Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

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Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby That One Guy on Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:23 pm

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Dorelith
On the path between Ruhar and Nydoecia
late evening - high moon
Iphigenia D'ivore & Marcus Trent






It's quiet...


Wind tousled their hair as they waited patiently, resting their horses and readying themselves. Not a word was spoken between any of them; they always got quiet before a raid. Their eyes were serious and hard, hungry and dangerous, this raid was as important to them as their very lives. Each one was. The light around them was quickly fading, this is a good thing, they always struck at night. To all sides they kept watch, ever vigilant on the dangerous path, for there was no safe cover, no brush to hide in, only grass and hills, the occasional loose tree. To their right not too far away was the Darkwood, but only a fool would seek shelter there.

At the group's head stood a small woman, her beautiful dress torn at the hem and worn by the sun and wind, a mismatching belt and shortsword at her hip. She could feel the leather chaffing her hips, but didn’t care. Her people were much the same, they wore rags that didn’t look any better or worse from their travels, some of the seasoned ones wore leathers they had been given for their good service in the arena. They all looked like slaves, but they were free people now, having taken their freedom with blood, as they were about to help others do shortly. Just as soon as the scouts returned, ah, there they were.

Two riders returned slowing and stopping before their leader, “They have stopped and are making camp, they number in no more than five and ten, and no more than eight slaves they travel with.” Deliberately Iphigenia’s scouts did not address her by any title, they didn’t know if they should or what title would be suitable if any. Iphigenia had long decided to allow them to figure that out for themselves.

“I know eight does not sound like many, but every single one counts. And we outnumber them.” Three and eight they numbered. “Make camp, tonight is the night we’ll take them.” Iphigenia gave her horse’s reigns to one of the scouts, smirking as her horse licked the bald man’s head, and perhaps smirking because tonight not one of her men were going to die. They had become too good at this.


The sky had grown dark around them, and a fire was built, albeit rather hastily. Marcus had not been informed of their destination, but so far had gleaned that they were headed east through the Freelands and that there were no settlements near enough to press on too. He guessed that their final destination was Taomar, which may have frightened other slaves, but for Marcus held only the possibility of release through death, something he longed for.

The other slaves had split into two groups, one on each side of the wagon, chained to it so they would not run off in the night. Three men occupied the wagon, one sleeping now and two more keeping watch. The second wagon sat opposite the first, across the fire. Marcus sat with his back to one of the wheels, eyes on the fire. He wore shackles on his wrists but no chain to keep him from running off. Naria, his master, had long ago realized that he had no motivation to leave. She slept in the second wagon, two guards at the rear and two at the front. Two more lay by the fire, trying to catch what little sleep they could.

Marcus despised nights like this. No spirits to dull his senses and let him drift to sleep peacefully. Instead, he was forced to think, to remember. each night reminded him of the night, each flicker of flame reminiscent of the fires that he so vividly remembers, despite his every desire to forget. He let out a quiet sigh, remembering the past more fondly. The louts guarding them couldn't hold a candle to Marcus. If he had a mind to escape, there was little they could do to stop him. What happened to the fighting men of his day? Another sigh escaped his lips.


Just as Marcus let out that tired sigh, a noise prompted two of the guards to turn their heads. They went to investigate naturally, but they did not return. After a while this prompted three others to go check on them. Arrows took care of the rest of the woken guards, and silently the group of free men moved in. The two felled guards caused their sleeping counterparts to stir, but they did not ready themselves in time, their cries stirred the other eight, but they too were not prepared. The whole ordeal did not take long, mere moments, executed like a whisper.

Iphigenia and her group moved to the supply wagons, Iphigenia herself dragged out the barely awake noble Lady Naria. Already someone had found the keys and were freeing the other slaves. “Well well, if it isn’t my old friend.” Iphigenia did not keep her voice quiet; it was tradition to make a spectacle of the slaver before she put an end to her life. It gave the group a sense of justice to have them answer for what they’ve done. It was never enough, no amount of a spectacle would ever be enough, vengeance wouldn’t sooth their hurts. But it was a start.

“Iphigenia? What are you doing?! Where is Duran?” Lady Naria’s voice was heavy and frightened, indignant, but the indignance faded as it clicked in her mind what this was, as it dawned on her face Iphigenia smiled. “You killed him didn’t you? That is why no one has heard from him.” Iphigenia gave a single nod to Lady Naria’s question. At this Lady Naria fell to her knees. Around her the group gathered, her own slaves front and center, Naria could do nothing but keep her pleading eyes on Iphigenia now, too scared to face them. "I-I was kind to you Iphigenia, we laughed together, drank together. Gossiped about how stupid everyone else at those parties were-." Her voice seemed to catching in her throat at Iphigenia's cold gaze, lit by the dwindling fires in the camp.

"A slave master friends with a slave, sounds a bit unrealistic don't you think? A bit unfair somewhere in the hierarchy of that relationship. I played you Naria, I played you and every other fool in Nydoecia I could, especially Duran." There was no meanness in Iphigenia's voice, only a sort of pleasant frankness, as if telling her the weather. "I am the Princess Iphigenia D'ivore of the noble Kingdom of Citha, or the noble Kingdom Citha once was." Power was behind this phrase, proud power. "I hereby charge you with the unlawful enslavement of the people of Baekoth. You are sentenced to death."


As she readied her sword to deliver the killing blow, a voice rose from the crowd.

"Stop." Heads turned in surprise. Marcus stepped through the crowd, his gaze focused on Iphigenia. Thrice he'd heard her name. He heard the power in her voice, the confidence she commanded. He thought she was dead, but there she was, standing before him. She was no longer a child, but her visage was unmistakable. High cheekbones, full lips, deep green eyes. She had grown into a woman while Marcus had wallowed in despair over her supposed death. He almost choked on his breath, unsure of what to say. He knelt, not like a slave kneels, but like a knight. The others looked on confused, but he payed them no heed.


"Ser, do I know you?" Iphigenia felt like she was seeing a memory, the way he kneeled, it was the way a noble knight would. She hadn't seen anyone kneel like that since we was little, she unconsciously called him 'Ser', as would befit a knight's title.

"I doubt you would remember, milady, you were so young. I served your father as one of his Kingsguard. I was there the night he was betrayed." He barely choked out the words, remembering his failure with even more clarity now. "I had thought you were killed along with your parents, but it seems I was mistaken. If you'll have me, I'll swear to you the same oath I swore to your father, and I will not allow myself to fail in my duty again."[b] He glanced up at Iphigenia. She was every bit as regal as her father, even in her torn dress. Compared to Naria, who grovelled in silence at her feet, she was radiant. He felt a wave of relief wash over him as he looked on. He had a purpose again.

[b]"I too, thought everyone dead, dead or traitorous. Your oath would be most welcome Ser Knight, and with it I can swear to you, and everyone here that one day we will rid Dorelith of scum like this."
Iphigenia gestured to Naria, reminding her that she hadn't forgetten about her. Iphigenia's voice was filled with emotion, it was utterly unexpected that she should find someone who survived that horrible night, someone who knew. Someone who knew just how completely Citha had been distroyed from the inside. The crowd that was once eager to see the death of Lady Naria and jeering it on now lay silent, watching the scene before them, fascinated and confused.


Marcus took a deep breath, recalling the words he had sworn so long ago. "Then it is with honor that I, Marcus Trent, son of Edmund Trent of House Trent, do hereby swear fealty to Princess Iphigenia D'ivore, of House D'ivore, the rightful queen of Citha. My life, and my blade, are yours to command, milady."

Iphigenia stepped forward, ignoring Lady Naria, and touched the point of her blade on either of Ser Marcus Trent's shoulders, "Rise now, Ser Trent, I accept you into my service." She had seen her father do this, how tall and commanding he had looked, how proud the knights had looked. The sword she used was nowhere near as magnifacent, their surroundings a poor substitute for a throne room, but their words and seriousness were unmatched. Their divine bonded oath no less binding, free men and trees were their witnesses. The stars would have to be their shimmering decoration.

Marcus rose after a moment, solemn but proud. He had not been happy for more than a decade, but in this moment, by the fire, he let a smile form on his lips. He glanced at Iphigenia, his eyes saying all he needed to say, and extended his hands.

No words were exchanged, Iphigenia presented Marcus with her sword, their eyes meeting in full understanding, her face one of conviction.

Marcus took the blade from her, testing it's weight and adjusting his grip. He approached Naria without a word. For the past eleven years, she had held the power and he was the one on his knees. The reversal brought him no pleasure, but he appreciated the irony. Naria tried to gasp out a plea for mercy, but she could not seem to find the words. Marcus raised the sword, and brought it down clean, severing Naria's head with one swing. For all her illusions of grandeur, her blood was just as red as anyone else. Her head hit the ground with a thud before rolling to a stop, and her body slumped over, lifeless. Marcus released a breath he did not realize he was holding. He stood up straight, like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He could have killed her a dozen times over, but not until now did he ever have a reason to. He turned back to that reason, Iphigenia, and wiped the blade on his trousers before returning it to her.

Iphigenia did not flinch as she watched Lady Naria's head roll off of her beautiful shoulders, golden necklaces scattering off her neck. As Marcus handed the crude short sword he had handled so well back to her, Iphigenia could see everyone around them stir, as her head turned to look at them she found them all kneeling.
(°□°)┻━┻
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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby AugustArria on Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:33 pm

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Dorelith

Red Harbor - Docks, Courtyard and Church

Late Morning

Larissa Scylla and the High Inquisitor



One of life's eternal questions was how the city of Red Harbor acquired its name.

Those familiar with the histories of Baekoth would claim that the city had begun as a small fishing village, made up of huts made largely out of red clay and wooden supports. It was not so now, as the port was a bustling center of trade and culture in the Messiah Queen's empire, a densely packed urban landscape surrounding a towering central castle. Even still, when the sunset hit the sides of the buildings correctly, the walls seemed to glow red, as though a red hot flame burned within each and every wall.

The commoners most often associated the red, however, with the fact that Red Harbor had always been, and always would be, a vital strategic point in any war, and was hotly contested when hostilities reared their ugly heads in the area. The roads into the city from the east, the waters leading into its expansive docks, the streets themselves... all had seen their fair share of blood over the years.

Larissa Scylla had no particular viewpoint on the debate, but it was true that she had contributed her own share of blood to Red Harbor's streets. There were few places in the Queen's domain that the inquisitor had failed to spill blood, either by flame or by blade, but Red Harbor was different. It was her home, the city she grew up in, and the city she died in. It was the city she entered the Queen's service in, and easily her favorite city in the world. The sea was never far, and the strength of her allies here was strong. The Riot had seen to that.

Red sails pulled Nightfire into Red Harbor's docks while Larissa watched with a trained eye from the quinquireme's helm. The men beneath her were restless, eager for shore leave. Red Harbor was no Nydoecia, but it still held its fair share of pleasure, especially for a weary sailor looking for some relief after a long voyage hunting the lawless in the sapphire expanse of the sea. Larissa valued rest as much as anyone for its benefits, but she didn't feel to be in great need of it. Her work sustained her, rejuvenated her. She was more likely to grow tired if she spent too long on land. The reprieve was necessary, however, regardless of how long it lasted.

When Nightfire was safely tethered to the docks and her crimson sails had been hauled in, Larissa disembarked, sandals lightly hitting the before the boarding plank had even been put into place. The men knew the drill; a standing force was to be maintained at all times on the ship, with time ashore being granted in shifts, priority being given in order of rank, then seniority. The day had been devoid of battle, and as such Larissa had not donned her armor, instead taking up her robes, elegant simplicity in crimson, belted at the waist and again below the breast, the sides of the skirt slit up to mid thigh so as not to hinder movement overmuch should the need arise. She appeared largely harmless, soft brown locks falling down to rest of the fabric of her hood, but she was anything but. People of Dorelith knew as much of men and women dressed in red.

A pair of chosen guards hurried to keep up as she made her way from the docks and into the city proper. The smallfolk cleared well out of her path, nervously smiling her direction, or otherwise averting their gaze entirely. A wise few knew they had nothing to fear from her, they of course being the truly faithful. Most could only claim to have accepted Aule in the fact that they did not dare resist him. Many were not wise enough to do even that. Too many.

Larissa had been on her way to her manor, but the crowd seemed to be diverting in large part towards the city's central plaza, and the Great Church of Aule that had been constructed there. Thousands were packed into the open courtyard there, eyes raised and voices hushed so as to hear the man speaking. Larissa smiled upon recognizing the voice. Gabriel. A fortunate coincidence, that the High Inquisitor should be performing mass on the day of her return. He was most dear to her, and she had not seen him for some time, so consuming had her duties been. It would be good to speak with him again.

In her crimson robes, with guards at her flanks, she had little difficulty making her way through the crowd to hear his words. The masses parted for her as though she were the ram at the bow of Nightfire cutting through the sea. She came to a halt at the front row.





There were drums.

A rhythmic thundering, muffled by the thick stone walls of the cathedral, rumbling out steadily like an army of giants charging in the distance. A signal to all that a service was about to begin. It had been announced promptly upon Gabriel's arrival at Red Harbor. A call for the masses to assemble and hear the word of merciful Aule's mighty ministry, straight from the smiling lips of the High Inquisitor himself. Then, more sharply but no less deadened, came the crying of trumpets joining the booming percussion. In theory it might have seemed a bit too much, the grandeur of the Arch Priest announced via resounding music. Certainly an ostentatious greeting, if there ever was one. It could have been more flamboyant, but he had only wanted to rally the people. If he had truly wanted something grand then there was far more he could have done. As it stood, this was fairly mild as ceremonies went.

He peered out from a stained glass window in a higher corner of the great church, glimpsing the gathered crowds below. The sound of clattering steel came from nearby, but did not warrant his immediate attention. He knew she was there, but she would announce herself before he acknowledged her. Otherwise she might become piqued if he did not act with formality. “We're ready to move, Your Grace,” she said as soon as halting. He glanced over his shoulder, sparing only a brief look at the Knight Extarus. Her armor was predominantly lacquered onyx plating, with fine lengths of crimson underneath, and of course golden trimmings to complete the set.

“Let's not waste another moment, then.” He turned his back to the window and headed for the stairs, the knight following respectfully behind. With a strikingly perfunctory manner he queried, “Have you anything to report?”

“The envoy has returned,” she answered dutifully. “He sends his regards, and awaits His Immanence at His earliest convenience.” Gabriel only nodded. “Word has also been sent that the . . tradesman is on his way, as well.”

“You sound worried,” the High Inquisitor noted with a gentle, rasping laugh.

“I am merely concerned. His type is not to be easily trusted.” One could almost imagine her with furrowed brow beneath the enclosure of her helm.

“That, my dear, is what the money is for.”

The subtly veiled question caught her ear. “As you have also ordered, My Lord.”

“That, then, is that?” He paused at a landing, twisting his head toward her as she slowed to a stop.

“Aye, My Lord. I have nothing else.” She dipped her head in a nodding bow, and said nothing more. Gabriel smiled warmly and continued onward. Things were moving, as ever. There was a smattering of knights cut from the same cloth as she present for the congregation, all to ensure his own safety should anyone feel belligerently inclined towards those of Aule's body. Two, who had been lingering off in the shadows of the church's grand hall, moved to the door in perfect unison with one another and Gabriel's approach. They each took a side in hand and hauled them open, sunlight flooding the cathedral and stretching across the marble floor like a golden carpet. He came out onto a dais, and the people erupted with joyous cheers of greeting. The High Inquisitor smiled lovingly back at them, raising his arm up with fingers splayed so as to quiet them. Slowly, but surely, the clamor died down to a murmur. The music ceased after a final crescendo, and veritable silence overtook the assembly.

“My friends!” His proclamation was cheerful and welcoming, as if they truly were his friends. Their trust in him was so great, none would doubt his words were anything but ash and hollow tones. “Fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, children of Aule; everyone. I am blessed to greet you this day.” How many of them believed it? Oh, so very many, indeed. He looked out over them, scanning the crowd. Their reactions to him looking directly their way told him all he needed to know. He saw love, veiled disinterest, eager excitement, barely concealed hate, and even fear. That was only the very tip of the iceberg, there was so much more the longer he looked. None of them had even an inkling of the truth, for all they might have believed, not a one could fathom Gabriel's feelings or intentions. He cared nothing for any of them. They were all expendable, worth little on the whole, but he made them feel important with his neighborly praises. He was not one for speeches, normally, but he did enjoy the act.

Then, as his eyes swept the masses, they caught someone. Larissa. Good, good. He had known she was returning soon, but this was a pleasant surprise. He wished to speak with her, and this gave him the perfect opportunity. The woman was one of his sharpest, most effective tools. He thought of himself as a kind of father to her, having helped to nurture her into the weapon she had become. She was certainly quite the lovely specimen, and a fine implement, no doubt. Her zealous nature made her easy to manipulate. Drop the proper words and hints, the sanctity of her mission and the well being of the Queen, and she would go to any lengths to ensure her tasks were done with utmost efficacy.

“Many years ago, I stood upon the steps of a place much like this. A grand cathedral, but one in homage to a false faith.” Gabriel began to walk slowly down the steps, turning his gaze to those gathered just mere feet from the dais. The Knights Extarus followed closely behind, a protective shadow. “I was no one, then. Undeserving of the humbling hospitality you have shown me, today. I was merely a man.” He walked between the devotees, who shied back and bowed their heads as he came near. Others kept their eye on him, enraptured by his voice and at being so near to him. “I drifted, aimless and without purpose. I had no meaning, passing across the pages of life with nary a mark on the parchment.” He smiled with fatherly tenderness at a family of three, a mother, father and young girl. “My soul was questioning, longing for a focus. Surely it was Merciful Aule who guided my steps that day, leading me to His Messiah so that I might be witness to His Mercy. I was so moved by what I saw,” amusing, to him, for he had not been, “I gladly gave my life that our faith might live on.” He paused, for dramatic effect, letting his words sink in before somberly adding, “That day I found Aule.”

