Blood of the Warkings

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    • open the plot and char tab, its really long so I made a blank tab so it takes up less space/scrolling.

    • The Story So Far:
      Following a failed rebellion, Ardeyn Faw is captured and held prisoner beneath the ruthless King Haimmon's castle. Talika Lir, the royal scribe, a lowborn Naerale girl, attends a Small Council meeting. The council, following Rowan's suggestion, question Ardeyn using Talika as a translator.

      Ardeyn is forced to watch the execution of his Rebel-brothers and swear fealty to King Haimmon when funeral bells suddenly ring out and Rowan wonders what is going on with the King ...

      Houses (open)

      NAERALE People:
      A family rooted deeply in scholarship, religion and judicial fields. The Lir clan was once one of the highest houses of the Naerale people, often holding important places in court. Half of the family often assumed judiciary roles while the other half largely devoted themselves to studying, medicine, and the faith, they all lived comfortably. Their house words "Wisdom can rule the stars" has influenced generations of the Lir clan. The family was often wealthy and powerful although they never formally held any lands, rather, they were often granted lavish gifts and extreme hospitality due to their prestige and links to the royal family.
      When the rise of the Warkings spelled the end of the prosperous era for the Naerale people, the Lir house were first to bend the knee, for this they were initially branded traitors, ridiculed and scorned for three generations before the spirit of all Naerale people was well and truly broken.
      Due to their superior knowledge compared to a number of other houses, plus their willingness to serve, the Lir house was spared a great deal of losses suffered by other houses and many children of the Lir clan were granted easier positions within the court such as maid duties or stablehand duties, many other Naerale people were forced into dangerous and labour intensive slave work and working the fields. At first this caused bitterness between the few remaining Naerale houses but over time these hostilities have waned, the Naerale people, or whats left of them, band together rahter than linger on what happened during Crysters invasion.

      An incredibly proud and fearsome family, the Faw, in constrast to the Lir, were the last house to fall beneath the King Cryster the Conquerer, and even then, a significant portion of what remained of this great family fled to live in the wilds. Before the crushing war, the Faw family and their associates made up a majority of the Naerale military forces, a significant number of factions were led under Faw generals. Faw and Lir family attempted to work together to save their crumbling kingdom but Cryster striked at just the right time to exploit this weakness and all of the Naerale Kingdom fell.
      Before the war, the Faw House held a large area in the south-west of Naerale controlled region, they dominated the coast line and grew wealthy and prosperous however the militaristic family cared little for the care of crops and livestock or maintaining harbours and trade, therefore they gave up their lands to other houses who would better utilise the wealth of resources, moving this clan to live within the Naerale capital and defend the castle for generations, their claim to these lands was never refuted however, until Cryster took all Naerale lands, therefore the Faw family could reclaim their lands peacefully at any given time before the invasion. Despite their indomitable strength the family did not favour ruling and instead chose to serve the royal family unreservedly, which they done so for generations up until the invasion of Cryster.
      The family has the Wolverine for their sigil, due to their fearlessness and hunger for battle (much like a wolverine). The family wear wolverine pelts for decoration. The family motto is "Never Yield". Following the fall of the Naerale people the Faw family adopted the motto "Wounded, Never Conquered".

      One of the few houses that wasn't utterly devastated in the various uprisings, Roz bears the sigil of a flaming man, they are renowned archers, earning their nickname and motto from the manner in which they hunt and fight, by setting their arrows alight and striking in the heart. Great friends to the Faw family, many of their ancestors were brothers in arms.

      The Forthwinds trace their descent from the infamous Stone Giants of the North, mineworkers who withstood the heavy beating of the Wind Gods since time immemorial and dug deep beneath the crust into the belly of the Stone Beast, cracking the core into a labyrinth.
      Theirs is the mastery of handicraft carved into stone, a frightening three-headed Giant, on his back a Mountain of rocks and stones that peer through a rift in the clouds where the olden gods convene. At the foot of the Mountain, abreast the Giant, lies Windstorm, weathered and old, but still aggressive and defiant – the Castle Never at Rest.
      During the Wyvern siege, the Stone Giants pledged loyalty to the Warkings in the wake of defeat but rose to power once more during the reign of Ancel the Kind who wedded his daughter to Wilmont the Huge, Stone Lord of the North, and thus sealed the sworn oath in blood. In the known day, the Stone Giants are Giants no more, but excellent traders and mongers of precious stones. Their blazon is a grey giant caught in a spiraling hurricane on a sky blue background. The way of life they adhere to rings in the words of Isac the Wise –

      Sigil: a silver swan on a blue background.
      A renowned royal family, they've always been close to whoever is in power, quickly trading off their daughters to Lords and Princes to climb the ladder. THey are a power hungry house and rather matriarchal which is unusual. They put on the appearance they want what is best for the realm but by in large they often want what serves them and their own best. Lady Arelia is a Swan, now married to Lord Bartelort.

      --still editing--

      The ruling house of the realm, they live true to the name and laid waste to the southern Naerale lands, and area no other house has properly conquered before. Their sigil is a war horse.
      -still editing--

      Pirateering clan, they fell into good graces with King Cryster I when they supplied ships and gold to aid the invasion, in return the Poole family were granted great lands in the south, namely the harbour that formerly belonged to the Faw House. Their sigil is a ship on a green-blue background.
      --still editing--

      History (open)

      The Ancient Warkings had ridden across the Great Deep to a new Land, and settled on one side of the Wyvern Mountain, the Heart of the perpetual Fires, while the Allover Land spread on the other. For centuries, the Warkings had been trying to disturb the peace the Naerale people had bestowed upon the land but alas, to no avail. They pillaged and raped, but fell too short to conquer until Cryster the Mighty rose to power on his huge, black destrier and slew the last Naerale King, Haimmon the Hungry whose desire for food, wine and women could never be satisfied. Haimmon the Hungry starved his people and weakened his grip on the land and its many tribes. Cryster the Mighty seized the given opportunity and declared himself the First Warking of the Allover Land. Alas, bloodshed did not end there. A fierce Naerale commander slew his heirs but failed to kill the new King. Thus began the age of Naerale Slavery – Cryster decreed all purple-eyed fiends be Lords of no Land, never ahorse, bastards in the eyes of their masters, weapon and mercy-deprived. Their villages were pillaged and destroyed, and new castles and watchtowers, a fierce commander in each, were erected instead.

      Cryster's children and his childrens children assumed the throne and leadership of the entire realm for the decades that followed. An alliance with the powerful House Alart strengthened Cryster and his childrens hold over the realm and the Alart clan have faithfully served as advisors to the royal family ever since the invasion.

      A Indigo Uprising occured during the third year of Cryster's son, Gyffard's, rule. The Naerale managed to claim back a tower named "The Spire" on the north side of the Wyvern mountain, the first time Naerale had ever held dominion north of the range, however following Gyffard's rule his heir claimed back the Spire in a brutal attack named "The Night of Purple Steel", every single Naerale person inside the tower had their neck slit open, three Naerale houses died out that night and that was the last of the Naerale uprising for a number of years.

      Four generations along the line of succession, under the rule of King Cryster II - The Baby Killer, it was discovered that there was a bastard half-Naerale-Half-Warking child within the court. The baby was killed and Cryster II staged a mass witch hunt for any half-Naerale bastards, all were killed along with the Naerale men/women who fathered/birthed them.

      200 years after Cyster's conquering of the south, the Naerale have gone relatively quiet, however an underground movement is gaining momentum in the royal capital.

      --Who is ruling now? Who are the current kings advisors?--

      Races and notable persons (open)

      Naerale - A race living south of the Wyvern Mountain Range. They are noted for their striking eyes which range from striking light blue, to indigo and deep purple shades. They are living in subservience to the ruling warkings and are oppressed.

      Warkings - The race from north of the Wyvern Mountains, they have dominated the entire realm since Cryster the Conquerer.

      Cryster I - Conquered the South several hundred years ago

      Haimmon - Last king of the Naerale people, wasn't well liked as his hunger for food, wine and women deprived his people

      Locations (open)

      Player CHaracters and Important NPCs (open)

      Ardeyn Faw (open)

      The Prisoner
      Name: Ardeyn Faw
      Title: Faw wyr Kinard van Ardeyn
      (House Faw, son of Kinard given the name Ardeyn)

      House sigil: Wolverine

      House motto:
      Wounded, Never Conquered (following the fall of Naerale people).
      Never Yield (ancient motto)

      Age: 21

      Appearance: Dark lilac eyes, sallow skin, long brown hair often features a small braid. He is a tall figure, muscled but lithe his physique resembles that of a panther or other wildcat, slim but powerful. He has a scar from the top left side of his neck, down across his collarbone to the right side of his chest.
      Since he is Naerale, he fashions himself in the clothing/armour of the Naerale people. A wolverine pelt is a common accessory due to his family crest, anyone else in Naerale history who wore wolverine pelts outside of the Faw family were slain and their pelts claimed for the Faw family alone. It has been many centuries since a Naerale person has worn wolverine pelts outside of the Faw family, few exceptions include those introduced to the Faw family by marriage or occasionally when another family is gifted a pelt from the Faws. Anyone else is forbidden from wearing wolverine pelts.


      Rank/Title: Prisoner/no rank/title

      Likes: All things Naerale :sunglasses:, horse riding under the full moon, hunting and a good meal (yum, food).
      Dislikes: Warkings in general, being "stupid"/uneducated, his family being disgraced

      Strengths/Abilities: Skilled warrior, he's proficient in ranged weapons (bows and throwing knives) and swordsmanship. He fights hard and fast.

      Weaknesses/Fears: Light armour, he needs to strike fast and strike early or he runs the risk of being killed himself, particulary against larger heavily armed targets. Illiterate, cannot speak the common tongue. He has few fears, he does not fear death, he dislikes the thought of dying dishonourably but since the fall of the Naerale people hes rather disillusioned by the concept of honour.

      Personality/Traits: Cold, arrogant, distant, slightly xenophobic and distrustful of non-Naerale people. Reluctant and stubborn, however once you win his trust he really will go above and beyond the call of duty to serve and protect an ally. He's clever but doubts in his own intellectual abilities, his family are warriors not scholars so he doesn't believe he is capable of learning things he is very much capable of actually learning. He's conflicted with his ancient family words "Deeds, not Words" which values brave courageous gestures and action rather than words, yet he believes in an age of diplomacy and politics, words can be more powerful than his ancestors gave credit. He wants to stay true to his familys words and fight his way to victory, yet he realises that in the "modern" world he lives in now, words are as powerful as the sword.

