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Battle and Glory

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Zaine on Sat May 19, 2007 9:22 am

Zelek was angry at himself, he had been lost in his train of thought, and he did not notice the man in the tree. Running his hands through his hair “Aw hello there, I am of need of supplies and Valmorgen is the closest place, besides I would like to visit my familyâ€

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selik on Sat May 19, 2007 11:22 am

Selik immediately rushed forward and struck wityh his braodsword , but teh general blocked the slash away. Selik follwed the parry with a huge swing of his axe , this time it staggered the general.
"whoopsie" Selik laughed and smiled at the general.
Sturmgeist face remained stern as usual and he lunged forward with his huge battleaxe.
Selik lifted his sword and his axe high in the air to parry this great swing. It worked just as good as it had with the orc. Only this time it knocked him to the floor.
He felt a bead fo sweat drip off his forehead and noticed the general smiling , broadly.
As the axe was so close to his face he noticed the engravings and crafting of the steel. Exremely well made. Could probably split him like a melon if he wasn`t careful. Selik swiftly kicked Sturmgeis in the gut and leapt back avoiding the axe , which crashed to the floor.
He clambered up off the floor and pointed his sword at sturmgeist.
The general was keeled over , hands on thighs. He spat red on the floor and looked up , Laughing. he wiped a few droplets of blood from his face and leapt forward swinging the axe.
Selik was caught off guard and his axe flew from his left palm as he blocked.
The axe skittered away , screeching of the gravvel on the flour.
He glanced to his side and noticed a young soldier pick up the axe and turn and walk away. Selik gritted his teeth. "Bastard" he muttered under his breath.
The general ws still laughing. Laughing . he thought Selik had given up. He was about to be surprised.
Losing the axe had given him the opportunity to grasp his broadsword with two hands , giving him more power and control.
Using all his strength he pushed sturmgeist back and slashed at strugeis across the stomach. Again , the expert general parried , but sweat was now gleaming from his forehead too.
He swuing again , slahed again and lifted his sword and brought it crashign down. Sturgeist blocked all three attacks but at a cost.
He staggered back and wiped more sweat from his face.
The sun was beating in the sky.
"Tired yet?" Selik asked , panting for breath.
The general simply shook his head.
"Good, coz we aint finished yet" Selik replied , rasing his broadsword high....

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby dragonpuncher69 on Sat May 19, 2007 11:05 pm

Please Disregard
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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Azmodai2 on Sat May 19, 2007 11:51 pm

Arkhann turned as the wooden door slowly opened. She strode out like a pale golden angel. He stared at her almost in awe of her beauty, the robes had not done her justice. He stared at her long gleaming hair falling around her in thick shining locks and then his eyes traveled down her body before he could stop himself. The slide over her curved slender form, admiring the plunging neckline and tight fitting bodice. He admired her curves yet again, this time accentuated by the beautiful flowing dress. He smiled at her, “You look gorgeous.
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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby PunkRockinHobbit on Sun May 20, 2007 12:42 am

Icienne stood there, feeling very awkward and out of place, thinking that the uneasiness she felt about her appearance would be most prominent. Her eyes fell into Arkhann's, and for a moment, the servant wasn't there. The hall wasn't there, the doors weren't there, it was just the mage and the warrior, locked in an optical embrace. She then followed his eyes as they moved over her, taking her in fully, and she could not help but let a slow smile creep over her face, setting it alight.

"You look gorgeous." His voice enfolded her like a warm blanket, and the smile widened a bit. "Thank you," she replied softly, searching his eyes intently, finding herself utterly lost in them. He offered her his hand and the invitation to visit the Sanctum, and she slipped her hand into his readily. "I shall follow you, Lord Commandant." For a moment after they began walking, she found it quite difficult to pry her eyes away from his.

As they began descending the stairs together, Arkhann repeated and embellished his compliment, and Icienne felt her cheeks reddening. "It has never been my endeavor to be a queen. I have always strived to harness and develop what lies within. But who is to say what the stars have in store?"

Icienne glanced up at the Lord Commandant and smiled despite herself. Once they had reached the bottom of the stairs, she asked, "How large is the Sanctum? Are there many volumes?"

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selik on Sun May 20, 2007 3:54 am

"You swine , i thought we WEREN`t allowed to draw blood!"
He rubbed his shoulder and grasped his sword in one hand and drew his dagger from behind his back.
It was a fine dagger. A smooth gold hilt , with an eyecathcing blood red ruby buried in the handle. He admired the blade. Long with jagged pattersnon the backside. Selik ran his fingers over the carvings and patterns , moving his finger t the very tip.
Instantly he leapt forward , swinging wildy , but with precision.
A trick hed learned in the legion. It confuses your enemy , thinks your just attacking with brute force , but your using all your accuracy and timing.
A trickle of blood flowed from his wound , and Selik winced.
Hed just gotten new armour.
He swung into the belly of the General and used his dagger to thrust up to his throat. Sturmegsit blocked the belly attack but it left his neck exposed.
He pressed the tip of the blade gently into the generals neck , drawing a droplet of blood, making sure not to damage his internal throat. He laughed and smiled , a fair bit of blood oozed from his shoulder wound by now.
"Are we done? My arms getting a bit bloody.I cant go killing orc if my arm is damaged." He smiled and swiped sweat from his forehead. Selik sheathed his broadsword but kept the dagger to the mans throat. "It`s up to you" he said quietly....