He went to take a step when suddenly came a shout, Lying monster! Turning, Gabriel saw a man push through the crowd, brandishing a dagger and aiming straight for him. People screamed, shocked that someone would attempt this in their midst. The most prominent thought as he watched the assassin approach was: Fool. To try this, here of all places, was not the smartest way he could have gone about it. In a blur of movement, the armored woman who had brought him down from the cathedral was upon the assailant, and her sword cut him down. As guards made their way through the milling citizens, the voices that had been fearful turned to anger.

Gabriel raised his arm once more, and called for them to hear. Their attention returned, and he said with utmost calm, “I want no hate for this one, nor for any others like him.” His gaze hardened, but did not reprimand them. “He was lost, and misguided. Frightened. Alone. Do not be taken by hate. Instead, show them pity. Pity for those who have not found His Mercy.” As the guards were about to haul the body off, the High Inquisitor stayed their hands for a moment and, falling to one knee, closed the failed killer's eyes. “May he find peace in death, for he never knew it in life.” He dipped his head, a moment of solemn silence for the one who had tried to end his own life. Gabriel had learned to embrace the theatrical, making his performances believable while managing to stand out quite well in one's memory.

When he rose again, Gabriel ascended the steps to the dais once more. “Do not let this spoil the day for you. It is beautiful, and full with potential. In Aule's name, and our Queen's, go in peace, and with His blessings.” He laid his hand atop his breast and bowed his head, bidding them farewell and ending the service. He raised his eyes, setting them on Larissa, and gestured for her to join him as he retreated back into the cool darkness of the cathedral.

Hurried, heavy steps and the shifting of steel plates met his ears from behind. “Going down to them was risky, there are still plenty who oppose our authority at large, Your Grace.” Her tone was firm, but considerate. Laced with worry. “That could have gone much worse.”

Gabriel allowed a smile. “Could have,” he echoed. “As it stands, it did not. You performed your appointed duty precisely as expected. Thank you.” He cared not that he had almost met his fate out there in the church courtyard. The concept of death bothered him not, it was as natural as life. Still, one must keep up appearances. She only tipped her head in welcome.





Larissa's thoughts were much the same as her mentor's when the would-be assassin charged the High Inquisitor. He was a fool, to think the pitiful power he possessed in the form of a dagger would be enough to change the tide, to stop the overwhelming wave that was Aule and the faithful. Sure enough, he was cut down by a knight, a relatively simple end for a man who, in Larissa's opinion, had earned himself much more. Attacking any Inquisitor was a crime punishable by death. Attacking the High Inquisitor should have earned the man at least a stay on Nightfire's brig before he was burned alive. Alas, it was not to be.

She smiled warmly at Gabriel's gesture for her to follow, and made her way forward as the crowds behind her began to disperse. Her pair of guards close behind, Larissa ascended the steps into the church, meeting the High Inquisitor just inside, where he appeared to be finishing a talk with the knight that had slain the assailant. She smiled again, offering Gabriel a graceful curtsy in greeting. Perhaps he was not quite old enough to be her father, but he was closest thing she had ever had. She'd come to him barely out of her teens after, struggling to find her bearings, and he had helped to shape her, to give her focus. She held only the Queen herself in higher regard.

"Gabriel," she said, knowing full well how uncommon it was for his name to be used in place of Your Grace, Your Excellency, or any number of other titles. She was one of the few to have earned that right. "It's so good to see you again. It has been too long. You spoke brilliantly." Her guards took up positions by the main door, allowing her the privacy to speak with Gabriel alone.

Their protection having given them enough space to speak comfortably, Gabriel returned Larissa's smile in a broad, fatherly manner. "My dear, Larissa." He closed the distance between them to place his remaining hand softly upon her shoulder. "Come back for further riding lessons, eh girl?" he asked good-naturedly.

"Only if you're willing to pull an oar for me sometime, old man," she shot back. Gabriel was no old man, not yet, but then again, she was no mere girl, either. He chuckled, leading them away from the main hall to a sitting area, where he seated himself in an armchair of finely worked bronze, with plush cushions of crimson velvet. Larissa settled in after him, crossing one leg over the other and folding her hands together in her lap. "Your speech went well, I think. All things considered, of course." A weaker willed man might have faltered at the sight of an assassin, but the way she'd seen the events unfold, it was almost as if Gabriel had known it was coming, so unbroken was his poise.

Gabriel sighed somewhat tiredly, running a hand through his soft brown hair. "In truth, I never liked speeches or sermons. It is not a strength I possess, I'm afraid." A thought came to him, and a smile grew on his face, tinted with a level of playful wickedness he seemed to reserve solely for her. "But if I can fool you into thinking my words are brilliant, then perhaps I am not as senile as I look, eh?"

The smile Larissa returned to him was close-lipped, her look thoughtful. "As if your words alone are the only way you speak to a crowd... you didn't so much as flinch when a man charged you with a blade in hand. The people will take note of your certainty, of the solidarity of your faith, just as much as they listened to your words. A strong leader demonstrates a worthy example for their followers, rather than merely instructing them." It was why the greatest captains took the fight to the enemy alongside their crew, rather than simply pointing and shouting for men to lay down their lives. Men love to follow examples rather than orders, if a choice between the two is present.

But Gabriel of course knew this already, as it was he who taught her of it. Larissa leaned back comfortably in her chair. "So what news is there? The expanse of the Kraken is a poor place to stay informed, I'm afraid. Hunting pirates is time-consuming work." But it was oh so pleasurable to do so. Her losses at sea had been next to nonexistant this time out, thanks to the help of some of her spells, the collective firepower of her ship, and the training of her crew.

"As it so happens," he said, "the city's nobility have informed me of a pair of pirate vessels possessing some speed harassing their merchant fleet. Perhaps they grow bold with the Kraken's Terror so far away from her own shore?" Larissa smirked slightly at the mention of her informal title. It was a fitting name, she supposed, but only the heretical had any cause to fear her. To those on her side she was as steadfast an ally as any. Gabriel smiled, knowingly. "We cannot have such a slight go unpunished in your own Harbor, can we?"

"Certainly not," she answered, growing more serious. Even with her torching pirate vessels daily, they still remained almost suicidally bold. Attacking ships so close to her home... they had earned themselves her ire, that much was certain. The crew would not like to depart a mere day after their arrival, but Gabriel was right. This could not go unpunished. They would not dare to question her commands. Finding them and driving them off would be no challenge, as she had magic at her disposal useful for navigating the waters, and any small, fast ship would undoubtedly flee at the sight of Nightfire. Catching them, however, would be another matter, but Larissa was confident she knew a way around that. "I'll depart before first light tomorrow, and attend to them."

The High Inquisitor stood then, walking to a nearby window and looking out, crossing his arm behind his back. Larissa followed him with her gaze from where she sat, and a small frown settled over her features. Gabriel had long since worked out the habit of doing that in public, crossing his arms as though to fold his hands together behind him. Something was certainly wrong, or troubling him to some degree.

"Larissa, the stability of Her Holiness The Queen's realm is not certain - threats to her reign without," he paused, turning to look at her, "and within." Larissa gently propped her head sideways on one fist, the other hand settling near her hip, the forefinger lightly tracing a thin line over her belly, back and forth. Heresy was nothing new; liars would go to great lengths to conceal themselves and maintain their former lifestyle rather than openly oppose the Queen. It was the task of the Inquisitors to root them out, and burn them away.

Gabriel's face appeared shadowed in thought. "I suspect heresy within the deepest circles of power, those who seek to usurp the power of our Lady for themselves. They are of a sly sort, as the tongue of politics is sharp, I cannot yet go forward with my claims without certain proof lest I be cast aside by the very ones who wish to sully the name of Aule's Chosen." Larissa's frown deepend, and she stood, gliding lightly across the floor to stand at his side. He placed his hand upon her shoulder once more, and she allowed her own to fall softly atop it. "In these dark days it is we who must stand fast for our Queen. Trust no other word but my own and that of Her Majesty. Do not give even the slightest hint that you are aware."

He appeared concerned for her, but personally she felt that it was unfounded. Then again, she was not privy to the full amount of information that Gabriel was. "You need not fear for me, Gabriel. On the sea, my enemies are visible from miles away, and rarely do they possess strength enough to harm me. This city, however... it is as you say. They hide around corners and within crowds, knives drawn, looking to spill our blood." Perhaps she would be wiser to continue wearing her armor, even when walking the streets of city in which she was born. "I should think that the threat is greater to you than I. The assassin today was evidence enough of that. My own crew knows well enough not to challenge me."

If what he said was true, however, then she was out of her element here. Her approach to heresy was a direct one, a razor sharp blade to slice into the hearts of enemies that would threaten them. She was the sword of the Inquisitors, but Gabriel would need to be her eyes. Seeking out the heretics in a landscape such as Red Harbor was not her strength.

Gabriel stepped back, assuming the role of the High Lord of the Inquisitorial Order once more. "You must purge all threats that seek to pierce our doman with their wickedness. I too, in turn, shall cleanse the filth from within. Time it will take, but you must trust me, Lady Scylla. My dear Larissa." She nodded her agreement.

"It is as you say, my Lord. I trust in you, I trust in the Queen, and no others. When you find these heretics, I should like to be at your side. We will burn them all away, together."

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby legacy14 on Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:33 am

ImageThe Kraken Ocean

North of the shores of Taomar - Due East of the Darkwood

Late Twilight - Dawn

Sebastian Cortier




The salt upon the air filled the nostrils of all the men present as the two ships slowly rocked upon the dark waters of the ocean. The crackling of the torches drew eyes to the only light on the solitary ship for miles in the oppressing darkness all around. The only other sounds that were heard belonged to the heavily built men dragging stores from the merchant's ship and onto their own. Well, and then there was the captain of the merchant vessel himself...

Rotund man sporting a rather pitiful attempt at a beard that had obviously been dyed with soot to cover the gray blotches throughout the mess. One thinking his ability with speech was his redeeming quality would sorely be mistaken. The man carried on about his Queen and god and the punishment that would follow Sebastian and his crew.

"....ill fortune awaits all men who steal from those under Aule's protection!"

Sebastian fingered the tip of the hook that held the place of his lost left hand as he smiled at the captain. "Such a powerful god you have..." the floorboards of the ship groaned as Sebastian moved from his place against the ship's railing and paced in front of the crew tied to the gunwale. "...so magnificent and wonderful this Aule character is, yet.....I can't spot him anywhere." Making a mock to stress his point, Sebastian gestured with the hook as it gleamed in the torchlight. "One would think, such a benevolent and watchful deity would be able to save you from the fate that has fallen upon you. Pirates you call us, heathens, cutthroats, thieves? These are all easily dealt with in the face of your beloved god are they not?" Lowering his face to force the trade captain away a bit, he brought his voice dangerously low. "The waters around you do not belong to your fire god captain, they belong to me. I am your god here, and it is by my grace that you and your men are still alive."

The trade captain quieted rather quickly and was silent for the few minutes that elapsed as the crew of the Deranged Mistress finished unloading the supplies back to their ship. The trade ship had been stripped bare, leaving only enough provisions for the crew to return to port if they truly hurried. Dule stepped in line with Sebastian as his gaze fell on the man clothed in red, tied with the others of the merchant's crew. The burly first mate crossed his massive arms as he always did and lowered his voice as he regarded the man. "What do we do with the Inquisitor? he asked.

Sebastian had given the man a bit of thought when he was found and bound with the others. He had put up less of a fight than the other red-clad enforcers he had come across in the past. Disappointing. "Secure him to a barrel and toss him over. The current will take him back to shore soon enough, Let him pray to his god he makes it before his fire runs out."

As the orders were carried out, Sebastian and his crew snuffed the torches and boarded their own ship. Thunks could be heard as the securing ropes were cut and the two ships drifted apart. In moments, the Deranged Mistress disappeared back into the darkness it had appeared from. The inquisitor's wailing was the only sound, growing fainter by the second as the current whisked him away...



"Three ships in less than a week," Dule flipped through one of the many books strewn about Sebastian's quarters as he watched the captain pouring over the tiny details of an old-looking map. "They're going to be chasing after us again here soon."

"Hmph." Sebastian really wasn't concerned with drawing the wrath of the Messiah Queen's pawns. He and his crew had walked this path countless times in the past, and they had emerged unscathed just as many times. "They can chase us all they want, I don't have any mind to play with them anytime soon."

"The ships we looted..." Dule stopped to study Sebastian before asking his question. Sebastian knew what was coming, but didn't preemptively blurt out his answer, he knew Dule well enough to know the man had already guessed his plan. "Mostly provisions, food, supplies, we're stockpiling them. You have a heading, don't you?"

The first light of dawn trickled in through his window as Sebastian let slip one of his brilliant smiles at the cunning of his first mate. "I always have a heading Dule."





ImageTaomar

Small estate outside of Ruhar

Late Twilight - Dawn

Adair Montecello



The Inquisitor sat atop a cushioned chair in the dark, hands crossed casually over the small curved dagger resting on his lap. His gaze was unflinching as he watched the youth climb through the open shutters of the window before him. Tattered and scarcely clothed, the youth's eyes scanned the darkness for a moment and passed right over where the red-clad man sat.

It was a simple thing to pull the shadows around himself and disappear from plain sight in the low light. The trespasser could not see the mage, but the mage could see him all too clearly through the open window's moonlight. Completely unaware of the threat in the room, the youth took a step toward the open door before him. "That's far enough." With a wave of his hand, the Inquisitor paralyzed the youth where he stood, the ice beginning to creep up his legs. The youth's surprised eyes focused immediately on the red garb of the man that stood from the comfort of his chair as the man held up his curved blade, allowing the moonlight to glint off the razor sharp edge. "This is what happens to those who dare make an attempt at ending the lives of those who follow Aule."

A quick slash brought incredible pain to the youth as he slowly turned his eyes downward to see his stomach exposed and a crimson torrent flowing from his ribs. His intestines poured out from his body like fluid as he arced in agony. He attempted a scream, but nothing came out, his body quivering with the last vestiges of life before crumpling to the floor.

The Inquisitor snarled slightly as he kicked the lifeless form staining the carpets of his temporary rooms. They would never learn... he thought silently as he reached for a rag off a nearby shelf. Being an ambassador held in high regard, he wasn't a stranger to assassination attempts, especially so far from the Messiah Queen's throne. He bent slowly to clean the blood, still flowing from the youth, when a distant noise brought him upright once more. The small estate had been 'procured' for his stay and were all but abandoned, everyone save himself already long asleep. The sound of breaking glass confirmed the first sound in his mind and he gritted his teeth as he strode out of the room.

Perhaps the youth had a partner... he thought as he paused at the stairs to listen once more. Nothing. He doubted the idea of the youth having a partner. He knew the best assassins worked alone to lessen the chance of being caught, the youth upstairs had not been bright, but had decent skills. He would have never caught him if it weren't for the tip he received earlier in the day.

He raced down the steps and froze as he listened once again. Nothing. Gritting his teeth once more, he spotted the cupboard doors as they were thrown open, two bottles of his prized brandy lay shattered on the floor. Brandy stained the carpets and trickled across to the cabinet. Peering inside, he found more bottles than just the two missing. Nearly a dozen were gone from the cabinet. As the thought crossed his mind, a shattering sound was heard once again, back the way he had come.

Rushing back, he hurried up the stairs, dagger in hand as he bolted into his chambers once more. He nearly shrieked when he spotted the hooded figure standing near the window, the wind playing with the edges of his cloak. "Who are you?" The Inquisitor demanded. To his surprise, the figure laughed at the demand. "How dare you! Do you know who I am? What I am capable of?"

The figure shrugged and tossed his hood and cloak aside, revealing the slender sword in his right hand. "He didn't deserve that..." The sword hovered over the youth, dead on the floor a little ways to the side. "I paid him to smash a window or two, but what you did was unwarranted."

"You should worry more about yourself." The Inquisitor sneered as he waved his hand, activating the magic-inscribed runes on the floor.

"I've been watching you, and those tricks won't work on me." Adair's hand flicked the sword to catch the carpet, revealing the jagged cut running through the inscribed runes. Studying the red clad mage before him, Adair leveled his gaze with the man, reigning back the anger as Vanessa's face flashed before him. "Let me guess, this is useless against you..." Adair raised the sword a margin in the moonlight. "No doubt you've already started weaving something to protect yourself from blades or arrows."

The smirk returned to the Inquisitor's face as he nodded. Adair cut him off as his mouth opened to form a response. "Then it's fire." Adair's left hand shot out and scraped the fire starter against his blade, showering the brandy-soaked carpet with dozens of glittering sparks. The Inquisitor's gaze fell on the trail of brandy leading across the room, too late to stop his robes from igniting as the ends were soaked as well from him walking through it.

Screaming as the fire engulfed him, the Inquisitor flailed about trying to extinguish the flames in vain. The sounds of soldiers footsteps rang across the courtyard of the estate as Adair slipped out the window once more, making his way back into town and away from the estate.
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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Talisman on Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:15 am

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The Kraken Ocean

Open Waters, West of Red Bay

High Noon

Melody and the Lady Scylla



The day was perfect.

The sun sat high in the sky, illuminating the beautiful crystalline blue waters for miles in any direction. Whitecaps washed this way and that, providing the heartbeat to the awesome being that was the Kraken Ocean. For them, it was too perfect of a day to let slip past without reaching out to grip it. Them, the daughters of the Ocean, their tails glimmering under the light of father sun. Giggles and laughter escaped in little bubbles that rose to the top of the water, their owners playing games beneath the surface. They were given many names, sirens, maidens of the sea, maneaters, temptresses though most simply called them mermaids. But this tribe of mermaids weren't doing any of the things that had earned them their many names, not yet. The day was far too beautiful for them to anything other than relax, the hunt could come later.

One of these creatures, a blonde headed sprite by the name of Melody, was busy practicing her voice on a few of her sisters. The words of the song floated out of her mouth and into the water, lilting an enchanting harmony even underneath the water. To more land bound ears, the song would sound like a garbled mess, but it was the Mermaids' home, and to them the song held the strength it would even on land-- maybe even more for those who called the Ocean home. The words were those they had all learn when they were little fish, something about a sailor and his love, and how each missed the other terribly. It made the girls that circled Melody laugh and giggle, wondering how had anyone fell for such songs.

