trod down the stairs to the first floor as she continued out the Inn’s entrance. The streets were bustling with workers to merchants, each one making a living in the only way they knew how. Others sought their daily meat or bread.

Kiseo paused by the fruit stands. Her hand reached for the top fruit, then applied slight pressure. The insides held slightly firm indicating it wouldn’t spoil within a few hours. Pleased with the finding, the feline-woman placed the fruit onto the counter with about three others. Ensuring the vendor spotted them, she paid then slipped them into her basket. She turned to leave.

Little did Kiseo know that she had gained a shadow. From a nearby alleyway, Jain was watching her as he had done for the past few days. Ever since he saw her at the party the Mao servant had triggered something in his memory; he knew that the Mao were slaves of the Elves and to see one walk so freely in Formaroth was a strange thing indeed. He also knew of their abilities, and that to have such a creature on his side would be a great asset. He had been waiting for days to get the opportunity to talk to her alone and it seemed he would finally get his chance. He waited for her to walk by before grabbing her arm and pulling her into the alley.

Kiseo’s balance was disrupted when she felt her arm seized then her figure tugged to the left. She managed to catch her balance when the man let go, but the basket fell from her grasp. The contents spilled onto the ground behind her. Without thinking, her figure flinched and her teeth bared through black lips. They curled back as she hissed softly at the assailant.

Seeming to realize her behavior, Kiseo’s eyes widen in surprise. Her figure began to retreat back into the alleyway and started to scattered her basket’s content.

Jain looked on with a cold gaze that could make a cat's hair stand on end (well it did) at what was happening before him. Realizing he had startled the Mao, he moved to calm her down.

“Calm yourself, Mao” Jain said in a hushed tone “I meant only to talk to you.” Jain realized he may have been a bit rough with the Mao, however, he wished for this conversation to remain private, a conversation between an easterner and a Mao would gain a lot of attention if done in public. He picked up one of the fruits that had fallen to the ground and reached out to offer it to her. “It is an odd sight to me to see a Mao walk so freely without her master nearby”.

“Who is you?” Kiseo backed away more, edging toward the alley’s exit.

Her fur remained on end. The strands puffed out to make her appear larger than she felt as her eyes stared at him harshly, trying to pin him in place. Her arm curled protectively about her before she paused about two feet away from him. When he picked the fruit up, she tilted her head at his words.

“I always run errands for my Lady Dyril. Most humans tend to avoid me, purely because I am not… how do you say it? Nor-normal? The same as them,” Kiseo struggled with her word choice but quickly recovered.

“What do you want?” She didn't reach for the fruit offered to her.

When Kiseo didn’t reach for the fruit Jain shrugged his shoulders and proceeded to take a bite out of it. “I am Jain Surya, a...let say an associate of William Flin. While most ‘humans’ will avoid you I personally find you very interesting, in particular, your abilities as a Mao. Tell me would you be interested in running some errands for me in exchange for...let's say your freedom” Jain said with a smirk, confident that it would gain the Mao’s attention.

Kiseo studied him for a moment. She seemed to debate internally over something before she spoke, breaking the silence between them. Her head shook at his offer.

“I must decline. I believe you misunderstand. She hasn’t treated me in an ill way and I willing serve her,” her lines rehearsed, but honest in her feelings on it.

Jain looked at the Mao with disappointment, (Marid giggled in the background of his mind).

“Are you truly content with being a slave for the rest of your life? I am offering you a way out, I have very influential allies who can protect you if you are afraid your master may come for you, all I ask is that you help me in with some tasks that only you can help me with”.

“My mistresses explained when we entered Formaroth soil, I was lawfully free. I chose to serve her because she is worth it. Free is not always good for those who have always lived without it. Especially when one has no purpose beyond it,” Kiseo pointed out, her figure bent down to quickly pick up the fruit and spilled goods.

It was obvious she wanted to escape from this man’s presence.

