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Battle and Glory

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby PunkRockinHobbit on Wed Apr 25, 2007 11:48 pm

Icienne let her eyes wander over the landscape before them, noticing the pale dawn creeping its way through the clouds that still assailed them. She felt Arkhann's eyes on her, but she pretended not to notice, instead keeping her attention focused on the cold light that was leaking in despite the storm continuing to rumble above. The rain was slacking, setting a drizzly pace now, the torrents moving on to drench another part of the world.

Arkhann's voice found its way to her ears, and Icienne turned to look upon him once more. The paleness of the morning cast an ethereal glow over her milky flesh, giving the impression that she was not of the living. She nodded. "Indeed, I shall need sustenance again before we travel. I will have a drink while we wait for your companion."

There, in Arkhann's eyes, there it was: bloodlust. The ache for battle. He almost looked as if he wouldn't be able to wait until they got back to Valmorgen Keep before he slated his thirst for a fight. And the animals moving in the surrounding forest had not gone unchecked by the mage, either. As she moved to the door and opened it, she peered over her shoulder at him. "There are Orcs nearby, and you are thinking of attacking them. I can see it in your eyes. I can feel it radiating from you body like a heat." At this she paused, looking him over before letting her eyes travel back up to his again. "If it means anything, I would enjoy getting some practice in before reaching the Keep. And I am certain Selik would pounce upon the opportunity."

Icienne slipped back inside the tavern where Mac, looking sleepy-eyed and slightly disheveled, as if he hadn't had a good night's sleep, was trying to bustle as quickly as possible in the kitchen preparing a breakfast of some sort. At the creak of the door, he rushed out to see the mage entering, her eyes falling upon him immediately, burning into him the knowledge of what she required. He said nothing, he simply took a glass from the shelf and filled it three-quarters full of water. He then set it down upon the bar and hurried away.

Two rather large armchairs were positioned near the fireplace, which was roaring with newly-kindled flames warming the common room after the chilly night, inviting the weary, soaked, and travelworn to relax and compose their thoughts. Icienne picked one of these and sat down, reaching into the inner pocket of her robe to gather what she needed to prepare her drink. "Join me," she said to Arkhann. It was not a request.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Azmodai2 on Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:16 am

Icienne caught his full attention as soon he registered what she had said. She was more perceptive than he had realized. He nodded slightly and let out a small smile. “Yes, I would certainly like to engage my enemy before reaching Valmorgen, and I’m sure Selik is eager enough. As you have expressed an acceptance to that idea I know where we may be able to find some Orcs who have been preying on the locals in this area.” He watched the expression on her face but could hardly discern anything. She kept more cool and calm than he did, but that was off the battlefield. Ironically that was when Arkhann was most calm, in the din of battle he found his place, his peace with the world. Odd that he found peace fighting a foe bent on utter chaos and destruction.

He followed Icienne back inside the tavern and watched her walk elegantly to the armchairs that Mac kept by the fireplace. She began mixing that drink of hers again. “Join me,” she said. More like commanded. In a lifetime of leadership he had learned at least one thing, this was the kind of order you didn’t disobey. He strode over to the large, plush, red armchairs and settled himself in one. He unbolted his gauntlets and laid them on the small ed-table next to him, he rubbed his hands lightly and stared at them for a moment. They were scarred and calloused, a lifetime of leadership meant a lifetime of combat. He looked up at the fire and watched it crackle and spark. The flames danced ever so fluidly, reds and yellows and oranges mixing to create a symphony of color. Fire, such a duality. The power to warm and to light, and yet… the power to burn and destroy. He was like fire, he was the fire of Valmorgen.

He looked over at Icienne breaking his reverie. She seemed intent on her drink but he could tell she had noticed his glance. He unhooked his sword and placed it, inside it’s scabbard, leaning on the chair. He let out a light sigh and gazed at her. Her elegant and thin hands worked the concoction ever so delicately. Yet behind that small physique he could sense incredible power. She was another duality. Frail in body powerful in mind and spirit. He smiled lightly and leaned forward a bit to study the potion she was mixing.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby PunkRockinHobbit on Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:09 am

Icienne heard the clank of Arkhann's gauntlets as he removed them, but she did not remove her attention from her drink. One wrong move, and Mac's fear and uneasiness would be justified, and the glass would shatter in her hands and send shards of white-hot glass showering over herself and the Lord Commandant. It was not a mistake she wanted to make in front of the man that had just taken her on to aid in the destruction of hundreds of Orcs; it was not a level of embarrassment she wanted to experience in front of him.

