Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by DesperatePerson
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At the center of the world stood a great city, a beacon of light, a representation of mankind’s resolve. Against all odds, they rose from above and with the gift of god fought their enemy. Now at the start of the fifth crusade, King Baldwin calls out to those from around the world to join in the descension of the abyss. Proclaiming holy words he offers sanctuary and training to those who volunteer intending to descend.



Chapter 1 : The Descent


In the center of the world stands Zion and the abyss. Lining the abyss is the city of Zion spanning a few hundred miles holding millions within its walls. As to the March of Fate where many gathered on a path towards Egypt, Zion was the offspring of a successful battle. And within these walls is a culmination of human cultures and prosperity. From within the magically-enhanced walls that protect Zion are humans bearing gifts and constantly giving life and protection to its walls. Known as the city of life, every citizen within Zion is constantly innovating and creating new ways to go about life due to the product of God’s Gift. But also death, thousands still die from waves of demons but in human death comes more ways to defeat the demonic surges.





You and a band of recruits are heading towards Zion. After finding your way into Egypt a long stone road stretches across its sandy dunes. Hundreds of others following this path, merchants, travelers, and the recruits follow it. Day’s pass before you finally sees Zion in all its glory. In a blinding light, the sun creeps over the horizon, shining its rays down onto the land revealing Zion’s walls that rose to the sky. A great shade covers the end of the path. And as you near closer to Zion's wall you feel its purified energy pass through you like a heatwave but once it passes you feel a surge of cool air.

The path ends in between two tall towers connecting the sandstone wall and for a few moments, the crowd of restless recruits, adventurers, and merchants are silent but then from the end of the pathway which touches the wall, a rumbling noise emerges from within. The crowd startled they see the wall shake, sand falling from its structure as it suddenly splits into two, two guards in a synchronized dance are seen inside hands moving in an articulated fashion as the split wall turns into a large arch. They yell to the crowd,

”Enter!"


The crowd moves and shifts, forming a single file line as two guards take note of each of the travelers passing through, and then suddenly they stop you…



You enter the city of Zion and a rush of fresh air and sounds from the thousands within the frontal area of the gate invade your mind. Unlike the nations that were destroyed by the insurgence of demons, taking almost years to financially recover Zion was different. Beautiful in architecture and ripe with greenery, it was alive! In front of the opened gates where three-wide pathways filled with hundreds of civilians tending to their market stalls which many went to buy an assortment of foods, weapons, and equipment. The energy of God’s Gift was potent in the streets, you could tell simply by feeling that almost all citizens of the city were gifted in some way.

Lining the edges of the streets were tall poles and at its end were empty iron lanterns, tropical trees in the middle separating the two crowds. From the left, the crowd moved downwards and from the right, the crowd moved forwards. Packed as it was, you mindlessly wandered for a few hours or so around the city attempting to find where you were supposed to go, or maybe you were off spending your money on foods and extra equipment.

But soon you would suddenly hear a loud echoing voice that seemed to originate from the sky…

“The initiation of the abyss is about to begin! Recruits head to the castle to be enlisted into Baldwin's great army! Come see the ten great generals!


The voice disappeared just as soon as it came, the crowd stopped for a moment to listen to the message but as soon as it ended the crowd returned to life. You see the guards from the gate and other guards that stationed themselves at the corner of the streets yell,

“Onward recruits! Down the center lane! “


You see a few clad in armor or robes head down to the central street walking on its right side as they hurriedly weave through the crowd. You are beckoned to head to the castle.


Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Luminosity
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Fiona de Valencourt


Today's the day...

Fiona de Valencourt took a deep, steadying breath. Not the first of the day, and likely not the last. She was eager to put her skill to use, to make the years of difficult training worth something, but that didn't stop the fluttery feeling of butterflies in her stomach. The abyss isn't as it seems, she'd been warned. She'd heard that a few times now, others telling her sister Sophia the same before she took her sword off to Zion, while Fiona still had to finish her training. It was the path that all de Valencourts took now, ever since the fortress on the edge of the abyss had begun.

She wished she could spend more time in the city. Fiona visited the de Valencourt house first, seeking out her sister. Her uncle had a fair amount of power in Zion, and commanded troops in defense of the city. Sophia was one of them, long since assigned to combat the flow of demons that tried to emerge from the darkness each and every day.

"I can't believe you're getting to take the fight to them before I do," Sophia complained, as they walked the streets together. The first order of business was making sure Fiona was well-stocked for the road ahead, though a bit of sightseeing was in order as well. "I think I'll be stuck defending the walls of this place forever."

"You'll get your chance," Fiona assured her. "Most likely they'll need to send you in next, to rescue me." She was mostly joking, but Sophia didn't seem to find it amusing.

"You haven't seen what comes out of that place, Fi. People die defending this city each and every day." She hesitated, noticing Fiona's concern. "Not me, though, obviously, no demon's going to cut me down, just... look. Watch your back, okay? You can't count on God to do that for you. And don't feel like you have anything to prove, okay?"

"I have to do my part," Fiona argued. "It's what I've been training for. I won't let others take all the risk, especially if I can make a real difference." She got the sense that wasn't what her big sister wanted to hear, so she backpedaled. "But... I'll be careful. Okay? Happy?"

"Sure. Peachy." Sophia sighed, and hugged her, before she held her by the shoulders and glanced up and down her length. "Hey, you make the family colors look pretty good, you know?"

Fiona rolled her eyes and groaned. "Ugh, please, let's just keep going."

The sisters carried on through the city, chattering about lighter things the rest of the way. It was overwhelming in so many ways: the buildings, the people, the heat, the activity. Fiona had never seen anything like it in her journey from the north, from the homeland of the de Valencourts. The sight of the sea had taken her breath away, but nothing compared to this city. If only she had more time...

But the call to arms for the recruits put an end to that, and set the butterflies to action yet again. Reluctantly she parted from her sister, and made her way to the imposing castle in the distance: a testament to the strength of those that had come to this place before her.

Fiona took another deep breath, and made her way inside, her head held high. Her ancestors were watching her, she knew. She had to make them proud.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Hawthorne
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Despite being as far away from home as it gets, Alistair has never felt as much at home as he did now.

At the behest of the Church, the inquisitor had traveled hundreds of miles to make it to this place. The journey at sea took several grueling weeks that had taken a toll on his body. Perhaps in the past, Alistair would've sworn off sea voyages for the rest of his life, but his current self knows better. For the chance to bring retribution upon these demons, he would sail the world if he had to. And yet... the man was thankful to be on dry land once more.

The arid air and blazing sun of the desert was a sharp contrast from the briny wind and thunderous storms of the sea, and even more so from the relatively temperate climes of his homeland. The change in atmosphere was palpable- the very air here in Zion seemed to be charged not only with hope and will to fight but also with God's divine protection. It put the man at ease and reminded him about what he was fighting for.

Perhaps here, among the many other Gifted, he can make a difference.

