Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Goldeagle1221
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Goldeagle1221 I am Spartacus!

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ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NEWS


To the whole of the Empire
(every nation of the Empire will receive)

Concerning all of Jerrovia: we are under attack. The capital city has fallen to dark forces, and I, Prince George Heinrich, solemnly have inherited the titles of my late Father, Emperor Wilhelm Heinrich.

As the now acting Emperor of the Mortal Empire, I address all vassals: raise your armies and stand strong. As soon as the Imperial Province frees up or a battle strategy is made, I will do my best to send help. If your realm by chance is not under attack, send help to your neighbor.

We must stand strong and stand united against this threat, for all of Jerrovia.

Sealed in old blood, and signed, Emperor George “Iron Will” Heinrich, Leader of the Mortal Empire of Jerrovia, General of Imperial Force, Administrator of Law.



To Xoskea
(Only Xoskea will receive)


To Challessia
(only Challessia will receive)


To the Shahdom
(only the Shahdom will receive)


Personal Letters
(only the addressed people will receive)







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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Drunken Conquistador
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Drunken Conquistador

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Ektan. Palace of the Celestial Empress.



Your Highness,

Negotiated a truce with Innerzik. Forced march back home. Imperial contingent marching with us.

Your humble son and servant. Khamul


The twitter was clear and straight to the point. More importantly it was relieving, with her son's army running back home the Shahdom would be able to effectively counter-attack and crush the bands of abominations roving the countryside. Whatever these things are. The Sughbenshah herself wasn't all that convinced of the Mobad's incessant droning and ranting about the end of the world and the return of the accursed Sun Prince. After all the Avestas only mentioned that the Sun Prince would "just" lead an army of the damned. And though the beasts do looked like the part Arzamidokht had yet to see a giant god made of fire marching at the head of the monsters. Until then she would reserve her judgement.

The Sughbenshah placed the small piece of paper on the table and turned her attention to the rest of the papers spread over it. With a small sigh she took the next one in her hand: A letter from the Master of Alchemy of Gava-Rauka refusing her demand to send more alchemical supplies to the capital "until the roads were made safe again." Refusing a direct demand took a lot of gall, specially for someone who depended completely on Arzamidokht to maintain his position. And yet still it wasn't a completely unreasonable reply she had to admit. With Khamul still in Innerzik and Yekta still trying to ready a second host in the plains outside Ektan the actual manpower that the Shahdom had to spare was limited. And what she could spare was tied up hunting down the bands of abominations plaguing the countryside before they could merge into a real army. It would take some time to pacify the countryside and the area around the capital had priority.

That was no excuse however, a direct order from the Sughbenshah cannot be refused. She would write to him again and "suggest" arranging the necessary protection force for the caravan by any means necessary. And if he refused once again she would have his head once this mess was sorted out.

The next message from the batch was from the Lords of Nibiru. At least the Dwarves had somewhat better news, their militia was able to beat back an early surprise assault into the outer city when this whole mess started. But since them they've been incessantly asking for more support to cleanse the roving warbands from the region and food supplies to feed themselves and the hordes of elven refugees that fled Chalessia. Well, the Shahdom won't waste its resources to feed useless mouths. This situation wouldn't be that bad if Laila hadn't convinced her to not stop the refugees at the frontier. That damn woman was too soft sometimes...

Grumbling, Arzamidokht penned another short reply promising to send relief in the "near future" and "suggesting" that the Dwarves should take a more proactive role in rooting out the abominations. If they actually heard and started sending their militia to purge the roving bands of beasts her job would become much easier.

The next item on the agenda was yet another message, this time from the east. Where Orimes the Green reported the same thing as the others, at least the Orc wasn't crying for reinforcements. Not that Arzamidokht would agree to send anything while the core of the Shahdom was still in danger. Besides, Orimes had the authority to call up a muster from all the tribes within the desert and steppe. And given the current situation they would probably put their distaste for Orimes and the Turgentin tribe. If not, well, there was nothing she could do.

The ruler of Sughben paused and took and refilled her cup with the pitch of cold mango juice resting at the edge of her table. As she emptied the cup in one go one of her guards standing outside the solar opened the heavy doors.

"Forgive me Your Highness." He started as he knelt. "But the Astabadh is here to see you." He finished as he rose again.

"Let her in." Arzamidokht commanded. "And inform Pourandokht that I desire to dine with her and my grandchildren tonight." Her daughter-in-law would be glad to know that her husband was returning. And it had been some time since she had last spent time with her grandchildren after all. "And inform the Mobadan-Mobad that I shall meet him tomorrow for lunch." She added.

The guard silently withdrew from the room and Laila entered, dressed in the fine colorful silks and finery befitting of her station and carrying a large tome in her hands. The Astabadh gave a short bow and proceeded to sit herself facing the Sughbenshah on a chair on the opposite side of the table.

"I have the updated budget with me here Your Highness." The Astabadh started. "And it doesn't looks good, letting your daughter muster another army was already putting a strain in our finances. But now with Chalessian in ruins and the generalized chaos in the countryside..." She let the thought hang in the air.

"It wouldn't be that bad if we had simply turned the refugees away when they started flooding our borders." Arzamidokht retorted with a sigh. "But there's nothing to be done now as I doubt the damn elves would just let themselves be thrown back in the shithole they called home."

"We can always start conscripting them. I've thought about it and made the necessary calculations" Laila said as she opened the heavy leather-bound tome. "It wouldn't be hard to arm those who are fit to fit since they're so close to Nibiru and put the rest to work. In exchange we could offer them citizenship once this whole mess is over. Of course, we wouldn't be able to pay them anything substantial. But food and shelter should be enough to convince them."

The Sughbenshah simply nodded with some satisfaction as her Astabadh started giving the details of her plan.

Somewhere in the Shahdom. South of Ektan


Yekta watched silently from her position atop the hill as the large band of creatures rushed towards the outnumbered infantry company on the end of the valley. Looking at the band of heavily armed creatures she had to admit that it was the largest one she had faced so far. Despite the efforts of her forces to hunt them down before they could band together and get stronger some of them still managed to avoid detection until it was too late. There was simply not enough cavalry to hunt them down as effectively as she liked and the Shahzadeh was hesitant to put the bulk of her forces in the field before they had the chance to be properly trained.

"They're even uglier than I imagined." She heard someone from her band of riders comment. Probably one of the new recruits. Yekta did not like the idea of bringing spoiled boys and girls from the academies to fight with her but they at least had some sort of prior training. Though they weren't even close to be a match to the true Savaran soldiers.

"Of course they're ugly." One of the other men laughed. "Did you expect the Sun Prince's army to be made of Harem girls? Be glad that the Chalessian monstrosities are already gone girl." At that Yekta quickly turned and silenced them with a barked order.

They're not the armies of my master. She told herself, if the Sun Prince had truly returned she would know. She was one of the leaders of His cult, her master would tell her and her fellow cult leaders to make the necessary preparations if he had truly returned. Not simply throw His legions at everyone without rhyme or reason. The Prince wouldn't leave them in the dark. But if that twitter from the Imperial capital was true them the Starry Empress...

Yekta shook herself out of her thoughts and gripped her lance firmly. By this point the creatures were almost upon the infantry regiment, mostly composed of Dumakit tribesmen, who were doing an admirable job of maintaining ranks and discipline. The incessant whippings were finally getting to them it looked like.

As the two forces clashed Yekta turned to the assembled cavalry and bellowed:

"WITH ME RIDERS OF SUGHBEN! SMEAR THE GROUND WITH THEIR BLOOD!" And with that she spurred her armored warhorse forward. Behind her close to 50 heavily armored riders did the same. With war cries, chants and prayers they rode down the hill at full gallop, charging straight towards the mob of abominations. That by this point was making progress against the infantry through sheer force.

Yekta lowered her lance and steeled herself for the clash. By this point some of the creatures were already turning to face her band but it would do them little good without pikes or polearms in the rear of their formation.

The horsemen hit the rear of the enemy formation and kept driving through them like a wave, trampling and spearing the demons like they were mere dolls. Yekta's lance broke as the charge hit home, bending under the strain after impaling two of the snarling, plated abominations. The mace was in her hand even before they had hit the ground. She forced her horse to continue, stopping would only make herself vulnerable. Dealing heavy blows upon the head of any creature stupid enough to get too close she and her riders made their way through the enemy formation, now all but broken. Usually tactical doctrine dictated that the battle was won when the enemy formation broke for it was the prelude of a rout. But these things did not rout and in this case the doctrine advised disengaging and charging again. But this maneuver was for experienced troops and Yekta would not dare to try it with half of her own force should still be in the military academy. So the only thing left was to do it the old fashioned way and kill them all in melee.

Good news were that the cavalry charge was enough to turn the infantry fight around. Faced with enemies on two sides and now completely out of formation the beasts were being pushed back by the Sughbenid infantry. And between the infantry and heavy cavalry the creatures were now trying to escape encirclement through the left flank. No doubt intent on reforming their line.

"KEEP FIGHTING! DO NOT LET THEM ESCAPE! KILL! KILL! KILL!" Yekta bellowed as she bashed yet another head. A creature wielding a pole axe advanced upon her but Yekta's horse reared suddenly and kicked the beast before it could use its weapon. Another used the distraction to attack from behind and managed to land a glancing blow on Yekta, but it did not pass through her armor. The Shahzadeh quickly turned around and counter-attacked. The first blow of her mace sending the offending sword flying out of her foe's hands and the second destroying its head.

The fight was surely turning on the Shahdom's favor, and the appearance of another group of riders charging down through the entrance of the valley sealed the fate of the battle.

As the battle died down and the last enemy stragglers were being dealt with the commander of the second group of riders approached Yekta.

"As always it's a honor to fight by your side your grace." Captain Pharaj greeted with a short bow.

"And it's always nice to see that your habit of showing up just in time to steal the glory hasn't changed." Yekta replied and the two laughed. Pharaj was a solid officer and kind of a friend. Not too brilliant and ambitious but reliable and obedient. Yekta would have preferred to give his commission to a cult member but there were few cultists in military positions and most of them were already busy elsewhere.

"How do you think my career got so far?" He joked as he lifted his helmet, a simple conical model with an aventail covering his well groomed patrician features.

"By being a professional ass-kisser?" Yekta replied as she lifted her own helmet's mask, a finely crafted thing decorated with small jewels and carved to represent the divine visage of the Starry Empress. The two of them dismounted, using nearby footmen as stools, and approached each other.

"And your grace would know that better than anyone!" Pharaj smiled with pride. "Though I still think that the services I provided should have earned me a higher post." He added with feigned indignation.

"I've had better." Yekta replied dismissively. "All joking aside." She continued more seriously. "Weren't you supposed to be dealing with the band that razed the village of Kispharan?"

"And that we did your grace. My horses came upon them while they feasted on the remains of a caravan. They were too disorganized to put up a real fight." Pharaj replied with pride. "For once it was easier than I thought. And since we were done with our mission I figured that I could provide some help with your ambush."

"I had the entire situation under control." Yekta said, gesturing to the battlefield. "But your thoughtfulness is appreciated Captain."

"I live to serve." Pharaj replied with a flowery bow. It was then that a rider stopped his armored horse by the two officers and asked:

"Your grace, the enemy is finally vanquished. What are your orders?" Asked the rider. Yekta turned to him and replied.

"Secure any salvageable equipment and prepare our dead for burial rites, burn the creatures. Once that is done we return to camp. I still have much to do." Like trying to contact our Heavenly Master. The rider sped off to carry out her orders and Yekta gave a quick and worried glance towards the strange black and red sky.

Outside Ektan. Yekta's main camp

Bakhtar Zurvedah, one of Shazadeh Yekta's top aide-de-camp, glanced with uncertainty at the smiling Herbad dressed in the white robes of his order. He was flanked by two guards wearing scale cuirasses and white tunics. Behind him there was a boy and a few ornate chests.

"Once again my master sends his most sincere thanks for delivering us from the servants of the Brazen Bull." The Herbad said. "Mobad Jamshan sends these gifts to your mistress as a show of heartfelt gratitude." The Herbad gestured to the gifts and continued. "Myrrh, incense, silks and a young eunuch. You will not find more competent, obedient and trustworthy servant I assure you. He was one of the Mobad's personal servants you know? Trained by the slave masters to perfection. Her grace only needs to sign the official transfer papers."

Bakhtar eyed the eunuch suspiciously for a few moments before replying:

"I'm sure that the Shahzadeh will appreciate the gift of Mobad Jamshan. Please extend her gratitude to His Excellency and I will make sure to inform her grace about the paperwork."

The Herbad bowed and without further words left the room followed by his guards. Bakhtar spared the eunuch a glance. It was somewhat common for unwanted babies to end up sold to either slavers or the Starry Church. Bakhtar, himself being the bastard of a southern noble and a cleaning girl, almost had the same fate but fortunately for him his father recognized him. Which was enough to allow him to eventually start a life in the Savaran. Clearly this boy had no such luck.

"Mirhan!" Bakhtar shouted, summoning the chief servant of Yekta's household. In no time the half-Orc was already standing side by side with Bakhtar. "This eunuch and the chests now belongs to your mistress, take care of it."

The half-Orc nodded and motioned for other servants and slaves to carry the chests to the storage while he went to the eunuch and guided him away with a hand on his shoulder. Probably to interrogate the boy about his skills and give him the "talk" that every slave had once he or she received a new master. It wasn't Bakhtar's business anyway so he turned to one of the staff assistants that was supposed to deliver him reports about the situation in the camp before the Herbad interrupted them. He gestured for the assistant to resume.

"Ah...yes of course..."The assistant mumbled as he glanced at the reports in his hand and stroked his bushy red beard. "We had nine floggings, three of them were deserters, two rapists and a sun cultists. These ones have been hung and then impaled at the gates as instructed. The rest has already returned to their units." The assistant paused and Bakhtar gestured for him to continue.

"Seventh and fourth regiments have shown great improvements in the training field. And Amir Sulahi is demanding heavier armor for her regiment."

"Set aside alchemical rations for the fourth and seventh. And remind Amir Sulahi that her regiment is designated as medium cavalry and that she has received the adequate equipment for what will be expected of her and hers on the field." Bakhtar ordered and the assistant wrote it down before proceeding to the next point.

"Another band arrived early today. 70 tribesmen from the Dumakit hills, they've brought their own weaponry and armor though its quality is inferior to ours. And 25 of them are wounded due to encounters with the enemy during the travel."

"Issue them standard equipment and put them in the fifth regiment, it needs reinforcements after their time on the field."

"We've also found Mobad's Yasmin's party. Unfortunately the dark ones found them first. No reported survivors but we've managed to wipe out the band responsible."

"It could be worse." Bakhtar sighed. "The theological council is drawing all the higher ups in the Church hierarchy to Ektan. With the situation in the countryside its bound to happen that some won't make it." Personally Bakhtar understood the need for religious unity and to look for answers in this dark time. But couldn't the Mobads at least wait until the situation got under control before gathering to discuss it?

Gava-Rauka.

Arses checked the strength of the bonds for the third time. Solid steel crafted and enchanted by the Dwarves of Nibiru. No living being would be able to escape the examination table. But then again, the thing strapped to the table was not exactly living or natural by any means. With leathery skin black as the void and powerfully built frame, bands of these things suddenly appeared everywhere all across the Shahdom. And if the rumors were true, the entire world. Arses had spent a considerable amount of time and funds in convincing one of the local Captains to capture a living specimen for him to examine. Much to the chagrin of the religious authorities who simply declared these things the wicked servants of the Brazen Bull and called a day.

The fleshweaver couldn't give less of a fuck about what the accursed clergy thought of his little experiment. One needed to understand his enemy to be able to defeat it. And understand was exactly what Arses would do. Of course, to be honest there was some personal curiosity. Arses and his wife had together studied almost every single kind of living being currently alive within the frontiers of the Empire. From Lamias to Goblins, all had laid sedated on that very table while he and the love of his life satisfied their curiosity about the inner workings of their bodies.

Arses took a final deep breath through the thick linen mask covering the lower half of his face and adjusted the tight skull cap with his gloved hands, the thick leather gloves would make it somewhat harder for him to use his powers but he had no idea what kind of reaction the internal fluids of this thing would cause on him so it was better not risk. For the same reason he had a leather apron over his usual work vests.

The fleshweaver's attention was caught by the heavy wooden door of the room opening. He turned immediately to remind the guard that he would not suffer any interruptions when he noticed that it was simply his lovely wife.

"You've started without me?" She asked, a smile gracing her broad face.

"Just because I thought you would be busy with the twins." Arses replied with a smile of his own.

"I was but Kathra made a little mistake with the training slave and the two ended up covered in blood and other bodily fluids." She replied with a sigh. "I don't know what their tutors are teaching them, that was a rookie mistake. I don't even know why we bother paying the Academy."

"Even the best can make mistakes sometimes dear." Arses replied with a chuckle. "Or do I need to remind you about that time you almost turned Mahoud impotent?" His wife merely huffed and turned to the dresser in the wall to put on some more appropriate gear for the operation.

"You will be glad to know that the slave is still alive, thanks to me I might add, in terrible pain and begging for death but alive." She said as she approached the table. "Give two or three days and he should be ready to be used again."

"I do hope so." Arses replied. "Rodhak Farrukhazid, you burn through them too fast. If you keep up like that the city's prison will run empty. And I'm not paying for you to experiment on good slaves."

"You pay? I can buy my own slaves!" Rodhak replied indignantly. "And I should start doing that anyways. At least then I won't have to depend on luck to find a good specimen, or have to return to that dreadful prison."

"Really? I thought you loved the prison? considering your line of work when we met." Arses joked as his wife positioned herself on the other side of the table.

"You're a despicable man Arses!" Rodhak said in feigned shock. "It's not polite to talk about a lady's past, did your mother never told you that?"

"Despicable me? You and your brother were the ones torturing merchants for protection money when we met." Arses retorted with a chuckle.

"No sir. Me and my brother were merely collecting donations for the city guard. How dare you imply that the Champion of Sughben and his sister are anything but completely reputable and honored citizens of this great realm?" His wife joked back. The two shared a quick laugh and with a wordless glance started their work on the sedated hellish being strapped to the exam table.

