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Travian Zarel

Paladin of Urusk

0 · 177 views · located in Calisma

a character in “Calisma”, as played by nicolbaka

Description

Full Name: Travian Zarel
Nickname: He is frequently addressed by his last name, and also goes by “Ian” for short.
Gender: Male
Age: 30
Sexual Orientation: Prefers women, but aside from a little friendly flirting avoids relationships.
Height: 5’9”
Race: Human
Class: Paladin
Skills: He is skilled in fighting with a shield and pole weapons. He prefers the thrusting variety, like spears, but can use slicing kinds such as glaives (though in addition to being not as skilled with them, his armor limits the range of motion such weapons require). He can also use thrown spears quite effectively. The sword is not completely foreign to him, but as he prefers the reach of pole weapons he does not carry one nor has he practiced it in quite a while. As for non-combat skills, he has enough knowledge of forging and woodworking to make his own spear tips and poles respectively, along with other basic things such as horseshoes and simple carvings.

Weakness(es): His heavy armor slows his movement, though not enough to detriment his combat skills as his fighting style generally involves being rooted to one place.

Additionally the only pieces of plate armor that cover his back are the chest plate and pauldrons, leaving his rear less protected than his front. He is not particularly concerned about this though, thinking that if the enemy manages to get past his shield then he has already failed anyway.

He is not very well protected from magic. The defensive enchantments his shield can create do offer some defense, but it takes a lot of energy to make them really effective against magic.

Furthermore, channeling his energy into the shield to create those enchantments requires concentration and he may leave himself vulnerable while trying to do so.

Equipment: His most distinctive piece of equipment is his enchanted shield, which can produce simple, defensive spells around a target of his choosing (so long as they are within ten feet of him) when he channels his energy into it. Naturally the more powerful he tries to make these spells/the more people he tries to cast them on, the more energy he drains. For weapons he currently carries two heavy spears for melee fighting and three lighter ones for throwing.

Personal Quote: “Get behind me! I’ll protect you!”

Description: Travian is dedicated to building as much muscle as possible and it shows, but his physique is more lean or even scrappy than it is bulky and has a subtle feminine curve, though his armor hides it well. His skin is a tan olive color, but this comes more from heredity than it does sun exposure as his body is covered most of the time. His dark hair is close cropped and often messy (especially when he’s been wearing his helmet) despite his efforts to tame it and his eyes are a dark bluish grey. He also sports a slight beard around his jaw line which he takes care to keep neat and tidy.

His “clothing” consists of four layers the first of which is an off-white set of underclothes that cover nearly his whole body and leather boots that reach just below the knee. His underclothes are heavily padded over the areas his plate mail covers, to prevent discomfort and absorb the shock of any blows he might take. The second layer consists of short-sleeved chain mail that covers his neck and runs down to his thighs. Over this he wears a black and red tabard, buckled at the waist, with a golden boar symbol on the chest. The final layer is his plate mail which consists of a pauldron on each shoulder a chest piece bearing the same symbol as his tabard that extends down to cover his abdomen, and greaves. He also wears a gauntlet on his right hand (spear hand) and a thick leather glove on his left (shield hand). His plate mail is very thick and somewhat ornate, though its heavy use has begun to show despite his best efforts to care for it, and the decorative coloring is beginning to peel off. He also has a matching helmet with decorative bristles which imitate those of a boar, though since he finds it uncomfortable it is usually strapped to his belt instead of his chin. He also has a black cloth mask that he tends to wear over his nose and mouth when wearing his helmet. He has a cloak too, but as he is rarely cold with his many layers it is folded up in his pack most of the time.

He always carries one of his melee spears and when he has no horse to carry the rest he stores them in a pouch on his back that is similar in design to a quiver although on a much larger scale. It is somewhat cumbersome to walk with and so provided he has enough warning at the start of combat he will remove his spears and stab them into the ground around him for quick access. The “quiver” also has a few pouches in which he keeps basic traveling equipment. He can also strap his shield to his back and always does so over the quiver so that he can always get to it quickly.

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Personality: Travian is overall a good natured person. He is very concerned about everyone he meets and is willing to help them in any way he can. However, sometimes he can become overbearing. Furthermore, even though he has pretty much devoted his life to helping others he has trouble admitting when he needs help and often tries to take everything on himself. He acts confident, but on the inside he is very self conscious about whether or not he is doing everything as well as he could. In fact his greatest fear is the death of one he tried to protect. For this reason he is very frustrated when in a position of powerlessness.

History: The Zarel family belong to the landed gentry, meaning that they owned a large portion of land (between areas 15-16) that they could live off without having to actively work. Their family was not among the wealthiest gentry families and they bore no title, but they did live quite comfortably. Furthermore, though they were near the bottom rung of the nobility, they were considered as such and had access to all the perks that came with that. Perhaps the most important of these, in Travian’s eyes at least was that male members of the family could train as knights if they so chose. Travian’s father had done so, but unfortunately his arm was injured while serving as a squire on the battlefield and was dismissed from training.
Travian loved nothing better than to hear the stories of his father’s few short years in training, despite the bitterness with which the old man told them. He longed to become a knight more than anything, there was just one problem: all his family expected of him was to find a good husband. For though Travian had always felt more masculine than feminine; he was born Miss Vivian Zarel. Even though he had faced many hardships on the road to becoming a Paladin there was no time in his life as awful as those first twelve years of long tresses, dresses that were near impossible to move in and education on how to be a proper lady. Such things felt as unnatural to Travian as they would any man.
Fortunately, Travian’s life changed for the better around the time he turned 12 when he first assumed the name he would go by for the rest of his life. For he knew that this was the age at which knight training began and about a month before his 12th birthday he cut off nearly all of his hair and ran away from home; stealing some of his younger brother’s clothes, a seal proving his family’s identity, a horse, and as many supplies as he could think to bring on the long journey to the capital.
Most of his journey was without incident, however one night near the end of the trek he was set upon by bandits. He had just begun making camp for the night when his horse, which he had not yet tied down, became very startled and ran away. The bandits revealed themselves before he could catch it and he followed the horse’s example. His camp was near the edge of Gaeric forest and it was in that direction that he ran. Due to his small size he was able to move more easily through the thick woods and managed to lose them. Once he felt he had gotten far enough away he climbed a tree, hoping he wouldn’t be found there and it was only then that he noticed a sounder of wild pigs resting nearby. There were several baby pigs among the group and knowing well the ferocity with which boars defended their young he was relieved that they hadn’t noticed him. However, the bandits that came charging through the forest after him were impossible to miss and the boars charged them with such aggression that they had little choice but to run.
As the sounds of stampeding hoofs began to fade, another creature came into view; walking with the utmost calm. The darkness prevented him from getting a good look at it until it was almost right under him and his draw dropped in fear and awe when he did. Just below him was the biggest boar he’d ever seen in his life; had he been standing next to it, his head would have only reached the creature’s shoulders and it sported huge mastodon-like tusks. His alarm only increased when the creature looked up- something he had been told pigs were incapable of- and their eyes locked. After staring at him for what seemed like hours the creature put its head down and walked away, fading into the darkness. Travian had heard stories of the god, Urusk and how he was said to be able to assume the form of a boar. There is no doubt in his mind that it was Urusk who appeared before him on that day and he has since devoted his life to the god.
After spending the night in the tree (he was too scared to come down) he began trying to find his way back to the road. Fortunately his map, seal, and money were all in a bag he was carrying and were not lost along with his horse. After wandering around a bit he came across a local farmer. He explained his situation and by chance the farmer was heading to Paetax the next day to sell some of his produce and would let Travian ride in his cart with him in return for some help around the farm. The boy was more than willing to accept the farmer’s terms and made it through the rest of his journey with no problems. Furthermore, he was accepted into knight training.
The training would continue until he became 25 years old and during those years, Travian spent nearly all his time either training or in the local temple of Urusk; giving himself very little time to relax or rest. Once his training was finished he began devoting all of his time to the temple and soon became an official Paladin, working to guard the city in the name of his god.

Anything Else: Urusk is a god of protection, though he also preaches respect and tolerance. No one is beneath the god’s protection and those who seek it are not considered weak for needing it. Urusk’s protection takes many forms besides defense from physical harm. His temples offer sanctuary and a place to sleep for anyone who may need it and food for those who are starving. All of Urusk’s followers, be they members of the clergy or ordinary citizens, are expected to volunteer themselves to the service of the less fortunate, usually through the temple. Furthermore, all of the clergy train in the art of combat and are willing to lay down their lives to protect others. Because it takes a rare type of person to devote themselves in this way, Urusk’s priests are less concerned with converting people than those of most other gods, knowing that these types of people are likely to seek out the god on their own. Urusk’s symbol is the boar because he is known in legend to use boars as familiars or even take the form of a boar himself. As such, boars are held sacred by his followers and to kill one or consume its flesh is a grave taboo. Worshipers of the god are generally respected by those outside church, however, some have developed a bad reputation for being uptight, or worse act smug and superior towards those they aid.

So begins...

Travian Zarel's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian Zarel

It was such a relief seeing Paetax again. Travian had left before the king got sick and had never stopped worrying that he wouldn’t recognize the Paetax he returned to. Even greater than his worries for the city were those for his king. As a knight, Travian’s loyalty to the king was unquestionable and the news of his illness struck him the same as if the king were a member of his own family. Knowing there was nothing he could do churned his stomach and being so far away from news only made it worse.

Still, it was a worthy cause that kept him away. He and several other members of Urusk’s church had been helping rebuild a small village that had been devastated by raiding brigands. Additionally, they had put up walls, ensuring that the village would be better defended should it be attacked again. When he left there were still a few from his party staying to train the local militia, a task he would normally have been thrilled to help with, but they could handle it themselves and he had been away from his home about as long as he could stand given the situation.

After making it to the city and stabling his horse, he made his way to his favorite tavern in hopes of getting news and some lunch. Halfway there he heard the three bells. He asked someone on the street what it meant and when he found out he was relieved to hear that the king was still alright. So relieved, that he allowed a huge grin to sneak onto his face as he entered the Dancing Dragon.

“Haven’t seen you in a while.” The bartender remarked as Travian approached.
“Urusk business, thought I told you before?”
“Aye, perhaps you did. Things have just been kind of crazy around here, I take it you’ve heard about the king?”
“Yeah…”
“That reminds me, that lady-friend of yours was here last night.”
“Mirabella!? Is she still in town?”
He also wondered at the connection between Mira and the king, but didn’t ask.
“I’m afraid not. She and a bunch of other strange characters left this morning with the prince. Some quest to help the king.”
“What!? You have to tell me more!”
“That’s all I know, but you might have more luck with Vinny at the Black Vagabond. The prince had them all meet up there yesterday.”
“Thanks.”
He passed the barkeep a coin for the information and without another word took off towards the Black Vagabond as quickly as he could go in the capital’s heavy traffic.

The difference between the two taverns, and their clientele, was immense. It was hard to believe the prince would have anything to do with this place. On top of the usual crowd, there were also quite a few rubberneckers trying to find out more about the prince’s quest. With all of that it took a moment to get the barkeep’s attention.

“I’m looking for information about the prince’s quest.”
“Yeah, you and everyone else here.”
“I’m afraid you misunderstood. You see, I would like to join the quest, not gossip about it.”
“And what makes you think I would just give away the prince’s location to a random stranger?”

Travian had to remind himself that he had never spent much time on this side of town and rather than getting angry, simply explained that he was a knight and showed him proof of it. The barkeep then took him to a private room where the rowdy patrons couldn’t hear.
“The prince’s group rode north towards the Gaeric Forest. Since you’re from around here, I assume you know the road?”
“Indeed, sir.”
Once again he gave out some money and set off. In a few moments he was on the road.

He set out at a full gallop, positive that he would be able to catch up quickly. If they had set out at dawn he was only a few hours behind them and they probably weren’t moving as fast as he was in a large group like that. However, just as open country came into view he came across a man lying by the side of the road. Though it pained him to have to stop when he was so close there was no way he could just ride by and do nothing. He dismounted and walked up to him, realizing as he got closer that the man was rather old.

“What’s wrong, sir?”
“Overworked meself in the fields again, just give me a little while and I’ll get goin’ again.”
“It’s not safe, sir. What if someone doesn’t see you lying here? You’ve got to get home; come on you can ride my horse.”

The old man struggled a little as Travian awkwardly scooped him up and onto the horse. When it was apparent that his struggling would do him no good he switched to shouting, but still to no avail.
“Now that you’re up there you may as well tell me where you live,” Travian said with a mischievous smile.
The old man did so grouchily and before long they had made it to the man’s small home. The paladin laid him on his bed and sat nearby, waiting to see if he needed anything else.
“All right you brought me home, now begone with you!”
“You sure you’ll be alright by yourself?”

“I’m fine, been by meself for seven years now.” The paladin wanted to stay and make sure the man was really okay, but at the same time he wanted to be on with his quest.
“Very well. Take this,” he said as he laid some coins on the man’s bedside table, “should be enough to get you a good mount. It will make the trip home much easier and can even help in the fields.”
“Get going, would you?”
The man said, rolling his eyes. Cranky patients were always so difficult to deal with. Before leaving for good he knocked on the door of one of the neighbors and explained the situation so that they might keep an eye on the man. Their expressions showed that the man was just as much of a grump to his neighbors as he had been to the paladin. They sighed; remarked on how much more pleasant he had been before his wife died and assured Travian that they would watch out for him.

Once again the paladin was on the road. Night fell before he could make it to the woods. He knew it would be hard to find them in the woods at night, but as he was impatient to catch up he decided to try anyway. He followed the river, knowing that they would probably have set up camp nearby. After a while he came to a small waterfall, under which a young man appeared to be relaxing.

“Excuse me sir, have you seen a group of adventurers around here?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by KuroRyu
Xan peace and relaxation was disturbed by a voice calling to him, an unfamiliar voice. After what had just occurred his usual act first and think when things go sour mindset wasn't quite on, he was still in semi-battle mode. He opened his good eye to look at the man that had called out to him. At this point Xan was completely soaked, his hair had been pulled down showing it's true length. The back nearly reaching down to his shoulders, the front hanging down below his eye nearly going passed his nose.

"Perhaps" he replied, standing up, his right hand grabbing the chains of his daggers that he had set next to him to allow the blood to be washed off by the rushing water. "My apologies" he said, tossing a dagger to his left hand, both hand grasping the handles of his daggers. "But as of now I'm not quite in the mood to speak of the matter without fully knowing whom I'm giving this information to". His shoulders had been numbed quite a bit by the cold water of the falls, but that didn't mean he was healed. If he were to engage in battle at this point he would be at a disadvantage, he wasn't sure how many throws he had left before his shoulders were to completely give out, or even leave their sockets. Even as he stood he was in a position to where the cold water was still hitting his sore shoulders at least a little bit.

He watched and waited for the stranger to say or do something. His eyes locked onto the man, looking at his eyes and watching to see for even a minute movement that would qualify him as a threat. The positioning of his hands, the direction of his eyes, a shift in shoulders and waist, any and all of these would reveal if he were to go for a weapon to attack or not. Xan made sure not to let the slightest observation slip by him, was this mean the leader of the bandits, although with the way he's dressed that was quite unlikely, but best to be safe. In this situation the only one to get into trouble through a slight misjudgment wouldn't just be him, but his comrades as well, and some were injured a bit.

"Who are you, what do you want, and what do you have to prove that you are not a threat?" his right hand changed position on his dagger, from holding the handle to holding the first chain link. From this position the dagger was easier to throw, and also have the advantage of being able to be thrown from a plethora of positions, in case he needed to dodge what could possibly be an on coming attack.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian Zarel

As the man stood he revealed a pair of chained daggers and raised them defensively. The reply he gave was just as defensive as his stance and Travian began to think it may have been rude of him to bother the man. He wondered if the man had any connection to the party. He was also curious what had him so defensive, since he hadn’t appeared startled. Furthermore, the man looked completely worn out, could he have run into trouble of some sort? Although the paladin supposed that if he had, he’d gotten away from it or he wouldn’t be relaxing under a waterfall.

"Who are you, what do you want, and what do you have to prove that you are not a threat?" The man said in a harsh tone as positioned his daggers to strike.

Travian knew the man would do so at the slightest provocation so raised his arms above his head and gave a friendly laugh to try to ease the tension. “My name is Travian of the Zarel family. I am a knight of Paetax and a Paladin of Urusk. I happened to hear that the group I seek was on a quest to aid the king and I aim to join them. I mean you no harm.”

He nodded towards his horse which was grazing a little ways behind him, oblivious to the scene around it. “Not that I could attack you if I wanted, as you can see all my weapons are on that stupid horse back there.” He laughed again while making a mental note to resume his usual policy of not trusting a horse to keep up with anything important. “As for the proof you mentioned, I do have proof of my knighthood which you may see if you like.” He slowly reached into his pocket and held out the small piece of thick parchment that he always made sure to carry with him.

“Oh and I guess it won’t matter much if you don’t know the group, but I happen to know one of the adventures. A warrior-woman named Mirabella, she can vouch for me.” He gave yet another laugh at his own awkwardness.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by KuroRyu
Xan gave a slight sigh at the answers that were given, they were convincing enough for him to think of the man as less of a threat. He stepped out from under the water and placed both daggers in his right hand.

"Follow me" he simply said as he bent down and picked up his clothing. His shirt was still quite wet and cold, as well as his body. The feel of the night air didn't help at all, he felt as if he would freeze soon if he didn't get back to where the fire was. He started to walk back towards the camp, with only his underwear on he could feel every brush of the leaves and twigs that stuck out from the bushes as he walked. They tickled slightly, and some even hurt, he didn't even notice some of these bushes when he walked down to the little waterfall. The light of the campfire started to, dully, shine through the leaves and trees showing that he did indeed go back the right way. 'Finally, I can warm up a bit' he thought as he gave a slight sniffle.

"Mirabella!" Xan called out as he finally passed through the last of the trees and back into the camp, "Found some guy, says he's a friend of your" he quickly said, his feet never stopping and heading straight for the camp fire. The only thing he could think of at that moment is some warmth, the fact that he was still in his underwear as he entered into the large gathering of people didn't really bother him. He sat as close to the fire as he comfortably could, placing his shirt down next to it as well for it to dry. "It's cold out here" he said, putting his hands up to the fire.

As he sat he noticed that cake and wine were being offered this time, again he wasn't that much of a drinker, but cake, well he couldn't pass on that. He took large bites from the cake, a long with a few sips of wine if his mouth and throat went dry. In the end most of the wine that had been given to him was left within the cup, and with the cake gone he had no more reason to touch it. He listened as the Prince described the quest at hand in more detail, their destination was a citadel that was inhabited by a sorceress during the war. Seemed interesting enough, and even if the amulet wasn't there, there was sure to be a lot of other mythical treasures to be found, maybe something that even better than what they were after.

He licked his fingers, still tasting a bit of sweetness on them. He picked up his shirt to see if it was dry, slightly damp, but not completely wet, and it was warm thanks to the fire. So he slipped on his shirt, as well as his pants and cloak, his clothes felt nice and warm against his skin so much so he felt like he could fall asleep right then and there.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella’s face and armor were covered with blood, mostly arterial spray from her two kills but also from having it on her hands from checking the bodies or helping her allies and then smearing it over her face or into her hair as she pushed her locks from her face. She must’ve looked a mess but thankfully, she wasn’t hurt. The rest of the gang had taken out a majority of the bandits before she had even drawn her blade.

But Nari… Nari was injured and as soon as the auburn-tressed ranger told her how she could help she had freed her hands and began to unclasp the leather straps upon the back of the ranger’s armor. It was almost silly to see how many straps and latches a piece of armor could have… Or perhaps it only felt like there were too many closures due to her impatience to get the arrow out of Nari’s abdomen so that she could be healed. Mira didn’t care who healed the ranger which is why she had issued the call for aid to each person still left standing that looked capable of such things. It surprised her that an older gentleman whom she didn’t know was the one to heed her call.

