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Fantasy A War of Kings

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by spycoder9, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. JediMasterAnne

    JediMasterAnne Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2004
    OOC: Apologies for the length. Also, the first part of this has already been posted earlier in thread, but as it's been quite a while, I didn't want to make everyone have to go back and dig it up again. :)

    IC: Evaleene Davers
    The Great Continent, Across the Sea
    Daversport, Castle Daverston
    Training yard—two weeks after the wedding

    Most of the other men in the yard had stopped their own practice to watch. Evaleene paid them no mind; she was in battle mode, and when she got herself far enough into that mindset, nothing else existed. Evaleene loved the thrill of a good fight; the rush she got out of it was like a drug. It was actually even a little dangerous if she got too into it, at least in training situations like this. She had to constantly keep reminding herself that this was just a practice session, not a real battle, and the man she faced was a friend, and no threat to her.

    He was bigger than her, wielding a sword, while Evaleene used a spear to jab at him when she wasn’t blocking his blows. He had already managed to knock her shield out of her hand, and as he brought down another heavy blow, the princess used the long shaft of the spear to catch the blow—she was surprised that the force of the blow didn’t break the spear in half—and pushed her opponent back, briefly throwing him off balance. Using his brief disorientation to her advantage, Evaleene spun and kicked him in the gut, knocking him flat on his back and sending the sword flying from his grip. Before he had a chance to recover, she was crouched above him, the point of the spear at his throat.

    “I yield!” he shouted immediately, bringing Evaleene back to the here-and-now. She dropped the spear and straightened, offering him a hand to help her comrade to his feet.

    “That was a good bout, Othar,” she said with a smile.

    “Aye, but I’ll be feelin’ it in the morning,” he jested. “In front and back.” He gingerly rubbed his backside with one hand while the other massaged his stomach where she’d kicked him.

    “Oh, poor baby,” Evaleene teased. “Maybe I’ll just have to come check on you this evening…” Something in her tone, however, suggested she’d like to do more than just check on him. She’d had one or two other lovers before Othar, but unlike the ones before him, he seemed to understand that what they had was a strictly physical relationship. She liked Othar; he was a good friend and a good ally—and certainly quite a bit of fun under the covers—but Evaleene wasn’t a romantic sort. She wasn’t looking for any kind of deep emotional connection with him, and neither was he.

    “Maybe you should,” he replied, cocking an eyebrow at her as a mischievous grin played across his face.

    Before she could retort, a different voice called out, “Princess Evaleene!”

    Slightly annoyed at the interruption, Evaleene whirled on its source, one of the servants. “Yes?” There was a very obvious tone of impatience in her voice.

    Slightly taken aback by her tone, it took the servant a few seconds to recover and reply. “Yer—yer father wants te see ya in his study.”

    At that, Evaleene calmed down a little, but at the same time she wondered, what could Father want?

    “Thank you,” she said, raking her fingers through her coppery hair to push it out of her face. “I’ll go straight away.” Briefly turning back to Othar, her smile returned. “I’ll get back to you about tonight,” she told him wryly, before heading up the stairs and into the castle.

    After several minutes of winding through corridors and climbing stairs, she arrived at her father’s study and went right inside, not bothering to knock.
    Her father and mother, Isen and Cressida Davers, were within. Evaleene didn’t waste time on pleasantries and greetings, instead getting right down to business. “You summoned me, Father?”

    He glanced up from the table he had been bowed over, piercing her with his bright eyes. Her mother stood by his side with her hand resting on his shoulder fondly. “Evaleene,” Her mother scolded, “I know you have no manners, but the least you could do is knock-“

    Her father held his hand up. “It’s all right, Cressa.” Her mother’s disapproval showed on her face, but she stayed silent. “I trust you had a good spar?”

    Evaleene spared enough attention to her mother's chiding to roll her eyes, though she did take some exception to the comment that she had no manners--she had manners, she simply chose not to use them unless it was worth her while. They were her parents, not visiting nobles from the mainland. She loved her parents and she did respect them, but she saw no reason to waste time putting on airs for them.

    "I did," she said in answer to her father's query. "Gave Othar a few new bruises to repay him for the ones he gave me last time." She did not mention that “last time” did not refer to a sparring session. She didn't care whether or not her mother and father knew what she got up to with Othar, but she wasn't about to open the subject for discussion, either.

    Plopping down into a chair across the table from her parents, she began to remove the gauntlets from her wrists as she tried again to get her father to explain the purpose of her presence here. "What did you want to talk to me about?"

    Glancing up at her mother, he sighed. "I've signed your betrothal."


    Wait, what? The news came as a bit of a surprise, and it was a few moments before Evaleene responded. "To whom?" Her voice was calm, even curious—her parents probably expected a vehement objection, but in fact, she wasn't really all that upset by this development.

    "The true king of Mirwyth..." Her father eyed her. "Matheus Reynard."

    King?! Even with her private hopes of making a good marriage, she had never dared to dream of marrying a king. For a second, her inner excitement might have flashed across her hazel eyes, but it suddenly faded into confusion. Mirwyth and its people were not exactly well-thought of over here, so why would her father propose to marry her to their king? And what did he mean by “true king?”

    “Can I ask why?”

    “There’s a question I was waiting for,” Her father said after a throaty laugh. “When you marry him, you’ll be queen. Queen of a ravaged land, but with the dowry you bring, the Reynards should be able to stomp out whatever resistance remains.”

    “I doubt she even knows about the rebellions.” Her mother frowned. “Always sparring, never learning.”

    While the idea of being a queen was definitely one that appealed to her, just now she was more interested in understanding what her parents were talking about. Ravaged land? Resistance?

    Once again, she ignored the slight. "What rebellions? What do you mean 'true king’?”

    “Mirwyth is at war,” Her father said. “Formal war was declared by Matheus’s father, Fenton, but now he’s dead, and so are the three self-declared kings he planned to war with. New kings are cropping up in their places, and with them the real war comes. Matheus is the true king. His father ruled before him, and his grandfather before that.”

    “And you’re to marry him,” Her mother finished.

    Evaleene slowly began to nod her understanding of her father's brief run-down of current events in Mirwyth, and was still nodding as her mother finished off. She could get a more in-depth version later, but for now she was focused on the details of this betrothal. "All right. What sort of dowry are you sending me off with?"

    "No complaint?" Her father's brow furrowed. "No defiance, no refusal, no I'm-not-going and you-can't-make-me?"

    Evaleene gave a little laugh. "Usually you'd be near to begging me to be this compliant, and it bothers you that I'm not putting up a fight? Besides, as my father and ruler, you can make me." Not that that would be necessary.

    "I'm just...surprised," He smirked. "Your dowry contains a hundred ships, thirty thousand men, and a sizable chunk of our coffers. A dowry befitting a queen."

    "He must find you an upside to this dowry as well," Her mother said, "You're already a foreigner, and an improper woman on top of that. If you displease him...no amount of soldiers or ships will make your marriage a happy one."

    "It must be a happy one." Her father stood from his chair, clasping his fingers behind his back. "And, a long one. With Mirwyth as an ally, the Davers can accomplish some expansion we've been waiting generations for."

    That was a sizeable dowry, indeed befitting a queen, and bound to impress King Matheus. Or so we shall hope.

    Once again, she only half-listened to her mother's nagging. I know I'm not Brigitta, Mother, but just because I choose not to act like a prim, proper, perfect princess doesn't mean I don't know how. She almost said it aloud, but for once, decided to hold her tongue. Or at least to say something a little less likely to start an argument. "I promise I shall conduct myself in a manner so as not to embarrass or disgrace you," she assured her parents, though it was more directed at her mother. "When do you wish me to depart?" she asked her father.

    "Three days," Her father answered. "You have three days to say your good-byes."

    She nodded again. "How many ships am I taking with me--I imagine you don't want me taking all one hundred at once, or those thirty thousand swords."

    "Fifteen ships and three thousand men. It'll be a crowded journey, but we can't risk giving it all away without being for sure." He stared at her. "We must make him sure. You must make him sure."

    "I will, Father. Is there anything else?" If she only had three days before leaving, then they would undoubtedly be three very busy days, with all the preparations that needed to be made before they set out.

    "That's all, for now." He stared at her for several seconds. "Nothing? Not even one complaint?

    She laughed again. "No, but if you want me to make a scene, I might be able to think of something," she jested.

    "I'm sure you could," He chuckled, then slowly grew serious. "Evaleene…" Her father's jaw locked, as if he was about to say something. Finally he turned away, looking nowhere in particular. "Go…go on. Enjoy these last few days...”

    She thought he'd been about to say something else, but whatever was going through his mind, he chose not to voice, merely dismissing her instead. Evaleene got to her feet, gave her parents an uncharacteristically polite dip of her head, and left the room.

    Despite the fact that she was now technically betrothed, part of her rationalized that it wasn’t official until the Reynard king agreed to it, and so she felt little guilt in going to see Othar that night. She wouldn’t be able to enjoy his night-time companionship for much longer.

    The Docks of Daversport
    Three days later


    Evaleene had been at the harbor since early that morning, taking a final inventory of provisions for the trip to Mirwyth. Men rushed about, prepping the ship for the voyage, and though this was one of the largest ships in Evaleene’s fleet—her flagship, the Charybdis—it was still fairly crowded, and everyone kept bumping into one another. One man had gotten so annoyed at the constant jostling that he got into a fight with another, and the unfortunate target of his anger had suffered a broken nose, a broken jaw and numerous bruising blows before Evaleene had been alerted and put a stop to it. Two hundered men to a ship, confined on board for how long? Her father was sending her off with three thousand, but Evaleene would be surprised if she arrived in Mirwyth with that number. Voyages were fraught with danger as it was, without the men having short tempers.

    Finishing her supply check, Evaleene headed back down the boarding ramp to the dock. Her family would be here soon to see her off.

    Her sister was already there.

    Brigitta was poised at the edge of the docks, hands clasped at the front of her skirts. Her retinue of maids were gathered around her, some picking at her skirt, some at her hair. She paid them no mind, instead craning her neck in the most ladylike way she could. When her eyes caught Evaleene, her tight lips broke into a grin. She murmured something to her maids that made them step away from her, and then lifted her skirts to meet Evaleene halfway.

    "Evaleene," Brigitta didn't wrap her arms around her, as she might have done when she was younger and less conscious of her ways. Still, the smile she gave Evaleene was one born of genuine adoration. After curtsying, her smile had slipped some. "I. . .I can't believe the day is here."

    Evaleene dipped her head in reply to her sister’s curtsy, and returned the smile. Except for their father, Brigitta was the only other member of her family who seemed to like her. Even so, the influence Cressida had on the younger sister was all too clear, from the maids to her dress to her manner. She won’t even hug me anymore, Evaleene thought bitterly. And Mother’s not even around to get onto her. It seemed to her that although Brigitta would stand up for her to their mother, the sisters weren’t as close as they used to be. Would the gap widen while she was gone?

    “I know. Pity I can’t take you with me,” she teased lightly. At the same time, though, she was just a little glad that Brigitta wasn’t coming. King Matheus might decide he preferred the prim younger sister to the rough-around-the-edges elder.

    "I would love to go," Brigitta bit her lip. It was a habit she had never been able to quit. "Father wouldn't allow it. He said it was your time to shine." The younger sister took Evaleene's hand, smiling. "And it is. It's your time, sister. Show Mother how much you're worth."

    Evaleene's smile faded. Though her sister's words were meant to be encouraging, they also intensified the bitter feelings stirring up inside her. "I wish she would see my worth without my having to marry a stranger a world away, even if he is a king," she remarked. And what if King Matheus refuses? Then she will really think me worthless. And Father would be disappointed, too.

    "Mother. . ." For a moment, Brigitta's mask faded away. "Mother'll realize, one day. . ." Tears pooled in the corners of her eyes. "She'll realize what I've always known." The sisters had never let go of hands, and now Brigitta squeezed Evaleene's. "Just how outstanding of a lady you are."

    Evaleene couldn't help smiling. "Coming from you, that's quite a compliment," she said.

    "You're more of a lady than I could ever dream of being, Evaleene." The tears were streaming down her sister's cheeks now. "Promise me. . .promise you'll never forget about me, even after you're a foreign queen with you're own family to care for. . ." She laughed through the tears. "Promise me."
    "How could I ever forget you?" Evaleene reassured her. She let go of Brigitta's hands and gave her a hug, not caring if their mother was around or not. When she pulled away again, she pulled out a handkerchief and wiped at her eyes. "And don't cry, all right? If I get going, Othar will never let me hear the end of it," she joked. "We'll see each other again; if King Matheus accepts this proposal, Father will probably come for the wedding, and I'm sure he'd be happy to bring you along." Except Mother would probably come, too.

    "I'll be at your wedding," The younger sister said fiercely. "Not even Mother could keep me from coming to it."

    "Nor would I want to." Wearing a dress of scales that rippled in the sunlight, Cressida watched both of her daughters from a few steps away. "I'll kiss the ground beneath both of your feet if Evaleene manages to pull this betrothal off." Brigitta broke away from Evaleene's arms, dabbing the rest of the tears from her eyes.

    Frankly, Evaleene was surprised that her mother had even bothered to come to see her off. And her words did little to make Evaleene any happier to see her. "If you have so little faith in me, why didn't you convince Father to send Brigitta instead?" she asked, trying as best she could to keep any hostility out of her tone. "What I wouldn't give to be able to see the look on your face when you hear that I've won over the Reynard king." Nevermind her expression, Cressida would probably have a heart attack.

    "Winning him's only part of the battle," Her mother stared at her. Her gaze never once broke away. "Once you have him, you'll be queen alright. Queen of a broken land, left with only the pieces. If you can marry the boy and repair the kingdom. . .then maybe you'll have proved yourself to be a lady."

    The 'maybe' struck a nerve. "And when I've done that, you'll think of something else I must do to prove myself to you," she retorted, more than just a tinge of anger in her voice. "Nothing I do is ever good enough for you."

    "You prove time and time again why I'm right." Cressida hissed to Evaleene, looking around them. "I thought you'd at least have the decency to respect me in view of the commons. I hadn't realized how unruly you've become."

    Honestly, Evaleene had rather forgotten that there were others around them who could hear their heated exchange, but most of them were men under her command anyway, and this would be nothing new to them. Many of them knew of their princess's issues with her mother. A glance toward her sister, however, told her that Brigitta was clearly becoming uncomfortable. She would have liked to say more, to point out that her mother did not appear to respect her, but Cressida would very likely come back with another stinging reply. Evaleene was not going to win this argument, so rather than escalate it any further, she changed the subject. "When will Father get here?" The sooner he gets here, the sooner I can leave, then I won't be your problem anymore.

    "Whenever he likes." Her mother turned back to the castle, as if trying to spot her husband. "Ross's out reaving, and Alfred. . .I'm not for sure about Alfred…"

    "There he is," Brigitta said simply, and pointed to the gaggle of maids she had left behind. Alfred had one of them off to the side, a skinny one with her arms wrapped around him. He planted kisses on her forehead, cheeks, and finally her lips.

    Observing her younger brother's attentions to the maid, Evaleene rolled her eyes. "Typical Alfred," she said, equally amused and annoyed.

    "He has three bastards already," Cressida shook her head. "Your father needs to get him good and married, before he goes of and weds one of these commoners."

    "Lilia is a good maid, Mother," Brigitta said, not meeting her mother's eyes.

    "Maid is the key word there." Cressida gestured to the castle. "Your brother is the heir to Daversport. He needs to marry for wealth, for power, for control. A maid brings him nothing but pleasure in the bedchambers."

    Considering the fact that she had a lover herself, Evaleene couldn't quite be too critical of her brother, but at least she had the sense to be cautious enough to avoid any unexpected pregnancies. And she only had one lover; who knew how many Alfred had at any given time?

    But it was kind of nice to hear her mother complain about someone else for a change.

    "I think pleasure is the only thing he thinks about, at least where women are concerned," she muttered.

    It was then that Evaleene's father came striding to the docks. Lilia the maid disentangled herself from Alfred's arms when she saw him. At first he looked confused, but when he saw his father he laughed, planted another kiss on her, and then walked with his father to the rest of the family.

    "Glad to see you can pull yourself from a woman's arms long enough to wish your sister well." Cressida said to Alfred as they arrived.

    "Actually it was her that encouraged me to come." Alfred frowned.

    "Then I owe her thanks," Evaleene said. "At least one my brothers can be convinced to come and see me off." Though I suspect he's not all that sorry to see me leave.

    "I wouldn't be here if I didn't have to be. I don't understand why-"

    "You're to rule. Ross isn't. I've told you this for years now, Alfred." Isen Davers looked both respectable and regal, even while interrupting his eldest son. "Besides, you might not see her for a long time to come. Perhaps the two of you could try to get along for once."

    "A hopeless cause." Cressida sighed.

    "What a lovely way to see Evaleene off." Brigitta cried out. "This is her day!"

    "Brigitta!" Their mother looked shocked. "Where are your manners?"

    "Where are yours, Mother?"

    "How dare you talk to me like this!"

    "How dare you talk to Evaleene like you have been!" Brigitta maintained her poise even while losing herself. "This is the last time we'll see her for months, and all you have to say to her is how much of a failure you believe her to be!" The young lady crossed her arms. "She isn't a failure. You are wrong Mother."

    "I will have you punished for this. No more sweetcakes, for a month at least!" Cressida reached out to grab Brigitta's forearm, but caught Isen's hand instead.

    "She's right," He said softly. "This is Evaleene's day. Can you not hold your tongue?" Cressida looked from Isen to Brigitta, and then finally to Evaleene. She pursed her lips and nodded.

    Evaleene hadn't had a chance to enter into the family debate, and was somewhat glad for it. My loving family, she thought sarcastically. I can't say I'll miss the fighting. "Thank you, Father," she said. She wanted to say that it was a little late to be telling Cressida to keep her disparaging comments to herself, but she didn't want to start another argument.

    Her father stepped forward and took her hand in his. "Evaleene. . ." He spoke low, so that only the two of them may hear. "I know you won't fail me." He tightened his grip on her hand. "You haven't once in your life." In an uncharacteristic display of emotion, he kissed her forehead.

    "Thank you," she said again. At least I am not a disappointment to him, she thought. "I won't let you down."

