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Roderick shivered in the light rain and glanced upward to where the great boughs of the Drakwald had grown together to form an endless green roof. Everywhere there was the sound of water as it pattered against the leaves, tumbled down the trees trunks, and splashed into small but growing pools beneath the ferns. During the day it was almost beautiful, like a giant natural cathedral worthy of Sigmar. The onset of thunder clouds and darkness only served to cloak the movements of evil things.

The small group had closed up closer together as the rainfall began to intensify until it sounded like a thousand tiny feet marching across the canopy above their heads. Even Priska had forgone her usual arrogance and come into the group, keeping as close as she could to Jurgen without making it look as though she was trying to ride in his back pocket.

Lord Waldo, his face partially hidden beneath his hood, travelled behind the two, alternately cursing out Priska for getting in his way, and Jurgen for getting them lost in the forest. Roderick privately felt something akin to pity for Jurgen. The big man was only doing his best in what was, at its core, a forest trying to kill you.

"She really is awful..." Maria muttered next to him, Brandt's snort of quiet laughter was a welcome sound in the gathering darkness.

Jurgen suddenly stopped, his hand snapping up as he sank to one knee in the wet moss. Everyone else stopped, even Priska who narrowly avoided impaling herself on the tip of his Greatsword. Jurgens' head was turning slowly from side to side as he peered into the gathering darkness, rain plinking off his helmet to run in rivulets down the back of his cloak.

Roderick didn't know what else to do and he quickly took a knee, mimicking the soldiers movements. The book banged against his hip and he winced as the metal edge struck bone. The heavy hammer was clutched in both hands as he tried to peer into the falling water. A mist, no more than waist height, had started to ooze through the woods and with it a tight ball of anxiety in his chest.

"Goblins!" Jurgen suddenly hissed. "On spiders..."

Roderick suddenly became aware of a small collection of green heads bobbing along above the mist. They had hard sharp noses, sharp eyes and small tufts of hair coming up from the little helmets they wore. It took him a moment longer before he realized that the black rods rising and falling next to them were actually the spider legs. He could hear their skittering sound now, insect mandibles clicking together as they spoke. One of the Goblins stopped abruptly and sniffed the air, its head turning quickly back and forth.

"We're going to have to fight." Jurgen muttered the words as quietly as he could but the Goblins' small ears, twitching toward them.

"Fight?!" Priska squeaked the word and in an instant the Goblin was racing toward them, small spear raised above its head. It was shrieking out a battle cry that wold have been comical if there were not so many Goblins racing in its path.

"Useless bitch!" Maria snarled as she levelled her crossbow and pulled the trigger. There was a flat thwap sound as the spring snapped forward and the bolt hurtled through the rain. It missed her intended target but hit a second goblin in the throat, sending it spinning into the brush with a squeal of pain. The goblins spidermount, suddenly free of its rider, turned to hurried away into the growing darkness. Maria said nothing as she planted her foot in the stirrup and began to crank the bow back again.

Jurgen spared her a glance of admiration before raising to his feet, Greatsword in hand. The goblins spotted him, and then the sword. Nothing lived in the Empire that did not know of the legendary greatswords a small wail of panic went up from the front runners. They tried desperately to swerve away but the huge sword cut them both down in an instant.

Roderick had stood rooted until that moment. The sight of the greatsword cleaving the onrushing enemy in half seemed to jar himself and, for the first time since he had been blasted off the wall in Lorch, he knew what he would do. He hefted the hammer, the ugly silver head glistening with rain as he took a firm grip with both hands.

"For Sigmar!" He gave the shout, meagre in his own ears, but it caused one of the goblins to veer toward him. He swung the heavy weapon, all of his fear and rage channeled into the strike, and buried it in the moss.