Alistair gave the guards at the gate a polite nod as he headed on through, intent on making it into the city center and taking stock of his surroundings. There was a dizzying array of recruits, merchants, warriors, and other folks- more than he's used to. The priest took a moment to orient himself, before heading towards one of the many churches that preside within the city's walls. He spent some time in one of the smaller chapels, using it to pray to the Lord and thank him for his blessings. The priests in the chapel, noticing a fellow Brother of the Cloth, offered Alistair a meal.

He spent time breaking his fast with them, where he took some time to ask several questions about the city and the state of the Abyss. The priests, amicable as they were, gave him directions and told him where he could procure additional supplies. They had even offered Alistair a bed here at their chapel, should he require it. The inquisitor thanked the proprietors of the church for their kindness, before moving back into the city once more.

From there, Alistair used a sizable amount of his expeditionary funds to purchase essentials: a bedroll, a coil of rope, rations, a lantern, several flasks of oil, and a survival knife. He did not know what lay beneath the earth and within the abyss, but he figured that it would be wise to be prepared. The priest would've enjoyed some time to appreciate his surroundings- this was the first bastion of Man, and had much history in its walls, after all.

But there were other things to do, as evidenced by the voice in the sky.

Taking that as his cue, Brother Alistair thanked the merchants for his service, before departing for the castle. He walked into the center lane with a sureness in his step as he began his jaunt to the castle. Perhaps he'd see this King Baldwin and these Ten Great Generals for himself.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Dream Maker
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PILGRIMAGE OF A FORGOTTEN SOUL
PILGRIMAGE OF A FORGOTTEN SOUL


Braska bows her head to the guard that judges her as she enters the heart of the crusade. She doesn't answer him, merely passing when he gives her permission to.

Only Braska knows the stepping stones that have lead her to the doors of Zyon.

For a few seconds, she stands still; blocking the way until people forcefully shove her aside. She doesn't mind much, eyes reflecting only the area she had just entered. High buildings, of a gorgeous design; the streets they surround protected from Egypt's sun by the shade of trees in so many shades of green, Braska wasn't sure she could name half of them.

The grandiosity of it all, the sheer amount of gifted people walking together, made her feel small. There was much, yet, to learn and the fight, which she had hopefully considered almost over, hadn't even begun.

Without guidance to follow, Braska let her feet take her wherever looked most curious at the moment. She had no money to spend at the market, but a kind stranger offered her a candied apple as she took her time perusing the stalls and the items they carried. There were various different trinkets that caught her eye, like that candle that sparked fireworks instead of a flame when lit, but the clothes on her back and the lamp attached to her waist were all she needed.

A few books caught her attention, old tomes describing the enemies of mankind. A guide of sorts, it seemed, scribbled on and nearly falling apart; a few pages already seemed to be missing as well. It was bound in thick leather that had already seen better days, an intricate design carved into the front cover.

“Interested, are ya?” The voluptuous woman behind the stall caught on to Braska’s interest like a hawk spots a rabbit. Her accent was thick. “It’s dated back to the First Crusade, ya see?” The woman tears the journal off Braska’s hand and opens it in such a lousy manner that the girl can’t help but wince.

Meanwhile, the woman had already opened to one of the first pages and shoved it against Braska’s face. “That is Captain Montoya’s signature right there. This was his journal back then. Might prove useful for a small thing like yaself.”

Braska didn’t care who it had belonged to but she had to admit the contents were enticing. “I’m sorry, I don’t have any money though.”

In the blink of an eye, the woman’s entire attitude swerved 180 degrees south, frowning condescendingly at Braska. “Ain’t no money, ain’t no business. Run along, girl, ya taking up room.

The woman’s boisterous voice called the attention of various surrounding people and Braska looked down at her feet with scorching cheeks. She wasn’t expecting such unkindness and it turned bitter even the sweet after taste of the candied apple. She quickly ran away from the market, rising her hood up to cover her red face.

Somehow that old lady had an attitude more foul than any of the enemies or wounds Braska had faced in her life.

Thankfully, a call from above gave her a breather, beckoning her to the castle. And, like a sheep, she followed the herd.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by TheMushroomLord
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Petra was mildly annoyed by the guard’s comment, but by the time she'd thought up a decent retort the guards had already gestured for her to move on, their attention having already turned elsewhere. That irked her slightly, but it was probably for the best, so she let it go, reasoning that making a bad impression on the local law enforcement from the getgo wouldn’t do her any favours going forwards.

Upon making it past the guard checkpoint, Petra immediately made a beeline towards the first free patch of shade she could find. This place was hot, or at least far hotter than anything Petra was used to and her shoddy attempt at armour was certainly toasty if nothing else.

Still, after only a few minutes of cooling Petra began to take proper note of the great city surrounding her and it was only so long before her curiosity overcame her desire to avoid the sun and she found herself leaving the comfort of the shade to explore its streets. Pretty much everything in Zion it seemed was different from what Petra was used to, from the architecture to the people. Having spent most of her life in a fairly ordinary city and the rest of her life in an even more ordinary village, Petra was naturally interested to see all the strange things the city had to offer. For this reason, she soon found herself observing the stalls, which were filled with a seemingly endless array of strange and wonderful things for her to look at.

Particularly, Petra was tantalised by the aroma of each of the many food items on display, their scents causing her mouth to water despite not having the slightest clue as to what any of them might taste like. Part of here briefly entertained the idea of trying to swipe a meal, but she quickly dismissed the notion. With so many wondering eyes around and in a city with so many unknown variables that would be really stupid, especially, since for once in her life, she was soon going to have reliable access to food.

With a sigh, Petra reluctantly turned her back on the food stalls and set off to take a look at what else the market had to offer and letting her mind slip elsewhere as she did so. This was it wasn’t it? The day she’d pick up where her father had left off. Fighting to protect those that needed to be protected, or more likely, to die trying.

Almost perfectly on cue, as though timed to follow on from her thought, a voice boomed from the sky, instructing the recruits to head to the castle. Petra groaned, she wasn’t exactly used to this kind of thing, though fortunately, the instructions seemed easy enough. Still, it was now or never, so with that Petra set off for the castle, her eyes scanning the crowd for other recruits she could hopefully tail to her destination.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by DracoLunaris
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Unlike some of the other pilgrimage recruits, Ioxeia had not had far to travel to reach the city that sat on the edge of hell. The monastery she had called home since the last crusade had ended was only a half day’s travel under the blistering sun away from the city, having been founded there to care for the sick and wounded away from the profane stench of the city and to create a space of spiritual purity nearby. Despite this, when she laid her green lens covered eyes upon the walls of Zion that day, it was the first time she had seen the city in years. Back then it had only just begun raising its walls, battlements and garrisons. Now it stood tall before her. It was a symbol of the indomitable human spirit, yet within its walls lay the darkness and corruption of the underworld from which the forces of darkness were always trying to escape in ways both brutally blunt and insidiously cunning.

