Lost Lands of Esilott

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by MourningStar, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. ((In Character RP thread))

    ((Bios Thread Here, for those who want to: BIO AND JUMPIN - Character Bios For Lost Lands | IwakuRoleplay.com ))

    Long ago, Gods and Men existed together, the Gods reigning over men, loyal servants.
    Under the Gods, four kingdoms existed-
    Esilott, the center of the world, where the Gods ruled from their Amaranth Keep. The people of Esilott stood a foot taller than most men, capping around 7'2.
    Loyn, the second greatest kingdom, far across the sea from Esilott, on the Western Continent. The people of Western Loyn have a more refined appearance, with fair skin. The people of Eastern Loyn are as pure human as possible, standing on average 5'11, with varying skin colors and hair colors.
    Silver Isle, a place where the nobility found themselves above all others. Located on an island Northwest of Esilott. The people of Silver Isle are similar to those of Eastern Loyn, though with paler skin and lighter features overall.
    Cadwall, the most savage of the Four Kingdoms, though, some would say, closest to the Gods. This kingdom is located south of Loyn, upon the Western Continent. The people of Cadwall stand taller than normal men, have sharp ears, and grow their hair long.

    Man became overzealous.

    Regenard, Prince of Loyn, led an army against Esilott, composed of the Men of Loyn and Men of Silver Isle. The war was long, and brutal, and the Gods, ever arrogant, failed to see that they were losing, until the armies of Regenard and King Alderon of Silver Isle stood outside the gates of the Amaranth.
    The three knights of the Gods, the last men loyal to their once-rulers, took up arms, willing to defend their masters to the death.
    But the Gods cowered in their chairs, and decided instead to release a plague, which ravaged all of Esilott, making the land barren.
    The armies of Loyn and Silver Isle were decimated.

    The two kingdoms, however, stood victorious- for although their armies were destroyed, the Gods fled, far off, to leave man to its fate.

    Loyn became the new center of the world, its capitol of Bastion standing as an example to all.
    Silver Isle became isolated.
    Cadwall grew distant from Loyn, and many embraced the Gods, though they abandoned mankind.

    Now, Loyn finds itself at the brink of war.
    A woman, a graduate of the College of Redcourt, in northwestern Loyn, has declared herself and her followers independent from the kingdom she was once loyal to, calling her claimed territory "Rhos". The nobility has yet to answer this affront to the noble nation.

    Something stirs in Cadwall. An old magic, perhaps.

    Several small villages in Loyn and Cadwall seem to be falling prey to disease, their fields growing barren.

    Ships from Silver Isle have been seen in the ports of Bastion, flying the flag of the King.

    Take up arms. Defend yourself, because no one else will.


    Do as you please, really. If a major NPC is killed, for example, the King of Loyn or Queen of Rhos, well, we'll just have to wing it.

    Don't just off another person's character.

    Have at least decent writing ability. Three sentence replies minimum.

    You can create an order for your character to be from, or some backstory, or whatever.


    The King of Loyn, Carhurst- A man descended from Prince Regenard himself. Proud of his kingdom, he will likely not let Loyn fall without a fight.

    King Chester of Silver Isle- The only nobility of Silver Isle. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murderer. Chester and Carhurst are close friends.

    Lady Morgan, Scholar of Redcourt- The warlord who dares stand against the might of Loyn.

    Eileen- A mysterious woman, a member of the triumvirate of Cadwall.

    Fife- A member of the triumvirate of Cadwall. Like Eileen, he rode into the capitol one day, and made fast friends with the people of Cadwall.

    The Hawk Knight- A name only spoken of in dark alleys. Less of a man, more of a story mothers tell their children.

    Our characters- Individuals placed in a greater game.
    #1 MourningStar, Dec 23, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2016
  2. "... and in the name of the king, we will give our lives, if the need arises."

    Rowan stood, placed his fist upon his heart, and, like the other members of the King's Guard, filed silently from the room.
    Carhurst had given the order.
    The Guard, upon the rise of the next sun, was to be dispatched to the College of Redcourt, far to the West, to deal with this "little uprising".
    Rowan, who had been a member of the Guard since he was but a child, thought the mission ill-befitting of the King's Guard, something more appropriate for the local militia, perhaps, or the Citizen Soldiers. He thought that his place was with the King, in case negotiations with Silver Isle went south.

    He returned to his room, and placed his sword gently next to his bedtable, and began to take the armor that embraced him, and hang it back upon its stand.
    Fully unarmored, Rowan had the appearance of a young man, mid 20s, which, of course, he was, with short, frazzled brown hair, and piercing hazel eyes. He wasn't the smallest man in the world, as his knight training had given him a larger build. He stood 5'11, and weighted about 200 lbs.
    He threw himself upon his bed, and stared at the vaulted wooden ceiling.
    Tomorrow, he would mount his horse, and spend three days riding west, where he would dispatch a would-be usurper, with five of his comrades-in-arms. It would be simple, and without struggle.

    He drifted off to sleep.

    That night, he dreamed of sailing, alone, on a troubled sea.
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  3. For months now, pyres and plagues ravaged the countryside. The nobility had sent no aid, nor did the Temple and their templars. With all of this ruin, the land had turned into an excited frenzy, deciding to seek and hunt down the only group they could all blame: the magi.

