Looking both affronted and amused Shannuk laid a hand on his chest in mock shock, unable to keep the mischievous light from dancing in his grey eyes. He had to admire this Rila, she seemed to know exactly what type of person he was, and more importantly, how he was. The brawl presented an opportunity, and her urges for him to avoid the conflict only bolstered his desire to 'show off'. That's what she wanted right? To use reverse psychology to convince him to intervene and present a favorable outcome? Or maybe she just really didn't want him to get hurt... No it couldn't be! Obviously she wanted him to take action.
"You wrong me ma'am." Shannuk said, tagging along behind Rila like an annoying shadow that never quite vanished. "I have been injured as you are aware, but if you must truly insist upon a non-partisan solution to said kerfuffle in the prison courtyard it would be my deepest honor to accept such a challenge. Never fear I shall provide..." Seeing Rila was still walking away from him Shannuk sprinted until he was in front of her, waking backwards so that they were face to face. "Though you might insist upon non-violence, those are the words of a lady, kindhearted and tender. However, when it comes to issues such as these the strong must step forth, and bring about a semblance of security and peace for all others by any means necessary, even if it means sacrificing ourselves to achieve such goals. I however possess the skills to not only accomplish the mission with flying colors, but to do so without further injury on anyone else's part! Especially mine, which is most important. Hold." Shannuk held up his hand, stopping Rila from getting in a word edgewise. "I can read between the lines, never fear, I understand!"
Then he was away, jogging heroically across the yard. The young pirate, whose 'honor' could be bought with twelve coins or a pretty lady pushed and shoved his way to the front of the small ring surrounding the fighters knocking the noncombatants out of the way. Without so much as a backwards glance Shannuk threw himself headlong into the battle with a cry of, "Cease and desist!" before getting pushed, seeing red, and then trying to throw punches and spitting in an Earth Kingdom man's face. Shannuk was no stranger to fights, having been on a ship for the past couple years filled from aft to stern with hotblooded, and easily offended rouges. He fought dirty too, gouging at eyes, kicking at groins, and tugging on hair all while fastening his teeth around any inch of skin available.
Pushing himself to his feet Shannuk swayed a little, making a show of holding his head and pressing against the cell’s damp wall. “Sorry, just a little dizzy chum,” Shannuk lied, milking the situation for all it was worth. Waving off any help offered the pirate fell into step beside Rila, watching the guard, and more importantly the lock and key he was using to secure their vacated cell. This one seemed a little sharper, someone to be reasoned with perhaps...? He took a moment to memorize the guard’s face,
“It's nice of them,” Shannuk commented to Rila, loud enough for the guardsman to hear. “To let no good, dirty criminals like us even draw breath, let alone get fresh air outside. It makes one want to do good by them, cause they’re doing good by us, a little tit for tat if you catch my drift. One could always be thankful for every little nicety shown. It makes me want to turn my life around, recognize my wrongdoings and maybe help someone if its ever needed. A little redemption if you will. Besides it's always good to have friends above and below when th’ seas get rough.” Shannuk winked pointedly at Rila. “Wouldn’t you concur miss, ah, didn’t catch your name there. I’m Shannuk, call me Shan, or Nuk, or whatever you’d like, just not blubbernose, can’t abide that name.”
“Oh, and since we’re starting on good terms and sharing introductions might be good to learn our jailor’s title as well.” Shannuk flashed a cheeky grin at the guardsman, his demeanor friendly and welcoming. “So, if we ever catch any on the downside trouble, we know who to tell forthwith. We wouldn’t want some upstart no-good lobster getting all the credit, now would we?”
I dunno, Aaron is a practical person, with his animosity targeted towards, “I’m better than thou,” rather than a “I refuse to associate,” @Aerandir How about, in one last ditch effort, @Rydude17’s character Danath works as a spy for Aaron directly in defiance of the King, seeing as the Woodsmen report to the king. Because one thing Aaron would definitely do is things that irk his lord father.
Description: Prince Aaron is an immense young man of strapping build, with a round head and slightly pudgy features. He near matches his father the king's height and weight, but that is where the similarities between father and son end. Aaron is round of face and dark of hair, with a clean shaven chin making him look young, but professional. His body is supple and strong, but not without a slight girth that makes him seem even larger and more imposing to most. He dresses in fine hunting garb, gilded armor, and colorful outfits both vainglorious and sturdy. At his hip are an ever present dirk and longsword, ornate in a wealth of garnets and gold. The Prince carries himself with all the swagger of his station and youth, his stride confident and sure, his shoulders poised in good posture.
