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That's one of the prettiest applications we've had so far; you're accepted! You can post your app into the Characters tab whenever you're ready!

Now, a note for everyone reading: there will be no more additions to the RP. As of now, the RP is closed to new applications.
The red dragon Htraknu stood tall amidst an endless sea of trees; the few leaves that they had were shades of red and purple, mixed in with valuable trinkets like necklaces which clung to the branches. In the distance, bright red light extended high into the sky, breaking the natural skyline. The sky above was in perpetual blackness, save for the shine of distant stars and an arm of the galaxy stretching diagonally across the sky.

At the dragon's colossal feet lay the broken body of the Shaitun Latemis - her trickery and her subtlety was no match for the sheer brutality of Htraknu and his new army of the dead. Though the goddess had hidden herself amongst the shadows of trees giant and small, the walking corpses burned them down without a thought. Her bands of spectral thieves and assassins could not hope to compare to thousands upon thousands of mindless warriors and the dragon-god's fire.

All things considered, that fight was a relatively easy one for the red dragon. Well, as easy as a fight with a god can be. Htraknu felt the power of yet another dead god coursing through his veins. A colossal roar of triumph left the beast's mouth - his undead followers all across this forlorn realm joined their own cries, resulting in a haunting shriek that could be heard for miles around.

Htraknu felt a strange tingling sensation in one of his front limbs; he looked down to see that the normally crimson scales on his foot had changed into a mucky green-brown colour, perfectly matching the shade of the dirt beneath him. With some intense thought, he managed to get his foot back to its regular bloody colour.

'This will take some getting used to...' he thought. After a few tries, he was able to shift the colour of his entire leg, then eventually, his entire body. He felt... smarter somehow, too. Clever little strategies to defeat the various gods passed through his mind. He also thought up ways of commanding his undead-orcish-goblin armies to victory... that would go far to save him from the indignity of relying on the orcish chiefs' aid in planning his next movements.

He still had a ways to go before he could take on the more powerful gods such as Solanius and he knew that even before he absorbed Latemis' knowledge and powers. So, next on his list would be Molarten, the God of domination, enslavement and the orcs. His powers would certainly come in handy, and he needed all orcs on his side, without question.
Although it took a while, the Vilvere knight had finally dressed herself for the quest of a lifetime. Doubts about the whole thing still sat in her mind, like if she'd make it out alive or if the threat was truly real at all. Not that she feared death itself; every Vilvere Knight who went through the process of joining was prepared for it. She was more afraid of her death meaning nothing.

She wore a steel-scaled tabard with blue accents- its arms, which were also blue, were padded and pockmarked with numerous steel studs. She would normally wear even more armour on top of all that, but it would inconvenience her in situations like the one she found herself in now.

"You don't need to kneel every time you visit, you know." a middle-aged man, clad in typical Solanian robes, stood in front of her. He always spoke in one of those soft, sincere tones that could probably placate an orc.
"Apologies, Father." she replied, rising back up to her full height. While she was just barely taller than the spindly priest she figuratevely looked up to, she probably weighed about twice as much - the outlines of powerful muscles in her arms and legs were decently visible in her under-armour. "Old habits."
The priest nodded slowly, understanding precisely what she meant by that. "Now, what can I do for you, Ser Angela?"

Angela sighed and let her shoulders slump. "It's about what I'm going to do. Did you read the letter I wrote to you half an hour ago?"
The priest raised an inquisitive eyebrow. "About Htraknu?" Angela nodded in response.
"Yes. I need to make up for Vilvere's mistakes, Father. We failed to kill it before, and now it might be the end of all of us." she didn't actually sound worried. Instead, her voice was full of determination.
"Is this what's bothering you?"
The knight shook her head no. "The people who gave us that information were affiliated with the Knights Solanian. I know I have to go with them to solve this, but... well, you know how I feel about them." she paused for a short second. "Not to mention that Eastern dog they have with them."

The priest put a hand on Angela's shoulder. "My lady, you have a lot more to worry about these days than mistrusting your new allies. You may hate it as much as you wish, but the world as we know it could be at stake, and the people you so despise are willing to work together to save it." Angela averted her gaze towards her feet. "You need to be willing to do the same."

"Okay." she sounded uneasy with the whole idea, but she'd always listened to what the Clergy had to say. "I can't promise I'll have a good relationship with them though."
"Good relationships are necessary. You may have to rely on them to save your life one day."
"I doubt it'll be a battle that finally gets me."
"Angela."
The knight sighed. "Okay, I'll do my best." she looked down at two vials full of dark red, viscous liquid that were attached to a string tied around her wrist. "What do I tell them about...?" she trailed off, almost mesmerised by the contents of the vials.
"Whatever you want."

"I understand." she put on an expression of determination. "May I take my leave?"
The priest gave her a simple nod. "Of course. Stay safe, knight."
She bowed slightly in response. "You as well, Father."
The dungeons underneath Viarosa's keep were similar to those all across the continent - dark, dank and cold. It was a seemingly-endless maze of crumbling stone and black iron bars with very little natural light. Instead, small torches sporadically placed on the walls provided what little light there was.

Silence in the dungeon was rare - not entirely surprising given the nature of a few people who were imprisoned. If prisoners weren't arguing with the dungeon's guards, you could be sure that they were arguing with each other. And that was on the best of days.

Everyone who had participated in the brawl in the street found themselves in the dungeon's cells; they had all been interrogated and were simply waiting for what would come next. Plenty of time had passed, but nobody knew exactly how much. Definitely a few hours, at least?

