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The Lost Lands

The Dying Land


a part of The Lost Lands, by VitaminHeart.


VitaminHeart holds sovereignty over The Dying Land, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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The Dying Land is a part of The Lost Lands.

15 Characters Here

Adella of Yulia [9] A mage with a mission. The most dangerous type of mage. (WIP)
Ren of Yulia [8] "When the time comes... I will at the very least die gladly. That is the only value that remains in my existence."
Ludral [7] One of the last Knights of Oros.
Mojohra Jojohrum [6] "Call me Mojo Jojo . . . ok, you can call me Mo if you REALLY want."
Maeve Byrne [5] Yulia's favorite trousers-wearing lesbian swordswoman
Kormrok [4] The Silent One.
Varin Zeracuse [4] "Give me a reason to fight, and I'll show you a man worth his salt."
Sairen Varimor [4] "Fear not death nor trials of life for all is in the hands of the gods."
Ayame The Eastern Swordsman [4] I hope you don't mind if I rest for a brief moment.
Garrim the Greater [4] Last Paladin of Miriand

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13 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sairen Varimor Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Gallard of Yulia Character Portrait: Ima Creslade Character Portrait: Garrim the Greater Character Portrait: Kalis of Aressa Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Varin Zeracuse Character Portrait: Kormrok

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Midgate - Aressan Wall Border

Rain fell hard over the Midgate Fort, leeching into the gold-hued Aressan stone and making the sentries on the outer walls shiver in their uniforms.

The blue and silver griffon flag had become limp and listless in the driving storm, but it had in no way dampened the activity of the...somewhat unwelcome foreigners within the fort.

Soldiers jogged about beneath the roof overhangs of the large courtyard, and from time to time a dark-cloaked Inquisition officer might be glimpsed flitting about between the buildings. Across the yard from the gate stood the enormous structure of the Elidian Wall, and, most prominently, the Mid Gate, a vast expanse of iron whose arch would have been large enough to sail a ship through. What the once-citizens of that old kingdom had thought they would be accommodating with such an enormous entryway it was hard to say, but now it belonged to Yulia...and it was guarded jealously.

The fort was a relatively recent addition, it only being completed a couple of years previously; as the most practical and efficient means of enacting Yulia's proposed plan to handle the problem of the Lost Lands...and in the process handle the problems of the number of prisoners within their dungeons. Midgate Fort had been used by the Inquisition as a prison since its inception, so eliminating the problem of having to personally escort the rather unwilling 'explorers' under guard to the gates. It also meant that for those that remained as inmates for more petty reasons, the looming iron jaws forever in their field of view presented a permanent threat as to what might be waiting for them if they caused problems.

It was within this stronghold, up within the thick defensive structure in the walls, that Inquisition Officer Vesgha, dressed in the black, silver-lined garb typical of the order, strolled calmly through the damp, torchlit corridors of the prison, reading off a set of names from a list in one hand, and indicating to individual cells with the other, pointing to the heavy-set troops behind her whom they needed to escort out. Every so often the figure would pause, point inside the gloom of one of the cells, and in would march a couple of soldiers to drag some unfortunate out into the light.

Some would go willingly, some less gracefully, but eventually, all would go.
It was not just prisoners participating however. Standing at the end of the hallway, near the exit to the main stairway, someone else was standing, awaiting acknowledgement.

The frosty blue eyes under the mask of the hood looked the mage up and down. Small, plain-looking, coat and mantle indicating a second-class magus. The kind trained for combat. She stood up to her full (somewhat unimpressive) height and carried herself in a manner that implied she felt above waiting round in this grim place.

Mage Adella adjusted her mantle, the silver feathers glittering in the guttering torchlight. The dungeons were inevitably disgusting and she was never exactly keen on venturing down there unless expressly ordered, however needs must. You had to sometimes demean yourself a little in order to reach new heights. As Officer Vesgha approached the young mage bowed her head in respect.

"Officer. Second class magus Adella Darr. Order of Crows. I'm here for the operation."

Looking the woman over once more the Inquisitor gave a brief nod.
"A pleasure to meet you Mage Darr. Commander Sullivan already spoke to me about the arrangement. The preparations are in place, and we will provide you with everything you need to complete the mission. It's great work that you are doing here soldier, not many would have it in them to put themselves shoulder to shoulder with..." the blue eyes flickered up to those being led out of the rows of cells.


The Yulian caster, paying little attention to the shuffled a little, trying to maintain her decorum in spite of the compliment.
"Be assured I can handle myself Officer. None of them would be able to get past me."

"I do not doubt it Mage Darr." The Inquisitor responded, gaze turning back from the prisoners.
"Proceed to the courtyard and the rest of this rabble will be joining you shortly. Remember to watch yourself, and best of luck, lot of hope is resting on your shoulders."

A couple of sharp nods from the mage sent her down the steps, out through the guarded archway and into the rainy yard. Beside it sat pack, bedroll and a few sets of writing supplies, things she might need beyond. As representative of the Order of Crows and the Yulian School, she would be better equipped than the sacks they were doling out to the scum. In some sense she was rather pleased of it, but had a degree of concern about theft, surrounded by the lowest of the low.

Yulia didn't get to where it was by being easily intimidated though. Surely such people would learn to respect her power, if not her authority. She was, after all, a sorceress. Yulia had conquered all the continent. Only Old Elidia stood before them now...and she might be instrumental in delivering that into their hands. How glorious that would be. In spite of herself, Adella could not help but don a smile as she stood waiting in the pouring rain.


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" the blue eyes flickered up to those being led out of the rows of cells.


Ludral looked back, and smiled. Despite his voluntary offering, he was still chained as a prisoner. While this Yulian filth walked the earth free. These heathens would pay, most with their lives. This was not for him though, and he would be long-dead by the time it would happen.

Ludral was kicked to his knees. A hooded figure stood in front of him. He had seen this coming, and spoke his decree word for word. "You have been charged with the crime of Heresy, breaking the fifth section of the inquisition. How do you plead, Ludral of former Miriand.

He didn't speak, just smiled, and stood. He stared at the man standing in front of him, and motioned towards the Lost Lands. Several others, including the last standing Paladin of Miriand, a man with a very storied history, and Ludral knew it well, and understood it was not for him to speak upon.

He was escorted to the edge, to await the others. He was handed a small sack, containing his original belongings, save his axe....or his sword. A note lay in their place, claiming them to be "Misplaced" Unlikely.

He thought not of it, he still had a short-axe and several throwing knives. It would be enough, for now.

"Those who have taken by murder, thievery, and dishonesty will themselves be taken." He spoke loudly, one of the many verses of Ahl. In this situation, it stood as a threat to the Yulians, for what they had done.

Ludral recieved a kick in the stomach.


3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Ludral
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#, as written by Ezarael
Midgate - Aressan Wall Border

It had been raining for days. An intermittent southerly wind kept blasting through the tiny cell windows, gracing resourceful prisoners with an extra ration of water. By now the rain had soaked through their allotted rags and bedding for long enough that a heavy mustiness pervaded the cellblock. Once the rains left the cells would become sweatboxes, yet another way to punish their inhabitants, and give way to all the chittering, skittering bugs birthed by fetid pools of water stagnating in wagon ruts and cells with prisoners too fresh to understand or too worn to care about the rain.

Mojohra Jojuhrum was somewhere in-between these extremes. He loved the rain in all its tragic glory, keeping his face planted near his window to feel the wind whip and the water splash. He had always had a soft-spot for it, even as a boy he would stand outside in it, no matter how heavy the downpour, to feel the water cleansing all the anger and sorrow from the very depths of his soul. So engrossed was he with this feeling that he missed the first names being called thanks to a delightful thunderclap. The clattering of steel harmonized very well with the pattering of rain drops as heavily armored guards rushed to comply with barked orders.

A stream of light burst forth into the harlequin’s dark, dank cell, bringing with it a gust of just slightly fresher air. Mo’s head lolled backwards, his body still fixated towards the windowed wall, to gaze upon the guards waiting outside. Someone stopped outside his door wearing a black costume, tinged with silver, that threatened to merge with the shadows. An Inquisitor. As her hand rose to point at him, Mo lodged his feet firmly between chest and wall, kicking his feet up and towards his right shoulder to give a twist to his dismount. It was much less extraordinary than he would have liked, but neither the food nor facilities were capable of maintaining him at top-condition.

"Left and Right won’t miss the show will they? I can’t perform without them.”

His answer came in the form of cold steel biting into his shoulders, sending him near-tumbling out into the hallway and herded towards the stairs and outside. There were other prisoners emerging from their cells as well, some not so politely as he had been, each looking more ragged than the last. Amateurs. Alas, even a true showman such as he was hard-pressed to maintain appearances. He had fortunately prepared for such a momentous occasion, choosing to leave an entire change of brand new, festive garb in his bag of tricks.

