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Fantasy A War of Kings: The Entombment of Emperors

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by spycoder9, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. Darth_Elu

    Darth_Elu Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2003
    11 Days After the Wedding of Fire (The Bloody Nuptials)

    The Capital
    ~Varianas Forest~

    The soft and pleasant sound of leaves and branches being casually stepped on or gently shifted about as people passed became apparent. An occasional soft snap presented itself from the foliage underfoot. But as agreeable as the soft sounds of the forest were, with the midday harmony of the resident birds adding in chorus, it was nothing to the sight. The green of the land, much alike House Eludrian's same shade on their sigil, accompanied by the gentle browns and slight touches of other hues here and there added a blissful tranquility that was simply hard to match anywhere else. Yet even that sublimity was surpassed by the feel of the forest. The grazing touch of a fern or leaf, like a subtle sigh in the breeze, the soothing sensation of the ground beneath you that was both soft yet stable in its foundation; and most of all…the exquisite and immensely delicate kisses of the sunlight tenderly placed upon the skin, teasingly flitting about the trees only to return once more as you moved. When focused on, with your eyes closed casually, it seemed to have a power all its own. Serenity, simplicity, beauty. Basic enough to be unnoticed, strong enough to move the undercurrent emotions of a perceptive soul.

    Or so it felt like to Saraé Eludrian oft times when she took a leisurely stroll through the forests her family called home. When she was a young child, she thought she was weird in thinking that. But her late grandfather, Kaden Eludrian always said that he believed Varianas Forest possessed a calming power that soothed even the most savage spirit. Whether she was alone in it or not, she was in agreement with the assessment.

    "Fine flowers, Amber! What an eye for the unique!"

    And with those words, the 'Princess of the Forest' was back once more in reality. A bittersweet thing, that. She now remembered she was among a decent sized group of others, rather amazing how she had tuned them out when she found she needed the moment of calm. But she was back and focused now.

    Madam Mavrona Nahley, her tutor since she was ever so little herself, had stopped the current trek to adore Saraé's cousin and her bouquet. Naturally, Amber Daturan had a unique eye what with the rare eyes of her own.

    "Of course. They just leapt out at me," she replied. Amber wore a little smirk on her face as she talked, while also attempting to appear like she didn't care. The mental gymnastics of a twelve year old on display. Saraé only watched, momentarily quiet as she simply took it all in.

    "It seems you have discovered a rarity as well," announced the Madam as she plucked a fiery red blossom from the midst of other pink and white buds. "Do any of you girls know the name of this flower?"

    Saraé could have announced it the moment she reached for them, but knew this test was not for her personally. Madam Nahley knew full well that she had such knowledge already.

    Her eyes of emerald took in the other girls of lesser standing through no fault of their own and watched as they fidgeted in place. She couldn't help but smile, then let her gaze briefly be distracted by two very beautiful bluebirds fluttering by. Lady Eludrian always enjoyed their music the most. Had she the freedom: she would have sit by her window in the morning, close her eyes, and just listen to them for hours.

    There was the tsk that Saraé knew was coming. "Shame, girls. It's called V'hallar's Veil. Can anyone tell me why?" This time the Madam held the plant up for them all to get a better look. This time she nearly answered but was beaten to it.

    "It's poisonous!" Tallia Farren, daughter of the Steward Benjamin Farren. A good man all told and his daughter was eager to please.

    The answer was accepted but then a third question asking where it got its name came about, this time directed squarely at her younger cousin.

    "The way it kills, Madam Nahley. Ingested, it lights a person up from the inside out."

    Saraé instinctively glanced at the plant once more and pursed her lips slightly. Not a pleasing image, but even Varianas Forest had to have its own protections after all.

    The Madam was pleased and complimented the young ladies with them before moving them along the paths once more, clucking here and there about the trees and history of the forest. Both cousins had heard it all before many a-time. They found themselves fading to the back of the line.

    Saraé turned to face Amber when she spoke up, the tone of mischief keenly noted. "I love the Madam," a wry smile, "but I love exploring even more. Care to join me, sweet cousin?"

    She adopted a stern expression, "Now, Amber. That is unbecoming of a noble lady such as yourself."

    A pause. "I'm right behind you."

    And there was a flicker of a smile on her face as she continued to look ahead, keeping watch of the Madam's position and where she was looking.

    ~Petrea Keep Dining Hall~

    The midday meal had arrived and with it came all the grown members of House Eludrian, come to eat and convene. It was a grand rarity, joyous if not for the topics in need of discussion.

    The picturesque hall played host to the noble House as the seven members in current residence slowly came together. Well, six initially. The antlered chandelier rested above them with its candles giving its relaxing glow, the product of the current lord's grandfather (Lord Kaden's father) most cherished hunt years ago. Olyana Eludrian hated the thing, but tolerated it due to her late husband's sentiment toward his father. Unfortunately for her, her eldest son seemed to inherit that emotion toward the decorative chandelier as well. ("I suppose I'll just have to resign myself to never being rid of the disgusting thing," she had once huffed.)

    The ceiling was vaulted and high, giving an already spacious room the sensation of even more space to move around in. Banners streamed from the ceiling and hung from the walls next to portraits of past members of the House. With an older one of the current lord and lady and their three children a few years past hanging over the mantle of the fireplace that was off to the side.

    Taran Eludrian was glad of his brother, Jaesythe Eludrian's presence. And that of his wife, Erika. Though the circumstances of their arrival from Valona didn't do much to alleviate the tension of goings on around Mirwyth.

    Lucia Brendle dead. He took a small breath and closed his eyes as he waited, mulling over everything silently. They were waiting for his mother to arrive, which was not exactly the most unusual thing in the world.

    "Always arrive late. It commands attention." Yes, that was a mantra of her mother's without a doubt. And one she still lived by. There was a reason people never took Lady Olyana lightly, especially if they were aware of how formidable she truly was. Age seemed to only make her more intimidating to others rather than frail. Those unsuspecting of how she was usually ended up rather worse for wear by the end of the meeting…lest she took an uncommon liking to them. But with her, as with his late father, Taran knew his mother was always: Family First. In all things.

    Taran could feel the eyes of his oldest son and heir, Lafayette Eludrian, but said nothing for now. Jaesythe was feeding grapes to his wife last time he checked. He was glad they were a happy and comfortable couple. They had meshed far quicker than he and his own wife, Lady Aurora Eludrian had when they had wed.

    His sister, Jessica Daturan nee Eludrian, was as quiet and contemplative as he. They were often alike, Jessica and him.

    Suddenly he felt Aurora's pale fingertips on his own hand that he had clasped unconsciously beneath his chin, bringing his attention back to the table and opening his eyes. His blue eyes found her green ones. Even when he was uncertain of her at their betrothal, and she of him, he could never say he didn't enjoy looking into those eyes. Taran almost smiled, but the situation kept him from doing so.

    "Taran," she murmured, "I don't think we can wait much longer on your mother. There's many important things we need to-"

    That was when Taran's head, along with the others, was then pulled over to where his mother made her entrance right then for all to see and hear. How typical of her, even at seventy-nine years of age, she commanded the room and made her presence more than otherwise would have been. Always arrive late. It commands attention.

    "How could anyone want to discuss anything important without me?" Lady Olyana smiled from the doorway before making her way to the table opposite of Taran with relative ease, the tapping of her cane methodically proceeding alongside her.

    "My son knows his mother's still useful, even with her wrinkled skin and achy back." She clapped her hands and the servants immediately jumped to give her her water and apple pie. Taran himself had some cherry pie before him, but that was neither here nor there.

    "Welcome, Mother," Taran greeted her warmly, "I believe we all know that."

    He smiled and kept it at that, Lady Olyana could be rather succinct at times, and instead of offering more words just then he simply focused on briefly grasping Aurora's hand to give a gentle squeeze before moving to his silverware, now that all were present. His mind was on the conversation still however.

    "It's nice to eat with you again, Mother." Jaesythe had wisely stopped feeding Erika the moment their mother entered, Taran noted.

    As expected, he was waved off due to the gravity of events. "Yes, yes, sure, it's nice. No time for formalities, we're all family here. I say we get straight to what we're all here for. In particular, what has happened up north." She eyed everyone seated. "This wedding business…not only is the Kildare boy dead, but Rolmar as well. It seems like every king that started this foolish war is gone, and yet it continues."

    Aurora's eyes looked downward in both sadness and being uncomfortable due to the events of the so-called 'Wedding of Fire.' She felt like she had already had enough detailing of what transpired from those who came to speak to her husband.

    Taran's fork set down slowly on his plate and his mouth set in a hard frown. He also had the distinct feeling it was a face he'd be wearing more and more often in the coming days.

    "What happened at the Ravenford?" Jessica murmured, "I've heard awful things…"

    Jaesythe jumped in right then, his head shaking in disapproval as he spoke. "Desertmen burned it. Like the b*****ds do with everything."

    "I always liked Claryssa Bristal." Jessica brushed her hair back sadly, her emotions coming to the fore now as tears began to bubble forth. "She was a strong girl, all things considered."

    Taran nearly mentioned that he too faintly remembered the young girl and in a good light, but his mother responded again with the information that he too had been given, if just recently. Somehow he wouldn't be surprised if she had learned first.

    "Son, you're incorrect. The Kildares have her, and the story she's spelling is that pirates sieged her castle, not desertmen."

    Jaesythe was swiftly stopped before he could speak further as he attempted to do so.

    "I would actually like to hear what the Lord of our House has to say about everything."

    As one, the table looked to Taran.

    His countenance held silent with his hard frown for a few lingering moments. To him it felt like the shadows of the room seemed to grasp onto him, weighing him down with a nameless despair at the senseless bloodshed and the situation it was putting his family in.

    His hands came back to grasp underneath his chin before he finally spoke on the matter.

    "A fool's war ends with the rise of wisdom."

    "And where exactly will this wisdom come from, Taran?" questioned Jaesythe. "For that we need the truth of what happened there."

    "What Mother speaks of is the information I received as well, I believe it to be the truth, as astonishing as it seems."

    "What would pirates gain from a full out siege of a place like Ravenford?" Jessica asked, her blonde hair shifting as she looked about the table.

    "Loot and anything else they can grab. They're pirates," grumbled Jaesythe darkly. His strong arms folded themselves across his chest then and one could well imagine the man reaching over and throttling one of the pirates right then had they been in attendance.

    "It is an unusual tactic for them," Taran allowed, "but not entirely unheard of. The first thing I would remind everyone of is this: We are still friendly with both those of the Desert and of the Mountains. We are lucky that Kaerys was not in attendance I believe."

    Taran gave a look to his son after his statement about the equal friendliness to make sure he nodded his understanding before looking back at the others, namely his mother. She had a look of patient anticipation.

    The Lord of Varianas Forest dropped his hands at last, "I will be sending ravens to both parties to extend my condolences as well as restate our desire to be a neutral ground if they wish to make use of it to talk with each other."

    A sigh from the elderly matriarch. "Oh, yes. Let us bring them here and have blood on our carpets. I'm sure it'd match with the drapes of the guest chambers." She ate a small bite of apple pie and wiped her mouth with a napkin before continuing.

    "Taran, this neutrality cannot last. This…Wedding of Fire should show you what is happening all over Mirwyth."

    The Lord took a sip of his wine unsure it was for its taste or its comfort anymore. The war had been bad enough. But this just amplified everything.

    "All the more reason to avoid the flames," he replied simply. "Someone has to be the voice of reason. Or be the enablers."

    Lady Olyana's eyebrows rose. "And that is to be us?"

    The question had no answer given to it and its pointedness hung in the air a few seconds.

    "What of Barden?" asked Aurora, her eyes glancing to her husband. She didn't like pointing it out, but it had to be done.