    "Is. . ." Her father looked out to the fleet. "Are they ready?"

    "Yes," she answered. "I've just been double-checking our supplies while I was waiting for you." Had it not been for him and Brigitta, Evaleene wouldn't have stuck around to say goodbye.

    "Then," He gave her hand a final pat from his own, "I guess it's time."

    She sighed and nodded. "I guess so."

    Evaleene was about to tell her men to prepare to cast off, but as she turned to look for her second-in-command, her gaze fell on a man approaching the dock. She didn't recognize him, and there was nothing particularly remarkable about him, but he seemed...out of place. His head was shaved, and his clothing, while not overly elaborate, was not the sort of attire one usually saw here on the islands.

    Noting that the man seemed to be heading directly towards them, Evaleene looked to Isen. "Father, who is he?"

    "Ah!" Her father waved the man over. "I was afraid he wouldn't make it! This, Evaleene," He gestured to the visitor, "is Philippe Wood."

    The man bowed before her. "It is an honor to be in your presence, Princess."

    Evaleene gave the newcomer a nod of greeting. "A pleasure," she replied, even as she cast a questioning look to her father. He'd told her who the man was, but what was he doing here?

    "I originated from Mirwyth, m'lady," The foreigner said, "I come before you a humble man with all the knowledge of his people. Your father requested that I be your aide in this foreign land."

    "I expect your knowledge will prove quite useful," Evaleene told him appreciatively, not sure what else she should say. She knew that she did need as much information about Mirwyth as she could get, but with her past tutors, Evaleene had not exactly been the best student. She preferred spending her time in the training yard, not sitting in a study room.

    "With that settled..." Her father gestured to the fleet with a grim smile, "I think it's time."

    Evaleene nodded and took a steadying breath. It's really happening. I am leaving everything I know, to journey to the other side of the world to marry a king. If all went as planned, she would be the future queen of Mirwyth when next she saw her family. "I won't let you down, Father," she promised him again.

    "I know you won't," He squeezed her shoulder. "You're a Davers. We conquer. Conquer Mirwyth, Evaleene. Conquer it with love, and if that doesn't work," The smile he gave then was even darker than the last, "Conquer it with steel."

    Hopefully it wouldn't come to conquering with steel, but if King Matheus did not accept their proposal, she would make sure he regretted it. After all, there were how many other kings fighting over power in Mirwyth?

    Although, considering that point--"With the rebellion going on, I may have to conquer it both ways," she said, not entirely jesting.

    "With our armada, it hopefully won't be much of a battle." He then gestured to a man standing perched high above them, on the deck of one of the ships. The man blew his horn, with a great AROOOO. The entire docks grew silent and still. "Now, Evaleene," He whispered to her, "Tell your people the news."

    She re-boarded the Charybdis, taking a few deep breaths and a few moments to gather her thoughts. This was another thing she didn’t much care for, making speeches. Rousing her men to battle was easy enough, but formal speeches like this were a different matter all together.
    Once she knew what she was going to say, she climbed up onto the ship’s railing so that she could be seen, speaking loudly and clearly enough to be heard across the docks:

    “People of Daversport! You are familiar with the words of my family: ‘You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.’ Well, we have been standing and staring at the water for too long. But after today, we will stand by no longer. Today I depart for the kingdom of Mirwyth, to wed their king and to aid him in the fight against those who would denounce his rule. This new alliance brings with it new opportunities for us to spread our influence, our culture, expand our reach beyond our islands, and bring in a new era for our people.”




    Having said her piece, Evaleene climbed down from the rail and went back to her family for last good-byes.

    Brigitta was the first. Tears poured down without a care, smiling and biting her lip at the same time. “Farewell, sister. I hope he’s everything a king should be and more.”

    Evaleene returned her sister's smile, and though she wasn't about to cry in front of her mother or Alfred, she could feel the sting at the back of here eyes. "I hope so, too, 'Gitta," she told her, before drawing her in for one last hug. "I'll miss you the most," she whispered so only Brigitta would hear.

    The next was her mother. Cressida stood impassive, watching Evaleene separate from her hug from her sister. "Just marry him," She sighed. "Do whatever you have to, but marry Mirwyth's king."

    Evaleene bit back the retort that immediately came to mind--Will that finally convince you that I'm not the failure you think I am? Will that finally make you proud of me?--and simply gave Cressida a respectful nod. At least she hadn't taken one last opportunity to criticize her. "Goodbye, Mother," was all she said.

    And for the dimmest of moments, her mother's eyes seemed to quiver with tears. She bit them back. "Goodbye...daughter."

    Were those tears? Evaleene wouldn't call her mother on it. She'd probably deny it anyway. But to hear Cressida call her daughter...it wasn't even really what most would consider a term of endearment, but to Evaleene, it was more than she usually got. In a rare gesture of affection, Evaleene gave her mother a genuine smile and briefly gave her hand a squeeze.

    But she wasn't about to push her luck, and Evaleene ended the moment before anything could ruin it, and turned to her brother. "Keep the scoundrels out while I'm gone, all right?" She was only half-teasing. Alfred--and Ross, as well--would have to pick up the slack in defending the waters around Daversport in Evaleene's absence.

    "Would I do any less?" He grinned back at her, reaching his hand out to shake her own. "You sleep with the scoundrels if you have to, Evaleene. Maybe he'll be decent enough."

    Evaleene laughed as she shook his hand. They might not get along much, but at least once in a while they still had something to laugh over. She could imagine Cressida probably didn't approve of the jest, though."'Bye, Alfred. And tell Ross goodbye for me."

    He nodded. All that was left was her father, who stared at her with hopeful eyes of his own.

    She didn't hug her father often, affection between them usually manifested in other forms, but she made an exception today. It would be a long time before she saw him again. "Thank you," she told him as she embraced him. "For having faith in me."

    "Just make the Davers name what it once was again," Isen said while giving Evaleene reassuring squeezes. "I know you can if anyone. Send a raven when you arrive, and another with news of the betrothal. If it's a yes, our ships ride. If it's a no, they ride. An army's coming for Mirwyth, and the Reynards better hope it's with them and not against."

    Evaleene nodded to acknowledge his instructions as she--somewhat reluctantly--pulled away. "Goodbye, Father."

    "Goodbye, Evaleene," he murmured with a final squeeze to her shoulder. "Spread your sails."

    She nodded once more, before she finally stepped away and started up the gangplank, giving her men the order to cast off. A horn blast sent the signal across to the other fourteen ships that would follow the Charybdis to Mirwyth, and together, they began the journey out to sea.

    Evaleene took the wheel herself, but as the ship slipped out of the Daversport harbor, she looked back as her home, and her family, began to shrink into the distance. She saw Brigitta move to the end of the dock to wave, and though she wasn’t sure her sister would still see, Evaleene waved back one last time.
    Once Brigitta, Alfred, and her parents were too far away to make out, she turned to face the open sea—and her future.

    TAG: No one.
     
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  2. Ktala

    Ktala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 7, 2002
    "Lor" Lorain Ashkey - The Ravenford
    A long Night


    Even as Lorain spoke with Olyvar, trying to find out what was going on, and what he had seen, Fleet was getting dressed. Suddenly, he came running back into the room, this time dressed, even as he yelled out at them.

    “Mum! Lady Clarissa!” he called out urgently. “We cain’t leave her!” Fleet called out to them, his voice rising over the noise. Lorain froze for a second furiously thinking. If it was they that had brought this attack to the castle, then they needed to help them. She knew that Fleet was smitten with the young girl. He would NOT simply leave her, if he could possibly help. And more, she knew what would most likely happen if the young girl was captured. Normally, Lorain did not have much for nobles, but a noble had saved her, and another had opened their castle to them. Even if Ser Idjit was at fault, they could not simply leave. Lorain spun around as a look of resolve came over her face.

    "Do ya know where the Lady Clarissa is?" she asked Olyvar, as she hoisted the crossbow, notched it, and then handed it to Fleet. She then drew her hammer. She then looked over at Fleet. "No matters what, you do as I say. You hear me? We be moving fast." She then looked up at Olyvar, giving him a firm nod. They were ready to move.


    Tag: greyjedi125, spycoder9
     
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  3. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC:Fleet Ashkey
    The Ravenford, Four days before the wedding

    He tried not to think of the one thousand horrific images going through his mind, but the harder he tried not to think about them, the more they persisted.

    Almost instantly, the look of determination which came upon Lorain dispelled any misgivings.

    “Do you know where Lady Clarissa is? He heard his mum ask Olyvar. A weak smile crossed the anxious boy’s face, evidence of the modicum of relief he felt.

    He noticed how his mum notched the crossbow she carried and smoothly handed it over. Fleet received the weapon with practiced proficiency and made 'ready' once it was in his hands.

    “No matters what, you do as I say. You hear me? We be moving fast.”

    Fleet nodded in understanding, his expression now growing serious and focused.

    Lorain then looked over to Olyvar and gave the squire a firm nod. They were ready to move on and meet whatever lay ahead in their path.


    Tag: @Ktala, @spycoder9
     
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  4. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    4 Days Before the Wedding


    The Capital of Mirwyth
    The Ravenford


    Halls


    “How the hell do I know?” Olyvar immediately paused, tears trickling down his cheeks. “I’m sorry…I’m sorry. I’ll try to find her. We will. Ser Caliban’s waiting in the throne room for us, he’ll have answers I’m sure. I…” He shook his head and took off, the two following behind him.

    The halls he led them down were bathed in torchlight, but even it was pale in comparison to those blazing out the windows. Olyvar passed by one, taking a glance out it, and looked back to Lorain. The squire's eyes were haunted, darker, ringed with tears. They were the eyes of someone who'd been awakened to the horrors of war, eyes that would never return to the innocence they had once known.

    “Don’t let him look,” was all he said.

    It was ten minutes of trailing down paths when eventually Olyvar stopped in the middle of the hallway and fell to his knees.

    “No, no, no. I can’t remember where it was. I can’t remember! Caliban told me, but…” He was crying again, but it was a quiet cry. His words were loud, but none louder than those being shouted outside.

    Fleet would realize where they were. Near the kitchens. Possibly…if he remembered…he could find the throne room.



    TAG: greyjedi125, Ktala
     
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  5. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Fleet Ashkey
    The Ravenford, Four days before the wedding.

    Seeing Olyvar so close to total despair was simply terrifying. The squire’s eyes were positively haunted, his voice seemed not his own. He was on edge and reacted as if he were about to snap!

    Fleet remained quiet as they moved. The sound of fighting had grown all the more terrible because of Olyvar. What horrors had the squire witnessed, he did not dare imagine. When bade not to look, Fleet did as told. He gripped the crossbow even harder; within himself, he secretly feared for Lady Clarissa’s safety.

    “No, no, no. I can’t remember where it was. I can’t remember! Caliban told me, but…”

    They had stopped moving and Olyvar was breaking down. Poor Olyvar. Fleet had no idea how to begin to console his new friend. All he knew was, that they could not remain where they were. They had to keep moving and find Lady Clarissa.

    The boys blue eyes peered around—and then it hit him. They were in the kitchens! The very ones where the cakes were made.

    “Mum!” Fleet called out in a whisper.

    “These be the kitch’ns. I know where we are. I kno where ta go from ‘ere.”

    Galvanized by the prospect of finding the little lady, Fleet went over and tugged on Olyvar.

    “I can take us from ‘ere.” He said calmly to the squire. He pointed toward one of the nearby corridors lit by a single torch.

    “C’mon. We cain’t stop nowe.”


    Tag: @Ktala, @spycoder9
     
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  6. Ktala

    Ktala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 7, 2002
    "Lor" Lorain Ashkey
    The Ravenford, Four days before the wedding.
    The Halls


    Olyvar snapped at Lorain's inquiry, and Lorain realized that poor Olyvar had probably never seen real battle before. Tears trickled down his cheeks. “I’m sorry…I’m sorry. I’ll try to find her. We will. Ser Caliban’s waiting in the throne room for us, he’ll have answers I’m sure. I…” He shook his head and took off. Lor gave the poor man a firm nod, and then followed, keeping Fleet close to her.

    They passed one of the larger windows, and as Olyvar passed by one, he took a glance out it, and looked back to Lorain. Lorain didnt need to look. She knew the sounds to well, from the the sea town had been attacked. “Don’t let him look,” was all he said. Lorain looked over and saw that Olyvar's reactions were feeding Fleets own worries, as he gripped the crossbow even tighter. Lorain gently touched his shoulder. "Need ya to keep ya wits about you. Your sharp eyes will probably be the ones that save the day." she told him, giving him a gentle smile. Suddenly, they stopped as Olyvar seemed to have a total breakdown.

    No, no, no. I can’t remember where it was. I can’t remember! Caliban told me, but…” He was crying again, but it was a quiet cry. His words were loud, but none louder than those being shouted outside.

    With a deep sigh, Lorain moved up to the man, and laid a hand on his shoulder. "I know its difficult. But we gots to keep moving. Dont look like they've made it inside the castle yet, but Im guessing that wont be long..."

    Mum!” Fleet called out in a whisper. Lorain turned looking at Fleet, as one hand gripped her hammer tighter. But there wasnt fear on his face. He looked excited.

    These be the kitch’ns. I know where we are. I kno where ta go from ‘ere.” Galvanized by the prospect of finding the little lady, Fleet went over and tugged on Olyvar. “I can take us from ‘ere.” He said calmly to the squire. He pointed toward one of the nearby corridors lit by a single torch. “C’mon. We cain’t stop nowe.”

    Lorain coudlnt be any more prouder of her son. She gave him a wide smile. Looking back down at Olyvar, she offered her hand to help him up. She looked back at Fleet. "Told ya, ya had good eyes. So, show us the way, son." She moved to stand next to Fleet, in case anyone tried to attack him. She just hoped that they made it to the throne room in time. As they walked, she looked back over at Olyvar. "So, SER Caliban is waiting for us?" she asked him. She would believe it when she saw it with her own eyes.


    Tag: greyjedi125, spycoder9
     
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  7. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    (Posted with spycoder9)

    IC: Ginnifer Kildare
    Kalkheim, Fair Groves, Desert
    Eleven days after her brother’s murder


    It seemed a great crime to say that life was normal at Kalkheim. After all, the Knight Commander was dead. The political situation felt like standing on dunes--rapidly shifting and unstable. What was there one day was gone the next...much like Ginnifer’s brother.

    The very thought nearly brought tears to her eyes. Despite her iron reserve in public moments like this would hit her, striking her chest like an arrow, from time to time. She soldiered through them because the Fair Groves needed her now.

    She received daily reports from Aron of their defenses. They were not on a war footing, but they watched the horizon in all directions like hawks. She knew not where the next threat would come from, but come it would. She knew that.

    In her haste to secure the Groves’ future, she had not expected a missive by raven, borne to her by Sophee. Nor did she expect what was inside.

    Lady Ginnifer Kildare,

    The Desert grieves.

    Were it not so dry here, the skies would weep. Ser Lawrence will be memorialized in the Oasis of Dawnsgrace, where the bells shall clang until man itself cannot forget what tragedy has befallen our lands. Details of the wedding and what took place are sparse, but none of them matter when my son is dead.

    The words I need to speak cannot be conveyed through raven, and our family needs each other now more than ever. This is why I write you, Ginnifer. I need you and your siblings with me. We need to mourn, to reminisce, to plan, together. One thing your mother bestowed upon both you and I was the foundations of House Kildare. We stand together. When one of us burns, we all burn, but from the ashes rises something even V’hallar Himself should fear.

    So come. Soon.

    your father,
    Martyn Forsythe,
    King of the Desert


    Ginnifer put the parchment down with wonder. Her father had written this? He had not said these many words aloud in the last year that she could remember. Even freed from her mother’s overbearance he had remained a shadow of a man. She had sent him forth to ask Mors to deal with the piracy that undermined the security (and, with that, authority) of the Desert and the first word she had from him was that of a man who now planned. A man of foundation. A man who stood. A man who would build. A man who would be feared.

    “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” Ginnifer murmured.

    “What’s that, milady?” Sophee asked.

    “Tell the runners to send for my sisters and brothers, the Knight Commander, and my Aunt Regina,” Ginnifer said, more loudly this time.



    “Our father, King of the Desert, summons us to Dawnsgrace,” Ginnifer told her siblings, holding up the letter. “We shall go to him.”

    “Of course,” Landon agreed.

    “Are you sure that’s wise?” Zooey asked. “We have no idea who is coming to attack us.”

    “Aron is Knight Commander. The defense of the Fair Groves is in his hands and I trust him,” Ginnifer said. “For now, we take no action. We stand watchful of those who enter the Desert.”

    “Even so, we do not know what the future will bring,” Zooey pressed.

    “All the more reason to conference with our father. He is right. We must stand together,” Ginnifer said.

    “Yes, but to leave Kalkheim without leadership now, of all times?” Zooey asked. “It seems unwise.”

    “It would be, which is why I now make provision for that,” Ginnifer said. “Aunt Regina shall act as regent until my return from Dawnsgrace.”

    “Regina?” Zooey asked incredulously. The woman in question’s eyes were wide with surprise, but she said nothing.

    “The journey to Dawnsgrace is two days. Ordinarily, I would not go to the trouble, but Zooey is right. We must be prepared for the unexpected. I trust Regina to do what is best for the Fair Groves should immediate action be required, which will be unlikely.”

    Zooey sputtered, looking for words until Chelsee spoke up. “Whoever killed Lawrence, whoever is in league with them...they’re hard and cutthroat,” the youngest daughter said. “And when you face such enemies, then you need the hardest cutthroat you’ve got.” Chelsee looked at her aunt. “And that’s you.”

    Regina simply gave two nods of the head to Chelsee to agree.

    “This is not open for debate,” Ginnifer said, closing the conversation by standing. “We leave for Dawnsgrace tomorrow morning. It is time to secure the future of this house.”

    TAG: Stryker01, who composed the message
     
  8. Jedi_padawan_leigh

    Jedi_padawan_leigh Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 13, 2003
    OOC: Loong combined post from spy and I :)

    IC: Gwenn Cliffe
    Delmaristead


    “M’lady…

    "M'lady wake up..."

