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Gallow Ó Tuathaláin

Soldier, royal and holy, under banner and blade of the Nine Ulaid.

0 · 492 views · located in Calisma

a character in “Calisma”, originally authored by The Adversary, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

Full Name: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin
Nickname: Glaigh
Gender: Male
Age: 34
Sexual Orientation: Undetermined
Height: 6'7'' (6'9'' fully armored)
Race: Human
Class Warrior
Skills: Combat Prowess, Tactical Expertise
Weakness(es): Though capable of impressive speed, Gallow's armor tends to hinder mobility (in the upper body) and vision.
Equipment: Other than armor and the clothes underneath, much of what Gallow carries consists of dried foods, water and coin. He has with him a horse to aid in the carrying of extra equipment, including, amongst other things, a blanket and bedroll, hatchet, extra less "busy" clothes, a parrying dagger and a side-sword. His primary armament is a heavy, double-bladed battleaxe.
Personal Quote: "The meaning of life? To give life meaning."

Description: Underneath stiff, cold steel is a man worn by time, age and work. Sparring, training and combat has writ its tale across his body, leaving scars along much of his form. It would seem that scarce is there a trace of skin left unmarred by the bite of a blade. His body is noticeably tanned by days of toil in the hot sun, his wavy hair and neat beard a rich brown, and his eyes a murky hazel. Hands, calloused and rough, and toned musculature show rather clearly signs of a warrior's life of rigorous training. His clothes are, naturally, tailored and expensive. A tunic made of the finest silk, richly dyed; black breeches: comfortable, but strong; and thigh-high, durable leather boots. While his upper body is heavily armored - consisting of a cuirass, pauldrons, a set-helm and gauntlets - his lower body is much freer, with steel boots worn over a pair of leather footwear and light, nonrestrictive cuisses to partially shield his thighs. From his right shoulder hangs the standard of the Ó Tuathaláin Ulaid. Though incomplete, it is still the armor of a Fear Liath (plural: "Fir Liath"), or Greyman, a heavy unit in the service of the Ulaid.

Personality: Not exactly the chattiest man in the world, but not as unfriendly or solemn as one might think. Years of servitude under the Deluvian Banners has, of course, whittled away at his mind and his heart. He is not detached or disillusioned, though he is pensive. His eyes are ever-observant, viewing the world much the same way he would a field of battle or the motions of an opponent's body. Everything is a challenge, all of life is a war. Battles do, after all, come in all shapes, sizes and forms. He has seen friends die, but more often than not he has been the one to take the life of someone's comrade, sibling, child, parent.. the list goes on. Killing is, to that end, only another task he must perform, and no longer a hardship. His harsh childhood, arguably more difficult than adulthood would be, took its toll on his psyche. A cruel and uncaring father, a mother unable to care for her own son, and no possibility of a real connection with another human being due to strict teachers encouraging ruthless competition. All relationships early on were brutal and antagonistic. Friendship, true friendship, was hard won and, as a particular Deluvian saying goes, "stronger than a warhammer's head". Though the majority of the scarring has long faded away, their echoing remnants do make themselves known. Despite all of this, Gallow feels, as most Deluvians do, an unerring loyalty to Lord and Banner, and is willing to do almost anything to see the glory of the Deluvians outshine even the most precious jewels and metals.

History: Gallow was born into nobility. The son of Lord Farrow and Lady Aoibhe Ó Tuathaláin, rulers of the fourth Ulaid; birthed eldest son under the Bloody Banner. His father held the prestigious title of Margrave, essentially raising him above his Deluvian peers. As all born into the Deluge, Gallow was sent into one of the Deluvian Martial Academies at age six. Thrust into a bitter and grueling world where instructors incited violence in their students, pushing them to their breaking points and beyond to create killers, Gallow reacted better than most, even if only barely. If a friendship was seen forming, the instructors took it upon themselves to introduce distrust to break it apart. All was violence, all was competition. They worked to breed fighters from innocents, and throughout Deluvian history they had had a high success rate. After the young "recruits" were hardened, they were made into soldiers. Discipline was beaten into them day and night, all to the pounding drums, droning bagpipes and rhythmic marching of the guards inside the walls of the Academies. Gallow's mother had hated to send him into the "care" of the instructors, knowing full well what time behind the high walls could do to a child; the man, or woman, those young souls could grow up to be. His father, Lord Ó Tuathaláin, had no time for his son; and truthfully, as even his wife believed, cared nothing for the boy. He was absorbed in all things else. When Gallow was fifteen his father passed, the reason or way never discovered. And so his father's brother, his uncle Ruairi was named Lord of the Bloody Banner, and took not only Farrow's titles of Lord and Margrave, but his late brother's wife for himself as well. Parents were sometimes allowed the opportunity to see their children, but Gallow's father never had, and he had forbade Aoibhe from seeing her son. But as soon as formalities were dispensed and ceremonies completed the new Lord, and his new wife, visited him. Even before being sent into the Academy, Gallow's uncle had been more a father than the man who sired him.