A sack was thrust into his hands upon exiting the stairwell to the courtyard. He was curious what was inside, but the sensation of the rain overcame him, a calm expression donning his face as he was engulfed in water. It would last just a moment before a swift push guided him towards another prisoner, a man just slightly taller than he who seemed to be parroting the Inquisitors and their gibberish, standing in front of a most extraordinary sight. A mage. Shorter than he, miraculously, and standing in the rain with them with a rather ridiculous smile spread across her face. Mo’s own cavernous grin creeped slowly from ear to ear, his lips somehow still sealed together, as his eyes narrowed and head dropped slightly. His right hand lifted to just below his shoulder, fingers wiggling ever so slightly as a wave. This was going to be fun.


4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Ludral
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The dungeon cobbles reeked like the mange-covered arse of something that had been dead for days. Mold, sweat, blood, and and far less desirable fluids had amalgamated over years of use to form a slimy film that was tacky underfoot. It was far less pleasant for those without shoes.

As the storm raged outside, squalls of driving rain whipped down through the windows. Streams of water found purchase in the grout lines and mixed with the floor paste, jostling the more fresh layers of it loose to swirl about the ground in fetid soup. The water was cold, but it did little to mask the choking stench.

And in one cell toward the back of the hall, Maeve Byrne of Pradus sat kneeling in it. The woman had slumped into a crumpled position against the grated wall, ignoring the fact that her legs had long fallen asleep against the chill of the ground. Her fingers reached through the bars into the adjacent cell, clinging with white knuckles to the hand of a blonde woman in a similar position on the other side. Their faces were pressed close, pale lips separated from fully touching by a layer of rough iron. 

“Elaine,” Maeve said, stroking the woman’s hand as best as she could, “Lainey. Have faith, love.”

Elaine sniffled, shaking her head. She stiffed her hold on Maeve’s fingers as the dungeon door screeched open and the black-cloaked figure of an inquisitor appeared in the doorway. “You don’t have to go. We can find another way— work this out somehow. Maybe I can make a deal, or… Or—“

Maeve’s eyes clenched shut, leaning her forehead into Elaine’s so that the bars left an impression on her own face. “This is the deal, Lainey,” she replied, lowering her voice as the Inquisitor began her morbid roll call. “This is what I have to do.” 

Lainey shook her head again, and tears that she had long thought were dry began to fall. She opened her mouth to speak, only to be cut short by the Inquisitor’s demanding tone.

“Maeve Byrne of Pradus,” the robed figure said.

Elaine let out a wailing, unintelligible sob and Maeve leaned forward to try and catch some semblance of an embrace from her spouse. Her hands stretched forward to brush Elaine’s bloodless cheek. Her mouth parted to try and steal a final kiss.

The guards were quicker.

They seized the called prisoner and yanked her to her feet before she could take her closure, and she brought back her head of fiery hair to knock one in the chin. “I just want to say goodbye!” she yelled, but the two men dragged her toward the door, “Lemme say my goodbyes, you bloody sacks of taint grease!” 

They slammed her shoulders against the wall on the way out, all the while ignoring Elaine’s increasingly louder pleas. 

Maeve spat as the wind was knocked out of her.

“Mite jealous of my wife, are you? Ugly bruiser.”

Maeve was dragged forward with such force that her feet lifted off of the ground, and she gave a kick at someone’s passing ankle. “I love you, Lainey girl!” she hollered back down the hall, even as the door was slammed shut behind her. 

She was dragged in a similarly degrading fashion all the way down to the courtyard, though her struggles ebbed the further she was led from the dungeon. By the time the guards left her to stand in the pouring rain within view of the Mid Gate, Maeve offered no more resistance than a high-held chin and a look like murder in her eyes.

“Maeve Byrne of Pradus,” said the guard dispensing equipment, and Maeve nodded. He handed her a thin, light pack of prisoner’s rations and then, with a look of disgust, a saber and belted sheath.

She took the latter with an obvious look of pride, and promptly fastened it about her waist. Her gaze skimmed over the party around her, noting several other prisoners of various nationalities before settling on a short Mage in a pretentious cloak. “Can you appreciate a good bit of equipment, Mage?” Maeve shouted over the rain, taking a long moment to look the shorter woman up and down with a hungry stare. From what Maeve understood about such expeditions, the girl was likely to be the Yulian scum coming with the party to keep the lot of them in line.

If Maeve had to be afraid of what lie behind the walls, she was going to make sure their new “supervisor” was doubly worried for her own bodily safety.


2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia
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#, as written by Feyblue

Dɪᴀʟᴏɢᴜᴇ Cᴏʟᴏʀ ✦ #38028A || Tʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ Cᴏʟᴏʀ ✧ #6A339E


I was roused from the haze of half-sleep by the groaning of rusted hinges, the large black oak door across the room from me chipping its bottom against the cobblestones as it was drawn back, flooding my vision with the flickering glow of a torch. I drew back, rubbing my eyes and blocking out the painful light as the man carrying it stepped into the room, instantly sending the shadows that danced around me scattering in all directions, and exposing my surroundings to my sight for perhaps the first time in my six years of imprisonment.

The cavernous interior of the prison tower was largely empty. Old machines of torture rusted away in the far corners of the room, a fate to which my shackles had also succumbed. Placed directly beneath the grated window about twenty feet above me, the metal bar to which the chains binding my legs had been fastened had long since corroded from the rain dribbling down the far wall, giving me the freedom to move once again - or at least, to move within the room I was trapped inside. Aside from these, my cell's only defining features were a small bed of hay a little distance away from the place I'd originally been strung up, and countless intricate markings chiseled into the walls. Even without seeing them, I'd have known they were there, as I'd gone to the trouble of making them myself. The room in which I'd been kept chained was just the central point of a larger magical array, constructed to separate the power of the outside world from the space I occupied, to ensure that my wayward soul wouldn't go and snatch enough energy to make me a threat. I'd tried using what little strength I had left in all manner of ways, hoping to find a way to crack the barrier, to fill the emptiness inside me with something, anything, but those efforts had largely been futile.

I blinked several times, slowly raising my head to peer at my visitor from underneath the brim of my hood. As my vision began to clear momentarily, I caught a glimpse of both him, and the two armored figures standing behind him. The man with the torch sneered from underneath a concealing black cloak as I lowered my head on instinct, the light he carried still too bright to look at. "This is the High Inquisitor's pet project?" Scoffed a voice from behind him. "She looks no different from the rest," affirmed a second. I watched the cloaked man's shadow on the floor as its head turned, seemingly beckoning to his entourage. The faint clack of metal upon the cobblestones rang through the empty room, and in an instant, I found the light that had blinded me blocked out by a pair of towering figures. I clasped my hands together and tightly clutched the rusted remains of the bar I'd once been chained to, crawling backwards to distance myself from the looming shapes reaching towards me. The chain still dangling from one end of the bar clanked as I tried to disentangle the feeble leg it was still fastened to from the steel coils surrounding it. The broken-off end of the bar gleamed in the torchlight, its end having long since been scraped down to a serrated, blade-like edge through years of grinding it against the walls to inscribe the physical component of my various failed attempts at sorcery. This, my sole defense, I desperately held on to, knowing that if worst came to worst, it would be my only means of escape.

"Woah. Hold up. She's got something there... Is that a knife?" One voice said, staying the hand of his comrade. I heard the scraping of a sword as it was drawn from its sheath. Both figures instinctively took a step backward, and in the next instant, I found myself staring upward along the blade of a sword pointed straight at me. I crawled further back, raising my makeshift stake, and then turning it towards my own throat.

"What... do you want from me...?" I rasped, my voice hoarse from thirst - not to mention years of disuse. "Leave me be... I don't know what you want... but I won't let you hurt me... Try it... and I'll kill myself." The two men froze at this, staring back at me for a moment before bursting out laughing. The cloaked man stopped them, stepping between them and raising a hand. Immediately, the man who'd drawn his sword lowered it, while the second swiftly accepted the torch from the man who was evidently their commander.

The man in black knelt, his cloak fluttering over the cobblestones as his dark eyes shone in the dim light, staring right at me as a half-smile made its way across his face. "Now, my dear, don't you think you're being a bit rash?" He asked gently. His voice was like honey, so deliberate in its smooth, sickly sweet cadence that it set every fiber of my being on edge. "We are not here to hurt you, so why not put that unsightly thing down?" As he spoke, he reached slowly towards me, wrapping one hand around the bar and gently pulling it from my hands. Weak from years of deprivation, I realized that I couldn't resist him even if I'd tried. Resigning myself to whatever fate he had in store for me, I felt my grip slackening as my only means of ending my suffering was drawn from my grasp. The man in black smiled, placing it on the ground a few feet beside him before reaching back to me. His gloved hand slipped under the brim of my hood, patting me on the head like a father congratulating an obedient child. "There's a good girl," He said smugly, that sickening tone in his voice filling me with revulsion as I retreated beneath his touch.

"What do you want from me?!" I repeated, more urgent this time. "Why are you here?"

The man in black smiled. "If you know who I am, then surely, you must also know what I want," He replied cryptically. Looking at him more clearly now, it wasn't hard to guess his identity.

