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Brennan, Master-at-Arms

Brennan may have lost his old life, but he continues to train and guide others in the pursuit of fortune. The Master-at-Arms leads the mercenary company Wolf Pack.

0 · 427 views · located in Empyrean High Seas

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by MoonMoonTheWolf

So begins...

Brennan, Master-at-Arms's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Bullridge Character Portrait: Attila, the Haughty Character Portrait: One-Eye Character Portrait: Brennan, Master-at-Arms
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The Wolf Pack had never traversed such a vast ocean before. Many a path they took was always on solid land, with the occasional crossing of from riverbank. When they found themselves afloat a ship with fifty other beings, in such tight corners, a hand was forced to be open by each ally.

It is true that the mercenary company known as the Wolf Pack has the oddest folk, common and offspring alike. The wrinkled, short form of the goblins makes them feel deformed, an abortion of humankind. Perhaps people that think like this are closer to the truth than they might’ve hoped. Nervous eyes fidget in the penumbra, all of them laid on the little fellows. But like any state of worry and hesitation, it only requires a stressful event to bloom and be resolved into order or chaos. Would the vikings accept the goblins and the revelation of the imposing ogres? Time would only tell, and it would only be when the rowing was the hardest and the sails sprung free from their masts. The first storm summoned lightning and waves that rocked the foundations of the ship, but those who watch would see a body of warmth roused by resolve and perseverance, a shield of sheer will. Flesh bound itself to wood and the curtains that the Wolf Pack was holding were lifted. Figures limited to the dark corners began to slip from the shadows. Just like the goblins before them, their forms were met with worry, added fear. What in the hell was this company the vikings were going to fight side by side with?

Men that tower over the norse. Two meters of muscle, and if that wasn’t enough, four upper limbs. Ogres are crude experimentations of humankind with magic. The knowledge of the Fire was soon perverted by those who walked the path of war, of greed, of death. The ogres were a… successful experiment, as what they provided in brawn, they seriously lacked in brain. That was good for any general, as long as they’re bright enough to follow simple orders. But these ogres were not the children harvested from dark dungeons. The complex of freedom soon struck the ogres and many died trying to flee into the wild. Even decades after their escape, the pale giants were fated to be hunted. Some tribes managed to survive, and those part of the Wolf Pack were younglings eager to see the world.

Bullridge spearheads into one of the rowing lines. He shouts over the thunders and the heavy rain. “Weak! All of you! Bullridge will show you how to ROW!”

The barbarian is no ogre, but one must give credit to a human capable of forcing an ogre to submit. That is the essence of Bullridge: brute force, overwhelming power and a staggering presence. His cry draws the attention of every norse who deems himself a man of worth. They feel offended in their first look, but Bullridge’s form under the instant light of lightning and the rolling roar of thunder shames them. His physique is imposing, wrapped in scars, burn and acid marks, old puncture wounds. It’s a miracle that he is still alive. Yet, Bullridge and the ogres take over the rowing lines.

“You have watched for long enough! Can you row?!” The barbarian barked at the ogres. They nodded diligently, the long, powerful rows began, hurling the ship through the waves like the cutting edge of a finely crafted spear.

Brennan smirked. That was the first display of the Wolf Pack’s prowess. What they lacked in numbers, they certainly made it up in quality. But their might was long from being justified by a single deed.

The sails had been lost, with their rope torn, leaving them hanging at the mercy of the crazed, violent wind. Attila looked up at the mess and one or two men trying to climb the mast without any hint of success. He shrugged his shoulders and turned around, raising a brow at the inert goblins.

“Tsk. One-Eye leaves you for a moment and you can’t pick yourselves up.” He said with a rough, taunting tone.

One of the goblins erupted, propelling his form forward. His right limb was extended as its skin stretched out along with it. The length of the thin arm grew twofold as the goblin pointed menacingly at the human warrior. “Leave us be, human! We follow Gob’s shaman! Not you!” His jutted, wide-eyes revealed frustration and anger.

“You look scared, goblin.” Attila mused, leaning his head closer to the other creature’s, past its shivering finger and trembling arm. “Do you really want to go down that path?” He grinned. His was a grin of defiance, haughty and completely disrespectful towards whatever feelings the goblin could have. What did it matter to Attila?

The goblin’s life was worth more to him than trying to prove a point, whatever that could be. He took a step back, but a hand stopped him. One-Eye shook his head as he stood at the side of his kin, then he looked at Attila. “You know my brothers to be emotional. When will you stop fooling around with them?” His question was serious, yet given in a light fashion. It soon became rhetorical when the shaman gave himself purpose, to instruct his kin on taking the lead and helping the norsemen. Attila was a man who didn’t want to fall behind, so he too paid attention to the task and sprung to action as soon as he was able.

The scene would unfold in a frenzy of rapid movement. The goblins’ limbs grew twofold and their faces jutted out and forward over their chin, revealing an even more grotesque form in the stretched, rough skin that shelled their thin, but sturdy muscles. This form granted them a naturality to crawling that was inhuman and, quite certainly, most unique. Where others failed, the goblins conquered and went further, securing the sails and riding the mast as the ship cut through wind and wave.

Soon, the storm would recede and the veil of grey would be pierced by sunlight. On the horizon, their first waypoint was visible. Together with a massive fleet of norsemen, the Wolf Pack travelled through the treacherous Empyrean High Seas, besting the foul region’s traps with the aid of the norse seafarers.