“Who are you and what are you doing in this camp?” Her tone wasn’t unfriendly but she had never seen Geraint before so she wasn’t about to accept him so easily either. The warrior woman had not been near when Nari had called for the shaman’s assistance so she was wary about his sudden approach.

The ranger’s armor was now unbuckled and with Nari’s help, Mira managed to lift it out a bit from the ranger’s skin so it couldn’t snag on the broken shaft of the arrow before pulling it up over her head and laying it beside them. “Pulling the arrow out could cause more damage.” She spoke, knowing that the others would be aware of this fact as well but she wanted to issue her warning anyway. Her slender fingers wrapped around the wooden shaft of the arrow and her eyes met Nari’s for a brief moment to ascertain if she was ready for the next step. It would hurt like hell.

Even without an answer, Mira pulled hard at the arrow, dislodging it from Nari’s midsection and tossing the arrow to the ground as she substituted her hand over the wound to staunch the bleeding.

“Now would be a good time to heal her, if you can.” Her eyes flickered up to the Shaman and she hoped that she hadn’t relied on the wrong person.

Her name was called out by Xan and her gaze flickered his way even as her palm remained pressed against Nari’s wound. “Busy here, Xan.” She called back but noticed that he hadn’t even paused in his travels. The thief had gone straight for the fire instead. So the Triansui allowed her eyes to flicker back to the trees where Xan had exited, keeping watch for this man she knew. If it was anyone, it could only be the Paladin from Paetax.

“Ian, is that you?” If the Shaman couldn’t heal Nari and if the visitor was indeed Ian then she wouldn’t be so worried anymore. Travian Zarel was one of the best healers in the city, if not the country, and she would know.

He saved her from Death’s clutches once already.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian

The younger man sighed and told Travian to follow him. He gathered all of his things and began walking off into the woods. It was then that Travian realized the man was wearing nothing but his underwear and began to really feel awful about disturbing him; he for one wouldn’t want to run into some stranger practically naked.

“I guess he really is part of the group,” he thought to himself as he retrieved his horse’s lead and began following the younger man.

It didn’t take long for a fire to come into view and once the trees dispersed the man ran, still wearing next to nothing, towards the fire without paying any heed to those around him. Definitely not the modest type. He called out to Mirabella as he ran and Travian followed his line of sight to where she and some others were gathered.

She responded without looking up, “Busy here, Xan.” So his name was Xan. Travian resolved to formally apologize to him later. Mira then looked up from whatever she was doing, he couldn’t quite tell from his angle and called out to him when their eyes met. “Ian is that you?”

“What? You didn’t think someone like me would miss out on a quest for the king did you?”


He looked around the camp as he approached Mirabella. He’d definitely been correct when he wondered if Xan had gotten into some trouble, there was a pile of bodies at the edge of camp and everyone in sight had at least a little bit of blood on them. He didn’t see the prince anywhere, but Travian just figured that he was relaxing somewhere private for a moment.

Now that he was closer to Mira’s group he could see that they were all around an injured woman. By the looks of it Mira had just pulled out an arrow and was using her hand to stop the blood. A panic seized hold of him. Most of his life had been devoted to the practice of creating wounds, not healing them. Suffice to say it was the most difficult skill for him to learn in order to become a paladin. It wasn’t really so much that the techniques themselves were difficult as it was the pressure of literally holding someone’s life in your hands. It always flustered him and when there are so many things to keep track of, being flustered is not ideal. Even though he had a much better reign of it now, the panic he felt looking at the wounded woman was little different than it had been with his first patient; a certain warrior-woman who’s constant teasing had only made things worse for the poor rookie.

And so as the now-familiar sensation set in, he dropped his horse’s reins and rushed towards the woman. As he did so he quickly unbuckled his shield and set it on the ground, following suit with the pack underneath the shield. He fished out his first-aid kit, pulled off his glove and gauntlet and rolled up his sleeves.

“Let go, Mira. If we let it bleed for a minute it should flush out some of the nasty stuff that might be in there.”


He carefully watched the blood flow; it was coming out at a decent rate so he couldn’t let it go freely like this for too long. Once he’d let as much flow out as he felt he could allow he took some thick gauze from his kit and pressed it up against the wound. Whenever the blood started to soak through he put down more gauze and pressed a little harder. Once it finally seemed to have stopped he removed the gauze. He then got out a vial of salt water.

“This may sting a bit.” He paused for a moment before proceeding to thoroughly douse the wound. As he gently rubbed his hand over the wound he prayed; he’d never been able to miraculously seal a wound like he’d seen some clerics do, but with any luck his prayers would at least make it heal faster. He then placed some herbs on the wound and bandaged it. He heaved a sigh of relief and backed away a little bit. He realized that his heart was pounding and his hands shook as he tried to put away his supplies. It was only while doing so that he really noticed the old man next to Mira. The way he was looking at the patient made Travian guess that the man was some form of healer himself. The realization sunk in that Travian had just rushed in and got to work without really assessing the situation; had he essentially just butted this guy out of the way? He blushed slightly and looked away from those around him. When he did, he saw that his horse was using its new-found freedom to inspect someone’s tent. On the one hand it gave him an out on the other “OH SHIT! PLEASE DON’T BE THE PRINCE’S TENT! THIS IS NOT HOW I WANTED TO INTRODUCE MYSELF!”

“Oh- uh, I guess I better take care of my horse.”

…About the time he finished brushing down the odious creature, the prince emerged from a tent which thankfully was not the same one the horse had been poking at earlier. Travian walked over to the campfire and sat down like the others but a little bit away from anyone else. The prince explained the details of the quest and then asked if anyone had questions. Travian was loathe to interrupt everyone’s train of thought by introducing himself now, but fortunately he had no questions so introducing himself wasn’t necessary just then. He was totally devoted to the royal family so in his eyes the details weren’t too important, he would stick by his prince no matter what. He contented himself with listening to everyone else’s questions and getting a feel for them all- trying to pick up names when he could. Once they were done he would formally introduce himself to the prince and his followers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Mira helped her get the armor off. It was an incredible relief to have the weight lifted off her shoulders, and even more so to not have it pressing down on the arrow shaft. Nari clenched her teeth as Mira wrapped her fingers around the arrow, as their eyes met Nari nodded and grabbed her shoulder. She yanked out the arrow and a scream of pain escaped her lips, Nari hurling her fist into the ground. The moments that followed were spent on trying to calm her breathing. Another jolt of pain presented itself though, when Mira pressed her hand against the wound. "I thought we were becoming friends!" She managed to say, smiling at the warrior-woman. Mira invited the Shaman to heal the wound, but before he could answer another man came to. Apparently Mira knew him, or so Nari thought.

Biting her tongue to not say anything, Nari let the man treat her. He let the blood flow in order to have it as clean as possible before he cleansed it himself. When he told it might sting a bit, Nari shook her head in annoyance and looked down at the wound. She lifted up in the cloth a little more, revealing more of her skin. Thankfully the only wound she'd sustained was where the arrow had gone in. When he poured the salt water on the wound, Nari groaned and her grip on Mira's shoulder tightened. He proceeded to clean the wound and wrapping a bandage around it, herbs underneath to help it heal. The sweat started appearing on her skin, but fortunately the worst was over now. Nari looked up at Mira and nodded, a brief smile appearing on her face. "Thank you, stranger." She added to the man who had treated her, but noticed his distraction by the horse. Nari couldn't help laughing, but was abruptly stopped when she felt the pain in her stomach. If this doens't heal fast enough, it's going to make riding a lot more painful. She thought bitterly, closing her eyes for a moment.

Nari stayed where she was for a short while, until she heard the Prince call out to them. He wanted them assembled around the fire and said there was much to discuss. With a sigh and an annoyed look at the Prince, Nari struggled to get up and grabbed her armor. She was helped to the fire, and put her armor on the ground close to the fire, resting her head on it and wrapping her cloak around her. She closed her eyes as she listened, beginning to feel tired. Nari enjoyed the fact that the Prince didn't have trouble in talking about the Sortelige Wars. He just spoke of them. Nari was from the south herself, and she had always hated it when people didn't dare talk about the Wars.
"Be honest, Prince." Nari spoke in a quiet moment, before he had chances to answer the other questions that had been asked. Her eyes were still closed, the flames dancing over the skin on her face. "What are the chances of survival?" For now, she was tired of not knowing enough. She knew what they were after and now knew where they were going, but Nari had a feeling that the Prince told them less than he knew. Even if he told them that their chances were minimal, Nari would still go.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian

As the prince finished his speech, a priest that Travian hadn’t noticed before began laughing loudly. Something about the man stuck out in his mind and he stared at him thoughtfully, zoning out slightly as some of the other members voiced their concerns.

“Who are you?” The priest seemed to say rather loudly, though whether this was because it had actually been spoken so or because it had snapped Travian out of his thoughts was unclear. His guts wrenched for a moment at being called out, until he realized that the inquiry wasn’t directed at him.

As the other paladin spoke it hit him. He had seen the priest around Paetax before drinking and/or preaching, Travian couldn’t think of the name but he’d definitely run into him multiple times. As a paladin he had the utmost respect for priests of any order and he had seen enough of the man's healing skills performed in the streets to know that he was a useful addition to the party….but…weren’t there any other bold priests available for this quest? Judging from some of the facial expressions in the group he wasn’t the only one who thought so.

Despite his thoughts he had managed to pay attention to what the other paladin had to say and decided it gave him a good opening to introduce himself, before he too was called out.

“Well spoken, brother,”
he said as he stood and walked into the open. “My name is Travian Zarel and I too am a paladin, but of Paetax. It would seem that we both arrived a little too late to be of help with the bandits and I am relieved to see you all in one piece.” As he spoke he looked around at his audience, trying to gauge their reaction to him, particularly the woman he had treated and Xan. He paused as he considered his next line, deciding it would be rude to hold off an address to the prince for any longer. “My prince, as a knight I have already sworn my undying devotion to you and your kin, but as we have never truly met I take the opportunity to do so again now,” He knelt before the prince in the prescribed manner, “my spear and shield are yours to command.” He rose and faced the rest of the party again, “I should hope that none of you doubt the word of your prince, however, I would like to say that though I was unable to see the battle for myself I completely agree with his judgment. That is no small pile of brigands over there, and I say with no ego that the addition of my brother and I should ease any worries you may have.” His eyes lingered on the injured woman again as he spoke the last part. “I am confident we will succeed.”

No longer a stranger, he settled down closer to the fire. As he sat he saw the remaining cakes and realized that he had not eaten since his early breakfast and hungrily helped himself.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella had moved like a spectre after everyone had been healed from the battle with the bandits. Silently, she moved off from the crowd to the patch of forest she had seen Xan exit from previously. He had been soaked from head to toe and carrying equally drenched clothing so she knew there had to be a stream or lake nearby which she could use to wash up.

As she pushed through the last bit of brush and into the clearing, her eyes widened at the sight of a waterfall and a hint of a smile played across her lips. Even here, after seeing so much bloodshed and the worry and fear in her newfound friend’s eyes, there could still be a hint of beauty in the world. Droplets which were cast off by the rush of the falls hitting the lake beneath spread into the air like tiny crystals and formed an ethereal rainbow in the air. For a moment, just a single moment, Mirabella knelt by the pool of water and closed her eyes.

Rest and relaxation were not on the itinerary for the evening, though, and the Prince had mentioned that he wished to speak with the group at the campfire so the Triansui hurried her movements. Using the crystal clear water, she easily cleaned her face, hands and hair, slicking her blond tresses back away from her face as she stood up and wandered back towards camp.

As she made her way to the campfire, everyone else seemed to already be seated and she caught the middle of the Prince’s speech about the Panacea. A single brow lifted upon her forehead at the revelation of their intended destination but she did not utter a single inquiry afterwards. Too many already filled the air around her and she listened intently to each response the Prince gave before allowing them to disperse if they wished. Only when Ian stood up and gave a formal introduction did humor play upon her countenance once more and as he settled down close to the fire, she neared him after grabbing a sweetcake, nudging him with an elbow before taking a seat herself.

“Sorry our greetings earlier were cut short…” Her eyes sought and found Nari, watching the ranger to make sure she was all right before returning her attentions to the Paetax Paladin with a smile. “But I’m glad you finally decided to join us.”

At the first hint of silence, Mirabella called towards Acacia with a teasing grin curving her mouth, “Bard Girl. Did you not promise us a song with our dinner?” If the bard were to look her way, she’d wink at her then fall silent just in case Acacia decided to play.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian
As Travian began eating, a girl pulled out a lute and announced that she would play. He perked up in excitement; a bard was always a welcome addition though he found himself wondering how well she had fared in the battle. He made a mental note to watch out for her. The song she sung was a familiar one, and he would have joined her if the rest of the group hadn’t been settling down to sleep. His singing was of the kind only welcome in boisterous celebrations where everyone was too drunk to discern quality.

The wine helped his exhaustion catch up with him and he dazedly prepared for sleep when the song was done. He didn’t have a bedroll so instead he pulled out his cloak and laid it out on the ground. He decided to take off his plate mail for the night since he knew it was a luxury he might not have in the future, given their destination. The back of his mind nagged him about the possibility of more bandits but he shrugged it off, “I’ve still got my chain mail on….”

As he settled in he saw that the priest and the older man he introduced were preparing to stay up and keep watch. He felt a pang of guilt for not thinking of that and volunteering himself, but it had been a long day and the two men seemed glad for the chance to catch up.

The smell of the food woke him. As he rose he saw that pretty much everyone else was up and nearly ready to go. Though his stomach rumbled, he decided it was best to get everything ready before settling down to eat. He began with the horse. The grey mare may have been dumb but at least it wasn’t intentionally disobedient or stubborn. It let him put on the saddle and packs without any fuss, “I guess it could be worse.” He decided he may as well come up with a name for it, but that could be decided later- it would give him something to do while they rode.

As he began putting on his armor the ranger he had healed approached him. “Thank you, Paladin, for coming to my aid.” She said as she bowed her head.

“No problem, I kind of shut everything out when I see someone is injured, sorry if I seemed cold.”

She sat down and he decided to join her once he finished getting his plate mail on. She gave a friendly greeting to Xan who seemed to be having trouble being up so early. Before he had a chance to address the thief, Mira joined the group with some fresh fruit. Since she offered he ate a little bit but left most of it for Mira and the others.

Xan was looking a little more awake after he finished eating so Travian decided to talk to him. “Your name’s Xan, right? I wanted to apologize for interrupting your privacy last night. I was impatient to find the group and didn’t consider that you were enjoying a moment alone.”

It was then that the Prince addressed the matter of the bodies. He knew a prayer for the dead, but before he could make his way over a heated debate broke out. Like the Prince, he was accustomed to cremation and though burial was not a totally foreign concept it was one he was unfamiliar with nonetheless. It was apparently very important to the monk though and she refused to budge on the issue. The argument ended with her attempting to dig graves by hand as the Prince and most of the party set off. He was a little torn, he wanted to help but he knew the monk was still fuming and might react with hostility to a stranger. That didn’t stop Xan and another man from giving her some advice before they left, but he could tell by her expression that even Xan’s friendly words only made her angrier.

He was relieved to see someone- the bard, come to help her. She finally seemed to calm down a little bit so he went to help too. And he was not the only one; a bearded man who soon revealed himself to be a mage used his magic to create a giant grave for them. Travian was grateful that he sped up the process but a little irked at the man’s rude words- they certainly weren’t going to make the monk any happier.

Travian and a handful of other people helped the girl pull the bodies into the hole. Once they were done the mage sealed it up again. He delivered his prayer quickly and silently before returning to his mount, giving the monk some space. He waited for everyone else to set off before bringing up the rear.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella had finished her breakfast just as some of the others were beginning to trot off on their mounts and the argument that had ebbed and flowed behind her appeared to be resolved. Nel was surrounded by a few caring people who had not abandoned her to the task and the Triansui wasn’t surprised to see Bard girl by her side but she was intrigued that Ian, Van and Geraint had stuck around.

Nari spoke to her and though she agreed with every bit of it, she also had a soft spot for the monk but the small band that was burying the bodies already had a handful of capable fighters so it was with great reluctance that Mira decided to ride on after the Prince as well.

Still, she couldn’t leave the monk without saying something and she crossed the clearing and pulled the girl close, wrapping her in a quick bear hug before releasing her. “No act of kindness, no matter how small and no matter whom it is directed towards, is ever wasted. Do not let anyone ever let you believe differently.” With a smile and a nod directed to each of the others that would stay behind, Mira went for Blaze and mounted easily, clicking her tongue until the mare was set to a canter so that they could catch up to the others.

When she reached the group, she slowed her pace, settling her trail beside Nari’s where they would converse throughout the rest of the ride. Many subjects were broached but none delved too deeply into their pasts. Their friendship still, perhaps, too new for such things. Every once in awhile, the group fell into a comfortable silence, simply enjoying the sounds of nature that surrounded them.

It was during these lapses that Mira could not help but turn around to look behind her to see if the others had caught up to them yet. Hopefully, they would not be more than an hour or so behind the main body of travelers. Who knew what they would run into on the trail to the ruins since they had already had one battle less than a day after setting out from Paetax?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian

Travian was surprised how quickly the burial group caught up with the main party. He was also relieved to see the young monk opening up to her riding partner. Out of the group that stayed behind the older man stayed at the back of the group with the young paladin. Travian couldn’t be sure of his name but he remembered him being introduced as a shaman. It stuck out in his mind because he wasn’t exactly sure what a shaman was, though he could tell the man was formidable by his ability to keep up with a horse on foot.

The group was in a pleasant mood, chatter and laughter surrounded them. Travian felt right at home and spoke freely with the others. The cheery atmosphere went on into the night, combating the unease of being so close to the eerie tower. However, as everyone began to settle down to sleep and the silence of night crept in Travian’s mind began to wander back to stories he’s heard. Legions of soldiers that marched on no matter what injuries they took until the attackers were overwhelmed. Their bodies would be raised by the necromancers and the next combatants would have to face their comrades’ soulless husks. It was truly horrifying.

Sleep did not come easily- and not just because he decided to sleep in full armor that night. An eerie feeling filled him and try as he might he could not push such dark thoughts from his mind. He fell asleep without realizing it and his dreams were full of dark voices whispering to him. Dead faces staring out at him.

"Hey, Hey!!" a familiar voice shouted out, "Everyone wake up!! We have a situation!"

Travian jolted awake. His shield and a throwing spear were in his hands as he looked around. Xan and the male ranger were a little ways into the woods, inspecting something. Xan moved out of sight as the ranger called out to get the mages. Travian wasted no time, he immediately found the bearded one that had used magic to dig a grave the morning before and began shaking him.

“Wake up! There’s trouble!”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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He laid on his bedroll, goblet in hand, dripping the last essence of wine that he had missed, when it rang in his head. The voices echoed, but sounded as though part of a dream. That was of course only until one rang then grew louder, even in his sleep he tried to make out hat it was saying, "Lance, his majesty is missing! get up we need to get ready". With a thunderous roar it awoke him. He rose quickly and wildly to the news.

"What? Wher- Where has he gone?" As he stood, it seemed almost in an instant that he was holding his sword and shield. It took him a second to gain focus. Seeing that everyone was in a sort of organized panic he realized that this was not a time for battle, but one of haste in action. He threw down his weapons to begin donning his armor. His eyes glanced over the party hurriedly, making it difficult to make out who was who, what he did notice though was that he is probably the last person awake.

As he struggled to quickly make ready, another voice rang in his head, that of the prince, and of his own promise to him. A heavy breath of rage and guilt heaved in his chest. Immediately he turned and began shouting orders in a way out of character of himself. "Quickly grab a small bite to eat and drink! Let us try to quickly take down camp, let us not leave too much trace. Rangers and rogues, begin tracking cautiously if you have not already. The rest will follow your lead, with mages in the middle, and the warriors covering the rear." As he was about to put on his chest plate he first rested his head on his horses saddle, attempting to gather his thoughts, center himself. "It may be best to either release your horse or walk with it, as we must be extra careful and aware from here on in towards the ruins. If the Prince's cloak is still around, someone should put it on, covered by the hood, and pose as the Prince to not raise the suspicions of any who see us."