Class: Crown Prince, Lord Commander of the Vanguard
Motivation: Aaron is to one day be King Willum the Second! He is the rightful heir to the Kingdom and the current Lord Commander of the Vanguard. He holds a deep vested interest in maintaining the Kingdom so there might be lands and lords and ladies to rule over once his father passes. He also desires to grow his own influence in court, and prove himself a worthy heir to his father.
History: All the bells in the city rang for Aaron's birth. The crones wept joyously, the men shouted in eager admiration, and all the people marveled and welcomed the young ruler into the world. Or so it is said. Whether the people truly danced from dawn to dusk and feasted for ten days and nights, or muttered a sullen, "who cares?" before shuffling about their work Aaron does not concern himself over it. He was born and named Crown Prince Willum Aaron Tricaelian II, destined ruler of all the land, and from that day he was given the reins to power. He was born to rule, and Aaron has waited more than a score of years for his chance to take the throne, and he continues to wait, bowing to his stubborn father's wishes and counting the days before the crown is laid upon his noble brow.
Even from young age Aaron seemed destined to rule. He had to learn his place, and his lessons just like any other boy, but from the very start he spoke with an innate authority, commanding both servants and men to do his bidding from the moment he could talk. His sharp wit, and blunt but intelligent nature was attractive to the other young children of the nobles and courtiers, and he never lacked friends, if that is the proper term for it. They were more his lackeys and entertainers than not else, tagging along because he told them too. Prince Aaron was always above them, beyond them, their better and leader. For this Aaron never had a proper companion, someone who he held as his equal, whose trust he kept and whose friendship was sacred.
Later in life Aaron became a huntsman. In his adolescent years he grew to be a competent tracker and hunter, able to knock and loose an arrow in good form, and thrust a spear into a charging boar with ease. His father always said if he had ever become as capable with a sword as he was at goring a boar with a spear, he would be the finest swordsman in the world. Instead Aaron focused his efforts in those years into falconry, tracking, and riding becoming a master at all three.
In recent years Aaron has possessed less and less time to indulge in his passions, being dragged by matters of state into work of a more diplomatic and militaristic nature. On his twenty-first birthday he was named Lord Commander of the Vanguard, given charge of all the forces of the kingdom's elite fighters, whose competence in battle far exceeded his own. Aaron wasn't entirely out of his element in a position of high command, though when sparring on the training field himself Aaron's weaknesses presented themselves in full. Fortunately for him his position availed him to the intricacies of supply, ceremony, and troop movement and less with swordsmanship and jousting.
Strengths: Aaron is a professional huntsman, there is no doubt about it. When it comes to spear and arrow his aim is true, and his thrust strong. When it comes to trailing a quarry on a misty night there is no better man to track the beast. Furthermore he excels in communication, diplomacy, and debate, showing himself to be a learned man of quick wits. He even enjoys the complications and power of leadership, accounting for all possibilities, ad thinking strategically. Aaron is a master of intrigue and maneuvering pawns to get what he most desires.
Weakness: Upon the tourney fields where bold men clash in a feat of arms Aaron is more apt to make a fool of himself, or be bested by a untested knight in the tilts, or a man-at-arms in the melee. Should Aaron ever engage against a competent swordsman and not a levied peasant in true battle he would find himself hard pressed to survive. The brutal roughness of combat was never his forte. In addition the crown prince has an acquired taste for the comforts of his station, and thoroughly avails himself in lavish fashion. In the grimy, realistic world he is out of place, and awkward, and when in a position of less importance he is always unsure of how to handle himself. Also, Aaron is not a charismatic or likable person. Most folk try to suck up to the noble prince, and as such he is unused to opposition from anyone other than his father. And beyond all that, there is an illness of the mind that plagues Aaron like a dark shadow. Gnawing at the corners of sanity, and eating away at his humanity, slowly, but surely consuming him.
What is the most important thing to know about your character? Prince Aaron is the crown prince, and deeply desires his birthright, and all the glory and honor and power that accompany it.
What is your character's greatest flaw? He lacks a true friend. Someone who he could trust absolutely, and he is incapable of gaining one.
Why should your character be in a position to influence an entire country? He is, the second most important person in the country.
The cold northern winds followed Prince Willum Aaron Tricaelian, the second of his name and his five companions down from the moorland and into the lows of Castaroc. Their horses’ breath rose in great plumes of steam, their iron shod hooves rattling on the stones hidden in the short grass. Prince Aaron sat comfortably upon a silver hunting mare, rising and falling with practiced grace as the beast trotted across the open ground. He was dressed in fine blue riding robes, in stark contrast to the other five. They were dressed in practical battle gear. Mail and plate and leather, with sharpened swords at their hips. On either side of Aaron rode two young squires, lads only slightly younger than him. One carried the proud banner of the King, and the other clutched polearm of olive wood, with a white flag dancing in the wind.
