ARGENT - [IC Thread]

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Jakers, Jul 31, 2016.

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  1. A R G E N T

    OOC Thread | Character Thread

    Some time ago

    Within the marble walls of Kelda, blood and hate blooms forth like new year's harvest.

    Strung up from poles on high windowsills, the new attractions of the city slowly creak as they hang. The corpses of Keldian soldiers, citizens, or women alike - any Keldian who was too foolish or proud to leave their great city has become a source of entertainment for the hate-filled masses in the walls, a way to fulfil their hunger for vengeance. Any Keldians not hanging or laying dead and dismembered in the streets, fight valiantly, or hide away in the deepest of nooks and crannies, waiting for the screams to be over.

    Smoke looms over the city, but only certain buildings burn within the marble-crafted capital, leaving the arsonists igniting others and house interiors to keep them occupied instead. And at the entrance gates for our great city Kelda, now long busted open and completely destroyed, a trio of nooses are saved for certain people. The despised King, his wife, and his son. One of the three tasks of hate-filled zealots seems to have been accomplished so far, as a once-beautiful lady in a royal dress and with flowing blonde hair, swings with the cord hatefully forced upon her neck, pale-faced.

    And if you listen closely, above the grunts of battle and the clashing of steel and flesh, you'll hear the chant that's spread like a plague amongst the people.


    What is the purpose of this chant? It has none. Created by someone with no intelligence, as all brainpower has been converted into rage and battle. And one at a time, this phrase spread for no reason, leaving all fighters with a permanent choir's chorus as they hack and slash away. Certain remaining Keldian guards have racked up a bodycount that would once get you a medal, and the others? You know where they lay.

    At the pinnacle of all this, in an unknown yet high-up area, a King watches over the spoils of his work, an enscribed golden blade uselessly held at his side, his figure huge with gold-tinted armour and royal wings. After getting a good view of his great city of Kelda, a hand falls onto his shoulder.

    "It is time we took our leave, Ser."

    A fancily-dressed man, his black wear adorned with medals and with a wide hat sprouting tufts of combed black hair atop his head, stands by his King. His advisor, and the King's helping hand through this madness.

    "So these were the consequences."

    The King's low voice comes, made metallic, through the small slit of his winged helm. The advisor looked into the smoke, before his eerily calm head turned back to the King.

    "Do not think about it." The advisor mumbled offhandedly. "In your words, Ser. 'There is still one thing I can manage to make this right again'."
    "Argent." The King remembers tonelessly.
    "...Argent. We've gathered all we can. Now is as good as a time as ever to get things started." The advisor paused, adjusting his hat. "With all due respect, Ser. There is no more time to stand here and let yourself be broken. The time has come to forget and look to the present day. You are the only one who can do this, and there is still a chance, Ser."

    A long pause came, before the King's metal body turned around slightly.
    "What of my son?"
    "He lies safe. He is helping to build our new fortress as we speak amongst the many others."
    "Ser." The advisor leaned in slightly. "Snap out of this state. For the good of everyone. You were a King, were you not?"
    "...I..." The King paused, before suddenly something seemed to click in his head. "...No. You are right. It is time to stop this useless mourning." Clenching a gauntlet-encased fist at his side, the King turned around, and stepped up.

    "It is time to build the world's retakers. ...For Argent, now awaits."

    I am the Blood

    The Present

    Considering everything, a fine day blooms forth above the fourteen applicants.

    Set within a low dip in the forested hills, the fourteen have been waiting outside of the walls of The Argent Foundation for quite some time now. In the waiting, they've grown accustomed to what Argent's fortress looks like from the outside. High, crude yet steadfast stone walls surround a wide perimeter, likely raised from the ground with Rewrition. Atop the walls, archers and crossbowmen are eagle-eyed as they watch the surroundings, looking down to keep an eye on the fourteen every now and again.

    The entrance: a classic crude wooden drawbridge-above-a-ditch, though this ditch was heavily spiked, with armoured men with spears and greatswords ensuring only Argent members would operate the crank. And the entire fortress seemed to be coated in moss and foliage, giving it the impression that it was abandoned from a distance, yet also allowing it to blend in somewhat with the deep green trees and long wild grass of the area. Chatter, occasional loud shouts, and the soft and controlled clashing of sparring steel and wood could be heard within Argent's walls. Every now and again, a member or a group of members would exit the drawbridge, from the lowest of ranks to some of the highest, looking curiously at the fourteen new applicants before speeding off on horseback or foot.

    The placement of Argent would make it very rare to randomly stumble across, but if one did, and was found without Rhyzen's letter... it was likely they would be taken in, dead or alive. But all of these fourteen hold Rhyzen's letter. And why they were here now, taking up arms for this unknown 'Argent', varied wildly for each person.

    Not too long ago, a tall man clad in brass armour with a grey-feathered cowl came out to examine the fourteen. From his mane of grey-brown hair, and his heavy, half-shaven beard, with pale skin, this man had been from Blenngham originally. On his brass armour, a delicately-sewn badge with an intricate pattern of four stars around a capital letter 'A' was present, indicating a high rank. Accompanied by two lower-ranks who validated all of the fourteen's letters to ensure their legitimacy, the Blennghammen man had simply told the fourteen to: "Wait here."

    And that was what the fourteen were doing. A huge variety of people from all across the world, they had found themselves here from their long travels more or less at the same area of time.

    And in their waiting, they knew little about Argent - the fortress that would change their life - but they knew one thing for sure:

    If they were accepted into its walls, life would be anything but easy.

    But that was the price a hero - a world's retaker - had to pay.

    #1 Jakers, Jul 31, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
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  2. Sam waited patiently to be allowed within the walls. He was used to this kind of waiting, remembering how when he was a young teenager, his teacher would take him to a tree to manipulate and he wouldn't get any result. It frustrated him that he couldn't move even a young tree to bend to his will, but his teacher would put a hand on his shoulder and say, "In due time. Just wait and see." And wait he did, meditating somewhat with his teacher every time he tried and couldn't move a tree. Eventually his efforts paid off when the sapling swayed with movement and he looked on proudly at his work.

    Of course, that was a long time ago and now the world was in chaos. Not because of war, no. That ended the day the chaos began, when beasts within Abbelest tore the city apart and it spread from there. With the collapse of Abbelest, so, too, did the rest of the world. His home, the Meadow, had also fallen, becoming a place for thieves to raid and destroying anything they considered not of value. The familiar mixture of anger and sorrow welled within him before he squashed the feeling. Stewing in his own emotions wouldn't do any good, not when there was a chance to right what went wrong.

    His thoughts turned to his journey to reach Argent. The journey had been a long one, living off the land while avoiding terrible beasts. This was where his skill proved to be most useful, both knowledge and his affinity for Nature Rewrition keeping him alive and better off than most folk surviving out in the wilderness. He sighed as he thought about the many times he scared away other human beings and hunted the animals of the land for their meat. Killing still didn't suit him, he wasn't a hunter. But times like these would force a man's hand to go against their morals somewhat and his hand had been forced.

    No, stop thinking about that, he chastised in his mind as he glanced around at the others that were waiting with him. They all looked to be true fighters, unlike him, where did have some fighting experience, but only to protect his former home. He sighed once more. Fighting anyone would prove to be a problem, even if there were plants covering the fortress before him. He highly doubted there would be random plants that grew like weeds inside. Using his power, he peeled off a handful off moss from the structure and stuffed it inside his pocket. Just in case.
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  3. Viktor La Croix
    Viktor arrived at the gates of the new fortress called "Argent" rather swiftly. He found himself being the first to arrive at the location but was shortly joined by a group of 13 other diverse individuals, he had unsheathed his red tinted blade and leaned on it. He seemed rather carefree at the time, much like his old self, he had his helm and his cuirass (or breast plate) slung over his shoulder with a small rope. Despite his carefree pose and seemingly lazy posture, he still seemed very unapproachable, his brow furrowed and his eyes seemingly lost, staring into the distance blankly. He still emitted a rather imposing aura that shouted "Don't want to talk to you". He finally snapped out of this state when a hooded man on a horse accompanied by what viktor presumed to be his guards had come up to them, asking for the letters they received. At first Viktor has completely forgotten about the letter, the reason he was here really, but he then handed the guards the letter he had stored in his small pouch.

    He began to look at every individual one by one as the guards went to each of them for their letter, all of them did as asked of course, some more dismissively than others, and handed the guards the letter. They were ordered to stay in front of the gate by the pale, rough looking man. Viktor didn't think there was much of an alternative and simply continued to observe his surroundings, he was feeling slight regret for coming at this point. He wasn't aware that there were others, especially a group of rather unique individuals, would also be invited along. He expected others but the number of people put him on edge slightly, he remained alert as he looked at each individual.

    He spotted some possible Abbelestians and unfortunately what he thought were possible Keldians. This was simply off of appearance though but it had already put him in a rather foul mood, but before becoming too temperamental and storming off, he reminded himself that he had a goal. Goal(s) actually, One would be to find out the truth of the war and the fate of his lady and Abbelest, either from the king himself or through his own means. The second would be to kill King Rhyzen if presented the opportunity. He would attempt to remain as rational as possible though, he knew that simply listening and observing for now would be the favorable thing to do, this was a new fortress of course and he could not just walk in and do as he pleases. Hopefully Viktors sorrow and hate do not continue to consume him, and possibly cloud his judgement. The goals Rhyzen had presented seemed for the common good of all really, but that would never change Viktors thoughts on the man. For now, he observes and listens.
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  4. Early Morning

    The forest to the East of the Argent fortress was quiet in the pre-dawn gloom. The normal sounds of the wood muted, hushed, becalmed at a time when, normally, the creatures of the wood would be stirring. Some might find such a lull unusual, but for the beasts it was common place. A natural reaction to the presence of dangerous predators stalking their midst... Silyan listened to the muted sounds with a keen ear, tensed and with his weapon handy in the event of any unexpected surprises. It was for this self-same reason that he, and his companion Nightshade, rested in the shadowy boughs of the wood, well away from prying eyes that might spot the two before the two could spot them. The tension though, couldn't last. Sil could feel Nightshade's calm, her utter lack of concern, like a knot of comforting warmth just at the edge of his consciousness. It was, he had to admit, a rather contagious presence. After all, she had much better senses than Silyan himself, held back as he was by his mere human capabilities. He well knew that she would, most likely, detect any hint of trouble long before he could. But she wasn't perfect, and relying fully upon her senses and his alone likely would have, long since, gotten them both killed.

