Champions of Celdaera [Aenimus x Slade]

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Snowball, Jun 9, 2016.

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  1. It was the closest to the center the desert states had: the Port of Nazahar. In comparison with much of the region, it was rich and lush and rife with life. At least, in normal times it would be. The port, normally sporting ships flying the flags of every nation bustling wading in and out of dock had only a meagre number of ships moored. The Nazahar’s own trading fleet had been reduced alarmingly before they had caught wind of the hazard in the north. Captured. Likewise, unable to be trusted, seeing how so many of their vessels had been captured, sailing eastward meant so many of their trading sloops had been caught up in customs and were not to be released anytime soon. Whispers on the wind suggested they would be commandeered for ‘the good fight.’

    With the lack of import and export of goods, so did decrease the traffic of peoples of various nations. What was once tenuously open borders (or at least so for those who knew how to smuggle their way) were not so anymore. The economy of the desert nations were in shambles and those who lived rich lives in the arid sands found themselves cutting back on their indulgent ways just to make ends meet. As for those who could not claim such…

    A grim faced man slams a jeweled goblet upon the table and leans forward across it, glowering at the other man convened at this meeting of men of power amongst the deserts. Of those present, he was perhaps one of the most haggard, and palest. His face is gaunt and his body large and muscled. He works his jaw, his beard bobbing up and down as if he is the act of thinking is a bit much for the brutish figure. Finally, in a gruff voice not used to speaking the common tongue, he rasps, “You insult Drusknali with these excuses. We, followers of Roknar are strong, but cannot continue like this. We keep Desert at bay from pampered,” he spits the word, “people, you all. In exchange, you help Drusknali and Drusknali never again make ah, rohidna… To raid. That was oath. Now, you do not keep. As I see, you become Oathbreakers, all.”

    As a servant moves forward to wipe up the cheap wine the Drusknali man spilled, the man at the head of the table smooths his tunic and waits for the man to finish speaking calmly. “Let us not jump to anything brash, Erhkid—”

    “Let the damned desert beast rage! They’re nothing more than brutes living in the hollowed out skull of a giant desert skrag!”

    “It not skrag!” Erhkid roars, “Child of Roknar. A dragon!” He bares his teeth in a bestial display. His hand unconsciously reaches for something which was obviously not present.

    “See, see! The beast reaches for a weapon. A smart thing I suggested we not allow any weapons past the room, Barton,” the nobleman snorts.

    The one called Barton sighs and stands, outstretching his hands for peace until all those present settle themselves once more, “At ease, gentlemen. We are not here to fight amongst ourselves or see our own treaties and promises fall. We find our troubles not amongst ourselves but with the world at large once more. It has been some many years since our affairs has had to extend beyond our borders, but the time has come at hand once more…” He allows a hush to fall to let the words sink in.

    In the corner, an elder man with tassels of beard akin to fur idly scribes the tidings of the meeting on parchment with ink and quill. His nose crinkles as he picks up on the tension in the room beginning to shift from hostility to foreboding. Nearby, a woman stands watching the affairs with her hand near her sword watching like a hawk for any foul play. Despite the orders to turn over weapons, there was still a few who believed a couple may have slipped through… precautions.

    Nearby their youthful companion gawks at the proceedings, being so long since she had since so many influential people in one room. That was ignoring seeing them discuss something as important as this. She looks to Oebrym with a curious light in her eyes, expecting him to explain but he was busy scratching away on the parchment. She turns back and moves forward to refill the glasses of those present with her decanter of wine.

    “I am sure many of you are aware of the trade stops in the north and east. Much of the north has been lost between Guilheim and Veiltȏndr. At the moment, we believe the rate at which it spreads has come to a halt but we do not know how long it shall hold. To the east, the major port of Hartstand seems to have come under the influence of… some righteous lot who thinks they can oppose the troubles in the north. Regardless, they have taken a very stern stance in their opposition and are seizing control where needbe to make their front against the scourge.”

    Tahlia’s eyes go wide to think it had spread that far in the north. She tries to draw a map in her head of the area. Over the years, it was not a lot to speak of, but if they captured enough ports and ships they could spread out of control, she figured. She shuddered at the thought.