He shouted the orders while clearing his sad excuse for a camp, reaching into his sack to blindly break off a piece of bread. The walking will have to suffice for a morning workout. The adrenaline from being awakened so hurriedly made his armor feel light as usual, but he knew it would not last. Eventually the lack of sleep and exercise would weigh on him, but he could not show it. "You're now our head of defense" the Prince's words made him shake under his armor, but he had to keep his head up and his eyes sharp now. "I will not fail you again" he whispered to himself, sheathing his sword and picking up his shield.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by conor
Feylon looked at the bard as he processed the question. "I highly doubt he has come back. He is not in his tent, the footprints lead to the citadel and his cloak is resting somewhere down the path" as he pointed to the red fabric on the floor. Then he acknowledged the Priests question of the bard. Feylon turned to the bard and thought for a minute before opening his mouth. "While I agree with the Priest to some degree I do not wish to relegate you to camp duty. It will be dangerous down there. If you wish to come I will certainly not stop you." He un-sheathed one of his two daggers and offered it to the monk. Surely better protection than a lute and some throwing knives. Whether she took it or not was up to her and he thrust it into the ground near her feet.

As everyone began shouting and running off Feylon grew angry, People were beginning to be reckless about the task at hand. The priest had more tactical sense than he had imagined with some tweaking it would be the best shot they had of infiltrating the citadel. His anger however got the better of him. He cleared his throat and began to shout. "EVERYONE STOP!". He would not be responsible for the ones who had already run off, that was their choice and he wasn't going to strain himself to look after the ones who already left. "Right now we are heading into something unknown. Evil creatures are probably lurking inside the citadel, all of which will poses some kind of magic. We need the mages, the shaman and the priest for a magical defence and this is how we should do it. Up front we need two soldiers preferably Mirabella and Travian. In the middle of those two I recommend the shaman however it seems he has run off down towards the citadel. Hopefully if we catch up to him he can fit in. Right behind them in the middle is where the two mages should fit in. One looking left and the other out right to protect the flanks from creatures. However each mage should stick tight to the warrior in front of them for extra protection. Behind that I will slot in and the other ranger should she come back. This should allow us adequate protection for aerial attacks with our bow's. Then behind me again I would have everyone else in a semi-circular shape protecting the rear and closing down the flank's, with the other paladin, Lance?. To hold the rear line.."

Feylon took a deep breath and wiped his forehead. He waited to see whether anyone would listen to him so they could try an ordered and structured assault on the citadel. Otherwise he feared the Prince and most of the group would be lost to them and Feylon was not done with the Prince yet. Not by a long shot.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Akdov was dissapointed by Lance`s lack of leadership, if he ever wanted to be a paladin he would have to accept that protecting is part of the task but so is leading and the idea of the soldier leading was not something he wanted, the man was unable to detect supernatural presences and could not distinguish if the events unraveling in front of him were to be fought by faith or by steel

"We have to move people, those that are ready prepare to move out we already have quite the lot of people headed in the citadel while I will not have anyone enter it just yet we must judge the situation from what we see in the outside and verify if Xan is back with news" despite how reluctant he was and longing for the comfort of just following around it was too risky to let others make choices that he should be making "Geraint already moved ahead, so it is settled that he will be our vanguard I know the man and can attest that he will do fine"

He pointed at the green eyed rouge "Huntress if Xan has failed to come back to us I want you as our lead scout, while I realize that the woodland might be more to your liking I hope whatever our scoundrel has unveiled can give us an edge, besides I can judge that you have some knowledge of first aid so I will be requiring you to assist me when my mending is not enough"

O shit what was her name?

"Mages" he said to Alice and Callavan "you must not under any circumstances find yourselves alone the advantage you provide is far too valuable to risk, Mirabella guard good Callavan and soldier I will insist that you keep the other girl safe, I will be needing the paladins on other roles due to their potential to fight the unholy if the 3 of us focus I believe we can heal wounds and purify the foul taint that the necromancer might have left lingering"

Some growled, some gave an approving nod and he realized that his own preferences had clouded his judgment, he had completely left out the 3 brats they had a spine all of them he knew

"Acacia I would insist, again, that you stay behind but if you must come I have a task well suited for you, I assume bards have good memory no? I hope that someday you will make a lovely tune about our courage here but I will ask you to keep a close track of the surroundings, take note of any icons or landmarks and the doors and paths we take I would not like to get lost there and that is something that would be valuable to us"

He then looked at the monk... part of him struggled to not make a smart remark of how she should be the headmistress of the rites of passing but right now he had to make bridges not pits "Monk I will ask you this, assist the huntress in whatever she might ask of you, I trust you are agile enough to perform under her direction" then there was the firecrotch, Akdov did not want hot tempers going to the Citadel with friends like those who was in need of enemies "Id like you to stay and guard our flank at the entrance dont want the enemy sneaking on our back"

Or you for that matter

"The paladins and myself will be in the center their ability in case we need either involvements of both arms or prayer we will be able to assist either the rear or the front in short notice" he looked at the group and concluded "Those that are ready accompany me to the entrance, the others dont take too much time but dont arrive unprepared either"

He had everything he needed, the tome of truth, his staff and the cup, he walked pondering if he was fit to lead... if Xan was around or the paladin lance had been up to it he would have been more comfortable with them having to bear the burden, if these where faithful then it would be different, but right now he had to act as the elder that he was and make his best to see them all alive through

As he drew closer however, the stench of something that simply was not right permeated his advance, he looked at the hellish citadel and it occurred to him that it looked more like an unholy cathedral which was a bastion of blasphemy to the faithful "Deud`s mercy" he told to himself, he was unnerved by the realization that the place was emanating something dark... in broad daylight

The prince did went missing at night did he not?

They would have to preferably end this quickly, he found Geraint there waiting "Were getting too old for this friend" he smirked giving some humor to a truth that was harmful to the pride, however in case he indeed didnt made it out he had to slip "G, look should things go sour... remember that I told you that before I became a priest I was a man of influence in Queran? I heard that my last wife had a child who himself bore a daughter later on, they probably are living off the wealth that I left them back when... they're doing good, just..." he saw how those that had accompanied him were giving looks to them "well you will know what to do I'm sure, just being a paranoid old man"

As they gathered around he began to prepare a rite, a blessing of sorts... faith would shield him to an extent, but would Deud be so benevolent to those who did not bowed?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian

The mage he had been trying to wake was grumpy when he finally came to, cursing and shoving his way into alertness. Once it was apparent he was truly awake and wouldn’t just roll over, Travian backed off. That task done, he began surveying the camp more carefully, his stomach began to quiver as he realized what had happened, “the Prince….”

As others-most notably the priest, began waking up and taking stock of the situation Travian made himself ready. His stomach seemed heavy; the quest had just begun and he had already failed his prince. He felt sick as he reflected on the confidence he had shown when he first caught up with the group, “just hollow words I couldn’t back up….” He took a deep breath in an attempt to just exhale all his negative thoughts. After a couple more he looked around at the others again: a few had gone off after Xan, some were still waking up and getting themselves ready, some were considering strategy, and the rest just milled about seemingly wondering what they should do. Unorganized as they were, there was something about them- he found himself thinking back to the pile of bodies at camp when he first joined the group and a new wave of confidence filled him. He- no, they had not failed yet; they could do this.

"Those that are ready accompany me to the entrance, the others don’t take too much time but don’t arrive unprepared either,” Akdov announced after explaining the third formation idea that morning. His idea that himself, Travian and Lance should stay in the middle was a sound one, and knowing Mirabella was in the front made him more comfortable with the fact that he wasn’t. Most of the party accompanied the priest to the entrance; some still seemed a little confused about the conflicting orders, but as there had been no apparent signs of distress from the group that had gone ahead there seemed little need to establish a formation until they actually reached the citadel so the issue was put aside for a moment.

As they walked, he found himself taking note of a particularly small girl that he had somehow failed to notice before. He wondered what such a meek-looking type was doing there until he saw her mage’s seal- yes it made sense now. However, despite whatever skill she may have had she seemed anxious. He started to consider whether he should take charge of her protection, that is until he remembered the priests words- once again he found himself agreeing with the man’s logic despite his own wishes. Well, he could still say something to her at the very least.

“Excuse me, Miss.” He said as he approached her, “I hope you will not think me rude, but I couldn’t help but notice that you seem rather uneasy; more so than the rest of us at least. I know it is not my place to look out for you, but should anything happen find me and rest assured my shield will defend you.” He closed his eyes and made a gentle hand motion, “the protection of Urusk be upon you.”

**********************************************************************

Tap…tap…tap….crunch

Travian felt his heart rate shoot up. The crunching sound in particular set his pulse pounding-it was somehow familiar but either ignorance or simply an unwillingness to recognize it kept him from identifying the source.

Tap…..tap…..tap….crunch

Under his breath he prayed for the Prince, and Xan. “Please be okay.”

“Perhaps we should quicken our pace to get closer to our thief scout.” Mirabella said from up ahead.

“Aye, and the Prince too!” he said as he began moving more briskly.

Tap….tap….tap….crunch

Damn it all! If we could just get to wherever that sound’s coming from- if I could just see it…..
a cold bead of sweat rolled down his face…. I wouldn’t be so damn afraid.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian

With their now quickened pace, it didn't take long for the group to catch up to Xan. It seemed a trap had finally gotten the better of him as he sat huffing and puffing at the edge of a room that's floor was covered in arrows. The ranger guarding the mage girl began inspecting the room as the bard and priest inquired after the rogue's health. Travian let out a slight sigh of relief when he said he was okay. All together again (save the prince, that is) the group was allowed a calm moment. The noise persisted and Travian's heart seemed to pound in time with it, but at least there was one less thing to worry about now. The shaman even made a joke and Travian laughed lightly- beginning to feel himself relax a little.

The monk however, took it seriously and began actually leaping across the room from arrow to arrow. Travian simply gaped, maybe he could do that without his armor and equipment, but that was a big maybe and there was no chance in hell of him leaving those things behind in this place. Xan and the ranger managed to get across almost as easily- though they weren't quite as graceful.

"Cal friend, I would follow her though the arrows but I'm too fat and fucking old to do so. I need your help to keep up." The priest said to the older mage.

"Right then," the man replied as he unfurled a scroll, "Those of you who'd like to avoid getting shot...and the elderly, gather 'round me and stay close. Uncomfortably close."

Unsure what would happen, Travian did as the man said. After a moment, a protective aura surrounded the group. It was not unlike the kind of wards Travian could create with his shield, though doing one as complicated as this would have him on his knees once they made it across. Travian looked at the mage with a newfound respect.

It was slow going; the arrows had left little room for feet- especially so many clustered together. So far no new arrows had fallen, but everyone was sure to keep inside the aura in case the trap were set off again. Once they were about halfway across Xan's voice could be heard yelling back to them.

"Someone with holy abilities please make your way to the front. NOW!"


"Come with me, Priest!" Travian said as he raised his shield over their heads. The shield was big enough to cover both of them, but Traivan still cast a light ward as they moved away from the mage- just in case. As they stepped over the threshold into the next room a foul scent assaulted their nostrils; it was so sudden and intense that it was almost as though there had been a blast of air. The scent and the scene before him stopped dead in his tracks. The nights of his childhood that had been spent tucked tightly under the blankets came rushing back to him as the words formed on his lips. Ghoul.

Seeing the monk in danger snapped him out of his fear and he charged into the fray. She was in the grasp of the creature, and though Xan held it back with his chains and the ranger wailed on its arms with a dagger she was unable to escape.

"Don't let it touch you!" Travian shouted as he sprinted towards them. He knew they had probably heard the same stories he had, but a reminder couldn't hurt. He raised the throwing spear he had been carrying and tossed at the creature's face; he doubted it would do much damage but it did send it's head reeling back away from the monk. Travian then readied a melee spear and charged the creature's left hand. "If those arrows stuck into the ground, hopefully my spear will be able to as well" As the tip bored into flesh he kept running- spreading the arm out away from the monk and ranger. When the tip emerged on the other side he thrust it into the ground with all his might, about faced and began running towards the monk.

With only one arm to keep track of the ranger seemed to be doing better, and most importantly the monk was open. He moved in and scooped her up in his free hand while keeping his shield between themselves and the creature's mouth. Once he had her he ran like hell back to the priest, the foul air filling his lungs as the exertion forced him to take deeper breaths. He laid her down gently. "She's been paralyzed" he said in between gasps; hoping the man could do something to help her.

He glanced back at the creature and saw that it had pulled it's hand out from the spear which was still stuck in the ground.

"Well, at least it shouldn't be able to grab anyone with that hand," he thought as he pulled out his second close-range spear.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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It startled Akdov to see just how agile Feylon was, he was under the impression that the soldier would be a swordsman or someone with practice in fencing but he moved quick as a snake following Xan and Narenia without much effort or pause

Bloody hell he should have told me about that

Callavan then made a remark that they would have to get uncomfortably close to each other, he winked at Mirabella and said "O woe us, I fear I might get ravaged by kinky hands" he laughed all the way through as Callavan led them, that was a talent of sort that the priest had even in the darkest hours he could find a reason to laugh

It was unsettling to hear action coming ahead and more so to hear Xan calling out for a man of god to assist them immediately, his voice broke no argument

So now you pray sinful children

Travian showed startling initiative by shouting that the priest should come with him and rushing ahead of Callavan´s ward, Akdov followed suit and was welcomed by the sight of Xan struggling against a thing with a chain, in yet another moment of courage that surely was making the patron of his order proud Travian charged forward without any hint of terror, whether this courage came from familiarity, hubris or the desire to help Akdov could not tell but he was moved by his actions, he looked to the monk then, she was going to be fine... just not soon.

He could break the taint, but it would take time, time the ghoul would not spare... it had touched flesh its zeal and fervor would only increase now "I can help her but first we must banish the ghoul" he would not have more victims if he could help it, healing one back was bad enough "Xan, Huntress keep your distance dont let it touch you, try to impair its movement" Travian was too valuable to send to errands but the monk could not stay here "Soldier" he told Feylon "She cant stay here the creature will do its best to get it and if it consumes its flesh things will get ugly and fast, carry her out of here well cover you, send for Lance, Geraint and the mages tell them not to allow it to get close"

A cracking sound was heard and he saw how the ghoul had pulled itself free "Damnit I could try an burial ceremony but we lack the manpower to keep it busy while I make the ritual, if I begin it will come to get me and it wont stop until I die" Travian seemed to get the idea "Once Geraint and Lance arrive I will feel confident enough to try until then " in one motion he dug his staff in the ground and then took a heavy gulp of his cup, then in one grotesque show that was not expected from other more conventional priests Akdov regurgitated a stream of highly pressurized vomit from his mouth towards the ghoul which knocked it back, Akdov fell on his knees and elbows coughing while cleaning bits of the crap that still hung up from his beard "we just need to keep it busy until the others arrive, play it safe" he spat and regained his composure

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Time was of the essence and perhaps it was this fact that caused the next series of events to play out both too rapidly and too slowly for Mirabella. If it were to be recalled at a later time, the warrior might bring up a flicker of random memories. A pat on the shoulder by Nari as she passed to catch up with the nimble Nel who hopped through the dangerous arrow trap to head off on her own with Xan, another agile acrobat, quickly following.

There was the eerie stillness of the citadel, the odd play of emotions through each of her comrades as they too made their way via the mage’s protective spell towards the circular room. A few jokes were told to ease tension. The mage, Van, called the priest elderly which made her lips split into a wide grin before the priest cracked his own comment about kinky hands. If hers had even been free, she would’ve held them aloft for his viewing pleasure. Those free roaming touches wouldn’t come from her hands even if they did not currently bear sword and shield. The holiest man among them seemed to be one of the most lascivious.

Then the world paused, as if holding its breath before all hell broke loose. Upon entering the room, Mirabella’s mind couldn’t keep up with the calamity. Nel, seemingly frozen, was being dragged away from a vile creature that reeked worse than any place she had ever visited. Ghoul the word was either screamed out or whispered by various people and everyone battled desperately to take down this new foe. Only the second battle they would encounter and it had to be this… This thing?

Ghouls were notoriously hard kills. In all of the lore she had collected on her various travels or through her kinsmen there had never been any real tactics shared about the creature. Holy magic, the kind that her people couldn’t cast, was useful so the only options she was given to defeat a ghoul were slim.

Decapitate it or run for your life.

Its touch was paralyzing so she couldn’t get too close but still she had to do something. The priest needed time for his spell.

Keep it busy, she heard the priest say and with that she saw the ghoul being knocked back once more, this time by the stomach-churning display of Akdov vomiting upon the creature. Disgust roiled through the warrior’s body but they couldn’t hesitate. They had to keep the beast away from the others while the men with holy magic did their duty.

Keep it busy.

Mirabella held her shield in front of her and ran full force at the ghoul. Thankfully its movements were lethargic so even as it reached out its uninjured hand, she bashed her shield into the foul undead sending it staggering back another few feet and disorienting it briefly. Over her shoulder she called out to the priest and paladins, “Keeping it busy. Do what you need to do.”

With that declaration, she caught the eye of Xan, Nari and Van. Those with ranged abilities that could give the ghoul everything they had while awaiting the spell to unfold. The ghoul took another lumbering step towards her and she parried its outstretched hand away with her sword then tried to hack at its leg with a swift blow. Perhaps, if they could disable it then it would be easier to take down.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Akdov smiled as he saw the group function as a well organized party with people bringing in sausages, others chairs and most of them booze... one of these days he would show them how to party hard as in the days of Ruglia`s age

Everyone was giving their effort to see the ghoul put down, if they kept it up they probably would not even need his intervention, but they were ignorant he assumed... they had not considered that once that thing had been human, that right now there were remnants of a soul trapped in that wretched husk asking for release, a task that Akdov felt it was his sacred duty to acquiesce the vows he had taken and believe in redemption

"Paladins" Akdov beckoned them close to his presence "the others seem to have a firm grip on things, I am going to perform an intervention to send the soul that inhabits that corpse directly to the peace of the afterlife, the soul has been held long enough by the body...It is time for it to meets its host" the next part would be the hard one "I will perform the rite of Sanskar that demands that you act as my acolytes and put your arms down while cleansing your souls of any intent of violence" he knew that demanding such vulnerability in front of such creature was too much "My staff will indicate when the rite is complete, until then the ghoul will be infuriated by my presence, it must reach me only when im finished"

With not a moment to spare Akdov kissed his tome and opened it, reciting words in a sacred language, pages from the book began to fly around him forming a circle around those involved in the ritual and his cup burn bright with a golden fire that very slowly extended from his hand... once it covered his whole body it would be ready, the staff that had been planted too began took its part as well as it latched to Akdov`s back acting as some sort of third arm as he held the cup in one and with the other 2 held the book and took pages out of it to join the circle around him

The ghouls eyes shone red and an unholy frenzy took over it, now more than ever its corruption compelled it to eliminate that annoying source of divinity... it would not stop until the priest was dead

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian

Travian was still trying catch his breath when the rest of the group caught up. They were just in time to see an.....impressive display of projectile vomiting from the priest which knocked the ghoul back a bit. He had requested that everyone keep the ghoul busy so he could prepare a spell and Mirabella and G were eager to oblige. Not quite ready to charge in with them, Travian watched carefully- ready to run should either of them get themselves in trouble. He was also concerned about Xan, the beast may try to shake off the chains at any moment. With Mira and G coming at it, the ranger had a chance to get away and he took up the monk as Akdov instructed. Travian was relieved to see the two of them get away safely.

The two fighters worked together well and with two hits to the legs the creature came falling forward. Finally fresh and now presented with a golden opportunity Travian surged forward. His first thought was to take out the creatures eyes but he quickly realized what a bad idea that would be "don't want a creature with a paralyzing touch flailing all around...." His hesitation almost lost him his chance- the creature was beginning to shamble to it's feet.