    The voice roused Gwenn from her slumber. Her grey eyes snapped open, blinking away sleep. Turning over under the warm covers, the woman glanced around, slightly confused as her consciousness returned so abruptly from the realm of dreams. The room was shrouded in darkness. A silhouette stood above Gwenn’s bed. Her breath caught silently in her throat and she tensed, immediately on alert, but the sudden glint of blonde hair that caught the moonlight and the urgent voice that met her ears helped to quickly identify the shadowed figure.

    “It's the King! He’s begging for you!”

    “Paege?” Gwenn enquired as she pushed the covers off herself and swung her legs over the side of the bed. Standing up, she grabbed a robe from beside the bed and quickly threw it on “Whats goin’ on?” She asked the fretful maiden, concern evident in her voice “What’s happened?” She continued as the maiden grasped her wrist and quickly led her towards the door. The stone stairs were cold against her bare feet as the pair descended the winding tower. She repeated her question but the maiden did not answer. The girl was clearly shaken and the bastard woman was getting increasingly worried with each step they took towards the king’s chambers.

    The further she moved through the darkened hallways, the greater a sense of foreboding crept over her. Shadows danced across the walls as the pair continued to make their way to the king’s quarters. Gwenn’s heartbeat pounded in her ears as they ran.

    “Down here!” Paege panted as the pair rounded another corner. The older woman’s eyes suddenly fell upon the form of an elderly man standing outside a guarded door. The bald man was clad in robes that hung shapelessly over a thin frame, and he wore no adornments besides a chain that identified him as a Maester. An icy shiver shot up Gwenn’s spine. Maesters were often called upon to treat illness and injuries.

    “Oh No…” Gwenn hissed as Paege finally released her iron grip on her arm as she leant against the wall and caught her breath. “Me father…” Gwenn exclaimed between gasps as she approached the elderly man “What’s happenin’?!” She continued her grey eyes pools of confusion as she looked at the wise-man.

    "Your father-our King..." The elderly man rubbed the back of his head. "...he's sick. Succumbing to a cruel affliction of the stomach."

    Gwenn's breath caught silently in the back of her throat at the old man’s words. The king was sick? Despite his age, Nathaniel had always seemed to be in good health whenever she had been around him, and had been in good spirits during the feast. It had happened so fast... It was then that a realization exploded in Gwenn's chest and she physically flinched.

    The rainbow trout!

    She had seen one in her nightmare, and one had been placed before the king. Had it been a sign? She cursed under her breath. Was this her fault?! Could she have prevented this? A flash of worry crossed her features as she looked at the elderly healer.

    "Maester... fish was served ta him durin' the feast, and served ta him alone, wi' scales of many colours!" She exclaimed as her gaze flitted between the man and the door to the kings quarters "Can ye help 'im?"

    "I've given him herbs and poultices and powders and medicines. I've given him almost every concoction within a maester’s limit. Nothing seems to be working, and anything more would kill him before the illness does. All I can do is slow its progress." He seemed mentally and physically exhausted. "If it was poison... whatever it was, it comes from somewhere far away. I've never seen any Mirwythian poison like it in all my time as maester of Delmaristead."

    "Poison?" Gwenn whispered in disbelief, trying to make sense of everything as the man's words sank in.

    The king was dying.

    Her mind raced, every second another question raced to the forefront. Who? Why? What for?

    "Damn it!" She hissed in frustration as a myriad of emotions flooded over her, though the overriding feeling was one of guilt "Why didn't I warn him? Why didn't I stop him?"

    She glanced over to Paege, who looked close to breaking, the telltale sign of tears welling up in her eyes. Gwenn didn't know how she should feel in that moment. She felt...numb... In the short time that her father had come into her life, they had only barely started to build the bridge between them, and she still found it hard at times to see him as Nathaniel her father instead of Nathaniel the king. But he had been nothing but kind to her, he took her in, gave her a chance of a new life when he could have just left her to wither away on Breezecroft, and she could tell that he wanted to do right by her.

    "And by me mother..."

    A lump threatened to rise in her throat but she fought it down as she looked back at the healer. "He wants te see me?"

    "Yes... yes he does. There's a few others in there now, but... they'll leave when you arrive." The maester stepped away from the door.

    "Thank yeh, Maester" Gwenn said quietly before turning to Paege. The young maid seemed hesitant, but Gwenn offered the girl her arm in support and gentle encouragement. After a few moments, the young girl stepped forward and looped her arm around the older woman’s. "Be brave" Gwenn silently willed the kind-hearted girl as they passed through the door and into the room.

    Despite the many candles within the king’s chambers, darkness seemed to permeate everything within the room. Even the candles didn't seem to emit any warmth as they flickered in the night-time air. As they walked deeper into the room, Gwenn's grey eyes fell upon the other occupants. The bastard woman only recognized two faces. The first was Jeanette, the older maids face was wrought with sorrow as she turned her head at the sound of the approaching pair. But ever dutiful, she managed the smallest nod of acknowledgement before turning back to her vigil over her ailing king. The second person was her father’s right hand man, Korianton.

    Korianton... Gwenn’s eyes narrowed in steely suspicion as she approached the group. Thinking back to her time at the feast, Nathaniel had been fine before consuming his suspect meal, and this man had been the one to present it to him...

    She was pulled from her thoughts as some of the king’s advisors became aware of her presence. Her face was stoic as she and Paege approached the bedside, but her heartbeat pounded in her ears as she stopped and looked down upon the bed. Her breath caught in her throat and Paege audibly gasped.

    Her father lay amoungst the bed clothes, a shell of the man he had been just a few hours ago. There was sickness in him, as the Maester had said, but what was most alarming was just how thin and pale her father was. It was as if his body had wasted away in a matter of mere hours. The maesters words resurfaced in her mind about the possibility of poison and she inwardly shuddered. Such a horrific affliction, and for someone to willingly inflict it on a person. Anger started to well up deep inside her chest, but she forced it away when the sound of Paege’s quiet sobbing found her ears and she felt the young girls grip on her arm tighten.

    Jeanette quietly walked over to comfort the young woman, taking her to one side as Gwenn moved closer to her gravely ill father. A helpless feeling overcame her at that moment, the same helpless feeling she had experienced as she watched her mother succumb to death all those years ago.

    "Father...I'm here"

    "Raven?" Nathaniel Delmari's eyelids fluttered open. His eyes spun around the room for a moment before resting on Gwenn. "Oh... Gwenn. Yes, yes. Thank you for coming. I trust..." He grinned slightly. "...you had a good time at the feast?"

    Gwenn felt a fresh pang of guilt as she heard Nathaniel say the name of his missing daughter. He should have been with Raven and his wife if these were to be his final moments, but they were both still missing, and still no-one knew where they were or why they had disappeared..."And so it falls ta me" She mused, the weight of the responsibility weighing heavy within her chest. Unsure of what to say, she let out a soft breath. "It were...a lot ta take in..." she replied quietly, pausing briefly as she nodded her head gently "...But aye" She resisted the urge to look back at Korianton "How're ya feelin'?" She continued, a futile, possibly stupid question, but it's all she could think of at that moment.

    The chuckles that followed Gwenn's questions dissolved into thick, croaking coughs. "Not too well, I'll be honest." He reached out and slipped his hand into hers, squeezing it weakly. "Seems like this damn war got the best of me before there was even a battle to fight."

    Gwenn looked down at the frail hand now resting in her own before bringing her gaze back onto the weary face of her father. She could tell that it would not be long before he lost his final battle. "The war didn' do this, a snake of a traitor did" She fumed inwardly, but pushed it to the back of her mind as she returned her focus fully to her dying father. He may have been a king, a warrior, an adventurer and a hundred other things to the citizens of the isles, but in this room, he was a simply a man who deserved peace and comfort in his final hours.

    "Is tha anythin' I can do?" She said quietly, concern and helplessness reflected in her storm grey eyes. The words of the Maester rang heavy in her ears. Another foolish question perhaps, but she had to try. If this was in any way her fault, she had to try and make it right. "The isle folk need ya..."

    "They need a ruler." The king glanced at Korianton out of the corner of his eye. "I need to talk to Gwenn... privately." There was an awkward silence shared between all of them. Korianton nodded finally.

    "I'll be waiting outside, your Grace." He bowed low, shooting his eyes at Gwenn, and stepped out, followed in close procession by the others. The only ones left when the door closed was Gwenn, her father, and Jeanette. Nathaniel stared at her with his wistful, sickened smile for several long seconds before breaking down.

    "I tried..." he was whispering, "I tried to make the Isles great again. Independent like my forefathers wanted it to be.... I tried." Tears slipped down his cheeks, forming wet stains on his pillows.

    "Shh, be calm" She soothed, squeezing his fragile hand ever so carefully. "Folk on Breezecroft say ya did more fer the isles than any other" She paused and left out a soft sigh, a reflective look ghosted across her face at the memory of her former home. "Aye, it may not be perfect, but ya gave 'em purpose, gave 'em hope...An' ya can bet yer last gold coin they won't just lie down an' lose it all"

    Nathaniel nodded, perhaps strengthened by her words. "Hanrey was a good king, for all the man he was. He was the kind of monarch all after him should base their rulings after. Not that they would, or have...me included. He got so caught up in pleasing everyone. His father, and then his wife, and then eventually his lords. Rolmar was always the loudest, but Hanrey was good to please...his death...it shook kingdoms." The King of the Isles rambled on, almost lost in the daydream of days past. "And then Fenton wouldn't have any of it. Maybe he wasn't the worst ruler Mirwyth's seen...his great-grandmother, Ophelia Reynard, she was a true witch...a force to be reckoned with, if stories hold true...Fenton, he wouldn't..." His eyes were glossed almost, so enraptured was his memories. "He wouldn't listen to Desmond, or Santagar. Most definitely not me...I was some sea scoundrel he thought belonged at the bottom of the sea..."

    He looked back to Gwenn. "Walking into his court is how I imagine you walked into mine. All the Capitalmen, they believe the Isles to be weak. Just a patch of rocks. But we have fleets. We have salt running through our veins, Gwenn." Nathaniel squeezed her hand. "I failed in many ways...perhaps I'm not much better than Fenton, or his father, but I know one thing." More tears fell. "I loved my people. Watching them starve, and revolt...it's not...it burns. It burns worse than this sickness eating away at me. They deserve a ruler who can love them...but also understand them. My Raven, gods be good my Raven wherever she may be, she understood them. But now she's gone...an entire lineage decimated in weeks...and Korianton thinks I'll leave the Isles to him without her. I love him as a son should be loved, but he... he's cruel, and prideful, and painfully royal. The Isles need more if they're to maintain a place in Mirwyth much longer. They need one of their own. A person mingled with the blood of royals and commoners, someone who has walked in their shoes, been beaten down by the sun over our heads while they toil away...

    "Gwenn," His eyes were stronger than they had been the entire time he had spoken to her. "You are the queen the Isles needs. You are a Delmari, sweet, budding child of mine, even if you think you aren't. Your forefathers made the Isles what they are, and if they're to stay this way...you must rule them, only you. Not as Gwenn Cliffe the Bastard, no, but as..." he paused for a moment, before lighting up with a small grin. "...as Guinevere Delmari the Savior. No longer baseborn, toiling away on docks while her home goes to waste, but a queen. You must fix my wrongs. Even if you think you can't, even if you doubt yourself, you must. You're the only chance the Isles have left. Guinevere Delmari..." He laid back in his pillows, continuing to smile that hopeful smile. "...you aren't my bastard. You're trueborn. You're my daughter."

    A sensation of shock ripped through Gwenn as Nathaniel’s words sunk in. A long silence stretched out between the two, as for the first time in a long time, the former dockworker struggled to find her words. Her? A queen? In any other situation she probably would have burst out in laughter at the absurdity of it all. Perhaps it was just his illness, his feverish body turning him to delirium, but as she looked back at his tired, world-weary face, the hopeful smile he wore made Gwenn realize that what he was suggesting was no jest.

    She blew out a shaky breath “Ya…ya want me te be a queen?!” she whispered, the disbelief evident in her face. “Ya think I av the power te save the isles?” It sounded even more unbelievable when she said it out-loud, like it belonged in the pages of a children’s fable. “I’m no savior, I’m just…” She gestured down her body sharply with her free hand “…This!” Her mind raced as she attempted to push through the whirlwind of emotions that coursed through her. She paused again, drawing in a few breaths in an attempt to calm herself down.

    “Forgive me…” She said quietly, an apologetic look reflected in her eyes before she cast then down to the floor. Letting out a soft sigh, she tried to contemplate the enormity of the request her father was asking of her. After a few more short moments, she returned her gaze onto her father.

    “Even if I could do this…I’m just one person. Yer lords will think it folly! They would most like spit on me than listen ta me”

    “Then spit back on them,” he smiled, but his eyes were made of steel, angry almost at the injustice in the world. “None of us are born to rule. I wasn’t to rule either…my brother was bred for kingship. Raven was as well. Time...” His stopped again to cough. His hand came away with a tiny bit of blood. “…it has an odd habit of changing things. I never wanted any of this, truly, but it’s what we have Guinevere. You think you that you can’t do this, that the people will mock you, that the world itself might split down the middle…”He coughed again. “And it just might. But when the world ends, I want you to be standing there, knowing you did as much as you could. If for no one else, do it for your mother…do it for Harriet. Make the Isles better in her memory, if for no one else. We both know she deserved it, Gods be good.”

    The mention of her mother’s name made an ache bloom outwards from Gwenn's chest. As a child she had wanted so much to help make her mother well again, to do something about it all, but she had been a child, weak and helpless and innocent to the workings of the wider world. Yet all she could do was wait and ask the other servants if she could see Harriet, only to be answered with a frustrated sigh or roll of an eye as they hurried past her.

    She couldn’t do anything then, nor when Tarkwin had been drowned or her fellow servants had been mistreated. She had seen her countrymen struggle during the blockades, could feel the misery and frustration and the fear as they struggled to feed, clothe and shelter themselves and their families.

    Maybe she couldn't have done anything then, but perhaps she could do something now. Her father wanted her to look after the people of the isles, to somehow make a difference. The prospect however, was still utterly terrifying. Her vision in her left eye blurred, as a tear threatened to fall unbidden. Quickly she reached up and wiped it away. Drawing in a deep breath, she closed her eyes for a moment, and said a silent prayer.

    "Chiraynn watch over me, for what I'm about to do"

    Opening her eyes again, she nodded her head softly "I'll...do what I can..." she said quietly "An' if the gods are good an' they return Raven te 'er home, I'll serve 'er and help 'er, an follow 'er faithfully if she'll have me" She looked her father over, her grey gaze coming to stop at his face. A few speckles of bright red blood stood out harshly against the pale skin on his chin. Reaching over to a small table, she picked up a small hankerchief and carefully reached over, dabbing the blood away with a gentleness that was seldom witnessed by others who knew her.

    "Ye...ye should rest now"

    "Jeanette, bring the maester in," Nathaniel gestured to the maid who'd been listening in solemn fascination. "And send the little one...Paege, I think's her name? Send her to get Mya. She'll..." He smiled at Gwenn. "...she'll be taking my daughter on that trip she promised her." The older maid slipped from the room as silently as she had been when in it, and within those few moments before the maester entered, Nathaniel reached for his partially wooden crown that rested near his head. He held it in his shaky hands, turning it over several times. "This crown... it was carved with runes, ancient ones. Runes to 'safeguard its wearer', or that's what the smith told me. I didn't wear it enough, I don't guess..."

    He held it out to Gwenn. "Take it with you. If Raven returns, it's hers... but until then, it's yours, Guinevere."

    Gwenn carefully took the crown from her father, her fingers brushing against one of the carved runes that adorned it. It felt heavy in her hands, but it wasn't just the weight of the wood and metals that made up its construction, it was also the weight of the responsibility which came with it. It also served to remind Gwenn that whatever happened from this point, that her life would never be the same again.

    It was then that her brow furrowed in confusion as she suddenly fully registered her father’s earlier words. Trip? What trip? Bringing her gaze up from the crown, she looked over her shoulder as the Maester approached the bed side. Gwenn searched her memories, trying to recall this Mya he mentioned. Oh yes, It was the bejeweled lady who spoke with her during the feast. What did she have to do with this?

    "Beggin' pardon, but wha' de ya mean? Where am I ta go?"

    "Horseback riding..." He grimaced while smiling. "You can get away from this castle for a while... get to know Delmaristead..." His eyes said something his mouth didn't. Go, they pleaded.

    The look in her father's eyes... Gwenn had seen it before, and had a strong inkling about what it meant.

    Danger.

    She nodded her head ever so slightly "Lady Mya is too kind..." She said quietly, trying to portray a calm outward appearance while inside, every nerve was on alert. Was he doing this to protect her? If so, who would protect him? Nathaniel was defenseless and near death, a prime opportunity for those who conspired against him. She looked at her father and then towards the doorway, and then back at him again. There was conflict in her eyes as her fist tightened around the crown, the runes digging into the flesh of her hand. An angry inner voice filled her head.

    "How can ye carry out 'is wishes if yer dead, ya damn fool!"

    Snapping out of her thoughts, she let out a defeated sigh and turned her head to look at the Maester.

    "Maester, look afta me father, make sure he's comfortable..."

    "Nothing would please me more, m'lady-"

    "I need you to write everything I say, exactly as I say it," Nathaniel cut him off. His breathing was heavier than before, but his words were precise. In short, Nathaniel proclaimed his final decrees as the king. Those detailed legalizing his bastard daughter Guinevere Delmari, declaring her queen in her sister's place, and a final bid to keep the isles independent, its own kingdom separated from the pollution of the Capital. When he finished, he signed it with a shaky hand, putting his own stamp on it. Then he handed it to his daughter. "Take it, Gwenn... take it... and show no one. Not till the time is right..." He broke off into a spasm of coughs, wet and bloody.

    Jeanette came back into the room quietly, her entrance shadowed by their monarch's sickness. "Your Grace," she finally said, "The Lady is ready."

    He nodded, the smile on his face somber. "Then your ride awaits." He looked directly into his daughter's eyes. "Farewell, Guinevere Delmari."

    Gwenn looked up from the proclamation and caught her father's gaze. It was time... She nodded gently and then bowed her head in thanks, but also respect. He may not have been in her life for long, but Nathaniel Delmari deserved to be honoured for what he had done. Not just what he had done for Gwenn herself, but for what he had done for the isles and for its people. Straightening up, her grey eyes seemed to flicker in the candlelight. Despite her efforts, a lump formed anew in her throat "Farewell father...an' Thank yeh, for everythin..." .