      Bio: Coming from an old and powerful family, The Faw House took their fall from grace very badly and have always been rather rebellious, while many Naerale bent the knee to save themselves being slain, Faw was too proud a house and thus suffered devastating losses, the name almost dying out, lucky for Ardeyn, his family wasn't present in the Spire during the uprising and the bloodline managed to continue on.
      Ardeyn's ancestors turned to nomadic means to survive rather than following other houses into lives of servitude.
      Ardeyn was born out in the wilds and enjoyed a generally pleasant life unaware of the horrors of his peoples persecution, that is until the nomadic camp he was living in as a child was destroyed by Warkings. He was six years old and lost his parents in the chaos. He and his uncle escaped and the rest of Ardeyn's life was dedicated to hearing stories of his history and the war that destroyed his peoples former glorious lives and swearing vengeance for his people.
      At age 14 he discovered the resistance and began to operate with them, living in underground rebel hideouts beneath the large cities ruled by the warkings.
      The battle was largely uphill and fruitless, as the years passed, he became more influential among the rebels and also more conflicted as many of the rebels had different ideas on how/where/when to attack and what the end goals were. He was 21 when the rebels attempted a raid on one of the castles, a non-Naerale rebel sympathiser turned against them (was a double agent) and they were captured, Ardeyn included, he has since been imprisoned and even more distrustful of non-Naerale people.

      Talika Lir (open)

      The Scribe

      Name: Talika Lir
      Title: Lir wyr Marchan fhan Talika
      (House Lir, daughter of Marchan, Talika)

      House Sigil: Star
      House Motto: "Wisdom can rule the stars"

      Age: 18

      Appearance: Petite, lilac eyes, blonde-brown hair cut shorter in a way that resembles the non-Naerale ladies of the court so she looks more appropriate.
      She wears court clothes as opposed to Naerale clothing to reflect her position and her families stance (they bent the knee to the Warkings).

      Rank/Title: scribe and handmaiden, low born (due to being Naerale).

      Likes: Reading, reading and more reading. Warm baths, sweet cakes.

      Dislikes: her weakness/fatigue, blood, her peoples oppression (although shes a lot more passive than Ardeyn)

      Strengths/Abilities: multi-lingual, well versed in various histories of the World. Diplomatic, clever. Sewing/stitiching, cooking and first aid are also skills she possesses.

      Weaknesses/Fears: weakened from a poison, easily fatigued, no combat skills whatsoever. She also refrains from speaking her voice and giving an opinion

      Personality/Traits: Shy, meek, obedient, very inteligent, subervient, weak. She has great love and respect for people she becomes close to, tends to give her trust more easily than Ardeyn and has a better judge of character.

      History: Born to a maid in the royal castle she is the product of a Naerale maid and Naerale groomers romance, her birth was nothing exceptional or extraordinary. Incredibly bright as a child she listened to the nobles speaking while her mother cleaned. Her first words were actually in the common tongue rather than Naerale tongue and she,much to everyone's surprise got a decent education and became a scribe, prior to becoming a scribe she served as a hand maiden to one of the ladies.
      She is fluent in Naerale and the common tongue. Her family trace a long history with the Faw family which Ardeyn hails from (more details revealed ic) and she pleads for his release when she learns he is imprisoned.
      She is rather weak/sickly compared to other Naerale who tend to be hardy due to their role as slaves and their natural resistance to illness however as child one of the nobles children grew jealous of how the teacher praised her and poisoned Talika. The poison wasnt sufficient to kill her but it has left her rather weak many years later, she is prone to breathlessness and feeling faint, she can't run long distances. Her strength lies in her brain of course, as a scribe she knows a lot more about the goings on in the court than many other Naerale however she is very distant from the resistance and thus cannot feed this information to anyone who would actually use it.


      Lord Rowan Forthwind (open)

    #1 CaptainObvious, Dec 20, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  2. ((EDITED - Corrected type-o's and formatted better))

    Ardeyn knew shame. His people knew shame, they had been dragged from their homes and lands, raped, butchered, slaughtered and enslaved. He knew his ancestors shame but this ... this was new.

    The rebellion had failed .. it was doomed before it began. A double crosser had warned the royal court of their plans, betrayed their trust and set up a trap for when they finally launched the attack.
    Ardeyn had managed to kill four of the guards before he and his brothers were overwhelmed. For every guard they killed more of their perished or were captured and Ardeyn was one of the latter. It had taken three guards to subdue him but eventually they beat him down with clubs before enshrining his arms in iron shackles and hauling him down into the belly of the castle. The dungeons were dank and Ardeyn felt his shame creep in, much like the damp and mould.

    They started executing the leaders one by one in the weeks that followed. The older men warned Ardeyn to keep his mouth shut. Despite his important role in the coup, and the fact that he was the one who killed the double crosser in the confusion, they said he was young and he would live long enough to find a way out but he would have to swallow his pride and plead his way out. Those who could muster enough of the common tongue, insisted he hadn't played a major role, he was just a young rebel they gave a sword, that sounded his pride more than anything. They insisted he'd need to use his voice and not his sword to find his way out. That was not the way his family done things and he knew it wouldn't work.

    One by one his brothers were pulled from the dungeons and none of then returned. Ardeyn shouted out as the guards came and went but they didn't listen and they didn't understand anyway. Ardeyn didn't have the common tongue the Warkings spoke and no one other than his own people spoke in his Naerale tongue.

    Up above the dungeon, Talika fretted. News of the rebellion travelled fast, especially when you sat in a number of small councils as the royal scribe. She heard names that were familiar, family names. Roz, Faw, Harr, Pol, Eas, Yai.... She listed every name they could extract from the rebels and she wrote down every execution. She was powerless to stop it.

    She was wearier than usual these days, the weight of the rebellion taking its toll. The handmaidens weren't there to serve her, but they were her sisters and they noticed she was ailing and came to her chambers in the morning to help her ready herself before they went about their courtly duties serving the royal family.
    "Sister you should see a healer, your sickness grows worse" a girl, older than her, said, helping fasten up her dress and pull her to her feet.
    "I must show strength ... for our brothers even if they cannot see it. We must all lend them our strength." She clasped her hands over the maids, "thank you, sister, I appreciate your help."

    She took her time climbing the stairs, the small council were aware of her sickness and allowed her some extra time to arrive, unusual for Naerale servants but she wasn't what you'd call normal.

    She arrived and assumed her seat at a smaller table separated from the Small Council's much larger table. Her ink well was filled and she had an abundance of parchment to write on. Her lamp burned brightly and her quill poised neatly in hand. Oddly there was no one else there so she allowed herself to wait and think.

    She browsed the list of rebels who were left ... there were less than eight left now, three more scheduled for execution already. She frowned as she read the names. The last on the list was from an ancient and powerful family. Ardeyn Faw.
    #2 CaptainObvious, Dec 20, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
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  3. The light of sunrise spilt across the floor through the narrow windows of the Warborne Castle, perched afoot the Wyvren Mountain, a fiery behemoth towering above all Wyvern settlements. The cold, morning breeze carried the salty scent of the Great Deep, the vast ocean that wet the eastern lands, through every crack in the stone, a feeling of unrest followed. Rowan watched the light spread and felt the familiar scent pinch his nostrils, seated in front of the steaming hearth. His half-lidded, stone grey-eyes were weighed down by memories of distant lands, past times, and imminent hereafters. Dreams did not bed him at nighttime, but he had grown to love the gloam and the moon high above, his sleepless companion and watcher of the Allover Land. Most of all, he delighted in the soothing crackling of fire and the smell of burnt wood underlined by a rare silence that, regrettably, broke invariably at dawn day after day.

    The sound of steel against steel overthrew the silence. Guards, knights and squires were hard at work, fortifying the defenses of the Castle and the City under the mountain. The freshly smothered rebellion had filled the prison cells with a large number of Naerale people sentenced to death by decapitation. Rowan could hear the Headsman bloodthirst, the relentless crave for justice that echoed abreast the sound of steel against the whetstone. They were kept in the farthest ends of the crypts beneath the crust of the mountain, unable to do anything but wait upon the impending doom. Rowan had been against needless bloodshed, promoting torture and interrogation as more suitable means at extracting information. After all, "dead men tell no tales," Maestor Baigh's olden wisdom stirred within Rowan's musing. Alas, the King had decided that it was best for the realm and foremost the upkeep of Peace to be done with all who opposed his rule in one swift swoosh of the sword. Albeit the King lay sick in his chambers, struck down by overexertion, he spewed commands from the top of his lungs and his Council yielded. None dared brave the wrath of a Warking, no matter how fat, ignorant, and pitiful His Grace looked. Rowan had ordered a fresh pick of the finest blueberries on this side of the mountain to battle what ailed the King. His Highness, however, opted for pertly cooked boar.

    Rowan nipped the bridge of his nose with the tips of his boney fingers. The Court had been oddly covert during the last fortnight. The walls of the castle had become deaf at command. Secrets had been eclipsed by a vow of silence unfamiliar and unknown to the King's personal steward and royal advisor, member of the Council, and Master of Trade, Rowan Forthwind. His mind was itching to know, yet at the same time, he felt that something was strongly out of place.

    The sun had barely begun to climb the Endless Blue when his steward, a lanky Maralu boy with flaxen, shoulder-length hair and a brooding look on his face, knocked upon his door, "Lord Andrion requests your presence at the Council, my Lord," he spoke briskly, his voice ripe and deep. Rowan scarcely nodded, beckoning the lad to help him dress. The Young Lord donned in black leather, belting his sword and dagger, each within a hand's reach.

    "Call upon the captain of my guard, Ram, and have him double the sentry closest to His Grace," Rowan sounded off full-throated. The steward hurried to do his bidding as Rowan trod the way towards the Council Room, a guard following his every step.

    Lord Andrion of House Gillford was a thorn in Rowan's side, a nasty fever one could not cast off without severe consequences, a dreadful ghost that haunted the very foundations of the Castle. He had put a price on every secret, every valuable piece of information, such high a price that Rowan could only outbid him with threats, warnings and creative punishments. Alas, no other pair of such well-matched interlocutors could be found within many stones of the land. Whether they truly enjoyed each other's company was still a mystery.

    The door to the Council Room swung open. Rowan marched in elegantly with his hands locked on his back but he had found himself alone, breathing in the damp air and the smell of mouldy wine. His guard, fashioned in full armor, a steel breastplate, golden threads embroidered in the red fabric of the cloak, and a half-nasal-helmet that towered on his head, stood motionless by the door. Rowan's brows were drawn into two black lines, while his eyes shone out from beneath them, stone-cold. Lord Andrion had failed to upkeep punctuality as one of his more bearable traits. The Hand of the King, a dreadful old man whose skin had wrinkled beyond recognition, had made a reputation of barging in mid-session and blurting out nonsensical things but the King could not relieve him of his long-fought and earned duty, firmly believing that he was quite close to outliving this bag of sack. The Queen had been forbidden to attend the gatherings for a while, so a steward claimed vote in her name, yet he too suffered the vice.

    Rowan stepped further into the room, heaving a brooding sigh, "Responsibilities must be dreadful," From the corner of his eye, Rowan suddenly caught the sight of a sickly, slender figure. The stark purple color of her eyes drew his pair of grey marbles in a subtle remark. It was as though he had peered into the depths of the Great Waters, unraveled the mysteries of the world and immediately lost them thereafter. What was so fascinating about Naerale eyes Rowan could not fain to understand.

