Fire Emblem: Almathea

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by - Falcon -, Jan 26, 2016.

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  1. OOC thread


    Almathea: A lands of rich soil, high mountains, lush forests, and seas teaming with fish. These lands are full of wildlife and the mountains home to Pegasus and Wyverns. But the people of these lands are the most interesting.

    The Kemonojin, beast-folk, people with the ability to take animal form, live in the east with the Manakete, their dragon form brethren. Those of their kind living west of the great river are exiles, human sympathizers. And the humans are as varied in look and culture as the animal forms of their neighbors. The west is divided into five, human ruled, countries. Each with their own agenda, but currently at peace.

    Every three years a peace summit is held and each land sends an envoy, if not one of their ruling family, to represent them in the negotiations. Each summit is held in a different land. Ma Kai, Shan, Coill, Heiya, then Sahra. This year it falls to Heiya to play host and provide the preparations.




    Prolouge

    [​IMG]

    The port city of Kayio is the capitol of Heiya. It's a prosperous city overflowing with trade. Vessels from Shan and Ma Kai bring goods from across the sea, and the great market draws all people from all walks together as each searches for that special item and the best deal. Even the unsavory characters of the underworld, pirates, thieves and the like, can find a seemingly reputable presence here.

    High on a hill to the north of the town sits the royal family's palace. It is large enough that in a state of emergency the entire city's population could be evacuated to safety within those stone walls as the guard reigns arrows down upon opposing forces. It's been years since that was necessary.

    As the day passes the envoys from the other for lands begin arriving to join their host within his home. Outside in the city below preparations for the great market and fair that traditionally accompany the summit are being finalized. This is a chance for celebration to all, and few are unwilling to join in the festivities.
     
    #1 - Falcon -, Jan 26, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  2. Xavier was woken with a start, his mix-matched eyes blinking wearily as his door, sounding like it would come off it's hinges, is slammed onto again. He get's up and stretches, growling something about having a late night and just returning to the capital as he opens the door and sees one of the royal guardsmen. Xavier was an imposing sight to behold, even without his arms and armor on him, he stood taller than most and always seemed poised to pounce without a moments notice. Green and blue eyes that, just a minute ago were being rubbed awake, were alert and ready. His tousled black hair hung loose around his shoulders his voice sounding almost as if it were a blade being released from it's sheathe as he asks

    "What is it? Is something happening?" It wasn't a worried question, nothing has "happened" in Heiya for a long time, the only thing that happened in the capital was the normal busyness of the large market within the center of the city. So Xavier, looking thoroughly exasperated with the royal guard knew that it was a summons before the words escaped his timid lips. He sighed and turned the man on his feet patting the knight's back and admonishing himself for almost snapping at the man.

    "Sorry, didn't mean to sound so harsh with my tone, tell the King and Queen i'll be by shortly." The knight nods and hurries off on his errand, Xavier shuts his door and stretches Whelp no rest for the weary they always say he smiles at that thought and shakes his head a few time, getting the rest of the nights sleep out of it. He couldn't help but chuckle called the young wolf and I certainly act the part, shaking myself awake, stretching like a lazy dog this made him outright giggle a little bit as he put on fine pants, his pomp and circumstance coat of arms, he looked at his ceremonial armor, rather than the dinged and scratched armor he was used to and comfortable with. This armor was all silver, with green and gold tracings along the finely crafted armor. It didn't feel like him but he knew the importance of appearances during the peace summit. He picked up his lance, and with a nod he ties it's hilt to his back and walked out of his room. He walked through the left wing of the castle now, it housed the royal family and any other nobles who wished to stay within the palace.

    He moved through massive hallways each having their own distinct rooms and needs, until he finally got to where he needed to go. As Xavier started climbing the steps to the battlements, he realized just how long it had been since he had visited, so many things were different now, his younger brother was four years older now and looking much like a man, his mother and father were worried and anxious about this peace summit, and the worry has been showing despite servants aiding them in keeping up with their courtly appearances. As he finally stood upon the great battlements over looking the city, his breath caught in his throat. No matter how many times he saw it, the city, his city, the sea, and the sun. It always captivated him, the beauty of his home, how he missed it those long years away, dreaming of seeing this view.

    His father smiled and laughed, a deep baritone laugh "When I was your age I had the exact same feelings every time I came back from the borders. Seeing everything again, seeing just that picturesque view...of course I had something that made it all the better." He places a hand on his eldest son's shoulder and stares out into the sea with him for a few minutes, just standing there like they were a normal father and son. Rather than two of the most powerful men in the world, Liam Dimitriaski, known as the Wolf King of Heiya normally looked tall and imposing, more so than his son, but right now, he looked like any other man as he started walking the battlements with Xavier.

    Liam motions for Xavier to walk with him, keeping stride Liam looks to his son and states 'With your last report, it seems all has been well on the border. That news was most joyful that you had sent us, the wyverns were calmer and very few scuffles with bandits it sounded like." Xavier nods, not speaking yet, he knew his father well enough that he knew the man wasn't finished 'So I had the few knights that came back with you join the guards for the summit proceedings." The King went on "And I'd like you to join me at the summit as well, it'll be a good learning exercise for you, after you take the throne." The two continue walking the great wall and continue talking, Xavier talking about a vicious Wyvern that they hunted back to it's lair, Liam nodding and talking about home and the things Xavier missed while he had led the border guards. The Palace stood atop the hill overlooking the city, it stood tall and powerful above the capital city, looking down on it as a guardian did for it's ward. Xavier was deep in thought as he continued listening to his father talk as they walked along the battlements.
     
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  3. The summer sun had risen on one of the many mountains that the Shan lived on. The birds chirping and singing as they greeted the morning sun. The young birds crying out in hunger as their parents searched for food. The deer, all roaming around for their morning meal, rushed about in herds to the bushes. The leaves rustled as they ate the berries from them. This was a sound that Gaston had heard a lot of in the morning, seeing as he was normally up before dawn climbing. Gaston loved starting his day out like that, climbing gave him an undeniable thrill that he couldn't explain. It also help with his strength training, making him stronger for his next bout, or fight. Gaston never used a safety when it came to climbing, it was just him and the rocks that's how he climbs, nothing else. He might need to reach past the rope to grab a rock protruding out of the mountain side he was climbing.

    Gaston had reached for a rock that was only a few feet away from his head, he grabbed it with his left hand and pulled only using his left arm. He climbed and climbed until he had reached the top of the mountain side that he was climbing. The sun peeked over the treetops with its signature warm orange glow and illuminated the sweet beads that glistened on his chest. It took him over two hours to climb the side of the mountain, and he would go for more but alas he had far more important things to do. The regularly occurring peace summit was happening soon. Every three years all the nations would get together and talk about some boring topic which Gaston had no care for. Gaston was a fighter from the day he was born, till the day he dies. He's trained for war, that's how he sees it, to do the dirty work that his lords can't do.

    But then again peace wasn't all that bad, you could get to experience all the cultures of the world, the fair was one of the best places to experience it, and they normally happened around summit time. Not only that but a tournament as well, which excited Gaston, who was planning on competing in this year. He heard a screech in the sky and looked up to see what it was, he did not flinch when he saw a shadow in the sky, or even cower when it got closer. He knew that screech so he had no need to fear it, it was his faithful pegasus he had named Lucifer. He waved at Lucifer to land where he was. He watched as Lucifer landed a few feet away from him. Gaston walked up to Lucifer and ran his hands down Lucifers mane. "Hello my friend..." He said petting Lucifer. "It is good to see you..." He said as he put his foot in the stirrup and climbed atop his faithful companion. "Come now let us go home so that we both may eat." He said as Lucifer beat his majestic wings and took off from the ground.

    Shan was a beautiful country, surrounded by water, with it's picturesque landscape and iconic mountains that it's people inhabited. This land was covered by snow for the better part of the year and was almost never warm. The summer was only around for the later part of the year, so it was a surprise to see the trees so green and lush with life. They flew near a beach and watched as the waves as they crashed along the banks of the shore. At the end of the shore sat a harbor which had ship in it, that would take the lord and his accompanying guards with him. Gaston was one of those men who would be accompanying the lord to these talks. He watched as the crew as they did their last check of everything they were going to need for this journey. They flew over a forest and up the side of a mountain to a cliffside house where Gaston had lived.

    They landed on the ground and galloped over to the stable where Lucifer slept. Gaston had made sure Lucifer's stall was clean the night before, and that he had enough food and water for the morning before making his way into his house. He walked into his house and into the room with the water basin, and washed all the sweat off of him. When was done he snuck into his room and put on his simple leather armor and grabbed his weapon. He had to sneak in and out of his room for he did not want wake the sleeping women that was in his bed. By the time he was done with everything it was well into the morning. If he didn't hurry up he would have to risk being late for their departure. He made his way back to the stable and took Lucifer out. They flew to the harbor where they were to meet with the lord he was accompanying, along with the fellow guardsmen that were to join him in their quest.
     
