Ter'Ciel Saga: The War of Akyel

Ter'Ciel

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a part of Ter'Ciel Saga: The War of Akyel, by ~Evil Cream Puff~.

The gentle winds of Ter'Ciel sound like hurried whispers...

~Evil Cream Puff~ holds sovereignty over Ter'Ciel, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
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Setting

The world in which our saga takes place. It is a diverse land featuring lush forests as well as colder climates in the north and a desert region to the south. There are even areas of the planet which have yet to be fully explored. What discoveries await the courageous who venture forth into these unknown lands?
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Ter'Ciel

The gentle winds of Ter'Ciel sound like hurried whispers...

Minimap

Ter'Ciel is a part of Ter'Ciel Saga: The War of Akyel.

4 Characters Here

Mariette Renard [4] "My heart is racing, so I'm still alive."
Locke Taurin [4] "I assure you, I have only the best of intentions."
Ilana Valencia [2] "Stand behind me. We'll make it through this."
Cathay Bev'Kurri [1] "Even in success, never stop moving forward. Complacency is a poison as strong as any."

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ilana Valencia

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Ilana Valencia


Ilana's homecoming was sweet, and a little disappointing.

Five years away from Valexia made Ilana forget how much she actually disliked packed cities. There was always an air of chaos about, so crowded were the streets, and so busy were the people, shuffling this way and that towards whatever seemed most important in their lives at the time. But more than that, Ilana found that cities like this one were merely breeding grounds for greed, places for the strong to stamp out the weak, to take advantage of as many people as they could, lest they be swallowed up by the beast themselves.

No, Ilana preferred the country life, the small towns and the farms, the forests and the fields, the mountains. Diana did, too. Her dapple grey mare snorted at the scent of the factories churning, or perhaps just the people rushing by. The Paladin was a flash of color in the otherwise muted tones of the Iron City, gilded steel armor shining gold in the sunlight over her scarlet red tunic, leggings and sleeves. Thankfully, people tended to clear away from her path, as was typically wise when faced with an armored woman atop a strong horse.

Some minutes later, she angled her horse around a pile of spilled fruit in the street, watching no fewer than three children sneak by and snag some from the ground, darting off into the crowd before any could say a word to stop them. Ilana wasn't in the practice of punishing hungry city children for stealing some food; there were far more worrisome crimes that needed containing. It was sad to see the state that many lived in, though. Valexia was prosperous, yes, but that prosperity rarely spread to everyone.

Ilana shrugged her shield into a more comfortable position across her back, finding a less occupied street to make her way up, and thinking about how much she was looking forward to seeing the monastery again. She'd changed a great deal since setting out at twenty-one, but she was willing to wager that the monastery was exactly the same as she'd left it. She could see the Mothers and Fathers again, meet the new children that they'd taken in. She thought back to the way she'd felt when a traveling Paladin had returned to visit the monastery, fully clad in arms and armor, glittering like the sun, successfully returned from questing. She couldn't help but wonder if any of the children would think that of her.

Her rest couldn't last long, of course. The land was a dangerous place of late, with war almost constantly heating up and then cooling down again, the strife giving rise to all kinds of villainy, enabled by the chaos that war caused. The Paladins were not obligated to take one side or the other, and indeed, part of their code demanded that they not take part in conflicts between nations, instead limiting themselves to neutral injustices, of which there were still many to choose from.

Yes, it would be nice to see home again, but as she traveled through the streets of the Iron City, Ilana was acutely aware of how the world was in no better shape than when she set out. There was only so much one person could do, she supposed, and she would always play her part where she could.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vye Lavye Character Portrait: Franz Van Burace

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Birdsong filled the tree's canopies, the light of the sun dancing with the shadows of the forest. Vye had been awake since daybreak, replenishing herbs and planting new ones. Feverfew for head pains, butterbur for strong muscles, and a few others. As the sun began to rise over the canopy, she made her way to the village craftsman for more leather to wrap around dried herbs for poultices. From the west, the hunters came rallying in from their hunt, speaking boisterously about whomever had made the kill shot. Spotting her, a few hunters from the back of the group broke off and intercepted her path.