    Publicly, many nobility and royalty had decreed edicts that stated that all magi were to be captured and tried, and if found guilty (which was almost guaranteed to happen) they would be publicly executed and have their bodies burned on a bonfire. While it eased the minds of nobles and peasants alike, it solved no issues and caused for many magi to take their stand with Lady Morgan, who offered the magi sanctuary in exchange for service under her as researchers and healers. Even the greatest of the warriors of all the lands, the fabled Arcane Knights, were forced to hide from the eyes of the public as the independent entity's allies were turning against them, despite the authority they still held. Even then, most of the nations consented to give authority to the Divine Inquisition, an arm of the Temple, primarily the authority to hunt down magi within their borders so long as they followed the law of the nations.

    Now, the Arcane Knights themselves emerged when the Great War of Exalt occurred, wherein the Temple and the infant nations were struggling to decide the nature of magic and regarding whether of not magi were to be treated the same as normal people given the oppression they faced. The vast differences in ideologies led to a three-way conflict amongst the nations and Temple, and only began to wane when a fourth group, then called the Magus Order, emerged from the fighting. The somewhat unorganized group held peace conferences and made alliances of their own in order to bring an end to the warfare of the time and bring the acknowledgement that every individual mage had the same rights and gifts of a non-mage. In the times after, the Arcane Knights were part of a larger group known as the Arcane Order, among which were the Arcane Riders- common folk made near-immortal after bonding with a dragon that hatched for them. But the Riders were all but forgotten as there had been little sightings of dragons, let alone eggs, in recent decades.

    In the few months before the hunt for magi (now referred to as the Great Hunt) began, the Arcane Knights were investigating claims that the Triumvirate of Cadwell had been hiding a store of dragon eggs, keeping them secret from the Arcane Knights as to raise up their own army with which to overthrow the king in the future. One Arcane Knight in particular, an] alv (which is a form of human native to the Northlands with a near-elvish visage) who stood five feet and ten inches tall and was known only as Grey, was sent forth into the area with two of his fellow Arcane Knights to investigate these claims and confront the Triumvirate if necessary with charges regarding the infractions of several accords and treaties.

    When the investigation first began, there were no definite indicators to give validity to the claims that had arisen regarding the dragon eggs. As such, the rumors had no credibility and remained merely as rumors. However, after a few months of no results, the Arcane Knights stumbled upon an ancient mausoleum that led the trio to a concealed sanctuary wherein a dozen dragon eggs were hidden.

    Needless to say, the Arcane Knights were on their way to take the eggs back to Govoldeim, the mountain-fortress of the Arcane Order, while some of the Arcane Commanders were pressing the charges necessary upon the Triumvirate. But one the way north, the Great Hunt had begun and the Knights learned that the Divine Inquisition had ransacked Govoldeim and had killed all of the Arcane Knights who refused to become inquisitors or templars in service of the Temple.

    Fearing for their lives, the Arcane Knights soon fled to the east, seeking out for themselves an small enclave that was used by the Riders of old. When they arrived to the structure, which was preserved by the northern frosts, the three remaining Knights put their hands to the eggs, seeing if any would hatch for them. It was a sign of desperation, but it was also be one of the few chances they had to ensure that the Arcane Order was preserved despite the devastation the Great Hunt was destined to bring to all magi.

    Surely enough, none of the eggs hatched, save for a silver egg that hatched for Grey, much to the light-haired Knight's- now Rider's- surprise as a silver spiral burned itself into Grey's left hand. Naming the female dragon Illah, the trio had to utilize the encrypted preserved within the enclave to train the first Arcane Rider in over five hundred years.

    In a little over six months, when the grey-eyed Rider saw his dragon reach maturity, the pair left the eggs in the care of the Arcane Knights. It was time to investigate and keep low before the word escalated into further chaos, starting with the events surrounding Lady Morgan and her rebellion. As such, Rider and dragon flew off at first light, heading to the headquarters there to make contact. The silver dragon always spoke to her Rider telepathically, the pair forming a bond all but unbreakable as they were forced to move forward in this forsaken world.

    Grey (open)
    #3 AceSorcerer, Dec 23, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
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  4. Among troubles of expanding pestilence and rising crime, the crop turnout this year comes as a public fear. Rosalia crawled under the shadows of the marketplace, struggling in her search to find a bread crumb or two for the day's meal. The ten-year old halted, trembling underneath a cart of bodies--the third one today.

    H-cccc-hhhhh! Rosalia checked her hands; no blood this time. Scouring through the dense crowd of shamblers, she finally found her mark. In an ignored area, four drenched rats shuffled haphazardly, each coming to a rest within seconds of each other. She felt around for her knife, grabbing the handle poking just out of her makeshift belt. Rosalia squeezed through the masses, dodging all physical contact, and made her way through the alleyway where which the rats had crawled.

    A liquid flowed to the streets, passing by colonies of flies and bodies, from a ruptured cask. Rosalia stared at her reflection in the red wine puddle. Her hair frizzed and dirt stained most of her face and neck. Unsteadily, she licked the liquid off of the cobblestone. The scent of fruit filled Rosalia's nose, as the puddle of bitterly sweet liquid dwindled and the stream quelled. Temporarily sating her stomach, she stabbed one of the sleeping rats, carrying the meat underneath her belt for a later meal.