    A screech in the distance snapped Silyan's attention to the sky, where the clouds had been dyed crimson by the rising sun. From them came Storm, riding the sun warmed air with his wings outstretched and a sense of exultant glory so fierce that Silyan was forced to mute his connection to the fool bird lest it affect him too greatly. He had been off for most of the previous day, hunger and his incessantly rebellious nature allowing him to ignore Silyan's previous attempts at bringing the large golden eagle to heel. One day I'll... What? Rewrite his younger brothers favored companion? Destroy everything that his brother had loved so much about the beast? No, he could never bring himself to do that, and both he and the damned bird knew it. With an exasperated and long suffering sigh he turned his mind to the task of getting the damned bird to so what he had been trying to get it to do for two days now. Scout the fortress and the surroundings for any sign of trouble. Reluctantly, Storm obliged Silyan's request, and began to circle the cleared approaches to the keep. Aside from the birds keen interest in the open field and its potential as a hunting ground, Silyan could glean little from the birdbrains... well... brain. Only when the enormous eagle flew over the keep proper did Silyan sense even a hint of discomfort, and he well knew that it mostly came from the birds dislike of enclosures of any kind.

    So far, everything seemed to be as it should be. He had received the strange letter weeks before, while doing a supply run to one of the small, hidden, villages on the outskirts of what had once been the civilized lands. How the courier had found him, he didn't know. How the courier had made it to him through the bandit infested forests, he didn't know. What he did know was that someone had gone to quite a lot of trouble to invite him here, to this strange place, and he wasn't entirely sure why. Certainly, the letter had given a rudimentary explanation, but could he trust those words? Trust this strange organization? He wasn't certain. But he had yet to see anything untoward about the keep before him in the days that he had stalked the forests surrounding their walls. He and Nightshade had shadowed a number of patrols, and found no evidence of thievery or banditry. No slaves taken in raids, nor seemingly stolen goods coming in from roving bands. In fact, the men he followed were a surprisingly disciplined, if motley, lot... And a skilled lot at that. On more than one occasion he had almost been spotted by sharp eyed sentries, only for them to loose him in the shadows of the boughs and convince themselves that they hadn't seen anything at all. Many of them were, clearly, veterans of The war... Men much like Silyan himself. Hard edged men.

    But it wasn't until he spotted new travelers coming in, that he made his ultimate decision. These were not men and women who had gone out on patrol in the days passed. The curiosity that they were met with by those within and leaving the keep made that fairly clear. The lack of hostility, seemed to imply that they were, in fact, expected. Perhaps, the same way that he himself was expected. If that was so, who was he to hide in the forests while others strode boldly to the fortress gates? Despite the death of his people, and the agony that that knowledge caused him, he was still the son of a chieftain. A chieftain in his own right now actually, by Ishian custom. If he was indeed the last member of the White River clan, it was his responsibility to hold the honor and dignity of the entire clan on his own. Not that such a burden was new to him, he had struggled with a lesser version just being the next in line to lead his people, and now without any people to lead he felt the burden even more...

    A rustling in the bushes nearby broke the beastmaster from his sorrow induced stupor, and set him at the ready for battle. A quick flood of warmth, however, made it clear who was there before she even emerged from the underbrush. Nightshade approached without so much as a hint of wariness, came right to Silyan, and nearly knocked him over as she began to rub her face against his chest, crooning softly all the while. For the first time in days, a smile cracked across his lips. She had always known how to cheer him, even in the darkest of times. Her warmth, both physically and mentally, fortified him.

    His back straight, his face set in an expression of fierce determination, an axe across his back, and clad in the finest furs to be found anywhere in the area, Silyan appeared every inch an Ishian chieftain. No, a warlord, striding into the field with confidence and with Nightshade close at his side, a terrifying shadow beast come to life. When he approached he saw some already waiting, and to them he nodded his head by way of greeting, opting to remain silent until he knew more about these strangers who now surrounded himself. Nightshade drew closer still, but remained calm and unconcerned. As he waited he idly scratched the spot between her eyes, and allowed himself another small smile as her eyes lidded in pleasure. They snapped open quickly enough though, when the great doors of the keep swung open to allow a bronze clad man to exit and inspect them and their letters. And then, he told them to wait. as though that had not been what they were already doing. The large Ishian shook his head in mild annoyance, but settled in to wait for what may come.
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  5. There it was: Argent. Rhyzen's great new kingdom and what seemed like humanity's final hope for order and stability. Aridian never took his eyes off the massive structure. It was well placed, hidden away withing the trees and partially camouflaged. There were several archers and crossbowmen stationed along the embrasure atop the castle wall. It was a good lookout position. They had probably spotted him before he noticed them. They could shoot a man down and he would not have known what killed him. This place had been well planned.

    Aridian imagined Rhyzen somewhere inside, probably gorging himself on fruits and cakes as selfish kings tend to do. He kept his anger in check. He would not be a fool. He couldn't give any one of them reason to believe he was a threat to their leader. He would have to live under the laws of Argent, study the people intensely, know the grounds better than he ever knew Castle Kellar.

    He looked over his shoulder to take in his fellow recruits. They were diverse in their looks, and probably just as much in their capabilities. They mostly looked solemn and brooding, preparing themselves to see if the Argent Foundation was what it claimed to be, or if we were all truly doomed. Aridian turned his face back to the castle. He would make allies of the recruits. He would seduce the wenches and turn them into his personal spies. He'd bribe the guards of questionable morals to allow him free access wherever they were assigned to guard. He imagined he would have to spill some blood in the process, to cover his tracks. But he would do all that and so much more in pursuit of vengeance.

    He could already see it in his head. A picture of Argent burning to the ground, Rhyzen roasting alive in his own bed, all that he built crumbling around him. Aridian smiled, a depraved and twisted expression that he'd only recently become capable of.

    "Argent will burn," he whispered ever so slightly under his breath.

    "Rhyzen will burn, every Keldian that ever served him will burn and whatever remains of Kelda will burn."

    That would be his mantra, until all that he'd set out to do was done. He kept on repeating it under his breath, while he stood with the posture of a proper nobleman, looking on at Argent.
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  6. Sir Ungard Strathmoor was not a patient man. This fact, despite being a rather large part of his outward personality, didn't plainly illustrate itself to just anyone who took a glance at the massive knight, for he hadn't moved since the new recruits had arrived. He'd been one of the first few to get there out of the group of fourteen, and right after arriving, he'd planted his feet a few yards from the bridge, facing the front of the structure, staring it down. And there he stayed, not moving a muscle, not pacing nor stretching out nor even visibly breathing much at all.

    Like a six-foot-nine-inch, three-hundred-and-fifty-pound (without the armor) black iron statue, Sir Ungard waited, and he thought to himself. Probably made some of the jumpier Keldian guards real nervous, looking the way he did. But their worries were for naught, for the time being, at least, because he wasn't gonna do anything to 'em. Not yet, at least, and not if things appeared to be going the way of Argent. Well, to be perfectly honest, if it did appear that things weren't gonna work out, and this was just another hopeless venture in a hopeless situation, he'd rip every Keldian in the fortress to pieces and be on his way.

    And if not, if there appeared to be just a bit of possibility in this "organization," well...he'd probably stick around. Without killing anybody.

    .....Except Rhyzen, of course, but, at this point, that was just a given.
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  7. Vaniela sat slouched against a tree, her lance resting against her shoulder. She had looked around those that were here when she had arrived - she had, after all, been the last - and now was merely awaiting what was to come. Inside, a little of her earlier inner struggle continued to twist. Was it treachery to her people to come here and work for the man who had ordered her city burnt to the ground? Even without answering that, the mere thought of it sickened her. She had constantly considered tearing the letter up, from the moment she had been given it by that damned messenger to the moment she was asked to present it before the gates. Rhyzen had been responsible for the slaughter of all that she had held dear: family, friends and home. Even thinking about it set her fist clenching and her jaw grinding. To then come and work for him, after all that? Insanity, surely?

    Maybe it was, but another factor weighed heavily on her mind. When she had enlisted she had sworn to protect and preserve Abbelest and its people. She had failed, and the city lay in ruins, haunted by nightmares. What then was left of her oath, her loyalty? If she had failed to protect it, she must regain it. Fight off the evil that lurked within and return Abbelest to the city it once was. This was what she had decided the moment she left it for good. And what other option did she have. Kelda - Kelda! - was full of chaos and rioting. Both Drokk and Blennghamen had decided to bury their heads, as per usual. Too stubborn and self-absorbed to reach out and co-operate for their own survival. Meadow-folk were too placid, and weren't the sort to go out on a crusade for humanity - though one of their number was amongst the recruits...intruiging. And Binnes-folk were too selfish - there would be no profit in it for them. Alas, as much as she hated the thought, the only help she would get would be from Argent.

    She had deliberately worn her military equipment, emblazoned with the crest of Abbelest. She would work within his organisation. She would remind the world that Abbelest was not yet dead. She would wear her bride upon her chestplate as she had done for years. She would fight until Abbelest was cleansed and safe. And then, with her oath and her honour fulfilled, she just might have the luxury to indulge in the fury that burned within her, and put an end to it. She arose, stretching her legs. It was heartening to say other Abbelestians there - Vaniela merely hoped that they shared her vision for a free Abbelest and were not too caught up in their own vengeance. Doubtless the Keldians would seize any excuse to paint them as treacherous, and tar all others with the same brush. Her legs popped and cracked as she stretched - she had been sat for too long. Leaning against the tree in a sitting position, she pulled a small stone from her bag and, with steady and deliberate strokes, began to hone her lancepoint.
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  8. ☾☾☾ IN DREAMS ☽☽☽

    In his dreams, he kills his father. It is the same dream he has had for over a year now, and it always begins the same. His name is something else - it is not Aatu, the young wolf, it is not a name in his father's tongue. It is a name in his mother's language. It is Argr, not so different from Aatu, but this is the name that means Raven-Starver, the name that means not fit to live. The Raven-Starver did not die in battle, the Raven-Starver was a kin-killer. But above all else, the Raven-Starver was accursed. Perhaps the Raven-Starver is accursed because he is a kin-killer, but when Aatu's hands are in his father's bedsores, he never feels more blessed. In his dream, the Raven-Starver sits next to his father in a room that is unbearably warm, kept incubated by fever and by a meal of ashes and coals to sweat the infection out. This infection is not merely of the flesh, the Raven-Starver things, as he watches his father's eyes sink deeper and deeper into his skull. The eyes begin to vanish in the hollows of their sockets, until they are nothing but tiny pinpricks of light in the darkness of a man who is soon to die. His father's mouth kept gaping and flapping, as if he could make a sound beyond the guttural moans of a man who is lost. The Raven-Starver realizes, in one horrifying moment, that his father is no longer in the sick-man's head. All of his father's nerve connections are blocked by the plague that consumes him, his veins running with sickness. His veins have atrophied, to the point that his father's brain could no longer speak its will upon the body. What was Regin is trapped in the skull, sealed off and silent. In that moment, Argr is aware that his father is truly in hell. But the man before him is Regin, not his father, he reminds himself, promising himself that he will not make that mistake again while all the while knowing he will make that mistake again. Argr watches Regin.

