Glimmermaids

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Seeking Calliope, Sep 10, 2014.

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  1. The Temple of Aidan, located in the center of the empire, was home to the revered order of Glimmermaids, a priceless imperial treasure. In the years since its founding, a village rose around the temple and in the hundreds of years since, the village grew into a city. The city, like most in the region, had been fortified through the centuries with large imposing walls until three different sets were formed, the inner encircled by the outer. The temple and its grounds filled the inner most portion of the city, while the residences of the citizenry comprised the center ring. Within the outer ring are orchards, fields, grain silos, fisheries, and the five garrisons which belong to the five Orders of Eldritch Knights. The great river of Alpheus bisects the city and cuts through the two outer walls.

    Beyond the outer most walls of Aidan are rolling hills and rice farms. This close to the great city crime was nonexistent since Aidan maintained a large standing army called the Maid’s Guard. If the Guard wasn’t enough to dissuade bandits and ruffians, the small presence of the elite Eldritch Knights certainly was, even if each of the Order’s garrisons housed less than fifty knights, a combined total of two hundred and fifty.

    The city of Aidan was one of the wealthiest in the empire. Every year pilgrims visited the city to leave bountiful donations, or gifted daughters. The gifts were left to show their appreciation and reverence for the dedication and sacrifice of the Order housed within, while it was an imperial mandate for any female child born to be blessed by the elements to be given to the Glimmermaids to train, for the safety of the empire.

    The ornate city was currently overflowing with decoration and festivity, all in preparation for the upcoming celebration, known by those within the temple as the Joining Ceremony. Colored lanterns, affixed to streamers, hung above the many thoroughfares and side alleys of the city and bathed cobblestone streets and marbled columns with a rainbow of hues. The city was full of music, seeping from the entrances of taverns and inns, or echoing from various instruments played by the motley clothed minstrels and street performers which had flooded the normally tranquil city within the last few days.

    Within the temple grounds, a young woman dressed in the plain white apprentice’s dress, embroidered with the golden circle of the Glimmermaid’s Order, crossed the eastern courtyard. Her waist long sandy blonde hair was divided into a pair of pigtails, a tale-tell clue to the woman’s identity. Cordelia was well known within the temple, and even the city of Aidan, for being a skilled diplomat and promising candidate for sisterhood. She would be one of twelve candidates for the joining ceremony; an idea that was troubling both her mind and her appetite.

    Cordelia had often dreamed of escaping the confinements of the temple grounds and the future they held. She believed in her duty and her compassion was something the elder Maids often praised. She simply rebelled against her fate because she had no choice in the matter. It was a childish notion that she had been counseled to outgrow.

    Despite her trepidation of the upcoming ceremony, Cordelia had a smile upon her face; one that dimpled her cheeks and caused her eyes to sparkle. She crossed the open area to a gathering of seven young girls, none older than nine years-of-age. She crossed her legs and then lowered herself into a sitting position at the head of the class. She smiled at the young girls before beginning the lesson in a gentle yet commanding voice. Her task for the afternoon was to guide these initiates through their meditation. She instructed the girls and silenced their giggling before considering each in turn. Once Cordelia was satisfied that the children were taking their lesson seriously, she closed her eyes, calmed her mind, and allowed her empathic ability to read each initiate. It was as if she was reading a book. Their emotions ran the gamut from excitement that bordered on hysteria to trepidation that was nearly paralytic. She focused upon each of her pupils, and allowed her presence to calm them. They were gifted, after all, even if they weren’t as skilled as they would eventually become.

    An hour passed and Cordelia dismissed her class before she rose and headed toward the library. She had free time without any responsibilities or chores, a rare occasion and one that she planned to make use of. There was a section of the library, reserved for sisters, which Cordelia enjoyed sneaking into and exploring. The books she had found were informative, to say the least, and she understood why the sisters didn’t allow the younger women read such texts. It was, however, immensely enjoyable and the contents of the books aroused a portion of her mind which she would likely need to control in the upcoming days.
     
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  2. Finally... This was the week. Olivia had been awaiting this since before she could even remember, finally able to leave the book-bound teachings to go out into the world! Explore and experience what everything had to offer! This was the week she finally left the nest.

    Olivia had trained hard since she arrived here, it was the greatest opportunity she had ever received and a dream she had been wishing for ever since her mother started telling her bedtime stories, they were magical, wondrous and even now, thinking back to the epic tales she used to tell makes Olivia's eyes widen with wonder. If she was lucky, she too would soon be paired and sent off into the big world, something was telling her today was that day.