Gallow rose swiftly through the ranks of the Ó Tuathaláin Suaird, reaching the rank of Champion under the Bloody Banner by 28. Much of the time he had to himself was devoted to further studies and education. He found that matters of political nature were not so dissimilar from a battle. The ability to read others that had come from his time in the Academy fit well when faced with a stubborn ambassador or a silver tongued liar. From such encounters as these he picked up a quaint tool: a veneer meant to fool others into believing him a simple-minded noble. Honor meant little in war and court, he had swiftly found. Gallow still preferred the weight of his armor; the safety bought when wrapped in steel. The feel of a weapon in his hand, ready to be swung, its mission to sever limbs and lives. The King's illness excited the Ulaid, who saw it as a potential opportunity for their own designs to be set into motion. Talks receded further into shadows, and cold hands crept along in the darkness, sewing delicate lines with a dark thread and a needle fashioned of bone. Word of a search to be made, a quest for an item more of myth than anything, reached Deluvian representatives who were swift to bring the news back to their masters. The Lords convened, pondering not only the safest road, but any other meandering paths that trailed into more.. "sanguine" courses. This sprawling network led them, eventually, to Gallow. Son of nobility, heir to the Ó Tuathaláin Ulaid, and a skilled warrior. Ruairi spoke to him, alone, on the offer. The discussion did not last long. Gallow's mind made up on the matter, he gathered what supplies could be carried and rode off for Paetax alone.

Anything Else: The Deluvians had their start as marauding war parties. Endlessly they sacked, murdered and plundered. In-fighting and bloody pecking orders were established only to be rent apart by another upstart in an endless river of usurpations. At long last they settled in a vast, open land (19) where their people could begin to grow. Settlements became towns, and as always there were those who rose above the rest. Powerful nobles clawed their way to the top of the pile, ruling great houses called "Ulaid", meaning Sovereign. Seeking to devour more riches they extended their hands, forcing other human populations into serfdom, pressuring weaker nobles to pay tribute to Ulaid might. The Ulaid clashed time and time again over land, crop and coin, and even over more abstract issues like honor and pride. Soon wars to conquer other peoples turned into wars to crush other Lords. As the tumultuous past of Calisma began to rise to new heights the Ulaid had to focus more and more troops to other lines to defend their own lands from outsiders. The Ulaid Wars tired their resources and split the concentration of Supremes (highest military office, held by an Ulaid Lord), their Ultras and even their Fieldmasters. When the strain grew fit to burst the Lords came together and agreed to an alliance, a commonwealth of sorts. Their resources were devoted as much as possible to the growth and upkeep of their armies. The nine great Ulaid would eventually rise out of the original fourteen, the other powerful families reduced to lesser "houses" called Soaecht. The Armies of the Nine Banners grew into martial swarms capable of flooding their enemies while holding ground, thus containing the Ulaid and their subjects behind line after line of marching men and women. And for this, their tremendous numbers, they came to be called The Deluge, a name they would later adopt, themselves. With the Sortelige Wars ended the Ulaid found themselves without true competition to pit their forces against, and the rise of the First King enraged the Ulaid, who believed that, of all the humans of Calisma, it should have been they who reigned, not some insignificant fool who played others into his games of "peace" so as to claim power. They hated the King, but swore fealty nonetheless. The Ulaid were not foolish, and were above all patient. They could wait, and they would prepare. For their efforts during the Sortelige Wars the King granted the title of Margrave to one of the Ulaid Lords, a title that would only be given to one Lord at a time. Their land became known as the Deluvian March to outsiders, and they were intrusted with keeping peace in the south and guarding the border of the Aeros Desert. As a military province within the Kingdom they never ceased in the building of their army, though their soldiers are not always full-time these days. Many are but "warrior farmers" or the like, ready to bear arms at any time though they live normal lives.