Arses was the firs to act. Magic essence flowing through his arm and into his left hand, he carefully opened the monster's belly. The beast's reaction was merely to quicken its respiration. And not for the first time he was thankful for the existence of potent sedatives.

"This..."Rodhak started with a gasp. "This thing's muscle density is completely abnormal." Her interest picked she then proceed to open her way to the thing's internal systems. A bit more forcefully than Arses would've advised but that was just how Rodhak got when excited.

"It looks like nothing we've ever seen before. There's no apparent relation with any other kind of internal systems that I've ever seen before." Rodhak exclaimed, surprise and excitation clear in her voice.

"I don't recognize anything either." Arses replied, mesmerized by the internal configuration of the monster's body. His strange organs still beating and working despite the intrusion.

"Wait, I think this is the heart." Rodhak indicated to a beating mass of flesh and muscles almost diagonal in shape. "I wanna see what's inside!" Rodhak's hands were above the organ and before his husband could move to stop it she had already opened it. Releasing a poof of black smoke that made the two jump backwards in surprise and fear.

After a few minutes waiting for something to happen Arses finally spoke:

"Just to be sure we should purify the mansion. This room in particular."

His wife merely nodded as she carefully returned to her position by the table, Arses soon followed. By this point the creature was already dead. Or at least it had stopped breathing and its internal systems had stopped beating, plus it also lacked a pulse.

"You killed it..."Arses finally said as he looked to the fresh cadaver on the table. "Do you have any idea how much trouble was to get one alive? Now we will have to preserve it, but even then it won't be like examining a live specimen." He then turned to his wife, whose expression was unreadable due to the mask. "Look, I'm not angry with you dear. I'm just disappointed, I thought we've had already talked about this. You still need to control your impulses better." Rodhak merely slumped her shoulders and started at her feet.

"I will try better next time." She replied dejectedly. "It's just that it has been so long since we've had done something like that, just the two of us discovering new things together. I couldn't control myself, sorry."

"Why don't we study the genitals before starting the preservation process. Will that cheer you up dear?" Arses asked, he really couldn't resist that tone, and Rodhak nodded happily as she moved closer to the crotch area.



Messages from the Shahdom

To Emperor George “Iron Will” Heinrich, Leader of the Mortal Empire of Jerrovia, General of Imperial Force, Administrator of Law.

Our condolences for your loss Your Imperial Highness. We gladly echo your pleads for unity and thank you for your support in the from of Governor Arrow. Rest assured that we shall do our best to support you once means allow it.

To Challessian Realm

Our deepest condolences for the great calamities that have befallen your nation. We suffer to realize that we're unable to provide our old ally with any kind of substantial support for now besides encouraging words and the promise that we shall ride to your support as soon as we're able. Please rest assured that the masses of Challessian refugees in our nation are being taken care of to the best of our abilities.

The Bonelands

In these dark times we ask you to forget our differences for the moment and unite our forces to purge the enemy that threatens our homes and way of life. What say you?
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Crabmeat
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Crabmeat

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Two days ago.

Toltegin Hills, Elymea Satrapy, Shahdom


The desert winds skirted the ridge of the escarpment. The cliff, bared by centuries of erosion to its stratal framework, marked the horizon between the wastelands and the starry sky, kindred in their vast and largely empty space. The sands rolled endlessly on into the night like the waves of some dead ocean. It was cold.

A lone silhouette traversed the rock, defined by starlight. The camel bore two humps and a rider on a saddle between with various pouches attached. The beast's shaggy coat grew in tufts over its hooves, muffling its passage and distorting its prints. All that could be heard was the wind.

In the distance ahead rose the undulant mountains.

* * * * *

The hills howled at the rider. The headwind impeded the camel's passage and billowed dust and sand into its face. The camel marched on with its head lowered to the ground.

Time and space warped around the rider in the eye of the storm. After what may have been minutes or many hours, the camel emerged from the sand stream and knelt gracefully down. Its rider dismounted and walked a few paces before stopping at the head of a mound of earth and sand. The figure bent and dug.

* * * * *

The skeleton lay with its arms crossed on its ribcage. An assortment of trinkets and a tattered waterskin surrounded the corpse. It is said he who sleeps eternal in the desert will need water on his way. The skin was long dry.

The gravedigger retrieved something silver from beside the body's skull. The hand paused by the bony face. The rider shifted the object to their far fingers and touched thumb and index to cheekbone. They delicately traced the runes etched deep, like a sculptor admiring his finished work.

Meanwhile, in the northeastern Bonelands

The crone awoke. Her legs had gone numb from falling asleep crosslegged again. She massaged her haunches, watching her callused hand work. When had she gotten so old? She could not feel any familiarity for this flesh despite how long ago it had lost its youthful suppleness. She sighed.

Before the crone lay a large copper wok. In it were scattered the bones of small mammals and birds, beaks, kidney stones, fragments of charcoal, sandstone and quartz. To the untrained eye they appeared randomly assorted but to the oracles of the desert they were a map to the future. Each article could be interpreted in hundreds of ways in relation to where it fell in the wok and its proximity to other objects. It takes decades for even the most gifted young oracle to master the arts of divination it is told, and the crone was the oldest.

People came from far across the sands to seek her guidance, to ask whether their wives would birth many children or if their livestock would prosper. She was their shepherd.

The cold and the silence of the camp told the elder it was late night. She drew her furs closer and gathered up her materials. She released them as she had countless times before and observed as they clattered off the metal pan in all directions.

What she saw sent a chill up her spine so cold the desert night would envy. The crone rose with a speed she had not achieved in almost half a century. She hobbled to the portal and threw open the flap of the hut.

"DARK ONES! DAR..."

The elder fell as an arrow sprouted from her side. Sometimes the path is too dark to see the dagger till it sits in your belly.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Monkeypants
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Monkeypants

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Chalessian Realm


How did it come to this ..

Shadowy figures roam the lands.. Is there anyone who can stop it? That question was absent in the hamlet of Hal'yan... A quiet place that had suffered greatly during the great war. Every home affected and only four adult males out of fifty returned home.

Their emotion seemed to paint the sky when it went black. Among the population a hooded figure crept towards the towns homely inn. As the figure entered, an older man acting as inn keeper slowly reached for a dagger hidden under his counter.

"May I help you?" He said, gazing hard at the figure.

He made out Long and roughly braided ginger hair. The shadowed face was slowly revealed as feminine hands pulled down the hood.

As the hood fell, the Elf 'Fay' was brought into the light. Her long ginger hair flowed down onto her shoulders but much was still bunched up in the back of her hood. Her slender body was further accentuated by the damaged, but still tight leather. Her fair face had been tinged by the dirt and sweat from multiple battles.

As strong and deadly as she may be, her stature wasn't as imposing as her hooded form portrayed. She stepped forward and stared the man in the eyes, trying read him.

After the thousand yard stare ended, Fay knew there was no threat here, she knew this as the keeper released the dagger he had hidden. "My lady, may I help you?" He said kindly.

She turned to examine the small establishment before looking back to the inn keeper, "ill take a room."

The man rose his hands, "I trust you aren't here to cause any trouble here." He paused and sighed heavily, "This place has already suffered from that enough."

"Sorry for your loss.." She said plainly. There wasn't much sincerity in her words but the man took what he could get.

"Alright. Its the first room on the right." He said with a hint of depression. She shot him a confused look before he spoke once more, "I think you're the first person that has rented a room since the war."

Fay said nothing but rather gave a subtle nod before walking towards the room. As she shut the door, the sound of chanting outside caught her ears. "Can't a girl get some fucking sleep?" She said before walking to the lone window in the room.

As the young elf gazed out, her eyes witnessed what would be the most depressing sight, Women and Children carrying candles towards a makeshift grave yard. Fay's heart sank but she started towards the bed. She knew the horrors of war and that there will always be casualties.

At least she tried to find comfort in that.

****


Was there no peace? No reprieve from the death and destruction?

Fay jolted from her sleep. The room was quiet as was the outside. No crickets, no wind.. It was as if the ambient sound had been turned off. Only the sound of her own breath kept her from thinking she had become deaf.

She was awake now with no idea how long she had slept, enough to not be tired at least. "So.. How about it mister murder death, ready to go?" She said whilst staring at her ornate bow.

She pursed her lips and spoke in a lower tone, "hot damn, lets kill us something!" It was mere moments before Fay was ready to go seeing as she had slept in her clothes.

As Fay started towards the door, she noticed spots of blood on the ground, forcing her suspicion. Her bow was slung around her back only to be replaced by a foot long elven blade. She slowly opened the door and leaned out to get a better view..

"what... The fuck."

In front of her, a skinless effigy hung over head, the inn keeper, rather what was left of him, dangled from the ceiling. "He was such a nice guy." Fay said, trying her hardest to keep calm. Sadly, it wouldn't hold up as she walked into the main room...

Corpses... Men, women, children. No discrimination had occurred here, all were equally torn to shreds. "Oh My." She said as she placed her free hand over her heart. It wasn't long before her eyes started to tear up.

She didn't get any real chance to mourn before shadows moved past the window. She snuck behind the counter and readied her bow, leaning just enough to get a clear shot at the door. As if on queue, the door swung open to reveal what she had only seen once before.. Two creatures from the darkness.

Fay's eyes shot wide open and her face started overflowing with anger as she saw the beast toss a woman's head into the room as If it were a piece of simple trash. The creature only realized she was there a second before one of Fay's ghostly arrows pinned it by its head to the door.

She scowled as the other began to howl, to alert the others. Fay dispatched the second foe before jumping fully behind the counter. "lets see if those bitches like this." She withdrew a strange dull orange ball, just big enough to fit in her palm, and tossed it towards the door.

Within seconds, four more stormed the door. Below them, a clanking sound came from the ball, a prelude of the horror that was Fay's arsenal. The ball split open, and a cloud of dark red gas erupted from within.

The creatures screamed in pain as the gas rapidly melted their bodies. She gave a devilish smirk as the bodies settled, well.. The puddles settled.

"That's right, assholes." She said with a smile before making her way to the ball which had closed into its sphere shape once more. She placed her hand upon the ball, causing it to glow faintly for a moment before she returned it to her cloak.

After close to an hour of waiting, she was now confident that there were no more creatures lurking and ventured outside. All she saw was emptiness, no movement.. No smoke from the hamlets chimneys, this place was truly dead.

Fay decided to cremate the remains so she lit a fire inside the inn. As she left, the sky behind her turned a faint orange as the rest of the hamlet caught fire.

Fay started to run towards a tree line but not before saying aloud, "I bet that bull thing, 'Freg' or some shit had something to do with this." She then said angrily, "If he did, I swear ill turn him into a fucking coat."

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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by solamelike
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George.
I hope that this letter finds you. The situation in Gattania has become unstable, the population is in chaos and emperor Mast has been unable to handle the situation cleanly, those that are not killed by these dark beings are slain by the royal guard who have kept allegiance with the emperor. The church has slipped out of my control, and the country has been split on whether the dark being's are the kind ones doings or that of an evil force. I am safe, but I have a long journey ahead of me.

I will see you soon.

Skyler
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Goldeagle1221
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George turned from Reginald to his sister that laid in his arms. The prince looked up at the hooded figure of the Precursor, “how! How can I save her?”

A sigh broke from the hood of the Precursor and his perfect fingers reached up and pulled it down. George’s grey eyes immediately were locked onto the sun light iris’s of the Precursor. A burning sensation pricked the back of George’s mind and strange words seared into his mind’s eye.

Instructions, George concluded as he shut his eyes. Briefly after closing his eyes from the Precursor, he felt a soft breeze cool the burns in the back of his mind.

“Listen, but don’t open your eyes,” the Precursor’s voice echoed from in front of him, George’s eyelids hiding the rune covered figure from his mind.

“Take heed on what this man has to say, Hinan,” the booming voice of Freg thundered off to the side. George silently nodded, blind as a bat. Only the wind that swirled under the dark crimson sea of a sky, the scent of burning ash in the distance, and the weight of his sister in his arms reminded him that he was still in reality.

“There is a blade in your sister’s belly,” the precursor stated, and George gritted his teeth, frustrated with the obvious observation. Images flooded his mind of what Josephine might look like in his arms right now, and a cold sweat started to form on his brow.

“But it is not a normal blade,” the Precursor continued, snagging George’s attention once more. In the darkness of his closed eyes George could hear his heartbeat thump in his ears and swell his throat with emotion, but he could also hear a soft exhale escape the lips of the Precursor.

“It is a very special blade, one of immense power and magic. Josephine is alive solely because of the blades power. Any normal being would be dead after being struck with an open wound for so long and at the loss of so much blood.”

It felt like a hammer was whacking George’s chest with each word the Precursor mentioned, and the corners of his eyes stung with the onset of tears.

“I can’t lose her- I can’t lose my sister,” George nearly whimpered.

An unknown hand laid itself on George’s shoulder, and gripped with sympathy.

“The blade will render her soul and kill her once it exits her,” the Precursor continued, each word pounding in George’s head. “Should you push the blade into the wound however, so that the pommel is inside of her, read the inscription on the end of the blade and she will be spared the blade’s magic and live. A safe mark the crafter of the blade made incase it ever fell into the wrong hands.”

A sudden flutter of hope tickled George’s stomach, but then the Precursors words snapped quickly, “But! The blade will be destroyed, cursed to reincarnate it’s power somewhere else, at an unknown time.”

George’s eyes shifted under his lids and he made a face, a warm trickle traveling down the side of his nose, “I just want my sister.”

“But you also need the blade, we need the blade,” The Precursor said solemnly, “you see, this blade is the key to fixing what events have been put into motion, this blade is needed to end a war so ancient that my mind can barely remember it. We need the blade, or Jerrovia will be no more, none will be any.”

“But my sister! Josephine!” George roared, his eyes splitting open. His eyes frantically studied the serious and gloomy golden skinned face of the precursor. George’s head pulsed with a headache and even as the burning words returned, his thick emotion caused him to ignore it as he stared the ancient man down, “but my sister.”

“She…” the Precursor was forced to look down from George’s gaze, “I have no words, nor can I bring myself to force you to do anything.”

The hand on George’s shoulder tightened and he looked over to the face of Das. The elf’s amber eyes darted at Josephine then back at George, before the elf nodded slowly, “for Jerrovia.”

A soft voice broke from Reginald, “remember your father’s mistake, and remember what you swore to me as a young boy.”

George looked down at the limp feminine body in his arms and tears began to fall on her shirt, “my sister.”

George fell onto his behind with a loud thump, cradling Josephine in his arms. He lifted his arms up, bringing her to eye level. Her soft lashes covered her sapphires, and a small crinkle marred her small nose. George hiccuped on a wash of tears and slowly brought his forehead against hers, feeling the sickly lukewarm temperature of her fair skin. He brought one hand to catch her limp fingers and threaded them together into a clasp. A soft pulse warmed across Josephine’s otherwise clammy fingers and her hand slightly closed onto his, giving him a miniscule barely noticeable squeeze that felt to him like a full hearted hug.

“I’m sorry,” George whispered, closing his eyes as his fingers slowly let go of her hand, letting it fall back to her side.

“I’m so sorry,” George sobbed as his hand traveled her wet stomach to the protruding and uncomfortably warm handle of the knife. He weakly wrapped his hand around the handle, and with a tug he felt the resistance of Josephine’s body, her mouth opening as if it was to protest.

“I’m sorry Josephine!” George roared, and with another tug he slowly started to pull out the knife. George cried loudly over his sister as he pulled, and pulled, the knife’s blade coming out longer and longer than it ever was before it was stabbed into her, until finally with one final tug, a brilliant golden full length sword covered in markings was in George’s hand, held high above the pair.

Josephine’s mouth slowly wobbled close, and her voice hummed as one final breath blew out of her pale pink lips. The sword fell to the ground with a loud clang as George dropped it in favor of pulling his sister against himself. His body vibrated and heaved as he wept over her lifeless form.

Das knelt beside George as he cried, and with pursed lips and sad eyes, he pulled a white square out of his pocket, “my… Emperor…”

George looked up from the golden nest of Josephine’s hair, his eyes a beat red around dark grey irises, and pink streams of irritation followed the trail of tears down his cheeks and stubbled chin.

Das slowly unfolded the paper and slipped it in between George’s fingers that clasped Josephine. George lifted his hand up and quietly read the paper. It was in his handwriting; it was the note he had left Josephine the night of her wedding. It read:

Feel better in the morning, I do love you and wish for happy days from this point on.


And underneath was quickly scribbled in Josephine’s neater hand, I love you too. Tears fell onto the note with soft taps, darkening the white paper with rings from the droplets, and George closed his eyes once more, as his heart thundered in his ears and a sick hollow wind froze his chest and turned his boiling stomach.

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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Darkspleen
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Ivlada, Xoskea


“Um…. my lord are you feeling well? I’ve heard the north is much… drier than here” Rhia asked as she and Kambujya moved through one of the many corridors of the Xoskean royal palace. The sounds of falling water hitting the ground and trees outside made for a soothing atmosphere. She had barely met the nobleman from the Shahdom when Xoskea had become embroiled by a civil war of sorts, although from what she had heard there had, thus far, been a minimal loss of life.

“I appreciate your worry my dear.” Kambujya replied with a relaxed smile. “But I’m fine, the Palace of the Celestial Empress was built over several natural water sources and my people have long perfected ways of redirecting the wind through clever architecture. So the change of location wasn’t noticeable.” He paused and looked back towards the ever constant presence of his Orc bodyguard. “And what about you Yazen? Does the weather of your new home bothers you?” The Orc remained silent, with his eyes focused on watching the surroundings for any possible danger.

“I am glad to hear that. I’ve heard some foreigners call it… muggy before.” She paused in front of a door and turned to look at Kambujya. They had been summoned by Princess-Regent Cressida, but for what purpose Rhia hadn’t the slightly clue. “Um… Have you met the princess-regent before?” She asked after a moment, tugging on a lock of blonde hair as she shifted her gaze from Kambujya to Yazen and then back again.