To celebrate, Attila would scream off the top of his lungs, merging ship with ship to have the men share booze and food. He went as far as throwing a rope and having Bullridge and himself pull a ship closer to theirs. Luckily, everything went well enough.

(And now, political news, with Úlfric.)

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Argosian Soldier Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Bullridge Character Portrait: Attila, the Haughty Character Portrait: One-Eye Character Portrait: Brennan, Master-at-Arms
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The Slender, auburn haired Argosian Legata moved slowly, with purpose towards Hürgor. Her spatha was drawn, and in the early morning light, the sun that had just peaked through the parting clouds glinted off the freshly cleaned sword.

The sounds of her armor made a jingling noise with her footsteps, the lightweight metal plates moving across each-other was like music to Livia's ears.

She had a long brutal history of showing no mercy to those who challenged her, cutting them down to their last, final breaths. This strange brute was bleeding, broken and clearly dying. Her blue eyes briefly moved to the wound in his arm, and then down to his leg, yet he still held his hatchet high.

"I will not fight a cripple." Livia said calmly, her voice thick with confidence, authority. "Lay down your weapon, and I will spare your life."

She came to a stop, roughly five feet in front of Hürgor, her sword held out to her side.

A soft breeze picked up, and her cape, made from synthetic fabric, and colored a vivid red and white fluttered in the wind, her legs were shoulder width apart, in a slightly bladed stance, standing off with the norseman barbarian. It could be described as an odd scene, Livia was by no means a large woman, standing at a five foot, and five inches, and weighing a measly one-hundred and fourty pounds of solid muscle. She lived a life of luxury, with the modern conveniences of Taiyou technology, clean running water, sewage, sanitation, plentiful food, and even electricity.

She was Hürgor's opposite in many ways.

If he tried to swing his weapon, Livia would move quickly, first to catch the swinging hatchet-arm and knock it away with the Spatha, and given the sharpness of the nanosteel blade, it was extremely likely that the edge of the sword would dig into the wood, or even the metal of the hatchet, chipping it away in thin metal shavings.

If successful in knocking the hatchet away, she would spin close, placing her feet wide and bringing the pommel of the spatha in hard into Hürgor's abdomen, and then quickly backing up hoping he would lurch forward from the pain of the blow.

If this is the reaction, she moved to bring the pommel of the sword in a swift follow-up strike to the back of his head, with the goal to knock him unconscious, so he could be taken prisoner.

Livia had taken great care not to kill the norseman, with the carefully precise moves she executed against him, the fleeting hope that he wouldn't die crossed her mind, while the Taiyou diplomat looked on with an approving nod.

---

Benjamin would find a young Argosian Decanus to take his baubles as Livia was currently busy trying to subdue the Norseman. The Decanus nodded slowly, handing Benjamin a small sack of Argosian coins, with an assortment of gold, and silver coins inside a burlap bag.

"Payment, for your assistance." The Decanus said calmly.

Inside the Arran, the Tree was displaying a large star chart, and slowly several Argosians, with the aid of a few Taiyou navigators were checking their records, while one technician frowned, while looking over the database contained within the tree.

"These star patterns closely match those submitted by the Aschen..." One technician stated. "P76-342, described as a world where technology doesn't work..."

He pulled up the relevant data submitted by Commander Costas, a prowler pilot who had crashed on the planet some time ago.
However at this point, the tree had also figured the relevant data, and had plotted a course back to Argos, while monitoring a fleet of ships approaching from the sea.

The Ship's Trierarch watched the displays calmly, as the fleet of ships slowly began to approach.

With a swift hand gesture, a high pitched whistle sounded.

"All hands, to battle-stations!"

By now, the cannons had been reloaded, but the Matokey had placed safeguards on the tree's abilities. The decision was made to avoid the battle altogether.

"Recall the marines, and the Legata! We must push off and get out of here!" The Trierarch bellowed. "Set course for the Great Neptunian Sea!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Brennan, Master-at-Arms
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  1. Hürgor is not in the physical condition to be able to execute the footwork or the move competently without face planting. This post needs GM review.

    by barney_fife

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Previously, in the Empyrean High Seas...


Twilight, the soft glowing light from the sky when the sun was below the horizon, caused by the refraction and scattering of the sun's rays from the atmosphere, had made its mark on the landscape as the night neared closer to an end. Dawn was approaching, and although the sun had not yet become visible on the eastern horizon, the dark black sky was beginning to change colors very slowly as the moon and stars faded out of scope across a midnight blueish curtain that was turning ever so purple with each passing moment.

The wind was mild, as bellows of black and grey smoke lingered the air, remnants of the blazing fire which had swept the landscape throughout the night. The scent of gunpowder and burning wood had swept the area, but the commotion appeared to be dying down as the skirmish neared to an end. Not even one full day on the island, and these humans had already devastated the landscape. Between the combined use of fire by the Úlfhédnar and the Argosians alike, an entire third of the grass and forest had been destroyed, leaving only black earth, ashes and soot in their place. Even patches of sand on the beach had been heated to such an extent that they had become stained glass, tinted and tainted by the blood of many a Norseman, and perhaps maybe even a few Argosians, as their now lifeless bodies lay cold and motionless in the sand, their only movement now being caused by the waves of bloody dark red waters which were still sweeping the shore.