While the official capacity for the cells was five people, the guards constantly and conveniently forgot about that - everyone that supported Gottmar, and Gottmar himself, were crammed into one cell. The others didn't have it any easier, as they found themselves in the same position. Everyone had their weapons and armour confiscated from them; those who wore nothing but underwear under their protective gear, like Rhiara, could count themselves lucky - she got to keep hers.

Insults were occasionally traded between the two sides, but there wasn't much anyone could do besides that. A pair of plain city-folk were in the midst of a particularly strongly-worded argument when a loud 'clack' and then a drawn-out 'creak' from the dungeon's entrance made them both quiet down almost immediately. A few pairs of footsteps came stomping down the hallway towards both of the cells.

The source of the sound was a duo of guards, decidedly less well-armed and armoured than their counterparts that apprehended the group. They wore simple leather armour and carried a shortsword with them wherever they went. Accompanying the guards was a very well-armoured man clad in full plate armour with white and blue accents.

One of the guards pointed to Gottmar, and then at Athaliah, Sorano, Ceara and the rest. "These are the ringleaders; the ones the Chevaleresse-Lieutenant will want to see." The other guard nodded and walked towards Gottmar's cell while the knight stood watch.
"Your lucky day, scarface." the man sneered at the witch-hunter as he used his key on the cell door; the knight behind him had his hand on the hilt of his sword, ready to deal with anyone who thought about running while the cell was open.

"Were it a lucky day for any of us, you would not have intervened in the execution of my sacred duties," Gottmar snarled, glaring furiously at the guard. He rose, stepping through the open cell door to face the knight.

Meanwhile, his companion did the same to the other door; Sorano, Mostafa, Mortirmir, Rhiara, Athaliah and Ceara were all escorted out of the cell, the knight's presence ensuring that everyone else stayed inside. Both of the doors were soon locked again.

Athaliah and Sorano glowered at Gottmar, who did the same in return - the only thing stopping them from trying to kill each other were the armed guards separating them.

The journey into the keep itself didn't take too long - soon enough, the group was walking along the richly-decorated hallways filled with valuable paintings, statues and other trinkets that only the insanely rich would own. Milo Demetrios, the man who owned the city and the keep, couldn't resist flaunting his weath, it seemed.

Eventually, they reached the keep's church; somehow, it avoided the disgusting lavishness that had affected the rest of the keep. It was actually somwhat bare, especially considering that it was one of the more important churches in the city - all the nobility would go to worship there, and the local knights of several holy orders called it their home.

Waiting for them was a woman in her early thirties, with braided blonde hair and sharp, grey eyes. She wore a set of blue and golden robes; while it was a bit more form-fitting than normal robes, it still did an excellent job at covering her up. Both Sorano and Gottmar recognised the colour combination and the exact type of robe - the woman belonged to the Vilvere Order, from to the east a ways.

She walked forwards to meet the group; the woman moved with purpose, like a soldier, rather than taking the delicate steps of a priestess. The way she moved also gave hints as to how powerful her legs were - she wasn't someone who sat in church all day.

"Chevaleresse-Lieutenant." the knight bowed his head respectfully, finally breaking his silence to greet his counterpart. From his accent, he was Illyrican, probably nobility. "This is the group that caused chaos in the streets. According to scarface here," he gestured one of his hands in Gottmar's general direction. "the rest of these people are demon summoners, while they claim that they're trying to save the world from some god-killing dragon, or something." the knight shrugged. "They say that they have proof, but it's only some notes that look like they were written by a madman."

The woman, now confirmed to be another knight, raised a critical eyebrow as her fellow knight shared what he had learned. "And you expect us to believe that?" she said flatly, looking at each prisoner with a less than amused expression. She had a distinctive southern-Rosilandi accent. "Do any of you want to clarify it for me?" she glared at each person besides Gottmar, daring someone to volunteer.

Ceara stepped forward, nodding her head respectfully before speaking. "Look, lady-knight, we hadn't done anything to cause this fighting. We were just eating and talking, nothing close to the intentions that this bedlamite has accused us of." The thief looked down. "He brought us outside and tried to set us ablaze like a bloody madman. We had not a hand in it, I swear."

Athaliah nodded slowly at the redhead's explanation. "It's true, madam." she added. "We were discussing the contents of the notes - we were hoping to use them to find wherever our... associate, made camps, and continue our quest from there."
The woman let out a simple, unconvinced 'Hmm' before turning her full attention to Gottmar. "You. Care to explain why you thought these people were demon-summoners, and a threat to the realm?" she took a quick glance at the rest of the group, Rhiara and Athaliah in particular. "To me, it looks like they're just inexperienced 'adventurers', barely out of their teens."

The witch hunter gestured to the rest of the prisoners, contempt in his eyes. "I heard them myself, huddled around a table in the corner of a tavern, speaking in hushed tones of demons, of sorcery and death. Conspiring, clearly, to commune with creatures of the Infernum." He made the sign of Calidorus across his chest. "Tell me, lady knight, have you spent decades of your life hunting all manner of witches, warlocks, undead abominations and heretical demon-worshippers? For my fellow Brother-Soldiers and I have done just that, and more besides. You will heed my words, therefore, when I say that the innocent appearance of these heathens counts for naught. Justice must be served."