The Nine Ulaid are, in order, the families Ó hAnnlúinn, Ó Fearghaile, Ó Dreaghneáin, Ó Tuathaláin, Ó Dúnadhaigh, Ó hAllmhuráin, Ó hEadhra, Ó Maonaigh and Ó Ruadhagáin. Each Ulaid's territory is known as a "sept", and the Nine Septs comprise the whole of the Deluvian province. Their military is divided into two halves, offensive and defensive, between the Suaird and Siadhail (Swords and Shields) respectively. Their ranking system is different from most human armies, lacking terms like "general" and "captain". The uppermost office is the Supreme, of which there are nine - one for each Ulaid. Beneath each Supreme is an Ultra (sometimes "High Ultra") that commands entire armies on the field of battle. Fieldmasters serve as officers below the Ultras, in charge of entire Field Regiments. Each Regiment is comprised of several Battalions led by Champions, and those Battalions can be divided into Companies led by Murmillos. There are other ranks within their military, as well as further structural intricacies, but those will not be delved into here. A famous component of the Siadhail is the group of guards known as the Chequered Knights. These elite warriors can be recognized not only by their set-helms and greatswords, but by their waistcloths adorned with chequered patterns colored to match the Nine Banners of the Ulaid. Another component of Deluvian military is the "Warmage". When children are first taken into training they are tested for magical talent. Those who show promise are sent to train at the Guild when they are a bit older. Ultimately this process strives to create combat capable, heavily armored mages. And finally: the Deluvian religion. The Deluvians honor a triad of deities, each viewed equal to the other, though which one is favored for worship depends on the worshiper. Aligned left-to-right in shrines they are: Gobanno the Smith; god of metals, weapons and the forge. Brigid, goddess of poetry, craftsmanship, the hunt, and divine symbol of the nobility of the Ulaid. And, last but not least, Donn, the Dark One; Lord of the Dead, but also the god of celebration and the Cycle. All three share, amongst their own responsibilities, life and war. The Deluvians are also extremely superstitious, and, aside from other innumerable legends, they have long been wary of lakes, streams and rivers, and are outright terrified of the sea because of ancient tales of beasts and creatures that haunt the depths and shores.

So begins...

Gallow Ó Tuathaláin's Story

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Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin
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Gallow pulled his face out from his hands, eyes clenched shut against a hailstorm of conflicting thoughts. This bitter cacophony had been playing out since the day his uncle had spoken to him. The whole wretched ordeal made his stomach knot. It wasn't so much what he had to do (or could do, better yet), but what was at stake either way. So many brittle pieces, so many clamoring choices. For as loud as they were, to their merit, they were little more than whispers for all the attention he refused to give to them. Not even a battle could be this difficult! With one move the whole game's outcome could be blown to tiny pieces strewn against the grain. A murder-strike to the head of the "grand design" the more perfervid priests wailed about from their pedestals. It didn't sit well with him, just like everything else at the moment refused to settle.

He'd arrived in Paetax nearly four days before and boarded in one of the city's more well-to-do inns. There he was suddenly overcome by a swift bout of anxiety. This shocked him. He was never nervous, not since he was a young boy on his first day in the Academy. Why, now, did some meandering particle of weakness worm its way back into his brain? Accursed misfortune, maybe. It incensed him to no end. But, he challenged, maybe it was all to do with the potential, or the "jitters" as he'd heard some put it. No matter what the reason, it had to be alleviated. It would not do to enter into this affair unsettled and, therefore, unprepared. With his mind all a-mess he would be prone to missteps or worse.

He'd taken the time he had to wander the city. It was not the Deluge, and he found himself unconsciously criticizing how it was so unlike his home. The tromping cadence of the Siadhail was absent, as were the droning hums and rhythms of the pipes and drums that had grown so familiar throughout his childhood. It was also colder in Paetax. The March was so near the desert that, some days, one could swear the sands themselves were bearing down upon them in furious tumult. He'd served his time on the border with the Southern Guard. Those barren wastes, rolling on and on in the distance, seemed alive, and some of the veterans even told stories of them moving. There was no telling what horrors might have dwelt in that drought-laden hell. He missed them not. In truth, while the climate change was a bit unsettling, it was not exactly unwelcome.

He partook in no pleasantries during his short stay. He wandered the streets daily so as to clear his head, or at least that had been the hope of it. It never worked. No disillusionment came to his aid, however sorrowful it might have been. Time did not avail him, and at last the day finally came, the day the notice had said to meet at the Black Vagabond. He was still unprepared, though he was somewhat bolstered now that the coming ordeal was staring him in the eye. Rising from his seat he went to the window. Outside a bell was tolling, and he watched as the masses halted apprehensively. He could delay no longer.

Already dressed, the final preparations were made. He pieced his armor together, enclosing himself in a thick, defensive coffin. Lastly came his helm, and once locked into place he felt.. whole. As restrictive as it was it brought him calm, and his troubled mind began to ease. He took his axe in hand, holding it steady at his side, and left the inn behind. Citizens of the city scurried out of his way, wary of the farmed figure, and though many may have feared the worst of him he never faltered in his step. Some of the guards recognized the wear, and kept respectfully to themselves. When, at last, he reached the Black Vagabond he paused. This was it. The anticipation for this single moment mounted in a rush of adrenaline, drowning all fear in flame. He pushed the door open and entered.