The young doctor could not help marvel at the sights and sounds of the bustling city, her eyes darting to and fro, drinking in every new sight as her ears picked up every new sound. Her nose, however, smelled nothing but the floral scents held within her beak like mask. The pleasant scents were a reminder: there was corruption here, both insidious and bold. The fact that the guards could call someone a demon as a joke (a joke! Someone as pure and devoted as she!) was a brazen reminder of that fact, which hung with her as she moved through the wondrous streets.

As much as the sights distracted, Ioxiea did not wander aimlessly and instead drove forth through the city streets with a purpose. She had directions, and she followed them to the letter. Through twists and turns she strode till she found herself before she found one of the city's healing houses. Pushing her way inside she entered into the clinic, and found its insides to be suffused with a faint mist, as expected. Gaining directions from some of the nurses she walked though its halls, the mist swirling behind her as she passed in such a way that if you saw it out of the corner of your eye you might see the faint impression of an angel guarding her back, till she found who she was looking for.

The man she was looking for wore a garb similar to her own, but with a jackal mask in place of her corvid one, and was just finishing talking to a patient about the splint he’d set for them when she arrived. She patiently waited for him to finish, then got his attention with a knock on the door-frame

“Hello father”

The man started and spun round to look at her. When he saw her his eyes briefly lit up, “Ioxeia!” before concern immediately overtook the joy, “You're here... Does that mean?”

She nodded and confirmed “I have been blessed by the lord, and I am ready to do my part.”

A minute or so later the two had moved to Ioxeia’s father’s quarters to speak privately. The room was sealed, as best as it could be, and incense was lit, purifying the room and allowing her to remove her mask for the first time since she had approached the city, revealing the face of a worried but determined young woman that had been hidden behind it. Her father did too, and face to face they spoke for a while, catching up and talking about the future. About family. About commitments. About pointless comfortable things too. All too soon however, the voice in the sky boomed out and it was time to go.

“Ioxeia. Before you go...” he said as she stood to go obey the summons, but faltered before he could complete the sentence

“I’ll come back. I promise.” she swore, and then no more was said. They embraced and then she stepped away, donned the mask once more, and stepped back out into the halls of the hospital to head for the castle.

Her father watched another of his family go to meet their fate, the young woman marching through the mists with the specter of an angel at her side and a raven on her shoulder, and prayed this time that the promise they had made to him wouldn’t be a lie.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Shovel
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"All in." The man said, pushing all his chips to the middle the table.

"Fold," said another man.

"Same here." Said another before slamming his deck of cards on the table. "Man, you should wash your hand. My deck smells like shite today." He grumbles before protectively reach out to rearrange his chips.

"Ain't my bad you dumb." Said the deck handler before looking toward the final guy on the table, "how about you, Genor? All in?"

"Nah, I fold." Said the one-eye man before handing back the cards.

It is during these days that the soldiers found themselves nothing to do. The Crusade had just ended, and with that, nothing to fight against. While some decided to pay a visit to their family or outright calling a retire, for most soldiers here, who survived the Fourth Crusade, the barrack is their house. And of course, with the rumor of the Fifth Crusade just around the corner, the barrack welcomed a new wave of new faces and babbling babies. So while the commanders getting ready for the recruit's routine and daily training exercise, these veterans found themselves almost nothing to do with. Especially in the middle of noon in this blasting desert.

"You think we are gonna get draft for the next crusade?" Arthur asked before giving each man his deck. Something to keep the convo going, he thinks while handing out the cards.

"Nah," said Arab, "we got John on our side. He should give us something easy. He owed us."

"I don't know," said Genor, before slamming his deck of cards just as he picks it up. "Again?"


Genor didn't know what he was expecting when he started packing up his stuff. Goodbye? Condolences? A warm farewell party? Maybe all of that. But all he greeted with was the snoring from his teammates and the morning dew of the desert. Like a good soldier, he had fought for this city. He did missions without any questions, carrying out each order like a sentient golem. And like any sane person, he thought it was enough. That, finally, after all these fighting, he deserved some rest, perhaps a dispatch but with pay, or even a title if the commanders and the lords would be so generous of his work.

And this is what he gets?

The Fifth Crusade?

A chance to kill more demons? For what? To spike them on his field back home like a scarecrow?

The man sits on his bunk bed, rocking himself front and back, soundless words made its presence in the morning light. He was shivering in the middle of the desert, a lonely man in the city of millions. Nobody knew him. Nobody knew what was going on in his brain. And as such, when he picking up his belongings and headed toward the wall opening, no one said goodbye.

The only goodbye he heard was the rusty bunk bed giving its final groan, and Abram's sleep talking. So maybe goodbye, just not the sensible one.

Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Cleverbird
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A bright blue sky and nary a cloud to be seen. It was strange to see such a familiar sky in such a foreign land. The rolling, verdant hills of France had given way to rolling dunes of sand with not a speck of life visible as far as the eye could see. The heat was also not something Amélie had properly prepared herself for, but as a missionary of the Chevaliers de Lyonesse, she wouldnt show any weakness. So even as sweat dripped down her skin, she remained stoic on her journey, reminding herself that no matter where she went, the same blue sky where God resided would watch over her.

Zion was a sight or sore eyes as the towering walls loomed in the distorting distance, even more so as the divine energy that kept the city cool and livable washed over her. Pouring from the cart along the rest of the recruit, Amélie was quick to gather up her meager belongings. There was little use of material possessions in the Chevaliers de Lyonesse.

Once at the gate, she couldn't help but glare at the guard that halted her. It seemed like the name of the Chevaliers de Lyonesse carried little weight in these foreign lands. Let through, she made sure to shoulder check the brute with enough force to send him stumbling backwards. "Je vous montrerais un peu de plaisir... Au bout de ma lance." She muttered under her breath as she quickly disappeared into the crowd funneling into the city. It was far from the silent, stoic treatment a Chevalier de Lyonesse was known for, but then Amélie had never quite been a textbook example. Not that she did a bad job, she was a rising star after all, but some might consider her a little too... inquisitive about the world outside of France. Which is exactly what brought her here today.

The Chevaliers de Lyonesse were the strong arm of the French church, both a symbol of its military might as it was their enforcers. While not an arm used in open warfare, the Chevaliers de Lyonesse were nonetheless still trained rigorously and had access to the finest arms available. They were the knights in shining army that would pierce the darkness of God's adversaries!

None of that fame carried over into this foreign land though, and where once people made way at the mere sight of the iconic blue and white garb, here Amélie constantly found herself walking into other people. With that said, she couldnt help but marvel at the strange architecture of the city, a far cry from the ancient city of Lyonesse. This must be the youngest city on the planet, considering it was build specifically around the Abyss.

The order to assemble came as Amélie was simply taking in the sights of the city. Without wasting a second, she hoisted her bag up high and marched her way over towards the staging area. The fifth crusade was about to embark and Amélie would make sure that it would be the last and the light of God would finally be able to shine unimpeded.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Spectral
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Saul


After the long and arduous journey across the sea, the journey across the desert landscape and finally making it into Zion proper, there was one thought that filled his mind for much of the trip.

The ‘ell! Why’s it so hot?!