"I'm inclined to agree." the knight frowned at the rest of the group, disapproval plainly written on her face. "Tell me about this 'god-killing dragon' that you claim to be trying to stop." that specific detail was the part that intrigued her the most - after all, her order was founded on the art of hunting dragons, and all its knights still pursued the craft. "How do you know it can kill gods, and how do you know it exists in the first place?"

Sorano had been silent up until this point, carefully considering his testimony. At this point, his scholarly knowledge would help convince the Vilvere Knight. "The journals were written by a man named Bjorn, the third survivor of the Krossavik Disaster. The Godslayer's name is Htraknu, the one responsible for the village's destruction. That much, I can assure you, is no myth," he explained. "Furthermore, ask any priest with any shred of genuine piety what they felt little over a week ago; as the Order of the Knights Solanian feasted in Castle Mirador, Grandmaster Aquila and the clergy -- all ordained with the proper rites and the orthodox understanding of holy orders -- experienced a violent portence that Hargash had died, the cosmic order thus sent into discord."

The robed knight looked disturbed at the mere mention of Htraknu; she and the Order knew that it was he that attacked Krossavik and other villages in northern Asmeinland, but they were never able to find and kill him. Now she was hearing that he had killed a god. She had a sudden, almost crippling headache a week before that awoke her from her sleep, but she had no idea what caused it. Until now. "You're certain?" her voice was almost silent and much less commanding. It was a moment of weakness she would make sure wouldn't happen again.

"We are, my lady," Rhiara spoke up. "We know two of Krossavik's survivors... They told us of an artifact, a... a scalpel? It was in their village when Htraknu attacked. They said that the scalpel had the power to kill Hargash... Now Hargash is dead."

The knight spent a second or two thinking on what the archer had told her. Their story definitely added up, much to her own dismay. After all, not only did she know that one of the only dragons to have escaped the Order was now a threat to the entire world, she now knew that the people in front of her were associated with that order of heretics in Mirador. People she absolutely despised.

She turned to Sorano with a sudden, newfound fury; she grabbed the elf by the collar of his robes and pulled him towards herself. "Now, don't you dare talk about 'genuine piety' with me, heretic." she snapped. "The other Orders, they may tolerate your power-hungry lies, but we will not. Your band of heretics is doomed to fall, one way or another."

Relatively unfazed as the knight yanked him close, Sorano glanced down at her hand with a mild grimace. "Now while I can certainly understand the anger with which you disparage me, I must ask you to quell it for but a moment," he said, cocking his head to the side. "Firstly, these folks who are with me are not of the Order. I and I alone follow the Son of Our Lord Solanius, and should you hold anyone here for 'heresy' then let it be me, as these others go free."

He reached to gently brush her hand away, giving her a more stern but sincere look. "Secondly, Lady of the Vilvere, I would have expected you were aware that Viarosa, once a shining citadel of progress and trade, has fallen into corrupt hands. The love of money over the Gods has become apparent in many a nobleman, and undoubtedly some clergy. I wouldn't think to question your faith -- and I see that you are a holy woman -- but that of Viarosa's." He paused a beat, glancing over to Gottmar. "And should it be of consolation, that however power-hungry you believe us to be, at least Aquilans refrain from burning the innocent alive on misunderstood hearsay for a God who does not canonically desire such action."

Depsite Sorano's admittedly half-hearted efforts at getting free, the knight kept her grip on the elf's robes - at least until he finished speaking. His selflessness surprised her; she hadn't expected such values from an elf, and a heretic at that.
She finally released her hold on him, pushing him back as firmly as she pulled him before. "My being in this rat's nest of a city is not by choice, elf." She turned her attention to Gottmar, who himself looked to be on the verge of snapping. "As for you, I advise restraint in the future. Not only did your actions lead to half a dozen deaths, but almost resulted in the information they hold being lost forever." She was unimpressed with his conduct, unsurprising given that he was supposed to be part of an order too. "As much as I'd like to have an example made of you, we have more pressing issues right now."

Gottmar snorted. "Restraint? Had I exercised restraint, and my suspicions of these people had proven to be correct, what then? Certainly, we would be facing far worse consequences than a few deaths in a street brawl. Do not dare presume to tell me how to do my job, 'knight'." He turned to Sorano. "And you, heretic, do not lecture me on the will of the gods! You are soft; weak. If it was left to the likes of you to interpret their wishes we would all have died out centuries ago."

"I'll tell you how to do your job whenever I damn well please, especially since you insist on being this bad at it." she retorted coldly. "What was it, five minutes after you entered the inn that a brawl started in the streets, and you've got nothing but damaged pride to show for it? Get out of my sight."

"Absolutely not," the witch hunter spat. "If this dragon is real, and as powerful as you claim - and still I do not believe you entirely - then certainly I cannot allow the task of slaying it to be left to a gang of jumped-up heretics." He glared at the knight. "And as your order holds precisely no authority over mine, you will not attempt to issue commands to me again. Is that clear?"

The knight opened her mouth to retaliate, but she was cut off by a new voice.

"It interests me immensely that mere moments ago you were willing to slaughter my allies in the streets on simple impulse, refusing to believe our justified claim that Htraknu has slain a Shaitun," said Lucian Aquila, his presence now announced to those in the room. He and Nima stood together with the guard that ushered them in, but until this point none of them had sought to interrupt the Knight Vilvere.

"...and now that you have but the faintest inkling of faith in that same claim, you seek to cut us out of the picture and claim our task for yourself that you may seize the glory?"