His eyes ran over those gathered within, and he couldn't help but think it was a rather.. "colorful" lot. Then he noticed the man at the back, the one standing. So, a cold voice whispered, it was the Prince.. the Ulaid were right. Standing as tall as he could, he announced himself as he had been trained to do, "I hope I'm not too late to partake in this venture, Your Highness. I am Gallow Ó Tuathaláin, son of Farrow; Champion under the Fourth Banner of the Deluge. I offer my services to you, to aid in the restoration of the health of the King." He fell silent, and did not move. He'd spoken his piece.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by slcam
Acacia listened with great interest as the Prince described their quest. It sounded like some epic tale from an old legend where the heroes go on a nearly impossible quest and somehow, heroically manage to accomplished their goal. She nearly laughed. In any case, Acacia knew that this quest would give her many new stories to tell at the worst, if they even ended up getting anywhere. When he asked for introductions, Acacia shifted back in her seat, watching her fellow "Adventurers" as they began the process of introducing themselves. Tal would have loved a quest like this, she thought sadly. It only made her all the more determined to take part. Suddenly a man who seemed to have just come fresh out of a brawl walked in. He didn't seem to have any violent intentions and the meeting kept on without pause.

The first to speak up was a tall woman in some various armor. It all seemed mixed and matched, but suitable for defense. She was fairly well built and spoke with confidence. She then began describing her qualifications and weapons of choice. Acacia was almost impressed as she stored everything in her memory for later.
The next was a man named Xan who blantantly admitted he was a thief. Acacia admired his audacity, especially in the presence of the Prince. It seemed he also perhaps had some interest in stories. Maybe they would get along well she thought, smiling at him as he sat.
Immediately after this, a man in full armor burst into the room, quickly introducing himself. Acacia was highly entertained by so dramatic an entrance. "Maybe I should have come in like that. Would have been fun," she mumbled to herself.
The introductions again went on without pause, only a few of those present seeming to find the sudden arrival interesting. One of those at the bar, a tall, rather large, blonde man who had been one of the few to react, then started introducing himself. Apparentally, he was one of the odd characters that followed the god Deud, and a priest no less. He almost seemed to ramble on, but Acacia, wanting to learn all she could, tried to absorb as much as possible and she leaned forward eagerly.
However, one of the others, a woman in yellow robes, seemed to dislike what he had to say. The mug in her hand suddenly shattered. What a strong grip, Acacia thought with an amused smirk. Those yellow robes seemed familiar, as if she had seen something like them before. The woman explained that she was a monk. Acacia thought over the odd name as it tickled the back of her mind. She couldn't quite place it though.
She gave a slight sigh as the next person, a woman standing in the back named Hayley, introduced herself as a merchant. If she is a merchant, then I am an enchanted cow,Acacia thought, the smirk increasing on her face.
Next was a woman who was a ranger. Acacia could almost imagine just how many places she had been. She wondered how long the ranger woman had been traveling. Most likely several years.
The next to introduce himself was a mage, who also seemed somewhat forward. He openly admitted that he was in this for only the money and the glory. Acacia did laugh softly as this, before gracefully standing to make her introduction.

"I am called Acacia Winn," she said with a bow, her arms sweeping back to dramatically flourish her cloak behind her and her hair splaying in front of her face before she abruptly straightened, tossing her head to get it out of her eyes. "You may call me Bard girl if that is too terribly hard to remember," she said with a wink. "I am merely a humble bard, looking to be of assistance to her king. I do have some ability to defend myself, so that should not be an issue. I don't think there is much else to tell, but I will let you know if I think of anything."

She then plopped back down in her seat, an overly thoughtful look on her face as she tried not to break into a smile. Her chin rested on the fist of her left hand as she held out her right hand, slowly twisting it as if to pop her wrist. When her palm was again turned upward, there was a small knife in it that she proceeded to play with, deftly looping it through her fingers and around her knuckles. She seemed to not even pay attention to what she was doing as her face still bore that silly, thoughtful look.

The setting changes from Calisma to Paetax

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Now.. why was everyone looking at him so strangely? The reasons were too many to number, and he cast the thought aside.

Gallow's attention was immediately turned to the priest who had bolted to his feet so amusingly. The man's words were grating on Gallow's ears, and for good reason. He seemed arrogant and vain, like most that followed his path in the names of whatever divines they claimed to be the mouthpieces for. The Deluvians did not believe in a religious caste. All priests were good for was adding complication and bureaucracy to something that should remain purely personal. A man or woman's church was their home and they worshiped, or chose not to, mostly as they pleased in the Deluge. The man's bloated sense of self-righteousness fired Gallow up to no end, but he kept his words in his throat, no matter how badly his tongue burned for him to reprimand the oaf.