    The Raven-Starver watches for a while. He can see the silent, helpless suffering the man who he once called father. His brain is starving behind the man's sick and weary eyes. Argr says and does nothing. He feels his mother behind him, pressing her stomach up against his spine. She is pregnant again, and the child is his. His mother is calling the child Urðrinn, the one who is the Hand of Fate, the Godhead. He does not know how Ádis can call the child this, when the gods she believes in are well and truly established, and this child is surely not one of them. The pressure of his mother's stomach against his back does not unsettle him. The Raven-Starver finds himself thinking that this is well and truly right, that he should be the one to bear the child of prophecy. Regin was unsuitable, his uncle was mad, and now there is only him left, the unwanted child. He is no longer a child. Argr feels his mother's arms wrap loose around his neck, feels the brush of her nose against his neck. He does not look at her, but he knows exactly what she looks like. She is tall and pale, with long braided white hair and eyes too big and too blue for her pale face. All of her children look like her. Their child will look like him, and then she will dash its brains against a rock and offer them up towards her gods. The Raven-Starver does not look at her because he is afraid of what she would see. She would see his blood, and she would know that he is not hers. Instead, Argr who is Aatu, watches the sick man, his father who is Regin, die. His eyes are entirely black now, save for the pinpricks of pupils that still reflect the light of the coals Argr has fed him. Characol clears the stomach.

    Argr's mother presses her lips against his ear. They are warm, soft lips and when she speaks to him, he wants nothing more than to look away from Regin, and give her nothing but his heart, pulled from his chest. She tells him a story, like she used to. She tells him a story about Sigrvarðr, his favourite stories. She tells him that Sigrvarðr was born of Systkin; the seed of his uncle and the blood his aunt. It is this union that makes Sigrvarðr strong. His mother is a prophetess, she is Gildis, who is revered. His father is Miklar who is made great through the blood. The story comforts the Raven Starver. It is a beautiful story. Gildis' words all come true in the end, and she is the soruce of all of Miklar's strength. Miklar dies. She marries his son, Sigrvarðr, and their child is the One Who Devours Worlds. Ádis does not tell Argr the name of the child, because to speak his name to to damn you and all of your kin. Gildis carves runes for her son and her grandson-son both. She says nothing, as she watches her son and grandson-son war against one another. She cannot choose a side, because they are both her children, and in the end, Gildis does not stop the One Who Devours Worlds from eating his father, limb to limb, tongue to toe. She bears another son from her sorrow, and his name is Argr too. He is called this because Argr kills his half-brother. Gildis marries again, not by choice, but by force. The man who marries her is cruel, and not of her people. Her new husband, Atli, forces her to give birth to two sons. The sons are not named, because she has lost all her prophecies by now. Atli's sons are good, but she hates them because they remind her of his bloody crime. She brings them close to her breast one day, and tells them that she will kill them, her knife is against their throat. The Raven-Starver listens as his mother tells them what the children say; there will be no fame for her in this act, only shame. She slits their throats, and feeds them to Atli in pieces. He curses her, and says that this is the end of her, and she says, so famously, "Yes, this is my death. But it is also yours." Atli grabs Gildis, and strangles her, but the exertion causes one of his sons' teeth to rise in Atli's throat, and he cannot breathe. Argr watches the story play in his father's eyes, guided by his mother's words. He sees himself reflected in Regin's eyes, becoming Miklar, Sigrvarðr, The One Who Devours Worlds, Gildis, Atli -- and finally back to Argr. Reginn's eyes dim. His father's brain must have died, because the eyes went out, and there was no more feeling in them.

    The Raven-Starver realizes that his mother is gone. His hands are sticky and hot, and when he looks down, he is alone with blood on his hands. His father's mouth is slack and open, dripping out his life. Argr who is Aatu reaches to wipe the tears from his eyes, but only smears his father across his cheeks. He watches his father's skin peel from his muscles, and all of the flesh begins to boil and froth. Beneath his flesh, Argr can see the bones split into many maggots, which crawl across the bed, and into his hands. His palms hurt, and the scar across them has not healed. The maggots are inside of him, and the Raven-Starver realizes that all the plague, all the disease in the world is within him. The parasites have crawled up his throat and risen up to sing to him. He can taste blood, and he is happy. Tears run down his cheeks. He imagines that this is what it must be like to be in love. He is hungry and lustful and wrathful, and his father is dead, and his mother speaks of heroes. It does not matter what giant she came from. He carries his father's blood too. Blood speaks the truth, when dreams do not. This is the final dream. The dream he will have until he dies.

    ☾☾☾ AFTERNOON ☽☽☽

    Argent was what they called the fortress. It was massive and impenetrable. with stone walls and eager archers whose fingers twitched on their arrow-shafts. Slugs crawled amongst the moss and lichen that spanned the structure, and even they seemed hesitant to move up the walls. A warm breeze whipped across the man's face, tousling mousey curls. His dark eyes watched the archers watching him. They drew their arrows back, as if ready to shoot, but their grip - and their arrows - slackened at the sight of the paper in the man's hand. The letter had been well-red, and the edges of the paper was fraying from too many frequent readings. The ink had smudged in places, and the signature of Rhyzen had nearly melted away entirely. The seal remained though, broken but present, and it was a sure sign of a safe passage. The man kept the paper in one hand, and held the reins of his mare in the other. The mare, an elegant grey horse with a curved man and long white hair looked more a knight than the man. His eyes were small underneath furrowed browns, his small nose constantly wrinkled with a frown that did not speak so much of displeasure than it did of deep and unknowable thought. His skin was too pale to be from The Binnes, but too dark to come from anywhere else; and his clothing spoke for him. Embroidered green and brown wool, edged with gold-threaded samite and well worked bronze fastenings for his steel and leather armor. From his side hung a sword, and on his back rested a shield. Although it was warm, perhaps unseasonably so; the Binnesman wore thick leather gloves. Perhaps the archer's found this odd, or perhaps they did not. Whatever the case, the man did not speak or sign to them, merely dug his knees into the sides of his mare and egged her onwards, towards the gates.

    A man approached him, a man clad in brass armour that caught the mid-afternoon sun. The Binnesman's face was reflected in its shine, but he did not look at the reflection. The man's dark eyes were locked with the eyes that peered under a grey-feathered cowl. Those eyes traced the Binnesman's hands, watching the scrap of paper flutter in the breeze. Without a word, the man had snatched the letter from the Binnesman's hands, his beard wrinkling and nostrils flaring as he squinted at the text. The Binnesman's face did not smile, and he did not offer introductions. The Binnesman's eyes looked down, gently fluttering eyelashes giving him a demure look. His eyes found a place to rest on the delicately-sewn badge attached to the brass-breastplate's shoulder. As the man reviewed the letter, the Binnesman's eyes went around the four stars, tracing their points with the tips of his pupils. He traced those stars many times, before the Brass-Breastplate finally cleared his throat. The Binnesman lifted his head with a start, causing his furrowed brows and narrow eyes to open slightly more widely. They were bloodshot eyes, as if he has been crying or drinking. But there was no wetness in his eyes, nor was there the stench of week-old vodka. The Brass-Breastplate was Blennghammen - his greying hair, grey beard, and pale skin made that clear. His accent further solidified the point. The letter made it clear where the Binnesman had come from, if his appearance did not. Whatever accent he had, went unspoken, as he remained silent while the Blennghammen inspected him. The Binnesman traced the stars. The man's voice came out grunted and dismayed, as if disappointed in what had arrived at his doorstop; "Wait here." The Binnesman did not ask questions, and he did not waste time with introductions. He simply nodded.

    Others were already here. A giant man clad equally in pelts and scars had come, a massive cat-creature at his side. The man smiled as he stroked his beasts ears, but the smile did not last as annoyance flared across his face. As the Binnesman approached him, he offered the man a small nod, and a small smile. The smile did not reach his dark eyes, and the expression was quickly replaced with a knotted brow and a frown that crawled across his face like a worm on its belly. The Binnesman was cordial, but not friendly, and rose past the Scarred Man without a word. He kneed his horse in to sides, putting the mare some distance from the massive cat's claws. He walked the side of the motte, his eyes skimming the others who must be waiting, waiting just like him, for something to happen. A massive man leaned on a red-sword, lazily leaning on the hilt of it. The Binnesman's eyes searched his face, watched the shifting of his armored plates and felt his eyes connecting with the blankness in the Abbelestians own. He was the first to break the stare, his eyes fluttering down to the ground, lashes brushing against his high cheekbones. He squeezed his mare's shoulders with his knees, bringing her forward and away, shifting slightly in the saddle. His eyes had a lack of light in them, glossy and smooth like river rocks. When they were down turned, they gave him a doe-like appearence, and the cautious steps of his mare added to the notion. he did not look like a hero. He looked like a blushing first time whore, or a peasant girl courted by the local butcher. He offered the Abbelestian a nod, but did not smile to him. The reins shook slightly in one hand, while the other crunched tight on the paper, making wrinkles erupt along its surface. The words were illegible amongst all of the creases. The mare moved forward, and so did the Binnesman.

    He lifted his eyes to meet a dark-haired Meadowfolk. The Meadowfolk was peeling grass from the walls, and the slugs along with it, with his Rewriton. The Binnesman's eyes widened as he watched the magic work through the dark hands, the ripple of Rewriton move through his skin. The slugs on the moss stretched out their eyestalks, as if to beg the man to stop uprooting them from their homes. The dark circles at the end of their eyestalks were as cold and dead as eyes could be. It was as if their eyes has gone out, and there was no feeling in them. The beating of the Meadowfolk's heart was almost deafening in his ears. He shook his head from side to side, and looked away. His eyes refocused on the trees, on the grass, on the afternoon sun, on anything else but the working of magic. When he looked back, his eyes traced the Meadowfolk, watching his doubtful eyes, wide and wondering. The Binnesman said nothing to him, but nodded once, and gave him the same smile that was not friendly but cordial, and did not meet his own, lightless eyes. The Binnesman could still hear the pounding of a heart that was not his own, and so, he kicked his mare a little harder than before, and she trotted a small cluster of trees. The sun shone through the leaves, bathing the woman beneath them in a bright golden light. She made vigorous but idle movements with her arm and a whetstone, sharpening the point of a lance. She wore a crest across her chest, and something sparked in the Binnesman's eyes, a small but recognizable spark. His eyes became locked on the movements of her hands, and he didn't seem to see her face. It was not reflected in his eyes, just the movement of her sharpening. But when the sound of the blade being driven across the whetstone ended in a scrape, he lifted his head and his eyes. He stared at her, and bowed his head to her. He did not lie to her with a cordial smile, only the slightest inclination of the head. He did not wait for her to speak to him, before he dismounted from his horse. He pressed his hands against the mare's mane, and his hands shook and twitched against the elegant and arched neck.

