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Ter'Ciel Saga: The War of Akyel

The Ata'hua Tribelands

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

Time seems to have little meaning in the vast expanses of the Ata'hua Tribelands.

~Evil Cream Puff~ holds sovereignty over The Ata'hua Tribelands, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

244 readers have been here.

Setting

Perhaps the oldest known civilization in Ter'Ciel, the tribelands are home to many different clans living in harmony with nature. Worshiping the spirits of the earth, they are a proud people with a rich traditional culture.
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The Ata'hua Tribelands

Time seems to have little meaning in the vast expanses of the Ata'hua Tribelands.

Minimap

The Ata'hua Tribelands is a part of The Caldarian Continent.

3 Characters Here

Franz Van Burace [5] "I'm no hero. I'm only doing what I have to do."
Vodun Ragoth [3] Beware the sin of arrogance, you will be horrified at just how long you can fall.
Vye Lavye [1] Earthy girl stuck in her roots, with a strong distaste for modern thinkers

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Character Portrait: Franz Van Burace
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Franz Van Burace



The familiar, paved streets of the city had given way to wide, open fields and wet, humid marshlands. He missed the sound that hooves made on the cobblestone. It had always calmed the lad and made him feel more confident, like a true knight should. He couldn't hear anything now aside from the dull thud that the horses made on this unfamiliar dirt. It was just another reason why he hated the Ata'hua Tribelands.

Wiping a thin layer of sweat from his brow, Franz turned to look at the soldiers behind him. Sure enough, he was being closely followed by fifty other men. All were clad in silver armor and all looked about as miserable as he did. Turning back to the front, the young man's brow furrowed as he recalled the startling news that had led to him being here now...

It had been two days prior. Franz had just finished up a patrol in the southern district of Valexia. It was actually his preferred post. Rarely boring, as the southern side of the Iron City was probably the least desirable place a Valexian could find themselves. It was a well-known fact that thieves, harlots, and conmen were always lurking the streets there, waiting for some miserable fool to come along with more money than brains. But more ruffians meant more action, and Franz was all too happy to put as many of them as he could in the dungeons.

He had just finished his patrol near the Rusty Timepiece tavern when a fellow knight came jogging up to meet him.

'Commandant Silverberg? Wants to see me?'

It was an unexpected summons. Unsure of what the Commandant could want, Franz soon found himself standing in the man's office.

'A peace treaty? With the Ata'hua?'

Further explanation was limited. Valexia apparently felt it best to come to terms with the Ata'hua and issued a request for a peace treaty, of which the tribal leaders accepted.

Franz was elated to have been chosen to act as ambassador for this venture, but he couldn't shake the feeling of bewilderment. Why now, of all times? Sure, relations between the two nations had grown steadily worse in recent years. Several skirmishes had already been fought between the Valexian Knights and the Ata'hua warriors. But still, no declarations of war had been made. Perhaps sensing the boy's unrest, Silverberg told him of the circumstances surrounding this decision...

'The Mirror of Akyel is missing!?'

Of course he knew about it. Everyone did. The Mirror of Akyel was a holy object. A relic said to have the power to eliminate an army in the blink of an eye. Did the Ata'hua have such a thing? Was the mirror truly in their possession? Valexia sure seemed to think so. For as long as anyone could remember, the mirror was enshrined in Harlemont. The Holy City acted as a sort of neutral ground between the two nations, enjoying peaceful relations with both sides and ensuring the power of the mirror wasn't abused. But if the Ata'hua had turned on Harlemont and stolen the mirror... Franz's stomach lurched at the thought of what could happen.

So naturally, Valexia would fear the use of this power, hence, the peace treaty. It all seemed a bit too simple to him. As if there were a page missing from a story. But knights aren't paid to ask why. It wasn't thrilling, but it seemed he had no other choice. Within the hour, Franz was packed and en route to the Ata'hua Tribelands, a troop of fifty soldiers at his command. Clearly he should be honored - and he was. But venturing into the unknown territory of heathens and being in charge of fifty lives to boot? The young man prayed the trek would be a successful one...