    Taran sighed deeply this time and rubbed his temple, while Erika was the one to speak up briefly.

    "Surely they would not harm him simply because you wish to stay reasonable?"

    Her husband placed a hand over hers, "War is a beast of emotion and rage. There's not much room for reason."

    "You're all forgetting another important detail," Olyana spoke thereby gaining everyone's attention once more, "The timing of this pirate siege. Hardly seems like an accident to me." She sniffed in disgust at her words.

    "What are you suggesting, Mother?"

    "I'm not suggesting anything. I just don't like it."

    Taran frowned deeper than before and his stomach felt like it had unpleasantly turned to stone with the advent of this conversation as he had expected it would. Anticipation made it no less worse. His mother was clearly suggesting something but he couldn't fathom what exactly. She worked in ways that baffled him at times, yet he couldn't say she was wrong. Not often at any rate.

    Before delving further into the mess before them and finding a suitable response to the details thrown at him just now, he first turned to his son a second time.

    "You've been silent, Lafayette. Do you have anything to add?"

    It was both a way to give him more time to think, admittedly, but Taran always enjoyed getting him to take part in the discussions as well. One day it would prove to be invaluable after all. Plus, Lafayette sometimes saw things from an angle he hadn't thought of, which he appreciated.

    Eyes now were placed on the Heir of House Eludrian.

    Tag: @spycoder9
     
  2. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Four Days After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)


    The Capital
    Shatterstone Bay


    The Pirate Fleet


    They were a defeated bunch, Fleet came to learn.

    In the days since the Sack of the Ravenford, Fleet had been drug back to what was left of the pirate brigade. They were a drowned, bloodied, wounded bunch, and also, Fleet saw, highly off-kilter. The captain, Tytos Ashemark, had procured a rather sizable amount of a certain plant (Fleet had no knowledge of the names of such an item), and through it he created his own concoction. Every man on the boat was given a bit of it, and for hours afterward they were utterly obedient.

    On the first day, Fleet had been taken onboard one of the ships. They soon realized he was in too much pain to be of use. One considered throwing him overboard while tied to an anchor, but the captain said he had potential.

    It was in the makeshift tents set up along the shore that Fleet was lain. He had suffered several wounds from the battle, and though most of them faded over time, the headache never seemed to truly abate.

    For several days Fleet had lain in one of those tents, treated upon by a golden haired man who rarely spoke a word. Others were with Fleet, moaning in their sheets, but many succumbed to their wounds. Every night, the boy fell asleep to the cries and shrieks of pain from all around him. And in his sleep, his dreams were haunted by memories of everything that had happened, of his Little Lady naked and dead, of Lorain surrounded by men, of Kaili dying in the little town, of his orphanage…

    The days had passed in and out like a clockwork of suffering.

    It was that morning that Fleet had awoken feeling a tad better. His headache still remained, but it was a dull beast, lingering in the vestiges of his skull. The long-haired man treating him noticed his improvement and initiated conversation.

    [​IMG]

    “Good morning,” he smiled, “You’ve had a rough couple days.”


    [hr][/hr]

    Desertmen Camp


    Lorain Ashkey and Ser Vince Sand watched.

    The sun had only begun to rise over the water when they resumed their hideaway on the edge of the beach, protected well by thick foliage.

    They had been watching for three days.

    “I think it’s about time,” the knight looked to Lorain. His smile was grim, but he wanted the same revenge she did. Of the desertmen that had entered the Ravenford, only thirty remained. Lorain had found them exactly where Ser Caliban had directed them to go, still waiting for their commander to arrive.

    When she’d delivered the news, the hopelessness had sunk even lower. Many wanted to return home. They were defeated. It was over.

    Ser Vince had been Lorain’s staunchest supporter.

    He had dispatched one of the men on one of the last remaining horses. There was a missive on him, detailing exactly for the Lady Ginnifer what had taken place at the Ravenford and requesting for more troops.

    They followed the wide path the pirates had left, but at a slow pace. Thirty desertmen might have survived the battle, but they were a wounded bunch. Many had never even fought in a true battle, none in one as bloody as the Ravenford had been. One offed himself with a handful of berries they all knew were poisonous.

    They made camp along the line of trees that bordered the shores. Many of the soldiers had wanted to storm the ships immediately, but Ser Vince advised them to wait. The pirates had been just as wounded as the desertmen. They wouldn’t be fleeing.

    A few of the pirates patrolled their grounds every night and day, but they never went past the tree line. This gave Ser Vince and the others perfect time to develop a plan. It was a footsoldier that came up with a strategy. It involved transforming tree limbs into torches. Ser Vince was skeptical, but the man had come from a family of crafters in the desert. If all went well, the desertmen would cast their makeshift torches onto the ships, consuming the crafts and the pirates alike.

    “We’ll find Ser Caliban’s brother, and your boy,” Ser Vince looked at Lorain, bushy golden mustache dotted with sweat, “We’ll find ‘em, and we’ll burn the rest of ‘em alive.”


    [hr][/hr]

    Near the Bay


    Ser Aran and his men were close.

    It had been a long ride, with frequent stops along the way. Their mission had been as quiet as one could be though, for there could be no warning of their arrival.

    Ser Brennun Olves was Aran’s right hand knight for this mission, a third son of a third son in House Olves. Six feet tall at the least, bulging with muscle and covered in hair black as sin, he was still a younger man in the scheme of things. He had been serving in Valona’s Guard for years though, and he and Ser Aran were well acquainted.

    [​IMG]

    “We’re close, Ser,” Brennun grumbled from his black stallion.

    The woods were growing sparse as they approached beaches and shoreline. There was still no sight of the sea, but there was a decent amount of noise.

    The noise closest to them was of whispers.

    Through several trees, men sat huddled around a burnt out campfire. They were dirty men in battered armor, at least twenty of them, possibly more. There was a man in the trees watching, but he had fallen into a deep slumber. The rest of them were munching on leaves and fruits, keeping their voices as low as possible.

    Ser Aran still heard them though.

    Most notably, he would see the way their tattered banner swayed... an orange fox on a lime field...

    Desertmen.



    TAG: greyjedi125, Ktala, Jabba-wocky
     
    Trieste, Vehn, Ktala and 3 others like this.
  3. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Fleet ‘the pirate’ Ashkey
    Shatterstone Bay

    Fleet was not sure how much longer he could take it. His captors were strangely afflicted, in mind and body. They chewed a strange herb that made them docile to the captain and brought an unfocused madness to their eyes. It was very disturbing. Though glad to be away from the mentally numbed lot, his wounds were such that kept him from even thinking of escaping.

    His head throbbed constantly, sharp jagged pains stabbed at him, blurring his vision and causing him to grit his teeth. He’d lost count of the days, but had some idea due to the growing length of his hair and his nails.

    The constant groaning and shrieking of the pained and dying inside the tent, became insufferable, as did the stench. Was he left here to die as well? He wondered sullenly. Fleet no longer cared to hear their confessions or fevered rantings. He needed to recover from his wounds and get out. What made things more strenuous for him, was the fact that he got very little sleep, or rather, stayed awake for as long as he could. There was no telling who would try to kill him as he slept. The former orphan did witness on several occasions the changes that overcame those who were near death. Not many handled it well.

    Closings his eyes and sleeping brought no relief either. He did not dream, but had constant nightmares. He would relive all the wanton killings that took place at the Ravenford, the cutting and rending of human flesh, the smell of burning corpses. Even worse, he would experience being separated from Lorain all over again.He would see her trying to get to him in vain. Worse than that, the image of Lady Claryssa, dead and bare for the world to see. The sight alone broke him every time. He had not been able to protect his little star at all. Not her, not his mum, and not himself.

    Often his grief would wake him and he’d have to hide his face, lest he was spotted. But other times, he would wake up angry-because he would dream of the orphanage and the lashes he’d suffered at the hands of Father Tucker.

    That one was still on his ‘List’, just as surely as the Pirate Captain was. He’d heard his name. Tytos something or the other. Ser Caliban had been on the ‘List’ as well, but now….well, he no longer needed to be on it.

    Dead bodies were carted away, day in and out and sometimes replaced with other wounded men. Fleet remained within the tent, but felt some of his strength returning finally. He was now pretty sure who he had to thank for this. Someone who belonged on the ‘good list’, or at least appeared to thus far. He was the only soul he saw aside from the sick, the dead or the dying.

    The day came when he could finally sit up on his own, albeit slowly. It didn’t feel as if his head would suddenly burst like and overripe fruit, though he still felt woozy from moving and the throbbing persisted. Fleet silently wondered if he would ever see his Mum again. He hadn’t heard or seen hide or hair concerning Ser Willis, nor did he know which of the grizzled men plied with the herb would he be. Perhaps he was still chained up down in the ship’s brig. If this was true, then that would definitely complicate matters.

    The long hair man who had tended to his wounds and nursed him entered the tent just then. Fleet covered his eyes, for the brightness of the morning sun. His eyes were now accustomed to the perpetual twilight inside the tent.

    “Good morning,” the man smiled. “You’ve had a rough couple days.”

    Fleet slowly nodded and accepted his morning drink of water. It had become somewhat of a ritual since he would often wake up drenched in sweat from his dreams. Consequently, he would be very thirsty.

    Fleet’s blue eyes regarded the man as he drank from the water skin. He studied his manner and his eyes and found they were not glazed over, nor was he slack jawed like the others. These were signs sported by those who partook of the herb.

    “Ah feel a lil’ better.” He confessed, looking up at the man.

    Satisfied, he handed over the water skin and offered a small smile in gratitude.

    “You’ve been kind t’ me…” He stated looking away for a moment. Fleet paused, making sure none of the others were paying too much attention to what was being said.

    “…But I don know who to thank.” He added, now looking back.

    “So, what do ah call yu?” He asked as casually as he could.


    Tag: @spycoder9
     
  4. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005


    And so it continues.
     
  5. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    IC: Ginnifer Kildare
    Dawnsgrace, Desert



    One disadvantage of being nobility was that people expected you to look good...all the time. Never mind the fact you'd been in the Desert for two days. You still had to stop out of sight of the city to shake off your traveling cloak, brush out your hair, and travel the remainder of the way under the sun and arrive looking fresh and composed. Not that anyone was going to feel badly for Ginnifer given that she had a lady's maid to do all this for her.

    Even though this had been how she had traveled her entire life, today it felt like unnecessary delay. With the way Mirwyth was these days, she didn't like being out in the open. There were too many dangers and enough of them had already been pointed at her family. She had one brother dead and a cousin kidnapped. On one side the Rolmars were openly hostile to her for reasons that she still didn't fully understand (which was even scarier than their hostility). On the other side was the might of the loyalist monarchy. Lest she forget the traditional scourge of the Desert, pirates were still picking at the coast as evidenced by Willis's kidnapping.

    In other words, sitting in the open while Sophee brushed her hair felt like a big risk to be taking.

    Yet there was no other choice. To show up at Dawnsgrace anything less than beautifully coiffed and styled would be to suggest that the Kildares were coming down in the world, that the recent events had ground them down. It might be only peasants who would see her, but peasants could talk. Words had a tendency to travel. Should their enemies hear of anything that smacked of weakness, it would be nothing short of a tactical, if not strategic, error.

    Unfortunately, as Ginnifer rode into the city, what she saw made her wonder if looking so good hadn't been just as serious a mistake.

    Dawnsgrace was different. There was something in the city, in its architecture and in its people, that spoke to change. It seemed that her father's rule had changed the Desert capital. Her previous entrances to the Oasis had attracted attention as it passed by, but this was different. The buildings had disgorged themselves of their inhabitants so all could view Ginnifer and her siblings as they rode to the castle--a much smaller castle. New structures had sprung up. Ginnifer saw the orphans standing outside them, but she also didn't see. Her attention had been seized by what lay before her. She now understood.