    It was in that moment that Olivia felt herself falling, her dream world spinning and fading as her eyes snapped open, only to crash onto the floor of the library with a loud thud, making her groan a little in pain as she recovered herself from a more than embarrassing crash 'smooth moves Olivia...' she thought to herself sarcastically as she finally picked herself, dusting off her apprentice's that she was wearing for the days occasion and thankfully, it was the least extravagant of her attire, at least when she ventured into the world on her own she could finally find a place to buy something simple.

    After picking up the chair she was snoozing in she picked up her staff and let out a long sigh, her messy hair done up in a style her father used to call 'organised chaos' bounced a little as she gave it a small brush. Today she needed to look her best. It needed to be perfect.

    It was at this thought Olivia spotted Cordelia, a fellow Glimmermaid, slip her way into the library "Cordelia!" she called out, giving her graduating friend a tight hug "We're so close now! We finally did it!" she grinned, swaying back and forth as she gripped her friend "What do you think he will be like? Can you wait!?" she asked, getting a little over excited, pulling away to give out a small blush "oh... sorry... I might have been a little too enthusiastic" she said with a sweet smile, looking up to her friend.
     
    #2 SteelMoon, Sep 10, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
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  3. Twisting the finger on his left hand, Jexxal could not help but grow impatient. The Festival was going to be starting tomorrow and he was still stuck her waiting for who knows how long waiting for the other knight he was to arrive with.

    'At least you have shade.' he thought to himself bitterly. This close to the city it was surprising that there where any trees at all, most of them being cut away several miles from the outer walls. As he recalled it was to prevent enemy forces from sneaking closer to their walls. Watching a farmer pass him on a cart, sweating as he boiled in the noon sun he was forced to appreciate the shade a liitle more. Covered in his Armor and decor Jexxal would of been dead and ready to eat, cooked inside his own personal pot.

    Heat or not Jexxal was relieved that the other man was late. Twisting his ring again he couldn't help but admit to himself how nervous he was.In just a weeks time he would be one of the lucky few to be bonded with a Glimmermaid. That in it self was a high honor indeed add that to the responsibility given to him to use the powers he gains from the bond for the kingdom, there was a long road ahead of him filled with adventure and death. Any reasonable man would nervous, right?

    'Enough with these thoughts' he said to himself again, a habit he had grown into recently. He stood from his patch of dirt beside the roots of the tree and began removing his armor, throwing it to the ground at his feet. He bent down sliding his broad sword out of the chaotic pile and strode away into the sun and away from the tree. Letting his breath ease in and out of his chest for a moment he soon brought himself in the ready position. He moved from position to position as he slowly began fighting an invisible enemy, every motion debilitate. Letting the clash of steel that only he could hear calm his heart as he waited for his ally to arrive.
     
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  4. His armor weighed heavily upon him, the glittering silver missing in patches where he'd gotten to hot, his helmet removed and seething beneath the high temperatures. His feet dragged along the ground as he walked and he found himself, hoping, that maybe he'd get a good hour or two of drinking time.

    When the dust settled, the quivering of his heart followed. His nerves felt exposed and raw, unused to the excitement that was to be expected of one awaiting a long and exhausting week of festivities and challenges. He was nervous, no doubt, and worried greatly about his performance. If he failed, what then? Dishonor on his home city? His family name and garrison? Shuddering, Archer took a long, drawn out breath, and blew out harshly between his clenched teeth. He continued his journey along the path, fingering the bird pendant beneath his clothing and adjusting the strap of his scabbard until it rested comfortably on his shoulder.

    Coming upon a pleasant group of trees just outside of the city, Archer shaded his eyes to get a better look at the entrance, squinting in the bright afternoon sun. So that was the other knight he was to be arriving with. Foreboding looking fellow, wasn't he? Archer chuckled softly and put on his friendliest grin, a hidden challenge for anyone perceptive enough to catch the subtly in his expression. He approached.

    "Hot, isn't it? You wouldn't believe how crowded the main roads are," he said. Indeed, the heat was usually intense this time of year, but today was exceptionally hot and much too awful for him to even consider very much clothing at all. He tugged on his collar, sweat building up along his collarbone and along both sides of his neck. "Caravans and merchants, everywhere."

    He calmed himself, and finally let the extreme warmth sooth his aching muscles.
     
    #4 Dipper, Sep 10, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
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  5. The roads leading to Aidan were full with travelers and pilgrims journeying to see an event that only happened once every five years. Because of the influx of people, the Maid’s Guard was patrolling the roads more tightly than they would normally, and checkpoints were stationed every few miles leading to the great city, starting a dozen miles away. What’s more, the arrival of the five champions of the Eldritch Orders were expected and eyes were on the lookout for men fitting the descriptions of the five champions who would be easier to spot in their armor than in plain clothes.