Lucian smiled, chortling in amusement as he momentarily glanced at the knight, as if checking to see if she found that as noticeable as he did. "Unfortunately for you, I don't think anyone else in this room is willing to let that happen. Were the responsibility of the world's salvation left to a murderous wretch who responds to a castrated ego by puffing up his chest against those who hold him accountable for his actions, and who cannot stand to work with others for the betterment of Thurius, then there certainly would be far worse consequences for everyone on Thurius than the casualties you caused trying to stop better men and women from saving it."

"Pretty words, preacher," Gottmar replied, voice full of malice. "I wonder though, are you prepared to back them up? For if you are not willing to 'let' me do something, surely it falls to you to stop me." He gestured to Lucian, beckoning him forward. "So come on then. Stop me."

"Enough!" the knight yelled at the top of her voice; it seems her patience had finally worn thin. With a simple tilt of her head, the two guardsmen, who were still present, restrained both Lucian and Nima. Meanwhile, the other Vilvere knight grabbed both of Gottmar's wrists in a grip of iron.

"Let me make this perfectly clear, if any of you so much as breathe towards each other, I will kill the both of you." She stalked towards Lucian with a scowl on her face, shoulder-checking Gottmar along the way. "Tell me what that creature is doing here." she didn't even bother looking at Nima. "Now."

"The Easterner, I would presume," Lucian replied, glancing over at Nima. "He is a close friend of the red-haired woman over with the others. On our way to Viarosa together we encountered a village being razed by Hargash's spawn, in a frenzy following their sire's demise. Though the village was lost, we succeeded in intervening in their attack long enough to rescue a great many civilians, who are being sheltered in a hostel not far from the market square," he explained. "The Easterner was wounded in the process, and as per their fickle customs, a cleansed flame was needed before he could accept my healing power."

"As you could probably gather," he casually gestured to the filth on his tabard and face, "I had to search for something he could use to burn for the proper rites. It was moments after I had sealed his wound that this wonderful gentleman here accosted us for attempted arson, though I can assure you this was not our intent." He directed an open hand to the guard whose left arm was locked around his right, weapon at the ready should the Grandmaster try anything brash.

He paused, looking the Knight Vilvere over. "I can tell as it stands that the two of us rather heavily disagree on the details of my ontology, and on our respective doctrines regarding the Gods and the dragon race. But let it be said that I have no ill will to express. Our world is at stake, madame, and I can tell you have a heart for the Gods and their Commandments, as well as for the people of this realm. If you have not already seen the notes that Bjorn of Krossavik composed on Htraknu for yourself, we would be well pleased to show you. Doubtless, a Knight of the Vilvere Order would be instrumental in bringing down the Father of Dragons once and for all, that never again the tragedy of Krossavik could be repeated?"

Her only response, at least for a few seconds, was a deep sigh. "Let them go." she spoke with a certain tiredness in her voice. Lucian, Nima and Gottmar were released from the grips of the guardsmen and the other knight. "Alright, you've convinced me."

She took several steps backwards. "I'll need to tell the Clergy of my intentions... I'll meet up with you when I'm ready." she began, before turning to her comrade. "Chevalier, make sure these people get where they need to go."
"Of course, ma'am." he gave his commander a respectful nod before walking towards the exit with the group plus Gottmar in tow. The city guards also took their leave, seeing no point in remaining.
"I can certainly see why and how your friend would get lost in this labyrinth of a city," said Sorano to Rhiara, as they carefully trod side-by-side down the cobblestone streets. "All the better to delay besieging armies, not so fortuitous for the non-native traveler. If only the bastard nobility would let us open a chapter here, I might have more familiarity."

"I'm completely out of my depth in a city like this." Rhiara sighed as she looked around at the buildings she and Sorano walked past. She had never seen so many inns and taverns all in one place before. "Athaliah is, too. We're both from this cute little village up north, and... well, Viarosa is something else entirely." she shrugged. "Why won't the nobles let your order set up here, anyway? I thought most people would have appreciated their own holy order on their doorstep."

The Sun Elf let out a hearty chuckle, shaking his head. "Viarosa is the See of the Patriarchate of Celestis. This city, like much of Foveros, is very orthodox in thought. Our Order is understood to be 'heretical' for our faith in our Grandmaster. The more zealous types disregard our benevolence and condemn our beliefs," he explained. "Or, at least, those who pretend to be zealous. He who puts on airs of holiness for appearance's sake alone, you know the sort. Did you see how easily that hypocrite fop Demetrios was purchased by our Lord? Oh, Lucian told me everything; arrogant leech let us walk right through the gate, betraying whatever God he says he prays to, and besmirching his position and responsibilities for thirty silver an 'entrance fee.' If you didn't see it, you can ask him to confirm when we get back," he said, rolling his eyes in disgust, though not at Rhiara. He had a special distaste for men of false faith.

Rhiara ran a hand through her snowy hair, somewhat uncomfortable with the discussion. She had seen and heard of plenty of injustice in the world in the short time she had been out of Hoffen, but she still tried her best to be optimistic. "W-well... maybe that entrance fee goes towards running the city. Or maybe he spends it on making his family happy. People need any bit of joy they can find, especially now. Lysandra knows that there's already enough negativity in the world."

Sorano paused a beat, sighing sadly. For once, a tiny smile tugged at the corner of his lips as he looked over to Rhiara. "If only the world were so innocent. You saw how he clothed himself, how he walked and gesticulated, how he surrounds himself with gossipers and harlots, whom he needs to provide him his ego he himself cannot sustain alone. He took that money and pocketed it for no other reason than to have it," he replied. He shrugged to himself, and added, "His kind would argue that perhaps that's how things have to be, that life is about those who can merely survive, and those who cannot. Those above, and those below, who serve to prop up those who are born above, or slither into their status."