"You're... an Inquisitor..." I guessed. He gave an unnerving smile, running his fingers through my hair in a way that was all too similar to a child playing with a doll for my comfort. But, I didn't dare try to bat his hand away, no matter how badly I'd have liked to. If I attempted to resist, I was sure: he would break me in an instant, and make me wish I'd taken my own life when I'd had the chance.

"Yes. And thus, what I want is what Yulia wants, is it not?" He asked rhetorically. It took me a moment to grasp his meaning, before I realized that he'd prevented me from killing myself for a reason. Yulia wanted me, and for whatever reason, it wanted me alive. I gave a slight gasp, and the Inquisitor read my surprise like an open book. "That's right. Your country - no, your world - has need of you. What say you? Will you do as we ask? Or will we have to find another vessel in your place?"

The choice was obvious.

So it was that a few minutes later, I found the heavy shackles removed from my legs, and the collar that had served to focus the ritual separating me from magic was lifted from my neck. The guards, seeing my legs largely unresponsive from disuse, had done the "courtesy" of rather violently dragging me to my feet and hauling me from my cell. Cast back into the world I'd been sealed off from for so long, I came hobbling out into the frigid storm, my tattered, once-warm mantle the only thing shielding me from the chill and the rain. There were others, too - I could see them hauled from cells in the main prison complex, like I myself had been pulled from the tower built to contain me. However, I didn't dare meet their eyes. Almost all of the other prisoners gathering in the courtyard loomed far over my head, and doubtless would have little more trouble in crushing me than the guards would have. The only exception to this general rule that I could see hardly gave me a reason to be reassured, either, as the only person around my size in the area wore the telltale garb of a Yulian Battlemage.

Forced into line with the rest of the captives by the guards, I watched, and I waited. I didn't dare move or speak. My presence was all that was required - not my consciousness. I would obey. I would do as I was asked. For so long as Yulia might need me...

Nothing else matters.


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Character Portrait: Ayame The Eastern Swordsman
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Nothing had been left to chance for the Eastern Swordsmen was more statue then gambler. He measured each and every step he took, weighing his options in the seconds to hours between each movement during his incursion. Ayame had crouched in the pungent stew of the sewer system, waiting in the Kingdom of Rodents for the next prisoners wagon. Food was offered as his stipend to their King and his court. A small piece of stale bread in ten tick intervals, and the flesh of a slain beast. An offering to keep these starving creatures from lusting after his flesh.

His humble offer had awoken the benevolence of the Rat King, and the remainder of his time among them was spent without incident. The larger crowd of them had dispersed by the time Ayame was prepared to move, and he bid them the solemnest of farewells. The wagon he had been waiting for ground to it's scheduled stop above him, groaning as it's old wood settled down to rest as the fighting men above gathered unfortunate souls in the dreary garb for their journey to the Yulian front line. For now, the only contrast between he and they was the desire in his heart to see the inside of the Cursed Kingdom, the sanguine robe familiar to him with it's thin fabrics and intricate designs, was stowed in a travel pack, leaving him in naught but his grey bandage to stave off the elements.

His hands, covered by this hardy fabric, grasped the railing of one such wagon that strayed close enough to the Grand Gutter of the Rat Kingdom and shimmied up the wall. Slowly, his arms extended until his body hovered over the ground in a straight line. Slowler still was his rotation, achieved by alternating the position of his hands, one cupping under while the other grasped over. In moments his body had turned completely, and he pulled himself beneath of the wagon.

The countryside that lined either side of the dirt road had long given itself over to the degradation. It's trees arced up in an accusatory fashion, seeming to curse the sky and its inhabitants with every branch and twig it could muster, the grass beneath had wilted to nothingness, and with no nutrition in the soil, the ground had become slush that threatened to suck a plated boot into its belly for eternity. "Woe to any wagon that loses it's wae on this road." The voice was laden with jovial arrogance, the tone of a man who believed in his own abilities enough to never put himself in the category he spoke on. "Fear they'll ne'er get it out. Folk inside will be left to rot. /I/ ain't gonna be fishing n'e of the ne'er-do-wells out of that slop."

"Lest the Yulia's see fit to jab me till I do, aye?" Roaring laughter, followed by a polite chuckle from the guard sat beside him. Ayame was as oblivious to their words as he was to the dead countryside. The turning of the wheels made it hard for him to hear aught else, and the remainder of his attention was focused on ensuring his grasp remained firm. The slightest error would see him cast to the ground below, and crushed beneath iron spokes.

Time passed, and Ayame's aching muscles were rewarded by the final halt of the wagon. He felt it rise and all as it's mute passengers shuffled outward and in to the keep. Even the man who had responded to the desolate land around their travel with his boisterous nature and fallen into an uneasy silence. The Swordsmen could feel the pressure around him, squeezing the stone and it's denizens, prematurely aging both in a haze of pain and depression until cracks had formed on the walls and resentment in the hearts of the living.

When the second to last passenger disembarked, the wagon left, heading towards the warehouse for fitting and repair, while the horses were taken to be nourished. The last passenger lowered himself to the floor, and rolled from beneath his deliverance before the assorted feet, clad in their heavy workmen's boots, worn from use, stomped to where he had been hiding.

Tired eyes tended to focus on the task at hand, rather then wander like the relaxed and the bored. No one care to look to the back wall where Ayame knelt, hastily wrapping himself in a brown cloak, and throwing a saddlebag full of tools over he shoulder.

No guard looked twice at the unassuming man who filtered through the throngs of human gloom, shackled to one another in the chains of slaves. Not even the downtrodden themselves noticed the look of sadness that crossed his features when he stole a glance in their direction.

Someone noticed the smile that pulled his lips into a wide grin when he heard the welcome signs of defiance against a tyrannical power, which, to Ayame, was defiance against the brutal nature of the world around him. This someone was a Yulian guard who watched his corridor with the eyes a Hawk-Bird, and dealt justice with the iron fist that gripped his iron halberd.

"OI!" The Easterner's head turned to follow the sound, still drawn back into the stupid smile that lit up his good natured features. "By whose authority is a mason approaching Mid-gate?" A few of the assembled heads, those not too beaten down by circumstance turned to the subject of the guards ire.

"None, I am not supposed to be here at all, I am not." Ayame's , somber tone matched the soft frown that took the place of the wide smile.

The guard squinted, confused with this unabashed confession of guilt. So confused that he hadn't raised his polearm in a defense posture, which would have most certainly saved him from the tool bag Ayame swung into his face after a quick side step. The guard fell backward into the table, and sent the painstakingly signed and stacked forms askew as the table snapped in half beneath his weight.

"I AM SORRY." He called, as he ran off, quickly slipping his red robes over his body.

"MY APOLOGIES." Said he, as his nimble form sailed over a waist high fence, and he landed on a guard that was kneeling down to unshackle a prisoner. With the howling wind at his heels, the male had blurred into a crimson streak as he ran, using unorthadox things like railings, barrels, people to avoid the mud that would have slowed his movements.

By now the well trained guards of Yulia had gotten over their momentary surprised, and responded like you'd expect a hardened man of the army to respond. A hail of arrows missed his moving from by an inch, and when he landed on the final stretch to the gate, two guards stood ready to greet him.

The Nagamaki whistled as it was unsheathed, catching the falling sword at the base where blade met hilt, using the forward motion generated by the guard, Ayame arched his back, and bent his body ground-ward to throw his first opponent in an ungainly heap behind him. Rounding his body, he caught the second sword in his blades midsection, and slammed his hilt into the guard neck, unbalancing him enough to allow his lithe body to glide around them.

Using his own forward momentum as a springboard, he knelt, then jumped toward miasma that separated the Cursed Lands from the Yulian border.


He yelled, sheathing is sword mid jump as he answered the beckons of his desire.


7 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Ayame The Eastern Swordsman Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Varin Zeracuse
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The rain splashed against the cells of the window, slowly gathering into a small bowl that was placed very carefully on the ledge to gather as much water as it could. A man sat in the corner of the cell, his head resting against the wall and his one knee raised and his right arm placed on top of it. His head listed lazily upwards, staring at the bowl as water started to flow overtop of it. With an almost sloth like mentality, he slid his way up the wall and walked over to it. Grabbing the bowl carefully, he gulped down the liquid as best he could. This would be the most hydration he would get in days, followed quickly by a steam box that would threaten to dry him out completely. Normally the rich paid a ton of money to get the spa treatment, and if they wandered into a cell after a fresh rain, they could get the same result.

There was a sharp rap against the bars to his cell, and the man turned around. “Varin Zeracuse.” The guard stated, followed quickly by another guard carrying a set of armor. “Today’s your not so lucky day. You’re going beyond the wall.” The other guard unceremoniously dumped Varin’s armor on the ground before walking out of the cell. “We’ll be back in a few minutes to take you down to the courtyard.” Varin stared at the armor, then back at the guard who locked him back in without another word and walked off down the hall. Varin looked back at his armor, something he had worked on for countless years to get it right, and now currently laying on the ground and about to be donned by an accused murderer. Not exactly how he would have liked to have worn the suit for battle, but as the circumstances were, he was just glad they were allowing him to wear it at all.