    “As it stands now, we can’t continue on like this. We need to resolve these problems immediately. Perhaps there is a peaceable solution with this ‘Chastefell Coalition’ eastwards, but I see nothing but battle with the Broodmother, and I do not think we’ve the resources for a sustained battle. Whichever path we take, I feel we will need someone to carry out the task. What words have you all on these matters?”
  2. “Well for starters” a rough, grumbling voice said from entrance “You really need to understand how warfare in North works”.

    Stanford, a stocky, older man with messy blond hair and mustache slowly walked into the meeting. Milo, a lazy eyed young man who still looked like he was in his teens was behind him with a troublesome smirk plastered on his face. Stanford was dressed plainly and carried no weapon but the boy had a large great bow slung across his chest. Behind those two were three men; bodyguards it looked like who were armed with spears. Stanford waived them away and told them to wait outside and they did so silently. He turned and addressed the three men again.

    “My master and I are quite familiar with how a war is conducted up in the North: invasions come in waves and must be stopped periodically to wait for supplies. It is a nasty place for fighting and supplies such as food, weapons and men take awhile to reach their destination. You can be sitting in a snowy mountain for months before the next attack is ready” Stanford looked Erhkid and raised his brow “It’s not like here where someone can raid and return home once you’ve had your fun. It’s a miserable slog comprised of snow and empty stomachs.” he then specifically addressed the two nobles “The Broodmother has halted her invasion for this very reason. She needs to make sure her armies are well fed, else they’ll mutiny.”

    Barton folds his hands and makes no readable expression “And who is your master?” he asked, already knowing the answer.

    “We are Captains to the one called Judas.” There was a brief pause for a moment. No immediately hostile reactions. Good. Stanford could relax a little. “I am Stanford, formerly of Veiltôndr and behind me is our bow-master, Milo.” Milo gave a childish wave to everyone in the room before setting his eyes on Tahlia and giving her a shameless, flirty wink before Stanford could nudge him in the ribs.

    “We’ve come on behalf of Judas to discuss the Trade situation in the East. While our community is mostly self-sustaining, the lack of trade has hit us hard and the people are grumbling. We seek council to come to an agreement on how to handle the issue.”

    Barton nodded cautiously; “Your master is mysteriously absent though. Care to tell why?”


    Milo rubs his shoulder as Stanford makes a deep, aggravating sigh. “He’s... Dealing with domestic affairs”.

    Barton raised his brow “....I See. Care to tell us your opinions?”

    “The Broodmother is a serious threat” said Stanford “but there is no point in even discussing an offense if our soldiers are going hungry from lack of supplies. We need to get those ships back from Harstand. The Chastefell Coalition needs to be reasoned with in this regard, else it would mean a war that would put us in a serious disadvantage.”

    “Plus shooting a bunch of Davos worshipers kinda puts a bad taste in my mouth, ya know?” Milo said in between gulps of wine that he had rudely grabbed off the table and was drinking from the bottle. Stanford sighed again, but didn’t attempt to elbow him. The kid wouldn’t listen anyway.
  3. Tahlia had shied away from Milo after his wink and retreated back from the ring of power in the desert as they regarded the new insight brought into the room. Her cheeks were flushed pink, but she dare not speak out for the moment against him lest she draw backlash from the room. Instead, she settles against the wall and watches the room.

    Ehrkid was back to working his jaw, as if chewing sand and about to spit out glass. “What would northman know of desert grit. Nothing, that what. I lead warrior to Broodmother, run through her with snakeblade.” He laughs maliciously.

    A noblewoman snorts, “Please, Ehrkid, if the Broodmother is much like every other woman you have been with, your snakeblade will leave her woefully disappointed.” As Ehrkid glowers at her with dark eyes, she waves him away dismissively, “I am sure those of us more refined than the deep desert dwellers are in agreement… Making peace as best we can with the Chastefell folk does seem the best course of action. They would make better allies than enemies…”

    A mutter of agreement passes through the room. Tahlia wrinkles her nose and glances at Naeve who seemed to have a minor look of disapproval in general towards the entire gathering. “Indeed, Luxor. Such an alliance may prove beneficial in the long term, as well. I imagine preferential treatment will be given to early allies in times of victory and division of spoils,” a rather posh looking noble, the one rather nervous at Ehrkid’s apparent barbarism earlier.

