Pegulis, Chapter 4

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  1. CHAPTER 4
    Storms and Sieges

    Perhaps it was once like this. For a while at least.

    When the gods did battle on that fateful day, perhaps those in the distance saw it as the Northern Lights. Beautiful colours, a swirling of day and night amid the stars. Perhaps they looked upon those shapes and knew that were greater things than any of us.

    Perhaps before the shockwaves hit, they felt wonder.


    This time each year came the Season of the Northern Lights. A burst of colour amid white winter. Most Pegulians knew the cause: the collision of sun rays with gaseous particles above the planet's northern hemisphere. It was not a thing divine or of any great mystery. In other nations it might have been treated so. Yet the Northern Lights were for Pegulis alone, and even school children understood them for what they were.

    Yet still... it did not keep the Blue Republic from awe. The season was a time for festivals, for star-gazing and night parties. In Aldus they would gather on the Wall and crane their necks to watch the colours. In Barvelle platforms would be constructed on the mountainsides and tower-tops, and lone tunnels would rise to observatory plateaus. Children would sleep by day and by night be taken to their classes in chromatic ambiance. And in Tavark they would hunt the Gartooth Mammoths, driven from their tundra by the lights, and make a feast of them in the Great Hall.

    For seven days and nights the Northern Lights would dance, and all Pegulis would see joy rekindle.


    But not so this year. For just as the firestorms of the Cataclysm followed hard upon that first beauty, so now did peril chase this season's Lights. In Tavark the homes were silent, and the colours painted only sentry motions of the occupiers. In Barvelle the people stayed below and debated their enslavement to the whims of the Ghoul Sage.

    And in Aldus... trouble circled.

    Four days had passed since the earthquake in the west. There had been great rumblings like meteor strikes beyond the border. Those posted on the Wall spoke of mountains moving on the horizon, and great divisions in the forest. It was hard to see it clearly. The spore clouds over Viridos conspired with blizzards to make their vision cloudy. Yet doubtless something terrible had occurred in the Green Nation.

    Sages advised calm and made no change to the guard detail. And for four days there had been silence. The watchmen waited for the threat to come, as they had always done, on this alien border. Yet the forest settled and shook no more.

    But now, as the first night of the Northern Lights began, it brought new dangers. For out of that rumbling disaster to the west, the shockwaves of tragedy and desperation rippled.


    They made no secret of their coming. Landing in streets and on church-tops and grain stores, the avian refugees numbered dozens, maybe hundreds. Frail already by means of their diet, the immigrants were on the verge of starvation. They begged whoever they found, and when the panic passed they were run from shops and market squares like nuisances. Some huddled in alleyways or built fires between the Aldus structures. There seemed no leader among them. These were the first wave to flee the Aviary as it plummeted. The young, the enfeebled, the ragtags of broken bloodlines. Not the finest dynasties of the winged people; but indeed the very opposite.

    The Aldus Watch were rallied, and began the clearing of refugees from strategic ground. And barely an hour had passed when the second peril showed.

    For hard on the heels of the refugees came something greater. Something caused by the geomantic rupture of the flying city. Something which had mingled with the mana densities and cold fronts of the Pegulian border... and bred a terror in the skies.


    An Arcane Storm. There had been few in history, most half-remembered in the aftermath of the Cataclysm. None so threatening as this.

    It would roll eastward on the ice borders, and send great tendrils to the north. It was be over Aldus within the hour. Barvelle within a day. Tavark within two.

    And soon the avians would not cower alone.
    #1 Asmodeus, Jun 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014
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  2. Tavark
    Eimund's eyes rolled backwards, up into the shadows of the skull. Perhaps to seek there for what was lost. To remember and commune. A sickly wheeze went with it. Spittle from his lungs came out upon his lips. He swooned against the seat back.

    "You are in the rapture, Lord. God speaks to you." The dark sorcerer Suvius stood over him, one hand upon the throne top, the other tracing fingers through Eimund's fever sweat. It was intimate - as advisor to ailing king. Yet all an act to hide his delirium.