    "Be at peace, an' say hello ta me mother fer me..."

    She prayed silently before stepping away from the bedside and turning round slowly. Her footfalls sounded heavy in her ears as she made for the door, fighting hard not to look back lest the whirlwind of emotions take her once more.

    She stepped back out into the candle lit hallway, the heavy door to the kings chamber shutting behind her with a loud thud. Blinking out of her daze, she blew out a shaky breath and sagged backwards against the wall, a sudden exhaustion sweeping over her as the true realisation of what occurred in the room hit her like falling masonry. Her life had changed forever, all because of the crown and piece of parchment she now held in her weathered hands.

    The fate of a nation was now resting squarely on her shoulders.

    And it would be the last time she saw her father alive...


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  9. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    4 Days Before the Wedding


    The Capital of Mirwyth
    The Ravenford


    Throne Room


    Olyvar stood on shaky legs as he followed Fleet down the pathways. His eyes showed a newfound respect for the boy as he navigated them successfully to the throne room doors.

    The squire paused outside of them to answer Lorain's question. “You two are the only ones here who can prove if these men are the same men who took Willas…Ser Caliban needs you.” With that, Olyvar threw the doors open.

    The throne room was crowded with mainly women, the cooks and the maids, the handmaidens and the washerwomen. None of the women in the room seemed to care too much about their entrance, once they realized they didn't mean harm. Most were frightened by the sudden weight of their own mortality, muttering prayers and comforting one another.The Lady of the Ravenford sat on her feathered throne. It was still a mighty structure, but its seriousness was cut short by its ruler. She was bent in her hands, sobbing quietly. Her friend, the one who’d kissed Fleet only hours before, was consoling her. Ser Caliban stood in a far corner, sharpening his sword, when he saw Fleet and Lorain. He rose from his corner and approached.

    “I believe my brother’s captors have come to us,” he said right away. His sandy features were dark in the torchlight glow. Even in the protection of the throne room, the screams from outside the castle were heard. “But I’ll need you,” He pointed to Lorain, “to prove that.”

    “Fleet!” The Little Lady cried out, popping out of her throne and running down its steps. Claryssa’s eyes dazzled even in the shade. She wrapped her arms around his neck in an unladylike display of emotion. Had the women not been so distraught, there might have been talk on how lenient the rearing of Claryssa was. In this moment though, none even noticed.

    “Have you seen my uncle?” she asked them after untangling herself from the boy.



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  10. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Fleet Ashkey
    The Ravenford, four days before the wedding

    Fleet felt enormous relief wash over him once they had reached the throne room doors. They appeared solid and untroubled from what he could tell. The throne room seemed like a haven in contrast to the mayhem that was going on around the palace.

    All at once, Olyvar paused before they entered, quickly informing them of much needed news.

    “You two are the only ones here who can prove if these men are the same men who took Willis…Ser Caliban needs you.”

    After that declaration, Olyvar threw the doors open. Fleet cast a glance worried glance at his mum, Lorain, before marching forth. Ser Caliban had treated them with barely marginal hospitality all this time. The desert noble was hardly in need of anything, so great was his pomp. The fact that he would now suddenly ‘need’ them filled the former urchin with nothing else but deep suspicion.

    Fleet’s eyes grew wide at seeing how crowded the throne room was. He did notice that nearly all those present were women, which meant the men were the ones doing all the fighting…and the dying.

    An involuntary chill ran down the young boy's spine at this realization.

    Fleet froze as his blue eyes scanned the large room, his head slowly swiveling around. Straight ahead, he saw the feathered throne, and she who sat upon it. Lady Claryssa.

    A long sigh escaped the squire-to-be, as he had not realized he’d been holding his breath. That, and another shower of relief coursed through his being. His young mind did not even wish to consider the thought of losing the Lady on such a day.

    It looked as if Claryssa was crying. Fleet felt a pang of sadness stab at his chest, even as he took a tentative step forward, for he wished only to ease whatever pained her so.

    Fleet had been so focused on the princess, he silently cursed himself for not seeing Ser Caliban sooner.

    “I believe my brother’s captors have come to us,” he said right away. His sandy features were dark in the torchlight glow. Even in the protection of the throne room, the screams from outside the castle were heard. “But I’ll need you,” He pointed to Lorain, “to prove that.”

    Fleet took care not to openly glare at the man, despite the sudden flare that took him then. He just managed to keep his features neutral, though the bitter taste of bile came to his lips. Fortunately for him, a much needed interjection occurred as he heard his name called out.

    “Fleet!”

    Automatically, his head turned towards her voice. Without even thinking, he took several steps forward, even as he watched the Little lady run down the steps and towards him. By the gods old and new, he would protect her with his life if it came to that.

    Seeing Claryssa’s eyes made him smile. He couldn’t explain it, but she set him at ease just by being near him. He didn’t care as to why that was, it was enough that it did. Standing there, he let her wrap her arms around him. Fleet had completely forgotten to bow and all the courtly stuff he had been made to learn before arriving at the Ravenford.

    He was just glad she was ok.

    Claryssa released him from her small embrace, which he secretly wished could go on forever.

    “Have you seen my uncle?”

    It took a moment for Claryssa’s question to register. Slowly, Fleet’s eyes widened. If he was not here in the throne room, then where could he be? The clashing sounds outside the throne room sounded far more terrible now.

    “I…I…..” Fleet hesitated as he looked into Claryssa’s eyes.

    “I though he’d be here….” He said honestly. “…..with yu.”


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  11. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Part I Finale for Lady Ginnifer Kildare, King Martyn Forsythe, and Callista Halleth nee Sand


    I will hurt you for this.
    I don’t know how yet, but give me time.
    A day will come when you think yourself safe and happy,
    and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth,
    and you’ll know the debt is paid.



    nine days after the wedding
    Caraba



    The Sultana of Caraba grieved.

    Dahtri had walked amongst her people for weeks now. The orphanages had overflowed with new residents, while the businesses shut down indefinitely. White manses were streaked with blood. Most timber residences were razed to the ground. The bank was dry of money, and her husband’s very home had its gates torn to pieces. No person had been spared of the havoc the seamen had brought upon their city. Least of all her husband.

    Harshal was first and foremost the Sultan of Caraba, but his true title was her husband. They had loved each other before either had idealized dreams of power, and they’d continued their love throughout the bedroom battles, the bastards, and the besiegement. Dahtri loved her husband.

    And his pain hurt her.

    “Sultana, please,” the crone moaned from her deathbed, “Say the prayers.”

    “I’d be pleased to,” Dahtri’s smile was weak. Her home away from home since the striking of her city had been the makeshift medic tent. She’d allowed it to be set up in the very courtyard of the Sultan’s grand home, a gesture of her and her husband’s goodwill to the people. It had been to help her people, but it also allowed for the medicmen to slip easily within her home to treat her husband.

    “V’hallar, Lord of the Light, brandish a candle for all those on their paths to the underworld. Your servants humbly accept whatever judgement you have awaiting them, but remind you of the sacrifices they have made for you in their times in this land of the living. If you are the just god we know you are, you will ease their pain and welcome them to the other side with open arms.” Dahtri finished and opened her eyes. She gazed down at a corpse, a woman with eyes closed in an accepting finality.

    She rose from the makeshift cot and continued her walks throughout the rows of beds. The smells were harsh to her nose, almost as harsh as the sun had been when she arrived in Caraba all those years past. The sweet rot of a decaying body never truly went away.

    “M’lady Dahtri,” one of the guards stepped forward, “The Council summons you.” She accepted his outstretched arm and followed him wordlessly to their chambers.

    Of all the places in Caraba, theirs had remained unscathed. Buried deep beneath the Sultan’s palace, in chambers cool and dark, the six of them waited for her around their round, mapped table.

    “Dahtri, Sultana of Caraba,” the guard announced. The Council rose and bowed before seating themselves once more.

    She exchanged stares between all of them for a while. So many seconds passed that she finally spoke.

    “I am tired, m’lords. If you could but make this brief-“

    “Your husband is dying,” the oldest interrupted her.

    Dahtri felt her heart plummet into her stomach at the very words. She said nothing.

    “Is it not so?”

    “Yes…” Dahtri wouldn’t let her back slouch. Not in front of these men, not now. “I…I’m afraid so.”

    “As we assumed,” the oldest turned to the others. They were a mismatch of men, those of the wealthiest in the city. Elected by their people, vacated only through impeachment or death, they were a staunch, rounded sort with varying beliefs. They had never been exceptionally kind to Dahtri, but they’d treated her husband with respect throughout his entire regency. For that she could spare them harsh words. It didn’t stop her from thinking them though.

    “What of it?” she asked.

    “We needed to remind you of your duties. As wife of the Sultan, you stand to inherit all of Caraba.”

    “At least what’s left of it,” Sanvi was cynical, the youngest of the men there and the most vocal of his disapproval with no direct assistance from their monarch.

    “We’ve waited in deliberation for the Sultan to recover,” the eldest ignored the other’s comment. “But Caraba can wait no longer. The city needs protection, has needed it for a long time if we’re being truthful. Santagar’s dead in his sleep, and a new king’s been crowned.”

    “You want me to ask our king for assistance?” Dahtri understood now what her purpose here was.

    “It’s your duty.”

    “I’ll write to him.” She wouldn’t go. She couldn’t. The girl was there.

    “You must show him your face. Remind him that Caraba is not just any other city in the Desert. It has a ruler, and it needs help.”

    “I must respectfully decline.” Dahtri cocked her chin up. “Perhaps one of you could go.”

    “You’ll go,” Sanvi spoke once again from his chair, “or we’ll crown a new Sultan.”

    The finality of his words hung in the air long after he’d said them, and even longer after she had accepted the terms and prepared for her journey. Her husband’s fight for life had long since been over, but he clung on in his vegetative state. To see the man she once loved, broken to nothing, it brought tears to her otherwise dry eyes. But even with the heartbreak, even as she held his hand and kissed his cheek goodbye, most likely for the final time, she could not help but think one thing.

    Damn you and your ever-roving eye. Flaunting your bastard before me even in your death.

    She departed two days later.

    To the Oasis she rode.

    And also to Callista. A girl she hadn’t seen in years, and missed not a drop.

    Oh how cruel a being time could be.



    twelve days after her brother’s murder
    Kalkheim



    The sun had not yet risen on the day, which made it an ideal time to begin a trip through the Desert. Such were the patterns of life that Ginnifer Kildare and her siblings had internalized as normal.

    Wrapped in cloths that could be pitted by sand and whipped by wind, Ginnifer looked something like a scavenger in such rough threads. Even so, there was something about the way that she wore them that exuded style. Her siblings shared this trait. Perhaps it had more to do with the way they bore themselves underneath these fibers than what protected their skin from the harsh glare and heat of their homeland.

    They dressed this way because the Desert was not forgiving. It was one of the many reasons that the Desert was life to them. It never coddled you. It never told you everything was going to be okay. You learned to overcome it or you died, simple as that.

    Their steeds were bred to navigate dunes, dirt, and rock. These too represented life, but in a different way. Without horses, a journey through the Desert would be nigh impossible, even over the comparatively short distance from Kalkheim to Dawnsgrace. A horse could not be pushed without consequence. Too much haste would only kill your only shot at survival.

    Ginnifer allowed Sophee to help her onto her horse. The lady’s maid would accompany the party and serve triple duty, seeing to Ginnifer, Zooey, and Chelsee’s needs. With such duties it would not be a vacation for the servant. Beyond the five women, it would be Landon and four guards for protection. Woe to the marauder who thought that they were five defenseless women accompanied by five warriors. Ginnifer would like to see that unfold--mainly the part where Chelsee stuck a knife in someone’s neck.

    The Lady of the Fair Groves took the reins with her good hand, settling the gauntlet on the pommel of her saddle. “Let’s go,” she said, spurring her horse lightly.

    She did not look back.



    thirteen days after his son’s murder
    The Oasis of Dawnsgrace



    BOONG. . .BOONG. . .

    The bells clanged throughout the city which, for the most part, had resumed life as it had been before.

    Martyn had established his Protectorate. He had rebuilt the shambles that had been the capital city. He had squelched small revolts within his walls that had threatened to get out of hand. There were even a few bandits hanging for all to see.

    BOONG. . . BOONG. . .

    It seemed as if the cloud that had hung heavy over the heads of the people of the Desert had moved on.

    BOONG. . .BOONG. . .

    But as the new King of the Desert stared from his usual place on the battlements of the castle (his castle), he knew storms remained, both ahead and behind them.

    BOONG. . .BOONG. . .

    The people of the Desert would remember.

    BOONG. . .

    More than that, Martyn would remember.

    BOONG. . .

    The death of his son wouldn’t go unpunished.



    END OF PART I
     
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  12. Ktala

    Ktala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Lorain Ashkey(Lor)
    The Ravenford - 4 Days Before the Wedding
    Throne Room


    Lorain coudlnt help but feel proud, as Fleet led the way, through the torchlit path of hallways, and to the grand doors of the throne room. At least they still looked intact. Olyvar stopped at the front of the doors, and responded to Lorain's earlier question. “You two are the only ones here who can prove if these men are the same men who took Willas…Ser Caliban needs you.” Lorain caught the look Fleet gave her. She shared his worried glance, but then she simply laid a hand on his shoulder, and nodded firmly. That had delt to long with Ser Idjit in order to believe anything he had to say.. especially the words... NEEDING them. Lorain resisted to urge to snort.

    Olyvar threw the doors open.

    The throne room was crowded with mainly women. That was good. It would be better, if they could be doing something besides standing around, but Lorain understood how dangerous it was, and the throne room was most likely the best built up area, and would be well defended. The Little Lady of the Ravenford sat on her feathered throne. She was bent in her hands, sobbing quietly. Before Lorain could Her friend, the one who’d kissed Fleet only hours before, was consoling her. Ser Caliban stood in a far corner, sharpening his sword, when he saw Fleet and Lorain. He rose from his corner and approached them. Lorain kept her face carefully neutral as he approached.

    “I believe my brother’s captors have come to us,” he said right away.

    Really? And what made you come to THAT conclusion? She thought to herself. Coudlnt be the large number of men they had walking with them, could it? She simply nodded. “But I’ll need you,” He pointed at Lorain, “to prove that.” Lorain did her utmost to not flinch. Why had the man suddenly pointed her out like that? She had a very strange feeling suddenly, of things not right.

    Fleet!

    Lorain turned her head as the Little Lady cried out Fleet's name, leaping from her throne running down its steps. She wrapped her arms around his neck in an unladylike display of emotion. Luckily, no one else seemed to notice or care. As she talked to Fleet, Lorain turned back towards Ser Caliban, and squared her shoulders. "So, where are they, so that I can look and decide?" she asked the man. "Also, has any thing been decided," she lowered her voice so that only those nearby could hear, "in case we need to leave this place quickly?" she asked him, as she adjusted the hammer in her hand. Yes, it was time to find out if the enemy at the door, was from the sea, or from another area totally. But she was beginning to feel that the sea was not the only place the enemy might be at the moment. As she was wearing a helmet, she wondered what had happened to all those men who had followed them to this place. She would probably find out soon enough.




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  13. HanSolo29

    HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    IC: Hyram
    The edge of civilization

    [​IMG]

    It was easy to fear the unknown, particularly among those who claimed to be knowledgeable or educated. It was quite ironic, really. Instead of trying to solve the puzzle or provide an answer to the question with their self-proclaimed knowledge, these same people simply cast it aside for the next group to deal with. In extreme cases, these confrontations even resulted in violence…or worse.

    And so it was with Hyram; always moving, always changing in an attempt to make a difference and spread his gift of knowledge and healing.

    He had lost count how many times he had been kicked to the dust, burned, beaten or outright insulted for possessing his kind of gift. To some, it was even considered a curse…a term that Hyram himself despised and chalked up to a simple act of ignorance. Much to his despair, even his own people had used the latter term, which had resulted in his exile and a life of solitary as he traveled from place to place.

    But despite his shaming, he refused to give it up, regardless of the fact that by doing so, he would be readmitted into the sept and accepted among the priests. No, in this instance, the truth was more important, and he would suffer for its cause if need be. He had never been afraid of death and would accept it with open arms when his time finally came, but in this case, he still had much work to do.

    For the present, his travels had landed him upon a small, dilapidated village on the edge of society. It was a but a speck among the grand scale of things, where the mighty river emptied out into the basin of the sea. Others would have simply passed it by without a second thought, condemning it as a lost cause, but Hyram had felt a calling from the malnourished people that lived here. It did not have a name, as far as he could tell, which made it the perfect destination for those who did not wish to be found.

    “Do you fear the sea?” he inquired softly, smiling down into the innocent face of the child sitting upon his lap. While the child was smiling, her round face was marred by a strange rash that had gone up into her eyes, affecting her vision. The poor soul was practically blind and in a great deal of pain and discomfort.

    “No need to worry, young one,” he soothed with a gentle smile, recognizing the odd tilt to the head, which seemed to indicate that the child did not understand the common tongue. That seemed to be a frequent occurrence out here in the outer reaches along the shore. No matter. What he was about to do did not require language comprehension.

    “Kohara is nurturing…both to the mind and spirit,” he explained calmly, reaching into his tattered tunic for a small vial. “You only need to relax and let her in and allow her to fill you with her presence. Just like the water and the sea, she is a life-force for us all.” Unscrewing the cap of the vial, he allowed a few drops of the clear liquid – pure water – to fall onto his palm. With a gentle touch, he allowed his hand to cover the child’s eyes, rubbing the water in very generously.

    Leaning back, he allowed the child to stand with a small smile on his face. “Now, open your eyes.”

    The child obeyed, blinking once, twice, before her eyes came into focus for the first time in weeks. Almost immediately, the child began to laugh and chatter in a language Hyram did not understand. But judging by the elation in her tone, she was overjoyed with the results. And that was all he had set out to accomplish. His job was done, and it was time to move on.