“We have been formally introduced.” Kambujya replied with some hesitation. “But nothing else besides that.” He shook his head a little bit and then smiled to his new wife. “I wouldn’t worry though. Surely she means us no harm if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“I…” She began to twirl her hair as she continued “don’t know her that well.” She took a deep breath before asking “Well shall we?” She knocked on the door lightly, so light that she barely made a sound. She had to knock on it a second and then third time before putting enough force behind to actually get a response.

“Come in” Princess-Regent Cressida said from beyond the door.

Rhia gave Kambujya a sheepish smile before opening the door and saying “After you my lord.”

“If you insist my dear.” Kambujya smiled back as he walked into the room. “What can we do for your grace today?” He asked loudly as he stopped to give a short bow to the Princess-Regent.

“It's good to see you” Cressida said as she shifted her gaze from the massive map sprawled out on the table before her to Kambujya. The map was covered by various wooden figures representative of the soldiers dispersed throughout the countryside. Even a cursory glance revealed that those who aligned with Cressida were not in a good position.

“Has your stay been pleasant enough?” The princess-regent asked.

“The land of Xoskea has provided me with nothing but endless pleasure and joy your grace.” Kambujya replied with a large smile followed by a flowery bow.

“Good” Cressida said with a nod. “I was about to send the two of you away, given the situation here, but then I received a very… interesting letter from the Emperor. I’m summoning the entire royal family here for a council.”

“Does that mean that the… is it over?” Rhia asked as she came alongside Kambujya.

“Perhaps.” Cressida said after a moment. “The reason I summoned you two today, however, is I have a request for you.” She kept her gaze on Kambujya. “I was hoping you would be willing to serve as a… foreign witness of sorts during this council. Can I ask this of you?”

“I would be delighted to be of use your grace.” Kambujya replied, clasping his hands together in excitement and deciding to ignore the part about sending them away. For the moment.

“I’m in your debt” Cressida rendered a bow, a shallow one. “The dark lady willing we can put this matter behind us so we can deal with the real issues. I’ve received reports that things aren’t looking too bright in your homeland. And of course there’s the incursion in the Imperial Provinces. And now I’m getting weird reports about one of our towns here in Xoskea.” The lamia let out a long sigh. “Too many issues.”

“Such are the burdens of leadership your grace.” Kambujya said in a somber tone. “But I’m sure you shall prove more than able to tackle and solve this issues efficiently.”

“I appreciate the sentiment.” She paused before adding “You may want to discuss your marriage with Isolda and Xylia once they arrive in the capital.”

“As you wish your grace.” Kambujya replied with another short bow. “Anything else you wish of us?”

“No. You may leave now.” Cressida said before returning her attention to the massive map.

“Of course your grace” Rhia mumbled before turning for the door.

“It was a pleasure.” Kambujya bowed again and turned to follow his future wife.

“I...I apologize if that was awkward for you” Rhia said after they had traveled some distance away from the room. She began to play with her hair, but stopped and clasped her hands in front of her.

“I’ve had worse.” Kambujya replied in a reassuring tone. “My mother was always pretty strict about ceremony and traditions.” He turned to Rhia and continued with a small smile. “You know, once I completed seven years she actually told me to stop calling her mother? She said that I was old enough to learn how to address people properly. Of course, I never actually got the hang of it”

Rhia let out a soft chuckle. “Mother was the exact opposite. She’d always tell me not to be so polite with her, at least when we were alone.” The young lamia paused to stare out a nearby window. “I hope she’s alright” The young lamia almost whispered, thoughts of her mother drawing her eyes towards the northern border.

“I’m sure that if something happened you would already know.” Kambujya replied while placing a hand on her shoulder. “Bad news travel fast.”

Rhia noded slowly before shifting her gaze to the ground before her. “I’m sure you’re right my lord.” Her gaze remained on the ground for a while, before she turned to look at Kambujya. “I’m sorry; surely you have more on your mind than I do.”

“Whatever my problems may be, they aren’t more important than yours.” Kambujya said evenly. “And for the record I’m also worried about my mother and the whole Shahdom.” He sighed as he turned from the window. “But the whole world is in chaos and the only thing I can do at the moment is hope for the best. If I let my worries overwhelm me I won’t be doing anyone any favors.”

“I’m sorry” Rhia placed her hand over his. “It must be so aggravating to worry about your homeland while mine is too busy bickering to help anyone.”

“It is frustrating I admit.” Kambujya replied as he turned back towards Rhia. “But as I said: there’s nothing I can do about it so why worry? If we survive great. If we don’t let’s just enjoy the time we have.”

“Couldn’t you try to speak to the nobles here? Convince them to send some help or… something?” Rhia turned away, her face turning red.

“I’ve thought about it…”Kambujya started hesitantly. “But I’m a foreigner here. I have no influence or power base. And I’m not intimate enough with really anyone to try something. In my current situation I’m nothing more than your trophy husband.” He finished with a chuckle.

“Oh.” Rhia quietly said as she looked at the ground. “I’m sorry.”

Jaaxta, Xoskea


Some things simply defied logic and Jaaxta was currently one of those things. The lamia soldiers who surrounded the city kept a more than respectful distance away from what was, for all intents and purposes, a ghost town. Calling the situation wierd would be a grave injustice. Jaaxta, a somewhat major city in the northern region of Xoskea served as a trade hub between the country and the Imperial Provinces and the Delta. In a sense it was the most important city in Xoskea when only trade was considered. Perhaps just as important was its use as a defensive fortification. If one wanted to march a large army from the Imperial capital to the Xoskean capital of Ivlada that army would have to pass through Jaaxta. There was another reason why the city was so important. If the city had come under the influence of either Isolda or Xylia the capital, and thus Cressida, would have been put in an impossible situation and essentially forced to surrender. The civil war would be over with minimal loss of life.

Of course when soldiers loyal to Countess Isolda arrived they were greeted by a strange blue mist and not a sound from the city itself. Stranger still birds flying over the city flew noticeably slower, impossibly slow. When a few curious soldiers tried to fire arrows or lob rocks towards the city they noticed that their missiles slowed in a similar fashion. The commander on sight decided to surround the city and prevent anything from entering or leaving it while she sent word to Isolda. She could only hope that the situation didn’t change for the worse.

George’s Battle Camp, The Imperial Provinces


“Your Highness,” Euphemia said as she entered George’s tent, “may we bother you for a moment of your time.” Nicia, a relative of hers that had come to the Imperial Provinces at the same time she had, was right next to her. After the fall of the capital Nicia always seemed to be by Euphemia’s side. “We…” Euphemia pursed her lips.

“Princess-Regent Cressida is summoning all members of the royal family home for a council” Nicia said after a sigh.

George lifted his face from a small knee high desk, a quill that was stuck to his face clattered to the hardwood as he looked over the pair with blood strained eyes.

He cleared his throat, feeling the gunk of a cold nap clogging his esophagus, “leaving are you?”

“Only if you allow it” Euphemia answered. “I feel I can do more good seeing your will done in Xoskea than here. For a while at least.”

Nicia shrugged before adding “Seems your request got through to Cressida and the others. Countess Isolda and Archpriestess Xylia have already stated their intent to go to the council.” She paused for a moment before adding “It's a pity things won’t work out the way you want them to.”

George’s eyes narrowed, “do you think that they are working just to my plans now? As if I wanted all this to happen? Do you think I enjoyed this?”

The Emperor stood up, nearly brushing his shaggy long black hair on the tent’s cloth, “say what you have to say.”

“Not another word” Euphemia said as Nicia opened her mouth. Something in Euphemia’s tone caused the other lamia to quickly and quietly shut her mouth. There was a moment of silence before Euphemia continued “Your Highness, I will do everything in my power to see that order is restored in Xoskea and that you have access to the troops and resources you need. With that in mind I ask that you allow me to negotiate on your behalf.”

“Do whatever you need to do, I trust you to it,” George said, nearly grumbling as he plopped back down on his cushiony bed roll.

“I see” Euphemia responded in her usual monotone voice. “And if I must make a sacrifice of Baroness Cressida to achieve our goals…?” Her voice trailed off.

George glared at Euphemia, not so much for what she had said, but for how she had said it, “I do not want any harm to come to Cressida.” He nearly whispered his words.

“Nor do I” Euphemia replied. “But I need to know what you consider to be an acceptable loss.”

The Emperor opened his palms and his arms as if pleading someone, his face dumb-struck by Euphemia’s words, “Wha- ah… What more should I lose.”

“Should the Xoskeans be that greedy as to ignore the pleads of their Emperor to work together in such times, then I’m not sure how loyal they truly are to decency,” George narrowed his grey eyes, “I have given Isolda her duchy and a voice in politics, I gave Xylia her passion to rule over Xoskea, and I put Cressida in the best position for her military brilliance, should they ask for more, then shouldn’t I be asking them what they, not I,”

“But what THEY consider ACCEPTABLE,” George slammed his fist onto the desk, causing it to jump into the air by the blow.

Euphemia stared at George with wide eyes. She wasn’t cowering, not quite, but she had certainly backed up enough that Nicia was now the closer of the two lamias to George. Nicia, for her part, simply stared at the Emperor. “I don’t believe it's a matter of greed” Nicia said after a moment. “Instead it is one of trust. Simply put: I doubt Isolda and Xylia will be able to trust Cressida, not after she has bent, possibly even broken, our laws in order to prevent an election from taking place. An election, I might add, that she fears will result in a Xoskean succession from the Empire.”

Euphemia took a deep breath before saying “I will do what I can in your name. I… meant no disrespect your highness, I simply wanted to know what options I were in fact real options.”

George exhaled and waved his hand, “do whatever you want and need to do,” his voice sounded defeated.

“Anything, just keep Xoskea together. I fear that otherwise, they will not survive this invasion. Ignore my outbursts and do all you can,” The Emperor folded his hands between his knees and inhaled deeply, “go, go and save your home.”

“Of course your Highness” Euphemia swept into a low bow before exiting the tent. Nicia remained where she was, her brows furrowed.

“If you wish I can remain here to help in whatever little way I can” The lamia said after a moment. “Perhaps my blades will do a bit more good here then in the south.”

“I’ll leave that decision up to you,” George looked up at the snake woman, “either way, you will be seeing action.”

“If you say so” She said with a shrug before making her exit as well.

Before the tent flap could even fall back into place a guard pushed it to the side and reported “Your Highness, we’ve found her.”

George stood up and straightened his wrinkled tunic, stepping over the small desk he scratched the black stubble on his chin, “send her in.”

“Umm…. the thing is she won’t let any of us approach her and she won’t respond to us.” The guard bashfully replied, his eyes dropping to George’s feet. “And I… uh.. I think she may be injured.”

George swung his dusty red cape over his shoulders and stormed out of the tent, merely muttering, “bring me to her.”

“Of course. This way your Highness” The guard answered, leading the way towards the northern fringe of the camp. It didn’t take long to spot Sophia as well as several clusterings of soldiers and guards who, while keeping quite a respectful distance between them and her, had more or less encircled her.

“She… does something whenever one of us tries to approach. I’m not quite sure how to describe it.” The guard stated. “Its almost like the ground around her is made of ice or something. Except…” His voice trailed off as he gestured towards the ground which, visually, appeared to be normal.

George looked at the ground then up at his father’s old concubine, She had certainly been a beautiful woman while at Wilhelm’s side, and she still possessed much of her beauty, but the past month had obviously taken its toll on her. Various small cuts marred her fair face and hands. Her red hair was a tangled mess and seemed to have lost its luster. Perhaps worse of all were her eyes, which seemed almost to be devoid of light. And then there was the trickle of blood that ran down her arm, the source of the wound somewhere on her shoulder.

“Sophia!” George yelled, nearly cringing as he realized that this was perhaps the first time he had ever called her that.

Sophia turned her head slightly, as if she had heard some distant unknown sound, but otherwise failed to respond. Even so a couple of the soldiers let out a quiet cheer. It was the first response anyone had managed to elicit from her since she had returned to the encampment.

“I heard she took out a fair number of the bastards today” The guard whispered. “Saved a good number of us in the process.”

George all but ignored the guards idle chatter as he started to approach the lamia with urgency. He had taken no more than a few steps when Sophia quickly locked her gaze onto him and reached out with a hand, a look of anger spread across her face. She held the look for a moment before holding both arms out to him as if to beckon him, her anger melding to joy.

George marched up to Sophia, waving a hand to dismiss his troops back to their important duties as he approached. As she became inside his arms reach, he shot out his hands and laid them gently on her shoulders. He started at her silently and intently for a half of a second before collapsing his arms and pulling her into an embrace.

She returned the embrace, her mouth opening and closing quietly several time before she pulled away from him. Her eyes seemed to have regained some of the light they had lost while she looked at him. A warm smile spread across her face as she reached up and touched his face with a bloody hand.

George loosened her hand from his face by taking it in his own, removing the metallic stench of blood from around his nose, “how deep is your wound?”

She tilted her head to the side slightly, a look of confusion spreading across her face. After a moment she looked at her wounded shoulder, her brows furrowing. She seemed to consider something for a moment before sticking a finger from her free hand right into the wound.

George pointed to a soldier and with a simple hand motion, the troop knew to grab a medic. The Emperor turned back to Sophia and tugged on her hand gently, “we should retire to my tent and wait for the doctor.”

She seemed to consider what George said for a moment before mouthing the word “Chess”.

“Let’s go,” George said, with a grim undertone at the mention of chess.
She nodded slightly before linking her arm in his, allowing him to lead the way. As the two moved through the camp she looked around as if it was her first time seeing it, despite having passed through the camp many times before. When they finally arrived at their destination she detached herself from George and moved to the corner of the tent. A frown spread across her face as she bent over and began to draw seemingly meaningless symbols in the dirt with her finger.

George tapped Sophia’s shoulder and handed her his quill that was lying on the ground after it had been shaken from the desk by George’s earlier outburst. He snatched the half spilt inkwell from the same area and placed it on the desk, next to his parchment.

Soon after a robed man burst through the flap of the tent, hands glowing with shimmering magic. George simply watched in silence as the man approached the bleeding Lamia, already seemingly filled in on what needed to be done. Sophia seemed to be completely oblivious of the man’s existence as she examined the quill George had handed her. After a moment she brought the quill’s point to her hand and began writing on her palm, a smile spread across her face as the sensation of the quill touching her tickled her. While she occupied herself the robed man quickly set to work on her shoulder, cleaning the wound and wrapping her shoulder in a bandage. He then checked her as thoroughly as he could without disturbing her, finding and bandaging a wound on her bicep.

“You may want to take a look at this” The robed man said after checking over Sophia one more time, his eyes widening slightly at the sight of what she was writing on herself. He bowed quickly and excused himself.

Sophia, still oblivious to the fact that the man had even been present in the first place, ignored his words and departure. She contented herself with her writing, drawing words and symbols from a variety of languages neatly on her arm, having run out of room on her palm.

George leaned over Sophia and watched her write. He placed a calloused finger on her wrist, pressing lightly onto one of the symbols, “what does this mean?”

“Many things” Sophia whispered. “Death, loss, decay. The ancient words of my homeland.” She paused in her writing to look at George. “Alone it means those things, together it means something else.”

“What?” George asked as he traced the symbols with his finger, making sure he didn’t recognize any of them.

“Me. I. The existence of a person.” She said, pointing to the symbol in front of the ‘death’ symbol. She traced her finger along her arm, stopping at another symbol. “The religion of the dark one.” She tilted her head to the side slightly, seemingly lost in thought. Several symbols down she wrote the word Xoskea.
George laid his palm on her forearm and covered a handful of the symbols with his hand, “why?”

“I killed them all.” She quietly answered. “All of them. All of them there. Save one.”

“Are you sick?” George asked, what warmth of a familiar face among enemies and destruction that had fought the chill of the recent event’s seemed to dissipate.

“Are not all kinslayers ill?” Sophia asked after a moment.

George narrowed his eyes and he let go of Sophia’s arms. He opened his mouth, but then closed it, feeling only heated words in his throat.

“Not all,” George quietly disagreed.

Sophia tilted her head to the side as she listened to George before commenting “That is what she tells me sometimes. But then she…” She trailed off, her eyes seeming to focus on nothing in particular.

A sudden fact slapped George across the face, ignoring the very peculiar response to his disagreement for a moment as he stuttered, “w-wait… You’re talking.”

Sophia’s eyes focused on George, a puzzled look spreading across her face. “Yes I am” She agreed after a moment.

“You were mute,” George simply stated.

Sophia blinked twice, her lips forming a frown. “That reminds me of her. Yes, yes her. I wish she would speak to me.”

“You don’t make much sense,” George sighed as he crossed his arms.

“I suppose not” Sophia crossed her arms as well. “Nor did they. Nor she, the last of them!” She paused for a moment, her eyes suddenly widening. “Oh! But she is no longer the last of them. She’s dead! But was she ever one of them, or just using them?”

“Please,” the Emperor said softly as he brought a hand up to his temple, “what are you trying to tell me.”

“The Nachtists in Xoskea!” Sophia burst out. “I killed them! All of them save one! But now that one is gone too! Killed in the fighting of the South! She was not family but they listened to her. And now they are all gone.”

“Who?”

“Who? Did I not tell you? All of them!”

“I mean the specific one you were just mentioning, ‘she’,” George reiterated.

“The steward?” Sophia asked after a moment’s pause.

“No, the one with a name,” George suddenly felt a circle starting to form in the conversation, “as in… what is her name?”

“Of course the steward has a name.” Sophia stated. “Countess Taryn, the steward of Xoskea.” She nodded to herself. “Yes, but I’ve heard she’s gone now.”

“Alright then,” George nodded, “Where have you been?”

“Out there” She gestured vaguely in the direction of the capital. “But it doesn’t matter.”

“Reginald had just arrived not long ago himself,” George muttered, seeming to distract his own thoughts off the palace.

“Has he now” Sophia muttered. “Reginald.... Reginald.... He is… safe… Good. He is not like that other steward.” She looked at George and brought a hand up to touch his hair. “What a mess” She said in a chastising tone. “How could you let it go this far? A young man of your standing must always look presentable.”

George shook his head, moving it from her hand, “I’m not too worried about my hair.” He paused.