    "Punctuality is the one and only thing the Naerale could pride on without having their heads grace the edge of a spear," he remarked rather coldly, but kept his tone crisp and clear. He seated himself comfortably on his usual place left to the Hand of the King's empty chair. His eyes subtly slid over every inch of the scribe's body. Her health deteriorated, that much he could conclude. For a Naerale, she was somewhat out of sorts. Unbeknownst to her, Rowan had kept a close eye on every Naerale servant within the Castle and beyond for fear of possible treason but so far, she had done nothing of the sort.

    "Read to me," he governed. "Whose head shall we feed the ravens with at midday?" he spoke bitterly. Out in the distance, Rowan could hear footsteps, the metal striking the stone floor in implacable strides.
    #3 Galzra, Dec 22, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  4. "Punctuality is the one and only thing the Naerale could pride on without having their heads grace the edge of a spear," he remarked rather coldly, but kept his tone crisp and clear.

    She didn't respond, she was Naerale, the only time she could open her mouth to say anythign was when someone commanded it, so she obediently stayed her tongue, aware that Rowan was watching her. She pulled the light blue shawl that draped over her shoulders a little closer around her. She'd been feeling the chill more easily of late, but hopefully once she'd gotten more rest her strength would pick up a little again.

    "Read to me," he governed. "Whose head shall we feed the ravens with at midday?" he spoke bitterly.

    "As you wish Lord Forthwind" Talika replied, her voice was free of any accent and she spoke clearly. Unusual, since the Naerale who could speak the common tongue often had a rhythmic lilting accent. She softly cleared her throat and began, "His Grace, King Haimmon of the House Warborne, Third of his Name, Ruler of the Allover Land and it's peoples and the Lands Beyond the Wyvren Mountains, on this day, 7465 in the Age of God declares that the following prisoners shall face the royal headsman, Sir Yarris Fiord; Tammon Roz, Stafford Pol, Emry Harr. Their charges; high treason, murder, attempted regicide, disrupting the peace, savagery, heresy and-" she paused for a minute, as if humiliated to repeat the awful crimes she'd borne the shame of having to write down. "Rape and buggary." the slight edge in her voice was evident that this was indeed a struggle for her, though she remained as professional and dutiful as ever as she continued. Of course those rape and buggary charges were entirely fabricated, the King had no qualms about painting the Naerale people as savage cannibals, rapers, pillagers, defilers of anything special or sacred. These charges were untrue, but if the King said it, it was considered as good as true and the commonfolk would remember that the Naerale people are heathens to be loathed and despised.
    "Of the leaders captured in the Rebellion, only three remain in the dungeons. Yarly Eis, Wensst Yai and Ardeyn Faw. Their punishments have yet to be decreed."

    She paused a moment to signify that she had reached the end of the official document. "Lord Gilford includes as a side note that none of the prisoners left in the dungeon can speak fluently in the common tongue, they do not have enough of the language to undergo a formal trial and with no royal translator this is proving problematic. Lord Andrion proposes the Small Council discus this among a number of other important issues."

    She paused again before she asked, "Is there anything else I can do My Lord?" her slender hands folded delicately in her lap, she kept her head down respectfully, it was often considered rude to look directly at her superiors.

    Ardeyn tried in vain to sleep ... he didn't need to sleep in a bed on a matress stuffed with swan feathers, a mat on the hard earth was enough for him, with only the stars above him. The dungeon was different though. The ground was a different kind of hard, and so cold. Already Wensst had succumbed to some kind of malady and Ardeyn could hear him across the corridor groaning and speaking feverishly, utterly incomprehensible things. He'd been wounded in the battle and Ardeyn could only assume the filthy, cold dungeon was killing him. Sometime later Wensst had simply gone silent. The heavy clunk of metal armour boots walking down the corridor to investigate was followed by some talking, it was the language Ardeyn couldn't understand, the common tongue, they laughed, a vulgar noise, and then walked away. Ardeyn shouted at them but they ignored.

    A dungeon keeper made his way into the Small Council, sword at his side and a swagger in his step. "One of the rebel rats perished in the dungeons." he said to Rowan, noticing that the small council was largely vacant of its members. "The dungeon master asks what His Grace wishes we do with the body, can't execute a dead man afterall."

    Talika wanted to ask who it was, how he'd died ... As if that would make any difference. She wanted to ask that they release his body so it could be cleansed and properly laid to rest in the traditional Naerale way, but she didn't have the luxury and those were stupid questions. She kept her mouth shut and was frozen rigidly still in her chair.
    #4 CaptainObvious, Dec 22, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  5. Rowan bobbed his head to the side, smiling bitterly, "His Grace has got quite the morbid wordbook," He could feel the unease in the hall. There was an edge to the soft pitch in her voice, an edge Rowan had picked up to be shared among her kind. It was an edge backed up by decades of persecution and slaughter, an edge surely to stir trouble if left unbridled. The shadow of her people's damnation loomed above her, as dark as the tar pits of the Stone Beast. There was no light to such darkness, and if there ever had been hope, Haimmon the Hungry was determined to put an end to it. The King was a gauche fool whose reign had been blinded by false insecurities. Rowan wagered no support for the purple-eyed fiends on behalf of the King's people. The Court had been leading its King astray, he reasoned. Should the end to his reign be cut short, Rowan doubted not that the perpetrator to swing the sword and beseech the Throne would claim kinship.

    Heavy footsteps closed in at the door, the sound of metal grinding the stone quieted. Rowan spied a surefooted ward who carried words of a captive's demise. His stone-cold eyes had kept the subtle silhouette of the Naerale scribe in sight. He shifted in his seat, placing his elbows on the roughly polished wooden table spread before him and resting his chin on his laced fingers. The slippery smooth movements of his body were barely audible.

    "His Highness would dreadfully wish to see him grace the castle walls, regardless," he sounded off, his eyes piercing through the ward's shaggy armor. "Cut off the head, and burn the body. He shall be up high at midday with his kindred," The young ward bowed slightly and picked up pace in the direction of the dungeons. The remaining prisoners awaited a similar fate. Fair trial was a courtesy they could not afford, and even if granted such a miracle, the verdict had already been reached. Every attempt at pretending that their death had not been sealed at birth was nothing but an illusion. Lord Andrion had said so himself, yet now, on the verge of ridding the kingdom of every piece of evidence prompting the failed rebellion into the course of history, the Master of Coin demanded discourse.

    A lopsided smirk graced Rowan's thin lips, his hands shook slightly with excitement. Lord Andrion had either pledged to reason or absolute madness. "Naerale," he spoke coldly, "is your birth tongue as valiant and fluid as your common word?" the question had come off as a form of forewarning. Finding an interpreter was a lesser problem. Albeit Rowan was not in the least bit trusting of her word, he would not deny her usefulness. "Lord Andrion would be in dire need of the King's law to pass on judgement," Rowan remarked, inwardly musing the rest of the claim.

    "It is the sweetness of your voice that grants me pleasure in the early hours, young Rowan, and my name on the tip of your tongue that gives joy to our pleasant gatherings," an awfully familiar voice swooped in unexpectedly, chirping a tune of pure irony. Lord Andrion had slid inside without notice, his footsteps as slithery as a snake. A long golden cloak fell from his broad shoulders to the floor, swaying in perfectly lined creases. He was a grizzled man with a white-toothed grin on his lips, entirely complacent and vile at the same time. Two knights in full armor brooded by his side, stiff as corpses.

    "My Lord," Rowan stood up, smiling humbly. Lord Andrion had always managed to creep up on him. It was as alarming as it was alluring. "so kind of you to favor us with your presence," a tinge of contempt lingered in his throat. The Hand of the King emerged from behind the Lord, donned in excessive jewelry that weighed him down. His faithful eunuch was at his side, aiding the old man's short steps.

    "Come now, Lords, there are urgent matters we must attend to," the Hand spoke in a gruff tone, peering solemnly Rowan's way. The Young Lord of House Forthwind was taken aback to see Lord Andrion and the Hand arrive side by side, having himself witnessed the hatred they nurtured against each other. There was not a soul in the Court which hadn't spoken of dreadful deeds they had conspired to undermine the authority of the other, yet, presently, Lord Andrion graced the old Hand with a nodding smile. Rowan's brows were drawn in suspicion but his wit was quick to mask his doubts with cordial agreement.

    The Lords took their seats, joined by the Queen's steward, and other Maesters merely a moment after. Their attention had been cast towards the Naerale Scribe. Each and every one of them undressed and shamed her with their merciless eyes, but only Lord Andrion addressed her, "I believe Lord Forthwind has asked you a very important question, girl, and with that we may begin our assembly,"

    Unbeknownst to Rowan, Lord Andrion had already dispatched his servants to bring the remaining prisoners before the King's Small Council to face their crimes and punishment.
    #5 Galzra, Dec 23, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
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  6. Internally Talika winced when Rowan declared with relative ease that Wensst's body would be decapitated and his head mounted on a spike for all to see. As if it wasn't bad enough to have a sea of rotting skulls lining the castle, their mouths agape and horrified, the King insisted their eyes remained open. Striking violet, as always, but the spark of brightness, of life, was gone. THey were haunted purple eyes, dead and glassy and always looking. For every Warking or Maraluian head or skull, Talika was sure there was double if not triple or more Naerale skulls. Their crimes were often miniscule, a theft to feed their starving children, the punishment was usually losing a finger or a hand, but if the criminal had purple eyes, they lost their head.

    Though she felt part of her heart break a little everytime she wrote down a name she could recall from her ancestors homeland, her exterior remained as still and stoic as ever. She couldn't show her pain, her weakness, at least, not the full extent of it, if she appeared too sympathetic she knew she'd find her head on a spike as well. She was an important Naerale ... but a Naerale nonetheless, if her illness took her, or the King decided he didn't want a violet eyed fiend writing his letters, she was easily disposed of. SHe didn't intend on making her disposal come with haste and so she had to act as if she herself wasn't a Naerale. It could be very hard sometimes because she, and everyone else, was always painfully aware of what she was.

    She wasn't entirely surprised by Rowan's question. Plenty maids spoke some of the common tongue, but without proper teachers, they had only a basic grasp and they did not understand the intricacies of court, they were uneducated and illequipped to translate when they couldn't understand much beyond basic orders "fetch this ... clean that ... deliver this etc". Talika was one of the few who was fluent and educated enough, it was dangerous to be that clever and be a Naerale. She was about to answer when the arrival of Lord Andrion stalled her response.

    Suddenly the council was significantly fuller, the arrival of the Hand, Maesters, stewards and eunuchs. Talika bowed her head respectfully to them all, a cold nervous sweat made her palms moist and she rubbed them against the thick fabric of her dress so her hand would be steady when it came time for her to pick up her quill and write.