    Turning to the child’s parents, who were standing off to the side, obviously shocked by the strange ritual they had just witnessed, Hyram gestured with his hands to reach them through the language barrier. “Wash,” he said simply, articulating his words very carefully. He moved his arms up and down vigorously to demonstrate his meaning. “In the sea, every day…wash. That should clear up the rest of it.”

    Standing, he took his walking stick in hand and began to move away, pausing briefly before the child to place his finger to his lips. It was a silent warning not to tell another soul of what had happened here. The child seemed to understand, nodding her head with a toothless grin. Hyram smiled back, a slight twinkle evident in his eye.

    “And so it goes.”

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  14. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    4 Days Before the Wedding


    The Capital of Mirwyth
    the Ravenford


    Throne Room


    “We have to go into the battlefield,” Ser Caliban said. The final word was loud enough for several of the women to hear, and some broke out into fresh bouts of sobbing. “It’s the only way to get a good read on them.”

    Olyvar had paled. “What about their boats?”

    “We’re several miles from the shore.” The commanding knight regarded his squire with disdain. “Whatever boats they’re using, they’re not here.”

    Where is my uncle?” Lady Claryssa cried out.

    “Dammit, he’s probably dead,” Ser Caliban snapped. “We don’t have time to wait on him, or for any of this! If we’re going to find my brother, which is why we’re here in the first place, we have to get moving.”

    “Ser…she’s the Lady of the Ravenford,” the squire stood tall for once in his apprenticeship. “Someone has to protect her. Get her out of here at the very least.”

    “Then you do it.” Ser Caliban flicked at him. There were sounds of beating on the doors below them, loud hammering sounds. Finally came the inevitable noise of splintered wood. “We need to go now.”



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  15. Ktala

    Ktala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 7, 2002
    "Lor" Lorain Ashkey - The Ravenford
    4 Days Before the Wedding - Throne Room


    “We have to go into the battlefield,” Ser Caliban stated. “It’s the only way to get a good read on them.” The oaf had no tact. He stated the fact loudly enough, to upset some of the other women. Lor merely nodded. Olyvar had paled. “What about their boats?” he asked. Since Lore did not know the way of the land, she wondered about such a thing as well. Ser Caliban was quick to respond. “We’re several miles from the shore.” The commanding knight responded, looking at Olyvar as if he was some type of growth. “Whatever boats they’re using, they’re not here.”

    Lor frowned on that bit of news. What pirate in their right mind, would leave their boats FAR behind? Several miles? Their boats are what made them fast, and quick. Lor gave Fleet a look, even while he attended the Little Lady. Something did not sound right here. Unless there was a river or other ribbon of water, he had not thought of.

    “Where is my uncle?” Lady Claryssa cried out. Before Lor could try and calm the child, Ser Caliban, whether through frustrations, or simply annoyed, snapped back, “Dammit, he’s probably dead.” If there was not a current mission involved, Lorain would have slapped the man. Or at least brained some sense into him. Instead, her forearms bulged, as she gripped tightly on her hammer, as he continued his rant. “We don’t have time to wait on him, or for any of this! If we’re going to find my brother, which is why we’re here in the first place, we have to get moving.”

    Of all the...!!! Lorain growled softly.

    But again, and much to her surprise, it was Olyvar who stepped up now, standing tall in front of the oaf. “Ser…she’s the Lady of the Ravenford, ... Someone has to protect her. Get her out of here at the very least.” She looked at the Squire, and gave him a firm nod.

    Then you do it.” Ser Caliban flicked at him. Lorain grit her teeth. Oh, when this mission was over... She was going to punch him. If Fleet didnt beat her to it! She spun away from the man, even while he was still sputtering about something, and walked over to Olyvar, putting her hand on his shoulder. "This be YOUR mission now." She told the squire softly. "Get them to safety. Take her back to the Groves if you have to. Just dont let those men get to her." she told him softly. She looked up at him, solemnly. "I has faith in ya." Lorain then quickly moved over to the distressed young girl. "My lady." she stated every so softly. "Your people need you now, more than ever. They be scared, and they will look to you." It was a horrible, cruel thing, but right now, Lorain needed her to go. "Follow Olyvar, and get your people out of here. Lead them to safety." Lorain gave her a small smile. "If I see your Uncle, I will let him know where to find you. If ya knows the secret passage ways...use em." Lorain nodded her head. "I'm.. so sorry."

    There were sounds of beating on the doors below them, loud hammering sounds. Finally came the inevitable noise of splintered wood. “We need to go now!” Ser Idjit barked. "Aye, we know!" Lor growled at the man. She gave a few precious seconds for Fleet to say his good-byes as well. She wondered if he wanted to go with her. She could certainly understood it if he did. He cared for her, in a way, that only young children could. He had already seen the cities sacked before, and knew what to look for. But she had not. She was innocent. No woman or child should be privy to this. But there was no fairness in times of war and battle. But she also knew, that they needed to move now. It was the only way to make sure that their new friends would make it out alive. Lorain spoke softly, standing behind Fleet now. "I knows ya wants to see her safe. But we's got to get going now. We must buy them time, so that the Olyvar and the Lady can get outta here, before..." She let the words hang heavily in the air. "And we must find out if its them pirates.." Lorain lowered her voice. "Or maybe them knights like before..."

    Lorain was quite aware of the noises around them. She looked towards Ser Caliban. How could this man, be related to the other man? she vaguely wondered before she finally growled, "Let's go." Her helmet went down over her head once more, and she prepared for battle. "Keep sharp eyes." she called over to Fleet, before she prepared to move with the idiot once more.



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  16. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Fleet Ashkey
    The Ravenford, four days before the wedding

    The more he listened to Ser Caliban’s voice, the more his inner avenger was kindled aflame. Fleet was strongly considering placing this…this excuse of a noble, on his list. How was this man even a Kildare!? Perhaps he’d been adopted. There had to be some mistake, given how terribly ungracious he treated those who depended on him.

    The way he spoke to Olyvar was plain infuriating. The only good thing that came from that exchange was the fact that Olyvar would see to Lady Claryssa’s safety. Fleet had no doubt that the squire would do all in his power to ensure her well being, and overall a far better job than the unworthy nobleman.

    But the way he snapped at Claryssa…

    “Dammit, he’s probably dead…” He said of her Uncle.

    Fleet’s blue eyes narrowed to slits as he took a moment to furtively glare at Ser Caliban. How would he know that Claryssa’s uncle was dead? He said it with so much certainty, almost as if he’d done the deed himself. Fleet burned the man’s features into his memory. Yes, if something was to happen to Claryssa, at all, he was going on the list without a doubt.

    It was Lorain’s voice which brought him back to the moment. He watched her as she gave both strength and comfort to Olyvar. Fleet was awash with emotion as she now moved to a distraught Claryssa. His heart swelled watching the scene. She was doing for them what she had done for him. His Mom was gracious to everyone! Lorain was a saint to him compared to that horrible man, and ten times the leader.

    Ser Caliban barked a command once again. They all had to move out. Now.

    Fleet looked into Claryssa’s eyes and offered a sad smile. He hugged her tightly then, just for a moment. “I’ll see yu again, little star.” He said, whispering in her ear.

    He pulled back to take a good look at her face. Though he smiled, he felt his eyes tearing, but did nothing to stop the flow. He didn’t mind her seeing him like this.

    Then, he gently let her go.

    Realizing that his Mom was now moving to speak to him, Fleet quickly wiped tears from his eye and adopted a sterner demeanor, which was easy to do in the presence of the horrible Ser Caliban. The time to face their harsh reality was upon them again. He wasn’t overly worried. By now, he was used to it.

    Straightening, he turned to look upon her directly as she addressed him.

    “I knows ya wants to see her safe. But we's got to get going now. We must buy them time, so that the Olyvar and the Lady can get outta here, before..." Lorain let the words hang heavily in the air. She didn’t need to finish. Her son understood perfectly and nodded his understanding in response.

    “I’m staying with yu.” He asserted in a stern whisper.

    “And we must find out if its them pirates..” Lorain lowered her voice. “Or maybe them knights like before…”

    Without meaning to, Fleet immediately looked around the nobleman’s retinue. He had actually forgotten all the stories of deceit and intrigue he’d heard in dark corners of port cities and the like. Lorain was right, none were to be trusted and they had to be constantly on their guard.

    “Let’s go!”

    It was her voice that spurred him on, which lent him courage, and the breath to dare. He would follow her lead. Lorain Ashkey was more Kildare than the farce who actually bore the name.

    “Keep sharp eyes.”

    Fleet nodded and tried to hide his expression as he patted the crossbow he carried. Yes, he would keep very sharp eyes. One bolt, at the right moment. That’s all it would take.

    Tag: @Ktala, @spycoder9


    OOC: Sorry if it feels a bit disjointed. Still sick. Didn’t want to hold back story progression.
     
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  17. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Part I Finale for Raven Delmari & Rebecca Dragon
    Never put your faith in a Prince. When you require a miracle, trust in a Witch.

    one day after the wedding
    Lost
    She was blind.
    What had once been a world filled with blinding sunlight on oceanic waves and seagulls forewarning the dark squalls behind them, was now an empty space of varying shades of black and gray. She found herself ruled by her other senses. Sounds were so much more deafening, sharpening her reflexes more so than they ever had before. The warmest touches she had ever known were those of her mother’s hand in her right, and her lover’s hand in her left. They had guided her barefoot from the wreckage on the beaches, bathing her of the blood and the salt, feeding her as a bird would its child.
    Blindness was a cruel affliction (she had believed it were the end of her when she first awoke with it), but now it had become more of a blessing than anything else in her life.
    “I don’t like this place,” her mother ventured from her right. She had always been a somber woman, but since the wreck every word that came from her mouth was one of pessimism and hopelessness, as if all of her dreams had drowned with their ship and supplies.
    “I do,” Raven Delmari murmured. The world was black, but it was vibrant. She could feel the vibrations of every living thing around her. Every blade of grass gave off its own sense of life, and seemed to clench onto her toes weakly as she stepped past each. She could hear the birds chirping in the trees, deafeningly beautiful and haunting. She could feel their sorrow, their longing, their appreciation, as if she was the bird itself. She was each bird in their beds, each grass blade stomped beneath her feet, each ray of sunshine that warmed her back. She was everything and nothing all at once, and it was the most alive feeling she had ever felt.
    “Of course you do. You’ve always loved everything I hate.” Raven could feel even the frown on her mother’s face, and the look Ser Amery gave her every time she opened her mouth.
    “I say let her love it. What’s the harm in hope?” He ventured from her left.
    “Everything,” Kalera spat. “You hope too much and wind up lost in the damn prairies, trying to keep your blind daughter walking.”
    “Mother…” Raven breathed. “You’re too loud. Just calm down.”
    “Who are you anymore?” Her mother was even louder now. “Just a week or two past you were spitting and spewing at me every time I asked you to wear a dress or comb your hair or even breathe right. Now you want to tell me-“
    “Shh.” Raven stopped in her tracks. Something felt different. The vibrations were disturbed. Wrong. “There’s people. Close.”
    “Dammit,” Ser Amery Howde hissed through his teeth. “I thought I heard something.” He pulled Raven his way, leading both her and her mother into thick foliage. Oddly enough, Raven didn’t stumble. She could feel the briars before they pricked her, avoiding them with every step. She had never been this self-aware. She remembered a healer in the back of her mind, a walker of the light, and the way his hands had felt on her cheeks. She remembered the boards of their ship, the way her mother’s blood had gushed from her sides. She remembered the way her father hugged her, every string of fabric on her dress, hard wooded bows in her hands, salty sea spray on her cheeks. She remembered everything and more. Most of all, she remembered the way these men spoke even before they had.
    “We can hear ya’!” A brash, aged voice called out. “Come out now or we’ll have to come in ‘ere and get ya ourselfs.”
    “You don’t want to do this,” Ser Amery called.
    “What’re you doing?” Her mother hissed.
    The leaves rustled.
    They found them.
    The rest was a blur, even to her blind eyes, but Raven could feel the rush of the leaves around her. The world spun and spun, bodies and breathing and earth and blood and…and…
    “Raven?”
    Ser Amery breathed in her face.
    “Raven, are-are you okay?” He had his hands on her shoulders. Her entire body, unknowingly tense, went limp in his arms. “Raven?!”
    “Yea…yes. I’m okay. I’m okay, I promise,” She brushed him off with ease. “What happened?”
    “You…dammit, Raven…how did you just-“
    She could see it then. In the black there had been twisters. She had felt the roots grow from the ground and squeeze chests. Leaves had been daggers in hearts. Dirt had clogged throats. She had. She had. She.
    “I killed them,” she whispered. “Didn’t I?”
    “Raven.”
    He knew by his voice she had.
    But what had she done?
    What was she?
    What?

    two days after the wedding
    The Dragonwood



    Rebecca breathed deep of the prairie air, trying to quell the fire in her veins. It was always there this persistent rage that flowed inside her. It made her muscles twitch and her bones ache. Like something was inside her and wanted desperately to be released. Her left hand tensed around the pommel of her father’s bastard sword recalling the last time her heart knew peace. Breathless blood dripping from the very same pommel she now gripped. Sitting atop a disfigured body, stilled her hand. His warm crimson life force cooling on the skin of her face. The ache disappeared and the burning subsided. For that moment she felt nothing but, serenity.

    She so desperately wanted to experience that feeling again, that sensation of harmony, between her blood and herself. She could feel that soon, very soon she would feel that way again.

    There was a tension in the air, soon there would be a need for people like her, violent people whose blood cried out for death and would only be silenced by combat. It was this oppressive atmosphere that put her on edge. Like a child waiting anxiously for a promised gift, she longed for the day she could stride into battle her father’s blade slashing though foe after foe, driving into the gaps in armor, piercing the flesh underneath. She could almost feel the blood falling from her gauntlets, and staining her face.

    But before that fine day could come about, she would have to find herself employment. There were many who needed or were seeking a person of her abilities, and she would gladly work with any of them, so long as they do not walk under a white banner with a black eagle emblazoned upon it. That was hated mark, even the thought of it made her blood boil, for that was the banner carried by the men that slew her father.

    Her hand gripped more fiercely to the pommel. If she were to cross paths with anyone under that flag, she knew she could not control her blood. It would order their executions and she would carry them out. She would show the same mercy they showed her father, none.

    An angered growl left her mouth as she entered a wood. It felt as though an eternity had passed since she’d killed something last and the liquid in her veins was becoming most insistent. It was time to kill, time to smear the blood of a fallen creature upon her face. She prepared to remove her armor, hunting in plate was a fool's errand, when a noise caught her attention. Crying, whimpering, those were the sounds of people. Her heart jumped and her hand drew her blade, her blood sang a joyous chorus at the sound of her steel clearing its scabbard. She pulled up the hood of her father’s deep green cloak and approached the voices. One seemed that of a woman, another that of a man. Her mind raced with thoughts of killing them both, of feeling their life force run down her face. She got closer blade at the ready, waiting for the moment she laid eyes on her quarry.

    Maybe the fire inside her chest would soon be quenched.

    The man yanked the woman along, all of her graying black hair tight in his fist. Her hands were tied behind her back, but that didn't stop her from crying and shouting. "Let go of me!" She snapped at his hand, and with that he stopped and slapped her.

    "How many times I gotta tell ya', witch?" He was face to face with the woman. "None of ya' spells or witching's gonna get me to let go."

    "How many times do I have to tell you?" The woman hissed. "I'm not a damn witch."

    "A witch and a liar." He grinned his gap-toothed grin. "The people's gonna have a time burnin' you's."

    As the arguing couple moved closer, the blood in Rebecca's veins burned more. Her hands tightened around the grip of her blade. The muscles of her shoulders began to twitch, in anticipation, her breathing deepened, doing her best to keep quiet, didn't want to scare off her prey. She waited legs tensed, veins scorching her heart. Just a little closer just a little closer and that man will have no choice but, to taste her father's steel, or feel its point pass between his ribs. A tingle went up her spine and radiated out to her hands and feet. Her toes curled under the metal of her sabaton.

    She held for just a moment more. Until her blood screamed in her head to kill the man and if the woman turned out to be a witch to kill her as well, though the dragon blood didn't care. Rushing from her cover, hood still over her head, an animal like shriek left Rebecca's throat. The point of her blade directed at the man's chest, her heart burned like heated metal. She wanted this man's blood to quench the fire in her breast.

    "Hell!" He roared backwards, the woman still in his hold. "You's another witch?" His dagger was in his free hand, but it rested at his side. The older woman continued to shriek.

    Rebecca's heart nearly stopped when her blade plunged deep into the man's chest. She came face to face with him, her father's sword buried up to the hit in his flesh. A cough from the man caused bright blood and spittle to fleck her face. A deep gasp came into the warrior's chest as she slowly removed the length of the blade. She let out the breath as she drove the blade into the void behind the now kneeling man's right collarbone. Her foot came up and knocked the injured person on to his back. His punctured lungs struggled for breath but, more blood burbled up his throat spilling out of his mouth.

    Unable to control herself any more Rebecca dropped to her knees, straddling her kill across the abdomen. Another crimson filled cough left his bleeding chest. She held her blade, dripping with blood, in a dagger like grip in her right hand, while her left hand pawed at the first wound she'd made. More brilliant life force fell from her glove, as she smeared the remnants on her exposed face. She breathed many sharp breaths, as if she was exhausted from the short fight. Her eyes were fixed her kill, his face contorted into a horrid death mask. She felt that familiar calm sensation wash over her. Her vision blurred a little before coming back into clear focus.

    The burning returned to her veins, merely cooled not snuffed by her actions. Why, she had killed a man, smeared his still warm blood across her exposed skin, why wasn't the fire gone from her veins, why wasn't she at peace? She tore the gauntlets off her hands and shoved them into the gash she'd made. Feeling the liquid rush over the backs of her hands and between her fingers, did nothing to quell the tingle she felt in the back of her mind.

    "Why," she said turning her gore stained visage to the woman. "Why do I not feel peace?" She rose grasping her weapon in her blood stained right hand. "Can you tell me, why does my blood still burn?" Although it burned it wasn't as intense as before, she could resist its calls for more violence. She felt as though she'd just killed an unthinking beast, calmed but not at peace. How was this not the same as killing that man in the woods, the one that killed her father? She pointed her blade at the woman, "Where is the nearest town or village?" She needed to find employment in someone's service soon. She wanted to experience that serenity again.