    He led his horse away, taking her by the reins to rest under the shade of a tree near the Lancer-Woman, but not so close as to disturb her. The horse bayed quietly, before bowing her head to pull up whole clovers by their interconnected roots. As he patted her neck with spastic fingers, the Binnesman watched the others. He watched the man with white hair and wrong eyes smile to himself. White-Hair whispered something that he could not hear. It was not magic, that much was certain. His posture, the straight back and elegantly folded hands, spoke of a noble uprinining. The Binnesman wrung his wrists and twisted his fingers. They seemed to shake uncontrollably, from the tips of his fingers to the palms of his hands. He wrapped his left hand around the rights wrist, as if strangling it. The hand stopped moving on its own. He performed the same rite with the right hand and the left, killing all of the trashing. The Binnesman looked away from White-Hair, and landed on the dark and silent one, who could not be more different than the whispering and smiling creature. The Black One stood like a stature, and did not seem to breathe. The Binnesman's eyes traced the Black One's hands. The hands did not move, they did not twitch. He did not meet the Black One's gaze, he could not find his eyes. The Binnesman looked away readily, and his eyes returned to the solider woman. He bowed his head again to her, but he did not lower his eyes, instead staring at her face, his mouth neither frowning nor smiling, his brow ever furrowed, wrinkles sprouting across his skin.

    He finally spoke to her. His voice was strange, disorderly. He did not pronounce syllables correctly, his emphasis in the wrong places. It was as if he was speaking a language that was not his own. The sound of his voice was not unpleasant, his words were softly enunciated, and he put no pressure on the hard consonants or rough vowels. A warm tenor, neither nasal nor throaty, but not well versed in the common tongue. "Were you told to wait as well?"
    #8 Sir Basil, Jul 31, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
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  9. Upon seeing the Abbelest armor all around her, Karmia can't but help be reminded of the War.. As if it ended that long ago. But more importantly, she remembers the madness that had swept the Army, and her City, and even now seemed to tug at her. Though of course, that did little to get her mind off those around her. With her left hand casually resting on the pommel of her greatsword, clothed in purple armor, with a Royal Dragoons Blood Banner, there was no hiding who she was for the most part. Nor did she attempt to do so. Unless her scarred face, now pale skin and white hair, hid who she was, the "Storm Raven" was right here in the midst of them, known plain as day.

    Eying up those around her she makes a mental check list of those seemingly of note.

    The Lancer might be bad news, decked fully in her armor, sitting off alone. The guy mumbling to himself, he needed to be watched.. But the most worrying of all, was the hulking immortal, who towered above most of them like an ugly fortress of steel and death. Then there was that Wolf boy, she would never forget those eyes of his.. That was one Abbelest she could give some information to for a sword at her side, rather than in her back..even if he was a peasant, his cohorts were skilled fighters, deserving of respect.

    Then there were peasants and barbarians. And of course on the wall, lots and lots of archers. Smirking slightly, Karmia purposely keeps to the rear of the group, some of those archers were Keldian from the looks of it. If anyone here wanted to try evening a score, might as well given them a clear line of fire, she snickers at the thought. While they may be countrymen, among the higher ranking, the Royal Dragoons were little more than would be traitors and cowards who fought dishonestly. Though she doubted many of the Abbelest knew that story. Or that it was part of why so many had escaped.. And even if they had, would they forgive the last of those survivors? More so when it was one who had struck fear in the rank and file?

    It was really too much, the irony of her situation, from victorious soldier, to a scarred, sick woman, who held a landless title. She would be little more than a hedge knight, begging for scraps. Feeling a headache coming on, the Storm Raven coughs bitterly, it really was too much. Seeing all these Abbelest soldiers, and being the last of her unit likely, she mummers to herself. "No good deed goes unrewarded huh.. Will I have to spill my guts with more than words?"

    "...hehehehe... I guess its a chance to see what I'm really made of. One way or another."

    Picturing her father, it really was too much, but she needed answers, and she needed money. If she were to survive, and at least partly aid Abbelest. There was also the questions she had for her former King.. while she never met the man, her Father had. Given what he said of the King, he didn't seem to be one to unleash a genocide, never mind demand suicide. Some of the soldiers on that day.. didn't seem quite right. Never mind the blood thirsty lunatics who stayed in and returned to the City.

    Then there was those things. Shaking her head to forcefully dismiss the thought, she turns her gaze back to the group. If any knew who she was, or the others in the band, or suspected, at least they made no fuss over it. No one had shot the Undying on sight.. he of note, had been part of why Karmia was being so silent. Her father had made it a point to all the Royal Dragoons, if he were seen in single combat, retreat. Never attack him without weight of numbers and a position of ambush.

    The other part was no one had spoken to her, and if they were to be her comrades, she had enough presence of mind to not offend them. Though she questioned the reliability of the peasant and barbarian ones. The nobleman who was making rounds, that one was studying them, even as he made his way over to the lancer. But given his upbeat personality, she felt no urge to talk to this Social equal. As to the rest, if Argent gave them letters, there was no point dismissing them out of hand, least not yet.

    Meeting eyes with the fiery youth, from those months before, that day was an unpleasant business. He seemed to have steeled himself rather well. What would he have done in her position?

    She always thought they should have just assassinated the high command when the rumors first reached them. Half wondering what would have happened had they done this, she awaits the open door.

    No one out here seemed to wanted to talk, but she was sure, once they were inside someone would make them. Averting her gaze to the ones she marked as barbarians, they had an assortment of beasts with them, for the most. They while likely simpletons, would likely prove most useful in combat.

    Then lastly, there was a girl with a weapon of some sort. Concealed from view. She didn't look like much of a fighter.. Maybe she was a tinkerer or farmer of some sort.. Maybe a Mercenary with a spear? But it seemed much too short for that..

    Regardless, averting her gaze once more, was yet another large knight. If the Undying was the source of fear that lingered in the air, the last soldier, a knight, would be the source of the unease.

    Standing like a lone Citadel, blade casually bared. He seemed to be troubled, on pens and needles. Taking note of the Armor, unless the man stole it, he was a royal guardsman from the looks of it. That scarlet red was fairly noticeable. Yet another problem to be watched out for. He also was studying them all..

    With the angry expression he wore, it was no surprise the noble from before attempted to make no conversation. That or he was simply a ladies man, interested in the Abbelestian Lancer. As far as conclusions went, it was likely far off the mark.
    #9 RedArmyShogun, Jul 31, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
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  10. The horseman hummed alittle too loudly to himself, a water skin filled with liquor rested in his hand, as he glared up towards the massive stone walls, his eyes following the archers that paced the walls.
    His mind drifted off, back into the early days of the corruption and chaos, when the remainder of the tribe gathered in front of a walled city. Kelda. With the same ruler as this new place he was invited too. Argent. Back at Kelda, his people were desperate too find shelter. With no formal city, the monsters easily picked away at the Grimdosh Tribes. Already, Kelda was over flowing with people, and understandably King Rhyzen rejected the former 'Barbaric' tribes.
    Didn't mean Celthric wouldn't hold a grudge.

    His horse stirred some, as he slowed her too a stop in front of the drawbridge. A battle axe strapped to the side of his saddle thudded against the harden leather as the horseman slide off the horse. As he hit the ground he stumbled some, clearly under the influence of his drink. He gripped his long sword at his belt and lifted it up onto his shoulder, his other hand resting on his belt. He looked around to the others, already awaiting permission to enter into Argent.
    Not too many friendly faces.
    The barbaric man muttered to himself, his words slurring. As he approached the Blennghammen guard, who bore an Argent symbol, the man called out to him.
    We were supposed to keep it?
    Celthric exclaimed with a laugh, one which the guard didn't share. Celthric reached into a pouch on his belt, and he pulled the paper from it. It was crumbled and torn in some places, and after the Blenngammen man glance at it and back towards the buzzing barbarian, he murmured
    Wait here, with the others.
    Celthric nodded and strode back to his horse. Sliding his helmet off, he took it by the attached antlers and set it on his horse, attaching it to a strap. His hair was matted and greasy, and it lead down to an equally greasy beard. Grabbing his waterskin on his waist, he took a swig of it and glanced around at everyone again.
    What an odd group! So many Abbelestian's, soon to be under the wing of King Rhyzen. Tell me, is it true that with Lady Celesse's last breath, she cursed the world?
    He glanced around, but without waiting for an answer he said to no one in particular.
    No no, that must be a rumor. If the bitch had power like that, King Rhyzen wouldn't be around today would he!
    The bulky man laughed and gave his horse a hearty slap as he found a resting place on a rock. Drawing his sword from his sheath, he stabbed it into the ground. Retrieving his battle axe off his horse, he rested it in his lap and chuckled, noticing the fur clad Ishian with his tiger.
    I see the Ishians are still up for hire. Seems you like your furs so much, how come you haven't made that tiger pelt into a coat? I'd look fine as a pair of boots too.
    He gave the nomad a grin and chuckle, as he awaited the call of the King.
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  11. [​IMG]

    In the comfort of the south, a journey such as this was but a casual hike for Briaes Waldgeist. With no snow to trudge through, no desolate landscapes to track down wildlife over the course of days, and no elements to threaten her with the loss of limbs, Briaes strode across fields and forests with nary a worry. She hunted well, ate well, and slept well. Her journey had her questioning the purpose of staying in the north. Blenngham offered nothing now, save the memories of an innocent world.

    Axe in hand and wolves at side, the young huntress made passively for the Argent fortress, taking detours where it interested her and napping when it pleased her. Enjoying the warming weather, she neglected to create shelter, resorting instead to simply lying on the bellies of her furry comrades for comfort. The pleasantries of the south had boosted her mood throughout the way, and she walked with a determined and energetic step. In the later days, she made considerable progress when the sun remained in the sky.

    As the walls of Argent neared, Briaes tightened the grip on her weapon and set a palm upon one of her wolves, Drogskol. In the months that had passed, she had encountered few people, and the wolves might be on edge if she were to approach others suddenly. She made a clicking noise with her tongue, used to reassure the beasts. They gave her a quick look before turning back to whatever interested them about the open fields.

    Briaes strode up to the mossy gates as her wolves prowled around her, sniffing at dirt, weeds, and eventually, other people gathered outside. Hesitant, they kept a distance with heads bowed as they sniffed the air before finding some of them safe to approach. They sniffed at heels and packs before trotting off somewhere else. Briaes payed them little attention; they were curious, not frightened.