"But he never came home, because we were picking our teeth with his bones!" She said, ending the song on a twist and sent her sisters who had been listening into a laughing fit. The first to recollect themselves threw herself over Melody's shoulders and wrapped her arms around the girl, speaking into her ear. "I don't remember the song ending like that Bubbles," The girl teased in humor, resting her chin in the crook between Melody's neck and shoulders.

"Does it matter how it ends? It's not like they ever find out," Another said, swimming through the water on her back. "We usually eat them before then," Melody agreed to more giggles. She then leaned back into her sisters and set them both to floating backwards. Her eyes turned up to the water's surface above them, and watched as the waves caused it to shimmer and shine. It reminded her of diamonds sparkling in the sun's rays, and that reminded her of something completely different. "Leira?" She cooed, to which the girl who held her answered "Yes?" in reply.

"Do you still have that shiny diamond ring from the last ship?" She asked curiously.

"I do," Leira answered, showing Melody her hand, and the ring hugging her finger. Melody could already see the shining quality begin to degrade. "And I will for a while yet. It's stuck." Her answer sent Melody into giggles, and when she finally found herself stopped, Leira was eerily silent. And soon, she was as well.

In the distance, they could see the shadow of a ship sailing. It was not angled toward them, but the sheer size and shape of the shadow suggested a rather large ship. Larger than the usual pirate or merchant vessel they came across. She pulled herself away from Leira's embrace and swam upward, until her head crested the water's surface. From there, she could see that blood red sails were furled into the masts and a few oars were propelling the ship at a leisurely pace. A moment passed with Melody watching the ship before another head joined her. "What is it?" The woman asked. The woman was Melody's and the rest of the Angelfish chieftainess, Tamara, and perhaps the only one capable of keeping up with Melody in the water.

"A boat. It's too big for pirates, too armed for merchants," She answered.

"We can't fight that thing," Tamara stated rather than said. A sentiment that Melody agreed with.

"Yes, but why fight?" Melody said, turning toward Tamara. "They have to know we're here. Empty shells of boats litter the water and look there," She said, pointing toward the top of the mast. "A white flag. So methinks they give up. Or they just want to talk."

"Or it's a trap," Tamara added pointed, to which Melody shrugged. "... You're going anyway, aren't you?" She asked, to which Melody nodded in the affirmative. "Fine. I'll take our sisters and we'll wait and watch. If I even smell trouble, we're coming for you, understood? Here," She said, producing Melody's spear from under the water and handing it to her.

"Yes sweetheart of course, but they'll have to catch me first," She said, flashing a grin as she slipped under the water.

A short time later, even despite the distance, Melody arrived within distance of the ship. Upon closer realization, the ship was big, and it was armed, and Melody, even with all of her sisters at her back, felt intimidated by the girth of the monster in front of her. She watched the bottom hull for a moment as it lazily drifted past, safely deep enough so that the few oars rowing came nowhere near her. She followed it for a time, until she grew enough courage (or her judgement finally lapsed) and she began to ascend. She took her time, and used it to paint her face of that of a innocent and timid creature. Her eyes grew wide and her lips were made tiny.

She rose from the water gently and without a splash, but it mattered little as the side was stacked with searching men. She didn't expect to be greeted so soon, but hid the surprise well. She then noticed the weapons in their hands, fortunately unready. In the time they took to ready them, Melody would be but a memory, but none made a move. "H-Hello? Are you m-my heroes?" She squeaked. It was a poor excuse for a temptation, but maybe she figured if she didn't appear dangerous, then neither would they. That and men usually fell for the harmless innocent virgin routine.

Indeed, none of the marines aboard the great warship took up a hostile stance, as they had all been given strict orders not to. Their crossbows and throwing spears were in hand, but none were actively aimed at the lone daughter of the sea who had made her presence known to them. Instead, a lieutenant among them turned towards the rear of the ship. "Larboard, Lady Scylla, just the one."

"I see her," the ship's captain responded, coming around to the side the mermaid had appeared on, and descending the stairs so that she might get a better look at the girl. Larissa was not armed for battle yet, a very purposeful move to show the mermaids her good intentions towards them here. The daughters of the sea were known to be more generously disposed to women on the waves, but she imagined that good will would not apply if she appeared as though she wanted to attack. Instead, she wore a sleeveless, close-fitting black dress trimmed in gold, the skirt falling to about knee-level, though it was slit on the left side enough to reveal the majority of her thigh as she descended the stairs.

"Get that flag down," she ordered to one of her men, who immediately stepped to the task. Larissa stepped up to the railing of Nightfire, emerald eyes settling on the mermaid with a look of pleased amusement. "If you're looking for heroes, then I fear we've come to the wrong place. We seek skilled hunters to aid us in catching a rather elusive pair of targets. You and your sisters fit that description, do you not?" Larissa had not actually laid eyes on any of the other mermaids, but it was a very safe bet that they were around, if these were indeed hunting grounds of their kind, as she'd been led to believe.

Looks like she was right, they did want to talk. She couldn't wait to tell Tamara she told her so, but first, she had business to conduct it sounded like. A smile broke through the timid mask and Melody's head cocked to the side. "That we do, lovely, that we do," She answered with her smile slyly turning coy as she did. "Though if I may ask, who is this Empress of the Sea who keeps her men on such a tight cord? Most would've jumped head first in an attempt to save me," Melody asked playfully, attention completely turned away from the marines lining the railing.

"Most men haven't been educated on the dangers of jumping into the water with a daughter of the sea," Larissa answered, her tone just as coy. "Fortunately, mine know better. I am Lady Scylla, of the Queen's Inquisitors. If your sisters are interested, I offer you a chest of trinkets liberated from pirate vessels in exchange for your assistance." She leaned forward, propping her elbows on the railing. "Care to come aboard, dear? We can discuss the details in my quarters." A rope ladder had been prepared, to roll off the side of the ship and help the girl aboard, though Larissa would admit she'd never seen a mermaid climb a ladder before.

"Dangers, yes. But the reward," She said, winking at one of the nearby marines. Melody then listened to what Lady Scylla had to say before finally nodding and waving one of her hands. "Empress, you had me at offer. My name's Melody, after the song my heart sings upon seeing you," she said with a provocative tone. Slipping into the water up to her chin, she had one more piece of advice before she was submerged completely. "I suggest you tell your men to make a gap. I'd hate to accidently slap one of them with my tail," She giggled as she slipped under the water's surface. A moment or two passed with no action, and then the water erupted into a geyser, spraying those men who had been too close with a layer of sea water.

A shadow passed over the railing, and when it landed, Melody now stood with a pair of bare legs. In her hand sat a oaken spear, of which she pressed into the deck and leaned her head against. Aside from the smile on her face and a sheen of saltwater, she wore nothing else. "Apologies, She said mostly to the lady, "Ladders are terribly difficult to work for one without legs."

Yes, Larissa supposed they would be. The marines wisely cleared a space for Melody; the most veteran of them hardly reacted to the spray of water, or the young, naked feminine form in front of them, but Larissa sensed that a few of the younger ones were allowing their eyes to wander. Surely by tonight, they would not think mermaids were such lovely creatures. Larissa herself didn't seem bothered in the slightest that there was a naked girl on deck with an oaken spear. It was, after all, the plan.

"Follow me, then, if it please you," she said, turning and leading the way to the nearest hatch, which was opened for her as she approached by one of the crew. The pair descended down the steps to the rower's level, where a number of the men and women at the oars turned to peer at Nightfire's lovely guest. The rowers were often Lady Scylla's youngest recruits, and she was thankful they would be below deck for the duration; she would hardly trust them against the wiles of the sea maidens. Turning away from the rowers and towards the rear of the ship, Larissa gestured with a finger for Melody to follow, just as two of her personal guards followed her down the steps. "You are authorized to speak for your sisters, I trust? How many of you are there?"

"Well enough I suppose, I keep their best interests at heart, and they mine," She said, letting a glance slip behind them to the two men following. "There are two score and three of us, me included, though at times it can seem many more. Difficult to keep track of so many tails cutting through the water, wouldn't you say love?" She asked, turning and brushing a knuckle over one man's cheek. "Though I see you have many more so Empress. For good reason, I assume," She noted.

"It takes many arms to make a fish as big as this one fly," Larissa replaied. The guard behind her, being a personal attendant of Lady Scylla's and thus one of her best, made little reaction whatsoever to Melody's attempt to play with him. "In here."

A marine opened the way for her into her cabin, and Larissa led the way inside, Melody and the two guards entering behind her. The door was closed softly once all were inside, and the two guards took up largely casual posts, one at the door, the other against the adjacent wall. Larissa's cabin had much that one would expect from a captain, though there was no rear window. Windows were structural weaknesses, after all, and Nightfire was built to withstand massive amounts of damage. A wide featherbed with crimson covers was set against the far wall, the sheets recently remade. The opposite end was home to an exquisite desk of carved mahogany, currently covered with charts of the Kraken Ocean, more specifically areas along the western coast of Dorelith. The walls were adorned with Larissa's store of armor and weaponry, a wide array of close combat tools and short ranged throwing weapons. There was no sign of her interrogation tools, as those were kept in the chamber itself, on the lowest level of the ship.

Larissa took a relaxed seat at the edge of her bed, beside a wooden chest that had been set down at the foot of it, filled to the brim with valuables found aboard recently taken pirate ships. Larissa needed none of it, as the duty itself was its own reward to her, and her men received excellent wages, and commonly received shares of other loot. Normally the goods would be delivered to the crown, but Larissa had sufficient authority to find another use for it. Hiring over forty mermaids huntresses to her cause would be an excellent way to spend it, she thought.

She crossed one leg over the other, her sandaled foot bobbing up and down. "Here is the payment, which is yours upon completion of the assignment. I need you to subdue two separate crews of pirates simultaneously. They will not be large, no more than thirty a ship, and you should easily be able to take them unawares. An easy enough task, I should think, for a woman of your caliber."

The sparkle in the chest mirrored the one in Melody's eye, though she did allow it to move from the chest to the woman behind it. "Women," She corrected gently. Making her way to the other side the woman, Melody set her spear up against the nearby wall and sat close to the Lady Scylla. "Though I'm flattered you could think I could take two pirate vessels myself. A pretty face has been the downfall of many a man," She cooed, cupping the side of her face with one of her hands. Using her foot, Melody rummaged through the chest and picked out a shiny necklace with her new toes, of which she the replaced and pulled the lid shut.

"Tis more than a fair price," She began by placing a velvet hand upon the Lady Scylla's knee, playfully halting the bobbing and then resuming it, "I assume we will also be allowed to eat our fill as well? I know a few of my sisters who could do with a nice meal," She said with smile.

A captain less used to the presence of unclad women might have been made severely uncomfortable by Melody's brashness, but Larissa had loved quite freely as a younger woman, and certain traits never left, even in the transformation she went through. "Of course," she replied, reaching out herself to trail a finger down Melody's side, sliding over her still-wet skin to settle at the small of her back. "These pirates are destined for a watery grave, one way or another. It matters not to me how they reach it." Larissa wondered which of them would suffer the worse fate. To be eaten by Melody and her kin, taken prisoner by Larissa until they had worn out their usefulness, or simply burned alive aboard their precious vessels. A more strict Inquisitor might have demanded that all of the heretics burn, but Larissa was not one of them. They would all find Aule's mercy in death, fire or no.

Melody nodded in agreement, rather surprised at the turn it all took. Usually she was on a ship to either see themselves wreathed in gold and silk for a short while, or to feed. Not many people were brave enough to barter with Mermaids, fewer still to hire them. Yet this woman did, and Melody admired her bravery to do so without revealing a single doubt or crack. To say the least she was impressed by the inquisitor. Indeed, it was better to have this woman as an ally rather than an enemy, as the ship and power she commanded was something rarely seen on the Ocean waters. "I will have to tell my sisters, and they will have to agree, but I'm sure they won't say no to such a pretty face," Melody said, placing a thumb underneath the woman's chin. "And perhaps when the ships are sunk, Empress, we can discuss... Your reward," Melody enticed with a sly grin, entirely disregarding the men in the room.

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Yonbibuns on Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:50 pm

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Freelands

Aecien Mountainsides – Near coastline, and main trade routes

Late Twilight

Signe Solveigdottir



War never changed.

Fluffy bits of dandelion seed and grass sifted through her calloused fingers as she opened her palms. Flitting away like birds made of twisting snow, catching the soft breeze and twirling through the plains; like sliver-thin birds, free to fly where they wished. As a young girl, she'd wished on such things—if one were to blow on a dandelion with the purest intentions, then their dreams would carry themselves on the greatest winds and become the future. It was a foolish notion, but even still she found herself gathering them up in her hands, cupping them towards her lips and blowing them across the horizon; for victory, for vengeance, for change most of all. Only with feverish perseverance would they see any results, she had no doubt of that. Well-wishing and hand-wringing would do them no good. Dandelions infested the entire hillside, disrobing their bristles every time the whisking gusts kissed their faces. People called them weeds. Her mother once called them wishweeds. She remembered in between brief snatches of laughter, spinning and spinning and tumbling onto their backs in a field of nose-tickling snow.

She could dance as the fire, run as the wind, strengthen as the stone and flow as the water. She bore the harshness of the sun and carried the moon across her shoulders, always keeping them squared towards the furthest boundaries. Each individual lesson, however small, was evident in the way she led her people; her wandering rebels, her hopeful warriors and vengeful spirits. Demons, humans, creatures of the wastes and flighty fairies from the woods. There was no discrimination within the army. Once someone pledged their weapon to the cause, they were no longer separate; they were one voice, one heart, one clamouring war cry.

Many thought of her rituals as foolish, senseless things. They might have been right as well, though they were clever enough to keep their tongues from wagging in her presence. Technically, they meant nothing. They did not aid them in battle, nor did they provide any protection. She had no magical abilities to offer them. Only blood and carnage; skulls and bleached bone. Certainly no guarantees that their lives would be salvaged at the end of the day. However, if there was anything that could effortlessly soothe her soul: it was these rooted, natural movements. Toes curled through blades of grass, These rituals that did nothing but comfort her whenever her doubts proved too heavy to bear, as if they washed the blood from her hands. She'd never been the sentimental type, and she doubted that she was starting to soften, but even the hardest of blades bore the scars of battle. She was not a sword that could be put away.

The Aecien mountains were safe enough, she supposed. There were rolling hills as far as the eyes could see, and to the right: the salty seas, swelling and slapping the shore like a scorned lover, determined to have the last kiss. She'd have thought the ocean was poetic—if she were versed in romanticism’s, instead, Signe thought of it as an early grave covered in scuttlebones and brine. She swore to herself that she would never board a ship. That she would never die with a mouthful of salt water festering in her lungs. Salt only served to preserve meats, after all. Anything else that climbed out of the ocean was strange to her; like flying men or those who shied away from sunlight. The coastline shimmered and fluctuated from where they were camped, though Signe made sure that they were situated far enough not to face any unwelcome guests. Glittering maidens whistling sweetly in the night; hauling men to their briny deaths, not on her watch.

Truthfully, she'd never seen a mermaid. None had seen fit to join them on her expedition. Too much time on land might have been more trouble than it was worth. Women born to swim the harshest currents and endure whatever lied in those depths, she supposed, liked to stray from their homes as much as those who were born to run with the winds. Scale the mountains, shed their civilized clothes and live freely. She understood this. Even so, her homeland lied in the distance, nestled between craggy rocks and jutting stonework. She imagined the blustering crowds jeering in the stands, supporting those they wished to see victorious and those they wished to see on the impaling end of a spear. Sometimes, it seemed as if their war was just that: games for people to enjoy, or a shadowy thing that happened in the background, unnoticed. She'd seen wealthy blighters poison gladiators before. For fear of losing coin or losing face.

“Mlad—ah, Signe, there is no one along the trade route. Clear as day. Further north, a small encampment. Four waggons. Slave traders bound for Dorelith, I suspect.”

She made a sound at the back of her throat. Speculative, churning the information. Signe clapped her hands together, swiping off dried mud and flower-pieces alike, while pacing in front of the grizzled man like an anxious predator. He stood as still as a statue, as if he were watching something that might sprint away if he were too noisy. She took no notice; only scratched at her chin and continued weaving through the wishweeds. She halted abruptly and dropped her hands to her sides.

“We ride at dawn. It's time to draw our swords.”

Like shadows creeping in, they would slowly gnaw away at those who opposed them. She would make sure that the Messiah Queen heard them coming when they battered down her walls.
Ambar: Snow & Ash
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"For these words, he won't come around here,
and his eyes won't see."

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Talisman on Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:16 am

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Taomar

Aurelis

Early Noon

Kaerwyn d'Aurelis





Leaves of ginseng, the root of an aloe plant, and fruits of cranberry. Everything needed for a simple but potent potion.

The alchemist at his table worked his pale fingers deftly, first sprinkling the ginseng leaves into the mortar, breaking the cell walls and allowing the nutrients to seep into the. Nearby the aloe sat boiling in a pot, a sweet smelling aroma drifting upward and giving a sterile scent to the room the alchemist called his workshop. Next came the cranberries, throwing a three of the fruits into the mortal and crushing them too with his pestle, allowing the juices of each mix and entwine with that of the ginseng. A slow but steady stream of words left his his lips spoken in a language used by arcane artists such as himself.

The next ingredient was the aloe root, which had enough time to steep in it's boiling bath. Precise fingers dipped into the scalding water, though only for a moment as the root was extracted and dropped into the mortar, giving the mixture a thicker quality. Strength was then put into his forearms as he ground all the ingredients together, mixing and breaking apart what cellulose remained. The words had since ceased flowing out of his mouth, as enough magic was weaved around the potion, and any more would simply be a waste of energy for diminishing returns. He lifted the mortar and pestel from his desk and turned around, putting his back against it and simply lounged as he waited for the mixture to become uniform.

"... How long have you been standing there?" The alchemist asked, finally aware that he had not been the lone guest in the room. Movement came from near the door on the far wall, slipping into view as he crossed the distance. Light from the torches that lined the wall threw light and illuminated the other party. A tall man stood in the middle of the shop, reaching an even foot over the diminutive alchemist. His skin was darker in coloration than the pale man, and muscle lined his skin whereas it seemed that wires danced across the others. However, the single trait that both shared were a pair of large spiraling horns protruding from their heads.