Tongue flicking upon dry lips for the umpteenth time, he reaches for his water skin on habit. Yet, as it was the last time, it was now bare of the precious water it once held. At that reminder, Saul makes it a top priority to refill the water skin as soon as possible.

A rumbling coming from his gut brings him to realization that he hadn’t eaten in quite a while too. As if to answer his stomach’s call, a tantalizing aroma seeps into his nose through the crowded street. Readjusting the rope wrapped bundle that was his pack and armor on his back, Saul weaves around other travelers and citizens towards the source.

Fortunately for him, it wasn’t long before he came upon a decent, moderately sized tavern. Saul quickly marched in, taking a seat at the nearest table he could get to, sighing as he finally got a chance to sit and rest his legs. Not a moment after finishing said sigh, he heard a clunk as a mug was sat down before him.

“New to Zion I take it, hmm?” a playful and teasing voice spoke beside him. Turning towards it, he sees an older waitress giving him an easygoing smile as she looks at him.

Saul finds himself blinking in surprise. “That I am… Though how did you guess?”

“Oh, when you’ve been here for as long as I have, one tends to pick up on such things. The most obvious in this case being…,” she stops as she gives the wrapped pack and armor a tap with her knuckles, “as you can see.”

A hearty laugh barked from Saul at that. “Indeed! I may as well have just shouted it out that I was new upon stepping beyond the gate!” Before he could continue, once again his gut roared in its desire of sustenance. His hand rose to behind his head, rubbing it in slight embarrassment.

The waitress simply covers her mouth as she lets out a giggle at that. “Oh dear, I do believe we may want to handle that beast in there. I’ll have them whip something up for ya right quick hun,” turning to walk away as she says that to him.

Needless to say that, once the food was brought before him, it was not long before only a few scant crumbs of the meal was left. His gut sated, he leans back in the chair and rubs his now full gut. Now, he could finally take the chance to simply rela-.

Or not, I guess… as a booming voice rang out across the city, calling new recruits such as himself towards the castle. Pushing himself up, he hooks the bundle back over his back, pulling out some coins and placing them on the table as payment.

Back outside, his eyes quickly gaze at the castle in the distance. This was it. Soon it will be time for him to step into the Crusade himself. To fight alongside others to bring about a better world for those back home. Just like his father had done before him. He couldn’t help but feel a bit of nervousness build up inside of him as he walked towards the start of a very dangerous and, likely deadly, journey. But even so…

That ever present grin never left his face.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by DesperatePerson
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The sun burns bright against you as you follow the right lane. Occasionally shades of trees and buildings cover your trek as you pass what seems like miles of ongoing street blocks but soon you find yourself in an open area. Up ahead is a great castle aiming towards the sky and to its sides are walls that seem to border the abyss behind it From your left and right are merging streets and to its middle is a circular stone plaza of where a crowd has gathered. In the outer circle you see bystanders watching the gathering and from the inner-circles are weapon-bearing adventurers being guided by soldiers to form a compact block.

You join the block of recruits and as you do a voice cuts through the noise of the crowd. A man in black robes with a symbolic cross, stitched to his front is seen in front of the block standing on a wooden stage surrounded by guards clad in iron hastily stationed on its corners.

“Welcome! “ His voice echoes through the crowd enveloping the chatter of the crowd. “You have come here one reason and one reason only… to descend. “ From the outer rim of the plaza a collective gasp from nearby citizens can be heard, “We call to you the three hundred of whom have answered the call to arms to aid in Zion’s first descent into the abyss! As King Baldwin has proclaimed he will provide a sanctuary, training, and protection to those who join the first wave! “

The announcer’s hands move to his side grabbing out a wooden scroll from the pockets of his robe. “Now then… “ He scans the crowd for a moment but then suddenly stops on you, you notice a glint of a glowing blue hue from his eyes before the announcer looks to the other side of the crowd. “I present to you, the ten esteemed sergeants of King Baldwin! “ The announcer turns, his hand out as he gestures towards the opening gates of the castle.

Anticipation can be felt within the crowd and as the gates rise it reveals an assortment of guards with a black ribbon tied to their gauntlets. With their ceremonial spears, they move forward and then split into two groups and move to the side revealing the esteemed generals…

“ Ariel! Chamuel! Gabriel! Azrael! Hamon! Michael! Uriel! Yefe! Zarak! Rachiel! “

The announcer calls out. Each sergeant wearing a unique set of armor and bears some sort of weapon that emanates spiritual energy. The sergeants stand a good length away to the front of the stage.

Questions and whispered conversations can be heard within the block of recruits before the announcer’s booming voice cuts through.

“I will call out your names! Don’t worry... I already know them. “ He chuckles, “I will call out your names and each name I answer a sergeant will raise their hand and after a name is called you will fall in line behind the sergeants! After everyone is called the sergeants will lead you to the training halls and there you will be sorted into pairs of two! “ The announcer nods and begins to call out names.

You stand there and every minute that passes the block moves and begins to get shorter and to what seems like hours of names passing by the announcer stops. Only a group of eight are left within the block, to your front are the ten sergeants, a few guards and behind them are thirty recruits behind each sergeant. Confused as to why your name hasn’t been called, the sergeants begin to make their move, the guards following in toe as they slowly enter through the castle gates.

You are left confused before the announcer smiles and sits on the edge of the stage “You… are that's left? Interesting… The eight… the eight… We now wait for one more. " The announcer turns his head and from the open gates, a man clothed in white robes walks up to the stage. “Virgil. “ The announcer says, standing as he begins to clap towards Virgil.

“Begone, Abaddon. I don’t need your humor. “ The announcer laughs slyly before making his move towards the entrance of the castle. Virgil, the man in white stands before you and the other eight that are left within the block. “Forgive my lateness… Please follow me. “ Without any other words of explanation, the man walks off in the direction towards the castle.

You follow him hesitantly to the castle gates and unlike the crowd of recruits who went up the slope towards the courtyard of the castle, Virgil leads you to the right into a small pathway with stone arches, flowers are planted the side and soon he leads you to the front of a small building hidden away from the major parts of the castle. Virgil turns to the group and begins to silently stare and after a moment he speaks,

“Forgive my awkwardness, I am Virgil Maro… The 11th Sergeant. My existence is not well known for I have just been recently inducted into the line of sergeants under King Baldwin. You may be wondering why you aren’t in a large group like the others... You are all here because you were chosen-- Abaddon, the announcer, and the sergeants already knew who their team was before the crowd was even assorted and I too knew as well. “

“The purpose of this group is very simple, to head into the abyss... Within a month. Aside from the major groups, we are the first to enter the abyss in absolute secrecy. Under the personal instruction of King Baldwin, we are to train and head into the abyss scouting its contents and make safe passage for the soldiers soon to come. I stress the secrecy of this topic and that it remains hidden for now. Its urgency is within reason as we must begin as soon as possible but if anyone of you decides not to uphold the call to arms then that is perfectly fine but you must not speak a word of what I have told you. Again forgive my urgency but you must answer now-- ... Will you join me? "
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Luminosity
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Fiona de Valencourt


It was hard for Fiona not to feel small as she was carried along in the stream of recruits headed for the castle. Many were taller than her, broader, and more heavily armored. Some were grizzled veterans of crusades, others fresh-faced like herself. They all had to feel the excitement of the moment, though, surely. This was what they'd been working towards all these years.