He pursed his lips, stroking his hairless chin thoughtfully. "And maybe there's truth to that. But I ask you to consider, how much darker the world would become if every man and woman felt this way. If there's anything Lucian has taught me, lass, it's that people like you are lamps; the Light of Solanius burns brightly in people who think in ought-to-be's, for hope is fostered in people such as these. And when you lend a lamp's flame to another wick, the flame is never lessened. True love and happiness never decrease by being shared, and when many lamps burn brightly, they illumine the darkest of rooms. What good is it, then, that men should yearn to snuff the flames of one another, all for the sake of being able to say they are the brightest flame burning?"

Though he clearly enjoyed musing like this, he quickly realized where he was, who he was with, and what he was doing, and his expression fell. "My apologies, for getting carried away on a sermon undesired."

Rhiara fell silent, and simply nodded as the elf spoke. "Don't worry about it, Sorano. You've... you've given me quite a bit to think about." She really did spend time thinking about what he had said as they continued their journey; she was glad that she could affect others' lives for the better if she tried.

"My response was the same when it was Lucian doing the talking," Sorano said with a genial laugh. "This is the sort of thing that got me to join the Order, personally. But alas I've digressed too long; let us focus on finding the others." And so he fell silent, turning his attention on his surroundings. As they came to the end of the street, they could hear a growing commotion not too far from them. Sorano held his arm out to stop Rhiara, his ears twitching as he looked for the direction of the shouting.

He began following the clamoring voices, turning the corner to spot a tavern with a wooden sign bearing the image of a jovial looking bard holding a fiddle. An audience gathered outside as four figures were marched out the door, secured by peasants, seemingly led by an imposing, pale man. Athaliah, Mostafa, Ceara, and... someone Sorano didn't recognize, but figured was probably involved in whatever just happened in there. As the gathering stopped in the street outside, a growing crowd of peasants emerging from their houses, the pale man stepped atop a conveniently discarded crate, placing him well above even the tallest of his audience. "Good and faithful citizens of Viarosa, hear me!" he shouted, his voice gruff and commanding. "Before you stand four heathens, who sought and plotted to consort with the demons of the Infernum for their own nefarious ends, placing at dire risk the entire realm of mankind! For this most detestable crime against humanity and against blessed Calidorus himself, there can be no acceptable punishment but death! Death, by the fires of Calidorus that they might purge these sinners of the foul taint of the arcane!" Hopping down from his makeshift platform, the witch hunter took a bottle of clear liquid out of the hands of the nearby barkeep, uncorking it with his teeth and taking a step towards the four condemned.

"Sorano!" Rhiara whispered, but hopefully loud enough for the elf to hear her. She pulled her bow off her body, now really thankful that she had brought it and a few arrows along. "What do we do? I could put an arrow in him, but..." she trailed off, looking at the crowd surrounding her friends and the man that was about to kill them. "That'd prove what everyone already thinks."

"Nock an arrow and hide. If I need your assistance I will whistle. I must first win the mob," he muttered to her. As she moved to comply, he stepped forwards into view of the pale man and the mob.

"Enough! Those four are not guilty of your charges, you accursed dogmatist! That you would immolate supposed heathens on a whim, you are no better than the Easterners who menace us for the same!" Sorano cried, jabbing an accusatory finger towards the man, the digit crackling with lightning.

The witch hunter glared, recognising Sorano's efforts to sway the assembled peasantry and noticing the arcane electricity which danced about his finger. "And lo!" he shouted, drawing the attention of the crowd once more. "Behold, a dark elven mage, come to meddle in the justice of man! To threaten good and faithful citizens, to sow the seeds of doubt in their - in your - minds! People of Viarosa, will we stand for such heresy?! Will we allow evil sorcerors to rescue those who would call demons forth upon us?!" A resounding "No!" came back from the mob. Gottmar turned to face the elf. "You were not present when I heard these four discuss their intentions. Yet, in a startling coincidence, you are present now to assure me of their innocence? What possible explanation could there be, other than the fact that you are their co-conspirator?!" More shouts erupted from the peasants; cheers for the witch hunter and insults and threats hurled at Sorano.

"Oi! Wait a second," cried one of the peasants, pointing curiously at Sorano. "That's not a shadow elf. Shadow elves got skin black like charcoal. 'Is skin is like piss," he observed. "Innit the Darkies that are in with the devils?"

Sorano seized the opportunity to elaborate on his unlikely and unwitting ally's case, ignoring the piss-skin comment for the time being. "Indeed I am a Sun Elf, a loyal and blessed child of Acanthio, God of Magic, Father of Elvenkind. But foremost I am a follower of our Lord Solanius, Light of Light, God of Gods. And it is chief among his Commandments that we judge righteously! Do you know not of the evidence for his charge? Has he shown you, or has he merely captivated you with honeyed words? This man is a would-be-murderer in the clothing of a guardian, who beguiles you, who ignites a blaze of your sensibilities! For I am here not because I am a co-conspirator, but because I am their friend, and I can vouch for their innocence!"