    She felt her skin crawl as all eyes fell upon her, she was supposed to be seen and not heard, she knew that, yet people didn't usually look much at Naerale, it was better to ignore them. All the eyes leering and staring at her, prying into her made her incredibly uncomfortable but she couldn't run or beg them look away. She kept her head bent down, not allowing her voice to shake and reveal how scared and sickly she was.
    "My first words were in the Common Tongue My Lord." she answered, unusual for a Naerale, that was why they'd decided she was worth educating unlike her violet eyed brethren. "Naelis is the Tongue of my Ancestors but the Common Tongue is my mother language. I can read and write both fluently." she answered carefully. Putting the common tongue before what should have been her native tongue revealed, she hoped, that she was truly loyal to the Warkings, that she forsook her Naerale ways. It was all she had to hope that she'd survive and remain in good favour.

    "Can we trust the words from a Naerale translator? For all we know she could be feeding information to the very rebels we are trying to stop, she sits in on our councils, she knows more than any Naerale should know." the Queen's steward, a bald, fat, thin lipped man, remarked bitterly. "Any secrets they tell her, she can twist and hide, there is no one else who can speak both tongues fluently, certainly no one of our blood would stoop so low to learn the tongue used by those savages. If we choose to proceed with a trial, I trust we will all elect to take her interpretations with a pinch of salt."

    By the time the servants reached the dungeon they found another Naerale corpse. Yarly had fashioned a noose from his raggy clothing and hung himself. Wensst had been like a brother to him, when he and Ardeyn discovered what had happened, Yarly had pleaded with ARdeyn to escape and avenge them both and took his life. It was incredibly dishonourable to take ones life, yet Ardeyn found it hard to bear any hatred or disgust for Yarly. The dungeons were enough to turn any man mad, if Yarly were out on the field, he'd mourn Wensst, but he'd not have followed him to the grave so hastily.

    Ardeyn was surprised when he was suddenly hauled from his cell and dragged in chains up countless stairs and down numerous hallways. He kept his head held high to spite the Warkings that stared as he and the guards marched past. He may have been shackled but he had his pride to hold onto.

    The Small Council doors burst open and the guards hauled Ardeyn through. "We found the other one dead in his cell My Lords, hung himself, this ones a loudmouth though, if you can get your purple-eyed bitch to translate for him, he'll sing like a crow." the guard laughed.
    Ardeyn didn't understand what they said, but he bristled. He drew his gaze up and found Talika's purple eyes staring back at him, his eyes burned incredibly dark and for a moment Talika felt certain he loathed her.

    [[parts in Naerale language are in violet]]

    "Lir wyr Marchan fhan Talika" she started, introducing herself to the prisoner in his native tongue. "Will you tell us your name?" she asked in Naelis before repeating her question in the common tongue for the court to hear.
    "I do not speak to traitors. You do not deserve your tongue, bitch of House Lir." he hissed back.
    "Your name" she repeated, willing her voice to sound strong. "My apologies to the council ... he gives no answer, only speaking vulgarities." she apologised.
    The guard roughly smacked the back of his gauntleted hand across Ardeyn's cheek, his head snapped back and there was a sickening "snap" from the blow, his head rocked back foward, dark hair spilling over his shoulders, a thin stream of blood wept from the corner of his mouth but his gaze was as defiant and stubborn as before.
    "Faw wyr Kinard van Ardeyn" he replied in a gravely bitter voice.
    "He gives his name, of the House Faw, son of Kinard, by the name Ardeyn." she recited, Naerale introductions were different to those used by the warkings.
    "Ask him what his role in the rebellion was, is he a commander? A procurer of weapons? What exactly?" the steward asked.
    "What was your role in the rebellion?"
    "Commander. Leading my brothers to glory killing your treacherous masters as they have killed my brothers."

    "He says he was nothing more than a soldier, a sword flung into his hands and pushed to fight, I do not believe he lead the
    rebellion, I do not believe he knows much beyond the commands his superiors granted him." she lied, Ardeyn was young, his mouth would get him into trouble but lucky for him only she could understand him. SHe wanted to save him, she'd seen so many of his brothers perish already, she'd be damned if she couldnt find a way to help him. She could also understand his bitterness towards her.
    "Is he aware of his crimes? Its treason to plot against the King." the steward appeared unsympathetic as usual.
    "I am trying to help you, they cannot understand our tongue, please, help me save you where your brothers have perished." she pleaded, keeping her voice steady so it didn't sound as if she was saying anything other than what she was told.
    "You help by taking a sword against your masters." he replied coldly.

    "He says he does not understand ... there is no word for treason in his tongue, I have tried to explain ... I do not think he understands, nor played a large role in the great crimes again His Grace King Haimmon ... Shall I try ask him once more?" she asked carefully. She knew she was treading thin ice and had to gather information as well as try get Ardeyn to cooperate as well as try appear convincing in her inquisition.
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  7. Rowan Forthwind, young as he was, had great influence over his men. He had hand-picked many who proved their loyalty daily, working their way around King's Law with stealthy silence and steadfast commitment to gain their Lord's favor. Alas, the ambiance of the Court brewed distrust and treachery with tempting ease. One might never be too cautious, Lord Andrion had once acclaimed and Rowan paid great heed. He had learnt the mastery of the handicraft that was the Court from none other than the Lord whose influence eclipsed not only his own but that of the King. Lord Andrion was the light behind every shadow within the Castle, his obscure tenacity had in it something incomprehensible and frightening, the sort of allegiance to oneself Rowan had always strived to accomplish.

    Lord Andrion, strikingly tall and radiant, had taken the seat to the Hand's right, towering above the bent old man whose only notable features inspired horror at the immanency of ageing. Rowan had kept his sight downcast at the scribe in spite of having Lord Andrion's overwhelming stare strip him off both pride and honor. Those cruel, furtive eyes spied every inch of Rowan's stiff expression, a blend of excitement and mockery.

    The Queen's steward's sounding off, full-throated and foul, had shook Rowan from his musing. He had no time to cater to Lord Andrion's ambiguous innuendoes, nor was he particularly inclined to combat the Lord's wit at his every whim. Rowan knew better. He hung his head to the side, a change had come over him, a sort of thoughtful calmness. The steward's doubt was entirely on point. Every other Council member bobbed his head in agreement. The Hand, however, barely moved or talked, and as far as Rowan could deduce, he was scarcely breathing as well, but to any Council member, that was common place. After all, the man had closed in on his hundredth name day, a living dead one could put it.

    "So shall it be," Lord Andrion's voice was ice. "Let us proceed," all the while casually tugging at the Hand's long sleeve so as to wake him.

    Through the heavy, iron-wrought door of the Hall, the sight of which could trample a man's bravado almost instantly, came a fully grown purple-eyed fiend, shackled and beaten into submission but a hint of defiance burnt bright within the demon's eyes. Rowan spied the expression of contempt and hatred on every Council member's face, save for the Hand whose white, glossy eyed had yet to fall on the prisoner. His own expression fancied a rare instance of blithe indifference. The broken man in front of him deserved neither his hatred nor love. If Rowan were a compassionate soul, he might have spared the poor lad some pity, but Rowan knew that it would do good to no one.

    Naelis was deemed a queer language in the ears of Warkings. The melody was both soothing and deadly, that King Haimmon feared it might uprise the bidding of malefic gods whose wrath he wished not to risk. His imaginary fears prompted him to decree Naelis a tongue none Warking would ever stoop so low to learn, as the Steward professed. To Rowan's ears, the language was a maze of false sensitivity and unperceptive finesse. Carefully studying the scribe's body movements helped little to unravel the meaning behind the words in Naelis, casting doubt to the equivalents in the Common Tongue. The Steward took it upon himself to instruct the scribe, while everyone else weighed her interpretations and judged her sternly. The woman went on in an even, surefire voice.

    A loose smirk hung on the edge of Rowan's lips. He had found the woman's incessant advocacy of the man's innocence quite entertaining.

    The Steward had raised his head to speak up, but Rowan was quick to cut him off, "I'm scarce to think that you should think for us, Naerale," he scowled at the woman, ice in his tone, "mediate, do not intend or believe,"

    "Lord Rowan speaks truly," Lord Andrion sounded off, steady on his feet and pacing to the front of the scene. His hands were locked on his back, his shoulders Warborne steel. His eyes spied the prisoner carefully, and a small smirk lingered on his thin lips, "even a mere soldier with the right incentive can dare place a dagger at the King's throat," Rowan arched a brow, curious as to what Lord Andrion was getting at.

    "The Queen's been petrified by such monstrosity," the Steward grunted and others nodded in agreement. A drumming sound suddenly elapsed into the distance. Steel against steel, grunts and cusses, the sound of blood spilling on the stone cold floor, far from the eyes of the Council and everyone in it. Rowan was caught in a blunder of confusion,

    "Isn't it a bit too far-fetched to be pronouncing the King dead whilst he still breaths, Lord Andrion?" Rowan said.

    "Yes, such discourtesy on my behalf, my dearest Rowan," Andrion smiled a nasty bit, "but I am sure that can be dealt with in due time. After all, midday is upon us, I would very much like to see this man pledge loyalty to the King upon the sight of his brethren being slaughtered."

    Lord Andrion gave command that the prisoner be shown the execution from atop the balustrade of the great Hall. The door swung open to uncover the sun up high amidst the Endless Blue, whereas a throng of guards swarmed beneath, ruthlessly prompting the prisoners Headman's way.
    #7 Galzra, Dec 25, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
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  8. "My apologies my Lords... Naerali is a queer tongue to translate and I fear he only half answers questions I present to him, it was not my intention to appear as though I seek to influence the decisions of the Small Council." She bowed and pleaded, cursing herself internally for being so damned foolhardy. Ardeyn's eyes spurned her on though, almost familiar though she was certain she'd never seen a Faw face-to-face before, perhaps her forefathers before her had been close to that house at some point and her blood felt familiarity where there truly was none. She knew he was right, his scathing looks, she was a cowardly traitor and wanted to help him ... prove him wrong with the same breath too but instead she'd probably only made her masters more wary. In the end Ardeyn would find his way to the executioners stage, she wondered why she'd even bothered trying to save him, men like him were too proud to take an easy route, or accept defeat even briefly. She tried to recall his familys words ... "Death Before Dishonour?" "Stronger than Steel?" no, none of them, then it came to her "Never Yield". Men like Ardeyn would throw themselves against a pike before bending the knee to someone they didn't want to serve.