“You might call me priest, and I will look to save you from damnation both in your bodies and souls." Gallow made a sound of distaste at nearly the same time he heard the sound of glass shattering. He had to turn his entire upper body to look, and saw a woman who claimed to be a monk. Apparently he shared some amount of her distaste for the clergyman, though maybe not quite to her degree. He paid little mind to the so called "merchant". He'd seen innumerable merchants and traders before, and though they'd all had a crafty air about them something about this girl rubbed him the wrong way. Perhaps just his imagination? Possibly. He made a mental note to be wary. As the ranger began to make her introductions Gallow moved nearer the counter, minding the bloodied man behind it, and continued scanning the ragtag ensemble from the helm's thin slit. A ranger.. he'd met a few of those during his time, and they'd varied greatly every encounter. He gauged her by her words and her manner. She was concise, sparing no time for weaving flowery yarns about herself. Good, he grumbled. There was little reason to say more than needed, especially when all it did was waste breath. Both she and the monk shared that attribute. He could not tell what worth a monk would be, but kept his mind open.

Now, the mage was certainly an oddity. He'd not often seen one who looked so.. rugged? Warmages followed a warrior's path, but with Guild training, and so they kept themselves neat as Deluvian martial standards dictated. Other than them, most mages he'd seen seemed more scholarly. An interesting fellow, to be sure. And maybe it was the mead (which Gallow was sure the man was drinking), but he did speak his mind. Not always a good trait, especially so if the speaker was anything like that boastful blackguard of a priest, but in certain doses it could amount to respectability. And then came the bard. His first thought was most obviously: A bard? What use does a bard serve outside spinning tales and singing songs? They were entertainment, after all, and usually little else. Not to say that he did not appreciate the talent of a good rhapsode! Oh, no. Learned poets of high calibre were greatly valued by the Ulaid, and their songs and stories were often the added highlights of many a tavern throughout the Deluge. As for her claim of being able to defend herself.. well.. they would see about that, eventually. She seemed a peculiar one, especially with the way she fell back into her seat and fiddled with a blade. Not odd in a negative way, at least not yet.

The uproarious priest decided it would be a proper time to fire his mouth off, again. Oh, sweet Donn, if only you would see fit to silence this foolish brute, he lamented silently, deciding not to spare a word at the man's worthless expense.

"So weve got a Triansui," Gallow's ears pricked up immediately, his eyes finding a haphazardly armored figure seated elsewhere in the tavern. Another soldier.. the surprises were to continue, then. His thoughts completely deafened him for a moment, and he missed the rest of what the priest had said, although that was more than likely a tremendous blessing. He said a quiet prayer of thanks to the gods. He glanced once more at the Prince, and retired to the counter. Dropping his axe to lean against the wood, Gallow unlatched his helm, slipped it off and set it down. The priest and the mage were now fit to celebrate, and with the adrenaline gone that familiar uncomfortableness was just setting in, again. It was all just obnoxious noise, and it had his nerves on edge.

His throat was dry, and his whole body felt uneasy right down to his core. He ordered a glass of wine, paying the man who served him with a few coins, and sipped at his drink slowly. Teachings among his people made clear the proper method for the consumption of wine. If one did not assert temperance then they might be overcome by drunken fits of violence. Deluvians had a long history of wine making, and as such it was rooted in their culture. Their largest trade with northern Calisma was wine, in fact. He could recall the vineyards sprawling on for eternity under a warm sun, bordered by rolling green on all sides. The memories brought him comfort in the din, and he yearned for the peace to remain.

The setting changes from Paetax to Calisma

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Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin
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And for every stone to drop, another will follow. At least that looked to be the way of things in life. The foolish cleric had stepped in it, as well as the mage, it seemed. He had not realized the overly bearded man had said something worthy of retribution. He watched the fiery haired "merchant" carefully. If she made to strike, should he stop her? Would it be worth it to go to the aid of the poor fellow? Then again, could he even be swift enough to cease a strike before it made marriage with flesh? Regardless, he was fixated on the focal point of tension, torn between decisions. This really was not his battle, unless it spilled his way.. he supposed there was no real reason to get himself involved in their sinuous stupidity. Although he really did not feel up for a fight were one to break out. Damned be these inconveniences," Gallow sighed into his glass.

Perhaps the truest shock came when the Triansui spoke up. When she put her foot down. He had to look over the tavern once more. Just how many women had shown up to volunteer for this mad venture? His mind on this one was made up rather swiftly: she truly did seem a warrior. All the better, really. He would have been disappointed had she turned out to be just a girl with a pretense of strength and nothing more. He could hardly blame her for removing herself from the room after the preceding nonsense. Anyone with half a brain in their head would have been fed up with it! But then, of course, the priest followed her. At least he was no longer in present company, although he did feel sorry for the woman. No one should have to put up with someone who seemed to breath sanctimonious trash.