Lord Hürgor, son of King Ellrúlf, the oldest of three brothers, was standing slanted on one foot as his other leg had been broken, with a deep gash on his leg where the bone had protruded through. Lord Hürgor was a tall and muscular Göth with nappy blonde hair and greenish blue eyes. At 6'4" tall, he must have appeared like a giant to many of the smaller sized Argosians who still held their nicely organized formations on the beach. Hürgor watched helplessly as Livia's soldiers scouted the beach for survivors, sometimes prodding the wounded with their bayonets, or just plain shooting them in their faces with crudely fashioned muskets at point blank. It all happened too quickly for Hürgor, though it seemed like slow motion to him as all the noises and sounds were muted in his mind, blood and sweat dripping from his braided long beard as his eyes gazed with hatred towards Livia.

The Argosian Legata had made a fatal mistake...

Sword drawn, she charged at Hurgor, swinging her sword wide, the mono-molecularly sharpened edge cutting through wood and metal alike, like a hot knife through butter, she hoped to catch him, but she would not kill him, rather she had a slow death planned by crucifixion. Lord Hürgor had responded by evading her spatha before countering with a swing of his own hatchet blade towards her neck. She seemed to have forgotten that Hürgor, too, was a barbaric warrior. He would not try to lift his weapon, as he had already done that. But rather, he would commit to the swing of his one good arm, bringing the axehead in a swift horizontal motion across her throat without any pause or hesitation just as he had promised, with the length of the handle aiding in his reach as he sought to kill her quickly.

"I will not f-" Livia's words were interrupted by Hürgor's commitment to his previous actions. This viking, this Norseman, had no fear of the repercussions as his blade crossed Livia's throat with a clean cut above whatever neckguard she might be wearing. The cut would be deep enough to kill her almost instantly. He had capitalized on his actions by twirling his hatchet around as soon as he had swung it at her throat, already having prepared himself to defend against any counter from Livia's spatha as he moved forward, dragging his broken leg quickly behind him. Hürgor was wounded badly, but not dead yet. He would use his size, his reach, and his remaining strength to his advantage, hooking his axehead around Livia's spatha and prying the weapon from her hands before she even had a chance to realize what had just happened.

There would be no mercy...

Lord Hürgor would raise his hatchet high above his head before bringing it down again over his shoulder almost instantly, the hatchet's blade singing down vertically towards Livia's forehead, aiming directly for the center of her face. If the slash to her throat didn't kill her instantly, the followup hack to her face surely would as the úlfhédinn let out a huge roar of agonizing rage and adrenoline. "OOOOODINNNN!!!" was Lord Hürgor's battlecry as he stood over the top of the commander he just hacked down, looking up towards the morning sky with blood splattered across his face from the mess he had just made of his fallen enemy.


Meanwhile, on the Nuörmbátur...


"Row! Row you weaklings, ROW! Bullridge was giving command to the large ogres who were in charge of rowing the Nuörmbátur, a new longship that had been built specifically to weather the Empyrean High Seas and carry its crew to shore. Twice as long as the original Örmbátur, the Nuörmbátur had a crew of 100 or more mercenaries and vikings who were already prepared for battle. Many a Göth had joined the expedition, and there was a wide diversity of warriors from different lands and races who had all decided to join in on their adventures. Half of them were paid men. The other half had joined voluntarily. Many of them were kinsmen from the House of Ellrúlf, and followers of Lord Hürgor himself.

Time continued to pass on as the morning sun rose up over the horizon. By now, half of the sun could be seen rising as the purplish skies had slowly turned to pink and blue, and a golden haze was cascaded over the entire island as the clouds and reflections in the ocean waves became visible. It would've been a beautiful morning, had circumstances been any different. But the Norsemen were in no mood for admiring the scenery. A month or two had passed since Lord Úlfric the Brave had left the scene in a dense fog sent by the gods. He had grown a bit taller now, wiser and stronger than before. As the fates would have it, however, Úlfric's return would show that only a few moments had passed. As the Nuörmbátur and the 100 smaller longships accompanying it neared swiftly towards the shore, Lord Úlfric was a bit surprised to see that the Battle on the Beach was just now coming to an end. Perhaps he still had a chance at victory. If the Argosians viewed themselves as being anything more than bullies and cowards, then Lord Úlfric would put their courage to the test. Livia's crew of 500 oarsmen and musketeers had managed to destroy the single viking ship and its 50 primitives, with a little help even from their wizard. But now Lord Úlfric had returned with 100 more ships, and a crew of 5,100 vikings who had come to help Lord Úlfric in his quest for revenge.

The night before their arrival, the viking fleet had assembled together to feast, party, and celebrate their successful journey through the Empyrean High Seas, but now the longships were in a boar-head navy battle formation, speeding quickly towards the beach. Men dawned their helmets, raised their shields over the side of their ships to create a powerful shield wall, and were now clanking their axes and swords against their shields, creating a rhythmic sound that would prove to be quite disturbing to the people on the beach, as the noise from this metal and wood clanking together over thousands of shields meant an impending doom for whoever came face to face with these brutes and giants. Before they had even reached the land, some of the úlfhédnar had eagerly jumped overboard, diving into the water. There would be no reasoning with these barbarians, these heathen savages who had now come to rescue Lord Hürgor.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Bullridge Character Portrait: Attila, the Haughty Character Portrait: One-Eye Character Portrait: Brennan, Master-at-Arms
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The eyes of a seasoned hawk mirrored the scope of a thousand leagues in the wake of the waves. Brennan gazed at his company's destination after many a perilous stir of the great viking ship. Now, there was the matter of the landing, but even that seemed like a step too late for the plans of the young Jarl and his campaign of rescue and revenge. The arms of each sailor were weary, a meager price to pay for the eager spirits of the other men. Bullridge and his following of ogres seemed unaffected by time and labour. Instead, the barbarian's eyes focused on the one man above him in the mercenary company, the Alpha of the Wolf Pack: Brennan. The Master-at-Arms felt the uproar of the vikings as they neared the island's coast. An anchored ship donned a portion of the landscape, coupled with the presence of creatures on the beach. The howls and screams of the norsemen foretold that the Jarl's brother was there.

