Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Pie Flavor
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Count Alexander Gallagher


Standing there among the many guests that were invited to this meeting, he was part of the group of individuals who were unassuming and quite dull, having that common face typical for a noble as they talked among themselves. Listening to the voice and wisdom of the people in the room as they discussed their opinions on the matter, trading banter with each other as they took in the information given to them. A front that made Alexander as unassuming one could be to the other knights, but in truth his ears and eyes were focused on much more than just the surface.

Feeling the mood of the room as it shifted its with the slightest disturbance, with intricate pieces working behind the scenes and others that were blatantly obvious. For the whispering of the Isparians was something he understood, while annoying to crack open the dictionary, he was well versed in a variety of languages. Taking note of their conversation as he kept his own personal thoughts hidden, he wondered if the knights were attempting to be disrespectful, for the contents of their discussion was another matter. Mentally shaking his head as their assumption that the individuals around them wouldn't speak the same tongue was quite a brazen one, leaving him with the thought if the two knights knew each other from somewhere else...

But his own thoughts were proven correct, their assumptions were indeed a careless one as the young prince spoke his mind, Alexander himself noted his and demeanor as he refrained from entering the conversation until the right moment... Finding his opportunity to voice his support for the young prince, being a sound plan that he put onto the table, being quite ideal in his mind for being flexible should the need arise.

Announcing his presence when he spoke, "I agree with the young prince, to even think about trying to defeat the dragon with the strength that we currently possess or could try to muster would be an unfeasible task."

Nodding in agreement as if thinking over his own words before continuing...

"The plan for gathering more information is ideal for our current situation, as for where we current stand is quite disappointing for the lack of knowledge we currently have on the situation. Even if the opportunity for us to do diplomacy are few in number, to have more options for us to take is preferable."
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by unicorgi
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Her face turned red, her fathers viewpoints embarrassed her and she had just made a small fool of herself obviosly he’s the prince! Fudge! she took out a small rune and started to fidget with it as she thought. Her embarrassment vanished quickly to make space for her thoughts. She unconsciously started thinking out loud and was quietly saying her thoughts, only the people near her would be able to hear her clearly but she wasn’t paying attention

“the mage idea has very little chance of working. We don’t know the dragons motives and how he might react to an attack, it could end up in a attack against the kingdom so taking all the backup possible would be a poor idea as it would leave the kingdom Undefended, the mages they speak of might be most useful as a defense in the case of an attack. We don’t know much about the relics but they could end up being our best shot. While a full frontal attack might not work what would happen if it was kept more small and less obvious, try and save the princes without them knowing or escaping before they can get us. Although that might also be a poor idea for obvious reasons, the dragon might re-attack and we would be less powerful. Mayhap there is information regarding dragons in more ancient texts, although I doubt they have any they haven’t already red or consulted……” she paused as she realized people were looking at her. “Sorry, just um thinking out loud” she looked down with slight embarrassment.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Thinslayer
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@Rhiven Knight Rhayven said, "Perhaps it is not my place to say so, but acting against the dragon with the present state of things seems unwise. The dragon took her, rather than burning her in the wreckage of that city as he well could have, so he must have some motivation that keeps her alive. For the moment, then, we should turn our eyes on how to best the dragon, protect our people, and assure victory, rather than racing and risking when such isn't necessary. With careful preparation, and thorough understanding, Abraxas will fall, and gods willing the princess be saved."

The king leaned on the table and nodded. "Aye, well-said, Sir Rhayven. If Abraxas truly meant to destroy us, he could have already done so. I agree, we should take the time he has given us to consider our strategy."

@Lumiere "The ancient weapons vould be the best place to start," Aarkenhan suggested. "If Abraxas vill not cease its violence through persuasion, alone, we must be ready to respond in kind. If there is any love for the goblinoids or other aberrations who've taken The Crown of Ispar, I should know, now."

A guffaw came out of the king's throat. "Love for goblinoids? No fear of that, I assure you. Gathering the ancient weapons is an excellent idea."

@AtomicNut Up to this point, everyone had pointedly ignored the Ispari conversation, but Darvus brought it to the forefront. "Very disrespectful indeed, I would say. You have heard and chose to answer the summons of this kingdom. It would do good to the both of you if you were so kind to put... this little business with my lord Father the King first, and then your Ispari spats second."

To Gerald, he said, "Do that, brother, and that will earn you a bunch of magical ash and an aggravated dragon. That beast is ancient, even more so than this kingdom, and yet it has survived. I am sure people have tried that obvious strategy before. And it probably failed. You should heed my words and put those mages where they belong."

General Hedstrong swallowed wrong and had a coughing fit, followed by snorts of restrained laughter.

Vali narrowed her eyes at Darvus.

Gerald made to speak, but the Prince continued. "Sir Rhayven does have a point, we should not thread this lightly, and while i do not place much faith in wondrous artifacts, I'd gauge that the beast's prowess and firepower matches several kingdoms given by the fragmented historical records as a conservative estimate. We would need scores of powerful siege weapons raining death for days on his lair at the minimum to obtain any kind of result."

Silence fell over the council room.

"I don't think we can beat the dragon. My lord father is asking for the impossible. Then again, here is here and now is now. The past has shown that some impossible feats can be achieved. So mayhaps. Mayhaps we oughta use the artifact search... as an excuse to scour the kingdoms for the artifacts and any piece of information which can get us leverage. I doubt he will be very open to diplomacy given our limited information, but... it's better to have strength to back up diplomacy."

