A Crown of Bones

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Atlas Child, Jul 11, 2015.

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  1. Vespar, Valaria

    The blue and green checkered banners of Lord Sivik hung dominantly over the fortified gates of Vespar. On them the black silhouette of an eagle fluttered madly in the autumn breeze. To the south a storm encroached from the ocean, it's massive clouds shadowing the horizon in grim darkness. The sky was a dull grey and still dark with the lingering minutes till daybreak. Waves stirred by the storm crashed violently against the city docks, the ships therein detained with ropes and lines in anticipation of the coming gale. The city streets themselves were nearly void of people except for the occasional drunkard or sleeping beggar. From the keep, atop a hill at the center of the city, a horsed figure rode out and was followed by a procession of soldiers.

    They donned the mismatched armor of the city guard. Wearing an assortment of chain mail and leather only their tabards likened them with one another. The clamor of hoof beats and footsteps reverberated off the cobble-stoned roads as the soldiers formed a loose circle around the keep, their armor rattling as they hastily moved. Then when they had encircled the keep they pushed out, stopping at each home as they went. The soldiers slammed their fists against the doors and pushed their way in when someone answered. If no one answered the soldiers would enter anyway. To the dismay of the residents they overturned furniture and scattered belongings as they thoroughly searched the homes. If they found nothing they moved to the next house, methodically expanding their circle from the keep. The man conducting the hunt examined the scene from atop his horse. He raised his voice in reply to the protests of disgruntled residents, justifying what was taking place, "If you are hiding weapons or other instruments of rebellion you are advised to turn them over. You will be given amnesty if you come forth, if not... well you don't want to find yourselves in that situation. To the Lord King Sivik's loyal citizens: we apologize for this crude necessity."

    Weeks prior Lord Sivik had marched forth from the city to engage a Valean army crossing the border. Ser Elric Grey, a rebel leader of a separate faction: The People's Army they called themselves, was also en route for the city. Because of these dual threats to Vespar, the gem of his little kingdom, Sivik had divided his force. The larger host continued their march to intercept the Valean's while the smaller detachment diverted to eliminate the ragtag assembly of peasants at arms. He assumed it was an assured victory yet the unthinkable happened: the People's Army had won. Lord Sivik was forced to withdraw from his campaign and now the two armies were in a mad race with one another to reach the undefended walls of Vespar first. Now the whole of the city was holding its breath to see which banner would break the horizon first. Preparations had been made for a siege but the city guard were not taking any chances; If Ser Elric arrived first they could not risk armed sympathizers within the walls.

    "We found something!" a guard called out, exiting to the street carrying a bundle of weapons tightly wrapped in cloth. He threw the bundle down and unraveled it to reveal an assortment of crudely crafted spears. The home owner and his wife were brought to their knees as the Captain strode before them. His horse did not break stride and he merely gave the apprehended criminals a passing glance, "Take them away!" he declared with a dismissive wave. The detained couple were promptly tied by the wrists, brought to their feet, and led under armed escort back towards the keep for questioning. The day had yet to begin and there was much work to be done.

    Drawn by the commotion a young boy watched from the dark recess of an ally. Wide eyed he looked upon the scene in horror before turning away in a dead sprint. Racing through the barren streets his feet slid across stone as he sharply turned each corner. He arrived at a home in a row of houses decrepit, unremarkable, and indistinct from the others. He beat the door a few quick times and looked around himself, panting and sweating from exhaustion and fear. When no answer came he beat the door more desperately than before. The muffled sound of rummaging bleed through the door then a man answered, "Ma-"