"Bullridge!!! Show me your might!!!" Brennan's howl struck deeper than any warcry. Echoes of his command disturbed the air with a subtle ring. Between that moment and Bullridge's acknowledgement, a dreadful silence swept the courage away from the norse ships. One second was enough to enlighten the vikings to the presence of a voice born from the fires of war to lead man and monster alike. How? One did not have time to dabble in such thoughts.

Bullridge's rough features crooked into a display of gritting teeth and twitching eyebrows. His arms tensed and his grip grew twofold only for his rowing to increase. "You will keep up with me or die!!" He demanded. "Keep up with me or let your own kin die!!" He barked louder, inspiring in every man a state of urgency. Momentum propelled the great ship forward at speeds unfathomable by the common man. Brennan found his body being pulled by the force created by the mighty rowing of the Wolf Pack's ogres and their unwavering leader, the thick-skulled Bullridge.

Meanwhile, One-Eye observed, tapping his right foot on the wooden floor. "Not good." A worried frown was on his wrinkled face.

"If we act now..."

Attila appeared behind One-Eye, placing his right hand on the smaller being's left shoulder. They nodded at each other and gazed up the main mast of the viking ship. It was not long before they were seen climbing to the very top.

"Are you ready, Attila?"

Attila's lips began to crack. He held on tightly to the wooden beam, his fingers ever the most intrusive on the solid frame, taking bit after bit as the pressure increased. The eyes of the warrior grew wider with each fleeting second, they jutted out as the fire under the skin seared thought away, welcoming only one state of heightened presence. The embrace of rage culminated in a perverted howl. Fenrir himself would bow before the awakening of the berserker. Veins outlined the bursting development of muscles, the negligence of most rationality into the control of a sphere in the core, the solar plexus. Forget not the fumes with which One-Eye enticed Attila, throwing him into a deeper abyss in the increase of his bloodlust. And yet, all of this was done in fluid motions, a chain of rapidly successful actions to grant One-Eye the power to control and shape an overflowing tap of energy.

The goblin's feet journeyed up to plant each on a separate shoulder of the berserker. His legs rotated to opposite sides and arms were held forward with palms facing down, the shaman squinted his eyes. He turned his palms to face the ship and the beach. The shaman would catch them before they could evacuate.

"I'm burning!" Attila growled. "I'm burning!!!" He howled, releasing a massive surge of energy from his berserker rage into the air in front of him. Gusts of wind ravaged the sea and charged against the sand, upholding chaos. Were that not enough, the residues remaining began to latch onto one another and form a thick, cold mist. It felt sudden, yet so harmless. As harmless as the voices. Cries from a plane so present, yet fading ever so effortlessly. Cries that pierce into the soul, tormented and fearful. A barrage of dreaded sound invades with the mist, it disturbs the senses. A scream is ever vigilant, infinity in the mist. It quickly becomes unbearable to the enemies in front of the spearheading ships of the vikings. Shapes of a faded world and blurred faces claw at the warm bodies, as if trying to dig in and find a home. Frigid winds try to claim fragments, testing mettle into an undying scope of the ether.

"Now, Attila!"

One-Eye's prompt had Attila's eyes turn white and jaws part to unleash a lunatic, supernatural howl. The form of his haughty, sharp lines was carved into the atmosphere. It traversed the mist so fluidly and swiftly, yet it was when it stopped that its horror gazed upon the beach and presented its form, showering enemy soldiers with visions of hellfire and torture. Not visions, memories. Memories of the soul, but what soul? Could it be their own?

Finally, the demonic face fell. It rained on the sand like wild fire, feeding off of itself until there was no more, until it faded to ash as fast as it had burned into a raging inferno. But perhaps those moments were enough. Perhaps the revelation of another world through glimpses on the windows and the doors stalled the retreat.

The spiritual mist was as much a hindrance to the enemy as it was a cloak to the landing fleet. As Attila's projection of terror was no more, it was time for the arms of norsemen to use the time acquired.

As for Hurgor and Livia... What would they do within the mist, haunted by visions of beings ethereal? Threatened.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Shimizu Takayama Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Navy Character Portrait: 'Taanz 'Velzzmkt Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Bullridge Character Portrait: Attila, the Haughty Character Portrait: One-Eye Character Portrait: Brennan, Master-at-Arms
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The exchanged blows played out rather swiftly, as the sun slowly began to crest over the horizon, bathing the sky in a fiery glow. Livia charged fourth, with her spatha in her right hand, reaching high to swing vertically in a diagonal pattern from right, to left. This was a standard practice taught in Argosian combat schools, bringing the superior metal blade down to cleave through a shield, an attempt at blocking, a wooden spear, or any manner of defensive tool the opponent chose to use. In doing so the sword would cleave through her opponent as well.