A soft rustle in the chair next to her indicated to Icienne that Arkhann was leaning toward her. She felt his eyes upon her, upon the concotion she was brewing. The flame was in her palm, and she was dipping it into the water, her eyes still fixed solidly upon her work.

"You are wondering about my drink, no?" As she sprinkled the herbs into the drink, only then did her eyes wander back over to him. "It takes a great deal of concentration to make this. It is the lifeforce that flows through me. When taken into apprenticeship in the Wizard's Tower, you are weened off of all food substances, you learn to survive on this, and this alone. It heightens the senses, sharpens the mind, nourishes the body as much as it needs to survive. No more, no less. That is why every seasoned mage you meet looks so frail, so weak." Icienne's eyes flashed. "But do not judge on strength of body, rely on strength of mind. Cheers." She grinned, an almost wicked grin, as she took a sip of the brew.

Feeling somewhat relaxed, Icienne settled herself back in the chair. She held her drink in both hands before her, eblows propped on the arms of the chair, her thin, spindly digits encasing the glass in front of her chest. She allowed her eyes to wander over him again, and there it was, that thought, that empassioned, vivid image that threatened to destroy everything about her that was power. She shoved it away quickly, her eyes landing on Arkhann's hands.

"Were someone to look at your hands, they would see the hands of power. They would not imagine the same of mine, were it not for the obvious signs that show what I am, where my strengths lie." She removed one of her hands from her drink and held it next to his. It was alarmingly frail, perhaps even sickly next to his, but it was smooth, her nail filed to sharp points. "Power comes in many guises, does it not?" She sighed slightly. "Not all of my enemies recognize the power contained within these hands... not until it is too late..."

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selik on Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:29 am

He was just noticed that hsi companions were already waiting for him . He walked over and felt a blast of ice run down his spine .
He shivered then smiled and said "Mornin`" and bowed to them .
"Im ready and packed . Willing to leave whenever you are captain "
He was uneasy of that name . He hadn`t called a man captain since...well for a long time .
"If you dont mind me asking , my friends , but..where you out at all last night?" he asked , trying to be polite ." Mac told me that you hadn`t slept in your rooms " He laughed then said jokingly
"Ill be having my gold back "
He wondered whether to ask Icienne about this "Ra" or what ever his name was . He could help her , and he would if she requested it . But he thought to leave it to another time .
He rubbed his hands together and said " Im dying to kill some orcs" He drew his broadsword and waved it in the air . Slicing through it with a soft whooshing noise .
He sheathed his blade then crossed his arms grinning ...

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Azmodai2 on Thu Apr 26, 2007 6:29 pm

He listened to her speak, letting her explain what the potion was for. Then she talked of his hands. Yes, people would see power in his hands, but some would see cruelty and destruction, others salvation, kindness and charity. Most would see pain. He looked at her small delicate fingers, her smooth palms and long, thin wrists. She seemed to always know more then she let on. Yes her hands held power too, but not of physical, that icy chill was obviously more than just a feeling. He smiled at her then noticed Selik to his right. He nodded at him in greeting and shifted his weight in the chair.

“It is not yet fully dawn and our horses and supplies will not be here for about another 20 minutes, please, relax. I know you are eager for a fight but until we set out I would recommend reserving your strength. Has your friend arrived here yet? If he wishes to join us I am eager to meet him.” He turned towards Icienne. “I have ordered four horses but, and I say this with all due respect, we need to ride hard and fast and I do not know of your horsemanship abilities, if you would prefer you may ride with me.” He stood and grabbed his sword, fastening it and the scabbard back onto his belt. He grabbed his gauntlets and slowly slid them back on, hiding his scarred and worn hands. He glanced at Selik and Icienne for a moment then called Mac over for a drink. “Whiskey if you please.” Mac nodded and hurried away, eager to serve the always well paying Lord Commandant. He let out a small cough and stretched his arms a little, then turned to Selik once again. “I trust you know how to ride a horse? And you don’t have to call me Captain if you wish, I only require soldiers in my army to address me as a superior, I may be directing you in battle but you are ever my equal. As to your friend I will tarry for 15 minutes after dawn for him, if he does not arrive by then we will depart without him.” Mac brought the whiskey over and Arkhann thanked and paid him. He leaned on the armchair and stared at the fire.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selik on Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:47 am