Her small size did have one advantage, as Fiona was able to linger in the shadow of a much larger, armored man while the announcements were made, the sergeants were introduced, and the names were called. She couldn't imagine enduring this heat for long wearing so much metal.

Names were called, and called some more, and the area steadily cleared out, though thankfully Fiona's pillar of shade was one of the unlucky few that had to stand around through the whole process like herself. She stood at attention the whole time, hands clasped neatly in front of her, but the de Valencourt name was never called.

For a specific reason, it seemed. She followed the man Virgil into the relative and welcome cool of the castle interior, trying not to get too distracted as she walked by the marvels of the architecture.

I was... chosen? A moment of doubt seized Fiona when she heard and comprehended the reason, that she would be among the very first few to venture an organized mission into the Abyss. Why me? Was it because of her family? She didn't feel exactly qualified for the honor, even if it was the sort of thing her training had been for. She forced the thoughts to stop. It didn't matter why. All that mattered was the duty that had been asked of her.

"I will," she answered, firmly, and suddenly aware that she was the first to do so. She glanced around at the others in the group really for the first time. Some looked far more experienced than her, but not all. They were a diverse group of fighters, by the looks of them.

Fiona had a thousand questions she wanted to ask, but it didn't seem like the proper time, so she held her tongue, and nodded at Virgil.
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As he moved through the crowds, the priest found himself among the other brave men and women of the Fifth Crusade. Some were soldiers, some were knights, some were priests, and some were simple farmers and fishermen who had acquired the Gift. Three hundred souls made up the first wave, and if things were as they seemed, they would be the ones to lead the charge. Their chances of survival were, quite frankly, slim at best. Walking into unknown enemy territory was a dangerous prospect, even for three hundred warriors with God's Gift.

While Alistair was thinking silently to himself, the announcer had made himself known and had begun his spiel. The priest noticed that the announcer's eyes briefly flared blue, gazing at him and several others. Strange. The proclaimer then introduced the Ten Generals to everyone. The priest took note of their weapons, armor, and demeanor- they certainly looked capable enough.

"This is quite the spectacle." Alistair said to nobody in particular. He wondered if this city was truly under as much duress as he was told. Still, he figured that the period between Crusades was the calm before the storm.

Soon, the announcer began listing the names of the crusaders, and the commander that they would be assigned under. The priest wondered what his commanding officer would be like; and if they would have the strength to lead their battalion to victory. As time passed, a group of three hundred souls became ten groups of thirty. All seemed well.

Barring, of course, the fact that this group of three hundred seemed to have eight extras, himself included.

Before anything could be said, Alistair looked around at the remnants. It was certainly quite a varied array of individuals. Five women and three men- including himself. As he wondered what situations had brought them to the front lines, the Eleventh Sergeant had arrived. Virgil Maro, his name was. There was something strange about him, though the priest figured that all of these sergeants had something about them that made them special. They wouldn't be commanding the Fifth Crusade if they didn't, after all.

They entered the castle proper, which prompted Virgil to begin speaking. As it turned out, these eight people would serve the scouting party and vanguard, to enter the Abyss before any of the other groups did. This whole act was strange, and more than a little bit suspicious. Why hasn't anyone else descended into the Abyss yet? Why would you only send eight newly-inducted crusaders as scouts? Who was this mysterious Eleventh Sergeant?

If marching into enemy territory with three hundred was dangerous, then doing so with eight would be suicide.

...And yet, Alistair felt no fear. He had faith that the Lord would grant him the strength needed to do his duty. Even if he were to die, he would find some solace knowing that had taken down some demons with him.

He opened his mouth to speak, but a woman with strawberry-blonde hair and red-white armor spoke first, declaring her intentions. It seems she's found her strength. Alistair nodded, impressed. "I accept as well." The priest said, a gentle smile on his face. "I've pledged to give my life in service of the Lord, and if this is what is being asked of me, then so be it."

"...I must ask, however. Why the secrecy?" He asks, his smiling face presenting just a hint of wariness.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Dream Maker
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PILGRIMAGE OF A FORGOTTEN SOUL
PILGRIMAGE OF A FORGOTTEN SOUL


Braska finds herself following the crowd into a large patio overseen by a great castle, leering over all the bystanders that have followed their callings there. The wave of people that arrive seemed unending from her point of view; it reminded Braska of all the times she had gathered with the battalions she had fought with in the past, a ritual that preceded every battle she had joined. It made her heart clench, the thought that she was about to face another war…she was hopeful, however, that at least this might be her last.

When the number of people rose to what Braska guessed were in the double, if not triple hundreds, a booming voice that made itself heard equally to all, called everyone to attention. The man stood slightly above them all, with billowing black robes that fluttered around him when he moved. The symbol garnishing his chest was both awe and fear inspiring and Braska found herself pulling up the hood of her own robes, tugging at it nervously.

Then, ten names were called and ten figures appeared; at their presence the crowd dissolved into furtive whispering. Each of the ten stood distinct from the others, yet, in some way, they stood together. Their presence was commanding and every inch of them demanded respect. When the man in black announced they would follow one of them, Braska’s eyes landed by chance on the sixth. Feelings tugged at her heart and soul and the girl lowered her eyes, thinking if she were to follow someone so reverential then maybe, just maybe, she could survive once more through the horrors of blood and gore and screams and death.

Despite her small prayers, she was left behind after all the names had been called. Reaching up, she tugged her hood even lower, face aimed down but her eyes were shining on the generals. One by one, they led their troops back inside and the doors of that grand castle were closed behind them.

…ah…

Shoulders low, Braska looked around and found that, at least, she wasn’t left alone. Seven others stood at different points of the patio. A tall, iron clad man that looked reliable, he reminded her of an older brother; a petite blonde that stood in his shadow but with a strong enough presence that nobody could dismiss her; a youthful girl with a pinkish braid; a man that looked like he’d seen the very worst of the crusades; a mature woman that stood gracefully but somewhat cold to her surroundings; a priest that appeared to carry a gentle soul behind his kind eyes; and a mysterious girl in a bird’s mask.

There was not a lot of time for Braska to think about them as the man in black introduced yet another person to them.

“Virgil,” the name left her lips tentatively. She found him a bit more pleasant and approachable than their announcer. She follows him along with the others, when he beckons them all into a more secretive area; though her eyes betray her as she gazes one last time at the castle gates into which the generals had walked through with their teams.

Braska was sure each of them stood in that smaller room for a reason, perhaps they’d done too good, perhaps too bad. Nevertheless, Virgil’s request destroyed the small bubble of hope that had earlier been born inside her heard.

She knew the path down into the Abyss would be forged in blood; and now she knew whose blood it would be.