"Envinyatar, may you heal this?" One of the men asked, pushing his arm in front of her. She looked at his wound before squinting up at his face. With a shake of her head she placed a leaf of kingsfoil in her mouth and chewed, never taking her eyes off of him. "Winima, all of you. This wound is at an odd angle, and no others are injured but you. How did this happen?" The injured fidgeted, dropping his gaze to the ground and pursing his lips. "He mishandled his bow and cut himself. He's the newest among us." One of the men teased, nudging the other in the arm. Vye rolled her eyes and reached up for her mouth. "Winima," she repeated, grabbing his wrist. She spat out the chewed up leaves and pushed it into the wounds, holding it there as the man-boy jolted and yelped. "Do not touch," she warned, staring into his eyes. "Wash at the end of the day, and do no touch." She released his hold and left the men to tease the other.

The craftsman stood at the front of his homestead, pulling a knife across the new hide the hunters brought in, chunks of fat dropping to the dirt with a soft, sickening noise. "'Quel amrun (good morning)," she spoke softly, alerting him to her presence. "Ah, Vye!" he smiled and stood up, wiping sweat from his brow. "More leather, I'm sure. Let me grab them for you, I'll be a moment." he pulled off his gloves, placed them on the ground with his tanning knife, and disappeared into his house.

A slight wind blew through the tribelands, rustling Vye hair and sending tendrils across her face. The wind carried the sound of hoof stamps, a sound that dropped a weight into her stomach. It could only be because of the mirror, she thought. Turning, she saw a large group of fully clad knights making their way to the sacred stone circle, their horses crushing the grass beneath them and tossing up dirt. Ever graceful, the knights of Valexia.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vye Lavye Character Portrait: Franz Van Burace Character Portrait: Cathay Bev'Kurri

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#, as written by Gestalt
Cathay Bev'Kurri


With trails that ended with three times as many questions than they answered and a dozen or more stale leads, Cathay was becoming restless. Romping across the realms of the Ata'hua was fun at the beginning. A lot of battle to be done, feuds to settle, and a wealth of old mystical sites of power to explore in the meantime. With the threat of war looming over the horizon however, travelling was becoming significantly less safe.

Lesser leaders of the Ata'hua were becoming increasingly hostile towards outsiders, and the Valexian dukes on the borders threatened to conscript any non-Ata'huan in their raids. Danger or no, it was about time to move on. Brave both sides for a shot in the dark. Another shot in the dark, Cathay noted. It was the second of half a dozen leads picked up since the news of the missing Mirror reached the village. The first turned out to be nothing but speculation: some petty Ata'huan warrior clan stealing the Mirror of Akyel? Cathay should have known that rumor was just as stupid as it sounded. Harlemont was about as prejudiced as the Valexians, only a little more bureaucratic about their biases. Less stoning and more refusing entry to establishments.

Cathay spat. The sudden gesture drew a glare from one of the Ata'huan nearby. It came to mind that the summit may be of some spiritual import to the Ata'huans, and Cathay quickly muttered an apology.

The remaining members of the Ata'huan emissaries remained stoic and silent as the rumble of the Valexian mounts drew nearer. Ten trappers, four shamans, a few lesser clan leaders, and a mere twenty true warriors of this particular clan were in attendance; the Ata'huans did not believe in the overt shows of force favored by Valexians. It was a reason that Cathay favored them over the other humans. However, Cathay was a little more sensible. With permission from the clan leaders, Cathay and seven other mercenaries (under Cathay's pay, of course) were allowed to join the convening. Even the clan elders were not above bringing muscle just in case.

Peering from behind one of the larger warriors, Cathay mumbled a curse. They had horses. Every one of the Valexian envoys was mounted. Even with near-equal numbers, the Ata'huan people would be at a marked disadvantage. Hopefully the magic-users would even the playing field--

Cathay shook their head. It would not come to that. This was supposedly a mission of good will, after all. If not, Cathay thought grimly, the fey girl, Vye, could patch up the wounded Ata'hua. There wouldn't be any part large enough of a Valexian left to heal should it come to blows.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariette Renard Character Portrait: Locke Taurin Character Portrait: Crixus Atani

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Crixus Atani

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

“Really, that is how you're going to justify sitting in a run-down tavern in the heart of Valexia? How shrewd of you.”

I don't need a lecture. I am but one man with no army, anything I accomplish will have to be done covertly, so what better place to start than this underbelly of social happening?

“I just wonder who you're trying to convince, me or you? We both know you hate being here. Surrounded by these Valexians. Let's just kill some and be done with it.”

Oh how I wish...All in good time Vyers.

Three days. That's how long Crixus has been within the confines of the Iron City. Before that it was a journey of over two months that took him on foot from the Ata'huan tribelands all the way to the gates of the Iron City. He watched forested havens give way to rolling hills, and eventually turn to gravel and stone. He went days at a time without food or water, but he still continued his solitary march to the city. He had a job to do, and he had to start at the information capital of the world.