Varin placed the bowl back up by the window, letting the rain wash over his hands for a moment, basking in the calm and refreshing feeling that came with it before turning back to the armor. With practiced ease, Varin took the pieces off the armor one by one and attached them to himself. The entire suit took a few minutes to adorn, and it fit as snug as a glove, perfectly crafted to fit his body. He had spent the better part of 5 years crafting it to where it was today, so anything less would have upset him greatly. Once that was all done, the only thing left was his helmet, which he tucked under his arm and made his way back to his window once again. He grabbed the bowl and sipped at what little water had managed to make its way into the container. He managed to steal a glance outside into the courtyard below and witnessed several people already gathering in the rain. Unlucky bastards, being called first into the downpour and being forced to wait the longest with drenched clothes and fever inducing conditions. He couldn’t make out who the leader of the small group was, but he knew it was an Inquisitor for sure. They wouldn’t entrust this to anyone else, there had to be at least one person whose entire goal was to succeed at conquering the Lost Lands instead of maybe just surviving and escaping Yulia’s law.

He held the helmet in his hands, flipping it over so it was staring at him and cursing his current existence. Damn it Oscar, you fucking kid… Varin thought to himself as he flipped the helmet around and placed it on his head, feeling it slide on into a tight fit that suited him perfectly. He made sure the clasps were tight and that the helmet didn’t move when he shook his head. He slapped the side of it slightly just to give himself a physical reassurance that it wouldn’t fall off. With that, he went through the process of double and triple checking everything on his person. A few minutes later and a trio of guards showed up at the door to his cell.

“Hands on the wall.” The first guard stated, which Varin complied. He heard the gate open, followed by the sound of swords leaving their sheathes and the clank of armored boots on stone. Within moments, his arms were being yanked behind him and shackled. At the very least they had allowed him to get suited up before they decided to throw him to the wolves. He had tried to be the model prisoner to avoid any unnecessary punishment from overzealous and sadistic guardsman. For the most part he had been successful, hence why he felt the guards weren’t being as brutal as they were no doubt used to being, preferring to simply shove him towards the door without a further word. Varin complied silently, letting the guards guide him through the hall, down a set of stairs and stopping just short of a door leading to the courtyard. One guard stepped in front of him and opened the door, revealing another set of guards who were outside and holding equipment that was undoubtedly meant for Varin. His weapons were among the things being held by one of the guards, along with a sack that probably held the bare minimum of survival gear. All Varin could think about was the shitty job these guys had to stand out here all day.

“Varin Zeracuse.” One guard stated. “You have been accused of murdering a guard of the Yulian Military and have been found guilty of your crime. You have petitioned the crown for the right to participate in an expedition to Elidia in exchange for your freedom. Your success will be judged by the Inquisition should you return.” The guard nodded to the guards behind Varin, who unshackled him. Varin brought his hands forward and flicked them slightly to get the aching sensation of the cuffs off of them. The other guard holding the equipment handed Varin his weapons, of which he quickly went about attaching the sheathes to his person. His twin blades were adorned his back, and his warhammer was strapped to his side. With that, a sack was thrust into his hands. “Continue forward and gather with the remaining convicts.” The guard stated, stepping aside to let Varin pass towards the group that had already assembled. There was a slight shove from behind to get him going, but nothing more. He continued walking forward, slinging the sack over his shoulder and fixing it to work much like a backpack, sitting on top of his sword sheathes.

The rest of the group that was already outside was a motley assortment of people that Varin wasn’t sure he wanted to get a read on. One looked ready to simply collapse if someone breathed on her, another was glaring daggers into their supposed leader of the expedition, another looked way too happy to be here and the last of the group so far seemed to be nearly as defiant as the woman was. Varin should have been worried, even slightly, but he simply couldn’t bring himself to care enough about these people at the moment. He knew that the main motivation with this group would be to simply do the job and get back home, wherever home was for them. He didn’t care about their well being, only making sure he managed to get back in one piece. Varin didn’t say a word as he took up a spot beside the angry woman, adjusting his pauldron to make sure it sit just right. He lifted his face plate up, allowing his face to be shown and stared into the sky holding his mouth open. There would be no telling when he would get a decent drink of water after they left the prison, so he wanted to make sure he got his fill first.

Naturally nothing was ever calm or normal as a commotion from some guards caught his attention. With a slight snap of his head, his face plate fell down and with a satisfying click, locked into place. Off to the side was some scrawny looking man running through the Yulian guards. The direction he was sprinting towards seemed to indicate that he was trying to get to the gates to Elidia. Varin couldn't think of any reason why someone would go there willingly aside from blind patriotism such as the Inquisitor standing before them, but shrugged and actually ignored everything that was going on off to the side. He could care less if the man succeeded in whatever he was trying to do as Varin found his hands to be much more interesting, flicking his fingers against each other in an effort to pass the time.


7 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Ima Creslade Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Varin Zeracuse
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#, as written by slcam
“Esra! Please… please just look at me. Esra! Turn around!” Ima’s voice called out, shrill with worry. Her palm slammed repeatedly against the wood of the heavy door, her face against the cold bars. She looked into the scantly furnished, cell-like room, but her eyes were fixed only on the huddled form sitting on a rickety chair. A ragged blanket covered the thin female, a blonde head visibly hunched over defeated shoulders. As Ima watched, a dark, pernicious mist descended, obscuring the sallow figure, but Ima would not be denied. She continued to bluster at the unmoving girl, even as cruel fingers pulled back at her hair and scrabbled at her arms. Ima’s breath caught as the still darkening form finally began to turn.

A gaunt, hallow-eyed face glared back at her, hardly recognizable and wasting away as she looked on in horror. “Too late,” it rasped. “Why were you too late? Didn’t you care, Ima?” Its tone was mocking, spitting her name out like a curse. The skull-like face slumped and stilled.

Ima felt herself torn back, everything fading to darkness as she screeched a final, “Esra!”

Ima jerked awake, trembling as she pulled herself up with a muttered curse. She panted harshly, trying to still her nerves. It had only been a nightmare. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real. But the fear was real enough. The Yulian bastards had Esra, but Ima had seen her only a couple days prior. She was still fine, and Ima tried hard to reassure herself that her sister would be alright. That was why she was doing this, after all. It was a crazy task, but she had to do something or be executed, leaving Esra to fend for herself. One thing those dark-cloaked Inquisitors did well was exploiting weakness, and they had Ima neatly pinned. She would do what they wanted. There was no other choice.

Ima shivered, starting to realize how cold she was. The floor was damp, rain still pouring through the narrow, barred opening that counted as a window. The grey, gloomy light revealed little of her surroundings. Still, she knew them well enough by feel. The cell was hardly three paces wide, and narrow enough that she could stretch her arms out to touch either side from where she was seated against the wall. The roughhewn stone floor was covered in the sort of detritus that one was better off not considering too closely. Now that the rain was coming in, the muck was beginning to soak through the worn piece of blanket on which Ima sat. She pulled herself up to a crouch, crossing her arms over her chest to conserve a bit of warmth. At least they had given back her normal clothing after she agreed to their blasted quest.

She clasped her hands together, her thumb slipping under her left sleeve to skim over the marking hidden on the inside of her wrist. The eye of the Lady, meant to bring luck. It had once given her a measure of comfort, but now she felt uncertain. What had Ima done to bring down such misfortune? Where had she gone wrong?

Her eyes stared at the bit of sky visible through the bars, searching the misting clouds as though they had the answers. From this angle, she could not see the wall, but it was never far from her thoughts. She wondered how long the bloody sods would take to send her off. They acted like it was going to be soon, but seemed to get a kick out of leaving her in the dark. Literally, in this case. Noise began to emanate from the hall, a loud-mouthed Inquisitor shouting out names. Each name was accompanied by the unmistakable clamor of armored guards and various amounts of fuss. Ima wearily raised to her feet, stepping over to the door to see if she could catch a glimpse of what was happening.

Looking through a narrow slit in the door, Ima could only see flickering shadows in the bright hall. After a moment, she was able to make out the form of the Inquisitor. She got a scant impression of a woman being dragged away between guards as she shouted back at another prisoner. Ima quickly lost interest and stepped back. Perhaps they would be calling her soon. She took a moment to prepare herself, to stuff down the loathing that had been growing against these cursed Yulians ever since she had been captured. It was always better to present a cool façade, hiding her true feelings. Then they could not be used against her. She took several long slow breaths, gradually relaxing her muscles until she could school her face to blankness.

Finally, she heard her name called out by that malevolent voice. She straightened as the door was thrown open. The torchlight was far too bright and she lifted a hand to shield her eyes. The guard roughly clamped a gauntleted hand around her upper arm and jerked her forward. The second guard quickly followed suit as they pulled her from the cell.

She tried to wrench away from their cruel grasp, protesting with a cold, venomous tone. “Oy, get your filthy wigglers offa me! I can walk on my own two gams, you know.”