    The woman went wild-eyed, her eyes flicking back and forth from the woman to her blade. "Do you think you're going to kill me too? I'm a queen, a queen," she spit at her. "You can't touch me. I've been through so much hell... I didn't put up with him, and I'm certainly not putting up with you." The woman lunged for the knife the man had dropped.

    Rebecca sent her foot forward aiming for the old woman's face. Her heel instead landed onto the shoulder of her lunging target. A howl of pain emanated from the 'Queen' as she fell to the ground clutching her shoulder. Snarling, Rebecca turned the prone woman over on to her back and dropped to her armored knees. Her blood covered left hand gripped the front of the regal person's dress, her other hand held her father's blade near the royal throat.

    "If you are a Queen, your Grace, you will need someone to protect you, to fight for you." Her eyes were full of fire staring intently at her captive. Her burning blood screamed at her to kill this woman, to open her neck and let the rivers of red flow but, for the time the fighter resisted those calls. "I will be your champion, my sword will be yours if…" Her eyes took on a new expression one of anger, of seething rage, "You can tell me truthfully, do you walk under a banner of a black eagle on a white field?"

    "Who gives a **** what banner I walk under?" She spat in Rebecca's face, but her face softened at the last second. "Just kill me. Be done with me. This life's taken everything away from me bit by bit. Kill me." She spat again. "Kill me."

    Rebecca's blood surged inside her, this person wished to die, she should give them that death. She let the edge of her blade bite into the thin flesh in front of the throat. A small trickle of red ran down the sides of the pale woman's neck. She could see this woman was suffering, like a wounded animal. The fire in her veins cared not if this act was merciful, or just, it just wanted to see the more blood flow. The skin of Rebecca's face became flushed and hot, and the tips of her fingers tingled. Again the warrior's breathing quickened as she angled her sword preparing to deliver the strike that would release the Queen from her mortal shell.

    Her grip tightened on the woman's dress, "As you wish, your Grace." She ran her blade across the neck severing veins and skin, sending out spurts of blood that splashed against Rebecca's cheeks. She stayed there, perched atop the old woman's chest as she gurgled her last breaths. She didn't feel the want to smear the blood over her face, nor did she feel peace in her heart, only more want. A shout to the heavens left Rebecca's mouth, as the stilled body cooled beneath her. Why didn't she feel peace, she had slain two now, why was her blood still not sated? What would it take to satisfy the hunger inside? When would she feel the serenity again?

    Her blood still burning Rebecca began to gather up as much dry wood as she could. She could leave no bodies behind, her father had taught her that. Unexplained bodies always lead to questions best not to leave any at all. On the mound of kindling and logs she threw the corpses atop and set it ablaze. She sat there mesmerized by the flames that licked at the still dripping blood of the man. It snapped and hissed as the liquid fell upon the tongues of orange. The smell of burning flesh did not bother her, in some ways she saw much of herself in the fire. A destroying force consuming everything in her path, never satisfied, not until death.

    Her teeth grinded against themselves. Her blood, as hot as the flames she’d started, scorched her muscles and tensed her hands. She needed to kill more, her own fire was not put out by the life force she’d put upon it. Her mind still reeled as to why, why wasn’t she calmed, why did her veins still ache and cry out for violence? After the flames died down, taking turning Rebecca’s victims into ash, she heard more voices, more travelers, more kindling. Putting her hood back up she moved closer, hand wrapped around her hilt and heart beating faster. She could resist the calls for death that resound in her head but, would she want to, would these people, a younger man and woman, give her a reason not to spill their blood?

    The man came into view first, brilliant sandy blonde hair catching in the spring prairie sun. He walked with the straight-backed care of one with training, and from his side hung a castle-crafted sword. While his eyes wandered back and forth along the path, his arm was wrapped tight around the shoulders of his smaller, raven haired companion. She stared ahead blankly, seeming to rely on her larger companion to walk.

    “I smell smoke…” The young man muttered just loud enough for Rebecca to hear.

    “I can feel it. It corrupts the air.” The girl had slowed her walking to a crawl as they began to pass Rebecca’s hiding spot. “I can feel something…something else.” She stopped completely and turned to Rebecca, her blank stare looking directly at her.

    “You can come out,” the girl finally said. Her companion drew his sword, but she waved it down. “We mean no harm.”

    Rebecca barely noticed the woman's words. Her eye was drawn to her male companion. Her breath was stilled for just a moment and her heart skipped a beat looking upon him. It was not his golden hair blowing in the wind nor his handsome features that did this to her. It was his level shoulders, straight back, strong arms, and fine blade that shone in the light of the sun. His stance was that of her father and of her, one of a warrior, someone that could fight. Her blood flared at the thought of crossing blades with him. She felt constricted in her chest, it was not her armor, it was something else, something at the core of her being that was tightening. Her face radiated the heat of her blood. The dark burgundy of the dried gore hid the ruddy nature her cheeks had taken on as she stared longingly, at the steel in the man's hand.

    She knew this feeling, she wanted to fight him, to slay him, to feel his blood on her hands, to let it cool on her face. Her hand gripped the hilt of her father's sword tighter, letting out a deep throaty breath as she did so. As much as her veins called out for bloodshed, she stayed her hand. Though the man had drawn his sword, causing Rebecca's whole body to shiver under her armor, he'd lowered it when bidden to by his charge. Although the raven hair woman looked right at the blood stained visage of Rebecca, she did not recoil in fear or even seem to notice. Placing her left hand over her heart to steady it, the cloaked woman walked towards the pair, her bloodied right gauntlet upraised to show she held no weapon.

    "Hail," she started showing the respect her father taught her, even though she'd never used it until now. "I am a simple traveler." Her rattling armor betrayed her words, no 'simple' traveler would venture out in plate armor. "I have been wondering alone for some time, and could do with some, companionship." As she said the last word her tone lowered and her eyes fell on the man, on to his sword.

    "Simple traveler..." The girl furrowed her brow for a second, before smiling pleasantly. "There's nothing simple about you, I don’t believe." Her eyes never strayed, never blinked. While now it was obvious that she was blind, it seemed she had something more to her than that. "Ser Amery, lower your sword. This woman will do us no harm." He nodded and put his weapon back at his side. "It seems I might need your help. Have you noticed an older woman pass through her? She has dark hair, and she may have been accompanied by a man. We need to find her."

    The armor of Rebecca's gauntlet crinkled as she clenched her right hand. Her heart began to beat faster, not from blood lust but from guilt. The woman she'd just killed, just burnt to ash, someone was looking for her. She thought back to her own father, the pain she felt at losing him. Her blood now screamed, to kill the two in front of her, to eliminate any chance their crime could be uncovered. She contemplated lying but, the blind woman seemed to have vison beyond the physical. Did that mean she could see though Rebecca's falsehood?

    Though she wondered if revealing her act, that she had killed this woman they seek would drive Ser Amery to lash out, to attack her with his sword. Her toes curled at the thought, a fight with a true warrior.

    In the end the guilt and shame she felt, won the day. It was obvious that these people were seeking a loved one, a loved one whose blood was on her hands. The still painful memory of her father bleeding out in her arms, rose to the top of her mind, the anguish and sorrow she felt, it was almost too much. Now she has brought this pain to another, all for the sake of her blood, her cursed blood.

    Rebecca set her gaze on Ser Amery again watching his reaction, he would be the one to attack, he'd be the one to kill first if anger took hold.

    "I'm sorry," she started, keeping her voice low, "I came across the couple you described but," again her guilty mind beseeched her to tell the truth, to throw herself upon the mercy of the travelers. "it appeared the man had already taken the woman's life." She disregarded her guilt choosing instead to tell a lie, a small one, one that absolved her of blame, and didn't give hope where there was none. "I slew him on the spot but, it was too late, she had already past." Her eyes sifted to the blind seer, trying to read her expression, "I cremated their bodies, as is the custom in my land." Another lie, another stab of regret, she shouldn't have killed the woman, she should have stayed her hand. In front of her eyes she sees the old woman, her face pleading for death, words begging for release.

    Rebecca's hand moved ever so slightly to her father's blade, if the grey eyed woman saw though her, then more blood would have to be shed. Her muscles began to tense in anticipation, the tightness in her chest was almost unbearable, she wanted a release, she needed it to be gone.

    For several minutes, the trio stood in silence. The girl’s lip never quivered, though several tears developed from the folds of her facial scars, deep in those misty depths of her eyes. She reached her hands up to her eyelids and stroked them gently.

    “Thank you…” The girl smile was pitiful. “Thank you for telling me.” She stepped forward towards Rebecca, coming closer and closer.

    “Raven-“She raised a hand to stop her knight. Ser Amery froze in place.

    “Don’t worry,” The girl used that same hand to take off Rebecca’s helmet. She did it slowly, as if to show she meant no harm. Then she took her free hand, spat in it once, and stroked the other woman’s cheek. “Your blood boils with fire...Rebecca. You’ve been cursed. Just breathe with me. Do it slow.”

    And as Rebecca matched the blind girl's breaths, some of the murderous passion bled out of her. It started as a trickle, as if a boat had sprung a leak in her brain. As the seconds passed, the hole got bigger, before it was flooding out of her body. It was as if her soul had calmed itself for one of the first times in her life. The girl finally pulled her hand back. Rebecca's soul was still calm.

    “It’ll come back again," The girl said. "I’ve never felt something so powerful, something so infused with blood. But I can calm it, for a time.”

    As the rage left her chest so did her breath. The peace, only felt a few times, washed over her heart, quenching the fire in her veins. Rebecca nearly fell to her knees in joy. He mouth was agape, dry with the many deep breaths she had taken. She wondered what she became now, the flame in her chest had been a part of her for so long she feared what she would be without it, a simple carpenter's daughter? And what of this woman, this blind girl that could release the torrent of her bloodlust, and bring the warrior the serenity she so desired.

    A great debt was owed, and one that could not be satisfied by coin, not that Rebecca had much to speak of. All she had was herself, her skills, and her body. There was also a selfish edge to her need to pay the debt. She wanted to feel this way again, she longed for this feeling.

    This time she did fall to her knee her gauntleted fist held over her heart, as if giving supplication to a queen.

    "My lady what you have done for me is a kindness I cannot repay," she kept her face towards the ground unworthy to look upon the face of her…goddess. "All I have to offer is my violent blade, my dirtied hands, and my cursed blood. I am unworthy to be your guard but, I swear upon my father's name, that I will never leave your side, and will protect you as dragon protects its horde. Because you have become something precious to me and, I wish to see you safe." She kept her head bowed and hair uncovered. Her hands shook with nervous energy, this was what she had searched for a way to relieve herself of the rage inside, that burned constantly. To find it so easily, she never in her wildest dream could have imagined it.

    "Please your grace, please accept my humble offer."

    Raven smiled faintly. "I don't know where my path takes me, Rebecca, but if you want to find your relief, perhaps our paths lead to the same destination."

    Raven mourned over her mother's ashes, spreading several tears over the remains before rubbing them gently with the palm of her hand. With that, she stood and continued on her way, her two accompanying knights tailing her behind. One new, one old, both on a pathway that seemed steeped in blood.

    Overhead, a bloated sun filled the sky with red.

    END OF PART I
     
  18. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008
    3 Days Before the Wedding


    The Capital of Mirwyth
    The Ravenford


    Throne Room


    “Take the women with you.” Ser Caliban ordered his squire. “Arm them if you can. I don’t know what all waits out there.” Olyvar nod was sharp as he turned away from his commander. He laid a hand on Fleet’s shoulder and smiled.

    “I believe in you.”

    Splintered sounds came from below. The women went into a panic. All of them knew it meant the castle doors were snapping.

    “I…” Claryssa looked at Fleet, tears threatening to overflow her fiery green eyes. “Goodbye.” She turned from her new friend, hurrying away. Ser Caliban took that as his cue and bid his squire farewell. Then, the trio descended the stairs.

    The Ravenford’s lower levels were shattered.

    The guards continued to hold what was left of the doors up, but men had broken through already. Blood was spattered on palace stones, puddled on the floor, squelching as Ser Caliban led Lorain and Fleet towards the outside. Guardsmen and Desertmen lay dead amidst unidentified corpses, their remains intermingling on the floor. Ser Caliban stepped through it all with his sword held steady, his shield in the other hand.

    “I wasn’t lying to Olyvar,” He said to them over his shoulder, as yet another broke through the holes in the door and was skewered by a guardsman. “I don’t know what’s out here." His face, riddled with emotion, seemed human for a moment. "Let it be my brother.”

    The door blew open then, guardsmen falling backwards in their heavy armor. Men rushed inside, slashing and cutting with blades of all sizes. It was a massacre from both sides, but Ser Caliban pushed through then, cutting his way through the opposing men with ease. One made a grab for Fleet, but the short slice his wrist received sent him reeling in screams. Ser Caliban helped them emerge into the yard, where entire chaos had taken over.

    Fires burst from cottages and homes. Smoke billowed in the early morning air, casting a grey haze over the dueling men beneath it. Corpses were cast aside, turned inside out. Horrors inescapable of words described the dead, and Ser Caliban himself was repulsed by what awaited him.

    The knight went onward. “Look at their faces!” Ser Caliban offered a final reminder before being met by a scraggly man in rags. This man looked wild in his eyes, bashing his sword into Caliban’s repeatedly. Ser Caliban maneuvered several times, managing to plunge his own blade into the man’s chest. His tan face was marred by droplets of red, as if he had spilled wine on his cheeks.

    They came then.

    In the slew of Desertmen and Capitalmen warring an unknown entity, several of the opposition ran for Lorain and Fleet. They came from the haze screaming, blood and sweat and tears streaming down their cheeks as they fought with not a thought in their minds. The first to approach seemed to be genuinely crying, sobbing as he swung his blade at Fleet’s head. Ser Caliban tried his hardest to maintain a protection of the duo tailing him, but his own problems were mounting. The men, who Lorain might begin to recognize, surrounded him. Desertmen flocked to his aid as well, but in the smoke and haze they all seemed as one.

    The swords flew at Lorain and Fleet. For Fleet, they were trying to kill his newly acquired mother. And for Lorain, they were trying to kill her newly acquired son. A fight seemed the only option they had before them.



    TAG: greyjedi125, Ktala
     
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  19. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Fleet Ashkey
    Battle at the Ravenford, three days before the wedding

    He could have never imagined living such a nightmare, never, ever.

    All other concerns were now far gone from his mind, except for one: Survival.

    He could smell blood and death, felt it splash on his face, under the heel of his foot. Heard the scream and saw the twisted faces of the dead and the dying, despite himself.

    Fleet’s heart pounded like a score of galloping warhorses inside his chest. His eyes were wide and he trembled with the surge of adrenalin and fear. He could hardly hear himself screaming as well, chiefly in response to nearly being killed over half a dozen times in as many minutes.

    He would have admired Ser Caliban’s skill with a sword, but the reality of his probable and realistically imminent death blinded him to all else. He turned here and there and fired his crossbow. The quarrels flew with lethal effect. They penetrated a face, a neck, a chest, an armpit. Blood spattered all over, so much so that he became oblivious to it now.

    He felt a modicum of safety as long as he was near his Mum. As long as he could see her, he dared to fight on. It was his only reason to fight on.

    His chest burned, smoke filled the air from adjacent fires and filled the battle field with its grey haze. But the anguished screams of battle, those never ceased.

    The Wild Man that clashed against Ser Caliban; Fleet had fired a quarrel at his leg, but the man was so crazed that he’d hardly felt it, save the sword that the Kildare Knight plunged into his chest. The Wild Man gurgled blood and uttered a sound like that of a slain animal. It was a terrifying sight to behold.

    No, he could never have imagined such a living nightmare, and now he was afraid he would never wake up from it. That he would see the twisted faces of the slain and smell the stench of their spilled entrails even when he closed his eyes and tried to force himself to sleep.

    And just when he thought things could not get more terrifying, the gods of the underworld let open their forbidding gates.

    Men who groaned pitifully and cried blood through their eyes assaulted them with complete abandon. They attacked in a frenzy, desperate to rip what life they had from their living flesh. They swung their swords with unholy eagerness. Fleet cried out as he narrowly missed being decapitated, his life saved by a cleaving swing from Ser Caliban Sword.

    The young urchin managed to load his quarrel and let the bolt fly, squarely piercing his target in the head, like some overripe fruit. But they were beginning to get overrun, too many of them were setting upon them.

    Fleet produced the blade he was given and set about cutting their attackers at their knees!

    “MUM!!!!” He screamed out as loud as he could.

    He moved so he would be closer to her and she could see him. Lorain could ill-afford to take her eyes off her attackers now. To do so would be a grave mistake.

    “We cain’t stay here!!!”

    “MUM!!!”

    Fleet pointed up, then swiftly evaded a sword swing, blocked the return swing with the crossbow, then stabbed his attacker in the elbow, then the knee as he kept moving.

    They either had to get to higher ground or move elsewhere. Holding their position meant certain death.

    Fleet was not ready to give up yet, not yet. He did not fear death, he simply did not wish to meet his end like a common urchin, killed by an unknown assailant, unmourned and forgotten like a forest pig.


    Tag: @Ktala, @spycoder9
     
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  20. Ktala

    Ktala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 7, 2002
    "Lor" Lorain Ashkey - The Ravenford


    Lorain heard the others speaking around her, but right now, she was focused on the sounds of the lower levels of the Ravenford's hold. The sound of the pounding and rending of wood let her know that there was not much time left to them. Lorain gripped both of her weapons tightly, hammer an sword, while she heard the door shatter. Again, the sounds battle zoomed into her focus, as she steadied herself for what was to come. She gave Fleet a long glance, before focusing her sights on Ser Caliban.

    Ser Caliban led Fleet and she towards the outside. Guardsmen and Desertmen lay dead amidst unidentified corpses, while Ser Caliban stepped through it all with his sword held steady, his shield in the other hand. “I wasn’t lying to Olyvar,” He said to them over his shoulder, as yet another broke through the holes in the door and was skewered by a guardsman. “I don’t know what’s out here." His face, riddled with emotion, seemed human for a moment. "Let it be my brother.” Lorain silently hoped that if his brother was out here, she would know it before they crossed steel.

