Knights of the Order of the Rose Cross

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by SaejiFine, Oct 18, 2013.

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  1. Raphael look upon the bloody scene in the inn, no matter how many times he came across one of these scenes he could never get used to it. They had arrived barely in time to deal with the demon, that was the Knights of the Order of the Rose Cross' duty. They were to eradicate the threat of the demons. This was just another job and yet... it was never just another job.

    The innkeeper had taken in a family, they seemed nice enough however they came from the forest which gave them an air of mystery. Mystery was always something that made the townspeople wary and anxious. The patrons of the inns bar kept a close eye on the family who seemed normal enough. Then someone noticed something they shouldn't have, the child's eyes glowed unusually an a mark came to the back of his hand. "It was the symbol of a demon! We had no choice but to attack!" The innkeeper was now yelling in Raphael's ear as he looked at the protective form of a mother and child brutally dealt with. She was cradling, protecting the child with her body, now she was nothing but a beaten corpse with the silence of her child in her arms. It seemed almost strangely human.

    Once the father had realized what had happened he lost it, an obvious reaction from a man who'd lost someone as close as a wife and child. He became something else entirely. His body contorted, the demonic magic which had created the illusion of being human faded. Iconic red skin, bony, ridged appendages gave rise to talon like claws. He became almost feral, like a dog or a wolf, he killed indiscriminately. They managed to just barely barricade him in, sacrificing three of the townspeople by doing so. That was about when the Knight's arrived.

    Raphael had struck the killing blow and ended the demon's life, not it was up to his small team to clean up the mess that it left behind. There was blood everywhere, the bodies of the townspeople were being removed and burned. Just like the bodies of the demons would be. Why didn't the wife fight back? Why didn't she change? Kneeling down Raphael realized that the woman wasn't a demon at all, just the lover of a demon. Sighing he turned and began walking out of the inn. "Burn the body of the woman and child," turning to his second in command. "The woman is human, the child was a half-breed. See that they are given the proper rites."

    This was the job of the Knight, for years they had only been sent on special assignments but the rate of demon sighting was increasing quickly. Raphael had a strange feeling that there something going on. Something that was connecting these incidents. "That makes 4 within the past month, when was the last time we had 4 so quickly?" A wry smile crossed his face as he cleaned his blade with a piece of cloth.
     
  2. The elf had arrived there with Raphael, only a few hours ago. Narendra stared down at the blood-stained floor. The smell was overwhelming to him. His people were sensitive to death in all its forms, to the scent that the end of all things carried with it. That was why he stayed a good foot away from the corpse, his long scimitar covered in peeled flesh, his dirk dripping with thick black blood. His people's time in the caves had rendered them susceptible to disease, so around his mouth he wore a golden-embroidered cloth, with swirling forms of leaves and flowers. The dead were filthy, it had been said. To touch the dead was an occupation that was not for soldiers, but for the priests of the dead- with their stained hands of wildroot patterns and their shimmering silver and golden veils. He could not recall wearing a veil, until he came to the surface. Now, he was grateful for the measure of cloth between him and certain disease. His orange-red eyes studied the thing thad until recently been a person. His jaw twitched beneath the fabric of his face cloth. Narendra wiped off the blades neatly on his waist-scarf leaving behind darker coloured smears on the red fabric only for those stains to fade away after a few moments. The elf flexed his fingers. The glamour could hide some of his elven features, and some stains. Beneath it, he was covered in far more blood, and his features were much sharper and wooden, but for the time being, he showed his face as ethereal and beautiful. He was out of the world, displaced from human society. He did not belong there.

    At Raphael's instructions he inclined his head, and tilted his head towards a few other of the knights. They had come their with a small retinue, too small by far. The profession of fighting demons was not the sort that people flocked to. The small group of knigts nodded their headsan d set about to moving the corpses. The elf wrinkled his nose, causing his mask to slip a bit around his face, and he clutched at it quickly. The Knights' work was a brutala nd bloody business. The ones who flocked to it, tended to die swiftly. Narendra could recall green boys and maids with brave hearts and empty heads, who had found their ends in a demon's claws. He could not understand why they had dreams of glory to fight demons. Perhaps it was because he was old now, and knew the cost of fighting against monsters. The cost being the loyalty of your people. The loyalty of those you loved. A dirk through the back of a once wise and respected Raj. He shook his head slightly, the brittle tips of his white hair lashing out like so many snakes. He was tired of looking back on the shadows. He turned his strange features towards Raphael. He was young, this human. Narendra had been at his side for a few months now, serving him as a Consul from the Elven lands. He had killed demons, killed monsters, all in the name of his country that was so far away and had sent him to rekindle relations between elves and humankind, relations that had been strained since the coming of the demons.