The iron grips on her arm only grew more painful as they bodily yanked her down the hall. She desperately scrambled to regain her footing and regained her balance before they could drag her down the stairs as well, glaring daggers at the pair. They hardly seemed to notice. The group stopped long enough for an official to read off her supposed crimes and the terms of her release into Elidia before she was pushed out into a rainy courtyard. The Midgate loomed, threatening, off to one side. Her head swiveled as she was released, instinctively seeking out possible routes of escape. There were none.

She mindlessly rubbed a hand over the bruised skin of her arm, gazing upward at the wall of Elidia. Her musing was disrupted by a gruff voice. Ima Creslade?” Her eyes flickered toward the man as he thrust a sack into her arms. Apparently the glance had been enough confirmation and he strode away without another word. Ima heard the subtle rattle that indicated her blades and picks were inside, even as she noted the hilt of her dirk sticking out of the sack.

Her eyes swept over the courtyards other occupants, noting them for the first time. None of them seemed to be especially paying attention to the small, dark-clad figure. She backed off from the group a little, crouching as if merely to adjust her boot and easing the sack to the ground under her legs. She donned a faintly mottled grey cloak onto her back first, pulling up the hood against the rain, followed by her dirk. Her attentions swept the courtyard as she flitted small throwing blades into their concealed places about her person. She felt a small measure of relief that the familiar items had been returned. Soon, various pouches and a couple sturdy daggers were joined to the belt at her waist.

Ima remained crouching, taking time to observe the others in the courtyard with a wary eye. So far, there were a couple men. One was being roughed up after mouthing off to a guard while the other, heavily armored, stood by a fiery headed woman with a sword at her waist. There was also an odd looking man in some manner of performer’s garb. Ima found something unsettling about his manner, but she was not sure exactly why. There was another woman, standing blankly off to the side, looking as thin as death. She seemed… empty somehow. Ima’s gaze moved on to the one who was, perhaps, the most interesting of the gathered group. A Yulian mage, by the markings on her attire. From the horse and bags sitting nearby, it was clear the woman would be travelling into Elidia with them. A babysitter of sorts, then? Ima looked on with a measure of contempt, wondering how long the diminutive mage could hope to last. She was the only one present with a similar stature to Ima, but her arrogant bearing made it clear she feared no threat, for now.

Ima did not waste her time glaring, instead turning her focus to counting out the rations in her bag. It was a pitiful amount, but Ima hoped she could soon supplement it. She swung the sack onto her back, out of the way of the hilt of her dirk. She remained squatting, perched lightly on the balls of her feet, content to observe. She had no desire to draw attention to herself for now. Her cloaked, still figure blended well into the bleak shadow cast by the wall of the fort at her back.


3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sairen Varimor Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia
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Secrecy wasn’t his preferred method of doing anything. He recognized Athira’s power and importance in the pantheon, but she wasn’t his official patron. He did find peace in her time of power though and she had protected him and other refugees of the Great Church, for none of the Witches of Yulia had sought them after the Pillaging. Perhaps they assumed everyone died, which suited the young cleric well. It gave him the chance to protect all the poor orphans, most victims of the Old War, until they were grown. Entering towns for supplies were tricky, but Sairen never feared. He trusted his life completely at the hands of Tinon.

On such a supply run, he paused before the ruins of the Great Church and straightened his back. Nothing had grown on the site in the last eight years, which to him proved the blight that these Witches and Deceivers were to this land. He snarled under his breath and then immediately, closed his eyes and silenced, pushed back the fierce anger that had become his constant companion. He was not of those chosen to fight the battles of vengeance. That task fell to the warriors of Ahl and Oros. But where are they? The thought came unbidden.

Ignoring the possible consequences, he knelt down at the site to pray, pray for all the gods’ protection for his charges, and pray for guidance on what he should do now. Since it’s been eight years, more than half of those orphans left at the time of the Pillaging would be coming to age soon and it would be time for them to choose their own paths. Again anger burned in his breast. The Deceivers had taken away several of those options. No. We can rebuild. As long as there are willing hands and hearts. A peaceful smile split the thin cleric’s face and he had his answer. He stood again and looked toward Aressa and beyond that the supposedly cursed Elidia. There… There is where he must go.

That supply run was several weeks ago now. The next supply run he took for himself. The eldest three of his charges have taken up the mantle he bore for the last eight years. They would take care of their younger kin and gather supplies when necessary. The Deceivers have taken away several trade options for the youth of Miriand, but he realized that it also opened up other opportunities. Still it wasn’t enough to change his opinion of them.

Now he entered one of their strongholds in secret and pouring rain. He had to contain his rage again at the sight of at least two Yulian Witches and a criminal Inquisitor. He bit his pale lower lip and tightened his grip on the ash staff he bore. To avoid unnecessary trouble on the way, he wore a medic's coat over his normal cleric robes, because clerics were not welcome under the Deceivers’ rule.

Since he came as a medic, he would be just as responsible for the health of Witches and Deceivers as those from the other enslaved kingdoms. Witches had notorious ill health, because they tried to claim power that did not rightfully belong to them. His task seemed so much simpler when he knelt at the site of the Great Church.

Tinon and Athira. Day and Night. Sairen needed the strength of both.


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Character Portrait: Kormrok
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#, as written by Zalgo
Kormrok sat upon the stone floor of his cell. There were no windows down where he was kept. The fort's prison reached at least a couple levels into the earth for capacity's sake. Those below the ground floor didn't get to see the sun, not that the guards particularly cared.

He was kept well below, far from sight. It was not that the inquisitors wanted to hide him though. The lower levels kept a greater distance between their more formidable captives and the world beyond. They had more than their fair share of worthless criminals to throw at the cursed land beyond which occupied the cells closer to the top. What was it worth anyway? A sight of the wall that they were to be sent beyond, little more. Dark shadows cast by torch light was more than sufficient for his sort.

It was nothing new for him. The floor was unclean but rather dry by comparison to the upper layers. Little of the rainfall made it to his cell save a drip running down a crack in the stones up above. The air was musty and there was little doubt of it being cold. Overall it was a fairly reasonable cell, all things considered.

He could hear their boots coming. It would be his time soon. It was why he was brought here from a dungeon over in Pradus. He had been given their explanation for his eventual escort past the wall.

"You are being given a second chance. An opportunity to go forth and bring back knowledge from Elidia. Should what information you bring to our scholars prove satisfactory we will grant you your freedom."

That is what they said. They had told him this not long after pulling him from the oubliette. In truth he could easily see what they wanted. For as clever as the inquisitors sold themselves their faces were easy to read. They constantly prattled about their kindness as they went about it, practically boasting about just how just and fair they were. It was all an act, that much was obvious.

It didn't take much to make Kormrok dubious of their intentions. Their kind were vicious, small minded and petty, terrible qualities for people given the measure of power over others as they were. Given the atmosphere of fear and oppression it was of no surprise that they were up to something, especially since prior to his reassignment he pretty firmly believed that they wanted little more than to forget he ever existed. They had left his care up to a single individual who did little else but bring him and hundreds of other prisoners one meal every day.

Four guards and an inquisitor came to a halt before his very cell. He peered up to them through the darkness, looking through the mess of dark tangled hair which hung in front of his face. A key clicked as it unlocked the lock on his cell door. Two guards stepped inside, leaving two others and the inquisitor outside the cell in case he tried anything. Such precautions were designed to keep their more dangerous prisoners from escaping by allowing the others to lock the door should the prisoner attack.

Their fear that a man as big as he would try to hurt them was understandable but ultimately false in the case of Kormrok. He had no intention of running or fighting the Yulians right now. He wanted to go beyond the wall and had no intention of doing anything to slow the process. The dangers that laid beyond were clear and he was not naive about his odds of surviving the ordeal. At this point however his only other path was down the road to the gallows. This was their way of executing prisoners in the vain hope the attempts might yield some benefit eventually.

He did see some benefit in entering the land of Elidia however. He had much more freedom out there than he did sitting as some decaying reminder back in his homeland. The potential magic which laid beyond held some promise of power, an alluring prospect for the lucky one to get their hands on it. His most prominent motive for wanting to go into the cursed lands was the desire to never hear from an inquisitor ever again. He felt as though there wasn't much left for him back home. Abandoning it all now was but a minor loss in his eye.

The two guards clasped shackles onto his wrists which they then clasped onto a metal leash which they lead him out on. He did not put up a struggle or cause a fuss as they took him from his cell and down the hall. The inquisitor accompanying them was a rather gaunt man, a thin withdrawn face with a measure of cold calculation to his eyes and scarcely any facial hair. The man would best be described by most as what it would look like if someone gave a snake a human form. His robes hid his shoes as well as it concealed any notion that he actually walks.

Around a couple turns, up some stairs and then through more halls they went. Kormrok stood looking at the equipment storage room door while one of the guards fished through his pockets until he found the key to unlock it. With a click the old lock gave way, letting the aged wood door swing open and reveal the room within. It was the storage for their captive's belongings. All sorts of items lay about, the nature of these things ranging from martial gear to trinkets and scholarly tomes. This room probably had things from many different walks of life from the impoverished to those of nobility. All of these things had one thing in common: The fate their owners were to face.