The goblin gave a gleeful shriek and thrust its small spear at his chest. He let go of the hammer in his panic and grabbed at the spear. He managed to catch it and heaved with all of his might. The goblin gave a terrified howl as it was slingshot from its mount and into a thick tangle of brush. Spear in hand, Roderick stabbed desperately at the spider, driving the point into its thick body so that it gave a hideous screech and collapsed, writhing in pain.

More goblins were rushing to the fight and Roderick managed to retrieve the heavy hammer. He hefted it again and charged the next goblin, this time managing to crush goblin and spider completely. In an instant he was lost in the struggle, oblivious to everything else around him.
"What are they doing?" Darrick Abel III, friend of the King, advisor to Mattias before his death, stepped up beside another Vampire, Jorin, who stood atop the gates into the Lords Quarter.

"Just staring..." Jorin sounded shaken as he gestured toward the mob of humans that had gathered at the foot of the great stairs that climbed upward to finest suburb in the Capital, its stately homes, mansions, and palaces, all rising and surrounding a hill across the city from the Citadel.

The humans were indeed doing nothing staring, but with a motionless and silence that unnerved the surviving Undead. The crowd had completely surrounded the Lords Quarter. Darrick had never really thought about how many humans there were in the Capital until they turned on their Undead overlords.

Darrick was about to turn away when a sudden ripple ran through the crowd. He was certain that they could not storm the walls which were almost as formidable as the Citadels and he could see no ladders nor siege weapons.

To his amazement they began to kneel, thousands of them dropping to the dirt and turning their gaze upon a man who now walked among them. They reached out to touch his feet and his jacket as he past, some wept, others cried out in joy: "Kane! Kane!"

He had heard the name of course as the city went mad and had expected the Vampire Hunter to appear eventually, he was infamous among his Undead prey.

"It is just a man." Jorin muttered next to him. "How can one Human inspire such devotion?"

"I don't know, and I don't intend to find out." Darrick replied. He assumed that some sort of challenge would be forth coming and it should be ignored. One on one the Vampire slayer would kill him, but the human could not hope to storm the walls alone.

Perhaps it was the Undead's inability to feel the presence of God, or their complete lack of contact with men of God, but none of them had truly understood the fever that gripped the city. Kane had come to help them understand.

"God wills it!" Kane had stopped within throwing distance of the wall and now he drew his sword, thrusting the blade into the air. In an instant light burst form his very being and mighty wings unfurled above his body, now clothed in shimmering white mail. Fire rippled up the sword blade from hilt to tip.

"Kill him!" Darrick screamed the words even as he threw back his arm to throw the spear he had been carrying. He was to slow.

Kane hit the gate at a run, the wood and steel shattering under the impact. The first Vampire to face him blew into dust as Gods chosen son drove a sword through his spine. To the humans watching time seemed to stand still as Gods will was done. Vampires became dust in a matter of minutes as Kane moved among them, sword in hand, his great wings sending up billowing dust clouds of Undead remains. That moment of time would forever be known as Kane Fury, the moment when the Vampires were reduced to legend.

A strong wind had come, driving the undead dust out over the moor, swirling about Kane even as he reverted to his normal form. He took a deep breath and smiled. There remained only two Undead to conquer. His fathers will be done indeed.

The mob had followed him onto the hilltop and now they crowded into the square that crowned the summit, filling windows, doorways, rooftops and balconies, all of them gazing enraptured upon Kane, on the son of God.

"Citizens!" He shouted, his voice booming over them all and filling them with a joy they would crave for the rest of their lives. "The Vampires have ruled for generations, taking from you whatever they wish, you coin, your children, your lives. The time has come to rise up, to join me, to join God, and together we shall remake this world. A better world!"

He looked about him as the crowd cheered, at the faces of the young and old, men, women, even some children. There was a hunger in them, a hunger to be free, and he would give them that freedom.

"The enemy is not yet vanquished!" The cheering subsided at once and the crowd tried to press closer. "Edward and Ulrek remain! The final bastard offspring of the Great Evil that once ruled here."

An animal like growl went through the crowd at the mention of the Vampire Princes.

