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The Gift

Civil Encampment, Justice

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a part of The Gift, by Ghaarme.

The Civil base camp.

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Setting

A fairly large army base, with several stone spires and roughly one hundred tents for soldiers. The two largest tents are reserved for generals, while the greatest is the recreation tent.
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Civil Encampment, Justice

The Civil base camp.

Minimap

Civil Encampment, Justice is a part of The Gift.

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Illessya Andracor [0] An orc Shawoman gifted with "Fractured" Predictions and the blessing of Angelic magic. Once partnered with the War Cheif, at his mysterious death it left her in charge of the forces.

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#, as written by Arke
The pen skated across the parchment, uninterrupted by the dwarf's report. Nodding at the introduction, the cold-eyed General listened to the man speak in his gutteral tones. The General never had much liking for other races, since they always believed that humans were simply physically and mentally inferior to them. However, that racism only applied to the general populace, since he had some acquaintances that he respected that were not of Human descent. Generals that belittled his human army often got.... slighted in battle because of their judgmental decisions, paying the price for the way they thought. Fong Liu-Wen was a human General out to prove the strength that the human race possessed, and to make even the elves and minotaurs fear his army.

"I come bearin' tha news of reinforcements coming to aid you, as well as sorts o' supplies. Commander Grashstone appologizes fer his lack of "grand aid" o' late. He sends my unit, tha First ta aid you, as well as a few other ranks of phalanx and crossbowmen. We are tha First Bear Calvalry Division, Sir. Half a battalion strong. We'll make 'em regret even thinkin' about their shield wall formations an' we'll make a mockery of even tha best Spider and Worg Riders!" He said gruffly, a grin emitted on the dwarf's neutral countenance.

"I see. The bear cavalry will add an interesting addition to the fight, and we could always use more ranged fighters." Fong said dismissively, his eyes meeting the dwarf's, but betraying little emotion other than a taste of amusement. He pulled up a sheet of parchment, and handed it to the dwarf. His other hand continued writing, and refilling his pen as if it was on auto-pilot. The General of the Wind nodded at the parchment, ushering the dwarf to read it. It was multilingual, which meant that the lines were enchanted to change into the language the person reading it was most familiar with. It made it very easy to overcome the language barrier.

"Dukald Garfathen. I have received reports about that particular being in general you see on the parchment you have." Began the General, lacing his fingers together stiffly. "A female Nightmarian Spider known to have one-hundred and two confirmed kills to her name, a magic and physical tank named Murecialga Yan'vega. Mercy." He leaned back slightly, frowning. "She has last been seen fighting for the Savage group as a Mercenary. She wiped out two battalions of elvish and dwarfish fighters, as well as holding her own against a bulkier Mercenary of ours, claiming a almost equal amount of kills to his name, Zareth. She managed to incapacitate a quarter of our archers, and suffocate several mages with her webbing. Tell me, Sergeant," He said, his eyes remaining dulll as ever. "How would you feel if I had hired her? And also.... How would you and the cavalry fight such a woman of repute? Surely, you have heard of her, seeing as somebody like me has."

He held up his hand, waving away a response. "Answer that yourself. I expect you to have a formal and clear answer to those questions by the time I've finished punishing General Ebon." He said.

"Also Sir. My appologies. I should've acted faster in response to the situation. But in my defense, Sir, I was told to report to 'A General'. I was unfamiliar with whom the General was. However, that is my fault as well, and is no excuse. As...for what I saw, I cannot say what exactly happened, but I walked in to find the man and the General socializing, I suppose. They began fighting as soon as the man said something along the lines of wanting to speak with her alone. I respect a fella's wants, so I start to leave, as befer I'm even out o' the tent, he starts summonin' these things ta attack 'er!"

"I understand. Spies certainly do know how to wreak havoc once they work their way up the ladder of trust." His face remained smooth and devoid of emotion. The customary frown on the man's face twitched slightly in thought. "I accept your apology, Sergeant Dukald. However, I expect you to act more quickly next time. If you space out like that on the battlefield, you will be of no use to me on the battlefield, as your head will be rolling on the ground." His tone did not suggest that it was a joke, but neither did it contain a threat. The General left that question unanswered, letting the dwarf figure which it was himself. "You are dismissed, I shall call for you as a representative of the Bear Cavalry if I need your advice."

The pen lifted off the parchment for the last time, quickly placed in the ink bottle. He handed the dwarf the scroll. "This is a grant letter. You and all your men now have access to all the armories, as well as rights to rank, food, and supplies. We now share everything with you. Also, enclosed is a gift of fifty golds for each soldier, as an incentive and gesture of a long lasting alliance." The General waved his hand with finality, as it that was the last matter at hand.

Before Fong could relax, however, another voice rang out from outside his tent.

"Captain Belsius Avaran reporting, sir! I also come to report captain Melianth Avaran's arrival as well! We have successfully taken command over the western plains, and are reporting as ordered. May I come in sir?" A smooth voice came.

"Come in, captain. I expect you to have a reason why Avaran isn't present. Again." The General replied, his voice dipping into cold contempt once more.

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#, as written by Neava13
"Greetings, fare maiden! Um...why do you look like someone speared your horse?"

The voice caused Mira to freeze in place looking up at him with a tired tear streaked face. Her clothes were soaked with mud and dirt, her face was smeared with it as well. As he got closer he could see a book floating near her and a pen scribbling in the book on its own accord. As soon as he approached however the pen and book dodged behind her form. She wiped her face and smiled slightly her drawn features looking a bit cheerier, but still tired.

”No horse.. just a friend.” she slid a few more branches in place over the body obscuring their features a bit, though if he came close enough it would become apparent who she was preparing to burn. ”Well.. maybe not speared.. I think it was more sliced with a scimitar or a bastard sword.. hard to say.. for sure.” she smiled as more tears slid down her face and she snuffled and wiped them away only smearing her small features with more mud.

Her eyes dodged up to his face and they narrowed a bit as her smile fell, ”Your one of General Fong’s men right? Tell him not to worry.. I won’t raise him from the dead.. if that’s what he sent you out here for.. just giving him a proper burial.. if he wants to make an issue out of it.. he can try and make me stop!” she spoke without a snarl just more of a determined meter as she slid down the pyre and across the field looking for more wood.. and some grass to start the fire well. Then she stopped and looked back at the dark elf, ”Please don’t touch him ok?” a small smile slid over her lips as she trudged out through the grass her small form nearly disappearing under its long threads.

The pen and the book floated through the air above her making it rather obvious where she was wondering to. She wondered over to several thick bushes and began cutting at them, before long she had a good pile of wood going then grabbed several golden clumps of grass. She drug them back towards the pyre once she had it all stacked up on one of the larger branches. Looking at the amount she had already and the small amount she was capable of dragging she must have been at this for hours. The body within the pyre was clean, his wounds were closed and he looked perfectly normal, although pale. She had obviously went to great pains to wash him and close his wounds at least externally before setting up the pyre.

It wasn’t long before she had the pyre finished and stood back smiling happily. She extended her hand as steam rose through the air under the body the wood drying under the intense heat she summoned then she sat down as the pyre burst into flames sending dark smoke in the opposite direction of the camp. She smiled even brighter once it lit sitting in the mud and leaning her head in her hands sighing wearily. ‘I finished it.. now you can rest.. and no one will ever touch you again.. See you one day.. promise!’ her mind echoed as her eyes locked on the burning form. She was happy she could do this for him.. even this one little thing would mean a lot to the orphaned man.. she had spent the last two years with.

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#, as written by Ghaarme
"A friend..." the dark elf's smile slowly thinned until only a neutral expression remained. "Damn..." Melianth took a moment to observe her state of bieng and narrowed his eyes slightly. This girl had been crying. Alot. The levitating book and quill along with the layers of filth coating her clothing didn't interest the man nearly as much as the tears. The sudden shift in mood caught the avenger off guard, however.

”Your one of General Fong’s men right?”