    Her father was waiting to greet them. The people had come to see a family reunion.

    This was not what she had expected, nor was it wanted. She would have to greet him in public. No no no no. This would have been much simpler if they had met inside the palace. The ramifications of this moment could have far-reaching import--and Ginnifer didn't have much time to think it all through. She was already being helped from her steed as the people cheered around them. Ginnifer made a quick estimation. Twenty steps from here to where Martyn waited. She had less than half a minute to decide what to do.

    If her mother was still alive and in this position she would have been appalled. Then again, if her mother was alive Emilie probably would be standing at the top of the stairs, not Martyn. But she wasn't. Ginnifer was here. Three seconds wasted.

    Curtseying was no good. The implications would hem her in.

    Kissing his hand--same problem. Fifteen seconds left.

    If she didn't make a proper greeting as befit a daughter of the King, the people would judge her. Though they cheered now, they would think her an ungrateful daughter. All of them had fathers. Disrespecting them was a grave sin. Ten seconds.

    If the Fair Groves, the one thing that she was sworn to protect, wasn't tied up in this exchange it would be so easy.

    Wait.

    It was easy. And with five seconds to spare.

    Ginnifer stepped up to her father and kissed him on the cheek, putting her arms around him in a hug. "Father," she said, "my brother, your son, has joined the great light."

    She was just a heartbroken daughter, greeting her father. So simple. Greater questions could be deferred until later, when they had privacy, when they could talk about the future. When they could be honest.

    In front of the people, you could never be truly honest. When you were the Lady of the Fair Groves, things were never simple.

    TAG: Stryker01
     
  6. JediMasterAnne

    JediMasterAnne Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2004
    6 Days After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)
    The Mountains Of Mirwyth
    Shodaire, the Tower of Stone
    Courtyard


    The Wedding of King Karridan Rolmar and Lady Caetherene Gideon

    IC: Princess Safia Kildare

    She had spent a long time debating with herself over whether or not she was going to attend Karridan’s wedding. She certainly had little desire to, and almost wished he hadn’t told her about it—he had neglected to mention Desmond’s funeral to her until after the fact, suspecting correctly that she would not have wanted to go.

    People would understand if she didn’t go. She had plenty of perfectly valid reasons not to attend. Weddings had been utterly ruined for her after the horrific betrayal she had suffered at her own. Her husband was dead, slain at the altar at the hand of her sire (she would never call Desmond “father” again; he had lost any and all right to the title). Every one of Lawrence’s compatriots had also been killed, innocent men who had only been in the wrong place at the wrong time. She had been raped. And that wasn’t even taking into account Nathaniel and Kalera’s deaths. She could even legitimately claim illness if she so desired—her headache wasn’t letting up. She was entitled to her privacy, she was allowed to mourn, to avoid others if she wanted to—and she very much wanted to.

    But this was not just any someone else’s wedding. It was Karridan’s. Her brother. Her King, now. Any of the lords and ladies still at the Tower would be expected to be in attendance, and as the Princess, and sister of the King, Safia did have a certain responsibility to go. It would be a slight if she didn’t go—not that she was really all that concerned about whether she offended Karridan or not—and some might start to question her loyalties.

    Furthermore, it was also Caetherene’s wedding, and Caetherene, at least, Safia was certain, was absolutely innocent of any wrongdoing. Caetherene was her friend; if anything, Safia could go for her sake.

    And just because she went, didn’t mean she had to stay. She could go down for the ceremony, wish Caetherene well—she didn’t much feel like talking to Karridan, and she really didn’t feel like socializing with the other guests—then return to her chambers.

    Black wasn’t exactly ideal attire for a wedding, but Safia felt the fact that she was attending at all was enough people-pleasing for one day. It had been less than a week since Lawrence’s death, and this was the first time she’d actually gotten dressed since then, as well as her first public appearance. She would show them that she mourned her husband, that she respected him in death, that she did not approve of what had happened that day.

    As she made her way down to the courtyard where Karridan and Caetherene’s wedding would take place, she quickly began to realize just how bad a turn her health had taken in the last several days. Poking around her room for the past few days, staying in bed most of the time, didn’t require much energy, so she hadn’t really paid much mind to her lack of it. Under-eating and not getting enough sleep, however, had made her weak and tired, and the staircases between her rooms and the courtyard in question left her feeling a bit light-headed. A couple of times, she even had to stop and sit down for a few moments to recover before continuing.

    As she finally neared the ground floor, she noticed two men standing guard at the bottom of the stairs. They seemed to be waiting for her, but she still paused a few steps up. Rickard was dead, but she still bore the emotional scars of what he had done to her. Men were now cause for caution. “Gentlemen,” she greeted them politely.

    “Princess Safia,” one of them acknowledged, both bowing in her presence. They led her out of the castle without taking her arms, and they made sure to keep a certain distance between her and them. The looks shared between them were uncertain, almost fearful. The courtyard they led her to was a snowy escape, the last vestiges of a winter that hated relinquishing its grip on the mountains. Between two of the tallest pine trees in the small wood, Karridan already stood. Those gathered in sight of the wedding were but a fraction of those who attended Safia’s a week before. Hlaine Gideon had remained, as the marriage between Caetherene and Karridan solidified his allegiance to the Mountain crown. The pompous Lance Bodderly and his equally sized wife Lauree had remained behind, along with a few of the other minor houses throughout the Mountains. The striking difference was that everyone there stood, as was done normally in weddings of the mountains.

    “Princess,” a man breathed beside her. His presence was both unexpected and unwelcome. Ser Malcolm Granville laid his hand gingerly on the crook of her elbow. “Our King wants you up front.”

    Safia tensed, reflexively pulling away, crossing her arms in front of her almost as if to hug herself. Why had Karridan put him on duty? She still tried to stay polite, however, though the sight of him made her skin crawl. "Thank you, ser, if you would just lead the way, I am not comfortable with physical contact from anyone at the moment," she explained. Least of all from you.

    "Ah, of course," He withdrew his hands from her, grinning all the while. "How could any of us forget?" Ser Malcolm led the way to the front of the aisle, where Ectarion stood as well. "Stand by your brother and smile your pretty smiles, princess." As the knight went to withdraw, he shared a long glance with her blonde-haired brother, one that was unreadable. It made the knight's smile fall away though, which was a present in and of itself.

    "Let us suffer this together," Ectarion whispered from beside her. He continued to stare at the masses, though his attention was on none of them.

    Safia did not care for the way Malcolm spoke to her; perhaps her mood was just making her take things too personally, but it had almost seemed as if he had been mocking her. She did not understand the look that passed between Malcolm and Ectarion, but at least it got rid of that creepy grin.

    And as for Ectarion…he was just as guilty as Karridan in terms of his involvement in Lawrence’s death. Maybe more so—thinking about it, he had probably known all day what was going to happen at the wedding; that was why he’d been so nice to her.

    She was actually a little surprised to see him here, considering that he generally didn’t get along with Karridan. Her sense of duty had brought her down here when she would have rather not, but recent events had proved that she had higher morals than Ectarion. Neither duty nor brotherly bond had brought Ectarion here. Most likely, Karridan had pulled rank and forced Ectarion’s attendance.

    Had they not been in public, Safia might have pointed out that Ectarion was part of the reason for her suffering, but she wasn’t going to start a fight with him here. One ugly wedding experience was more than enough for her. For now, she’d bite her tongue. She had nothing nice to say to her brother, so she would say nothing at all.

    In the uncomfortable silence that followed, the entire yard waited for its bride. When she finally emerged from the castle and into the courtyard, even breath went hush. Caetherene Gideon was a beautiful girl, full in the cheeks, with a wedding gown that accentuated the slim frame she kept hidden beneath normal dresses. She was a nervous bride, her lips twitching as they struggled to stay up.

    From the sides of the ceremony, flute players began to play away. In unison, they sounded almost angelic, welcoming the bride between all those gathered. She held in her hands a vine, one that dragged the ground as she walked.

    As she reached the aisle, she looked to Safia. For a moment, her smile quivered even more. Her eyes, already glistening in the chilly spring air, let loose a single tear. She wiped it as she turned back to her groom.

    “We stand in the sight of these ancient oaks, ringed with the ancestry of our forefathers past, to unite Karridan Rolmar and Caetherene Gideon.” The priest, a solemn man bedecked humbly in a solemn brown cloak, gestured to the forest and the bride and groom. “From this day forward, all allegiances will rank second in their lives. Karridan, do you so solemnly swear?”

    “I do.”

    “Caetherene, do you so solemnly swear?”

    “I do.”

    “From this day forward, they will only find love for each other. Karridan, do you so solemnly swear?”

    “I do.”

    “Caetherene, do you so…”

    The list went on, with bride and groom agreeing, essentially selling their lives to one another.

    “In the sight of all men past and all men present,” he took the vine from Caetherene, binding it around their wrists. As they grasped each other’s hand, the priest wound it up to their shoulders. “I declare the union of Karridan Rolmar and Caetherene Gideon final.” They raised their vine-wound arms together, and then came together for a kiss. It was short, passionless, and over before it had started.

    “You may now congratulate the bride and groom.” The priest stepped away, as the lords and ladies of the crowd came together on the newly married. It was a flurry of speaking and crying, with the bride and the groom pulled apart. Their vine lay on the ground, being trampled as the people gathered grappled for their attention. Ectarion snatched it up before it could be crushed anymore.

    “Give this to her,” Ectarion gestured to Caetherene, “will you? My time here’s up.”

    TAG: None (Second part to follow in a week or so. Again, combined post w/ spycoder9)
     
  7. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    2 Weeks After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)


    The Mountains
    Shodaire


    Throne Room


    Being brought before a king, even as an executioner, is a noteworthy event.

    Most of the men and women of the mountains lived in the villages, farming or sewing or crafting, spending the majority of their lives with a dim hope of seeing their king. Before House Rolmar had rebelled, the commoners could be assured they would never see their king. Fenton Reynard was not one to journey too far from home, especially on the long trek to the mountains, so he was but a powerful man people only heard of.

    Geoffrey Rhayaad’s life, like many of the mountainmen, became much more interesting with the splintering of the kingdom. With war breaking loose left and right, many took an advantage of roles needed much more now than they had been before.

    The throne room was of a dark stone. Bordering its walls were a string of torches that provided a decent amount of light for all in the room.

    [​IMG]

    Karridan Rolmar sat on the throne, pitch black hair trailing to his shoulders, as he viewed Geoffrey enter. He was a quiet king, a king without a crown, and a king with so much blood already on his hands.

    “The Mountains thank you for your service in… dispatching our enemies,” The king looked down at his hands. He seemed both old and young at the same time, face etched with pain and bags of sleepless nights evident under his eyes. “You are efficient at what you do, I’ve seen that already. “

    The king sighed.

    “It seems as if we’re going to need you more… but I can only explain why, if I know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and if you’re going to keep doing so. There’s been so many betrayals in the last few moons. I cannot bear anymore.”

    Karridan Rolmar stared him down as he waited for a reply.




    TAG: Vehn
     
  8. Ktala

    Ktala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Lorain Ashkey (Lor)
    Desertmen Camp


    Fire.

    For three days, Lorain's world was being consumed in an all consuming fire of anger and purpose. She slept little, drinking and eating what was necessary. For her only want was to hold Fleet within her arms once again, and to watch the pirates ships burn.. preferably with the pirates still on board.

    Lorain thought back to three days ago. Ser Caliban had died in her arms, finally human after all. She had trekked, to the spot where the man did have the sense to tell the men to regroup in case anything happened. Over a hundred had started. What Lorain found however, was far below that number. Only thirty of the proud desert warrior remained.