Two of her newfound party members had already voice their agreement, strong and brave; Braska merely tipped her head down, resigned to the fate the heavens had chosen to bestow upon her.
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Saul


Maybe… I should have kept the armor off after all…

As he arrived at the castle, he decided that it would be for the best to come in in his armor to beat present himself. Surely that’s how everyone else was going to come, he had thought. But as he took up standing amongst the crowded grounds with a few hundred more recruits, it became apparent to him that most others seemed to not wear armor like he currently had equipped, if they were even wearing their armor at all.

His thoughts of the heat were hushed as an announcer's voice rang out over the gathering. Saul quickly straightens himself, making sure to stand at attention like his father had taught him back when they trained years ago. First impressions are important, he reminds himself of his mother’s own advice she had given him before leaving home. Those words rang louder in his mind as the announcer called out the ten sargents of the king's army. One of them was to be his commanding officer in the coming crusade and he didn’t want to disappoint.

Time went by as those whose names were called moved behind one of the sergeants one by one. As the crowd became thin, Saul couldn’t help but wonder how long it was getting to him. Was he one of the last recruits to sign up and he’s at the bottom?

When they stopped calling out names, Saul found himself still standing where he was, behind none of the sergeants. He blinks, as he scans around and sees that seven others seem to have also found themselves in the same position as he is. And as the three hundred others were brought into the castle, Saul wonders just what had caused them to be left out? It would seem the wait for an explanation was soon, as another man appeared and asked them to follow. With not much else he could do, Saul follows after the man with the others.

Having been brought into an area separated from the others, the group is told some new information. This man, Virgil, was to be their sergeant. Not only that, but that this small unit of theirs will be the first to enter the Abyss, in only a month's time. Saul couldn’t help but let out a low whistle inside his helmet at that. Virgil told them of their goals once in the Abyss and that they must be secretive, something that seemed strange when he pondered on it. When asked if they were join him, a couple of the others readily stepped forward and pledged themselves. Nodding to himself, he takes off his helmet as he steps forward, moving it into a carry at his hip.

“I have come far to serve in this fight. For that, you have my pledge!” As he says that, the arm not holding the helmet comes up across his chest in a salute as he makes the proclamation. A big smile also rests upon his face.

“I will admit to you sergeant that, like my priestly fellow here, I find this secrecy rather odd.” The smile on his face is still strong, but his eyes hold the Intent of curiosity.
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Ioxeia left her father’s clinic behind and headed deeper into the city, the familiar sun beating down on her to no avail. Even if she had had no idea where to go, the currents of the city’s people were telling enough as they flooded towards the center. She walked in their mists, carefully weaving her small frame between soldiers, spectators and the blessed few. Her distinctive apparel drew looks of confusion and derision from some who noticed her, but also, rarely, a thankful nod or gesture from someone who’s life or loved one had been saved by her order. She held those looks of thanks in her heart as the trepidation mounted the closer she got to her destination.

And then all of a sudden, she was there. Ioxeia skirted past the front-line of the civilians who had come to watch the spectacle and was able to see it for herself. The blessed. Hundreds of them. From every walk of life and from all across the known world. To Ioxia it was a glorious sight to behold, one that drove down her fear and smothered it with awe. Yet even this paled in comparison to what came next.

After she quickly joined the ranks the speaker announced their purpose here, to descend, and then announced those who would be leading them down into the depths. Ten shining knights stepped forwards onto the podium and each was boldly announced in turn. It was, as a nearby gifted in priestly attire put it, quite the spectacle. Others might have seen through the display, but it had the intended effect upon Ioxeia, lifting her spirits so soon after the dread spiked by the mention of the descent. Those spirits slowly cooled once more however, as the long list of 300 names where slowly read out, the numbers of gifted still standing around her dwindling and dwindling till, at last, it was just her and 8 others standing before the announcer while the other 300 began to be lead away towards the castle.

Under the gaze of the onlooking civilians Ioxeia refused to let her concern or confusion show. A doctor, she reminded herself, must remain calm and appear in complete control of the situation, lest the scare or alarm the patient. She stood up straight and forced herself to patiently wait for an explanation.

Fortunately the 8 of them weren't left to stew for too long, as they were soon joined by their Sargent. The 11th. His late arrival or mockery by the announcer didn’t give the best first impression. He quickly led them away to what in retrospect seemed to be a hidden away part of the castle and then turned to explain himself.

He was new to his role, they were to be the first to truly enter the abyss, they would be doing so in less than a month and their mission was to be top secret. It was a lot for Ioxeia to process. The final question, however, needed no consideration.

“As the Lord wills, so it shall be. I am with you and you have my word as a doctor that I will uphold the confidentiality of this mission.” she said, with a bow of her head. She had to bite her tongue to resist the urge to bombard the Sergeant with more questions than he was already getting.
Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Cleverbird
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Amélie was among the first to arrive at the gathering area, eager to show off her punctuality. It was interested to see the variety of people trickling in, from soldiers to scholars to vagabond mercenaries. It was a motley gathering, to say the least. Were these the people that would go into the Abyss and seal hell's door? Just gathering everybody here seemed like a monumental task. Well, maybe with some training this could form a coherent force...

Amélie set herself up proudly, a hand behind her back, her chest puffed outwards and her other hand firmly gripping her spear. She listened intently at the short speech the generals gave, followed by what felt like hours of name calling. Even with the heat being suppressed through God's will, it was still incredibly hot. Sweat glistened across her brow, but she refused to let her stature falter for even a second. One by one - an awfully inefficient system, she thought - the soldiers were called away and divided into their respective companies. Yet as the crowed thinned and her name refused to be called out, she found doubt creeping up her spine like an insidious shadow. Had her commander not sent in the letter? He had promised he had, even though he hadnt agreed with it. No, surely her name would be called out, she just had to wait patiently. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and simply began to recite her order's litany under her breath.


"Sauve tes peurs
Prends ta place
Sauve-les pour le jour du jugement
Rapide et gratuit
Suivez-moi
Il est temps de faire le sacrifice
Nous montons ou descendons"


And then it was just eight people left. Frowning, Amélie looked around, noting similar confusion among the remaining recruits. Called along with the last remaining general, Amélie joined the remaining group; still uncertain of what was going on. She took stock of the motley crew remaining, some looked like grizzled soldiers, others like they'd never been in a fight in their lives.

Listening intently to Virgil's explanation, it did little to dissuade Amélie's confusion regarding the situation, though thankfully she wasnt the only one having trouble understanding the need for the secrecy. There was no secret regarding the fact that every soldier, doctor or vagabond gathered in this town had come here for any other reason than to descend into the abyss.

"For duty and honor, you have my full coopération!" Amélie barked, proudly pushing her chest forwards. "I will bring the full might of the Chevaliers de Lyonesse down on any who oppose our great light!"
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by TheMushroomLord
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Petra Nisbet

Having successfully navigated her way to the castle, or more accurately followed someone else there, Petra positioned herself at the not quite back of the crowd. Some part of her was shocked by the size of the crowd, far larger than any she’d seen before. Then again given this was meant to represent all of humanity maybe the crowd instead seemed too small. Was not just fighting demons but actually descending into the abyss where most people drew the line or after four crusades had everyone else finally caught on to the fact that their chances of survival were less than great? Maybe people had gotten word of how unbearably hot it would be in advance and collectively decided to stay home.