The king nodded. The queen continued her death-stare at Darvus.

"And one more thing. I know it's said impossible. And some people call me sullen... craven... moody. But even I am tied by duty, and bound by blood. My sister the princess was taken. And I swear with all of you as witnesses I shall see her safe return, or I shall never return at all. This much I will guarantee."

Queen Vali turned away and ran a hand through her hair, letting out a low hiss of anger at the prince's last words. Alexander took one look at her and knew he had to say something. "Then, Darvus...make sure you return." He rubbed Vali's shoulder and coaxed her to face the council again.

@Pie Flavor"I agree with the young prince," said Gallagher. "To even think about trying to defeat the dragon with the strength that we currently possess, or could try to muster, would be an unfeasible task. The plan for gathering more information is ideal for our current situation, as for where we current stand is quite disappointing for the lack of knowledge we currently have on the situation. Even if the opportunities for us to do diplomacy are few in number, to have more options for us to take is preferable."

"Information versus knowledge..." the king mused.
Count Runeglass rapped his cane on the floor and snorted. "Sounds like a lot of nothing to me."
General Hedstrong gestured to Gallagher. "Come on, the old man's got a point. Lotsa truth and lotsa fiction coming in, but not a whole lot we know about everything."

@unicorgi Some muttering came from one corner of the room, and everyone turned to listen. “The mage idea has very little chance of working. We don’t know the dragon's motives and how he might react to an attack. It could end up in an attack against the kingdom, so taking all the backup possible would be a poor idea as it would leave the kingdom undefended. The mages they speak of might be most useful as a defense in the case of an attack. We don’t know much about the relics, but they could end up being our best shot. While a full frontal attack might not work, what would happen if it was kept more small and less obvious? Try and save the princes without them knowing, or escaping before they can get us. Although that might also be a poor idea for obvious reasons: the dragon might re-attack and we would be less powerful. Mayhap there is information regarding dragons in more ancient texts, although I doubt they have any they haven’t already read or consulted...”

When she realized people were staring, she murumured and apology and looked down at her shoes.

The King smiled. "No, no need to apologize. You have some good thoughts there. It seems we have reached a consensus, so I will issue an official order: Locate the Ancient Relics and return them to Southaven for research. Any comments, questions, or objections?"
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Darkwatck01
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Still slightly humming, if only more quietly to himself the Hexer found the mood in the room, well boring to him mostly. Not because nothing was being said or because of what was being said but rather because he could barely understand what was being said. Perhaps their host knew this and was using it to keep someone like him complacent so he wouldn't go off and do as his job instructed. Last time that happened the standing army came to a ruined keep that someone converted into a cult housing, it was a rather strange battle but the silver lining everyone was dead. Okay in retrospect maybe there wasn't a silver lining to that story but at least he complied with the job given to him and removed the cult.

Seeing as they weren't going to give him a translator nor was this Knight going to give him one Nebel did the next thing he could think of. He picked up his old blade, strapped it to his back and stood to full height. His humming died as the left the meeting room, they might send him a sit-rep of what happened or that Knight would fill him in later on the road. Still a Seven foot Four inch (2.25 Meters for my non-USA Gentlemen and Ladies) bastard with a Deer head leaving the room might of seemed normal in Ispar but it might be a little crass here so he turned and looked at the group.

"Ich werde draußen sein. Gib mir die Informationen, wenn du fertig bist, in einer Sprache, die ich verstehe."

With that the Hexer walked to the door, ducked as he opened it, and left while humming his old Hunting Lullaby. Perhaps they heard it die away as he got further away, more then likely they just ignored it. Didn't bother him one bit because right now he still had his letter that someone write for him to understand. Reaching to his side, into one of the packs that rested on his hip the old Hexer pilled out his pipe, rather simple really. Old molded metal pipe covered in corn cob husk and wood around the mouth piece. While he didn't light it up, because he didn't have any thing to smoke at the moment, he just chewed on it still humming, more out of reflex then anything else.

Once he was outside at the bottom step he stopped, humming as well. Odd for him because that normally wasn't a good thing, unless he was hunting. Reaching down he pulled out the Letter once more reading it over before looking at the gate where the people who met him were. Squinting his unseen eyes he scanned the area, they didn't seem to be around. Well damn, missed his chance to get some answers on that front. Still walking over to one of the trees beside the steps he leaned back still chewing on his old pipe, now just waiting for this Knight to hurry up so he could get some answers, all the while closing his eyes calming his rage. He lost it and was lucky he wasn't hurt for it, this time.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Thinslayer
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The King glanced at Nebel as he left the room.

"I say we follow that man's example and get going. Before you leave, Vali has a gift for you."

Queen Vali deposited several rings on the table. "Teleportation Rings," she commented. "They will send you to any location you can clearly visualize or mark on a map, except to areas that restrict such things. They take a day to recharge. The rings are yours to do with as you please."

Alexander picked motioned for a servant to pick up the mapping items on the table and declared, "Dismissed! We will be in Great Hall if you need us."
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by AtomicNut
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The prince, surprisingly was able to withstand his mother's withering glare. Once upon a time, he would have cowered and reeled back. But not this time. This was a time of sword and curt actions, not a time of mollifying his mother. He just listened to his peers. Some people had the same ideas as him. Some more excitable than others, like the blonde Viscountess. The nod of approval from the veteran count did a little reassurance towards him.