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Zaine on Sun May 20, 2007 9:35 am

The cellar was dark and gloomy; the only light was from the little slit of a window, the grimy walls and the dirty. A rat scurried up to the man; it looked at him then continued on scurrying into another hole. The man woke up with a groan, moving is hand he found a huge lump on his head, trying to sit up a wave of pain caused him to lie back down. He scanned the cellar, he could see nearly nothing. He swore under his breath, his once green tunic was now covered in mud and a bit of blood from the wound on his head. “Damn it they better not touch my bow!â€

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Azmodai2 on Mon May 21, 2007 8:47 pm

OOC: Several of my posts, namely ones with italics, have been cut, and I am incredibly aggravated. However I ask that we ignore this problem until it can be resolved.

Arkhann laughed at Icienne’s enthusiasm. He escorted her back downstairs and into the main hallway. She was certainly eager to enter the doors of the Sanctum, a place he rarely tread. They strolled through the great carved pillars once more, this time across the hall to a small door opposite it. “The Sanctum’s size cannot be judged by any outside means, nor do even I know its full extent. I suspect many eldritch powers conceal its depths. As to the amount of books contained therein I suspect upwards of one hundred thousand. Many are also contained within the Grand Library, attached to the South end of the Keep, however, the ones contained within the Sanctum are primarily focused on arcane powers. If you would follow me please.”

He led her through the small door and back outside into the streaking daylight. It appeared that they were on the Western side of the Keep and before them lay a large building. It was square, topped with four small towers at each of the corners and a larger tower rising from the center. The front door was guarded by two men in black robes holding large pikes, short swords dangled from their belt and in their free hands were covered in white gloves stitched with red designs. “Never come here alone, the Gate Castellans will quite easily bar your way. I have seen these two men hold off invading armies before.” He led her up to the gate of the Sanctum and bowed his head to the Gate Castellans. They looked at him for a moment, “Who is the other?” Arkhann looked at Icienne, “Tell them who you are and why you wish admittance.” He faced the Gate Castellans again. Ironic, on the battlefield he was a paragon of power and the epitome of clam but before these two men he suspected he paled in power. His only advantage was his martial prowess… and the fact that they were on his side.


*The ‘Arena’*


The General stood there, the blade poised at his throat, barely pressing against his skin… he felt a drop of his blood run down his neck and soak into his undershirt. He looked Selik right in the eyes, neither of them giving an inch, he smiled at Selik. “Firstly, I never stated we couldn’t draw blood, second that is a fine knife, and third, check yourself.” Sturmgeist glanced down at Selik’s abdomen, and there, gleaming like an avenging angel, the General’s own knife stood, ready to plunge into Selik’s body. “Yes I believe we are finished. Shall we declare a draw?” The General kept still, his knife still ready to strike should Selik to do something… foolish.


*The Dungeon*


The main dungeon door creaked open and light streamed in, illuminating the dank and musty interior of Zelek’s cell. Three men descended the steps into the jail, lit from behind, they appeared like two divine messengers flanking an angel of light, faint haloes around their heads giving them a heavenly appearance. As they neared his cell their shapes became more defined and they lost their divine grace. It was two Justiciars flanking the Confessor General. He made a motion with his and they opened the cell and stepped inside, lifting Zelek to his feet. The Confessor General turned and the Justiciars followed, bearing Zelek up the stairs and out of the cell, back into the light. They turned down a hallway at the top of the stairs and went in the first door on the left. The Justiciars dumped Zelek rather roughly into a small wooden chair at one end of a small square table. The Confessor General sat down opposite of him. “Why did you attack one of the guards?” He asked roughly, his dark brown eyes boring into Zelek.

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selik on Tue May 22, 2007 9:47 am

The two men stood there , knives poised , ready for anything. He glanced down to his ody and noticed Sturmgeists knife to his stomach. He smi8,ed at him and spin his dagger back , sheathing it in one swift motion.
"I like you ," Selik laughed, "I hope we can fight on the front together someday"
He offered out his hand and shook with the general. The soldiers were staring , gawping almost. He didn`t like it. Damn soldiers. He glanced back to Sturmgeist , then peered into the hot sky.
"Lets call it a draw , shall we? Now i think we could be doing with a drink? They`re on me!"
He spun on his heel and picked up his cloak. The sweat was gleaming on his face. That was a good battle. He hoped the orcs at least put up half of the fight that was. Then his mind brought along the fact he hadn`t seen Arkhann or Icienee since he departed from them.
That must have been a good two hours or so. Selik shrugged and continued back towards the barracks then looked over his shoulder and said with a grin ,
" I know its a fine knife..." He turned back and carried on walking...

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby PunkRockinHobbit on Tue May 22, 2007 11:41 am

Icienne walked hand-in-hand with Arkhann, recalling briefly the pillar she had seen engraved with the robed man battling against Valmorgen soldiers. They did not pass it this time, but it was not far from her thoughts. She would inquire about the pillar on their return trip through the hall. There was something about the battlemage, a strange familiarity, that she could not shake, and she wanted to know more about the battle, the time, and those involved, though she felt in her heart of hearts she already knew the answer. It was an answer she was not certain she would know how to take.

Arkhann then laughed, and Icienne looked up at him, smiling. The jovial sound of his laughter echoing in the vast hall drove away the uneasiness that was beginning to build inside of her, and it seemed to the mage that the sun shining through the windows of the hall shone all-the-brighter with the accompaniment of his laughter. Peace stole over her.

But the peace was soon replaced with excitement and awe as Arkhann revealed to her the quantity of volumes housed in the Sanctum. Both emotions were prominent on her face, and her eyes filled again with that hunger for knowledge that was so prevalent when she was a child, soaking up anything and everything she could concerning the arcane.