  4. "Are you sure?" a deep male voice echoed within the cold grey, stone walls of castle Arturis. "This is what you want?"

    "I am certain," and elderly feeble voice answered. "We three have elected the Bishop of Corrok so speak for us at the summit. Our will has been imparted on him and he has the years to hold firm in the face of the more . . . youthful energy shown by some of the other lands. "

    "And the other?"

    "The other will carry out his own orders, as planned."

    "The risks." the younger deeper voice protested.

    "I KNOW THE RISKS!" For a moment the elderly voice shook the rafters signifying once held strength.
    And then there was a lengthy pause. One could almost hear the mountain birds outside the silence was so pervasive. Had it been anything other than mid Shan summer not even the warbling song of the starling would have interrupted that moment.

    The the elderly man spoke again. Softer this time, kinder. "But What I do I do for my country, even facing down that old fool. If you see a clearer path feel free to point it out to me. Otherwise I need you on that boat when it sales for the fair and summit. Accompany the Bishop and report any discrepancy from our planned outcome. I will not be blindsided should negotiations turn south. Also, I may not promises the other two house will not sent men with the same intention as ours."

    "Never fear. They can not place me. I am called the Shadow for a reason my old friend."

    And so it was that at the ship sailed from the Southernmost harbor of Shan a hooded figure in a fur-lined, brown-leather cloak slipped in among the sailors as the Bishop took to the main cabin. The cloaked man in question was one of the very few guards that managed to slip easily from land-footing to sea-legs, failing to stumble even once, his body swaying with the rock of the waves as easily as the sailors themselves.

    He was young in years, though old enough to have a child or two of his own had he ever had the inclination to marry. And as the early sea breeze warmed to one of midday his lowered hood revealed a calculating brow beneath a head of sandy brown hair, and piercing chocolate eyes over a nose just shy of beaky.

    "Well now!" his deep voice boomed as he approached the only member aboard whose name he did not yet know and placed a friendly slap on the young Pegasus knight's shoulder. "If we've a weeks journey ahead we might as find some way to pass the time. Tell me, do you play at cards?"

    And from an inside pocket of his vest the man pulled a well loved deck tied together with a bit of string.

    "You may call me Galric."

    A gloved hand reached to scratch at a sandy brown goatee.
     
  5. The crew of the set sail with the outgoing tide. Gaston looked about the crew as they made their way to check the lines and to let out the sails as they meet a head wind. The cool breeze felt sensational as it blew against Gaston. It was strong enough to pick up his dreadlocks, only a couple strands. The wind kicking them up, down, left, right, backways, foreways, and any other way possible. It had as crisp smell of salt water and tar, thanks to the ship, that filled Gaston's nostrils. The waves made a WOSH sound as they crashed against the ship's hull.

    Being a Pegasus knight helped Gaston when it came time to venture on the open ocean, it helped him get accustomed to the ever changing balance of the ship as it swayed back and forth due to the waves crashing into the sides. Every time he went into the air with Lucifer, his balance was tested.

    He was looking out at the water when he felt a slap on his back, and a deep voice creep up behind him. It asked him if he knew how to play cards and gave him a name. "...Galric..." Gaston looked at this man. He was old, older than Gaston. He watched as the man pulled out a pack of cards from his vest pocket.

    "If it is the only entertainment for the week then I guess I have no choice..." He said chuckling. "... But then again who am I to refuse a good card game..." He said motioning towards two barrels with a crate between them. "By the way the name is Gaston... Next champion of the tournament." He boasted his fighting skill. He believes he is the best fighter and no one could take him down. But that wasn't the case for cards. "What' we gonna play?" He asked sitting down on the left barrel.
     
  6. [​IMG]

    A young, sunburnt hand closed tight around a damp, fibrous rope.

    The teenage sailor’s hands were trembling. The ropes of the ship’s rigging were thick — so much so the youth could barely make a fist around the rough lines. With grit teeth, he reached out again to pull himself higher.

    He hated the ropes. The wind was a constant antagonist for sailors, but so much more for those unfortunate enough to climb the cordage. It tore through men, freezing them in the center of their chests, making them fully aware of every bone. When a man is reminded of his flesh and bone, he is reminded of his mortality. Death is not a welcome ponderance while dangling high above a wooden deck.

    The sailor — a young Heiyan, recently purchased — reached again, savoring the momentary relief as he pulled his foot from a cross knot. His feet were swollen and burned from a devil fungus he’d picked up wearing damp socks. A mistake he would not make again.

    His foot dangled in the wind. Perhaps, he thought, by some miracle just a few moments off the ropes would quell the pain. Relaxing his arms, the teenager allowed his chest to rest on the ropes parallel his body. Just a quick rest. He was sure any of the sailors working far below on the deck would beat him if they saw. He’d already received lashes from the pirates. There was no need for another round.

    Steeling himself, the Heiyan reached again.

    Without warning, a gust blew through the rigging, slicing through him like a cleaver. The cordage responded as intended — shifting and moving about to keep the wind from perverting the shape of the sail — and the sudden snap of movement knocked the sailor’s hold loose. The teen began to fall.

    Before the sailor could scream, he jerked to a stop, now dangling upside down high above The Escapade’s deck. A burning pain surged through his leg from his ankle. Panicking, the sailor looked up, and found his foot caught in the rigging — a result of his awkward tumble. Looking down, he found himself breaking the age old rule about overcoming a fear of heights.

    The sailor screamed.

    “Greenhorn’s on the hang!” A gravelly voice called out from below, followed by a careless guffaw. “Looks like I’ll take ya on that bet afterall, Munch!” The elderly pirate cackled toward a younger brigand.

    “Ain’t official till he stops breathin’, Cadaver.” Munch replied, looking up at the dangling boy. “PULL YERSELF UP BOY, I GOT MONEY ON YOU MAKING IT TO PORT!”

    A group of scoundrels amassed center deck, taking a momentary break from their duties to watch the scene play out, laughing and jeering at the unfortunate sailor. Above, the boy writhed furiously, desperately attempting to pull himself back to safety.

    With their attention elsewhere, the gathered pirates failed to notice a menacing figure marching toward them after bursting forth from the captain’s cabin.

    “What are you vermin gawkin’ at? Back to work!” Orrisin Escapade — the ship’s first mate and a Ma Kai saltson — shouted as he strode toward the pirates.

    Orrisin brushed a wayward lock of mahogany hair from his tanned, shadowed face, turning to see what the fuss was about. His cobalt eyes widened with horror when he found the cause.

    “Gods damn you puss suckers!” Orrisin cursed as he tore his sun faded chestnut overcoat from his shoulders. He tossed the garment to the deck of the ship and leapt onto the rigging.

    “Buggin’ Orr!” Cadaver spat toward the first mate. The wrinkled seadog glared at Munch. “Cheatin’ little shite.”

    Munch shot back with a cocky shrug.

    On the rigging, Orrisin moved through the web like a spider descending on an ensnared meal. Years on the ropes calloused his hands and strengthened his limbs. He moved without thought — his hands knew where to grab, his feet just where to land. After a few moments of scurrying, Orrisin was at the teenager’s side. The panicked sailor reached a desperate hand toward his rescuer and clamped down hard on Orr’s loose navy shirt.

    “Watch the shirt, it’s worth more than we bought you for, boy.” Orr said, grabbing the young man’s arm and hoisting him upright with a grunt. The Heiyan clung to the ropes the moment his leg was released, his eyes wide and breath rapid. “Come on, kid. Let’s get off’a here.”

    The men descended at a cautious pace. Orr braced the Heiyan’s climb with each drop, offering support when the younger man’s shaking overcame his motor skills.

    “Listen, kid.” Orr said, one hand around a rope, the other on the boy’s back. “When we’re on the deck, the rest’a the scum are gonna razz ya, and you deserve it, but ya gotta show them you’re strong, otherwise they’ll never respect ya. Got me?”

    The Heiyan hesitated for a moment, then looked back toward his new mentor and shook his head nervously. They continued down the ropes.

    A foot above the deck, the Heiyan dropped off the ropes and collapsed on the deck, curled and shaking. Orr, still on the ropes, shook his head at the sailor.

    “Seriously?”

    Orr hopped off the ropes and dusted stray fibers from his prized shirt and tanned slacks. Looking back to the crowd of pirates who watched the climb, Orr was ready to launch into another insult-laden reprimand when an enormous figure pushed to the forefront of the crowd.

    “ORR!” Burr — a massive, tattooed brute from Sahra, shouted. He was hairless, shirtless, shoeless and protected only by loose fitting sailcloth pants. The monster straightened his back, his deeply tanned pectoral muscles tightening as his fingers curled into a fist. “Me and boys had bet! You fuck us. You pay what is owed. In gold or bones.”