Well, at least someone appreciates I am making mother livid and turning myself into a sacrificial lamb just for the sake of dear lord Father's mission. The prince thought to himself as he watched the Isparian weirdo leave the room.

"I don't think that would be the wisest course of action, father." He muttered under his breath. There was some kind of self-entitlement in this man, a reluctance to even try to suceed in basic courtesies that made him worry for the cooperation inside a team. "Please keep the messaging channels ready and a steady supply of funds, father. We need not to be stalled at all costs and we will be moving a lot."

However when the rings were deposited in his hands, the prince was concocting an idea already. "This will allow us to cover as many places as we are within two days. Provided we forsake any kind of fighting, focus on the intel, and gather here at the second day. Although the best safety would be in numbers."
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Rhiven Knight
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Sir Rhayven A. DarkMorne


Rhayven stood silent once his part was spoken, he listened as one after another the others in the room spoke, culminating in a statement by the king, all but giving them their marching orders. As the king spoke or rather just after the first of the Isparians left the room with their own thoughts. Rhayven stifled the desire to shake his head in distaste at the mans behavior, instead he listened briefly to the kings second bit of speech, with the rings placed on the table Rhayven nodded. "As you command my king. Since we do not know, yet where we should look the rings are useful but not in an immediate sense. If it pleases you my lord I would ask for access to the royal library. Perhaps there are clues within, that might point us at one or more of the artifacts." He spoke the words as he took one of the rings turning to the king with a respectful bow of his head.

As he waited for the kings response he looked among those who remained, the young countess, the count, the prince, the doctor, he himself. They all had different backgrounds, perhaps they could with their disparate experiences and knowledge sets puzzle out the locations of the artifacts. For now, that tract would have to be suggested by one of the others in accord with their specialties, perhaps the Isparian guest knew a legend or could recall one. Perhaps the Count had heard rumors in his business dealings. Event he medic through her patients might have heard such stories, or from comrades and field medics. Each of them had different connections, perhaps if they were lucky those connections would become the short cut to an age of research and searching. Rhayven would use his research ability but he would also send a message to his former colleagues at the college, they might have rumors legends and lore to draw from which might suit his needs as well. One way or another Rhayven could see the first foot steps he would take along this path forward.

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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Lumiere
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Aarkenhan could hardly keep themselves from sharing in the laugh with the king from the implications that goblins should reserve even a remote consideration compared to what vague sentiments were held for the dragon. A tickle at the back of their head knew that even if there was some deranged request to keep the goblinoids unharmed, they were well within their right to disregard such an assertion. While there was a clear distinction between the squatters, the knight silently ached for blood in spite of the supposed change of plans in regards to her supposed relationship with the dragon.

They shook the thought as the prince issued a claim to die a foolish death out of some oath to save their sister. It was a matter beyond the lord's scope of interest, leaving the queen better suited to return his proclamation with a withering glare. Aark was more worried about the motives of their occult kinsman, as there was a clear consensus on a plan, at least at base level, as long as all of the gears that made up their quaint little machine all moved in the same direction. This, ironically bit down in place as the words left the King's mouth, the man clearly not who had been the one to send the letter.
"If I may, zehr iz a question zeht bohzers me" Aark spoke with the invitation to ask, "My invitation vahz delivered by letter vith instructions to meet in zeis specific place at zeis specific time...did you write such a letter?" they concluded, picking up their own sword and sheathing it as Nebel left.
There was a detail that Aark had no intention of sharing, merely posing the question as a curiosity since the reasoning appeared sound and they had no other information to go off of. It would hardly be productive to contradict the request of an ally to their face, in their castle, with no substantial reason why.
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Darvus muttered something under his breath before picking up a ring. Alexander couldn't make out what it was, and decided he didn't really want to - which was just as well, as the prince had something else to add: "Please keep the messaging channels ready and a steady supply of funds, father. We need not to be stalled at all costs and we will be moving a lot."

Alexander folded his arms and nodded. "We can provide you a Bag of Holding that will allow rapid transfer of messages and funds. You may pick one up from the armory."

The rings gave the prince an idea. "This will allow us to cover as many places as we are within two days," he mused. "Provided we forsake any kind of fighting, focus on the intel, and gather here at the second day. Although the best safety would be in numbers."

@Rhiven Knight
He let his son muse over the tactical possibilities of the rings and turned his attention to Rhayven. The knight said, "As you command, my king. Since we do not know yet where we should look, the rings are useful, but not in an immediate sense. If it pleases you my lord, I would ask for access to the royal library. Perhaps there are clues within that might point us at one or more of the artifacts."

The king raised an eyebrow before releasing a hearty chuckle. "Your requests always seem to be the most efficient for a given task. It's one of the things I like about you. Very well; access to the royal library is granted. You may come and go as you wish. I'll send word to the librarian."

Rose cleared her throat and piped up. "Your Majesty, I will accompany Sir DarkMourne. Shall I convey your wishes to the librarian on your behalf? She knows me, as I have visited the royal library before."

"Yes, please do."

Rose looked up at Rhayven and gave him a beaming grin and a thumbs-up.