    It didn't take long for her presence to be noted by a Blennghammen man and his guards. She fished out a withered note from a leather satchel and presented it to the man in silence. He nodded and was on his way to the others. Figuring it would be awhile before she could eat in solitude again, Briaes let her axe fall upon the earth, making a wet 'clink' as it sunk in. She whistled and the wolves came straight to her, pushing their noses eagerly towards her hands while she took out a slab of meat for each.

    She had preferred to cook it, but she didn't have the time set up a fire where she was. The earth was too solid to dig. Briaes simply tore into her own strip of meat, chewing for long periods of time while the three wolves happily tore up what they were given at her feet. As she ate lazily, Briaes gave a look around, scrutinizing those gathered with a blank expression. Undoubtedly they were also here with notes, as the guards seemed to present for the papers alone.

    No others from the north, she noted, and some with wild, exotic looks. She found herself staring at the dark-skinned man with a gigantic cat of some kind for a few minutes straight. Eventually she lost interest and drifted off into daydream.
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  12. Vaniela continued to hone her lance point as the arrival spoke to her. "Isn't it obvious? Sitting around in the forest outside a gate isn't exactly my idea of a fun time." She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, whilst continuing her work. The look of one from Binnes, though the voice did not match. It was foreign in a way that she had never heard before. She sighted down the tip, making the last few finishing touches to her sharpening. The words had come out sharper than she had intended. "I don't mean to be short or rude, and if I come across that way I apologise, but I've spent too much time wading through blood and mud to care about social pleasantries. Name's Vaniela. Yours?"

    Before he could reply, a swaggering oaf began blustering loudly in the middle of the clearing. Vaniela looked over to him. Horse, funny helmet, terrible body odour - he had all accoutrements of one of the Grimdosh. They had ravaged the lands during the war, before deciding in their infinite wisdom that their raiders could match the heavy infantry of Abbelest. Vaniela had been in the army that had broken them and sent them fleeing for their lives. From what she had heard since the end of the war, they had tried to hide from the corruption in the cities they used to raid. Their violence had come full circle however, when they had found the gates barred. Much as the thought of them all being eliminated by those horrors was clearly horrific, Vaniela took a grim satisfaction in the news.

    "Oi! Grimdosh, right? Haven't seen you guys in ages! Last time I did was...oh yeah, old pissbreetches! That time you lot decided to have go against the 41st Regiment. Ran away from us, with a huge damp patch staining his trousers. I would ask how he was doing, but...he wasn't faster than I was." Laying her lance beside her, she pulled out her shortsword and continued her sharpening. "I'm guessing by the fact that you're still alive in spite of everything means you must be pretty good at running away. How does it feel to hear the screams of those you care about behind you as run away from it all? As you abandon them to save your own skin?"
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 4
  13. Viktor La Croix
    Viktor continued to lean on his sword, finally averting his gaze from the crown of people towards the fortresses's rather large walls. They of course did not match the majestic walls of Abbelest, but they were certainly surprisingly well built for something that has popped up from after the war, a mere 5 months ago. "The power of rewrition" he said to himself in his thoughts, it is incredible, the things magic can do. Although Viktor did not give much though to the power itself, and never really found himself wanting to have the powers. He has never tried to see if he has the power himself, he had faced enemies with rewrition previously and has killed them just as easily.

    Earlier his thought process was interrupted by a rather loud, bumbling buffoon that had made an entrance on his horse. These were the kinds of men that Viktor was not particularly fond of, nor did he become good friends with, most of them has complexes and foolishly thought themselves superior to those around them. Although some are simply too stupid to comprehend the atmosphere or simply didn't care. Nevertheless Viktor began had decided to go back and ignore the rude man for the time, he didn't seem to have anything interesting to say for the most part.

    Of course that notion changed the second the man mentioned Lady Celesse, Viktor began to casually put on his breastplate and kept his helmet on his left hand, he kept his sword unsheathed and began to casually walk towards the drunkard.

    Tell me, is it true that with Lady Celesse's last breath, she cursed the world?

    At the mentioning of this slanderous rumor, Viktor's face began to show obvious anger. The man sitting, were he paying attention, would see that.

    "..If the bitch had power like that, King Rhyzen wouldn't be around today would he!"

    Viktor now truly wished to hurt the man, prepared to fight he walked towards to barbarian. He waited for the Lancer to say her words before finally standing in front of the sitting man. He would have had some time to give his response to the Lancer right as Viktor stepped up to him. The following actions by Viktor are rather quick, maybe a little too quick for the drunkard to realize what had happened.

    Viktor swiftly kicks away the blade the man had stabbed in to the ground out of reach and at the same time pointed his own sword dangerously close to the mans face. With a rather murderous intent he spoke softly.

    "Apologize to Her Majesty, Lady Celesse and the Abbelestians present. Then stand up unless you wish to be gutted while sitting. Of course I expect you to the the latter, a coward is true to his ways through and through"

    Even if the man apologized or not, Viktor was ready to fight the man himself. He still kept his blade pointing towards the man, and his face seemed angrier and angrier each second that passed. This was the degree of devastation and anger that is within Viktor. Any negative comment towards the Lady, be it said from a child, or a drunkard. Would obviously put him in a foul mood, and make him take rather rash actions.

    (This seems kind of 0-100 but it is a huge trigger for viktor. Viktor's sword is pretty close to you but you are able to stand and possibly reason or mock him. Anyone is welcome to attempt to cool viktor off. Of course a mini fight might not be bad either >:)! Stay true to your characters personality and how they respond always.)
    #13 Wizzy The Wizard, Aug 1, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
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  14. Lydlos had been at the fortress since the night before.

    She watched, and she waited.

    She tracked guards, patrols, lights - until the schedule of the entire fortress was known to her.

    But she did not strike.

    It was around noon when the others started arriving. Lydlos had known that others had been offered the same letter she had from the moment she had received it. Still, she had chosen to come, for many reasons, some unknown even to her. She had remained within the tree she had chosen as her vantage point, so high within its branches that even the boy with the magnificent beast by his side did not find her when they too took to the tree as a safe refuge. There, she waited until one of the guards came out of the stronghold and asked for their letters. A knife thunked into the ground by the guard, throwing up a small spray of dirt. Pinned to it was the letter she had recieved, verifying her presence somewhere in the nearby area. The guard simply nodded and collected the letter, hefting the dagger in his hand for a moment before placing it into his pouch and heading back into the fortress after a terse command to wait where they were.

    He would have to pay her back for that.

    As the others slowly began to mingle amongst themselves, Lydlos let her eyes fall to the large striped beast beneath her, a sense of longing filling her even as she kept alert for any sharp movements that could be an attack. Finally, after a minute of intense thought and internal argument, she came to a decision and dropped down out of the tree, landing a few feet from the tiger and her companion. She took a step closer to them, making her presence known to the pair if it wasn't already. Crouching down, Lydlos spared the human male a quick nod before turning her attention to the tiger and bowing her head respectfully to the large animal. She spoke, making it clear that she was addressing the tiger.

    "I would like to meet you."
  15. Apparently it was that time of the day. When everyone got sick of waiting around and decided to go for each other's throats. Aridian would have been lying to himself if he said he didn't see this coming. He'd purposely chosen to stand away from the rest of the recruits so he could observe them without getting involved. He and nearly everyone else had ignored the man who'd asked about their having to wait. No one had time for trivial questions in times such as this.

    It was the large drunken fool on horseback who'd managed to stir a reaction. He'd ridden in, an imposing figure upon his mount, hurling insults and making enemies without care. Lady Celesse was his first jab. Aridian ignored him. It was nothing new for drunken savages to slander ladies they could never hope to exchange a word with. Aridian supposed that was how they got through their pointless days. The savage needed his insults to make himself feel better about his pointless, murderous and repetitive life.

    He hadn't stopped at that. He'd gone on to suggest that the strange man who'd emerge so silently from the forest skin his companion to make a coat. There was certainly no doubt that the beast would make a fine coat of even Aridian's standards. Perhaps even a nice pair of mittens too. But a tamed creature such as that was worth more alive than dead. Especially now that the world had gone to hell.

    Aridian was fairly surprised when the lancer responded to the savage, calling him a Grimdosh coward. He was a Grimdosh? He'd heard the name before, but he couldn't quite remember where or what was said of them. He would have to pursue that later, but for now he only had to smile and enjoy the sharp tongued lancer. With only a few words, she'd managed to find favour in Aridian and no doubt infuriate the savage.

    But perhaps the biggest shock of all came when the armour clad knight drew his sword against the savage. It was quite sad really, how he flaunted his weaknesses so carelessly. He'd gone from calm to enraged in a matter of seconds at the mere mention of Lady Celesse. Aridian had to admit it was a bit honourable, how quickly he sprung to the defense of the murdered lady of Abbelest. Aridian respected that if nothing else. One thing was sure: there was one desire in his mind that dulled all other thoughts

    He hoped there would be blood.
    #15 Jhuton, Aug 1, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
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  16. Silyan had watched as, one by one, the others had arrived and settled in to wait for whatever might come of their invitation to this strange fortress, this strange and patchwork organization. And, he had noted, that they were just as strange and motley a gathering. One by one, either as they had arrived or as he had found them resting around the area, he had taken not of them and, in his own mind, made a quick assessment. He watched them, their movements, their habits, their dispositions toward one another and himself. And he gauged Nightshade's reaction to each of them, knowing full well that she had an instinctual understanding of the world that went well beyond his own...

    The large and muscled Meadownborn, darker of skin than the norm but carrying with him the natural assurance and earthly calm that seemed to come to every farmer from every agricultural community that Silyan had ever seen. Otherwise, the young man was wholly unremarkable. He seemed, to Silyan and Nightshade both, inexperienced. He didn't seem to have the same grizzled fatalism that seemed to emanate in near perpetuity from the warriors and soldiers around them. That sense of one who has stared into they eye of the horrible storm that is war, and screamed defiantly into its depths. Strange, that he would be here among so many who were clearly fighters. Or so Silyan thought... Until he spotted the youth peeling away a plant from the walls of the keep, seemingly without touching it. A rewriter then. With a lift of his eyebrow Silyan marked that down as something to remember. The boy had more to him than first expected. Good. If even the most average appearing member of their motley bunch had such a hidden talent, then surely the others were equally as impressive?

    Next was the Knight of Red, the first of their group that Silyan had seen arrive. Other's much like Silyan himself, may have arrived in the area earlier, and remained hidden as he had, but the armor clad figure had been the first that Silyan had seen approach the gates. The man had done so boldly, with little concern, and had drawn his blade early. Not as a threat it seemed, but merely as a gesture of preparedness. What that blade could do if the archers on the wall decided to cut them all down with arrows, the Ishian did not know. Still, the man made a striking figure, leaning nonchalantly against his sword, clad in armor of red and black, and releasing an aura of mild hostility that even set Nightshade's fur on edge. A grand figure, but with little worth noting at first glance. Silyan's attentions moved elsewhere.