    Barton nods slowly as Ehrkid slowly begins to submit and slump back into his seat. “So, I assume we are reaching concensus that best course of action is to send an ambassador to negotiate an alliance with this… Coalition.” His eyes fall upon the captains. “Your master seems versed enough in affairs of the north, and unlike much of those present, I cannot say his investments have been greatly injured, at least from my records… Not that I even know his investments, strangely enough.” He sifts through a records book quickly but to no avail before shaking his head, “Regardless, I think you will serve as prime candidates. Of course, we will send with you a scribe who can pen back to us…” He begins to trail off in his own thoughts on arrangements that would need to be made and giving an opening for any to contest his words.
  4. "Stan, that cutie over there is a real diamond. Don't ya think?" Milo said, motioning to Tahlia. He then grinned at Naeve, "she's pretty too". Stanford rolled his eyes and pointed towards the exit. "Behave yourself. Tell the men we're getting ready to go and that we're bringing four more with us." Milo blinked for a moment and started walking out the door, but not before ogling at Tahlia and playfully biting his lip in front of her which warranted him a swift kick from Stanford. Stanford had two matters to attend to, he approached Barton and informed him that he needed four refreshed horses which Barton, busy scribbling notes down, casually approved of with a wave of his hands. With a swift movement with his head, he silently motioned Oebrym to come over to speak to him privately. What was said could not be heard as they spoke in hushed whispers with their eyes almost staring down each other. Whatever had been said must have been of great importance as Oebrym returned to his group to inform them that they would be coming with Stanford and Milo to their Stronghold; Oracle Rising, to gather supplies and make the trip eastward.

    The journey was a far one. Five hours is a long time for those uninitiated to the hot sand and the raging sun beaming down. Horses in this region had been specifically bred to withstand the heat for long periods without water for most normal horses could not survive the trek through the merciless desert. Things weren't all bad though, many canteens of water were tied to the saddles and was liberally spread around the group to whoever needed it. Milo throughout the trip had made multiple times to approach Tahlia with a grin on his face, only to be cut off by Stanford who told him to go scout the next few miles. Which Milo did, though his grin would now look more strained and annoyed. Beside's that and the sound of the wind the trip was quiet. The three guards barely spoke a word and Stanford himself was to busy beating off the the heat and wiping the sweat from is brow to engage in conversation. The scribe who accompanied them, named Jutler, was a poor rider and constantly lagged behind from the group.

    In the distance could be spotted a distant flash of green. Milo had come galloping back, telling Tahlia and her captains that they were only a few miles off. On the edge of the Oasis, huts made out of Sandstone could be seen with small herds of livestock wandering about. Once the horses began to step on the first patches of green, children, who recognized Milo began running towards the group and following the horses, only for one of the guards to angrily shoo them away. The group had reached a stables where the horses were quickly attended to. The complete reversal of the environment was almost whiplash inducing. Moments ago they were roasting under the wretched sun and now shade was plentiful under the numerous palm trees that were spread for miles. The only thing that was truly visible was the fort that was erected high above everything else. It was Oracle Rising, the central building that united the small community together and kept them safe from potential raiders.

    Stanford dismissed the three guards, only for another one to come running to him and Milo with a message. The three spoke quietly for a moment, before Milo roared laughing.

    "He's been in that pig shit for over a dozen hours? Gods he must reek!"

    Stanford only reacted with curt, but worrying grunt before dismissing the messenger and motioning Tahlia and the overs to come join them. "Come, we're going to introduce you to Judas" he said, sounding somewhat embarrassed. Milo let out a slow chuckle before running ahead.

    After a shortwalk they came upon what looked like a massive dig site. It was a massive trench that on one side was populated with a two dozen people digging and shoveling away animal dung. "Pigs have a strong stench, so try not to get a good whiff of it" Stanford warned. The foul waste was luckily only ankle deep but it prompted many of the workers to slip and fall. Resulting in roaring laughter from the others. Stanford led the group to the other end of the trench where a lone man worked. Viciously digging and slowly adding more and more feet to the trench. Milo was standing above him, offering him a hand with that same warm smile as he pulled him out. He was dressed in overalls, and nothing else, his skin red and peeling from the sunburn.