“We,” George hesitated, “Reginald, you, and I… we are all that is left from the palace.”

George saddened and looked down as he spoke, feeling his heart slow painfully as his own words sunk in, as if saying them cemented the grim reality.

Sophia pulled close to George and wrapped him in a warm embrace. “I wasn’t there for your father when he needed me most.” She whispered. “I failed. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry…” Her voice trailed off as she tightened her embrace. “I… This body and mind of mine was for him… And now that he is gone they have no purpose. If you need my strength then use it, all of it, until there is none left.”

“You’re not,” George began, suppressing a cold sorrow in his chest, “you’re not relieved of your duties just yet.” He squeezed her back in his own embrace.

“I….would you trust me again?” She asked.

“I vaguely recall never trusting you,” George said plainly, “but I should have.” He forced a small smile toward Sophia.

“I wasn’t there when I was needed most.” She retorted. “You were right not to trust me.”

The man felt her thumping heartbeat in the embrace and he loosened his arms, “I’ve never met anyone with the same passion you had and still do for my father. Countless times you kept him safe from harm, I cannot hold you responsible for his own actions.”

Sophia’s only response was a sniffle as the tears began. George tightened his arms around her and held the crying woman close to him, he himself fighting the burning sting that was the onset of tears. So much has happened, he thought, so much has changed.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Aristo
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Two Days Earlier
Ushyaegug - Capital of Hokksulgug, Cheondol Province

“I understand the circumstances are dire, but is this worth the risk? None of the Daekuangs dared to invoke Him before!”
Hong-gi's question was not met with an immediate answer. He struggled to keep pace with Yaewoon, who was clambering all over the ritual chamber, placing the correct ingredients at each corner of the rune on the floor. He stopped briefly to dab intricate patterns around them, visibly straining as he struggled to inscribe them exactly as they should appear.
“I will not stand for this incursion!” he finally blurted, looking up from his work. “Hokksulgug has stood mighty since the dawn of the Empire and I will not sully what my forefathers have built! This is the most practical option for both our country and the good of Jerrovia.”
The Daekuang resumed working, meticulously lighting candles at specific intersections along the rune. He was accompanied only by his closest friends, Jin Hong-gi and Mun Chaeyoung, along with a handful of naked slaves. Their bodies were garnished with ink patterns appropriate to the sorcery Yaewoon was about to perform. He had ensured the door to the ritual chamber was barred from within, and on the other side, royal guards stood at attendance.
“But even if the dark ones are defeated, what are we to expect of Him when the dust clears?” Chaeyoung added. “Your House's patron He may be, but any request, especially of this magnitude, does not come without consequences.”
“Damn the consequences!” Yaewoon growled. “I will deal with them once we are safe, not before. The dark ones have already laid waste to enough of Hokksulgug. My mind has already been made. The offerings, if you please.”
Yaewoon retracted an open hand, awaiting the rod Hong-gi carried. Obediently, the Daekuang's companion handed it over, though not without a silent prayer. Once the rod was in his grip, Yaewoon pointed at each station of the rune's outer circle, and the slaves trodded to their places under the tool's trance. Between the slaves and the inscribed platform on which the Hokksulgugae stood was a moat-like reservoir that encircled the ritual circle.
“We shall begin.”
The Daekuang and his friends began their grisly task, cutting open the abdomens of the slaves that stood around them. Under Yaewoon's trance, they did not budge from their positions, although at the touch of the blades, their faces gave the slightest flinch. The lifeblood ran from their bodies, collecting into the reservoir at their feet.
The entire process was methodical and precise, as if it had been choreographed beforehand. When all the slaves had been drained of enough blood to take their lives, the trance broke and they fell to the floor. The three companions took up positions next to each other at the north tip of the rune. Yaewoon opened his mouth and began his incantation.
The words he spoke were utterly alien to any outside of Hokksulgug's nobility, or at least the most inquisitive scholars. This was a language foreign to the material plane, spoken only by the denizens of the Abyssal realm and those they collaborated with. The words were guttural, tinged with sharp consonants and unpleasant to the mortal ear.
As the incantation progressed, the air within the chamber took on a sulfur odor, and wind whipped at the Hokksulgugae's garments, despite the chamber's lack of windows or open portals. The blood that had gathered in the reservoir began to froth and boil. This went on until it had all evaporated away.
At the moment the last drop vanished, the center of the rune began to pulse. The air before the Daekuang and the others writhed with energy, appearing like ripples of heat on a desert horizon. At the core of the flux, colors throbbed, sporadic and cloud-like. The churning reds, pinks and blues hurt the eyes; primordial sorceries which had not come into being with mundane beings in mind. The darkness of the chamber was snuffed out by the color emanating from the center of the room.
When the nebula became too intense to stare at, Chaeyoung and Hong-gi averted their gazes. But Yaewoon kept his eyes trained forwards, albeit narrowed tightly. When the light seemed as if it were to devour the chamber, it subsided, colliding inwards on itself at the center. The sudden violence rocked the Hokksulgugae nearly off their feet.
As they regained their footing, the trio was left facing a swirling mass: cloudy nebula of black and red, adorned with two pairs of wings at either side and a great, featureless face at the center. It had a luminosity permeating from behind it, like a light bulb when lit. A hooded humanoid stood below the shining mask, with an identical face, but only smaller. Two shadow-wreathed hands hung from the arms of its robe, while another two emerged from the heavenly mass behind. The figure seemed just as much a part of the billowing substance as it did a distinct being.
In unison, the Hokksulgugae responsible for the aberration's manifestation dropped to the ground, averting their faces from the entity before them. A black hand beckoned them to rise, accompanied by a voice like diamonds on the strings of a harp.
“Stand, Sung Yaewoon, Daekuang of Hokksulgug; my favorite among all Jerrovia. I know full well the predicament of you and your friends. We have much work to do together.”

--------------------

Present Day
Chaegong, North Jaekwong Province, Hokksulgug

The air was thick with the pungent scent of ozone and decaying meat. A sickly, green haze lingered the over the site of battle, accompanying the legions of horrors that were contaminating the material plane. Bloated, misshapen forms wielding charcoal-black blades, and clad in armor to match, hurled themselves at the Hokksulgugae defenses, each fallen demonspawn replaced with more of its number.
Black arrows assailed the demons, falling from Chaegong's ramparts, but doing little to keep the entire horde at bay. The abominations found their way over the walls with ladders, towers, even by climbing, adjusting their unnatural forms to find perch on the stones. At the top of the walls, Hokksulgugae and fiends came to blows, cutting each other down wherever they met.
With the majority of Hokksulgug's forces holding the Innerzik legions to the south in a simultaneous withdrawal back into the border, the appearance of the infernal army to the north came at an especially unfortunate time. Already, several towns surrounding Chaegong had been razed and the province alone had struggled to muster even this man men to defend it.
“We are losing the outer walls!” cried a voice. Commander Hon Nahm gritted his teeth as he sliced his blade across the throat of a gurgling demon.
“Hold fast! We must keep them from the courtyard!” The officer glanced to his right, in time to see a fellow soldier impaled by a wicked halberd. Swearing, he pushed his way to the guilty party, cleaving his weapon into a gap under its arm. The thing shrieked, twisting as it fell before its scream was cut short with another swipe from Nahm.
Dammit, does the Daekuang expect one garrison to handle this army by itself? Below the wall, Nahm could see the rows of torches and banners that heralded more of the hellspawn ranks.
A sudden blow he did not anticipate sent him reeling to his feet. Towering over him was an exceptionally large brute, threatening him with a warpick held aloft. The commander cursed himself for letting his guard down, staring up at his attacker with just as much malice in his face as it showed him.
But rather than watch the tooth of the demon's weapon fall on his chest, Nahm saw the creature fall to the stone beside him, an arrow of gleaming white pierced through the fiend's back. Startled, he looked back to the sky. What he saw caused his eyes to bulge and mouth gape.
The blackness of night had given way to a shimmering, purple-red haze. The sky had seemingly been ripped open, and there loomed an immense, nebular figure, shrouded in wings and a light that permeated through from the inside of its mass.


Many smaller tears started to fill the sky, and through these poured indistinctly-shaped figures, flying down on wings of gold. In their hands were weapons that appeared to be fashioned from light itself. The third army swept down to the ramparts and into the very ranks of the demon army itself, supporting the efforts of the Hokksulgugae.
Bewildered, Nahm fumbled against the stone as he rose to his knees. This was not the reprieve he had anticipated by any means. The blank face of the creature in the heavens seemed to took down straight back at him, and his eyes watered as he rose a gauntlet to his lips, trembling.
My Lord, what have you done? You will either be our deliverance or our destruction.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Monkeypants
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The Chalessian Realm


Among the shining spires of the city Laselye', stood Rodderick. He was exceptionally tall for his race and short, trimmed jet black hair. His golden eyes were accented by scars from battles of the recent past.He was a staunch imperial supporter and had the imperial garrison to back it up. Was there any chance he could forge the Chalessians into a world power again? Not likely but he was sure to try. His city was tall and still proud. Massive walls housed hosts of Elves, men, dwarves, and just about every other race to some degree. Indeed, the fortress of Laselye was no longer a bastion of elves, but the free races of this dark world.

A lone soldier ran through the massive spire to reach Rodderick, whom was sitting down at a small table. "My lord! we have received word from the empire, some have survived!" he said, tired from his journey.

"So they have. Hmm.. perhaps there is a bit of hope after all." Rodderick said softly. He stood up and clasped his hands behind his back. "Please, young man, take a seat and rest."

The soldier whom was still breathing heavily, obliged and sat down. "Thank- Thank you sir, I was lucky to find the twitter.. I'm not sure if it had sickened and fell or some other power was the cause." The soldier was starting to breath more calmly.

"Lucky indeed.. You're dismissed when ever you're able." he said with a smile.

After a few minutes, the soldier stood and left the room. Rodderick walked towards another room that held a large window that overlooked the city center. Below was bustling streets filled with creatures from all races. He smiled as he knew they were trying to ignore the swirling darkness that loomed overhead. Rodderick moved away from the window and sat down at another table. He let out a sigh and looked to a picture that hung upon the wall, a lifelike painting of a human woman. He stared deep into the paintings eyes and began to open his mouth but was interrupted by one of his most trusted companions, the mage Eriah.

"You really shouldn't dwell on things." Eriah said before taking a seat.

Rodderick turned his gaze to his hands then up to Eriah. "We got a message from Wilhelm's heir, George."

"Shall I pack my things?" Eriah said grimly.

"I'm happy you know me so well, I was afraid to ask you directly." Rodderick said, smirking slightly.

Eriah began to strum his fingers on the table, "So.. What if I come across that she-elf." he sighed, "Or really any of the participants of that 'adventure' Josephine set up."

Rodderick stood up and walked to the window again, "They started this.. if you see any, Kill them."

Eriah stood up and made for the door but not before Rodderick stopped him, "Be kind to George, it is most likely have to come through what's left of Aaldorenfeald and perhaps here."

Eriah nodded and exited the room. Rodderick stood watching the people below. "I will not have this city fall."

A few moments later, a twatter landed with a simple message, 'Goblins in the north.'

Rodderick gave out a sigh, "When it rains, it pours.."

* * * *


The Imperial City


Outside the crumbling empires capitol, a young imperial soldier awakens. He had been thrown rather violently from the walls, tearing his right leg armor away. By some miracle he hadn't got any real injuries from the event.

He stood up and shook removed his armor, revealing a scrawny male with an off color, dirty tunic and pants. He took his pulled the belt from his destroyed armor on, mainly for the fact it contained the sheath for his sword, but also that it looked pretty cool.

The man swung his shield onto his back and started to walk from the capitol. Screams still filled the air but this man walked calmly away.

He didn't show fear, not due to being brazen, but because the back of his head had a giant bump and he honestly had no idea what was going on at this point

* * * *


Somewhere in the Shahdom


In the east, many Chelessians had been conscripted into the Shahdom. Surprisingly, many weren't upset with this as after their own nation crashed, they sought purpose and stability.

One such elf was a dirty male named Toh. He wasn't the tallest nor strongest, wasn't the brightest or fairest but he did possess a strange sense of humor and an insatiable appetite. Regardless of these seeming flaws in comparison to the ultra heroes of this world, he was the every man.

"Darned sand.. Darned heat. It gets everywhere." He said with a smile. Beside him, a vixen with soft eyes expressed amusement and mild satisfaction.

The voice was soft and feminine. "Care... Care to go again?"

"Nope! Thanks though." He said while quickly raising from his 'resting place'. The woman frowned and her eyes shot an angry look as he turned towards her and presented a few coins.

"Here's some carriage fare."

A few hours later,

The clank of hammers against metal filled his head as he, and maybe fifty others relentlessly shaped armor. They were smiths before the first war, artisans of the some of the most excessively ornate weaponry known to the world, Now crafters of bland and dry metals.

Toh wasn't quite an artisan but did help, bringing water to cool the plates and pumping air into the forges. Crap work, crap indeed.

He wanted more, much more and this darkness would be his chance to become a legend.

The next day, maybe... He couldn't tell anymore, regardless. He made his was through sandy crags with stolen weapons and armor.

"with this aegis, I smite this thee!" He said proudly. Before him stood an dark beast with blades for fingers and soulless pits where eyes should be, a true creature of the darkness

"fuck.." He said, fear was in his voice and urine began to flow down his leg. But he focused, took a deep breath and rose his sword in defiance. "what's the worst that could happen."

Two hours later, an elf tracker looked to the sky to see winged scavengers circling a crag. The elf hopped down and examined the barely recognizable remains of Toh's nameless carcass.

"Rest well, brave knight." He said, trying to imagine what should've been an epic battle between a paladin and the forces of evil.

Meanwhile, at the camp where Toh had left from earlier, an elven knight wondered about looking for his armor.


Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Hyperdrive
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War had come to the core of Arnessia, disfigured monstrosities serving an unknown master ravages the snow covered land. Peasants were slaughtered by the droves, while the nobles were butchered in their very own keeps. The attacks were sudden and devastating, but the people of the north would not falter so easily. Days after the attack, the Sons and Daughter's of the Fallen rallied thousands of peasants, nobles, and knights to their ranks, all eager to avenge the loss of their loved ones. They dispatched hundreds of their followers to patrol the land, in an effort to ensure the safety of the citizenry from further attacks. The Winged Legion; Arnessia's standing army, have their own hands full with the invasion as they led the large battles against the hordes of void beasts. The giant's threat from the Northern forest soon became forgotten, as the peasantry and royalty became more fearful of a threat much closer to their homes.


Argintheim, Arnessia

War Room


Silanus and the army commanders stood before the war table opposite the side of Arthedain, the king was studying the map of northern land as the meeting went on. Every commander spoke of their concerns and were dealt with, it was only Silanus the army marshal, that was left yet to speak. At first the marshal's report sounded like Arnessia have the whole invasion under control, but once Silanus spoke of the casualties of the battles, a grim vibe swallowed the room.

"..The creatures destroyed a village south of Silverhall, the 7th legion was stationed not far from the place and responded to the threat. Many of the villagers survived but Lord Devon Silverhall refused to give the survivors access to the city.. As of this moment they await refuge outside the capital's walls." Silanus said to the king while moving a legion piece to the plains of Silverhall on the map.

"Very well, have the survivors move to Valenstyne, tell Glordan that I want them fed and sheltered." Arthedain says while having a frown form on his face. "Let Devon know that if he does another act like this, I'll have his entire family thrown to the streets. I will not tolerate anyone giving my subjects more suffering than what they are experiencing now."

"As you wish my King..." Silanus replies. "Devon's just brat who's yet to learn the reins of ruling, no need to threaten the boy." Artemir says to the king as he enters the war room. Men beside Silanus whispered among themselves, wondering as to the late arrival of the army tactician.

"Strange.. last time I recall, you're the one that said age is not an excuse for incompetence.." Arthedain utters to his uncle. "Anyways, why are you here? aren't you supposed to inspect the garrison troops today?" the king questioned.

"A more pressing matter came up as I was inspecting the troops. I wish to discuss it with you.." Artemir says while shifting his gaze to the men beside him ".. in private my king."

Arthedain nods and at the same moment men under the grand marshal's command exited the room, leaving only Silanus, Artemir, and Arthedain inside. Taking a small envelope tucked in his belt, Artemir hands a letter bearing the Empire's symbol to Arthedain.

"What's this? another wedding invitation? its only been a month sin-" Arthedain paused abruptly. His eyes slowly widened as he sees the fate of Wilhelm and the fall of the capital written on the paper. "I see.. even the Empire was caught off guard.."

"I want the whole kingdom know of this news. Silanus, can I trust you to deal with this matter?" the king inquires while handing over the letter.

"With my life, my king." Silanus replies while tucking the letter into his vest.

"Good, then you're both free to leave, have Valtimore summoned by my housecarl on your way out, I wish to speak with him." Arthedain slowly walked towards a chair by the war table and sat, waiting the arrival of his heir.

~*~*~
Valtimore's Chambers

"Wakey wakey my charming prince~" A sultry voice whispered to Valtimore as he laid down on his bed. "Mhhmmpph...whaat?.." the prince replied, clearly more interested on gaining a few more hours of sleep than the lady covered in red silk sheets laying beside him. "Are you really going to sleep all morning? I'm sure you'd rather play with these than hog that pillow of yours all day." The maiden slowly took Valtimore's hand, and gently trailed it up along her waist. Valtimore's fingertips dragged against her skin, causing her to squirm and moan out of excitement. The maiden bit her lips as a few more inches, the rough hands would finally reach its destination.

BAM Just as the mountain climber reached its peak, the door to Valtimore's chamber slammed open with Krogmar Tross coming through. "Gaaaaaaah!" the maiden screamed while covering her entire self from the housecarl's view. Having the maiden's mouth just beside his ears, Valtimore jolted off from his bed from the sudden shriek. "What the?! what's the meaning of this Krogmar?!" he shouted, still irritated by the manner of his waking.

"Forgive your highness, but King Arthedain requests your immediate presence in the war room." Krogmar stood sternly beside the bed, not caring for the maiden playing with Valtimore just a few moments earlier.