The pair emerged outside, and Icienne glimpsed for the first time the fortress that was the Sanctum. Her eyes went from pillar to pillar, taking in the structural detail, feeling more than seeing the protective powers that lay over the stones. Not just anyone would be able to stroll in and read a book at their leisure, this much was certain.

As if echoing her thoughts, Arkhann instructed her to never come here and seek entrance alone, because she would be brutally denied. It was then her eyes went to the Gate Castellans, and she knew immediately why such a warning had been given. They would rend her flesh from her bones where she stood without so much as moving, and she knew this. Great power eminated from them.

It was in this moment Arkhann encouraged her to state her name and her business, and, taking her hand from the warrior's, Icienne stepped forward. Her voice was calm again, yet powerful, as it had been the previous night when the mage and the Lord Commandant met for the first time.

"I am Icienne DeLonge, apprentice of eight years under the tutelage of Ichlaz, Master of the Tower of Wizardry. I am on my Test to retrieve the Stone of Ice from the desolate lands of the north, and I seek information regarding this Stone, what it does, and its connection to the other Stones that have laid under the guard of many fierce and terrible creatures for centuries beyond count." Her eyes went from one of the Gate Castellans to the other as she spoke, giving each equal respect.

Icienne stood there waiting patiently, wondering if she would be granted entrance to the Sanctum.

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Zaine on Tue May 22, 2007 7:47 pm

Zelek looked up, his hair covering his green eyes; he looked at the man who had asked him the question. He looked into the mans brown eyes getting lost in its gaze, coming back to reality. He groaned, “I’m not allowed into the city,” he said still staring into the mans eyes “I am Zelek, I was banished from here 20 years ago, you guys thought I was part of an illegal group that tried to assassinate the former Lord Commandant, which I was not but you had your suspicions so I was banished.” He looked down “I just wanted to see my family, but they don’t want me.” A tear could be seen on his cheek, he was silent, as if lost in memorys.

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Azmodai2 on Thu May 24, 2007 12:16 am

OOC: I will be gone for about three days.

Arkhann watched the conversation between the Gate Castellans and Icienne with interest. They were old and powerful beings, who not even the current Grand Magistrate, the lord of the Battlemages of Valmorgen, understood. They looked at her out of their hoods, their features hidden in shadow. They seemed to acknowledge and muse on her words for a moment. They stared at her for a moment before they began to speak in unison, “Icienne DeLong, apprentice of Ichlaz, in your words the truth is hidden. You may enter, but know we know your true intentions, stated or otherwise. Know also that we are familiar with Ichlaz, as we are with all the masters of the Tower of Wizadry, past or present. And finally know that should you seek to harm this place or any of its inhabitants retribution will be swift and terrible.” The Gate Castellans stepped to the sides of the great oaken door and as they moved it began to swing outward. No discernable force opened these doors and their size was more than ominous. The entrance was like a black void, almost emanating darkness.

Arkhann turned to Icienne, “I must leave you here, I have matters to attend to elsewhere, please be careful and courteous, the Magi do not take kindly to insults. Should you have need of me simply ask the Magi to contact me and I will get your message.” He smiled and, without really thinking, gave her a light kiss on the cheek. He gave her a sheepish grin and he seemed to blush momentarily. He turned on his heel , his cloak snapping around him and strode off quickly, his face burning.

*The ‘Arena’*

General Sturmgeist stood and smiled as he pulled his cloak back on, “Ya hear that boys? Drinks’re on him!” The soldiers that had formed the ‘arena’ let out a cheer and fell in behind the general as he strode up to Selik. He started to walk next to him as they headed towards the tavern. “So where did you learn to fight? It’s an interesting technique that I happen to be quite curious about,” the General asked as he kept pace with Selik.

*The Interrogation Room*

“Ah, I see, now why would a slimy traitor like you be allowed back into your clearly loyal family, you plotted to kill the Lord Commandant himself! In fact, I think he will need to deal with you personally.” The Confessor General let out a throaty chuckle and stood, his cast-iron chair screeching harshly on the cold stone floor of the room. He leaned over the table, his nose barely two inches from Zelek’s. “You better have a backup plan, boy, cuz the Lord Commandant hates traitors above all else, even Orcs.” He laughed again and strode out of the room, slamming the heavy steel door behind him, leaving Zelek with the two Justiciars left to guard him.

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby PunkRockinHobbit on Sat May 26, 2007 10:58 pm

Having spoken her piece, Icienne stood before the Gate Castellans waiting patiently for their answer. She knew they could very well turn her away. After all, she did not hold the appearance of a mage right now, what with her fair golden gown and her hair braided up, but if these beings were as powerful as Arkhann told her, and indeed she could sense the power that lurked within them, then they would be able to feel her abilities as well, and know that, though she looked like a princess, she was learned in the ways of the arcane.

The Gate Castellans acknowledged both her outwardly displayed and inner desires for the knowlegdge contained within the Sanctum, and they granted her admittance. She watched in silent awe as the great oaken doors swung open, seemingly of their own accord, to give her leave to pass over the threshold and experience first-hand what lay inside. Excitement welled up inside of her, though her demeanor remained calm; she was sure the Gate Castellans could feel her anticipation.