Whatever the reason was Petra was unable to find it before the announcer's voice sounded out, pulling her from her thoughts. He was loud and dramatic, theatrical in a way that some might find obnoxious given the circumstance, but rather than be bothered by it Petra instead let herself enjoy the spectacle. If she was in all likelihood throwing her life away she might as well enjoy her time up until then. Even with that attitude, however, sorting three hundred people into their respective groups and making sure they all made it to the correct places was no quick ordeal and Petra quickly found herself growing bored, only barely managing to pay enough attention to listen for her name out of the many being called and almost not noticing as the generals took their leave, leaving her, the announcer and seven other individuals behind.

Petra was confused. Looking around there were far too few people remaining to form an additional group and she was pretty sure she’d counted the full ten groups leaving. Had they all missed their names being called? The introduction of Virgil did little to alleviate Petra’s confusion, nor did his subsequent explanation of their apparent covert mission into the abyss. Was this meant to be some kind of suicide mission to weed out the bad apples from the recruits? Taking a glance at the others Petra shook her head, some of them looked pretty strange but they all looked capable, certainly when compared to a few of the others that’d been in the crowd, herself included. Besides, assuming Virgil's explanation was to be believed, if the aim was to weed them out then there would have been no reason for them to be given any training at all. But what then was the criteria had they been selected by? Another question that would have to wait to be answered, Virgil had asked them all a question, given them each the choice to join this mission or leave now, and having already made up her mind to participate in this crusade, it was probably smarter to spend her time trying to get a feel for each of her soon to be companions.

For the most part, they seemed better equipped than Petra, some carrying gear valuable looking enough that Petra felt almost worried standing too close to them, lest someone accuse her of trying to steal. Otherwise, they largely seemed to fall pretty much in line with what she’d come to expect from her brief time in Zion, some who appeared much like what Petra was used to, but also a few who clearly hailed from very different cultures and environments. Their responses were equally as varied, though far more informative. Some kept it short, other’s long and grandiose. Some asked questions, much to Petra’s relife. While a couple expressed their devotion to the lord, a fact that irked Petra, though for the time being she contented herself to frowning in both cases. The only real constant between their responses was their acceptance of the mission they'd been given.

Finally, when only she and one other man were left to respond, Petra decided it time to voice her own response. “I also accept. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect those living out there.” Petra pointed towards out towards the exit as she said that last part before sweeping her arm across in a large arc and unable to help herself shot an accusatory glance in the directions of both the priestly looking man and the bird masked woman who'd expressed god as their reasons for being here as she did so but refrained from saying anything further.
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As the lines decrease and the chatter grounded to a halt as people found their regiments, Genor found himself to be more excited for the prospect of his name simply an error to the bureaucrat system. It was not the first time a cook was assigned to the front line nor was it the last time a priest accidentally take the position of a commander's servant. And the more he thinks about it, the truer it becomes. The exit light seems to grow brighter, and the atmosphere less hostile as he grew to accept the fact that he will not be draft.

And with that fact in mind, Genor decided to take a look around himself, simply gazing the few remaining "lucky" to satisfy the curiosity of a survivor. A plague doctor. 2 priests. A man with very prominent split chin. Looks funny actually when seen up close but Genor himself isn't any better so he paid him no mind. A lancer, and a girl with whatever in her hand? A peculiar group.

And another figure came, asking them to follow him, so Genor did. But in his mind, what need to say is already spoken.

"We are sincerely thank you for your time and efforts in aiding the Fifth Crusade. But, as it stands, your services are currently not needed. This is not to say that your effort was in vain and the time you spent to reach Zion was unnoticed,..."

"You may be wondering why you aren’t in a large group like the others... You are all here because you were chosen-- Abaddon, the announcer, and the sergeants already knew who their team was before the crowd was even assorted and I too knew as well," said the man in white. Their lieutenant.

Now that sentence is what Genor didn't expect. The lieutenant should have come and said that there are no need for them, perhaps even thank them for enrolling. But saying that they were chosen for a specific task, a group of no-name fodder with close to no cooperation, was out of this world.

So, as others pledge their allegiance and how "God wills it" for them to be the first group, Genor just said "Yes Sir" without much sign of protest. In fact, somewhat at ease if things need to be put in perspective.
Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by DesperatePerson
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The moment was intense, Virgil’s heartbeat rising as suddenly all this pressure of keeping secrecy and this team together. When Lords and the King had told him of his assignment he was completely baffled by the simple idea. Newly recruited and already he is thrown into the lion’s den to be one of the first to enter the abyss. It was almost like he and his crew were the fresh meat ready for the taking. Nonetheless, Virgil was valiant in proving himself to be completely functional as an upcoming Captain.

As he guided the group down the stone arches to the hideaway of the castle he could already tell by the simple presence of these recruits that they were in fact newcomers to Zion. Justice, naivety, and a hint of disappointment Virgil wasn’t too sure after all if he could even lead a team of his own. After explaining the situation and asking the recruits hand and acceptance he expected outrage, following combat. But instead, he got answers of hope, accepting silence, and of course questions. Virgil didn’t know how to answer them without revealing the ulterior motive, he himself didn’t know the reason but in his blind chase for acceptance he accepted with no hesitation.

” This secrecy is decided upon by The King himself. Due to the dangerous contents of the abyss, King Baldwin and the council of lords have decided that a scouting party should be in order to ready the waves of recruits. Ultimately this is an act of spy-work.

This is what Virgil had thought, this was the most likely answer to this whole set up but no one could know for sure what the higher-ups are thinking. With a great sigh, he looks to the set of rookies before him and takes a small moment to observe his soon to be subordinates.

Five women, four men including himself. A lady dressed in black replicating the look of plague doctors, another holding a lantern most likely a sorcerer, a warrior dressed in light armor baring what looks to be an elegant sword, another of whom seems to be small and nimble almost like a rogue, and a fairly tall lady wielding a large weapon of sorts represented by familiar colors. The men, on the hand, a priest of what he could only assume was a sorcerer, and two in heavy armor. They both looked equally jaded.

“Balanced. “ he repeated in his mind, and as the second of silence passed Virgil returned and beckoned the group to join him inside the training hall. He gestures them to come inside and opening the wooden door in front reveals a wooden boarded floor with tables, chairs, and two weapon racks against the wall of the entrance and then past the wooden floor borders the training floor of marble material. The hall itself is narrow, but long enough to host multiple one on one training sessions.