He laughed .
" Do I know how to ride a horse? Are you mad? " he said with a large grin .
His mood then shifted to become more serious .
" So what exactly is our goal ,shall we say , in this war?" he was curious about Arkhann`s intentions . He would think that he was just trying to defend his territory but there may be something else to him .
Never the less he was happy to have the oportunity to kill something ...

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selik on Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:47 am

He laughed .
" Do I know how to ride a horse? Are you mad? " he said with a large grin .
His mood then shifted to become more serious .
" So what exactly is our goal ,shall we say , in this war?" he was curious about Arkhann`s intentions . He would think that he was just trying to defend his territory but there may be something else to him .
Never the less he was happy to have the oportunity to kill something ...

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby PunkRockinHobbit on Fri Apr 27, 2007 11:23 am

Icienne's eyes studied Arkhann's hands for another moment longer, memorizing each scar, each callous, each mark of battle that he bore like tattoos, each carrying with it its own tale, tales she hoped she would someday hear. Then she studied her own hands: thin, frail, not nearly as travelworn or battlescarred as the Lord Commandant's, but still full of stories, stories hidden beneath the flesh, out of view of public eye, much like her power.

Selik startled her, but she did not let it show upon her face, she did not jump at his coming. Instead, she slowly withdrew her hand from the side of Arkhann's and turned her head, those icy orbs watching Selik carefully out of the corners of their sockets. He was not entirely what one would call composed, or perhaps even balanced. The bloodlust ran rampant within him, and Icienne could feel it like a breath of hot white fire radiating off of him. He would be fierce in battle, and Icienne was rather looking forward to seeing how much of his irratic anger he would take out on these Orcs.

It was then Arkhann inquired about her riding skills, and she let her eyes fall upon him. She did not speak as Selik announced he was quite skilled on the back of a horse, as Icienne had well figured. He even went so far as to inquire about the ultimate goal Arkhann had set for them. Icienne had discerned tit would be maintaining Valmorgen Keep and irradicating the Orcs that threatened it, but if there was more to what lay in store for them, she would also like to hear it.

"Before you speak, Lord Commandant," she said softly, her voice carrying that ever-present deadly calm, her eyes lingering upon him still. "I do not boast strong riding qualities, though I can ride a horse sufficiently. I would prefer to ride with a skilled horseman to keep from taxing any energies I will need for my magic. And you have proven you can bear me upon your warhorse with little discomfort already. I shall ride with you." She sat back in her chair, finishing her drink and setting the glass upon the end table closest to her.

Icienne's elbows came to rest upon the arms of the chair as she settled back, and her fingertips pressed against one another before her as she continued to study Arkhann. "Now, please continue. I believe Selik asked a question that needs answering ere we set out."

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Azmodai2 on Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:06 pm

Arkhann glanced up and Selik and let out a chuckle, of course Selik knew how to ride, no self-respecting warrior would ever be caught dead without horsemanship skills. He nodded to Icienne in acknowledgment to her decision to ride with him. Perhaps the trip back would not be quite so uncomfortable and quiet. He glanced at the now empty glass and his curiosity piqued again, but he managed to quell the emotion and straightened his back before beginning to speak.

“What is our ultimate goal in this mission? To kill the Orc Warlord Tar’gul Worldsplitter. He has been an ever-present danger to my homeland. He threatens to destroy not only Valmorgen but every other neighboring nation regardless of race, religion, government of surrender. He slaughters soldiers, the elderly, women and not even children are spared. His hordes are utterly loyal to him and they pillage, burn and destroy in is name. He is a plague upon this world I seek to be the cure. Before you ask, yes, I have a more personal reason for seeking Tar’gul. He killed my family, my father, my mother and my younger brother . I have no mercy for him and his kind.” He gave Selik his most piercing stare, almost a challenge to dispute his reasoning. He glanced at Icienne but his look softened slightly. He let his hand come to a rest on the hilt of his sword and smiled at both Selik and Icienne. “So you see, friends, that is why I make haste and why I wish to acquire allies strong enough to contend with the best that the horde has to offer. I alone most likely will not b able to kill the Warlord, but with your help I may be able to realize my goal.” He smiled and sat back, almost tired by the speech.