To stop it Travian plunged his spear into the creature's neck. Its mouth surged towards the paladin in retaliation, but he easily blocked with his shield. With the its face so close it was easy to remove the throwing spear he had hit it with earlier. Not wanting to linger so close to it's paralyzing flesh he stowed the ranged spear and then pulled out the melee one that was still lodged in the neck. The creature rose as he backed away from it and tried to take a swipe at him once it was up. He blocked with his shield but the blow was powerful enough to knock him off his feet. He landed square on his back and got the wind knocked out of him. He struggled to regain his feet as he felt the creature closing in on him, but it was hard enough just getting air. It attempted to hit him again now that he was vulnerable but he managed to get his shield up in time. That was when he heard the mage call out

"Oi buggers! Best stand back now, lest you want to loose a limb or two."

He coughed before spitting out "Working on it!" It was then that he realized he breathe normally again and he scurried to his feet. He ran to what seemed a safe distance- keeping his eyes on the ghoul the whole time. Before he could see what the mage was up to the priest summoned him.

"I will perform the rite of Sanskar that demands you act as my acolytes and put your arms down while cleansing your souls of any intent of violence."

Travian had never heard of Sanskar but Akdov's description made it sound similar to the once exorcism he had been present for. Though at that time all he had to do was hold down the poor victim- this would be a lot more complicated. He made his way to the priest and removed his pack and shield. He closed his eyes and knelt before the man. He turned his thoughts away from defending himself and the others (with force if need be) and instead concentrated on helping the poor soul-peacefully- gently guiding rather than forcing it out. The more peaceful his mind became the more in tune he felt with the magic the old man was conjuring. More than anything he tried not to think about what would happen if the ghoul reached them before Akdov was ready.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by slcam
Acacia was relieved when Xan assured her he was fine. His comment about his cloak, however, was enough to make her smile briefly. She stood, still straining her eyes for a glimpse of what might be making that noise. She caught her breath as Nel jumped onto the arrows, seeming to mess around a bit and even breaking some before she hurried off toward the noise. Acacia was shocked that she would be so foolish as to rush toward something that she knew nothing about. She could easily be killed!

Acacia, unsure she could do the same arrow hopping as Neli did, waited and watched a couple of the others. Her observant eyes quickly picked out how they did it and a cry of alarm from the room helped her with her decision. She couldn't wait for those in heavy armor, and just those who were heavy, to slowly make their way across. With a spry jump, she was soon moving across the arrows, at first awkward, but quickly picking up speed. She made it to the other side as Feylon began flailing at the creature with his bow.

As she came closer, her nose was assaulted with the putrid smell of long decaying flesh. It was a worse smell than anything she could even imagine. She was grateful that she hadn't had the chance to eat anything that morning, because she would have quickly lost it. A throwing knife was quickly in her hand, Feylon's dagger in the other. She hastily and cautiously went closer, immediately releasing the throwing knife into the ghoul's already pierced face, noting the fact that it had little effect before another knife appeared in her hand.

The creature was a ghoul, a eater of flesh. It was said that even a touch from those rotting hands could paralyze someone while the ghoul feasted on their flesh. Many said that ghouls were once human, now not quite dead as their taste for flesh seemed to bind them to their still rotting bodies. Physical attacks would be all but useless. Only the men of 'god' in their group would have any effect on this creature.

Acacia looked around frantically for something to get the monster off Nel when Travain rushed into the room, Akdov not far behind. The paladin pinned the ghoul's hand to the floor and dragged Nel away from it. Her relief that Neli was safe for the moment was soon overpowered by more disgust than the retched smell accounted for when Akdov used projectile vomit to attack. The main group arrived and Geraint slid across the floor, through the vomit, to attack the ghoul.

With sympathy, Acacia noted the disgust on his face as the rest of the group entered the room. Acacia let another dagger fly, hitting the ghoul in the side of the head and briefly attracting his gaze to her. She instinctively took a step back, haunted by its stare. At that moment, Callavan called out for everyone to stand back and Acacia did so. At this point, the only way she could help was to stay out of harm's way herself and help distract this thing. It would be no help to anyone if she had to be dragged out of the room with Neli.

Acacia watched with wonder as Akdov began turning golden as if on fire, pages whirling around him as he started his ritual. The ghoul seemed even more frantic, this time its goal was to kill the priest. Acacia, knowing her little daggers, and even Feylon's larger one, would do little to keep the creature from charging, began looking for something heavier that she could use if necessary. She continued to keep her distance, waiting for Narenia to fire the enhanced arrow.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Geraint watched the battle unfold quickly after his initial plunge into the fray. The ghoul took a few more hits, before a call from Akdov and the Bearded Mage signaled the convergence of two very different plans. Plans that frankly called for entirely opposing sets tactics for those who favored melee such as he himself and the Lady Knight currently holding the foul creature at bay. As luck, fate, chance, or just good planning, would have it however, Xan, the increasingly resourceful rogue implemented a plan that would, temporarily at least, satisfy all plans and keep the remaining party members safe from harm.

Even as the undead figure raged, eyes literally glowing red with fury and hatred toward the two Holy Men whom worked to purify its soul and separate it from the unholy shackles that bound what should be a free spirit to the withered remains of the long dead corpse, it was whipped around and pinned to the wall. An impressive feat that scarcely left Geraint with time to wonder if it was the single minded fury toward the holy men that allowed such maneuvers or if Xan was really that quick and skilled.

With blades cutting through flesh, bone and biting into stone, the ghoul was pinned by the Rogue's unusual weaponry... not that the Old Shaman had cause to call anyone's choice of weapon unusual. Still, with the Sanskar infused anger fueling its limbs, the creature may not stay pinned long without aid. All were free of the blast should the Mage's trick work, and Akdov needed only time. So Geraint answered his ally's call, stepping up to Xan's side before pulling him back farther from the living corpse, willing his spirits into action as he did so, ending it with an stomp of his foot once he'd drawn his comrade to a (hopefully) safe distance. The sound echoed hollowly, as if from far away, and the stone, marred by the malevolent bondage daggers, grew out to encase part of the blades, holding the ugly fiend tighter to the wall, and sprouting additional, painful restraints elsewhere. Hopefully all together they would hold until the Ghoul was blasted to pieces or freed from its not-quite-mortal coil.

"Anyone? Now would be a choice time!" After all, he wasn't entirely certain how long that would all hold.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella was grateful for the aid in fighting the creature. Geraint had helped her in taking down the creature and then Xan had used his unique daggers to chain the ghoul to the wall. Seconds were ticking by and still she had not seen or heard the arrow fire that the mage had crafted for them. Hadn’t he said they didn’t even have half of a minute before it would blow?

Turning her head quickly to scout out the area to see where everyone was, Mira caught sight of Nari with the spelled arrow still in hand. “Everyone back!” She called to the people still left close to the monster and with all the speed she could muster, she sprinted towards the female ranger while sheathing her sword. Plucking the arrow from Narenia’s hand she moved just as quickly back towards the ghoul, praying to whatever spirits were listening that she wouldn’t be blown to smithereens and once close enough she stabbed the arrow at the ghoul’s face. Her aim had been reckless and the projectile stabbed its way through the rotting flesh of the creature’s cheek, pushing the scrolls which were wrapped around its shaft up a bit until they were pressed flush against the ghoul’s jaw.

“Nowwouldbeagoodtimetorun!” The Triansui’s words ran together as she turned on her heel and raced passed anyone within spitting distance of the ghoul. At first, she thought that her rushed efforts had been for naught. That the arrow hadn’t worked for some reason but thankfully she had not turned her face to check. Within seconds of the thought of failure entering her mind, she was quickly proven wrong as a muted boom echoed through the massive room. Mirabella didn’t stop again until she was beside Xan and she finally turned, seeing blackened bits of flesh sprawled against the wall while smoke emanated from the spot where the ghoul had been chained.

Xan’s weapons looked a little worse for wear but that was probably just undead gobs sticking to the metal. It would no doubt be hot to the touch since it had been within the blast radius and while she tried to catch her breath, the warrior looked over to the Priest and Paladins to see if they had completed the ritual. The ghoul and his paralytic touch were no longer a threat but the holy men would no doubt be concerned over the state of the monster’s soul.

Patting the thief on the shoulder, Mirabella muttered a breathless, “Good thinking, shady man. Sorry ‘bout your daggers.” Then she passed over to where the monk, Nelinia, lay unmoving. She placed her round shield upon her back then fell to her knees beside Nel, casting a look at Feylon, the ranger whose name she still did not know. “How is she doing?” Her voice was quiet, worried, and barely perceptible to anyone but those nearest to her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian

He was completely focused on the magic flowing inside him. At least until the boom stick went off. He felt the magic begin to fade, cutting off entirely with a thud in front of him. When he opened his eyes he saw the priest on the ground.

For a moment, he was frozen. He felt his mouth opening as the realization of what had happened dawned on him. A check of the older man’s pulse confirmed it- he was dead.

“No,” He said softly, echoing the word that had been the priest’s last. Like most of the group, he found the old man grating but that didn’t mean he wanted anything bad to happen to him. He would wish death on no one and especially not a comrade. Without thinking he started trying to start the man’s heart, pushing down on the chest with all the force he could muster. He didn’t know exactly what the ritual had done or if his simple first aid could even do anything where souls and magic were involved. But he had to try, he couldn’t just sit there and do nothing.

Travian hardly even noticed the eerie voice echoing through the dank room, but the sounds of battle that followed were hard to tune out. He was starting to falter and completely lost track of how many compressions he had done when G slammed his log of a staff into the ground nearby. The old shaman didn’t need to say anything to the paladin- just by looking at his face Travian could tell that the old man had it covered so he turned his attention to the battle.

Relief surged through him as he saw the little monk in the fray. He would be lying if he didn’t admit that part of his concern for the priest came from the thought that Akdov was the only one who could help her, but it seemed that the ghoul’s spell had faded when it died. He charged in just as the mage’s spell went off. A thick mist filled the area- following both monk’s and mage’s advice he began stabbing at legs where he could find them.

He was beginning to find a rhythm when a spiked tentacle came out of nowhere and hit his left side, knocking him back into the wall. His armor kept most of the spikes from his flesh, but a couple found their way in and he groaned in pain.

“Mira! Slice off those damn things if you can!”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Once more the chaos of battle took over the small group and with the lack of leadership weighing heavily upon them, everyone seemed to disperse. One moment she was on her way to the corner to guard those that needed it but then on her way over, the small monk yanked her down to the ground with a strength and a quickness that she did not believe the young girl capable of possessing. It was just as her back hit the stone flooring that she felt the faint whoosh of air as something passed over top of them and though she didn’t say it, she was thankful for Nelinia’s quick thinking.

The displacer beast was a bastard to fight, that much was sure and as soon as she was standing on her own two feet once more she tried desperately to slice her blade into the creature’s flesh. Yet, how can a warrior without a hint of magical know-how attack a beast that is shielded by illusion? The image of the creature seemed to always been a few feet away from the actual body and though a couple of lucky strikes hit something she didn’t feel comfortable battling a hidden foe while there were so many of her comrades in close proximity. Nel was attached to one of the beast’s many legs and Travian and Lance would both zero in, slashing at the creature before retreating to assess the situation once more.

The mist and cacophony of sound that the mage summoned seemed to hinder the creature’s attempts but it also affected their side equally. Those with keen hearing stood about clutching their sensitive ears and it was only then that Mirabella noticed that the mist that Van had summoned would part in a way that didn’t make sense. The displacer beast would pounce towards someone but the mist would part three feet to the side of the illusion and it was then that she found her answer. Attack wherever the mist was cleared from movement and not the actual visualization of the creature itself.

Using this logic, she struck the beast with great force three times and annoyed it so considerably that it leaped in her direction, causing her to just barely evade its massive form but the dirlagraun’s paw still caught her shoulder which knocked her off balance and sent her tumbling to the ground.

“Mira! Slice off those damn things if you can!”

”Oh, right Ian because I was simply waiting for you to give me the go ahead, I’ve been practicing my footwork for the next masquerade ball. What was I thinking?”

Though her comments were sarcastic, they were also good-natured. The Paladin and Triansui had a history of ribbing each other and even in a situation as dire as the one they were in now, she couldn’t let the opportunity pass to respond. Yet, both Geraint and Ian were right. With the illusion of the displacer beast nullified, now was the time to go on the attack and she pushed herself up, steadying herself briefly while she swapped out her shield for her hand axe. The beast was massive so there would be no shield pummeling it into submission so she may as well use her free hand for something useful, like an extra blade.

Now wielding her short sword in her right hand and her axe in her left, the Triansui sprinted forward while the dirlagraun’s attention was focused on Ian. Using a stabbing motion, she buried her sword into the creature’s side to keep it steady then swung her axe at one of the tentacles. Her axe had remained unused since it’s sharpening in Paetax so it cut cleanly through the appendage, causing it to fall off of the beast while the dirlagraun let out a vicious sound that was somewhere between a squeal of pain and a roar of anger.

The blond warrior grinned but the victory was momentary as the beast wheeled around, its attention now focused solely on her and as she jerked her arm to withdraw her blade from its musculature the dirlagraun vaulted towards the Triansui with renewed ferocity despite its many wounds.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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For all the blows Travian and his fellows seemed to land on the beast, it showed no signs of slowing down. It thrashed and clawed and bit at anyone foolish enough to get close to it. Then, in an instant it was dead. No twitches, no howls of pain; one second it was alive and the next it was just dead. It had been brought down by some sort of powerful spell and Travian couldn’t help but shudder at the terrifying power that was magic. He couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to live in a time where mages were unchecked, where displays like the one he had just witnessed were commonplace, old hat.

He was by no means ungrateful for the spell though, it had no doubt saved lives. Assuming that it was the older mage who had done it, Travian turned towards him to offer his praises. However the look of bewilderment on the man’s face suggested that it wasn’t his spell….or at least not the one he intended. It wasn’t until the others began praising the young girl that he realized it was she was the one responsible. He was not only grateful to her, but happy for her; after looking so scared before she had managed to find some courage. She seemed a little overwhelmed at all the attention the others were giving her, so he simply added a thank you to the chorus. It wasn't much but if she had paid any attention to his face and tone when he said it she would have known how sincere it was.

Just as the words left his lips, Lance became the new center of attention. He was on the ground next to the beast, screaming with his hands to his temples. Travian rushed to his side and hovered over him unsure what the man’s problem was or how he could help. The man stopped after only a few howls and was then silent for a few moments. It looked as though he was collecting his thoughts, so Travian let him be. When he finally did speak it was with a calm demeanor that suited neither his still echoing howls or what he had to say.

How could it be? How could two distinct people fuse in this way? His manner of speaking, it was very much Akdov's but the voice was Lance’s. He seemed to know the histories of both men though they had not known each other before and had not interacted much since meeting. But perhaps worst of all he saw no hope of Akdov returning, for he instructed Callavan to burn the body. Travian could not accept that. But he couldn't bring himself to say anything. Travian knew that whatever turmoil he felt must be nothing compared to what those two felt and yet they were acting as though they had accepted it. Because there was no time to deal with it right now. And if they were ready to move on then Travian had no right to hold everyone up.

No time. No time. There were those two words again as the Sorceress and her new lover left the room. No time to think about whether the prince betrayed you. No time to think about if you were all brought to be butchered. No time to think about the possibility of having to kill the man you swore fealty to. And no point anyway, since you have no idea what's actually going on.

The mage didn't know whether he had been enchanted or not. For a few moments the room was almost completely silent. Those who did speak did so with lowered voices and everyone made themselves busy in some way or another. Taking care of weapons and wounds, Travian was no exception; he rubbed some ointment onto the light wounds the spiked tentacles had left, gathered and cleaned his spears. He was ready....at least when it came to the physical preparations....

The monk however, was totally ready and she had no qualms about climbing up the balcony after the prince and sorceress. She only paused for a moment to address a red haired woman who had just caught up with them. Travian just stared at her in utter disbelief, only returning to his senses when she passed out of sight.

“DAMN IT! You think she would have learned after the Ghoul!" He took a quick look around at his companions, "We have to catch up to her before she gets into trouble again! Xan, rangers, can you scout the other rooms? I'm sure you all could make the climb but the rest of us are going to need to find some stairs and quickly.” Then turning to the other paladin. “Lance, Akdov, can I leave the wounded to you or would you prefer I stay?” Before they could respond he noticed the mage girl, floating just below the balcony as though she were unsure whether it was okay for her to follow. She was looking at him. "Go!"He would feel better with someone going directly after the monk. "But please be careful! Is there some signal you can give us if you get into trouble?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by conor
Feylon groaned as the pain in his chest grew worse. He needed to stop the bleeding but he could not put sufficient pressure on all three wounds with only two hands. He began to breath heavily and his head fell back against the wall. His spirits lifted when he saw Mirabella coming towards him. She opened a vial of what she said would stop the bleeding. The scents fluttered around his nose. They were oddly pleasant as he took in a small breath of them. The next few moments were gruelling for Feylon. Although Mirabella guided her hands deftly it was not enough to stop wild flashes of pain shooting through his body. He could feel the nerves all around him rattling to life. Screaming in anger as his wounds were tended too. The older scars across his chest and back seemed aggravated too, as if they were none to pleased about this new addition to the grotesque family.

When she had finished Feylon let out a small sigh of relief. The make shift bandages wrapped tightly around him and his now tattered shirt become his new attire. He was glad that Mirabella had attended to his wounds in the traditional manner rather than use magic. Doing battle was a noble thing. The injuries inflicted upon you by the enemy was your trophy. Your enemy should carry as much honour into death as you do as victor. Your enemies should be treated as equals on the field of battle and when they are no more. It was a code that Feylon lived by, although in the case of these monsters he was unsure. He found it ironic considering his line of work was in stealth and subterfuge but nonetheless he stuck with his code. He felt that somehow it stopped him from being desensitised to the plight of a dying soldier.

As he pushed himself off of the wall he felt a new energy driving through him, he had unfinished business with the prince that no one was going to take away from him. After all his employers would not be happy if he failed. He walked over to Mirabella. "Thank you. It is a favour I shall not forget I promise you. As quickly as he came to a stop he was off again. This time in the direction of the other adventurers. He reached Travian just as he shouted for him to climb up to where the figure of the Prince was seen. He moaned at the thought of putting his wounded body under such stress but he was not one to skimp out on his duties, military life had taught him that the hard way, by means of fifty lashes.

Cracking his fingers he jogged at the wall and took a leap into the air. His hands slammed into a rock and grasped tightly as he pulled himself upwards. He began prancing from rock to rock slowly making his way up the wall getting closer and closer to the edge at the top. Had he not spent most of his life in trees the journey would have taken much longer. Thankfully he was nimble enough to achieve such a climb. He reached the top and hauled himself over. His breathing was heavy and his chest pushed against the bandages around his torso. He pulled himself up again, slightly out of breath and light headed. He slowly stumbled down the corridor looking for any rooms or dark passages that the others might find danger in but their was nothing. The corridor let straight into a brightly lit room that was just a few metres away from him now. He could hear voices. Slowly unsheathing his little dagger he noiselessly moved across the floor. A bead of sweat tumbled down his forehead as he grew closer. Now he could smell succulent meats of all kinds. To say he was confused would be an understatement. As he came into the entrance a large hall opened in front of him. Brightly light and elegantly decorated with mounds of food he stood there quite anxious and unsettled. In front of him he could see the redhead and the monk and then beyond that the Prince and a mysterious lady.