@Lumiere
Aarkenhan spoke up. "If I may, there is a question that bothers me," he began in his usual plodding voice, "My invitation was delivered by letter with instructions to meet in this specific place at this specific time. Did you write such a letter?"

Silence fell over the room.

All the nobles and generals found other places to look, and even Alexander himself couldn't help scratching his neck with embarrassment.

"We...did not actually request any foreigners to this meeting."

This got the queen's attention. Vali stared at Alexander for a moment before settling a questioning eye on Aark. She stretched out her hand. "May I see the letter?"

With the letter thus delivered, the queen stared at it for a good half a minute, and flipped it over a couple times to look at the seemingly blank space on the back. The corners of her mouth looked as if they wanted to pull into a smile, but strained to hold a straight face. Eventually, she turned back to Aarkenhan and asked, "May I keep this? I daresay I am as curious as to this invitation's origin as you are, perhaps more. If you have any attachment to the letter, I would like to at least keep it until tomorrow morning."
Hidden 4 mos ago 27 days ago Post by Rhiven Knight
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Sir Rhayven A. DarkMorne


Rhayven let a slight smile lift the corner of his lips as the king granted his request, before it shifted to a lifted eye brow as the doctor volunteered her services to convey the kings wishes. As she turned to him he glanced to the king with a respectful nod, before giving her a full grin and gesturing for the door. For all intents and purposes the king had condoned his course of action, and rather than waste time it suited him to be on with his task. Palming the ring he gestured for Rose to head to the door. He would follow shortly behind her, discreetly leaving the meeting. Once outside he would make his way out to the courtyard hopefully with Rose in pursuit where he would send the raven on his shoulder skyward to stretch her wings, she would mind her business until she chose to rejoin him. With that a priority for him out of the way he would turn to the good doctor. "Would you lead the way then?" His tone was cheerful and his manner polite as he let his mind turn to the enormity of their task.

Once the doctor started off in the direction of the library, the mage knight would follow his hand dipping to a pouch at his belt, from the pouch which he found by muscle memory he drew a strand of leather, and quickly strong the ring through a loop and tied it off, pulling it over his head and tucking it into his shirt under his leather coat. A slight scowl crossed his otherwise fair features as he contemplated the thing he was starting, this was going to be a long and dangerous road, and he hoped that the number of people who got stepped on in the process of traveling it would not be too great.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Lumiere
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Though a silence claimed the nobles in the room, Aark remained steady with how the shadow under their visor radiated the weight of an expecting stare. The reactions of the occupants was priceless in a way the young lord was not entirely prepared for or wanting as it was made clear after a few palpable seconds that seemingly nobody was certain why they were even there. This detail was...disappointing. Aside from the apparently shoddy security of Castle Drakengard, their question was bolstered with merely more holes in the story, quickly convoluting what they had hoped was a simple meeting with an air of espionage.
Aark remained quiet even after the awkward stumbling of admittance that no foreigners were even invited, expecting someone to laugh or be given some cue from the King that this was some kind of joke. Every second twisted screws of anger into the knight until thankfully the Queen finally spoke. Aark obliged her with the letter and subsequently turned on their heel to follow suit with her Isparian kinsman by leaving. Having some time to walk around the table, they measured a response for the queen with as much direct tact as their waning patience would allow.
"Eit iz memorized, be my guest. I vould very much like to hear an explanation, tomorrow, as to why I walked half way around zee verld to be made a mockery ouf," they began before sighing loudly while composing themselves to turn back to the local royalty and bowing their head to the king and queen respectively. "King Alexander, Queen Vali, I szank you deeply for your hospitality," they offered in a slightly defeated tone before turning and leaving.

Outside, the bustle of the courtyard had thankfully died down enough so that Aark did not have to look too far before spotting the giant of a man chillaxing under a nearby tree. The pace the knight held in their gait as they approached Nebel hinted to a clear agitation though without any urgency. "[Kinsman. Come. We are drinking and I am buying, if this confused land will take my gold, that is. There is much to hold palaver, concerning.]" Aark merely barked in Isparian in his direction, gathering it was the only language they could reliably use to converse with him. With a quick and somewhat impatient beckoning gesture, they started off into town to hopefully sus out the nearest and cleanest pubs Drakengard had to offer.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Darkwatck01
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@Lumiere

One doesn't really notice much in this time we have, let alone what happens around us as we let our minds wonder the rouge thoughts that always seem to plague the voids which seem to crop up only for it to be filled in by the false or partial truths the brain can think of. Still This was the case as Nebel was lightly racking his teeth across the wooden mouth guard of his pipe. With his eyes closed and free hand slowly tracing the lines on his face that She gave him he kept thinking of the events that just played out in his mind, for him it was almost illegible slog of the language he just barely understood. All the while still humming his favorite Lullaby, letting its hunting melody calm his addled mind.

When the Knight came for Nebel, the monster of a man didn't react at first, indead letting what was left of the anger just flow away. What finally brought him back from this almost trance like peace was the voice, perhaps it was the way it was said but Nebel could feel agitation in its voice. With but a nod, no since in getting mad, at least he was still fuming on the inside, at the Knight before him. Instead he offered a simple nod as he walked off to the place he hitched his Horse, the poor girl was more then likely mad at its current rider, not owner, that she was left in these human hands.