    And when she told them what had happened to Ser Caliban, many had wanted to leave. Lorain could not really blame them. Luckily for her, others cried out for blood as well.

    Ser Vince had been Lorain’s staunchest supporter. He had sent a rider back, to inform the others of what had happened, and to request more troops. The other soldiers and Lorain had followed the wide path the pirates had left. It was not a difficult one to follow. Blood and bodies littered the trail. They moved slow, and Lorain bit her lip. These men were not as they had been before, and Lorain guessed that many had never been in a battle that bloody before. Heck, SHE had not been in one either. The other battle she had witnessed had been a slaughter, no fighter at all to assist. As they trekked on, one soldier killed himself, his wounds, more than he could take. And when they had finally caught up to the monsters who had taken her son, she like many of the soldiers had wanted to storm the ships immediately. But they were tired. And as bloodied as the pirates who camped both on the ships, and on the shoreline in many small tents. Lorain wondered where her child was. She prayed that he was upon the shoreline.

    So the staunch group made camp along the line of trees that bordered the shores. The trees were thick and plentiful, and no pirates crossed them. Ser Vince advised them to wait. The wounded pirates wouldn’t be fleeing anytime soon. So for three days, she held herself, feeling the fire rage within her.If Lorain thought she burned when her Da died, had found a new level of hate when they had taken her child. She could not begin to imagine what Fleet was possibly feeling. But they would pay. For every single wrong done to him.

    So Ser Vince Sand and Lorain watched. And they learned the habits of their enemy. So when the sun had only begun to rise over the water when they resumed their hideaway on the edge of the beach, protected well by thick foliage.

    Three days.

    “I think it’s about time,” the knight looked to Lorain. His smile was grim. Lorain slowly nodded, matching his smile. "Aye." Three days, with little to do but eat and
    heal themselves. But they had also planned. A clever foot soldier that came up with a strategy. It involved transforming tree limbs into torches. If all went well, the
    desertmen would cast their makeshift torches onto the ships, consuming the crafts and the pirates alike. "We need them to catch fire quickly. Or else we might be having to deal with worse things." she whispered, nodding her agreement. Three days gave them time to build many torches.

    “We’ll find Ser Caliban’s brother, and your boy,” Ser Vince looked at Lorain, bushy golden mustache dotted with sweat, “We’ll find ‘em, and we’ll burn the rest of ‘em
    alive.”

    "They can't be allowed to escape this time." Lorain said softly. They have caused enough death, in the name of a mad king." Lorain's eyes were dark. She moved slowly towards the burnt out fire. Reaching in, she scoped up some of the ashes, that lay within, and rubbed them on her face, darkening it.

    The dogs that held her son deserved death.

    They have earned it.

    And she would help deliver it, gods willing.



    TAG: greyjedi125, @spycoder9, Jabba-wocky
     
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  9. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    2 Weeks After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)

    The Mountains
    Shodaire

    Throne Room

    Geoffrey Rhayaad had been summoned once more.

    Gone was his quiet life in the village of Harrowmond, gone were the days of coming home to his family and kin, gone were the days of lifting his head high with pride at the end of a long day of good work. The work he did was skilled work, a work he did with his hands, the work of a butcher. People knew him by name back home. People respected him. If only they knew the truth.

    Geoffrey was a kind man, a loving man, a family man. The urge to provide for his family was strong. The urge to protect them was even stronger. He lived a double life. He lived a life that was covered underneath the black cowl of an executioner. Those same people who respected him would just as easily turn on him if they knew what his true role in this wretched existence was. He was sure he had sent many of their kinsmen to the afterlife in one way, shape, or form. Fortunately he was good at keeping secrets. Fortunately he only surrounded himself with people who were just as cautious as he was about keeping his true profession quiet.

    Geoffrey remembered a time early on in his public career when he had just wrapped up a lengthy execution, much to the delight of the assembled crowds, and the king at the time had complained at the fee Geoffrey charged. The execution had required a skillful touch as a delicate balance had to be maintained between dragging out the death of the victim while also putting on a good show for the crowds. Timing was critical. Timing was everything. When the moment to end the victim's life came, when the moment of his personal glory arrived, Geoffrey had performed his tasks beautifully. He could still hear the cheers, feel the rush and excitement of a job well done, and feel the pulsating of the victim's heart in his hands as the last vestiges of life left with each passing beat.

    That had been years ago during the glory days. During the days when he had been at his peak in talent. During the days when he had known every possible way to assist a man in meeting his end as painfully and as horribly as imaginable. Since then the requests had been few and far between. Work had slowly dried up as the cheers of the crowds faded away like a distant song in the mountains.

    Geoffrey was considering ending his stately duties when the new King of the Mountains, Karridan Rolmar, had requested his services. A request to end the life of that dog Ser Rickard of House Dondare. The crimes were not important to Geoffrey. He didn't care what the man did. He didn't care what method of execution was preferred. All he cared about was getting paid. Was putting on a good show. A show that was sure to please the people. One that was sure to draw quite the audience.

    Geoffrey's lips curled into the hint of a smile as he remembered.
    Remembered Ser Rickard's last words. "You're wrong," Ser Rickard cried out, "It's all wrong, I was saving her! I was protecting her from him--"

    He didn't care. He never cared. He'd heard all the reasons in the world why men committed sins against one another. Some were truly repentant. Some met their deaths with defiance. Some, like Rickard, proclaimed their innocence to the very end as if that would somehow stay his hand. They were so wrong. They were always so very wrong.

    Rickard had moaned as the woolen bag was placed over his head. His whimperings were amusing. His pitiful cries were absolutely pathetic. There had been a time when Geoffrey would've left the bag off. Had it been a traitor of House Rolmar he may very well had taken such liberties. People wanted to see eyes bulge out of their sockets on those particular deaths. People wanted to see the traitor suffer to the very end. That wasn't the request he'd received from Karridan Rolmar. No, today, the bag would be used and the noose would wrench Rickard's neck asunder. Perhaps there was some mercy to be found here.

    Geoffrey looked to Karridan, his lord, the man who owed him money once this job was done. With a slight nod of his head Karridan had given the order. Geoffrey double checked the noose to make sure it didn't have too much slack in it and then proceeded to kick Rickard over the side over the battlements. He shook his head slightly as he heard the proverbial snap. The snap of death. A quick death. A death that could've been prolonged had the drop not been as severe. A death that might've put on an even greater element of entertainment.

    He closed his eyes as Rickard's body smacked against the castle walls. The crowd cheered and hollered, screamed and cried out for more. Yes, he loved to please the crowd. Yes, he loved to put on a good show. He'd earned his keep today.

    He sighed as he opened his eyes. Nobody had the stomach anymore to see a true hanging. To see a man kick and swing from the end of a taut rope, hear the strain of the gibbet. To see his bodily fluids fly out of his body as his face turned purple, his eyes bulge and water with the costly effects of asphyxiation. It could take minutes to kill a man that way. True skill was if an executioner could stave off the victim losing consciousness before greeting death right in the face. Such kills were hard to learn. Such kills were hard to master.

    The memory faded away.

    Geoffrey knelt before his lord, the King of the Mountains, as he listened to the words of a man who had seen him perform his duties with great skill.

    “The Mountains thank you for your service in… dispatching our enemies,” The king looked down at his hands. He seemed both old and young at the same time, face etched with pain and bags of sleepless nights evident under his eyes. “You are efficient at what you do, I’ve seen that already. “

    “It seems as if we’re going to need you more… but I can only explain why, if I know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and if you’re going to keep doing so. There’s been so many betrayals in the last few moons. I cannot bear anymore.”

    "I serve the Mountains, my lord," Geoffrey replied, "and those who would pay for my services. I am pleased to hear that you were not disappointed in how I carried out your orders of execution. In answer to your question I myself have wondered why I continue to do these burdensome duties. In the end I have realized that the profession I have chosen is not for the faint hearted but for the strong, for the incorruptible, and for those seeking justice. When my axe falls, when I tighten a rope or cut with a knife, I am ridding this wretched world of those who would destroy it from within.

    "Yes, my lord, it is true I have thought about putting aside my axe, of taking off my cowl, of returning home to my family, but every time I move in that direction I am halted by the strong hand of fate. I am halted by an understanding that I am called to this line of work, for better or for worse, and that I owe it to my family and to those whose lives I take to perform my duties well. I cannot walk away now. I cannot turn my back on what is my true path.

    "You need not worry about a betrayal from me. I am not after land. I am not after a title. I am not after power. I am but a loyal servant that ever desires to do your bidding. All I want is to be able to support my family. As long as you need me, sire, I am yours to command."

    Geoffrey remained staring at the stone floor. He hoped this explained it all. He hoped the explanation would at least give him a new lease on a long and tired life.
    Tag: spycoder9
     
  10. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    One Week After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)


    The Prairies
    The Dragonwood


    The Tottering Turtle


    “Celebrate, Raven,” Ser Amery pressed his mug into her hand, “If only for a night. We’re safe.”

    The trio had wandered the prairielands for days. The farms they encountered had varying degrees of hospitality. Some turned them away with the edge of a pitchfork, while others offered them bread and mead. None let them stay for the night, all too knowledgeable on the bandits that ran rampant nowadays. It had been a blessing when they happened upon one of the largest villages of the Dragonwood.


    [​IMG]


    Rebecca Dragon was now with her acquaintances in an inn. They had rooms for the night, as did everyone who came that night, for it was a celebration. Ser Lawrence Kildare had wed the Princess of the Mountains a week ago. Raven had been somber from the news.

    Now though, all inhibitions were wearing off for the three of them. The ale was not the best, but it was something.

    “Rebecca,” Raven whispered to her, “How tottering will this get me?”

    Even Raven, solemn and thoughtful, had a little giggle that night.

    Seated near the hearth, out of view of the trio, a man sat with his own cup. The company he kept were silent men, hooded and dark. Bennus Cathal always had at least one in distance, but tonight two guarded him. He knew everything that went on in this little village.

    Though the innkeep was a broad woman whose smile matched her stomach in girth, she was something of a friend to Brennus. When a blind girl, a female warrior, and an armored knight arrived at her inn together, she informed him.

    “I take it your men are fine with their drinks?” Agytha asked. She smiled at Brennus as she did at all her other customers, but her eyes spoke volumes of what she was truly asking.



    TAG: galactic-vagabond422, Darth_Elu
     
  11. galactic-vagabond422

    galactic-vagabond422 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2009
    IC: Rebecca Dragon
    The Tottering Turtle, Dragonwood, Prairies

    "Celebrate, Raven," Ser Amery cried putting a mug of ale into the woman's hand, "If only for a night. We’re safe." Rebecca lifted her own stein, taking a sip of the bitter water. Her face contorted as the drink washed down her throat. Growing up isolated from others, living only with her father hadn't left her with many social skills, or for that matter a familiarity with alcohol.

    She reflected on the places they were turned away, the places that feared her and her friends. It took all of her control not to draw her blade when the folks brandished their pitchforks at her, and more importantly, Raven. She 'd given her word, she'd protect the woman, with everything she has.

    A little bit of warmth grew inside her. It felt different from when her blood ran hot, when she felt the urge to fight, to kill. The times her veins burned she felt focused, sharp, angry. This feeling, that welled up from her stomach dulled her, clouded her mind. She wasn't sure she liked it but, she wasn't sure she hated it either. It just felt different.

    Her heart wasn't alight with the flame of the Dragon, her blood was calmed, in the way only Raven could, at the edge of this village. It felt good, liberating to feel so…relaxed.

    "Rebecca," Raven said in a quiet tone, "How tottering will this get me?"

    The warrior thought about it for a moment, she had no idea what was meant by that comment but, given the rather jovial air about the place, she assumed it meant something good. "Very, very tottering." She said with a broad smile. The first smile she was able to give since losing her father. She pulled the deep green cloak around her shoulders. Despite everything it'd been though the cloak still smelled like him, her father. The scent of wood, stone, and sweat, she could almost feel his warm arms around her.