As soon as he arrived Crixus hated the city more than any other location he had been to in his travels. It was crowded, noisy, polluted, and filled with the sheep known as Valexians.

“Hey, pay attention. Something is amiss.”

What?

“The entryway. The girl in the cloak and the man with the large scarf. They act as if they expect to be attacked.”

The hairs on the back of Crixus' neck stood up immediately and his keen observation skills immediately kicked in. He began surveying the tavern as he would a battlefield. People of all sorts filled the tavern and added to the harsh sound of men jeering, women laughing, and all people gorging themselves on drink and food. The sickening sounds of these pigs made Crixus want to wretch, but he held his disgust to allow him time to observe the movement of people around the room.

“They are shifting attention, the men in the corner. Four of them, at first they were fixated on their dice game, but now they eye the girl and rogue.”

What do you make of it?

“The young girl looks to be out of place, but she looked just as frightened and surprised at the addition of that young man as she did relieved moments later. I would say they are at best acquaintences.”

Vyers was correct. The girl's expression changed almost instantaneously from fright, to confusion, to worry, and then to relief. Once again, Vyers outdid himself for him. Only thanks to his spirit familiar was Crixus able to become the great military mind he is known as today. Fortunately his fame isn't enough to be recognized by this rif-raff found at The Rusty Timepiece, but he was still renowned for his clever mind.

“What do you propose we do?”

The young strategist did not have much of a choice in this matter. He had already been in this city for three days and has heard next to nothing about the Mirror of Akyel other than it was missing. These two looked much to suspicious to be left alone, and if they turn out to be a dead end....well, he knew how to deal with those.

At the very least, they're something to go off of for now. But first things first, we have to deal with the crooks in the corner table.

Rules of combat usually follow that whoever strikes last may never be able to strike at all. Crixus always utilized every advantage he could get, and the element of surprise is one of the best to have going for you.

Crixus took a large swig from his ale and held it in his mouth for a few moments, trying to have the taste linger and hopefully have his breath smell stronger of booze.

“What are you doing? Do you want your judgement impaired?

Don't worry Vyers. I'm just going to make a distraction. That rogue fellow caught on quickly enough to the girl. Surely he'll be smart enough to see an altercation and get himself, and her the hell out of here. I want you to follow them when they do, and I'll catch up later.

The men in the corner began to stand up, and it was now or never. Crixus stood as well, and began to stumble over his own feet, as he all but fell into the brigand's arms, “Hey there you guys...I wan' in on the next game, I got plenty o' money to get play and I'm feelin' lucky!” Crixus practically spat the last words at the group, the toxic stench of his alcoholic laden breath hitting them square in their faces.

“Git out of our way you filthy drunk.” The men tried to push past Crixus.

“Awww come on! I wanna play!” Crixus' got louder and more belligerent, his act of being truly intoxicated working perfectly.

“I said move!” The larger man shoved Crixus to the side, and Crixus purposefully launched himself harder than needed, and slammed into a table causing it to spill over, and for Crixus to fall. Mugs filled with drink clanged to the floor and plates of half eaten food spilled to the ground as well. Chaos erupted as patrons began yelling and the group of unruly men were lost amidst a sea of angry bodies.

Crixus hoped that this was enough for the two to escape this little tavern unseen, save for Vyers. Crixus did not like being without him in his mind. The silence in his own head was a white noise that caused him nothing but pain, with only his thoughts and no voice to talk back, he sometimes felt like his mind made up the voices instead.

Picking himself up off the floor Crixus attempted to make an exit as well, but no sooner than him attempting to leave did he feel a hand grab his shoulder, “You're gonna pay for that, boy.” The man shoved Crixus with his full force out into the streets. Crixus tumbled forward and landed on his feet, his right hand resting on the hilt of his sword, his body poised for action.

Then a hard whallop was felt on the back of his head, and Crixus saw black as the ground rushed to meet him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariette Renard Character Portrait: Locke Taurin Character Portrait: Crixus Atani

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vye Lavye Character Portrait: Franz Van Burace

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Vye watched closely the encounter between the old chieftain and the strangely dressed knight. Vye could be considered old to humans, but in her race among these tribe lands she was young, too young to have seen the painful truth of slavery and war that her people had faced. A grimace formed on her face, but deep within her there was wonderment of these strange people. She had seen them before, not as strongly dressed as they were now, but have never interacted with one. She had heard plenty, and stories of pain and anger filled her head - but were they all savage like the ones in the stories?