    Rosalia looked out of the alleyway, noticing strange men in odd armors. They spoke too quiet and too far for her to hear. Rosalia crept closer, curious about the mens' conversation. H-cccc-hhhh! There was definitely red that time. One of the armored men spotted Rosalia, pointing her out to his comrade. Startled, Rosalia fled back into the alleyway, holding the half-cask over her head. She heard no clinks of armor rush toward her. No sounds of movement whatsoever. She slowly re-approached the corner, only to hear one of the men say:

    "Don't bother chasing that degenerate urchin. The rats and flies will take care of them."

    She shivered, crawling back to the cask in the middle of the alleyway, drifting off with a short plan:

    A nap now, then a fire after.
    #4 BeyondBanditry, Dec 24, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2015
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  5. Rowan awoke, in a cold sweat. His night was troubled, more so than usual. He brushed his troubled thoughts aside, and slid his hand along the bed, his fingers finding the hilt of his blade.
    In a loving embrace, he wrapped them around it, gripping tightly the cold steel that he knew so intimately. He sat up, slowly, and stared at the cold wooden floor beneath him.
    He stood, and slid on a shirt. His armor, cold and empty, stared at him, into his soul, judging him as no human had ever done. It was his master, as much as he was its'.

    He walked sluggishly to the armor, and began to strap it on, when a loud knock came at his door. He opened it slowly, and locked eyes with a tall woman.
    Annabeth, mother of two, comrade-in-arms. She, along with three others, Orion, Hilde, and Anselm, would be riding with him to the college, in the name of the King.

    "Are you ready, Rowan?" she asked.
    He nodded.
    "In a moment, meet me by the stables."
    He closed the door, not interested in the rest of her words. He finished strapping his armor on, and gathered a few personal belongings, before heading to the stables.
    Upon arrival, he found that his horse was already geared for the expedition, and promptly mounted it, and his companions did the same with their steeds.

    The guards did not speak much, but a few pleasantries. They were a cold group, trained killers, above all else.
    As they rode, they passed many abandoned farmsteads, and saw many towers of smoke rise into the distant sky.
    Upon passing one farmhouse, Rowan noticed a mother and father throwing a small corpse upon a flaming pyre.
    Annabeth muttered something, words which only Rowan was close enough to hear.
    "They must love their children as fiercely as we do..."

    The night approached. They were a day's ride from the College, with a night's sleep, but the Guard was not trained to sleep. They rode on, into the setting sun, their blades screaming for blood.
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  6. As the guards rode, the heard a scream lost to the ages as the naïve Rider made the mistake of flying too close to the ground to avoid being spotted before pulling up into the skies. Unfortunately, this would not only draw attention from the College and the villages nearby. He cursed mentally as his dark grey cloak fluttered in the wind begin him. Illah mentally scolded her Rider in a sagacious alto whilst the Rider scolded the dragon in return, wherein each member of the pair is as much of a neophyte as the other.

    Why would you have me fly so low? Because of this, we now have the attention of the entire province!

    "We both erred, Illah. Unfortunately, now we will have to be even more careful regarding the Divine Inquisition and the templars. Lady Morgan had offered and alliance to the Arcane Order before, and if her offer still stands she may still be our safest bet. We cannot let the remaining eggs fall into the hands of those who would abuse the power of the dragons. With any luck, she will prove sensible. If not, we will have to go and rebuild from the shadows. Regardless, the entire situation leaves almost no room for caution.

    'Tis true, we have no definite way to guarantee any safety given how the world now views any who utilize the arcane that are now leashed to the Temple. For now, Lady Morgan is our primary option...

    Soon enough, the pair would land near a small cave on the outskirts of the college. Their plan held that during the day Illah would hunt for food and scout their surroundings when she was not circling about the city whilst the Rider would be performing his investigations within. They would try to remain within telepathic range, so in case of emergency one could easily call out to the other.

    Either way, as soon as they landed Grey would begin to make his way into the city of Redcourt, occasionally stopping and asking around as his cloak did well to hide the Arcane Order heraldry on his pauldrons. Either way, Grey chose to err on the side of caution, especially given the mistake that he had made earlier.
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  7. The woods concealed many eyes with the guarded jealousy of an often crossed lover. So the hazel eyes that watched the five knights pass through the smoldering town steads went unnoticed among the masses. Dressed in dark greens and grays with stained and worn plates of leather Keln blended smoothly into the half light of the woods. From her vantage point atop a sharp rocky outcropping she could very well guess where this group of finely equipped knights were headed. Turning on her heel she retreated deeper into the forest, cutting almost a straight path across streams, through groves, and over hills, her pace never wavering from a steady run. Unlike the knights she had no stead with her so her path could be far more direct than theirs, at the very least she would reach Redcourt in a few hours. If she was lucky they would stop to water their horses, however she had seen their insignia, she knew the stories, so luck was not something she was prepared to factor in.