    It was hardly a surprise than when riders, carrying the banners of Archer’s and Jexxal’s separate Orders, armed with long swords and spears, and adorned in leather armor, arrived shortly after Archer had greeted his fellow Knight. They quickly dismounted, with the ease of trained men, and clasped their sword arms over their hearts.

    ”Sir Briarbane,” one man said. He wore the doublet of Jexxal’s Order. While in unison, another man said ”Sir Brooks,” as he addressed the champion of his Order.

    By the marks the men wore, they could easily be identified as the local garrison’s second, and while the Champions outranked them, they were of some import to the local chapter.

    ”We have a tent and water prepared for you, not far from here,” the man continued.

    ”It might be wise to wear your leathers until we are through the outer gate. I doubt that any of the travelers wish to harm you, but we all know how unbearably hot those suits become and we will make better time if we don’t draw a crowd of onlookers,” he suggested.

    The men waited patiently for the Champions to decide upon a course. Their job was simply to greet Archer and Jexxal; escort them to the tents, so that the pair could wash the dirt of their journeys away; and then escort them to the city and their respective Order’s garrison’s commander.

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

    Cordelia smiled as she heard Olivia’s voice and her blue eyes regarded her childhood friend with welcoming warmth. Olivia’s giddiness was contagious, especially since Cordelia hadn’t been prepared for her friend’s approach and had been empathically in touch with her surroundings.

    The excitement bubbled up within her, despite her best efforts to control it. ”I've heard that three have already reported to their garrisons. From what the servants have said, there is a man who towers above the rest with a chest the size of a door and arms the size of logs. When I asked if he was attractive they snickered and became quiet,” Cordelia whispered loudly. Her tone suggested that she found the prospect of a man so large both intriguing and unbelievable.

    She took a deep breath and steadied herself, allowing the sudden swell of excitement to pass. She gave Olivia another tight squeeze before clasping her friends hand, ”We haven’t graduated yet. There’s still the chance that we won’t feel a connection with the Champions. We’re only two of twelve candidates, and there are only five champions,” she said in an attempt to calm her sister’s fervor.

    ”To tell the truth,” she began in an excited whisper, this time fueled by her own emotions, ”I’ll be happy if all I do is dance with them. There are other ways to become a sister,” which was true, though only the bonded sisters held positions of authority and unbounded sisters seldom every left the temple, which was something Cordelia desperately desired.

    She pulled gently on the other apprentice’s hand. ”C’mon, I was gonna sneak into the sisters’ private library. There’s some information within that we should know, don’t you think?” Codrelia asked with a mischievous smile.
     
    #5 Seeking Calliope, Sep 10, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
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  6. A chest the size of a door? Arms... the size of logs? Olivia didn't know whether to find that amazing or scary, but with only two left to arrive it was almost certain she would hear of the others, though the thought of maybe not being chosen by fate still hurt, she wasn't helping anyone sitting here 'meditating' in the library. Cordelia had that affect on her, it didn't matter if Olivia was upset, excited or just a little home sick, Olivia was her rock and kept her grounded. It was good to have a friend like that.

    Olivia opened her mouth to object that maybe it wasn't a smart idea to sneak in but As she looked up to her friends usual grin it couldn't be helped. She let out a small sigh, thoughts still racing through her head about the upcoming events and right now Olivia just wanted to know more. She brought a finger up to her lips with a small "shh" and a wink before looking around the room, giving her friends hand a small squeeze before dragging Cordelia behind her, checking every bookshelf for sisters or someone that would rat them out "I don't think any of the sisters will be in there, they're probably all busy readying for the ceremony" she whispers before gripping the handle, taking one last look around before opening the door, shoving her friend through before slipping in and closing it behind her.

    Olivia finally let her breath go, heart racing from the small action of rebellion, her hand still gripping the handle while looking around the private area for sisters that would rat them out "seems clear..." she half panted, still a little tense "what are we in here for? You said there was something we needed to know?" she asked curiously, looking at her friends now slightly messy light hair... Maybe she threw her in the room a little too hard... Though it did make Olivia giggle a little as she awaited her friends 'important information'.
     
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  7. Jexxal saw the rider well before he arrived at the small grove of trees. Dripping with sweat he finished his set of moves, stabbing the invisible enemy and twisting the blade before pulling it away. He sighed wiping the sweat out of his eyes with one hand as he slid the blade back into the scabbard that was belted to his his waist. Relaxing his stance he looked he rider up and down as he approached, noting his armor and his emblem it was obviously the knight he waited here for. The Rider seemed to do the same thing before stopping short of his position. "Hot, isn't it? You wouldn't believe how crowded the main roads are," he spoke out a grin covering his face like a mask "Caravans and merchants, everywhere."