It was in this moment Arkhann surprised her by slipping to her side and, with taking his leave, planted a small kiss upon her face. She watched him, dumbstruck, as he smiled sheepishly at her and then turned to go. Her face burned where his lips had touched her, and for a fleeting moment she wanted to run to him, but the warning of her master was still fresh in her mind, and she didn't think the Gate Castellans would grant her admittance a second time if she foolishly took off after the Lord Commandant now. And so, turning to face the void that lay beyond the doors, Icienne bowed to the Gate Castellans.

"I acknowledge the power and wisdom granted to the Gate Castellans of the Sanctum of Valmorgen Keep, and I give you many thanks. Rest assured I wish no harm to come to this place or the people therein; knowledge is what I seek, not bloodshed."

As Icienne walked past the Gate Castellans, she could feel their eyes upon her, watching her every move as she passed them and entered the Sanctum. Once she was clear of the doors, they swung shut again, once more seemingly aided by no physical force. The boom of the doors shutting behind her echoed in the darkness around her, an ominous sound, but she was unafraid.

With the shutting of the doors, many torches upon stands seemed to blaze to life, though Icienne wondered if they had not been lit all along. Standing there, her eyes fell upon rows and rows of books, rows that seemed to stretch into oblivion. The walls were lined with books as well, as far up as the eye could see. In each corner of the room, spiral staircases wound their way up into the towers. In the center of the room a fifth spiral staircase, leading up into the central tower. Desks and chairs were spaced between the rows of books, and here and there a mage sat, lost in deep study.

Icienne didn't know where to begin, and it seemed that she would have to spend the rest of her life sorting through all of the books to gain the knowledge she sought. But a voice to her right startled her out of her waning hope. "Apprentice of Ichlaz, follow me." Blinking, the mage looked to see a figure wearing black robes waiting for her. Icienne stared at him a moment, and, as if sensing her confusion, he smiled. "Your coming was known to us. Each apprentice of Ichlaz has passed this way over the years, for each has had the same purpose in their Test: to gain one of the five Stones. You are the last, and a well-chosen mage to acquire the last and most difficult Stone, to be sure. Ichlaz impresses upon you the importance of gaining this final Stone relentlessly, because he knows that, should you turn aside or fail in this task, he will be hard-pressed to find another apprentice of your calibur to complete what you have started. Now, follow me."

The mage stepped forth and began walking down one of the rows of books, and, befuddled, Icienne followed. She didn't understand how the mage knew so much of who she was, and more importantly, her Test, unless Ichlaz had sent word ahead. But why he would do that, she did not know.

After passing thousands of books, the mage led Icienne to a desk bearing a single book bound in black leather. Silver runes were etched upon the spine, and they shone in the torchlight. The mage flicked his hand, and the book flew open, the pages fluttering back, until they stopped abruptly. Upon the left-hand page was a drawing of a portal and five stones.

"The information you seek."

Icienne turned her gaze from the book to find the mage, but he was gone. Sitting down at the desk, Icienne began to read.

In the year 2056 of the First Age, work was started upon a Portal in the Tower of Wizardry, with the intentions of passing over from one plane of existance to another. With the War of the Gods having come to a close, many inhabitants of the world were flocking to the Tower in hopes the Magi would be able to construct some sort of communication line between this plane and the Afterlife. What the reasoning behind this was is uncertain, but Methla, the Master of the Tower, set to work on bringing the elements of nature together to harness the Threads of Existance, and somehow manipulate them into opening a rift between the planes to allow communication, perhaps of loved ones to kin that had fallen during the War, or, as some still believe, as a way to plead to the Gods in person for peace upon a struggling world. However, when the portal was completed and opened, it became horribly clear that, by opening a passage between the planes, Shirak, the God of Darkness, would try to cross over and bring dominion upon the world of the living. Shirak nearly tasted success, but, at great cost, the portal was sealed off, and the Stones representing the Elements, the Keys to unlocking the portal, were hidden in the corners of the world. The idea of the portal was abandoned, and the portal itself stands guarded in the Tower of Wizardry.

Icienne stared at the page a moment in disbelief. She had never in all her studies been taught exactly what the portal did, and never did she dare ask Ichlaz why he wanted the Stone of Ice. She had always believed, in a rather niave fashion, that he had wanted to gather the Stones together and destroy them, thus ridding the world of the threat of the portal once and for all. However, the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach told her otherwise.

Suddenly feeling watched, Icienne looked up, and her eyes fell upon Lucien, an old mage. In fact, he was the mage that had come to Icienne's home so long ago to take her back to the tower. She started to speak, but Lucien raised his hand, signaling for her to be silent. His lips parted, and, with great effort, he spoke.

"He wishes to become a God."

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Azmodai2 on Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:04 pm

Arkhann strode away from the Sanctum feeling a bit foolish but rather pleased. No slap, that was always good. He smiled to himself as he thought of the simple peck on the cheek he had given Icienne. She was a stunning beauty, no doubt about it, and he had never quite felt the same way about any other woman. She intrigued him more than any other that’s for sure. Not a simple tavern girl to shorten the long nights after a battle, nor a stuffy ‘Lady’ of the court, too absorbed in her own makeup to see the men around her were slowly dwindling in number.

He walked towards the main keep, still musing. Just before he was about to open the side door it burst open in front of him revealing a grinning Confessor General. “Ah there you are milord, we have someone of interest down in the interrogation room… I thought you would want to see him yourself,” said the Confessor General, as he leered almost manically at the Lord Commandant. Arkhann almost laughed as he listened to his chief interrogator, “Very well, if you insist, but it better not be a peasant caught stealing whale blubber this time, my good Matthias.”