Coming to the Pale Horse, the Monster of Ispar went to the saddle bag and pulled out a wooden box as he set it on the ground beside him. With that he opened it and pulled out a bowl, with a sealed leather water skin. Pouring the water into the bowl he showed the horse and set it on the ground. One the Pale Horse was drinking he went about letting the Stirrups free from their respective holders and insuring Billet straps and offside Billet-straps where secure he looked back at the horse who was done drinking. With a rare smile that touched the old hexer's lips he picked up the bowl and placed it carefully back into the wooden box along with the water skin. If one looked at the contents of the box they could see the needed items for horse care, clearly this horse meant more to them then someones life, as proof to the skulls lining the back Skirt of the Saddle, before putting it back into the saddle bags.

Placing his foot into the Stirrup and hoisting himself into the seat of the saddle proper Nebel pulled the mask that normally covered his lower face back up and adjusted his helm properly so he could see. With a quick tug on the Pale Horse Reins and a small click of his tongue the horse turned and went in the direction of the Knight, it seemed the Pale Horse already had an idea of what her rider wanted and even fore the actions to get her moving the Pale Horse was already turning to leave. For many this was a sight that shouldn't be seen, the image of the Pale Horse and it's rider moving at them, added to the fact the Rider had a Skull shaped Helm didn't help matters. Still once he came to the Knight's side when it was outside the palace proper an into the streets he looked down at it.

"Ich lüge nicht, ich mag dich jetzt nicht. Aber ich werde mit dir in eine Halle gehen. Ich habe die Währung, die in diesem Land gekürzt wurde. Also keine Sorgen machen."

With that he turned his attention forwards keeping an eye out for any hall, pub, or tavern, even guild hall that wasn't covered in rats and dust. If he was going to drink, no matter how little, he wasn't about to do it in some place that wasn't at least cleaned daily. Still he was reminded of the Pale Horse who was currently letting her Rider direct her while she seemed more interested in the Knight. The Pale Horse for lack of a better term 'poked' the Knight's shoulder with her nose before looking forwards again. With a surprising level of sentience, it was almost as if the Pale Horse was inspecting the Knight.

Nebel just shurged, it was Her horse after all. No telling what kind of things the Pale Horse could do outside of what he knew of. With a small chuckle he started to remember what she told him.

"Don't hurt her, she tends to hurt you back if you do." The woman said as Nebel too the Reins of the pale horse that was walking to him of it's own accord. "She will remember you, and as long as you take care of her she will stay with you. Just don't forget, she needs a new head every now and again."

With that happy memory playing in his head Nebel looked forwards once more bouncing slightly with each set of The Pale Horse.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by AtomicNut
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The prince just nodded as he went to pick up the further supplies for the travel. He eyed the room as he began to move without a single thought, only a passing courtesy formula to the king and queen present. "I will be on my way to get supplies then. With your permission." He added as he walked towards the armory, his eyes lingering on the stance of those others present.

Already chaos and dissent, huh. It's gonna be herding cats at this rate. How come you forgot the detail about foreigners? If so who called them? That is not suspicious at all.
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The Imperial Library was one of the largest in the world, though you couldn't tell by looking at it. The place was a veritable maze of bookshelves and corridors, and you only ever saw a small fraction of the whole place at any given time. Allegedly, a remodel was ordered to make navigating the library simpler, but until then, the employees continued to find part-time work as tour guides.

Rose approached the front desk. Behind it sat a woman in conservative attire with an unflattering set of glasses. The name plate on the desk said George.

"Can I help you?" said the woman.

"Yes, I'd like to speak with the librarian, please."

The woman leaned forward and folded her hands. "What sorts of books are you looking for?"

Rose smirked. "Ones with pages in them, preferably. Do you know any?"

"In this library?"

"Good point. What about records of the Anciet Artifacts?"

The woman pushed up her glasses and whistled low. "I'd better find the librarian. Wait here."

Rose glanced back at Rhayven and grinned. "I used to come here often for medical research, and at the time, most of the research journals I found had pages missing from them. They weren't missing them when they got here, so...you can fill in the blanks."

The woman came back with this vast, burly man in tow, whose arms were nearly as big as the assistant's whole body and whose towering height would even give ogres pause. He braced his hands on the desk, earning a serious warning shriek from the offended furniture, and rumbled:

"What do you want?"

Rose brushed a hair back as she fumbled through her notes. "We're looking for records about the Ancient Artifacts and their locations, like any ancient documents, transaction records....anything you have."

George dipped his head in thought. At length, he stood up and motioned for them to follow. "Come." He led them down the twisted corridors of bookshelves until he gestured to a certain section. He said, "This is just about everything around that war period. It's not much, but it's all we have. Enjoy."

With that, he stomped off to leave Rose and Rhayven to fend for themselves. Rose scanned the titles.


The Lost War: A Retrospective
Magic Corpses? The Horrifying Secret of Mana!
The Knight and the Fairy
War & Peace & A Thousand Years of Dirt
Records from Midhaven Please handle with care!
The Septra Papers

and a handful of others.

Rose pulled out The Lost War. "You start from that end, and I'll start from this end. Actually, since there's not very much here, and there's a table over behind us, why don't we just take everything?"

She pulled out the whole section, stacked it atop her existing pile of stuff, and balanced it in her arms. It started to tilt...
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Queen Vali inclined her head. "I owe you that much. We shall commune later, then." She watched everyone leave the room.