Up ahead he saw it. The circle of tall rock formations that marked the summit where he was supposed to meet with the tribe chiefs. Swallowing back the lump in his throat, a stern look washed over Franz's face.

"Look alive, men!" He called out, his voice authoritative, hoping his fellow knights would believe it. "We represent the good nation of Valexia today! May the Goddess' blessings be with us!"

The Mirror of Akyel was missing and suspected to be in the hands of a savage, untrustworthy people on the brink of war. Was a peace treaty truly possible?

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Character Portrait: Franz Van Burace Character Portrait: Vodun Ragoth
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Ragoth felt his right leg try to buckle under his weight while the powerful limb drove his solid frame forward once more. This was the fourth day of a mad march that began when he'd neared the southern border to human kingdom of Harlemont and heard stories of his people being a bit more widely known up north. It wasn't that he hated Ata'hua...in fact after living in it for so long he'd almost grown attached to the place. However, given the relative reclusive lifestyle of his people and the vast openness of the Tribeslands he'd long learned that there were some places he could travel and others he couldn't. Given his appearance and stature, he couldn't exactly blame the frail little humanfolk of their caution in his presence. But Ragoth yearned for the company of other Zokah and his exile made it rather difficult to return home. This resulted in his current frenzied travel, which was finally taking its toll.

Come on just a bit further, I must beat the dust storm if I wish to reach shelter. Ragoth had been running, his long loping strides eating away the distance and grinding away the miles without rest since his departure. His venture had been further aided by the song magic of his people, using the Song of Wind Ragoth had yet to find an animal that could match his speed. Since he had expected the journey to be a long one, he also had kept chanting the Song of Earth to prevent exhaustion. However, even magic had its limits and despite the tones still clearly continuing as a thundering hum in the back of his throat he couldn't continue. His current destination was a rather large hill- well technically a mountain but compared to the massive peaks he'd grown under Ragoth could only see the formation as a glorified hill. Gritting his teeth, Ragoth redoubled his efforts and barely managed to beat what he'd mistaken as a dust storm to some of the mountains shelter. At this distance, his tired eyes discerned the storm was actually dirt kicked up by a marching column of soldiers. Had he been less tired, the Zokah would have realized his own rapid approach made a tall and narrow dust cloud of its own. He ceased his chanted and collapsed against the hard stone, Ragoth was beyond exhausted, thirsty and his body finally had the freedom to convulse in protest at its abuse.

Ragoth began the Song of Flames in panic while ducking out from his equipment. His large body could potentially damage the very gear he used to earn his livelihood among humans. A rush of burning vitality, and excruciating pain coursed through his limbs as the song clocked his body in flames in a magical attempt to purge his affliction. However, this wouldn't help since he was out of water himself. Instead he made one last bet, and began to hum a note from his mouth-much like a human in sync with the one in his throat. It took a bit for him to get the separate vocal cords working in harmony, but he roared out loud note that marked the end of the Fire's second verse. While air left his maw, just past his jaw air became flame and shot forward thrice his height in a cone. He'd discovered this trick roughly a month ago, and marveled since until then he'd only seen fire go to half that distance. It was for this reason, he sought his people after nearly twenty years of exile. Ragoth held the note for nearly fourteen seconds until he ran out of air, unlike throat chanting which he could do indefinitely this style of singing had clear limits.

Before the magic powering his limbs could wear off again, Ragoth dug his claws into the stone for support. Calling his movement at this point more than a staggered limp would be an exaggeration, but his need of water left him hobbling towards the oncoming march in hopes of aid.

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Franz Van Burace


Finally reaching his destination, Franz pulled on the reigns of his horse, bringing the creature to a stop. Somewhat awkwardly, he dismounted and took a moment to stretch. The rocky, unpredictable terrain had proven to be quite hard on him. No doubt the other knights were just as sore and tired as he was. Unfortunately, there was little time for rest. Doing his best to mask the look of disgust on his face, Franz stoically approached the first tribesmen who came out to greet him.

"Quel amrun! You finally arrive. Allow me to welcome you all to Ata'hua."