    The White one was next in his attentions... And, honestly, Silyan was not overly impressed. He was pretty, Silyan would certainly give him that, but otherwise the young man set the Ishian's teeth on edge. Unlike the knight whose posture and demeanor set Nightshade on edge, the White one's mere presence was enough to make her, and her master wary. There was something unpleasant about him, a glint in his mismatched eyes perhaps. Or, perhaps it was the sight of the twisted smile that flitted across the mans face as he stared at the fixedly at the fortress of Argent. Either way, Silyan did not like it, nor him...

    The scarred Giant was no better. The man was clearly another knight, and massive in a way that Silyan had only ever seen in Abbelestians... but it was his clear deformity and injury that astonished the former Chieftan. How could any man move with so much damage? For that matter how could any man hold still for so damned long? Since his arrival early that morning the man had planted himself in front of the gates and not moved an inch, save to give his letter to the guard when he had first come out. Was it sheer discipline and force of will, or had the mans former injuries rendered him immobile just as he had reached his destination? Either way, Silyan was impressed, and a little worried, by the veteran soldier's presence.

    As he turned away from the giant, his eyes came to rest on the Lancer. Her spear resting against her shoulder as she sat against a nearby tree. Her features were strong and harsh, her face set in an expression of mild distaste as she looked over the fortress that they had all come to seek entrance too. Another Abbelestian, this one declared her former allegiance for all to see with the mark of her city emblazoned upon her breastplate. Once more he was struck with the odd realization of exactly how myriad their group was. Abbelestian's, Keldians, Meadowborn, Ishian. All had come together here. Whether they were happy about it or not. As the young soldier took out her sword and began to sharpen it the Ishian turned away.

    At the sound of shod hooves behind him, he turned, and spotted another young knight approaching. A handsome young man, on an equally handsome mare. It was clear that he had been studying Silyan, much as Silyan had been studying the others around them... As he passed, they shared a cordial nod, but did not speak. But while the young man turned his attention away, Silyan kept his own focused on the young man. Noted, with wry amusement, that the knight took pains to keep his horse well out of range of Nightshade's claws, though if she truly wanted to she could have pounced upon him and his horse in an instant. It was nice, seeing one so composed and clearly well mannered. Many of the other knights seemed uninterested in those around them, even dismissive of those like Silyan himself who were not members of nobility or a knightly order of their own. He rode on, and again Silyan moved his attention on.

    The Purpe clad Keldian was, indeed, a strange sight amongst so many Abbelestians. Perhaps that was the very reason that she kept so far back from the other recruits, and kept a sharp eye on them all and even on the men upon the wall. Silyan couldn't blame her. The hostility between the peoples of the two great cities had always been vicious, and had only grown ever more during the years of the seemingly endless war. Now, with the world falling apart, blame had long since begun to fly. Some blamed the Keldians, others the Abbelestians... Silyan blamed them both, and their peoples foolish, long standing rivalry. Still, he did not hate them for their foolishness, such was to be expected of those who settled amongst the cities. Tied down as they had always been, how could they know any better than to fight pettily amongst themselves over who has the shiniest walls or the grandest gardens?

    Silyan's worldy musings were interrupted by Nightshade, suddenly pouring out hostility. Enemies, predators, competition. The beast master patted her gently, attempting to reassure her even as her emotions assailed him. A wolf pack had arrived some time earlier, and one of their number had come close to inspect the two of them. Having another predator so near, one that was not accompanied by an Ishian, set off her natural territorial instincts. For Silyan, it only set off his curiosity. For another to be so connected to such beasts, as to lead them out among armed humans with so little concern, was impressive. The Wildwoman had a fascinating command of her wolves, and Silyan watched as she ate with them. In all honesty, she seemed much a beast herself, gnawing away at the uncooked and bloody meat right alongside her pack. The Ishian had only seen such when members of his clan had allowed their beasts too far into their own minds, taking on their habits and mannerisms in return for a much greater connection and fierceness in combat. Silyan, himself, would likely never go so far unless pushed to do so... Still, he was fascinated by the woman. She watched him for several minutes straight, as he sat along with Nightshade, and for a time he considered approaching. But eventually, she lost interest, and Silyan decided to file away his own curiosity for a later date... Especially as his thoughts were interrupted by an irritatingly gruff and gravely voice.

    The Grimdosh, as Silyan could plainly see the man belonged to that band of thieves, had spoken up. Obviously Silyan had noticed him when he first arrived... he'd just opted to ignore the buffoon. The Ishian Nomads and the Grimdosh raiders had a long, and bloody, history together. Warfare between the two wandering people's was not unheard of, and their rivalry had, at some points, been nearly as fierce as that of Kelda and Abbelest. But he had always held a sort of respect for the Grimdosh. They were skilled fighters, and worthy opponents... When the wars began though, that respect flew away with the carrion tainted winds, as the Grimdosh assaulted and ravaged the largely defenseless countryside of both countries while their warriors were busy fighting each other. When they had been crushed by the Abbelestians part way through the war, he had not felt pity or remorse for them. They had lowered themselves to the level of petty bandits, and had faced the consequences. Silyan himself had hunted down a number of their bands afterwards, and killed more of them than he could count. But again, he felt no particular animosity for the man, at least not for his origins.

    It was his swagger and pride that very nearly broke Silyan's calm outer demeanor, and released the anger and frustration that had been festering within him since the death of his people. The fools comment about Nightshade, only served to make him angrier... and what little of the mans meaning could filter into Nightshade's consciousness from Silyan's own, immediately had the tiger on her feet and snarling. The two's anger fed upon one another, and soon, Silyan was snarling just as fiercely. His hands itched to reach for the axe strapped across his back, and in the back of his mind he could feel Nightshade's claws extending, readying for battle... But someone else beat Silyan to the punch. The Lancer's reaction was priceless, as the woman tore the Grimdosh a new arse with words alone. The Red Knights reaction though, was even better, as he pulled his sword on the raider and for a moment Silyan dearly wanted to join in on the potential battle that seemed likely to ensue... But, his usually calm and tactical mind once again kicked in and asserted itself. If he was to join this group, this Argent, an attack on one of the other recruits as soon as he arrived would, surely, be frowned upon. At least, until the first time they spoke with the drunken Grimdosh imbecile. With one final snarl of frustration he put his hand on Nightshade, calming her, and by extension himself. The Grimdosh would certainly get his... either now, or later.

    Before his temper had entirely cooled, he found himself faced with a new surprise. The presence that had, until now, been hiding out in the tree above Silyan and Nightshade finally revealed themselves, or, rather, herself... Silyan had only known she was there because Nightshade had scented another human nearby, but had remained entirely unconcerned. So too had Silyan, assuming the other to be just as cautious as he was about their strange invitation to Argent, and its potential danger. Now though, she landed near him with near complete silence and, after a quick nod to Silyan, crouched down to speak to Nighshade directly. Faced with a woman who gave off the same aura as the more bestial of those gathered here, Silyan, Nightshade, the wolves, and the wildwoman all included, the Ishian couldn't help but straighten into alertness. She was dark, lethal, and moved with a predatory grace... And, she spoke to Nightshade, not as a beast, but as an equal. For him, there was only the most rudimentary of greetings. She had eyes only for the beautiful beast that was Silyan's closest companion... At that, he had to laugh.

    The sound of it was a surprise, even to him. He had not laughed in... a long time. It felt good, the sound deep and bubbling with amusement. And when it was over, he shook his head and smiled wide, his pearly white teeth flashing in contrast with the dark of his skin,"Sadly, my lady cannot speak, at least not the common tongue. But I will ask, as best I can." The big Ishian, still smiling in amusement, turned to his companion and sent a mental query. The reply was surprisingly swift, as Nightshade not only affirmed, but stood to approach the woman with clear interest. Perhaps she sensed that which Silyan himself did, that the woman was somehow similar to themselves. Either way, the permission was clear, and if not Silyan added a nod of his head and another smile for emphasis. His anger of a moment before now forgotten as his curiosity, and Nightshades, easily overcame his annoyance at the Grimdosh
    • Love Love x 4
  17. ☾☾☾ AFTERNOON ☽☽☽

    The fortress Argent loomed large in the background. The slugs on the grassy, mossy bricks had mostly retreated downwards, into the ditch of the motte, or into crawling across clover leaves, leaving trails of mucus after them. The grey mare that had come with the man from Binnes nudged one of the long, yellow slugs with her nose, brushing the bristles of her snout against their eyestalks. The slug was perched precariously on a leaf of dandelion, and the horse's yellow teeth latched around the leaf, ripping both the flower and the plant upwards. There was a sickening, squishing sound as the slug was bisected by horse-teeth. Half of the yellow slug's body flopped around at the Binnesman's feet. He stared at the slug with his dark eyes, watching it squirm and writhe. He brought his food down upon it, and closed his eyes. From beneath his foot there was a popping sound. The slug was smeared amongst clovers and asters, its jellied viscera connecting a point of ragweed to the tip of a nettle. The horse continued to eat at the weeds, and her teeth clattered against one another. The Binnesman lifted his head slightly, his dark eyes opening. His head tilted slightly in her direction, listening to her speak. As she spoke, his mouth moved. His lips were mirrioring her own, mimicking the movements of her mouth as they formed her words. There was no mirth in his eyes or in the movements. After she finished her first sentence, his mouth snapped shut. The Binnesman's his eyes flicked downwards, the heavy lids and lashes descending over them. He lowered his head, pointed chin pointing down towards the earth. His dark eyes traced lines in the mud.

    The Lance-Woman resumed sharpening her lancepoint, the scraping sound echoed in the small grove of trees. A cluster of black birds with white wings took flight from the tops of the trees, black pinpricks against the afternoon sky. The Binnesman tilted his head from side to side, in tune with the sound of the metal being scraped. As she neared the point of the spear with her whetstone, a few scrapes of the metal came quicker than the rest, the tip of her lance point becoming sharper with each grating sound. He stopped moving his head, and opened his eyes. The world seemed unbearably bright, and he squinted, raising one twitching hand to keep the sun from his eyes. Bits of dust caught the sunlight, little motes of bright that drifted infront of his nose and got caught and tangled in his eyelashes. He turned to her, as she spoke again, apologizing for rudeness and shortness. The Binnesman lifted his head slightly, chin pointing up at her face, his dark eyes staring through her without blinking. His eyes were narrow from his squinting, and the frown had crept again across his face. There was dust and dirt caught in his tear-ducts and lashes. A fly buzzed around his head, and then, landed in his eye. He did not blink, as the fly's barbed feet walked across the sticky humours. It flew away, when he finally blinked. His fingers twitched at his side, tapping against his leather breeches. The taps had a distinct pattern to them, a short and then a long, a pause, a short, and then, his hand stopped. He clutched his fingers into a fist. His wrists were shaking, his forearms trembling. The man's face was still, head held high. The Lancer-Woman introduced herself; Vaniela. His lips moved to mimic how she had said the name. There was a momentary pause, and then, she was speaking again. She was asking for his name. He did not know what to say.