    The small councils proposal ... no, the order, that Ardeyn watch the execution and then pledge fealty stuck in the back of her throat and she could seldom find voice to relay it on to him.
    "The Council commands that you watch the executions then pledge yourself to their king ..." she relayed miserably though perhaps in her lilting tones they wouldn't detect her acute misery.
    "I shall watch, as they will watch when I kill their wives and children, then they can pledge their lives to licking my boots." Ardeyn hissed.
    "He is ... not pleased by the Councils ruling ... " she translated, though it came as little surprise, the Steward scoffed. "Tell him we're being merciful, we could give the command that he be the one to swing the axe. "
    "Never Yield ... Your House words, correct?"
    "Were. Those words died with my ancestors. Our words are "Wounded, Never Conquered". We will take back our Old Words once House Faw puts His Brothers on the throne."
    "If you want to live long enough to put your brothers on the throne, you have to yield, now, ... I will tell you the words in the Warking tongue, you will say them but they will mean nothing, they are only words but not your words, not your tongue. Say them and live."

    "What are you saying?" the steward barked, Talika had almost allowed herself to forget they had an audience.
    "He asks how his brothers will be executed and what shall happen to their remains. I explained that they will be beheaded and their heads mounted on spikes. He asks that the bodies at least be burned as is custom. I was about to explain that they will be thrown into the mass graves outside the city walls to rot and feed the crows."The steward nodded, looked to Ardeyn and saw the burning glare that never seemed to leave his face, the steward seemed to believe it was the denial of a proper burial that had fouled Ardeyn's mood ... and not the fact that he loathed every man and woman in the room.
    Ardeyn said one last thing before the doors flung open, he narrowed his eyes at the invasive sunlight, he'd not seen for days. "You will choke on words of the Common Tongue."

    The execution stage down below was a horrifying sight, Talika was glad she was seated in a low down corner far away from the gore, but Ardeyn was hauled up to the best vantage point to see it all in its glory. His face was a stony mask, Talika couldn't bear to watch him watch the spectacle below. THe sound enough was painful.

    Ardeyn had a strong stomach, most Naerale did, a good tollerance for alcohol too, but even he felt his stomach heave as Tammon, Stafford and Emry lurched up the wood steps, their glorious leather and steel armours replaced by roughspun brown rags. Tammon had been deprived a shirt, Ardeyn suspected it was purposeful to display the battle scars on his back from the rebellion. Stafford had badly injured his leg in the fight, but he didn't allow himself to limp, Ardeyn savoured that, proud and wilful to the end. Emry was last, he looked the most sullen, it was likely because he'd have to watch two executions before it was finally his turn. Lucky for him, Ardeyn thought, I have to witness three and I won't meet the axe at the end of it. I may have many nights to see their faces haunt my dreams.
    The Warking guards spoke in their vulgar tongue but Talika didn't translate it for him. He didn't care anyway, he didn't care for words, actions carried more weight and words from the common tongue weren't worth the air those who spoke it needed to breathe.

    The executioner below spoke, didn't give Tammon's name, but he did bark the words "purple-eyed-fiend" and "naerale". Ardeyn didn't know what "purple eyed fiend" meant, he just knew that Warkings yelled it at him and his ancestors and that it was an insult of sorts.
    The axe chopped Tammon through in a single swift motion and his head landed with a dull thunk, the roar from the crowd drowned out the sound. The council were watching Ardeyn's face but he didn't flinch, didn't twitch, his face was a mask of stone. He wouldn't grant the Warking scum the luxury of seeing him weep or grieve, he wouldn't show weakness. He didn't.

    The roar from the crowd signified the first execution was over and shouts rose up again, signalling that the next was soon to follow. Talika allowed her gaze to leave her writing desk to settle on Ardeyn, he was still as stone. She could see no fear, no sadness in his face, only anger. He didn't move at all, barely blinking she noticed, when twice more, the courtyard errupted in a great roar. Then it was over and the door swung closed again.
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  9. Rowan rose, unsteady, like vapor from the earth onto the deep, blue space above. Everyone, save for the Hand, had rushed to crowd at the balustrade and rejoice at the sight of blood, but Rowan stood by the doorframe, disinterested in the sight, feeling for his sheathed sword and dagger. He much rather relished in the ear-splitting sound of cheer, sword on whetstone, boots denting the ground, the Headman's blood thirst sizzling underneath his heavy armour. Sir Yarris Fiord, a frightening figure that strode on long black legs, waving long black arms, donned in blood-smeared armor and a horn-spiked half-helmet that twisted and curled but scarcely fell. The man was better at swinging a sword than mouthing words, Rowan reasoned, but he had never unjustly slew save on King's order. He had once told Rowan, in his rough tongue, that he savoured the kill as much as being haunted by the faces of those he had done away with. In his own way, he was coping with his fate, drowning in liquor after a kill well executed.

    A shadow was cast on the wall opposite to the balustrade, a wall draped in old tapestries depicting ancient battles, Warkings and their olden gods. In the midst of it all stood the fiercest of them all, a commander praised for his valor and ferocity, the first Stone Warking, his ancestor. A thick layer of dust smeared the Stone Warking's shiny armour and left him to combat foes far from prying eyes, scarce for the god of calamity that brewed in the clouds. King Haimmon had hung all tapestries in the Council Hall, the place he had never graced with his visit for fear of his ancestors' wrath. He had once told Rowan that he feared he might be struck down by his own kin for he had never lived up to his name. Haimmon the Hungry lacked the power and honour behind the name Warborne, as known to the entire Allover Land, but he never allowed himself be smitten by such foolishness. In that, he held a firm leash on his past. He pretended like it had never happened. In spite of the old King's many flaws, Rowan held him dear.

    Sir Yarris Fiord's voice rang in Rowan's ears, snapping him back to the present. Rowan spied the young Naerale prisoner's back, tall and firm, unyielding. Having him witness the death of his kin amounted to nothing, Rowan concluded. As expected. Not a hint of doubt was there on Rowan's behalf that bright defiance burnt even stronger in the fiend's eyes. The only thing Lord Andrion had managed to do was throw a flint into the fire. Rowan turned his back to the crowd and met with his guard who had stood sentry by the door to the left whereas Lord Andrion's two faithful knights stood to the right, gloved hands firmly grasping the hilts of their swords. Rowan whispered in his guard's ear,

    "Rush to His Grace. I'd very much like to check up on his recovery," the guard bobbed his head and rushed in the direction of King's Quarters just as the door to the balustrade closed. Stewards, eunuchs and maesters alike held onto a fiendish, white-toothed grin, rubbing their hands together. Rowan had only now noticed that the Hand had barely left his spot, brooding at the Council table. He had drawn a parchment from his cloak and laid it on the roughly polished wood. As he moved closer towards the array of seats, Rowan spied an olden map of the Allover Land and the Wyvern Mountain. The old man heaved a heavy sigh and rolled it up again, his pale orbs spying Rowan's scowl.

    "I am truly sorry, my King," the Hand's lips barely moved but before Rowan could make anything out of the old man's mumbles, Lord Andrion sounded off.

    "Such a messy treat, Sir Yarris cut the cords quite lovely," in the wake of Lord Andrion's sadistic nature, Rowan found the most gruesome of truths. He himself would love to hack Lord Andrion's head off. The mere thought sent shivers through his whole body, a snicker briefly moved his lips. The Master of Coin was a vile beast, but a splendid beast nonetheless. "On behalf of the Council, and His Grace, King Haimmon of the House Warborne, Third of his Name, Ruler of the Allover Land and its peoples and the Lands Beyond the Wyvren Mountain, I shall spare this man needless bloodshed should he pledge his loyalty to us. A fair punishment to his crimes would be the dungeons, his head firmly on his shoulders, nonetheless," Lord Andrion proclaimed as everyone else fell to their seats. None dared oppose the unanimous decision made by the Master of Coin, as though he were King without the crown.

    "And should he not?" Rowan was the only one to speak.

    "I believe our interpreter wouldn't be so foolish and let slip such an opportunity," the man slurred in perfect unison, his voice cold as ice.
    #9 Galzra, Dec 28, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
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  10. Talika felt get stomach rol at Andrions order. No one disagreed of course, she'd seen this kind if bravado I'm the council room many times before. Her hand wanted to shake violently but she willed ir steady as she wrote out his order, she thought of how she could best pronounce the words in the common tongue so Ardeyn could repeat them for her. She desperately hoped he would. He had such cruel burning eyes, she hadn't looked up since the executions began and suspected those eyes would burn deeper into her than before if she looked up.
    "He hates me" she thought miserably. "He hates me as much as he hates the Warkings"

    Regardless she had to try. The guards spun Ardeyn around, he was a truly daunting figure. She watched his eyes scan across the council members, lingering on one before moving slowly to the next. She knew he was committing those faces to memory so he'd know who to kill later ... he did assume he'd find a way out of course, Talika suspected as much. Finally his heavy gaze fell unto her as she peeled her eyes away from the parchment she had been writing on. She cleared her throat, skipping the formalities of literal translation she spoke to him plainly in his native tongue. Her life depended on his response.
    [[Square brackets are Naerali I can't change colour on mobile]]

    [["House Faw fought and defended my ancestors for generations, if Our People were free, we would be brothers and sisters right now, not distant strangers. I know you bear me no love. But for the love you bear our ancestors ... please spare them the grief of our deaths and repeat my words in the common tongue"]] she wondered did she sound as authoritative as she had tried ... was it convincing?
    [["Ancestors weep for us now. The Warbeasts have made you weak and sickly and stolen your tongue and your life. Death would bring them no more grief than this life has already brought them."]] Ardeyn replied, she had thought he'd relent ... he had to, they'd kill them both.
    [["Never Yield are your words not mine. If you do not repeat what I tell you to the council they will slay me too. Would your ancestors forgive you that?"]] She knew she'd regret that harshness later but it was a necessary evil.
    [["Those are no longer my house words ... 'Wounded, Never Conquered' ... what are your kings words?"]]
    Talika sucked in a breath,he hadn't used the word for House Words, instead he was asking about the pledge of fealty. Perhaps he was going to say it.
    [["You must kneel on one knee before the council as you say it"]] she explainedible, surprised to see Ardeyn go down on one knee, the guards at his side flinched when he moved without warning, gripping their swords at their belts.
    [["The words."] Ardeyn repeated.
    Talika spoke slowly, word for word, [["your name]] I, Ardeyn Faw]] she said, Ardeyn echoed and gave his name in the fashion Warkings spoke their names.
    "Pledge my life and my loyalty" ... he repeated her slowly and in a thick accent, barely comprehensible but he gave the words regardless and the council knew it was no trick.
    "To the honourable and fair" ... she noticed he struggled with the word honourable but he continued to echo her.
    "King Hammon"
    In most cases a much longer pledge was required featuring His Graces full title with all the bells and whistles, but exceptions were usually made when the subject was too weak or unable to speak enough of the common tongue. He'd pledged fealty ...remained on one knee lest they demand more of him. He turned his head to look at her with prying eyes and she wondered what he was thinking right now.
    "Shall I have him repeat the full pledge and admit his crimes or is this pledge sufficient My Lords?" She asked keeping her voice steady.
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  11. Rowan kept his eyes steady on the iron-wrought door. King's Quarters lay towering above the Council Hall, a sleek spiral of steps that stretched above and below had been crafted in-between. The guard he had sent to check up on His Grace should have made his route by now, rushing back to meet his master. Unrest lingered with the thought but Rowan had put a tight leash on his turmoil, much obliged not to fervour Lord Andrion's wit any longer. There was an edge to every shadow within the walls that made his hackles rise. He spied some of the maesters and eunuchs by the side exit, great haste in their unruly footsteps. The Queen's Steward perched beside the Hand, lifting up his chin so that his beaklike nose would eclipse the sinister smile that brewed on his lips. The Hand himself said not a word, only heaved a deeply troubled sigh. It was as though no one listened to the Naerale prisoner's pledge of fealty save for Rowan, yet he had no need for the fiend's loyalty. It was the burning embers within his purple orbs Rowan had wished to see.