    Orr scowled, narrowing his eyes as he faced the man.

    “You forget your place, Burr. You speak to the first mate of this ship.” His words were measured and laced with warning.


    “You say name is Escapade. But you always be Barnacle.” Burr took a step towards Orr and punctuated each word with a forceful poke to the man’s chest. “Trashy. Poor. Barnacle.”

    Orr’s nostrils flared and a growl exploded from his lips as he slapped the brute’s arm from his chest. Carried by his momentum, he threw himself into the larger man’s torso, shoving him back toward the crowd of pirates.

    A cheer erupted from the gathered brigands.

    The towering Sahranese pirate stumbled backward but quickly caught his footing. Eyes wide with a fighter’s lust, he bound forward, a massive balled fist barrelling toward The Escapade’s first mate.

    Expecting the escalation, Orr ducked the punch while Burr’s explosive momentum carried him past the first mate’s crouched form. Pivoting on his heels, Orr twisted himself behind Burr, grabbed the man’s dirt stained sailcloth pants, and yanked them down.

    Now, with pants around his ankles, fury in his eyes, and everything else hanging in the wind, Burr crashed to the deck, tangled in his modesty.

    The cheering turned to riotous laughter and taunts. Orr turned away from the fight and sauntered toward the captain’s cabin. Burr scrambled to cover his shame.

    “For the second time — back to work!” Orr’s tone was flippant, as though his head had almost not been removed by a Sahranese giant. He stopped for a moment, and turned slightly toward the crew. “If Burr tries anything to me or the boy, I’ll buy a leave’s worth of whores for the man who kills him.”


    Orr slammed the door of the captain’s cabin behind him, grinning.
     
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  7. Silvia was practically bursting with pent up excitement and energy once she made it to Kayio. She had never been so far westward before and certainly never been to as large of a city. Although she is very much so an adult her mother doesn't see her that way and Silvia finds her to be suffocation over-protective. And yet, it was her mother that proposed she take on this little adventure! Of course, she knew it was just an excuse for her to skip on a round of patrolling the border with her uncle but the offer of a new type of adventure was simply too good not to pounce on.

    Unfortunately, she didn't realize how absolutely long and boring the trip there was going to be. Her mother, ever thoughtful, had arranged for her to travel with another family in the village that was planning on seeing the festivities. They all acted like she was hired as extra protection but nothing happened! She couldn't help but feel her mom knew that would happen... But, hey, at they payed her. It wasn't much but it's always good to have some extra funds for a fair.

    Thus, Silvia found herself absolutely giddy once they arrived. Since her "job" was done she was now free to run off and do as she pleased on her own like a real adult. Even when she would patrol the border she would be with her uncle, but now she was truly free as a bird! Oh, she knew she probably shouldn't be smiling as wide as she was given her, well, condition, but she just couldn't help herself! She strolled up and down streets lined with stalls of all kind, wondering where to start. Suddenly, she caught the aroma of some sort of exotic foreign food and it made her stomach growl. With a nod to no one in particular she decided that was where she would head first and began to navigate the busy streets more earnestly. In her haste she would occasionally brush shoulders or bump into someone since she was following her nose more than her eyes, and would offer a hasty apology in response.
     
  8. It was another day spent in a gilded cage, an ultimately unpleasant fate, but one many slaves in the building didn't truly understand. Freedom was a foreign thing to the Kemonojin in the building, the young woman bird cage sprinkled with golds and silvers was no different.

    Though it was splashed with refined and decadent golds and gemstones, the cage was still a prison she lacked the strength to tare open. Born a hawk, her most alluring feature were the vibrantly colored wings that wrapped around her defensively, splattered with delicate chocolate browns with snowy white ends. What made them particularly rare, was the elegant way the colors seemed almost drawn on with expert strokes of a brush, each feather given a uniquely beautiful design where no two were similar much like a snowflake.

    It was these lovely patterns and colors that forced her into this predicament. The woman loathed her feathers for that very same reason, having her wings touched by the strange person who claimed to own her was unnerving, and being demanded to sing as if she were a bird and dance like a human was humiliating.

    It was only at peaceful times when nobody was around that she could brood in peace. Her gaze locked firmly on her knees while she hugged her head into her own lap. Her limber body stretched and flexed into a tight protective ball as if locking everything else outside while she retreated inward. She truly felt she hated this world, her hatred bubbled so strongly and so raw that it was worn on her face and earned her quite a few unpleasant beatings.

    The girl expected this day to be the same as any other until her ears suddenly perked up. There was a sound that wasn't normal on the grounds, rubble falling, shouts and cries. There were rattling armors and shouts of pain and angry roars. The woman didn't move, her cage didn't give her enough space, staying where she sat, she didn't think that it had anything to do with her even as the sounds got closer.

    It wasn't until she saw it with her eyes that she realized she was wrong. A large burly man crashed through the door into the room her cage was held in. The man had a large under bite and fangs that reached up to his cheeks from his mouth, but his eyes were clouded with idiocy. The site was alarming to say the least, The woman watched the man with keen eyes until a voice called out to her.

    "Korra? Korra, that's you isn't it? The caged bird?"

    The voice didn't come from the dazed bulky man. Instead, an injured Kemonojin with a fox tail gestured to her cage to get her attention. Korra's eyes contracted and dilated like focusing cameras to watch him closely as he approached her. She didn't know who the person was, but seeing him opening the door of her cage, she didn't try to provoke him.

    "We're getting out of here... The slaves are trying to revolt, but they won't be able to fight for long before losing to the guards. I need your eyes to watch the guard towers."

    He was pragmatic, coming to Korra because of her nature as a hawk, her eyesight was difficult to match. She understood his purpose for finding her, but didn't want to be tied down. After negotiating for a while, it was decided she'd only aid in the escape.

    "Can you fight?"
    "No..."
    "How about magic?"
    "No..."
    "... Bow?"
    "If I have to."

    Korra was blunt with her weakness and lack of ability, she didn't have much strength as someone who was confined all the time, and magic was complicated for her. She could use stir up a maelstrom if she took the form of a hawk, but even if she had the stone, she wouldn't want those disgusting feathers covering her.

    Despite being an under dressed slave, he seemed to have a tool she could use, offering it to her without hesitating. It was a kindness she wasn't used to, but when she asked why, she was told it was an investment in his own future. Understanding what that meant, Korra accepted the bow and never looked back as they staged their escape.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    These drifted to the surface of Korra's mind as she was led through the streets by small children. The rift raft and street urchins were usually ignored by others, but Korra found them to be very useful in her travels through Sahra. Children weren't as naive as many thought, specially when they were in dire straits. They heard things normal adults wouldn't and saw things that adults would miss out of fear or selfishness.

    She was being led through the town by a small group, the price she negotiated was a simple handful of mystery meat jerky. They were children from destitute families, but Korra didn't pity them, they had their freedom, that was enough for hope.

    "This's where the noble part's gonna take place."

    A child pointed to the summit grounds in the distance. That was enough for Korra who shoved a handful of jerky into the boy's hand before turning him away with a forceful pat to make sure he didn't stay to watch. Checking out the outside, out, Korra got into the line to get checked as she fumed. Her hatred of the nobility and aristocracy was still strong after what they'd done to her. She'd demonized them all as irredeemable people worthy of scorn and mistrust with their lies and cruel actions.

    The wings she'd once had were nowhere to be seen, after that painful memory, Korra made sure her feathers would never be coveted again with the help of an axe. The pain was excruciating, and life was difficult for a while after losing them, but humans seemed to manage just fine without wings, she learned to adapt on her way from Sahra.

    It wasn't until the line began to thin though that she felt her hatred starting to wane. Everyone was so excited about the summit, there was a festival going on that she'd noticed on the way in, but eavesdropping on conversations, she could understand that it was to welcome those very nobles she wanted dead. The straw that broke the camel's back was the guards' reaction to her when she got to the front of the line.

    Told to disarm herself, they wanted to confiscate the bow on her back to allow her in. Korra couldn't accept such a thing, her bow was her only means of fighting off those people she was trying to kill she thought! It was just a bad idea all around she began to understand. This left her wandering around outside the building that was meant to house the preceding.

    When she'd left her cage, she had only that anger and hate to fuel her, driving her to the summit meeting, but now that she got here, she realized just how lost she was. A slave that wasn't a slave was no one. She didn't have a job any more, no purpose, nothing to do. This realization happened to don on her at a bad time as she sat down leaning against a nearby building. A deep frown on her face. 'What do free people do' ran through her head persistently that seemed to have no answer that was reassuring to her.
     