He noticed a girl with her head down sitting alone, and wondered what exactly she was doing there. Could she have come for the quest, too? If she had, perhaps she was having second thoughts about her decision? His thoughts were interrupted by the bloodied bastard who'd been silent up 'til now. What he had to say... Well... Gallow nearly had a hard time keeping himself from laughter. This was most indisputably unorthodox behavior from Gallow's experience. The Ulaid may be civilized, but they were still nobles, and rather unforgiving ones at that! Most held their tongues in the presence of a Lord or Lady. When riled to anger they were capable of unpredictable and delightfully heterogeneous forms of viciousness in retaliation for such verbal offenses. Nonetheless, it was more than comical. Perhaps it was his detached emotional state, but Gallow did not immediately register how this would effect the Prince. Rydas was justifiably defensive, but he contained his anger.

Releasing a quiet breath, Gallow set down his glass and turned. "I can not know what affect my words may have, particularly if none have yet heeded the Triansui's nor the Prince's counsel, though I feel an obligation to reinforce what they have offered. From my experience the key to the success of any endeavor, especially one where those who undertake the weight together differ tremendously in their beliefs, lies in two things: devotion to the task and to carrying your share of the burden, and tolerance when facing diversity. Bickering like children has only ever led to the ruination and complete dissolution of any undertaking such foul influences have met." He spared a moment for a breath before adding, "If any here think themselves incapable of meeting those standards, perhaps it would be favorable for them to take their leave. Maybe I am not alone in my opinion on this matter." He bowed his head respectfully to the Prince, and returned somberly to the remainder of his wine.

The setting changes from Calisma to Paetax

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Narenia Halen
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The innocent monk had thanked her and smiled brightly. It was only returned by Nari. One friendly action deserved another. It would seem though, that everything from here on would spiral downwards.
The priest had overspoken and of course did the woman with armor - Mirabella - taken offense to it. After a short verbal insult had she left the room only to have the priest trailing after her.
I wonder how that's going to turn out. Nari thought and raised her eyebrow. The 'merchant' had proved her temper to be that of...well.. She was hot headed to say the least. Not a moment had it taken for her to take offense and retaliate to everything the mage said. Nari's first intention was to go over to the unbelieveable rude man and tell him how exactly you talk to a woman. She had went from the red-haired woman to a wench and a whore in a considerable short amount of time. The monk with the wounded hand was still remained in her seat and kept calm for the moment. As she looked with her piercing green eyes, so did a few others in the room. A man that seemed troubled and acted like he didn't really care much for what was going on, the prince himself and the girl with the lute. For now at least.

The other man, the other ranger, or that was what Nari would guess him to be, spoke to the prince now. Just within earshot, his female counterpart could her what he was saying.
Either that man is stupid or he's been paid to do that. She thought, expecting a blow from the prince's sword any moment now. But nothing happened. All that came from him was a bone chilling warning, hopefully effective enough to make the foolish man step down. How quickly this had descended into a mere brawl and petty squabble. This wasn't what she had come here for, not at all. Nari wanted to stop the fighting and make everyone pipe down, but feared that because of her proud nature she would end up holding a knife to someone's throat. Especially the mage if he so much as dared calling her a whore.
A smile crept across her face as the innocent little monk stood and approached the bickoring couple in an attempt to end their dispute. How unlikely and unexpected that was.
Maybe she can stop them now that they seem to completely ignore their prince's command. Nari had thought that his words would have an effect on them, alas it seemed to go in one ear and out the other. Were they even aware of his presense still?

A deep sigh came from the female ranger as she looked around. The mage was surrounded by three women, two of them trying to calm the red-head down and the prince was companied by the foolish insultant. It still hadn't settled with her how a man could be so reckless as to insult a man like him, even Nari had more brain than that. The troubled man had spoken as well, but his words too seemed to fly right past everyone. Everyone except Nari at least. She nodded at him and tilted her head with a shrug and a sigh. She didn't say anything to him as he had already sat down.
In fear of losing her own temper and seeing this group worsen, making their quest seem even more impossible, the ranger woman walked towards the prince this time. He had this thing about him. Something that demanded respect, but Nari wouldn't give respect unless it was returned. And there was the fact that everytime someone made a quick move or the like, his hand went to the hilt of his sword.
"My prince."she started. "Pardon my interruption, but I fear that neither of us had expected the outcome of this meeting. Perhaps a bucket of ice cold water would cool their heads?" Nari smiled half joking as she nodded in respect to him, letting her piercing green eyes settle on the orbs in his head. "Or maybe we should - pardon me - you should give them a choice? If this nonsense can't be stopped, then there's no sense in going on this quest either." Nari leaned on her bow, glancing over at the other ranger. She awaited an answer as she too hoped that the feud and fight behind her would cease and end soon. Her patience was wearing thin.
Thank whatever gods that at least my temper isn't as bad as hers. her mind went and her eyes settled upon the red haired 'merchant' once again, before returning to the prince.