    "The guards are searching houses, they're going to search the warehouse," the boy immediately interrupted, nearly tripping over his words. The man at the door was stupefied for a moment before cursing and withdrawing into the home. A drawer opened and things were thrown to the floor in a loud clatter. He returned and pulled his shirt over a dagger tucked away under his belt then bolted into the street nearly forgetting to close the door behind him. He issued an order to the boy following close behind, "Get the others!"
    #1 Atlas Child, Jul 11, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2015
  2. Although the autumn breeze wicked away some of the perspiration beading on her neck and forehead, Isla Blackwater could still taste the heaviness of the air, a thick humidity that could only herald the coming of an ocean storm. Quietly she sat, cradling a sleeping child in one arm and using the other to occasionally wipe the girl's warm forehead with a damp rag; the fever had passed, but little Lily was still not feeling well, and had trouble sleeping without Isla's smooth brown arms around her. The two had grown close over the past week, and their bond was only strengthening as Lily grew better. My magic doctor, the girl called her often, and the thought brought a smile to the woman's lips, though she knew there was little else to smile for. The breeze had brought with it more than one kind of storm.

    Suddenly the door to the humble two-room house slammed open with a loud BANG, drawing a small gasp out of Isla as she clutched the child more closely to her chest. To her relief, it was only Mara, a local smith and her gracious hostess. An urgent expression was plastered on the enormous woman's face, and she wasted no time in grabbing pieces of weaponry lying around and tucking them beneath a loose floorboard. "Sivik's bastards are tearing up the town," she said brusquely, inspecting a dagger briefly before shoving it in with the rest of the blades. Although Mara was a smith and had more of an excuse for owning an excess of weapons than did the rest of the townspeople, Isla knew the older woman was a supporter of the People's Army, and needed no added suspicion on her head.

    When Mara had finally decided that an acceptable amount of steel was showing, she pulled a rug over the loose floorboard and sat down heavily next to Isla, peering over at the face of her daughter. "How's she doin'?" Wiping a piece of hair from Lily's damp forehead, Isla answered,
    "Better. She should make a full recovery in the next few days." The smith gave a sigh of relief, putting her face in her calloused hands. A little over a week ago, Lily had been sleeping for three-quarters of the day and vomiting for the other fourth, plagued by some anonymous illness that no home remedy had been able to cure. Isla, who had been passing through at the time, offered to help purify the girl with what little skill she had- and although Mara was wary of magic, the worried mother had consented. When Lily's condition had started to almost immediately improve, Mara offered Isla a place to stay for a few weeks as a token of her appreciation. It was a convenient arrangement; Isla continued treating Lily, helping out around the house wherever possible, received food and a warm spot on the floor in return.

    Indistinct shouting brought the two women closer together, holding the girl between them as a kind of security blanket. The fugitive was terrified of Lord Sivik and his men; if even one guard recognized her, it would all be over. She was sure that the noblemen of Valaria, Sivik included, would not hesitate to sell her out to King Arminius for a monetary reward, perhaps a few military favors ... The squabbling noblemen were ruthless, too obsessed with annihilating one another to realize the fact of their country's gradual but critical losses to Valeal. Isla may not have cared for Valaria, or even Valeal, but her own land of Gorgon was barred to her, saturated with snakes for men and an usurper sitting on her great uncle's throne.

    Isla's pale eyes wandered around the room, looking for some means of defense should fighting erupt. They settled upon an old suit of armor, one of Mara's most treasured pieces- the smith's father had bought the suit at a discounted price, and he and Mara had restored it to its former glory. It stood watch over the small house, with one hand on a heavy sword while the other gripped a thick, iron shield whose sigil had long since burned away. The young woman stared at the armor curiously, trying to gauge her current energy levels. In theory she'd be able to cram a soul into anything human-shaped, but the concentration and precision needed to accomplish such a feat were very likely beyond her. Regardless, Isla kept a thoughtful eye on the suit and waited for a change, allowing the cool breeze to tug pieces of dark hair as she sat in anticipation.
  3. As the trees started to thin out Alistair destination was coming into site. Vespar, the capital of a nation unified against their oppressor, whose wall stands firm against all who would wish its citizens harm... or so Alastair thought until he was in view of the city. Even though the sun was on the horizon, Alastair could tell there was a storm brewing. But the weather was not the only thing alastair noticed. Vespar's wall was nothing as he imagined it seemed sad and defeated.