    "Be well…my little bud." Her eyes snapped open and her head flicked around looking for her father, a tall broad-shouldered man with long brown hair and piercing eyes. She shook her head slightly, it was just a memory, just an aberration of the man she missed so very much.

    Beside Rebecca, Raven giggled possibly helped along by the ale in her hand. This drew a little laugh of her own out of Rebecca's chest. It had been even longer since she'd laughed. She took another sip of the frothing drink and pursed her lips. Maybe she was starting to like this feeling, especially if she was with friends.

    Her helmet was off siting on the table next to her mug, and her mail coif was pulled down into a bunch around her neck, her short cut red hair damp with sweat from being hidden under her helmet. Her father's sword hung by her side. Even though they were having fun, she was still dressed for war, ready for battle. Though in this setting she didn't foresee any trouble, or maybe she was just being naïve.

    The inn keeper had disappeared but, Rebecca was too busy drinking with her friends to notice. Her face felt a little flushed, she was starting to enjoy this, and the fact that they had a warm bed to sleep in made it all the better. For one night they were safe.

    The thought of that, sent a small feeling of disappointment through her. She hadn't killed anything since joining the Knight and the Lady. Was it the Dragon's blood speaking, it had been calmed, it shouldn't be poisoning her thoughts, or were these thoughts her own? Her smile dimmed a little as she took a gulp of the ale dulling her feelings. But, it was still there, the little feeling that she didn't want to be safe, that she wanted danger.

    She turned to Raven, once so downcast looking positively jubilant, for her at least. It would be good for her to be safe. So for now, the warrior set her feelings aside, and just enjoyed the moment. Smiling and laughing along with the people she met by chance along the road but, only a week ago.

    TAG: spycoder9 Darth_Elu
     
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  12. Stryker01

    Stryker01 Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Dec 4, 2012
    [​IMG]

    IC: King Martyn Forsythe,
    First of His Name, King of the Desert, Protector of the Dunes, Father to the Forlorn
    The Oasis of Dawnsgrace


    The city around him roared.

    Pirates raiding the shores, desertmen slaughtered at the Ravenford, Ser Lawrence Kildare beheaded at his own wedding…

    His people wanted blood.

    As did he.

    But patience had always been his mantra.

    This was obvious as he waited for his children to arrive. Even though he was encircled by guardsmen (each of whom had been handpicked from his options available to represent an even mixture of Houses and lands around him), he made time for the orphans.

    I’m not unlike them, in a way. My parents, my wife, my son… mayhaps I’m an orphan as well. An orphan and a widow and a king.

    One little girl with ebony skin approached him from the rest. Her caregiver tried to beckon her back to them, but Martyn waved her forwards.

    “Come, brave child.” He crouched down to her level.

    “Are ‘ur kids comin’?” She asked with gaping teeth and a wide grin. “Mama Laurie said ‘ur kids were comin’… ‘ur Grace!” She remembered her courtesies.

    “They are. Your Mama Laurie was correct. My daughters, and my sons... son. They’ve all come to see me.” He smiled warmly. Sons. Son. Sons. Son. The crowds closer to the castle were cheering. Martyn looked up from the child to see horses approaching. “I think that is them. Return to your group, child.” He handed her a piece of candy, a treat handcrafted by his bakers. She took it with a squeal, hugged his neck, and retreated.

    “You should be more careful, Your Grace,” Alfrek Dondare advised as the king stood. “Little ones kill just as easily.”

    “You fear too many shadows,” the king chuckled. But he knew. His predecessor had been murdered in his sleep. Fenton’s people had turned against him. Delmari dead of a bad tummy. And Rolmar… Kings were dying left and right.

    His daughter was before him now, along with the others. A golden brilliance in this dusty place, her mother’s daughter in more ways than one, Ginnifer Kildare approached. Her face was a blank slate. He could never tell what was running through her mind. She’s surprised I met her in full view of the commons. I know that much. Ginnifer hates surprises. His daughter had assumed he was a king of whispers and shaky feet, hidden behind his castle walls like Santagar had been.

    She had assumed wrong.

    His daughter’s kiss was formal, her hug stiff around his shoulders. "Father," she said, "my brother, your son, has joined the great light."

    Martyn accepted her hug with his own tight embrace to return.

    “Lawrence will be the Desert’s beacon in the days to come,” He agreed. “My heart warms to have all of you here.”

    It truly did. Even if his words were thick and layered with emotion, a play for the commons, he truly did warm with his children near. For years, they had been all he’d had.

    Now he had a throne.

    He had a kingdom.

    He had one less child.

    Martyn relinquished Ginnifer from their hug.

    “I trust your ride was an easy one.”


    TAG: Trieste
     
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  13. JediMasterAnne

    JediMasterAnne Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2004
    OOC: Part 2 of the combined post w/ the GM.

    6 Days After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)
    The Mountains Of Mirwyth
    Shodaire, the Tower of Stone
    Courtyard

    IC: Princess Safia Kildare

    She forced herself to keep a vague smile on her face through the entire ceremony, but for Safia, the whole affair was like a knife twisting in her chest. It was what her wedding should have been. As Karridan and Caetherene exchanged their vows, Safia heard her own echo through her mind:

    “Let me walk the paths of light with you, let me warm your lonely moments, let me raise you when you have fallen.”

    “I hereby pledge my life to you, from now until the end of time, and take you to my bosom.”

    “I shall keep you in my heart, where the fires of my love burn dross away and refine all that is good into all that is beautiful.”

    “Before you I stand and from your side shall I never stray.”

    “Accept me now and through your love let there be no more shadows in my life."

    At least when she and Lawrence had said them, their vows had lacked the complete indifference Karridan and Caetherene seemed to hold towards one another. It hurt even more to watch them, knowing that Caetherene’s heart lay with another, and that Karridan would never love her.

    “The only woman I will ever love is the blade at my side.”

    She still felt the chill of those words, and the memory of them made her want to leave even faster. With the ceremony finished, she was free to escape back to her chambers, expecting the crowd to keep Karridan and Caetherene sufficiently occupied.

    Except Ectarion had other ideas. “Give this to her,” he gestured to Caetherene, “will you? My time here’s up.” He pushed the vine into Safia’s hands before quickly exiting the courtyard.

    Safia watched him go, slightly annoyed. Did he not care that she was miserable, that she only wanted to leave, too? It’s Ectarion, of course he doesn’t.

    She carefully wound the fragile vine into a loose bundle. It hardly weighed anything in her hands, but she could imagine that it must have felt like the heaviest of chains to Karridan and Caetherene. Some couples kept their vines as mementos, but she wondered if Caetherene would want to keep hers. She will if I tell her Ectarion saved it for her.

    She took a wide path around the crowd surrounding Karridan, then pushed past her fear of being touched to carefully squeeze through Caetherene’s well-wishers to face her new Queen and sister-in-law.

    "Safia," Caetherene's face lit up when she saw her new sister-in-law. She pushed past those around her already, reaching a hand out to cluch Safia's. "I cannot thank you enough for coming."

    She allowed Caetherene to take her hand, even giving the other woman’s hand a brief squeeze. “You’re most welcome,” Safia replied, managing to give Caetherene a more genuine smile than the one she had been wearing since arriving in the courtyard.

    After a moment's silence between them, she said, “I know this is not, perhaps, the match that you desired for yourself, but I do hope that with time, you’ll find some form of happiness.”

    She held out the vine in her other hand. “Ectarion asked me to give you this," she added. "He picked it up for you.”

    Her smile dropped as she accepted the vine. Caetherene seemed on the verge of tears, but she took it steadily. "I'm always here Safia... if you need someone to talk to, or just cry, or... I'm here."

    Another time, perhaps in the future, Safia might take Caetherene up on that offer, but not today. This was certainly not the time, nor the place. “Thank you,” she told her.

    She could feel a stinging in her eyes, a tightness in her throat. She wanted to go. Now.

    Caetherene could see it. "Guards," she gestured to them, the two solemn men who had led Safia to the courtyard. "If you could see the princess back to her chambers. I'm most assured she's tired." She nodded at Safia knowingly, and then she went back into the fold of flattering nobles.

    Safia managed to pass a grateful look Caetherene’s way before her sister-in-law was again entangled in admirers. She turned to the two guards as they fell into step beside her. “Let’s go, please.”

    Escorted by the two guards, she made it out of the courtyard without breaking down, but as soon as she was out of sight of the crowd, the tears started to flow. The stairs again made her feel dizzy, but she managed to get all the way back to her rooms without having to stop to rest. Once she had dismissed the guards, Safia collapsed onto her bed, not bothering to change clothes or to even pull the blankets up to cover herself, then wept silently into her pillow until she fell asleep.

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  14. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    The Eve of the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)


    The Prairies
    The Dragonwood


    Hunters' Hall


    “We’ve lost damn near ten men in the past moon!”

    Ser Tawney of the Dragonwood sat by the fire in the cold hall. Moss grew near the doorway opposite him, a tragedy from time and neglect. Outside the structure, rain poured from the skies. It made for a dreary evening by the hearth. Only four men were in the hall at the moment, staying in the rooms that bordered the main room. Three Hunters and one on his way to becoming one. At one time, this hall had seen thirty men or more at one time, the majority of which slept on the floor in skins. Now there were four.


    [​IMG]

    “It’s war. They’re held up,” Barrow offered from his chair. He was an optimistic lad. He hadn’t seen the things the others had.

    “Held up? My bowels were held up just the other day. I pushed and went on my way.” Tawney shook his head. The ale he had in his tankard was the cheapest they could. Its taste was worse than its smell, but he poured it down either way.

    Ser Ellister of Havenwood was home for a time. They were a quiet group for the most part. They lived their own solitary lives, but it was this hall that they retreated to between hunts.

    “I miss the stories,” Barrow said. He sipped water, yet another example of his determination to give up all things that might hold him back in this life.

    “Ser Ellister has some fine ones,” the other Hunter had been completely silent so far. He had simply stared at the flames, almost haunted by the small fire that warmed the men. Ser Olycar was completely bald, quiet, pale, withdrawn. The only person who saw any other side to him was Barrow, as Olycar mentored the boy. It was a rarity for him to even speak.

    “Share one, Ser Ellister!” Barrow pleaded, excited then.



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  15. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    2 Weeks After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)


    The Mountains
    Shodaire


    The Princess’s Chambers


    Over a week had passed since the wedding, and Safia Kildare had seen not a visitor save for the regular retinue of maids. Outside her window the world had begun to warm. Snow still fluttered from the skies from time to time, but in the courtyard the flowers were budding. Only the strong survived (that included the foliage) in the Mountains, but to Safia, it seemed like survival was an empty word compared to what she had expected two weeks prior.

    Her head still ached as a knock came at her door. After requiring admittance, a young lady stepped into the room.

    Surprisingly underdressed for her station, the new queen of the mountains shut the door behind her. Her hair draped her shoulders. Even it had been released from its holdings, cradling the sleeves of her modest navy gown.

    “Princess,” Caetherene Rolmar nee Gideon said once, “I hope I don’t disturb, but… the court misses you.”

    She paused.

    “Forget the court. I miss you.” The queen smiled and offered Safia a small hug.


    [hr][/hr]

    The Throne Room


    “That’s what a king wants to hear,” Karridan smiled for the first time since Geoffrey had entered the room. “I sit on an unsteady throne, if you had not been able to tell that yet.”

    The room was quiet as the king paused. Only the executioner, the king, and the few guards around the doors. It was a private audience.