This was however, not how the attack played out.

Hürgor had a badly broken leg, and only one good arm with which to swing his weapon; As he swung for Livia's throat, the weight of the weapon was likely more than enough to throw him off balance. With no good leg to catch himself with, the only direction for the battered Norseman to go was down.

The horizontal hatchet swing found Livia, but with Hürgor's sudden movement, and Livia's commitment to her own sword swing, the hatchet's razor edge missed it's mark as Livia shrugged her shoulder just enough to protect her neck, but the blade of the hatchet dragged across her cheek, cutting deeply before striking her armored spaulder with a loud metallic grinding sound.

As Hürgor sailed down face first into the sand, Livia stumbled forward, before turning abruptly around to face her opponent once more. She touched the wound on her cheek briefly, glancing down at the blood that coated her fingertips, while quelling the rage that boiled up inside her, she wanted to kill him, drive her blade into his back, let his head decorate the bow of her ship. She stared down at him, with her sword clenched in her right hand. A crucial decision was made at this moment, the decision to show him mercy. It was the way of the future, it was the way the Mt'kee had taught, it was the way the Taiyou had taught, it was obvious Hürgor was defeated.

Livia brought her sword up, and with one swift motion she sheathed the metal blade into her scabbard, there was a metallic grinding sound, followed by the weapon seating with a click.

"I will not fight a cripple." Livia said, gesturing for two of her men to grab a stretcher and approach.

Four legionaries approached, the first moved quickly to kick the hatchet away from Hürgor, while two more moved to set a stretcher besides the downed norseman, the fourth keeping his musket pointed at the man incase he chose to continue to fight.

"Take him to the ship and have someone tend to his wounds." Livia instructed, as she leveled her gaze far onto the horizon, the clanging of weapons on shields echoing through the waters and landmass. She also noted that there was some sort of mist that was gathering beyond the force-field erected by the Tree-ship, and the shimmering leaves. Something unnatural was attacking them it seemed.

If there was no further fighting from Hürgor, the two Legionaries would place him upon the stretcher with care not to disturb the broken leg. In tandem, they would lift the stretcher, and start back towards the ship, which was beginning to raise anchor. The Argosians opted to leave the wounded norsemen on the beach, with the arrival of reinforcements, they chose to remain in their formations rather than finish off the wounded. It would only be at the sound of clanging weapons that they would begin to file back aboard the ship, moving in disciplined lock step, despite the show from the savages on the ocean.

----

The Triarchus was making his preparations, running along the length of the trireme, shouting in Argosian to prepare for their departure.

"Move quickly! Move Quickly!" He bellowed, placing his hands on the backs of the legionaries boarding the ship.

"Cannons at the ready!" The Triarchus bellowed once more, and the low steady drumming of the war drums followed suit, carrying it's medium tempo through the skies, until a surge of energy belched fourth from the viking formation.

A barrier of sorts erupted from the Eye of Arran, as the royal tree began to channel the vast reserves of a plane beyond anything in the mortal realm. Energies from the Chosin Tsunami coarsed through the branches, through the trunk of this mighty tree as it's leaves began to shimmer in response to the cold mist. The Voices, or whatever were contained within would find it impossible to penetrate the barrier that was projected by the tree, the energies acting as a buffer to the magical essences put fourth by the shaman.

Their cries echoed beyond the mist, which was pressed against a soft shimmering light, the leaves of the tree continued to shimmer, as energy was being channeled, a proverbial tap slowly being cranked open from a vast reserve of cosmic hyper-dimensional energies that were beyond even the mightiest of magicks.

Even the lines found themselves unable to cross the threshold of cosmic energies onto the beach, it's inferno playing out harmlessly beyond the shield wall of the Tree-ship, this only served to hurry the Argosians along, urging them to make haste and flee this wretched land.

The Inferno, and the voices continued for however long the Daemons on the water made them, and only briefly stalled Livia, before she finally boarded the ship, swiftly approaching the Triarchus.

"Push off and get us out of here." Livia ordered, while the Optio called out.

"Cannons make ready!"

There was a steady drumming, the Anchor of the Eye of Arran was finally reeled in, as the oarsmen pushed the vessel off and away from the beach with a steady motion. The Vikings had them blocked in, and they would have to break through their lines to reach the point to where they could portal out and back to Argos.

Gritting his teeth, the Triarchus looked up at a display, a dozen more contacts could be detected, but these ones were high in orbit...



The Second Fleet of the Taiyou Empire, one by one began to exit their jumps from hyperspace over the planet. It was roughly a month or so since the Eye of Aarran went missing, and fortunately by tracing it's trajectory, they were able to locate it on this uncharted world.

Emperor Shimizu Takayama stood in silence as he stared at the planet below through the bridge viewport of his personal flagship, the Sōja. This vessel was a massive testament to Taiyou design and engineering. It bore the appearance of a coiled serpent, two hooded cobra statues staring over the ship's deck. Alongside the Sōja was a handful of cruisers, frigates, and two Shogun class battleships.

"The fleet is in position, we've detected the Eye of Aarran on the planet's surface, as well as about a hundred bluewater vessels closing in on it's location, classification is unknown, but based on Aschen files it's safe to assume they're natives." Lieutenant Kobayashi reported with a curt nod to the Emperor.

"All ships are present and accounted for, and have assumed position in orbit. All communications from the Argosian vessel are down, they're not responding to our hails."