    The Scribe's question lingered in the air as Lord Andrion bobbed his head to the side, his smile fading. A sudden beating of ink-black wings whirled past the high windows as though it were a prelude to misfortune. Rowan closed his eyes, a bitter, light chuckle moved his lips. As announced, the age-old bells sounded off a melancholy, grief-stricken tune. "That would be quite enough," great sorrow stirred in Lord Andrion's mellow voice, "unbelievably fickle is a fiend's being to pledge loyalty to our beloved King once, and plunge a dagger through his heart twice."

    In the spur of the moment, the iron-wrought door spun open and the heavy stench of blood flooded in. By the entrance stood Rowan's faithful guard, held to his knees. His shiny royal armor had been smeared with blood as thick as the fiery tears of the Wyvern Mountain. Stripped off his sword, he heaved shallow breaths, his chest rose and fell under the frail cage of his shattered ribs. Knights of House Gillford brooded by his side, a sword and full armor in each. The guard reared his beaten face to look upon his master, remorse and grief shone out of his lifeless eyes. His master had barely moved, as though unaffected by the misfortune that had fallen upon his warrior. Alas, the guard peered closely into his master's eyes and saw unbridled rage, unyielding fire that burnt atop the Stone Beast in harsh opposition to the ruthless winds. A deathridden smile danced on the poor knight's dry lips.

    "M'lord," one of Lord Andrion's pawns issued forth a blood-stained dagger of Naerale origin, "this is high treason! The King has been murdered." Lord Andrion beckoned him closer, the dagger in the knight's gloved hands reeked of treachery. Lord Andrion took it upon himself to brandish the fiendish weapon to everyone's dismay. His cruel, cold eyes fell upon Rowan,

    "Grief has stricken the entire Kingdom, my Lords, for now we stand in the presence of treachery and treason. Our beloved King Haimmon of House Warborne has been slain in his bed," Lord Andrion's voice echoed within the walls with such intensity that it almost rang true. "you may wonder who would do such a misdeed, deprive the realm of our late King's peaceful reign, dare stab His people in the back while he slept, wined and dined in His quarters," Rowan never peeled his eyes off his guard, "Our beloved King died by the hand of this Naerale scum!" the Master of Coin professed loud and clear, "in connivance with none other than our young Lord Forthwind, as much as it pains me to admit. I had raised him as my own son, offered him a fatherly bond, only to have it all taken and severed by his utter greed. Would I had known such evil brewed within you, my son," Rowan's and Andrion's eyes clashed in a crimson spark, "I would have daggered you long ago." The Lord threw the dagger Rowan's way, thrashing off the blood that trickled down his steel gloves. Not a word was spoken. The Master of Coin, King without Crown, delivered a crisp, clear checkmate.

    Knights of House Gillford crowded the Hall as their master made for the exit, leaving behind the order to apprehend the traitors. The Knights gripped their swords with both hands, their commander taking word, "Lord Rowan of House Forthwind, former Master of Trade, King's First Royal Advisor and Steward, you are charged with high treason and sentenced to rot in the dungeons beneath the Mountain until the Council has decided your fate. The Naerale fiend's execution shall follow promptly," Rowan eared the tremor in the Commander's voice, slight as it was. None dared hastily approach him and pin him down as though he were the lowliest of scum. He cast his sight upon the Hand who pleaded not for his innocence or denied his participation in this farce. The Steward was not even worth eyeing.

    "Thoroughly entertaining," Rowan spoke bitterly, picking up the dagger and moving Ardeyn Faw's way, "I would not have expected less from Lord Andrion." The knight commander stepped forward to rid Rowan of his steel, an inch away from the young Lord who seemed to have given up to his fate, until he jammed the dagger in the commander's eye socket. The man cried out in pain, pushed aside by the now sword-wielding Lord Forthwind. His Warborne steel pierced the air Ardeyn Faw's way, shattering the links to the chain in one powerful strike, "Fight if you want to live," he scolded as the knights swarmed in on them, aiming to kill.
    #11 Galzra, Dec 30, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
  12. It all happened so fast that it made Talika's head spin. As quickly as the words had left Ardeyn's lips, his fate, and hers too, as well as Lord Rowan, all came crashing down. They were as good as dead the second the bloodied knight stepped into the chamber. Ardeyn appeared unmoved by it all and Talika felt incredibly faint.

    Though he did not have a word of the common tongue, Ardeyn appeared to have realised somewhat what was going on. He'd gathered there was a betrayal, from the knelling of the bells he'd assumed the king was indeed dead, though he'd not heard confirmation in his own tongue. THe only thing he could not confidently conclude was who exactly was behind it. His rebellion had been crushed, he knew it was not one of his brothers, and yet he knew it was likely a purple-eyed man would take the blame, possibly him, given that he was already in chains. He wanted to spit something harsh at Talika for making him say those words in the common tongue, though he hadn't the time as chaos erupted inside the council hall.

    Lords began shouting amongst themselves in that bizarre tongue of theirs, Ardeyn didn't care to know what they were discussing anyway, their hollow words were wasted on him, as was the translations Talika no longer deemed worthy to offer him. Her palor had greyed considerably as the heated discussion grew more fierce. Then in a flash of steel and screech of death, the commander fell and Rowan had shattered a link in Ardeyn's chains, his hands were still weighted down with heavy iron shackles, but now he had a full range of motion ... She couldn't anticipate what he was thinking or what he would do next.

    Ardeyn hadn't expected a WArking of all people to free him of his shackles rather than shear off his head, though he didn't plan on thanking Rowan any time soon, one of the knights launched towards him with a shortsword. Ardeyn was unarmed, but that didn't appear to matter. The heavy forged iron bracelet proved weapon enough as he dodged a jab from the knight and brought down an iron weight which caved in the attackers skull.

    Talika shrieked in horror. The dead commander, the knight ... she was terrified. She staggered from her desk, slumping against the wall as her chest stung, trying to suck in rasped breaths. One of the other knights rounded on her and she was certain she'd be killed, she felt her knees crumple beneath her and feebly brought her arms up, half-yielding, half covering her face to hide from death. She didn't see Ardeyn wrench the dagger from the commanders eye socket and hurl the balanced blade end-over-end. It plunged deep into the knights throat, the tiny exposed gap where his gorget stopped. Talika didn't see, she heard a sickening gurgle and then a thud as the body fell down beside her. She squealed as she peeked between her fingers and saw the crimson river flowing from his neck and looked up to see Ardeyn's steel gaze on hers for just a moment before he unsheathed a shortsword from a fallen knight.

    She scurried away on her knees to the deepest corner of the room but everyone was moving faster and faster and her head was reeling and pounding. She could feel her tears hot on her cheeks and her throat burned.

    Ardeyn hadn't understood Rowan's command "Fight if you want to live", but he hadn't been given much choice in the matter, he didn't know what Rowan said but he knew a Warking was coming at him to kill him the second Rowan cut him free. Talika may have betrayed her people, but she still shared his blood, he didn't hesitate in flinging a blade toward her attacker. Now, he rounded the first body that was leaving a crimson pool on the floor, to Talika's surprise, he offered a rough hand to her and unsteadily she pulled herself up.
    "Why do you save me?" she asked incredulously, he shielded her with his body, sword drawn forward to cut down anyone who dared step close enough.
    "You are a traitor to your blood, but it is not their blood to spill."
    "Brother I-"
    "Do not call me brother, I have no sisters who speak their vulgar tongue."

    Talika knew he was no friend to her ... he wasn't defending her because their families had been bound together generations ago. He defended her because a Warkings had no right to shed her blood. She wondered if he would kill her as soon as they were out of this peril.
    "He said fight if you want to live" she translated, looking in Rowan's direction.
    He said nothing as she slumped against his back, her strength fading, stars swam before her eyes and everything went dark, before she fully blacked out, she felt his free arm catch her beneath the shoulder, his sword arm cutting down a figure that lunged forward.

    Ardeyn made a stab at the beak-nosed Warking, whom staggered back, almost losing his footing over a chair as he backed away. He growled something in the Naerali tongue, but without Talika ready to translate it was impossible to fathom what he had said.
  13. Two of them started forward, chainmail clinking lightly with each stride. Rowan stepped between them, clicking his teeth together. His brows were drawn in a straight, ink-black line, casting a shadow on his looming face. The sword would have been Rowan's last resort had the young man not been seething with unbridled rage and a tinge of excitement. Regicide was punishable by death, the Law declared, regardless of wealth and status. The young lord's options were scarce, but none included handing over his head to Lord Andrion on a silver platter, even if it meant invoking the help of the Naerale youth.

    Full-armored knights lunged at him; Rowan did not wait for them to reach him, but spun forward. One man lurched into the other as Rowan's sleek Warborne sword came whistling up and rang against the helms. They were slow, for knights. The taller one picked himself up and tackled Rowan to the stone-wrought floor, but his underarm suffered the sharp edge of Rowan's dagger. The knight cried out, unbalanced and kneed. Rowan sheared the knight's visor-less helmet off with one swift strike of the sword's heavy hilt and delivered a hard stab in the man's temple. The life in his eyes faded away. The other, smaller one came leaping over them, slashing at Rowan's head. Rowan ducked under his sword and thrust upward, but the weight of steel against steel pinned him down.

    Another knight ran up to Rowan from behind, stabbing at him. Mere inches from having his spine shattered, Rowan was shielded by his half-beaten guardsman. The poor soul had thrown himself between Rowan and the assailant, kicking at him with the last of his might. He had managed to snatch the steel cap off the knight and catch the thrust of the other's sword with it. Rowan unbalanced his assailant’s rough stance with a kick in the kneecap, burying the steel codpieces deep into the man's skin. The knight fell to his knee and loosened his grip, enabling Rowan to pick himself up and pierce the knight's weary breastplate with the top of his Warborne steel, stopping the heart in one brutal instant.

    "Fall back," he commanded, back against back with his guard. The poor man had been clutching onto the knight's sword with his bare, bloody hands, the helmet buried in his chest, a mere lump of worthless steel that kept him alive. The other thrust harder, the tip of the sword hard against the helmet.