    "I have no doubt," Jexxal said throwing on a passive smile as he watched the stranger "With the festival a day away most roads are congested. You are Sir Brooks I presume?"

    Archer nodded curtly, glancing briefly towards the city. "Oh, more than that. Overflowing would be more appropriate, now that I think about it," he chuckled. "Yes, that would be me. I do hope you weren't waiting long." And how rude that would be. Archer rolled his shoulders and rose up on in a stretch, adjusting his armor plating in places where it pressed down harshly into his skin.

    "I suppose we should get inside, then? Drinks on me."

    Jexxal just shrugged his shoulders at the apology as he messaged the bicep of his sword arm. " It was no trouble Archer. Good enough time as any to go through the motions," His grin widened at the thought of drinks " and a drink would be most welcome on a day like this. Allow me to don my armor and we can be off."

    With that he walked back to his haphazardly laid equipment unbuckled his scabbard along the way only to lay it against the tree his armor sat beside. Busying himself with with strapping on his armor he was about to continue their conversation when knights of their respective orders, saluting them as their ranks would befit, telling them of the small camp they had set up down the road.

    Jexxal waved the suggestion away, " Thank you but I'll grab a drink when we arrive at the city we have no more time to waste. Unless Sir Brooks needs of anything I would like you both to ride ahead of us and announce our pending arrival."

    With a wave of his hand to send the messengers off, Archer turned back to his new companion and gestured for him to follow. "I've been to this city once-- I was very young, much too young to have joined the order," he said, smiling at the faint memory. "It's a nice city from what images I can still gather."

    Not as glorious or majestic as Kandrak, in his honest opinion. But a nice place nonetheless. He would enjoy his third ever visit. "Do you think the common folk will react in much the same way as the last ceremony? I do believe a man lost his son to one of the attending Orders..."

    He had to chuckle there, a light and breathy noise. "Unfortunately I was still suffering training, but was there to make sure the proceedings went well." He stopped before the gate into the city, bearing his Order's emblem to the guardsmen. The gate opened slowly, and he proceeded inside. "Donning your armor was a good idea. Luckily, I had not forgotten the chaos in favor of keeping myself cool during the journey up."

    Jexxal smiled growing more comfortable by the minute he spent with his companion this short journey. without thought he presented his own coat of arms to the guardsman on his opposite side. " I have not forgotten the chaos these festivals can be, though I myself have never been. I fear the only reason I was chosen was for my service to the crown in the most recent months." With that His smile wilted somewhat. "I have never been to this city before, I do hope it lives up to expectations."

    With that both men were aloud entry passing through the monolithic gates of the outer walls and into the city proper.
     
    #7 JextheShadow, Sep 12, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2014
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  8. It was an odd turn of events for Olivia to drag Cordelia through the library and into the restricted area. Cordelia did little more than giggle and look for anyone who could put a stop to her planned mischief as she was willingly dragged behind her friend.

    "I don't think any of the sisters will be in there, they're probably all busy readying for the ceremony" Olivia whispered.

    Cordelia’s smile grew broader. “That’s why now is the perfect time,” she said with a wink.

    She was surprised when Olivia unhesitatingly opened the door to the destined room and then pushed her inside, somewhat forcefully. Cordelia stumbled at the rough treatment before turning to look at her friend.

    ”Easy Livy,” she laughed again.

    It was only then that Cordelia realized that Olivia had been holding her breath. A snicker escaped from Cordy’s nose and she brought her hand embarrassedly to her nose.

    "seems clear..." Olivia half-panted.

    Cordelia looked behind the single bookcase in the room to ensure that she was alone with Olivia.

    ”Agreed,” she said turning to her friend with one of the largest impish grins of her life.

    She then began looking through the bookcase until she came upon a book. A triumphant glint shined in her green eyes. ”You know what the sisters keep in here, right?” she asked as she gently tossed the book to the other apprentice. Cordelia watched Olivia intently and expected a once in a lifetime reaction.

    The book Cordelia chose was medium sized, bound with soft leather, and tied with an elastic cord. Once opened Olivia would see some explicit illustrations that would bring a blush to any young woman’s face.

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

    Upon entering the city, the two Knights were greeted with deafening cheers, colorful confetti and streamers, and thousands of people lined along either side of the cobblestone street which lead past the orchards and fields to the city proper. The Maid’s Guard, along with a small attachment of knights from The White Rose and the Order of Kyanite, formed an honor guard around Jexxal and Archer. Once encircled, the two champions had little choice but to allow their horses to follow the rest.

    The honor guard was tradition and to be expected, besides the close proximity allowed for the men to talk without chance of the other knights eavesdropping and would only continue until each reached their respective garrison. Once reached, the champions would check-in with their garrison’s commander and then be allowed to wonder at their will.
     