    The dragon had thrown him into the slaughterhouse wall. And though his shoulder had been reset his ribs still crumbled. Some organs had been pierced. Infection had rooted. His body fought, but at times his senses dulled.

    Perhaps it made him less dangerous. Perhaps more.

    "His syllables are in the aching. His dictates in the creeping dark. Listen, Lord. Listen to God." Brow to brow he whispered. The flesh of Lord and Sorcerer were alike now, cancerous yellow. Perhaps they would switch places and take each others skin in time.

    From the rafters of the Great Hall, two bodies swayed. Elders Magatha and Furley, of the Green Stag House. They had not gone quietly like the others, into food stores and guild basements, into captivity. And so for seven days their flesh had hung and made a feast for crows and flies. The vermin did not eat alone. Below this gore the raiders laid another banquet and split their shifts between gorging and guarding.

    Eimund gave a sniffle and took a breath. The delirium passed. He slumped forward, held at bay by Suvius, and then with angry blinking straightened. He came back to his senses.

    "The city?"

    "Strong, my lord. The south breach is laid with caltrops and barricades of iron and oak. Your finest watch it."

    Eimund snatched a goblet from a slave-boy and guzzled deep. Dark red wine spilled upon his beard and chest. "Not enough!" he barked while clearing his lungs. "Horrikson will exploit it."

    Suvius stroked again through his master's sweat, a monstrous smile about his face. Like the pages of his bible, Eimund's injuries aroused him. "It has been seven days, Lord Rath. The southern army have no stomach for this fight. And the Northern Lights steal their cover of night."

    "I dreamt of the paladin.. the huntress... they escaped to damn me." His words meandered, skirting the edge of another haze. But Suvius shushed him softly and touched their brows once more. In the dais shadows came more whispers.

    "No one will come my Lord. Our avians bring glad tidings." He turned Eimund's head and giggled harshly into his ear. "God has sent a storm from the west. A storm of smiting magic. He blesses our dominion and gives us leave to stay."

    Eimund snorted as something pressed into his hand. He looked down to see that Suvius had passed him something, itself handed over by a servant beyond the dais. As Suvius pulled away the raider lord beheld the gift.

    A round infantry shield, leather strapped and iron riveted.

    And on its face... a stretched and polished hide... of dragon scales.

    Eimund gripped his sorcerer's shoulder, and lunged to his feet with half-concealed effort. Stepping forward on the dais he examined the shield. The white dragon scales were hot with magic, and firm as steel. It was a perfect forging. A perfect legacy of the beast that was.

    He steadied himself, and raised the shield with a roar, his cleared lungs giving volume to the shout.

    And in an instant it was taken up by his army, the feasters and fornicators raising weapons and gauntlets. The hall resounded with the wrathful cry, while colours swirled above.

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  3. At some indeterminate time in Aldus, grey
    Azareth moved through the city.

    It happened as he entered a backstreet. The world darkened. Dust billowed. Currents of air from an older time. Foul portents. Time dilated. From one end of the street, someone broke the line, stepping into his view, a miasma of contradictions following in its wake.

    A bell rang from deep in his gut. The hooded figure in front of him was extraordinary. There was no room to doubt ... by its very existence it confirmed beyond all skepticism that it was a relic of an extremely old time. It struck too stark a contrast with everything else: the clothing, even the manner in which it walked - it felt like anachronism given flesh.

    Azareth shivered. To allow this creature to continue to exist would be to deny his own existence. He felt a faint desperation, as if he had to prove he still existed to himself, prove that his bottles and his goal and his very being were still valid, now that he knew a creature like this walked Sunne. His Advent hummed, peeling away reality's logic. Buildings melted and warped, people become the brickwork, their smiles the mortar, and eyes opened up on every cobblestone. The thing stopped and turned a full circle, apparently .. surprised? Confused? ... dare he say, frightened? Other hooded figures emerged from the laughing walls, surrounding it, the advent causing all regrets, memories, and horrors of its lifetime past to haunt it.