    "At least it will be nice to be back in civilization" he thought to himself. Alistair quickly looked around. In Gorgon's capital city of Zola, merchants would be entering and exiting the city at astounding amounts, but Alistair could not hear any wagons. He quickly turned facing his Guardian. Alistair placed his hand on the shortsword that rested on his hip. With a concerned expression, he ask, "Sir Matthew, is it just me or is there something wrong here?" Alistair was unsure if the five years at the protective Ivory tower had made him cautions or oblivious but either way he was on edge.
  4. Under the cover of nightfall, a lone figure garbed in red had slipped into the city of Vespar.

    He had arrived on horseback but had quite literally ridden the horse to death some fifteen minutes away from the city walls, out of sight of the city guard. An army moved slowly, like a bloated maggot, but a single man on horseback was significantly faster. Grimspyre knocked on the closed city gate and, almost immediately, a sliding hatch opened at eyeheight and a suspicious guard peered out into the darkness. "Ho, who goes there?" he called out. Stepping into the light of the guard's lantern, Grimspyre pulled down the red scarf covering his face and smiled apologetically. His white hair was pulled into a ponytail and hidden beneath the hood of his robes, but even so, the traditional Kainite tattoos and his bone-white irises made him look decidedly exotic. "Sorry for bothering you so late at night, but I humbly -- and desperately -- request entry into the city. I am fleeing the war and have pinned all my hopes on our lord Sivik and the strong walls of Vespar."

    The guard narrowed his eyes and said nothing. Grimspyre sighed and pulled out a bag of coins from beneath his robes and held it up to the sliding hatch for the guard to see. "Please, good man. I would be willing to... reimburse you for your kindness."

    That prompted a reaction. The sliding hatch slammed shut and with the sound of old, creaking wood, a door built inside the city gate opened. Anxious, the guard waved Grimspyre inside, who bowed his head graciously and entered the city. Several other guardsmen appeared from the shadows and the coins were distributed evenly. While the men were counting their profits, Grimspyre pulled the red scarf back over his face and slipped into the shadows, disappearing into an alley.

    He stalked the streets, looking for a place to hide. The goal of his mission and this infiltration was to wait until the People's Army was outside the city walls and then use his dhuumfire to weaken the gate from the inside. The city of Vespar was prepared for a siege, so the People's Army could use every advantage it could get. Ever helpful, Grimspyre -- known to the People's Army as Lythos, however -- had volunteered. Ser Elric himself wasn't particularly fond of Grimspyre, as if he could feel there was something off about the pyromancer, but a volunteer was a volunteer. While traveling through Ferros, Grimspyre had learned to stay out of sight and travel inconspicuously, skills he now employed here in Vespar to remain unnoticed.

    Moving deeper into the city, Grimspyre spotted the first light of dawn appearing at the edge of the sky. Almost simultaneously, he could hear the sound of footsteps emerge from the keep ahead of him. Brow furrowed, Grimspyre withdrew even further into the shadows. As the armed men spread through the city, Grimspyre could hear shouting and the sound of doors being kicked in and houses being turned inside out. He snarled and dashed across the street and into another alley, moving away from the sound. He had to find a place to stay before the guard found him alone out in the streets. It would undoubtedly raise suspicion.

    From the shadows he watched as a large, strong woman strode across the cobblestones with an anxious expression and stormed into a humble two-room house. Inspecting the house, Grimspyre spotted a dangling wooden sign. A smith... he thought to himself. If she was as anxious as he was, that meant she probably wasn't a friend of the city guard either. Perhaps...

    Formulating a plan, Grimspyre sprinted to the door of the smith's home and rapped his knuckles on the wood. Speaking quickly, he said: "Hail, smith! I am a friend in need of aid. The city guard are turning the city inside out and I desperately wish not to be found. Think of the People, smith. The People." He hoped the hamfisted hint would be enough; and, of course, that his suspicions about the woman's allegiances were correct.
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