Just behind them rode two knights of the Vanguard and a mounted lancer. The knights were older men, with grey mustaches and silver hair, but the scars of battle were plain upon them, and they rode with a ruthless efficiency they marked them as dangerous men.
Aaron nodded approvingly, these two were no fools. Trusted consorts of the king and the veterans of countless conflicts. Sir Brennick Laysn himself was especially so, his resume chock full of noble deeds. He was named the Kings personal guard on numerous occasions, and he led the center charge in the battle of Wary Hill, singlehandedly turning the tide of a lost-thought skirmish. The other was Sir Alyan Nocks, a wise man who held the ear of any moot with his reason and wisdom. Should Aaron ever falter, he could count on the practical council of the nobleman.
Reining in his horse Aaron bid they stop, raising a gloved hand as seven riders rode to meet them. For the first time since the meet was arranged two days prior Aaron felt a stir of unease deep in his gut. These were hard men, dressed in full armor with spears and battle axes and war hammers. Not swords and banners as he expected. He felt almost naked amongst them, without any armor to speak up, and only an ornate ceremonial sword at his hip. Even a hauberk of mail would have been better than the linen finery he’d dawned in hopes to impress and intimidate Lord Royce.
The small line of opposing riders halted before Aaron’s own. The two parties sized each other up, and it could be seen in a second whose was more prepared for bloodshed should battle begin. Glancing over his shoulder Aaron saw the line of armored Vanguard horse waiting some nine hundred yards away, lances and armor glimmering in the midday light. They were ready should they be needed, but how long would it take heavy horse to charge all that way? He hoped not long.
Sir Brennick perhaps sensed his anxiety and leaned over his steed’s neck to whisper in Aaron’s ear. “Show not your fear my Prince, these are ruthless men, and Lord Royce is not among them as promised. If they sense your dread, they might even risk themselves in a vain attempt at glory by cutting off the head of our dragon.”
“You go too far sir.” Aaron snapped, sitting straighter in his saddle. “I do not fear these men!” He said it too loudly, and one of the knights facing him sniggered, spinning a mace and chain loosely in his gauntleted hand. Sir Brennick nodded sagely and withdrew, his hand resting on his sword hilt, eyeing the man who’d sniggered with ill-disguised malice.
One knight kicked his horse forward, closing the short gap between them so he could speak more easily. He was a wizened man, but sinewy and with an unsung toughness about him. Aaron did not recognize the sigil on his breastplate, but the charging rhino with the bloody horn on a field of violet made him more intimidating then Aaron would’ve ever thought possible of someone so old.
“Where is your salute sir knight?” One of Aaron’s squires challenged, raising higher the King’s banner. “You approach Prince Willum, of the royal house of Tricaelian! Lord Commander of the Vanguard, and the Crown Prince to the throne, to whom you have sworn oaths of fealty.”
“Indeed,” cried the knight, his voice gravely and deep. He threw up his hand, raising his visor with a sharp clink of a knightly salute. “I am sir Grent, retainer of Lord Royce upon whose noble lands you’ve marched this army.” Sir Grent spoke of the host to Aaron’s flank. One hundred knights of the Vanguard, twice as many mounted lances and near three thousand men-at-arms, all armed and ready for a prolonged siege.
Knowing it was his time Aaron spurred his mare, riding her forward until he stood less than a meter in front of the Sir Grent, just out of range of the wicked looking spiked hammer that rested easily in his lap. “Your lord has broken his vows, and fled the king’s justice raising his levies and fortifying his castle against pursuit.” Aaron recited, the memorized speech flowing awkwardly off his tongue. Reaching into his saddle bags Aaron produced a scroll, sealed in wax and marked with the royal sigil. “He has named me Lord Commander of the Vanguard and his armies, and has charged me to bring due justice to Lord Royce and all his household and all vassals who interfere. Furthermore, all those who took part in the slaughter the Vanguard knights of Sir Catin, and Sir Howfield who sought the king’s justice before I, shall be executed as traitors. All the lands, holdings and incomes of Lord Royce and the appropriate vassals shall be appropriated wi-”
“Ye hear that lads?” Sir Grent interrupted, turning back to speak to his six fellows. “The little rooster said all those who partook, that means he wants to execute us for stringing up those cocky fools who marched in here before demanding our lord’s head. I say we must’ve pricked the king’s royal behind then. Mayhap even killing his favorite noblemen if he cares to hunt us for that little thing.”