"what the hell is going on?" he let slip from between his lips.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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He was afraid

No that was undercutting it, he was terrified

Terrified when he tried to heal the wounded and the calls he made went unanswered, the power and favor he once had commanded with his god were either being dampened by another source or something far worse, the blessed body of the man that had been Arthur was the one who had attained all those ointments and honors to the hall lord

Logic would dictate that it was the soul that should be the one to be held accountable for its deeds, but maybe Deud had frown at the defilement of the Sanskar, and he was inhabiting the body of another man, a man that had been sword to Pelor... maybe both gods were at an argument at the moment about what was who's

But he was needed here and now, and goddamn the lack of common sense from these people was still something that did not cease to amaze him, despite having wounded and dead some still felt like rushing in along without a clue of whatever it was that awaited them or even if their companions were good to go

I swear I cant figure how she survived into her age

The group was still gathering when the wizardess, monk and soldier moved on and that red headed troublemaker "Seems like were out of time Travian, the wounded are leaving the healthy behind seems that logic and consequence don't hold the power they do outside, we best pack things and get going" it was not long before they were on the move following the smell

a delicious smell that made Akdov realize that he felt hunger, a hunger that he had not felt in decades in his blessed body, he also could not help but to notice the pleasing anatomy that the prince`s companion featured- Goddammit these youngsters!- He did not recall feeling so, lustful, maybe it was age, maybe it was something done to him in his consecration, but she had curves where a wench should have them and everything seemed to bounce in a very feminine way.

Lance must have struggled a lot if he had vows of chastity

And the dishes, there was Umathonel wine there! those bottles were worth a small city and were holy property to the Church of Deud only to be opened at the best celebrations, and the spiced pork, and the cinnamon pineapple and the molten cheese pot and the stuffed turkey and... and...

Get back on your senses!

"Rydas I see you waited for us before you ate, how very kind seems like humor has found you at last" he noticed the tied fellows, they could be either friend or foe but they had parts to play he was certain "It is so very nice of you to have prepared this banquet for us" he moved forward boldly almost defiantly towards the table "I have to say it is nice for a change to be received like this, yet there is just one thing... " in one quick motion he pulled the mantle off the table intending to make a mess of it and instead the dishes and bottles stayed exactly in their place while a very confused Akdov held to a piece of cloth, their female host made a giggle

Well that wasn't supposed to happen

"Errr... what I meant to do was this!" he tried then lifting the table but by the barrels that thing was heavy or Lance was not as strong as the priest had been they were both now snorting and grinning "Screw this piece of sh-"he turned it over to the side instead, this time doing what he intended all along, screw up their plans "I don't know who are you or what you have in store wench!" he unsheathed his sword and pointed at their direction "But Rydas is expendable he is second in line after all and your intent to do us harm is clear so excuse me if I am rude when I decline your so called hospitality, you have underestimated us it seems "

He made a signal for the rest of the group to follow, hopefully they would and if not... well he already had made a fool of himself with the table "Feylon aim at his knees, Nernia aim at her gut!" those two smirking jerks looked awfully calm, Xan would have alerted them if something was up or the mages should have seen a hint of something to be worried about " Callavan, Alice dont let her do anything without you noticing it!" he then made a nod to Mirabella and Travian "draw your steel"

Akdov had been a man of words, he was an accomplished orator after all " Listen and listen to me well, while the Panacea might be a lie we root out the corruption in Paetax today!"

Half of confidence is being confident, well it better be causing an impression on those two

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan

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Travian let out a half-hearted laugh to Akdov’s remark. As he said, the injured were leaving the healthy behind. The man with his chest sliced open had managed to climb up to the balcony almost as easily as the monk did. At any rate it seemed that he was right-there were indeed stairs nearby and close enough to make his call for scouts to find some irrelevant. Naturally those who managed the climb beat Travian and the others on the stairs to the dining room, but it mattered little- their most excellent host was gracious enough to wait for all their guests to arrive.

Travian couldn’t help but look at the feast spread before them longingly. He had barely had a thing to eat all day and felt as though he could eat most of what was on the table. Well he could have if the Prince’s words hadn’t made him sick to his stomach. Suddenly the feast was completely unappetizing. Almost as soon as the prince was done speaking their party began acting. Projectiles were hurled and the table was turned over sending food all across the floor.

While all of that was going on a few of the adventurers began freeing the other “guests” who were tied to some of the chairs set at the table. Travian was somewhat wary- could their presence be some ploy Idassava’s? Well if they were they didn’t appear to be turning immediately on those who freed them and even if they were allied to the sorceress she would probably make use of them whether they had been untied or not. Furthermore, there was no was Travian could leave them like that with a battle breaking out. Thus decided he ran over to one of the nearest hostages, a young woman with long dark hair and carefully cut her bonds.

“Are you okay?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Selene Moretti Character Portrait: Dekard Roland Character Portrait: Yaa Oba Contee Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka

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#, as written by Celedia
Image

Siobhán grit her teeth as her hands twisted and turned within their bonds. Others were being released from captivity and still she was ignored, worrying her wrists against the twisted hemp rope so that blood was drawn from her skin. Oddly enough, the red liquid was making it easier for her to work her hands loose, making her skin just slick enough so that if she squeezed her hands together in just the right way…

But before she could free herself a man came to her aid and with a few deft flicks of his wrist, the rope binding her arms, torso, knees and ankles were all freed. “Are you okay?” The cleric heard him speak and her head swiveled as she stood from the chair, trying to see if the newcomer was friend or foe. A warrior, from the look of him, and more specifically a Paladin in the care of the god Urusk the Protector if his tabard was legitimate. The temple had taught her much of the Gods and Goddesses worshipped in Calisma and the surrounding areas and she was both shocked and surprised to see a followed of Urusk venturing this far into the wilderness. Not because they weren’t known for travel, in fact they always seemed to be off aiding others, but there were so few people that had the resolve necessary to follow the Protector God that they were quite rare. Simply stumbling upon one of them in her hour of need seemed almost too good to be true.

Finally, she found her voice and casting a soft smile upon the Paladin, she nodded, causing thick raven-colored locks to tousle about her lithe frame. “I am, thank you. We should help the others….” A pause in her speech as she gestured to those still tied to their chairs. Siobhán then canted her head as if listening to something before angling her face towards the Paladin. “A gift, if I may?” She turned towards him and held both hands aloft as if to show him that she meant no harm. In fact, she was the antithesis of violence and if anything, she wanted to aid the people that would most likely be saving her from this dark citadel.

If he did not flinch or shy away, she would press a palm to each of his cheeks and recite a soft prayer in an ancient language. Pale, silvery light would seem to emanate from her very skin, concentrated mostly in her hands where she touch the Paladin’s face and he would feel more powerful than before. “You worship the Boar but I give you the strength of the Bull. Use it wisely, Holy Warrior. I will try to release the others….” Her face turned again, casting a shadowed look at the young, beautiful woman currently stroking the man perched upon the cold stone throne. This group would have to throw everything they had at that woman in order to have the slightest chance of walking from these shadowed halls alive. “You are needed in battle, it seems.”

Smiling once more, she dropped her hands and ran off to the nearest captive, Oba, one of the two (technically three but she did not count the blankly staring man beside her) people that she had followed into this Goddess-forsaken place. “Do not fret. Go help in the killing. Do not let them have all of the fun.” She spoke in jest, in response to the woman’s outburst as Siobhán drew her own dagger from her belt and sliced through the bonds which held the witch doctor before moving on to her zombie-like husband. A golden-haired woman and purple-eyed lass were both being freed as well as the scruffy sorcerer that she had been pursuing so that left the man and woman that looked eerily similar to one another. Goddess, she hoped that she was correct in trusting everyone that had been captive and not naïve enough to unleash hell upon the group that was trying to assist them.

Another quick jerk of her dagger and she loosed the rope that bound the hands of Iravey first since she was still upright. “Are either of you wounded?“ Her voice softly inquired, hoping that they could still hear her over the raucous battle. Then she moved to the brother, Talsin and pushed his chair a bit so she could reach his hands whilst he was laying upon the floor still strapped into his seat. “Clever boy…” She murmured beneath her breath in appreciation at his quick thinking and then before standing once more, Siobhán shoved her dagger back into her belt sheath. Her protective shield still shimmered lightly around her, protecting her from direct attack but it was evident that she was skittish and wanted to remove herself from this room as quickly as possible.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Cordelia Braxton

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Travian was relieved to hear that the woman was okay, though he was still somewhat wary of her.

“A gift, if I may?” She said as she turned towards him with her arms gently raised in front of her. Any doubt he may have had about her was erased completely. Her whole figure bespoke peace and calm, things he sorely missed in this place of death and decay. If this was a trap it was one he was happy to fall into. Sensing her intent, he knelt down in front of her so she could reach his face. With a palm on each cheek she softly spoke in an ancient language and a light filled her that even his closed eyes could sense.

“You worship the Boar but I give you the strength of the Bull. Use it wisely, Holy Warrior. I will try to release the others….You are needed in battle, it seems.”

The sensation that coursed through his body as the spell took effect was possibly the best he had ever experienced. It was as though he had bathed in a cold mountain spring; he felt refreshed and cleansed of all the negativity that burdened him. Hunger, weariness, fear, doubt; they had all been washed away and replaced with an incredible energy. It was like a rush of adrenaline and at that moment he felt he could do anything.

But when he opened his eyes he found not the combat he was now itching for but words, strange words. The prince’s account of what had happened was odd, like a warped version of the truth. For a moment Travian couldn’t help but wonder if they had all been bewitched. But the doubt that had begun to creep back into his mind was vanquished yet again when the prince claimed that the prisoners were of the Tommy Knockers. No, that was impossible. There was no that woman had anything to do with such a violent organization.

Mirabella tried to reason with the prince- many of her words echoing Travian’s own thoughts. When that didn’t seem to work Feylon began insulting the prince. There was a sincerity to his words that gave Travian the impression that the man was glad he had an opportunity to say such things. But though the paladin may not have cared for his attitude, that sincerity gave his words a powerful bite that did seem to have an effect on the prince; though the paladin couldn’t tell if Rydas was struggling against enchantment or merely an overwhelming anger. The monk-reckless as always, took the opportunity to try and kick Rydas’ sword out of his hand.

“ENOUGH!” The word reverberated throughout the room and chaos followed.

First the woman began transforming. Her body took on numerous grotesque additions: wings, horns, claws, fangs, a tail- the rest of her was still beautiful but now there was a clear reason for the underlying horror one felt when looking at her. She did something to the prince and then Feylon before finally unleashing a whole flock of other monsters into the room.

Blood boiling, Travian charged into battle. He quickly threw his three throwing spears at the first enemies foolish enough to come into range. His first victim was killed instantly, but he had missed the vitals of the two that followed. He ran up to the first creature, grabbed the spear sticking out of it and used it to finish them off.

As he put the spears back into his quiver the screams of the frazzled woman caught his attention. Travian had been dimly aware of her presence during the conversation but was too absorbed in it to pay her much heed. Well she had his attention now along with everyone and everything else in the room. She was in trouble, but he was on the other side of the room from her. Luckily the woman he had freed managed to get to her and drag her onto the balcony out of the fray. He saw that at least one monster was following them so he ran to the balcony to cut it off, getting there just in time to do so. He skewered it through the shoulder and thrust it into the ground with all his might. Then holding it in place with a foot on it’s stomach he pulled the spear out of the shoulder and jammed into the heart.

He looked around and saw no other enemies in his vicinity, so he took the time to stab all of his spears into the dead creatures flesh like it was a pin cushion. This way he could access them more easily and move about more freely. Normally when he used this strategy he would arrange the spears in an arc around him, but he didn’t think the marble would hold them as well as the corpse did. He then cast a ward around himself.

“Nothing’s getting through here so if you get hurt get your ass to the balcony!”
he shouted to his comrades. He doubted the demon woman would leave such a cocky statement unchallenged but that was fine with him. Bring it on.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Cord Braxton

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#, as written by slcam
Acacia was stunned when the woman before her seemed to regain her senses in an instant, informing Acacia that the Lady of Silence was not a person at all. At least that is what Acacia got from the woman's words. She even told Acacia to calm herself, which Acacia found humorous since the blonde woman was hysterical just seconds before. Acacia had met eccentric people before, but this woman was already at the top of the list. She then began mumbling something about whispering, which Acacia thought she vaguely understood. Was this woman telling how she had come here in her own way? The woman looked to the Prince and the woman next to him and began mumbling indistinctly once more. Acacia was still trying to catch what she was saying when she whipped out of her grasp.

The woman recklessly stormed over to where the Prince and Lady stood, bearing her dagger with a threatening air. Acacia took a step, as if to stop the woman. She was already feeling like she was somewhat responsible for her, since she had set her free. Acacia only hoped that the woman would not hurt herself, or anyone else. Of course, the woman began spewing riddles again, but Acacia thought she might be getting the hang of interpreting. Alternatively, she could just be totally off. Either way, she though the woman was trying to say that the woman next to the Prince was deceiving him, and the woman next to him had him, and this Lady of Silence, whatever it was, caught. Acacia almost wondered if the woman's cryptic words were some sort of spell, however, nothing seemed to happen as a result.

Before Acacia could grasp what was happening, Nel rushed the Prince, kicking up his sword and holding it in place. It seemed like too bold of a move, but Acacia expected nothing less of the yellow-robed monk. Acacia took another step forward, wanting to do something worthwhile to help this situation, though she could not think of what. All she could do for the time being was listen and watch, taking careful note of every detail she could.

Still, her eyes continued to be drawn to that jeweled skull. It seemed to stick out more and more each time she glimpsed it. There had to be something special about it, didn't there? If not, it would make little difference. She began to edge toward it, on the side of the dais that was opposite the commotion. The woman yelling out, “Enough!” made Acacia halt. She could feel the evil emanate from the single shouted command as the complete wrongness in the woman beginning to reveal itself. Fortunately, Acacia did not think that the command was to her and she continued toward the skull. However, she was still greatly distracted by the woman’s transformation. She was a succubus! That meant she had indeed enchanted the Prince.

A feeling of relief crossed her features for an instant before the woman began speaking. Acacia remembered her undertaking to destroy the skull that even now seemed to glare at her. She sensed that she did not have much time to accomplish this. If she guessed correctly, it had some importance; otherwise, it was very strange that it was the only skull so bejeweled and so clean. Her fingers grasped the skull just as the succubus summoned her creatures. Just how many creatures did this succubus have to summon?

Acacia grabbed the skull and threw it to the ground with all her strength. The skull itself fractured into several pieces that skidded across the floor. One of the jewels chipped slightly on the corner from the force of the impact. The beast and demons began to emerge, and Acacia stumbled back into a nearby, shadowy corner. She noticed several others doing the same. For a few moments, she remained unnoticed trembling at the sight of so many of the demons. They seemed to be everywhere. She could almost remember what these horrid creatures were called, but she knew she might have heard it in a story before but she could not recall where.

Suddenly, she heard someone call out, “OATS!” At first, she merely wondered what had caused such an odd battle cry. Abruptly, she recalled that the strange, golden haired woman had seemed to call her that. She immediately sprinted toward the source of the sound, dodging and weaving through the battle, attempting to stay in the shadows. She arrived just as one of the strangers they had rescued ripped the monster apart with some form of magic. The beast collapsed, and Acacia caught sight of the golden haired woman collapsed and bleeding on the ground. The woman who had slain the demon grabbed hold of the golden haired woman and started to drag her to safety. She shouted to Acacia for help, and Acacia noticed one of the beasts rushing toward the pair.

Immediately, she leapt into action, running to intercept the monster with a dagger in each of her hands. Crossing in front of it, she released both daggers toward its face. Its arm blocked one of the daggers, but the other embedded itself in its cheek, quickly swatted off as if it were an annoying bug. Nevertheless, it turned to follow Acacia as she intended, giving the pair some time. To her dismay, she saw another take its place, but Travain quickly killed it. Acacia continued running, at times feeling the monsters foul breath on her neck, causing her to turn abruptly to buy herself time.

She noticed some weapons in a small alcove ahead of her, a long spear catching her attention. She grabbed it quickly, but not quickly enough. It was then she remembered what the beasts were called. They were Vroks. She swung the spear in front of her as the Vrok lunged. It skewered itself on the spear, giving an earsplitting shriek. Unfortunately, this only stopped its forward motion instead of killing it. It jabbed its right arm into Acacia shoulder, embedding two of its gruesome talons into the flesh of her shoulder, pinning it to the wall. With its other hand, it scrabbled at her arm, intending to make her loose her hold on the spear so it could destroy her. Slowly, Acacia was losing the ability to resist as her strength faded. She gave a harsh gasp of pain, knowing she would die.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Deallo
While Nel stayed the Prince's hands from delivering the potential death blow to Feylon, the monk scanned the prince's face for some semblance of understanding, finding a wide-eyed look of surprise. So far, he didn't try to thrash around, rendering Nel's other hand, reared back for a potential punch, useless. Rydas needed to calm down; and the sword in his hand was doing no justice to that fact.

"Enough!" Boomed behind her and she turned, still keeping the wrist grab on the prince, to the dismay and horror of his lover, who underwent a harrowing transformation. As evil as it was, Nel couldn't look away even with the vortex of underworld wind pushing against her face as the seemingly normal woman transformed into her true monstrous succubus form, forever etched in the back of the monk's naive mind. The vile air around the monster seemed to snake itself inside the monk's body and squeeze her heart, forcing it to nearly stop altogether, before letting it go and beat with raw fear. Just as shocked as the prince was, she slowly relinquishing the hold on his wrist, as words flew out the lips of the demon.

The purple gas clouds that slowly formed overhead was enough to make Nel slowly step back, away from the prince and succubus, and closer to the wall. Suddenly, a downpour of winged monsters came through the clouds, screeching, and attacking the party. One of them spotted the monk with her back against the wall and came down after her, razor-sharp talons at the ready to rip her apart. The devastated monk had no more space to walk back on and was forced to confront the Vrock head on as she stepped into the monster's attack; having to get within range of the foul creature's breath. The creature hadn't anticipated the move, talons grazed into the side of her right bicep, ripping into her yellow garb, drawing blood but expecting a death blow. Nelinia didn't think or hesitate, her life of training suddenly becoming instinct as she jumped up, one feet pressed up against the feathery chest of the being while the other struck it's weak long neck, the Vrock gagging on the surprisingly effective blow as it flew back. The monk landed effortlessly on her hands and took her fighting stance, fear washing off her like dirt in a bath, just as the cry of "OATS!" penetrated the air.

It was the crazy woman again. The monk ignored the call just as soon as she realized the creature she struck was up again, letting out a shrill shriek before it decided to charge the woman once more. "How did it get up so quickly!" Nel thought in surprise before stepping round into the side and grabbing hold of one of the creature's large wings. The monster started to screech louder as it started to turn and move to the monk's accord, falling head first against the marble floor, cracking it's skull open, and leaking vile blood all over the floor.

Nel put down the wing and let go of the handful of feathers she tore of it to scan the room. The prince and a couple of the prisoners were in the corner, the tiny mage was seated, protected by her magic, and everyone else was fighting. Just then, the sight of Acacia trapped in the grasp of one of the Vrocks caught the monk's eye, shooting panic into her blood as her legs suddenly ran, running clear across the room back to the other head of the table. Her speed didn't let up, she barely slowed as her feet ran up the wall in the space next to Acacia, taking three steps before jumping off the wall, her right leg raised, heel cutting the wind as it crashed into the monster's skull.

A resounding crack permeated the air and the Vrock so full of anger, hate, and viciousness, suddenly stopped it's onslaught. It's eyes glossed over and it fell over; sprawled out on the marble.

"Acacia!" Nel called out; despite the close proximity between them. "Are you okay? Hurt?" The monk said, bombarding her with questions, checking her for injuries, noticing the blood going down her shoulder just as the paladin called for anyone who's hurt to get their "ass" on the balcony. "The balcony. Please." She told the bard when all of a sudden her back was slashed with the claws of another beast. She screamed as the pain sent ripples through her body. "Now!" Nel managed to growl, disregarding her own bloody leg, arm, and back, turning around to deal with another winged monstrosity.