"Um, yes I-"

”Tell him not to worry.. I won’t raise him from the dead.. if that’s what he sent you out here for.. just giving him a proper burial.. if he wants to make an issue out of it.. he can try and make me stop!”

"Oh...that won't be necessary...I doubt that bastard even cares beyond the whole dumping the body phase." his words were barely above a whisper, not meant for the little woman to hear, but not intended to offend either. The dark elf captain looked away as if thinking deeply on something, listening as Miralight wandered off on some other unseen task. Her voice, tiny and hoarse--presumeably from crying--brought his attention back to the present.

”Please don’t touch him ok?” and with that, she was off.

Alright...I wont. Melianth padded over across the mud to stand over the funeral pyre. His blood tinted eyes scanned over the wood, and he glanced around. It had rained last night, and the land was covered in a fine layer of moisture. The halfling must have been out here for who knows how long accumulating any bit of dry kindling available, which must have been few and far between indeed. He had to admit though, she did an admirable job of preparing the body and it's eternal resting place. The corpse had been totally cleaned of mud, blood and...as far as deep humans go, an unobservant passerby could've guessed that the man was sleeping. Melianth sighed deeply, and kneeled down before the pyre. He looked on in silence while the halfling returned and prepared the dead man for burning, spreading grass and more kindling. When she finally set the wood to blazing life, Melianth closed his eyes and felt for...it. His brother was much more spiritually attuned, and as such was usually assigned to deal with the dead and undead. Belsius had once explained sensing as simply resonating with the dead, feeling what they feel. Melianth felt nothing but the warmth of the flame.

"In the eyes of the Gods, we are but stains of ink on the maps of the universe. Within the eyes of the angels, we are the hope that this world will live on to be a greater place of peace and goodness. From the eyes of the demons, we were made to sew chaos and ruin amongst others. This one, this soul, shall pass on to the holy gates of Haven, by this we hope. This one, this soul, shall never bear witness to the burning pits of Avernus, by this we hope. As shells of the mortal coil, we cannot know. Only this one, this soul, knows who they were, and where they reside. In our eyes though, this one, this soul, shall know their peace, and happiness forever more. Amen." and then, the prayer was finished.

He hadn't been versed in the ways of sensing, but as one of the holy the dark elf could perform burial rights as well as any other. The captain arose from his kneeling position and spoke a word of divine power. The fires burning upon the pyre shifted from an angry red to a soft golden hue, and a feeling of warmth spread from it. Melianth turned toward the halfling and patted her head softly, a warm smile alight on his handsome features.

"Technically, I didn't touch him." the dark elf abruptly spun on his heel and began to walk back towards camp. "Good day, fare maiden." he called over his shoulder.


"Come in, captain. I expect you to have a reason why Avaran isn't present. Again." Belsius winced slightly, knowing by his tone the general was in a mood.

"Yes, general. I sent Melianth out to inspect the camp and aquire some refuge from the torrential weather this place has been having as of late. We would've taken up a captain's tent, but it seems that one is occupied and the other..." the dark elf shrugged in dismissal. "Neither of us feel right with sleeping where a man dead merely a night ago slept. I hope you understand." of course he would, probably just wouldn't care. "My brother should be here to speak with you by this afternoon, at the latest."

Belsius bowed and turned to head towards the entrance. "By your leave, I will excuse myself."

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#, as written by Neava13
"In the eyes of the Gods, we are but stains of ink on the maps of the universe. Within the eyes of the angels, we are the hope that this world will live on to be a greater place of peace and goodness. From the eyes of the demons, we were made to sew chaos and ruin amongst others. This one, this soul, shall pass on to the holy gates of Haven, by this we hope. This one, this soul, shall never bear witness to the burning pits of Avernus, by this we hope. As shells of the mortal coil, we cannot know. Only this one, this soul, knows who they were, and where they reside. In our eyes though, this one, this soul, shall know their peace, and happiness forever more. Amen."



She had almost forgotten he was there, until she heard his words over the roar of the flames. Her eyes slid from the red and orange twisting flames to his face as he closed his eyes speaking. Her eyes got wider and wider at his words tears continuing to roll down her face. She hadn’t heard his comment about the General.. she was too tired to hear what the beastly creature had said. She never was one to like the man, he always was heavy handed, and seemed to take very little joy in things. As the flames shifted colors her eyes shifted to pyre as more tears rolled down her face and a smile slid over her dirty cracked lips. She knew he would find his way home.. she knew he would be with his family that he had for so long mourned. The dark elf’s voice sounded as he turned and left.



"Technically, I didn't touch him.................................Good day, fare maiden."



She smiled brightly at his words, he had indeed not touched Nhil and in fact helped her give him the burial he deserved. She didn’t care what General Fong said.. she didn’t care what Ebon said.. they all were wrong, Nhil was set up.. he was innocent.. and she would prove it.


She got up and staggered through the muddy fields the sun hurting her eyes so she slid them down to her footing stepping to the side of Melianth’s foot falls to keep her form from sinking into the mud. Before long she was trudging through the camp, men already had begun cooking to break their nightly fasts. The sun gently woke the world as the sounds of men and women waking slid through the air. It was as if nothing happened and the fact that the world went on as it always had even without Nhil seemed foreign. She slid before his tent her form caked in mud, she looked little more than a dirty child to those that passed. Then without pause she slipped into the tent her book and pen following suite. They set themselves on the table and continued to go about their business.


She had to prove he wasn’t a traitor.. how do you prove someone isn’t a traitor though?...her eyes slid to pieces of crumpled parchment that littered the floor and desk of his tent. Her eyes scanned them then she slid over to the side of the desk and picked up one of them reading it.


"From the very first day I met you..." She picked up the next one
"Since our first mission together..." Her eyes went wide and then she frowned sniffling slightly.. she was scared it was to someone else.. but at the same time she wanted to know who he was talking about. So she picked up another one


"You know, expressing something like this isn't very easy, so ill just come out and say it; I..." She sniffled again then slid the papers in a stack as she went through the rest. Each one said something similar.. then she found one.. it started with her name.. and her eyes went wide before setting it with the others. It had a list of all her short comings and then all the things he loved. She blushed as she read some of it and then shook her head and sighed. Her eyes slid to the back of the desk catching the glint of something green. She crawled up on the chair and saw the cause, his brother’s skull sat on the table. The thing always interested her, it always found a way back into Nhil’s possession even when he had left it behind.. she always wanted to have some time with it, but Nhil always kept it close. She reached out and gently took the skull pulling it towards her as she plopped down in the over sized chair and looked into its eyes. She smiled then rolled the letters and the skull in a leather cloth.

She then gently slid one of his books off the shelf and slid it into the leather bag as well. Then she slid out into the sun once again looking around to see if anyone noticed her. She slid the bag over her shoulder and bounced about the muddy walkways trying her best to keep from slipping and falling in the deep mush that permeated the camp.

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#, as written by Arke
"Yes, general. I sent Melianth out to inspect the camp and aquire some refuge from the torrential weather this place has been having as of late. We would've taken up a captain's tent, but it seems that one is occupied and the other..." the dark elf shrugged in dismissal. "Neither of us feel right with sleeping where a man dead merely a night ago slept. I hope you understand." of course he would, probably just wouldn't care. "My brother should be here to speak with you by this afternoon, at the latest."

Belsius bowed and turned to head towards the entrance. "By your leave, I will excuse myself."

The General remained silent, listening to the reports with no change in expression. As the dark elf finished his report, the General nodded. "You are free to go, Captain Belsius." He said neutrally. "I will be expecting your brother. I also will be expecting the both of you to be on time, to properly witness the Flagellation after I speak with Melianth." He did not seem amused by the concept of flogging, nor did the steel-hearted general show any disgust to it. His cold, dull eyes surveyed Belsius for a moment, before waving him away in dismissal.