“It seems you are very attached to your mistress…. That is good to know. Very good indeed” Jain said with a twisted smile as he walked toward Kiseo reaching out and placing the half eaten fruit in her basket. “I mean, it’s fine if you don’t want to help me. It’ll just be a shame if something were to happen to your poor mistress if you didn’t.” Jain’s smile disappeared replaced with a dark look upon his face. “ A real shame”.

Kiseo’s figure froze in mid-action. Her hand out reached and rested on a peach, unable to pick it up. Her head whipped up to stare in disbelief at Jain. “You have no reason to bring her into this,” the Mao protested, her voice submissively quiet.

Jain’s smile returned when he decided that he had her where he wanted her. “Who said anything about me bringing her into it? I’m saying you will if you don’t help out a poor fellow like me with a small errand.” Jain stepped uncomfortably close, staring into her eyes with a cold menace. “So unless you really just want for your mistress to wake up dead one fine morning in the sea…. I would really consider helping this stranger by listening to what he has to say”.

She eyed him, fear and worry poured into her core. The man’s body language showed no lies. He was serious about hurting Dyril causing her anxiety to rise. It was betrayed in her tail as it curled close to her leg, wrapping about herself protectively. Part of her wanted to call his bluff, but her protectiveness of her mistress won out.

“Your ‘errand’ does not hurt my mistress in any way, consequences or otherwise,” Kiseo hissed, her arm moving again. This time rapidly putting in the fruit as she stood upright.

She fully intended to inform Dyril about the threat. Her mistress would know what to do and how to handle it, at least she hoped. Her eyes studied him to memory while she waited for him to continue.

“I need you, little Mao, to work for me on the side. I require someone with a certain level of skill when it comes to stealth. You being a Mao already have such levels of skill and instinct, better than most trained Formarothian spies.”

“And you’ll leave my Mistress alone?” Kiseo asked, confirming what she hoped.

“Like I said l little Mao”, replied Jain without a smile, he had what he wanted, he didn't need to intimidate her any further. “I won't be the one harming your poor mistress.” A subtle grin appearing on his face, satisfied with himself.

Jain approached the Mao and took the peach Kiseo just placed in her basket and took a juicy bite out of it, looking the Mao in the eye. Before asking her, “what is this fruit? I don't think we have these in our homeland.” ignoring the Mao's surprised face, her hair standing on edge.

“A peach, I believe. And they are native to mine,” Kiseo answered, her eyes broke contact with Jain and lowered to the ground.

She inhaled than added, “If that is all you require from me, may I leave? My mistress will be waiting for me and I have to prepare her lunch shortly.”

“That is all I need from you, for now,” Jain said as he turned around and walked away into the alley, taking Kiseo’s peach with him.
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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by TheDuncanMorgan
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TheDuncanMorgan The One True King

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@TheDuncanMorgan @Sundered Echo
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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Klomster
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Klomster The man, the myth, the legend.

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The following night Claus was sitting in his command tent in complete silence, he had lit the scented candle given to him by Dyril and the purple candle shone a deep yellow steady sheen, filling the straight walled tent filled with officers junk like maps, boxes and chests with a deep but pleasant lavender scent.
He was slouched back in his chair so much it seemed a wonder he was still in it, lazily pushing a ink bottle around while having a deeply troubled look on his face.
The ink bottle was throwing a shadow over his face as he moved it along, without any obvious reason he quickly sat up, took the candle and put it right under his nose, letting the hot air fill his nose with his deep inhale.
A strong flowery scent filled his senses completely and the heat really helped his tension in his forehead, which had sprung a headache which had lasted for hours.

He sat there sniffing for a while, thinking of how it had started.
Alenius must think of him as a lunatic fool, he knew he had nightmares from time to time. But they'd never been a problem before, never so strong either, never so real.
The heat of the candle reminded him of the flames, he quickly put it away almost putting it out by the speed.
She had just sat there as he told her he didn't know what happened, a clear lie since he knew perfectly and he was sure she saw right through that.
He had simply ignored her, gathered his things and opened the door only to find worried tenants had gathered outside their room to figure out what was going on.
He guessed he appeared as a panicked animal as he ignored their honest worries and left them to Alenius as he stormed past them and out.
The looks in their eyes had made him feel shame and insecurity.