Seeing the expressions of doubt on a few of the peasants' faces, Athaliah decided to join in too - if they could turn the common people against the scarred man, she and the others would have a very good chance of living. "Calidorus is a god not only of mankind, but of law and honour!" the dark-haired girl began, shouting as loud as she was able. "Is it honourable and lawful to kill people based on nothing more than a conversation, and without even the mention of a fair trial?!" she turned to the captor himself, glaring at him with anger and contempt. "You follow Calidorus only when it suits you, murderer." she practically spat her words at him. "How many families have you torn apart because somone just so much as uttered the word 'demon'?!"

"Enough!" the witch hunter roared, unbridled rage rising upon his scarred face. "How dare you call into question my faith in blessed Calidorus! It is unwavering; unfaltering!" Gottmar raised his sword, brandishing it at Athaliah, and with his other hand drew his short falchion. He turned to the peasants who restrained the accused. "Release them, citizens. I shall duel them myself, one after the other, and let Calidorus decide which of us deserves his favour!"

A low murmuring could be heard from the crowd as the peasants hesitated, before a few stepped up to fulfill the witch hunter's order, pulling the four captives off to the side to secure them. At this point, a protest had begun to emerge from the crowd, whisperings of "unfair," and "hypocrite" bubbling up.

Sorano let off a proud chuckle, rolling his head to the side, cracking his neck as he stepped forwards. He made the sign of Solanius over himself with one hand, drawing his broadsword in the other. "Mother Aurelia, pray for our souls," he said, flourishing the blade, taking a few practice swipes. He spoke up, loudly enough to be heard by the audience. "I shall be the first to duel. Shall we take this to the death?" he asked.

"The prayers of a common whore won't save you, heretic." Gottmar nodded. "But if death is what you wish for," He made the sign of Calidorus across his chest with the tip of his blade. "For your sake, let us pray that you are granted a swifter end than the pyre."

"A rich statement coming from a man mere skin shades away from being a proper Easterner," Sorano replied with a wry smirk. "The divide between your blasphemy and the worship of the Flame grows thinner with every innocent life falsely accused and taken by your kind, 'Witch Hunter.' You stand between me and the last shred of hope this world has for surviving Htraknu's wrath. But I'll ensure you receive a proper burial."

At the mentioning of Htraknu, those peasants who had begun doubting Gottmar cast wicked glares at the pale man, appearing to study their environments as whispers could be heard from that half of the mob that was being won over.

And as they deliberated, the clapping of thunder boomed through the square as Sorano stepped forwards, skipping a considerable distance to meet Gottmar head on, attempting a single-handed swipe at the base of the neck. The hunter had anticipated sorcery, stepping back as the elf used his arcane craft to close the distance between them and ducking under his swing. From almost a crouch, Gottmar barreled into Sorano's torso with all the force he could muster, bringing his falchion around to swipe at the mage's side.

The elf's lungs emptied as the armored warrior charged into him, sweeping him off his feet. As he landed on his back, he saw the pale man attempting to slash him across the middle, likely to try and gut him. Lifting up a hand as if to vainly attempt to stop the blade or cry mercy, instead a pulse of lightning fired off, striking his cuirass.

As Sorano recovered, shouting could be heard as the peasants began to fight amongst themselves, pulling on each other, shoving others away, with some now attempting to strike their opponents. A couple of freemen in the crowd ran to the four captives with knives, but instead of taking "justice" into their own hands, they moved behind them to cut the ropes of Athaliah and Mostafa, who stood side by side, closest to the rioters. And as the ropes came loose, peasants on the side of Gottmar clubbed the two rescuers, striking them over the head with stones, presumably plucked from the misshapen street, screaming about not letting the witches escape.

The sudden burst of lightning crackled around the witch hunter's metal armour, protecting him for the most part from the brunt of its energy. Still, sparks flew in front of his face and small bolts of electricity arced onto his skin, forcing him to release the elf and jump back. Growling, he blinked to clear his vision, before launching a thrust with the tip of his sword directly at the elf's chest.

Sorano deftly swung his blade, misdirecting the human's weapon to safely sidestep away. "Athaliah, get the papers!" he cried, thrusting his fist forwards and attempting to strike Gottmar with the crossguard to push him away. "Bard, grab the others and run!"

As he gave this order, he let out a shrill whistle, no doubt signalling Rhiara to offer aid. It was only a matter of time before someone tipped off the city guard, so the party had to act quickly to retrieve the objective and escape the scene.

Now that he was free, and the others were distracted by the ongoing brawl, Mostafa could see to his companions. He pulled Ceara with one hand and Mortimir with the other, rushing them into the empty tavern and seeing to their bonds.

Athaliah, once freed from her bonds, immediately ran towards the tavern. The only thing standing between her and Bjorn's notes was a wooden door, closed and probably locked. She steeled herself and shoulder-barged the door with all the power she had - the door flung open and Athaliah found herself on the hard and slightly sticky wooden floor. As it turned out, the door wasn't actually locked.

She groaned as she rose to her feet; her shoulder was beginning to bruise. Bjorn's notes were resting on the table where they were sat before all this happened. Their enemy mustn't have found them worth bothering with, she assumed.

Upon hearing Sorano's whistle, Rhiara emerged from her hiding spot, on a balcony overlooking the street. She had already nocked an arrow, prepared to make sure the group could escape.
Athaliah was outside once more, with the papers in one hand and her sword in the other; a few townsfolk that followed Gottmar stood in her way, armed with shivs while one man held a simple woodcutter's axe. She cut one down as he ran towards her, axe raised high above his head. Another two got behind her - Athaliah barely blocked one knife in time, but another was making its way to her chest.