    After nearly two hours she finally stopped at the base of a large oak tree, with quick hands she undid the quiver that was strapped across her chest and set it down among the roots quickly followed by her bow. With a short running start she caught hold of one of the lower branches and climbed her way nearly to the top. Taking a deep breath she let out a high long whistle followed by three shorter notes. There was a pause before a reply was heard, two short notes, a long one, and then another short one. There was another longer pause as Keln waited for another response, the first indicated that the guards of Redcourt were listening but she was searching for a very particular set of ears. She only waited a minute before there was another whistle, this time marked by a more complicated series of short whistles. A grin pulled at the edge of her mouth before she licked her lips and relayed her message.

    When it was over Keln sat back against the trunk of the tree and gently rubbed at her throat as though trying to massaged away a pain. The thick mass of scars at her throat rarely bothered her much anymore but she still felt at the old wound when her mind was working, but there was little time to spare and with a heavy sigh she dropped out of the tree. Donning her quiver and shouldering her bow she picked up her pace, there were a few hill peaks that lay between her and the gates of the college, with night drawing near she would have to be mindful of any pitfalls that might slow her down.


    At the gates of Redcourt a handful guards stood on the ramparts of their makeshift stronghold. The guards themselves were supplied well enough but their armor and clothes did not fit quite so well and they were not so consistent to ward of the impression of cobbled together soldiers. This impression was not helped much by the presence of a young pale blonde boy standing with the guards, listening as the last echo of Keln's sharp whistle died away.

    "Well whats she got ta say?" One of the guards asked, a older man with a heavy beard and even heavier set eyes. The boy cocked his head towards the voice and adjusted the cloth covering his eyes, pulling it down to shield the scars that ran from his eyes cheeks a little better, though unable to cover the rest of the marks that marred his face. He seemed to think over his answer for a bit before turning to face blind eyes toward a tall mousy haired man who was dressed in the best matched and best fitting armor of the bunch.

    "Five riders of Loyn, they ride hard for the college...and they are dressed to fight." The boy finally said nervously tilting his head back towards the wood as though hoping there was more to the message.

    "They'll stop the night won't they Faern?" Another guards member asked shifting his spear in his hands.

    "Keln doesn't think so." The boy replied darkly.

    "Hmm--Markson!" The captain barked sharply causing one of the younger men of the group to jump as he came to attention. "Report to Lady Morgan, we will need her instructions."

    The man nodded and ran off along the ramparts disappearing down a staircase as he ran towards the college. The rest of the group divided to get to their own tasks as the captain talked worriedly with another guard and Faern wandered back down the ramparts following roughing the same path as the messenger. Just under a year living here and Keln had proven herself a valuable pair of eyes and ears, even if the sharp points of those same ears did draw a bit to much attention now and again. Faern for his part served his part as a translator, since Keln was mute she had had to come up with a different way of speaking and those not used to the clicks and whistles sometimes had trouble learning the subtleties. As he mused Faern moved his way along the stately hallways, tracing out a path from his memory. Eventually he caught a hint of Markson's voice and his pace increased as he neared the source. Lady Morgan was a strange woman to him, infrequently he interacted with her and yet even he knew that she was defying a nation, maybe more, with her actions. The fate of those who followed her and those who sought her protection hung in the balance of this game she played. For many hope was just a word to cling to.
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  8. It was late, or perhaps early, when the guards reached the gate to the "College". Less of a place of learning now, more of a fortress, Rowan noted. Ramshackle walls surrounded the once prestigious building, a large ivory tower visible from outside of the gates the only remnant of the once noble land.
    A river raged in front of them, a small wooden bridge the only way to the fortress's gates. The river crashed over the side of a nearby cliff, down below, flowing out towards the sea.
    "They tarnish our architecture," Anselm said, visibly gritting his teeth.
    "Enough speaking, Anselm. We are here on business. Void your mind of hatred," Orion said, dismounting his horse. All the other guards, save for Annabeth, followed suit.
    Hilde walked up to Rowan.
    "Are you ready, Rowan? I know you see this as merely a small mission to put down a band of rebels, but be wary."
    Rowan nodded.

    When he was a child, Rowan had visited the College, in his training, spoken with some of the older professors, who were, quite obviously, now dead. They were kind to him, a street orphan, brought in by noble society, and turned into a killing machine. Late at night, Rowan laughed about it. They knew, they knew that one day, he would murder hundreds, in the name of his King. And he knew, as well. He did not care any longer. Not unless his targets were children.

    Rowan snapped out of his thoughts, and noticed the other guards had already formed their positions. Orion and Anselm held up two enormous tower shields, protecting Hilde, who brandished two automatic crossbows. Annabeth's left hand was on her blade, her right readied her shield.
    "Get your head out of the clouds, Rowan. Get in position."
    Rowan stood before the two tower shields, facing the gate, nothing protecting him. His hand rested gently on his blade.
    "Apply numbing injection," Anselm said. The guards, all five, responded, each pulling out a small syringe, and jabbing it into their arms. They all lost feeling.

    "Followers of the usurper, hear my cry!" Rowan shouted, drawing his blade and holding it into the air. "Open the gates or be subject to hanging, for treason!"
    Without notice, the large gates swung open. No one was to be seen.