Once the room was empty, she turned to King Alexander and clutched at her heart. "I feel wretched," she confided, "not only because our daughter is gone, but because we made those two knights feel mocked. What should we do?"

Alexander pulled out a chair and sank into it. "Talk to them, at the very least. They'll be valuable assets on this mission; I almost think we should have pretended we invited them.

"No. I believe honesty is more important, whatever the cost. Perhaps we could invite them for real?"

"After the fact? It would feel more like a pity invitation."

Vali ran a hand through her hair and sighed. "Maybe I could pay them a visit on the down-low and hear them out first. They'd be more inclined to believe our invitation if they first knew we understood why they felt hurt."

Alexander nodded. "Do it."

@AtomicNut
The queen went back to her room to change into her traveling clothes. She stopped by the armory to fetch a sword for defense, where she found Darvus picking out equipment for the journey. She leaned against the doorway to watch him.

I wish he wouldn't go, but...gosh, he's so responsible when he's not playing the delinquent.

Vali sighed and folded her arms, a subtle smirk forming on her lips. "I guess you're pretty dead set on going, eh?"
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The nearest pub was "The Mangy Mug," but the cleanest was the Brewer's Guild Hall, or just "Brewer's" as it was more commonly known. The birchwood floors were waxed and mopped daily, and the wait staff kept the tables tolerably clean all day long. Considering the quantity of alchohol served at the establishment, a suprisingly high number of its patrons were sober. Perhaps it shouldn't be so surprising - this guild hall served as the de-facto hub for adventuring knights. Here, the imperial Mission Bulletin Board System (BBS) here got updated regularly.

Today was listed a routine batch of missions, such as:




At the bar, a drunk foreigner was retelling a tall tale to his unbelieving friends. "...zere was zis huge quake, ze earth split, and vast pillars of liquid fire shot from ze earth! It vas terrible! Ze whole city vas levelled. I saw a dragon! A dragon, I tell you! And, vould you believe, a goddess! She shone like the sun, and I could not look at her directly. Ve really should have listened zat day in court vhen Qu-"

The man choked.
"-the Qu-"
He choked again, mysteriously unable to get the word out. He pointed to a pretty platinum blonde cleaning a nearby table.
"-looked like her! With sil-"
With a sickening gag, he collapsed on the table.
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@Thinslayer@Lumiere

Riding along, taking the sights of the City, Nebel spotted where they were going. With a quick click of his tongue and soft pull on the reins to the left he took them to the guild hall. Perhaps it was the fact he had been there before for both drink and work that he knew, well it was that very fact. If memory served right the old Bartender was hopefully on shift and not that young man whom always persistent him about his home. At least the older bartender was nice enough to leave him be and when he wanted to talk they did have a nice conversation or two.

Taking them out front he stopped the Pale Horse and tired her down, putting a little lock on the saddle bags. With that he walked to her front and pet her nose. "Ich bin gleich wieder da. Mit Wasser und vielleicht mehr." With that Nebel walked into the Guild Hall. Not really giving The Knight much choice, he'ed be damned if he was going to drink anywhere else considering.

Once inside he was stopped, course, by the Bouncers who asked him to 'Check' his weapons in. After a nod and small word of thanks, and a coin for 'extra' protection of his Sword and Dagger, Nebel walked into the Hall proper. Right away it was clear this was meant for the more 'higher' end of the spectrum for Mercs and Knights who wanted a little extra income or for the people who wanted some experince before joining the Army. Every lively and ever full of both active members of this Guild and Knights who seek thrills and coin they just currently couldn't get. In this section was the main 'reception' area. A large BBS board for people to browse, mainly for people who aren't with the Guild proper, the Desk against the back wall for people to both checking requests as well as take them, for people who are part of the Guild of course, and seats for clients who are making the requests. To the Left of the entrance was the 'Members Only' section for people who want to relax and be away from the 'common' collection in the reception & bar. Of course lets not forget the Bar. Perhaps the second largest spot, aside from the reception area being the biggest room, for both 'commoners' and members to come and talk about really anything. The main staff who worked it where all clearly dressed, mainly because they didn't have armor on and/or smelled like they just came off a long work day needing a bath.

As soon as Nebel walked in the air felt, stifled. It was the Members who recognized him first, and they all did one of two things, looked away from him as the Vets knew better, or the newer recruits eyeing him up and down gauging how well they could last against him. Needless to say the Guild Master and Nebel had talked this whole thing out before, he did work for the Guild, got paid, and they didn't bother him or that man with the broken jaw and PTSD wouldn't be the last one he left. It was a, love/hate relationship with the guild Members and Nebel. The Receptionists all, for lack of a better phrase, turned there heads to seem busy. Perhaps it was clear to the Knight Nebel's all reputation still lingered on him even after all this time away from his home country.

Keeping his arms to the side, Nebel strode to the Bar. Each step echoed by the muffled raddle of bones from his pack on his belt. This did little to placate the Members as he Entered the bar. Still he showed no sign of slowing his step nor change in direction as he went to the Bar and took a seat at the counter. Waiting to be served. In this time he noticed, rather heard, the conversation of the man behind him. Luck would have it one of his Kinsmen was raddling off a story off about how his beloved home fell. Still what struck his interest was the final words that came.