    This was a lie. Nobody had sent him.

    He followed Raphael outside. A cool breeze fluttered against Narendra's face, causing his brittle white blonde hair to be brushed over his leather pauldrons. He reached a hand up to lower his mask, showing his blackened lips and his pointed, pale chin. He took a deep inhale of the night air, and coughed a bit. His immune system had been compromised the moment he had emerged from the caves, filled with filth and contaminates from the world above. He was the only one, to his knowledge, to have left behind the last home of elves. The thought pained him. There had been only three hundred elven families left beneath the surface. That was not enough for any sort of force to mobilize, not when many were the untouchable beauties who could not fight. He thought of his own love, who he had left so far behind. There was a dull ache there, as he remembered the warm orange of his eyes, the way that he spun a red, spidersilk veil, dyed with the wildroot's burgundy sap. His short white hair, cut everyday to keep the brittle aging from effecting it. Girisha. Whom he loved above all, and who's father he had murdered. But Raphael did not know. Raphael would never know. Narendra did not know what the punishment for the most heinous crime of Kingkilling was, but he could not imagine that he would be allowed to keep his head. So he lied. He was Consul Narendra Vadakkedath; a name that was not even the same as the one he had been born with.

    He turned his sharp features towards Raphael. "The last time that the Knights had so many calls for aid was fifteen years ago, my lord." His voice was quiet snd low in his throat, words soft spoken like leaves in the wind. There was an accent in his throat that no human would ever have. He had spent many months reading. As soon as he had arrived att he doors of Raphael's keep, he had read every logbook and recordkeeping within the expansive library. It took time; the human tongue did not come easily to him, despite his fluency. He was on the edge of a generation that did not know the surface tongue. Girisha had been better at it; the common tongue flowed out beautifully and strangely from between his lips. But children- the only children within the dark- did not speak the tongue from above, and could only speak the language of elves. Then again, there had not been many children. Only ten children had been born beneath the caves. Not for lack of trying.they prayed to Ragavrinta, the God of Inflamed Passion, and had great pleasureful evenings in his sights, but no children were conceived. The caves had rendered them nearly sterile. How strange it was, to be on the surface, surrounded by flocks of children and their parents, mewling and fighting amongst themselves! He had not seen any of that. Not ever.

    Narendra padded over to his pony. Given his height and his lack of armor, he had been given a lighter creature, to save the bigger horses for the knights. A sloped back creature with large long lashed eyes. He had never ridden before he had come to the surface. Elves did not ride. His pony's name was Apricot, for her orange hair. Before he had come to the surface, he had never eaten an apricot either. He gave her a welcoming stroke on the face, but the pony only watched sullenly with her dark eyes. Narendra sighed sligtly, exhaling a cloud of air. It was cold, a midfall chill. The elf murmured to Rapheal, though his eyes were trained upon the pony; "The times are dark, my lord. The demons are ravaging the countryside, rather than attacking in masses and waves. They're using trickery rather than brutality." He turned around on his heel, and cocked his head to the side. "What news do we have of the other provinces? Do they too bear signs of foul consortation?
     
  3. As always Narendra was a virtual tome of knowledge by himself. When he'd arrived at the Knight's manor he'd practically locked himself in the library, Raphael had never seen someone take to their studies quite like he had. Raphael had always wondered why he'd read through the entirety of that mass collection of books. "Fifteen years, hmm?" Raphael watched Narendra closely his mask was off now showing off the elfin features beneath that cloth. Narendra's black lips easily seen even in the low light of the evening, they had always unnerved Raphael. There was something so foreign about him, the way he looked, fought, acted... but besides him, Raphael didn't know any elves.

    Narendra had never given Raphael reason not to believe that he was loyal to the cause of the Knights of the Rose Cross. In fact, in many ways Narendra was the most loyal and voracious member of the order. Several times Raphael could count that he had personally saved his life against one demon or another. He was a fighter without equal in combat and showed even the most seasoned veterans a thing or two. Though he was somewhat of a reserved individual, there was still so much that Raphael didn't know about him. He spoke of the elves only briefly, Darian knew very little of what happened to them and the role which demons had played in such a tragedy. Yet it was all the more reason to see that he was committed to the cause and whether he was reserved or not Raphael counted Narendra's counsel as final in almost everything.