    "Forward, and be wary," Orion muttered. The guards marched forward, in formation. Upon passing the gates, an arrow flew through the air, and lodged itself in Orion's shoulder. He did not move. "Attack positions! Slaughter all those in your way! Bring the usurper's head back to Loyn in a sack made from the skins of her followers!"
    Annabeth rode forward, as the followers of Morgan stormed the courtyard, farmer's tools waving about in the air wildly. She cut them down, one after another. Hilde's crossbow bolts flew through the air all about Rowan, lodging themselves in the flesh of the makeshift army Morgan had thrown together. Orion and Anselm beat down the attackers with their shields, leaving them in bloody pulps. Eventually, the courtyard was silent. Blood stained the ground, bodies lay scattered, stinking up the place.
    The guards all lowered their weapons.

    Anselm lurched forward, and blood flew from his mouth, adding to the painting on the concrete floor. He collapsed, without another word. Orion stared at the body of his comrade.
    "He reached his breaking point," he muttered, "Casualties were... expected. Rowan, summon the usurper."
    Rowan looked about. Several arrows were embedded in Orion's body, yet he did not move. Annabeth was covered in fresh scars, and it was unclear whether the blood she was coated in was hers, or that of others. Halfway through the battle, her horse had died. One of Hilde's crossbows had been destroyed, and she was carefully reloading the other, using the one hand she was left with. Rowan himself had only taken a few hits, his face was scarred, having been slashed by a soldier who flailed about with a scythe.

    Rowan stepped forward, staring at the tower.
    "Usurper Lady Morgan! Show thyself!"
    The gates to the tower swung open. A woman in fine vestments, with raven hair and piercing amber eyes, stood there, and stared at the guards.
    Orion stepped forward, and began shouting. "You are under arrest in the name of the Lord of Loyn, caretaker of us all, father of the civilized lands! Raise thy hands in surrender!"

    Morgan chuckled.
    "Civilized," she said, laughing, "Magi, set these trespassers alight. I will see to it that the families of my loyals are contacted."
    Morgan turned, and walked deeper into the tower.
    The guards all drew their weapons frantically, but to no avail. Streams of fire shot from the halls of the tower, emerging from unknown and concealed sources. Orion was first to fall, collapse from sheer body damage. Hilde was able to fire a few bolts before she was disintegrated by a colossal fireball. Annabeth grabbed Rowan, and the two ran for cover outside of the walls of the makeshift fortress, where they had come from. Rowan had time to turn around, and saw a crossbowman fire a bolt which lodged itself in the back of Annabeth's head. She collapsed, her grip on him growing cold. He turned around, and readied his blade.
    "For Lord and Land, I-" he stared into the tower, and locked eyes with a small child, clad in armor, holding a sword larger than him. Rowan's hands trembled, even as the fire burned his right side, leaving him scarred, and damaged. He suddenly felt pain again, as the serum wore off. A crossbow bolt flew into his left shoulder, and he stumbled back, falling into the river.
    "For Lord and Land... I die..." he muttered, as he was swept over the waterfall. His eyes felt heavy. They closed, and everything went black.

    The guard, a day later, still floated down the river- his right half scarred by fire, his left shoulder penetrated by an arrow, his armor destroyed, or burned off, leaving him only clad in dirty charred leather. He passed by a fisherman, who reported to the local guard of a man floating down a river, a man covered in burns, with an arrow in his shoulder. A man who was still breathing.
    #8 MourningStar, Dec 27, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
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  9. Rosalia woke in the night, rags damp from leftover wine and rat blood. Looking left, right, nothing in the darkness but the stars in the sky. She searched the constellations:

    The pier is north. Where's the handle...

    One, two, three, four, handle pointing upward. Five, then the north star; the left.

    Groggy, Rosalia ambled leftward, out through the body-riddled marketplace and through the open valley, toward a flickering light. Steeper, faster, her legs took larger steps, refusing to heed. The knife and rat ran against her leg, scratching with each hop. The light itself became brighter as Rosalia neared it.

    Just twelve more steps.

    Panting, coughing, Rosalia reached the end of the hill, and dirt began to meet sand. The fire, burning on two logs, was quite small and simple, burning nonetheless. Rosalia, pacing her footing, approached the fire and kneeled. She reached outward, poking the fire. Suddenly, the fire brightened, growing to at Rosalia's height. Rosalia pulled out the rat and, flowing her hand from the flames, slowly roasted the catch. Smoke rose from the rodent, as the fur burned off of its flesh.

    Achoo! Blood ran from her nose and the fires quelled to ash. The rat continued to burn, yet Rosalia no longer held the fire. Again, she stuck her hand in the fire, when she heard an odd disturbance in the crashing of the waves. She blew out the rat, and placed an orb of light in the air from the remaining embers, moving as she walked toward the washed-up mass.

    It was a man; charred and bloody, an arrow puncturing him in the shoulder. Rosalia rushed, dropping the cinderball and leaned over to the injured man. He didn't move, but his chest still pulsated. Unable to think of ways to help, Rosalia attempted to pull the arrow.

    One! No luck, no budge.
    Two! The arrow refused to move.
    Three! Another vain attempt.

    Rosalia held closer at the base. She gripped the arrow and in place of a yell, gasped silently as she tried one last attempt at pulling the arrow.

    But it was just another fruitless effort.

    Still, between the waters, the man gasped.
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  10. "Trade in blood, trade in coin, traveler... Trade in blood, trade in coin!"