    His mouth twisted. At first, the word came out - twisted, ruined. His first sound was "R", but then, it was followed by a pause and a shaking of the head. He cleared his throat, and rubbed at the sides of his neck with his shaking hands. He tugged at the elastic flesh that grew on his neck, above Iðunn's Mark. He opened his mouth again, but the sound of his name got caught on the wind, and died. "Aatu" fell on deaf ears, as the rider entered the clearing. His helmet was heavy with antlers, which seemed to reach the sky. The whine bone of them caught the sun, and made them look slick. The smell accompanied him, the smell of alcohol and thick animal fat, boiled down to a thin, greasy oil. The smell and the sounds of hurled, half-hidden insults caught the attention of Vaniela. She looked over to him, and did not seem to acknowledge if she had heard Aatu's name. How could she, when it had been drowned out by the sounds of politics, spoken in brash and static phrases. His eyes followed the shine of the horseman's blade, drawn, and then, stuck into the ground. His lips pursed, and the creases between his eyebrows became deep trenches. His hands began to quake at his sides, to the point that they were dancing of their own accord at his sides. He folded them neatly behind his back, right wrist grasped by his left hand. Aatu's dark eyes left the horseman's blade and found a place to rest on the Vaniela's face, starting at her eyes, before trailing down to her mouth. He did not mouth her words to the Grimdosh.

    Aatu watched as the woman set the lance down beside her, crushing clovers and asters, nettles and arrowroots. She pulled out her shortsword and continued her sharpening - but the sound was different. It was a lighter sound, with a more metallic clink to it rather than the heavy echo and grate of stone. Aatu leaned his head towards the sound, the corners of his mouth twitching, but the frown remaining a curled knot on his face. Something that the horseman had said was echoing through the clearing, and seeping into the earth. Tell me, is it true that with Lady Celesse's last breath, she cursed the world?

    ☾☾☾ IN DREAMS ☽☽☽

    Argr watches his father die. In his dreams, his father does not speak to him. His uncle-father runs his hands through his hair, fingers pressing against the top of his skull. He is braiding his air, weaving strips of birch bark with carved runes into the light brown waves. His uncle-father tells him stories, like his mother's stories. His uncle-father's stories are not like his mothers' - they are not stories of great heroes and their families. His uncle-father's stories tell him about the skógammen - the outlaws who had left the world and gone to live amongst the linden trees. There is less magic in the stories his uncle-father tells him, but more truth. The infection spreads quickly across his father. A sickly green tissue crawls up the sides of his father 's neck- who he reminds himself - is not his father, but Regin, Regin who he does not love. The Raven-Starver watches as the bruised pustules on the sides of his father's neck explode with pus and weep blood. Regin's fingers curl out towards him. The nails are bitten to the quick, and what remains is yellow and seeping. Argr does not reach back towards the man who was once his father, but who is now a prisoner in his own skull. Regin falls back amongst the sweat-stained pillows and thrashes in another convulsion.

    The Raven-Starver listens to his uncle-father's story. This is the story of Útlaginn, his uncle-father says as he runs his fingers through the kin-kiler's hair. This is the story of the outlaw. In this story, Útlaginn is well loved, and well respected. His wife is named Gudrun, his brother is Egil, and his sister is Úna. Úna is married to a man called Sinfjolti. Sinfjolti is not a wicked man, but he is a coward and subject to his wife's wishes in all things. Úna does not love him, but wishes for him to get along with Útlaginn. She suggests that he bind himself to Sinfjolti through the Old Way, by bleeding their palms along the heartline and mixing it with iron. Then they would be Bloodkin, bound together through that kinship and unable to quarrel. Útlaginn, being a fair man who loves his sister agrees to this, but only on the condition that his brother, and his oldest friend Vesteinn is part of the oath. They knot their hands together, and raise a mound of earth over their heads. The iron is in the fire, and Úna and Gudrun hold the knives in their hands. But they do not strike their hands. Sinfjolti saw the knife coming, and is a coward. He does not want to spill his blood - especially when it comes with an obligation to avenge and protect not one man - but three. The rune-branches slink together in Argr's hair, and the the rattle of them echoes in Reginn's chest. He is breathing his last.

    He is a coward, Sinfjolti, but he does not wish to seem weak in-front of his wife. So, the craven man claims that he will not bind his blood to Vesteinn - and Útlaginn says that he will not bind himself to a man who will not love his friend as his own. This is the story that the uncle-father tells the Raven-Starver as he watches his father die, and it is a sad story. The four not-quite-brothers part in a rain, and Útlaginn goes home. He dreams terrible dreams. When he awakes from those awful dreams, he watches his wife talk with his brother's wife, Skamma. Skamma and Gudrun are weaving, and gossip. Skamma tells her that she did not always love Egil. To this day, she prefers Vesteinn. It is at this moment that Egil walks into the room, and drags his wife by the hair back to the cave in which they live. Útlaginn and Gudrun weep for her and sleep under the stars. They make love, and when the father-uncle says this, the Raven-Starver's mother is there. Her arms are around the dying man who is not her husband any more. She's brings his diseased hand to her breasts. Crusty, brown mucus streams from his nose and coats her bare breasts like the exothermic skin that once spread across Sigrvarðr's flesh. Her eyes cold and blue do not look at her husband, but instead, longingly and lovingly at her brother and her nephew-son. The Ravenstarver feels his mother's hands against the sides of his face, and his uncle-father's breath against his ear. Skylá tells him what is going to happen next.

    The following day, Útlaginn guides his sheep through the hills, and trips on a stone. When he hits the ground, he sees Vesteinn all bloðorn amongst the rocks of their mountain homeland, the same homeland where the uncle-father comes from. The same place he comes from. The runes in Argr's hair begin to spark, and with them comes the smell of burning hair. Útlaginn buries Vesteinn. Egil tells him that he must let this go, and that Vesteinn would not have wanted him to seek vengeance. Argr's uncle-father's hands pull the runes from his hair. Where the birch was, the brown hair has gone pure and white, all the colour burned away from it. Regin's nose twtiches, and his wife's hands move away from Argr's face, and press against Regin's mouth. He begins to cough and choke, and blood comes out from his ears, pooling against the pillows. She smiles, and moves her hands away. A thin film of flesh stretches across his father's mouth, covering up his nose and mouth. His father grabs at the fleshy tissue, ripping it from his mouth. The scrap of flesh lands on his arms, and immediately, attaches itself, becoming a fleshy growth. The tissue spreads up his arm, and bubbles. The bubbles pop, and bile soaks the bed. The sheets drip with pus. The Raven-Starver's ears are filled with the words of his uncle-father, and Skyla's sweet vocie, smooth as honey and cold as ice tells him what happens next. Útlaginn has a dream where his father is dying.

    In Útlaginn's dream, his father is dying. He goes to his side, and there are two women. One wears white, and the other wears black. Their hands are linked, and they speak with one voice. We do not know what happens in the dream, only that when Útlaginn wakes, he knows who killed Vesteinn. The following night, he slips into his sister's house. Úna sleeps with her husband, Sinfjolti. They make love, and Útlaginn creeps beneath the sheets. It is dark, and he cannot see who is who. His hand closes around his sister's breast, and the other finds Sinfjolti's beard. He takes his sword and brings it down through Sinfjolti's head. Then - he creeps out of his sister's bed and hides in the barn. He waits to hear her scream, and then, he flees in the night. They bury Sinfjolti the Coward the next day, and Úna sheds many tears. She speaks the words of the Hávamál ; "Cattle die / kinsmen die / you yourself die / I know one thing / which never dies / the judgment of a dead man's life." Útlaginn tells her that since Sinfjolti was craven, he will never live again. His sister grabs at his hair and begs him to avenge her husband, in the Old Way - just as the great hero Sigrvarðr would have. She says if he does not, she will avenge her husband instead. Útlaginn looks long at his sister. He says to her: "You are not Gildis."

    The Raven-Starver's mother presses his hand against her pregnant stomach. She tells him that their children will be giants. The Raven-Starver's uncle-father kisses the back of his neck, and makes the fine hairs stand up. He tells Argr that they are the Blood of the Old Way, they are the last of Gildis' kind. Over his mother's shoulder, Aatu watches with Argr's eyes as his father dies. When they see him watching Reginn die, his mother and Skylá pull away from him. They look at him with their blue eyes and their sharp teeth. They whispers a curse to him. They whisper the níð in one voice.

    "You shall drink from wolf / shedding your brother's blood / you will suck on wounds / with an icy maw / you will creep to dead bodies / and they shall be your comfort / being hated by all."

    Argr, who is the Raven-Starver who is also Aatu can taste blood, and he is happy. Tears run down his cheeks. He imagines that this is what it must be like to be in love. He is hungry and lustful and wrathful, and his father is dead, and his mother speaks of heroes. It does not matter what giant she came from. He carries his father's blood too. Blood speaks the truth, when dreams do not. This is the final dream. The dream he will have until he dies.

    ☾☾☾ AFTERNOON ☽☽☽

    Tell me, is it true that with Lady Celesse's last breath, she cursed the world? Aatu watched with widening dark eyes as the red-sworded warrior fastened his breastplate around his chest. There was a languidity to this, a casual movement of his hands, but there were pulses on his face, tremors around the eye-sockets. The grey-mare licked at the ground, her long horse tongue devouring what had once been a slug's intestinal tract along with aster flowers and nettles. Aatu straightened his back, and strode to her side. He placed his sapsming hands against her neck, weaving her mane in his fingers. He leaned his cheek against her skin and took a deep breath in, and then o. His breath hitched in his throat. The Binnesman looked away from the horse, outwards the red-sworded warrior, his eyes dark and narrow. They rested on the scowl that had spread across the man's face, and he watched him wordlessly as he slipped his foot in the stirrup. He mounted his mare, and kneed her in the side, pushing her forward, towards the swordsman. The swordsman had kicked the sword from the heath in one movement of his leg, and then, had pointed the tip of his blade at the man who stank of drink.