OOC: sorry a very hastily written post.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby PunkRockinHobbit on Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:58 pm

Icienne did not move as Arkhann spoke, telling them of the main reason he wanted to have them with him upon his return to Valmorgen Keep. She looked almost like a statue as she drank in Arkhann's words, and drink them in she did, as though he was offering the nectar of life up to her dying soul. Tar'gul Wordsplitter... she had heard his name in several villages she had passed through making her way to this one, and in every corner of every town, the name was spoken with fear, hatred, malice. The same hatred and malice she detected in Arkhann's voice as he spoke the loathsome name.

Arkhann spoke of his family slain by the Orc Warlord and his followers, and she could feel the sorrow that still ached within him. This feeling was replaced then by the anger, and the power pulsing within him that came from that anger. He would be a fiercesome sight in battle, no doubt about that. A dangerous foe; a glorious partner.

It was in this moment he looked to Selik, and Icienne wondered for a moment if he was going to bludgeon him, so intense was the look in his face. His gaze moved to her, and she saw it soften, she felt the tense hatred wane. If he were to look, if he paid attention to her eyes in that brief moment, that blink of an eye, he would see a single stone in the wall she had built around herself fall and shatter, in that the look she returned to him softened as well. The mirror-like reflection of Arkhann would be gone, for a moment, and he would see in its place concern, compassion... a need to make things right if it meant putting Arkhann at ease.

Arkhann sat back, and Icienne crawled inside herself once more. "And how many are there in the horde? What sort of odds are we facing, Lord Commandant?"

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selik on Sat Apr 28, 2007 4:16 am

Selik laughed to himself .
"An orc warlord eh? " He crossed his arms and grinned widely again
"`tis child`s play..." he said with a smooth voice , half mixed with anger against the orc , and sorrow for arkhann.
He laughed and walked to the bar and ordered another strong ale . He needed something to waken him up ...

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Azmodai2 on Sat Apr 28, 2007 4:20 pm

Arkhann held Icienne‘s gaze for as long as he could, drinking in the small flicker of compassion she had given him, searching for more, seeking to find yet another chink in that nigh impregnable wall of will she had built around herself. Yes, she was quite beautiful, mroeso than he had realized when he had first met her. He considered which to address first, Icienne’s question or Selik’s snide comment.

He turned to Selik and called out after him, “Child’s play you say? Tar’gul is far from child’s play. He stands 10 feet tall, has the strength of at least 10 well wrought men and a ferocity in battle matched only by is depravity and sadism. And do not mistake him for a mindless beast, the Warlord is as cunning and deceitful a creature as I have ever met. No, the final confrontation will not be a simple task. I have faced this beast once before and even I could not overcome him. I do not boast, but I am the best swordsman in Valmorgen, but Tar’gul easily matches my abilities. As to the horde, it’s numbers are near limitless and incorporates warriors of all skill levels. Tar’gul’s personal guard is comprised of the 20 best warriors he has and they are definitely on a similar skill level to him, although only slightly inferior. However, it is my armies that will handle his horde, we are not destined for the front lines. Instead I intend on leading us straight tot he command cadre of the Horde, however I must warn you now, there is a fairly high chance once Tar’gul is dead we might not be able to get back out.”

He looked at both of them searching for any signs of hesitation. He gave them both a very grave looked then checked the time of day out the window, the sun had begun to peek. He heard the click-clock of horses hooves coming down the street, that would be his man. He turned back to Selik and Icienne. “I must know now if you are fully committed as it is time to depart to Valmorgen.” He stood and checked the fastenings to his armor then strode to the door, waved to Mac and turned to face Icienne and Selik.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby PunkRockinHobbit on Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:31 am

"We shall return from the hell of battle." Icienne was standing now. When she had stood was not clear, for she had been silent in her movments, but her eyes were ever-fixed upon Arkhann. "I shall make certain of that." A small smirk played again at the corners of her lips. She would teleport them out the moment Tar'gul met his doom, a great tax upon her strength, but a risk she would take to make sure the Lord Commandant and their off-center companion would return to the Keep victorious.