  9. It wasn't every day that Alter had to deal with wyverns. Despite his origin region, he rarely saw a single one of those creatures. But today seemed like a strange one, as they were just about everywhere he was! Alter pulled his hood over his head, moving inconspicuously about the mountainous terrain in search of cover. The wyverns didn't bother him too much, he even could be considered related to them. But he preferred to be left alone when out and about. Especially since he couldn't seem to get any respect because of his appearance. People never took too kindly to a man that had odd features. Hence the hood he continually wore over his ebony locks. It was like that most days, but not every day did he have the ability to just be himself. Today he was heading into town again, the main reason he hid his face. It had become a habit of his now, and before, he had made an effort to avoid lively towns altogether. Though as he moved down the rocky path, a winged-creature swooped down near him, nearly connecting as he looked up at it. That's why I avoid being out in the open.. He thought as he sighed to himself. Upon arriving in town, he examined the scenery. Feeling the sudden pangs of hunger, he stopped in front of a food stall. The food looked tempting, but he was never one to be able to whip out money on the fly. In fact, he only had the funds to buy something simple. In his rage last night, he didn't think to bring more. He had actually come to clear his mind of last night's occurrences. A walk around such a lively place was sure to make him forget the frustration of the wyvern that had attacked him, and his beloved younger sister's insistence to marry the one man he hated in this world. He couldn't lie, he was a good man, but not for her. He was very protective of Cali, and knowing she would be in the care of such a man made him conflicted.

    Alter continued his walk again, noting the atmosphere of the town. Right, something was to be happening soon. Something he'd never think to experience, but the thought of it was intriguing to him. He leaned towards the owner of a produce stall, grabbing an apple, and tossing them the pay before then tossing the apple up and catching it in his hand as he walked on. That's about all I can manage for now. He sighed, spotting a woman that was struggling to lift a box of store supplies. He loomed in the shadow of the building, which wasn't something he could avoid doing, how else would one describe the stance of hooded figure? But his hood was more of a shawl when you looked at it. The attire didn't even reach past his mid-back. Nonetheless, he received plenty of confused and untrusting stares from just about anyone he passed by. You'd think they didn't know what dark magic was.. He thought to himself as he walked on by. Dark magic had always been his strong point. Even when young, he dabbled in the stuff, and the hooded cloaks worn by most dark magic users were a nice attire choice in his opinion. The woman attempted to lift the box again, this time succeeding in actually picking it up to a height she could manage. Alter slowed his pace, wanting to stay inconspicuous but to help the woman at the same time.

    "Having a hard time, miss?"

    He commented in a smooth tone, lifting the box of produce out of her shaking hands.

    "Yes, I was stuck with restocking here, with everything that's going on right now, we barely have enough merchandise out to sell."

    Her reply was panted out as she sat down for a while.

    "I really appreciate your help, sir."

    She smiled softly, a look of confusion flitting through her features as she tried to glimpse his face beneath the dark cloak. Alter set the box down next to the rest of the stock, and with a swift wave of his hand as a reply, stepped off in his original direction. Being in town was already foreign to him. But being thanked for something even more so, and he didn't want this woman to take notice of his inhuman appearance. Making his way through town, he resituated his hood to block out the bright sun that had now made itself apparent over the lively port.
     


  10. A black fog hung over the field. That in itself probably wouldn't have been unusual, the only problem was, it was otherwise a perfectly nice day. The clouds had formed in a matter of seconds, hurrying west at a rate of knots and completely absorbing the caravan, becoming sufficiently thick that the merchants could barely see the tips of their noses. A great deal of rattling was heard, amongst other such noises, before four loud cracking sounds. The fog abruptly cleared to reveal a wheel-less cart and a short man clad in grey and beige beggar gear running off towards the city. Two guards mounted their horses and took pursuit, the hooves churning the mud and grasses beneath them and their voices muffled by their helmets until they were little but annoyed grunts. Suddenly, the man darted off course into a collection of tall reeds, a hurricane of disturbed insects assaulting the riders and panicking the horses. A bolt of black energy parted the swarm and impaled the first horse, closely followed by a second and third until the beasts collapsed, throwing their riders to the floor, who would later thank the various gods that those bolts had only hit their mounts.

    Some time passed, and Sera, in a poor mood as usual from being disguised as an rotting old man for so long, arrived at the city, and only became in a worse mood upon seeing the decorations and general merriment.

    "Some kind of festival, huh." She had seen several on her travels, but never saw any point in participating in them. The way she saw it, they were just scheduled distractions from one's problems and goals. A nearby citizen had heard her, slightly confused by the young, female voice coming from under an old man's hood, but answered anyway.

    "You don't know? You must be a foreigner. Oh, let me guess, you're from the East!" She made a gesture indicating she was joking, but Sera just rolled her eyes behind the illusion. She tried to work on a deeper voice, although thankfully didn't have to because the talkative woman continued regardless. "The lords are having their little peace meeting, or something up in the castle, so we're celebrating not being oppressed by them for a day!"

    Seeing the conversation had reached a point she was satisfied with, Sera walked off and was lost into the crowds. Several minutes later, she slipped off into a dark alley away from notice to dispel the illusion, letting out a colossal yawn afterwards. She wasn't used to keeping one up so long and it was quite tiring. She didn't really know what to do next, so since she didn't like festivals she decided she may as well head to the peace conference, see if she could figure out a bit of how these humans worked.
     
  11. Kyra breathed in the fresh air with a smile. Not that today was anything special but the meeting for peace was to commence again. Though this time it would be in her hometown instead of someplace else. So, one could say she was a little excited. She even planned a little itinerary for the week. Kyra had gone as far as to rent a little room near the capital. That way, she didn't have to travel far to see the meeting.

    It wasn't as if she was desperately needed or anything. Kyra had simply deemed it fit for her to go and watch. She hadn't seen how meetings like these went, and was rather curious. That is, if they let outsiders, or people that weren't involved in the meeting in. With that in mind Kyra's shoulders slumped slightly. Was going here fruitless? Before she could continue discouraging herself, she slapped her face. Stop. Really, she needed to stop thinking so negatively sometimes. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

    Kyra grabbed her wooden staff, which one could say was rather old. It was oakwood with a few nicks here and there. It reached her waist, from the ground up and the top of it had a little red gem. She supposed, her staff would break soon and she'd better buy a new one. Though, shopping, staff shopping rather wasn't in her itinerary. Why not? She wasn't always in the capital plus Kyra was still a girl. Shopping was a thing she's always had and she couldn't remember when she last did. Lately, all she had been doing was restocking her things and that was simply boring. Taking a few gold coins, Kyra left her home, staff in hand.

    ---

    The marketplace was booming as expected, and Kyra's forest green eyes were lit up in excitement. So many things to choose from, she thought. As she eyed the row after row of staves. From iron staves to simple wooden ones. As well as a single gemmed staff to one with multiple ones. Plus, if one was feeling extra cheeky, there was a staff painted with the colours of the rainbow.

    Kyra had taken interest with another wooden staff with almost the same design. The only difference was that instead of curving around the red gem like her previous staff. It was like a bowl, the gem being like the staff's crowning glory.

    "I'll take this." She says as she hands the merchant a few gold coins.

    Kyra loved wooden staves. They weren't too heavy and were just right in her opinion. It was something she used as a measure of self defense. She never did learn any means of magic that could harm others. Her mother and mentor only taught her magic that was beneficial to a person. So, in her own way, Kyra looked for a way to defend herself. Staff in hand, she went along her merry way to explore the city.
     
  12. (Collab between @Maxim and @Leif )

    A gentle wind stirred carrying with it the scent of brine. Rylant and his escort had passed the border several days ago. Kayio oughtn't have been much further. It was a suitable company. The prince and around a dozen fighting men. For the roads. His father had fussed. Not that there had been any trouble so far. The lord knew his father had not been eager to send him to the Summit. Even when he took ill the King had remained insistent on going. After sufficient pestering from the Queen and Rylant's own arguments he agreed to stay put and recuperate. And despite his father's health as a primary goal, Rylant wasn't going to pretend he wasn't excited about the event. It had been a while since he'd had the chance to travel and longer still since he'd been able to leave Coill. Even if Commander Garavik had likely been sent along as much to make sure he stayed out of trouble as to keep him safe.

    ========================

    Further down the road, Florent was relaxing on a grassy hill overlooking Kayio. He and the knight he served under, Captain Kristopher, were ordered to go on ahead of the company to ascertain if there were any threats ahead. Kristopher was a Wyvern Knight by trade, and one of the most trusted members of said organization. He was a man in his mid-fifties, with black hair, a well trimmed beard, and green eyes. Having reached their destination with no danger in sight, Florent had taken the time to try and rest. It was soon disturbed by the rubbing of a scaly claw playfully scratching the man's arm. Noire, Kristopher's pet wyvern, was trying to mess with Florent, and when he awoke, he saw the familiar face of his master. "Already sleeping on the job? You're not gonna cut it as a knight if you keep doing that you know." Kristopher teased.