The monk threw three powerful blows, three punches straight into the gut, before the Vrock can swipe again with it's deadly claws, the speed consideraby slowed by the pain it just received. Closing in the distance, she stuck out one hand to the forearm of the beast to stop the strike in it's tracks, and brought her leg up to kick the elbow. As the shin connected with the elbow, it broke it in half, shooting up through it's flesh right up to it's skin. The creature howled in agony and gave another shriek as that same leg came down on it's knee and shredded it into three.

Nel just had to take a step back as the creature fell and was thoroughly incapacitated, pathetically flapping it's wings trying to get air, but just sticking to the ground. She stayed her thoughts from the monster, feelings of pity for it quickly subsiding for the abomination, as her eyes were now focused on the woman who was Rydas' lover. The fear that first overtook her was gone as she started to ball up her hands into tight fists and clench her teeth. The succubus was the one responsible for all this. It's she who's brought forth all these terrible beasts and now harming her companions. Her eyes narrowed into slits, eyebrows furrowed, mind hazed by a seething rage.

"Stop this." She whispered, walking towards the direction of the succubus, until another one of those winged creatures blocked her way, charging towards her as it shrieked a battle cry. The monk let out a hiss of air and twisted on the balls of her bloody leg, completing a turn, and winding her good leg close to her chest before shooting it out directly in the gut of the creature, stopping it's forward momentum as it's body froze in the kick it ran into. Nel swiftly took her oppurtunity as she jumped, bringing her attacking leg down, and readying her bloody one forward, pushing the paralyzed monster with her center of mass, sending it sprawling back and knocking into the head of the table. The push, forced the heavy long table back on it's four legs, the massive weight of the table held down the vrock as it pinned one of it's wings to the floor with it's sturdy legs.

For the monk it was a straight path to the demon succubus.

Nel sped up her steps to a run, body aching all over as blood trickled down her back, arm, and leg, staining her yellow garb, jumped on the table with what grace she could muster, and sprinted.

"Stop this at once!" She shouted, pushing herself on the balls of her feet, feeling just a bit faint, ready to strike the demon as soon as she could close in the distance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Chaos erupted as the succubus revealed her true form and for a moment, Mirabella was stunned. With the lore and dark magic emanating from these darkened halls she had expected the mysterious woman to be the physical manifestation of Idassava not…. This. The demonic creature summoned more of her ilk and they dropped from the magical portals like rain, their massive bodies interspersed between her and her cohorts so that each being was practically cut off from the other.

The warrior had heard legends pertaining to certain demons but seeing them in person created a whole different perspective. The vrocks which had joined the battle were each around 8 feet tall and weighed anywhere from 500-800 pounds a piece. Fear lanced through the Triansui’s body as she thought about the smaller members of their ragtag band. The rogues, the healers, the monk, the rangers. Where were they? She couldn’t let them duel the beasts on their own yet before she could even move to assist, one of the monstrous creatures took her by surprise and with a single heavy-handed swipe of its hand had her flying across the dais and slamming into the back wall. The very breath was knocked from her lungs and while already dazed from the impact, the creature let out a shrill scream. The stunning screech caused her to raise her hands to her ears and even then she wasn’t quick enough to recover. Pain pierced her eardrums, disorienting her so that when the creature moved again to attack she was helpless to defend herself.

The next hit, thankfully, caught the corner of her shield so that the blow was deflected slightly yet the vrock’s knife-like talons still grazed her forehead. Scalp wounds are notoriously bloody and as the red rivulets flowed down into her eye, Mira seemed to kick into survival mode. The creature, cocky from its first two victorious assaults, was preparing for a death blow when suddenly the Triansui let out a scream of her own- a battle cry that was filled with fury. Her right arm struck out, impaling the creature’s thigh with her sword and she jerked the blade viciously, tearing sinew and muscle as her body lifted and spun to send her shield slamming into the demon’s side. The mangled leg mixed with the offset in balance sent the creature tumbling to the ground and Mirabella followed though, standing over the vrock and driving her sword down into its eye socket. Gore and blood erupted from the wound and once more, she twisted her sword to increase the damage, only pulling away when the creature’s body had stilled beneath her.

Her vision was now blocked on one side and using the back of her hand she tried to wipe the blood from her face so that her gaze could sweep the area. Assessing the situation, she noticed that most everyone was caught within the fighting, the injured were moving towards the balcony which Ian seemed to be protecting. Two figures moved towards the succubus, Nel and Feylon yet the monk was going to attack whereas the ranger was bespelled.

Still located at the wall behind the dais and therefore, behind the succubus and Feylon, Mirabella switched out her off-hand. Her shield was removed and placed upon her back once more and she withdrew her hand axe once more though it was still somewhat bloodied from the last battle. Moving forward, she tried to remain silent but a murmured, “Sorry, ranger…” left her lips as she brought the pommel of her blade down in an attempt to knock Feylon out.

Unable to see whether she had succeeded or simply ticked the ranger off, Mirabella had to move quickly since her movements would no doubt catch the succubus’ attention. With Nelinia almost upon the demoness, Mira aided her by flanking their enemy with both weapons at the ready.

“Demon whore, let’s play!” She yelled, trying to distract the succubus so that Nelinia’s hits would strike true and the warrior moved in for battle. Twirling quickly, the Triansui aimed each blade at the demon’s torso and wings, whichever she would come into contact with first.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Cord Braxton

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#, as written by Celedia
Image



Siobhán attempted to move from the balcony to seek the wounded but it was as if the vrocks, like other predators could sense the weakest of the herd as the cleric suddenly became overrun with enemies. Yet, the pack of warriors and combatants that she was not truly a part of came to her aid just as quickly. Several monstrous demons were slain in her wake by the man she had blessed earlier, then the woman with short hair that she had called to for assistance. Spears and daggers drew the attention of many of the creatures until just one was left, trailing her so closely she could feel its hot breath through the thin fabric of her traveling gown.

It was then that the man everyone had named as the Prince came to her rescue. Quite obviously a well-trained swordsman, he pierced the half-ton creature then decapitated it in a flurry of movements before wrapping one muscular arm about her waist and settling the now-shocked cleric down upon the floor.

”You will live, stay strong.” His voice seemed calm and she could barely nod before he was off, weaving his self into the calamity once more. Though she heard shouts from many of the warriors urging their comrades to seek medical attention out upon the balcony on which she now rested there was no one else that came to her for the remainder of the battle. So with the Paladin guarding the entry to the balcony, Siobhán took the opportunity to kneel and pray to her Goddess. The Moonmaiden must be getting weary of me… The cleric thought with a hint of a smile tilting her lips but still she clasped her hands, eyes closed as she drew forth an image of Selûne in her mind as she thanked the Goddess for Her patience and guidance and begged Her once more for assistance.

The battle raging in the banquet room sounded fierce and they would all no doubt need some form of healing; healing which Siobhán was currently too weak to perform. It seemed that once more the Lady of Silver showed favor to the young cleric and the entire balcony became alight with Her blessing. To anyone that stood close to Siobhán including Cord and Travian, they would feel reenergized as if they had experienced a full night of sleep.

Thankfully, the war between demon and human had ended because Siobhán knew not how long the Goddess’ blessing would last and she wanted to perform the spell before she was once more too weary to do so. Stepping daintily over mutilated carcasses and trying to pick her way through the splatters of blood and gore that now littered the ground, Siobhán pressed on until she was directly in the center of the room. Her moss-hued eyes cast about, searching to make sure each and every human stood within range of her spell.

Then, without a word, she clutched her Holy Symbol between both hands and recited a few words in an ancient language, known only to the Selûnites. Whilst praying, her aura became visible as a shiny silver corona and once the last of the holy words had left her lips, the cleric thrust both arms straight out to her sides and her aura seemed to explode. That faint silvery glow pushed out from the center of the room like a tidal wave, flowing over her allies and once her energy was expended, Siobhán collapsed upon the ground, unconscious. The spell would heal any human of their serious or moderate wounds but may have left some scratches, bruises, etc if they were not life threatening. Unfortunately, the divine magic would also be unable to bring back the dead. Siobhán had obviously not been prepared for a battle at all, much less such heavy casualties. Her own hip wound remained unhealed but at least she gained no other injuries.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by slcam
A look of surprise crossed Acacia's face when Nel came out of nowhere, dispatching the Vrok with a single powerful kick. The monster began to fall, eyes rolling back into its head, and Acacia was almost dragged down with it because of the spear still tightly gripped in her numb hands. Quickly as she could, she pried her stiff fingers from the wood just before the carcass hit the floor. She slumped against the wall, a look of pain crossing her features as she moved her mostly undamaged left arm to better support the right. Rivulets of blood ran down her right arm and dripped to the already stained floor. Nel shouted, asking if she was alright, but it almost seemed like Acacia could not hear her.

"Thank you." Acacia said as loud as she could manage, still panting. She heard Nel tell her to go to the balcony, trying to process the words but distracted by the blood dripping from her arm and staining her left shoulder. Nel screamed briefly and Acacia eyes darted to the new Vrok behind Nel, claws bloodied. This time, she immediately, if regretfully, heeded Nel's instruction as Nel effortlessly destroyed that Vrok as well, and then hurried off despite her own injuries. Acacia felt useless as she dizzily made her way to the balcony. With her arms in this condition, it was impossible to throw any of her daggers. Somehow she managed to avoid the demons, though by no conscious effort of her own. She stumbled past Travain, collapsing to a seated position on the floor in an out of the way corner. She did not quite make it out to the balcony, but she did not have the energy to do so.

She looked down at her arms, horror welling up inside her once more at the sheer abundance of blood turning her white shirt a crimson shade. The right sleeve was entirely in tatters, as was her arm. Most of the cuts from the Vrok's claws were deep, several down to the bone. On her left shoulder were four mostly circular crimson holes. Luckily, Acacia did not think that any bone's had been broken or even scrapped badly. However, it was increasingly difficult to think calmly and logically, and even more to keep her mind in the present. The haunted memories of that terrible night long ago kept pushing themselves forward, demanding her attention. She began to gasp like a fish, staring blankly at Travain without seeing him as tears slowly began to stream down her face. She was not crying for the pain, but for the blood and the memories it brought.

Thankfully, only moments passed before the battle was over, the succubus and her demons retreating. Immediately, fighting broke out among the adventurers, but Acacia noticed none of it. A surge of energy came to her, all but unnoticed, and a moment latter all but her least severe wounds were healed. None of this made any impact on her now blank countenance. Tears streamed down her face and the occasional sob ripped from her throat. She sat in the corner as still as a statue, oblivious to the world around her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan

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Travian

The succubus didn’t rise to his challenge, but the vrocks did. They weren’t actually coming after him, but rather the wounded he was protecting. They were instinctively drawn to the weaker targets. If it wasn’t for the cleric’s spell he probably would have been overwhelmed, but with it he was quick and strong enough to intercept every beast that tried to get through. With so many coming at him he couldn’t keep track of what was going on in other parts of the room, and was beginning to get a little concerned that no one was making their way towards him. Was it a sign that the battle was going well or that his allies were unable to get to safety?

It was actually something of a relief to see Acacia stumbling towards him. He ran over to cover her from a pursuing beast, bashing it with his shield and then stabbing before it could recover from the shock. Not far behind him he heard the bard collapse onto the floor, she hadn’t made it to the balcony and was very exposed. He edged back closer to her but was too busy with oncoming vrocks to turn and get a better look at her injuries. He didn’t even realize that cleric had come out until he saw the flash of the prince’s sword out of the corner of his eye.

“Dammit we’re too spread out!”
he thought frustrated that he could do nothing to help his allies, though he was relieved to see the prince back to normal. He knocked down foe after foe but they just kept coming, keeping him pinned where he was; it didn’t take long for him to loose track of the cleric. And if that weren’t bad enough he could hear Acacia sobbing behind him. Then suddenly the stream of monsters ebbed. Looking around he saw that they had all stopped flying wildly around the room and were now moving toward the center where the succubus was.

He immediately went to check on Acacia. She had lost a decent amount of blood but aside from that her injuries weren’t too serious; none of her vitals were in trouble. She was still conscious but she may as well have been asleep for all the attention she was paying him or anyone else in the room. It seemed that her mental wounds were much worse than her physical ones. He took a look around the room again, the vrocks were still circling around the center of the room, he couldn’t see beyond the birds but he knew some of comrades must be in the middle of the vortex.

He had to do what he could to help them, but first he needed to help the bard while he was able to. He grabbed some water and bandages from his bag which he used to clean and wrap her wounds. It looked like they were pretty much done bleeding by this point, so with the bandages helping to stop it up she would be okay. He tried talking to her, but there was no response and mental wounds weren’t something he really knew how to heal. Sounds from the battle tugged at him, he was loathe to leave Acacia but he reminded himself that however damaged she was her life wasn’t in peril and he couldn’t say the same for those fighting.

He wasn’t going to leave her completely unprotected either. Using his shield he cast a ward around her, much stronger than the light ones he usually cast on himself. The ward came from the shield itself so he didn’t need to be holding on to it to keep the spell going. He leaned it up against the wall next to her. For about 15-20 minutes anyone trying to attack her would be repelled, though it probably wasn’t enough for a foe as powerful as the succubus it would easily stop the vrocks.

He needed to rest a moment after casting such a strong ward, the extra energy the cleric’s spell had provided was definitely used up now. But he still had strength enough to fight. He ran over to where he had placed his spears and quickly tossed the three light ones in to the vortex of Vrocks. Then taking a heavy spear in each hand he began picking off beasts from the outside. It was pretty awkward handling, spears definitely weren’t ever meant to be dual-wielded but the Vrocks were so focused on what was going on inside their midst that he didn’t need to do anything complicated. He simply thrust with both hands, one then the other; over and over again. In between the circling beast he could see some hint of the battle going on within, but nothing was really clear until the succubus howled out with pain for the first time. All the vrocks froze for a moment before disappearing entirely along with their mistress.

Once again Travian looked back at Acacia, but his attention was quickly drawn to the cleric who strode into the middle of the room where the battle had just been raging and performed a spell that healed and rejuvenated everyone in the room. Such a powerful spell took it’s toll immediately and she collapsed where she stood. He tried to rush in and catch her but was too late. The others were too busy arguing to even notice her, the woman had put all her energy into healing them and they couldn't do so much as catch before she fell on the hard floor. It really pissed him off and not just because he knew what it was like to have a spell completely drain you like that. Now that he was close to her he could see that she had a wound on her hip. At first he thought she must have been attacked when he hadn't seen her but on closer inspection he saw that the wound was very strange. It didn't look like it had actually been carved into her flesh, more like it had just manifested there. That struck a cord in his memory, he had heard of healers who took other's wounds onto themselves; but such a "gift" was truly rare. He took out his supplies to treat it but he wasn't sure how much good it would be, if it wasn't made like a normal wound than it might not heal like a normal wound either.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Cord Braxton Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

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#, as written by slcam
When Travain bandaged Acacia, it vaguely registered in her mind; however, she still seemed to make no response. Still, she was stuck in memories of horrors that were triggered by the blood that was so prevalent in the room. She gave small trembles a couple times as he cared for her wounds, as if flinching because of pain, but in reality it was connected to the memories that were quickly turning to waking nightmares. Deep in her consciousness, she hated her utter uselessness, scolded herself for being frightened while others were still fighting, for causing Travain to worry.

Though she made no move even as Travain set the warded shield beside her, she immediately began feeling more peaceful, gradually coming back to the present as her sobbing ceased. Everything felt even more peaceful as the Vroks and succubus left, making the room lose most of the evil aura it possessed when they entered. Acacia's eyes shut for a moment, mind blank as she basked in the relative quiet that pervaded her mind. A few moments later, she felt herself being lifted, though her thoughts were somewhat confused. She thought she had fallen asleep doing chores in the barn again, and her father was lifting her onto his back to take her to bed. Something did not seem right about that thought, but she did not feel like questioning it and losing the pleasant memory to what was really happening around her.

There was a little stumbling and shouting, and Acacia assumed her siblings must be fighting about something again, perhaps getting in her father's path to her bedroom. Slowly, the scene in her head seemed less and less compatible with what she heard and felt around her. She debated whether to open her eyes and make sense of her surroundings. Suddenly, that choice was taken from her as some pungent smelling object was thrust under her nose. She took a small breath and a little cough, sitting up abruptly. She almost lost her balance and fell to the floor, but quickly leaned forward and clasped her arms tightly around the neck of the person carrying her. Once she was out of danger of falling, she loosed her grip so she wouldn't choke the person. 'The man,'she corrected herself as she became more aware. She looked to the side and saw the woman she had untied before holding some strange object. That was probably what woke me up, she thought with something close to amusement. She smiled at the woman briefly.

Her attention quickly turned to the person carrying her as she tried to figure out who he was. He had dark hair and was tall and rather lanky. He seemed too clean to be Xan or Callavan, and to lanky to be the Prince, though his hair was about the same color. Acacia could not see any of them carrying her unless she was badly injured anyway, and she felt relatively fine, if scratched up and bruised. She could think of no one else who matched the appearance of this stranger carrying her, so she decided that he must be one of the dinner guests of the succubus.

She tapped him on the shoulder, slight confusion mixed with a sort of polite confidence in her voice as she said, "Excuse me, would you mind letting me down? Thank you for your help, but I think I am fine now." Without waiting, she extricated herself from his grasp and landed somewhat shakily behind him. A light blush, hidden in the dimness of the room, colored her cheeks for a moment. To distract herself, she began trying to determine what was going on at the moment. Stepped up next to the man who had carried her, nervously looking around. It seemed that Feylon and Lance/Akdov had been fighting, but her gaze immediately went to the Prince. Several people were already around him, and she looked to the woman next to her with a question in her gaze. She wasn't sure what the woman would say, but she figured she might know what was going on.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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The air had a new taste to it, he could not say if this was due to him having gone into that citadel of darkness in the body in which he had been born and having walked out as a youthful and brave paladin or if it was because the stench of evil that had plagued the necromancer´s hideout had been left behind.

All was well, the prince in one piece after the Panacea had lived up to he expectations, the king would be healed in no time and Deud would get a huge building to house the faithful and spread the word of his might, yet... How would he be able to explain what had happened to him?

He was not really sure he grasped it, for starters he could not remember anything about his life as Arthur, all the memories of Queran were left behind and he could not for his life locate it or recall it... In its stead were others the ones who were filled with the thrill of chase amongst suburbs and stealing bread, knowing hunger and devotion to a foreign god one who stood for light, strength and healing.

Akdov held no enmity to this other.. Idol of the sun, but his devotion was to Deud and Deud alone, the hall lord allow this other aspects to be tolerated, but it was not unheard of that the defenders of the faith could do just that, Deud´s scriptures were a joke to some of the other religions at Paetax, a joke they would not tolerate to compete with... Many times had Akdov had his life endangered when he worked as a missionary, the gallows, poison, drowning and stabs on the back had not felled him.

What was he now? He had the vitality to fight now, he could endure the travels that he had once made to be a missionary...but

He looked at the prince, then at the Citadel they had left behind... That temptress was a sign of things to come, the poisoning of the King might be but the advent of a greater wave of chaos, if the king was killed that would mean an imbalance to the power structure that had held the continent together, that demoness had sought to enslave the heir, she could be in league with whatever had aimed to kill the Monarch of Paetax

We put a stop to it, or did we just fought a herald of greater evils?


The priest had done a great deal of bitching down there, he had called everyone´s incompetence up when it surfaced because mistakes like that had costed Lance and Xan a price that could not be paid twice of them... But what had he done?

He had gotten himself in a position where he had to extract a soul -and gotten himself killed for it-, he had also not been able to be strong enough to overpower the succubus on his own or hold the Vulture monsters like Xan did, if the roles had been reversed the creatures would have easily killed him and he would have failed to stop the backup from reaching the demon which the Triansui and the monk had engaged.

He simply did not match the power that some of the members of the group commanded

The Triansui would absolutely trash him at swordplay, let alone the handling of shield and arms
The monk had incapacitated him with ease with only one twist of an arm
Geraint had been a force of nature and wrecked through the enemies ranks
Xan had been vital to the advance of the group, diffused of the traps and his sacrifice had saved them
Lance had not held back even when it meant his life.
And callavan had frozen the beast... Or was that the other girl?