Ebon's flogging will come soon enough. To represent true order, Fong himself would have to be the one delivering it. Of course, many will protest it, due to the Dark Elves favor to the Queen, but it was her shortcomings that brought this on her. She also requested to take on the incompetence of all her men, which normally should have earned her a formal discharge. He had been given the paperwork by a rather surly man sworn into silence until the event was announced. He dismissed the man, giving a frozen stare that chilled the man's heart and caused him to exit with all haste. As he finished the necessary forms, he continued on to fill in more sheets of inventory confirmation, troop requests, supply shipments, and various other things. A heavy burden lay on the top commanders of the army. The soldiers think they have it bad, but more often than not they do not realize that at least they have time to relax. Fong's work was never done, and he rarely got good rest these days. He was forced to share the work with some of the generals in recent years, just so he could get enough sleep for the next round of work. He had to become efficient with diplomacy, ruling, and fighting all at the same time. To save time, he ruled with an iron fist instead of a velvet hand.

Quickly, he switched gears, taking all the paperwork and folding it up for the courier dispatches to pick up. His hands moved in a blur-like motion. Fong had decided long ago that he would never use magic to help him through his desk work. This built up his mental discipline, as well as precise hand movements and accuracy. Of course, when the situation became overwhelming, he was forced to use magic to make deadlines and satisfy the higher-ups. Hastily, Fong folded the last one after half an hour of straight handwork. He pulled out a small piece of parchment, writing down with his pen things that he had to do, and looked at it. He crossed out things he knew and remembered doing, and saw that the only things he was missing was events that took place after Ebon's flagellation. He took the small novel out of his robes and flipped it open, beginning to read.

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#, as written by Ikiriz
As she watched the scene unfold in the camp she saw the chaos settle almost as quick as it had arrived and wondered what the source of the sudden control came from. She went back inside the tent, placed the near empty bowl of soup beside the cushion and picked up her staff and backpack. She slipped out of the tent, not bothering to inform the man who had given her food as he seemed to be deep in conversation with another soldier. When she came outside she looked to the sky, glad the sun had decided to grace her with its presence. It didn’t take her long to find a group of 3 soldiers, discussing the events that had just seem to happen. Apparently some general had come to punish another general in the morning for something. She raised an eyebrow, the rumours didn’t seem to make much sense, and she was pretty sure the rumours where exaggerated. She interrupted them shortly, asking for the whereabouts of the general who took matters in his own hands. She was pointed toward one of the officers tents. She nodded and quickly walked to the tent and slipped into it, hoping that the general wouldn’t be in a too bad mood to let it affect his price.

She looked at the general reading the book, trying to get a quick idea of his personality. She leaned against her wooden staff, the red eye on the top of it, glowing very faintly, as in a slumber. She seemed calm and casual as she usually did when she was about to discuss her job, but her pale blue eyes where resting on him with a calculating gaze. “I don’t mean to interrupt you in your reading general. My name Tarrellethiel Jaglene, and I have come here because it occurs to me that you’re having some troubles in a war. My magical abilities may be of some assistance to you in this crusade. For the right Price of course, a woman has to make a living.” She paused and took a step closer to him. It seemed like the speech and perfomance had been rehearsed. “Now I understand that you can’t hire anyone without knowing their abilities in combat, and if what they say is true, that is why I have a way of doing business with people that will satisfy us both, I hope. Whatever price we settle on will be split in to two, I get the first half now, and the other half when my duties here are done. If I should happen to die, not living up to my promise, you are more then welcome to take back whatever price you have payed me, unless that certain pay have been destroyed with my death.” She made a couple of hand gestures while explaining the situation for the general “I will prefer to have any magical knowledge as a payment, more so in the knowledge of the abyss, if no such thing is available to you, then I will also accept an amount of valuables plus the permission to pick things the enemy might have of magical gatherings.” She ended the speech, leaning back up against her staff, awaiting the Generals responce patiently.

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#, as written by Arke
The world in the 'Mists of Illera' was a uniquely crafted, fine piece of work that Fong did not find in books nowadays. Hidden motifs, themes, and classical archetypes that required multiple read-throughs to detect and recognize made the book almost like a game. A game for the literate. Just as well, the rounded characters and plot made it a brilliant novel, the binding worn over years of use.

“I don’t mean to interrupt you in your reading general. My name Tarrellethiel Jaglene, and I have come here because it occurs to me that you’re having some troubles in a war. My magical abilities may be of some assistance to you in this crusade. For the right Price of course, a woman has to make a living.” A feminine voice interjected amidst his reading. He did not answer at first, reading through the next page before marking his spot and shutting the book slowly. Placing the book back into his robes, he straightened in his seat, examining the woman coldly. Female mercenaries seemed to come as often as male mercenaries, and despite what people say, are oftentimes inefficient and would be more suited for bounty hunting. He needed a better way to judge her before wasting hard-earned military funds on her.

“Now I understand that you can’t hire anyone without knowing their abilities in combat, and if what they say is true, that is why I have a way of doing business with people that will satisfy us both, I hope. Whatever price we settle on will be split in to two, I get the first half now, and the other half when my duties here are done. If I should happen to die, not living up to my promise, you are more then welcome to take back whatever price you have payed me, unless that certain pay have been destroyed with my death.” She continued, making the deal look slightly more appealing. All the while, her hands moved in little gestures to make her point. Ah, so the woman had jazz hands. Very unusual, as if she were used to making speeches. Very stiff, as if uncomfortable with talking with others. Formal, as expected, but a bit too formal than most mercenaries cared to be. A spy? Very likely. His face remained impassive, waiting for the woman to finish.

“I will prefer to have any magical knowledge as a payment, more so in the knowledge of the abyss, if no such thing is available to you, then I will also accept an amount of valuables plus the permission to pick things the enemy might have of magical gatherings.” She finished, leaning on her staff. That staff disconcerted the General, though he didn't show it. The red eye in the staff followed him, as if it were sentient itself. However, the shape of the eye and the way it move revealed it immediately to be something from the underworld. Her request as a payment and her staff made it obvious. A very rare kind of mage to be found still alive and coherent. Demonologists. Powerful as they were... capricious. Hopefully, this one seemed rational enough, despite her stiff formality.

"At ease, Jaglene." The General said colorlessly, "You are correct, I am in need of magical assistance. Most of General Ebon's spell casters were wounded or killed during the siege, and more firepower would be welcome. Your proposed method of payment... hmmm, odd to say the least. I would prefer to pay after you've proven yourself, but I have something that may fit your requirements." The General's cold, scathing eye did not leave the woman's face despite his assuring (though emotionless) words. He stood up, walking over to his bookcase and running his refined, spindly finger through the volumes. He scowled slightly as he did not find it there, so instead turned and opened a small chest.

Rummaging quickly through it's contents, he pulled out a piece of very old parchment and a black box that immediately filled the room with an ominous aura. He placed the two items on his desk. His face did not show a sliver of his intentions, but sure enough he spoke to the woman.

"I received this box and parchment as a sort of war spoil during a lengthy battle raiding a Nightmarian city. My men panicked and burned the city down, and very few things survived, such as this." He indicated the box and paper. "I have consulted with my warlocks about this, and they have confirmed this to be a seal for some sort of item. They are not sure what the item is. It could be a spell, a weapon, a magical device, or riches. I offer this to you, because whatever is inside will almost definitely relate to the abyss." He said.

"How do I know? Well, this parchment..." He showed the parchment to her, "Hold a specific text to translate the words of sealing from a proven old abyssal language, 'Irithac'. My sources have told me that they used to be a species of higher demons that were wiped out by fear of many of the other races. This is all that is left." He offered the paper to her.

"I will give you the translation paper first as an offer for the first half of your payment, then if you complete what work I have for you, you will receive the box seal. Is that fair, Tarrellethiel Jaglene?" He asked, his face remaining stony and cold during his offer.

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#, as written by Neava13
The day was rather uneventful, though a growing anxiety slid through her mind about being flogged. The fact that she would allow a human to flog her seemed wrong, not to mention she was a Queen of the Dark Elves was he so bold as to risk war by flogging her?