    “My coronation will be within the moon’s turn. It is just an official announcement for the Mountains and the world to hear. It really stands as a test of loyalty.” The king’s face was stone, his eyes staring not at the executioner but the walls behind him. “My men hear whispers of Lady Vane and her political maneuvering. She conveniently missed my sister’s wedding, and now not a letter returns to us replied from her keep.”

    He seemed older than his years, older even than Geoffrey in that moment. His hands balled into fists.

    “I am not my father, but Lady Vane wishes to make it so. If what I have heard is true, you will be much needed in the coming days, by the Crown of Shodaire.” Karridan met his eyes. “And I need a man who doesn’t relish in the dirty mess he’s in, but drudges through it anyways.

    “I believe I can count on you in that, can I not?”



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  16. Darth_Elu

    Darth_Elu Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2003
    One Week After the Wedding of Fire (The Bloody Nuptials)

    The Prairies
    ~The Dragonwood~

    There was a man who once claimed to have a dozen names and each incarnation was more awe-inspiring and enigmatic than the last. For each name, he boasted a castle and two disgruntled wives per, along with servants and garrisons of soldiers to match. Naturally, none of them knew of the presence of the others. When he grew bored, agitated, or simply discomfit; he would flit from domain to domain as if some effulgent fool hell bent on achieving the world's most useless prize. The Throne of Going Nowhere.

    Yes, the Crown of Lord Marshe was a silly one. Fit for nothing, entitling the absence of honor, and making his own family dull 'around the edges' as they tried to figure him out. In the end, as is always the way, the castles learned of one another. The generals under his command ordered the conquest of each other to acquire more resources, but Lord Marshe could not condone such acts for he would simply be hurting himself. This repeated as every domain of his eventually came into contact with each other and wanted what the other possessed, much like he had managed long ago alone. He became known as spineless and despised with the truth, as was typical, coming to the light before long. More importantly, the wives learned of each other then.

    He was hung and left forgotten, his lands eventually collapsed as they besieged one another, and the Marshe line died out from committing suicide in essence as they annihilated each other.

    The fire crackled loudly as the wood shifted a bit under the pressure of its own transference to smoke and heat and his mug settled quietly onto a nearby table. Indeed. House Marshe had burned itself from the inside out and the fire was unadulterated stupidity. Of course, it was also all fictional and utter rubbish from a logical standpoint. Mad Dance of the Marshe as it was known as. An old tale not much read these days, but well known some twenty years ago or more.

    Indeed, it held much for Brennus Cathal to think about. Despite his achievements, Lord Marshe simply suffered from one thing in his opinion. Purpose. Lack of purpose dulled his wits and sacrificed any clarity. Had he any purpose, much of what had transpired could have been avoided. Nay, all of it. What was already damaged could have been repaired either with simple mending or quiet pruning. And this was the difference between them.

    He, too, possessed many names. He, too, possessed many a place he could claim as his own. Some large, some small. But he had purpose. A vision. Chikara, as he was also known to some of the most important to have wind of his existence, knew where he was going and why. The only things that befuddled him these days were the irrational actions of others, but it was a perverse joy of his to find ways he could manage around them nonetheless.

    The marriage of Lawrence Kildare and Safia Kildare nee Rolmar was one such. This 'Wedding of Fire' he had only recently heard about was still fresh and the chaotic upheaval it was creating was uncertain to say the least. Even he hadn't entirely anticipated something of that nature occurring. But that was fair enough in his mind, in fact it was sometimes welcomed. A challenge. Something new to work around rather than absent-mindedly plowing straight for the climax and resolution of his goals. In fact, he had already saw an opportunity in its aftermath. Multiple, truth be told. Pieces were already being put into place as he sat there in thought. When news first broke, he had been alarmed as much the realm had been. But over the hours and days following it, he had not just calmed. Brennus inwardly smiled.

    This may turn out to be much better than what was in place before. Transitions to what comes next should proceed much faster with the consequences of these nuptials. Not to mention it presents an opening I thought closed before...

    And harkening back to the old tale of Lord Marshe, there was something else that showed both uncomfortable similarity yet great difference. For example, take this village he was in. And most especially the building he currently sat in, The Tottering Turtle. A quaint image to be sure. This area was one of those he could rather confidently call his. None knew it on the surface and that was the way it should be. He knew everything that went on in this little village and this particular inn was something of a focal point within it.

    The silent lord's gaze shifted without turning his head from where it was pointed at the hearth, when he heard Agytha approach. Instinctively, his two guards briefly took her measure for the umpteenth time when she came over as well. A broad woman whose girth was matched only by the smile she could summon on a moment's notice. He listened quietly to her report afterward and let his eyes catch back onto the dance of the flames as she asked her question.

    "I take it your men are fine with their drinks?"

    "Indeed. Thank you," he allowed casually, "Pay my respects to the local brewers, Agytha." Here a few coins whose value was nothing to scoff at seemed to wink in and out of existence between hands.

    "I'd like to know more of the individual ingredients present if possible."

    The moment she was gone, Chikara's head turned to silently face one of his guards. One avenue was nice, but two was better. Local and Professional brewers could see more in an taste test when both were used rather than just one.

    He didn't even nod, the guard would know what it meant and they'd be up and out of there to speak with who they needed to before returning, immediately.

    Another sip from his mug, to which he was grateful he didn't have to drink the standard fare the other visitors had to ingest, and this 'Lord of the Shadows' knew he'd have something new to ponder shortly. But this was no cause to fret or sigh over.

    When painting a masterpiece, an artist should always look over new hues as they are discovered.

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  17. JediMasterAnne

    JediMasterAnne Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2004
    2 Weeks After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)
    The Mountains Of Mirwyth
    Shodaire, the Tower of Stone
    Chambers

    IC: Princess Safia Kildare

    It had been a lonely week.

    On the one hand, Safia wasn’t exactly looking for company. She was still angry about the events at her wedding, and besides Karridan and Ectarion, she didn’t know who else had been involved, who else was to blame. Aside from a very select few, she didn’t trust anyone.

    But on the other hand, with few distractions in the form of visitors, she was left to dwell on these negative things. She tried to keep herself busy in any way she could, but nothing held her attention for long. The maids who brought her meals or ran her baths weren’t exactly conversational, either—actually, they seemed a bit afraid to talk to her.

    She had not seen either of her brothers or Caetherene since Karridan’s wedding. She didn’t particularly care to see Ectarion at all, and after the first day or two after the wedding, she stopped expecting Karridan to come by either. She was still angry at him, she couldn’t forget what he had said to her, and she knew he and Caetherene both had duties to attend to, but she was beginning to feel a little abandoned.

    She had gotten back into a regular routine of washing and dressing daily, but otherwise, her physical state had not seen much improvement. Her head still ached, though it didn’t seem as bad as it had been. Or perhaps she was just getting used to it. She was eating a bit more now than she had been, but she wasn’t cleaning her plate every meal, either. Her quality of sleep wasn’t much better, either.

    It seemed like the world itself scorned her grief. It felt wrong that life appeared to go on around her as though nothing had happened, but of course, that was the nature of the world, of life. Inexplicable tragedies occurred, but time didn’t stand still; life moved on. Safia just couldn’t seem to do the same.

    She was so accustomed to the silence, lost in her own bitter thoughts, that the knock on the door made her jump. Once she had recovered from the sudden start and allowed her unknown guest to enter, she was slightly surprised to see her sister-in-law, hair loose and wearing a simple, understated dress, in her doorway.

    “Princess,” Caetherene said, closing the door behind her, “I hope I don’t disturb”—Safia shook her head—“but… the court misses you.” After a pause, “Forget the court. I miss you.” The queen smiled and offered Safia a small hug.

    Safia returned the embrace, though a bit tentatively. Caetherene hadn’t done anything wrong, and she wouldn’t hurt Safia, but the princess was still a bit hesitant about physical contact.

    Given that she didn’t trust many people right now, she wasn’t all that sorry about missing court—her presence there was usually not in a functional position anyway—but she found that she had missed Caetherene’s company.

    “I’m sorry,” she said after a moment’s reflection. “What with everything that’s happened lately, I don’t think I’m quite ready, physically or mentally, to rejoin public life just yet.”

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  18. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    IC: Ginnifer Kildare
    Dawnsgrace, Desert
    14 days after her brother’s wedding



    Ginnifer relaxed as her father spoke and hugged her. She had not known what kind of a man would meet her. A throne, even a small one, changed a person. The Martyn who had been sent forth as more or less a valued messenger now stood before her as a king. He was a man who had been dominated for his entire marriage and had never recovered from that--until now.

    She had wondered if he would lord it over her, if the cumulative effect of past indignities would cause him to settle old scores--ones she had racked up and ones she had inherited. He had not. He had shown himself to be a better person than her imagination had conjured him.

    As was so often the case in life, it was easy and natural to respond in kind.

    “Yes, and something to be thankful for in these troubled days,” Ginnifer said. “It is good to be here, father.”

    She gave a half turn and beckoned with her good hand for her siblings to come and greet their father. Zooey, Chelsee, and, of course, Landon, each came in turn. Ginnifer stood to Martyn’s right side, a couple steps away, to allow them each their space with him. When the greetings were finished, Ginnifer came to Martyn’s side and put an arm around him as she faced out towards the assembled people. It was an unfortunate coincidence that this meant her bad hand in its mail gauntlet was put around him. She hoped he did not mind.

    “The people have come to pay their respects to their king,” Ginnifer said. She did not proclaim it so all could hear, but she did not hide her words. Hers was not the first place in a gathering such as this. That belonged to her father.

    All those years, he had been paying attention to the lessons her mother had pounded into her. He had listened to the need to remember the people, to give them a measure of respect. “There is a time for the velvet glove and time for the iron gauntlet,” Emilie had told her daughter, using her left hand apparel as a metaphor, “Sometimes the people must fear what you can do, but it is better to have them respect you for what you do. The day peasants ever think about how many more of them there are than us, that is the day our house will fall. Never give them cause to think it.” How many weeks had Martyn been king? Three? Four? Already he had the trust of Dawnsgrace.

    Perhaps the husband could have ruled better than the mother.

    “And as such,” Ginnifer suggested, “perhaps he should gratify them with some words on this day?”

    Emilie Kildare must be roiling in the flame of V’hallar to think that the fortunes of her house would now be determined in part by what her husband, a man, would do. In this time of trouble, all the Desert would burn based on the leadership of Martyn Forsythe.

    Whether it burned as a light to all Mirwyth or as a pyre...that was the question.

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  19. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    2 Weeks After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)

    IC: Geoffrey Rhayaad

    “That’s what a king wants to hear,” Karridan smiled for the first time since Geoffrey had entered the room. “I sit on an unsteady throne, if you had not been able to tell that yet.”

    The room was quiet as the king paused. Only the executioner, the king, and the few guards around the doors. It was a private audience.

    “My coronation will be within the moon’s turn. It is just an official announcement for the Mountains and the world to hear. It really stands as a test of loyalty.” The king’s face was stone, his eyes staring not at the executioner but the walls behind him. “My men hear whispers of Lady Vane and her political maneuvering. She conveniently missed my sister’s wedding, and now not a letter returns to us replied from her keep.”

    He seemed older than his years, older even than Geoffrey in that moment. His hands balled into fists.

    “I am not my father, but Lady Vane wishes to make it so. If what I have heard is true, you will be much needed in the coming days, by the Crown of Shodaire.” Karridan met his eyes. “And I need a man who doesn’t relish in the dirty mess he’s in, but drudges through it anyways.

    “I believe I can count on you in that, can I not?”

    Geoffrey raised his head to look at Karridan.

    "You may count on me," Geoffrey replied, "and you may count on my abilities in delivering a swift end to your enemies. I need only a time and a place, my lord, and the rest, well, we'll let the axe fall whatever way it wants to."