He did not feel good, not in the slightest. It was dark out and normally he'd have gone to bed to get some extra sleep but not tonight.
He dared not sleep.
One of the few times in his life he remembered being struck with actual fear. But he remembered those deep red unblinking eyes... he shuddered.
It was so blissful the time that Dyril had spent with him following that horrible morning.
No worries, just reminiscing about better times and practicing some well needed accuracy training. For both of them. In truth he wasn't the best shot around.
After she left he had eaten the youtai with an initial excitement but after a few bites he had lost his appetite. The delicious bread not able to distract him from his haunting thoughts.
That was yesterday, he had wasted all day in the tent.
Not wanting to waste the fine gifts he poured some wine and brought forth the bread again, forcing himself to eat and drink.
The tastes were great, but he did not enjoy it.
It reminded him of the Beilokias, the odd clouds rolling over the mountains, the fungi forests with the gloomhawks circling above.
It reminded him of the battle of hymns.
With an increase in heart rate he froze all movements, his hand slightly shaking and the wine was forming circles from the movements. He stared intensely at nothing being caught in his memories of the fateful battle.
The confusion, the panic, the anguish and screams all coming back. Not to forget the red eyes... those dark spectres with red unblinking eyes.
Claus realised his frozen state and with shaking hands shugged the mug of wine and put it aside, now realising he still had bread in his mouth he swallowed that as well.

There were noises approaching his tent, two corpsmen, Jake and one of the new guys by the sounds of them speaking of... Scassia smoked stilton? They were closing fast.
Claus violently shook his face trying to get out some of the tension and smeared down on his face with his hands as well, sort of rejuvenating it.
As the two entered they quickly marched up to the centre of the tent and stood at attention and salute.
-"Steelhead, we're back from the job with the emperor." One of the reported.
Claus stood up and trying to act normal gave a moments smile and spoke.
-"So you enter my tent unannounced and speak of cheese from my home and didn't bring any? I'm disappointed." The two looked puzzled and slightly worried when Claus went on.
-"At ease, you new guys are such bores. Now what gives, there's a reason you felt like you needed to come here." He slouched back into his chair and met their eyes. Jake answered him.
-"Uh yes sir, we were at a test of some sort with the emperor visiting some alchemist and he had some really interesting stuff." Claus could see the gleeful engineer inside of his trooper so this was surely something interesting.
-"Yes? What?"
-"Blasting powder! Non magical!" The wide grinned Jake infected Claus with some of that excitement. Especially since all blasting powder the fist had ever used before had been magical in nature. Either needing a proper mage to use it or being ludicrously expensive for little worth, this was fascinating news.
As Claus listened to the full report he saw many opportunities with such potent powder, he just hoped the prize would be worth it and of course that the good emperor would let them have it.
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An Unorthodox Warning

Location: Claus’ headquarters to Nyhem’s Docks
Time: Late Afternoon, Week 3 and Day 1 after the party.
Collab with: @JaisonJ97/@TheDuncanMorgan, @Klomster, and @Fallenreaper

Kiseo’s hands clasped her cloak tightly to her. Underneath it, her fur held the bitter breeze at bay as it traveled across the autumn air. Her feet darted across the dirt path which led up to Claus’ new headquarters. She paused at the door and raised her head, her lower muzzle barely stuck out from under the hood. Feline eyes absorbed the modest, but sturdy building for a moment. It amazed her that some individuals trained in taking blood could construct something practical.

The building was abuzz with activity, men were moving things, installing walls and one wall was being coated with tar with its distinct smell filling the area.

Thick wooden planks were being fitted to the walls this time insulated with sawdust. It looked more like a wooden fortress than a mansion now.

The chest high wall surrounding the yard was being constructed, rough stones being lain and mortared to place, in some places the iron fence that was spiked on top of the wall had been installed as well, the new gate was finished, a black burnt linseed oil coating protecting the barely decorated iron pole gate. It’s primary decor was simplistic spearheads to add detail, but primarily to keep nosy people from climbing over it.