    "I know that master, if I thought there'd be any danger then I wouldn't be asleep."

    "Oh I wouldn't say it's that safe, Kayio is well known to be a haven for the unsavory characters of the country."

    "Really? Why would they hold a peace meeting in a place full of pirates? I'll never understand these fellows."

    "Haha. Well, just be glad that they let you on this expedition. It's a rare honor to be sure."

    "Sure..." In truth, Florent was worried the summit would just be a boring tirade between feuding nobles. Same as back home, he figured.

    "You'd better get up, we're leaving in a few minutes to report the roads are safe."

    "Roger that."

    Florent got up, and started preparing the wyvern for the flight back. Noire was a difficult customer to take care of, though after almost five years of working with her, Florent's presence was tolerated by the wyvern. Still, preparing a wyvern for travel, especially to carry two people, was a rather obnoxious task. Once the task was done, Florent made a salute towards the knight, signaling that everything was good to go. Kristopher followed the squire, but then made a motion, as though remembering something. He pulled an iron axe out of his pack, and said "Here, I want you to have this."

    "An axe? What do I need one of those for?"

    "As I said, this place is full of scoundrels. I don't expect too much trouble from them, as they would have to contend with the town guard and several military forces. Still, it can't hurt to be prepared."

    "Sure, thanks." Florent said, as he climbed up to the "passenger seat" of the wyvern.

    Kristopher chuckled a bit at Florent's casual acceptance, then said "Just remember, a knight is more than just the steel at his side---"

    "He's the representative and protector of the nation and it's people. I know I know you've told me a million times." Florent said, somewhat annoyed.

    "Ah, fair enough, let's get on with it shall we?" Kristoff said, then he got on the wyvern as well, and the duo took off for the caravan. Florent tried to take the opportunity to relax, and take in the wind blowing across his face. The journey seemed to be over in a flash for Florent, as they soon touched down next to the caravan. Kristopher then went over to report to the Commander, a man by the name of Garavik, and reported "Roads clear sir, no threats for miles around."

    ======================
    “Excellent. Well done.” Garavik responded to the report. Only a few minutes of stop had been taken to meet the riders. Captain Kristopher and his squire, Florent. “We'll have no problem settling into the city before nightfall.”

    “No surprise there.” Rylant added. If bandits or anyone else had prepared to raid or cause trouble they likely would have acted closer to the mountains. Where there were less guards to catch.

    “It's best to be safe.” The commander had ushered the group back to movement and taken seat atop his own mount.

    “But less eventful.” The lord chimed. Garavik shot him a glance. “I wasn't disagreeing.” Rylant gave a small sigh. “I just meant there are only so many trees and fields to pass before things start to be a bit dull.” At least they would soon be in the city. People everywhere and ready for the Summit.
     
    #12 Maxim, Feb 1, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  13. The Wandering PrinceFor all of the pomp and pageantry of the event, Requiem felt little actual interest. He was never one to turn down a festival, but he'd received a missive from his father that his presence was required at the summit. It wasn't that it was out of the way for him. In fact, he'd been planning on being there anyway. The issue was that he had been planning on going for the festival, and now he was being forced to ignore the thing he had been most looking forward to. His father was always trying to get him to act more the part of the prince he was, but he didn't care too much for it. He wasn't the eldest, and while succession wasn't divined by who was born first, he would rather relax. He didn't like being locked up in the palace, stuck dealing with royal duties. Still, he was called to service, and so despite what he wanted, he had to go.

    With a heavy sigh, Requiem shifted in his saddle, reaching down to scratch behind the ear nubs of his Vorian Synard. The great reptile tilted is head slightly, exposing it's scales more for better scratching. Requiem let out a quiet laugh as they made their way towards Kayio. They weren't more than a few hours short of the port, as he'd been out travelling when the messenger found him. When the messenger left, he left Requiem with the spare Synard to make sure that the prince arrived on time for the summit. Requiem had no doubt he'd cause a bit of a stir showing up on one of the giants, as they weren't seen outside of Sahra very often.

    Sitting back up, Requiem looked out into the distance, hoping to catch a glimpse of the city on the horizon. He just wanted to get everything done so he could go back to enjoying his life.
     
  14. [​IMG]


    “So, you pulled his pants down and told the crew to kill him?” Lin Tora, captain of The Escapade, bellowed with a smirk, barely lifting his eyes over the edge of a nautical chart.

    The captain was a true born son of Ma Kai, a member of the island nation’s native ethnic group, and a former royal naval officer. Convicted after it was discovered he was smuggling contraband while on routine patrols, Tora escaped from a prison ship and, after a time hiding out and spreading rumors of his death by opioid addiction, acquired a ship. From that point forward, Tora was a pirate.

    As a cheap irony, Tora continued to wear his naval uniform while acting as a pirate captain. Now aged, the uniform ill-fit the somewhat portly Ma Kai, and was covered in stains from alcohol, dirt and blood, among others. His weight and age showed least in his face, which was still relatively shapely, though wrinkles were present under his narrow, dark eyes and across his forehead. His hair, once jet black, was now ashen, speckled with relics of the ebony that once was dominant.

    “Well, kill him if he gets snippy.” Orrisin chuckled from a wooden wingback chair across from Tora.

    The captain’s cabin of The Escapade was built from a deep cherry wood, which reflected red when candlelight filled the room. Captain Tora’s ageing eyes required much light, so the room frequently glowed with red candlelight, and was uncomfortably stuffy.

    “We should reach Torabasu within the hour.” Tora said, setting down the nautical chart and meeting his first mate’s gaze. “Assure me again that your contact is trustworthy.”

    “Nobody’s worth a lick of trust, you know that captain.” Orr dismissed the captain’s concerns. “But, far’s untrustworthy criminals go, Nilos Barnacle’s harmless.”

    “Fine. Take Munch and the Heiyan boy. Teach him our ways.”

    “Boy’s foot got mangled a touch in the cords, cap.”

    “Then he’ll walk it off.” Tora motioned to the door. “Go now. We’ll be mooring soon.”

    A knock at the captain’s door punctuated the conversation’s end.

    “Enter.” Tora’s baritone voice boomed.

    The captain’s door creaked open slightly and the boulderous bald head of Burr poked through the crack. Tora glanced to Orr — whose eyes were fixed on the Sahranese head — then darted back to Burr.

    “Speak.” The captain demanded. Burr’s head drooped and a quiet stream of mumbles preceded his explanation.

    “I … need for apologize Orr. Words disrespect. Am sorry.” Burr stammered.

    The room was silent, and Orr sat up, studying the giant. After a few breaths, Orr leaned back and crossed his arms.

    “Fine. No hard ones mate. Don’t do it again or I’ll have Cheffy broil your skin for dinner.” Orr’s voice was free of malice, but stern.


    Burr bobbed his bulbous head in agreement, but lingered by the door.

    “... Yes?” Tora asked.

    “Uh … men look to me with crazy eye. Touching weapons. Watching. Maybe Orr say no more kill me?”

    Orr and Tora exchanged amused glances.

    “Yeah. No worries. I’ll be on deck in’a sec. Now off wit’ya.” Orr waved a hand, and Burr disappeared behind the door.
     
  15. [​IMG]


    The Escapade docked at one of the city of Torabasu’s many unpatrolled moorings.

    Built during a much more ancient time, Torabasu — known as the Ma Kai Reach to most foreigners and Bleak Bridge to the oldest Almatheans — was a bridge spanning the gap between the north and south islands of Ma Kai. This allowed the coastal cities of Boro in the north and Sa Sarina in the south to more effectively transport resources between the islands. Over time, merchants and vendors, restauranteers and shipwrights all set up shop along the the massive bridge. This was the birth of Torabasu, a city that would go on to absorb both Boro and Sa Sarina.

    As word spread of the bridge city and the calm, welcoming waters of Voros Bay, the bridge would eventually become a home to thousands and thousands from across the known world. Architecture from all cultures — pagodas, onion spires, sandstone temples, gothic halls — was represented on the bridge. Torabasu came to be known as the little sister to the Heiyan market city of Kayio.

    The pirate crew of The Escapade was unloading a mixture of trade goods and contraband onto the dock adjacent the ship. The city inspectors rarely kept track of the merchandise coming in through the slum ports. It was understood that contraband drove up prices and made certain merchants very rich. Those merchants often represented — or were — men of power in the city, and a city run by merchant guilds valued profit over moral integrity. As such, a blind eye was often turned toward those nefarious enough to frequent the slum ports.

    Orrisin — once again donning his long, brown overcoat — Munch, the gangly brigand, and the young Heiyan teen from the cordage left the dock, stepping carefully through the mud and waste of the slum’s landing. Past the sludge, the men ascended a broken staircase onto the lowest level of Torabasu. These were the slum markets — wall to wall tents and tenements built of rotting wood, sun-cracked sailcloth and abandoned material.