"God has decreed that man shall be free! He has decreed that you shall live as you were meant to live! With your family safe from slavery, your nights free from the terror, your blood no longer someones elixir to live! You shall live as free people! As Children of God!"

The cheer that swept that hilltop echoed across the city and those within the high walls felt the power of it. A great storm was coming and only a few among them began to realize that Ulrek was but one of many enemies who beset Edward.

"Gather your weapons! Don whatever armour you can find! God wills it!"

"GOD WILLS IT!" The thunderous cry rose from thousands of throats and the mob streamed off the hill and back into the city. They would prepare for the coming of Ulreks army. Hiding in the houses, in the alleys, behind palace gates, in the tunnels beneath the city streets. Ulrek would come, and his army would die in the streets.

When Kane at last stood alone on the hilltop he turned to watch the first of Ulreks scouts appear on the horizon. The Vampire lord was taking no chances of an ambush but once his army entered the city, well, it would be a different story indeed.


@Dinh AaronMkYes...



Name: Free City of Boston

Location: Boston; Massachusetts

History:

The legions of Old America seized control of Boston two centuries ago, bringing the city under strict martial governance as a measure to deal with the scourge that had swept across the Old Empire. This period is characterized by Institute scholars as having been brutal though perhaps necessary to the survival of Boston. What had been at first an assignment became a permanent military state that maintained its power through force and executed those believed to carry the plague. It transformed eventually into a quasi-knightly order, splitting the city and the surrounding land into quadrants ruled by its officers on behalf of the Governor-General, or Lord Protector as it was later styled. Today, these quadrants are known as First Base, Second Base, Third Base and Home Base by the Red Clads, but otherwise by their civilian names. House Ressocks, the current ruling family of Boston, once served as Enseeos – a type of underling – for the knightly lords of First Base.

The Cambridge Institute came under the service of the military government almost immediately, as did the Harvard Academy, for the purposes of finding a cure to the Great Sickness, though no real progress was ever made. Military rule over the city began to decline upon the discovery of an Old World specter still haunting the city. Institute scholars put the date of the discovery at over one-hundred years ago, when excavations and demolitions by the military order – presumably for the purpose of reinforcement or land-clearing – were halted by an invisible force thought long-dead. Though not much is known about this phenomenon today, records made by the military order in the earliest days of their rule speak of an intelligence said to have been in control of much of the city before being destroyed – presumably – for unknown reasons. The reemergence of this phantom proved problematic, and marked the decline of the order's grasp on the city.

The Ghost of Boston is long gone now, but before its disappearance it wrecked havoc. For reasons unknown, by means unknown, it swept through the city, bringing things to life and forever ruining others. The mayhem it created for the ruling class then allowed for the rise of the House of Ressocks and House Moore, and for the academics of the city to free themselves from what had become indentured servitude.

Spurred by the Professors of the Cambridge Institute and the Harvard Academy, Preston Ressocks, then head of the minor House of Ressocks, mounted a people's rebellion. Ressocks found unlikely support in Commodore Ryan Moore, the Naval commandant in charge of the cities port defence. The Commodore led his sailors to mutiny in support of Ressocks, culminating in the dissolution of the military order and the establishment of a Republic. For a short time, the specter lingered and aided the recovery of the city, but vanished violently shortly after, leaving an unfollowable trail of destruction. This post-military period of Boston proved difficult at first, but the city would ultimately blossom into a relatively prosperous society encouraging scientific pursuits and trade through its innumerable guilds, becoming a hub in the northeast.