The craftsman returned with a bundle of leather, his demeanor darker then when he had left. "Pardons, Vye, I was watching this interaction from my inside window." He pushed the leather in her direction, and she took it while she searched his face. The craftsman had never liked the knights of Valexia, but he never shared as to why. There was gossip and stories of possibilities, but she refused to listen to nonsense.

With a sigh, Vye thanked him for the leather and placed her coin on the table. She watched him work for a little longer before turning around and walking back in the direction of her hut.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariette Renard Character Portrait: Locke Taurin

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#, as written by Seerow
Locke Taurin


Quickly they had dashed down an alleyway, winding through a myriad of shadowed paths. Beggars and strays were passed by as they ventured on. Till at last he had felt safe enough, having placed enough distance between them and the Rusty Timepiece. The empty lot they now occupied use to be a fountain in the city’s youth, but now the only remnants was a dry stone basin. On all sides stood old wooden homes, buildings that were aged from their time spent on the land, but it was easy to understand that the abodes had once been in use by settlers. Now they were afforded by the working class, and though their roofing and walls had been updated, they were not the brick laden homes of the wealthy or established.

Locke was breathing hard, more in part because of the nervousness that struck him. To be honest he wasn’t sure what had transpired within the tavern, but perhaps it was luck that it did. After all it painted the idea that the young woman was endangered and secondly, that her presence wasn’t as anonymous as she might have guessed.

“That was possibly the worst rendition of ‘playing along’ I’ve ever heard,” he huffed between breaths. Taking his chance to actually see Mariette now that he could spend some time reviewing her features, and he found himself quickly excited as his eyes looked over her attire. His first guest was just about on the mark, whoever this was; they had to belong to a family with some power. Not to mention if their little encounter at the Rusty Timepiece revealed anything, it was that Mariette was out of place and better still, naïve in her innocence.

“The city can be dangerous you know. You’re lucky I showed up when I did. What were you doing in a place like that anyway?”
It was working slowly but surely, his plan that is. Introductions would be next, but he wanted her to talk first. Having his victim play their cards upfront never proved to be a poor choice. Get an understanding of why she is there, manipulate his persona, and adapt. He was already anticipating the large pouch of Akeli he could get from this foolish child.

“Oy! Dats ‘em”

Immediately Locke’s eyes widened. He spun upon his heels to find himself face to face with two rather large and burly thugs. The smell alone was enough to weaken his resolve, but Locke wasn’t one to flee unless he understood he was being chased. Instead he took a prompt step back, acting as a barrier between them and Mariette, offering as broad a grin as he could muster. He knew these lumps of ugly as the same louts he had offered drinks to earlier.

“Burt, Ren, what a pleasant surprised,” he managed with enthusiasm despite his internal screaming of frustration. He could only guess at their need to find him again. Quietly he was hoping more work was in his future and that his good fortune hadn’t run dry just yet.

“Da boss like a word witcha Locke.”

“Tell the old man Davonshi- did you say Locke?”

Their guttural chortles brought a sense of unease into the smaller man’s gut. They must have picked up on this immediately, as they unveiled their wicked grins and revealed the cudgels they had in their possession. Their eyes far keener than Locke would have guessed, as one of them immediately took notice of the well-dressed woman behind the street urchin, whatever their thoughts he could only hope they would leave Mariette out of the affair.

“Ren, Burt, let’s take a moment and talk like gentlemen. How’s your mother? I’ll bet she’s still hanging about bell towers and cathedrals no doubt, the old gargoyle.”

It was with that shooting remark the fight broke out. A swing of an arm, and Locke leaped back from a blow poised for his head; his fingers worked fast loosening the snap that held his dagger in its sheath. As one neared him, the other seemed intent on dogging Mariette, much to the disdain of the thief, Ren was lumbering toward the outsider with whatever malicious intent. Locke lifted his dagger, but knew how this engagement would end. He was not a warrior, and there was nowhere to flee to that he could spot immediately. He would have to wait, bide his time, and if he’s lucky get out of this situation. The tip of his weapon stayed pointed at Burt’s chest, threatening him even as he backed away slowly giving the hooligan the ground with each step.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Vodun Ragoth Character Portrait: Franz Van Burace

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Ragoth quickly discovered something while he slowly forced one foot then the other in his search for water...he'd underestimated the size of the rock formation and how close he was to any potential aid. However, he was blessed with the fortune of encountering a small source of water instead. The thirsty lizard eagerly got down and began to drink, but was forced to swallow the liquid in slow increment...he didn't want to damage his body by over zealously attempting to hydrate. Ragoth repeated this process gradually until his limbs again regained their strength. The Zokah was still tired from lack of sleep, but this was something he could press through. After hauling himself to his feet, Ragoth backtracked to get his stuff and was fortunate to find it all still intact.