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  9. "no?" Olivia asked as she made her way over to her friend, eyes curiously wondering over the shelves. It was the first time she had been in here, not being one to usually break the rules this place seemed to mysterious... so... Secret. She could only imagine what the sisters did in here and as a child she used to think of music and parties, drinks and lots of fine food for all the sisters to enjoy but no... it was just another dusty old library, in fact it may be even older and even dustier than the real one.

    Even so Olivia soon found a book within her hand. It seemed normal enough, save for the fact that it was in the sisters only section of the library. Though with the grin on Cordelia's face it was probably some sort of prank for her. What would it say inside? 'You suck?' that was an over used joke her friend seemed to use. Or how about the more creative ones? 'Chill out nature girl' seemed to be one that was tossed about when Olivia found out both of her elements. But then again it could be something sweet. A gift the day before the two could be split apart? Aww... She was a bit of a sweet heart sometimes.

    Olivia let out a long sigh and smiled at her friend sweetly "Thanks Cordy... You really are my bestest friend" she said before she untied the cord, opening the book to the middle where she saw a... Olivia's eyes went wide as she saw the illustration, her jaw dropping as she looked back up her her friend, cheeks a bright pink as she struggled for words "Are those two girls... and he...?" she asked, flicking over a page, only to see more "and now that guy is... with his massive... but... how does?..." she continued, dropping the book to the floor, letting it flick to one last page "wow!!! But now those two are..." she paused, looking back at her friend with a bright red face "Cordy!!" she half screamed, kicking the book shut "that book is full of..." she started, rubbing one hand on the other nervously as she tried to calm down "That book is very... Detailed..." she managed to say before biting her lip "and that was a pretty mean trick..." she added, sounding more than a little upset.
     
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  10. Entering the city was like entering a new world. Color and cheers exploding forth, thousands of people here to honor them as they where returning soldiers coming home with tales of victory and glory. His astonishment was short lived for too soon was he cut from the on lookers, the Honor guard of his order and Sir Brooks respectively encircling them. With no choice but to follow his fellow knights he aloud them to ferry him through the crowd. Jexxal sat straight backed A broad smile plastered unto his face as a well placed blue streamer fell across his shoulder blade. More fell as well until as far as he could tell they where both covered in the paper, looking more like parading rainbows then Eldritch Knights.

    Pushing several of the banners from his face, almost having to shout out to Archer so he could hear past the cheers. "Sir Brooks, " Pointing with a hand to an Inn down the road. "Let us meet there as the sun sets."

    With that the two men where separated as their guard shepherded them opposite directions Each to their Orders Garrison. The noice slowly fading as they traveled farther off the main road. It would be several more minutes until they reached the White Roses Garrison house at the eastern most point of the Outer wall. The men around him finally broke formation, all of them lining up at either side of the entrance. Their spear butts stamped the ground as they waited for Jexxal to pass them.

    After only a moment of hesitation he did so, the knights speaking his name with a bow of their head as he passed. "Sir Briarbane." The greeting was more heartfelt then any cheer the crowd behind could give him. He puased at the threshold looking back at the knights standing at attention.

    " Thank you." He said simply before crossing another gate into he courtyard of the garrison housing. There another man waited for him by the stables entrance. The weathered face of the older man was characteristically hard to read, his Full plate armor was white trimmed with gold, marking him as the commander here.

    With a wave of a hand, he asked te young knight to dismount as he road closer, and dismount he did so. Standing at attention to this elder of a man. The man said nothing at first only looked Jexxal up and down with a quizzical look. Finaly opening his mouth to speak. "Sir Briarbane, welcome to my garrison. I am Commander Elinthort," pointing out to a knight at at the ready a few feet away. "This man will bed your horse and take your extra equipment to your quaters. If you can follow me Ill show you too them. "

    The older man was surprisingly quick on his feet. With nothing left to say he turned on the spot and marched to the open doors of the 2 story building. "Y-yes sir!" He called out as the commander quickly moved away. Grabbing his backpack a nod to the other knight, Jexxal quickly jogged after the old man.

    A flight of stairs and several hallways later he had arrived to his quaters. The old man leaving him to his own devices with a last bit of advice. "Though you can come and go as you please, make note that you are expected here every morning bright and early. Enjoy the festival." With that Jexxal was once again alone.
     
  11. The color of the city was alluring, the smells and sounds bringing his dormant imagination back to vivid existence after a life of grey monotony and routine. He felt his eyes widening when the sudden stimulation became pleasantly overwhelming and his excitement grew and seethed between his ribs. How young these children were, running between their parents legs to get a look at the new Eldritch Knights, the old men and their young daughters watching with a mix of dreamy reminiscence and longing. He found himself flashing a warm and charming smile at the denizens of the city, the silver of his armor shining brilliantly in the warm sunlight. A good day to look nice.