She had wanted to say, "I would follow you into the very center of a lake of fire, Arkhann," when he asked if they were ready to depart. She felt her loyalty shifting to him, and even forgot for a moment the task that must be completed after Valmorgen Keep was secure and the Orc Warlord dead. But she was still a servant to the will of Ichlaz back in the Wizard's Tower, and she could not, no matter how hard she tried, swear fealty to Arkhann completely. So, she said simply, "I am ready." The icy calm in her voice seemed to falter, and she looked away from Arkhann to the window, listening to the hoofbeats in the street.

"In taking you into apprenticeship, you must understand that your loyalties lie with me and me alone until your services are complete. Love, lust, pleasures of the heart or the flesh you must not know until I have released you..." Ichlaz said to Icienne the day he took her under his studies. "Keep your mind open to learn, let it linger on nothing else, for your ablilities will be stunted, and you will be of no use to me."

But what was there left that he could show her? She was on her Test, and once completed, he would rule her no longer! Keep your will, Icienne... do not falter now, not when you are so close to your goal! But could she do it? What would happen, should she give in to the Lord Commandant...

The power, Icienne... you will not fully inherit the power... unless your task is completed.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selik on Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:52 am

He lifted his glass of ale and drained it in one large gulp . he wiped his mouth . Cracked his neck and said .
"I`m willing to take this bastard out ...even if I dont make it alive ."
He gritted his teeth . He nodded at Arkhann then Icienne .
He smiled . Then walked forward and placed a hand on arkhanns shoulder , and spoke quietly
" Oh , one more thing captain ? Can i have a new cloak?"
He smiled then walked just outside the door waiting for his horse...

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Azmodai2 on Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:12 am

He nodded at Icienne, pleased with her response, willing... if trite. "Good, and it seems that Selik is indeed willing to accept my terms of travel." He smiled a little and pushed the door open, rolling his shoulders lightly. He saw Captain Maynard and another man walking down the street leading four horses. He checked the sky, precisely on-time. He looked back at Icienne and Selik and beckoned them to follow. He turned to Maynard, who looked up at Arkhann in admiration. The Captain‘s uniform was in impeccable shape and his weapon looked polished and clean. He had obviously prepared for the morning. “Good work, Captain, thank you for the horses, I will take all four, two as a backup, please give my regards to the rest of the garrison. I will deliver your request for three more men and see that it is completed personally.” The Captain saluted with pride and turned on his heel, his second following him.

Arkhann checked the harnessing and fastenings on all the horses, inspected the equipment and found them all satisfactory. He heaved himself onto Daran and brought the other hroses in-line, he looked back into the tavern, peering at Selik and Icienne. “Please, come, we must make haste, I wish to reach Valmorgen by midday tomorrow. As to your cloak Selik, I can have one fashioned for you at Valmorgen Keep, in fact I intend to outfit our party with the best supplies my home has to offer.” He cantered over to the front of the inn and held there, glancing around the street, hopefully no Orc snipers were in the area, the last thing he needed was an arrow to the back. He let one hand drop the handle of his sword and he agve another hurried glance at Icienne and Selik. “It is best we were on our way, I do not wish to tarry here, as timing is crucial.”

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Nightmare on Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:19 am

As Barin sat there he listened to the conversation going on nearby, being careful not to say anything that would make him noticed.

Damn. I hope these guys don't know my past. he thought to himself as he peered over at the small party once again.


He ttok a drink from his mug ashe listened to the man requesting a cloak and considering he knew nothing of these people and he was wearing a cloak he decided to exit the area immidiatly, hoping not to be seen.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby PunkRockinHobbit on Mon Apr 30, 2007 9:59 am

Icienne glided around the armchair toward the door, stopping to look back at Mac, who was feeling almost sad that the party had to leave, though he didn't show it on his face. "Good day to you, Mac. Until we meet again..."

Mac nodded. "May the gods be with ye, if'n ye plan on facin' Ka..."