What had he done? How would he help if the succubus was but a slight rash of a deadly disease... How would he stop it? He had to take a path that the followers of Deud rarely took... While the Hall of the merry one was open to all, there were some whose behavior inside could not be accepted, the hall needed to be guarded against supernatural entities and intolerant mortals as well, the defenders of the faith, the paragons of virtue, the keepers of the words... The Paladins of Deud.
He would have to rise up to the challenge and ask of him more than what he had already been given, this was mayhap, Deud´s secret and convoluted plan... All part of it scheming to have a champion to fight the darkness that advanced on them.

He clasped Xan´s chain daggers and told the group "We have succeeded were few would have, Panacea is retrieved and the prince is safe... While our loses were dire only a fool would have expected to come out of such unforeseen adversities without any consequences... Yet our bargain has been met and I must part ways for I made a promise to one of our companions and I will not defile his legacy by forsaking his dying wish" he faced the prince "Deliver the Panacea to your father Dazius, tell the old man that I want a statue of in my image in front of the church, he promised it last time and he never got around to it " he chuckled... The prince remained cold- smile for once you bastard, should have left you on her charm- "I jest your highness, have my reward be delivered to Azevrec my acolyte, he is the one leading the church now... I want your promise fulfilled your highness, Deud will have a great hall inside the walls of Paetax were the cult might at last have the recognition it deserves and the faithful might have the necessary room to pray without being hindered by other zealous churches"

He moved to the Triansui "See them safe to the capital woman, you do your people proud with your skills and righteousness, if you ever need divine assistance my Church will aid you or your people for what you did for us in this journey"

Then it was the turn of the mage "Callavan I am afraid that your powers are still raw, while this rune working of you is a craft unknown to me I am certain you will make a great mage one of these days, stay true to yourself and support your King, the times before the guild were dark, but mages with your promise and discipline confirm that this generation is in safe hands"

He could not let Feylon walk out on him "I will look forward to ending what we started below that accursed place one of these days soldier, who knows, maybe I can teach you how a party is really all about, consider reading one of Deud´s preaching at least once, you might find some faith in you"

The foreign paladin had also need some commendations "Travian you are the example of everything your order should be and a pride to Urusk, be safe and see the Prince safe to the capital" he gestured to Accacia "without your help we might have spent weeks in there lass, I am glad this didn't weighted down on you as much as it did to others"

He then finally talked to his old friend "G, Ill be seeing you again that's a promise, were getting too old for this shit aren't we? All this shit about sorceress, demons, undead and wizards... A man can only take it so far... Glad to see we aren't even halfway there" he chuckled as he gave him a pat on the shoulder

Then he addressed them all as he walked away "I made a promise to Xan, I told him that I would go to Systril -wherever the hell that is- and find his sister, deliver her his legacy... And while at it make sure his family does not suffer a day of hunger with all this treasure we found, I'm taking both of our horses for this reason, once I do that I shall return to Paetax... Tell them that Akdov died, that he fought and fell for Deud and the King, let others take strength in the sacrifices of the few that bought the safety of the masses today and make sure the King can hold together the peace"

That marked the farewell of Akdov to the group... He would return, but when? And under what conditions?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Senalae Errion

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#, as written by Celedia
-=Mirabella=-


Fierce words were lobbed back at the Triansui by the Priestadin but Mirabella ignored every bit of venom that spewed forth from his mouth. He claimed kinship with the honest thief, Xan, but his speech was not taken to be as acerbic as it would have been if he had bothered to feast with them at the Dancing Dragon before their journey. She, however, would take Xan’s wish that he had shared that night to heart: "I hope everyone can learn to get along…”

So she turned from Lakdov and the others until the amulet hung around the Prince’s neck. When Rydas’ sickening screams had lessened, the party began to disperse and even as the Priestadin spoke to her once more, this time almost cordially, she still ignored him. Only when Nelinia announced that she too was parting ways with the group did the warrior’s bloodied features fall.

”Home?” She repeated the monk’s words dully as her gaze raked over the yellow-clad figure. The tiny melee fighter had become one of her closest allies in the massive group and she couldn’t come to terms with parting from her this quickly. Arguing wouldn’t solve anything so instead Mira wrapped her arms around the weary monk in a bear hug and embraced her quickly before stepping back.

”Be safe, Nelinia. If you ever need anything….” Her words trailed off and a sad smile clung to her lips. Honey brown eyes searched for her other close companions: Nari, Acacia, and Ian to see if any of them would be leaving as well. Those of the group that wished to travel back to Paetax were gathered together. With Ian’s help, Mira managed to load the Prince onto the back of her mare, Blaze, who had just happened to linger around the entrance to the citadel with a handful of other horses. The ride to the capitol was uneventful and as soon as they had reached the gates the Triansui reined her horse around to face north.

”I must travel home,” She murmured to herself but the realization that there was nothing really left for her there emerged. Most of her life she had been a nomad, wandering from place to place in search of gold and adventure and an honorable fight. It had taken them a few days to travel to the capitol and she realized that there really wasn’t anywhere that she would truly call home anymore, so perhaps she should simply continue her adventures elsewhere. When trying to pick a destination, she inadvertently turned her steed southward instead, towards the Shallon Woods, towards Kiron and the Kula Monastery.

She took her time on the trip and it was only when three more full days had passed that she had breeched the perimeter of the town. Exhausted, Mirabella barely noticed the agile monks hopping swiftly from tree to tree above her and though on any other day she would be halted and questioned regarding her entry into Kiron, she was allowed to pass into the village itself with no hesitation. As she brought Blaze through Kiron towards the large monastery, a small group exited and stood by the doors as if they had been waiting for her arrival.

”Ahhh. You are early but no matter.” One of the yellow clad figures stepped out to meet her and though Mirabella arched her brow in confusion, her reaction was ignored as the figure turned quickly to a rather short man that looked as if he had seen his fair share of battle. The monk that had greeted her quickly stood back and half-bowed towards the short man whilst introducing him.

”I present to you, the Elder. Elder, this is the representative that…” With a lightning quick gesture from the battle hardened man, the other monk’s words halted so the Elder could speak but not before his steely gaze assessed Mira with great intensity.

”Come, we have much to discuss.” The Elder turned without waiting for any sort of acknowledgement from the Triansui and puzzled, she had no choice but to dismount and follow along. She was led to an area where they could sit down and a small meal was placed before her.

”We have come far,” The Elder started, a conversational segue which confused Mirabella even more than it had before, but she assumed that Nelinia had simply told the man of their adventures. Not wanting to interrupt, she remained silent while she ate.

”If you have not heard the news. The King as passed. All that remains is the lesser son, the Prince. He won’t prove much of a challenge, will he?”

Mira’s honey-hued eyes widened at the statement, her spoon missing her mouth and spilling the heated soup that she had been served down over her breastplate. One of the Elder’s apprentices ran to fetch her some cloth to clean herself with while the Elder barely even registered her actions and he continued to deliver information to her. All throughout the man’s monologue the warrior couldn’t help but wonder exactly who he thought he was speaking with. None of this made sense. Where was Nel?

What had started out as a simple trip to visit what she had considered to be a dear friend, ended up being a one-sided conversation that brought a hint of intrigue into the Triansui’s life. The Elder chose all of his words carefully, as if he were speaking in code, and though she drew hints of treason from his speech she had no time for inquiries. Almost as abruptly as she was greeted by the Elder, she was dismissed. He stood up when he was finished and made a swift motion towards his apprentices. ”They will see to your needs and you may deliver the message to your superiors.”

What superiors? Who or what did they expect to visit them? Where is Nelinia?

Those troubled thoughts echoed in Mirabella’s mind and it wasn’t until the following day when she was leaving Kiron that she decided to ask someone of her friend’s whereabouts. Though her query was met with narrowed eyes, she was eventually given a brief response.

”Not here. That is all you need to know.”

It was a response that left her with more questions than answers.

Time passed. A messenger had hunted Mirabella down during her travels over the next few weeks and hand-delivered a satchel that was quite heavy and a rolled piece of parchment bearing the Royal seal. Both were expected and both were well received: her payment for the Panacea quest and a letter inviting her to the coronation of the First Prince and Future King of Calisma, Rydas Errion.

The gold she managed to hide away, like a squirrel preparing for winter. The scroll was slid behind her belt, keeping it firmly by her side to prove that her presence at the castle had been requested. Unlike other more vain warriors, Mirabella hadn’t used her newfound wealth to buy new armor or weapons. Her breastplate was still the one that had seen her through the battles in the citadel, her blade was still the one used to hack at ghoul, diralgraun, vrock and succubi. The only thing that had changed during the month long absence was the look in her eyes. Though still caring and jovial at times, her meeting with the Elder had proven that everyone had secrets. Even the most unsuspecting entities could be worthy of her distrust and cynicism.

Ascending the stairs with her head held high and her shoulders set proudly, her breastplate polished to a mirror finish and her golden hair pulled away from her face with a leather tie, Mirabella approached the Royals and the monk. A flash of surprise and curiosity flashed over her fair features as she came upon the tail end of the conversation then she bowed low before righting herself once more.

“Prince…” she trailed off with a nod and a friendly smile towards Rydas before she greeted his sister next, “Princess.” Another bow and acknowledgement before she proceeded, “It is an honor to be invited.”

Her eyes turned briefly to the monk as she murmured a brief greeting to Nelinia as well, though whether it was from suspicions based on her visit to the monastery or simply because she didn’t quite know the protocol when royalty was involved, it wasn’t clear.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan

0.00 INK

#, as written by Celedia
Then…

The mortal vessel, when used as a conduit for Godly powers, has a tendency to burn out quickly like a candle that has gone from being melted by the wick alone to one that is being blasted by a pillar of fire from a mage’s hands. Though she didn’t know the repercussions of the massive healing spell that she was about to cast, Siobhán was one of the few people left in the world to truly put the needs of others over her own well being. So she didn’t question the need for the spell. The cleric saw that many were wounded, some mortally so, and though she didn’t personally know any of them she would gladly give her own life so that they might live.

Yet, her patron Goddess would not allow someone so pure of heart to vanish. Selûne stayed the young woman’s soul and as the healer’s body collapsed to the ground, she would know that she was not yet done with this world. That she was still needed on this plane of existence. Her body needed a chance to heal. To recuperate from the unexpected expenditure of energy and it was thus that she slipped into a coma. Unable to be stirred or wakened by any means, even magical means and her eyes would not open for more than a week after she first released her spell.

Darkness…

The prince’s ear-splitting screams forced Travian’s attention from the sleeping cleric. He ran to where the man lay and watched in horror as wounds ripped open and closed all over his body. This was unlike anything he had ever seen; there was nothing he could do just stand back and wait for it to stop. The journey back to Paetax was absolutely miserable. The Prince’s waking hours were full of pain and the cleric never stirred. On top of that they had to walk all the way since there weren’t enough horses for the new members that came back with them and they didn’t want to jar the injured too much. Everyone was concerned, but Travian especially was a wreck. He was constantly flitting back and forth between the cleric and the prince and on the rare occasion that he actually tried to sleep he couldn’t get much.

His worry for the prince came from a fear of the unknown, there was no telling what that amulet might do to him but his worry for the cleric came from something he knew all too well. He would never forget the day his shield almost killed him.

……….To work the shield all he had to do was channel his energy into it; the more he put in the stronger the ward would be. It was a difficult thing to learn, but once he got the hang of up he could throw up light wards with hardly any thought. The mission seemed normal at first; another small isolated village was having bandit troubles. It was all too familiar for the disciples of Urusk; such villages were too far away from any official enforcers and too poor to hire mercenaries. This particular gang of ruffians was small and there weren’t many places for them to hide so the paladins decided to hunt them down instead of waiting for the brigands to make the first move.

While looking for the bandits, they stumbled across a Tommyknocker hideout. It was like stepping on a hornets nest, the sorcerers just kept coming and magical projectiles were flying all over the place. He immediately set to putting up a ward around his comrades. While they fought he knelt behind them and concentrated on putting as much energy as he could into his shield. More….more.....he started to really feel the drain. His life force seeped out from him; he was quickly approaching his limit. Finally he couldn’t keep it up, but when he tried to cut it off he couldn’t. He tried to remain calm….just try to focus on something else….but the battle around him was distant. Every attempt failed and then he began to panic. He thought he screamed but heard nothing, tried to move- to keep awake but with no result. All the while his energy kept spilling out like blood. He couldn’t fight anymore.

He woke up several days later. The only reason he survived was because one of his friends had noticed his peril just in time and thrown the shield away as hard as he could- severing the connection. He would never forget that feeling of his life slowly draining away, it still came to him when his mind was focused on nothing in particular and made its way into several of his nightmares. It was a long time before he was brave enough to use the shield again, and Travian had never been lacking in courage.

When they finally made it back to the city they found the people's mood to be even bleaker than before. It didn't take long for them to find out that the king had died and the prince was whisked off into the palace before his presence could cause too much of a disruption. For a time, the Prince stayed shut up in the palace, in fact some of the townsfolk began to believe he had died as well. Travian was naturally worried, but he knew there was no chance the Prince would die now. In the meantime, the Paladin settled back into his normal life: training, performing his duties to the crown and his church; the only thing that was different was that he spent at least a few hours each day with the cleric. He tried to come when her room was empty- he didn't want her to have to wake up alone. Some of his friends teased him about sticking his neck out so far for a woman whose name he didn't even know, but he wouldn't be swayed. Then finally the day came when she woke up.

It was dusk on the ninth day since she had cast the spell. Siobhán's eyes fluttered open and she sat up immediately, a gasp drawn forth from startled lips as her mind tried to meld her last memories of reality to her present situation. A single healer was in her room, checking on her as he normally did before he completed his rounds and her actions so startled the man that he stumbled back away from her, his fingertips flying away from her delicate wrist where they had been pressing lightly against her skin to find her pulse. "You are well, cleric." The healer reassured her before turning his head towards the exit of the room and bellowing, "Fetch Ian; tell him that his ward has awakened." A gentle smile touched his lips as he studied Siobhán closely and began to question her about her well-being but after a moment or two she halted his inquiries. "Tell me sir, where are we?"

"Paetax, my lady."

"And... The others?" Her brow furrowed as she tried to recall the ones that she had helped in the darkened citadel. Their faces she could recall but she found she could not remember any of their names, if she had known them at all.

"Your friends? One has visited you most every day," he chuckled, a hand resting upon his portly abdomen as he cast a glance once more towards the hallway. "The others? I do not know but you were sent this..." Within moments a piece of parchment had been withdrawn from a nearby table and he thrust it towards her so that she could read its contents. It seemed that even she, an unknown entity, was invited to the Prince's coronation in less than three weeks.

Travian was on his way home when one of the novices of the temple tracked him down. When he heard the cleric was finally awake he rushed back to the temple with the young man and barged into the room that had become all too familiar over the last few days.

"I'm glad to see you're finally awake."

The cleric was befuddled for a moment, her eyes tracing from the healer to the novice to the healer once more until the Paladin stormed into the room. Recognition flashed in her emerald gaze and for the first time in over a week, she smiled.

“Champion of Urusk. I remember you.” Her tone was soft, as if she had just woken up from a nap instead of a coma and her free hand dropped to clutch the blankets that were strewn across her legs.

“I…” she started, then her eyes widened as she looked about the room once more. “My things? I was wearing a bag….”

Travian smiled when she said she remembered him. "All of your things are in here," he looked around the room trying to remember where the bag ended up. He quickly spotted it in a corner and handed over to her. "My name's Travian, though most people just call me Ian."

Siobhán gratefully accepted her bag, flipping open the flap to reveal its contents and only calming once her eyes fell upon the worn leather journal. There was so much contained in its entries. So many secrets that if they fell into the wrong hands…

Her thoughts subsided when he introduced himself and the cleric smiled in response. “Well met, Champion. I am Siobhán Brennan. Cleric of the Silver Lady.” Her forehead wrinkled as she concentrated once more, obviously trying to recall the events that led her here, to this temple, but only blackness followed the memories of being in the citadel and trying to heal everyone that had fought so valiantly.

“The others? Are they…” she drew her lower lip between her teeth before she finished her question, “Are they well?”

"Yeah, we uh sort of lost one before we met up with you and another died during the battle, but everyone else made it out okay. We all split up after that, but they were fine last I saw them...... It's a good thing you were there or things might have been worse." He said in attempt to steer the conversation in a more pleasant direction.

The cleric exhaled, letting go of the breath that she didn’t know she had been holding and as she did so, she toyed with the rolled parchment. “Thank the Goddess. I was so worried…” The question is, why had she been worried? She hadn’t known a single soul. Even though she had known of the ones that she had been sent to save.

Still, if they had all dispersed it wasn’t like she could track them now. She would just have to believe that they had found their way back to those that missed them. “I assume I have you to thank for dragging me out of that horrible place, then?” Another smile lit her pretty face as she straightened up, still sitting in bed but leaning forward so she could extend her hand towards him.

“Thank you, Champion.”

He blushed, "It was the least I could do after what you'd done for all of us and I know how awful it feels to have a spell drain you like that." He said as he took her hand. "I imagine you have a lot of questions."

It was then that Travian and Siobhán talked well into the night. The Paladin and Priestess speaking of all manner of topics. How his group had come to be in the citadel in the first place, the quest, their religions, etc. For a week after her awakening, Siobhán remained in Urusk's temple under the watchful eye of the Paladin and the temple healers and when she finally left it was only to travel to one of her Goddess' own temples for lodging until the day of the coronation.

Now...

Siobhán Brennan immediately felt out of place as she was directed through the ornate gates of the palace. Her long ebony gown crafted from equal parts hand-crafted lace and more durable muslin was far too long for her petite frame and she had to hold her skirt to keep it from dragging roughly over the cobbled path. It was only then that she doubted her decision to don the dress instead of her more formal clerical robes but the robes were thick and heavy, crafted more for the colder climate of wintry Orranli than for the more mild weather seen in Paetax. She might have been uncomfortable in the cleric’s garb but at least she wouldn’t be falling over her feet in front of the Royal family.

She turned to Travian at the base of the steps, her gaze flickering anxiously towards the crowd gathering around the Royals. “I feel so… out of place,” she admitted. He had agreed to accompany her to the coronation and for that, she was thankful. Otherwise, she might not have shown at all.

"I know what you mean, I've been here a few times over the years and I'm still not used to it," He fiddled anxiously with his fancy tabard. He hated velvet. How was it that this stuff was more hot and uncomfortable than full armor? Among the numerous people milling about he managed to spot some of their group coming together. "Hey look there's the others." He said to Siobhán before making his way over. "Well met! I am glad to see you are all well!" Siobhán followed, smiling shyly at the group though she remained quiet since she did not technically know anyone gathered.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Senalae Errion

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Travian

Travian bowed low when the princess address him. “Thank you for the invitation, it is a great honor.” He looked at each of his companions and smiled or nodded as they were similarly addressed, in several cases making note of names he hadn’t heard or remembered.

Nelinina, the reckless little monk he’d saved from the ghoul. He was glad to see that she was okay, considering she had apparently learned nothing about diving headfirst into things. Still, it had been that very rashness that saved the prince’s life so it would probably be hard to convince her to act otherwise.

If he had not known Mirabella as well as he did and thus didn’t know the significance of her mishmash armor he would tease her about wearing it to the palace. In spite of that, he couldn’t help but wonder if there was any occasion for which she would wear something else. Suddenly the image of her dancing at a ball in her armor sprung to his mind and he had to suppress a chuckle. He made a note to bring that up with her later.

He was also happy to see Acacia again. He had been so worried for her after what happened during the citadel, and though the presence of the babbling woman had seemed to act as a balm she remained troubled throughout the whole journey back to the capital. Once they made it back the two departed and he hadn’t seen either of them since. Wherever they had gone must have been good for Acacia because the smiling woman in front of him was quite different from the depressed one he had come to know.