    "M'lord, hurry," the guard panted, unyielding to his master's order, "your men are being slaughtered. You must escape," his voice grew weak. His assailant shouted a curse and charged with both hands on his sword. The helmet broke in half and the steel pierced the guard's flesh. The man bit his tongue and held his breath, clutching the sharp edges of the sword more firmly. He kept fighting on pure spunk. The sound of flesh being torn rang in Rowan's ears. He spun on his heel and charged brashly at the knight, hacking off his head as blood splattered about. Smeared with the blood of the kill, Rowan turned to his brave warrior, only to find him deprived of life, but with a small smile on his face.

    The sound of approaching footsteps filled the Hall. Rowan moved past his warrior's lifeless body, his expression livid. The Queen's Steward was nowhere to be found but the Hand sat motionless in his high chair, as though awaiting his judgment. Rowan stood in front of him, gripping his sword and dagger so tightly that his knuckles turned white, but Rowan saw no point in doing away with a person who had already been as good as dead.

    From the corner of his eye, he spied the Naerale youth brimming with life. Rowan did not have the slightest idea of how to communicate with the man now that the scribe lay unconscious by his side but the need to get out of the castle alive outweighed his ignorance. He pointed the tip of his sword towards the side exit, and said roughly, "Ardeyn Faw." The next moment, he was outside the door, in a tightly packed hallway, a throng of knights of House Gillford strong at their heels and an armory up ahead crowded by King's men. To the side, a steep, narrow staircase led to the stowage of old armor, a damp crypt that led to nowhere had one no idea of its secrets. Rowan wiped the blood off his face with his sleeve and grabbed a half-burnt candle from a girandole. The sound of knights closing in made him hurry down the steps.
  14. Ardeyn slashed at a cowering knight leaving a crimson trail from his forehead to his cheek, he shrieked and pressed his hands up to his bleeding eye. Ardeyn snarled "brown eyed bastard" in Naerali, since the Warkings were always so scathing about Naerali eyes, it seemed a fitting jibe. He continued to screech as Ardeyn turned to follow Rowan, he had no real choice in the matter really. If they didn't escape now, he'd find himself pinned in and it would be only a matter of time before he was well and truly outnumber and outmatched.

    Talika's fainting spell didn't last long, particularly because Ardeyn kept her upright, her legs were like ropes beneath her, flailing uselessly but she gradually reclaimed her footing.She felt someones blood damp on her face but could barely bring her hand up to wipe it away. She didn't know whos blood it could have been and didn't care to think much about it either.

    "Keep running" she panted breathlessly in Naerali as Ardeyn caught up with Rowan.
    Ardeyn couldn't trust Rowan he was a Warking, but he'd considered the window and ruled out that option, the drop would be perilous so he had to follow behind Rowan further and further down the staircase, at least until he had some other options to try.

    "Lord Forthwind" Talika gasped, Ardeyn sheathed the dagger in his belt and hefted Talika up with both arms so he could move quicker than when she was dragging behind him. They both depended on Rowan now if they were ambushed, at least until ARdeyn could put her down and unsheath his dagger ... or so she suspected, Ardeyn would find a way to fight, unarmed, even when his arms were full, he was born to fight and survive, he'd find a way.

    "Tell me how we get out of her daughter of Marchan" Ardeyn said, she noticed he didn't call her by her given name ... she didn't deserve the courtesy, or perhaps he was reminding her of where ... of who she same from.
    "Keep following Lord Forthwind. The king is dead and you and Lord Forthwind are accused ... he is trying to escape and he may be your only chance."
    "You ask me to trust a Warking? I should have left you to fall on one of their blades traitor of House Lir"

    Talika reminded herself not to be offended by his sharp words, they were truthful but she couldn't allow the words to hurt her.
    "I am telling you that is how we get out of here" she implored.
    "Tell your Warking master I will jam a blade between his eyes once we are done here. I do not indebt myself to heathens"

    He looked at her for a moment, properly in the eyes and she wished she could find some comfort in them, some forgiveness, but his eyes bore only anger ... purple fire. He face was dirty from his time in the dungeons, and now a stark spray of red stained his sallow skin.

    "Lord Forthwind ..." she said raising her voice so he could hear her though it was a struggle.
    "He says he will kill you once we've escaped ..." she feared what would befall her, Ardeyn didn't want to protect her and neither did Rowan, she'd be killed by whoever slayed the other. At least if it was Ardeyn he'd treat her remains correctly ... then again she thought perhaps he wouldn't.
    "Why are you saving me?" She asked, wondering why he was carrying her when he could have been carrying a broad sword instead.
    "Warkings have taken away one of my sisters and made her ill, made her forget who she is. I will remind her what she is and what her masters have done"
    When he glanced at her again she observed that same fierceness. She pressed her hand against his cheek and breathed a wraspy "thank you", she knew this rescue was nothing personal though ... he'd probably been motivated to save her to spite the Warkings, not out of the good of his heart ... she was less than nothing to him, she could tell.

    Ardeyn followed Rowan into the depths of the castle, narrowly avoiding a few ambushes on the way. "This is a dead end ... we'll be trapped." Talika squeaked as she realised where they path they were going was leading to. There would be no way out and they'd be cornered and killed. Ardeyn, unaware that Talika assumed they were walking into a dead end, followed the glow of the candle in Rowan's grasp further down the stairway.
    #14 CaptainObvious, Jan 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
  15. Naelis rang in the undertones of boots against the steep stone. The endless stairway wrung and twisted into the ink-black abyss down below. The only beacon of light within Rowan's heavy grip flickered as though afraid, uncertain of what lingered within the Wyvern Mountain. Alas, Rowan descended with sure footing as though he had been the craftsman who disturbed the land. Beads of sweat trickled down Rowan's spine, cold as ice. He found breathing heavy; the stale air had a rotten stench to it.

    "Yes, I am sure he shall be as effective killing me as he was successful in the rebellion," Rowan merely grunted, a heavy lump of disgust stuck within his throat. The Naerale youth was hardly the main issue in this deadly hour. Unruly footsteps smothered the hard stone above them, incessant and pertinent. Rowan contemplated Lord Andrion's reasoning behind King Haimmon's murder and his further intentions. Charging Rowan with high treason must have been a flare of delight to the man's devious nature. More than power, Rowan reasoned, Lord Andrion loved competition. Had the Master of Coin any real desire to off the young Lord Forthwind, he would have done so on many occasions. Anger burnt deep within Rowan's caged chest, eager to counter Lord Andrion's move. Naught good had ever come upon blind hatred, however, Rowan thought.

    The steps had finally ceased and opened about a straight clear darkness. Rowan feeled up the nearby wall and acquired an oil-soaked torch. Lit and raised up high, the fiery torch cast unnerving shadows to the brittle walls. The floor had been clustered with olden armor, weather-worn and rusty, seized in battle and forgotten. Swords lay abreast the walls, long and great. Shattered helmets told stories of fallen heroes and smothered villains. The entire crypt was naught but a wastebasket, no door on each end but above, back to where they had come from. Rowan had no need for a door, however.

    "Pick what you would," he sounded off, in the midst of it all. His sword and dagger were sheathed and at rest at his belt. He shuffled through and picked at the debris, as though looking for something of great importance. A lopsided smirk fashioned his beady face when he did at last encounter their way out. It was a narrow manhole, tightly shut but still penetrable. A light salty scent coming from below tickled his nostrils.

    "Heed me, woman," he commanded, face to face with the Naerale youth, his heel at the manhole, "the Great Deep lies through the narrow tunnel. A small outpost overlooks the waters. There we shall hope to find what it would take us away from the mountain. There are men down there, Poole bannermen and my own handful. By luck, they should not have heard the bells, if their hearts still lie with the fallen King, " he spoke elegantly and truly, legs astride and the torch jammed between him and his interlocutors. With one swift blow of the heel, the hinges that held the manhole shut shattered, and the wooden cover fell through. "The woman first,"
  16. Talika knew better than to relay Rowan's response on to Ardeyn ... Not that it was necessary, ARdeyn and Rowan both knew that they hated each other. She didn't think it would be wise to tell Ardeyn Rowan had slighted him for failing in his rebellion, then again, Ardeyn could probably remind Rowan that it was one of his kinsmen that had betrayed him and killed his precious king. Talika would rather not get tied up in the whole horrid affair, it appeared to be a blessing in disguise that they could not understand each other.

    "Your brothers would never spill each others blood, look to your masters Marchan's Daughter, they butcher each other over a chair in a castle." Ardeyn glanced over his shoulder, the pounding footsteps were impossible to place, they echoed around the halls and staircase, he couldn't tell if they were getting closer, or just getting lost.
    "They have done me no harm and treated me with kindness ... They are not my brothers but they are not all butchers." Talika retorted weakly.
    "Keeping you alive and enslaved is not a kindness, the dead have more dignity than you."Ardeyn let her down from his grasp with an odd gentleness she didn't expect and she found her feet again as he armed himself, she din't have to translate what Rowan had said, he was taking the liberty of arming himself. She watched cautiously as he tested the balance in a long-forgotten blade that likely belonged to a brave knight from a reputable house. Now it didn't matter and its owner was dead. Ardeyn wouldn't find a Naerali forged blade here, but he didn't appear too fussy and settled on a formidable looking blade that was incredibly sharp. He scooped up a few throwing daggers to pair with the Naerali dagger that had been used to implicate him in the regicide. He quickly armed himself with the lightest armour he could find, though it wasn't Naerali armour either and he didn't quite like it. He wasn't used to being fussy though, he could ill-afford luxury in his position.

    Talika explained the exit plan to Ardeyn who's face was stony and unmoving throughout. "As you command my Lord." she said carefully, unable to hide the shaking fear in her voice. Ardeyn kept his hand on the hilt of his weapon and glaring violet eyes levelled on Rowan. If the young Lord even blinked threateningly, Ardeyn was prepared to strike and it was obvious.

    Talika carefully eased down the manhole, carefully inching forward blindly in the darkness, her pulse racing and her breath quickening with acute fear. She glanced back to see if either of the two men followed after her but it was too dark, she squinted and waited for a face to swim into view out of the darkness.
  17. Ardeyn's impeccable stare whiffed away the last of Rowan's anger. It was as though gazing upon a rift in the lilac clouds at the splendid, cerulean weather as the God of War thundered amidst her wondrous host. For a moment, Rowan stood in perfect silence, deaf to the guards' unruly racket and the rattle of the flames. Rowan graciously withstood the animosity that shone out of Ardeyn's purple eyes. Reminded of his old maester's teaching, he put Lord Andrion aside and focused on what really mattered - keeping his head on his shoulders. He cast his eyes down, peering at the manhole through his long lashes. The woman had reached down safely. He had half expected that the Deep Blue had filled the passage with salt water as per past experience but to the ear it seemed not a splash.