    Despite the slight limp in her step and her matted brown hair, the kind that seemed as if it had been plucked from the underbelly of an understuffed scarecrow, the merchant's voice cooed harmoniously around the palisades.

    She was only into her middle years, but they had not been kind to her - for the lines on her face and the sting of winters past showed clearly in every strand that hung off-white or greying.

    Not that one would have been able to tell from her face alone, for her smile never faltered, even when passers-by recoiled. The land of 'Rhos' - this rebellious, foolhardy land - was not truly a state, not yet.
    And to a merchant, especially one such as herself, this meant one thing:


    For where there were no laws, or weak laws, or simply those scared of what the next day might bring...

    Always, there were those who would pay her price, and grow richer from it.

    "Trade in blood, trade in coin! For you, madame - for you, a little secret to make your evenings brighter and reclaim that which you desire most. Yours, in exchange for only a few secrets of your own!.."

    But the woman - much younger then she, dressed in clothes yet to feel the sting of war - turned on her half-boots and upped her long stride, only the slightest blush on her dusky skin hinting at some greater distress.

    Shaking her head, the merchant side, feeling the underside of a jagged tooth - what an unlucky day, when only those blessed with too much bravery or too much fear had passed her by...

    Rapping her fingers against the little section of wooden encampment she considered her realm, cloudy green eyes searched for someone just brave enough, just curious enough to stay and to listen.

    "You there, traveler! Traveler! He, of the bronzed armour, hold there, friend!"

    Having set her sight on a vagrant, perhaps a hedge-knight (though one in finer trappings then most) who seemed to be looking for something, the merchant rose from the cushion she fell back against from time to time.

    Without it, she might easily be mistaken for a decrepit and wan vagabond, a war-wretch without family nor strength of her own to carry her forward. But the scent of some dark, unpleasant perfume or incense clouded it, and carried with thin smoke a warning that here, knowledge could be found... At a price.

    "Ho there, you there, traveler, sir."

    Rattled the merchant through the gap in her teeth, smile never wavering as she moved through several of the other peddlers, mercenaries and guards encamped near the city proper. The amulets on her arm jangled enticingly as she waved to him.

    "I'm known as Glum, Glum the trader, sir. No clue as to why, for I am always well, and all those who do business with me are happier for it. You look lost, sir! Could use eyes and ears, sir. Perhaps a maiden such as I could be of use to you! Help you find what you seek, sir... If you'd be interested in making a trade?"

    And her voice was sincere and genuine as honey filtered through silk as the armlets clattered against her inviting wrist.
  11. The trader was one of an unusual sort, the Rider noted. Still, he kept his hood drawn, despite the all-too-friendly appearances of merchants about him.

    He had almost forgotten how much he could stand of a crowd, despite his best attempts otherwise. It mattered not, for perhaps this would work well in his favor if he opayed his cards right. And now that he saw her chipped tooth, perhaps he could have a few things to offer in exchange. After all, last time he was in Redcourt magi were still considered honorable and the Divine Inquisition was no more important than how fat the king's pet hounds were.

    Therefore, the Arcane Rider turned around, and approached the merchant. He could easily craft a rune with merely a stone and if they wanted gold he had wallet hidden within an inside cloak pocket. But before he spoke up, Illah delivered news as he walked forward with a silence as he communicated telepathically, observing his dragon flying around nearby

    Grey! The news I bear is horrid!

    "What is it? What has happened, Illah?"

    There was an attack on the College. Five people entered, and they killed many of the magic and villagers inside. I also saw Lady Morgan, but she now seems to be a more cynical figure than we've been led on to believe. Despite that, it looked like one guard may have survived. If such is true, we may need to look into it. He went through a steam, likely to the surrounding shores. Regardless, that human woman seems to have inspired fanatical levels of devotion to the people of "Rhos" somehow.

    "I'll see about hiring a guide to head through those forests, then. It's apparent we shouldn't approach directly, at least not yet. Perhaps after talking with the guard, assuming he lives, we can see about a direct approach."

    Alright. I'll see if I can sense any unusual magics about the College.

    "Smart. After that, meet me by the cave."

    When the conversation had ended, he was now before the merchant. The Arcane Rider spoke up, his bass voice resonating with the merchant.

    "If you seek a trade, I will give you my offer. I have need of a guide in the shores outside of Redcourt in order to search for a missing person. In exchange, I am far more than willing to offer either gold, or one of the most well-kept secrets in all of these lands."

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  12. Worn jewelery slid to her wrist as the trader placed a palm to her chin, watching the stranger carefully - and listening even moreso, hanging off of every word as if they were the most important she had ever heard.
    When the sonorous tone of his voice drew to a halt, her hands clapped together in a gesture that would have looked cloying on one half her age.

    "Fortune becomes us, sir Traveler - well, at least myself, and perchance the both of us. I've been cooped amongst these demesnes for far too long; most places I could tell you of every cobble, the best taverns, the finest clothiers..! Not so this Rhos, least, not yet."

    The lilting singsong tone didn't do much to draw the attention of those nearby; for it seemed that whether they, too, were merchants...
    But whether they were highwaymen, or landless knights, or fleeing magi, the spirits of most here were too lost and careworn to pay much more then fleeting glances to those around them.