The man's skin was tanned like leather, his white hair falling about his face in uneven braids. He walked with a staff made of gnarled wood that did little to aid his hobbling steps. Somehow, he was everything Franz had imagined.

"I am called Hallec, chieftain of the Kar'aye, the largest tribe in Ata'hua."

Franz placed a fist to his chest and bowed slightly, the formal sign of acknowledgement among the Knights.

"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir. I am Franz Van Burace of the Knights of Valexia."

He could feel the heat of eyes upon him. The many people of the village had stopped their daily business to gawk unabashedly at the armor clad men. It made the young man's spine tingle.

'These savages could attack at any moment. This entire peace treaty could have merely been a plot to deal a blow to Valexia. I must be on guard at every moment.'

The rest of the knights anxiously stood behind Franz. It was obvious neither party was very comfortable in the company of the other. He wanted nothing more than to be done with this place and return to Valexia. Return to his normal life and never have to see nor hear about Ata'hua again. But Franz knew that was impossible right now. The thought was enough to make his chest sink with despair.

"So," the young knight spoke, "We are to agree on a truce then? Have all parties gathered?"

The one called Hallec reflected upon the boy's words for an agonizingly long moment. He spoke slowly, calmly. Simply...

"Ahh, yes. In my eighty-seven years of life I have done much and seen much more. Never did I imagine peace between Ata'hua and the Valexians to be among that."

He smiled at the knights, revealing what few twisted teeth remained in his mouth.

"Indeed. It is most fortunate that we meet here today." Franz remained cool. An emotional knight was a dead knight, as his commander had once told him. Indeed, he was acting as ambassador this day. There could be no room for his personal feelings.

"Now for the formal signing," Franz continued, "Shall we agree to the terms now?"

Hallec's face fell only slightly, traces of his smile still evident underneath deep wrinkles. Again, after a long pause, he spoke...

"The other tribes have not arrived to the summit yet. When the great sun lights the sky on fire, they shall arrive. Not a moment before."

With that, the chief smiled once more and turned his back on them, stumbling away on his staff. Meanwhile, the gazes of the tribespeople still lingered on him.

For a moment, Franz was dumbfounded. Was that supposed to mean sunset? The other tribe leaders would not arrive until this evening? Feeling the first traces of a headache assaulting his senses, he pressed his thumb and forefinger into his eyes. Taking a deep breath, he kept his voice stern and cool...

"All right, men! The summit shall meet this evening! Set up camp for today. We set out for good Valexia at first light tomorrow!"

Franz pretended not to hear the groans and whispers of his fellow knights. In truth, he felt guilty for leading them all here. Turning his head up to the sky, he saw that the sun was not yet even overhead. It would be a long while before the summit. Clearing his dry throat, Franz decided he'd explore this sad excuse for a village in search of a water source for his men.

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Character Portrait: Franz Van Burace Character Portrait: Vodun Ragoth Character Portrait: Vye Lavye
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Franz Van Burace



'Clearly only savages could manage to call a place like this home.'

Franz grumbled to himself as he swatted his way through a cloud of gnats. His heavy, armored boots stumbled awkwardly over the uneven, muddy terrain. Even his sense of smell was offended by a peculiar scent of wet bark and moss. He missed the sights, sounds, and smells of Valexia. Just thinking about his empty bed made the young man's joints ache with longing.

'Get it together. Just do what you came to do and get out. Everyone's counting on you.'

Tired, hazel eyes scanned his surroundings. A few huts were scattered about the clearing. Simple structures made of straw, wood, and foliage. It was like a scene from a fantasy novel. Of course Franz knew about Ata'hua. How the people lived in tune with nature. But to actually see them choose to live this way was astounding. The world truly was a vast expanse. It made him feel small and insignificant, which was undeniably irksome.

'Hm? What's this?'

Franz caught sight of someone walking back toward one of the huts. It was a woman. Petite but lithe, her delicate-looking body was wrapped in cloth and vines. Wisps of blonde hair fell about her face. It reminded Franz of the cobwebs in his father's study. The girl walked softly, her bare feet seemingly gliding over the dirt and grass. The allure was unmistakable. Even here, amidst such savagery, there was at least a small piece of beauty to behold.