"Whatever it is, it better be important." Valtimore says while standing up from his bed, wearing nothing but the clothes he wore the day he was born.

"It is your majesty, Lord Artemir and Lord Silanus had just spoken with your father" the housecarl replied.

"Gah, tell him I'll be there shortly, you may leave." Valtimore stretches his arms, while reaching for a doublet hanged inside his wardrobe.

"Yes your grace. My apologies again for my intrusion, Lady Yssandra." Krogmar bows before leaving the room and shutting the wooden door.

"I should have father feed him to the Griffons for intruding the room like that." Ysssandra says irritatingly.

"And what, have the entire continent know that father hanged a man who's only crime was to intrude the foreplay of blood related siblings? I don't think that's a wise decision my lovely sister."

"Bah, I'm sure hes done lots of things that father can hang him for. For all we know he stole from the treasury behind our backs." Yssandra replied to Valtimore as she stood from the bed and began dressing herself.

"He might look like a boor to you, but Krogmar is one of the most honorable persons to ever walk this ice. Besides, if he does intend to do us harm, he should've told father that you've already ridden other things before he taught you how to ride your Griffon." Valtimore snidely remarks.

"Oh shut it, just get dressed. Father doesn't like to wait." Yssandra throws a chair cushion towards Valtimore, hitting the royalty on his face.

Not long after their conversation Valtimore had finished dressing himself, wearing a black doublet and brown leather shoes, he was ready to speak with the king. "Make sure to come back here as soon as you can, alright? I'll prepare us something to eat when you get back." Yssandra plants a soft kiss to his cheeks as Valtimore started to walk out of the room. "Don't worry, I'm sure he just wants me give another speech."

~*~*~
War Room


"You took your time, a few more minutes and I would've had the Wardens drag you here" the king commented as Valtimore enters the war room.

"I'm sorry father, it won't happen again. I had a hard time w-"

"Ploughing you sister?" Arthedain says upon seeing faint love marks along Valtimore's neck, cutting his son's excuse.

"Wha- h-ho-how did you know? did Krogmar tell you?"

"I've known for a long time, subtly in your actions was never your strong point. But forget about that for now, we have something more important to talk about other than how you ploughed your sister in the Garden in broad daylight." Arthedain stood from his seat and walked towards his heir.

Valtimore lowered his head in shame, his eyes locked at the sight of his shoes while his father began to speak. Shame rendered the prince incapable of looking at his father straight in the eyes, forcing the king to hold Valtimore's chin to raise his face.

"You'll be king someday, never look down when talking to someone, even if you did something you think is shameful."

"Ye-yes.. father." Valtimore raised his face without the support of Arthedain's hand.

"Good, I didn't intend to interrupt your affair with your sister, but news from the Empire has reached me this morning, bearing the news of Wilhem's death and George's ascension to the throne. I'm believe you were close to him, yes?"

"George? yeah, we've fought together at the pacification of Mount Vernailles, he's a good man, I'm glad he's taken the throne, but what does that have to do with me?" Valtimore pondered.

"Hmm.. yes, the Empire's capital has fallen as well. And I intend to send you, along with a legion, to help George retake it." Arthedain plants his palm on the table, landing his hand on where the Empire was located.

"What? but father, our people are struggling to fight these wretched beasts in our land as it is! Sending me and a thousand men to help someone far away would put our kingdom at further danger!" Valtimore responded.

"You need to trust me on this my son, you know I wouldn't do such a thing without reason. I always take the our kingdom's interest first before anything else, and this, this would be for the best."

Valtimore appeared distressed, not out of fear from the mission he was given, but of something much more dear to him. "If you'd like I'll have Yssandra accompany you, along with Ward or Krogmar, your choice." Arthedain added.

"Fine.." Valtimore sighed to himself before resuming. ".. but are you asking me this, as my father? or as my king?"

Arthedain paused for a few seconds, letting the words of his son sink into his mind before speaking. "I won't force you to do this my son, but know that I would not risk my own blood do a wasteful task."

Valtimore slowly walked towards the door sealing the room, he kept his head high as took each step. As he opened the door, he turned his head and spoke. "I'll gather the men myself, I know a lot who'd want to fight beside George once again."




Tarvol Outskirts, Arnessia


Tygan Whitefield; commander of the Winged Cavalry Battalion, marched westward towards Argintheim, along with 5,000 men under his command and a small contingent of mages from the Commonwealth. They were the force sent to reinforce the Commonwealth's effort on suppressing a civil revolt within its borders just a month ago. Now, men of the north has finally set foot on its icy soil once more, but this time, it's soaked with blood of monstrosities beyond imagination.

Piles of bodies were scattered along the road they traveled, both piles were a mix of human and non-human carcasses, all rotting under the same snow screened sunlight. Battles occurred near and far from the army as they marched, some they helped with, while some were too far for them to respond in time. With the large influx of followers joining the Sons of Daughters of the Fallen, the army soon came contact with one of it's dispatched patrols.

The fallen wore pitch black armors, completely contrasting the white field in which they walk upon. They had weapons of various design, clearly dissipating any ideas that the organization provide standardized weapons to its followers. "Greetings mighty ones, its a pleasant sight to see you patrolling the lands the same as we do." Said one of the patrol members to Tygan.

"We're actually heading towards Arginthiem, not on patrol duty. But in any case, may I inquire as to what has happened to the land? We've aided people fending off the beasts a couple of times, but no one provided us with any answers yet as to what they are and why are they here." Said the commander.

"Ah, they just came out of no where! folks from my previous unit say they were them Highachus eaters in the east and western entry. Years of eating that crazing shrooms finally took its toll on the people, now they've come here and attack us! seeking revenge!" The patrol member said in a high pitched tone, as if telling a story to children.

"They reek of darkness and foul magic.. a godly power released them into our world.. or at least that's the theory." Says a hooded man riding a pale horse.

"Eldric Lasservoc, Battle mage of the Commonweath's Joint Arcane Brigade, at your service." The man followed before stopping his horse beside Tygan.

The patrol man scratched his scalp while listening to the mage interrupt their discussion. "Hmfp, go believe what ye want, them mages are probably the cause of it anyways." The patrol continues on it assigned route, leaving Tygan and Eldric behind.

"Forgive me for interrupting like that, I just couldn't stand such childlike stories be passed out as reality." Eldric removes his hood, giving Tygan full view of his features. He was a man, close to his mid forties, with grey hair and a full beard.

"It's understandable, when we reach the capital I want you to tell the Paragons about what you know of these..creatures.. I'm sure your knowledge would greatly help us defeat them once and for all." Tygan requests from the mage.

"Men, we press onward, the king awaits our arrival!"




Great Northern Forest, Arnessia

Alyrius; commander of the Crimson Wardens, sat alone on the middle of the battleground before the great forest, pondering to himself as to why the giant's attacks have stopped for days. Feral giants were known to be aggressive fighters, never to let a single day pass without them attempting to overrun the garrison of Fort Brynfast. This turn of events bothered him, more so than the invasion of the monstrosities near their capital. In his mind, it was either a new horde of giants was being formed, or they found another way to go south. Both scenarios were a complete disaster for the kingdom, but there was nothing he could do to find out the truth. Last time scouts were sent into the forest, heads of the unit members returned to camp as an ornament on a giant's necklace. A massive cloud of smoke not far from their camp's position didn't help either, as it could mean a large firepit for a large army, or a tribal ceremony was being held before a battle.

"My lord.." a Warden lieutenant says to Alyrius as he walked slowly towards the commander. "The King's messenger is here, he says King Arthedain wishes your presence in the capital.. he also said-" Alyrius raises his right hand, interrupting the lieutenant. "Do you feel that?..." Alyrius says as he knelt to the ground, laying his head on the blood soaked soil. "Something's not right... no... it can't be.." the Warden Commander's face turned pale as he suddenly jolted towards the edge of the forest, completely disregarding the Warden who was just reporting to him.

As soon as Alyrius ran outside the camp, men of the crimson that caught sight of him immediately knew something has gone wrong. The commander was known to have been composed in every situation he was thrown to, to see him in a complete rush made certain something unexpected went past the commander's calculative mind.

Smoke, the smoke slowly crept closer to their position, trees cracking and loud thumping soon followed as well. The earth shook as the smoke grew closer and closer, soldiers of the garrison soon formed ranks behind Alyrius as he stood still before the forest. His hand gripped the pommel of his sheathed blade while his eyes frantically searched any image of the incoming attack.

Alyrius grew up suppressing the feeling of fear, his parents made certain of that, but today, an old friend finally caught up to him. Fear consumed the revered commander as his eyes locked with the eyes of the beast beyond. His entire body went cold as he felt the beast's glare came closer in every groundshake. The commander fought thousands of giants before, but never has he felt his size was insignificant to his enemy, until now.

"...b...burn the pyres.. have the a-artillery at the ready... and wait for my signal.." the commander uttered to the captain beside him. "Yes sir... but sir.. are you al-" "JUST DO AS YOU'RE TOLD, NOW!" Alyrius shouted to the captain, making the man rush off from the battlefield and back to camp.

"SOLDIERS OF ARNESSIA, TODAY-" Alyrius says while unsheathing his blade, "WE CHAAAAARGGGE!"

In a blink of an eye, hundreds of soldiers rallied behind Alyrius, following their commander into the woods to face death itself.




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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Drunken Conquistador
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Ektan. Palace of the Celestial Empress.

Arzamidokht fell backwards onto her large bed in a decidedly un-queenly fashion. And she hadn't even bothered to change out of her formal attire. Or to be more precise, she hadn't bothered to summon the servants to change her attire. With an irritated huff the Sughbenshah rose again from her luxurious bed. The least she could do was take her crown off. Hundreds of generations of Sughbenshahs would probably descend from the Starry Court in anger if she as much nicked the ornament. Not that she would do differently. But right now that was not her problem. The entire day had been spent in that damned theological council filled with Mobads, Herbads that were either arrogant, stupid, loathsome or fanatics. Sometimes even all four things at the same time. And to make matters worse they had yet to achieve any kind of even minimal progress.

The day had been busy, frustrating and exhausting to say the least. And so the supreme ruler of Sughben felt the urgent need to relax. Let Laila and the throng of sycophants deal with any last minute emergencies. The rest of the night would be just her and three-no, two. Yes two of her favorite concubines. She wasn't in the mood for anything extravagant tonight, two of them would suffice. Or maybe she could get a few more and just watch.

Regardless of what she decided, Arzamidokht mused as she sat by the dresser and started taking off her jewelry, she would need to eat first. The meal breaks during the council had been short and far between. And that was not to mention the fact that they would have to impose rationing soon all across the realm. Without the sun and with pretty much all of the Shahdom's trade partners in chaos the food situation would get dire. The refugees in the west would only make the situation worse and a small part of Arzamidokht wished nothing else than to go to Laila and tell her "I told you so, we should've let the elves die somewhere else."

"But these are worries for the future." She said aloud as she shook her head. Standing up once again the Sughbenshah moved back to her bed. When she was about to pull the little rope that summoned the servants a guard called out from the other side of the heavily ornate doors:

"Your highness! The Astabadh wishes to speak."

Arzamidokht suppressed a scream of anger and gave leave for her right hand woman to enter her bedroom. By her looks the Sughbenshah could tell that Laila was just as miserable and tired as her. The astabadh's fine clothes were rumpled and creased and her make up was a little smudged. Which begged the question of why in the Empress name she was interrupting Arzamidokht's rest. Specially when she gave explicit orders to not seek her until after dawn next day.

"I'm sorry for interrupting your highness." Laila gave a short bow. "But I bring some-" She was about to retrieve something from her sleeve when the Sughbenshah interrupted:

"A moment please Laila." She then shouted to the guards on the other side of the door: "Summon Bagoas at once." And with that she turned back to the astabadh, gesturing for her to continue:

"As I was saying: Pardon the interruption your highness, but I bring matters that require your immediate attention." Laila replied with another short bow as she retrieved a scroll from her sleeve. "For the last few months I've been overseeing an investigation regarding a most serious-" The sound of the doors opening as the servant entered stopped Laila.

Bagoas threw himself to the ground as custom dictated. Arzamidokht waited until her servant was back on his feet to give her orders:

"I want my dinner brought here and some company for the night. Tell the cooks to keep it simple and light, but plentiful enough for five or six people. I want you to bring that new redheaded elf and Balkash. Get them bathed and ready to put up a show. And bring Nazil and tell him to bring his massage oils and a sitar. That will be all Bagoas." And with that the servant bowed and went about to accomplish his task.

"So that's how plan to spend your night?" Laila asked, arms crossed over her chest and a slight accusatory tone on her voice. "The world is ending and you decide to throw an orgy?"

"You forget your place Astabadh." The Sughbenshah admonished. "You have no authority to question my decisions. If I want to unwind after a day of work that's my prerogative. Now speak what you have to speak."

"As your highness wishes." Laila replied. "For the last months I've been overseeing an investigation about the activities of the Sun Cult within the Shahdom. After months following leads I think I have proof that these cultists have infiltrated the highest echelons of our bureaucracy." She handed the scroll over to Arzamidokht. "This list contains only a portion of those suspected to have ties with that heretical and blasphemous organization."

The Sughbenshah spent some minutes reading the list before speaking: "I see you even took care to include my daughter in your little to-purge list."

"I know that it may be hard to accept your highness but my investigation has shown that most of her associa-" And for the second time that night Laila was interrupted by the Sughbenshah.

"Ah yes, your investigation." The Sughbenshah replied, fake cordiality soon turning into a full blown outburst. "The investigation that was so serious and necessary that you decided not to inform me. The investigation that prompted you to interrupt my well earned rest to denounce several high-ranking functionaries, AND MY DAUGHTER!"

"Your highness." Laila replied unflinchingly. "For the sake of the decades of loyal service I provided you. Please trust me on this. We must act now or risk losing everything to these heretics. Just give the order and we can cut the head of the snake before it strikes."

"But I'm taking your decades of loyal service in consideration Laila." The Sughbenshah grinned. "Otherwise my guards would have cut you down already for daring to make such accusations against my blood." Arzamidokht sighed as she walked back to her bed.

"Please your highness, listen to me. There's no time to be lost." Laila insisted as Arzamidokht sat on the bed.

"And I will not authorize anything until you've convinced me." Arzamidokht snapped back. "Gather your supposed proof and bring me credible witnesses. And pray that I am convinced."

"It would take at least a couple of days to gather all the material and several more to bring all the people together. We may not have this time." Laila replied, desperation creeping on the edge of her countenance.

"On the contrary, we have time. Now you can leave and start doing that. Or you can stay and enjoy the night, if you promise to drop this subject." The Sughbenshah's tone left no room for objection.

"As your highness wishes." Laila replied with a short bow before exiting the room

Somewhere south of Ektan. Nameless ruins. The next dawn

Everything was ready and set for the ritual. Whatever demons remained in this area had been utterly crushed. Pharaj had taken the bulk of the force, leaving Yekta with only her trusted bodyguards, and was now marching them back to the main camp while she stayed behind to "take care of stragglers". Barring divine intervention they couldn't be discovered.

Steeling herself for what was to come Yekta checked the chamber door to ensure that it was locked. The ritual was a one person affair- or rather one person plus sacrifices- so her followers were patiently waiting outside the chamber in one of the ruined halls of this wreck of a temple, they were to until the ritual was finished to attend to her wounds and then record her discoveries. The door was of course locked, just like the last seven times she looked. And with a sigh she turned her back to it.

The chamber itself had seen better days, the walls were cracked and the reliefs and paintings on it were faded or outright destroyed. The ceiling had several holes on it from which the strange red and black sky could be seen. But the important parts of the chamber: the square moat-like canal lining the edges of room, the rectangular path that was now filled with burning coal and the bull statue on the other side of the chamber, were still usable.

Yekta gave one last glance to the sacrifices, refugees who were lulled into a false sense of security by her and her troops. Ten men and ten women chained inside the canal. With oil up to their waists they would burn quick. She grabbed a torch specially prepared and blessed for this occasion and walked to the edge of the canal. By this point the sacrificial lambs had been beaten and drugged into submission, any kind of struggle or even the simple act of begging for one's life could disrupt the delicate ritual. As much as Yekta enjoyed the usual demonstrations of last ditch defiance from her sacrifices.

There was no turning back now, swallowing her nervousness and using her free hand to smooth her thin yellow robes and horned brass mask Yekta shouted a praise to the Sun Prince before throwing the torch on the oil-filled canal and it immediately lit. Not wasting time she moved to the pedestal placed near the start of the burning path and grabbed the horse whip. The sun should be at its apex, (if it weren’t for the darkness engulfing the sky)and the fire in the canal was spreading fast.

Yekta stepped into the burning coals-barefoot as the ritual demanded- and started whipping herself. The whip easily tearing through the weak fabric of the robes while her feet burned. But she swallowed the pain and soldiered on. Chanting the blessed incantations and walking slowly and purposefully towards the stone bull statue.

The pain only proves your devotion” Yekta told herself between the verses of her chanting. On the background she could hear the screams of the sacrifices and see the tall tongues of flame on the edge of her vision. That was entirely focused on the bull statue. the scant light passing through the holes in the ceiling gave the statue a strange aura.

Yekta barely noticed that however. She had received her fair share of floggings in the military academy and any sun cultist worth its weight had at least one serious burning wound in its life. But at the moment she felt herself ready to drop and die. Not that she intended to do that of course. The ritual had to be finished and if she gave up now she would just fall down on a bed of hot coals. She would finish this, prove her faith and devotion to the Sun Prince and finally get some answers. Then everything would make sense and be perfect.

It was with that thought that she finished the last leg of the burning walk. The skin of her feet was completely burned and they were smoking. The prisoners had already stopped screaming and her back back was a mess of cuts and blood. Yet she stood, waiting for her master to pronounce Himself.

A loud bang rumbled and a dark shadow cast itself across the statue of the golden bull as it began to shake violently, clattering down from it’s position with a loud echoing explosion of weight.

It convulsed spastically across the floor, the shadow never leaving it’s once golden form. All its once sparkling figure seemed to take on the air of pestilence and darkness as it suddenly halted its spasm.