    "But you see, sir Traveler; I have had quite some time to range around the encampments here. If it is a guide you seek, I might be able to provide for you - though never would I ask for coin for one so fair and gilded. No, I might ask some other favour, if you might humour my request."

    Her smile did not shift, but her eyes did.

    The lost and cloudy haze dissipated as her eyes drifted half-shut in thought.
    Glum lay back against the palisade wall, straightening her brown skirts around her legs idly. She did not speak for some time, stretching out the silence as she contemplated him.
    Occasionally, she would glance towards him, seeking something, perhaps - or just observing him.

    "I should be glad to serve as your companion, moreso if I might help you find someone who matters to you; though how they matter, I need not know. But, alas, I cannot accept coin for such a service; t'would be quite cruel, and I am not that far gone. No, sir Traveler; if I might have a hair from your head as favour, and perhaps your name, that would be more then enough for old Glum."

    Glum's laughter was far more luxurious then it had any right to be, but not unkind - and still, the smile remained placid against her face. She held out one hand, and though her skin was calloused and pale, it did not waver.

    The edges of her smile curled up, and Glum shot a hazy glance to the guards at the parapets above. Something had agitated them, and she did not envy the lady of this place the task of weathering the coming storm.

    "And if that is too much for you, I suppose I could accept your offer of such a secret; but my, how scandalous must it be, to be so well-kept..? Regardless, this makes me at your disposal, sir Traveler; but I make it a point of pride to only do business with those I know the name of. Might I have one to call you by?"

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  13. She arrived late. When Keln did finally arrive at the gates light was just beginning to crest the hills, and the battle had been over for nearly half an hour. Her heart dropped as she saw the gates hanging open, even from where she stood she could see the ground was stained red. Even as her tired legs protested she picked up her pace until she was almost sprinting down the road with little mind to who might still be watching. Fate appeared to be on her side as she approached and the captain of the guard hailed her from the ramparts. His arm was secured with a sling, freshly scabbed over wound on his cheek, and a distinct limp in his walk as he descended to meet her at the front gate.

    "You're back! There was concern you had been caught by the Knights." Though he kept talking the man had a hard time keeping up with Keln as she fluttered unsteadily among the shrouded bodies, pausing with trembling hands at one particularly small body. She reached forward the Captain's voice fading to a dull hum as her mind both froze and splintered fearing who's face she would see under the shroud.

    "Keln?" The small questioning voice yanked Keln upright like an invisible chain pulled taunt. With only a few long strides she crossed to the entrance of the college and engulfed Faern in a tight hug. The boy managed only a small squeak before most of the air was forced out of his lungs by the hug, and while Keln wished to say something, anything, she was silent. If he had had a poor measure of the situation before the Captain made up for it now as he kept his distance and let the pair have a moment of relief. It was strange really, at times like these Keln acted like a mother to the boy, though with him being so fair and her so dark most found that hard to believe at the best of times. Then other times she played the servant, or even the bodyguard following Faern from place to place like some strange hound. It didn't help that they had stumbled into the college one night, Keln carrying Faern on her back fresh wounds marking both of them, though her throat and his eyes bore scars that were already long healed, with Keln's especially looking as though they had been inflicted at least several years ago.

    "ahem." The captain coughed awkwardly taking a painful step forward. Keln didn't react to the noise, but after a few moments Faern tapped her on the shoulder and she slowly released her grip and turned to face the captain. "Lady Morgan wishes to see you, this business is not yet over."

    Sighing heavily through her noise Keln got tenderly to her feet, only know remember that she had spent much of the night running. The Captain lead the ways through the noble halls of learning, his attention flickering back every now and again to watch Keln and Faern chat. From gentle whistles that could have been mistaken for birdsong, to more than once Keln would reach down and take Fearn's hand so that she could write something on his palm. This gesture usual got a small laugh from the young boy and a repeating airing sigh from Keln that could have only been her attempt at laughter.

    Lady Morgan's command room had once been a lecture hall styled in the grandest of old tradition. A single platform had stood at the far side of the room from the door, and a great many couches, stools, and cushions had been arranged around the foot of the pedestal, it had once heard voices in debate of everything from philosophy to law to the changing seasons. Now the only debates it heard where those of war, politics, and strategy, the podium and the seats had been cleared to make room for a large table and a few hard wooden chairs. Books of art had been replaced with maps and charts over which Lady Morgan and her confidants poured. The doors themselves to the room were impression, tall, painted bright red, and painted with dancing plants and animals. On either side of the doors a guard stood at attention, but they broke stance once they saw the Captain and Keln.

    "Well thar's a sight for sore eyes, we were thinking you was lost." Started the first with a pleasant wink towards Keln.

    "Aye." started the second he was the young man from the ramparts, Markson. "When them Bastards came first we thought they got your gu--."

    He swallowed his last few words as the Captain shot him a look and both guards sheepishly returned to attention. If she had been able to Keln would have treated them to a chuckle but she settled with a good humored grin before making a move for the door with Faern in toe.

    "Ah... we 'ave orders miss." Markson muttered not entirely meeting her eyes as he blocked the door with his foot. Keln's eyes darted between the two guards in confusion before the sound of a throat being cleared brought her eyes around to the Captain.