Callavan he didn’t even recognize until the prince and princess addressed him. The man looked completely different now that he was clean shaven. He actually looked like a reputable person!

After all had been acknowledged servants guided them to rooms which had been prepared. Even though he had been to the palace before he hadn’t seen much of it beyond the great hall, and he marveled at all of the new sights. He was eager to catch up with the others but decided to change and freshen up a bit first. He changed into a lighter tabard which was still quite formal, though not quite as much as the velvet one he had been wearing. The princess had said to dress casual but he couldn’t bring himself to drop too much formality in the palace; he was a member of the nobility after all.

That’s when the realization hit him. His family would be at the coronation. In the past whenever there was an important event that might bring them to the palace he simply made a point to blend in with the other knights. But it was different now, he wasn’t just an average knight anymore he was a special guest of the prince. What if he was announced? He still held his family name, he wouldn’t have been able to become a knight without it; he had been so careful not to make so much of a name for himself that the courtiers might gossip about him.

Overwhelming guilt consumed him. So many times he wanted to write to them, or visit them when he was passing through the area. How much grief had his selfishness caused them? He’d kept track of them through the years, he knew that he now had a sister. Finding out about Kalifina had only increased his desire for reunion. He wanted to meet her more than anything. Her presence also dispelled the fear that his parents might reveal him. She was the charming debutante his mother had always wanted; she’d never find a good husband if anything were to mar the name Zarel.

Despite all of this the only response his brain could ever conjure to the idea of reuniting was “I’m not ready yet.” And now he might not get a say in the matter. More than anything he wanted to be the one to tell them instead of being revealed by circumstance. A part of him was happy, not having the courage to deal with this was the one thing he hated about himself, but mostly he was just anxious.

He had to talk with someone. Listen to someone else’s worries or even just small talk. Anything to take his mind somewhere else and banish the anxiety. He strode out into the hall hoping to find someone milling about, doing his best to keep his mask of confidence from slipping.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Cord Braxton Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

0.00 INK

#, as written by slcam
Acacia briefly inclined her head to the Princess and gave Cor a reassuring smile before following after one of the servants. The group quickly dissapated, each heading to their own rooms, and soon Acacia was alone with the servant. She told Acacia her name was Getra, and she would be assisting her. Getra was a young woman, younger than even Acacia, and was small in stature though she still walked at a brisk pace. A moment later, they arrived at a room and Getra opened the door while asking if Acacia needed anything. Acacia merely shook her head with a smile and strode into the room, admiring the decor as she set her pack down by the large bed. Giving a small sigh, she hurriedly unpacked, leaving only a few items in her bag and laying her spare clothes out on the bed. Taking the various items out of all the pockets in her current shirt and pants, she gently set her trinkets on the bed next to her spares.

Whirling around, she sauntered over to the adjoined bathroom and was happy to see the tub already filled with warm water. She rapidly undressed, bathed, stepped out to dry herself off, and dressed in her spare clothes, stuffing her various pockets again with the possessions she had laid out on the bed. With an eager stride, she walked to the door and flung it open, excited to start exploring. It was a grand castle, filled with many intricate decorations. She was intrigued by the myriad halls and corridors. Walking through one such corridor, she took a moment to observe a large tapestry which vividly protrayed a battle scene in crimson and violet tones. Just as she began to move on, she heard a familiar voice call her name.

Stiffening, she turned and saw Talsin striding toward her. She dashed around the corner and hurried along the short corridor, watching for Tal over her shoulder. She turned to the right and continued trotting down the hall, hoping he would not catch up. Her reaction almost surprised her. She could not have said why she felt she had to stay away from him, but here she was, fleeing.

THWACK!
Acacia was astonished when she collided with a solid surface of some kind. She turned and found herself face to face with Travain. "Oh, hello. I did not see you there. Sorry about that."
"Don't worry about it I wasn't looking where I was going either...."
Acacia gave a nervous glance behind, looking for any sign of Tal. "Why don't we take a walk," she said, facing him once more before taking his arm and nearly dragging him down the hall.
"Fine by me, I've been hoping for a chance to catch up with everyone."
She pulled him along at a brisk walk, wearing an oddly cheery look. "Yes, it is so good to have the 'group' together again. It felt far too strange traveling with just Cor and I after being in such a large group for so long. It was pleasant, of course, but it took some getting used to, for several reasons." As the got further away from the spot they had met, Acacia slowly became more relaxed.
"Do you mind if I ask what you were so eager to get away from back there?"
Her steps slowed for a moment as a slight blush colored her cheeks and she looked down at the floor. Just as suddenly, she sped up and looked at him with confidence. "Oh just something silly. It really was nothing worth consideration. What did you do when everyone took their month leave, Travain?" she said, changing the subject abruptly, hoping her question would call for a long enough explanation that he would not have a chance to wonder why she was being so vague.
It was easy enough to get the hint, he wasn't going to press her into anything she didn't want to talk about. "Oh...well you know I actually live here in Paetax. So it's pretty much just gone back to the way it was before. The only difference is helping Siobhan out now and then."
Acacia gave a genuine smile, the first since she had bumped into Travain. "Oh, Siobhan, the cleric who healed us all, correct? I must find her later. I owe her my thanks. I am glad she had some one to watch out for her here in Paetax, and I am sure you did an exellent job. Have you been to the palace before?"
Now he was the one blushing. "Uh... yeah. I've been to several events and celebrations here before, but I've never really been outside the main hall before. I'm actually kind of excited for the tour later."
"Oh, do all paladins come here frequently? Well not all, but maybe the ones who live near Paetax? "
"Oh well actually I was a knight before I was a paladin, actually it's still my "job". I have to report whenever they call me which is fairly often. My affiliation with the temple is more of a volunteer thing, but because I'm a knight I was able to become a paladin."
"Oh, really? But wait, can't only nobles become knights, at least officially?"
"Uhh yeah, well I technically am a noble but my family's pretty low on the scale," he said somewhat reluctantly.
"Hmm... Zarel. I would not know much about who is who when it comes to the nobles. We only rarely performed for noble families." Realizing too late she had said we instead of I, Acacia hurried on hoping he would not catch it. "So, your family must be proud of you for becoming a knight. That is a noble profession," she smiled at her pun, waiting to see if he would catch it.
"Acually....I haven't had any contact with them in a long time. I don't really know how they would react.......and I'm kind of worried about running into them at the coronation."
"How they would react to what? They are coming to the coronation too? I think it would be interesting to meet them. I am sure they will be proud of you, but why are you worried?" Unfortunately for Travain, he had sparked Acacia's curiocity and she was becoming increasingly determined to find out about his family.
"How they would react to me being a knight.....it wasn't something they approved of when I was a kid.......I sorta ran away from home so I could be one........and I haven't talked to them since. And they're definitely going to be at the coronation. All the nobles have to swear fealty to the new king."

There was a short silence as Acacia thought about her last visit to her family. She thought about how she would feel if she knew she was going to have to see her parents. To be forced to see them. Her emotions showed on her face as she contemplated what to say. "I... I understand. My parents do not approve of my being a bard either. My last conversation with them was not what you would call cordial. I haven't seen them for almost a year. I understand how difficult the situation is for you."
Her words came as a great relief. "I just hope I get the chance to find them and sort it out before the actual ceremony. As much as I'm not looking forward to it, I'd rather it be me that tells them. I'm afraid of us being announced or something at the ceremony, since we went on the quest with Rydas, and having them find out that way." he then switched to something he assumed would be more cheerful. "You said 'we' earlier. Does that mean you were part of a troupe?" He said with a tinge of excitement. In his mind he pictured a colorful group of bards, players and all sorts of other interesting acts all living and honing their craft together.

A small smile appeared on Acacia's face, but if Travain looked into her eyes, he would see a note of sadness there. She answered in a soft, oddly melodic tone, "No, nothing as fancy as a troupe. But I did travel with another bard at one time," she paused for a moment, wondering how to continue. She gave a sigh and looked around, noticing a small door. It was too thick to be just a room door, at least for a normal room. Acacia walked over, curious, but also wanting to avoid going deeper into the current subject. She was not ready for that yet, and did not know Travain well enough to tell him something so deeply personal. Her relationship with her parents was one thing, but Tal was another level entirely.

She grasped the handle and pulled, almost surprised when in swung open. Outside was a small, round balcony with a waist high railing encircling it. It was large enough to hold several tables and still have room to spare. She walked to the railing and looked out on a courtyard that had a few people strolling about amongst the various flowering plants that circled a shallow pond. A breeze blew softly around them, and Acacia breathed in the refreshingly cool air. "Beautiful, isn't it?"

It was quickly apparent that he had chosen the wrong subject. Almost as if trying to escape him she abrubtly walked off and opened a random door to find a large balcony overlooking a courtyard. They were silent for a moment as they each took in the new sights. When she spoke again all he could think to say was "Yeah." So far everything else he had tried to ask her about had been an unpleasant subject for her. "I'm suprised to see so many plants growing right now. I don't know much about such things though. They probably have enough plants for the different times of year that it always looks this lively."

"Oh, here you are. Dinner will be served in half an hour."Acacia turned and saw Getra, the servant girl who had lead her to her room earlier. "Oh, thank you. Would you lead me back to my room so I can freshen up?" Acacia said briefly before turning to Travain. "And thank you, good sir, for the conversation. It was... nice." She hurried after Getra through the winding halls again and was relieved when they arrived at the familiar hall. She hurried into the bathroom and looked at herself in the large, gilded mirror before splashing a little water on her face from a nearby basin. The water was cool and rejuvenating, and Acacia felt ready to go to dinner. She stepped outside her room again and nodded to Getra, saying, "Alright, on to dinner."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Magna Romea

0.00 INK

#, as written by Skwidge
Bright eyes shifted smoothly as a rather small silhouette gazed across the grass of one of the courtyards of the Castle. The sun was beginning to set, ’a rather pretty sight’, the little one mused, tail shifting over the soft blades of green. The lithe form rose from its crouched position and stretched forward, back legs receiving the main gist of the action. Her ears flicked lightly as a small gnat buzzed out of nowhere too near to her, and she let out a small yawn before refocusing on the grassy terra. She stepped out from under the stone bench, and slunk forward, a few feet from the small paved path to her right. There were a few courtiers out on a stroll, two or three to be precise, but she paid them mainly no mind.

After a brief pause in which a bird flying overhead caught her attention, Magna resumed walking comfortably. Her ears suddenly flicked up and swiveled, catching the sounds of a door being pushed open from somewhere above. Her head turned to determine just who it was, however there were a few bushes that disrupted her full vision. She trotted a few feet before coming into clear view of the balcony- there were two voices before, she easily caught that, but now there appeared to only be one there. ‘Na stood there, her tail tip an inch and a half above the ground, her head tilted up, and her eyes scanning over the man’s face. She quickly locked onto his eyes, forming eye contact- he didn't look familiar at all, which led her to believe he was part of Rydas' group, because he looked too different from any of the courtiers and nobles she had already met.

Travian lingered on the balcony after Acacia left. He was sort of embarrassed about his last words to her and was still blushing a bit from hers to him. "Good sir, huh? At least it's better than Champion..." He had already freshened up, and his drive to talk with someone had been satisfied for now. He just had to wait for dinner time, and this seemed a good spot to do it. He felt at peace amongst such pretty scenery: the sky was starting to take on an orange tint which made the whole courtyard shine like gold. Suddenly a small glint of light caught his eye which upon closer inspection was revealed to be the eye of a cat. He was surprised to see it there- he thought animals wouldn't be allowed in the palace. "I wonder if they're having problems with rats...." Or maybe it just belonged to someone really important, though none of the people in the courtyard appeared to be paying it any mind.

A small mew pressed through her vocals, and she trotted over to where the balcony was positioned, keeping her eyes focused on his face. She looked up, taking the opportunity to use the crevices between the stones as a sort of ladder, as well as the other decorations and ornaments. Her progress was only so-so, but she did manage to make it up to the balcony railing. Another meow rumbled out of her maw and she strolled over to him, sitting down and placing a paw on his arm for a moment. ”Meow.” It was a soft and pretty tone to the feline’s voice.

He watched with increasing befuddlement as the cat climbed up to him. Once it made it to the balcony it nonchalantly walked over to him and put a paw on his arm. "Uhh, can I help you?" was all he could think to say when it meowed at him. He always found cats slightly unnerving and the way this one had just climbed a wall to get to him was only making it worse. He very nervously put his hand out to pet its head, but waited to see how it would react before doing so.

Magna's ears swiveled momentarily, and her head darted to the left as something unheard by human ears distracted her. However, she soon turned back to the man before her, her eyes softly focused on his face and blinking slowly. She fractionally shifted away from him as he put his hand out to her, only momentarily wary of what he was planning on doing. "Mrah." Her newest vocal sounded more like a chatter, and it also dropped off at the end. The feline's ears shifted back just slightly and down, and a more relaxed look was on her face. She shifted forward and her nostrils could be seen slightly flaring as she took in his scent.

The cat withdrew from his hand. "Okay, well at least you're establishing that you don't want to pet. Most cats I've known wait till you start petting them and then bite you. So what are you doing around here anyway?" It was too clean to be a stray, and a stray couldn't have gotten this far into the palace anyway. But it didn't have a collar or anything either.

Magna tilted her chin up, meeting his gaze once more. A small, short purr rumbled through her vocals, but was quickly cut off. It was a response to his remark about most cats biting- she knew how that usually went down as well. The feline blinked a few times before letting out another small meow, her tail half dangling from the edge of the balcony's railing and twitching softly. She suddenly ran her tongue down her left shoulder and side, almost as if she had heard his thoughts. She hadn't though, of course.

After a while it seemed the cat wasn't going to do anything else that was particularly odd, and Travian relaxed again. He mostly watched the sky and the shifting clouds, but every so often a flicker of movement or noise would bring the cat back to his attention. Not much time had passed before soft steps were heard echoing from within the castle, and Magna’s head turned to watch as a servant once more stepped out onto the balcony.

"Excuse me, sir. You have been summoned to dinner." This time it was a male servant, but not one he recognized.

"Ah okay. See ya around cat." He said as he followed the servant back into the hallway. The man held the door open for him but did not follow as soon as Travian had stepped through. Confused, he turned to see that the man was still holding the door for the cat who strode right up next to him, dipping her head to the servant and letting out a small meow before stopping next to the man’s foot, a content- almost coy- look to her. "Uhh… shouldn't this cat stay out in the courtyard?"

"No, it has free reign here in the palace. However, she doesn’t often take to following people like she’s seemed to have latched onto you.”

"What; so it's just going to come with me to the prince's dinner table?!"

"It wouldn't be the first time, sir. Now if you'll just follow me."

"Does this cat belong to the princess or something!? There's no way it's Rydas'." He kept looking down at the cat in shock as he followed the servant to the dining room. He didn't particularly want to be stuck with the thing, but he couldn't say anything without risking ill favor from whichever influential person it belonged to. And how exactly could one stop a cat from following them anyway?

Magna shot off glances to the man she walked next to, retaining a bit of an internal smirk. ’Yes, that’s right. Just keep being shocked. I may not have been formally invited, but there’s no way I’m missing out on the specially prepared food set out for Rydas’ questing group, or what you guys are going to be talking about.’ The feline kept in stride with the man, although perhaps three inches behind his feet- something that was rather polite- and let out a rumbling purr as they made their way to the dining room.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Magna Romea

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No one questioned the cat that was tailing Travian as he and the servant hurried to the dining hall. Apparently it had taken the man longer than he thought to find the paladin so he was running late. He was a little uncomfortable at the prospect of showing up late, especially with the cat. All of his life he’d lived with the rule that animals were absolutely not allowed indoors and he kept expecting someone to chastise him for it. He’d never forget how much trouble he’d gotten in that one time he snuck a puppy in the house back when he was still a little kid.

Magna blinked a few times, her tail swaying comfortably along the ground, a content look upon her face as she continued to follow along behind the man. He served as a guide, even though she already knew the way- one should arrive with another, after all.

They were indeed late, and Magna flicked her ear- she didn’t mind in all honesty, she figured she didn’t miss anything really important. What really irked her was the fact that there were a few other courtiers which she recognized- obviously late invites, and she had seen nor heard any servant coming to summon her; of course this worked out rather nicely, as she wouldn’t have to explain why she decided not to come, but nonetheless.

He felt the pressure of many eyes on him when he entered the hall at last. Most of the seats were already filled- mostly faces he knew but some new ones as well. After an uncomfortable moment standing there looking for an empty chair he finally spotted one. As he started moving towards it he realized he had to walk right by the royal family- which at first made him even more uncomfortable until he noticed a small pillow near the princess’ chair. “It must be for the cat!” he thought as he approached.

The Princess listened intently to her brother’s speech before switching her gaze to the clergyman that had just been introduced. It was movement, however, that tore her eyes away. A few late arrivals quietly made their way to empty seats, one of which strolled by her end of the table. It wasn’t the man, however, that caught her attention but rather the furry creature that followed him so diligently. Spsss, spsss… A soft catcall escaped her pretty lips, beckoning her familiar to her side where a comfortable cushion awaited.

Green gaze rose upwards, offering a soft smile to the man she recognized as a paladin. ‘Travian, I see you’ve met Lady. She’s a resident of the estates. I hope she hasn’t alarmed you at all, she’s usually quite well-mannered.”

"No, no, she's very well behaved. I was just suprised by her. So is she your cat, princess?"

The feline let out a soft meow, sitting down and curling her tail around her haunches and over her front paws, looking at both of them.

”Oh, Lady doesn’t belong to anyone. She does as she pleases.” Sena laughed, looking fondly at the cat.

"Oh okay......so how long has she been here then?" he asked, even more curious about the cat than before.

‘Oh, now he’s interested.’ Internally, the feline smirked, but remained rather happy looking on the exterior. She pawed at the man- Travian’s, leg, before looking back up at Sena, a short purr rumbling through her figure in response to her gaze. She then took the time to look around at the rest of the faces, cataloging their appearances in her mind, and how they reacted to each other.

"A few years." She replied simply, her eyes drifting back to the man who was about to make a prayer.
Following the princesses eyes he saw that a priest of some sort was about to make a prayer, so he made a respectful bow and walked over to his seat. He remained standing so as to not cause too much noise while the man was speaking. Once the priest was done speaking, Travian slid into his seat.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Since he had simply made for the first empty seat he saw, he found himself at a distance from those in the party he felt the most familiar with. He was somewhat disappointed at not being able to catch up with some of them however uneventful the past month may have been in comparison to the wild bard’s tales that were being discussed. Still, he was always eager to make friends even if he had a tendency to be a little awkward around those he didn’t know very well.

It didn’t come from being especially nervous or shy when talking to new people; though he had certainly been that way when he was younger. Perhaps for that very reason, he simply wasn’t good with words and the fact that he tried to be very conscientious of other’s needs and feelings certainly didn’t help.

He got on well during dinner though; the drink kept him from over thinking things too much and both it and food ensured that everyone was in a good mood. Years in the barracks and on the road ensured that he got used to a pretty bland diet and it was rare that he felt the urge to stray from it but on occasions like this he went all out. He wanted to try all of the unfamiliar foods, and grab a hearty bite of old favorites. Needless to say, he ate more than he should and his body probably wouldn’t take kindly to such a drastic change from the norm.
When the line of trays finally ended and hands stopped reaching for extra desert, the prince stood and walked over to the covered table. The room instantly became quiet, all were eager to know what was underneath that drape. Travian’s jaw dropped when the Prince revealed his intentions. On the one hand he could see the logic behind not wanting all of the items in one place. But to protect an item of power? That was such an enormous responsibility. There would be many after it and they might be dangerous to use, not to mention the way wielding such power might corrupt someone. It was simply too huge to process all the potential consequences. In the back of his mind he thought about how trustworthy some of those at the banquet were, but he could not wholly accept that thought as his own; both because it shamed him and because he wasn’t sure that he himself was worthy of such honor and trust. It moved him deeply that the prince seemed to think he was.