    Slowly but surely, Stanford began to feel it, and so did the rest of the group. The feelings were different for each person. But they were always unpleasant; For Stern, it was the urge to run away. It was the instinct going off in his brain that something was going to kill him and he needed to flee. It had taken Stanford years to fully get over it. For Milo, it was a feeling of deep depression whenever Judas was around. He felt lethargic and sad for no real reason. He was still getting used to it but he had resolved to fight it by being even more cheerful around others. With this in mind it came as no surprise why Milo was as sociable and friendly as he was.

    "Whatever you're feeling right now" Stanford told the group "It's completely normal around him". After all, there was a reason why he was called The Damned.

    As they got closer his appearance became more visible. He did not look like someone who had once been a wild, brutal monster the North once feared, nor did he look like a freedom fighter who overthrew a Tyrant. His eyes were boringly brown, his wavy, curly black hair was unassuming and his trimmed goatee had small splotches of shit in it. In those overalls he didn't look like any legendary hero, he looked like a man who shoveled shit for a living. Milo laughed and hugged Judas, who, not used to physical affection, was stunned for a moment before returning the hug and facing Stanford.

    "You should have taken a break. 12 hours in this heat will make you ill."

    Judas shrugged, "It needed to be done by today. Some work and sun won't kill me any". He looked at the the group behind Stanford and raised his brow. "You brought company?"

    "Aye, from the meeting. One of them is a refugee from the North. " He gestured towards Tahlia whom Judas stepped towards.

    "So who are you? And where did you hail from?" Judas asked politely. He then eyed Oebrym before asking one more question. "And how did you end up in the Desert States?"
    #4 Slade, Jun 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2016
  5. The sight of the latrines being dug was unexpected to the trio in accompaniment of Judas’ captains. Tahlia finds herself covering her face with her scarf and tying it off, unused to such stench. The south bore such unbearable heat that always seemed to exascerbate what the north would blanket and cover. She missed the fresh scent of snow and pine, the air of the mountains. Oebrym seemed to shrug it off as Naeve assumed a look of mild disgust. “The least they could have done is sent word, had him meet us somewhere somewhat decent,” she mutters to the pair.

    Tahlia shrugs her words off as they wait at the top of the dug latrines. Her eyes settle upon the massive man, red by the sun still digging in its depths even as they arrived. A sense of unease already built in her belly this far from him. As he approached, a fear built in her belly coming to a peak of panic as he stood before him. Sweat, beyond what the heat would summon if her magic was not fooling her to keep cool begins to bead upon her and runnel down. Her heart begins to race out of control and threatens to burst free of its chest. The nightmares that kept her rest fitful, terrors she witnessed as she was run out from the north flood her mind and yet she could not scream, a lump constricted in her throat.

    A steady hand finds itself upon her shoulder. Oebrym fixes his eyes lazily upon Judas. Rot. Ruin. His flesh was pale and his face was turned in obvious revulsion in his presence as all he smells is decay. He swallows and his nails dig lightly into the furs upon Tahlia’s shoulders, drawing her into the present as a prickle of pain reaches her. She blinks, still unsteady as she draws a breath through the scarf she did not realize she was holding.

    Naeve scans the group around her, brows raised in slight confusion. “Nothing different than any other mage I’ve known,” she snorts and adjusts her weight, eying the rather unassuming figure that was presented to them.

    Tahlia takes a slow breath and raises her chin, lowering the scarf from her face to look at Judas. “My name is Tahlia Reht. I hail from Veiltôndr.” She shifts uncomfortably, “I got here like most anyone does… I traveled the distance. Oebrym assisted me in the journey by land, it brought us farther east before it brought us to these lands, which is where Naeve came to join our company.” She shudders, bile threatening to rise in her stomach as she continues to address Judas. “The north fell, I suppose to the one they now call the Broodmother.” She bites her lip, “I guess that makes sense, now. The original thought that it was The Damned’s men couldn’t be… Not if you’ve been here this whole time.”
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