Virgil leads the group inside, stepping onto the marble flooring, lighting barely shining into the hall as candles light its sides and a single chandelier to brighten the center floor, “This is where you will be training for the next month in preparation for our descent into the abyss. Going through simple combat, strength, and endurance training we will go over all possible situations we can experience within the abyss. All we know is that the dark fog that covers its entrance can be negated by divine energy created through our spiritual energies. Specifically, throughout this training, you will all be trained to passively produce a bodily shield that will negate this fog that hopefully lets you survive. On another note when we aren’t training you will be roomed outside of the castle into a previously empty school where some of the recruits are kept. There you will all be fed, given clothes, weapons, and other necessities. Similar to a school setting you will wake in the mornings head to your training hall and the day is spent here. Otherwise, treat your new home with respect. “

Virgil walks in circles, his fingers rubbing his chin as he thinks of things he hasn’t gone over, “Ah… “ He sighs, “That is all. But. I stress we must keep our goal a secret. If you are asked you are here for a year just like any of the other recruits. Is that right? “ He looks to the group expectingly for gestures or verbal answers of approval.

“Right then... Before we leave I would like you all to wear this. “ Virgil’s hands shuffle through his white coat as he pulls out white cloth bands holding a small silver cross. “This is the symbol of our group, this is how the higher-ups will differentiate us between the ten others. Wear this whenever you are commanded to, otherwise keep on your persons. “ Virgil goes up to each of the recruits handing them the markings, “Alright. Follow me. “

Another lengthy walk, Virgil leads the group outside of the castle walls and down the right lane. Down this lane, the group notices another band of recruits with their marks tied to the left of their arm bearing the mark of the sparrow. The leader of this group is nowhere to be found but it is clear that they are going to the same place as the group. Virgil stays silent and after a few minutes of walking and evading the crowd, the group is halted in front of a quite large sandstone building holding three floors.

“This is your new home for the year. “ Virgil looks back at the group for a moment and then leads them inside through a pair of two large wooden doors. The first floor of the dormitories looked quite similar to that of a tavern, wooden floors with wooden tables and chairs, and a counter with a maid working at its side. “Very similar to your average tavern, but with no alcohol. “ Already the group could see recruits lounging about within the first floor bearing the symbol of a star, they eye the group down but Virgils leads his group upstairs.

“Surprisingly King Baldwin has put forth a large sum of gold coins into the preparation of this assembly, this building specifically of what used to be an old run-down school has been refurbished into what is sort of a barracks. “ The second floor of the dormitory was a narrow hallway of evenly spaced outdoors of what could only be individual rooms. Virgil leads the group to the end of the hallway and at its end was a glass window that looked down into an alleyway.

Virgil points to the doors to each side of the walls of which held the symbol of a silver cross. “Luckily since our assortment is quite small we have fairly two large rooms. “ From the left side of the hallway, Virgil opens the door revealing a quite spacious room with windows to its front and from the back wall where six bunk beds connected to each other with space under them for miscellaneous items and a singular assortment of chair tables. Virgil then led the group to the right side which was the same as the left. “So-- choose wisely, they’re both the same. I suggest not rooming with the women of your party as that can obviously lead to some problems and if it does we’ll simply move you. So choose wisely. Your next set of instructions won’t come until tomorrow so that'll give you time to settle down into your new home. I suggest not making friends with the other recruits as you won’t be seeing them for quite a while after this month. “

Virgil nods, looking to the outside window as it was only noon. Much time was left for his recruits to simply escape Zion but he had hope in them not to, “Alright. Stay safe, I must leave for a meeting. “ And with a bow, Virgil leaves the group to do their own and heads off.




You are left with the simple command of choosing who you’ll room with and then after is free roam until tomorrow morning.

Currently, outside Zion is bustling with citizens walking down the streets going about their daily routines. Though when night comes along no citizen is caught walking, as you look to the sky you see ripples of dimly lit white lights shielding the city of Zion across miles. You see guards of silver armor patrolling the streets and very few citizens heading home. You are told by a recruit or someone within the dormitories that is in good faith to stay out of the streets at night.

Do you choose to stay inside or explore the night of Zion?




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Virgil withdrew himself from the party much the same way he’d arrived, fast and without the chance for any of them to ask anymore questions. Braska was left with the impression that maybe he was maybe a little bit shy, a touch nervous perhaps. Without him, however, a kind of awkward ambient dropped as the group no longer really had any kind of link connecting them; they were still, after all, just strangers who had ended up sharing the same fate.

Tentatively, the blonde lady lowered her hood and offered her new companions a small smile. “My name is Braska,” she introduced herself first, as that seemed to be the proper step to take. “I come from the Winter lands, up north.”

Her mouth fell shut after that though, what else was she supposed to say? Braska didn’t want to share her whole life with people she’d just met. She should keep her words few. “I’m a spiritual healer.” Yes, good job Braska, that was useful information since… “I guess we’ll be working together for a while?”

She didn’t want to say the words that were in her heart, that they were walking hand in hand towards their ends. Her dark thoughts were her own. “I'll be in your care,” she lowered her eyes then, feeling a bit shy.

She, of course, would stay to listen to the other introductions, though her travels weighed her down and she wished nothing more than to retire for a minute. Braska clasped her hands in front of her and looked at the open doors, leading to their rooms. “I don’t particularly mind whichever rooming arrangements we might end up in, so please choose as you’re most comfortable. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll go unpack.”

The room that awaited her was large as their captain had claimed, spacious yet simple. Most of the furniture was made of wood, six beds waiting to be claimed; a couple of desks for them to sit at and nothing else. Over the course of the next month, Braska imagined the room would grow livelier as they shared the space between them and made it their own. She walked up to one of the beds near the window and placed her bag on top of the mattress, proceeding to unpack the few belongings she’d brought with her.

Her lamp went temporarily on top of the night stand, and then a simple pouch with the few self care products she needed went into the drawer. The few changes of clothes Braska had brought, she carefully folded and placed them in the bunker they had access to underneath the beds; the rest of her things following suit. The last thing she did was remove a thick journal, bound in leather, some ink and a quill.

Braska then occupied one of the desks for sometime as she filled the first blank page with what had happened that first day in Zion. Keeping a journal, she’d found, was a sure way to clear her mind and put everything into perspective; she would document their adventures, what they would find and how her companions kept up. One day, it might be of use to someone. She left the journal on top of her night stand, trusting it would be safe from prying eyes; took her lamp and put her outer robes back on, knowing sleep wouldn’t come just yet when the excitement was still so fresh.

She bid her companions a quick farewell and walked down the stairs, pulling her hood up as if that could protect her from the prying eyes that followed her figure as she crossed the common room downstairs. Braska wasn’t fond of the way the other groups stared, but she did keep her silver cross on her as had been commanded.

“Miss! Miss, please wait a second,” a feminine voice called after her and Braska turned back, right before she opened the door leading outside, to see the maid that was serving the dormitory members behind the counter. “It’s not a good idea to wander these streets at night, it might be dangerous for a lady such as yourself!”

Braska was thankful for her warning but a quick glance outside showed a few streams of light still kept the stars from shining too brightly. “Thank you but I’m just taking a quick stroll down the street.”

She doubted anything would happen.
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