On the front the gate was only slightly more than a metre from the house itself, but Kiseo could see that there was a lot more space in the back.

Her mind returned to the task at hand. She gently rapped on the black bell hanging beside the gate, her figure stepped to the centre so anyone that answered could easily see her.

While most of the corps-men on the front had already seen her, none had stepped away from their work until she rang the bell.

From the oak wood door that was now the main door of the house stepped a corpsman with halberd and opened the gate outwards, letting Kiseo avoid the opening gate.

-”Kiseo, nice to see ya! Just go right in, Claus is in there somewhere.” He informed, letting Kiseo inside.

Kiseo’s throat let out a soft, audible purr. The sound rattled for several moments before she calmed it down then stepped cautiously inside. Her hands clasped together in front of her while she took in the interior’s decoration. The first sight was a large fire pit in the room’s center, the floor made of stone stretched to the wooden walls. Soot and smoke rose to the chimney where a pipe caught then guided it out.

Two men were tending to the slow roasting pig. It sizzled on an iron spit and was held up by two hooks, the men delicately turned it so often. It reminded her that she had forgotten to eat before she left. Ignoring her pain, she stepped farther into the spacious room.

Farther in, the other men continued to move about the pair. Their arms hoisted planks, various wood, furs, and even straw before they vanished down the hall. She assumed they were preparing the quarters for sleeping. Many residents in the city preferred beds raised off the cold floor. Tables sided the walls surrounding the pit, each lined with various candles and unlit torches for later tonight.

Her ears continued to track their movements while she conversed with Claus.

“Is there somewhere we could talk privately? It’s about Dyril,” Kiseo asked quietly.

Not having noticed her before she talked, Claus instinctively jumped but halted his action when he noticed the Mao.

-”Woah, could you not sneak up on me like that.” Claus was smiling broadly, but quickly noticed the marks of a Mao in distress. The drooped ears the most obvious.

-”Yes, let us go to my office.” He showed the way to a door with a sturdy handle on it and went inside, there only was a single chair and his desk properly placed in there, on the right hand wall loads of things like maps and journals were neatly piled.

Noticing the lack of furniture, Claus dragged out a chest for Kiseo and leaned on his desk arms crossed.

-”You said it was about Dyril?”

Kiseo could’ve easily sat on the floor and been comfortable, but she paused when she heard him pull out a chest. Lightly she lowered herself into a sitting posture onto it. She felt guilty for startling him earlier. She forgot how quiet she could be naturally as most fellow slaves were other mao or creatures used to it.

Her thoughts were interrupted by his concern for Dyril. She avoided his gaze, her voice revealed the reason for her urgency.

“A man, Jain Surya, approached me on the street. He wanted me to work for him on the side, I had skills he wanted. When I refused, he hinted that my mistress might become injured. I worry he might try to hurt her and I was hoping, you might keep an eye on her. I haven’t… told her yet,” Kiseo’s last statement was sheepish while she continued.

“Today, he visited the inn we were staying at. He’s holding her wares now. I delivered the payment to a worker who managed it directly, but Surya has no record of it. I fear he might’ve burned it in order to ruin her.”

Hearing this Claus was getting visibly annoyed. Some greedy buffoon was extorting his friend, he would have none of this.
With an unusually stern voice he spoke.
-”I see, I’d like to get my hands on that little...” He punched his own hand as a gesture, but realized his position he now held.
-”It seems I’ll have to speak to him, what can you tell me off him?“ Claus managed to calm himself and began to investigate his option.

“Not much, I’m afraid,” Kiseo admitted.

She took a moment to review his behavior, attitude, and interactions toward them. There was a stark difference between Dyril and herself. With Dyril, Kiseo sensed disgust and bitterness at Elves in general. It was obvious the man didn’t want to deal with Dyril at all. Kiseo’s impression of his interaction with her drastically took a farther turn. She felt he genuinely wanted to help, but that help soon turned into a desire to control and obtain her cooperation.