    "Woman," he called, crouching down to place the torch in her feeble hands, "don't drop it," a sudden draft blew to his face, the scent of salt and freedom coiled through his nostrils. He cast one last look at Ardeyn and fell steady to his feet through the manhole. Soft pebbles crunched beneath his boots and a nasty chill ran down his spine. The stone wall wet the tips of his fingers. They were lucky. The water had been reclaimed by the ocean not so long ago. He scarcely waited for Ardeyn to join them when he took the torch back and led the way forwards, a speck of light glimmered in the distance.

    "I should tell you," he spoke in a crisp voice, "this passage is plagued by an outwordly creature who is remarkably in many ways such as yourself. He bites," when Rowan had first encountered the subterranean levels of the Wyvern Mountain, his curiosity led him to the far ends of every passage. He had seen quite a few unsettling things but he had also supposedly discovered a unique life form. Borkul Took, he preferred to call himself. Where he had come from and who he actually was Rowan had never been told but he took to his eccentricity and his oddly shaped front teeth that grew over his lower lip. Borkul was half Rowan's size but equally as nimble and savage and better at sniffing out prey than any royal hound. Rowan fancied a confrontation that could rid him off the Naerale burden but the salty scent that lingered in the air covered their odour.

    The brighter the speck of hope shone, the faster Rowan strode towards it. He could hear the song of the ocean, the waves romping against the rocky coast, the seagulls following in a high-pitched tune, and he could see them swooping down on their prey in rapid overtures. Sunshine hit his eyes and he found himself overlooking the endless body of water glittering in the horizon. The familiar scent filled his lungs and the vivid weather felt a relief. To their left, a small outpost cut through the water. It was naught but a smuggling haven, docking smaller ships from faraway lands that carried certain collectables the former King had been very fond of. Only a handful of personally selected guards and stewards knew of its existence but Rowan was quite sure it had never truly been a secret.

    "Halt! Who goes there?" one of the guards slunk towards them from the right, fashioned in Poole armour and clutching onto an oblong spear with both hands.
    #17 Galzra, Feb 4, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  18. Ardeyn followed down the manhole, landing nimbly on his feet, despite his time in the dungeons, his senses and his fitness hadn't dulled. Talika on the other hand, she struggled with the uneven ground, slicked with moisture from the salty sea air, she picked each step carefully so she wouldn't slip and fall because she doubted she'd have the strength to get back up again.

    She wanted to talk to Ardeyn ... drawing some comfort in the sound of her peoples tongue. In the palace, the common tongue was spoken, Naerali could only be spoken in hushed whispers amongst slaves at night, they were barked orders in the common tongue that they could not understand but had to memorise anyway. The way Ardeyn spoke, his accent slightly stronger than that of the other Naerale folk in the palace ... it felt more authentic in her ears. He was right, as harsh as his words were ... they were true, she didn't even speak her peoples tongue as well as she ought too. Still, the Warkings had given her a respectable, bearable life ... the same could not be said for her Naerale brothers and sisters, but attempting to slaughter all Warkings wasn't a fair recompense either.

    She heeded Rowan's warning about a strange creature somewhere in the tunnels, and found herself inching back so she walked between the two men, perhaps that was the safest place for her.
    "Where will we go when we escape from here?" she asked quietly, looking over her shoulder every few steps, lest the creature Rowan warned her about make an appearance.
    "I will join the rebellion, you will find your own way" he replied without even looking at her. It came as little surprise, Ardeyn didn't appear the type to help her anyway, she was only a burden to him after all.

    A voice rang through the end of the tunnel as they neared its exist ... a guard, Talika froze on the spot, Ardeyn shoved her behind him with one arm and drew his swords, 2 short swords, one for each hand.
    "Ardeyn stop! These men may be allies." Talika called, grabbing him by the arm.
    He shoved her aside and she steadied herself against the wall but he appeared stilled, ready to attack but frozen in position, waiting to strike ... it appeared he was listening to her, but barely. She could see in the streams of light that stroked across his face that his expression was steely and fierce. He wanted to kill anyone who wasn't one of his own. Still, he held his position, she couldn't help but hope Rowan would quickly figure out whether they face friend or foe ... had the Poole bannermen turned against him or were they still allies?
    "They are Warkings, Warkings are no allies of mine" he growled.
    "Master Rowan," Talika called, "Are these men still loyal to you?" she asked.
  19. Rowan's ink-black hair stirred in the wind, sharp wisps fluttered about against his still face. His stone grey eyes lit up at the soft touch of sunrays against his cheek, fixed upon the stout, armor-fashioned kinsman. He was an old man, his white whiskers and crinkled skin spoke past fifty, but a childlike embers burnt deep within his charcoal-hued orbs and claimed cheeky courage. Rowan knew better than to draw his sword. Regardless of his freshly decreed status as a traitor, Rowan would not rush into battle at first chance. His eloquence would be of invaluable use, instead, and so would his title.

    "Have you forgotten your Lord's face, warden?" he raised his arm sideways, a narrow dividing line between the guard and the Naerale Youth. The old man held his tongue, inspecting the young Lord's face thoroughly, naught a blemish to cast a doubt, he concluded, 'twas the Master of Trade.

    "M'Lord," he gasped, "wouldn't have expected ye through these parts," words rolled off his pale lips in a sloppy fashion. The spear limped by his side, the olden steel gleamed in bright sunshine. He whipped out a rotten yet equally sincere smile that cracked a ripple across his limp, wrinkly face. There was little time for joy, however, for he caught the sight of a pair of purple orbs that shone out from the tunnel, and two swords to match their hostility. "Naerale scum," he spat. Rowan could see the tightness around his mouth, the barely suppressed anger in his eyes that only grew stronger. The tip of the spear fell Ardeyn's way, as the man took a balanced step back.

    "Step back, warden, he is but my... handmaid," a light chuckle bruised Rowan's lips, "with a queer taste for sporting that which is forbidden. Woman," he called, his voice cold as ice, "teach him some manners." With a brisk jerk, Rowan rid himself of the half-burnt torch that thumped down the rocky road. From the corner of his eye, he spied confusion on the man's flat face yet not a hint of hesitation in his readiness to strike at any moment,

    "But, m'Lord, an armed Naerale scum looks for naught but swift death," the guard whimpered in a queer tone. Rowan strode forwards and wrapped his nimble fingers around the lance, jerking it down. His brows were drawn in an ink-black line, his stone cold eyes inspired fear and reverence that clung as fists around the olden man's crooked neck. His voice rang in the overture of dread,

    "Perhaps you're hard of hearing," fancy Poole armor rattled upon the man's shivering bones, "I wish him no harm," Rowan understood the dangers of what was to come. Apart from a handful of his own men who overlooked the sea from the outpost, the rest were all Poole men whose allegiance couldwork miracles if fortune would have it but Rowan thought not. It was best to avoid unnecessary conflict, to which Rowan fleshed out a plan, a plan Ardeyn would not like. He commanded the guard to return to the outpost and inform the men of his presence, that he was in need of a fast ship to carry him and his foes-turned-allies across the waters to the Wolfen Islands on behalf of Lord Andrion's wish to permanently quell the rebellion of the purple fiends. "Inform my guards that nothing is more important than heeding Lord Andrion's wish," he concluded.

    The guard rushed off, huffing and puffing as he hopped from one steep rock to another. When he was far out of reach, Rowan turned to his ill-fated companions, "Lay down your weapons, and keep them down. As of now, we may hope no need of them." A sudden clamour filled the air; steel fell hard against stone and the sea revelled in the sound of muffled laughter.

    "Aye, m'lord Andrion may take a whiff of my balls!" a voice thundered from beyond the rocky coast. That was his cue. His men had dealt with Poole guards accordingly, perhaps not in the way Rowan would have liked, but it was more than he could bargain for. The outpost was his domain, a far stretch of his land, and his men were loyal, regardless of what foolishness their Lord would bestow upon them. In case this outpost were to fall prey to Lord Andrion's wicked ways, Rowan had instructed his guards to trust no other House but their own and make sure no Poole devotee could wriggle his way out of firmly tied ropes.

    "Shall we?" a lopsided smirk graced his handsome face as he strode forward.
    #19 Galzra, Feb 8, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  20. Talika was terrified for the entire exchange. She expected Ardeyn to enter a blood-filled rage, see red and kill them all with terrifying swiftness, but as the guard began to talk, she counted the passing seconds that were filled with non-violence, waiting for the peace to break and blood to spill. Talika flinched when the guard said "Naerale Scum", even though Ardeyn had no words of the common tongue, but he knew what that meant. All Naerale knew when they were being insulted simply because the Warkings never spoke to them other than to bark orders at trained handmaids, or spit insults at slaves. She felt Ardeyn's hard, steely arm twitch in her grasp, he was restraining himself but it was no easy feat. She longed for Rowan to say something reassuring for her to translate to Ardeyn in the hopes of placating him.

    "Woman," he called, his voice cold as ice, "teach him some manners."

    That wasn't the type of relief and reassurance she sought ... but regardless, she had to comply.
    "This man is loyal to Master Rowan, he can help us escape but you must sheath your weapon." she said softly, carefully choosing her words, she avoided using the words "mind your manners" or "obedience" because she suspected they would solicit the wrong response.
    A tense number of seconds passed, with Ardeyn staring icily at the guard before sheathing each sword slowly. He kept his hands at the hilts, ready to draw at any second.
    "This man is not loyal to me or my brothers, let me take his head." Ardeyn growled to Talika, Talika nodded and replied, "Not yet, there will come a time." she said, it seemed that he was still too raw and fiery to be convinced of an allegiance between Warkings and Naerale, she'd bide her time and try cool his temper for now.
    "He apologises for his offence Lord Forthwind, Naerali do not understand the structure of Warking Houses and fealties and he misunderstood." she translated, bowing deeply and respectfully. Where Ardeyn was rigid and unyielding, she attempted to compensate. She certainly wouldn't dare tell Ardeyn that Rowan had called him a "handmaid", then there would most certainly be bloodshed. Rowan was lucky Ardeyn couldn't understand him, though she wasn't brave enough to remind him of that fact.

    She sighed in relief and allowed her rigid shoulders to soften slightly when Rowan confirmed that, for now, they had allies to aid their escape. She quickly translated to Ardeyn, urging him to keep his swords sheathed and to keep his head down. SHe had a feeling his patience would wear thin. Although he was no longer in a dungeon, he was still in a cage when he was in Rowan's custody, it was a matter of time before he lashed out.

    "Lord Forthwind I- ... " she knew she shouldn't speak up, but they were alone briefly for a moment and she needed to speak freely now. "I believe it would be safer for us all if, may I teach Ardeyn some of the common tongue, just simple words, if we are ever ambushed there will not be enough time for me to interpret and translate for you."

    Ardeyn didn't smile as Rowan did, he just glowered. Until he was with his brothers again, he was still a prisoner. This was no freedom, he'd only be free when he was with his own. He wondered what to do with Talika though. She was neither Warking nor Naerale, she was some useless amalgamation of the two.
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