    Looking back at the green knights, new to the order and going about taking care of the bodies with such vigor made him wonder about the generation which would come after him. Could he be as great a leader as his father had been? There had been many which had died in the order since he'd taken his father's position. Each one seemed to bother him but he knew that he could not allow the weight of their deaths to overcome him. Especially when there were so many others who needed him. He trained them the best he knew how and his father had told him that there were few who could equal Raphael's skill with a blade. But would training be enough? How many more of the demons were there? And after Raphael was gone, who would continue the fight?

    Following Narendra to his horse he heard the next question, one that had been on his mind for some time now. It was something that he'd discussed with no one, kept to himself, but if anyone could be trusted to not say a word it was Narendra. Looking around for a moment he sighted a lower officer, "See to it that things are handled here. Have the town prepare a home where we can stay for the night, if they're willing... We'll be with you shortly." He then turned to Narendra, "Walk with me." With that he began down a small path away from the village.

    "Sorry I didn't want the recruits or others hearing this," he started figuring it was best to explain his actions and need for secrecy. Letting out a sigh he kept a slow methodic pace trying to gather his thoughts. "They are not good Narendra, they've experienced just as many reports of attacks or sightings. Some groups of the knights, to the north and northwest, have had even more attacks in the last week." Turning to him his voice lowered, "They only seem to be getting more frequent." Looking up into the trees he watched as squirrels continued to hide their stash of food for the winter away. "I fear the worst my friend... you're right they are not attacking like they used to. They are attacking in masses, I feel someone may be pulling strings. It's too early to make any definite conclusions however."

    Turning for just a moment back towards the village he placed his hand on his sword, "I don't think today's incident was related however... the woman was human, I think they were married or at least together. The townspeople obviously attacked and killed her because they assumed she and the baby were demonic. Perhaps they were related to the other attacks, these two were just trying to get away from the other demons."
     
  4. The elf followed after Raphael, abandoning his pony to the care of other knights. His walk was sure footed and quick, and despite Rapheal's headstart on him, he caught up quickly. For most of his life, he had walked or run. Elves did not ride horses. Not that anybody on the surface had known that was the case; they had given him a pony and expected him to know. He was a solider, shouldn't he know how to ride? He had spent nights at the side of a stablemaster, watching and learning. He studied the way that the horses moved, in order to learn. He was still not a very strong rider, and Knights sniggered behind his back, only to be cut off with a glare from Narendra, or a strong word from Rapheal. The snickers had slowly died away, after the elf showed his qualities upon the field. It was not proper for a Knight to be a foot solider ; but Narendra was, and nobody questioned whether or not he was a proper knight. At least, not to his face.

    Narendra tilted his head as he was spoken to, slowing his pace as he caught up to the knight. He let out a hoarse cough, as if affected by particularly painfully allergies. His immune system was failing him, he knew. He would not reach the end of a three hundred year life span. It would be cut off by him falling ill or falling in battle, and Narendra refused the former. If he was to die, let it be on his feet, with scimitar in his hands. The elf's orange-red eyes glanced over Raphael's face, looking for signs of jest in his face. There were no signs. Rapheal could be jovial- he had been seen fraternizing with his men, being affable and pleasant, drinking their beer and smiling with his blunt human teeth. Narendra had stood at his side, the silent and shadow of a man- but not a man at all, one of the cowardly fey folk, who when the demons had come, decided to hide under the earth than face the oncoming storm. Narendra had heard the talk. It was unescapable. And yet, here he stood at the side of his lord and master, his retainer, listening to the unfolding situation. His brows creased as he continued to listen, the ritual scars upon his cheeks twitched slightly. The edges of his black lips turned downward into a barely contained grimace, but each gesture, each facial movement, carefully registered the emotion of surprise- but also contempt. Demons, spreading fast and intelligently. That was worthy of elven contempt.

    Narendra cleared his throat, only to give way into another coughing fit. He doubled over for a moment, hearing chunks of bile and phelgm rattle around in his throat. Perpetual illness was part of him, since he had come to the surface, and the Order's physician had given him herbs and teas, elixirs by which the elf could prolong his inevitable worsening. Narendra collected himself, after a moment of hoarse wheezing, after expelling all the chemicals and sickness from himself that he could. He wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand, tugging at his black lips. There was no black smear today. That was good; his blood had not yet flowed today. He lifted his head and looked at Raphael, straight with his orange red eyes. He had always been taught to look his equals in the eyes. He spoke, slowly, "Generals have risen from the demonic ranks before," his lips twitched as he spoke, peeling back slightly from his elongated, pointed teeth, "Fifteen years ago, when the times were as rough as they were now, a demon who called itself Valefar led the armies of the Abyss against the Order of the Rose Cross. Slain by your father's contingent, I believe." Had he remembered correctly? He would need to study the books, when they returned.