    The emblem of his Order upon the Knight's steel spaulders was instantly comforting and familiar among an otherwise alien city. Archer allowed himself to be whisked away by his fellow Knights through the crowd of festive spectators, offering a curt nod to his companion. "When the sun sets, then," he repeated. "I will be there." And he was guided away towards his Order's garrison not far away, underneath the warmth of the sun and the shade of the surrounding buildings and towers. He would rest long and well, make sure armor was nicely polished for the coming celebrations. Perhaps he'd take to brushing his horse down; she deserved it.

    The Garrison was surrounded by thin walls, with a circular building near the back center of the courtyard. His shoulders lowered into a relaxed state, and he pulled his helmet from his head to greet the Garrison's Captain.

    A fairly young man, but experienced and knowledgeable in his own right. Archer respected him, and brought his fist to his left shoulder accordingly. "Archer Brooks, als wel'." The archaic form of his Order's motto flowed with grace from his parched lips, and the Captain returned the motto with a slightly differing inflection, indicating that it was a response and acceptance.

    "Welcome, Ser Brooks. Captain Arlein, first in command of the Kyanite Garrison in this fine city. One of the young Squires will show you around should you need guidance. You will be staying in the west wing, to the left of my room. Look for the arrowhead. The key," the Captain leaned in close to whisper into Archer's ear, "is beneath the shadow of the moon. Enjoy your stay."

    Archer understood his words well, and with a rough pat on the shoulder, the Captain left Archer to his own devices. He began at a leisurely pace towards the west wing of the building.
     
    #11 Dipper, Sep 14, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
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  12. Cordelia’s brow rose curiously. It seemed that Olivia had found illustrations which Cordelia hadn’t seen yet. She couldn’t help but laugh lightly as she began to approach Olivia. She planned to look over the other girl’s shoulder as the other apprentice explored the book's contents. Most of all, Cordelia wanted to see what the two girls were doing. Maybe it had been similar to the tantric meditations which they’d been taught.

    The blonde girl frowned when the book was unceremoniously dropped to the floor. She tilted her head inquisitively as she inspected the illustration. She was viewing the picture upside down, which made it difficult to decipher what was being shown.

    A scoff escaped her throat when Olivia yelled her name. That was no way to behave, and that was no way to treat a book.

    ”You don’t need to kick it. It didn’t do anything to you. What exactly is your problem?” Cordelia asked as she bent down, in a very lady-like fashion, to retrieve the book.

    She gently dusted the leather cover with her hand before opening the book and examining the illustrations. She wanted to see what the two women were doing with the male. ”It’s not a trick,” Cordelia said as she rolled her eyes. ”You said you wanted to be chosen. How else do you think the binding ceremony ends? Don’t tell me you were daydreaming through that!?”

    Cordelia finally found the picture she was looking for and pursed her lips. ”Look, she’s obviously just watching. Maybe she’s there to coach them through it?” Cordelia sincerely suggested after she tilted the book toward Olivia so that her friend could see the illustration again.
     
  13. Olivia was fuming! Her face red with mostly embarrassment but she couldn't help but look like she was boiled over with anger as she snatched the book from her friend, slammed it shut and shoved it back into the shelf "I don't care what they are doing! It wasn't nice of you to show me that without telling me, you know how I would have reacted!" she growled, though her friend should know that no real harm had been done, Olivia just thought that in the moment acting angry would probably be fine "and by the huge grin you had before of course you thought it was some kind of trick! You always do this!" she said before letting out a small sigh, not able to hold back a smile at the mention of the ceremony.

    "Tomorrow is going to be amazing..." she said with a grin, daydreaming about how the day might go "it's going to be so pretty and everyone is going to look amazing... The knights are going to look super smart and cool!" she grinned, jokingly flexing her slim arms "all muscle like giants that romp about the town" she laughed at the thought of twenty foot monsters clad in enormous armour "I can just tell me and you are going to be picked Cordy, I can feel it" she said sweetly, placing a hand on her friends shoulder "hows about we go out to see all of these knights? There's no rules against that is there?" She asked with a small grin "it'l be fun!"
     
  14. The sun hovered gently above the horizen, bringing with it the first day of the festival. Jexxal having woken up hours before, per the request of his garrisons commander, found himself strectched out on top of the outer wall watching the sun rise above their heads. He grimmiced as the fiend in his head tapped the inside of his skull with a hammer. An unfortunate side effect of a night worth telling stories of.