She prepared herself for pain that never came; the blade merely scratched Athaliah's cuirass as the peasant fell forwards with a pained grunt, an arrow lodged firmly into one of his kidneys.
Rhiara still hated having to harm people regardless of whether they deserved it or not; every time her arrows found a target, she felt pangs of regret. Though she'd never admit it, she also felt pride in saving the lives of her friends, regardless of how she did it.

Gottmar continued to parry the elf's attacks as they came, watching out of the corner of his eye as arrows began to fly into the crowd behind him. Making a quick jab with his sword to force his opponent backward, he took the opportunity to scan the rooftops and soon spotted the mystery archer; a girl of no more than twenty years loosing shots into the assembled peasantry. Anger rose up inside him - was there no limit to the evil these heathens were capable of?! Hurling his falchion at Sorano's chest, both in rage and to buy himself a little time, the witch hunter reached behind him for his repeating crossbow and sent three bolts in rapid succession towards Rhiara, levelling the weapon at the elf afterwards to deter his advance.

The first bolt fired by Gottmar hit Rhiara's bow almost perfectly - the wood cracked and splintered, and it looked like it was close to snapping completely. Rhiara ducked when she saw the man out of the corner of her eye; it turned out to be a smart decision, as another two bolts flew through the air and hit the wall behind her.

The sound of dozens of heavy boots on cobblestone began to echo through the streets, gradually becoming louder and louder until the noise of the marching almost drowned out even the sounds of combat.

Two formations of armoured men appeared on either end of the blood-soaked street ; their armour, while ugly and dull, was still functional - better than most soldiers got, even. They wore brigandines of various colours, their arms and legs were well-protected with full plate and their heads were protected by all kinds of helmets. Some carried spears, others swords and some brought axes. Each man carried a massive circular shield four feet in diameter.

The guardsmen began to close the fighters in by advancing from both sides; many of them saw what was happening, and made a break into the alleys close by. Soon, the entrances to the alleyways were a crush of bodies all trying to force their way in. Athaliah, Sorano, Ceara, the demon-hunter Gottmar - all of them had nowhere to go and they knew it.

Everyone in the middle of the two walls of iron and men stood still, some examining whether an escape was possible while others merely looked down at their feet and sheathed their weapons, resigned to their fate.

One of the guardsmen left the safety of his formation just by a few paces; the only notable thing distinguishing him from the other guardsmen was his hefty brown fur cloak, probably taken from a bear. He lifted up the front of his bascinet, revealing a lightly bearded, chiseled face, and the disapproving scowl on his lips.

"All of you are coming with us!" he sounded like he wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. "For the crimes you have all committed in the City of Viarosa, and against her people." He and the dozen other men behind him marched towards the battered group, while the men on the other side of the street turned around and headed in the direction of Viarosa's keep. The circle was closed so that nobody could escape.
Name: Esben Bathory
Sex: Male
Race: Human, Dhampir
Age: 32 (perceived) 689 (actual)
Religion: Worship of the old gods, Lilith particularly
Backstory: Since his childhood, Esben always had a fear of death. Shortly after his birth, his alcoholic father beat his mother to death, and after nearly doing the same to Esben; the town guard came in and killed the drunkard.

Alone and afraid, he was adopted by a drill sergeant, and put into military school as soon as he could hold a sword. This tough upbringing did not sway his fear of mortality, but the sword training and platemail eased his mind somewhat.

Esben was then drafted as a soldier of Astier. Sent to help Aesernia fight in one of the many conflicts with Savaria, He was cornered by a gang of enemy swordsman. Alone, and outnumbered, he eventually fell to them; barely clinging to life as they severed his left arm.

After he awoke, he noticed he was carried to a cave by a hooded woman. She promised she could mend his wounds and grant him immortality, as long as he became her obedient servant; of which terms he eagerly agreed. The lady then removed her hood, revealing she was in fact Lilith. Esben was then transformed into the first dhampir, and he was tasked with sowing the seeds of Lilithite cults all around the world.

After Esben became accustomed to his new powers (and arm), he discovered the Sanguinius Grimoire. He traveled the world, mastering the new found magic, and fighting war after war until he heard of the Krossavik Attack. Assured that the Dragon will have some useful items for Lilith, he is off to the north to raise an army.

Motivation: he wants the necromantic tomes the dragon possesses to resurrect the old gods.
Magic: Dhampirs have an affinity towards blood magic, since they cannot use conventional magic. Because of his own studies, and the dark ways of blood magic, Esben is a Necromancy Master
Skills/Strengths: Enhanced speed and strength, Thaumaturgy magus, trained in the bastard sword, round shield and whip, limited dark vision
Weaknesses: Fatigue in the sunlight; along with nearsightedness and losing his speed, strength, and dark vision, lack of normal magic could betray his dhampiric nature, practically useless with ranged weapons
Gear: leather boots, longcoat, hooded cape bandages, Sanguinus Grimore, full steel platemail, chainmail undershirt, leather backpack, glass bottles, poison
Other: Esben can consume blood instead of food, although he prefers vitae. Because he is a dhampir, Esben ceased to age when he turned 32; but he is by no means invincible. Also, because his entire left arm is made of blood under his control, his manipulation of his left hand is immaculate


Accepted;post your app in the characters tab when you're ready.
The weary group of travellers arrived in Viarosa in the evening, several days after that fateful fight - the vampires were still missing and it seemed that only Rhiara regretted their disappearances; the rest didn't really acknowledge the fact.

