It is the year three-hundred-five of the Age of Sunrise, in the Empire of Mankind A Story of Mages: The Rescue O-------------------------------------------------------------------------------OFor those three hundred and five years, the Empire of Mankind has been unified all across the known world, and an age of great glory has been upon us. Unfortunately, the peace we have held has been attacked. One week ago, a group of Mages of mixed class and combat capability managed to break into the city and summon forth a horde of murderous humanoid beasts that we have temporarily named Orcs until a proper title is decided by the Court of Magical Practice. They managed to gravely injure the King, murder many of the royal guard, and even subdue and capture the Court Mage. The attack has made one thing obvious, that as it stands, our armies are incapable of effectively dealing with this heinous crime. If we wish to rescue our noble Court Mage, and prevent the enemy from harvesting his power for evil, we can only turn to one type of warrior. You. If you are receiving this message, that means you are a confirmed practitioner of the Magical Arts and have chosen or have been chosen to participate in the rescue of our Court Mage, and there is no turning back from here. You have already been marked by the agents of the Witch-Hunters, and defecting from this task will result in your demise. Success in this task will allow you, and any individuals of your choice, to openly practice your craft without fear from the Inquisition, under the limitations of reason, of course. By the end of the day, your journey will start. Good luck, and may the gods watch your path. -Ulric Wolf-Hunter, captain of the Royal Guard. O-------------------------------------------------------------------------------O The midday sun was shining over the battered streets of the Capital City of the Empire of Mankind. It has been eight days since the attack by Mages and Monsters, and while the streets have since been cleaned and cleared of debris, many of the buildings maintained structural damage, mostly from fire... some from being beaten down, and many hard-to-reach arrows and bolts on the higher buildings. It was as a tarnish on silver that had yet to be removed. The streets bustled with anxious activity, as today was the day that the Mages that the Imperial Army and Witch Hunters had painstakingly gathered from anywhere they could would be sent off to rescue the Court Mage and bring justice to the villains who took him. Gates were opened, and the Mages were seen, being escorted by what was left of the Capital Guard to the Plaza just outside the Imperial Castle, where the Emperor himself watched down over them silently from a balcony, flanked on both sides by the Castle Guard. Excluding the footsteps and jostling of the crowd, there was a silence over the area, brought by equal parts fear of the Mages and respect for the Emperor. Above the streets and within the alleys stood near countless Witch-Hunters holding crossbows loaded with bolts of Silver and Cold Iron, some with holy symbols engraved in... others dipped in poison... a few with red-hot tips. Whatever was needed to take down a Mage if things went wrong. The gates to the castle opened, soon Ulric Wolf-Hunter, captain of the Capital Guard, would leave, remind the Mages of their mission, their reward for completion, their punishment for desertion, and then take lead of the operation. -Ulric- Ulric was in his quarters in the castle, looking at an old mannequin adorned in the equipment he used to wear when he was a member of the Witch-Hunters. A long cloak of black and various shades of brown, beneath which was a chain shirt with various belts that would press it tightly against oneself, to reduce the amount of noise the chain makes as one moves. This particular one was equipped with a large ragged hood, giving it a sinister impression. A belt adorned with sheathes that once held silver knifes wrapped around the waist, and many self-tailored pockets covered the suit in random places, once used to hold whatever he saw fit to place in them, from holy symbols to smoke bombs, to more knives. To the side of it, on a desk... was a repeating crossbow that hadn't fired a shot in years. The only noticable customization on it was a large UWH carved into the side, and quite a few notches carved into the handle. The first was simply his initials. The second indicated lives that the crossbow took. He sighed, and retrieved his hammer and shield from a trunk as somebody knocked on his door. It was time to go meet the Mages. He uttered a prayer to the gods. "Oh, Gods of Courage and Justice, those of you who have lead me to where I stand thus far, Protect my people, let not these Mages, unto whom I shall permit the practice of their craft and all who they see fit to bestow such freedom on, be of wicked heart. Watch over my path, and bring me the strength to fight this war. This conflict shall change the world... may it be for the better." He turned, breathed deeply in and out, put on his game-face, and marched out to meet his new Soldiers. He could immediately sense their presence, and went on to acknowledge them. The first was a confirmed Mystic, and a practitioner of Enchantments and Communication. "You're Leondro Winston, I think you were the one with the dogged determination. You got a clean record, so that's good. You got potential." He passed by him rather quickly, and moved on to the next in an orderly fashion. There was a young man, with white hair grey eyes. Must have been Nathaniel Gladstone. "I've heard you've been spotted with spirits alongside you, I hope you can command them efficiently, I know the potential for power they hold when directly within our realm." On to the next, another young man, grey hair but different colored eyes. He was confirmed to be a mercenary. "Well, you've seen combat... consider this a particularly hard job." After that, none other than Alexander Grinmar. Warlock and former general. He paused for several moments. "Saw the battlefield myself later that day..." It wasn't hard to recognize Little Mouse. She was eleven, after all. "You're a good kid. Best of luck to you." He turned towards her guardian, Loren Briarheart. He couldn't sense any magical energy. "Take it from a former Witch-Hunter. Watch out for everything." Next was Hildegarde Lockwood. A Witch. Hopefully she wouldn't be trouble. "Keep the Demon in check." Finally, he reached the one who had worked his way to the back. Doctor Alluni. The kid was hiding behind some magic illusion, so his face appeared different. "Honestly, it was suspicious that you avoided me like the plague. Drop the disguise kid. The Witch Hunters need to know what you look like." -Frederick- Frederick paused for a moment, his eyes darting across the area. Witch Hunters were everywhere, and until he survived thus... he was at their mercy. The crowd was staring at everyone the captain had previously talked to. He very badly didn't want to drop the disguise, but it wasn't like he had a choice. "Very well, sir." The young features of the left side of his face gave way to the scars caused by grievous chemical burns. The Captain nodded. "I see why you had it... Don't try to invent potions while others are in a thirty-feet radius of you." Just like that, the Captain of the guard had backed away, and made an announcement to all of the group, as Frederick's disguise faded back, removing his scars once more. "Mages, you have gathered, or been gathered, as you have been told, to rescue the Court Mage from the hands of an unknown enemy. As they are almost all Mages and summoned monsters, a normal army cannot match them. With you're aid, we can. You are aware of the rewards. Use them responsibly, you're practice will no longer be banned, but if your practice involves the harm of our people. You will be punished. I, as you may have guessed, will be leading the charge. The Witch Hunters have dispatched five-hundred members of varying ranks and skill in order to aid where they can. This will be a war unlike any we have ever seen, and will usher in a new age of magical acceptance. May your actions be just and courageous. And may we be in the Gods' favor. We begin marching tomorrow morning. You have free reign of the city until then. Don't try to leave." Frederick looked left to right, and put his mask on so he wouldn't have to keep the disguise spell going. He hurried back to his shop, with the intentions of packing anything useful into his cart so he could take it with him to the war.