"Long enough to not understand the words coming out of your mouth," The man answered with a grin playing at the corners of his lips. He crossed his arms and turned toward a curtained window. "You're never going to get any color if you keep these damned things closed, Kaer," he said, grabbing both and flinging the wide. Suddenly, the room was washed with bright sunlight, enough for Kaerwyn to avert his eyes. Eventually, his eyes adjusted and he was better able to look at his brother, now wreathed in a halo of light.

"Some magics can be worked better in the dark, Gwyn," he explained, though the current project wasn't one of those few. Gwyn raised an eyebrow at his brother's reply but shook it off just as quickly, and Kaerwyn didn't desire to explain further. It always ended the same, Kaerwyn would begin discussing the properties of the darkness as it pertained to a specific spell, while Gywn simply yawned and shrugged. His brother was not a man of spells and of magics, but of swords and shields. "If you wish to help, fetch me a few vials from the cabinet behind you, if you will?"

Gywn nodded and did as he asked, moving toward the cabinet and opening it as Kaerwyn continued to grind his brew. "It smells like a poultice in here, did someone get hurt?" Gwyn asked, as he drew out the requested vials. While he wasn't as versed in alchemy as his brother was, he still picked up which scents went with which potions.

Kaerwyn nodded as he finished with grinding the mortar, ladling a cup of the hot water into it. He stirred it with a glass rod as he approached Gwyn and the vials. "One of the slaves," Kaerwyn answered, holding the potion out. Gywn, used to the routine, unstopped the first of the vials and held it out for Kaerwyn to poor into. "He broke his leg in a cart accident. He's sore, but with the potion I gave him, he'll be fine in a day or so. I'm restocking our stores now."

"So that was the commotion I heard?" Gwyn replied, filling another vial. "Could've let him suffer, let him learn from his mistake," Gwyn offered, look down at the man, though Kaerwyn was too focused on his pour to return the gaze.

"I feel that the initial accident was enough of a learning experience, and besides instead of only a day, he'd be out for a few weeks at least. It simply isn't efficient," Kaerwyn explained, his reasoning accepted by Gwyn. Having filled all of the vials, Kaerwyn took a step back and went to a nearby cauldron, sitting the mortar and pestle inside to clean. Meanwhile, Gwyn crossed the room again with vials in arm, and opened another cabinet and storing the potions away for later use.

With the chores completed, Kaerwyn killed the flames under the pot and on the torches around the wall. Without another word, the pair exited the room and walked toward the manor door, leaving their home side-by-side. "How is my library coming?" Kaerwyn asked as they began to make their rounds through the little place they called theirs. Aurelis, named so after his family name, wasn't so much a city, but neither was it a village. It was a settlement still coming into it's own. The streets were cobbled, but the houses still consisted mainly of wood, only the more prosperous of it's inhabitants owning a stone house-- of which Kaerwyn and his family were a part of. The d'Aurelis estate sat upon a hill in the middle of the fledgling city, looking over all that the little Kaerwyn had earned.

Gwyn laughed at his brother's notion of a library. Kaerwyn had desired a library to be built in his city, but so far the only work to have been done on it was a section of the city cordoned off for the construction. "You mean the pile of books you got stowed away in the basement? 'Cause that's the only library you got-- barring the massive one in your study, of course."

Kaerwyn's lips were a thin line, but otherwise he displayed nothing else at his brother's jesting. "You can't have a library without books," he explained himself. "I'm trusting you to get it started while I'm gone," Kaerwyn added, finally looking up at his brother.

"Ah, that's right. Little Kerry's a big time politician now, I'd almost forgotten," Gwyn continued to rib. Kaerwyn, as a noble of Taomar, saw it fit to shoulder the title of "Emissary" as well, hoping to gain a peace treaty between the daemons and humans. "If it means that daemon children won't have as a difficult childhood as we did, then yes, I'll play the political game. I wouldn't trust to leave it in your hands," Kaerwyn replied, a hint of his own ribbing apparent in his tone.

"Hah! Haha, maybe not. Too much talking and not enough action for my tastes. I've already went ahead and found you an escort. I'd rather take you myself, but someone needs to be here to watch the home you eked out for us," Gwyn said as they passed into the town proper, where dirt road turned to cobblestone. "We both know father couldn't do it, and bless her heart, mother's too soft," he added, a sentiment Kaerwyn agreed with. He loved both his parents dearly, but they simply didn't have what it took to look after their estate. Fortunately, their mother spent most of her time tending to her and Kaerwyn's garden as their father watched the slaves work the farmland. Meanwhile Gwyn led a mercenary company before settling down with the rest of his family. "Careful with her though, she's an odd one with a mouth to boot, but a sword's a sword."

Kaerwyn nodded and hummed his acknowledgement, and after a suitable number of moments elapsed, shifted the topic at hand. "Have you heard any news?" He asked curiously. Gwyn answered with only a laugh at first, "Some. You would too if you ever left your study. The world's out here, not in your moldy tomes," He said, pinching the corner of one of Kaerwyn's horns and playfully tugging it. "A small caravan of slaves never made it to a nearby city. Only about eight in total, but they should've arrived by now," This bit of news caused Kaerwyn to look up and regard his brother with a raised brow.

It wasn't the missing caravan was odd, but rather Gwyn's knowledge that it was missing. "That's... Not news, Gwyn. That's gossip. How do you even know that?"

"Ah... Well, you see, one of the eight was supposed to be a decent pit-fighter. Did well enough to Nydoecia to be brought to Ruhar to enter our arena. His name was Marcus something or another, I believe. I had wanted to see him fight-- maybe submit an offer to his owner if he was any good," Gwyn answered, ruffling through the dusting of whiskers on his chin. Kaerwyn only rolled his eyes and muttered, "of course," under his breath. "You think it's our little wolverine who's to blame?"

Kaerwyn shrugged, his white cloak swinging in the wind as he did, "It's not outside the realm of possibility, but I doubt it. It doesn't sound like Signe's style, it's too small scale."

"You're probably right. Well, hey, that's enough walking for one day. Let's head back and prepare for your journey. I just know you want to get a list down of the things I need to do while your away." Gwyn said, stopping in his boots and gesturing back to their estate.

"It's not going to be a small list," Kaerwyn answered dryly. Giving one last gaze to his city, he nodded and turned with Gwyn. "I expect this place to be in the same-- if not better-- shape than when I left it."
Last edited by Talisman on Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Kurokiku on Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:40 pm

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Freelands

Aecien Mountainsides - Surrounding forests

Late Twilight

Calista and Gareth



The warmth of the sun had long faded behind the mountains, but she had discovered of late that she didn’t miss it the way she once had when night fell. Perhaps it was for the best—these rebels moved at irregular times, and it would not do to require the light of day in order to function. Not that she required much, anymore. Subsistence was enough, and even that seemed to have lost all its pleasure. She simply took what she needed, sustained herself mechanically, without any of the sense of wonder that drinking in that radiance had once given her. There had been many small wonders, once. The feel of her toes in the earth, the shine of that fire in the sky upon her back—even the simple act of breathing, of being as one with her element, had faded until it was merely the automatic reaction of a necessity met.

And it was necessity, not joy, which drove her forward now. For the moment, this was nothing more complicated than taking a collection of waterskins to the nearest brook, to refill them before the march in the morning. So it was that at present, Calista knelt by the stony bank of the stream, dipping the skins in one by one until they felt full. To most, she suspected the night would have seemed quite still, but she could feel the stirrings of nocturnal creatures around her, pick up on the scrabbling of rabbits in their warrens, emerging to pick their way over the sweet grasses that crew in the clearings or by the banks, and of her, these were not afraid, nor were the whisper-soft owls in the branches, breaking the silence occasionally with a low, breathy hoot.

These had been her lullabies, in her childhood. Now they were only dry, dull observations. Setting down the last of the waterskins, the sylph made an idle, flowing gesture with a hand, and a tendril of water picked itself up from the stream and traced idle patterns in the air, curling around itself like a particularly-sinuous snake, the shine of the moonlight on the surface of it an effect that was entirely lost on her. She still remembered what it looked like, though, and how they had once made games of twining such liquid ribbons around one another, laughing when one inadvertently soaked another with lost concentration. Naiad she was not, but the gift of magic had always been hers, and she’d taken pleasure in that, in creating such fragile art. Now, she felt nothing, no motivation to laugh, no desire to create more, not even a particular inclination to stop.

Her toes curled against the stone she was crouched on, like a bird perched, and Calista sighed. Everything had a price, especially failure.

A figure approached her from behind. He was hooded and cloaked, but beneath his layers was a handsome face, jaw lined with red-brown stubble, his eyes a clear blue. He surveyed the woman closely for a moment, crossbow in hand. The weapon was not aimed at her, but the string was pulled back, the bolt set in place.

That was the kind of man Gareth was. He traveled always ready to kill, a mindset that had served him well since departing from his native Citha. Now, in the service of the rebels as a scout, it continued to favor him. Many of those he chanced upon in the woods were no friends at all. Some belonged to neither side, some belonged to the enemy, moving and watching and reporting, as he did. Typically Gareth chose to kill them, and not always with a crossbow. He'd learned long ago how to approach someone without them seeing you.

This woman, however... he'd never seen Queen's scouts that small. There weren't many villages around here, and she wasn't dressed warmly enough to be a lone traveler. In fact, she wasn't even wearing any shoes. The main camp was relatively close by, he supposed, but she didn't look like any of the Wildling's warrior women. It left him with one logical conclusion.

"You there," he called out from about twenty feet away. "You a camp follower?" It was a polite way of asking if she was a whore or not, but the answer was actually quite important, and would affect Gareth's considerations in the matter of whether or not to put a bolt through her.

The water in the air sank back into the river, and she stood, though admittedly it still didn’t make her tall enough to be reckoned with in any significant sense. The air around her shifted slightly, but before it crossed the threshold into the vibrating hum that her magic could produce, it calmed. She did not seem particularly startled by the suddenness of his speaking, which was perhaps to be expected, considering she’d felt him coming. He was too far away for her to get much of a sense of him, other than his approximate height and build. Well, and the fact that he was armed. Calista turned to face the man’s general direction, her eyes missing the target slightly and appearing to aim a bit over his left shoulder or so.

A camp follower? She’d never heard the term, but she did, in fact, follow the camp, so she nodded. "Yes,” she said simply, tilting her head to one side. The sylph pushed several strands of blonde hair behind her ear, blinking more out of habit than need. "And you would be…?” The obvious answer was that he was one of the rebels, the more official sort with some kind of weapon to pledge to the cause. She was… less so, though she had indeed met the leader once, to request permission to fight with these people. She would be sure to run into him eventually if she did, provided she lived that long. If she didn’t, well… then she would be dead, and beyond caring.

Gareth frowned. So she was a whore. Honestly, he wasn't particularly inclined to believe her. The Wildling didn't seem like the kind of woman to permit such types to follow soldiers around. He'd never met the rebel leader, but from what he'd heard, she was not someone to be trifled with. Considering that their operation was more or less supposed to be a shadowy one, it didn't make much sense to let rabble without worth follow them around. Liabilities is all they were.

But maybe he was overthinking this. Still frowning slightly, he stepped forward, slinging the crossbow over a shoulder and pulling out his own waterskin instead. "Gareth," he said, introducing himself truthfully. He didn't see any reason why not to. "I'm a scout for the rebels." Among other things. It would explain why he was out here, at least. Scouting terrain was easier during the day, but scouting personnel was often easier at night. And Gareth didn't make a habit of sleeping where others could find him.

He came to the stream, kneeling a short distance from where the girl had been crouched and dipping his skin into the water. There was something off about her eyes, he noticed, and her garb. There had been snowfall recently, and she wasn't wearing any shoes. "I didn't think the Wildling let whores follow her around. Too much useless baggage." Maybe the stories about her were just that. Stories.

"I didn’t think so, either,” Calista replied, a note of confusion entering her tone. Why was he talking about whores now? It seemed an odd topic shift—though there was still a lot she didn’t know about the way things worked with humans, so perhaps it only seemed unnatural to her. Now that he was closer, his features came into sharper relief, and she detected some kind of asymmetry between one side of his face and the other. She didn’t think much of it, though, more concerned with the immediate conversation. "And my name is Calista, Gareth.” She smiled slightly, though it was a tad fragile, as they all seemed to be since the burning.

The fact that he was a scout made sense of his presence here, and so she crouched again, gathering up all the waterskins she’d brought out. About ten, all told—she did this chore in many trips rather than just one, because honestly, she wasn’t all that strong and these were large waterskins. She put five leather straps on each shoulder so as not to throw off her balance, crossing them over her chest in an x-shape for as little discomfort as possible. She hadn’t known to do that, at first, and the leather had bitten into her skin where the fabric of her dress didn’t quite cover all of her skin, considering that the garment was bereft of sleeves.

Gareth was more than a little confused by what he'd stumbled across. It seemed like, if she was a camp follower, she'd be warming some lucky soldier's bed right about now, rather than fetching water for what looked like roughly ten people, unless she had a very powerful thirst indeed. Maybe she wasn't all that good at pleasing anyone, and this was her punishment. If she'd been unceremoniously thrown out of camp to fetch water, it would explain the lack of shoes and cloak, but for all that, she didn't seem uncomfortable.

It was mystery that he wouldn't have time to solve right now, as he heard the telltale sounds of someone, or multiple someones, moving through the woods over the next rise. Faint voices accompanied the steps, two different ones, from the sounds of it. "You hear that?" he whispered cautiously to Calista. There was a hint of urgency to the strangers' tones, implying that they weren't simply out for a walk in the woods. "Stay here," Gareth instructed, pulling his crossbow into his hands again, "and stay quiet. I'll check this out."

He pulled the hood from his head and stalked off through the woods until he reached the top of the rise, where he was able to see the pair that was making the noise. He crouched down behind the nearest tree and got a clearer look at them. They were rebels, by the looks of them; scavenged fur and leather armor. Even in the darkness, Gareth could make out resemblance between them. Brother and sister, most like. They had the same noses, the same tawny brown hair.

"You shouldn't have come after me," the sister said. She looked to be the warrior of the two, judging by the sizable hand axe at her hip. "I would have been fine, you know."

The brother's tones were louder, more careless. "The hell you would have. This is a real war, not some game. Father wanted you brought home, and he sent me to bring you back. You know what it would do to him, if you died out here fighting for some lost cause..." That seemed to draw the girl's ire.

"Lost cause? Let's get this straight. I'm the one taking you home, not the other way around. Now could you please shut up? It's a very long way back to Silibard. I'd rather not need to gag you."

A fundamentally free spirit, Calista had always had trouble doing what she was told when there was no other reason for it besides being told, so she came thereafter into Gareth’s visual range, making no noise in doing so. She was rather good at moving with the forests, having lived nowhere else but woods like these her entire life. With the tree blocking her way, and the distance of the two people, she had no more read on them than their voices allowed for, but it was enough to determine that at least one was male and the other female. From the treads, one was more armed and armored than the other—the woman, if she had her guess. It would seem that the pair of them were deserting.

She was not nearly strict enough about rules to much care about that, honestly, and it would surprise her if anyone was. Why keep people who did not want to fight? It wasn’t like they’d been pressed into service in the first place. If you wanted to fight, you fought, and if you didn’t… then perhaps you were lucky, and happy with nonviolence. Calista couldn’t say she wanted anyone else to turn out like she had, so perhaps letting them go without comment, letting them keep their innocence for a little bit longer, was even the right thing to do. She didn’t pretend to know.

"What do you want to do?” she asked the scout softly, voice pitched to carry just barely far enough that he could hear it. She had quite a decent sense for those things.

Gareth's look was one of moderate irritation, for multiple reasons. For one, the woman couldn't be bothered to do what he told her. He was the one with the weapons here, the one who would have to deal with any problems that arose, and if they were detected by these deserters, a problem likely would come up. And secondly... he hadn't even heard her come up behind him until she came into his line of sight. Either he was somehow losing his grip (which wasn't happening), or she was very good at moving around quietly. Gareth was an expert at such things, but even he couldn't move without making any sound.

"They're deserters," Gareth replied to her, as though that made it entirely clear what his plans were. "I'm going to kill them." Nevermind any exterior motives for doing so, Gareth had chosen to throw his lot in with these rebels, and right now, it seemed as though it was in his best interest, as well as the rebels', to deal with these people before they could be used to hurt him. Holding his crossbow in one hand, Gareth slipped his other under his cloak and withdrew a dagger, proceeding to move away from the tree, starting on a wide route to come around the side of the deserters. They'd need to be taken quickly; shooting one with the crossbow would allow the other to run before he could reload.

"Stay here," he hissed at the woman, more insistent this time. "Let me handle this." The last thing he needed was some soft-hearted camp follower getting in his way.

Let him handle it? She thought not. Something about this situation rankled Calista; as far as she could tell, these people were simply heading back to their home—it even sounded like the woman planned to return. That was hardly the kind of thing worth killing someone for. Perhaps once, she would have left men’s justice to men, and kept her own counsel on the matter, but these were someone’s children. They may even be related to one another. Neither should have to watch the other die—not like this. A breeze picked up above their heads, rustling the leaves of the trees, and Calista drew the tips of her left-handed fingers to one another, setting them in place at her chin, just beneath her lip.

She tracked Gareth’s movement, waiting for the moment when it seemed he committed to his action, drawing a breath into her lungs. With a sharp exhale, she fanned her fingers out, and the wind tore downwards, flattening the grass and kicking up fallen leaves and pine needles, barreling into the sneaking scout with all the force of a miniaturized gale. The sylph herself faded until she was nothing but an irregular shape in the air, nearly invisible against the backdrop of the trees. She still had not moved from her spot, however.

Gareth had made it nearly all the way to the woman's back, his knife in hand, crouched down low but ready to rise up, grab her by the hair, pull the head back, and slice across the exposed throat. Envisioning the kill in his head was all he could do, however, before the massive, and concentrated, blast of wind plowed into him from the side. He grunted as he fell to the snow and dirt behind the two he'd meant to kill, who turned in surprise, merely buffeted by the wind as it passed them. One look at the man on the ground was enough to panic them, given that he'd crept up so close on them without making a sound, and the fact that he had weapons drawn. He thought for a moment that the axewoman might attack him, but instead she turned and bolted with her brother, taking off into the night. Muttering curses, Gareth rose to a crouch and took his crossbow into both hands, aiming at the rapidly fleeing targets. Wisely, they turned and ran away at an angle. Gareth's shot was likely off the mark regardless of the wind that clearly took it and pushed it aside.