A thick voice oozed from inside the bull, hissing like a cobra, “break me open...” it commanded.

“My Lord...Is that really you?” Yekta asked surprised. The holy texts surely hadn’t spoken about that.

“I am your lord,” it hissed irritably, “let me out!”

“Of-of course.” Yekta stammered as she backed away. Something told her that things weren’t supposed to go that way but that was merely a small part. After all she had done the ritual, said the words, burned the people. Even if the lack of solar magnificence worried her. Shouldn’t the Sun Prince have that?

She half crawled half limped back towards the door. Struggling with the locks and losing several minutes rattling it until she managed to get it open.

“A mace!” She demanded from her followers on the other side through the half open door. “HAND ME A MACE AT ONCE!” A few moments later she had a mace in hand and had already shouted down any confused questions her followers may had have.

“Just a minute more master.” She said as she slowly made her way back to the statue. “The ritual took a toll on me.”

“I grow impatient!” the statue snarled.

Yekta finally raised the mace, grasping it firmly with both tired arms and then hit the statue with all the strength she could muster.

The statue rang with vibrations for a mere moment before a loud explosion flashed the entire room red, flames licking every walls, but no heat nor pain finding the denizens of the chamber.

A tall figure stood where the statue once did. It stood tall, thin, and stood proud, and it stood with a sickening aura of violence permeating from two eyes in the form of balls of fire. The void of the night painted armor covered in thorns, and a red face, bony and full of sharp angles peered at the ceremony before him. His gloves curled into fists, and claws tipped the finger tips as a wide mouth of knives smiled a toothy white and crimson smile, “I am Shkkaak, born once more. Your lord, your ruler, your everything.”

The eyes of licking flames looked over the woman before him, “bring me a servant so I may show my kindness.”

“Yes! Oh divine monarch of the stars!” Yekta declared with a half bow that almost made her fall down on her face. She then moved to the door as fast as she could, a small part of her mind screaming that Shkkaak was not the name of her master while the rest simply rationalized that her Master would surely have a different name in the tongue of the gods.

“Lakhmer.” She called as she opened the door. “Your presence is required!” She moved out of the way, leaving the door still half-opened and soon after a man crossed it. Covered from head to toe in the heavy armor of the Sughbenid heavy cavalry. When he noticed Shkkaak he almost jumped back in surprise as Yekta closed the door.

“Don’t worry my brother.” She reassured him with a hand on his shoulder. “Our Master walk among us again and you’re going to be blessed.”

“But mistress…”The cultist replied hesitantly. “That’s not how the-”

“Nonsense!” Yekta snapped. “Have faith and step forward to receive your blessing!” She insisted, shoving the man forward. He hesitantly approached the supposed Sun Prince and knelt before him.

Shkkaak slowly walked around Lakhmer, studying the man almost like an artist his own masterpiece. A snort exited the slits on the red faced beings nose and a sharp snarl caught his mouth.

The thick claws of the demon reached down with inhuman speed as it struck Lakhmer and wrapped around his throat before slowly lifting the offering to his face. A snake like tongue flicked out of Shkkaak’s lips as they rolled back to bare his teeth.

“I show my kindness,” He roared at Yetka, “by taking him in the place of the one who took too long to free the mighty general, mighty divine.”
The demon’s fangs ripped into Lakmer as he finished his small speech, chewing the man’s flesh and rendering chunks of skin and meat into flying projectiles as the knife like maw of the great otherworldly figure shredded the man down to the bone, and even then only stopping once the skull began to splinter under the weight of the gnawing.

With a flourish Shkkaak released the limp corpse, letting it fall to the ground. He pointed an accusatory finger over to Yekta, “you! Do you doubt me?”

“N-no of course not! My glorious Lord of the Sun!” She stuttered. Bowed with her forehead touching the ground and hands raised in supplication. “Forgive me oh Divine Master! The holy texts of our order only spoke that you would be able to free yourself from your solar court when the stars were right. This ritual was merely my attempt to contact you.”

“And good for you to do so, my child,” Shkkaak added, “for we have work to do. We must make sure the land is appropriate for the arrival of The Kind One, grace above all, Dweller of the voids, and lover of mortality. For I am your master, but my own knee bends as her General. Do you disagree with me?”

The fiery eyes of Shkkaak seemed to glow with anger as he added in the last part, pointing a clawed finger towards Yetka.

“Of course not oh Glorious Solar Magnificence!” She proclaimed. “I’m merely surprised that you’re once again serving the Starry Empress...just another part of our text that was surely misinterpreted over the centuries.” Her expression lit up at that point. “But with this fact cleared it will now surely be easier to submit the Shahdom to your will. Not even my mother would dare to go against the will of the entire Celestial Court.”

“Then you will take me to your mother, so that I may find an army suitable to match the one that surely will arrive soon.” Shkkaak smiled happily, “thousands upon thousands call arms under my banner already, awaiting my command, and so soon shall the Shahdom.”

“As you say it shall be oh Master of the Sun.” Yekta replied cheerfully. “But if you may, please allow me a short time to recuperate from the strain of the ritual. A couple hours should be more than enough to let the fleshweavers heal my body. Then we can ride nonstop to Ektan and bring about a new age of benefit and righteousness!”

Shkkaak nodded and Yekta withdrew from the room. After two and half hours, in which her fleshweavers worked on closing her wounds while she spun a tale about Lakhmer being an unfaithful spy, she returned. Now wearing her ornate set of armor.

“We are ready to depart oh Glorious Solar Warrior.” She announced with another deep bow.
“Lead me to the exit, so I may lead you all to salvation,” Shkkaak hissed.

Yekta bowed again and turned and walked towards the door. “Rejoice brothers and sisters!” She announced to the assembled cultists on the large ruined hall outside the chamber. “Our master has returned!” She shouted as she stood on the hall while giving a sweeping gesture towards the door. Shkkaak emerged from the chamber and the assembled cultists cheered loudly and banged their weapons.

Yekta silenced the cheering crowd with a wave of her hand: “Now before we go you must understand that there has been a change of plans.” Her tone was now somber. “Our holy texts have proved to be wrong twice already and our Lord has revealed to us that he has been forgiven by His Celestial Mother! We now ride to Ektan to bring our realm under the enlightened rule of the Starry Court! To our horses brothers and sisters! A NEW AGE AWAITS!” And with that Yekta and her cheering followers quickly made their way to outside the ruined temple, where their horses had been left under care of a few junior members of the order.

What awaited them was unexpected however. Instead of grains of sand, a dark shadow covered the land. The shadow seemed to pulse with movement however and as their eyes adjusted, they soon all realized that a massive army of dark ones took the place of the sand.

Misshapen bald heads and thick dark helmets crested the waves of sharply armed spawns of chaos. The horde seemed to breath as one unit, and their scarlet eyes flickered as they blunk, giving the scene the likeness of a flame in the wind.

To the swirling skyline of crimson on void they stood, just as mysterious and just as dark. Long poles mounted with black flags and the heads of axes and halberds poked into the swirling abyss above. They stood orderly and in columns, and in the center laid a clearing, fit for a general to walk down as thick shields decorated the arms of the dark ones that overlooked the flesh made corridor.

At the end of the corridor in the sea of dark figures sat a bat winged reptile, as big as seven horses and it’s scales a deep purple pocked with black. A spear like tail wrapped around itself as it sat on thick haunches and clawed feet. Claws the size of swords protruded like hands on the joints of it’s wings.

It’s head was large and pointed to a long snout of teeth and smoke, and on it’s head it wore seven horns similar to that of a bull, but crimson tipped as if stained with blood.

Next to the dragon stood Yetka’s horse among a few others, being groomed in fear as they were held still by a handful of Dark Ones. One such horse however laid unlikely in scraps by the maw of the massive beast, it’s lips content with dripping crimson.

Shkkaak raised his arms to the sky at the sight, and the massive shadow that stretched across the desert hollered in one unified roar that shook the pebbles of the corridor to the dragon.

“Today we prepare the Shahdom for the love of the Dweller of the Voids!” Shkkaak chanted, and the pulsing mass chanted back his own words with violent and eager fervor.

“PRAISE THE SUN! HAIL THE STARRY COURT!” Yekta shouted, the cry was soon taken by the remaining cultists. Though some were a little uncertain and hesitant about the whole situation. “PRAISE THE EMPRESS! PRAISE THE PRINCE!” She continued to chant as she walked through the horde toward the horses.



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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Goldeagle1221
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The Day of Josephine's stabbing (the past) Part one

George kept his eyes ahead as he rode on his white horse in front of the column of marching troops. The cacophony of metal clinking together and boots pounding the grassy field flat drowned the sounds of the morning songbirds in the distant forests that flanked the green field that so closely bordered the last wood before Castle Praetorium and the Imperial border.

The grass grew long and unkempt, licking dew up to the rims of the marching troops boot cuffs, and the sky was a dark azure and cloudless, pink fringes on the skyline hinted at the warm morning sun's impending arrival. The wind was wet with the morning tears that glistened on the green blades of grass as well as the orange and yellowed leaves of the surrounding forests. It’s cool autumn feel moistened the metal curiasses of the soldiers, and it’s scent reminded George how much time had passed since he first marched from the palace.

He wondered to himself how his sister was doing in the forest. As if reading his mind, Williams suddenly spoke from on top of his own grey horse, “they say the leaves of the Imperial Forest don’t change in the autumn.”

George turned his head to Williams, but only caught the blonde backside of his head as the man watched the amber leaves in the distance rustle, “if you ask me, the color change is pretty.”

“You should see the gardens around this time,” George mused. Williams shrugged and looked over to the prince, “well with the war over with, if you were to will it, maybe I could be stationed there for the season.”

“Tired of fighting?” George said with a cynical grin.

“If you would allow my freedom of thought, my General,” Williams started hesitantly, “I am very much tired of fighting.”

“So am I,” George admitted, putting his gaze back in front of him, “I’m just glad the war ended when it did.”

“I suppose a little relaxation is in order,” Williams smiled brilliantly at the thought as he too turned his gaze to the front.

“More than a little, soldier,” George ordered, summoning a short laugh from Williams. The two grew quiet again as the sounds of the march took over their ears, only broken by the short howls of the wind spilling in over the trees and shifting the grassy field likes waves on a beach.

A strange flash of light, like lightning in the distance pulsed over the tree line. George’s breath stalled as a terrible feeling creeped into his gut.

“It’s a bit clear out for a storm,” Williams softly gulped.
“And perhaps a bit early for retiring,” George nearly groaned out of discomfort from the hollow feeling in his chest.

The light flashed again, but this time it’s white light struck the eyes of the onlookers so powerfully, all went negative with a loud crack like thunder. A sharp ringing replaced the loud boom, and forced George to close his eyes in pain from the screech.

As the ringing slowly faded, his eyes fluttered back open. His heart skipped a beat as his blood ran cold as the sight before him.

The sky looked as though it had cracked open and bled into the once azure atmosphere, as crimson swirled all around it on a void background. The march had paused at the sight, and George clenched his jaw in anticipation.

“Wh…” Williams gurgled, his jaw hanging open in shock.

George’s studying gaze on the swirling and mysterious sky was broken as the ground began to shake.

“To arms!” George instinctively yelled. Blasts of brass horns responded to his commanded and the great unified rasp of every blade shrieking from it’s resting place echoed across the empty field.

The horse stamped anxiously as the troops readied their shields, unsure of what was to come. George nearly bit his tongue from the thickness of the suspense as the sky pulsed and the ground shook.

The sound of stones grinding against each other drowned out the shouts and orders, and fought against the blasts of the horns in an aggressive symphony of sounds.

The field began to bulge to the right of the line of troops, as if the very field was boiling in a pot. The bulge grew and grew, until it formed a small green patched hill, the ground crumbling all around it.

“Form!” George managed to yell, although awestruck by the sudden shift of the ground. His horse turned from the scene as the trumpets hesitantly bellowed George’s command to the column of soldiers, and if not for his grip on the reigns, the animal might have even fled the sight of the strange phenomenon.

George’s knuckles grew white with strain under his gauntlets as he held the reigns, anxious and unsure of what to make of the growing hill and crashing sounds of stone tumbling down the bulge.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Isotope
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Off the Coast of Aleria

With a thunderous crash and the rise of a towering wall of water the ship once more slammed defiantly into the oncoming waves and shuddered under the strain as the displaced ocean rained back down on it. Men ran frantically about deck securing this and that all while trying their hardest to scream against the roar of the storm. Panic was apparent even on the most seasoned of the sailors, but clinging to the foremast he couldn’t suppress the manic grin that dominated his aged face. Fifteen years ago he had been told to leave and never return, and now it seemed even nature fought tooth and nail to prevent his coming.

It wouldn't be enough to stop him though, and as the lightning and rain took hold he found himself laughing. The whole world was turning mad, so why not ride with it? The forces of the Dweller had been unleashed, the sky had gone to blood, and even more absurd the great traitor of the Delta had been pardoned.

His sodden grey robe looked almost black in the gloom, clinging to his fragile and almost skeletal frame like some aspect of death, cackling in the face of natures greatest power. Fifteen years ago he was Telor Enole, an esteemed name for a man who'd been held in the highest regard, for a man whose raw strength reflected his years of research and toil. Now he was different, his name had been spoiled by short sighted fools, but they were reaping their harvest now. His body was sickly and ill, but it had been a necessary sacrifice in the absence of other subjects.

Now it was all different. The foolish king who'd banished him was gone and the world needed him even as weak as he seemed. It was unfortunate it took such crises for the new queen to reverse her fathers folly, but he had known this was how it would be from the moment the council of Hugustra had passed that first sentence. People cannot see the future until it is taken away from them, and so it was as it always had been.

The suffering of the world would be its salvation, and he could only laugh.

Castle Fallars, Chambers of Queen Mardene Sesen

It was cold, colder than she'd ever known the castle to be. With a glance to the curtained window she could the sun was still aloft, worming the world even through the twisted sky—why then was it so cold? She hadn't left her chamber in days, but the brazier in the corner still glowed. With a despondent sigh she lifted herself out of the plush chair she'd moved to her quarters from the private room at the top of the spire, but even as she huddled next to the burning embers she felt nothing.

Ah she thought miserably, so it's me then. It wasn't a happy realization, but noted that she hadn't felt warm since that first horrid twitter had delivered the news. The capital fallen, the armies of some evil deity running loose upon the lands, if it hadn't borne the seal of her own palace guards she'd has dismissed it then. If only she'd done that anyway. The words that followed echoed in her head, Aren was dead, Serte was dead, Escaen was presumed dead, their own guard responsible for the hated letter even listed himself among the passed. She didn't doubt that, in the end.

How many days had passed since then? It was meaningless to guess she knew, most had gone unmarked as she wallowed in her own failure in this room; she was pathetic. The few token decrees since had hardly even been hers, her greatest contribution signing the documents that Kersic slipped under her door. Bolster defence, call upon the able bodied, issue a general pardon to all willing to return and fight. All sensible decisions, all the product of one who hadn't failed so totally.

Then again, what did that even mean now? Yes, she had failed to prevent the war, then she had failed to win it, then she had failed her only brother and her closest friend, but what did it matter? The war was over, those she loved were dead, but there was something greater wasn't there?

It had been something her father had said, that a king rules in spite of their weakness. At the time it was a foolish comment made by a hedonistic joke of a man, but she supposed something about that had stuck. For all his weakness he had come to the aid of Dicorden, he had fostered the union of the Delta. The Delta, that was the only thing she had left wasn't it?

For a moment she stopped, that was all then, she couldn't fail the Delta. Kersic was not the king, he never would be. That was her role and that was her burden. In spite of her every failure and every weakness she would rule, and regardless of the cost she would not lose the last thing she had left.

Without a word and mask of stone she finally moved away from the brazier and set about donning proper attire, almost unconsciously preparing the pipe that gone unused for far too long. She was the queen, that would be true until she was in the ground and even if everything burned around her until that time the Delta would persevere, of that there was no question.

Castle Fallars, War Council Chamber

Without a word of warning the double doors of the chamber were flung open and Mardene strode in wearing a thick black dress and wearing the copper and gold double crown crafted a week earlier that signified she alone held command of the Delta. The boyish and cleanly shaved face of Kersic looked up from a map that the assembled had been studying, “Cousin it's good-”

Without waiting for him to finish Mardene corrected, “I am your Queen Kersic, regardless of our relation you will refer to me as such. This is not a time for pleasantries.”

Several of the assembled nodded and Alco Merens noticeably straightened his back. Without skipping a beat or showing the slightest care for Kersics annoyance Mardene continued, “I presume we have a full idea of our dispositions given the length of my absence?”

Kersic sighed and for the moment seemed to concede that his time playing king was up, “Yes, all the border castles have reported in and closed the Kingdoms off; the army you called for before the... Event, has been assembled. We have the Kingdoms Guards and the Order of the River responding to reports of scattered enemies in our borders as quickly as they are able. That said, we were just discussing dispatching levy patrols to curb attacks we have been unable to respond to.”

Mardene took the vacant seat at the head of the long table and nodded, “Would that weaken our borders significantly?”

Kersic tapped the table uncertainly, “Had we my brothers army, no. But with things as they are we will have to leave one of the internal castles undermanned, I was about to suggest we use the Havrick garrison.”

With a look of sadness but steeled eyes Escaen's mother spoke up from her seat, “It is the deepest castle we have beyond these walls your majesty, Kersic has planned this well.”

“Then send the order.” Mardene looked over Leana Harets face for a moment, she too knew failure, pain, loss. They would have to accept everyone would if the Delta was to survive. Looking back to Kersic she questioned, “As for Herens army, have we been able to reach them?”

With a look of worry Kersic scratched his head, “No, ever since we received the twitter from the new Emperor declaring his ascension and the fall of the capital we've been unable to reach him. It's difficult to say if our orders to return have made it to him at all.”

With the slightest moment of hesitation Mardene simply stated, “Then he was too close to the Imperial City, and he is dead.”

Several uncertain murmurs went around the table, but Alco and Leana remained silent, having long since reached the conclusion. Kersic stood up and nearly shouted, “Mardene! You know my brother would never die so-”

Silenced by his cousins glare Kersic sat, “We can't know that your majesty.”