"There's a spatial distortion surrounding the planet, likely connected to the magical energies that reportedly interfered with technology." Shipmaster 'Taanz reported, as his image flickered in on Shimizu's display. "I've taken the liberty to synchronize our timeline with theirs to facilitate a rescue; I'm also working on isolating the magics so we can inhibit it... however I don't think I will be able to keep the magical energies at bay, so time will be of the essence."

The Lone Matokey shipmaster was at the helm of a powerful Matokey warship, a first generation royal tree capable of feats of immense power, as if reality itself would bend the knee to the awesome capabilities of this Matokey vessel. Though extremely powerful, the Matokey were first and foremost a peaceful people, preferring to settle conflicts the diplomatic way, rather than resort to violence.

Matokey philosophy always impressed the need for the most precise yet guided applications of force, thus it was very unlikely the Matokey would involve themselves in this skirmish directly, other than to inhibit the magic and synchronize the timelines.

'Taanz's image disappeared from the display as the massive Matokey Omnicruiser adjusted it's position. This left the Taiyou fleet with the opening to select their targets and bombard the planet should the situation warrant it. Shimizu however had something else in mind, as he was completely unaware of what was going on down on the planet below.

The slender Taiyou Emperor reached for a console, and then turned back to his Lieutenant.

"Ready a squadron of Zeroes and a Sudden Transport, send them down to the planet and make contact with the Legate; ascertain the situation and see if they need our help."

Silently, Shimizu stood and clasped his hands behind his back, staring out at the massive bridge before him, and at the hundreds of displays that were feeding information in real time.



"Let us pray they're okay." Shimizu said quietly. "Inform the fleet, to have weapons ready, but not to open fire unless I give the order." He said quietly, while the Taiyou fleet positioned itself beyond the reach of the primitives below.

----

Back down on the Planet...

Back aboard the Eye of Aarran, back in the navigation tower the Optio was going over the tactics, looking down at a large map of the immediate area, his face was stony, grim as the reality of the situation sank down on them. "They have us surrounded, they'll close in any minute now." He said somberly.

"Legata, perhaps if we surrender? We have leverage, surely they would give us pause if they wish to have him returned to them alive." The Triarchus said quietly.

Livia pondered this for a moment, Hürgor was, by now being kept in a small section below deck, an infirmary of sorts, where Argosian doctors were trying to reset his leg, and stop his bleeding until they could take him somewhere to get better medical care. At this point the savage was restrained, and there were guards posted at the door to the infirmary. Antibiotic and analgesic salves had been packed into his wounds, which were cleaned up, but injuries this grave would need modern Taiyou medicine.

"We could barter his life, for ours; or at the very least buy time until the Taiyou land, even in small numbers, they would easily overpower our foes." The Optio added, while Livia considered her next course of action. "Even if we surrender, these are savages, they have no honor; and would sooner kill us all."

She heaved a sigh.

"Fly the white flag, but have everyone armed and ready to repel these savages the moment they turn violent."

The order was given, and carried through messenger to the man at the crow's nest, he made a few hand gestures, and as the Viking ships approached, the Argosian ship raised it's sails, along with a single white flag that started to flutter in the wind.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: Imperial Taiyou Navy Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Bullridge Character Portrait: Attila, the Haughty Character Portrait: One-Eye Character Portrait: Brennan, Master-at-Arms
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Hürgor the Archer was a brave, strong farmer, hunter and warrior who was fairly skilled with a hatchet. He was better with a bow, but a hatchet suited him just fine. Hürgor also never missed with his famous bow, and was unlikely to miss with an axe either, or so he tried to believe. As the Argosian legata swung her spatha at him, Hürgor evaded Livia's blade by moving his upper torso away from her spatha while returning a swing from his francisca to her throat. He would slash her cheek instead, before falling over face first into the sand.

Hürgor the Archer, had been defeated....

As he roll over on his good side, wounded and still bleeding, Hürgor never let go of his axe. He groaned and grumbled, trying again to lift his francisca and turn around to swing again. Although he succeeded in lifting the heavy axehead, however, that was all he could do before the hatchet was suddenly kicked from out of his hand by a legionare. Hürgor's strength had finally left him, as he laid back on the sand to relax and stare up towards the heavens. As the four legionares approached him, Hürgor's last moment of consciousness was a musket pointed at his head. He closed his eyes slowly, entering a dream state.

Meanwhile....

Úlfric the Brave returned to the scene, posted on the bow of his massive longship. His attire was now customary for that of a jarl in full armor and battledress, distinguishable among the úlfhédnar by his position at the bow end of the Nuörmbátur where he was poised like a statue with his shield held low and his legendary sword, Ulfsfangr, held high. As the sun's light shimmered over the blade, Úlfric waved his sword around using slight hand gestures with the ulfberht to guide his rowmen. Furdørn Ivansson, the shipbuilder (Furdørn the Wise) was standing by with the ivory long horn, providing the communication for Úlfric's fleet as they surrounded the Argosian ship and stormed the beach in what could only be described as a typical viking raid. Engöll Corysson and Stryder Alvirsson were also on the Nuörmbátur, standing idly by with their weapons and shields ready to form a defensive barrier, and help to lead the úlfhédnar if something should go wrong. As the Nuörmbátur landed on the beach, Úlfric sat on the bow of his swift longship and took a swig of mead from his own ivory flask. As humans in wolf-skinned cloaks came pouring out of the new dragon boat, Úlfric Ellrúlfssön watched with a smile on his face as the Argosian troops left the beach, boarding their own unique vessel.