The deserters having fled beyond his ability to catch them, Gareth rose, and sheathed his knife. Being a man of magic himself, and one who had spent a good deal of time around magic, it was easy enough to recognize magic, especially when blew into his face. Weather tricks like that were the sort of the things that old Mag would do, to scare away unwanted visitors. It had been obvious that something was off about Calista, who had vanished from sight. Now he knew what.

"I should have known you were a witch," he called out, to the trees and the bushes. "Tell me, did you think about what you just did, or are you just acting on instinct?" A person who relied on instinct was little better than an animal, in Gareth's eyes.

"Did you?” Calista countered, her voice much closer than where he was looking. Indeed, she resolved into view a good ten feet in front of him, slowly fading back into sight and dropping the few inches to the ground. "My thoughts were this: that rebels are supposed to be better than those they rebel against. If indeed this army kills for convenience, then perhaps I have fallen in with the wrong people.” Though her tone was superficially serene, there was a certain kind of acidic emphasis on the word convenience, as well, she thought, there should be.

"Sometimes,” she admitted, "death is the only thing left for someone. But not, thought I, for them.” She expected he thought otherwise, but she wasn’t planning on forcing an argument about it. After all, she was the one who’d achieved what she wanted, so there was hardly anything for her to be upset about.

Gareth sighed somewhat tiredly, throwing the crossbow back over a shoulder. "There are people out there who would do far worse to them than I would have done. If they're careless, if anyone gets word of who they've been involved with... an Inquisitor would wring every drop of useful information out of them before tossing them on a bonfire." And they would most definitely still be alive when the flames wrapped around them. That was the only way to really feel Aule's mercy, right?

"It could be others who pay the price for their selfishness next. They know where we've camped, where we're headed, how well we're supplied, who knows what else? Every army in history that's ever won anything meaningful has punished deserters with death. There are no half-measures in war. They should have known that before they signed up." Calista spoke about the army as though she was still learning who they were. Perhaps she was somewhat new to the rebellion, as he was.

But why was he telling her this? He didn't rightly know. To call any of these people comrades to Gareth would have been a stretch. He was here for himself, to destroy a group he judged deserving of death. He supposed if this Calista witch was in for the duration, he wanted to avoid encounters like this in the future. She seemed like a willful one, so that was probably unlikely.

Calista considered the words for a moment. On some level, she supposed, what he was saying was very rational. Two deaths to prevent more—it was straightforward numerical calculation. But… was it really what had to be done? Fey fought no wars, had no enemies—at least not until they had made themselves her enemy. But even she was not fey anymore, just Unfettered and alone. She closed her eyes slowly, and seemed to deflate, shoulders slumping. Her sigh seemed to carry a bit of that leaf-rustling sound the breeze made, and she shook her head.

"Perhaps you are right,” she said, "But I hope you are not. I wish to slay the burners, not become one.”
The Canticle of Fate: Silver Lion Stanza
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"Though I am flesh, Your Light is ever present,
And those I have called, they remember,
And they shall endure."

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Solo Wing Pixy on Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:25 am

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Taomar

Aurelis

Midday

Kithrynne Côte-Bastille





"Yeah, yeah, fuck you very much, Jathann. Some friend you are!"

"Last time you came 'round here, you smashed two of my tables and stained my floorboards with blood. You've got some nerve calling us friends!." The bartender's gruff voice hurtled out the tavern door and into the crowded street, drawing the attention of a beggar and his dog, but not the red-haired woman at which it was directed. Kithrynne stood out in the little town for two reasons. The first, and most glaring, was that she was human. Taomar was a nation of Daemons, and her humanity marked her as an outsider. Secondly, her the weapons and armor she wore set her apart from the townsfolk that surrounded her. This small town was somewhat rural, and apart from the occasional guardsman, no one carried a weapon. Every now and then, Kit caught someone giving her a look of suspicion from out of the corner of her eye. She wondered if it was it the weapons, or the humanity that brought that on.

Kithrynne had visited Aurelis once before, a year prior, while chasing a bounty. She found her mark and tried to take him inside of Jethann's tavern, but he put up a fight. Usually, when she visited Taomar, she found herself in Ruhar. The city that reeks of sweat and blood often lived up to it's reputation, and not just because of the grand arena. Daemons all across Baekoth would flee to Taomar if they were accused of crimes in other nations because Taomar would never turn them over to those nations. Whenever one of those criminals pissed off someone with deep enough pockets, Kit would be hired to go to Taomar and drag them back to wherever they came from.

Today, however, she wasn't in Aurelis to hunt someone down, but rather to protect someone. An odd request for someone whose reputation lies in bounty hunting, but there had been a lull in work recently, and the letter promised hefty compensation. Kit liked hefty compensation.

Kit had corresponded with a man named Gwyn d'Aurelis, the younger brother of the lord of Aurelis, Karwin, or Kacey or something along those lines. She had hoped to dig up some information on the man from around town, but Jathann wasn't the only one who didn't feel like sharing. The guards wouldn't even take a bribe to speak about their lord out of turn.
Maybe he's one of those giant, scary horned Daemons. But then why would he need an escort?
Kithrynne spent nearly half an hour pondering her thoughts as she roamed around the town. The final letter had instructed her to arrive at the manor on the hill at half past noon, but she saw no reason to be so punctual. She took her time, strolling casually through the town, taking in the sights and sounds and smells of the fledgling city. She didn't expect any trouble, but knowing her way around the city may one day prove useful.

"'scuse me miss, are you a knight?" Kit turned to face the voice behind her. It belonged to a child. He looked no older than ten, but she often had trouble telling the ages of Daemons. She smiled warmly.

"Of course, can't you tell by my colorful armor and shiny sword?" The child let out a gasp of excitement. "My name is Irenia, and I'm a knight in service to the Queen of Dorelith."

"I knew it! Tam Lin said that you weren't but I told him off. I knew you were a knight." The child's eyes were wide with excitement. Kithrynne knelt down to speak to him at eye level and put her left hand gently on his shoulder.

"You know, I'm actually on a quest right this minute, and I could use your help. The kid nodded, starstruck. "There's a dangerous witch who wants to put a spell on the your lord. I can stop her, but I need to know as much as I can about your lord. No one else will help me, but I'm betting you will. She winked and offered a charming smile.

"Oh no! I'll tell you what my mum told me, I hope it helps." Kit nodded. "He helped build the empire, and they gave him all this land and money, and so he built this city. He's still building it. Mum says he's a mage. I want to be a hero like you and him when I grow up.

"You can do anything you put your mind to. Thanks for the help, you might have just saved a life." Kit smiled and winked again, patting the kid gently on the shoulder with her left hand, taking advantage of his distraction to slip her right in and out of his pocket. She stood, gave the boy a slight bow, and went on her way. When she was several yards away, she opened her hand to see what the boy had: a few coins and a scrap of what looked like jerky. She eyed it suspiciously. as she made her way back to the part of town that held Jathann's tavern. The beggar and his dog still sat just outside, and Kit approached them, tossing the scrap of dried meat to the dog and the coins to the beggar.

"Tell me, why do you give to a man such as myself?" The beggar spoke directly to Kit, his tone even and his words rehearsed.

"For it is in giving that we receive." Kit spoke in the same tone as she met his gaze. The beggar stood, called his dog to heel, nodded at Kit, and moved on, brushing against her as he passed and tucking a small parcel into the pouch on her belt. She knew what it contained; a scrap of parchment with a name, a place, and a number. If she went to that place, and killed that person, she would be payed that number. For as long as she'd been working for him the Lord of Woe always payed his debts. Still, she could do without the secrecy. At any rate, the new contract could wait. She was pushing the limit of fashionably late, and decided to make her way to the d'Aurelis Manor.

The building sat atop a hill in the center of the city, looking out over it all like a hawk over a prairie. It was separated from the rest of the town by an estate which, compared to some of the estates in Dorelith, was practically unguarded. Kit reached the manor without speaking to a single guard, and while they were likely expecting her, she still found it odd. She stood at the door, wondering if she should knock or just go in. She tested the door, finding it unlocked.
Ehh what the hell.

Kit entered the manor as silently as she could given her weapons and armor, and was startled by the quiet of the interior. She had been in quiet places before, but no place like this. The silence was almost deafening, and it unsettled her. This, of course, made her entrance sound even louder than she had initially thought, drawing a servant out from a side room. She was small, smaller than Kit, and though she was clearly a daemon, she looked almost human.

"Oh! You must be the one Lord Gwyn mentioned. The, ahem, escort?" Kit flipped on a look of embarrassment and flashed a nervous smile.
"Y-yeah. Sorry. Didn't mean to just barge in but I, uh, was late."
"It's no problem ma'am. I'll just fetch the brothers now." Kit nodded and the servant bowed before making her exit. Kit surveyed the room, making note where all the windows and doors were located. She tapped her finger steadily on the glass panel of a case that displayed something she didn't recognize in order to avoid being left in silence again.
Image
We drink to him as comrade must
But it's still the same old story
A coward goes from dust to dust
A hero from dust to glory.

Modesty wrote:Where originality comes in is finding new ways to explore the things that already exist to us. Suddenly red becomes crimson, ruby, scarlet, cherry, carnelian, vermilion, cardinal, sienna, maroon, sorrel, rojo, sanguine. Suddenly red can become a metaphor, a picture, a symbol.


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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Kurokiku on Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:42 pm

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Dorelith

Dorchaidhe - The Red Spindle Inn

Evening

Ephraim of Theren and The Seer



Rise and fall, that is what kingdoms and men do, and it is what the chest of the seer did as he stood in his dark corner of the inn’s bar. His hood hides his gnarled and deformed face, one where eyes do not exist and his lips are black as old clotted blood. Completely still, he stood, waiting or watching for something, as all seers do. When the moment was right, his staff shot out to stop a beanstalk of a man from walking past him. He regarded him with his nose, stepping forward to smell the air around him, he nodded, confirming something he thought. "You reek of it." his gravelled voice rasped. "Long have I lived and you reek of it more than any."

Dorchaidhe was a small city in the far southwest of Dorelith, notable for not being the kind of place where someone called the Messiah-Queen would ever want to live, nor indeed for being the kind of place that someone technically a daemon had to worry too much about being rounded up and forced to fight in an arena for the pleasure of others. It was, therefore, about as perfect as a population center this large could get. It smelled of unwashed skin and salty sweat, mixed with saltier ocean and dubiously-fresh fish, and the people were about what he’d expected from such a place, but they mostly ignored him, which was nice. Unless, of course, they were aggressively trying to sell him something, in which case his usual recourse was to duck his head politely and wave his hands in a noncomittal sort of way until they took him for a mute or an idiot, perhaps both, and let him go on his way, taking his awkward, twitchy half-smiles with him.

He doubted anyone looked twice, and that was the way he liked it. He was only here for some arrowheads and raw leather anyhow, and the less fuss, the better. Cities were better than smaller settlements for anonymity, because they were not inherently wary of strangers. They also, unfortunately, had more people, and that meant there was still more chance of running into something disastrous. Certainly, those chances were small, but bad luck had a way of finding Ephraim, and he didn’t ever trust his chances.

Which was perhaps why, when he ducked into an inn for something to eat and nearly tripped over the staff leveled at his legs, he wasn’t exactly surprised to note that the object belonged to an older person whose face was shadowed. At least it wasn’t a crone with half her teeth missing this time—something about those ones just gave him the shudders. They weren’t always so dramatic about stopping him though, and he winced when the staff cracked into his left knee. Or rather, his knee cracked into the staff. The man spoke in a voice weathered by… well, some combination of age and experience, probably; that was usually the case. Unless he’d been smoking a pipe his whole life—that tended to do it, too.

The words immediately set him to looking around the room, which was crowded and loud, hopefully enough so that nobody had heard the man speak. Why was it that no matter where he went, he drew these people out of the woodwork? It was like anyone who figured themselves half a seer was pulled to him like a moth to some kind of flame, and they always felt the need to tell him about it. “Er… I’m sorry? That I reek, I mean. And for hitting the, um—the staff. I just came through the fish markets; I was going to change shirts later?” Maybe it was some heroic force of dauntless optimism that made him try to play this off as something entirely different, but mostly he was pretty sure it was just vain, vain hope.

"Go about reeking like that and everyone will know what you are." The seer mumbled to himself more than to Ephraim, ignoring what he said and pulling him by the shirt to a table close to them. "Sit fool boy." His tone did not suggest he was asking or suggesting. Seated, the seer began to have his say, "I do not know why I see what I see, nor did I ask for this, same as you. Yet here we are, each with our own afflictions." His hood pulled back slightly when he leaned in to speak, showing his marred face in full to Ephraim. "You have been allowed to wander as you please without purpose for longer than you ought to have, but you won't be allowed to do so forever." His voice lowered, "The gifted are not born into this world by accident, each time they come they are born for great or terrible purpose. Sometimes both Ephraim. When they come it means war and justice and miracles and blood." Oh yes the seer knew his name and what he was, there was much the seer was forced to bare witness to. Too much in his opinion.

Of course not. It was never simple with this, was it? It was probably ironic, that the one whoreson—technically whorenephew—that was absolutely fine with never amounting to anything more than a vagrant with a modest trade and a lot of miles under his boots was the one who was apparently not allowed to retain his very modest status. He’d never wanted anything more in his life than he wanted the magic gone, but it seemed that no matter how low he ducked his head or how persistently he ignored what it whispered to him, he could not escape its hold. He tried very hard not to let his eyes dart about too suspiciously, but he was still afraid that they were going to be overheard, and that in his experience never ended well when this sort of thing was the subject.

So instead, he braced his hands on his knees, picking at a loose thread on his breeches with what appeared to be the utmost concentration, the nervousness of a jimmying leg suppressed into the bruising worry of teeth on his lower lip, patternless, nervous, consummately uncomfortable. His eyes occasionally flickered up to the old man’s marred face—black lips, scarred eye sockets, looking like something horror had dragged out of a bog and set on land. Well, it wasn’t like he was one to judge—he looked like a scarecrow animated out of a field, made to think it was a man. He shuddered at the sound of the word blood, just a fine little tremor, drawn from his spine by the cadence of the words in that raspy voice.

“But I don’t want any of that,” he said quietly, and even to him, it sounded weak. Pathetic. Spindly fingers danced over a knobby knee, and he sighed, casting his eyes once more to the floor, tapping that silent, frenetic rhythm still on his leg. The birds in the sky wish to be as free, as free as me, when I dream… A relic of his childhood, that. “I don’t want to be terrible. I don’t want to bring war and blood to anybody.” His lips twisted into a wry sort of grimace, and he met the place where the seer’s eyes would have been, had he any. “I’d be fine not being great, either, if it’s all the same. Great people usually die, in the end.” Even despite his protestations, he could feel the weight of the pronouncement, in a way that he usually did, but could also usually pay no mind to, at least once he was back out on the road. He could only hope that the same would prove true, this time. He did not like the way this felt as a call to arms would. The way it stirred something in his blood and marrow and skin.

The seer took hold of an half empty old cup that was not his from the table, studied the contents with sightless eyes for a bit and drained it in one go. He smacked his black lips indifferently, it was unclear if he retained any of what Ephraim said, "All that and more happens when just one of you is born, and now.." The seer tipped his cup, letting three drops fall to the table. "...there are three." The way he said the words was like condemning the world to its fate. "If I could feel pity for any other than myself I would feel pity for you. The other two are not as you are, war and blood is what they desire, and if you do nothing, it will be too late when your hand is finally forced." He slammed the cup on the table, as if to make his point. "Make your choices wisely, align yourself with the good in this world, act." The seer stood up, not without difficulty, he had said his piece, the gods could demand nothing more from him, he was too damn old for this horseshit. Before he turned away he added, "Griffons are not unwise to follow." A hint of amusement in his voice.

The seer departed, and Ephraim pushed a little groan of air out his lungs, hunching over and scrubbing his hands down his face. The magic was whispering in his mind again; something about this particular old man had agitated it. Or maybe it only went looking for excuses to be agitated. There were two other people like him? But what was he in the first place? As far as he knew, he was just a man with too much magic and an itch to travel. He could only assume the relevant part of that was the magic thing, but lots of people had magic. Well, maybe not lots, but it wasn’t exactly rare, either. He really didn’t like where this was going.

The city suddenly seemed like far too congested a place, closed in by those walls and those cliffs, but his other choices were the forest or the sea, and while he’d come in through the former, he wasn’t so sure he wanted to tangle with the Kraken at this point in his life. It occurred to him that he was doing it again, seeking an escape route. Why, he couldn’t really even say—it wasn't like any amount of distance had ever stopped these portents and half-mad longsighted types from finding him before. And now he was getting specifically directed. “’Make your choices wisely,’” he echoed, a touch of melancholy coloring his tone rather blue indeed. “As long as they’re the ones we want you to make.” Not that he had any idea who the we was… but there was definitely a we.

He had the sinking feeling he’d be finding out eventually.

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Yonbibuns on Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:07 pm

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Toamar

Ruhar – The Skinny Harlot, near the Arena

Late Twilight

Gallyn Weatherbee



“Like a bird in flight, milady, beauty has kissed these petals and they do whisper jealously,” a soft voice lamented from between plucked strings, deft fingers and fingernails catching the cat-guts chords like alighting firebugs, “Fear not, for I only have ears for flora in summer.” Another chord is struck, resonating sweetly through the hazy tavern. He could not see the heavy gossamer clouds filling the skies, but he imagined that they were growing heavy, as they always did in Ruhar.

Did it reflect the cruelties visited in the arena? Or was it the burdens, carried by all the daemons, who knew not how to puzzle themselves into a world that did not appreciate their existence. The war seemed miles away from him. Too far to hear and easily forgotten if it wasn't for the heated whispers in the far corners of nearly every reach. One only had to strain their ears a little to hear their hushed chattering. Worries of being pulled into something that did not involve them; worries that they should involve themselves, or else they would appear fragile and weak. A daemon-lady led the rebellion, after all, but the Inquisition held a stifling presence in the heart of their city. Veiled by darkness and creeping in shadows.