It was the second time in quick succession that the Hoffen Girls and the Krossavikers had seen Viarosa - it was a very welcome sight indeed. The Rock that dominated the skyline was painted orange by the sun, slowly disappearing behind the watery horizon.

The travel time had of course been extended on account of the some dozens of refugees from the village-formerly-called Tiraști, whom the party had to take care of. As the rescued citizens informed them, it had once been a proud breadbasket, and the site of one of Illyrica's finest martial academies. To their disadvantage, they were accustomed to fighting the wars of men, and not Shaituns and their spawns. And so they were overrun.

Many lives were lost in an impromptu rescue charge, and there was not enough time to recover adequate supplies for the journey to Viarosa. Thus, the party had to part with some of their own supplies, rationing food and drink to the refugees until they could bring them to the safety of Viarosa's walls. The Knights tried to keep spirits high in light of the dire circumstances, between day-to-day assistance making and breaking camp, the opening of the trio's packed supply of alcohol, and Lucian's frequent sermons and sacramental services to faithful Aesernites.

The group's charity had not come without cost, for when they finally came to the gates of the city, they found themselves drained of supplies and energy, with a platoon's worth of vagrants in tow. Understandably but unfortunately, the city guard refused them entry; still, they sent one of their own to retrieve a superior, and after a brief period of waiting, an extravagantly dressed nobleman pushed through the crowd of guards, trailed by a small army of courtiers and curious peasants. He frowned at the assortment of refugees and travellers standing in front of the gates, rolling his eyes and clearing his throat. “Hello, poor wanderers. I am Milo Demetrios, the humble lord of the great port of Viarosa. I am also currently in command of the walls, you see, and so I must ask why exactly you expect to be let through. Now, I’m a very busy man, so I’d like the explanation rather quickly.”

Upon seeing the nobleman and his entourage, Lucian stepped forwards, the clanging of his armor drawing the attention of Lord Milo. "Hail. The full truth is long and troubling, but the result is that these people have lost their homes and their loved ones. Assuredly, had it not been for the intervention of my companions, they would not even be here. All that we ask for them is that they be allowed passage into the city, so that they may rest well, so that the sick and the wounded may receive better aid, and that those who are able-bodied may work to provide for those who cannot," Lucian said. He had initially thought to give this Milo Demetrios additional details, but for the size of the crowd, and how swiftly rumors flew, he decided against provoking mass hysteria with the notion that a Shaitun had truly died, and his spawn were ravaging the countryside destroying whole villages.

Milo looked relatively unmoved. “And who are you, exactly? You must understand that an armed band cannot be taken at their word, especially in these dark times.”

"Lucian Flavia Aquila," he replied simply, staring Milo down.

The lord narrowed his eyes. He waved to his guards, who began to push the crowds that had gathered to see the commotion back into the streets of Viarosa. Another group of soldiers emerged through the gate, their hands gripping their swords. "Aquila. Now that I know these people are your petty followers, I shall certainly turn them away. Viarosa is a city for the truly faithful, not rabble rousing rustics."

Lucian quietly sucked his teeth in response, subtly nodding his head. Then he spoke, lowering his voice down so that only he and Milo could hear what he said. "I understand that times are dire, and the city can only afford to open its gates for so many people. Perhaps if I were to pay the entrance fee for my guests, we might see it open for them?"

Milo gave the knight a condescending smile and held up his hand. The guards around him relaxed, and the lord himself gestured for Lucian to come forward. "For the betterment of the city, I shall have to look past heresy." He paused. "For now, that is. Move your band of serfs forward, then. You can pay while they're walking."

Lucian lifted a hand, waving it forwards, and Kinara and Sorano gestured for the caravan to follow. As the refugees and the core members of the party proceeded into the city, Lucian waited for the opportune time to present a bag of coins. Subtly, he handed it off to Milo.

Milo took the bag and measured it with his hands. Satisfied, he handed it off to one of his guards, taking a last glance at Lucian and then turning to walk back into the city.

The Paladin was not yet done. Walking up to the nobleman, he snatched the edge of his tunic and pulled him back, again speaking just quietly enough for him alone to hear, "A city for the truly faithful, indeed. My Father knows your heart, and you will be met with His judgement sooner than you think."

Milo snorted. "Your father was as common as these people you bring through my gates. I don't fear his wrath any more than I do yours. Take your hands off me, now."

Lucian complied, lightly nudging the hypocrite as he released the cloth. "You should," he growled. With him out of the way, he followed the party into the city.

---

As the party entered the city, Herbert tapped Athaliah on the shoulder. "Do you mind fetching Ceara and her target? I have to run a couple of errands."

"Uh," Athaliah turned round to face Herbert. "Sure, I don't see why not." she shrugged. Being Herbert's errand-girl for a few hours was slightly insulting, but at the same time she was proud that Herbert had trusted her to collect something that seemed so important not just to him and Erika, but possibly to the entire cause.

For the first time since the fight at the village, Rhiara looked somewhat pleased, or at least relieved, that Ath was going to be leaving her alone for a while; she had something of her own to take care of in the city. Nevertheless, she still felt some measure of worry when she and Athaliah were separated.

"Where am I supposed to be meeting her, Herbert?"

"The tavern's called the 'Laughing Fiddler', it's a ways past the centre of town and a bit small." Said Herbert, before continuing to give directions. "Thank you for taking care of it."
Hold on, is this RP still alive?


We're bringing it back up, yes.


And here's an application for a new character I've been wanting to bring in for ages. ^^



And your new char is accepted my friend! ^^
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