    The elf reached to comb his fingers through the brittle ends of his hair, gathering it within his hands. He began to braid it, watching as bits of his hair fractured within his hands, falling to the ground in motes of dust and ash. When his people died, their bodies stayed intact, for a moment, but decayed far too quickly once their inherent magic, life magic, had failed them. Elven tombs were filled with the ashen remains of their Rajas, all kept in ornate stone statues that showed their faces in life. How long it had been since he had gazed upon them! Narendra braided silently, but his golden eyes focused on Raphael's face. He was thinking, still, the cogs turning and twisting with in his mind. He drew upon what he had learned in the library of the Order, considering all the many demons that their Order had slain. The elf tied of his braid with a flick of his fingers, binding the braid with his own hair. He had quite a lot of it. In his culture, hair was kept short so it would not decay as his had done. It was a sign of his exile, for a group of people who would not understand its meaning. Pointless, really, but Narendra thought that some shame should be shown for his deed, even if he would never speak of what had occurred.

    The elf finally spoke again, saying softly; "What preparations can we make to protect the small-folk?" He gestured with a pale hand back towards the cluster of buildings within the little town they had come from. "Fringe communities like this one; they will not survive the wave of demons. Elven communities on the edge of our capital-- they were consumed utterly. Wiped from the map." Narendra's tone was carefully neutral, but his pale hand shook. Not with fear-- not even anger. Worry. Worry for a people that were not his own.
     
  5. Yes, Raphael remembered that story about his father very fondly. It had been a night to remember for his father. He was merely a lieutenant, no higher then Narendra was now. He was in the north end of the province at fort Grimsaw, it was no more than a small mining community. However it guarded the pass which would lead the opposing forces into the lands of kingdom. He had received word that trackers knew that Valefar's forces would be coming to the pass. Raphael's father had only a few hundred men. The had been promised a thousand but they were still on their way, making as great a time as their horses could carry them. With fresh supplies and provisions it would be a godsend for the fort. They just needed to get there in time, before the demon army could surround the fort and siege it.

    His father made sure that it would be difficult to pass, he positioned himself as best he could, developed traps and collecting food and water. The scouts had told them he had almost a week before the army of Valefar's forces would arrive. It gave them plenty of time to collect more than what they needed and for their reinforcements to arrive. They had only two days.

    Two days passed and the night-watch's bell rang out loud, frantically, until it's droning ring could be heard throughout the pass. It spurred his father from bed and drove him to the parapets of the fort. Within moments he saw the flares and fires of Valefar. The demon himself at the head of his army, surrounded by flames. The screeches of his infernal force could be heard, gnawing at the sanity of every Knight there. It was enough to drive the more green knights to insanity. They were immediately taken to the infirmary, but it did not improve. Valefar simply continued to march forward until the smirk on his face could be seen by every Knight there. He was so confident in his ability that he simply waved his hand and the droves of demons rushed forward to rip the fort down. Brick by brick if necessary.

    It was the hardest two days of their lives, less than five hundred held off the army of over five thousand. Their traps were effective but Raphael's father knew that they would lose that day. He knew that unless something changed quickly the men would falter and the fort would fall. The lands would be open to the demons. At this point Raphael assumed that the reinforcements arrived. However another opportunity presented itself, suddenly the attacking force stopped. Smiling Valefar called for a deal, a fight to the death... his pride knew no bounds.

    There in the center of the fort Valefar and Raphael's father fought in mortal combat. Raphael's father became wounded and in a last ditch effort to save his life and the life of those under his command. He managed to distract Valefar with a shield enough to land the killing blow. With their leader dead the demon army sunk into disarray and were driven off. It was one of the reasons that Raphael's father had been chosen to lead the knights after the previous leader's death. It was a triumphant day for the Order. One that would stem the tide of demons entering the realm.

    His thoughts had taken him back to his father while Narendra had asked him yet another question. How they would protect the little towns, the country-folk. Though Narendra was not human it was clear that he cared deeply for the race. How silly they must seem to him and yet, the elves seemed only a shell of their former glory. It was equally sad to Raphael the pain the people had suffered and more so because it was the dwarves and the humans doing. Nodding he turned back to the town and shook his head. "I don't know."