Though other questions still rose in her mind as well, if she was flogged would the troops support her more? If she took the pain with grace would they respect her enough to die for her? Would it turn them against General Fong more? She knew how to play the games, but the hardest part about the games was knowing when to draw the line. Would she loose respect by her own kind but gain it by the races of others for this? Dark Elves loved their Queen over all, she had saved them from many horrible times, she served in the military from the time she was only 70, and the next nearly 200 years of her life had been the same. She was loved by her people and did everything and anything to protect them.. they were her only true concern in this.. well.. them and obtaining the gift to lift them and herself even higher in power.

Would letting the lash touch her flesh break their respect for her? Would bowing to the will of a man of equal rank and of a lesser race cause hatred against her? Or to the man that caused her harm? And then.. would it pull the rest of the races to her aid against Fong and the world? So many questions, her fingers slid over the various papers signing and balancing expenses for her now dwindled force. She was happy that for the most part only ground troops were truly decimated.. her mages were dwindled but still strong. Her eyes slid over the roster of names lost in the battle and she shook her head sending the list to their perspective capitals so that the families of those fallen could be notified. It didn’t matter to her.. truly.. she could have sent out letters to all of the races in all the realms.. the list that hurt her was the list for the five Dark Elves that had fallen. She hugged the list to her chest and frowned.. even only five were too precious to loose.

Time passed, letters flowed from her finger tips, allocation letters, permission signatures, and battle strategies were relayed from her tent to the known Civil forces. And the day poured on.. until dusk started to weigh heavily on the world and she slipped from her tent. Her personal attendant Mia at her side; she was dressed in her normal scant cloths though red in color today.. Her blue hair braided and draped over her shoulder beautifully. Her slim curves seemed all the more beautiful as she gracefully slipped to the center of camp looking about as soldiers milled about. She was early.. a good 20 minutes, but she wanted to be early to think about it. She could tell him to fall to the Abyss with his whip in hand if she wanted. She was a Queen after all.. still though.. it seemed wrong.. she felt she needed to do this in order to rally them all at her side.

Her blue eyes danced about the camp a small smile over her lips as she steeled herself, she would do what she needed to in order to secure her place in this army.. if it meant being lashed nearly to death.. the price would be worth it.

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#, as written by Ghaarme
Hmm... the tall dark elf scanned through the bar room of the massive recreation tent, looking for a suitable table. Preferably one with no small amount of women, no doubt. Melianth swept back his opalescent hair and leaned back on the bar, sipping on a light ale. His smile dropped when Belsius walked into the crowded tent and immediately looked in his direction. The stern looking dark elf waded through the crowd and kept his glare up at the younger Avaran. Belsius was mad, as far as Melianth could tell. When the shorter brother finally made it to his location the younger Avaran brother patted his sibling on the head and offered him a cup. "Care for some ale, brother? They have deep grass ale, just like back home!"

Belsius simply glared, his stance rigid and unwavering. His red eyes narrowed and seemed to grow a full shade darker. "You haven"t gone to see general Fong, have you?" he already knew the answer though, seeing as how the younger brother still looked like he had a spirit to break.

"Nope. Don't intend to either." Mel said, drawing another sip from the jug.

A long moment of silence grew between the pair before Bel loosed a small sigh and took the proffered cup. The cleric turned and waved his brother forward, urging Melianth to follow. The Avaran brothers slowly made their way through the crowd and eventually made it outside again. Belsius noticed his brother held an extra pitcher with some kind of murky blue liquid in it, but he thought little of it. They walked through the camp for a small while talking about how their first days back at Justice had been. Bel was shocked, to say the least. Not only had his impulsive brother not yet ran off to peek at the queen yet, but he had also assisted some complete stranger in a funeral? Most strange. Melianth wasn't surprised at all. Fong was blunt about the meeting, and couldn't wait to tell him about his faults. Before they knew it though, the Avaran's arrived at the center of the camp. Belsius spotted and pointed out Diloxi within moments.

"Greetings, my queen." the elder said with a deep bow. "I am Belsius and this is my brother Melianth. We have come to-"

"Make sure we heard right. Mistress Ebon! You can't seriously be considering letting this...human, flog you?" Melianth's eyes stared at her with a pleading undertone. "My brother and I, along with the darklings under his command being punished are already unacceptable. But you? This is outrageous! You hold just as much, if not more power than he! Tell that windbag to shove it!"

"...yes. That's the gist of it." the shorted elf said with a sigh. Though, he stared at Diloxi with the same pleading eyes.

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#, as written by Neava13
Diloxi heard the two men walking in her direction and her eyes slid over her shoulder to the familiar brothers. They were trouble.. well; one of them was, the other wasn’t as much trouble as he was powerful. The eldest issued his greetings as she turned to face them both smiling bowing her head in response to Belsius’s greeting though she bowed far less than him keeping to the proper respect of her own title and rank. Her eyes slid to Melianth as he spoke up and her smile went even wider, oh how she loved her kin.. it was a relief to be in the youths company.

"Make sure we heard right. Mistress Ebon! You can't seriously be considering letting this...human, flog you?............My brother and I, along with the darklings under his command being punished are already unacceptable. But you? This is outrageous! You hold just as much, if not more power than he! Tell that windbag to shove it!" Melianth said pleadingly with a bit of outrage and concern in his tone.


"...yes. That's the gist of it." Belsius agreed.

Diloxi slid forward gently taking Melianth’s face in her dark hands she smiled at him kindly before leaning forward and kissing his cheek. Her kiss left a warmth that seemed wrong yet so delightfully inviting it didn’t matter how wrong the feeling itself was. She then slid to Belsius and did the same before pulling away looking at them both wide eyed and concerned. She clasped her hands before her and let them hang before the beautiful swell of her hips.

”Listen.. I am not happy about his punishment of our kin.. I think that the council’s idea to separate and distribute the forces evenly mixing the races with the different generals was an idiotic idea... however.. we must work together.. we must accept the council’s views on the matter.. it keeps us all united.. I will speak with General Fong about the punishment of my beloved people.” her eyes became a bit harder at the mention of General Fong. She did not like the idea of him shedding the blood of her kin, she wondered how many he had killed to protect his beloved humans from harm. It sparked her hatred of the human race all the more that he would dare harm her beautiful race.

”Now with that said.. It is not our race I am bleeding for today.. I am going to do this to pull my forces together.. they are upset, confused, and broken, this will strengthen them to our cause.. If I need to bleed to protect our kind from the ravages of that savage horde I will.. I would cut off my own right hand to protect you both.. so please know.. I do this to help us win.. The humans, elves, and deep humans do not trust me.. this.. I hope will help with that.. I need them all faithful to us.. to me.. If you both wish a transfer from General Fong’s forces I would be happy to request you both for my personal guard.” she smiled at them though she looked determined enough in her course of action. She wished she could pull their entire division of Dark Elves, but she doubted that the General would let himself be weakened do horribly.

”If you would do me one favour though.. My Captain has not reported since before the battle yesterday.. can you find Captain Duff and bring her to me after my sentencing and punishment? I need to speak with her.. I worry she was helping Nhil.. though not intentionally.. and I need any information she can give on who Nhil was working for.

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Dukald Garfathen. I have received reports about that particular being in general you see on the parchment you have." Began the General, lacing his fingers together stiffly. "A female Nightmarian Spider known to have one-hundred and two confirmed kills to her name, a magic and physical tank named Murecialga Yan'vega. Mercy." He leaned back slightly, frowning. "She has last been seen fighting for the Savage group as a Mercenary. She wiped out two battalions of elvish and dwarfish fighters, as well as holding her own against a bulkier Mercenary of ours, claiming a almost equal amount of kills to his name, Zareth. She managed to incapacitate a quarter of our archers, and suffocate several mages with her webbing. Tell me, Sergeant," He said, his eyes remaining dulll as ever. "How would you feel if I had hired her? And also.... How would you and the cavalry fight such a woman of repute? Surely, you have heard of her, seeing as somebody like me has."