“I know during his interactions with Dyril, he doesn’t want to deal with her. He cringed when she accidently touched him and seemed to brush off her attempts to work with him,” she retold.

“I know he mentioned he worked for a William Flin, who left the city after the celebration a month ago. He mentioned it was recently he took over the operations. He seemed to back down, briefly, when I retrieve the parchment indicating that we had paid. It shows he’s smart at least not to push it.”

She took a breath, then curled her tail into her lap.

“I fear for Dyril’s safety and reputation. If he damages it here, she and I will be forced to return to the Imperium,” Kiseo didn’t feel she needed to note that eventually someone would discover Dyril was half elf, and would force the family to either kill or release her into a brothel.

Hybrids were ideal candidates since they were sterile, allowing hidden affairs to be kept pure.

Claus slammed his desk with his fist and spoke.

-”Well I’m not having it!” He went past her and spoke.

-”You are gonna tell me where this Jain fella is, and then I will talk with him… HARPER, GOYLE!!!” All of a sudden Claus just shouted out the door he opened, urgent footsteps came running as Claus went over to Kiseo.

-”Come on, we’ve got a missus to help.” He reached towards Kiseo with an open hand, offering to help her up.

Kiseo couldn’t help but flinch at Claus’ sudden reaction. Her semi humanoid ears pressed against her skull and turned downward, drooping defensively on impulse. After a moment, she righted herself once more back into a neutral stance. Seeing his hand, she couldn’t help the smile that crept over her muzzle and felt a relief he was aiming to help her.

“Is it too much trouble to ensure Dyril doesn’t know about this? I fear she would be upset I went to you first, instead of her. She’s a proud individual,” Kiseo requested quietly while she took the hand up.

The two troopers stood at the ready as Claus and Kiseo left his office.
-”You two, get your stuff, we’re heading out to talk with an asshole. Kiseo, show the way.” His voice was in his usual command mode, he told Roogel he was leaving before exiting the mansion through the door.

“I don’t know where he is exactly. First time he came to me and this last time, to Dyril. I assume we would have to start at the docks, but if I’m gone for too long my mistress will become worried,” Kiseo pointed out.

If she had known the information, she might’ve been able to approach him personally and put a stop to this whole ordeal.

Claus looked at Kiseo while standing in the door as she told him.

-”I see, well this Flin warehouse probably is the best bet. Don’t worry, I’ll handle this.” One of his telltale smirks on his lips as he closed the heavy door behind him.

Kiseo watched him leave as she departed for the Inn. She secretly hoped she hadn’t sent Dyril’s only friend into danger or further endangered her mistress.


The warehouse was filled with numerous strange smells and scents, but the various spices and herbs that William had brought over from Seikatsu overpowered them all. While William’s workers found the smell to be wholly unpleasant, Jain found it to be familiar and comforting. He was currently on the second floor of the warhouse, overlooking the workers on the floor below. He sat at a table and upon it were numerous reports from his spy network. In the weeks following the party Jain had spent most of his time hiring numerous street urchins and beggars to relay information back to him. While his spy network was still small it had proven to be invaluable in gathering information. Had it not been for them it would have taken him far longer to find Kiseo. Suddenly the door to the warehouse swung open as one of the watchmen; Issac, rushed into the building

“Jain”! He shouted “we have company, and they don’t look friendly”.

Having absolutely no regard for the feelings of people who were hurting their friend, and the same skill at stealth as a roaring thunderstorm, Claus and his two men Harper and Goyle marched along the streets taking away all eyes from the hooded mao they were following.
She stopped far away and just pointed at the warehouse silently giving Claus its number before she slinked into a shadow.
The trio marched up to the warehouse and knocked on the door violently with the butt of one of their halberds.
-”Open the door, i know you are in there Jain!” Claus boomed out, his voice impossible to miss even a few streets away.