By now, the úlfhédnar who had been the first to dive into the water ahead of the Nuörmbátur were now falling behind, still swimming to the shore, or else trying to swim to the Argosian tree-ship while everyone else was moving rather quickly. Ten longships would surround the Argosian crew, with a total of 500 vikings between all ten of them. Three rows of ships would flank in from the right side. Three rows would flank in from the left side, and four more rows of ships would form a platform and face the Argosians head on, pinning Livia and her crew between their strong frontal line and the beach, which was now swarming with a horde of crazed Norsemen who were all yelling and roaring at their enemies. Swords and axes continued to clank together as the vikings encircled the Argosian tree-ship. Úlfhédnar and svinfylkings alike would claw and prod at the tree-ship with long hooked pikes and fishing spears, while others stood by with axes and nets. All this they tried to do from behind their own shield walls, while still others continued to bang their weapons against their shields, stirring the havoc with their berserkir rage.

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As if this weren't enough to cause fear to Livia's crew, another box shaped wall of longships posted defensively around the first ten ships. This outer wall of ships was out to sea more, positioned in three lines of 20 ships each to form a square around the 11 ships in the center. The men on these ships were armed with viking yew bows and also standing behind a wall of round shields. Shortly after the Nuörmbátur landed, carrying 50 úlfhédnar and 50 mercenaries, thirty other longships landed on the beach. Úlfric's fleet stormed the shore where the bodies of their fallen kinsmen were still laying lifeless in the sand. As 1,600 vikings of various descents took back their encampment in the Empyrean High Seas, about 1,000 of these animal-skinned barbarians would secure the sandbars and form a landlocked crescent wall around the shore behind the Argosian ship. Wooden javelins and iron throwing axes took to the air, perhaps too anxiously as none of the discarded weapons were even within range of their targets. Most would hit the beach, sticking into the sand, or else they'd hit the water, sinking beneath the waves. This group was commanded by Hethel Svensson and contained many followers of Lord Hürgor.

Suddenly, there was another horn. This one was louder, deeper, and longer than the others. Lord Úlfric, having watched his own brother be carried aboard Livia's ship, had noticed the white flag that was now sailing in the wind. Lord Furdørn had sounded the giant spiraling brass horn on Úlfric's command, as the two of them were still posted on the bow of the Nuörmbátur while the remaining number of vikings helped to unload the ships and re-build several small campsites on the beach, and soon the vikings who heard the loud blow of the giant horn would quell their fury. In almost an eiry fashion, all the roaring and shield pounding noises would cease, followed by the sounds of the crashing waves against their ship's sturdy dark heavy oak hulls. Tensions were high.

Jarl Úlfric would leave the mercenaries to do their own thing, giving the youngest member of his crew, Björne Hethelsson, the charge of running messages, scouting the area and helping the úlfhédnar to setup a fortification on the upper bank, not far from where their old camp had been. The Norsemen seemed to move like a swarm of bees, having no real battle march or standardized formation. But they were greatly organized with simple yet effective tactics as they moved quickly, every man knowing his duties and responsibilities without much need for Lord Úlfric's instruction, as all of them had signed up with the foreknowledge of what was already expected of them as karls and freemen.

While the land was secured very quickly, bodies being carried further up the beach to be given a proper burial after the battle, Úlfric and Furdørn talked amongst themselves with Lord Brennan before going to work. Úlfric would stand up, sheathing the Ulfsfangr before giving Lord Hethel a few waves with his large round shield, a visible signal from far down the beach. Lord Hethel in turn would relay the signal onward to the wall of longships that had surrounded the Argosian tree-ship. The communication throughout the Norse fleet was remarkably swift despite not having any advanced technology, and soon Lord Hethel was inside a smaller byrding with nine other men on their way to make rendezvous with the ten longships closest to the Argosian ship, waving their own wolf banner.

As the byrding approached the strange magical tree-ship, Hethel the Old would stand quietly at the bow of his tiny boat behind two kneeling shieldbearers armed with spears. Another viking behind him was holding his spear vertically, waving a small black flag. The Norsemen would say and do no more, instead waiting for the Argosians to make the first move. Hethel raised a hand to amplify his voice as he called out to whatever spokesman was aboard the tree-ship. " Vem är din herre?" All of the vikings would fall silent over the water as Hethel paused before talking again.