Mardene took a quick puff of her pipe and replied coldly, “No, but we cannot rely on those we cannot reach. The twitters still fly, if he has not replied little can be said for him. I will not expend time and effort reaching out hopelessly to a man who by all counts has every sign pointing towards his demise. I don't care if you hold a funeral, but you'll cease sending out scouts behind this councils back. Do not forget the stable master is my subject Kersic, not yours.”

Despondent Kersic slumped into his seat, and despite the pain Mardene knew she had caused him, and even herself by saying such things she knew it had to be done. She had to rule.

The Delta would not fall.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by LordZell
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LordZell The Zellonian

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The Black Death Fortress


As Jack was sitting at his desk counting up his gold while his men outside began burning the dead demon things outside. Then James came running in and said "Sir, a twitter had been sent by the Kingdom of Arnessia they require mercenaries to fight for them. We could use the gold and the men are getting restless." Jack nodded and said "Ready the men we shall march on the morning. @Hyperdrive
Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Isotope
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Before Sploon’s post


Escaen woke to the camp burning around him, acrid smoke ate at his lungs and it took the sum of his strength merely to right himself and cough out the smokey poison that veiled the ground where he had been moments before. Without bothering to don his armour he rushed out and saw the others in chaos, preparing to make their way out of the forest that seemed to burn so brightly the sky looked red. With a curse he returned for his blade and rushed out with the others, only bothering to ask where Josephine had been.

For the moment it seemed Gennisburg had taken her to discuss something despite the minotaurs warning, and Freg had gone for them not long after that. While the warning of the minotaur from earlier rung in his head Escaen pushed it from his mind, so long as she was with Gennisburg Josephine would meet no harm.

Noting where the others were going Escaen caught up and soon set the pace, he knew Georges camp would be close and something about the forest was telling him it was done with the games, it wanted them gone now and it seemed to express the point with an encroaching darkness he had no intention of meeting.

He lost track of how long they had been running and soon every step was felt only as an increasing pain in his feet, but soon enough the forest parted and the lights of Georges camp camp into view on the moonlit purple road. Exhausted but glad it seemed over Escaen crossed the final stretch to the camp with a renewed vigour and made his way to the central tent where he knew Gennisburg and Josephine, not to mention the Minotaur, would be.

Yet from the minute he entered the camp he knew something had transpired, the mood was sick, something was wrong. It worsened as he neared his destination and soon that surge of vigor he felt drained into primal fear. When finally the tent was mere steps from him it was with a sickening drop in his stomach that he noted Freg was covered in blood, and something far more terrible was just beyond his reach. There was nothing remaining, no strength to drive him the last step then, and Escaen managed only to mutter, “How…”

Before Escaen, George sat on the dirty floor of the road, gravel staining the under of his greaves as he held his arms tightly around the pale limp figure of Josephine. Beside his hip lay a great shimmering sword of gold, and around him the ground stained a darker hue of a mix of tears and blood. The now-Emperor’s back heaved as he wept over the gloomy figure of his deceased sister.

Dread, terror, loss, it only built on and on within Escaen as the obvious truth bore down on him harder and harder until he felt something break. What had that been? He found it oddly hard to place, but he knew something important within him was gone. Without another word to the weeping Emperor or look to the shattered joy the man held Escaen turned and walked away.

He was in his own temporary quarters when the explanation reached him, but the closure it had been meant to deliver was wholly absent. All Escaen felt at the words was pain, pain and hatred. The break within him smoldered and Escaen held back the urge to scream as he told the attendant delivering the news to leave. The Minotaur, George, the Lute player, they had all done it hadn’t they? Their excuses were insults, they had done it. Those words burned through that night, and they burned the next day and the night after. They burned deep and in the ashes that Escaen recalled had been his mind new words were written, cold as ice. Retribution, vengeance, justice.

The Day After Sploon’s post


The camp was beginning to die down from the commotion of Sophia’s sudden appearance. A gentle breeze weaved through the maze of tents and marching soldiers as what would possibly have been described as a crisp autumn gust, if not for the looming swirl of scarlet and darkness that overtook the sky, rendering all thoughts of a normality into fantasy.

George himself, still puffy eyed sat with drooping depressed shoulders on a stump by the edge of the camp, looking inward to the soot blackened trees. Ashes covered the dark leaves, brought in by the wind that flew over the waving canopies, a reminder of what had occurred in the center of the forest not long ago.

In his lap the long golden sword sat, gleaming as if the sun still shone off it’s smooth blade, but the Emperor did not examine it, but rather sat contemplating elsewhere in his mind with his hands folded on top of the sword. On the outside he almost looked serene, as if a cool calm cloak was thrown over the fires of his mind, but on a closer look, the swirls of his grey eyes mimicked the hurricane that tore apart his psyche.

Escaen had spent the day coldly waiting, from one event to the next George never seemed to finish his tasks and more importantly the new emperor was constantly surrounded by his guards. It was infuriating, it was disgusting, not only had her own brother killed her but he'd only slowed for a moment. There was no feeling man in there, there never had been. Escaen only felt conviction at that, if George would not repent for what he had done then he would be made to. The world would find its balance.

With the slightest satisfaction Escaen eventually saw George set off to the edge of the camp. The time had come. Following the leaves in breeze pursuing George him Escaen held tight the sword by his hip, he had lost the armour that he'd come to rely on, but at the least he was not without teeth.

Even though he took care to suppress the sound of his steps as he approached the rise of air in his chest forced him to open his lips, to spew the acid filled words that needed to be said. The words that needed to be heard. When he was mere steps behind George he spoke, “You killed her.”

“I- did,” George stammered, almost confused as he stood to turn to his accuser. His swollen eyes blinked away the thoughts he had been swimming in as he took in the sight of Escaen. George was silent, as an air of thickness swirled between them.

For a moment Escaen thought he saw remorse in the eyes of the man he had come to hate, but he drove the hesitation away with all the rage he could summon and went on. Ever closing the distance between him and his new emperor, “You... You could have saved her, but you didn't. You let her die. You killed her!”

Esceans cold demeanour cracked and he yelled, “You killed her for your honour right? Your precious empire! More than that, you killed her because she was more than you ever could be! They didn't want you, you know that? Not one of all your oh so precious vassals. Of all the ones who stayed when the others rose up, we did it because of her!”

Escaen froze and spoke quietly, “And you killed her.”

With the slowest motion his hand gripped the sword by his side, “You can't wish that away.”

George’s eyes narrowed as the accusations flew, his lips pursed into a line. Even though he himself barely understood what was going on, he knew just enough to try and defend his action, “there was no choice.” A soft voice unlike of him laced his words, “and I have yet to accept that myself.”

A sad look took the tall man’s face, his posture slouched when compared to his usual uprightness.

“But you still did it,” Escaen seethed, “you still made that calculation and found her life the lesser, didn't you? You say no choice? You had plenty of choice, were your lips sewn together? Your hands had no binds! You made your choice, and you decided to trust the words of a thief who endangered your father and a minotaur whose loyalty has always been in question, you chose to kill your sister for what well could be a lie.”

In a quick moment Escaen had drawn his sword and its edge reflected the waning sunlight as he shouted, “No true brother would do that, and no true emperor would either! You are no emperor of mine and like any man you must answer to what you have done!”
“This is bigger than that,” George swallowed solemnly, “bigger than an Empire, bigger than your marriage. I did what was done on the trust I had in Reginald, on a pact I swore long before you knew my sister, if I can even say you did.”

George shook his head, as his eyes darted to the blade, “I barely know what had happened, but I knew enough to do what I knew had to be done. This is the result of something before my birth, that much I know, and that fact alone, the fact that I know that I had but one choice, but one solution, keeps me sane. The solution was not death, but a chance so that all may find peace. Should I have scorned Josephine and pulled her from her place so I could keep her to myself? Should I have saved one and let a thousand Josephine’s die? What do you ask of me? What do you see in me that can quench your anger?”

Escaen held his hand to his side with all the will he had, and for a moment suppressed his rage, “How do you mean to save those thousands? A pretty sword? If you cared about them you’d have never gone to war when this was just about the empire. They are already dead, but now you wield the nerve to say one life matters less than they did?”

Escaen took a long breath before continuing, “I ask nothing of you, but all the same mean to do what I have come here to do. You’re right, this is bigger than an empire, but this is nothing for you to decide. Nothing for either of us, who’ve already thrown so many to the dogs for our ambitions.”

Almost wistfully Escaen brought his sword up and sighed, “This the way it has to happen, be prepared.”

George shook his head, “not another life will be taken, not today by my hand.”

Finally losing the control he had been trying so hard to keep Escaen shouted, “Then it will be the same as it was for her then?” Before he moved forward sword at the ready, hoping desperately George would do something, anything. Anything to make the pain less.

“Would killing me solve anything?” George asked, his voice raising. He folded his arms and the look of grief that swam in his eyes turning into one of frustration and sadness.


Escaen wanted to do it, his hand shook with anticipation and fear in equal proportion, but he couldn’t. Not until George moved. For a moment he realized what it was that broke, and he remembered he no longer cared for the world. His father died before he knew the man, and he was certain Aren had as well. Then Josephine. How little had he been left? Escaen knew he could never win against George, not against a real soldier.

All he wanted was to have some peace, like they all did now. George though, would not move. If he lunged the Emperor might parry, might. There was nothing for it then.
With little left to do Escaen dropped his sword and fell, when his knees met the dirt he spoke simply, “Nothing can be solved now.”

George slowly nudged the fallen sword away from Escaen with his boot before sighing, “ I do not accept that.”
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Afina
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Afina Retired Account

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Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Monkeypants
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The Chalessian Realm

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Shalessa, Capitol of the Chalessian realm


"Elainna!!! watch out!" was the only words Fay could scream. Ahead, four of "Queen" Catya's twisted abominations, 'Urkens' were running full speed and had their swords at the ready. There was no hesitation with their movements. These were created for the sole purpose of war and were very good at it.

Everywhere Fay could see, Chalessian citizens fleeing from the onslaught, even city guards had dropped their weapons at the sight of Elainna entering the city. Fay found herself loosing bolt after bolt, though hitting with deadly accuracy, seemed to do nothing against the tide of incoming Urkens. Nearby, some Chalessians turned to Elainnas side and attempted to fight Kalkai's demons, only to find themselves turned to shreads. It didn't matter ultimately though, Elainna was perfectly fine..

"There's so many!" Fay said following heavy breaths. Sunlight hitting the sweat upon her face was doing wonders to block her view. It was nearing the point where between every shot, she had to wipe her forehead. Fay pivoted on her heel to face another foe whom had made it past her initial volley. It had Fay, whom had no chance to defend herself but before the sword could come down, some otherworldly force stopped it in midair. It flailed about, trying to break free of what ever force had it trapped. Fay readied her bow but before she could release an arrow, the creatures body began to constrict before being pulled in half, almost as simply as hands tearing fresh bread. Fay couldn't grasp what was going on, only that Elainna was still casually walking through the city square.

"Elain..." Fay said while reaching her hand out. Elainna wasn't phased as the creatures approached. She merely rose her hand, lighting the creatures in a blaze of wicked fire. Fay's eyes shot open as the creatures literally melted in front of her. "Elainna, what... have you become?" She asked as Elainna decapitated a foe that was at least one-hundred meters away. Its body was hit with an unseen force, separating its head from its slowly falling body. Elainna turned to her left slowly and rose her hand at yet another creature running blindly with the sole intent of killing its foe. It lit up from the inside as if a fire was brewing in its chest and had just burst out violently.

Fay narrowed her gaze and drew her bow, launching her ghostly arrows in rapid succession. In her mind there was a subtle desire to kill more than her friend but it wasn't enough, she couldn't even get close to Elainna as she walked towards the Palace, killing anything rushing at her with unseen forces. Well, until one of the Massive walking siege beasts, the wicked 'Arackoa'. It's huge legs shook the very earth as it moved in front of Elainna and Fay. Her eyes widened with fear, "Wha..." was all Fay could muster as she lowered her bow. "Elainna, we can't possibly fight that thing!" How wrong Fay was... It lifted up and fired one of its bolts but before they could hit, they exploded into splinters. Before the creature could move in any closer to attack, Elainna extended both her arms and held her hands wide open. It was as if a ray of solid light had erupted from her being, channeled from her hands.. The ray hit the creature with such force as to split it in half.

As Elainnas hand returned to her sides, she began walking through the destroyed beast. Fay cautiously moved through the wreck whom was still burning around the edges. As she moved to block Elainna, to try and talk to her friend, all she got was silent rejection and all Fay could see in Elainnas eyes was a single emotion,

Vengeance...

But the world seemed to turn to haze... black... and gray..


Somewhere, northern Chalessia

Suddenly Fay awoke and realized she was in a small cave, Not Shalessa... and was now seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Her face covered in a cold sweat and had been panting heavily. She looked about the cave, seeing the still smoking fire pit she had snuffed out before she had fell asleep. It was still early morning and dark outside, or was it mid-day and dark out.. she wasn't even sure anymore as the sky was still a swirling mass of disheartening darkness. She slowly raised to her feet and grabbed her bow and backpack before leaving the cavern. The wind picked up slowly, blowing leaves from dying trees around her. Fay had finally hit the realization that things were really bad... But she had to figure out how to stop this, as she knew Elainna would.

Days passed... Or maybe a week, before her trek was halted by a force bred for war. "goblin fucks.." She said softly before slipping into a nearby tree. It was a near jungle where she was so she used the abundance of cover to pass by large formations of the grotesque critters. They were clad in dark colored armor of rigid design and swords as archaic as their society. Nonetheless, they were led by a smart creature by goblin standards, a goblin king of the north. As fay drew closer to the leader of this army, he recognized this goblin king as the same one that tried to kill Josephine and her escorts so long ago. Fay knew they were marching on what was left of the realm. Few places there were safe anymore with this darkness encroaching but now this.. It was as if the Realm had drew the short straw in this ever worsening world. She jumped from tree to tree but during a jump, she lost her balance and hit the ground hard. She pushed herself up but succumbed to her massive hunger and waning energy.

It was so cold..

so cold..

"Where am I?" she said, her eyes opening to reveal a far green country with a swiftly rising sun. It was warm here, serene.. It was where the world should be but this turned to reality before calm could set in. Her eyes opened again to reveal a dark land, a dying forest and snickering goblins. She had been caged and stripped bare. She clinched every muscle on her body and after realizing the only thing molested was her dignity, she started to raise up. "Shit." she said, realizing her hands had been bound to her ankles. In front of her, goblins were playing with the various tools in her jacket and one was trying on the chest plate of her outfit. She giggled a bit at the goblin as it appeared as if it had a bust before it took the plate off. To her left, a goblin was fruitlessly pulling at the murder bows' string.

"Grahggg... This armor is horrible!" one said.

Another stood up and walked to the caged Fay. "You like being in there?"

Fay snarled, "You like being skinned alive?"

The goblin chuckled and kicked the cage before turning away.

Fay began to tear up slightly as she had no plan of escape and there was no one around to help her, except the stupidity of the goblins... she smiled as one picked up her silver sphere. "No!" she shouted, "Don't twist the top!!" A goblin gazed at her, "You think to hide things from me?!" Fay gave the look of fear, "you can't control the element, it is too strong for you to handle!"

The goblins eyes widened, "Ha! I am Gruush!!! I will have this power you speak of!" and with a strong twist, activated the sphere. Within seconds, it pulsated and released a cloud of orange gas. Before the goblins had a clue as to what was happening, their skin had started to melt away. "Dumb fucks." Fay said softly. The problem of her captivity was still an issue but she was working on that. She stretched her legs to break the binds but these goblins knew how to tie a knot. "Damn. these bastards.." But then she saw her salvation, one of the goblins had died with a dagger in its hand, which was close to her cage. She began scooting inches at a time.. inch by inch she drew closer.

As she finally reached the dagger, she used what limited reach she had to pry the dagger from the blackened skeletal hand of the melted goblin and when it was free, she gently cut her binds. After being cut loose, she lifted the hastily made stick cage, it didn't even have a bottom.. more of a basket than anything. Luckily the Goblins had water and limited bread, which fay devoured within seconds. Her next move was to dress herself and after a few moments rest, began to make her way north again.. But she was so tired and broken from the weeks of travel. It wasn't long before Fay started panting and then finally falling to the ground. Her eyes began to close against her will.

Hours? had it been that long?

A huff of hot air awoke Fay slightly, a giant beast nudged her onto her back. She focused her sight and saw a magnificent white stag staring at her. It huffed again and nudged her once more, "Ok ok." she said softly. Fay used the last of her energy to pull herself up on the Stag. Her eyes grew dark once more... all she felt was the gentle sway of the Stag and the sound of its hooves against the soft ground.

Hours? Again... but at least she was rested.

"Where did.." Fay said as she rose up from a muddy bank of a stream. She didn't see any hoof prints in the mud nor any sign of the Stag nearby. A dream? maybe.. but however it happened, She was near a source of fresh cold water. It didn't take long to quench her thirst and rise up again, ready to find shelter. She must have traveled miles as ahead she heard the familiar sound of an army. The clanks of metal, the stories and laughs of soldiers.. the warmth of fire and the security of knowing you had hundreds of comrades at arms ready to defend your life, so long as you would defend his.

"Imperials.." she said with a smile, the first good thing she had seen in weeks. But as she drew closer, she saw the banners of the empire but not of a typical legion... no this housed an Emperor. She crouched down and drew her bow and began sneaking towards the outskirts of the camp. "Did the imperial city fall? why would Wilhelm travel out here? I mean.. I know the guy is crazy but even this is beyond what I thought he was capable of." She then heard a snort.. Fay turned to shadow, her natural stealth kicking in and her years of assassin training had led to a near invisible killer... whom was now well rested and focused.

This was put to the test as she reached a small clearing near the camp. By the rushing soot covered trees sat a lone person, someone that Fay remembered from Josephine's journey not so long ago. She licked her lips in anticipation as she drew closer and closer. His deep breaths only gave her more to focus on as she neared the man and like a hardened jungle predator, she prepared to pounce on her prey.