    Lady Vane, however, did seem to be a growing problem. Quickly, his mind started to calculate all the ways she could be dispatched. Burned at the stake, hung, decapitated, the list seemed to go on and on. Each one of those methods had its own fair share of problems. Each one of those methods required a skilled hand. A knowledge of the human body and how to break it into a thousand pieces.

    "And, my lord," Geoffrey added, "if I may be so bold as to say that I have lived in the Mountains all my life and never have I seen as capable a ruler as yourself. I have lived under the reign of your father and I have seen how he governed the land far and wide. Firm was his hand. Firm and not always fair. Families like mine have suffered as a result. You have the chance to make a difference. You have the chance to set things right. You are not your father, I can see that, but I also see that you have the potential to be better than him."

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  20. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    11 Days After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)


    The Capital
    Valona


    Council Chambers


    From the stain-glass windows, light poured in.

    Spring was well underway for the Capital, and its new brilliance, a king prepared for war.

    Matheus Reynard was determined to prove himself more than his father, who in the three moons prior had simply ranted and raved in a cold rage. Since his coronation, Matheus had started setting plans into place. Every gala he attended in his honor was an assurance of loyalty. Every visit to the Aero Alter strengthened his religious backing. Not even two weeks into his rule and the Capital seemed to be turning itself around. Valona especially, the City of Indulgence, had been trapped in a bloated stupor, lethargic and lazy. Matheus had only begun the process of waking it up.

    “I thank you all for coming,” the young king addressed the seven before him with a practiced ease. Nestled amid his wavy brown locks was a golden ringlet, designed as an eagle in perpetual flight around his skull. “We have much to discuss.”

    As the king took his seat at the head of the table, so did the others gathered.

    In short order, those gathered included:

        • The Queen Mother and Dowager Queen, Emilia Reynard nee Brendle, to the left of her son. She made a cutting figure in black, beautiful in her command for attention.
        • Captain of the Army, Braedon Reynard, to the right of the king. He was scared and damaged, tall and broad, but wore a crease between his eyebrows that hinted at more hidden resolve left in him.
        • Captain of the Fleet, Jaymes Ember, Lord of the Whitebridge. Famous for the length of his red-gray beard, his house proved a brilliant asset to the naval defense of the Capital.
        • Captain of the Coin, the Lord Tol Croix, Lord of the Croix Passes. Wide as he was tall, he could afford to indulge. Wealthy as a lord could be, he has a finger and eye for coin.
        • Captain of the King’s Guard, Seymour Reynard. The king’s younger brother was taller than he, quieter than he, and most definitely the better warrior of the two.
        • The Black Widow, Norda Marvaic, spy for the crown. Cocoa bean skin, a young woman from the Great Continent, Norda maintained her role longer than most had.
        • The Maester, Gilles, ‘The Bearer of Bad News’. Though he resembled a toad, short and squashed, he was an apt maester,and did his purpose well.

    “Your Grace,” Braedon Reynard addressed his nephew in that militarian tone he had developed in his service, “If I may open the discussion. The Ravenford has been razed, pirates make a home in the Shatterstone Bay, and desertmen burn paths of destruction through our homeland. The people grow tense.”

    “Traitors will answer for their crimes.” Matheus gestured to his mother. “At my mother’s counsel, I dispatched Ser Aran and a battalion in the cover of night. They rode soft and they rode swift, to track and slay these pirate heathens. Any and all Desertmen were to be in chains. At his last correspondence, the ships were sunk, and he returns with prisoners.”

    “Joyous news.” Lord Croix smiled while munching on some of his sweetbread. “Half a moon, and our new king already crushes a threat to our homes.”

    Matheus accepted the compliment silently.

    “Your Grace…” The maester was hesitant. “A raven arrived this morn… from the Mountains.”

    The young king’s face darkened. His eyes were almost black, but his voice betrayed none of his emotion. The boy was already learning.

    “Tell us.”

    “They're calling it the Wedding of Fire.” The spymaster murmured from her spot. She already knew, but looked to Maester Gilles to break the news.

    The Maester nodded. “The Rolmars betrayed them. Ser Lawrence and all his men are dead."

    The room went silent.

    Then, the spymaster spoke.

    "It seems the war has truly begun."



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  21. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    May 4, 2003
    IC: Ser Aran
    Near Shatterstone Bay

    Two men rode in towards the encampment.

    The rest hung back, lying in wait for the signal. But which? It would be easy enough to fall on these men. They weren't unprepared. Just prepared wrongly. Cautious, without being prudent. That sleeping guard, for instance, that might have spotted Aran. There's was the edginess of men preparing for battle. But they seemed just to certain the battle would not be now. Their hush, too, seemed more like men springing a trap than anxiously avoiding one. Even as an indistinct murmur, the sound of their camp told a story. But the look, glimpsed however fleetingly, told another. One that Aran could easily exploit. Wait till they launch whatever they were planning, and then the weary, exhausted men would break. An easy victory for the Queen.

    Except men didn't fight that way. Their were speeches. Duels. The elders ways were honored. They presented themselves openly. Even in raids, the enemies would know who ran them down. He need only announce himself, and the desertmen would get the picture. And then his victory would be that much purer. A testament not to their stupidity, but to his martial prowess. story worth frightening the next generation with, when they dared to dream of rebellion. All he had to do was make a bit more noise from this bush, or step out of it altogether, onto the beach. Brennun was waiting for some signal, he knew. But the two men just kept arguing back and forth.They were going to go on that way forever, unless someone did something.

    "Rebels," he started easily.

    His stallion moved forward at a lazy cant, his hands loose on the reigns. He didn't bother to brandish his sword, but the hilt hung prominent on his hilt anyway, as obviously lethal as it was obviously unused. Behind him, a similar message played. Huge, imposing Brennun, moving forward silently in tow, hoisting up the royal banner of Valona with one hand. Everything was in the things they weren't doing. The words wouldn't speak, the weapons they left sheathed, and these ease with which they could undo all of it. Hopefully, the men would take the message. They'd comprehended enough not to attack straight off, anyway.

    In an almost bored but officious tone, he continued, "Your crimes have not escaped the royal eye." Then, as if bothering to look up at it for the first time, he looked over them to the direction of the pirates and said, "But nor have theirs. It's clear which I must deal with first. The royal guard of Valona descends. If even rebels can remember, for one fleeting moment, their true loyalties, the Crown may yet remember mercy in the day of judgment."

    It was the perfumed creature of the capital that chose to speak. The one that had spent time learning of noble families and highborn blood. Curious, that, when he was so close to his oldest enemies. He wondered if the barbarian might show up for the battlefield. Staring over the crowd of desertmen, he wondered which of the confrontations would be more important. Two men rode in towards the encampment. Both were on the same horse, and Brennun followed behind.

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  22. JediMasterAnne

    JediMasterAnne Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2004
    2 Weeks After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)
    The Mountains Of Mirwyth
    Shodaire, the Tower of Stone
    Chambers

    IC: Princess Safia Kildare

    Caetherene nodded. "That's understandable, given all that's transpired. I think we all deserve some distance from the court for a while." The queen took a seat, ironing out the wrinkles in her dress. "But of course, I am a queen. A queen must make her appearances." She trailed off. Lost in thought, her eyes wandered towards nothingness. It seemed as if her mind was rather full as well. When she finally spoke again, her voice was demure and gentle. "It is no consolation I know, but I have grieved for you... for everything."

    Perhaps she had imagined it, but Safia thought she had detected a hint of bitterness in Caetherene’s voice when she had spoken of her responsibilities as queen. Whether it was there or not, she heard only kindness and sympathy in her next words.

    “…I have grieved for you... for everything."

    “Thank you,” Safia replied. “I-I appreciate that.” She did not know what else to say.

    So she changed the subject, though she suspected it was no much more a pleasant topic than the previous one. “If I may ask, how are things between you and my brother?”

    "Things are strained." Caetherene made no effort to lie. "Karridan is dutiful, and honorable, and respectful. He is truly everything a knight should be... but he's not a knight anymore, is he?" There was such a growing sadness beneath her voice. "Perhaps my womb will quicken soon, and your brother will forget the things that worry him."

    “Perhaps,” Safia agreed, though her tone was somewhat distant. Perhaps a child would help bring Caetherene and Karridan closer, strengthen their marriage. But the mention of such a child only reminded Safia of the future she had lost, that had died with Lawrence.

    “And Karridan is dutiful, I’ll give him that much,” she continued.

    "I helped Father because that was my duty…”

    She wasn’t so sure about honorable or respectful, anymore, though. Recent events had revealed a darker side to her brother that she didn’t like, but she wouldn’t say so to Caetherene. “But at least it doesn’t sound as though he is mistreating you. Once the situation here calms down, perhaps that will ease some of the tension between you.”

    "Perhaps." The queen nodded. "The coronation will be here in two weeks at most. So many of the houses fled from the Wedding of -" She panicked for a moment, realizing what term she was about to use in front of Safia. "The wedding. Karridan is recalling them to understand how many still stand with him, and how many are lost..."

    Safia froze up for a moment when Caetherene spoke of the wedding. Though she hadn’t heard a lot of the talk going around in the past couple of weeks, due to her self-imposed isolation, she heard enough. She knew the infamous names people used to refer to her wedding. The Wedding of Fire. The Bloody Nuptials. There were probably more.

    Luckily, Caetherene caught herself and corrected before Safia had a chance to glare, and the rest of what Caetherene was saying had a chance to sink in. Their coronation. A formality, at this point, and another public event that Safia was going to have to suffer through, but a good opportunity, as the queen had said, to get a feel for the big picture, politically, in terms of where the other Mountain lords stood. To figure out how fragile was Karridan’s hold on his crown.

    “Does he have at least an idea of how many are still loyal?” Karridan had told her, the day of his wedding, that none of their bannermen had publicly rescinded their allegiance to him, but that could easily have changed by now.

    "The Alpha Wolf rides to Shodaire as we speak. Your mother's house will always remain with you and your brothers…" Caetherene ran her fingers through her hair. "Your brother assumes most of the mountains' support, but there are rumors... Lady Helena Vane seems to be plotting something...It's all a mess." She bit her lip, holding something back.

    Safia managed a small smile when she heard her uncle was coming. “I hope you know not to call our uncle that to his face,” she quipped. Fredrik allowed the nickname because it was intimidating, made him seem fearsome (though he had only always played the part of kindly uncle to Safia, sometimes more fatherly than Desmond had been), but he wouldn’t let people use it in his presence.

    But the light moment was short-lived. Rumors of course ran rampant after events such as her wedding, but it definitely would not be a good thing if one of Desmond’s former advisors was hatching some unknown plot. And the look on Caetherene’s face did not bode well.

    “What’s wrong?”

    She smiled wistfully. "What's right anymore?" Caetherene shook her head. "We need the good news now more than the bad to keep us afloat. Karridan received some of that good news from the Isles this past morn. Your cousin Raven is to wed Korianton Rynquist very soon. She's the last remaining heir to the Delmari dynasty, it was expected. Your brother rejoices at the news, as I thought you might." This time the queen's smile was more thoughtful, less weary. Her emotions were a constantly shifting sea ebbing and flowing beneath her skin, but it seemed she tried to maintain some sort of composure for Safia. It was less of one than she held for the court, but they were sisters now.

    More weddings. At least I won’t have to attend this one. A half-hearted smile played across Safia’s face. “That is good news,” she agreed, though there wasn’t an abundance of happiness in her tone. “Probably the best we’ve had in a while.” If she remembered correctly, Raven and Korianton had been betrothed for a while now, but Safia had never met him. In a different lifetime, she might have looked forward to attending her cousin’s wedding, but now…she wasn’t entirely sorry to be missing it.

    TAG: NONE (To be continued...)
     