He was about to call to her, to ask if she knew where he could find a source of clear water when another voice cut his off. It was impossibly deep and rough.

"Ragoth of the Tribe of Thunder. A humble smith seeking shelter and conversation."

Franz turned around and immediately felt a lump rise in his throat.

Before him stood a creature unlike any he had ever seen. It was tall, much taller than any man, and covered in dry, stone-colored scales. Its hulking frame was set with bulky musculature and behind it, a tail that looked to be as big around as Franz's chest.

Instinctively, the knight took a step back, his senses on high alert as his mind raced to define exactly what this being was.

'Ragoth. Tribe of Thunder. Scales. Tail. Lizard. Could it be...?'

The creature did not appear hostile. In fact, its words were formal, polite even. It was startling human-like. Regaining his composure as smoothly as he could, Franz spoke, keeping his voice as firm as possible...

"Are you...of the Zokah?"

He had heard talk of them before. They were supposedly a race of dragon-like beings who lived mainly in secrecy somewhere in Ata'huan territory. He had known a senior officer who had experience with the tribe, having encountered one before during his travels. Other similar accounts existed almost as common knowledge. Still, as with everything else in this forsaken grassland, seeing was a fast and forceful track to believing.

The creature had the speech and mannerisms of a human. And Franz could recall no such account of one of the Zokah ever being dangerous or unpredictable. As such, it was imperative that he treat this being with as much respect as any other member of the Ata'hua Tribelands. With his pulse steadily returning to a normal pace, he spoke.

"Ah, forgive my poor introduction. I was merely taken aback by your presence. Truly, it is a rare sight to behold one of your...tribe."

'All right, that'll do. You're encroaching on boot-licking here. Erm...talon licking...? How the hell -'

Shaking himself from his thoughts, Franz continued.

I am Franz Van Burace, of the Knights of Valexia. You speak as if you do not hail from these parts. May I inquire as to what you are doing here?"

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Character Portrait: Franz Van Burace Character Portrait: Vodun Ragoth
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Ragoth's eyes turned up a bit when the soldier turned, and then relaxed again when the man set a foot back. He'd offer a smile, but he feared the gesture might seem a bit...misplaced given difference between himself and humans. At the very least he was getting the impression the man wasn't unfamiliar with his kind.

"Are you...of the Zokah?" This was an immense relief for Ragoth, it meant there would be room for him to ply his trade and maybe ask questions of his own."Ah, forgive my poor introduction. I was merely taken aback by your presence. Truly, it is a rare sight to behold one of your...tribe.I am Franz Van Burace, of the Knights of Valexia. You speak as if you do not hail from these parts. May I inquire as to what you are doing here?"

The Zokah merely tilted his head innocently in regards to the second statement. Despite his years, there were still many things among humans that were unusual to him. The whole 'introduction' thing was one of them, but he did know it had something to do with the human view of status. Had perhaps one of them acted shamefully in this instance? In addition, the man clan claimed to be of Valexia which was of particular interest to him at this moment. He was also reminded that compared to himself and his kin as a whole...humans talked fast.

"In order: while I am Zokah born, they no longer count me as kin-Vodun they call me...disgraced in your tongue. I am also aware of my kinds, appearance to humans especially my own due to size so do not worry. Also Knight of Valexia, I lived much vurther south until recently." Ragoth held up an arm, broken manacle and all to help emphasize his point...as smith he was used to certain areas having a certain styles so to him it would be rather clear. He could really only hope the human had a similar eye since he wasn't exactly adept with human navigation.

"To answer the final question, I heard rumor my kind are less reclusive in your lands. I have learned loud prayer, and I need to know if I have been Chosen or if this is merely a fluke. For if I am Chosen, I may return home and reclaim my name. Vranz Vanburace, I wonder whether you may aid me in this. I am more than willing to lend you mine own in return." Due to his kinds jaw structure, saying the letter 'f' was virtually impossible. Once more Ragoth found himself hoping he was dealing with a reasonable human.