The Zokah returned to following the perimeter of the rock formation in search of the people that had to be around this formation as well. However, this time he took a different direction and this ended up shortening his search. Ragoth was rather embarrassed at the realization he'd originally gone off in the wrong direction. That being said, it was still many minutes before Ragoth caught site of the small village and mustered the nerve to approach the cluster of huts. If it was here, Ragoth felt he had a chance of getting some information about the group of men that should be somewhere around here. As he drew closer, he sniffed the air and habit resulted in his tongue flickering out of his mouth to confirm. He definitely caught an abundance in the smell of sweaty men, and a the bitter tang that came with medicine.

Ragoth followed his nose in the direction of the large body of sweat. His ears picked up the sound of something of a crowd in a different direction. He chose to head towards the muted discussion, Ragoth figured he'd be better off trying to talk there. After rounding a cornet, the Zokah finally met marginal success- a young looking man in armor having a talk with what smelled like locals. He wasn't too surprised when the words somewhat trailed off when one of the locals was speaking. He was rather pleased though, his experience with humans told him this one was more due to his size than his species.

"Ragoth of the Tribe of Thunder, a humble smith seeking shelter and conversation." He quickly voiced his introduction before the armored man could turn around.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariette Renard Character Portrait: Ilana Valencia Character Portrait: Locke Taurin

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#, as written by Seerow
Locke Taurin


In his mind he cursed the Paladin over and over. It would appear that even with Mariette so deeply convinced she was keen to watch him like one does a viper. Locke understood of course, even if it was deserved, he was familiar with that kind of stare. Judgment from on high from those who knew little of what the streets of Valexia were truly like, and while it frustrated the would-be thief, he graciously accepted her mistrust. Even after she explained how she’d prefer to keep an eye on him, he only answered with mild offense.

“A thief eats only when he steals m’lady Paladin, but as you insist.”

He followed the troupe as they made their way toward the docks. Quietly Locke guessed at the locale they would be visiting next. As the smell of the air became mingled with the salt of the sea he found himself correct in his theories. It was a rather nice inn brought up to catch the gentlefolk coming to and from the vast oceans. It was a sort of tourist locale where even the moderately wealthy could find some peace within the rambunctious hustle of the city. Admittedly Locke rarely came down to these parts, there were considerably less places to hide or scurry to in times of trouble, and everyone in the underbelly kept eyes on the coming and going people.

Yet they made their way inside and much to Locke’s surprise he was even offered a bed to lay on. No doubt the Paladin didn’t even realize what kindness this was to someone that looked as he did. He quietly wondered if she even noted the eyes that seemed so transfixed upon them. Indeed they had to be the oddest group to have entered today, and what’s more they were going to be rooming together. If Locke wasn’t a direct participant he would have had a good laugh down in a tavern somewhere about this sight. ‘So a Paladin, a rich girl, and a beggar walk into an inn’.

It wasn’t long before they were confined to the room Ilana had purchased. Locke was beside himself with a child-like joy. Going as far as to dive onto the bed closest to the door, burying his nose into the warmth of the blankets, it was a rare occasion that he bothered to sleep anywhere that wasn’t a shoddy cot on a floor. Even when he had earned Akeli, it often went quickly and without care. Isolated in his own wonder he had forgotten momentarily why he was there in the first place. When he remembered the eyes of Mariette and Ilana he stopped, stood and straightened his clothes.

In fact his heart sank when Ilana brought up the contents of the bag. He had to quickly make a decision on how he wished to approach the entire situation. There was no doubt that if they knew what was in that bag that his actions would be brought into question, whether they believed him kind or cunning was irrelevant. He needed to distance the thought of him from the mirror in order to lull the poor girl into comfort.

He looked up from his bedside just as Ilana was finishing up her query and leapt to his feet. Making no secret of his direct walk to the door, but even as he moved to leave he gave a parting smile to his benefactors. He knew Ilana wouldn’t want him to leave, but if the mirror is associated with his presence it could spell trouble when he tried to retrieve it later.

“I’m off to get a bath. I’ll bet they even have hot water. It would be a nice change of pace eh? “