To be added:
House Ressocks info @Pepperm1nts
House Moore info [@TheWyrm]


Name: Free City of Boston

Location: Boston; Massachusetts
Free City of Boston Territory Map

History:

The legions of Old America seized control of Boston two centuries ago, bringing the city under strict martial governance as a measure to deal with the scourge that had swept across the Old Empire. This period is characterized by Institute scholars as having been brutal though perhaps necessary to the survival of Boston. What had been at first an assignment became a permanent military state that maintained its power through force and executed those believed to carry the plague. It transformed eventually into a quasi-knightly order, splitting the city and the surrounding land into quadrants ruled by its officers on behalf of the Governor-General, or Lord Protector as it was later styled. Today, these quadrants are known as First Base, Second Base, Third Base and Home Base by the Red Clads, but otherwise by their civilian names. House Ressocks, the current ruling family of Boston, once served as Enseeos – a type of underling – for the knightly lords of First Base.

The Cambridge Institute came under the service of the military government almost immediately, as did the Harvard Academy, for the purposes of finding a cure to the Great Sickness, though no real progress was ever made. Military rule over the city began to decline upon the discovery of an Old World specter still haunting the city. Institute scholars put the date of the discovery at over one-hundred years ago, when excavations and demolitions by the military order – presumably for the purpose of reinforcement or land-clearing – were halted by an invisible force thought long-dead. Though not much is known about this phenomenon today, records made by the military order in the earliest days of their rule speak of an intelligence said to have been in control of much of the city before being destroyed – presumably – for unknown reasons. The reemergence of this phantom proved problematic, and marked the decline of the order's grasp on the city.

The Ghost of Boston is long gone now, but before its disappearance it wrecked havoc. For reasons unknown, by means unknown, it swept through the city, bringing things to life and forever ruining others. The mayhem it created for the ruling class then allowed for the rise of the House of Ressocks and House Moore, and for the academics of the city to free themselves from what had become indentured servitude.

Spurred by the Professors of the Cambridge Institute and the Harvard Academy, Preston Ressocks, then head of the minor House of Ressocks, mounted a people's rebellion. Ressocks found unlikely support in Commodore Ryan Moore, the Naval commandant in charge of the cities port defence. The Commodore led his sailors to mutiny in support of Ressocks, culminating in the dissolution of the military order and the establishment of a Republic. For a short time, the specter lingered and aided the recovery of the city, but vanished violently shortly after, leaving an unfollowable trail of destruction. This post-military period of Boston proved difficult at first, but the city would ultimately blossom into a relatively prosperous society encouraging scientific pursuits and trade through its innumerable guilds, becoming a hub in the northeast.

The arrival of the Empire State on Boston's borders was unwelcome indeed and caused sever panic among the leadership at the time. Imperial officials made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that Boston had two choices, join the Empire through violence or surrender peacefully.

Bostonians had not been idle however and impressive fortresses guarded approaches to a city that was, in itself, a fortress. The old city had long been torn down or dismantled and the far smaller population brought within a mighty wall built in the style of ancient Lucca.

Emboldened by their impressive defences, but well aware they could not win a war with the Empire State, the Bostonians entered into negotiations with Imperial envoy. Boston was eventually guaranteed its existence, and Electoral positions, in exchange for swearing fealty to the Emperor. Many in Boston believe it was shrewd negotiating but those who personally sat through the long talks knew that it had eventually come down to Boston threatening to destroy everything it had. The Empire could either have a strong addition to its existence, or more burnt wasteland.

As the modern age dawns and a young emperor sits on the throne, Boston sits magnificent and powerful on the edge of the Atlantic. House Ressock and House Moore still maintain their control over the city, alternating leadership of the city-state every four years. It is indeed politics within politics.

To be added:
House Ressocks info @Pepperm1nts
House Moore info [@TheWyrm]

In Rise of Heroes 17 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
There was a saying, one that Jurgen had quietly muttered to Roderick and Brandt, that if you have the perfect plan, make sure you tell the enemy so he can follow the plan too. And so it quickly proved with Lord Waldo's plan to make for Hergig. It seemed that Lord Gerard had not taken long in discovering that they had fled Lorch completely and already patrols of Talabec Outriders were so thick on the main roads that Lord Waldo despaired and his small party were forced Northward in the Drakwald, toward Estorf.