    Suddenly, the door blew open. It was a mad house, and what seemed like crazed men pushed their way into the area, over running the guards. Ser Caliban pushed through then, cutting his way through the opposing men with ease. One made a grab for Fleet, but the short slice his wrist received sent him reeling in screams. Lorain finished the job. These curs were not going to touch her son! Ser Caliban helped them emerge into the yard, where entire chaos had taken over.

    Lorain nearly choked. It was worse than it had been at the port city. This didnt make sense. Why were they attacking so far inland? And what was driving these men? Ser Caliban's voice called out from over the horrific noise. “Look at their faces!”

    Lorain stayed close to Fleet, as she began to scan the area around them. Teh smoke and haze that surrounded them made it seem like some horribly mad dream. The horror and sounds of death and drying. These mad men were taking out the defending forces, but they were suffering losses as well. But all that didnt matter, as suddenly a fresh flood of crazed men came running towards them, screaming as their lives depended on it. The first to approach seemed to be genuinely crying, sobbing as he swung his blade at Fleet’s head. Lorain answered his swing with a roar, as she charged, her sword swinging to remove the man's arm from his body, and then using her hammer to drive him away from Fleet. As she swung her hammer, Lorain looked at others that were coming towards them. And some faces, she did remember seeing down in the depths of the ships hold, and a few she took on, as she had dived from the ship.

    Her fathers death came to her mind once more, unbidden. But now, she had her son to worry about. They would not take him, as they had her father. These mad dogs would burn!! Lorain stated to growl, as she roared to Ser Caliban above the blood fray. "IT BE THEM! NO HONOR DOGS!" she responded. Her own mind growing dark as she realized just how bloody this was going to be. It didnt look like they were trolling for new recruits here. This was a bloodbath mission. Suddenly her thoughts were interrupted.

    “MUM!!!!”

    Lorain's response was automatic. Lorain lept, taking her hammer to slam into the man that was making his way towards Fleet and her, as she moved to Fleet, her hammer and sword cleaving a path towards him, as she tossed many a man away. As most of them were unarmed, she did not have much trouble, reaching Fleet. She kept the closer attackers off of him, while he spoke.

    “We cain’t stay here!!!”

    “MUM!!!”

    Fleet pointed up. A sword swing came at him, which he managed to clock, and while Fleet stabbed at the man, Lorain swung up with her hammer, sending the man flying. Lorain nodded. Why had Ser Caliban lead them out into the yard? It was far too easy to be surrounded. Lorain called to him.

    "Ya needs to move!"

    But Lorain had a feeling that he would or could not. Even as she saw other men rushing to his aid, she could also see that the other men were moving to try an surround them. She drew closer to Fleet. "Aye, there be three, that ya needs to watch for. They are dark and deadly. They force the others to fight. And they have no rules. They probably hanging back. But one, he be like you. Very fast on his feet. Keep yer eyes open." Lorain spared Fleet a glance. "And if ya finds a opening, ... take it."

    Lorain roared once more, as her hammer met the next men to make their mistake to rush the pair, as she met them head on, tossing them like the underfed, wild eyed men that they were. Was it drugs perhaps? Lorain did not know, but she put her back to Fleet. "Use dem sharp eyes of yours once more, an find us a new path. If we can get up to the upper battlements, we mights be able to cause them more grief!"

    Lorain's hammer swung out once more, as another spray of blood covered her. Normally, she would have been sickened, but the reply of her fathers death, and the worry that the same might befall her child, kept any such reactions at bay. He would live. He would surpass this horror, and grow up a child of the mountains. And Lorain would kill any who dared to try and ruin that dream. And if she could find the man who had held her in chains....

    The mountain Gods would have to turn their heads.



    Tag: spycoder9, greyjedi125
     
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  21. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Fleet Ashkey
    Battle at the Ravenford, three days before the wedding

    It was total chaos, and Fleet was doing everything he could to hold himself together, trying his best to focus only on what had to be done. His determination was fueled by his Mum’s ferocity.

    Lorain was both a pillar and a whirlwind, shifting between the two ‘states’ and back, as needed. Her hammer and sword would cut down and enemy in a blur, send them careening away then she would stand firm and protect.

    But why had Ser Caliban brought them to this courtyard of death? In time everything and everyone inside of it would be dead.

    Fleet took no comfort in learning that these men were the ones responsible for the capture of both his Mum and the Kildare Noble. These men only appeared to be men, for they behaved like right wild animals.

    “Ya needs ta move!” He heard his Mum call out to Ser Caliban, but Fleet could not see him in all the chaos.

    Lorain intercepted several incoming men who had reacted to her voice, Fleet made sure to quickly slash at their joints with his own blade. For a brief second he was reminded of how the local butcher chopped and sliced the game hunters would bring back. With a sudden shake, he shook the bloody image from his mind.

    “….there be three, that ya needs to watch out for.”

    Fleet’s eyes and hands kept moving, He nodded his head to indicate that he was listening, even as he picked up a blade from a fallen enemy and threw it with all his might at an incoming wild man. The blade was stuck between the man’s ribs, and when he removed it, blood sprayed all around like a spring fountain before he fell.

    “They are dark and deadly. They force the others to fight, and they have no rules. They probably hanging back.”

    Fleet’s adrenalin was keeping him on high alert and fully wired, his blue eyes wide. Another man was coming right for Lorain, but he dove and rolled under him, slashing furiously at his knees several times. When the man fell, Fleet made sure to take his eyes with his blade. He quickly scrambled back to his Mum’s side.

    “…one, he be like you. Very fast on his feet.”

    Fleet felt a cold chill ride up his spine. His Mum had praised him for his nimble quickness, and that’s how he’d gotten his name from the others. He’d never had to face anyone like himself before. The prospect of such an encounter did not fill him with confidence.

    “Keep yer eyes open.”

    “Aye!!” he called out.

    “And if ya finds and opening…take it! Use dem sharp eyes of yours once more, an find us a new path. If we can get up to the upper battlements, we mights be able to cause more grief!”

    Before Fleet could answer, more men came at Lorain. Her sudden roar startled him suddenly as he was not expecting it, but it also galvanized him. Her ferocity was a balm, like thawing sun rays.

    One of the men watched Lorain defend herself an Fleet and tried to flank them, but the adopted Ashkey spied him. Fleet snarled at him moved to block him. The wild man responded by rushing the young boy. Fleet was just about to step twist away, but his foot got caught on a body part underfoot. The wild man exploited his imbalance and tackled the boy.

    The two hit the ground, with the man on top trying to choke the life out of the boy, both hands on his neck, squeezing. Fleet grimaced and brought his chin down like his Mum had taught him. His blue eyes burned fiercely as he grunted and looked directly at the wild man, who suddenly stopped moving, his eyes widening in surprise.

    Fleet twisted the blade he had plunged into the wild man’s gut. Slack jawed and eyes losing focus, the wild man began to fall down, but Fleet rolled out from under him and stood quickly, panting.

    That’s when he saw it.

    “Mum!! Look!!” He said pointing.

    A burning structure straddled a part of the rampart. It was on fire, but none of the crazed men were near it. They seemed to be instinctually avoiding it. More to the point, there was a strong wooden plank that looked like some kind of support beam leaning diagonally upon it. It was burning in several patches, but was not entirely engulf with flames. If they hurried, they could climb up the plank and make it up the rampart. Most of the guards and archers on that level appeared to be already dead or dying.

    “Let’s run for it!!”


    Tag: @Ktala, @spycoder9
     
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  22. spycoder9

    spycoder9 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 23, 2008

    “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”

    The Assault on the Ravenford



    Lorain “Lor” Ashkey


    Lorain's hammer sang the peels of death, as she swung wide, keeping an area around her and Fleet clear. From her earlier dealing with these foul creatures, she kept moving, to keep from having one jump her from behind. She twirled about, just as she heard Fleet call out.

    “Mum!! Look!!” He said pointing. Lorain followed the pointing hand to a part of a burning structure that looked as if it could leap to an upper part of the ramparts. She smiled, as she nodded. “Let’s run for it!!” Fleet called out to her. Before she could reply, she saw one of the men tackle Fleet. She tried to get there quickly, but two other men moved in front of her. Too bad for them, for they paid for their mistake, as Lorain slammed her hammer against the head of one brigand, while she sunk her sword deep into the chest of the other. Picking up her foot, she pushed the dead man off of her sword, as she looked back to where Fleet had fallen, almost afraid to look. But she saw that he was moving, rolling out from under the man he had just killed. He was panting. If felt like hours instead of the few seconds it took her to reach Fleets side. "Aye, let's..."

    A young girl’s scream rang out. No! It could not be!! Suddenly, there was silence, and as if the opening act for some macabre scene, a body slipped down through the smog and smoke of things burning and dying. It was naked and pale, with blonde curls. A small body that came to rest at the foot of the building. Lorain felt her chest knot, and felt as if it was about to burst, but before she could react to this sudden development, the men who had been warring Ser Caliban came from behind. Had the Ser fallen then? Five dirty men, almost zombies, moving as if their minds were not their own, screeching words not meant for their ears. Fresh blood covered them, and they looked eagerly for more, as they came towards Fleet and Lorain. With a loud roar, Lorain rushed them all at once, with a cry of her own defiance, as she quickly closed in on the men. It no longer mattered if the body nearby was the Lady's or not. It was of a child. And when Lorain dealt with these dogs, she would find the men above responsible. She could not help Caliban. But she was going to make these curs bleed, and if she was lucky, move back to lick their wounds.

    "Regroup!" she yelled out, before she met the crash with the others, her sword no longer looking to simply maim. She looked to remove heads, and to remove these men from their horror, as she swung hard. Those that met her hammer felt the brutal sting of its weight as well, as Lorain brought both weapons to bear, sparing none. She would not see Fleet fall to the same fate, and she went into them as fire reached her blood. NO ONE would touch her child, and live!




    Fleet Ashkey



    Fleet heard a blood chilling scream, one that struck him to the core and cause him to freeze in place and look to it with all his senses. His Blue eyes bulged wide and his ears, perked like those of a hound dog, triangulation the source of the sound.

    He wanted to be wrong, but he could have sworn he’d heard Lady Claryssa’s voice, but she had scream in sudden anguish, and then the sound simply cut off. No, no, she was supposed to be safe. Olyvar was supposed to lead the women to safety.

    Yet, he could not deny the report of his senses. He saw her, blonde and naked. His living nightmare had taken a turn for the very worst.

    Fleet got up suddenly as he saw her laying still at the base of the burning structure, unmoving. His heart beat faster than it ever did, his breath threatened to leave him altogether. Someone reached for him, and he slashed hard with a fury he did not know himself capable of ever possessing, his teeth gritted for a moment as his weapon slashed through the man’s neck.

    The man’s open throat whistled then spilled a red shower that he ignored. He was aware of his Mum, fighting with a Fury to match his own building sense of mounting despair. How could this be?

    “Wake up.” he uttered so low it was barely audible. Whether he was speaking to himself or Claryssa , was not clear, even to him. And in a flash, Fleet became his name sake as he dashed towards her. He screamed as he ran and tears flowed from his eyes, but he didn’t care, he had to reach her.

    “Why!!?” “WHYYYY!!!??”

    Another man tried to get in his way, this time, Fleet rushed him and tackled him. They rolled on the ground, but Fleet maneuvered himself so he would be on top, and with the rage born of despair, cleanly severed the man’s head off. He was vaguely aware that he had done this. He had to reach Claryssa.

    He called her name, over and over, but it sounded like someone else’s voice. Hoarse and throaty. Spittle fell from his lips. His heart raced and he felt desperate as he grabbed her, placed his arms under her and hefted with all his might. He moved her away from the fire, wincing as the flames lapped at his clothes and flesh. He grimaced in pain, but ignored it.

    He could hear his Mum roaring, bringing down hell on the men. Good, they deserved hell and more, much more.

    Rage and sadness, flowed over his face, alternating like some hideous dramatic mask. There was no Olyvar. There was no Ser Caliban. No Desert Fox. Just his Mum and their combined will to live.

    Fleet saw a cart, it was broken, its content spilled, but the canvas was still there, despite it being soiled. The young Ashkey placed the sleeping form of his little star upon it and covered her. He did not know if she was dead or alive, worst, he didn’t trust himself to check, he wasn’t thinking straight.

    His head began to hurt and he felt wild anger trying to burst out of his chest. He was trembling.

    “MUUUUUUUM!!!!!”

    His voice was hoarse, it didn’t even sound like himself.

    “MUUU—!”

    He saw the wild man too late. He tried to roll with the slash of the wild man’s blade, but it caught him on his back. It felt as if the old headmaster had whipped him against a post and had drawn blood. What was one more scar on his back, one more slice of his flesh taken by a hated stranger?

    Fleet growled and spun with blinding speed, his blade streaking in a deadly arc. Another throat sliced. More blood.

    “GET OFF OF HER!!!” He yelled at the dying man’s cooling corpse as he booted it off the little princes.

    Without meaning to, the young Ashkey slump down. Sweat was pouring down his face from the fire and all the constant fighting. His gaze blurred for a second, but he refused to give in. With a burst of will, he bit down on his lower lip, to give himself a jolt and to get up once again.

    His back ached, as if it were on fire, but he ignored it. He would protect his little star, he would defend his Mum. These were the last things he wished to see above all else. He would give his life for the people who mattered most to him. For the two noble women, he had grown to love.




    Lorain “Lor” Ashkey



    Lorain's world had turned to fire.

    These were the men. They had killed her da. They had consumed the town they had been in, and tried to put her in chains. And now, as these wild-men came roaring towards her, they threaten to take the life of not only herself, but of her son, Fleet, who had come to mean the world to her.

    She heard him cry out, even as she moved forward to slay these foul demons. The body of the young girl that fell from above, fresh in her mind. If they recaptured her, she knew she was dead. And what would they do to her son?

    Five men came into view, not with the wild slashing of drugged deamons, but with the precision of a fine training. Lorain roared her furry, as she quickly realized that she was too far away from her son, and she could not move back fast enough to help him. So she did the only thing she could think to do. She challenged them. She could only hope that Fleet would escape. Or, if they took him prisoner, that he would have a chance of escape later. Other men, seemed to come from behind them, like a floodgate had been broken. Their roars drowned out her own, even as tears threatened to well up within her.

    'I’m so sorry, my child..'

    With a scream of desperation, Lorain plowed into the fray, her hammer and sword swinging their death song, but with every swing, another moved to take the place of the one who had fallen. Lorain continued to swing, refusing to listen as her body screamed, and muscles burned.

    In the end, Lorain only became aware that the world seem to draw close around her. The sounds around her seemed to fade away, until there was only silence, and then the darkness opened wide and swallowed her whole. The flames of anger died with a silent scream of loss.

    'Fleet.'

    Night fell.




    Fleet Ashkey



    All he had now was his will to live and his instinct.

    Fleet had never been in a situation like this, but he had made it through enough hardship to enable him with enough know how to make it through this nightmare. Besides, his Mum had taught him so much more during their desert travels. Now, he was wracked with pain, which meant he was alive. He absently wiped sweat, blood and grime from his face with the back of his free hand.

    He had to protect Claryssa and defend his Mum as best he could. This was his only focus.

    His blue eyes immediately spied as more men rushed to confront his Mum, but Lorain would not be contained. Fleet crouched low, focusing his mind for a quick attack run while the men were focused on her. They would not live to regret their evil ways.

    Just then, another small group of men burst through the attackers, slashing and slicing in defense of Lorain. He had no idea who they were but their presence brought him a small sense of relief. He was still shaking from the ordeal, his limbs were beginning to feel heavy, and his knees wobbled, but he wouldn’t give-in to fatigue.

    For a moment, he wondered about Olyvar and truly hoped the best for the Kildare Squire turned friend. He was about to turn to check on Claryssa when suddenly, he heard a soft chuckle.

    Fleet’s blood ran cold at the implication and tried to turn as quickly as he could, his blade at the ready, but this time, he had not been quick enough.

    All he felt was a sharp blow to his head.

    He suddenly was unable to feel his body and felt himself falling against his will. The world was going dark and there was nothing he could so about it. He tried to scream and call out! To bring attention to what had happened and raise an alarm, but he couldn’t hear his own voice. He thought he had opened his mouth, but could not be sure. Had he hollered at all?

    Darkness like never before took him enviable swiftness. He did not see his assailant, nor his little star, not his mom. Fleet didn’t have time to utter a curse of frustration or vent his outrage.

    There was only cold and impersonal darkness…unending darkness.




    Lorain “Lor” Ashkey



    Lorain awoke to the sound of rain and silence.

    She laid still for a few moments, allowing her eyes to adjust. As she did, Lorain could hear the soft moans of pain and the occasional crackle of burning wood, along with the pitter patter of raindrops around her. The world was silent, as she slowly turned her head. It came to her, where she was, but it was not the same as what had laid there before. The smell of blood, both dried and fresh surrounded her, and it mingled with the acid smell of burnt grass, and the ashes that fell from the skies, darkened with the fires that still burned. Her head rang, as her eyes followed the walls. Most of the castle was intact. But it appeared as if it had been burned hollow, and empty.

    Lorain sat up slowly, and her body made her pay dearly for it, as pain streaked through every fiber of her being. Scars covered her arms, but the armor had done its job for the most part. Her back and legs felt as if she had been running for a week. Her ribs hurt, and her mouth was dry and -

    FLEET!!

    She rolled over on all fours, and came to a shaky stance, as she scanned the area around her. The world tried to spin, and she squeezed her eyes tight for a few moments, to try and steady her sight. She then began to look around her. There were bodies all around her.

    "Fleet?" her voice didn’t sound like her own. It was dry and cracked, and she coughed for a few moments.

    She looked for one of her weapons nearby, and began to move towards the area she last saw her son. Was he here? Had he managed to escape the madness? So many bodies littered the yard, and her heart pounded within her chest, as she began to look for her son in the quagmire of black and bloodied bile. The stench of death was chocking, but she had to know. She looked to see if the body of the young girl was still there as well. If Fleet .. NO! He lived. He HAD to survive. He had survived before her. And he would survive after her. She saw that some still lived, the moans told her that much. She staggered towards the last place she had seen her son, and began to look around her.

    "Fleet...." she croaked softly, as she looked for any signs of him. His weapons, clothing....anything, that would tell her the story of what had happened.