    If he could peel away the hood, expose its face, expose it as a fraud, a simple ghost .. he would be the victor. Azareth reached forward, fingers grasping the hood on the cowl, and moved it baaa aaaa AAAAA AAAAAAAAAAA For that put be unjust. And ther's, argues poing they ong, a for of ther what such mose wouly oned is we an on with a gretch a gre would not or be one causticespectice wouch of thind sure wouly beces afely of thand lingly, ar doint. If bothed them any or doind thouse fron ofirm a fely to too mone al re theretched anothe im an thave asuch may that was factions on is ase injust hey ther; toustices of be iron saffeasuch then was th appostice me as anot is any ore hing, face. And bece, on ing ing on wo



    Azareth stood in the middle of nothing, naked, all extraneous features blasted away, just a pale-skinned human. He tried to fall to his knees in supplication (Confusion? Worship? Utter terror?), but kneeling and standing were the same as lying or prone or sleeping or twisted or bent or straight


    Azareth blinked. He blinked behind his bandages. They were still wrapped around his head, and they were both standing in the exact same spot, ten paces from each other. He reached deep inside him. The Advent was unspent. He could feel the warmth of the cotton around his head, could see through eyes on his mask, but ...

    The relic had not even looked at him. From where he stood, it looked like an ordinary hooded beggar as it walked out of view on the opposite side of the street. Azareth had only gazed at its side, as it moved from one edge of the alleyway to the opposite. Was it just a bad daydream?

    Or ...
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  4. The prologue ends ...


    In the silence that followed, Arktus stepped forward. The stress of the advent showed, and he was supported on either side by Michel and Helena.

    "Governors of Pegulis, and ... " He drew a pair of concentric circles on his throat, "Governors of Pegulis, and distinguished Guests. Now is the time to reveal to you the details of our founding."

    "As you are well aware, the Archon approached us only tens of winters past, offering us the three Salvations that would unite the North into a nation we can proudly call Pegulis. Our weak children are born strong, and we pool our knowledge together in these vast halls. But the miracle of thermic gems was provided to us, not invented."

    "Mordakar is an ancient creature dwelling deep in the Barvelle mountains. An ancient creature with many secrets to keep."

    "For ten days and ten nights the Archon sat face-to-face with Morabos and spoke. In all of our lifetimes, we have heard, we have seen the Archon as she first walked past our settlement gates with nothing but herself and her Aux. Yet what she only needed an hour of our time to accomplish, she needed hundreds for the Gnoll dwelling in the mountains."


    "Only she knows what went on between them during that time. At the end of their negotiations, Mordakaramon promised us thermic gems, on three conditions. One, that we teach the next generations about the old rules of magic. Two, that we allow him freedom of movement in Pegulis. And three ...

    "... that we don't dig into the past."

    "It is clear that the Inner Council has been greatly mistaken about Medwick's convoy. All events lead back to the Ghoul Sage."
    Helen and Michel began to speak as well, the three minds melding to one.
    "It is clear that the dragon was lured here by Mordakar, for the bounty of her eggs."
    "When we moved too quickly for the dragon, Medwick's warning letter was altered to slow us down."
    "The storms in Tavark, and the ice golem blocking the Aldus convoy. Then he moved directly against the Archon, injuring her to take the eggs."
    "All are Mordakar's machinations."
    "Now, Tavark has fallen to raiders, isolated from us by the Ghoul Sage's storm."
    "It is clear that the fate of Pegulis matters not to the Ghoul Sage. He would see us break up, so long as Medwick's convoy is recalled."
    "Aldus' isolation will bring about more chaos."
    "Meanwhile, he has dogged Medwick's caravan with plague and golems, hoping to stop him from recovering a Divine Weapon."

    "Mordakar's message is clear."

    "Do not look to the past, for our future."

    "But we are now at the crossroads."
    Eirene's voice rang loud without the need for magic. "We have our own ideals, our own ideas of society and civilization and knowledge. To our West, Viridos begins to militarize. To our East, the Czar ever seeks increasing power and sifts the sand for Divine Weapons. Pegulis is coveted land for its inhabitants; its knowledge. We are in danger."

    "What should we do?"