They strode towards the dungeons in silence, and Arkhann studied his longtime friend. The Confessor General was an incredibly strong-willed man, who had endured far too much in recent times. They had both been through far too much. The Confessor General particularly had had to bear the brunt of much of the psychological pain of the conflict, interrogating, rather brutally, traitors among the villagers. The Arbiters, the organization responsible for policing Valmorgen was made up of some of the most stoic of the soldiers in the Keep.

They walked down the dank and musty stairs leading to the interrogation rooms. A short walk down the hallway and into a room on the right put Arkhann standing in front of Zelek. “Well… what do we have here Matthias?” The Confessor General looked at Arkhann with a dark gleam in his eye, “A traitor,” he responded simply.

*The Sanctum*

Mages strolled to and for, mostly avoiding Icienne and Lucien, a few cast furtive glances, some sent inquisitive glares but no dared intervene. Almost on cue the mages seemed to freeze in place, then dart off into the darkness. Another moment and footsteps could be heard advancing toward Lucien and Icienne, heavy booted footsteps. Out of the darkness surrounding the pair emerged a man, garbed in a thick black flowing, hooded, cloak, his face mostly hidden. He stepped forward and stood a few feet away from the pair. He seemed to study them both, then slowly, he reached up and drew back his hood, revealing a face wizened with age but untouched by it’s perils. His eyes were bright piercing red, and he was bald. “Welcome to my Sanctum, Lady DeLonge, I trust you have already found some of the tomes contained herein useful? Forgive my impoliteness, I am Grand Magistrate Halborix, and I bid you welcome.”

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selik on Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:06 am

In the barracks , Selik and the general sat talking and speaking od their travels , adventures and Selik explained his style was an unknown one.
He had faught like that since he was a child. He didnt mention much about his past, there was no need to remember it. The time slowly passed on and the fire , earlier roaring and full of heat , was dying slowly , turning into charcoal embers, glinting red and orange every so often when another spark dissappeared. The room was quiet by this time. Not many people were left. The general announced he had to go tend to a ruckus in the courtyard , a band of soldiers had started a fight about the duel in the arena. Selik grinned to himself.
The barman was pacing around , collecting empty glasses from each of the long tables.
The fire went out in one last bright white spark. Selik`s gaze swithced to the empty fireplace. He stared into the ashes , sipping his ale. His head suddenly blanked out and his eys became blurred. His eyelids slowly started drooping. He drank the last drop of his ale then let his head collapse onto the table. He had blacked out...

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby PunkRockinHobbit on Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:49 pm

Icienne stared up at Lucien from her seat at the desk for several moments, trying to absorb what the old mage had just spoken to her. A... God? How could that be possible? His powers were great, but to go beyond all that was moral and right to try to take a place in the heavens to rule the fates of men, to put the entire world in jeopardy for his own sick aspirations... the thought made Icienne's head swim.

Sensing her confusion, Lucien pulled a seat over and sat down opposite Icienne at the desk. "There are tomes that are passed from Master to Master containing information that is supposed to be kept guarded, should it fall into the wrong hands. Information that speaks in great detail of passing into the plane of existance to challenge the Gods and take a place among them as one of them. Indeed, should the power of the challenger be strong enough, they could irradicate the God of their choice and take their place entirely. This, it is believed, is what Ichlaz intends to do. He has struck a deal, as it were, with Shirak, and the two of them plan to rule in dark dominion over the world." Lucien paused a moment, leaning in a bit farther over the desk. "Once Ichlaz has passed through the portal and is on the same planes in which the Gods exist, Shirak will be there to aid him in a rebellion that will destroy the world in its fury. The skies will rain fire, the oceans will boil, and all will be utterly lost."

Icienne stared past Lucien into the shadows dancing on the walls, looking more pale than usual, the hard outer surface the mage had created for herself beginning to crumble around her. "Given to the mages lest they fall into the wrong hands, and they have fallen into the wrong hands anyway, by inheritance instead of force."

"So it would seem," Lucien replied heavily, sitting back in his chair. "But there is more you must know, Icienne."

"Wait!" she cried suddenly, great fear passing over her face. Several of the mages scattered throughout the Sanctum cast their eyes her way, but she did not pay attention to the alarm she had raised. "Lucien, stop. I must hear no more. I am... guarded. My very thoughts monitored. I must hear no more." She moved to stand, but Lucien only smiled.

"So he has come to you then?" he asked, looking a bit hopeful.

"He has, this very day, he warned me against--" Icienne stopped suddenly, flushing. "He has warned me," she continued flatly, standing now.

"Then you are in no more danger at present of your thoughts being monitored. Indeed, your mind will be safe for the remainder of your journey to the North, I would imagine. Ichlaz has impressed upon you fear of that which you want, and though you do not speak of it, I can guess it easily enough." He smiled, a twinkle of knowing in his aged eyes. "He trusts now in your loyalty to him, and your fear of him. He believes you will continue forth now and not put his plans in danger."

"How do you know this?" Icienne asked, sitting back down, greatly interested in what the mage had to say.

"I was at the right hand of Ichlaz for many years, and I have seen him concentrate himself into the dreams of his apprentices in times past when his designs were threatened. It takes a long time to recover enough power to seep back into the thoughts and feelings of those he is connected to, and he does not have that power to spare these days. He must focus all of his energies on what is to come, and that is the opening of the portal."

"But that must not happen!" Icienne exclaimed. "If there is a way for me to stop it, tell me, and I will do it."

"You would betray your master?" Lucien asked, looking intently upon the young mage sitting opposite him.

"His will has turned to madness, from what you tell me. How can I sit idly by and do nothing while he plans to rain destruction upon us all?"