There was no warning, no rustle in the bushes nor battle cry as Fay burst fourth from the tree line. Her movements were perfect as she landed gently into a crouched position, her bow drawn and readied with three of her ghostly arrows trained directly at the mans face. She narrowed her gaze at him and began to speak calmly but with force, "Do not shout, beast.. this weapon has pierced the thickest and best crafted enchanted Dwarven plate with ease. So, Beast, No puzzles.. no riddles.. no lies.. Who or What are you.." Her voice seemed to darken and grow raspy with anger and her facial features were beginning to reflect that as she spoke once more,

"Answer me, Freg."



The southern Realm


The Family Hadoren weren't well known outside their village. No famous works had been made in their honor nor have there been any real contributions aside from the daily fish delivery.. that counts for something at least. There were four of them at the onset of the war, the father, Lars.. the wife, Surrah, their eldest daughter Risa and the youngest, of a mere age of 7, Gella. Their life had been simple until the day came that Kalkai unleashed his war machine..

Days passed and all the word they received was victory after victory.. that the invading delta and imperial forces were being pushed back and that the Shahdom had been completely taken over.. Even some spoke of the Lamia switching sides to help the elves. Finally after a few weeks passed, news reached the villages that Wilhelm had assassinated king Kalkai and it fell to his daughter and their princess, Catya, to take vengeance on behalf of the elves.. First Wilhelm, then George, then Josephine.. Catya was doing wonders, killing all of the evil of this world. It got even better when word of Xoskea being conquered... and then the prize, Gattania being sacked. The world was in their nations grasp as the aggressors of this world had been pushed back, those who would take their independence and identity.

Not all of the elves danced in the streets when word of Arnessia being sacked reached their ears... no there were some that found it sad that humanity all the sudden just banded together to attack the elves of this world, some even thought it to be suspicious but they didn't voice their concern. Who's business was it and even if it was their business, who would care? well someone cared because on one summer day, the ground shook for a moment and in the distance, a flash that was for a moment, brighter than the sun, destroyed the elven kingdom. It didn't sink in right away, maybe within a few days people noticed the changes.. the atmosphere grew darker and the once safe refuge of the elves, the deep forest, had grew dark... strange shadows moved about and some felt watched... but no one could quite put their finger on it.

It all changed one day.. changed for the worst.

Lars shot awake in their small home, something had just pushed him to wake up.. "ugh... can't.." he growled a bit as he slowly climbed from his bed. As he moved through the house, he noticed the rafters had begun to crack again... "great.." he said but continued along to the kitchen. "Surrah!! Are you awake?" Lars shouted. All he heard was faint sobbing.. Lars began running through the house only to find Surrah on her knees holding Gella.. Lars began to slow down as one of Gella's arms fell to the ground, it was as pale as snow. Surrah turned to Lars, her face red with dried tears. "She.. I... " She closed her eyes hard and turned back towards Gella. Lars stormed outside to see the dying crops.. The food they had eaten last night had to have been tainted, it didn't affect him or his wife but Gella had always had immunity issues..

A week of mourning wasn't enough... especially when the dark ones came.

Another late night awakening... though it was Risa this time, screaming outside. Lars snagged his sword and ran outside to see Risa screaming in the face of a pitch black creature with empty holes were eyes should be. "Help!!!" she screamed... it was enough to give Lars strength and he charged the beast. As he rushed it, another male rushed with a pitchfork from the opposite side. The beast swiped at Lars but too soon and he was able to thrust the sword deep into the creatures forearm. It howled in pain as the other man stabbed his pitchfork into the creatures face. In a dying motion, it reached out to caught the other man by the head and with some otherworldly force, smashed it. Lars watched as the other mans brains oozed between the creatures fingers before the creature itself keeled over.

"Shit!" he said frantically, "shit shit shit!" his face was pale with fear but he turned that to action when he pointed towards a number of people, "We have to leave if we wish to survive! I am going towards the delta.. maybe the islands will provide some semblance of security." other townsfolk nodded before Lars shouted again, "Meet outside the Lohmai farm.. one hour until we leave!"

All around him people rushed into their homes, including his own family. The Hadoren family was quick to assemble, they had been secretly packing ever since Gella passed. The Family Hadoren was first to leave, watching as the other family's packed their belongings. When the Hadorens reached the farm, they started hearing screams.. again.. "Oh no..." Lars said as he walked towards an overlooking embankment. All he could see was smoke rising from behind the hill... and head the painful screams. "Alright, Time to go." Lars commanded, "But father?! someone could've survived!" Risa said angrily.

Lars balled his fist, "NO!"

Surrah stepped between the two, "Risa, grab your bags.. Lars, settle down. Are things not bad enough?"

The sun rose... the sun set... and again... and again... there was little conversation, just walking. They would sit, and eat.. and sleep... and walk.

One day, things just kept getting better.. "Get down!" Lars whispered to his family, which they did without question. Ahead, Lars rose up to see an old fort with plain clothed people outside, "I wonder if they are frien--" A sharp object gently touched his back, "Aye dere' I think u's in da' wron' neyba'ood.." Lars turned to see a one eyed elf and two others holding his wife and daughter.

"Let them go!" Lars demanded.

"Oy'.. wha'ya gon' do bout' it?" the one eye said back with a smile.

Lars mustered his strength and went to punch the one eye in the face but without any effort, One-eye caught his fist and then with more force, pushed Lars back and onto one knee. "You's think you gon' do som' to me?"

One-eye turned to look at his Wife, "I wan' dat on'. keep this poor fella' here. I'ma pork dat' wench like those other' earlia'"

Lars began to tear up as two other men held him down.. forcing him to watch as one-eye violated his beloved. Lars heard screams and moans. His mind was racing, 'Please stop!' 'I'll kill him!' 'is she... enjoying it?' He couldn't focus at all, and it was even worse when One-eye came around the corner, slowly pulling his pants up. "Aye' dat' was a good one'" Lars face turned to madness, "I'll kill you!"

One-eye laughed and then turned to Lars' daughter, Risa. Lars dropped to his knees, "Please! please don't please!!! please!!! I'll do what ever you want, please just stop." One-eye turned towards Lars, "Anytin'?" Lars nodded his head, "Anything, please just leave my family alone."

Right at that moment, Surrah slowly wobbled into view. Her wardrobe was torn apart and her face bruised and beaten. Strange fluids mixed with blood were still dripping from her mouth and between her legs. She slowly fell onto her knees and then rolled onto her back, staring at the sky. Lars turned to One-eye, "Please.. please stop this."

One-eye smirked and grabbed Risa by the hair, forcing a pained howl. "Let her go!" Lars shouted nut One-eye only laughed. "Go, Take yer' bitch." He motioned to the wrecked Surrah. "I'll take dis' one." he said, pulling Risa's hair a little harder.

As the thugs left Lars and the now ruined Surrah on the road, Lars mind turned to anger and then madness. "Surrah... I love you. Please forgive me." She didn't answer, only stared into the sky.

Lars had traveled for nearly an hour and was lucky to stumble across his goal.. but when he arrived he began waving his hands around like a madman, "Hey! fight me.. cowards!!" Ahead, those creatures of darkness stood huddled around one of the shadowed rifts.. from which beyond thousands more stood waiting. They seemed to oblige his request but as they could've easily overpowered Lars, they seemed to let him stay a step ahead. Were they using Lars instead? No one can be for certain but it certainly didn't matter to Lars... His will had turned to vengeance and these creatures were his ticket.

One-eye was sitting at a large table, piled with money and weapons. Expensive liqueurs flowed and caged girls lined the room. "Oy' now dis' is da' lif'." Those were his last words as broken glass and splintered wood gave way to the corrupt and evil warriors. They burst in with such ferocity and surprise that there was no chance to defend themselves. A few lucky warriors got a chance to fight the dark ones but it didn't matter, they were all cut down. Lars moved into the room and saw as One-eye fought one of the bigger dark ones.. punching and kicking with the occasional toss of a nearby object. They were deadlocked at this point.. Lars was in disbelief that not only did One-eye violate his wife but was now denying his vengeance... no. this wasn't to be.

Lars found a large rock and threw it as hard as he could, hitting One-eye square in the face. As One-eye looked to Lars, he only saw a tall elf with his fists balled, "Your turn."

It was with that lapse of attention that the dark creature got the upper hand and grabbed One-eyes leg. One-eye bit the creatures arm but it was too late as the Creature jerked up as hard as it could, pulling One-eyes leg from its socket. One-eye howled in pain as the creature let go and stepped back, staring as the now cowering elf. "Do wha' you' wan'.. But I.. I am Kir-" Before One-eye could finish, the creature tore One-eyes face from his very head. Blood and flesh splattered against the wall as the creature began feasting upon the now dead elf.

In the chaos, Lars found his daughter Risa unspoiled. He asked her, "Are you ok?"

She was quick to reply, "Thank you father!! thank you!!"

He broke the lock and the two ran out to the road. Behind them, smoke billowed from the fort. Lars felt a sickened satisfaction but it turned to purpose when he found Surrah, whom had adjusted what little garments left on her body to one that covered the most important areas. It was wasn't pretty but it did its job. The trip south was even more silent than before. The emotional healing that Surrah needed was absent but Risa had been enthralled with her fathers heroics. Surrah found some comfort in that and believed that once they found a new home safe from the Realm and its dangers.. they could be a family once more.


It wasn't long before the Hadoren family crossed the borders between the Delta and Realm. Ahead, Lars could see movement, and lots of it. Other refugees had flooded the plains that made up the border between the two nations. Families just as lost as the Hadorens tried their hardest to push into the Delta's Loving arms.
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Hidden 3 yrs ago Post by Goldeagle1221
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Goldeagle1221 I am Spartacus!

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Monkeypants Collab, The battle camp!


(read as continuation from M's last Fay post)

Bovine eyes looked up from the ground and at Fay. A hot snort broke from the bull man's nostrils as he bellowed, "I am Freg Gerntef, of Harnia."

Fay cocked her head to the side and started to lower her bow but before she got far, her brow furrowed and her bow went back up, "I am Freg Gerntef... I'm a Bull-man.. .." through the sarcasm, her frustration was starting to show.


"Damnit beast, that's what you said when we first met! Cut the shit..." She motioned towards the sky, "One minute you're not here and all is fine.. Suddenly you show up and things go to shit." She took a few aggressive steps forward, "Explain!"

"One minute the sky was fine while I helped your friends in the forest, the next you leave and the sky breaks," Freg snorted plainly, "everyone is guilty if you word it correctly. But no, I had not broken the sky, nor have I ever fooled you; I simply answer what you're asking."

"So ask your questions," Freg impatiently gestured with his massive hand.


Fay stared at Freg for a few moments, the only sound between them was the gentle gusts that swayed Fay's long crimson hair. "Ok then.. if you are not responsible, then who or... What is? And don't bother saying everyone because I sure as hell didn't cause this."

"You did, but not in a way that you could be held responsible," Freg waved a dismissing hand, "what is your name, Hinan?"

Fay lowered her bow slightly, "My name?" She chuckled softly, "Not sure why that matters now but I suppose
ill play along. My name is Faylaiwan Urloah of the Chalessian realm.. Or what was.. Satisfied?"

"Of course," Freg grunted. He looked her over and nodded, his horns swaying with the motion, "what do you intend to do?"

Fay lowered her bow completely and approached Freg. "My intent is to stop what ever is going on.. I refuse to believe that those who have died.. have died for nothing.. But I also refuse to believe that everyone is guilty." she said sternly. "So please enlighten me.. if you know so much about what is going on, enough that you know it's because of everyone.. please. What has happened in this world to make it so bleak." She scowled, "And what can we do to fix it."

"Faylaiwan Urloah," Freg nodded slowly, as if understanding, "Leader of the Great Army."

Fay gave a puzzled look, "Leader of the Great Army? What do you mean by that?" She then cleared her throat a bit, "Oh, and most just call me Fay."

A snort burst from Freg's nose and what might have been a smile if not for his bovine face contorted his lips, "in the north an army lies dormant, awaiting the time its hero rises to claim it. It is said in text unknown to this world to be the army to stem the tide of the invasion, and I believe Faylaiwan Urloah is its champion, Hinan."

Fay rose her hands slightly , "Hey now, I'm not a general. I've never led anything more than a target with my bow." She chuckled a bit at her own joke. Her tone began to reflect disbelief, as if Freg was toying with her. "Wouldn't someone like George, A natural leader, be more capable?" She lowered her arms, "I mean he IS the emperor and all."

"He has his own destiny and part to play in the war, Hinan" Freg pointed a thick finger at Fay, "as do you."

"I..." Fay sighed and gently placed her bow upon her back. "Elainna always spoke of destiny.. How wrong i thought she was but she told me.." She gazed upon her dirt stained hands. "I said we shape our own fate."

"I never should've left her.. but she said that she was going to destroy a great evil that would ultimately end with her end, her sacrifice." Her cheeks and nose turned red as a few tears formed in the corners of her eyes, "Abandoning Elainna led her to fulfill her destiny." She calmed her nerves, "But what could one girl do?"

Freg nodded slowly, his face unchanging as he added in a rough baritone, "Should you accept this destiny?"

Fay stared at the sky, watching the dark swirling coulda. "Strange how fate works." She slowly brought her gaze back to Freg, "I... I accept."

"Then travel north to the Arctic Mountains, in the home of the titans dwells your army, awaiting you," Freg snorted plainly, as if it was a simple task.

"Am I to be alone?" She said, almost showing fear in her voice.

"That is not my question to answer," Freg grunted.

Fay frowned and looked to the dirt below her feet, and mumbled, "Figures.". She didn't mope long though, her head rose and she stared the bull-man in the eyes for a moment, "Well, if I am to end this horror... then I guess I'll get started,"

She then turned towards the north, staring deep into the horizon. "I am ready, though I do not know the way."

Freg nodded slowly, "then I will show you the way."

The bull man pressed a thick hand against the metal strap across his chest that held the cage of the book in place, and with a loud clang and a distinct whirring sound the book and it's strange runed metal cage fell the the forest floor with a loud thud and clank.

Freg heaved as he lifted the massive caged book and set it inbetween the two, it's mass sitting like a small table. He pressed gently down onto the leather cover of the book, and the arcane words carved into the metal claws that held it in place glew a hot white.

After a few seconds, the claws snapped back, releasing the book, which looked much more mundane when compared to it's strange trappings. All it was, was a large brown leather book as thick as a small peice of furniture.

Freg pointed to it, "open."

Fay stared at the arcane book, of the likes she had never seen ever in her life. She slowly reached towards the book but paused before her fingers touched one of its massive edges. After a deep breath and pushing her mind past her apprehension, her fingers ran across the book and eventually began pulling up on the front cover. She was nervous as to what was inside but it was too late now.

The book's white pages opened before Fay, and a soft hum lulled her eyelids closed. The sounds of the battle camp faded away, as did the earthy smell of tree sap and autumn leaves. The metallic smell of winter's snow filled her nostrils and the biting wind covered her body as her vision remained in the darkness of her lids.

Behind the hiding skin, her lids flashed pink with light that strobed on the other side of her natural wall, edging her to open her eyes, and return to reality. The wind howled in her ears, beckoning for her to return.

Fay tightened her eyes, squeezing the muscles of her face, diligent not to answer the alluring call of the light and wind. Numbness nipped at her fingers and toes but still she clenched her jaw to stand against the urge.

The light halted into a steady line, staining her lids pink and beating a warmth to her wind nipped cheeks. A wide hand tangled it's thick fingers around her shoulder and gave her a light shake.

Her eyes fluttered open to the touch, much in the way a person returns to consciousness after a long slumber. Her vision went negative for a flash at the sudden mountain sun blazing before her, but soon her pupils adjusted on the tall figure of Freg standing next to her, grasping her shoulder.

All around the two, snow covered the constantly rising land, filled with mounts of rock and valleys of snow. The stood tall on a peak, the blue distance deep beneath them, to where the valleys blurred out of sight and into the dark green pines that dressed the slopes below. An angry howling wind whipped at them as they stood on the paramount.

Freg let go of her shoulder, "the Arctic mountains." He simply said.

Fay brought her hands to her face, squeezing her eyes shut and open again. "What just..." she gently shook her head before lowering her hands. Her eyes opened once more to the sight of Freg, "Arctic mountains.. That's a long way from here.."

Her expression turned to that of depression but quickly returned to her typical, emotionless Features. "Ok, Freg... I think I understand now."

"Do you?" Freg asked, "travel north to the arctic mountains, climb the highest peak you see, and on the other side will be your army."

A stiff finger pointed down the sloping face of the mountain.

Fay turned her gaze to the north then back at Freg, "Nothing is ever simple it seems.. But I think what you say sounds pretty easy." She tried to be cocky but inside she shivered, there was no confidence here.. She was no savior but it seemed fate had decided something else. "Scaling a mountain.."

A confident smirk crossed her lips, "Not the first time I've had to do something crazy like that." Her smirk turned to a frown, "Those wicked things are going to try and stop me, aren't they."

"Just go north until you reach the mountains, climb the highest peak you see, and there," He jutted his finger out again, "there is your army."

Fay peeked over Freg's gesture, the virtigo of the deep distance spinning her vision as she strained her eyes to see the glints of metal marching in the foggy blue distance. But before she could make anything out, there was a great flash.

Dust poofed into her face as the book closed with a thump, and the sounds of the battle camp seasoned her ears once more. Freg sat across from her, on his stump, one hand on the book.

"Now you know."

Fay sat upon the cold ground, her fingers gently pushing bits of dirt aside as she rested. She stared up at the swirling darkness above, "It's just so much to take in.. so much." She whispered.

"I suppose I should start my journey. I feel like every minute I sit here gives that dark one bastard more time to solidify his gains." She said while raising off the ground. Fay brushed her pants and shirt, adjusting where needed. "Well, Freg.. is there anything else I need to know about?"

"Be safe, and be patient," Freg offered

Fay didn't reply but rather stared into the distant darkness.
Hidden 3 yrs ago 3 yrs ago Post by Afina
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Afina Retired Account

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