    Looking back at Narendra, "There are not enough knights to station in every small town. And even if we did there would be no use, if the demons came there would be to little to defend and they would simply be crushed." Walking forward a bit, "We must see the king, he does not regard us highly but perhaps if whisperings of a new Valefar have surfaced he might be a little more inclined to give us the proper funding we deserve. At that point..." He looked down at the ground, "We'll need to figure out where they are massing, where they will strike, try and stay ahead of them so that they do not catch the kingdom by surprise." Raphael then turned to face Narendra with a look of question in his eyes. "What do you think? I'm barely a man, I feel as if your years and knowledge might provide some council."
     
  6. Narendra tilted his head, a stray breeze brushing back his messily braided bone-white hair. His facial scarification shined in the wan sunlight, a sure sign that winter would be coming soon. He idly brushed his left hand across his face, feeling the thin grooves on his face from the straight scars. They had been placed there long ago, when he had first entered into the military. In elven society, there was always a Choice, at the advent of adulthood. A choice between beauty and homemaking, a life of tending, or scars and hardship, a life of servitude. He had taken the latter choice; he had never been beautiful, and leisure had. Ot been for him. So the Pujari had dressed him in the uniform of a solider and cut the vertical lines down from his eyes and the horizontal one across his cheeks. Girisha had taken the other route, wore a tear shaped gem in the center of his brown, eyes painted with heavy black kohl, made with ashes and thickened with fat. In the times before they went under the earth, they had made their makeup with honey and flowers, or with white flour. Only in times of great strife had ashes ever graced the face of beauty. Narendra moved his hand from his face, feeling his glamour ebb slightly. Beneath the skin texture of the glamour, his face felt as brittle and fragile as glass.

    The King of the Humans was not somebody Narendra could say that he knew, or that he understood. He knew that the Kings of mankind had never been fond of the Order of the Rose Cross, but the elf did not completely understand why. He had read the ancient logs, dating from when the Order had first began, and he remembered that a King had been one of the first to back the Order, supplying them with funds and lands, seeing worth in their cause. But that had been hundreds of years ago, when the first rumours of demonic incursion had bubbled up from the earth. Narendra was puzzled by his ability to call the Kings name to mind, but perhaps that was the way of kings; they could not help but be recalled. King Alaric Toulouse, the young king that had been last of his line, dying childless. He had been trampled by a horse at a tourney he had participated in, and there had been a small civil war over his death, and who to succeed him. Then the demons had come and the civil war was decided upon with greater fervor. Narendra supposed that perhaps the animosity from nobility that the Order suffered from was due to resentment that their Order had been the last act of a boy-king who had died to his own frivolities and had launched their nations into a civil war.

    Narendra slipped silently to the side of Raphael. His head was reeling and there was a burning sensation in his throat. Perhaps it was just sickness, but he could not help but think that there were dark times coming; a black and dreadful thing that loomed upon the horizon. His thoughts went to the dwarves, who had once been the friend of man but had abandoned them when mankind had dug too deep into the earth. Dwarves were long lived - not as long lived as his own kind, but long lived nonetheless. Last he had heard; the dwarves had fled to the human cities in scattered flocks but the vast majority of the dwarves had made it to their High King's Barrowlands - the vast interconnected cities that lurked beneath the earth, a place that only dwarves ever went. The last High King had been Kievan III: Narendra had to assume that his son or daughter had taken his place, for he had been an old dwarf when the elves had fled beneath the earth. Dwarves and humans had once been allied, in the great exploration that had caused demons to come spilling out from beneath the earth; but the infernal plight had weakened that relationship. There was still trade between the dwarves and mankind- they were not cut away, as elves had been. Perhaps an alliance could still be kindled.

    Narendra coughed again, and pulled his scarf back around his face. He shook out his hair, and it unwound from the loose braid he had placed it in. His cough rattled in his throat, like clumps of rocks in his throat. His shoulders shook, but after a moment, he straightened, and looked towards the human boy, orange eyes flicking on his face. His black lips twitched for a moment. He liked Raphael. The boy knew to admit mistakes, and he knew when to look for guidance. He had seen too many bold and strapping young knights who had gotten by with their name and rank alone, and had no thought for elder wisdom. They were all fools, no matter if their fathers wore circlets upon their brows. Dead fools, now.

    "I think, my lord," he began, in a gravelly, rocky voice- choked with phelgm. He cleared his throat, in an effort to rid his voice of that consistency. "We should ride to the King's seat, and bring word of the demons coming." The elf's voice was partially muffled beneath his mouth-scarf, "If he does not send his armies to defend the smallfolk, other means will have to be taken. Alliances with small lords, utilizing their militias. Mercenaries," he coughed again, managing a strangled; "and others."
     
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