Lucien studied Icienne hard for a moment, and then nodded. "Indeed, Ichlaz is not to be trusted. Most of all by you. Have you ever met a former apprentice of Ichlaz, Icienne?"

Icienne thought for a moment, and shook her head. "No. I have met none."

"That's because there are none. Ichlaz has known all these years that opening the portal is going to take every bit of strength he can reserve, and so at the end of each apprenticeship, he has killed his mages, thus keeping the power promised for eight years to himself. And it seems you, my dear, are destined for the most horrific death of them all. Look."

Lucien turned the page on the book in front of them and motioned for Icienne to look upon it. She read:

The exact steps that must be taken to open the portal are unclear, though they are listed in detail in the Great Tomes written out by Methla, Master of the Tower of Wizardry during the first age. All that is known and recorded into these annals is that there is required the Five Stones, a mage of great power, a warrior of unsurpassed wit and strength, and a woman pure of body. Eyewitness accounts of the first and only opening of the portal state that the spell is sent through the warrior and the woman, which are connected to the front of the portal, and that the spell gathers the lifeforce of each, withering them away to nothing. Any further accounts of the opening of the portal itself are unclear...

Icienne's eyes were wide as she looked back up to Lucien. He stared grimly back at her. "Now you know why you were warned. Why you were taught your first and only love should be magic. He wanted to keep you the perfect specimen for his spell."

"I will abandon my Test," Icienne said at length, her eyes travelling to Lucien's. "I will not deliver the Stone of Ice to him."

"No, that is not the road to be taken," Lucien replied intently, leaning forward again. "His strength will grow once more, and if you do not return, he will send the proper forces after you, and the stone. Think hard, Icienne, and the answer will come to you."

Icienne did not notice the suddenly odd behavior of the mages as they sensed the presence gliding through the Sanctum, but Lucien stiffened, his eyes darting around a bit. The Grand Magistrate seemed to Icienne to materialize out of the shadows before them, and she looked suddenly startled as her gaze went to him. She examined his red eyes, his bald head, and she was sharply reminded of Ichlaz. She wanted to look away, but to show disrespect to the Grand Magistrate would not be wise.

He introduced himself, and Icienne stood and bowed low. "Your Sanctum and its tomes are most impressive, and I have indeed found them most useful. Your courtesy is appreciated, and I offer my thanks and gratitude for opening your doors to a humble apprentice."

Icienne's voice was shaking, and she was greatly troubled.

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Zee All Knowing Peacock on Tue Jun 05, 2007 6:47 pm

Bellurdan rode at the head of the column, his Nathil warhorse standing 21 hands tall, giving his own near seven foot tall physique overly imposing. Wrapped in a simple white linen telaba, he looked anything but the leader of five hundred desert warriors. A massive warhammer was suspended from his back, inlaid with beautiful gold runes and wards. Underneath was a wickedly curved tulwar, shining bright silver in the sunlight. His cold violet-blue eyes scanned the forests around, searching for signs of life, well, substantial signs. Birds flitted around here and there, and smaller critters moved around in the undergrowth, but Bellurdan was looking for something larger, and possibly green-skinned. A rider moved up next to him, wearing an identical telaba, with a wicked cutlass strapped to his back, and a spear resting in his stirrup.

"Warleader," said the newcomer, "the men are growing uneasy. To be entering the domain of our enemies, with no intention of attack? It is not the way of the Nathil. Please, Warleader, we must stop, you must address them, they fear you have betrayed the spirits."

"I have done no such thing," said Bellurdan, his deep voice calm and cool, "and I shall not address the troops." While he was speaking he did not look to the newcomer, but instead kept searching. His cold demeanor hinted at no emotion, though inside he was slightly perturbed. He was right, after all, they were getting restless. "Tell me, Natthis, when you swore yourself to serve me, what did you promise?"

The man named Natthis looked at him confusedly, his green eyes searching. "I swore my life, Warleader, and my sanity," the man said, then after a small moment of hesitation asked, "Why would you ask something like that?"

Bellurdan said nothing for a moment, then turned to the man. "And what of them?" he gestured with his hand to the men on their horses behind the two, "Did they not pledge the same thing?" Natthis had a startled looked on his face, until he shook himself and cast a glance back at the horsewarriors.

"Why, of course," said Natthis, "Everyone has sworn allegiance to you." Bellurdan couldn't help but smile, then turned and looked ahead. Natthis was a loyal and skilled soldier, but sometimes Bellurdan wondered at his lack of subtlety. To look at something in such simple shades of black and white, but such was the way of his people. But he would change that, and the Nathil would be victorious in the end of it all. Despite what many may think, he was no puppet, being controlled by some higher force. Sure, he managed to make the right movements to make it seem so, but at the right moment he would reveal the breaks in the strings, and then the puppeteers would have a problem. Politics was a game unknown to his people, but with the right plan, it could be implemented with them never knowing.

"Alright, we make camp here. We should be within site of Valmorgen by tomorrow noon. Rally the men, I will allay their fears," said Bellurdan, his voice as calm as ever. He wheeled his mount forward, up onto a nearby crest. When they he turned to look out upon the men milling about beneath him. He scanned their faces as the settled into place, still atop their horses. He didn't speak for a moment, letting silence grow in the large clearing.