  23. Ktala

    Ktala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 7, 2002
    "Lor" Lorain Ashkey - excampment
    Near Shatterstone Bay


    Ser Vince and Lorain had been discussing their plans. It seemed that everything had been planed. And it was time to attack. Then, a strange voice called out towards them. And it did NOT come from the direction of the pirates.

    "Rebels." Lorain turned. And then her eyes narrowed. A man upon a horse, moving towards the area the group held at a slow canter. At least the idiot wasnt yelling or brandishing weapons. Another man behind him, hoisting up a banner. A royal banner? But not one she knew. 'Gods old and nu!' Lorain mentally cursed. ANOTHER insufferable bore?! And what was this term, rebels? Lorain looked towards the other guards, but held her tongue, as the man continued to speak. For him to enter their camp this way, most definitely meant he had other troops stationed nearby.

    In an almost bored tone, he continued, "Your crimes have not escaped the royal eye." Lorain rage nearly escaped her then. THEIR CRIMES?!?! And WHO'S ROYAL EYE? Who was this insufferable IDJIT!? And she thought Ser Caliban. He then picked his head up, but his gaze was not towards them, but towards the pirates that they were busy watching. "But nor have theirs. It's clear which I must deal with first. The royal guard of Valona descends. If even rebels can remember, for one fleeting moment, their true loyalties, the Crown may yet remember mercy in the day of judgment." Verlona? Wait.. Wasn't that in the Capital? Were they THAT far south already?

    Lorain was furious. Did all these insufferable twits through the same training to be so obnoxious?! Ot was only Ser Vince being near her that made her hold her tounge for now, She was not sure if she should mention that there was a plan already in place, or to let these fools march forward, and they would simply carry out their tactic. Lorain also kept quiet, but at the moment, they did not realize her for what she was. And she would rather keep it that way, unless these beings meant to keep her from her son. And in that case, there would be blood. Lorain finished painting her face dark, and simply sat still.

    Lorain exhaled deeply, keeping herself calm. She had to, for Fleet. She would put up with whatever foolishness she had to endure, in order to hold her son in her arms once more. So she kept silent -

    For now.


    TAG: Jabba-wocky, spycoder9
     
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  24. witchdoctor07

    witchdoctor07 Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2007
    OOC: Sorry for the taking a bit to get this up was held up all week and didn’t have a decent amount of time to sit down and type! But without further ado!


    The Eve of the Wedding of Fire (The Bloody Nuptials)
    The Prairies
    The Dragon Wood

    Hunters Hall

    [​IMG]


    IC: Ellister

    “We’ve lost damn near ten men in the past moon!” said Tawney as he glowered at the blazing fire within the hearth and took another swig of the cheap and awful ale that had been stored in this hall for gods knew how long. The ale was indeed awful, but Ellister couldn’t complain, it had been nearly a fortnight since he had himself a drink. Life was hard while you were on the trail, and most of the time a Hunter was not able to indulge in the fares and indulgences of normal people. You were always hunting, always tracking, and always on the alert. Sometimes you would go days without seeing any sign of civilizations, sleeping in ditches or in small burrows wherever you could find them with your saddlebags as your pillow.

    This hall, in fact, was beginning to look like a burrow more and more as the years passed. Ellister looked around the decaying Hunters Hall and shook his head. He had grown up here, trained here; it was the only home he had ever known. To see it in this state of decay was a travesty. There used to be over a hundred Hunters Halls all over the land of Mirwyth from the very northern reaches of the Mountain Lands all the way south of the Capital and even a couple on The Isles, but now there were just over a dozen left. There were just not enough Hunters anymore to maintain and man all of the halls. They just didn’t have the numbers they did a hundred years ago. The storm raged outside and rain dropped in through holes in the roof and collected in pans set on the floor as the wind blew through the cracks in the stone to chill the bones.

    Ellister looked over at the moss covered doorway and wished that George was here. George was one of the oldest Hunters still on the trail. The transformation into being a Hunter changed the body both inside and out; a side effect was an unnaturally prolonged life. It was estimated that George was well over 300 years old but he and the other Hunters had grown tired of trying to keep track. George had been like a father to all of them. He had found them and trained them from boyhood to being fully capable Hunters. George gave up hunting years ago and left the bulk of it to the “youngins” as he called Ellister and the rest of them. He now found a content life in finding new recruits and training them at the Hunters Hall. George had been out on the path since the last snow break that opened the roads for travel, he was out looking for new recruits, boys like Barrow, who they would turn into the next generation of Hunters. Barrow was the youngest and newest boy that George had brought to be trained; that was nearly 6 months ago. Now Tawney’ s cause for concern stuck in Ellister’s mind as he thought about George, where he was, had he found new recruits, and was he alive or dead in some muddy hole somewhere. Barrow spoke up which allowed Ellister to push the thoughts from his mind for the time being.

    “It’s war. They’re held up,” said the boy. He was green still and was only still in the beginning stages of his training, but he would make a Hunter yet.

    “Held up? My bowels were held up just the other day. I pushed and went on my way!” proclaimed Tawney. Barrow laughed at Tawney’s candidness as the young lad took another sip from his ale horn that was filled with water.

    “Such are the risks in the life of a Hunter; we all knew the risks when we threw in our lot for this profession. We’ve just lost a few more than usual this year is all, it has happened before and it will happened again.” Ellister said as he stared blankly into the fire.

    “Ellister, the perpetual optimist” Tawney grunted swigging down another gulp of ale. Silence once again fell over the hall as the three men all retreated off to their own solitary thoughts. Barrow looked over at the wall next to the hearth, where on the wall hung the swords of the three Hunters, elegant weapons that were obviously forged by a master swordsmith. Beautiful weapons for such an ugly task. Barrow had heard stories from the older Hunters of the old days over a hundred years ago when Hunters would ride out in force to slay foul beasts in every corner of the continent, there were stories of the first Hunters even slaying dragons, but most wrote that off to being just a rumor. Now here they sat in their halls, with their most formidable quarry being a pack of wolves that drug away children, and on a good hunt it would be a band of marauders.

    “I miss the stories,” Barrow said looking down at his cup full of water.

    “Ser Ellister has some fine ones,” the third Hunter said. He had been completely silent so far. Being content to just sit next to the fire and absorb the warmth. His name was Olycar. He was the quietest of the three but no doubt still a force to be reckoned with. He was acting mentor to Barrow and trained the boy in sword work as well as his academia in studying different beasts and monsters from the library within the hall.

    “Share one, Ser Ellister!” Barrow said excitedly.

    “Alright, I was getting tired of this quiet anyways. Hmm let me think. I have a story for you Barrow. Years ago, when I first started on the Hunters path, a woodcutter hired me and another Hunter named Grendel to go into the forest that he lived on the edge of and find his son and daughter that had disappeared into the woods. We started off into the forest and tracked a trail of breadcrumbs that we suspected the children had left. We followed the trail for days; we were parched from hunger and thirst with our supplies dwindling, until we finally happened upon a clearing in the woods. In this clearing Grendel and I found a cabin with smoke coming from the chimney. We circled the clearing, scouting the area for any sign of the children or who might have taken them. We finally decided that it was safe to search the cabin. We went inside but found no one to be home, but laid out on the table before us was the largest feast we had ever seen, with every meat imaginable, wine, and even gingerbread. We were both so famished we didn’t care whose food it was, we dug in and ate our fill until we thought our stomachs would burst! But we had let our guard down, and for that we paid the price; for you see, the cabin belonged to a witch, who would lure stray children and woodsmen into her cabin and entice them with food, but the food was enchanted with a spell that would cause those who ate it to lose consciousness. When we awoke we found ourselves locked in cages in the cellar of the cottage stripped of all our gear and weapons. It was then that the witch revealed herself to us, an old and blind hag that smelled foul and looked even worse. She laughed at us and screeched that she was going to cook us in her cauldron and stove and cook us into supper. She pulled us out of our cages with her boney hands, I tried to resist but my hands and feet were bound. She put an end to my resistance by scratching my face with her long nails that were as long and sharp as knives, that is how I got these scares on my face. Grendel and I lay on the floor and watched as she stoked the fire in the stove and stirred her boiling cauldron. She grabbed me by my foot binds and pulled me towards my stove she picked me up and stood me in front of the fiery stove. However, while she did this Grendel had escaped her bounds by holding her bounds close to the fire of the cauldron, she leapt up and pushed the old witch into the open mouth of the oven and slammed the door to it and locked it, burning the witch alive. After the witch was dead we heard cries coming from another room of the cottage, we opened the door to find the two missing children of the woodcutter. We set them free and returned them home to their father.” When Ellister was done with his story a silence once again fell over the room.

    “That’s not true...is it?!” asked Barrow as he looked at Ellister, then to Tawney and then to Olycar who sat beside Ellister. “Is it true Ser Olycar?” Olycar just raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders. “That sounds like an old wives tale.”

    “Oh does it? All stories have their origins lad, even old wives tales. And even the most unbelievable stories have some shred of truth to them; it’s up to you to discover what parts are tall tales and what are truths.” Ellister said staring into the boys brown eyes, still unchanged from the transformation; they weren’t yellow or cat-like such as the other Hunters. “Well the hour is late, and we have a long day of work and training ahead of us tomorrow lad, you best get your sleep. Tomorrow we will work on restoring the hall; we’ll patch the walls and then the roof, followed by sword practice and then studying in the afternoon and evening.”

    “But why work on the hall before training, won’t I be too tired for to practice my sword work by then?” Barrow said concerned.

    “Do you think a monster will care if you’re tired or not as it is bearing down on you? Its claws sharp and gleaming in the moonlight, the saliva dripping from its fangs as it readies itself to devour you and make you into a meal. No lad it will take advantage of that weakness and use it to strike at you when you’re not expecting it, while you’re preoccupied with your fatigue that monster is going to kill you lad. Now is the time to practice, while you are here surrounded by us. That is what will prepare you. Bleed in practice so you don’t bleed in a fight. Always remember that Barrow.” Olycar said most unexpectedly. Tawney simply shook his head as he took another sip of ale. Ellister just peered deep into the fire.

    “Off to bed with you now, we have a long day ahead of us so grab sleep while you can. Besides Ellister, Tawney, and I need to talk about things that don’t concern you yet.” With that, Barrow obediently complied with his mentor Olycar and made his way up the stairs to his room. They were finally alone but the conversation did not pick up any more than it had before. Ellister broke the silence.

    “Damn Olycar, I think that’s the most we’ve heard you say all week.” All three of the men laughed and went back to staring at the fire and drinking their foul ale. They talked long on into the night about what was in store for them with the war escalating between the men who all called themselves king and how the ever moving armies would affect next year’s hunts, the availability for paying work, as well as accessibility to travel along the established routes. These were worries that came up every year it seemed. All Ellister knew was that it was going to be a hell of a long year.


    TAG: spycoder9
     
  25. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    2 Weeks After the Wedding of Fire (the Bloody Nuptials)


    The Capital
    The Glen


    “Always a bright side,” a rare smile graced the castellan’s lips. “Even to massacres.”

    The Glen was peaceful this time of evening. Toads hopped by occasionally, while dragonflies cut through the air with their blue-tinged wings. Springtime was ripe in the Capital, especially in the Glen, where new moss and greenery budded from the moist earth. It was also a wonderful time for rain. With which the Glen had seen several days of.

    “If I remember correct ‘nough…” It was odd saying for old Ser Hadrick Curr, who, even though he said it frequently, remembered everything that went on, “If I remember, little Kynlee’s birthday is not half a moon away.”

    The old castellan always knew what he was saying, ever manipulative, even if it was for the right reasons.

    “I wonder how she might feel about her brother, the Ser Hail, frequently brothels.” This time he stared Wymar down, while their horses continued their canter down the muddy stone path.



    TAG: Shekel_1383