“Shite” Jais mumbled as he quickly got up from his seat. He grabbed the blade from his sheath. He walked up to the wooden railing of the second floor so he could get a better look of the entrance. “Let him in”.

In response the numerous warehouse workers looked at him with confusion. “He’s not going to ask a second time and I would prefer not to have to explain to Captain Flinn why his door is broken in two”.

Hearing mumbling inside, Claus gave his men a glance each and waited a few moments more until they heard fumbling at the door.
Harper and Goyle measured a kick each and the doors flung open tossing the poor sod who was opening it out of the way with a loud whack and scrape against the floor.
With trained fluid motion the two corpsmen entered with halberds pointing like spears, mirroring each other as Claus simply marched in between and proudly stood flanked by his men, stomping a sturdy oaken staff into the ground.
-”Jain! Reliable sources have informed me you are making immoral businesses towards the people of Nyhem, what say you in your defence?” Claus booming voice carried well in the warehouse, he scanned for the one who was Jain and saw someone who looked like a match on the wooden railing.

“Who are you and what do you talk of. I am guilty of nothing”. Jain was of course lying, he knew exactly who he was and why he was here. He internally cursed at himself for underestimating Kiseo, it seemed either she or her mistress had more powerful friends then he first realized. As he spoke Jain put the scroll he had been reading into his coat pocket, trying to make sure Claus didn’t notice.

-”Me?! I am Claus Rotstein, i have reports of you scamming people out of their hard earned silvers. I am here to make you repay that and stop that in the future.” His voice strong and self assured. Jain’s goons were beginning to look a bit sceptical and one was checking on the guy who was knocked out by the door.

“So what do you plan to do with me, do you simply plan to seek compensation, or do you plan to imprison me as well”? Jain said, depending on how Claus answered would decide what his next move would be.

Claus stroked his chin pretending to think with a massive smirking grin on his face.
-”Considering how i feel i’d like to clobber your face in, but seeing how anal the law is in this city i think i’ll just drag you to the dungeon of Nyhem and have them deal with your unlawful ass. Don’t worry, I… won’t put you in the lower levels.” A massive grin on his face, implying someone was probably gonna torture him, but alas not Claus.

“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that” Jain said calmly as he slowly walked behind his desk “Issac” Jain called to which Issac, who had been tending to the passed out man looked up. “Give Captain Flinn my apologies but I will have to retire from his services. Oh and if you would, please also apologise for the damage caused”. Without a second of hesitation Jain raised his arms and shouted a spell. In response the second floor of the balcony exploded into thousands of tiny splinters. There was no fire but a shockwave went through the building causing the workers to fall backwards. Amongst the deafening noise could be heard the shattering of glass as Jain jumped out the window into the river that ran past the warehouse.

Claus and his men instinctively protected their faces against the splinters, Harper losing his balance from the force of impact.
-”What the shit? He’s a mage!?” Claus proclaimed with a surprised open question.
Completely caught unawares, Claus regained his posture for a second and then took Goyle’s shoulder and commanded.
-”He’s getting away, you two make sure these goons don’t get any funny ideas, take them into custody.” Goyle nodded a single sharp nod as Claus turned and ran after Jain.
He was slightly worried, that blast was powerful, usually it took two or three warmages to produce such force, but this guy had simply done it himself.
If it wasn’t for the fact he had scammed Dyril he’d have wanted to offer him a job in the Fist.
He was running outside to where the street with the window would be.

Unbeknownst to Claus, Jain had used illusion magic to camouflage himself into the river. There was no way Claus was going to see him given Jain had already floated a considerable distance away from the warehouse. The water itself was filthy and smelt so bad that it made Jain want to gag with only the fear of being discovered preventing him from doing so. One thing was now clear; he had been too soft on Kiseo and now he had to rectify that mistake.

Before long Claus realized he had lost his target, annoyed he returned to the warehouse to see to his men and take his prisoners to the palace.
He didn’t think they were in on Jain’s plans, but they might know something, and it’s good to spook some folks from time to time to show that one means business.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by AndrewCooper
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