When he spoke his voice boomed out, charismatic and powerful, raining down upon the men below. "My brothers!" He let the silence grow as attentions focused harder on him. "We have long fought Wardancer and his armored soldiers, but now a greater threat emerges. The Green-skins are threatening to overrun us, and we cannot stand alone. Wardancer's forced are pressed thin by this menace, and we will aid him enough to step into his lands once the current menace is destroyed. We are innumerable back in Fallah, and cannot fall should they retaliate. We shall kill both the Green-skins and Wardancer with one fell swoop." He stretched the pause once again, letting his words sink. "Whenever a child is born in our tribe, it is called upon that they swear a vow to their Warleader, pledging their very souls to his cause. Now, my cause has been presented before you." He raised his hammer high over his head, and a bellowing warcry tore itself from his throat. He was greeted with a roar as every man responded with a warcry of their own. He turned his horse and trotted down the hill, his legs posting him up and down. He reached the bottom and turned to Natthis. "Tell everyone to set up camp," he said, then turned his horse around.

He dismounted and moved to a tent already set up for him. He strode inside, where seven men already stood. They were covered in furs and feathers, and stood in a semi-circle around the entrance. He stood in the middle of them now, his cold, calculating, yet strangely sorrowful eyes scanning their faces.

One stepped forward, head cocked to one side menacingly. He was old and wrinkled, his mouth a large gap of broken and missing teeth. He wore a tribal headdress on his head, gave a lopsided smile to Bellurdan. "Well, Warleader, you yet again surprise us with your charisma. It is trait not commonly found among our people, though you have managed to make it something trustworthy." The shrill voice of the man grated against Bellurdan's ears, making him shiver inwardly. It was as if the voice reached inside him, probing for some sort of secret. "So, you lead us to victory, Warleader, or so you claim," the man continued, "but it is not as you would have it seem. It was wise of you to not divulge what you know to your men, as we have advised."

"Yes," replied Bellurdan, his normally cool voice belying a certain enmity in it, "well, the shouldermen are always wise, as are the spirits they commune with." He searched the face of the man, and, seeing nothing but a senile old fool, said, "I will not tell them, for you have advised it. Your wise words ever guide me."

Another stepped forward, this one much younger, dressed in a large grey bear's fur. He spoke, his voice sending an equally disturbing feeling through Bellurdan's body. "When you reach Valmorgen, you must remember what we really came here for. The girl, we must learn of where the Stone is. So there must be no animosity from you. You must befriend her. When we learn of the stone, it will be different. We shall kill her, and fulfill our needs. Now, we must leave, tomorrow we arrive." A flash of darkness, and they were gone.

Bellurdan sighed and moved across the sparsely furnished tent and sat on the bare cot. He lay down and closed his eyes. He spared one last thought of the shouldermen before falling asleep. The thought was one word, Puppetmasters.

******

They arrived at Valmorgen the next morning, and when they came within sight of the walls, Bellurdan dismounted. The warriors behind him halted, and followed suit. They waited as Bellurdan and Natthis slowly walked forward, towards the towering walls that surrounded the keep. Warhammer and tulwar still on his back, he walked up to the guards standing outside.

Bellurdan looked the man over, studying his face. He looked stricken with fear, with a steely resolve hidden somewhere underneath. The look of a recruit before his first battle. Bellurdan would be disappointed to not fulfill that premonition. He looked up at the massive wooden gates towering above them, studying the iron-bolted fastings on them. After a long moment of silence, the massive and imposing desert warrior turned to address the guard.

"Fear not, we are not here to battle. No, we are here to aid you in fact," Bellurdan's voice was soft and reassuring, just another sign of his charismatic personality, "We are looking for Wardancer." Seeing the blank look on the man's face he hesitated, then said, "I believe he is known as Arkhann here..."
"Some things are important. Others are not. Yet all would claim a mortal's attention. It falls to each of us to remain ever mindful, and thus purchase wisdom in the threading of possibilities. It is our common failing that we are guided by our indifference to eventualities. The moment pleases, the future can await consideration." - Steven Erikson's Midnight Tides

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Zaine on Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:31 pm

Zelek did not notice when the man entered, lost in thought he was thinking about his life, his friends, his family, his childhood, everything he did, every path he chose, every mistake and every good choice. He was centering on all the mistakes, the mistakes of every turn that led to more and more. He was shook back to reality as he herd the word “Traitor” right then anger swamped him, trying to suppress it he said in a shaky voice that was almost a whisper “I am not a traitor.” he said still gazing down. Pushing down his anger he began clenching and un clenching his fist.

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Azmodai2 on Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:01 am

*The Sanctum*

Halborix smiled lightly and nodded at Lucien. He strode over to where the book Lucien had shown Icienne was laying and picked it up. He turned his attention to Icienne and his stare became severe. “Lucien’s words are wise and knowledgeable, and so long as you remain within the walls of my Sanctum Ichlaz will not be able to connect to you. He is powerful but the spells protecting this place are ancient and powerful beyond the scope of comprehension, even I do not fully understand all of them. Should you wish to learn about the history of the Sanctum or Valmorgen I would recommend talking to the Gate Castellans, they are remnants of ages long past and their memory stretches back unto the creation of this place.” He smiled and held his gaze on her. “Hmmm, the Tower Master has taught you well… your powers are admirable, but not varied. Take some time to study here… and should you wish to see the Lord Commandant simply ask and I will have a messenger sent to him.” The Grand Magistrate set the book down, open to the page about the stones, and, with a slow, purposeful walk vanished into the darkness off the Sanctum.

*The Southern Gate*

The guards stood eying Bellurdan and his men uneasily, and he turned towards the watchtower above him and yelled, “Light the signal flare! Someone wants to talk to the Lord Commandant!” The tower guard nodded and lit a huge bonfire on the roof of the tower. A moment later a response beacon was lite closer to the keep and a runner was sent down into the keep to find Arkhann.