Turning his head he got an eye full of whom the man on the ground spoke of. His hidden yellow eyes taking in all the details while he waited for the Knight to order them their drinks.
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The details he observed were thus:

Judging from the regimental tattoos on his arms, the Ispari man was a soldier, though not a knight. Mid-thirties, tall like most of his kind, and vast scars indicating emergency healing of mortal wounds, he was a fairly average individual.

His breathing had grown harsh, but he was still alive, if barely.
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Their luxury of having a head-start somewhat paid off for Aark as Nebel had to reacquire their horse from the stables. 'Somewhat' being the term as the knight was fully conscious of every puddle or patch of dirt in the street that could potentially soil their freshly polished armor and boots. The initial vigor in their pace died out after a few blocks as the thoughts and perspective of the situation truly sank in. With the gift of the ring, they could presumably go anywhere of note in an instant, but they were a humble sort, wholly aware of what slim chance they had to stand against the goblinoid mob that no doubt desecrated and burned her estate every second she brooded, let alone the dragon presiding over the sordid affair.

Alone, they were just another suit of armor and a strong set of arms. A joke for Drakengard to run japes upon with their summons, getting her hopes up over nothing.

Aark's pace slowed as they walked past the first pub, catching a glance through a window of a game of 'knifey-fingers' while a fight broke out in the back. Hardly their taste, they continued walking, ignoring the muffled sound of smashing glass and shouts.
Their shadow soon caught up on their pale steed, a nagging reminder of the deal she'd made as they continued a short ways ahead to rest at a second establishment they seemed familiar with in their rehearsed motions of dismounting and entering.

With a sigh, the knight followed, somewhat content that the decision could be made for them. Soon after entering with their fellow Ispari brother in arms and objectively the closest thing Aark could equate to a 'best friend', they realized probably just how familiar not only their associate was with the tavern, but the patrons with him. Aark was hardly surprised, assuming the man to be of the grim sort who made their own name known as hushed whispers on fearful lips, having the reactions of the regulars only confirm this.
They made to take a step in before the hand of the bouncer reached out to stop them. "Ye can't bring tha blades in. Gotta leave 'em," they informed the knight who slowly and deliberately looked them over before wordlessly unclipping the custom scabbards from their armor and holding them out. The bouncer grabbed them and tried to pull them away, though Aark held firm for a moment, causing the man to raise an eyebrow as their owner implicatively stared in a direction supposedly through their eyes before gently releasing the weapons and turning to follow Nebel to the bar.

Kaitra paid no real attention to the drunk; a parody of her land's noble glory passing out drunk and delusional in some foreign land's coalitional mercenary dive. Mantling the stool beside Nebel, she reached up to her chin to begin undoing belting and fasteners intended to prevent the sallet from being knocked off from force. "Ich...kann deine Skepsis verstehen. Es gibt viele, die ihren Verstand mit der Asche eines zugefrorenen Landes ruhen lassen und nichts von seinem Erbe jenseits seiner Märchen und verblassenden Erinnerungen," she began, holding a hand up to hail the bartender, "Two pints ouf your richest stout, if you vould."
With the order, she continued ther work, dropping the deeper ambiguous tone for her otherwise light yet still strong voice, veiled with a tone of wear from the day's events, "Ich habe das Recht, in dieser Rüstung zu sterben, aber das Tragen ist etwas, das ich vorhatte...zumindest absichtlich," They sighed, pulling their helmet off and pulling back the mail and coif to shake their hair free. Holding the helmet in their lap, they stared into the visor with shadows under their eyes for a palpable pause, "Ich bin Kaitra Jatherine Elzbrn, die erste Tochter von Samael und Correldine, der Enkelin von Aarkenhan," before her eyes turned to glare at Nebel and add, "Sie kennen diesen Namen und Ihr Verhalten macht mir Sorgen."

There was only a small pause this time, not enough for Nebel to speak, but enough for the words and expression to seep in before posing a question, "Wo warst du, namenloser Jäger?"
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Those moments where we are caught between what we hear and feel are not rare, but uncommon. For one Nebel Asteri Mesanychta he felt it, all the pains and feelings one shouldn't feel while talking to someone he didn't know, but at the same time he felt regret and shame. Yet his face, still covered by the cloth and mask, was still as dead and blank as always. The mask he ware when the Monster went to fight, the same face the Monster had when his mother hugged him.

Turning to look at the now named Knight he all but froze for a moment as his mind went into overdrive because of questions that now seemed to spawn more questions from the black labyrinth that was his brain. Should he talk to this person, but what to say, where was he that knight, what about the other of his Kinsmen on the floor? It was slowly starting to get to him as he felt the questions start to boil over.

After a quick jolt from his head, via a quick turn back to the other Isparian, Nebel did what he felt was right in that moment. Walking over to the fallen Kinsmen he picked him up and held him on his shoulder after a quick check for any sights of life, and thankfully he was even if it was but whispers of breath. Walking back to the Bar Nebel looked down at Elzbrn. Reaching up with his free hand he pulled down the cloth covering his face, showing those tribal tattoo's that covered most of his face.

Leaning down to her, in a hushed tone. "Komm mit mir in einen der Besprechungsräume, meine Dame. Wenn Sie darüber reden wollen, müssen wir es alleine tun."