Dukald nodded to show that he knew the woman....She called herself Mercy, and she was a devistating force against near anyone on the battlefield. She had claimed many lives. Dukald only claimed 29 in his life, but he knew war well. But he shook his head. "I'm not sure I understand yer question, Sir. But I shall answer tha way I believe you asked it: If ya had hired her, I would ask why ya would sacrifice yer own men's lives, and to be honest, Sir, I probably wouldn't do it politely. But I would trust ya on it. I would question my own life under your command. But I would trust yer command. You are a General, and know more than the other man in thus matter, myself."

"As fer combatin' her as a whole, there is no damn way that a woman, no matter thea stature, can stand to 500 dwarves. Much less dwarves on a bear's back. However, individually, I am unsure. I'd 'ave to put my faith inta assumtions, untill I actually saw 'er tactics, and choice in weaponry. But I can safely assume, unless she weilded a pike I would charge 'er. There are many variations, Sir, to a Bear Rider's tactics, 'e is so versitle. We have been trained as infantry as well, so we may stand our ground without a bear ta back us."

He was handed a parchment, and he nodded. "I will present thus to Grashstone and his men. And I thank you fer yer time, Sir." The dwarven man threw a salute up, and the General waved to him in dismisal. Dukald dropped his attention, wheeled about on his heels, and walked out of the tent.

He stuffed the two parchments down into the cloth and leather battlejacket that adorned the dwarf. He began to walk out towards the Supply Tent, eager to get food in his stomach. He knew the bear riders, uninterupted, would be here in three or four hours.

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#, as written by Ghaarme
It was a rare occasion that the Avaran brothers shared a moment in which they shared the same state of mind, but this was easily up there. Both dark elves stood speechless, mouths slightly agape and staring at their queen. Neither had even expected to meet the leader of the darklings this day, much less recieve a kiss from her. After what seemed like a small eternity the men colored slightly and regained what little dignity they had left. Each listened with rapt attention at Diloxi's side of the story, Belsius staring at the ground with an expression akin to shame while his brother scowled and pursed his lips in frustration. It was hard for them to think that one of the most distinguished members of their race being publicly humiliated for being assaulted by a traitor. Their mood lightened a bit though when she made mention of a transfer in stationing.

”If you would do me one favour though.. My Captain has not reported since before the battle yesterday.. can you find Captain Duff and bring her to me after my sentencing and punishment? I need to speak with her.. I worry she was helping Nhil.. though not intentionally.. and I need any information she can give on who Nhil was working for.” this caught their attention, and Melianth was about to volunteer when Belsius chimed in.

"Of course, milady. I shall retrieve her at once. My brother shall begin preperations for healing spells, just in case." his voice was differing and polite, although Melianth knew he was lording it over him. That bastard, he thought. As the two walked away Melianth wrapped his arm around his older brother's shoulders and cast him a sidelong glance.

"You know, she likes tall men. At least...twice as big as you, eh short-stuff? I heard from her attendant." Melianth grinned as he saw his brother scowl, knowing he'd struck a nerve that had long sinced irked the elder Avaran. Despite the difference in age, Belsius was a fair deal shorted than his brother, and that fact was one he had been taunted over for as long as Melianth had reached adulthood. The pair walked on in silence for a long while, until they came to a stop at the recreation tents. The brothers parted ways, Melianth still holding his grin and Belsius his scowl. Before the brothers had walked too far from one another, Belsius called his brother's name, making the younger brother stop. Melianth looked over his shoulder, still with that damnable grin.

"At least i've got the bigger dick. Twice as big, if i'm not mistaken." it was Belsius's turn to smile, and with that the older brother walked away. Melianth was left to stare in shock.

After a few minutes, he came to rest at the two captain's tents. He had been informed that the most northbound tarp belonged to captain Miralight, and peeked his head in to inspect it's contents. It was quite empty. Belsius ran his finger through his hair and sighed, wondering where she could have gone. Thinking it was the next best place to look, the dark elf wandered over to the next captain's tent. Lifting up the flap, he saw a large interior filled with bookcases, a lab table and a rather comfortable looking bed. Belsius noticed muddy footprints, very tiny ones at that, marring the carpeting. He muttered a minor divination spell and the footprints lit up brightly, showing a glowing trail of where his quarry had come and gone visible only to his eyes. Surprisingly enough, the captain followed it back to the first tent he'd checked. He entered and looked to the left where the path ended. In the corner of the cot, on the small bed, a tiny figure lie curled up on top of the covers. It was no wonder he'd missed the puny captain before.

Captain Duff, I presume. Belsius quietly made his way towards Miralight and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. With a minor prayer to the angels, energy and life flowed from his touch into the little woman. He shook her lightly, glancing away and blushing slightly. It was rare that he was in a lady's room, and against his policies as a gentleman to touch one without consent.

"Miss Duff...excuse me, captain Duff, you must awaken. General Ebon requires your attention...erm..." Belsius cocked his head slightly and looked at the black object huddled against Miralight's breast. "What...what is that, exactly?"

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#, as written by Arke
The robed General observed the Demonologist for a while further before looking at the sky through the sky. The temperature had gone up noticeably, which mean that noon was arriving."I shall leave you to ponder this offer alone. I have other matters to attend to." He said brusquely, picking up the black cube and placing it in his robes. Walking to the front entrance, he paused. Without turning, he said "Demons... were a master of spacial magic. Only they know what they put in this cube. Anything is possible once you unseal it. If you take this offer." He left the tent, and two of his men entered the tent to keep it guarded, as well as two men on the outside. The translation parchment sat tantalizingly on his desk.

The outside sun was warm, direct in it's glare. Of course, Melianth had not shown up once more, much to the General's displeasure. He would have punished him, but seeing as nothing seemed to put the fool somewhat into shape, he had rather given up. He wasn't very interested to hear what he had to say in the first place, since even his slowest courier was faster than Melianth due to his laziness. As he walked toward the center of camp, he saw a few dwarven soldiers setting up the stand. The entire thing was made of Nightmarian Exoskeleton, how the mages manage to fit it so it would hang General Ebon up by her hands was beyond Fong's comprehension. It was a inches taller than General Ebon with her arms completely straightened skyward, the top bar where her hands would be clasped by a steel ring. He observed the finished construction without joy. Of course, even the cruel General didn't enjoy this, but if he were to soften... even a little, every other race would step all over him. They would take advantage of their own race's strengths and use it to push back his authority, and that was unacceptable.

He turned to hear a small commotion. One of the humans were running off with a stolen meal. The General scowled, his eyes narrowing as he channeled wind magic through his body. Suddenly, the man seemed to slow, as if his legs did nothing to push him forward. He realized he was being pushed off the ground where his feet could not make contact with the ground. Slowly, the cold-eyed General approached him. The human soldier watched him move closer with a wild fear in his eyes.

"I do not appreciate thievery." He said, throwing a powerful elbow only the sharp could have seen. Fong dropped the man, who clutched his abdomen and curled into a fetal position. "You disgust me." He left, leaving the other men to decide whether he should be punished further or taken to an infirmary. The General's elbow had been so brutal it snapped at least two ribs, and the force caused the man to retch as his body began rejecting the food he had ate.

Stepping up to the platform, Fong remained cold and emotionless, motioning to the man next to him. The man took out a horn and blared it, calling all men and women in the camp to assemble. Slowly, the mass of people arrived, predominately stone faced elves, dwarves, and humans. The rest were dark elves, angry and resentful of what he was going to do. So be it. He cleared his voice.

"Due to the failure to recognize a enemy spy amidst our ranks, in accordance to the Seventeenth decree of Warfare, I am obligated to punish every single one involved in allowing the traitor Nhil rise to the rank of Lieutenant. However, your... Queen has offered to take all the punishment onto herself. Her punishment. Sixty lashes of the Cat-of-Nine-Tails. She is not allowed a mage to completely heal her wounds, only to close up the surface so she does not hemorrhage to death or become infected. Anyone seen doing so will be put to death for insubordination. I will be checking upon General Ebon's lash wounds to see that it will be carried out. If it had been healed, and nobody admits to doing so, Ebon will receive another fifty lashes." Fong said, his cold voice cutting through the air. He held his hand out, and a Cat-of-the-Nine-Tails was given to him. It was a long handle, enough for two, with nine, long plaited cotton thongs.