Lord Waldo had no friends in Estorf, his refusal to allow them to use Lorch's small port without paying a hefty tax had earned him their ire, and he was quite certain they would happily turn him over to Lord Gerard for a few gold coins. Because of this, and because he refused to admit his was lost, the sunset found the small party blundering through the thick brush.

"M'lord, we will have to make camp soon." Jurgen spoke up at last. As the only actual soldier in the group he had become Lord Waldos undisputed deputy whether he liked it or not.

The young man sighed and nodded, even he could no longer pretend that they were going to make it to Hergig that evening. Even with friendly weather, clear roads, and no enemy hunting them, it would still have taken the better part of a week.

"Very well." His voice was high pitched, still unbroken in youth. He halted as they came into a small clearing and glanced around. It would do as well as any.

"You," He pointed to Brandt. "You were a smith, make us a fire."

"You," He pointed at Priska and Jurgen. "Make me a shelter."

"You," He pointed at Roderick. "Find us some water and food."

"You," He now pointed at Maria but she shot him a look that could have killed him on the spot and he faltered. "Um... Help someone...."

The directions given, he threw himself down on the ground under a tree and wrapped himself in his thick cloak, watching them over the edge of the fur collar.

Roderick and Brandt moved off together only to have Maria hurry after them. She didn't say anything as she did, and neither man was going to tell her off as they certainly welcomed her company. The three moved into the woods, lured to a small stream by the sound of running water. It bubbled from a steep hillside and formed a small pool large enough for someone to bath in.

"I might, um... Wash, if you don't mind." Roderick ventured at last as they stared at the clear water. He was indeed utterly filthy. "And I could take a look at your arm, Brandt."

"I'll wait over here." Maria said, not missing a beat, and stepped behind a large tree while the two men approached the water. Roderick stripped off his filthy robe and tossed it into the pool before lowering himself into the freezing water. He scrubbed violently at himself for a few minutes and then managed to wring the worst of the filth from his robe. He pulled the garment back over himself and gave a silent prayer of thanks that it was mid-summer and not winter as the wet cloth settled heavily over him.

"All clear, miss." He called out and Maria joined the two, watching as Roderick washed and dressed Brandts wound using the bark of an Aspen tree and small but sturdy vines as a bind.

"The sap on the backside of the bark has some healing qualities we don't understand, but it works." He offered as he finished lacing the vines. "And the maggots will eat the dead flesh. Please don't let them go when you take the binding off."

His last words were to Brandt. The maggots had been in a small tin in one of his pouches. Father Gerwig had taught him the trick and had saved more than one wounded man during the siege. Maria had frowned at the small white creatures but said nothing, only nodded, when he explained why he used them.

The light was fading fast now and together they quickly gathered a mass of wood and then, using Brandts helmet, some water from the small waterfall. It wasn't much but it would serve them for the night.

The Muhit


Pain was her companion, from the tips of her toes to the top of her head, her limbs felt like they were on fire, her chest felt as though she were being crushed, her breath came in ragged gasps and sweat stung her eyes, leaving trails in the dust that caked her skin. She was oblivious to the strong breeze that was blowing in from the mainland and strong scent of spice and sand that came with it.

One foot in front of the other. She kept repeating it over and over again to herself as she ran, eyes focused on the narrow goat track in front of her. Her long black hair seemed to float behind her like a dark cloud despite an emerald green clasp at the back of her skull. One hand held a short spear, the other a light shield, and she wore only a loin cloth for protection from the thorny branches that tore at her as she passed.

Birds burst into the air screaming in protest as she tore through a small clearing, her footsteps loud as they echoed back from a small rock face decorated with a shrine. She glanced up. The summit was nearing, one more bend and it was a straight sprint to the top. She tucked her chin down, summoned all her courage, and picked up her pace.