At the end of the room on a large stand Kormrok saw his old armor. For more than ten years he had not looked upon this visage of the warrior he once was. He wondered if perhaps his memory betrayed him, if his armor truly was there in whole. He approached the set, the guards at his heels every step of the way.

"Don your armor. After you are finished we will take you to join the condemned."

The inquisitor spoke, every word spoken with seething distaste. Speaking with a criminal was something the inquisitor felt overqualified for, a waste of his time given the fact the man they were arming would be little more than a corpse in the coming weeks ahead. As far as anyone was concerned it was a quiet truth, the kind only guards speak of around their dinner tables or with each other when out of prying view.

So it seemed he was right about the armor. It was his old armor in full. He would of sworn it would of been taken and used by Yulian soldiers or simply melted down for scrap.
They probably didn't feel like dragging it up the stairs given it's weight. He figured. Few men had the strength to carry the set for long, let alone wear it.

He donned his suit, dust clearing in a rather thick cloud as he moved it. It still fit like a glove, especially the gloves. As worn from his harrowing days in the grasp of the inquisition as he was he could still feel a deep sense of unity as he was reunited with the suit. Complete as he was though there was still little to shake the reality of his situation from his mind. He was still standing there, surrounded by enemies who simply wished to see him trudge off to his doom.

When he was finished suiting up two guards came forward to re-secure his manacles. He let them take his hands and shackle them together without so much as a tug. The less he resisted the faster this would go and the faster this went the sooner he could leave this forsaken land for another one. With him the inquisitor led them up the stony stairs and out into the courtyard. The inquisitor leading them stood by and let the guards escorting Kormrok pass. They brought him out amongst others, varied folks from the lands Yulia now called it's own.

Another inquisitor seemed to be going about, reading off their judgement upon each one of them. The man came and stood before him as he did with many of the others.

"You know why you are here. Go forth and return with knowledge of value to our scholars."

The inquisitor saw it fit to spare him the long winded judgement as by this point he knew as well as the others that Kormrok had heard it all before. He was not a new face among their condemned. With his cold expressionless helm hiding anything resembling an emotion he stepped in line along with the rest of them.

The cursed land awaited him. He would not leave it wanting.


5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Garrim the Greater Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Kormrok
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#, as written by Raidose

"Tho I treadeth upon shadows, I beg Ahl beith mine torch. Companion to me past such darkness. Tho I stumble from thine road, I beg Ahl beith mine sun. May light shineth upon thy path. Tho I walk solus and with fear, I beg Ahl beith mine friend. I shant be lost to wander alone. Tho I harbor sins upon mine soul, I beg Ahl beith thine mercy. In calm waters shall the blood.... .... Shall the blood leaveth thy hands. Ahmen."

It had been.... some time since the transfer. Days? Weeks? Counting the hours lost it's importance. Garrim remembered the harsh familiarity of being once more binded with iron and fastened against stone. How foolish to think the sun would last. Perhaps this would be it. This place serving as a ground of summary execution, and this promise of freedom merely another ruse from the mouth of the Deceiver. Had the Gods led him here solely for the demand of blood? Perhaps they had lost faith in him as well.... It mattered little. His fate has and always will lie in their hands. He swore oath to be their vassal, a weapon to be used and dispensed as they desired. For now, he could do naught but wait and give thanks for what few blessings had shown here. The Rats.... these were thankfully of a different sort than those he had grown to hate. They still had fear of larger beings, and had yet to develop such insidious cravings as their voracious kin. Sounds, such a lost sensation after so long. Better the rattle of chains and iron than that bleak abyss of stagnation. But of course, the greatest mercy came in a single, barred window. Well beyond his reach, but a sacred thing nonetheless. Rain was.... such a beautiful thing. When the winds deigned it, he could almost feel it's caress through his visor. No matter the filth that flowed freely from such a deluge, blessed be rain and the mercy of it's grace.

Ripples of light at the edges of his mind, the Eye of Ahl bestowed him a vision of visitors to come. No sooner had the light faded did their boots echo upon the cobbles. There would be five, as foreseen. Four guards well-clad in armor, two with blade and two with crossbow. Behind them a great blackness. A figure in darkened garb, devoid of sympathy or compassion. Iron scratched upon stone as the door gave entrance to them, with Garrim raising his head in silent acknowledgement. These soldiers held no hesitation, acting under orders to undo the manacles clamped upon Garrim's arms. Once more, he felt the burden of his own weight nearly driving him to a knee before steadying himself. He rose, shakily at first before at last with confidence. Crossbows leveled their sights on him as.... she entered. Black and silver betraying her allegiance, Garrim felt fire began to claw at his heart. Under black hood and through steel visage, their eyes locked with the intent to flay the other alive with but a glare. The hostility rose in the room to a palpable degree, with the guards finding common sense in standing back and readying arms. Though no movements were made, the Inquisitor could read the Paladin's intentions as tho scrawled upon parchment. His fists clinched, leather and battered steel creaking in complaint. Hushed invocations woven from the Inquisitor's lips, causing small wisps of anima to gather betwixt her fingers. A whirling pool of reality shaping energies forming within her palm, ready to be called forth.

The tension was finally cut when a single beam of sunlight had parted the clouds, if only for a moment. Peering through the barred window, dividing the two with a barrier of light. To these Godless heathens, such things held no importance, but to the devout of Ahl this was providence. The word of Ahl that this was not the path; that Garrim risked straying from such light. His posture relaxed, signalling no confrontation from here on. Though the guards took ill notice and remained on edge, the Inquisitor was quick to glean such and gave a silent order to lower their arms. The air, once hot and vibrant, now gave way to a deathly stillness. "Garrim Udain of former Miriand", she addressed him. Her voice was cold and slack, the words she spoke as impersonal and meaningless as a simple number to be recited from a list. A stark contrast to those she would give next. "It is your time..." she stated, her intent slithering with the hiss of malediction. Under armed guard with the cocked-and-readied bolts of crossbows at his back, Garrim was guided to the courtyard. The downpour of rain played a percussive cacophony within his helm, washing his body and agitating the many small wounds he'd begun to harbor over time. It had been long since Garrim was last reminded of what lay underneath his armour. Of the silken cloth which had likely decayed into moldy rags, held together by mildew and the scant few seams of cord which managed to stand the test of time. His chain mail possessed several links which seemed to have found teeth over the years, biting and nipping at his flesh in various places. It was almost as if the rats had never truly left him.

There in the shower of rain and mud, he saw the gathering of others who would be offered to whatever unknowns lay beyond these ancient walls, of few he took note. A warrior of Pradus, marked well by such thickened plates of master crafted steel. Garrim had never learned of what befell Pradus, and was often left to wonder. How could they have fallen so swiftly? Were they befelled by some grand deception or witchcraft? Had they been taken by such surprise that not even they, the only force which even Holy Miriand envied, could not recover? ....Had they chosen subservience? Another face caught him as familiar, less so by person as by the heraldry he bore. The Knights of Oros were well known for their aptitude and fervor in combat. In old Miriand, the Knightly orders took drafts from those who lacked the magical aptitude to join the Paladins of the Great Church. Where Paladins were deemed of too great an import to send on quests to aid the common people, it was the Knights who would take up the cause. Though Paladins were always the heralded heroes of the realm, it was truly the Knights that served as champions of the people. Their skill and strength of arms stayed a constant rival, and none more so than those under the banner of Oros himself. Perhaps if his tenements had been heeded over that of Ahl's.... Maybe Miriand could have been saved if, for perhaps only a moment, they had allowed themselves to stray from the Road of Peace and listened to the council of Mighty Oros.

Then came the image Garrim had no sooner recognized as he would have spat upon. For there are, nor would ever be, such a figure as familiar and hated as that of a Mage. Be alert, be vigilant; for your enemy, the black-hearted of Yulia, roam about as a roaring lion, seeking whom they may next devour. To have such a thing accompany him, there were scant enough curses in any tongue to fulfill such a need. Then came another.... stranger thing. Small, weak, and frail. She appeared barely able to stand, and even through the haze Garrim could make out the telltale marks of manacles and bindings upon her arms. Even among such God forsaken ranks as these, Garrim struggled to imagine what such a tiny girl could have done to garner such a fate. Rabble rouser, perhaps? No... there was something in her Garrim had learned to recognize. Even through such years of torment written upon her form, there was still this sense of the faintest touch of regality. A servant girl, or perhaps some Noble's daughter, taken away as punishment for some grievance he had caused? Regardless, she was not some humble villager. No one, not even a girl of her size, could afford to be so defenseless outside the watch of several armed guard. Whatever her origins, she most certainly had lived a cloistered life.