Aaron flushed an angry red, his teeth grinding in fury. Who was this knight to speak to him in such crass manner? Did he desire death so? “Still your tongue you ignoble sir.” He growled, wishing he could strike the old man in his yellowed teeth. “I am the Crown Prince, you would do well for yourself to listen as I state the terms, it is possible for you to be shown mercy.”
“Quite right boy, finish your foolish rambling whenever you like.”
“You have babble and boring nonsense to say, you may finish.” Sir Grent’s eyes were piercing, and Aaron reached for his sword.
“My Prince!” Sir Alyan warned. “We ride under the olive banner of truce! For honor’s sake control yourself!” Seething Aaron released his sword hilt taking ahold of his reins once more. The old sir Grent smiled, he hadn’t flinched in the slightest and he was watching Aaron with deadly eyes. Aaron could only see red.
“I was made aware we would speak with Lord Royce directly... Sir.”
“Lord Royce is six years old.” Grent replied, his voice cold as ice. “You murdered his father in the capitol, and hung his head on a spike. And now you demand the corpse of an innocent child as well. From the moment I heard such wickedness I knew it was my time, and those brave defenders knew it was theirs as well. For once I might speak true to you royal peacocks, you craven kings behind your great armies and walls and spells. I spit in your direction, your father is filth, and your mother a whore, and you child, are rooster; not but a crowing bastard in lion’s fur. Might you rot in the deepest pits of hell. As regent of these lands I reject your demands, any and all of them. You shall have the young Lord Royce over my corpse, and the corpses of all the noble men who still have honor in their hearts. I assure you, prince, Lord Royce shall be bought by a steep price in the blood of your men, and perhaps I might win him his justice with your head sent back to your father in a basket!”
Unable to control himself further Aaron drew and slashed. Sir Grent looked nonplused leaning back in his saddle, the steel tip of Aaron’s blade leaving a thin scratch on his chest plate. Then as Aaron’s blade swung wide, he reposted with all the power and grace of years of battle training, bringing his hammer down upon Aaron’s horse’s skull. The mare convulsed, its head exploding into gore and filth as Aaron was thrown from his seat. Behind them a great roar erupted as one hundred Vanguard knights surged down the slope, a hundred war lances dipping in the charge. Just behind Aaron the squire and knight quintet drew swords and leveled banners, spurring their horses forward to protect their prince. Alone, unsupported by any oncoming charge of mounted knights of their own the six knights who’d accompanied Grent advanced into Aaron’s tiny honor guard to aid their ancient leader, waving maces, axes, and swords overhead as they charged.
In a moment all was chaos.
Aaron was surrounded by a forest of stamping hooves as the twelve men battled. five desperate to defend their unhorsed prince, seven intent upon slaying him in a suicidal search for justice. Aaron could not tell what was happening, whether his men were winning or dying. He tried to pick himself up out of the grass, his head ringing. He was blinded by his mare’s blood. Close by a man screamed, something thudded heavy next to him. Someone shouted his name.
Wiping the gore from his eyes Aaron found he was lying next to his squire, the lad who held olive branched flag. The lad’s face had been smashed in, eviscerated by a mace. Reaching out Aaron dragged the boy’s body close, prying the banner from his death grip. The olive wood shaft was tipped with a wicked spike, ornate and impractical but a weapon that could unseat a mounted warrior all the same. Struggling to his feet Aaron tried to assess the situation, seeing in an instant that the battle went against him. Sir Brennick was facing two men at once, his sword flashing expertly as he parried and thrust. Sir Alyan was fighting Sir Grent, locked together they rode about in sharp circles each trying to knock the other from their saddle. The remaining squire was doing well for himself, having killed a man on the charge, but was now harried by a knight near twice his age and size. The lancer was dead, a dagger plunged deep into his eye.
Sir Grent’s sharp gaze found Aaron, standing afoot, with not but a short-spiked banner to protect himself. Parrying a heavy blow from Sir Alyan, Sir Grent swung around the other’s guard, slamming his hammer hard into the old man’s back. Sir Alyan convulsed, a confused expression on his face before he toppled from his saddle to lay still face down in the grass. Digging his spurs into his horse’s flank Sir Grent’s destrier reared and charged, the knight’s war hammer raised high to bring crashing down on the young prince’s head.