With that Nebel turned and walked back to the main entrance hall going up to one of the Receptionists, only to be greeted by the man trying his best to avoid his gaze. Still with the man slung over his shoulder some of the Bouncers watched with baited breath as they would only act if he did something to harm anyone and most had watched the man fall over, most more then likely thinking him just drunk. After a good handful of minutes trying to get a key to the room he requested, and fumbling because he still didn't really speak this language, Nebel took the key and paid for the meeting room. Turning around he went to one of the many hallways located to the left of the reception desk's. It was there at a door with '153' he unlocked the door and left it open as he went to the table to lay the man out.

With that done Nebel went to the left core of the entrance to the room and kneeled down. Reaching behind his back he pulled out a skull as well as a set of rib bones, metal rods of some make, a Femur and half three candles. After a moment of setting up, the Femur acting as a spine while the metal rods held it up as well as acting as a rest for the ribs acting as a base to hold the rods and Femur bone from spreading apart. All this held together with string and perhaps something else as he placed the candles in the middle base of the Totem he was making. While the three candles remained unlit the Monster smiled as he reached behind him one more time as he pulled out a, if in his opinion on the matter counted, clean skull with no markings on it.

Taking a breath, and a spare carving tool he always kept on his person, Nebel started to engrave the rune of a music into the center of the skull's forehead. With that done he reached out and genitally placed it above the Totem. The strange thing was, it didn't rest on the top of the Totem, nor did it fall out of his hand as soon as he placed it above it. No the Skull, for lack of a better term, floated above the Totem. While it was sill dull for the eyes had yet to burst to life with dark fire, nor the candles had lit themselves, it was in its 'inactive' state. A Hex placed on this room waiting for the Trigger to be activated which just so happened to be the Knight whom, when she walked into the room, would force the door closed as it would cast the room in Silence. No Mana flow, no sound escaping past these walls as the Void would act as a boundary and 'eat' the sound before it left, The door locked and wouldn't budge till the Hex was taken down. There would be no escape for anyone till the Hex was removed, but this was what he wanted, a place he could talk with said person in private.

Turning back to the table Nebel went to the head of it, taking off his coat, and slowly removing his armor. At least the upper part of it leaving his helm on. Once he was down to just the shirt he removed it as well to show his torso and arms. If this person's calm was true then he would also bare his marks. Despite being almost Fifty years old he didn't really show it. His body was well build, and for someone of his age held muscle rather well. None but a handful of scars blemished his flesh, this however wasn't what some would call odd if they didn't know he was a Hexer. Across his body, front and back Tattoo's where drawn. Across his shoulders, connected across his spine and neck, were tribal lines, all an inch thick, that intertwined and spread down his arms coming to a head near the wrists. His back held images of his fath and training in the Hexer's ways. Across his heart was a Tattoo of a heart, not the comical heart but a live like heart, with four stitch like marks running across it. On his right Pectoral was a Skull that looked like it was made of smoke that was slowly drifting way into the Tribal marks on his shoulders, while under said skull was a candle slowly burning down. The images didn't stop as the Tribal marks once more picked up again in his lower torso area weaving designs and the like one on his shoulders only when looked at more closely they looked like a grinning demon, or void spawn if you where a learned youngster. His back held much he same as well.

Laying his armor on table near the foot where he was going sit for this meeting, Nebel took the chair and moved it to the right side of the entrance and placed the chair against the wall and took a seat waiting for the Knight to come and Trigger the Hex so they could speak in complete privacy.
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Darvus eyed his own mother, as he kept checking the list of supplies he needed in short notice, and shuffled through his equipment. He was a man of several intellectual worries, and as such his equipment reflected that. A hodgepodge variety between soldier, scholar and healer. He then returned to his sorting, a few awkward seconds before his reply came.

"It's probably the first time mother... I've read you open like a book. It comforts me that you're still a sane person with normal worries and a torn heart. You don't want me to go, but you know that if I do not go, it may eat me alive, and some poor soul will take my place instead." He tilted his head, sustaining the gaze of his own mother. "Besides, we are asking of these men to go into the jaws of death of a very uncertain mission. The only way to cement the resolution of such a hastily gathered, underfunded and undertrained team is to lead by example."

"Plus, you know as much. The ties that bound us are bloodbound. If blood of my blood is taken, It's only proper to fight back for them. The world's bleak enough as it is to even not care about our kin." Darvus finally said, resting his hand in his hip.
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Vali chuckled into her shoulder. "I think the jury is still out regarding my sanity. You're right though - a true king leads from the front."

It wasn't every day someone could read her like an open book. But it wasn't particularly surprising that her own son did so. He was spot on; she didn't want him to go, and the thought that the future king would so brazenly risk his life angered her at first. But then again, his sister's life was on the line. Why shouldn't her brother personally seek her rescue? Who else could be so reliably trusted with her life as one who loved her as family?

His speech back at the council should have moved her. She should have rejoiced that her reclusive son came out of his shell to do something heroic with his life. And she felt ashamed at having been angry that he would risk something to achieve it.

It was, in truth, only proper for kin to care for kin.

"I must apologize for earlier," she said at length. "You deserved my support, not my wrath, for your decision. Your sister needs you, and far be it from me to restrain that."

She spotted a mana gauge the size of a pocketwatch on a shelf. After tuning it a little, she handed it to him.

"So...truce?"
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