Finally beckoned to step forth by name, Garrim was greeted by two familiar grins. A pair of guards he had seen in service to the Warden. Behind them, a pair of soldiers hefted his Stave in presentation before the Paladin, before letting the burdensome weapon fall to the mud. Garrim gave them no satisfaction of a response as they treated the rest of his wares similarly, before finally bending knee to retrieve them. "Oi, holy man!" one beckoned just as he'd turned away. "Warden Oltson gave us word ta give ya fer you go off 'yond the walls." Garrim turned at this, offering the vaguest of acknowledgements. "He says 'may all yer Gods go with ya...." the man quipped as a rancid yellow grin claimed his face. "So's ya can all go die t'gether!" his partner added, before the two strode off bellowing in laughter. Their taunts rarely found purchase, but perhaps they held some truth in them. There were no other Paladins left. How many believers had been spared? How many faithful? Beyond the walls, Garrim knew nothing of the world under Yulian Law. Were there none left outside of prison cells?

.....Would the Gods truly die with us?


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Character Portrait: Anai Calagrian
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#, as written by Skwidge

The rain was loud, distracting; it pounded against the cobblestones outside and the walls that surrounded, sounding utterly unnatural to Anai’s foreign ears, pattering against manmade structures and items. He could hear it all, and it all sounded highly magnified in the medium sized holding cell that he found himself in. It was unsettling, yet, at the same time, comforting. Despite the fact that the rain sounded different here because of so many factors that Anai as unaccustomed to, it was still rain, and rain he had in the forests. It was a melancholy reminder to his wearied brain, pulling and tugging in two different directions because of the conundrum it presented; it brought to mind the freedom he had in the life he had steadfastly lived for the past almost two decades, a sense of familiarity in completely unfamiliar surroundings, yet it also served as a painful thorn, as it only unequivocally solidified the fact that he no longer had that freedom.

Nonetheless, it distracted him from his immediate cage, where five or six other prisoners of no importance were being held with him. It set him dreadfully on edge, being so close to other humans, trapped in such close proximity to other soles. It mattered not whether they were prisoner or free man, they only made him feel more ensnared in his present situation. Anai stood stiffly in one corner, turned towards the wall so he would not have to look at these others, one hand gripping the other arm tightly as he stared a little too pointedly out the small, barred window along the wall to his immediate left in his corner. He was trying too hard to ignore the other prisoners waiting to be sorted, so it only caused them to come to mind more- an ever-present factor in his mind despite however he may try to tune their presences out and focus instead only on the rain. The nervous energy, while exhausting, kept him at full attention, completely awake and practically fretting his muddy boots off. There was no way he would be relaxing at all, despite the need his body was beginning to develop for rest.

He stood carefully, however, despite the stiff and seemingly blocky way he presented himself, conscious of the disgusting walls only mere inches away from his form. It wasn’t just the fact that they were prison walls that upset him, either, but also the fact that they were simply walls. He despised this whole situation. Why couldn’t he have just withdrawn further into his hermit-like life, never going near any civilization whatsoever? It certainly would have kept him from this nightmare had he done so. One simple look, misconstrued or rather way too easily picked up on, and he had been arrested. Strong, unyielding hands had been put upon his shoulders, a grip that he knew he could not escape, despite the desperate, animal-like feral desire he had to do so. He had been thrown into a cell for a few hours before being told of the opportunity for freedom with a ticket to Elidia, and Anai had swiftly taken it without really thinking on the particulars of such a journey, nor of the dangers of it. To be honest, it hadn’t really mattered to him anyway, as long as he could be out of that cell and breathing fresh air again.

That had been about three days ago, and on those three days he had been confined to a new prison, one on four, rickety old wheels. That had been a nightmare in and of itself; if walls were awful, this was a whole new level of hell for the boy. It had been completely unnatural for him, not to mention close-quarters with other people for extended periods of time. It hadn’t been so bad at first; at the beginning it was just he and two other guards, but yesterday day they had begun making stops to pick up other prisoners along the way to Midgate, with a few extra guards joining them for needed support. He had been mildly uncomfortable at the start, but it had been manageable. However, since yesterday, his levels of unease had risen greatly and remained steadfast with very few moments of reprieve in between. Anai had grown somewhat accustomed to the wagon and his two guards, but with the arrival of more people, everything he had accomplished was washed right down the drain. He hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep for the past seventeen hours, and honestly he wasn’t going to be getting any anytime soon either. The only bright side of this was that at least his belongings had been brought along with him.

The party had arrived at Midgate earlier that morning- and by earlier, he meant before-the-crack-of-dawn earlier. Ever since then he had been confined to this holding cell with the other prisoners he had traveled with, awaiting both for the guards on duty here to awaken and then to actually bother assigning them to their own cells.

Anai’s bones ached, his head hurt, and there was this insistent, nauseating smell that simply would not leave, despite the release of bacteria from the compacting of the ground from the rain, producing that pleasant smell that always accompanied the watery release of the heavens. The man had little doubt that it always smelled like this, and littler doubt that it would only grow worse without the rain. He was simply glad that he would not be staying here for long.

Anai did not know how long he had been standing in that cell, but, finally, a guard came calling upon him. “Anai Calagariane,” The voice began, butchering the pronunciation of his last name- a fact that he had found to be firm in regards to all those he passed who attempted the apparent feat, one Anai did not think to be so difficult yet proven wrong time and time again- and all of the faces he had been so dutifully ignoring turned to look directly at him as he was addressed. Gods, he really didn’t need this kind of attention, or any attention really. “You are found guilty of third degree homosexuality; your sentence is to be replaced by travel to the Lost Lands, and, if successful, all charges dropped upon your return and deemed authenticity of returned information.” The guard’s voice was rather monotone, no real inflection to it, as if he had done similar speeches one too many times and the informing of duties to prisoners was simply a boring routine, not something to make bets or assumptions on- his only duty was to inform, and he would do nothing else; it was not his concern whether or not prisoners ever made it back from the Lost Lands, which, to date, none ever had. At the announcement, Anai’s eyes could not help but flicker nervously to the other inmates, dreading to see their reactions, or really them at all. Not a one of them seemed to flinch, however. In fact, Anai’s verdict was probably the smallest crime that had been committed by those in his company.

The guard motioned impatiently to Anai when the man made no move to leave his corner, and Anai walked stiffly through the small crowd of prisoners around him, practically sweating up a storm by such simple an action alone. When he reached the guard, the man grabbed onto the middle of the cuffs secured around his wrists, as they had never been bothered to be removed by anyone, and was led out from the horrors of so many people. Anai seemed to actually relax at this point, finally glad to be out of view of so many harsh eyes, even though in reality the other prisoners had just been minding their own business and not even paying any attention to Anai in the first place. It was just he and the guard, and that, he decided, he could handle. His brain desperately needed the rest, after all.

However, it seemed that in the exhaustion that followed, Anai completely forgot the fact of where it was he was going immediately next. As they emerged from the confines of the structure, and the rain poured freely upon his form while he looked around, his gaze fell upon a rather large group of individuals gathered towards the center of the encampment of Midgate. It did not register as important to him until he noticed his guard heading in that direction, obviously intending for Anai to follow after him. A look of horror filled his face as it dawned on him. He then remembered: he would not be going to Elidia alone. Of course no one could expect to survive out there on their own, but with all of the tribulations he had already encountered thus far, he had simply forgotten about that little detail.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, it seemed.


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Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia
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#, as written by Feyblue

Dɪᴀʟᴏɢᴜᴇ Cᴏʟᴏʀ ✦ #38028A || Tʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ Cᴏʟᴏʀ ✧ #6A339E


The rain kept pouring down, soaking through my mantle and running down my emaciated body, sending a chill all the way down to my very bones. I shivered, pulling my drenched garb more tightly around me as I struggled to stay standing on aching legs, the wind beating down on my face in icy blasts. Struggling to be heard over the noise of the storm, a man stood atop a podium, reading to each prisoner of their crimes and their sentence. Of course, it hardly mattered what the crime was. Some of these men might have been ruthless savages and enemies of the imperium. Others might simply have stolen a loaf of bread. Regardless, there was only one penalty that it was worth Yulia's time to make them pay.

Reaching the end of the line, where I stood shivering, the herald looked down at me with an air of confusion, as though unable to understand why I, wretched creature that I was, stood condemned amongst so many formidable knights and knaves. Struggling to make out the words on the drenched parchment, the ink running together in rivulets down the page, he at last determined the words of my sentence. As he spoke, for a split second, the storm grew still, the weight of my judgment resounding throughout the courtyard.

"Renevari le Frey, formerly Renevari le Murre... Your crime is your very existence!"

He stopped here for a moment, seeming confused by this, but nevertheless continued to recite the orders that had been laid down for me. "Due... Due to the threat you pose to Yulia and its interests, the High Inquisitorial Council has sentenced you to exile, with limited possibility of pardon. If you would seek to return to Yulia, you must make amends, and return unto this great nation the power which you have stolen from it. Return bearing the magic of the fallen land of Elidia, or not at all! That is the fate that has been decided for you!"