“I am yours, by the hour of twilight,” Gallyn added, settling his eyes at half-mast. The woman only giggled in response, toying her finger around the rim of her goblet. It was always the same. Pity or amusement, but hardly anyone took him seriously (even though he was hardly serious). Might have been nice to make a few lady lasses swoon—alas, a halflings life was a hard one, indeed.

His eyes roved across her lips and trailed away as he took in his surroundings; warm, stuffy and filled with boisterous laughter. Battered shields lined the walls, alongside animal skulls and odd pieces of art he'd never seen anywhere else before. High ceilings, wooden stools, and an unusually warm hearth off in the furthest corner; not fit for anyone as small as he. He still found it interesting how small he was, and how everything appeared much larger, much more grand than he could ever imagine. Living simply had given him the ability to be in awe of everything he came across. As if he were breathing fresh air each time he walked into another strange city.

Another song for a pint, bard?” The grinning barkeep, proud owner of the Skinny Harlot, called over the laughter, cupping her hand to her mouth and leaning forward so that he could hear her properly. He nodded, strumming his fingers across the strings of his lyre in accordance. She pulled back and whistled as she turned away, winking and flirting and pouring drinks while men and women continued sifting in and out of the tavern. It was a popular spot. Even so, Gallyn could see the distance between them—those who were not of daemon-kin were not welcome to stay in Ruhar for long period of times, so most of the humans lingering in the pub would be gone in the morning. Everyone was a traveller in their domain; as was he. However, little folk were generally welcome everywhere, or at least far longer than others, and being a gifted wordsmith and bard meant that he'd find sanction in the most unlikely places. Daemons, after all, enjoyed music and tall tales as well.

Gallyn adjusted the lyre in his lap and pulled on his neighbours sleeve; tugged until the gruff man looked at him sideways. There was much little folk could get away with. Tugging on sleeves and shirttails like a child was one, of many, allowances. He lifted his arms up and jutted his chin towards the ground, grinning impishly. Cracked hands, bedecked with craggy claws, clicked against the metal goblet cupped between his meaty paws. He hesitated briefly and puffed in irritation, shifting in his stool so that he could lean over and scoop him from his perch, effortlessly depositing him on the floor. Without waiting to hear Gallyn's flowery appreciation, the man turned back towards his goblet, eyebrows knit. Just as well, then.

He cleared his throat in his small fist, smoothed down the crinkles in his vest and began strumming a cheery tune. Something made for jigs and dancing. Clearly from his homeland.

“There was a wee lass—a bit taller than I
Daughter of the ocean, eyes as bright as sky
With brilliant scales as radiant as pearls
And with her came a garden of girls
I swore to Neptune, and begged on my knees
Oh, I cried, mercy, please
Daughter of the ocean, fledgling of the sea
Her fangs, you see, were set for me.”


Laughter erupted throughout the tavern, and men jeered, clanking their cups on their tables. Mermaids were frightening enough to behold, but people still enjoyed singing and talking about them as if they were mere myths concocted to frighten children and sailors alike. He knew different. He'd lived long enough, and travelled further still, to know that the stories were truer than people thought. Still, Gallyn chirped like a good songbird and moved around scraping chairs, dodging elbows and swaying bodies. He impishly snatched up a handful of someone's skirt, pretended to lift it and planted a soft kiss on the hem when she moved to swat him away. Tonight would be a good night—he could feel it in his toes.

He'd been wrong before.

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby That One Guy on Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:08 pm

ImageDorelith
On the fringes of Silibard Forest
Late Morning
Iphigenia D'ivore



It had been almost two fortnights since Iphigenia had accepted Marcus Trent as her sworn sword, and overnight her people had seemed to liven up. It felt as if they weren’t just grasping at an idea anymore, even though they very much were, it felt as if they were really an army. Marcus was good at organizing the men and women, advising Iphigenia on where they should head next, he was dutiful, godsent. Iphigenia was certainly happy to have him, it was hard to keep a proud smile from her face, against all odds she had somehow found someone from her past still alive and a willing ally. It felt like fate. She thanked the holy triad for the sign that her cause was just.

Now in Silibard forest, the group had raided another slaver caravan and added ten and five more to their number. They stood strong at sixty and one now, too large a group to be a force easily dealt with, but too small to accomplish anything durastic. By now there was no doubt in her mind the talk of slavers gone missing was reaching Ruhar and Nydoecia, she felt now was the time to risk going into a village like Silibard. Still, she took precautions, they made camp in the forest instead of staying in town, went in smaller groups to get supplies and proper clothing. Iphigenia herself had not yet been into the village, wanting to be one of the last to go, they had been here a week and a half and now her turn was up. For herself she needed to find an inn for a proper bath and clothes more fitting for travel.

Iphigenia fed a handful of oats to Brandybuck as she waited for Marcus to return with the last group, they were about a morning’s ride away from Silibard. A sharp whistle told her of their return. She Mounted Brandybuck and cantered over to get a good look at them, they seemed refreshed, clean and clothed simply but properly, their weapons at their hip. She smiled, nodding as they passed; they addressed her as ‘your grace’ now.

“Breakfast is waiting for you all by the fire, I shall be back before long and we can discuss where we go to next.” With their size their boldness should also grow, she had decided, they would raid nearer to Nydoecia next. “Marcus.” Iphigenia greeted him by his first name, the same way he would need to address her in town so as not to draw odd looks, “I would give you leave to rest but we must be on our way back before the day is done, we grow restless here in Silibard, it is not good to linger so long.” She could have just gone without him, but he had insisted he accompany her into Silibard.

With her, besides Marcus, rode three other women, Cassia, Gerty, and Betha. Cassia and Gerty were serving girls that had been with Iphigenia since the beginning, Cassia was tall and lithe and blonde. Gerty was tall as well but much more buxom. Betha was a daemon woman who fought in the arena, she was thin but all that she had was muscled and strong, her face was fierce and sharp. Betha would draw attention with her pale purple skin and tail, but being with a group would help townsfolk leave her be.
Last edited by That One Guy on Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Solo Wing Pixy on Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:59 am

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Dorelith

Silibard Forest

Late Morning

Marcus Trent





Marcus enjoyed the quiet peace of the morning as he returned to camp, leading a group of four others. At his left flank rode Leila, a girl of perhaps fourteen who was liberated shortly after Marcus. Her upbeat attitude was a welcome surprise for Marcus, given the appalling condition she and the other girls were found in. To his right was Mikhail, one of Naria's former gladiators. He spoke little, but his loyalty to Marcus and Iphigenia was as steel. Directly behind him rode Braids, an elf so named because of the twin braids she wore. She hadn't said a word since they had freed her, but her skill with a bow was evident, and she followed Marcus virtually wherever he went. The final member of their party was Lyndon, a young boy of ten who could not ride a horse on his own, and as such rode with Marcus. He gnawed hungrily at a piece of deer jerky purchased in town.

"Thanksh fer thuh food, Sher Marc, the boy spoke between bites, the food hampering his speech, "Ah can't 'member the lasht time ah ate somethin' other 'an grain and 'taytoes." Marcus glanced back at him, over his shoulder. Braids was giving the boy a look that said, 'he needs discipline, not a snack', but she quickly turned her attention elsewhere when Marcus looked back.

"You need protein to grow strong and healthy so you can be a brave knight one day. Not a lot of that in 'grain and 'taytoes.' Of course, the taste's not to bad either. Lyndon laughed.

They were nearing the camp now, and to signal their return, Marcus drew a hand to his lips and produced a loud, piercing whistle. Leila and Lyndon covered their ears at the sound. Moments later, Iphigenia rode out to greet them, unaccompanied by even a single guard, much to Marcus' dismay.

“Breakfast is waiting for you all by the fire, I shall be back before long and we can discuss where we go to next.” Iphigenia spoke with the kindness and grace befitting nobility, alongside the determination and confidence gained from hard work. It was a striking combination. Marcus helped Lyndon down while the others dismounted began to make their way to the fire. Braids lingered until Marcus nodded her onward, and she reluctantly went to go eat.

“Marcus. I would give you leave to rest but we must be on our way back before the day is done, we grow restless here in Silibard, it is not good to linger so long.”

"Sitting comfortably on this horse is all the rest I need, milady."He addressed her formally, despite her protests, and bowed his head. "If you are ready, we can depart immediately."




The ride was not long, but neither was it short. However, Marcus had no qualms making the trip twice. Iphigenia had wanted to be the last person to go, to insure that all of her follower's were tended to first. It was noble, but in Marcus' eyes, a bit naive. After all, what a grand rebellion it would be if it's leader keeled over from exhaustion. Nonetheless, she had insisted Marcus go before her, and he had insisted he accompany her. Thus, a compromise was reached and Marcus went twice.

"Milady, I took the liberty of procuring clothes more suited to travel for you," He reached into his saddlebag and pulled from it a folded parcel wrapped in linen and tied with string. "And there is an inn just up the way that will do for a proper wash. Also, we should pay a visit to the tanner. I had a man place an order and it should be finished by now.

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Solo Wing Pixy on Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:04 am




ImageDorelith

Red Harbor - Tane Residence

Mid afternoon

Talia Tane




Grab the letter opener. Lunge at her neck. Sever jugular. Kick in knee. Cut femoral artery. Unconscious in twelve seconds. Dead in twenty-two.
"...and can you believe the dress that Lady Evangela was wearing?"
"Frankly, it was embarrassing to even be seen with her."
"Oh, but the worst was Lord, oh, what's his..."
Her tiny brain must be full of this mindless dribble. How does she even function?
"..It's disgusting.
"What? Oh yes, I suppose Lord Pender's penchant for daemon mistresses is disgusting, but that's precisely what makes it so delectable a rumor, don't you think, Lady Tane?

Talia brought her mind back to reality. The woman in front of her, Blanche Blaire, was the gossip-and-cake gobbling, small-minded and large-bellied socialite that apparently had no occupation other than constantly bothering Talia with the kind of gossip and hearsay expected of girls a fourth of her age. Talia managed to tolerate her the way she tolerated almost everone she interacted with on a day-to-day basis: by playing elaborate scenes of their deaths over and over in her head. Blaire was a favorite of hers to picture though, just the thought of the buttery squelch of a knife cutting through the greasy little woman's skin sent tingles of excitement through Talia's body. Once, she had bumped into the woman, and accidentally sliced her arm with a cheese knife. The blood made a huge mess, but not once did the dolt question why Talia had a cheese knife whilst walking about the gardens.

Lady Blaire had but one redeeming quality, and thus far it has proved sufficient enough to keep her alive despite Talia's growing desire to end her life. Lady Blaire was the matron of House Blaire, a minor house with virtually no political clout, even in their home city of Red Harbor. However, the Queen, in her infinite wisdom, deemed it appropriate to grant House Blaire authority over customs in Red Harbor, making Blanche Blaire the only major obstacle to importing and exporting illegal goods through Red Harbor. Fortunately, Blanche Blaire was a lazy, incompetent, benefactor. She had virtually no hand in running customs, instead delegating the task to her underlings, all of whom were personally suggested by Talia herself. If Lady Blaire had even the smallest fraction of a sliver of intelligence, she'd realize that the men she employed were all former criminals, smugglers, and pirates that answered to Talia, allowing her to move anything she felt like through Red Harbor without any suspicion. If Talia killed the little piggy in front of her, someone competent might take her place, so for the time being, the fantasy would have to do.

"It certainly is, Lady Blaire. I'd love to continue, but I'm afraid there's something I must attend to immediately, lest the whole city crumble around us." Talia's smile was warm and inviting. She offered a polite curtsy to Lady Blaire, who returned it far less gracefully.

"Of course, my Lady."

Talia returned to her study and locked the door behind her. She swept the room for anything out of place and then, finding nothing, closed and locked the window as well. On her desk sat a neatly wrapped parcel, delivered precisely as expected. On the outside was a seal pressed on in black wax of a raven standing over a dead dove. The seal of the Lord of Woe. She broke the seal with her letter opener and unwrapped the parcel, revealing the stack of parchment within. Reports from her spies across Baekoth, records of all her deals and statements for all of her accounts. There was only one piece of paper that interested her, however. Strangely enough, the rumors had reached her before her spy's report. Slave caravans going missing between Ruhar and Nydoecia. One was nothing, and two was hardly noteworthy, but as of the writing of the report, eight caravans have gone missing in that area. Roughly seventy slaves unaccounted for, more than a few of which she had her eyes on. She had initially suspected to be the work of a rebellion faction she had been keeping tabs on, the Black Hands, but as she read over the report, it became clear she was mistaken. This was the work of a new player, a player with ambition, a player who could prove to be a rival if her forces continued to grow, but perhaps most importantly, a player who needed an ally. Talia couldn't suppress her smile as she prepared a blank sheet of parchment, an inkwell, and a quill. In half a week's time, a hundred Nydoecian slaves would march from Nydoecia to Ruhar with only a handful of guards. All Talia need do now was sit back and watch a mouse take her cheese.

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Talisman on Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:25 pm

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Taomar

Aurelis

Midday

Kaerwyn d'Aurelis & Kithrynne Côte-Bastille


"That," A voice asserted itself, "Was my first wand. A ugly chunk of iron, from a blacksmith's waste. It... Did it's job." Kaerwyn said, standing on the other side of the door that his servant had just passed through. Gwyn too stood beside his brother, and the servant a little bit behind the lord.

"And when it didn't you could've beaten someone with it. Damn thing was heavy," Gwyn added, though if Kaerwyn heard him he didn't show it. Instead he turned toward the servant girl and nodded his appreciation. "Ms. Côte-Bastille, you are to be my... Escort?" Kaerwyn asked, glancing back to Gwyn. "Come, let's speak more in my study. Would you like something to eat or drink? Celia here will fetch whatever you wish," He said, motioning toward the servant girl, who then bowed to their guest.

Kit turned to see two women, one of them the servant from before, and a man, enter the room. It was only when the white-haired woman spoke up that she realized that she was in fact a he, and that he was Lord Kaerwyn, the man she was hired to escort. Her cheeks flushed in embarrassment at her mistake. She approached them, hand outstretched and stammered out a reply.

"Ahem, yes. I may be, uh, small," she glanced down at Kaerwyn, "but I assure you, there's none better to escort you to Citha. I've taken countless jobs from the crown, and am a personal friend of the High Inquisitor himself." She smiled warmly, no longer flustered, and glanced to Celia, the servant."Water will be fine."

Kaerwyn looked down at the extended hand and then simply looked back up at the woman with a dry expression. He picked his hand up gingerly and almost hesitantly, but in an attempt to save them all for any undue awkwardness, it was Gwyn who swooped in to accept the Mercenary's handshake first. "Apologies for him miss. He's a smart little git, but he's not so sharp when it comes to people," He explained with a sharp glance toward his brother. His brother, who then shrugged and then finally accepted the handshake as well, though a lot less firmly and more akin to a dead fish. In an effort to explain he spoke, "People are unpredictable."

Still, the note about her being friends with the High Inquisitor caused a subtle tilt in his head as he beheld this woman. "So you know of Lord Ramháil as well? It's fortunate, for he is one of the individuals I plan to meet on my trip into Dorelith. I will be sure to pass on word of your work if it proves serviceable."

With no use for any other words, he turned on his heel and led the procession into the house and down a hallway toward an already open door. Through the door, Kaerwyn's study was revealed. A large room surrounded by hundred of tombs placed upon bookshelves that served as the four walls. The only place that was without books were the center of the back wall, which a fireplace took residence instead. In the middle of the room sat a large table, with piles of books flanking either side, and in the middle was a map of the Baekoth, including the locations of pertinent cities (and Aurelis).

Hovering in front of the map on the other end of the table, Kaerwyn waited for everyone to get themselves situated before he continued. Instead of standing beside his brother, Gwyn took a chair to their side and instead deigned to watch. ""Ms. Côte-Bastille," He began, "Your service is intended to take me to the gates of Citha," He said, pointing at the city of the map. "Before we leave, I wish to understand the planned route we would take to reach said destination, if you do not mind?"

Kithrynne made a note of Kaerwyn's hesitation to shake her hand as they proceeded to the latter's study. Guess he prefers books to people.

Tomes of all sorts littered Kaerwyn's study, and at the center of it all lay a map of Baekoth. Kit took a moment to take in the sheer volume of books in the room. Growing up in poverty, she never learned to read until after she became a bounty hunter, and even then, she only ever read letters of employment and receipts of payment. She couldn't imagine anyone needing as many books as Kaerwyn had, let alone reading them all. Then again, he was a wizard.

Kit focused her attention on the map as Kaerwyn asked what route they would be taking. The map had all the major cities and landmarks in Baekoth, as well as Aurelis, which made sense being that the map belonged to Kaerwyn. She already knew the route they were taking, so she got right to business.

"First we'll ride east by southeast until we reach the border of Taomar, then northeast to Nydoecia." As she spoke, she traced her finger from Aurelis along the described path. "We can rest there, then continue north to Citha. Barring any unforeseen complications, the entire trip should take no more than two weeks."She looked up at Kaerwyn. "You, uh, can ride a horse, can't you?"

"I do not walk from here to Hohak," Kaerwyn said aptly, though behind him Gwyn leveled a hand a short distance from the ground, and then made horse riding motions. "And whatever my brother implies, I do not ride a pony either," he said evenly without even turning to look at his brother. There was a point to his tone, but Gwyn didn't do anything other than stifle a laugh.

Once the fit had passed, Gwyn finally stood and nodded, "Aye, our little lord has a horse. And despite my pleads to the contrary, she is not a white mare," He said, making an act of seeming sad about it. Soon though, the act melted away and the usual aloof grin returned. "I took it upon myself to prepare a pair of the finest from our stable. One for the lord and one to carry the provisions," he said

"Unless you require one as well, at which point the horse will be deducted from your payment at the end of our arrangement," Kaerwyn said, rather evenly.

Kit couldn't help but smile at the larger brother's gesture. He was clearly the more personable of the two. And yet the little one is the emissary.