    "The orders were for you to go in alone." He said with a overly obvious nod toward Faern. The lock in Keln's jaw gave the three answer enough as all opened their mouths to voice some kind of appeasement when the boy caught hold of Keln's elbow and interrupted them.

    "You should go, I have chores to complete." Faern said with a knowing smile. As Keln's silent protest spoke volumes to her charge he gave another small smile and pushed her towards the door. "Go, I'll be fine."

    Though Keln still looked unhappy she in defeat and gave Faern's hair a fond tousle before surrendering herself to the meeting.
  14. Rowan gasped and sat up quickly.
    He was in pain. Immense, crushing pain. Something he hadn't felt in long time.
    His mind wandered back, back to before he fell. There was blood, and screaming, and flame. Then there was cold, and dark.
    He snapped back to reality. Before him sat a small girl, covered in dirt, and smelling heavily of alcohol. His hand shot to his scabbard, but quickly reclined, seeing no threat in her. He was soaked, and freezing, and his shoulder... ah, yes, the arrow. It was still there.
    "Uh, hello."
  15. The Rider knew far better than to give any of his hair to anyone, for he had been taught to be wary of black magics when he was of a young age. After all, there was something... off about this estranged trader. He then, in equal parts caution and foolishness, removed his armored gloves as he spoke his name. Grey needed a guide, and as such he would have to make sacrifices and take extreme risks in order to do what was best for them all. "Well, Glum, my name is Grey. As for my secret... allow me to show you before we depart. I wish to start moving out as soon as possible."

    It was then that the Rider showed the trader his palms once they had more privacy, speaking aloud. "Look upon the spirals, and know my secret: the Arcane Riders have returned, and I am the first among them."

    #15 AceSorcerer, Dec 30, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
  16. Rosalia was startled upon seeing the man speak, but glad to see he had regained consciousness. He shivered, definitely cold from drifting through through water. Rosalia glanced back at the cinders, raising them and pulling them toward her; warm enough. Quickly, she spread the warm cinders around the man's body.

    She wanted so much to ask questions, regarding his status and safety.

    Are you ok?
    What happened?
    Where are you from?

    But being of no words, she said nothing, and pointed to the arrow in his shoulder.
    #16 BeyondBanditry, Dec 30, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  17. Rowan looked down at the arrow.


    He tried pulling, which shot a bolt of pain through his body. Not wanting to walk around with a full arrow sticking out of his body, he broke the shaft, leaving only the tip stuck in his shoulder. A small bit of splintered wood stuck out.

    He looked at the child.

    "You cannot speak, can you? You're handy with that flame. Lost art, where I'm from," he said, and tried to force a gentle smile.
    "My name is Rowan. I was a knight, I suppose. I..." he doubled over in pain, and chuckled a bit. "Do you know where I can find some Stormflowers?"
  18. Rosalia recognized the name of the flower of which he spoke. She shuffled around in her beltpouch, searching for the stems of a stormflower. Through bits of furs and flowers Rosalia felt the prick of a thorn; just the right one. She pulled out the stem, a deep and luminescent blue, swirling along the walls of the plant. The flower at the end was all but withered, but the stem and roots of the plant pulsated, thriving even out of its element.

    Rosalia abruptly coughed into her arms, attempting to hide the blood and internal pain from the stranger. She tore off a thorn, swallowing it. Within seconds, the pain quelled--not gone, but certainly diminished. Rosalia put the stem in the man's mouth and, in the sand, spelled out:

    C H E W.
  19. Rowan chewed frantically.
    In Loyn, Stormflower, which is slightly toxic, was the main ingredient of the Royal Guards' numbing injection. Due to heavy use of this injection, and therefore the toxic flower, the Guards did not live full lives, most dying between the ages of 40 and 50. Yet he chewed still, and the pain was numbed again.

    The reality of the situation he was in finally hit him, and he looked around, his eyes darting down the stream to the shores on the other side.
    "My friends, my comrades, they... their blades, and armor, did they wash down this way? Any other bodies? Just me? Annabeth? Orion? Anyone...?"
    He paused for a second.
    "... Just me. They're all dead."
    His eyes moved to look at the child.
    "I can get you somewhere where you can be taken care of... out of Redcourt. Out of Rhos. You deserve that much for helping me."
  20. The knight's sincerity baffled Rosalia, as she felt needed for once. Rosalia nodded frantically, smiling.


    Rosalia felt the start of rain. She pulled Rowan's arm, pointing toward a cave pass opening on the beach, away from the hill point. She ran ahead, making sure the cave was dry enough; even magical fires often fizzled. As she approached the cave, there was complete silence. Perfect. Rosalia pulled out a parchment, following along the signs of the underpass. With a touch, a scarlet dot glowed on the map, under the name of Pyreden.

    This man can help me reach Pyreden, Rosalia thought. I'll finally get through Big Spidie and to Cadwall.

    A second and third dot far north appeared, both glowing cyan, by Loys. Rosalia connected these two areas onto the map, a golden trail. Likewise, the cave dimly became gold, illuminating the same path as on the map.

    A fourth grey dot showed up, its placement still around Redcourt.
    That one always back to that area, Rosalia thought.

    She looked back at the man, still somewhat in pain. Not in body, but definitely in face.
    #20 BeyondBanditry, Jan 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016