" Jag är Hethel, son till Lord Sven, budbärare av Göthlands prins Úlfric ... Släpp dina sköldar och vapen, och min herre kommer att förhandla om vår brors säkerhet." His tone was deep. His words were strong.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: 'Taanz 'Velzzmkt Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Terem Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Argosian Soldier Character Portrait: Smuxo Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Bullridge Character Portrait: Attila, the Haughty Character Portrait: Erik Faust Character Portrait: Maelstr Character Portrait: One-Eye Character Portrait: Jim "the news man" Taylor Character Portrait: Brennan, Master-at-Arms Character Portrait: Huernn Blorb Character Portrait: Diadem Wolfe Character Portrait: Ziemlich Ganz Character Portrait: Roxanne Mellark Character Portrait: Tsukino Hinata Character Portrait: Valerie Akuma Character Portrait: Cythe Character Portrait: damion
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The Empyrean seas began to toss as something deep below began to shift.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: 'Taanz 'Velzzmkt Character Portrait: The Ulfhednar Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: The Svinfylking Character Portrait: Terem Character Portrait: The Berserkers Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Argosian Soldier Character Portrait: Smuxo Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Bullridge Character Portrait: Attila, the Haughty Character Portrait: Erik Faust Character Portrait: Maelstr Character Portrait: One-Eye Character Portrait: Jim "the news man" Taylor Character Portrait: Brennan, Master-at-Arms Character Portrait: Huernn Blorb Character Portrait: Diadem Wolfe Character Portrait: Ziemlich Ganz Character Portrait: john wicky got that sticky uh Character Portrait: Roxanne Mellark Character Portrait: Tsukino Hinata Character Portrait: Valerie Akuma Character Portrait: Cythe Character Portrait: damion
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 “ 666 ”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Livia Caesarius Character Portrait: 'Taanz 'Velzzmkt Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Terem Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Argosian Soldier Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Bullridge Character Portrait: Attila, the Haughty Character Portrait: Erik Faust Character Portrait: Maelstr Character Portrait: One-Eye Character Portrait: Jim "the news man" Taylor Character Portrait: Brennan, Master-at-Arms Character Portrait: Diadem Wolfe Character Portrait: Ziemlich Ganz Character Portrait: Crowson Character Portrait: john wicky got that sticky uh Character Portrait: Roxanne Mellark Character Portrait: Tsukino Hinata Character Portrait: Valerie Akuma Character Portrait: Cythe Character Portrait: damion
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The cataclysmic maelstrom departed and left a quivering and traumatized sea in its wake. Waves calmed, the echoes of thunder subsided, and the rains ceased. While the distant flying mountain fired across the sky, the tides of the Empyrean Sea sighed with relief and settled into their natural patterns.

But something stirred.

Deep, deep, deep into the bottommost reaches of the sea, an ancientness beyond reckoning stirred from its slumber. Down, in the darkest depths where no light has shone for thousands of years, the silt shifted. Plunged into the cold crushing pressure of the deepest crevice, tucked away in the darkest abyss beneath the dead and lifeless undercurrents of the Empyrean Sea, a siren’s song disturbed the silence.

The song arose from the abyss and drifted across the ocean floor. It’s soothing melody swam through the tides, currents, and the hidden places of the deep - and it whispered. It called.

Nameless names and wordless words. The song promised the unfathomable, spoke of the unknowable, and it called for its ancient children. Somewhere, great monstrous tentacles stretched out from dark trenches and gargantuan fish slithered from mucus-filled holes and remembered age-old plots. Swarms of foul creatures with pincers, fins, tendrils, and all manner of horrible appendages and eyes stirred in the forgotten crevices of the sea.

Maelstr’s song echoed through the deep and whispered through the tide, calling to all who would hear her voice.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 'Taanz 'Velzzmkt Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Terem Character Portrait: Argosian Soldier Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Bullridge Character Portrait: Attila, the Haughty Character Portrait: Erik Faust Character Portrait: One-Eye Character Portrait: Brennan, Master-at-Arms Character Portrait: Diadem Wolfe Character Portrait: Ziemlich Ganz Character Portrait: Crowson Character Portrait: Roxanne Mellark Character Portrait: Valerie Akuma
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After many months out on the Empyrean High Seas, the legendary Hrafn-Floki and his notorious Viking Army returned to Iskjerne Bay the same way they came almost a year ago. Hrafn-Floki discovered many relics fishing off the coast of the tiny scattered isles near the larger Empyrean Sea Beach island, similar to the relics Snorri Jonasson had discovered during his rock snail combing expedition on the Empyrean Sea Beach settlement far to the south of Iskjerne Bay at the bottom of Ellaria. Hrafn-Floki's fleet, returning from their timely victory over the ghostly pirates and cursed souls aboard the spectral galleon from their Viking longships, something Floki would be proud to display upon his return from such relentless and mysterious places on his frozen arctic sailing expedition. The pirates had fought hard under a Jolly Roger flag, but had been no match for Floki as he returned to Iskjerne Bay with only a few less heads than he had before, crushing the phantom corpses under the Black Raven banner. Now the self-proclaimed Count of the Farthest North, or Duke of the Northern High Seas, Floki and his fleet sailed away with the waves, heading south to Iskjerne's calmer fjord and boat docks.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 'Taanz 'Velzzmkt Character Portrait: Ungrulf Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Terem Character Portrait: Benjamin Crux Character Portrait: Argosian Soldier Character Portrait: Hurgor Ellrulfsson Character Portrait: Hrafn-Floki Character Portrait: Bullridge Character Portrait: Attila, the Haughty Character Portrait: Erik Faust Character Portrait: Maelstr Character Portrait: One-Eye Character Portrait: Jim "the news man" Taylor Character Portrait: Brennan, Master-at-Arms Character Portrait: Diadem Wolfe Character Portrait: Ziemlich Ganz Character Portrait: Crowson Character Portrait: Stjornkona Character Portrait: john wicky got that sticky uh Character Portrait: Roxanne Mellark Character Portrait: Tsukino Hinata Character Portrait: Valerie Akuma Character Portrait: Cythe Character Portrait: damion
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The Stjornkona drifts aimlessly over the Empyrean High Seas, arriving from the beach and heading into deeper open waters, rocking and rolling against the massive heavy waves as it disappears over the vast distant watery horizon.