"Ebon! Let's get this over with." He shouted.

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#, as written by Neava13
“Ebon! Let's get this over with!”

She had been listening to the terms of the barbaric code of conduct.. she herself had never implemented such punishment in her own city. And the sound of it was daunting... She knew she would be scared and in pain.. though she would live.. she only hoped that she would still be effective with magic after such a beating. Her eyes held firm though as she advanced to the punishment block, the nightmairian adorned device made her insides turn, she could feel the magic within her curl away from it in disgust. Her attendant came up with her; the woman’s form cloaked in black linen that hid her beautiful form, though strands of white hair slid over her shoulders and breasts. The woman glared at the Dwarf that tried to restrain her mistress and the man backed away glaring at her in return.

”When your ready My Queen.” Her beautiful voice whispered as Diloxi stepped between the skeletal pillars. Her attendant secured her first wrist and whispered, “You don’t have to do this.. Any one of us would gladly suffer your punishment.”

Diloxi shook her head and smiled slightly, ”Then the other races would think me a coward.. please relax Mia.. I will be fine.” Her voice made a frown show over Mia’s exposed chin and lips. She pulled Diloxi’s hair off of her back and over her shoulder, then secured the other arm before her cloaked form slid away from her Queen in a bowed position to show respect. The garment that barely covered her chest was wrapped about her neck leaving her back exposed. Her muscles tightened as she closed her eyes steeling herself for a moment only to open them and look out over the horizon. Her jaw set.. she was not going to scream.. or cry out.. she was going to show them all what a true Dark Elf could withstand.. She would show them why her race was worthy of Godhood and no other!

”At your leisure General.” she announced in a cold steely tone.




Mira blinked and shrank away from the hand as she looked up into the red eyes of the man in her tent. She held the black skull against her chest and then clutched it a bit tighter then the youthful looking elf motioned towards it and asked what it was. She blinked a couple times trying to focus on where she was and what she was doing. Her eyes slid to the skull and she pushed herself up looking at it a bit confused then she remembered and she smiled hugging it closely. Her dreams had been filled with twisted images, things she thought she knew but from a different perspective. She shook her head and then focused back on the small elf before her rubbing her eyes and yawning with a light squeak.

”Ohhhh!!! Mmmmm.. hmm...” she stretched and then let her feet dangle off the cot looking at the skull as she slid both hands around it and smiled brightly. ”This is Gillian.. he is Captain Nhil’s brother.. Nhil always said he talked to him.. sometimes, He hasn’t talked to me yet.. but I keep hoping he does.” she smiled brightly and then looked up at the elf again narrowing her eyes.

”You look a lot like another elf I meet this morning that blessed Nhil’s body for me.. same eyes.. mmm but I think you’re a little shorter then him.” she announced pulling one of her hands up and looking at it above her head as she held it closer to him then back to herself, ”Yep!” A twisted stick fashioned into a pen slid from her robes and the book her head had been rested on flipped open on its own accord as the pen began writing.

”When your ready my Queen.” Her beautiful voice whispered as Diloxi stepped between the skeletal pillars. Her attendant secured her first wrist and whispered, “You don’t have to do this.. Any one of us would gladly suffer your punishment.”


Mira didn’t pay any attention to the pen’s scribblings as it continued on to the next empty page. ”So.. ahh.. why are you in my tent again? I mean I’m sure I stink.. but I couldn’t have been that offensive!.. Really!.. OH!.. wait.. you mentioned something about General Ebon?” she frowned at the mention of the her name, Diloxi had always set her teeth on edge.. not to mention the woman normally talked to her like she was a child and smiled at her like she was some cute little thing... it was horribly disrespectful and she knew that the Dark Elf never took her seriously. Besides.. the woman didn’t have one good magic book! Not one!.. Who would trust a magic user that didn’t even have one book!?

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#, as written by Arke
”At your leisure General.” Came the affirmation. The Cat o' Nine Tails swung lazily, held loosely by the cold human General. The whip had originally had claws, but it often killed whoever was on the receiving end, something Fong did not want to do. Instead, the claws were blunted and reduced in size. That meant the ends weren't too weighted, rather unraveled into small ends. They would leave grievous marks, very painful, stinging wounds. Fong's lips curled down slightly, his lips pressed together so hard the skin seemed almost white.

"No, General Ebon. It is no leisure of mine." He whispered, his voice coming the closest to a different emotion other than cold hatred, contempt, or anger for a long time. It was a fair mix between distaste at his actions and questionable conviction. Of course, nobody heard it. Something the human General had intended. Slowly, he cracked the whip against the ground, the sound causing some of the crowd to cringe. I cannot falter now.

The General's pallid hand raised without hesitation, pausing slightly at the height of his arm's length. His eyes had now frozen over. With a jerk, the Cat screamed down on Ebon's exposed back. A loud snapping noise. Fong watched the whip make contact without flinching, his face set as if made of stone in a slight frown. "One." He said. Only fifty-nine lashes to go. Once again, the Cat was hauled into the air. It came down with a snap.

"Two."

It was hard to tell if the General was using all his strength to bear the whip down on Ebon. Only Fong knew, and many assumed due to his ruthless look that he was using all his strength. Within a few more lashes, the General's back had become raw, sensitive, and burning. The skin had turned a light shade of red, revealing the tissue underneath. Still, Fong continued.

Fong couldn't tell how long this was taking, but his monotonous voice was counting the number of lashes.

"Forty-four."

Her back was bleeding, it was hard to tell if she was unconscious, alive, or dead. Slowly, he lowered the Cat to the ground. Stepping on the claws of the Cat, he jerked his arm out so the claws broke off, scattering from the force off the stand. "The claws have been removed to keep the Hooded man on his Gray Horse from arriving." He said, his soft voice cutting through the still air as the emotionless General observed the horrified looks on many of the crowd's faces. He raised the Cat again without another unnecessary word.

Crack.

"Forty-Five."

Showing pity to the woman at this point would be an insult. Slowly, he let the air flow back through, something he had been blocking from the very beginning. Now the air would brush against her back, igniting even further pain. She was doing well. Many would have died at fifty lashes. However, the General wasn't finished. Two more. His face seemed strained, though many were focused on Ebon and didn't notice. He doubted Ebon herself was aware she was still alive. Slowly, he raised the Cat again.

Crack.

"Fifty-Nine."

He raised his whip once more, his arm trembling slightly. No. I cannot show weakness now. His arm stopped at once, and Fong's face contorted into a painful-looking scowl as he brought the Cat o' Nine Tails down on Ebon once more.

Crack.

The blood drenched whip dropped, to his side. "There. You all have now witnessed the price of failure at the highest degree. The woman shall be brought to the infirmary, but will not, by any means be allowed to heal more than the surface. She will not be allowed pain-killers of any type. She will not be allowed to resume command of troops until she is fully healed. Dismissed. Return to your posts." He said. As the crowd turned their backs, mostly in disgust or sickness, Fong took the opportunity to toss the Cat away in contempt. He knew if he tried to touch Ebon at this point, her Darkies would never forgive him. It will only serve to increase the animosity. He turned on his heel, leaving the General strung up on the Nightmarian stand, blood dripping down from her feet as it streamed from her back. If they healed naturally, they would leave very unsightly vein-like marks on her back, a reminder of her failure.