For a moment the world seemed to grow still, as if everything moved in slow motion. Aaron braced his feet, grasping the olivewood banner like a hunting spear, imagining the horse a fearsome boar, and Sir Grent, he was the beast’s salivating tusks. When the time came, and the monster was but a hairsbreadth from ripping the Prince apart Aaron crouched low and thrust. His strike was true, his strike was strong, and the olivewood snapped asunder. Grent’s hammer swished past his head, missing by inches and the old knight was thrown from his horse high into the air as the animal screamed and died. Aaron collapsed onto his back once more his hands splintered from the explosion of wood. Something hard pressed into his back. He rolled over discovering his sword, lying where he’d dropped it. Taking up the weapon he jumped back onto his feet. The battle was far from over.
Just in front of him Sir Grent staggered to gain his footing. Somehow, he’d kept ahold of his hammer and was already charging the prince. Struggling to comprehend how the old man had recovered from being thrown so quickly Aaron back peddled. Desperately knocking aside Sir Grent’s swings. The man attacked like a furious bear pummeling Aaron to the ground, snapping his ornate sword and knocking the useless hilt from his grasp. Aaron threw up a hand, shocked by the fury of this man; death seemed so very close. “Stop, no! I yield!” But there was no mercy in Sir Grent’s eyes.
For a moment the hammer raised, Sir Grent stared down at Aaron, helpless and at his mercy. He readied himself to deal the death blow. Aaron could only stare, his mouth dry with fear. Then the next moment in a rush of steel, flesh, and blood Sir Grent was gone.
The Vanguard had arrived!
Charging into the melee the hundred knights killed the remaining enemy in seconds, their lances punching through armor and mail, their horses riding down those who tried to flee. One knight, an older man by the name of Sir Iben leapt from his horse rushing over to where Prince Aaron sat, his eyes wide as saucers. The knight began pulling off Aaron’s clothes, patting the young prince down looking for any injuries. “My prince, my prince!” He cried, his eyes showing the terror he felt. “You are drenched in blood!”
“It is not my own,” Aaron assured him, stopping the knight from disrobing him utterly. “I do not hurt,” that was untrue. Everything hurt. His hands were filled with olivewood splinters, his arms were numbed from Sir Grent’s blows, his head rang from where he’d struck it when he’d fallen from his horse. Sir Iben was right to be worried though, Aaron was drenched in blood, his fine robes stained near black from its excess. A parting gift from the dying horses, not his own.
“Let us return to camp...” Aaron said, wincing as the knight helped him to his feet. “We shall continue the siege on the morrow.”
@Kitty@Rydude17 I really like the character, he reminds me of Tyrion Lannister, and we could always use a Tyrion esque character. How about a Halfling that’s pretending to be a dwarf, with trimmed ear tips, who faked pedigree documents to pretend he’s from some distant highborn family. It’s not a unheard of ploy, and If his talents were sufficient in placateigng the nobles I’m sure they’d be content to look the other way for the more questionable bits. Like “who the heck is Family Kindasmall? and why have they been ruling a Earldom in the farthest reaches of the kingdom without me knowing about it for three hundred years?”
“It does actually.” Jacob answered for them all. There was some good fortune at least amidst all the confusion. These people weren’t making any sense, claiming there was no gulf or lake near where they lived. Why did he care if there was no gulf where they lived, what mattered was where they were now, and that was in southern Louisiana which most definitely had a gulf.
Deciding against engaging into the nuances of the point Jacob instead walked next to the signpost, kicking at the sand ground with his soulless boots, talking as he went. “There’s an arrow pointing that’a’ways, and a distance. The kingdom of Honorfire must be a theme park or something, there’s all sorts of alligator farms and tourist traps and such down here. We’ll find a phone to use, and call a cab, or at least I will I don’t really care what ya’ll do. Ah ha!” Jacob’s boot scuffed hard dirt buried under a light layer of sand. He’d seen this before in the desert, where wind had blown sand over a road less traveled. A road sign, even one as old and rickety as the one they were examining now wouldn’t just be placed out in the middle of nowhere. It’d be connected to a road, and a road could be followed.
Tugging on his pack straps he hoisted the satchel he never knew he had higher on his back, Jacob strode boldly down the path in the direction of Honorfire. Something truly strange was going on here, and setting aside the wild theories of kidnapping and the matrix he intended to find out what.
He had gone several feet before he realized the others were slow in following. Halting Jacob turned, frowning and waiting for them to catch up. “Let’s go people. Four miles ain’t that far, and we’ll make it in less than an hour if we step it out. Last thing I need is to get lost out in the Louisiana wilderness in the dark. Also, some of you might even have family or friends worried about your wellbeing, and we don’t want to keep them waiting.”