    As the trio pushed through the crowds — street children, beggars, lowly merchants and pickpockets — the Heiyan craned his neck, marvelling at the more luxurious structures on the higher levels of the bridge.

    “Never been here? Say what’s your name boy?” Munch asked, his mouth full of an exotic fruit he’d snatched from an unsuspecting merchant. The pirate was gaunt — so thin that many thought him malnourished upon first inspection — but healthy, and quick with a blade. Regardless, Munch rarely fought. His skills were more akin to stealth and thievery. During boardings, Munch would sneak onto the enemy ship and hide out in the event The Escapade’s crew was taken captive. In this they always had a man on the inside to help them launch a counter attack.

    “No suh. Neva lef Heiya since now. And me name’s Karsin.” The teen said. He favored the leg which had been caught in the ropes, wincing with pain every now and again, but pushed it away in an attempt to regain some dignity. His skin was beet red as his porcelain skin had never spent so many days on the open ocean in succession. The pain from this he too tried to ignore.

    “No freer place in the world, save maybe Kayio.” Orrisin said, leading the group. “This month they’re celebratin’ the Song of the Wind. Soon’s that over, they’ll start the Feast of Peace to honor the peace summit. This city loves a festival.”

    “Aye. They say the Ma Kai came ta love festivals by way’a manipulation from the merchant lords.” Munch chimed in, still chomping at his stolen fruit. “Festivals keep the guard busy, so’s we can bring in all the fun little bitties the common man craves but the lordys says is not allowed.”

    Orrisin chuckled at the old rumor.

    “Alright boys, right through here.” Orrisin said, ducking through a curtain and into a crevice carved from the miles of thick rock making up the bridge. The men followed suit.

    It was dark inside, and full of smoke from a dozen different illicit substances. Torches of trash glowed dim inside, shining bits of light across the jagged walls of the bridgestone, filling the chamber with the stinging scent of burnt refuse. Halfway inside the den, a ragged little man shuffled to his feet from a hookah circle. He motioned for Orrisin and his company.

    “Nilos Barnacle.” Orrisin said, clasping the man’s arm.

    “Orrisin Sunrunner.” The young — albeit toothless — man said, returning the greeting.

    “It’s Escapade now, mate.” Orrisin said with a grin.

    “Escapade! Gods, you’ll be a lord soons enough, ey old friend?” Nilos replied, laughing.

    In the Ma Kai underclass, street children were often collected and sold off as cheap labor to ship captains. They would spend their entire lives on the ships, becoming excellent sailors with no real ties to the mainland — essentially citizens of the sea. These children frequently took on the surname of the ships they served. In this way, a sort of class system developed among the underclass — the larger and more renown the ship, the more respect was earned.


    The Barnacle Fleet — a large fleet of small, cheap merchant vessels — was where many children began their lives at sea. Many never moved on from these ships — such as Nilos — and some, like Orrisin, became legends in their own right.

    Nilos motioned to the circle, and the men sat around the hookah, where two other surly types — one portly and one armless — were waiting. These were the negotiators for The Escapade’s next shipment.

    “G’day gents.” Orrisin said, settling onto the filthy blanket that served as his seat.

    “Let’s get to it then.” The portly man croaked. “Me master is prepared t’part with’n his black mead as discussed. Howeva’s, price is gone up. Some’a th’ apiaries providin’ the honey wen up in smoke just one week past, so that limits supply ya see. Gonna need an extra ten percents per load. S’all ‘ere in this document.” The portly man handed a parchment to Orrisin.

    The first mate grabbed the paper and looked it over. After a moment, he looked back up at the negotiators, studying their faces in the dull light of the hookah’s coals. The armless one was fighting back a devious grin.

    “M’pologies friend.” The portly man said, sensing Orrisin’s suspicion. “Yah must undertsands though, yaint gonna find ‘nother supplier’a black mead this close ta the peace summit.”


    “Ten percent? Are the lords’a Ma Kai wagin’ war gainst the bees?” Munch’s incredulity was not hidden.

    Orrisin raised a hand to quell Munch’s indignation.

    “This paper’s a two week old flier lookin’ for somone to kill rats in some woman’s house.” Orrisin said, crumbling up the parchment and tossing it back at the men. “Think I can’t read on’a count I take the name of a ship?”


    The negotiators were wide eyed at the turn of events. A tense silence hung over the group. Munch’s eyes narrowed and he began to finger the blade at his hip.

    “Truth be told, we didn’t.” The armless man admitted sheepishly.

    “Shut up!” The portly man chastised.

    It was true, however. Most pirates couldn’t read, and certainly not those of the underclass. Orrisin, however, had the benefit of acting as a brig steward on the first ship he’d ever crewed. This job brought him in contact with an imprisoned cleric. Orrisin snuck the man food scraps and wine in exchange for stories of his travels. As their bond grew, the cleric gave Orrisin the most valuable gift the man would ever receive — literacy.

    “Here’s how this is gonna go.” Orrisin began, lowering his voice and layering his tone with deadly seriousness. “You blokes are gonna head to the docks. You will give us a five percent discount on the black mead as a thank-ye for not spilling yer innards. This boy next’a me’s named Karsin the Black. He’s a Heiyan dark mage — could turn yer innards to soup in a second — and he don’t take kindly ta thieves.”

    Karsin shot Orrisin a worried glance.

    “But that boy ain’t old enough —” The armless man started.

    “That’s it. Karsin, show ‘em yer stuff.” Orrisin said, throwing his arms up. “You godsdamn fools.”


    Karsin’s head shot back and forth between the negotiators and Orrisin several times. His confusion continued until Orrisin locked eyes with Karsin and motioned to the scammers with a nod.

    The boy looked, bewildered, at the negotiators, and after a momentary pause widened his eyes and curled his lips into grotesque twist. As his face continued twisting, he bugged one eye out and let a little spittle form in the corner of his mouth.

    “OK! Enough!” The armless man shouted.


    “Fine! Five percent!” The portly man agreed, covering his stomach. “Godsdamn magics!”

    “Alright Karsin, calm down. They’ll live another day.” Orrisin said, calmly placing a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “We’ll expect that black mead at the ship ‘fore we get back. And don’t try runnin’, Karsin’ll find ya with his black magic. Bloody stuff it is.”

    ---

    Back in the market following the exchange, Orrisin and Munch were crying with laughter.

    “Gods boy, the spittle!” Munch guffawed, his face red. “Yer in the wrong business, yer’a regular mummer!”


    “Truly a spectacle!” Orrisin agreed, wiping a tear from his eye.

    Karsin smiled, sheepishly accepting the praise he’d rarely found since his time began with the pirates.

    The men were gathered around a used weapon kiosk, recounting the tale of their swindle. As Orrisin’s laughter died down, he reached into a pocket and tossed the kiosk owner a small handful of coins. He then grabbed a jagged short blade and handed it to the Heiyan.

    “‘Ere ya’are boy. Your first real weapon. Ya earned it.” Orrisin said, shoving it into Karsin’s hands. “Now, let’s get ourselves a drink, a fuck and a wink. Tomorrow we sail for Kayio.”
     


  16. Listen my child to the old voices sing,
    and remember what it is they say.
    The old-world knowledge imparted to thee,
    and the truth of Lord Brennah's day.






    The ship rocked gently on the crystal blue waves, the motion soothing, conducive to sleep. Sailors of the royal navy ran about the deck each on his own task, knowing how precious their cargo was. Lady Leilani Oshiro, the white flower of Ma Kai, heir to the throne and peace summit bound.

    Each man knew what was to remain wisely unspoken, that she had been sent solely as a political ploy and not because any of the royal council had any true appreciation for the lady's abilities. She was after all only the daughter of his highness's brother's concubine, and royalty only because the Lord Emperor had felt pity for her upon her parents' death. (The mother to illness and the father in battle the year after.) It would not have been well received by the nation if the sovereign lord had turned out a blood relation to the streets simply because her presence was an inconvenience. He was the emperor after all. He could afford to keep an inconvenience.

    No the lady was sent as a means of showing her off to the neighboring lands in hope one of them might form the desire to take her off her Uncle's hands. Some of the men agreed with that sentiment. Others did not. After all the young woman had done more in her short time for her people that her uncle had in all his years of reign.

    Currently she was dozing, safely out of the way, in her small cabin.



    "Mother, how do we know this story is true? I thought we had only bits and pieces?"
    "So we do, my darling, so we do. But those pieces are enough to extrapolate a theory."
    "But theories aren't truth, so why must I learn them?"
    "In case you should ever have a chance to find those missing pieces, you shall know where they fit."
    "So it's not about the theory, it's about the information the theory came from?"
    "Exactly, My darling, Exactly"
    "Mother?"
    "Yes, darling?"
    "Why is all this knowledge a secret?"
    "Because many have died protecting it."
    "But why?"
    "Because we don't yet know the truth and many would take the theory and use it as an excuse for war."
    "Oh."