    The Binnesman edged his horse forward, coming to a rest adjacent to the sword-point, at the side of the man's neck. He listened as the swordsman breathed out the words, demanding apologies and satisfaction. His lips moved and he mouthed the swordsman's words. His hands twitched on the leather reins, causing the leather to creak and cry. He winced, a dimple appearing in the smooth surface of a cheekbone. He reaches out a twitching, gloved hand to the red-sworded man, his eyes wide. His pupils were hugely dilated in his brown irises, making his eyes look like huge dark marbles. His fingers flicked slightly, and his horse bowed her head - and the Binnesman followed suit. He watched the red-sworded warrior with unblinking eyes, and then, his gaze flickered towards the Grimdosh. There was no light in his eyes. It was as if the brown was entirely non-reflective, the deepest and darkest of muds. His fingertips nearly brushed against the edge of the swordsman's blade. His voice crawled out of him, a soft voice with strangely said words but good intentions dripping from every phrase of it. "Let us not spill blood here," The Binnesman nodded in time with his words, "The Argent have all invited us, and regardless of our feelings towards one another ; the invitation was to living men and women." The Binnesman withdrew his hand, and stared at the two men for a long moment. He did not wait for them to agree with him, he did not wait for them to kill one another - and to kill him too.

    Aatu bowed his head, and dipped his chin and eyes towards the ground. His long lashes scraped the top of his cheekbones. "We will all work with one another against the corruption. That is our primary enemy, and it will do us well to remember that, will it not?" The sentence tumbled from his mouth messily, the grammar distorted. "Instead of swords, introductions are in order, yes? You do not intend to kill each other without the name of the other, I hope." He smiled then, and it was the earnest sort of smile - the one that doesn't reach the eyes, and looks as if it could slip from the face in a single moment. The eyes were brittle behind the smile. He gave a small bow in his saddle. It was a practiced bow, elegant but not overly formal, a simple bend at the waist, and a crossing of the arms across the chest. It was the bow that a knight would give, to an equal. "I am Aatu Eidunar of the Binnes."
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    • Useful Useful x 1
  18. He was finally here; Argent. This place would either give him what the young mercenary required to reestablish his fallen family and company and revitalize it, or give him the shovel that would inevitably dig his grave. It was truly quite lucky that Theo was found by one of the messengers. The man was likely trying to track down someone more notable than he and just happened to witness his brawl with a squad of bandits. At first, the boy of course held some hesitation, however the man was a king, where he was from was no longer of great importance. Well, it wasn't of total importance. If he could acquire the funds to start his new life by joining Argent, he would do this. It wouldn't be that hard—serving one of the men who inadvertently lead to the deaths of your entire family and company—he was more fighting off the corruption than serving the king, right?

    At least he wasn't the only one with such feelings, or at least it wasn't likely. Most of those assembled were Abbelestian. Hell, they probably felt worse. Theo and his company were only a mercenary troupe. These were men and women truly loyal to Abbelest. And then ironically—there was her.

    A jest from fate it seemed as Karmia Razgriz also received a letter. Eyeing her through the opening in his helmet, Theo had—mixed feelings to say the least. She still was a participant in the slaughter, and several battles prior her detachment was responsible for several casualties of the Wolves. Yet it was obvious she was cut from somewhat of a different cloth from the rest. Why else did she spare him? It couldn't have been because it was him personally, meaning that at least she was doing that to most innocents she encountered on her way. Still, Theo couldn't bring himself to at least try to associate with the woman simply out of naive, prejudice spite and her arrogance. Regardless, he still owed her a debt.

    Eyes meeting a moment, Theo pulls away from his thoughts and returns his head to its down-looking position. Currently, his blades laid next to him with his back pressed against a tree trunk for support, sitting on the ground with arms folded. Unfortunately, whereas Theo could've used some shut eye, it seemed one intent on starting a commotion approached and quickly took a cheap-shot aimed at the gathered Abbelestians in the group.

    "Stop. I understand that his words must pain and aggravate you all, but are you truly going to react in the manner which he hopes for? He wants to get a rise out of us all. Don't give him the satisfaction," Spoke the boy behind his helmet. Having one of the continents greatest shit-talkers in your company since you were little helped you deal with the types that just wanted blood to boil. Don't feed them. Thankfully, he wasn't the only one with a calm head it seemed.

    There was a Binnesman that, smooth-spoken as most seemed to be, attempted to calm those involved in the conflict, then attempted to move onto more positive conversation with introductions, to which Theo followed suit.

    "I am Theo Lukass. Officially, I hail from Abbelest."
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  19. Chuckling at the sudden eruption of violence, or at least the attempt to it. It was rather funny to watch. The Abbelestians for all their talk ,were still the same mad savages as always. Even when given the option to surrender gracefully, they were content to bring others down to hell with them... Recalling the pointless death of her mother in that fortress, this had became the norm she expected of those people. But at least it was the Barbarian from the outerlands that was bringing this trouble down upon himself, rather than she.

    Though from watching the Mercenary Theo, it seemed not all of them were here just to kill the King and drag the world to hell with them.. Though it wasn't as if her own countrymen had done better. Their Madness not only ruined what would have been a simple Victory and Abbelest being reduced to a pawn, but had turn their own homeland into a slaughter house. One that ate men and material, like a wolf did rabbits.

    But the Barbarian had a point with his question... Karmia herself, for better or worse was passed out during the first few days. After what had happened, perhaps it would be of no surprise. With the one she pegged as a noble now getting between the altercation, apparently he was a Aatu Eidunar of the Binnes. She couldn't quite place the name, but the family name, that was covered in one of her school girl texts. Unwittingly, or maybe painfully aware, he had placed himself in a position of grave danger.

    A good leader perhaps. Or a mad fool. But weren't results all that separated the pair.. Her father was a good leader, even a good man, but still, he died a fools death.

    Of fools and madness, an almost crazed smile appears on the Keldian's face. It would be truly simple and maybe even fun to turn this into a blood bath. Hand on her blade, she momentarily stops. Wrestling with her own thoughts, she was not happy with this situation.. But things in Abbelest had went to far...the killing had to stop. With a sigh, she removes her hand from her blade, speaking in a loud fashion.

    "Ohoho.., so the Rich ones from the Binnes have some manners after all. Here to think the rumors had it that your people only cared for Gold."

    Moving her right hand, half closed, her finger tips touch her forehead, then her chest. Taking a bow in Keldian custom, as of greeting, her arm then swings out to the side slightly, as if to bid welcome. Straitening up, it would be interesting to see if hatreds died down, or simply switched to her.

    "I am a woman of many titles. But for now, Karmia Razgriz shall suffice. I am a seeker of answers and by necessity, of wealth and peace."

    The Royal Dragoon shifts her attention to Theo however, tilting her head slightly. "Also Ser Lukass, I have need of word with you.. Something that concerns a prior meeting we had."

    If she were to gain some security for herself, that little tidbit concerning his sides wounded, would come in handy now. There was no point setting on it like some idiot gambler. Turning her attention back to the rest, her right hand, out of habit her right hand rises to stroke the scare on her left cheek.

    "While I am sure a great many of us hate one another, I assume we have more important issues. I have cause to hate some of you, as you do me. But haven't our lands reached the point, where the living have given up counting the dead? There is a great deal we do not know in regards to Abbelest. A great many that make no sense.." Giving a shrug she had no answers for there, not now at least.

    "But if the lot of you, cannot think above the level of peasants you appear, then maybe we should all draw steel, and let those archers paint the ground in such lovely shades of red."

    Tilting her head slightly, her right index finger starts to tap her face, in line with the words, and the tilt of her head, that's matched with a devilish grin. "Drip, drop, drip, drop, drip.. , let it flow, let it be free, that glorious crimson rain at times shine, but I have yet to see it glow. Ahaha haha...I wonder, I wander.. will it glow, does it make the grass grow? I thought there had been enough pointless deaths, but why not add a few more. To liven up the score." Lowering her right hand, and straitening her head, the woman has a kind smile, seemingly at odds to her previous psychotic episode.

    "If you would like, I have a flask of water, and some bread. Its nothing much, but it suits the likes of some of you Ohoho.. Well if you can stop fighting over who has the most honor." While not the best way of going about it, she had made an offer of bread and water. In truth she hadn't meant to be offensive with it, after her injury, or maybe just all that had happened; Well her mind wasn't quite the same. Suddenly coughing a bit, she shakes her head. "Ah...seems I talked too much."

    Taking out the before mentioned flask and taking a sip, she rolls her eyes and scoffs. "I forgot to mention, its poisoned, being a demon spawn Kelda Woman, and all." Stifling another cough, she wipes her mouth off on the clothing covering to her left glove, then takes a sip of her water. "Ah black Ichor..." Lowering the flask, she didn't expect any of them would seriously take up the offer.

    True fully she was not happy about any of this. While the main Army did seemingly went insane, never mind the city, not all Keldians had something to do with it. And while it was just suspecssion, Karmia believed dark forces were at work on both sides..

    It was that, or suddenly the whole Army went mad for no reason, decided to kill everyone in Abbelest, then to go wage a civil war at home. And the people of Abbelest dug up a ruin full of monsters for whatever reason.

    With her name now given, it was likely, if not in the next few moments, then in the next few days, she would need to count on some Abbelestia assistance.. Theo, any Grey Wolves, and some members of the main army were all that she had to support her Albie.

    But more than wanting to save her own head with it, she really felt what went on that day was a huge stain on her countries honor... For that while her petty remarks might slip, she would do her best to keep her hatred down. Hate would not aid the people of the realm, it would not rebuild Abbelest, it would not bring back her dead mother, father, nor her brothers... However, all the same, she hated herself for having to swallow her pride, to work with them. It tasted more bitter than the stale water in the flask.
    #19 RedArmyShogun, Aug 1, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
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  20. There was a look of bemusement on Sam's face when a man came riding in, completely drunk. Now it wouldn't be such a big deal if the man, in his drunken stupor, had mentioned the former ruler of Abbelest in such a crude manner. He had to frown at that. Even when did, she still deserved some respect for managing her own kingdom by herself. And then more problems kept on coming, with one man pointing a sword at the barbarian and forcing him to swallow his words. Then there were the others that got between the two of them, as more people began to take note of the upcoming brawl.

    It wouldn't have been so bad if the Keldian woman hadn't started sounding like a mad person. He was completely put off by her behavior. Has she gone mad? he thought to himself, edging away from the barbarian, the swordsman, and the Keldian. Whatever was going to happen, he wanted no part of it. Sam heaved a sigh and went back to examining the moss, trying to see what lay underneath. No doubt it would be stone, but if the structure was wooden then maybe...Well, he didn't know, but it would be more to his liking if it were wooden, maybe as a reminder of home? Though his home wasn't a fortress such as this. He shook his head and began to examine the area, taking in the sight of the forest and the people that would no doubt overcome him should he somehow got into a fight.
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