Icienne turned and walked to the door, taking note of the man being quite careful not to be seen, and recognizing him as the same man from the previous night who had stood at the bulletin in front of her, looking it over, when she first entered the tavern. She gave no signs that she had noticed him, walking to the doorway of the tavern and slipping out into the early morning light as silent as a whisp of smoke.

She came to stand beside Arkhann as the Captain of the garrison and his second in command brought the four beautiful horses before them. She studied the both of them carefully. Captain Maynard was intent upon the Lord Commandant, as was his second in command, until Icienne appeared. She let her gaze fall upon the soldier standing before the tavern, regarding him with that same icy calm she kept prevalent upon her face at all times. He, on the other hand, gasped slightly, eyeing her in disbelief, fear, sorrow... and then his face hardened, and as Captain Maynard called for him, he regarded the mage with contempt, though a trace of that sorrow could still be discerned in his icy blue eyes. No words were exchanged; he turned as he was beckoned and walked away, not looking back.

Seemingly unperturbed, Icienne gathered up her soft dark hair, wrapping it in a bun of sorts at the nape of her neck, though not securing it. She then took the hood of her robe and pulled it up over her head, nearly shielding her face from view. As Arkhann called to her, she moved fluidly over to stand beside Daran, her face upturned to gaze at the Lord Commandant. A slight smirk crossed her face, and she extended her hand for a boost upon the horse. "If you please, Lord Commandant..."

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selik on Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:40 am

Selik climbed with ease upon his horse. It seemed to be a buck.
Fast and wild. A bit like Selik himself. He patted the horse`s head gently and straightened himself out.
He checked he had all his correct equipment. Sword , Dagger , Axe
Bow and arrows and he reached down to his legs and checked his thin steel knife.
That blade had helped him out alot in his life. Plus it only cost a meager three gold coins. He grinned remembering a battle long ago.
He and one of his trusted friends had fought off a horde of bloodthirsty goblins.They were trying to ransack a small village.
Selik slew many of the foul creatures that day , his blades were so bloody that it took weeks for it to wash off.
His friend died. He was shot thrice with goblin arrows , tipped with poison from a Rakatar snake.
He shrugged off the memory and turned to Arkhann and Icienne.
He nodded twice. He was looking forward to going into battle with his two friends. He called them friends even though he didn`t truly know either of them. But for them to be so trustworthy of him , he would die for either of them. He learned from his past.....mistakes.
He reached to pull his hood up over his face , remembering a hint of what happened last night. His pupils grew larger.
"Arkhann , Icienne , if i do say so please may we go forth to the Keep. I am eager to fight." He was eager to kill , but this was not the true reason he had wanted to go quickly. His nose filled with a horrid stench then it all came back to him...
He smiled and urged his horse to a trot , slowly making his way north to the giant keep....

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Selik
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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Azmodai2 on Tue May 01, 2007 12:25 am

Arkhann smiled down at Icienne and admired her long, beautiful hair. He took her hand and easily, but carefully, lifted her onto his saddle, behind him. He made sure she was comfortably seated and then spurred his horse, catching up to then moving slightly ahead of Selik’s trotting horse. He turned to Selik, “You will lead one spare horse, I will lead another. We will move at a speedy trot.” He spurred he horse a little faster and brought the spare in tow. He scanned the sides of the path as they neared the woods, noting a small animal that had been following them, probably a native predator. He picked out the outline of the Skalthrax, small cat-like carnivores. They would be no trouble for them, indeed even a lone human would not be bothered by the small creatures. He kept his eyes and ears open until they were well clear of the village.

After a few minutes of silence he veered off in between to wide trees leading them into the forest maybe 50 ft form the edge of the road, he looked at Selik. “Follow, I know these woods and this path, we may soon ‘stumble’ upon some Orcs preparing to ambush road-way travelers." He faced forward but talked in a quiet tone, clearly directed at Icienne. “I see you in deep reveries at times, what are you remembering?” He glanced back at her curiously, one hand resting lightly on the reigns the other on the hilt of his sword. His eyes swept through the forest now, picking out knobby roots, low hanging branches and hoels in the ground. He inhaled deeply and smiled. The smell of the Great Forest, his home for longer than he could remember. The towering trees were ancient, wise, and enormous beyond reckoning. They had so much memory… and so much pain. He saddened for a moment to think of the acres burned and cut to fuel the engine of war that was the horde. He let his thoughts drift back to the serene moment he found himself in. He looked up at the canopy, far above them, shafts of light beaming through breaks in the leaves, highlighting the little dust motes. They lit up the fallen leaves, creating splashes of bright color here and there on the ground. Occasionally the light would shine through a humid area creating a small rainbow. It was almost like a fairytale, a fairytale that could go horribly wrong if he did not succeed.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby PunkRockinHobbit on Tue May 01, 2007 1:51 am