    They say that some sailors can instinctively tell when trouble is brewing. In the case of the royal Ma Kai navy, black sails will do it every time. Their cries of warning were enough to wake the young woman from her slumber and send her on deck to see for herself what the commotion was about. She was, of course, careful to stay out of the way knowing that the greatest hindrance to their survival would be for her to impede the crew in their duty.

    The captain motioned her to stand beside him and Leilani quickly moved to that spot trusting him to know the best place for her.

    "Pirates by their sails and flags," he grunted, the grey beard adorning his chin quivering with indignation. "Though most know better that to target a navy ship."

    "Perhaps it is because it is this navy ship." Leilani queried, the musical note in her voice hinting at a long hidden sorrow.

    "You think they mean to take you?" There was anger in the captain's voice now. The protectiveness of a man called upon to chaperon a child.

    "It is the logical conclusion," She answered.

    "The Logical Conclusion!"

    "I can see three possibilities before us," Leilani continued, "Either they are pirates come to take me for ransom, they are assassins sent by my uncle to remove me from his hair permanently, or they are some mercenary force intent on disturbing the peace summit and of all those set to attend you must admit I am the weakest target."

    The captain could only look at her in astonishment, but Leilani wasn't done. "If it is the first or the second you will surrender me with out contest. In both scenarios my life is the prize and it is likely cooperation will guarantee no one else is harmed. The life of one noble is not worth the lives of your crew, Captain."

    "Like hell I will!" The elder man growled refusing to let her finish. "If we outrun them there's no need to discover which of your three it is!"

    A moment later he was barking out orders and the men were racing fasted and harder then they had before. The sails were out full and turning into the wind the navy ship launched forward speeding across the top of the waves.
    They were ahead and out of range.
    They were going to make it!

    No one anticipated the presence of the second ship. The enemy had accounted for their speed and attempt at flight. The Navy had sailed their lady directly into a trap.

    The choice was made clear. Surrender the white flower of Ma Kai, or die.

    Leilani was strong enough to make that choice for them.

    "Give this to whoever you deem fit," she whispered passing her sword into his hands and pressing a kiss against his wind chapped cheek.

    And then she was taken from them.








    "And it looks like you win again!" Galric exclaimed minorly annoyed as he threw his cards down on the make shift table he, Gaston, and several other sailors were using to play. Really it was a bit of wood balanced across the top of a few barrels. Several sailors grumbled as they handed Gaston his winnings, but the moment was cut short when the captain called "Kayio port ahead," and every hand raced for their position.

    For a moment the air was filled with laughter and jokes and the sights each man wanted to see when shore leave was granted, combined with the necessary chore talk of the job.
    Then silence rang through.

    Ahead of them limping into the Kayio docks was a battle battered ship help together by shear luck it appeared. There were holes from cannon fire high in the hull, one of the sails had been ripped to shreds. What they could see of the ship's crew moved slowly and stiffly as if working despite injury.

    "Pirate attack?" one man asked among the hush.

    "No," Galric answered as he rose to his feet and made his way towards the bow for a better look. "That's a royal navy ship of Ma Kai!"

    It was then the wind caught the tattered flag and spread it for all to see.

    "Naga save us!" One man choked as another exclaimed, "That's the royal crest!"

    "Let us hope the lady is still aboard," Galric grunted, "else this may not be a peace summit at all, but one of war."

    "Let us all pray that not be the case," The Bishop and envoy for Shan stated for all to hear. "Else I have to send some of you on a rescue mission. The lords have not given me such authority, but it is what would be proper."




    It seemed to populace of the Kayio docks had seen it as well, the damaged ship limping in. People stopped and stared, workers halted in their chores, and a moment later they were running. Any one who frequented the docks, man, woman, or child, knew the procedures for welcoming a pirate stormed ship. Medics were called, the guard alerted, local ships' sailors jumped into long boasts to sail out and board her in order to assist the crew in.

    And a messenger was sent on the fastest horse available to alert the Heiya palace.​

     
  17. Xavier was finally done talking with his father, it had been a long reunion with his old man and he knew he had a few things to do before heading out of the castle. He moved down from the battlements and quickly moved from hallway to hallway again, this time moving towards the grand library within the castle. He walked in and stopped, leaning against a wall as he watched his mother, his brother, and his brother's magic tutor working with him. He felt out of place, with so many magic wielders around, both being from his family. He almost felt inadequate near them, supposedly he had the potential hidden somewhere, but all of his physical training has closed him off...at least that is what the tutor said when he tried using any of the magics that they all tried putting in front of him. All Xavier knew was that he was much better with a lance in his hands then with a tome, his brother looked up and beamed

    "Brother!" He exclaims running towards his older brother, Xavier couldn't help but smile as his brother slammed into him, his head hitting Xavier's stomach. "It's wonderful to see you, when did you get back?" Alexander's sandy blonde hair was messy and covered his clear sky blue eyes as he looked up at Xavier inquisitively. Xavier had and his guard got back to the capital late, and they all decided to have drinks and raised a bit of a ruckus in the local tavern before finally getting to the castle, everyone but his mother and father had been asleep before he even reached the castle gates. The two of them had waited patiently for him after he sent a note back with a messenger. "So Xav did you come by to speak with Mother?" Alexander asks looking to the Queen and back to Xavier.

    Xavier tilted his head and shrugged "I just came by to see the two of you, I didn't get a chance to see you when I got back, and mother and father needed to get themselves to bed by the time I got back. So I figured, before I head into the market and have my freedom, I'd figure I would see you in your prison of books and magic." Xavier chuckled and patted his brother on his head. Walking over to the Queen he gave her a short but tender embrace and looked to the elder sage "Is there any hope for him good sage?" Xavier chuckled again and his mother scoffed playfully.

    "Now now, your brother is doing fine Xavier, I wish you had so fervently attended to your studies as he." Queen Selena of Heiya was, for all accounts, their beacon of light. She was tall, slender, graceful and always had the ear of the citizenry, before meeting the King she served as a Valkyrie, lending aid wherever she could. Yeah that's my mother the ever loving type, and the doting type, she never could stop with just a few things for her kids, just looking at Alex and the mountain of tomes and books, as well as just...everything in the library, of course he had this as well, only in terms of physical training

    Xavier waves his hand "Alex knows I was kidding and so does his tutor, besides I studied and was a fine pupil, I was just better at tactics and weaponry than...magic." The young lord says as he turns on his heels and waves to the Queen and his younger brother "I'll see you guys later on in the evening." He says and leaves the library, he went to his room and took the fancy clothes off, instead fitting into a comfortable, yet still well made, green and silver tunic, a pain set of trousers, and decided he'd put on some light leather gloves and boots, deciding he might as well put his lance back where it belongs, as well as take his shield this time as well. He started heading out of the castle when he noticed a someone running towards the castle, he waved the man down and called out "Speak, what's going on?" The crown prince of Heiya waited patiently, his hands moving behind his back to grasp his spear and shield.
     
  18. Korra had spent her time kicking at occasional dirt clods at the road side, when that got boring, she turned her attention to the grasses gathered here or there. Kayio was certainly more verdant then her home Sahra; there were abundant resources all over. She'd leaned down to start picking edible grasses from the side of the road and putting them into a pouch. Occasionally she'd luck out and find a worm or a fattened bug among the debris of her search, those were really happy moments for the poor girl who found food to be the hardest resource to acquire. These she felt were good preparations, she was considering Kayio as a new home just because of how such things were overlooked!

    Of course, common people might see her strange, cows and other animals were usually the only ones to eat grass from the ground. Korra who'd been exposed to true starvation understood the value in them though. She was idly passing her time, gathering food to keep her mind off of the crippling worries that had worked their way into her mind. She didn't know what she'd do with her life from this point on, but she couldn't decide if she starved she told herself as she plucked more grass.

    The down of her ears happened to perk as a rider passed near by though, shouting for others to make way, his tone was particularly urgent. Korra was naturally sensitive to sights and sound, as a predator, that was just skill in her repertoire. Those fluffy ears flickering and cocking to one side as if trying to direct sound into her head, she turned her eyes to the rider as he road past her while rising to her feet. Her eyes swiveling as the her pupils expanded and contracted to bring the man into focus as he began crossing a longer distance stretching her vision further and further to follow him.