After about 10 minutes of frantic running the runner finally descended into the dark tunnels that made up the dungeons and interrogation rooms. He peeked in the room that contained the Confessor General and the Lord Commandant, two of the most powerful people in the entire land. He was clearly uneasy as he stepped inside, and his eyes darted around the room, “Umm… Sir? Someone to see you at the Southern Gate… the guards said it was important.” The messenger shifted his feet nervously as Arkhann responded, not even turning, “Tell them to wait, I have matters to attend to here, if it’s really that important admit the man or leader or whatever and his second into the Keep.” The messenger saluted and scurried off to do as he was told.

By the time word reached the gate it has been a good 20-some minutes. The message was sent down to the guards via parchment. The Gate Captain looked up at Bellurdan, “You and your second in command are to be admitted into the keep, your men must wait outside.” He signaled up at the tower who then began messing with some sort of mechanical device, a small door opened within the main gate door, it swung inwards, and was clear that the hinges were on the inside. “Please enter,” the Captain said, motioning to the now open door.

*The Interrogation Room*

Arkhann had been staring at the man sitting before him for some time when the messenger distracted him from his inspection. He returned his attention to Zelek, “Not a traitor? How am I supposed to know that? The Confessor General here has told me otherwise, and he is VERY rarely wrong. Tell me why I shouldn’t execute you where you sit for treason?” Arkahnn’s eyes were brimming with silent anger and cold fury, yes, he hated traitors above all else, and felt no pity for them.

*The Barracks*

The General peered down at the now unconscious form of Selik. “Hmm… couldn’t hold his liquor I supposed? You there! Yes you! Take this man to a cot and let him recover, he’s passed out in my barracks!” A young soldier scurried forth to grab Selik’s limp form and, with some difficulty, managed to heave him onto a nearby cot. “Hey man, wake up or the General’s gonna have a fit, c’mon,” the soldier said, as he lightly slapped Selik’s cheek. Sighing in frustration he grabbed a half full glass of water and tossed it in Selik’s face, “WAKE UP!”

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Re: Battle and Glory

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Zee All Knowing Peacock on Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:47 pm

Bellurdan smiled as the gates swung inward, revealing a cobbled street heading into the military outpost. He turned to Natthis, who bore a look of sombre pensivity. Bellurdan could see his eyes searching, looking for weaknesses in the defences. Bellurdan knew he had always wanted to lead, had always wanted to be in Bellurdan's spot, standing in these shoes. And he would, in due time. He would lead the tribes of the Nathil, the hundreds of desert-warriors all commanded by him. Small men with small aspirations, were they all. But Bellurdan wasn't. No, he was unique among his people. He felt something inside of him, like great anticipation, in all that was to come.

He turned to Natthis, looked him in the eyes. He was only a few years younger than Bellurdan, who was nearing his fortieth season. But it wouldn't be long now, before Bellurdan would have moved on. "Natthis," said Bellurdan, and Natthis attention immediately snapped to attention. His look gave Bellurdan the impression to continue. "I need you to head back to the troops. Keep them in line. I'll be back come the dawn tomorrow."

Natthis grabbed his arm as he moved to enter the keep, and dragged him away a few steps. "Warleader," Natthis said, a sense of urgency in his voice, "Do you truly think it wise to stay in the enemy's lands with none to guard you. You'd be a target to them." Bellurdan's face darkened as he looked upon Natthis, even though he almost felt like laughing.

"Do you not trust me, Natthis?" asked Bellurdan, his tone becoming hard. Natthis shook his head. "Do you think him so incompetent as to be killed by these whelps?" Another shake. "They could not dream of killing me, even if they had the notion. You would do well to invest more faith in your Warleader's abilities, and judgement. Besides, the Northerners may be cowards, but they do have some notions of honor. I will be fine, please, go tend to the troops." He turned then, though he knew Natthis was feeling mixed emotions. On one hand, the fear for his leader, on the other, the ability to lead, if only for a short while. Bellurdan walked forward, through the massive gates.

He was sure the guards hadn't heard the conversation, they were a fair distance away, after all. He walked into the town, and looked around at the buildings around. People milled in the streets, all going about their business, but many stopped to look at him. His posture was tall, even for a Nathil, and his hulking physique did naught to help him. And with his desert garb and various weapons, he was a site indeed. He saw one of the local police walking around, and moved towards him. The man looked Bellurdan up and down with a glance, but all in all put on a brave face.

"And what do you want?" the man asked, his voice piping out thin and reedy. It indicated a damaged larynx, or some other sort of windpipe accident. Bellurdan smiled, as the man looked up at him from outside a full-plated visor. The man stood firm as Bellurdan towered over him, standing a full head taller. Bellurdan smiled, his teeth startlingly white beneath the hood of his telaba. It gave him a rather maniacal look, as if he was about to snap the man's neck.

"Arkhann," said Bellurdan, "I need to see Arkhann. Where is he?" The man squinted up at the tanned desert warrior.

"He is in the keep," the man replied, his voice hard, despite its reedy sound, "Interrogating a prisoner. I'll have someone fetch him."

"No," replied Bellurdan, "They have already tried that, just show me where I can find him."

The man shrugged indifferently, "Alright." He turned and waved over a marine patrolling the town. "Show him where the dungeons are." The newcomer looked up to Bellurdan and visibly flinched. Bellurdan's barbaric smile was his only reply.

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