    Lorain stumbled, trying her best to ignore the pain in her body as she looked around the pile of bodies that were strewn all about her. Her eyes spied the body of the girl, laying on an old cart. Lorain steadied herself on a wall, as she took a closer look. It was not the little lady of Ravenford. Lorain breathed a sigh of relief, but still felt a bit of sadness for the young girl laid out on a cart. As Lorain moved closer, she saw something that made her heart drop to her feet. She dropped to her knees, her eyes swimming as she reached out, and gingerly grabbed the blade that lay nearby. Lorain's fingers traced the etching on the blade. She then looked around, moving bodies if necessary, making sure...

    Fleet was not among the dead.

    Lorain did not know whether to feel relief or not. Who had taken her son? Had those mad men, taken him, to break him and make him become a pirate? Or had someone else taken him? OF course, the fact that the young girls body was on a cart, made it clear that someone was taking care of the duties for the dead or dying. Lorain wanted to howl her frustrations to the heavens, but there was no time. She needed to find Fleet.

    She needed to find her son.

    The fates could not be so cruel, yet again. With a grunt, Lorain crawled back to her feet. She then began to move, not really sure of a direction. If she remembered correctly, she was still in the courtyard. The smoke and haze made things difficult to choose a direction, but she doubted that any were still in the castle. So she looked outwards. Was Ser Caliban here as well? Perhaps already sent to a shallow grave? Lorain picked up a broken spear, and used it to walk. She found her hammer, hooking it back on her belt with its brother. Her sword, she didn’t see. Someone was here, that she knew for sure.

    Lorain looked up at the hazy sky. If the foul deamons were on the move, they would be heading back for their ships. A wide swarth of crazed men, should not be hard to follow. If they had her son, she had to reach them before they made it back to their ship, else all was lost. Lorain looked up to the smoky skies. She had been unconscious for a while. Lorain started to slowly move once more, scanning the ground in front of her for any more familiar faces as she began to walk once more, her body demanding for rest. She ignored it.

    "Fleet." she croaked softly, as she began to move once more.

    Fleet. It became her chant, her sense of purpose, and what drove her steps, as she slowly moved though the courtyard.

    Lorain turned to the cry of help that she heard. She recognized that voice, even if it was not that of her beloved Fleet's. She breathed deep for a moment, before she turned and walked towards the man who lay on his back, his eyes open as he stared up into the skies.

    Ser Caliban.

    She made her way to him, and then gently sunk down to her knees, as she looked down on the man. She knew that there was far too much blood around him. He looked pale, and she didnt know if she could do anything for him. But she couldnt just leave him. She could afford a moment. Any anger she had for him faded for the moment. Plenty of that already. She wiped his face clean with a bit of cloth, and gently raised his head up.

    "Aye, Ser." she stated gently, as she looked at his wounds to see how bad they might be. "I see ya met with the cur." she offered as she looked to see if he had a water pouch on him. If she found it, she would offer him a small sip, while she kept a careful lookout.

    Lorain found the water canteen, and carefully led the bottle to his lips. Ser Caliban took in a long draught, and she was careful not to let it over spill. As she did, she looked down at his wound. It had been viscous. Part of his armor had been ripped away, and the blade was still burred deep within his gut. Lorain knew to leave it. She would have tried to remove it, but he would most likely die quickly without a way to staunch the wound. The look in his eyes, and he seemed to know that he was not long for this place. Lorain listened closely to Ser Caliban as he spoke.

    “We found him…” He stated, smiling weakly at Lorain. “Those were the pirates, weren’t they? Mad fools they were, we still found him…” Lorain simply nodded. "Yes." she replied. Then Ser Caliban's face went pale. “I watched them take your boy. They have him. He’s still alive, but…they have him and my brother now.”

    Lorain's fist clenched, as her face went stoic. "Well then. I shall have ta gets him back. Before they reach their ships." She stated it as if it was just a simple fact. She looked down on Ser Caliban. Ser Idjit. The man had paid his price for his folly. But now, she would have to reach Fleet before he paid
    for it too. She spoke softly to Ser Caliban. "Is... is there anything ya wish me to tell or take to ya family for ye?" she asked him. Lorain would listen for anything he might have to say, but her mind was already moving on what to do to rescue Fleet. If the gods were with her, she might have a chance at finding a horse. She was without an army at her side now.

    She was alone.

    And they had her son.

    As Lorain listened to the dying man's words, his next sentence caused her heart to leap with hope. "The men... what's left of them at least... they knew to regroup a mile south from the gates." His breathing was growing more difficult. "They'll help you... I know they will. Write to my family, call for aid..."

    Lorain slowly nodded, as she gently reached down, and moved some of his hair from his face. He was so human now. His eyes were glassy, trembling with tears. He had realized now, that battle was not all the glory and glamor he thought it would be. War was messy, dirty, and unfair. As he laying dying in a place far away from his kin. She wiped his face, as his tears cleaned away some of the soot on his face. They cleaned away the soot and dirt on his "I tried," He finally whispered. "That's all I... it's all I could do." Lorain gently bent down, and gave the Ser a gentle kiss on the forehead. "It is all, any of us can do, Ser. You did more than most would have done." she gently whispered in his ear. "I WILL do what you ask. I will reach them." she told Caliban, as she gently squeezed his hand.

    If some of the soldiers were willing, then "And they will burn. she had a much better chance than before. And as Fleet would say, 'Gods old an new', with any luck, she would see their ships burn.

    Lorain gently cradled Ser Caliban's head as he smiled at her. He actually smiled at her! Too bad he had not done that earlier during their travels together. Then slowly, his head fell limp against her arms. Lorain bowed her head a said a small prayer. She could do no more for him now. Well, perhaps for his family, if nothing else. She looked down on his face. His face looked peaceful now, and even now, he still held the smile. In the end, he had become human. A man who looked at his own death, and met it.

    Lorain breathed in hot air, as her eyes and ears burned hotly. She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream. She wanted to vent out all of her pent up rage and frustrations that she now felt, as she gently laid Ser Caliban's head back down. But Lorain could not cry. As much as she wanted to, it would not release. It was as if someone knew she would need those emotions and anger for later on. To concentrate on the task at hand. Her body shook, but no sounds or tears issued forth. She raised her face skywards, letting the rain gently pelt against her face. The sky would have to cry for her.

    'No!'

    She would not cry. Not until she held her son back in her arms once more.

    She searched Caliban's clothing, to find a small token article. Something his family would recognize as his. Lorain also took from him a small dagger, remembering what the other blacksmith had said about using another's work, and the mark it carried. She slipped it within her boot, along with a strip of clothing. Lorain slowly stood up, she looked around, and found a shield. She gently laid Caliban on the shield, and crossed his arms over his body. He didn’t deserve to lie in the mud. Hopefully, someone would take care of him. She did not know their rituals, so she did not want to bury the body.

    Now again, the task was given back to her. Except now, there were two to rescue. But there was a bit of hope. She needed to meet up with the other soldiers that were left. Lorain looked around. She had not seen the uncle of the little lady either. He would be hard to miss, even within this horror of horrors.

    A mile south from the gates. She needed to find the soldiers. Maybe others as well. She had done here, all that she could do. So she stood up, clearing her head and brushed off her hands, her face set.

    Fleet was waiting for her. And she would be damned to keep him waiting.

    Lorain began to walk towards the directions the soldiers were told to regroup. As she moved, the pain she felt earlier began to melt away, her thoughts focused on only getting to the area. She willed her feet to move, and nothing else was going to stop her. Her pace picked up, as she moved through the ash ridden skies, the drops of rain falling around her, echoing her mood. She called upon every dark curse she could think of, upon the heads of the pirates while she moved. She concentrated, on the task at hand, to keep her imagination from thinking about what might be happening to Fleet.

    No.

    So Lorain kept moving steadily through the rain.

    She had an appointment to keep.

    And some men to kill. Those who dared to take her son. They would pay.

    No.



    They.

    Would.

    Die.


    END OF PART I
     
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  23. Shekel_1383

    Shekel_1383 Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2016
    Character Sheet: GM Approved!

    Wymar Hail
    Age: 32

    Gender: Male

    Appearance: Slightly above average height, with the lean, muscular and slender body of a knight. His face is sharp - his hands dexterous and nimble. A rugged, yet well groomed, beard covers his lower face. Deep, blue eyes, with a faded scar running across his upper right brow down to his nose. His long hair brown hair is brushed and tied back. Never one for blending in with the common folk, he wears various aesthetic layers over his armour. Died green cloth hangs from his waist, tied up from across his chest, around his shoulders and looping down his right arm. The scabbard of his bastard sword swings on his belt, his sword engraved with various runes. He's never actually found out if they do anything or not - but they certainly look nice.

    Homeland: Brought up by his father in the castle of house Brendle. However, he travelled as much as he could.

    King: The Rightful King

    Occupation: Knight of House Brendle

    Family Banner (Not of House Brendle, but of his own): A flame, ignited atop a horizontal sword - both coloured gold upon a red backdrop

    Family Words (Not of House Brendle, but of his own): With Fire and Sword.

    Biography:

    The merchant lords of house Daturan were never known to be anything but - different. While the rest of the families and houses of Mirwyth concerned themselves with courtly intrigue, the Daturans only wanted to live a life of peace, wealth and relaxation. They first came to power through the the growth and sale of a psychedelic plant native to the rolling hills of South Eastern Mirwyth - the Salanis Weed. After a generation or two, the Daturans afforded a keep of their own, with their own house banner and their own personal retinue. The current ruling lord of house Duratan is Lady Lianna, an affluent, yet lustful and hedonistic woman.

    By chance, Lady Lianna met the Lord of house Brendle, Lord Julian, while attending a ball in the capital. Together, they sired a son - Wymar. However, this love would not blossom, it seems. Lord Julian went on to have several other wives, and more importantly, have several, more legitimate sons. Lianna journeyed back to her homeland, leaving Wymar to be raised by his father.

    This was perhaps, not the greatest of choices.

    Lord Julian despised, albeit discretely, his first, bastard son. Wymar was thus never legitimised, and must bear the customary bastard surname of Hail. Julian's other sons were treated like proper kin, loved, taught and respected. Wymar, however, was left to grow up on his own. He spent a lot of time down in the city, with the common folk, and developed a mutual respect for them, learning their charisma and dry sarcasm. He was taught to fight by the Castle's master at arms - something he poured his heart and soul into. Day after day, night after night he trained. After years of practice, Wymar became a better swordsman than all of his brothers, though they never dared admit it, for fear of the shame of being bested by a bastard.

    There was one member of his family who actually cared for Wymar, however. His youngest sister, Kynlee, cares deeply for him and genuinely loves Wymar. A beautiful little girl, with black hair and startling blue eyes, porcelain skin. Rather innocent of the world for a girl of ten, naive in a way, but has a heart of gold. She holds Wymar to the standard that all men need to be, without her, he would just be a drunk, forgotten bastard rotting in an inn somewhere far away. If there is one hope in Wymar's world, it is Kynlee.
     
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  24. Jedi_padawan_leigh

    Jedi_padawan_leigh Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 13, 2003
    OOC: I can only apologise for my lateness for this. combined post with spy.

    ----

    IC: Gwenn Cliffe
    Delmaristead, Trail / Shoreline

    Present Time…

    Gwenn’s Brow furrowed in uneasy concentration as her hands gripped tightly onto her horse’s reins. The chestnut coloured mare snorted and shook it’s head, And Gwenn’s breath caught in her throat as she felt her balance shift in the saddle. Her gangly legs felt strange in the stirrups and her foot had already slipped free from them a couple of times. Horse riding always looked so easy whenever she watched someone else do it, but now that she was in the saddle, she realised just how wrong she was.


    The trail was rough and uneven, but beside her, Lady Mya rode with well-practiced confidence upon her black steed, and beside Mya, a hooded figure trotted alongside carefully atop a dapple-grey. Lady Mya addressed the other traveller as her dearest daughter, but the cloak did not conceal a young highborn lady, but instead a brave and loyal handmaiden. Gwenn felt a pang of guilt that she had pulled Paege into this situation, but the young lady had been insistent.


    Behind the departing trio stood Delmaristead, The place where her father now lay dead. The news would spread soon no doubt. His subjects would mourn, but how would they cope without their king? The people needed a leader, and she was supposed to be that leader, but here she was, fleeing. Where they were heading, Mya would not divulge, and between the three women the tension was palpable. Despite her outward calm appearance, Gwenn could tell that Mya was worried. Gwenn did not like being left in the dark. She swallowed nervously and her hand brushed against the satchel that crossed her front, for what felt like the twentieth time since they had set off, from the stables, checking that she was still was in possession of the bags precious cargo…


    One hour ago…


    Gwenn had returned to her chamber in the tower, her mind in a blur, the crown and decree held tightly in her hands. In the solitude of the stairwell, the crown felt heavier. She thought back to her fathers dying words, even now, they did not seem real. Her? Leading the people of the isles? Would she be strong enough to bear this burden? Would she ever be ready? The questions continued to race through her mind as she pushed through the door, letting out an exhausted sigh as she closed it behind her.


    Turning around, Her weary grey eyes fell onto the form of Paege, and then were drawn to the supplies that the young handmaiden had put together. So they really were leaving. Glancing round the room, Gwenn noticed that Edeth was absent, and was about to question Paege about it before the young handmaiden gently halted her questioning, an urgency in her eyes that Gwenn knew not to dismiss. Her fathers warning jumped to the forefront of her mind. It was dangerous to linger here. Gwenn simply nodded in response.

    Placing the crown down gently onto a side table, Gwenn quickly changed out of her sleep clothes and donned a simple outfit of dark travelling clothes. Taking one of the bags from Paege, She removed a piece of clothing and wrapped the crown carefully within the fabric before placing it into the satchel and putting it across her shoulder. The kings decree she kept on her person, sliding it between the fabric of her tunic and jerkin.

    Once prepared and ready with their supplies, the two women descended from the tower. They moved quickly but carefully, as to not arouse suspicion. Paege led them through the halls and corridors; her knowledge of the castle was a lot more comprehensive then Gwenn’s as she took them down quiet back stairs and hallways. All the way, Gwenn was on alert, her heart pounding in her ears as he eyes scanned for threats.


    After what felt like an eternity, the pair made it to the stables. In the dim light, lady Mya stood before them, three horses saddled and prepared. The next few minutes were a flurry of nervous activity as Mya helped Gwenn climb up clumsily onto a chestnut coloured mare. The horse whinnied and shifted underneath her and Gwenn bit down a curse. She had never rode a horse before!


    “I’m goin’ ta break me bloody neck!”


    She mumbled under her breath as Mya climbed atop her own black mare. Once Paege was mounted and ready, the jewelled woman whispered some hurried instructions to the young women, and demonstrated how to make the horse move with a soft click of the tongue and light squeezing of the legs. Gwenn blew out a nervous breath as she attempted to mimic Mya’s actions. After a few tense moments and a few false starts, Gwenn’s mare finally started to walk forward, following Mya out of the stables and into the cold night air.

    Present Time…


    Bringing her hand away from the satchel and back to the reins, Gwenn sighed and glanced over at Mya. A long silence had hung between the three women as they travelled along the trail, and in the haste to leave not a lot of anything had been said or explained. The former bastard was curious of Lady Mya’s role in all this. After all, she had only met her a few hours ago. She had appeared on good terms with her father, but there were still many questions, and after everything that had happened, Gwenn could not help but be suspicious… She cleared her throat softly.


    “Beggin’ pardon Milady… But where’re are we goin’?

    "Far, far from here," the Lady Mya kept her eyes peeled ahead, casting occasional glances behind them. They rode over grassy, stone dotted hills, past cottages made of the very stone they were built upon. "Your father has someone... someone he trusts you'll be safe with, until the time is right."

    "I'm accompanying you, your grace," Paege muttered from her horse.

    "Yes, Guinevere, Paege will be there with you. Your protector... I know not much of him, but if what your father says to be true, he will shape you into the queen you must one day become." Mya looked at Gwenn, her smile from the night before waned. "The Isles will need you. With what's coming, we'll all need you."

    Gwenn shook her head, and was about to counter Lady Mya when suddenly her head perked up, the distant sound of bells finding her ears. Chancing a glance over her shoulder, she looked back in the direction of Delmaristead, where the mournful tones rang out. Her heart felt heavy in her chest as she listened. The bells confirmed it.

    Nathaniel Delmari was dead.

    “Rest easy father…find comfort in me mothers arms. I’m sure she waits for you”

    She whispered softly, before silently mouthing an old isles prayer. The trio rode for several more hours, Gwenn’s mood as dark as the storm clouds that hung ominously over the island. No sun broke through the thick cloud, everything shrouded in a veil of grey. The scent of sea salt on the wind caught her nose, and Gwenn pulled out of her thoughts as her grey eyes settled on the ocean ahead of them. Mya halted the small party by the beach. The bejewelled woman dismounted from her horse.

    Gwenn grunted as she climbed down off her own horse, Grimacing as she feet met the floor. She was aching in places she didn’t know she had. Gathering her supplies, she surveyed the area around them. Before her, on the shoreline, sat a small rowboat with two sets of paddles. It appeared that her journey consisted of yet another leg. Walking onto the sand, she turned and looked at Mya, a questioning look on her weary face.


    "Looks like this is where we depart," the Lady came to stand before Gwenn, a sad smile on her face. She put her small hands on the young woman's shoulders. "A man waits for you. Your father trusted him with his life, and if he does, then I do, and you should as well." She wrapped Gwenn in a tight hug. "The Isles need you, child. Learn what you can and return. Save us."

    She gestured to Paege, who seemed to know what she was doing. Lady Mya got back on her horse, giving Gwenn a final wave. Then she rode away.

    "Time to leave, your grace," Paege began to push the boat into the water


    Gwenn watched as Lady Mya’s departing form disappeared from view, before turning and assisting her companion with the boat. The boat bobbed in the shallows as Gwenn followed Paege into the small vessel, taking the oars in her hands. Blowing out a breath, she started to row, slowly at first until she found her rhythm. Her Grey eyes lingered on the island until it was a small blot on the horizon line, each stroke taking them away from the isle of Delmaristead.

    And towards the mysterious unknown…


    TAG: @Spycoder9
     
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