    Seeing the direction he was headed, Korra didn't know his goal, but she had some vague guesses that caused her to try and glance back towards the direction they seemed to come from. After glancing around a few times, she realized she wouldn't understand why without moving. Pulling her jacket up a bit tighter she disappeared into the crowd of festival goers.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    By the docks, Korra tried to get a better feel for what was going on by climbing a bit higher. Maybe looking like a madman as she tried to make it to a nearby roof top-- Or at least high enough to look down on those who were performing the investigation. She was quite adept at functioning higher up, even if the climb took her a moment being high wasn't unfamiliar for her even as a caged bird. Once more her eyes dilated expanding her field of vision as she watched the towns people going through the chaotic motions.

    She wasn't making much of an effort to help... Her skill set was unfortunately limited; She didn't know first aid, wasn't specially fast on her feet, couldn't sale a craft. All she had left was to watch over the event in wonder as those that knew what they were doing took care of things. Korra chewed her lower lip as she began wondering if she should take up learning first aid at least...
     
  19. Gaston was astonished that he had won again. "Well then Galric... Looks like that ties us again...." He said looking at the cards again. "What is it now.... 25-25 for today?" He said with a light cuckle after. Gaston might have luck on his side, but Galric was definitely a master when it came to playing cards. "Maybe it's time we duel again..." He said as they pulled into port. He looked out into the city that they had docked in. It was magnificent to say the least. "Come Lucifer..." Lucifer had made it out of the middle of the ship and was on the top deck.

    Lucifer had troted over to Gaston and let his best friend climb aboard. With a few beats of his mighty wings, Gaston and Lucifer took off. They climbed and climbed until they could see the other side of the city. People were looking at him, a lot of them in fact. It was like they had never seen a man flying on a pegasus everyday. Gaston waved at them and swooped down. It was only then he noticed a few of them pointing at the burnt ship.

    "...Pirates...." He mumbled under his breath as he looked at the ship's blackened hull. The sails all tattered and ripped. It was a hellish sight to see. Gaston motioned for Lucifer to fly down so he could get a better look. With a few beats of his mighty wings, Lucifer and Gaston flew down closer to the ship.

    It was almost like a scene out of a bad story. There were holes in the wooden hull of the ship. A few of the sailors had cuts, bruises or something that made them look like they had taken a beating. Gaston looked out to the sea. There was a tailwind which could get Gaston and Lucifer farther. Gaston almost went before remembering that Lucifer couldn't fly for more than a day at a time. It was at least a few day flight to Mi'Kai.

    Gaston swooped down onto the dock near the ship from Shan. "Galric..." He said giving his new friend a look. "...You see that flag... That's the royal flag of Mi'Kai... Even I know that.... And I'm not that smart..." He petted Lucifer. "I'm gonna go and see if I can spot anything..." He said before trotting over to the end of the pier.
     
  20. Eleos lounged upon his makeshift throne of crates and bright colored linens stolen from clotheslines all over Kaiyo, where he watched the urchins trade and haggle random junks they had stolen or scavenged. It brought a smile to his face, the art with which children seized their natural rights effortlessly; the ability to determine for oneself the subjective value of things. There were no market prices here, in their secret hideout pinned in by granite city walls and rundown buildings, and dock warehouses, that could only be reached through what adults would call a crevice, and children would call a shortcut. The urchins would come here to sift through their earnings after scuttling and hustling the docks, passing foods or shiny rocks or coins or trinkets between each other, each child having various abstract perceptions on the most basic question of economics- what equals what?

    The chatter from the festival and the docks, and the echo of the sea resounded through the narrow passageways, which to them was the lucrative sound of more pockets to be picked, and more stalls to be hustled. And on occasion, honest work yielded reward too.

    "This strange lady gave me this here strips of meat! She had this sort of shackle 'round her neck, like the city guardsmen use." One kid missing his two front teeth explained as some other kids gathered to witness his delicious earnings.

    "I bet she's an escaped prisoner." Chipped in a dark haired kid with more fingers than a normal person, sitting back on his haunches.

    "What if she's out to murder someone?" Wailed another child.

    El took notice of the conversation and slid from his throne landing on the muddied ground, he sauntered towards the group with a jovial toothy grin, "Whatcha talkin' 'bout Skye?"

    The kid with a valley between his teeth came back with, "This women with a bow and buggy kinda eyes El. She asked me and umm," he paused for his train of thought to catch up with the speed with which he spoke, "Bosco! oh Bosco and Eliot and Gussy-boy showed her where the summit was taking place."

    El lowered himself, dropping his elbows to his thighs and placing a hand on his chin, "Interesting, interesting. What if," he opened his palms and outstretched his fingers theatrically, "She's here to murder the lords attending the summit? My sister says bows can be used from afar to take down enemies. This buggy eyed lady sounds like a runaway slave out for revenge...." Eleos looked around at the enthralled faces of his friends with that same sly grin he always wears, and then he shrugged. "Who knows."

    This theory spiked the energy of the group, turning it into tangent talks of theories surrounding this shackled woman and her dark past and present designs. Oh, the imagination of children, El could only smile warmly at his friends. But his thoughts began drifting towards his sister. He was wishing her good luck during the combat tournament today, a tournament anyone of any status could participate in. She had been training for seven years for this day, because on the last peace summit she was too young to participate.

    Eventually his swim through his pool of thoughts was ended by what was recognized as a shift in the sound from cacophony to cries of crisis. The rest of the group noticed too, and like everyone else on the docks that day, they were all drawn towards the aftermath of violence on what was supposed to be a day for celebrating peace.

    ****************************************

    Each thrust cut through the air in a blur of speed and precision, the result of the practiced application of discipline and focus. A leaf fell from the oak above her in the backyard belonging to the Tavern where she worked for room and board for herself and her brother for the last seven years as a maidservant and laundress. Caught in her gaze, after one deep breath she spun her lance, twirling it parallel to her body and then slicing at the falling leaf.

    "Shit." She cursed.

    She had managed to rustle the air around it causing the leaf to wobble erratically before drifting the rest of the way lazily down to the earth. Chess was good with her lance, but not that good. At this rate, her piercing eyes would slice through a leaf before her lance. Despite the result, she exhaled quickly through her nose and reset herself in her stance, widening her feet apart and inhaling as she softened in her knees. In a flash she let loose a flurry of strikes in what any onlooker might call dancing with a lance.

    Chess had dogged determination that put her out here under any weather conditions to whirl her lance for hours before and after her work was done. She had dreams of becoming a knight if chance could only find a way to make her a squire. She had thought that night was last night, when Prince Xavier and his comrades indulged in drink and a little debauchery. However, she couldn't manage a peep, paralyzed by indecision. She wanted to prove herself, not ask for a handout, which brewed the internal conflict that held her tongue.

    But she could still come out here and practice.

    When she finished her warm-up she fastened the family heirloom to her back so she could use it to win the tournament today. She adjusted the leather guard around her chest and stepped out the door. While ambling through the crowd she couldn't help but reflect on her past, since what was about to occur would hopefully be a hallmark of a moment in her memories. In her mind she wandered down some broken memories of a burning home. And if she looked deeper she would see peaceful memories of a lone homestead on the coast, a peaceful life with a loving mother and father, people so gentle and kind, she would often dream that she was the remnants of nobility. That her parents were some lord and lady seeking solitude, and that her and her brother were the remains of a hidden legacy.

    But these musings were blunted by reality.

    Chess finally made it to the line where signups for the Peace Summit Grand Tournament, the tagline on the sign read, "Test your mettle in the Fight for Peace!". There were all types of fighters there, each with various weapons strapped about their persons. Most of them were men, and experienced men at that, most grizzled and scarred. Chess felt slightly out of place, and her presence was earning curious or lustful stares. When she finally got to the front of the line, the attendant's face twisted into an amused and puzzled expression. By the looks of it he was a warrior too, sporting a salt and pepper beard, his eyes worn by gravity and age.

    "Yer not signin' up are yeh?" He asked immediately, his bemusement as clear as a cloudless summer day.

    "Yes. I am," Chess started, stammering slightly over her words, "Put me down for lance combat, my name is-"

    "Where's your armor? These ole' boys dun fight with sticks young lass." He sternly stated through a stretched grin.

    "I don't have any," she admitted slowly, "But I can still-"

    "Fight? You'll be scraps for the dogs if you don't have any armor. Come back next peace summ-"

    This was when Chess cut him off and slammed a fist on his table, the previous girl stumbling over her words before him was gone, replaced by a girl with a fire alight in her ember eyes that related she was brazen enough to fight resolutely without armor. His years of experience assured him of that, no matter how crazy it was.

    "I can still fight. I've been waiting so long for this-" She was cut off again, but this time not by the attendant, but rather the murmurs that began to circulate among the crowd as they witnessed troops of guards quickly dispatch towards the docks. One of the whispers around her mentioned a navy ship, a supposed attack. She couldn't make heads or tails of the talk, and what it truly meant, but the tournament was completely pushed out of her mind. The only thing she could think of at that moment was, "El."
    And with that she darted off.
     
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