    He was quick to rise from his position, pulling at the collar of his silken tunic of pure white that was given to him for the festival the grey leggings complimenting them nicely. On his left shoulder his Orders emblem lay proudly, a white rose wrapped in thorns. His scabbord and broad sword was still belted around his waist, his personal coat of arms engraved unto the worn leather. His messy length of hair was tied in the back of his head, keeping it out of his face. With a content sigh he walked down across the length of the wall until he reached one of the many guard towers that dotted the wall. Taking the stairs down and back into the city.
    ...​

    It took almost an hour of walking and asking startled city dwellers before he found what he was looking for. Standing at teh edge of a beautiful garden Jexxal looked into the field toward Acheleis. A behemoth of a man sat by the fountain that dominated the Gardens center. His balding head bowed in prayer, his lips moving to mouth the words of some scripture. Jexxxal moved to sit beside him, content to wait until the large man finished. It was several long moments before he was. Acheleis stood Looking down at the unknown warrior beside him, a deep baritone escaping is lips. "Sir Briarbane how can I help you this glorious morning."

    Jexxal jumped up as well his face remaining a passive mask as his insides brimmed with anticipation. " A test of strength. I have heard that your strengthed is unmatched and I wish to test my own muscle against your own."

    Acheleis grinned widely patting jexxal on the back roughly. " A duel of fists you say! Briarbane you have tugged at the strings of my heart young man. I was known to have a mean punch. Let us fight, but please somewhere where are fair citizens can see me thrash you!" Laughing loudly at his own joke he motioned for jexxal to follow and together they left the garden.
    ...
    "Come round. Come all see a duel of real men." cried out a spectator to the growing crowd. The two men stood in the cener of a ring of people around them. They busied themselves talking off their swords and any armor they might have worn. By the time they where ready to begin there was a crowd of fifty waiting for them to start.

    Acheleis reached out with a open hand. "Come here Briarbane shake my hand and the fight can begin. First to draw blood wins. How about the loser buys drink tonight eh?"

    Jexxal himself smiled at the idea, knowing this man had a love for conflict, it was the best way to make a friend of him was to fight the large man. He took Acheleis hand "That sounds fi-" His sentence was cut as Acheleis suddenly wrenched back with his arm dragging Jexxal forward. He barly had enough time to bring his other arm up to cover his face As the large man Smashed his elbow into jexxals forarm throwing him unto his back. The crowd exploded into cheers as Acheleis stood luaghing.​
     
  15. The sunlight was so cool this time of day, he mused. He lay supine in the dewy grass with both arms crossed lazily over his chest, his attention focused between the arching branches of imported olive trees above. The shimmering warmth of the sunlight crept along the soles of his boots and along his calves, warming the muscles and preparing them for a day of work. The prospect of work woke him fully, excitement and enthusiasm boiling in the pit of his stomach and settling there for the whole morning, each muscle and tendon straining to pull him to his feet so that he could get the day started.

    Archer tightened the lace of his right boot before he began walking across the courtyard towards the galley, aiming to gather his armor from the working squire. The galley was, predictably, empty upon entering, but the heavyset man at the counter immediately knew of his needs and beckoned a young boy over. "Anwen, retrieve this fine man's armor, why don't you?"

    The boy, startled from his breakfast, bowed curtly to the man and ran off through the double doors leading into the back. Archer remained in place until the boy returned, his gaze drifting lazily over the decorated broadswords framing the western wall.

    The boy returned a moment later with his armor and longsword, laying them out nicely on the table before him. "Thank you," Archer said, ruffling the boy's hair. "I will be sparring Ser Gaven later today. Will the boy be learning swordart?"

    "No, he's apprenticing under a chef in Kahnna. Poor boy-- he'd make a good knight." The man sighed, as if such a thing was insulting to his family heritage, and rested his elbows against the counter. "I would don your armor, Ser Brooks, and visit the city before the festival begins. I hear this one is to be the largest in five summers!" The giddy expression upon the boy's face drove Archer to smile broadly and press his right fist to his left shoulder in farewell.

    "Then of course, I shall be on my way. Do speak to the boy's mentor for me. He would make a much better swordsman."

    And, with a quick bow, he was on his way to the city.

    ~~~
    He was offered a disguise among the city crowds, where the people had become too wrapped up in preparing for the coming event to notice the man draped in a drab midnight cloak. Archer adjusted his armor before the pleasing scent of food and liquor caught his attention and drew him away from the emptier streets and towards the inner parts of the city. Closer to his fellow Knight's garrison, wasn't it? He would have laughed in amusement had the sudden shouting of a crowd not caught his attention instead.