The setting changes from Paetax to Calisma

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It seemed they were still too entrapped within their own petty squabbles to listen to any reason, Gallow shook his head sadly. Might this be the will of some nameless divinity, then? Were they not even to step out the door before their quest was destroyed from within? "Only if the will of men is shattered entirely will the gods put down their hands and obliterate all unity," he'd one heard an Accordant (a holy warrior, much like a paladin) say. They had not listened to the warrior woman, nor to the Prince, and now even his advice was quieted by their explosive and childish tantrums. He placed no blame on the girl, the "merchant". He may have doubted her, but perhaps she had her reasons. The priest was the source of contention; the blackened root who would only grow to bear dying fruit.

He turned his head, just a fraction, when the monk tried to intervene. Her conviction was honorable, though her manner was questionable. It would either cause others to think her a joke, or inspire something in them to listen and quell their fury. She seemed so innocent in the way she stood and spoke. Gallow entertained the idea that she did not belong outside her isolated world. It might prove to be just too much in the end, he worried. Now how odd is that? I am actually concerned over this? Then came the bard to put her weight into the moment, pressing for peace from the clamorous stupidity. Now her response held a little more worth, from where Gallow was concerned. Though how the mage might take it...

The door opened, and the Triansui returned. Gallow watched intently, his curiosity piqued, as she made her way to the Prince without so much as sparing a glance at the bickering two, and pledged her services to Rydas' cause. Such is a soldier, Gallow thought with a smirk. He barely caught Feylon's own introduction, and raised an eyebrow as he made his way back out from where he'd come. Definitely one of the more interesting candidates for this mission, to be sure. He prayed things would only calm from here. It seemed the will of men, and women, was beginning to shine again.

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He found his glass nearly empty about the same time the Prince bid them farewell, leaving them with their instructions and an awkwardly silent tavern to do whatever they wished amongst themselves. He had to wonder if whether or not that was even remotely a wise decision, or then again it could have just as well been an excuse to leave the whole disparaging situation behind. But, before his very eyes, he watched as the butting heads backed away, their fires fanned, and they drifted off to their separate corners to do as they wished. He sipped the last bit of his drink and set the glass down, wondering silently what he should do, now. Go back to his room at the inn? Well.. he'd have to, anyway. His sword was still there - he'd decided to leave it behind, though he had stored his dagger away in his boot as usual - along with all of his supplies. And as he sat there thinking, staring into an empty glass, the tavern slowly emptied of those remaining who'd come to answer the call. Gallow had clearly heard the invitation to the pub, but he had little love for company at the moment and treasured what time he would have to sort out his troubled mind.

Time ticked away around him, leaving him behind in its smooth passage until the burning gold above was gone below the horizon. He felt it little by the time he finally found his legs again. Collecting his weapon and his helm, Gallow left the Black Vagabond behind without a word and made his way back to the inn through the city's nighttime crowd. There was a bard entertaining guests on the lower floor when he arrived, but he ignored the warm light, the smell of food and turned an uncaring ear to the pleasant song as he made his way up the stairs to utter solitude - or as close as one could come to it in a city, really. He laid his armor out with care, looking over every inch of forged steel. There was a story in the plates of metal. His armor had been made new for wear some years ago, and he'd tended to the suit lovingly in much the same spirit the master craftsman who'd made it had when he personally worked and shaped armor into art.

Sometimes he envied the gods. Their absolute awareness and certitude. There were no moral quandaries for them about right or wrong, and their sight went far beyond into all things unknowable to the mortal mind. For a human could only guess (no matter how skilled their powers of deduction might be) as to how the pieces would lay when they fell a certain way. But he had not been blessed to be as they were, and so he and all the others of this world simply had to make due. A wretched state of affairs in all truth, but there was no rhyme or reason in arguing. Which begged again the question: why was he still feeling hesitant?! Questioning oneself in such a way was just akin to fighting circumstance. He supposed that, in the end, it was all because he was only human. His frustration lent him strength, and he buried the anxiety away.

Now the real battle was whether or not he would even be able to sleep.

The setting changes from Calisma to Paetax

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"I'm not entirely certain whether I should feel offense or not at this," Gallow mumbled to the man who'd followed him to the stable. His dress was entirely Deluvian. A servant of the family. Gallow did not know every liaison the Ó Tuathaláin had in Paetax or elsewhere in the country, but he recognized them on sight nonetheless. They carried and kept themselves as soldiers but dressed like nobility, not exactly inconspicuous when one knew what to look for. He'd cornered the Champion in his room, and bothered him all the way to the stable, managing to cause a swath of distractions and keep him far later than he'd have liked. He'd been behind schedule for the meeting in the tavern, and now again in getting to the city gate. Worse and worse, it seemed. Though, he knew it was nothing compared to how this mad trek could become later on down the road. "I could hazard a guess at why exactly you've been sent, and you've been skirting the point for far too long," he glanced over his shoulder shortly, "But I think I'll let you take care of that. And speak swiftly, I don't need you holding me further."