Her legs were screaming at her, every fibre of the muscles that rippled through her shapely body seemed ready to burst at any moment but she could not, would not stop. Her shoulders ached from carrying the shield and spear. Her feet hurt, bruises already well formed on the soles. Even her abs felt as though they simply wanted to give up. She gloried in it. The pain meant she was getting stronger.

The final bend dropped away and she found herself on a straight section of path. It was flanked on either side by short grass and small purple flowers that grew in abundance throughout the mountain meadows. Ahead of her was a small pool, no more than a table in size, with stones that stood about it like a wall. She had built that wall to give herself to have a bit of privacy when she exercised and now, as she saw it, she poured the last of her energy into a headlong sprint.

The remaining distance seemed to fall away in a flash as she powered through her last few strides. She passed the outer edge of the wall at a full sprint, almost tripping relief as she dropped the spear and shield with a clatter. It took her several yards to come to a complete halt, her breath coming in desperate gasps as she nearly toppled onto the ground. She steadied herself on the wall and took deep breathes in through her nose, aware for the first time of the spice. It was a faint but still pleasant scent that mingled strangely with that of her own sweat. She wiped at the moisture running down her face and managed only to rub dirt into her eye. She cursed and rubbed at it some more, still gasping for air.

Dirt somewhat under control, she straightened her back, pulled off her sweat soaked loin cloth and tossed it to one side. The breeze, ignored until now, felt wonderful on her naked skin as she stood, arms spread, face to the sun, taking deep breaths to calm her body. She stood that way for several minutes, eyes closed, her breathing slowly returning to normal. When she felt sufficiently recovered she began a stretching routine.

At length she opened a pair of midnight black eyes and looked around her. She was on the top of Alsakhrat and could see the whole world spread out before her. She could see small figures moving about caves below and she fancied that at least one of them might have seen her but she didn't care. She didn't plan to stay for much longer. In the bay the fishing fleet was beginning its return.

Beyond the village the sand dunes turned into a vast plain that marched away to the east. Scattered forests could be seen here and there, and a handful of nomad camps were betrayed by the small curls of blue wood smoke that rose above them. No one here had much ambition. The world seemed to stand still at the best of times.

But not for Ishea. She was her parents only daughter and she wanted to fight. Even as a little girl she had sought out conflict with the boys her age and, though she took some beatings, she quickly began to win. Her parents, like most of the locals, had been impressed. They had encouraged her and her father often gloated about her fighting ability.

To Ishea it was only natural, the desire to be the fastest, the strongest. She had not even been aware of life beyond her little community until she was old enough to witness the arrival of a nomad trader. Ishea had been spellbound by the visitor, his hair and features so different than her own. Clad all in foreign furs and leading a short legged fat horselike creature, he had appeared to trade small pieces of shiny yellow rock for fish. Ishea did not remember what had been discussed that day but she had never forgotten the awe she felt when looking at that man. It made her want to know what else was out there.

Now, as she turned and walked toward the small pool, she could feel all the aches and pains, the bruises and broken bones, that she had suffered in the twelve years since she first learned of people beyond her tribe. She could feel the burning in her lungs from all of the running she had done. She could see the scars on her arms and legs suffered during any number of activities. But most of all she could feel the burning desire deep down inside of her, the desire to be the best.

She dipped a toe into the pool and smiled to herself. It was warm. The black rock that formed the upper level of the mountain had many small pools like this were heated by water coming from deep within the earth. She gingerly lowered herself into the pool, the heat instantly relieving some of her aches. The bottom was smooth, though covered in small rocks, but nothing else grew in the water. She had wondered if it was unsafe as she had tried drinking it and thrown up violently afterward.

She lay back until her whole body was submerged save for her face, her black hair floating around her like some strange cloud. The sky above her was a shocking blue colour, completely devoid of any smoke or clouds, a pure and stunning colour.

She closed her hands into fists and then stretched her fingers out, letting the warmth ease the tension she felt in every fibre of her being. She closed her eyes and began to relax. Something was coming, she could feel it.
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