"I won't be needing a horse. I borrowed one from a friend before I left Nydoecia. He's stabled in town." Kit raised herself to her full height and clapped her hands together once. "If that's everything, we can leave immediately. No point in wasting daylight." As she finished, the servant girl, Celia, returned with a tray in hand, a single silver cup of water placed neatly in the center. "Oh, thanks doll. I'm fu-uh, ahem, very parched. Hot day. Armor. You get it." Kit took the cup from the platter and began to guzzle the cool liquid, however, she stopped herself, remembering that she was in the presence of nobility. Proper manners are such a drag. Placing the cup gingerly back on the platter and nodding to the servant, Kit turned her attention back to the brothers. "After you, Lord Kaerwyn.

"I completely agree," Kaerwyn said, nodding his head. Taking a moment to give a pleased nod to Celia, he then led Kithrynne and Gwyn out of the study and back into the main landing, and further still, out of the manor's front door and toward the stables. Upon their arrival they were met by the stable master holding the reins to a pair of paint horses, one weighed down with a single saddle, the other with the pack of provisions that would last them the trip to Citha.

"My Lords. Milady," He greeted, slipping the reins of a horse into Kaerwyn's hands. With not a little bit of effort, Kaerwyn finally managed to mount the horse and turned the beast toward Gwyn. "Remember what I said Gwyn. I would also appreciate it if you would at least put forth an attempt to break ground on my library," Kaerwyn said.

"I'm going to miss you too Kaer. Here, don't go forgetting this," Gwyn returned, handing Kaerwyn his Rowan staff. Taking the staff, Kaerwyn inspected it for a moment before sliding it into the saddle behind him. "Thank you Gwyn. I will be back within a few months. Please, try not to spend our entire treasury in that time," Kaerwyn said, displaying the minimal of smiles in the reply.

"Ms. Côte-Bastille? I believe it is time we are off," He urged.

Kithrynne walked beside the two horses until they reached the village stables, where she had left her horse. A week past, Kit had liberated her horse from a drunkard who could was having trouble staying upright in the saddle. Guthrie, so named after the name the drunk kept shouting as Kit rode off on the forest trail, was a healthy, young stallion, jet black save for two white spots around his eyes. She paid the stable master his fee and climbed up on the horse, patting it gently on the neck.

"Hey Gut. Missed you. Guthrie let out an uninterested nicker. The pair set out from Aurelis and moved east by southeast. Hours turned to days and meters into miles. They crossed the border from Taomar into Dorelith without much trouble and continued east.

As dusk neared on the fourth day, Kit stopped the horses and dismounted. She glanced at the stars that began to show in the fading light.
"The village of Silibard is about half a day's ride from here. We can reach it by midday tomorrow if we leave at dawn." She yawned, visibly tired, and motioned to a nearby patch of soft grass behind a collection of boulders. "This place is as good as any to make camp."

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby That One Guy on Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:19 pm

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Dorelith
Silibard
Early Evening
Iphigenia D'ivore



Iphigenia’s smile widened when Ser Trent presented her with the wrapped parcel, the women behind her having a good giggle at Marcus’s expense, “Thank you Marcus, you are too kind. Now do me another kindness and call me Iphi from now on, or at least while in Silibard.” She reasoned with him, amused at his dutifulness. It had taken some getting used to, being spoken to so formally; the courtesies she had to exercise as a slave concubine were very different from the ones she had to recall from when she was a little girl.

“Wouldn’t want her grace to lose her head, it’d cut the rebellion a bit short.” Gerty mused, who had never called her anything but Iphi, as they had known each other since the young princess had come into Duran’s ownership.

Next to her Cassia snorted. “Yeah a rebellion no one even got a chance to hear of. The secret rebellion we’d be called. Came and went, just like that.” She snapped her fingers.

“The more we grow in number the bolder we can be. I would not allow us to brave even humble Silibard with the numbers we had in the beginning. But even so, we have not breached a hundred, and not all of those in our group are trained fighters.” Iphigenia responded, referring to Cassia, Gerty, and the other serving girls that had served Duran, herself included, which numbered ten in total. Then there were the children they had adopted from the raids. Iphigenia was disgusted but not unsurprised that their masters dared to take them to Ruhar, around such danger and violence. She hadn’t been much older than they when she began helping tend to the gladiators for Duran. There were two, and Iphigenia had been at a loss of what to do with them when they found them, they were a rebellion after all, and the children would be in constant danger if they were associated with them. However the children were also former slaves, already branded, rope burn scars on their little wrists, they couldn’t hide what they were and try to pass them off to someone without risking them being sold off all over again. Where would they even find anyone willing to take them? Better they be in danger with people who cared about them than with strangers who didn’t give a damn. Besides, she had found them to be a joy.

“Not yet, I’m getting pretty good with my sword if I do say so myself.” Said Gerty.

“Yes, you’re the only one who would say so.” Cassia laughed as Gerty gave her a shove, almost knocking her off her steed; it was Gerty's turn to laugh now.

“At least you are all far better than when I first saw you.” Betha spoke up for the first time since they had ridden out, her tone more serious. “But you have yet to face a real enemy; we’ve always outnumbered the guards when we raid. What we’ve met so far is nothing.”

“So she does speak.” Cassia rode over next to her, “We’ve faced enemies very real my dear, they were just different than the ones you had to face.”

“No they were the same, they were men, mostly. Just horny men, so perhaps you should have said ‘in a different way than the ones you had to face’.” Gerty quipped.

Iphigenia’s smile faded, her eyes trained ahead, her heart beating faster. She had not spoken to Ser Trent about what it was like to be Duran’s slave; he did not know what she had done. Surely he wasn’t daft, he would have to know. But she had never said it, perhaps he had never thought about it, and Iphigenia didn’t want him to think about it or know about it. A noblewoman was supposed to be untouched, especially a princess, until her wedding night. A noblewoman who was not ‘pure’ and untouched was a scandal and looked down upon. Iphigenia did not fancy being looked down upon by her newly sworn knight; she did not want him to feel like she had let him and the rest of her people down. How precarious ‘honor’ was, over something so silly like maidenhood, she cursed the practice and lamented over it. Ser Trent had seen fit to swear himself to her even though she was a woman; she hoped his wisdom extended to seeing past an old tradition that she could not keep. She could not bare to lose the respect of an ally so connected to her past.

“Well, Iphigenia only had to deal with one horny man.” Iphigenia’s heart sank as Cassia spoke. “The little devil was a natural; I taught her everything she knows. She had him begging for her cunt and he wouldn’t share her with anyone, no matter the price they offered.” She bragged.

“I see Silibard up ahead.” Iphigenia announced loudly, cutting Cassia off from saying any more, quickening Brandybuck’s pace. She thanked the gods her face was so well trained to become stone, not even a blush graced her cheeks even though she was mortified. Cassia seemed to sense that she was displeased, and kept relatively quiet the rest of the way.

Upon entering Silibard Ser Trent led them to the inn he had told them of, where they were able to enjoy a communal bath, paying the inn keeper extra to send someone to fetch suitable clothing for Gerty, Cassia, and Betha. Once alone Cassia had apologized and asked what was the matter, and after Iphigenia had explained Cassia had scoffed and reminded her that her body and what she did with it was nothing to be ashamed of. That even if nobles held those traditions Iphigenia was an unusual instance, and unusual instances came with exceptions. The rest of the bath was spent splashing each other with water and enjoying the warmth of it.

Getting dressed was another matter; Marcus had meant kindness when he had gotten Iphigenia new clothes no doubt, propriety for her rank while still not being too obvious about it. Unfortunately this did not work to Iphigenia’s advantage, she had instructed the inn keeper to fetch modest clothes, and they were more modest than the ones Iphigenia was now wearing. Already there had been a certain divide between Iphigenia and the other serving girls. As Duran’s concubine she hadn’t slept in the same room as they did for years, she had enjoyed finery that they did not, better food and wine, parties and free time. What’s more they had been forced to wait on her, brush her hair, change her linens and the like. They were gracious and kind enough not to make too much of an ordeal of it, they could have turned bitter and against her. It was not unheard of for a concubine to be the most hated woman in the household by all but the head of house. Instead they had chosen to understand and stick together; continuing to watch each other’s backs. So when Iphigenia put on the dark green sleeveless doublet with leaf embroidery, no one made mention of the subtle differences in quality compared to theirs.

“Bless your patience Marcus, we took long enough.” Iphigenia greeted Marcus, who was waiting for them. “I trust you are hungry? We certainly are by now, we’ll eat once we take care of the business you had at the tanner."

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby AugustArria on Thu May 08, 2014 9:29 am

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Dorelith

Darkwood

Nautical Dawn

Ephraim of Theren and Dez



The Darkwood was aptly named. Even now, at first light, it carried an air of permanent dusk about it, the trunks and branches of the trees usually a dull grey or even blackened, twisted and gnarled beyond what was generally considered normal for whatever their species be. A thick fog swirled along the ground, reaching thigh-height even on someone as tall as the traveler that now moved through it. He couldn’t see where his feet were landing, but he didn’t need to. He just sort of… knew where they should go, but if ever he stopped to consider the how and why of it, he immediately started to trip and stumble, so he didn’t bother giving it a lot of thought. Somewhere overhead, a raven cawed, the grating sound the only one in the silence about him. Occasionally, a shadow would pass overhead, but such occurrences usually brought a slight smile to his face more than anything. Sure, griffons might be good things to follow, but that was assuming they were willing to lead. Osiris seemed more inclined to follow him than anything, at least for right now.

Dark and gloomy as it was, Ephraim completely missed the trap until he’d stepped into it, abruptly finding himself suspended, upside-down, from a rope tied to the branch of a tree, like a rather unfortunately-large rabbit. The reverential silence was shattered by the undignified yelp that escaped him upon discovering this predicament, and he swayed slightly on the line holding him. Perhaps, if he’d weighed more than the average pile of twigs, his heft might have snapped the line, but whomever had made this trap had made it well, and it was holding most admirably.

But who on earth would be hunting in Darkwood? He thought he was one of few people stupid enough to even dare traversing the place—locals liked to say that the mist would drive you mad if you breathed it long enough. Ephraim didn’t really believe that, but he knew that lots of other people did. Anyone who’d dwelled here long enough to bother with snares was probably crazy, but the mist wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Well… his pack was a bit too far away for him to reach, and he had the sneaking suspicion that Sir would only find his predicament funny, so it was try to wiggle out on his own or hope that perhaps the owner of this trap was a benevolent kind of crazy, and not the man-eating kind.

“Uh, hello?” he called out into the forest. The sensation of blood rushing to his head wasn’t really pleasant, but the fact that circulation was slowly being cut off in his ankle was worse, so he wasn’t going to try moving himself too much to fix that. “I seem to have found your trap, and I’d feel really bad if I had to destroy it or something, so… can I get a little help here?” He really had no idea if the maker of the trap was even close to his location, but he was finding that his magic was being just as unresponsive as the forest, so he wouldn’t just be breaking himself down anytime soon.

Stupid magic.

The owner of the trap did not come by immediately. In fact, for roughly half an hour there was little but silence to return Ephraim's calls. Eventually, however, heavy footfalls could be heard approaching his position, the sound of someone making no effort whatsoever to conceal their approach. A figure came upon the dangling human from behind, such that he would have to twist in the air to see him. His silhouette was massive, closer to seven feet than six, and he looked to weigh perhaps three times Ephraim's weight.

When he stepped out of the shade of the tree and allowed the dim morning light to hit him, it became clear that he was no human, but an orc, and a well-worn one at that, with only a few patchy tufts of grey-white hair remaining to him. His right eye was a milky white color, though the left was still a dark, solid red. His skin was dark, a mottled grey-green, and scarred a hundred times over. Across his back, attached to the harness he wore over his chest, was a massive war mallet of stone, easily surpassing Ephraim's height. Also there was a half filled canvas sack, the bottom of which was stained a dark bloody red, the source of which was currently dripping down into the mist behind him. The orc studied the dangling human before him for a moment, his facial expression approaching amusement. He spoke with a guttural, broken handle on the Common Tongue, clearly not something he was in the habit of using.

"Lucky not bear claws. Would chop your leg."

Trying to twist himself around far enough to be able to look the speaker in the eye—if indeed that were even possible considering his present state of base-over-apex—was not the easiest thing he’d ever done, but by some awkward combination of thrashing and slightly more coordinated undulation, Ephraim managed it. He managed it red-faced and even more disheveled than he’d started, but he managed it, finding himself staring at the shins of a pair of leather boots. Not terribly-made, either, though this was hardly the time to be considering such matters, and he put the thought from his mind as well as he could.

"Most likely,” he admitted, still swinging back and forth slightly from his efforts to rotate his person. That particular kind of trap may well have taken his foot off at the ankle… unless the magic did that thing it did sometimes and kicked in without him knowing it. Given his luck, it wouldn’t have. Tilting his head down—well, up, presently, he squinted slightly. It was rather obvious even through the mist that his interlocutor was an orc, but it was becoming increasingly apparent that he was also of quite an age. That was highly irregular, and perhaps despite himself, Ephraim was immediately curious. Still… perhaps it was better to take care of first things first.

"I don’t suppose you would be willing to cut me down, please? It would be much appreciated.” He tried for a smile, but it looked more like a half-formed grimace than anything. He had one of those unfortunate faces.

The orc watched him closely, and it was possible to watch his mental faculties work, to process the words that Ephraim had spoken. When finished, he grinned slightly, his teeth misaligned and yellow, chipped in more than a few places. It was not unheard of for orcs to consume the flesh of humans, living or dead, and indeed, he had known many in his day that were fond of the taste. Whether he had participated in such feasts was information he planned on keeping from the dangling human. What mattered was that he didn't intend on eating him now, even caught in his snare as he had been.

"Be still," he commanded, drawing a short skinning knife from his belt and approaching Ephraim. With one immensely powerful hand he grasped him by the back of his collar, the other using the knife to slash the rope. When gravity pulled his weight down, the orc pulled on the collar and held him up, letting his feet hit the ground first. Letting him go, he sheathed the knife again, patting at his chest twice with a closed fist.

"Dez. I live in the woods."

Ephraim straightened, making a serious effort not to fall over as his blood righted itself in his body again, producing a fleeting, but powerful bout of nausea. Gradually his complexion evened out, and he brought one hand up to the back of his head before dropping it ineffectually and shifting his weight from one foot to the other. From this angle, it was a little easier to properly make eye contact with his rescuer—and also technically his trapper in the first place, but he wasn’t going to linger on that—and the half-elf blinked forest-colored eyes at the scarred orc, face cracking into the strange grimace-smile again, though it was touched with relief this time. "Thank you, Dez.” He switched to his own rudimentary orcish afterwards, because if there was an opportunity to see if it worked, now was that opportunity. He ran into orcs almost never.

"This is Ephraim. Lives… he made a vague gesture with his hands. "On the march. There wasn’t really a way to say wanders, perhaps because orcs needed no word for something so aimless. Most of their vocabulary was tilted towards war, which made sense. The closest thing to 'traveler' was either someone who marched, or else a bandit, and he really didn’t want to call himself one of those. It wasn’t like he stole things, after all.

The big orc let out a sound that was somewhat reminiscent of a dog barking, mixed with a warcry, but the glint in his eye indicated that it was actually a laugh. He had not heard his mother tongue for many years, as very few commoner humans knew anything of it, and none of those made passes through the Darkwood. He clapped Ephraim heartily on the back. "It is a useless language you have learned!" he said, speaking in Orcish as well. "Most who speak it will kill you before they speak to you!" Very few orcs could be reasoned with, it was true. Dez liked to think he was one of them, however.

"You will come to my home before you march on. It is not far, and you are small. I will make for you a proper meal, orc-speaking human."

The sound that Ephraim produced was a bit more like something between a cough and a wheeze, mostly because the back-clapping had knocked most of the wind right out of him. He could only smile sheepishly at the pronouncement, and honestly—be incredibly glad that he’d found one of the very few orcs who wasn’t going to kill him before talking to him. It was almost too fortunate, and he began to wonder what horrors he was going to suffer later for this stroke of good fortune. He wasn’t generally a superstitious person, but experience seemed to confirm that when it came to pure luck, it was hard to be more impoverished than he was, and his charmed moments never lasted very long.

Still… that wasn’t a reason not to enjoy them while they did, was it?

"Sounds excellent.” He switched back over to common, unsure how to reproduce the adjective in orcish, then reached over and shouldered the pack he’d inadvertently dropped in the process of his stringing-up. Nothing had fallen out of it, and so it required only minimal adjustment before it sat properly against his back again. His bow was undamaged, which was unsurprising, and he slung it over his shoulder, picking his way through the forest after his very large new acquaintance.

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Re: Revolution of the Heretical [IC]

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Yonbibuns on Mon May 12, 2014 5:35 pm

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Toamar

Ruhar – The Skinny Harlot, near the Arena

Late Twilight

Gallyn Weatherbee and Adair Montecello



It started out slowly at first, but quickly picked up speed as weather this close to the ocean often did. Before Adair reached the tavern, the sheen of water pouring from the skies was in full force as he grasped the handle of 'The Skinny Harlot's' street-facing door. Even as the rains berated the tattered shroud he pulled up over his head, Adair paused a moment to cast a glance behind him, looking for anything out of place. But in a city of Daemons.....he was the only thing out of place...

Tugging at the handle and shutting the door just as quickly as he entered, Adair shook off the shroud and lowered it from his head, earning him more than a few looks from the residents inside. Ignoring the majority of them, Adair strode over to the table with the lone figure seated by himself. A hand beckoned him to sit at the empty chair without turning, knowing Adair was here by the change in the atmosphere behind him. A smile split the tall Daemon's face when he heard the clank of the coins as Adair dropped the small pouch before him. "I hope these were not taken from one of my brothers.?" A hand jutted out and pushed a pint toward Adair as the head owner of the hand turned and locked the black gaze on Adair.

"Our mutual friend the diplomat actually." Adair took his seat and let his gaze drift over the crowd, seeing they were mostly fixated on something across the room. A bard by the sounds of the singing, but from his position, Adair couldn't see the singer. He fingered the handle of the pint cautious to accept a drink he hadn't seen prepared.