The ambassador shook his head, "I have simply received word to inquire as to your decision, unless you've yet to reach certitude?"

The man's tone gave Gallow pause, but he shook the feeling off. "I haven't. It's too early for rash resolution, wouldn't you say?" He finished loading the last of his supplies onto his horse's saddle, and turned to face the man. "Something of this magnitude requires time. You and the Ulaid can appreciate that."

"Of course, I'll let them know. Who knows, maybe they'll be pleased that you are employing patience rather than recklessness." He gave a short bow, and then left as silently as he had come. He knew what the Ulaid wanted him to do, he knew why they had really sent him, but he hoped they would at least be as understanding to realize that not everything could be exactly as they wished it. In any case, it was getting late. By the time he arrived at the gate he could see the party just beginning to leave. He called out as he approached, "Prince Rydas, if you will excuse my tardiness I still mean to ride with you. I would hope you did not think I'd abandoned you or your family in this perilous time, Your Highness."

The setting changes from Paetax to Calisma

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Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre
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It had stricken him then and there that the man was not only one of mere authoritative status. The whispers were true: the Prince of Calisma, through his weariness, led him to the tavern. Easily impressed as ever, Icareau had been wrought with awe, the admiration hidden by the shadow of his hood. Never would he have fathomed being recognized by royalty, not without startled gestures, no matter how brief. Strange and invigorating, that was, enough to send him dashing away to the Vagabond. Predictably, any meetings had adjourned, yet information was readily known through the barkeep. His needs were hardly demanding: a handful of spare whetstones, flasks, and rope should prove sufficiently; that, or his trek thus far had been fueled by pure instinct and luck, not to mention half a whisker or two.

He had not pursued comrades, nor had he basked in the grandiosity of the capital by moonlight. No one needn't remind him that he was not meant to enjoy it. Leering eyes cast him elsewhere, past the gates, up the hills, and down the dust trails to the cottage he called refuge. The elderly farming pair, who in time had been kind enough to lend him shelter in exchange for working hands, would tend to his belongings. Sleep eluded him. Hacking at the oak in the backyard ensured a good swinging arm—quicker, more agile, a tad more spirited, that'll do. Hours not spent in faux training were devoted to homely letters, though based on the lack of responses thus far, his efforts were made in vain. But Icareau kept at it for the sake of letting ink flow. He was as desperate as he was sad.

...And his cape was so red!

Love,
Chaton


Dawn met the city of Paetax.

Curious were the adventurers gathered at the gates, not in the least of which was the yellow-clad female who stirred heroic notions within him (for what better way was there to start a quest with a damsel, and he was ever so noble), but he remained hesitant, lying in wait until the Prince began to depart. Still others arrived after his instruction; Icareau took comfort in knowing that one was not as timely, although another's boisterous invitation to drink, however humorous, he could do without. How tragic it would be were he too inebriated to steer his mount!

"Sorry to keep you waiting!" he said to the venturing band, tail trailing loosely 'neath the folds of his cloak. One more delay and he'd be the subject of a running joke. He would not reveal himself, not entirely yet. In spite of uncertainty, the cat spun round to face and greet them all, with prolonged consideration given to the Prince. Paws were cupped demurely as he bowed, rattled off apologies, and sought the pack horse that held his requested items. The quips came rather quickly—"I am Icareau Sauveterre of the Feledine in Rousillen. We're not all bad, really, just a bit stingy. I'm so elated to travel with you all! Just think of the trouble we'll get in to. ...!"–which, in all his excitement, did not seem so detrimental. Such an array of scents and sights and sounds must be cherished. And he spoke as he swung atop his found steed, a young thing richly dark in pelt that appeared to huff bemusedly at his presence.

Less curious were the horses themselves, sans the victim of the reins incident. The forest of Taphon bred trackers, raiders, expert beasts who stole fine stallions from their trespassing owners. His riding was competent, his mounted combat skills a bit less so. Most dire was the image of his kind, especially one so small, gripping the reins so tightly, so eagerly. Had a few of the women not been shorter in stature, he might have been too flustered to attend.

To the lady in yellow, he smiled a meek smile, relieved that she was to be accompanied on her mount. To the rest, to those clad in armor or robe, to those weathered or bearded or bruised, he beckoned them as their leader had done, grinning as he directed the horse northward. Subtlety was needed, but it was hard being subtle.