    A fight, was it? Archer pulled the hood from his face and jogged down the street towards the source of the noise, finding himself witness to a rather... knightly exchange. And his former companion, no less. Archer cupped both hands around his mouth and called out to him, amusement and deep laughter seeping into his voice. "Ser Briarbane! Steel yourself for those who wish to try their own hands against your blade!"

    Though in this case, it was a fistfight, but Archer's swordskill translated quite nicely into hand-to-hand combat.​
     
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  16. Cordelia simply rolled her eyes at her friend’s theatrics and gave the other young woman an impassive look. A loud and irritated breath escaped through her nose as the book was forcefully pulled from her hands and unceremoniously placed back on the bookshelf.

    ”I was reading that,” she said in form of protest.

    The blonde couldn’t quite understand Olivia’s actions. They weren’t young initiates who hadn’t been exposed to the more advanced tantric meditative practices. There was a reason Glimmermaids paired with male Eldritch Knights, after all. It was only with the two halves, yin and yang, could they ever reach their full potential. Nature was both tranquil and violent, order and chaos, life and death; these were the Order’s teachings, and what Cordelia and Olivia had been taught since they first came to the temple.

    A small smile and noncommittal shrug was given at the mention of the next day’s events. The first day of ceremony included their first introduction to the five Eldritch Knights, one of whom she may actually partner with. She was both nervous and excited, though she was currently managing to restrain her anxiety seemingly better than Olivia.

    ”Are you afraid they’ll step on your toes while you dance?” Cordelia asked softly, without much thought. It had been a threat they had heard quite often during the lessons that taught them grace, balance, and elegance.

    Cordelia imagined the Knights to be more charming and refined than oafish, muscle-bound giants even if the servants had claimed the man had arms the size of logs. A small appreciative smile was given to Olivia as Cordelia continued to imagine her partner; a man who was as compassionate and humble as he was brave and loyal. Most of all, she hoped that if she was chosen to become a sister she would be paired with a good man and not a man who considered her nothing more than a trophy.

    ”Just the one about not leaving the temple grounds,” Cordelia spoke sarcastically, though; Olivia would know that rule was one Cordy was all too eager to break.

    She pursed her lips and a moment later her familiar mischievous smile dimpled her cheeks. ”The servants should be taking the laundry home in the next hour. You still have your dress we bought from Kahlie, right?” Kahlie had been their servant, until she had married and left the city, and had worn the same size as Olivia. It had been a simple matter of buying the woman’s uniform from her and then hiding it under a lose floorboard in Olivia’s room. Cordelia had one of her own acquired in much the same fashion.

    ”We should have just enough time to change our clothes, grab a bag of laundry, and carry it out the servant’s gate before it’s closed for the evening.” Of course, it was always more difficult to return unseen than to sneak out.

    ”You know the city is full, right? We’re not going to be able to find anywhere safe to sleep. Figure we could just present ourselves to the guards when we’re ready to come home?” Cordelia mused aloud.

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


    While within their garrisons, Ser Briarbane and Ser Brooks had been informed that the Emperor was only three days march from the City of Aidan, and would be presiding over the ceremony himself. The commanders counseled the Champion to refrain from foolish action while in the public’s attention. It was acceptable to have a little fun, though they were expected to embody all their Order believed in and to display the pinnacle of knightly behavior – which didn’t include public brawls or fighting for the entertainment of the masses.
     
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  17. Olivia felt her grin widen as she looked around the room, as if expecting somebody else to suddenly be there. With a small wink to her friend to opened a satchel bag that hung behind her, pulling out the top half of the servants uniform "Got it with me, I never go without it now!" she said with a small giggle, in all honesty it was the best money she had ever spent "I don't know if you have yours but I'm sure we can sneak back to your room, put it on and slip out with a load before anyone notices... As for getting back in?" She said with a sly look. Her eyes going down to a plotting squint "One of the night guards has a crush. We'll be back in in no time. They wont even know!" She laughed before taking her friends hand again, leading the two to sneak out the room so they could escape the library.

    On the way she looked back at her long time friend, now her face seeming more worried behind the excitement "and I'm not worried about any toe stepping. I'm worried we'll get split up!" she said with a small sigh as they slipped out the forbidden area, heading for the door to leave "We've been friends forever! Ever since that night when you and Stephanie tried to run away and... You know..." she muttered, knowing it was one of the worst times for Cordelia, at least of what she had seen "I don't want to loose you... I don't want to loose the times we have like this!" she said with a more confident smile as the two made it back to Cordelia's room.

    Olivia started to get changed, making sure to hide any signs that she could be who she was, even wearing a maids cap to stuff her hair into "Ready to go?" She asked a little halfheartedly, still thinking about the notion of the two splitting.
     
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