"It's not poison." Ra'Halik said in an amused tone. "That would be a bitter waste of poison. If I wanted you dead, I would speak the words. Nearly every creature in this city would glady strike at you if I simply asked. You've overstayed your welcome a bit, chatter is beginning to rise."

Adair studied the daemon for a second before taking a sip of the cider, relishing the nourishment it brought to his tired body. The past few days had not been kind. "Thanks for the suggestion, I'll keep it in mind--"

"It was a warning." Ra'Halik said suddenly in a dangerously low tone. "The red-garbed bastard you dispatched for us is something I thank you for, but you have exhausted the favors of your family in Ruhar. Anyone speaking to you is at risk, and unless you plan on joining the pits, you may want to seek travel out of the city. And soon." With a jingle of the small purse Adair had dropped when he approached, Ra'Halik smiled before tucking it away. "I thank you for your business, and I do hope to see you again, when you are less of a nuisance of course. Good luck Adair." And as quickly as their interaction had begun, Ra'Halik disappeared into the rains through the door.

Adair knew better in the ways the daemon worked than to take offense at the words. He knew Ra'Halik was right. He would need to plan his next move, and fast.

The music within the tavern died out to drunken din, mostly composed of raucous laughter and the rhythmic slap of hands and goblets across individual tables. Whichever way he looked at it, Gallyn had done a fine job weaseling out the cheer from such stone-faced denizens. Not that Daemons were particularly known for their over seriousness, at least among their own, but things had changed of late. He could feel it in his bones. The atmosphere had become heavier these days, filled with ill-intentioned whispers and gossip about a slithering Queen in the North. One who demanded bent knees and fealty. Good luck, he thought, should she deign to ask such things from the Daemons—they'd suffered enough and joining some Messiah, unless she promised equality for all, would be on their low end of priorities.

He shuffled around stools and tables, occasionally ducking beneath them so that he may travel the length of the room far more quickly. Ah, one of the many advantages to being so small, he supposed. Swishing tails twitched and butted against his shoulders as he weaved between them, aiming for the one place in the back that seemed unoccupied (from his vantage point, anyway). It was difficult to tell. Only a couple more tables, and a few more trouncing knees, and he'd appear in the opening; unscathed and whole. He bobbed up from beneath the last table and sauntered towards where he thought there would be an empty table. Sorely mistaken, he was, for there was another man already there. Looking worse for wear, while a particularly shady looking Daemon headed towards the door and sifted through like a ghost in the night.

He had the look of a mercenary about him, but not quite. Scrutinizing him from his side, only standing a few hands away may have appeared odd—it wasn't likely that anyone noticed him, anyhow. A small unassuming man often went unnoticed when troubles needed tending to. The bearded fellow seemed far more preoccupied by his goblet. He might have taken for him a sailor, or a roguish pirate, or even a freeman fighting in the arena. However, none of those seemed appropriate. Either way, he looked as if he had stories to tell and Gallyn would always have the ears to listen. Scrambling onto the adjacent stool proved far more difficult than he'd envisioned, while clinging onto his instrument, though he did manage it well enough by climbing the wooden rungs and swinging himself into a cross-legged position.

“Now, you've the look of an adventurer,” he lamented softly, nodding his head as if he were privy to secrets he'd yet to hear, “Or an exhausted sellsword. Er, gladiator? Street merchant—no, no, bodyguard.” Gallyn tapped two fingers on the table, leaned forward and arched his eyebrows. Assassin? Whatever exchange he'd glimpsed had not been one shared between reunited companions. Hardly any Daemons dealt with humans unless it was necessary; unless they had prior dalliances with them or deals that suited both parties. They were not entirely unaccommodating, after all. They simply cut very short deals.

“Forgive me. I thought I spotted rain clouds. Thunder storms. A sad, three-legged horse. That is to say, my name is Gallyn Weatherbee and you look as if a pint might not be enough to soothe those feathers of yours.” He leaned on his elbows, chin propped against his knuckles, “It's been awhile since I've seen someone without horns.” He missed normal conversation. Ones without the silent insinuation that he would soon be gone.

They were starting to grow weary of his presence as well.

"The singer." Adair said as he studied the tiny being who abruptly climbed up and planted himself at the table, taking in the instrument he carried and the sound of his voice. His eyes continued past the halfling before him and to the tables surrounding them, realizing that wherever the little singer went, people were watching. It was uncomfortable at best, but he had a feeling turning the little man away would stir up a bit more trouble from his fans in the tavern.

"All and none little master." Adair said as he began to address Gallyn's inquisitions in the order they flew at him. "I am whatever I need to be."

Studying the halfling for a moment, Adair wondered in simple curiosity what the little thing was doing in Ruhar. So far from his native lands to the West. Mentally shrugging off the thought, Adair found he was being rude with his silence. "Call me Sam if you must call me anything." Of late, his abbreviated second name had been his introductory go to if he needed a name. Although this far South, there were still a few who were looking for him on their Bloody Queen's behest. Even if one were unable to decipher the crude etchings of his face on the posters further North, ill rumors about the Montecello's ruin were not questions he loved to address without his sword. "Horns are a commodity in this lovely town, wish I had a few right about now. But you have a finer talent than horns Sir, I caught the trail end of your singing as I drug myself through the door."

The little Sir before him was obviously in the mood to talk, so Adair decided he'd let him talk. "You must have a few stories on your travels here, tell me Gallyn, what news have you heard of the world?"

“Aye. The singer, the tale-swapper, the tiny man with the loud voice,” Gallyn chirped, bobbing his head amiably. He'd been known by worse monikers. Midget, bastard-boy, tiny, dwarf. Singer was as tame as they came, though he understood well enough that this man was only putting a face to the voice he may have heard bugling through the tavern. Halfling bards were far and few in between, notably because his kin preferred to keep their heads comfortably buried in bluebell-littered meadows. Everything they could not see, or understand, frightened them. Not he, not since he'd first stepped foot outside of Creig's trusty fence. He did not notice anyone staring at them. Truthfully, Gallyn may not have thought anything of it, either, for Daemons looked at humans, and halflings, alike as if they were stray dogs sitting at the dinner table.

"A mystery, as well,” he added with a smile, crooking one eyebrow. “Those who are whatever they need to be, tend to be interesting folk.” Jack of all trades, and master of none. Who'd said that to him before? Maybe his father. Either way, he still envied those who dabbled in a little bit of everything—those were the sort that experienced the world from all avenues, even if some of them were unsavory. Or too savory, depending on your outlook. Perhaps, he'd always be Gallyn the singer and nothing else.

He leaned back from his chin-dipped perch and settled back in his seat, casually crossing his legs and adjusting his lyre so he could rest his hands flat across its body. For longer than he'd care to admit, it had been a truer companion than any he'd met on the road. A bard's life was often lonely, even if their acquaintances ranged in the hundreds; spidery networks, however useful, hardly meant he had meaningful friendships. “Well met, Sam.” And he meant it. Those who disinclined to state their name in its entirety usually had something to hide, or rumors that they wished to keep away from friendly conversation. Just as well, Gallyn did not mind. He had nothing to his own name; notoriety hardly plagued little folk and all bards, regardless of their race, flitted in and out of conversation like phantoms. They were not known for anything but their voices, but the tales they told. People often focused on the information they passed, rather than the speaker themselves. It suited him just fine, for Gallyn had no enemies.

“We'd might'n have less shadows wondering when we are leaving,” he agreed, chuckling under his breath. As harmless as he was, even halflings were not welcome in Ruhar for longer than intended. Bards, as well. Only Daemons, or those who wished to marry one, were welcome to live within these walls. Gallyn, please. Ah, sadly, even if I sang everyday, they'd eventually see me to the gates. Without horns, we are all just vagrants and strangers.” Being called sir felt peculiar enough.

His eyes brightened when Adair mentioned stories and news. Of course, Gallyn peddled in news. Wove stories like colorful tapestries, and strung them out for all to see. He offered them gladly. “Word spreads quickly in Ruhar. Perhaps, quicker than you'd expect given how secretive people are around us,” he said, pausing before a grin broke across his lips, “I'm very nearly sure that economics and poor harvest is what you'd like to hear. Interesting things are happening. Events are brewing, if you will. The Messiah Queen's barbaric witch-hunt aside, there are people moving against her. Some quietly, others loudly, as if they want her to know. Many someone's ambushed an incoming wagon of slavers. Bound here, though none have mentioned who, exactly, they are, and those who've searched for them haven't returned. Some say that they've joined them.” He licked his lips, and nodded sagely. “They say they fight to end slavery.” Little else was known of them, to be honest. Either everyone was keeping tight-lipped or they were busy fighting whatever battle they'd chosen for themselves, too busy to squawk in taverns.

“Another group opposes her in the open, imagine that—led by a wild woman. A Daemon leader, they say. I'll admit, the other whispers are too fanciful to utter aloud,” he continued, gnarling his fingers in front of his mouth like fangs. “They say that she accepts everyone, regardless of race or birth. Mayhaps, even a little man. Fighting as one! Towards what? I'm not sure, my friend.” He respected warriors with a wide-eyed, childish curiosity, but he still could not imagine himself wielding a blade, let alone felling another living soul.

'He does like to listen to himself speak doesn't he?' The thought was a slight to Gallyn as Adair listened to the halfling's words. He mentally berated himself and forced his eyes to steady before they narrowed. It wasn't a fair account for the tiny singer to be affronted in such a way, even if it was all in Adair's mind. Gallyn had only done as Adair asked and even shared what he knew of happenings within the lands. Even more, he was seemingly pleased with Adair's company, even with the short time the two had sat across from one another. The pit in his stomach broadened at the realization of how bitter he was becoming in the past year or so. There was a time when he would have hopped up on the table and invited Gallyn up beside with him for a song, regardless of who was watching.

Adair was quickly being drawn into his own head again as Gallyn's words became a distant echo in the background. Memories were filling his head and bringing him back to a time when--

His forefinger gently touched the band hiding inside his shirt. The world around him seemed to focus once more as the sounds began pouring back in, breaking the calm of his delusion. Gallyn was beginning to explain what was going on in the lands and Adair's ears pricked up, as did his body, leaning forward to listen more intently to the man's news. 'People moving against the Messiah Queen?' It would happen eventually he knew, but disappearing slaves and a rebel wild woman? Not exactly the news of houses lining up to take off her head, but it was something.

Despite himself, Adair cracked a very rare smile when Gallyn hinted at himself being accepted to the rebel woman's cause. Without intention, he imagined the little singer all dressed in oversized mail running at a line of enemies waving an axe twice his size. "Now that would make for a great song." He chided with a grin. "Just swing for the knees, they'd never see you coming!"

Even in the mood he was forced into with the decisions at hand, Adair was finding Gallyn's company a more than welcome distraction. His spirits even lifted a bit, improving his mood considerably. Sitting back in his chair, he glanced out the window, seeing how dark it had become. "So what's next for you on your trip, Gallyn Weatherbee?" He was genuinely curious where Gallyn might be planning on heading. Based on Gallyn's quip about the Deamon city they currently resided, he couldn't imagine the halfling staying in Ruhar much longer.

Had Gallyn any morsel of dignity or self-preservation, he may have noted how loud, and how much, he rambled. Since this was not the case, he would not have noticed any unhappy ears should they have presented themselves. Who did not enjoy having civil, friendly conversation? It was a breath of air, considering the sometimes less-than-welcoming shadows hunkered in Ruhar. Being far too friendly was a curse he'd been born to carry, and one he'd willingly burden himself with if he had had the choice. Usually, when dealing with folk that followed a somewhat steady line of morality and kindliness, treating them respect earned the same in return. While most bards had the uncanny ability to read between the lines, walking the slender tightrope of conversation with an inkling of intuition, Gallyn eschewed around niceties and enjoyed saying whatever popped into his tiny skull. People generally liked him, but others often wondered how he hadn't been killed.

His eyes followed the man's fingers, slipping beneath his shirt. Gallyn was perceptive enough not to ask any personal questions, flicking his eyes away. Bards would willingly offer their own tales, but they hardly ever badgered for anyone else' (and still, somehow managed to hear them).

His new found companion looked as if his eyes were glazing over—else, he was thinking about something important. Gallyn leaned forward and fought the innate urge to sweep his hand in front of his face, pursing his lips. It wasn't like he could lean that far forward, anyway. Instead, he paused momentarily and continued filling in the details. The wildling woman, he'd heard, had brazenly announced that it would be her blade that would sever the Queen's head from her shoulders. Nothing would stop her. Her methods were questionable, but her men seemed to have taken a shining to her. The other group, as he'd been saying, was far more mysterious. Like white knights sweeping in from the hills, rescuing and freeing slaves wherever there were caravans. There were mere whispers of strong men and familiar colors, but naught else. He wondered why none of his fellow bards had heard anything else, or if there was much else to tell. He wanted to find out.

News of both groups seemed to intrigue his singular audience member, so Gallyn's grin grew wider and he nodded vigorously. “Surprising isn't it? Seems to me that the more influence the Messiah Queen gains, the more head-hunters are cropping up; all with the same head in mind.” He had no opinion on the matter, besides the fact that he found her repulsive. Anyone who burned and savaged innocent villages, as well as its people, for such ridiculous reasons were beyond forgiveness. If only he were a knight. Or a mercenary, or even a jack-of-all trades like Sam. Someone who could do something other than swell his lungs with song. He might have joined in the battle. He caught Adair's amusement and waggled his eyebrows, “You're picturing that, aren't you?” He laughed loudly, slapping the table between them, “General Weatherbee, slayer of ankles and knees. I knew my day would come.”

He shrugged his shoulders and leaned back in his seat again. What would he do now? No longer was he as welcome in Ruhar as he had been upon arrival, and he expected that someone might approach him by the end of the night to see when, exactly, he was planning on leaving. There were no caravans passing through that he had seen, nor anyone planning to travel on the roads. The ports were an option, but he had no destination in mind. Bards hardly did. He tapped his lips, shifted in his chair and sighed softly, “You wouldn't happen to have a caravan hidden under that cloak of yours, would you?” A crook of a smile, and another lighthearted shrug. “I go where the wind takes me, ah, that is to say, I have no planned destination. But, happening onto wild women and slave-rescuers, seems like a good bet.”

Gallyn tilted his head, rubbing his chin between his forefinger and thumb, “And you, Sam. Where will you go?”

"I don't unfortunately," Adair resisted the urge to slide his cloak aside and check for a miniature caravan. All of this talk of little commanders and the constant reminder of Gallyn before him, a miniature caravan hidden under his cloak didn't seem all that far fetched at the moment. "I tend to be a force of one these days. One person fails to make a very successful caravan." Over the past year, Adair had made it by any way he could really while steadily heading away from his old home in Nydoecia. It hadn't been easy, and the constant stress he was both forced upon, and brought on himself hardly made it easier on his travels.

The wild woman Gallyn spoke of intrigued Adair more than anything they had spoken of until this point. Someone openly defying the forces he was both running from, and striking back against in his own way, was obviously something that would pull his interest. Yet something nagged at him about the attack of the slaver caravans. There was a myriad of possibilities that could explain the happenings, the most simple being mere bandits that plagued the roads more often of late. But rumors would fly if that were the case, and Gallyn didn't seem to know much about the events surrounding the attacks or he would have shared more. Of course, Gallyn could be spot on as well, they could be nothing more than slave rescuers and sympathizers doling out their own form of justice. Whatever the case, it was more than worth checking out. And Nydoecia was in the general path of the slave trade with Ruhar these days.

"Northeast I think..." Adair said after a moment, answering Gallyn's question rather vaguely. He figured a conversation of this length may require a bit more explaining for sake of courtesy. "I'm quite familiar with the area between here and Nydoecia. I have some business back there that I can attend to. You'd fit in a bit more there than you would....well here." Making a slight gesture to the room around them, he tapped his fingers to his head, indicating the horns shown by many around them in the tavern. "Less of these too." The gesture was less mocking than that simply indicating, but he could see the more tempermental daemons taking a bit of offense. "In any case, you're welcome to join me. Who knows? You may get the jump on the information wagon surrounding your slave heroes."

Gallyn let out an exaggerated sign, as if he were truly expecting Adair to pull out a caravan from beneath his cloak. Though, he wouldn't have been surprised if he'd said that he'd been following his own caravan, and only stopped at the Skinny Harlot for a pint (unwittingly coupled with lingering eyes and tight-lipped frowns). Unfortunately, it seemed as if they shared the same lack of amity; neither of them had anyone else to travel with, and both seemed to have stayed beyond their welcome. He scratched his chin thoughtfully, bobbing his head. One man certainly made a poor caravan. What with the lack of horses, companionship and safety. Security, he'd learned in his earlier days traveling down dangerous roads, often meant wayfaring in groups. Raiders, bandits and thieves usually thought twice about ambushing well-armed folk walking in larger bodies. Like animals, he supposed.

Slave rescuers and wildlings, both battling the same foe in a roundabout way. He wondered whether or not there were any connections between them. If one group solely freed slaves, why was there such a lack of information? Surely, the freed slaves would not have all joined the troupe. One, or two, might have wagged their tongues in appreciation, in adoration. It was strange, to say the least. The Messiah Queen, and the royal denizens of Ruhar, both supported slavery, though their treatment varied as far as he could tell. They did business together, as well. His curiosity drove him to ask questions, to dive deeper into the city to see what he may hear. His efforts, so far, had been fruitless.

Until Adair's next words cut through their reflective silence. Northeast, I think. Northeast! His eyes lit up. Nearly dance with excitement. How such simple words—spoken so curtly—could snare his interest, was amazing in itself. He was promptly engrossed. “You are! You are. Familiar, that is. I've actually never been to Nydoecia,” he chirped, pausing and pushing slightly away from the table he'd found himself instinctively leaning over, “Then, that settles it.” Another wide grin broke across his face, making him appear far younger than his centennial-years gave him credit for. Something of a friend made in Ruhar of all places, he'd never of thought. Perhaps, he was lucky, after all. “We're a two-man caravan.” When he laughed, several horned heads turned to regard them acidly.

“Aye, and you may find what you're looking for, as well.”

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