I hung my head. Now it all made sense. The Fallen Land of Elidia, said to be replete with ancient magics... Of course the Inquisition would turn their attentions to such a place as it became clear that the power of their own kingdom was waning. That was what the Inquisitor had meant when he said that I would serve as Yulia's "vessel." I was to go into this kingdom, and use my own twisted brand of sorcery to take its powers upon myself. Only then would I at last be able to be of service to anyone. And yet... more likely than not - no, almost without a doubt - I would die long before I could achieve such a preposterous feat. The fallen land was a kingdom only of the dead, filled with monstrosities and curses without end. With only knaves and fallen heretics as my guardians, how could one as hopeless as myself ever dream of surviving in such a place?

This sentence wasn't exile. It was death. And even in that death, I wouldn't be of use to anyone.

Maybe the herald, and the Inquisitors he spoke for, were right?

Maybe I really was cursed, just like the land I was about to venture unwillingly into...


15 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sairen Varimor Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Gallard of Yulia Character Portrait: Ima Creslade Character Portrait: Garrim the Greater Character Portrait: Kalis of Aressa Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Anai Calagrian Character Portrait: Ayame The Eastern Swordsman Character Portrait: Ludral

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Two of the soldiers of the Midgate Fort, plate clanking in the dank hallway, followed at Vesgha's heels as the Inquisitor walked, no longer alone. Her progress had caused her to be met by the tall, imposing figure of Commander Taron, head of the soldiers stationed at the garrison.

There had been a few exchanges of pleasantries. How his wife was doing, whether his youngest was recovering well from falling from a horse the week previous. Then things turned to rather more formal matters. Most pressingly, that of one of the prisoners.

"Are you certain this is the best course of action, Vesgha?" the man asked, his heavy beard bristling in the cold.
"After all of the back and forth from the Court about the applicable law.. it seems rather abrupt.. we've not even been able to prove a crime took place."

The Inquisitor did not look round, nor alter pace.
"The problem of the Aressan is not just one of justice, it's a political matter." she explained, in a very matter of fact fashion.
"The wolf thought she'd played a rather clever little game by surrendering to Yulian law and then calling a duel. We could have arrested her on violation of the codes, had that pompous fool not destroyed her sword. Killing Garech cemented her place in the consciousness of the Aressans."

The woman traced a gloved hand along the damp stone brickwork.
"Every day that story circulates around taverns and market stalls, growing more exaggerated and ridiculous with each telling. The Aressans regard that animal as some sort of folk hero. Some symbol of resistance to Yulian rule.
The people in this land are riotous and resentful. There are talks of militant groups that hope to reclaim their rightful monarch from Yulia. It is a powder keg... and either freeing or executing the knight could be the spark to light it. Allowing her to walk free makes us look weak, executing her would make us look tyrannical, unjust. This is the best possible solution. We can tell them the Knight went of her own accord, please the plebs with some story of heroics, and get this problem off our hands

After a few moments of walking they came to the end of the hall, where a cell sat in gloom and dark water.

For a brief moment, thunder flashed through the barred windows, lighting up off the battered steel scaling and the jagged edges of a distinctly lupine helmet.

It had not taken the knight long to reclaim their former presence.

"Kalis of Aressa, the Inquisition is here to take you up on your generous offer to venture beyond the wall." Vesgha stated, keeping an entirely straight face. Both the speaker and the recipient were well aware of the lie, but protocol was protocol.

As the guard stepped forwards to seize the arms of the prisoner, the lightly armoured for rose seamlessly to its feet.

"There's no need for that." came a level voice from beneath the visor, bouncing off the inside to give a sort of metallic quality.
"I'm ready."

The knight walked silently between the two soldiers, who walked whilst eyeing the prisoner with suspicion, each exchanging a glance with the other in an attempt to anticipate any form of trickery on the Aressan's part. It was not as if they'd not heard the stories. Heard the lurid descriptions of the mad wolf-woman hunched over the red mess of Sir Garech's skull, uniform splattered and sticky with gore and bone.

For her own part, Kalis gave no indication of any of this savagery on the walk down from the tower cell, and passed into the rainy courtyard without a word.

It was shortly after her boots had stepped out onto the sodden cobbles that a heavy metallic crash sounded out behind her.

The knight looked back to see it lying in a puddle, flung out of one of the windows where some soldier up a floor higher suppressed a giggle and pulled back in.

The bladeless sword, a hideous, heavy chunk of twisted metal that looked no worse for its fall, and no worse for years lying in the bottom of some store room. Admittedly, it would be hard to make its condition a lot worse than it already was. No sane man would ever call that thing a sword anymore.

Though clearly if she was able to murder one of their generals with it, Yulia saw it as more than adequate equipment to take on the dangers of Elidia with.

That suited Kalis fine.

The knight swept the broken sword up and rested it on her shoulder, surveying the others present through the visor of the helmet. They seemed to have gathered quite a collection. People from numerous different nations....well, now supposedly all united under the Yulian crest.

Adella had been taking stock of these assembled people too. And not too kindly. She had noted some of the looks that she was getting. Criminals. Traitors. Deviants.
And something even worse than that. Her gaze lingered on the shabby-looking figure of Renevari.
"Abominations." she muttered under her breath.
Abominations. Disgusting corruptions of her noble cause.

Caught up in giving that freak a poisonous stare, Adella had not noticed the arrival of Kalis, or indeed the arrival of the authority...well not until it spoke.

"Mage Darr, would you do the honours?" Vesgha asked, rain beading up on the Inquisitor's black hood.

Adella was pulled out of her reverie and gave a sudden, eager nod, before beginning a very brisk walk across the courtyard to the dark steely expanse of the Mid Gate.

In the centre of the gate, set about chest height for most (and a little further for the rather diminutive Adella) was a seal, some old glyph forged into a round plate that sat over the centre of the divide between each side.

The mage stood before it, taking a deep breath before extending a hand and pressing it against the sign on the the plate.
The sunken metal began to flare a strange, electric blue, and this glow began to spread out from where the woman stood, expanding in geometric lines and shapes across the dark grey surface. As it reached the edge, a low, rumbling grind let loose from the dark guts of the gate. The ground beneath the feet of those in the courtyard shook. Horses in the stables started to toss their heads and whinny in fear. The troops on the edge of the courtyard reached for their weapons in tense anticipation.

The jaws of the Mid Gate slowly, heavily, spread wide open.

Adella was left stood alone at the edge of Aressa, and opened her eyes to find herself gazing ahead into the Lost Lands.

There was no rain.

Before her, the rain simply stopped. In front was a grassy ledge, stretching some distance away, with overgrown shards of paving dotting the organic surface.

And not a hint of rain.

Sunlight peaked through the clouds in the Elidian sky.

A shiver crept up Adella's spine. Then, a sudden shout caused her to whirl around, in time to see another, an intruder of all things, dashing towards the gate.

"What on earth are you doing?!"


3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sairen Varimor Character Portrait: Garrim the Greater Character Portrait: Ayame The Eastern Swordsman
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Sairen remained silent during most of the interchange and moving about of other party members. He hissed imperceptibly under his breath at the treatment of the paladin, and moved to help the taller man with his things as the Deceivers dumped the weapons in the mud. A light centralized breeze lifted the edge of his medic coat, exposing only an inch of the hem of his robes. Embroidered on the hem were marks of Tinon. The same marks would be on his sleeves, though presently his coat covered all of the sleeves.

He paused and gripped his staff tightly with both hands when he felt the ground shake. Lifting his head from his habitually bowed stance, he noticed the cause but still didn't speak out loud. He whispered prayers to himself and made warding symbols against the witch and her devil magic. Warding against evil he did by instinct, which would give way his unwelcome position if any of the Deceivers were watching him. Although, there wasn't really anything any of them could do to him here, since he already stood in a prison courtyard by his own volition, and he already handed in his required access information.

Because of his nationality, the young cleric needed to prove his intentions to the Deceivers. The thought of having to prove himself to them at all burned him, but through their tests and interrogations he survived without revealing his temper. It didn't matter anymore. He was right where the gods wanted him to be, though he personally would have chosen some different companions. Tinon knew what He was doing, and Sairen accepted that. Though he never halted his prayers and warding until the courtyard was still.

In that stillness, other strange phenomena drew his attention. He wasn't very tall, but neither was the witch. Beyond her there was a bright field, and even though he kept his distance to avoid taint of her unholy magic, something about that field drew him, called to him. Without realizing it, he took exactly three steps forward and stopped. From the field burned the light and warmth, he associated with Tinon, God of the Sun. He turned back behind him, and saw and still felt the cold, dreary, dull and even dirty fall of rain over the traveling companions chose for him in the courtyard. Sun in the field and cold damp over the Deceivers' courtyard. Only the gods could create such an anomaly. Strangely enough, while others might be frightened or irritated with the anomaly, it soothed his own fears and doubts.

She shouted over her shoulder and Sairen also noted the creature in unusual garb driving toward the shining gate straight and true as an arrow, without once touching the ground. The creature danced over the wall and just as easily appeared to dodge actual arrows aiming for it. This creature disturbed Sairen's peace. He knew of no humans who could behave that way. Was it a demon coming to claim the witch? He resumed whispering prayers and tracing wards in the air between them.