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#, as written by Ghaarme
As the little woman stirred and was finally roused from her slumber, Belsius cocked his head slightly in confusion. She was holding a skull. Of all the little round, black objects one could be cuddling with while sleeping, he wouldn't have counted a charred human skull to be very high in the listings. His attention was drawn to the halflings worn face, and he blushed at the adorable squeak of a yawn the little thing made. After getting her bearings, captain Duff immediately went on to explain what the dark article of bone was. Belsius frowned slightly and stared at it. He had sensed an air of wrongness around the two captain's tents, but accosted it to the fact that one had been a potent necromancer. Now, focusing on the skull, he was sure that the source of the dark impulses came from this black skull. The dark elf would've taken and destroyed the thing, had he not confirmed Miralight's insinuation that it could speak. Indeed, he could feel the presence of a spirit about the skull, not even a malign one...just...observing.

”You look a lot like another elf I meet this morning that blessed Nhil’s body for me.. same eyes.. mmm but I think you’re a little shorter then him.” her tiny voice piped up, cutting off the cleric's train of thought. His eyes narrowed in annoyance. She, a creature of barely waist height was saying that he was short? With a mock size comparison, she confirmed his suspicions. ”Yep!”

"Yes, well, I'm sure that Melianth might appear taller he is not...wait." Belsius leaned forward and furrowed his brow in confusion. "You're the woman he helped this morning? Ah...nevermind. It doesn't matter, a good deed is good no matter the person. I am Belsius Avaran, by the way. The...taller, dark elf you met is my brother Melianth." the young darkling looked on with a puzzled expression once more when the halfling whipped out a pen and book that seemed to be writing itself. Once again, Miralight shocked the dark elf out of thought by suddenly speaking.

”So.. ahh.. why are you in my tent again? I mean I’m sure I stink.. but I couldn’t have been that offensive!.. Really!.. OH!.. wait.. you mentioned something about General Ebon?” his thoughts quickly turned back to the task at hand.

"The flogging! Quickly, we need to get to the center of camp. Post haste, if you will." with that the cleric made a swift pace for the site of his queen's punishment.


Melianth had been leaning against a wooden post near the front of the crowd, a scowl darkening his usually cheery demeanor. Fong had just gotten through with the second lash and was winding up for the next. The dark elf snarled softly, seeing that Diloxi's flesh already began to weep crimson. His eyes shifted slightly to Bel's arrival, and a near imperceptable shake of the head was his only acknowledgement that he'd even seen his brother. Belsius stood next to Melianth and as the next lash fell his mood soon shifted to mirror his brother's. In silence, the Avarans bore witness to their sovereign ruler being beaten like some disobedient step child, or a common thief. Along with a fair amount of similarly grim-faced dark elves, they looked on at the spectacle, wondering; Is this something to be proud of? That we can endure this...or is this merely humiliation?

After what felt like a small eternity, general Fong lowered his arm with the final swing. The brothers let out a held breath and walked up to the stand where the generals stood while the crowd dispersed almost instantly. Other than a few resentful dark elves hanging back, most of the onlookers were gone within minutes. Belsius walked past his general, without even a sidelong glance, moving to untie his queen. Melianth stopped and stood his ground, facing down Fong. The cruel edged general had ordered no true healing be administered to Diloxi...but Melianth deliberately stared his general in the eye and conjured up a magical golden light upon his hands. For a long moment, he stood, watching. But in the end, it was merely a small act of rebellion. The healing lights faded and Melianth stormed off with a snarl of frustration. Belsius slowly passed by Fong, dragging Diloxi with one are under her shoulders. In complete and utter silence, the dark elf brought Diloxi to the healing tents and closed the surface wounds with a minor prayer himself. After resting the beaten woman on the bed, he kneeled down and intoned a prayer in the elvish language to the angels. And then, he was gone.

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Dukald watched as Diloxi was whipped, in front of the entire army. He was grateful, extremely towards her. If she had not vouched to take the blame all to herself, he would've likely been up there as well. He probably would visit her later, to show his gratitude. Perhaps a gift of some sort. Elves and dwarves had never gotten along, due to their high-bearing attitude and their noses held high in the air like sails. But this elf wasn't like the others. For that, he was glad to have her as a general.

This other man, "Fong" was strict, and harsh. But it wasn't his fault. It was understandably 'You must be this tall to ride'. He was only doing what needed to be done to enforce no shortcomings in his army. Whipping? A little barbarious in Dukald's oppinion, but it wasn't much better than the dwarves' method of punishment, which varried from branding, to stoning....or even getting tossed into the arena with a gladiator armed with a cestus. If by anything, these men, his allies....even himself. They were not 'Civil'.

But he digressed, as the whipping soon stopped.... He hadn't payed much mind to it, not wanting to focus what the lashes would sound like. His mind began to wonder elsewhere.... He wondered if the Savage had any more spys, and were planning to attack now, at their moment of weakness. He wondered if he'd die in battle. He wondered if Grimhide was hungry, and if she'd eat a horse out of the stable. There was so much in the air, he didn't want to dispair for the Dark Elf general.

Under their thick skin, they were soft hearted, the Dwarves, and quite easily got emotionally attached to something. Weapons, pets, the occasional bar wench... He was developing this sort of bond the General Ebon already...and he hadn't said ten words to her yet. Maybe it was his inner dwarf, screaming out to be protective of others. Or perhaps it was his will of a man, unwanting to see a woman get hurt. But this was no peace time, where he'd throw his life on the line for an innocent bistander; this was war. And war had unmerciful standards and results.

When the crowd dispersed as dismissed, Dukald wanted to stay and help Diloxi to the infirmiry, but he and a few other bear riders had been told to keep a short range patrol around the camp. Not that he was expecting much during the day...the Savage would attack during the night, where their races had the 'advantage'.... But Dukald wasn't afraid of the dark. The dwarves' darkvision gave him a tad bit of an advantage over the invaders. They could see well in the dark, but not perfectly. He could see in detail, just not in color. And he didn't need to see the blood to know it ran red.

He walked to the stables, and began to get ready for his patrol; fed Grimhide, made sure all of his gear was maintained, and made sure that she was saddled up. It was going to be a long patrol...

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#, as written by Neava13
The first crack sounded and caused her to flinch then within a second longer the next crack was at her back. It was a sharp warm feeling a stinging pain that felt similar to a lover’s claws or electricity slicing over her flesh. Her eyes went wide at the feeling then she set her jaw all the more and endured the next. By the 10th lash her jaw was still tightly clenched her body tightened in rage and pain sweat slid down her beautiful form. Her eyes took on an even more angry tone, blood sliding down her legs by the time the 20th lash cracked through the air.

She would not yield to a mere human.. she would not give him the pleasure of a cry, or of a show of pain. The lashes bended into more pain, and yet it felt like he was cutting deep into her back the sheer agony of it was like being skinned alive at a slow rhythmic pace. It was worse than being eaten alive, more so because it was slow and rhythmic, yet her rage held her steady. Her blue eyes narrowed in hatred as her hands flexed into fists. Magic coiled about her form yet held no power against the bonds, she wanted to burn the general, to light his insides on fire and to end the torment, yet she knew that would do nothing. It would cause her to be hated by the very forces she was doing this to impress and endear. It wasn’t until the 40th lash that her determination waned and a slight bit of panic set in. Her rage still flared as she bared her teeth and closed her eyes tightly looking towards the ground to hide the tears that slid down her face. She leaned as far forward as she could to try and evade the whip, though only a low snarl slid from her lips as each crack sliced her flesh.

Her back raw and open, bone showed in some of the gashes by the last two, and her body was limp, sweat mixed with blood and flowed down her limp from. She had given up.. she was going to die.. that was it.. she couldn’t hear is calls anymore, she couldn’t feel the whip.. and her vision was black. Her skin was cold to the touch, her features gray as she gasped. Truly if it had been more than 60 he would have killed her, the fact that she was able to keep from screaming spoke volumes of her determination, yet in the end, she still fell to the clutches of shock that would have killed her if it wasn’t for Belsius’s healing and the quick work of the other medical mages within the infirmary. She woke after nightfall her eyes blurry and her form wracked with pain. She sat up suddenly as a medic pushed a hand to her chest.