The DeLonge family lived in a small cottage, barely enough to accomodate the four people that lived there. There was Randol and Primella DeLonge, a quiet, good-natured husband and wife, and with them lived their two children: Van, fourteen, and Icienne, twelve. Both of them had inherited their mother's captivating eyes, a most peculiar icy blue shade, and their father's dark hair. Van had grown up strong, and was well-liked among the other children of the village. Icienne, on the other hand, was weak and frail, an outcast, the oddball out. Van took care of her, when he could, and though he frowned upon her extreme interest in magic, he loved her dearly. He would encourage Icienne to broaden her horizons, experience life, using subtle tactics to try desperately to steer her away from studying the arcane, for he distrusted and detested mages as much as, if not more than, most everyone else in the village.

Imagine his displeasure, then, when a mage clad in green robes showed up at the door of the DeLonge cottage.

"I seek the child Icienne," the mage hissed.

"She's not here!" Van cried, though in that moment, Icienne appeared from the kitchen. She recognized the significance of the green robes immediately.

"You're from the Tower... you are a follower of Ichlaz!" she breathed, her childish face almost glowing in wonder, her icy eyes round with disbelief.

"I am," the mage replied cooly. "I have come to take you into apprenticeship under Ichlaz himself. Word has reached his ears of your... potential."

"She will not!" Van asserted, placing himself between his sister and the mage. "She will not disgrace us!"

"Disgrace?!" the mage bellowed. The cottage seemed to shake on its very foundations.

"Enough!" Rondel squeaked, and everyone looked at him. He blushed and cleared his throat, as if he had something important to say, though he shook. Primella shivered just as violently next to her husband.

"I mean, that is to say..." He stumbled over his words. "P-perhaps we should ask Icienne what she thinks?"

Icienne stepped around from behind her brother, her eyes still upon the mage. "Tell me more."

"Certainly." The mage nodded and smiled warmly down at Icienne. "Your apprenticeship will last for eight years, during which you shall undergo intense training in the ways of the arcane, learning to harness the power that dwells deep within you. Then, once your eight years have passed, you shall be set a task, the completion of which will unleash within you power you cannot imagine. Will you come?"

Van took Icienne by the shoulders and shook her, forcing her to look at him. "You do not understand what he is asking of you! They will take you, and they will use you, and once you are of no more use to them, they will break you! Don't you see?" His voice was frantic. "I do not pretend to understand what sort of power lies within you, sister, but I do know they fear you, what you might become! They will kill you to keep you from surpassing them in might! I have heard awful tales of the Tower, and I don't think you should--"

"Stop it!" Icienne cried at last, wrenching herself from her brother's grasp. "I do not belong in a world where no one understands me! A fire burns within me, and only by gaining the knowledge I can acquire at the Tower will the fire be extinguished!"

Icienne turned to face the mage. "I will go."

"So be it." The mage smiled again, and took Icienne by the hand.

"NO!" Van screamed as Icienne passed over the threshhold of the cottage. He looked desperately at his parents for aid, but they feared their daughter as much as everyone else in the village, and knew that if they kept her from persuing her passion, life would not be easy for them.

Seeing he would get no help from his parents, Van turned his gaze back to Icienne, his eyes reflecting his anger, and his deep hurt. "You cannot return here! You are abandoning your family, casting us aside!" The door to the cottage swung shut, and Van's voice could be heard, crying in vain after his sister.

"I will never forgive you for embracing the hand of Evil!" His voice faded.

"Never!"


Icienne jolted out of her memory as Arkhann spoke to her, and it took a moment for his words to register.

"My past." she replied simply. "The Captain of the garrison... his second in command that accompanied him in the delivery of our horses... is my brother."

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