”Easy.. you will tare it all open if you move General Ebon..” the tall blond haired Elf commented as he looked at him with a kind smile. Diloxi looked around the tent several of the others in the room looked a bit startled as she sat up. She gently took the Elf’s hand, she was repulsed that he had touched her.. a lesser creature touched her and it made her skin crawl, yet a smile touched her lips hiding her true disgust as she pushed the hand away.

”I’ll be going now.. thank you for your assistance Tiesho.” She stood and wobbled as the Elf reached a hand to her arm looking at her wide eyed. Her breasts and back were wrapped with bandages, as were her wrists, she slid her arm from his hand and shook her head wincing.

”I’m fine.. get me a cloak please.. I have work to do.” The elf nodded and grabbed her a standard issue green Elvin cloak, it reeked of the wretched fare skinned elves and she almost handed it back, but instead she smiled and slid it over her shoulders stiffly biting her bottom lip against the pain.

”Our forces will be on the move.. I don’t have time.. leave me be please.” she took a couple tested steps and her vision blurred as she almost fell back before she snarled and walked out of the infirmary with her head held high. She wanted a bath.. she wanted to wash their filth off her, light skinned Elves were nothing but humans with long ears.. they were filthy ugly beasts with lower intelligent not like her own kind.. or her Lamia.. and they made her feel filthy just at the thought of them touching her. She turned intending to head to General Fong’s tent to discuss the strategy for the next day. Her blue eyes blinking a couple times trying to make the world stop rocking as she stood outside the infirmary; several of the people inside the tent looked out through the pulled back flaps a bit shocked as the General’s cloaked form stood not 20 feet from them after nearly being lashed to death.. though maybe she was tougher then they gave her credit for? Still.. it was not natural.. they began to wonder if the Dark Elf that had tended to her did more than just lightly close the wounds.. she should not have been moving as freely as she had.





Mira blinked as the Dark Elf dashed away, she thought about following but instead slid from the tent wrapping Gillian in a soft leather bundle and hugging him close. She didn’t feel right putting him in her back pack. She looked at her mud slicked form and frowned before she snatched her pen from the air as it wrote and pointed it at herself, ”Spesin” the mud evaporated from her countenance and all the stink she had on her form melted away to a clean flowery scent. She looked in the mirror and smiled happily at her clean healthy features peering back at her then she picked up the book and slid out of the tent. She went about the entire camp looking through tents for what she hoped would be some information on who the true traitor was. Though she couldn’t get inside General Fong’s or General Ebon’s tents due to the tight security. She sighed unhappily and slid about the camp before she found something else of interest. Her eyes watched the bear riders slid into camp by the dusk and she began following them curiously. Dwarves were one of her favourite creatures and stalking them from the shadows and watching their behaviour was all the more enjoyable.

It wasn’t long before her curiosity got the better of her and her form slid about the Dwarves looking at their weapons and their beards getting everything from lude comments to grumbled shouts as she bounded about looking at them all inquisitively. She walked up to one rather large dwarf with a long black beard and tugged on the braided hair over his face.

”Is this real?! How long did it take you to grow it! Really! Its soo Soo.. I need to take a sample!” at that she swished her hand and a pair of scissors came into view. It wasn’t long before she was unceremoniously grabbed and thrown out of the recreation tent into a rather large mud puddle looking perplexed and aggravated as she crossed her arms over her chest.

“Maybe you should go speak to General Ebon before you get yourself Killed Mistress” Her pen chimed as it floated about the air over her head. She glared up at it and the skull she had left inside came sailing through the air with a snarl from inside.

”And Take your cursed bones with you!” the voice sounded as she dove and caught the skull frowning.

”Sorry Gillian.. ahh why don’t you go home.. I’ll get you later ok?” At that the skull evaporated from her hands and she blinked looking a little startled.

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#, as written by Arke
So much to attend to. So little time. These men she put in command were nearly worthless. He read the report from a patrolling Captain, glad to see something wasn't going horribly wrong as he pushed open the tent flap not too long after the flagellation to the stratagem tent. He was admitted, to meet a group of sour-looking dark elves and neutral humans and elves alike. The dwarves seemed to share some sympathy, something he didn't need. He wanted their clear-headed opinions, not ones to appease the general. He welcomed the hostility of the Dark Elves, it would allow him to perfect his ideas because of the fact they will be more likely to criticize it. However, his eyes did not reveal a single flicker of his thoughts. In fact, his face seemed to radiate utter contempt. The elves shrank back slightly from his presence.

"Gentlemen and women. What is the situation?" He asked with a cutting edge in his tone.

"General. We are planning to make it to the forests and rally our men." The dark elf said coolly.

"However, our courses of action provide little relief." The human soldier chimed in, his expression guarded.

"We have three choices here, sir." The elf muttered, pointed to three different points on the map.

"Very well. Relay them to me." The general stated calmly.

"One, we could pass through Actlauva. That's Orcish raiding territory. It's very likely the Savage will have placed an ambush because taking this route will take longer than the rest, as well as crossing through questionable area." The dwarf began, "Second, we could cross the Yuvaniya River. However, at this time the river's completely overflooded from the seasonal Monsoons to the north. We'll never be able to cross it unless we wait longer."

"Or finally, we can cut through the Akaldai Pass. It's a small shortcut.... perfect for a Savage ambush, but it saves many days of marching, it's a small pass, and it's through relatively neutral territory. Just outside of Orcish lands." The human finished.

The General stared at the man, deep in thought. All of them presented a great amount of risks. The Monsoon seasons have just started, which gave the Savage troops plenty of time to receive reinforcements and attack again. This time they didn't have a fortress to aid them. Crossing through Orcish territory was suicide. Favorable territory for the Savage, as well as a source of men- the Orcs. Very long, and will most likely be a bitter fight to the forest. Finally, the Akaldai Pass. This was the best option, but this is just as unfavorable with him as every other option. A man forced into a corner with three choices that will bring much death.

"Attend. What are your opinions?" he asked.

"Akaldai seems like the one we should take."

"I disagree. We should cross Actlauva, we'll make it fine as long as we keep our wits about us."

"We already know the area here. Let's hold out until the Monsoons stop flooding the Yuvaniya and cross it then."

"Akaldai will cause the least amount of bloodshed, and will take considerably less time!"

"Are you kidding? It's the perfect spot for an ambush! We'll be done in before the sun sets on that day!"

"We'll lose more men holding out until the Monsoons end or passing through Actlauva, I assure you that."

Fong held up his hand. "We will pass through Akaldai. No questions. Now we must for a viable battle stratagem for this." He said, his eyes growing cold. Everyone fell silent, allowing the General to speak. Suddenly, the tent flap entrance moved. Everyone flinched in shock, the dark elves grinning. Ebon walked in, covered in a cloak. Fong did nothing but raise an eyebrow in slight surprise. He looked up, and noticed it was already nightfall, His work had taken far longer than he had thought.

"General Ebon. Your duties mingle too far closely with what should be done." Fong said icily. "I told you that until your wounds have completely healed, you are not have control of the men. Your wounds will also leave you with a distrustful opinion. Pain is a powerful thing, Ebon. I suggest you rest until we mobilize." He looked back down on the map.

"We will move through Akaldai in full. Numbers will be meaningless once we enter, so we make great pace. We have our shieldsmen pair up with archers, and make sure our men wear armor throughout our march. Anywhere they attack, we MUST form up into shield bubbles, protect the horses and supplies at all cost. Archers will bring longbows on their mission, and mages are a priority target for them, most likely." He said, his face scowling. "There is nothing much we can do other than try to cut our losses. We cannot sent men up to the ridges to attack, there is nothing worse than splitting our forces up as weak as they are now. Move with all haste, wait for the attack, and make their struggle bitter."

Fong looked up, and since nobody gave a response, his scowl faded back into cool neutrality. "My men shall take the forefront. We were late to the fight last time, now I shall make up for this myself. I will march with you."

The dwarves, elves, humans, and even the dark elves couldn't hide their surprise. Fong turned on his heel, and left the tent, brushing past Diloxi coldly.