    "Do we recall Medwick, and stop the search for Divine weapons? Or do we boldly go against the Ghoul Sage - who holds the secret to recharging thermic gems - and gamble to find a Divine weapon to hold off our southern threat?"

    "Do we fortify against looming threats? Do we transform our knowledge into machines of war?"


    "We vote."
    "All in attendance will pass the marble into the appropriate chute."
    "We will allow five lines on the water clock to pass."

    An attendant refilled the water clock, the drips deafening in the silent room. Three lines passed.

    A single clatter interrupted the flow of water, then another, then another, until the room was filled with the sounds of stone pebbles rolling down carved tubes to collect at the middle of the chamber in large basins. The tubes took convoluted passages, slowing or speeding their roll time to anonymize the voter.

    "You must vote as well. All in the chamber have equal voice." Arktus placed marbles in the hands of all the impromptu attendees, before casting his vote with the other two Sages.

    The marbles rolled into their catchments ...
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  5. BARVELLE, royalblue

    General Coul stood in an arched doorway that opened up to a balcony carved out of the very mountain itself from a natural cliff ledge. His gloved hand ran over the fine etchings, painstakingly chipped in to the stone to create columns. Creatures of the Pegulis forests captured frozen in motion. Symbols of knowledge and magic painted in rich color. There was a time when such craftsmanship was rare in Pegulis. When sages and wizards would align themselves with wild tribes of hardened Northmen. Where bloody battles would ignite between the clans over food and resources as people fought to survive impossibly harsh winters.

    That ended when the Archon appeared. Nothing more than a small child, walking out of the forest as if she were born from the ice and mountains themselves. With only her words she enchanted a broken nation. She brought organization to the chaos. Something for the jaded people of Pegulis to believe in. Something to strive for.

    He watched her standing there leaning against the stone rail and staring out over the snow laden landscape. Her white wolf aux sitting beside her with it's head between the column rails. The hood of her silver cloak was down, revealing raven black hair braided down over one shoulder. The biting cold mountain air had tinged her cheeks pink, but she didn't seem to notice it. He tried to read her expression, but he found no clues to her thoughts. That was how it always was. This thoughtful, silent child, ever thinking. From the moment he met this girl, her life was about nothing but the people of Pegulis. When he returned to Barvelle he had hoped that would of been different. The weight of the nation was on her shoulders, and she stubbornly refused to share it.

    Now it seemed the world would soon be joining it.

    "You can see the storm brewing on the horizon. It is coming fast." she stated, looking out towards Aldus in the west. Though the city itself was too far to be seen from their mountain perch, the churning of dark clouds and bright flashes of arcane energy was coloring the horizon. Even the Northern Lights were being eclipsed.

    "Barvelle will be safe. The city is deep within the mountain. We can call the village within the walls." Coul stepped up beside her, resting his hands on the rail as he looked down the cliff side at the outer village that surrounded the main entrance in to the Secret City.

    "The other cities and villages won't be. There is no time to warn them or get them to safety. We have lost all contact with Aldus and Tavark."

    Coul nodded grimly. "No, there is not. We can only do what we can for the people we can reach." Silence befell them both. Only the breeze of Coul's aux filling the void. He cleared his throat. "They have announced the Chamber's decision."

    A snort was heard from behind them. Coul turned to see Wolfsin standing there, previously silent and unobserved in the corner. His hands were clasped behind his back and he didn't hide his contempt for the simple comment.

    "Did you have something to add?" Coul asked with barely contained patience.

    "Does it matter? Those pompous robes sit here safe in a walled city believing they know what is going on in the world and what is right for everyone just because they're educated. They're going to pick the safe choice. The one where their necks don't stick out."

    Eirene's fingers tapped against the stone rail. She didn't turn around to face her irate guardian. Coul was sure he saw the corner of her mouth twitch. "What would you have us do?" she asked simply.

    "Kill the Ghoul Sage."

    Coul laughed out loud. The man just couldn't contain it. At this bold statement, Eirene turned around and looked genuinely surprised.

    "Kill him? What justification do you have for such a thing."

    Wolfsin stepped forward, his hand tightening around the hilt of his sword. "I have learned enough in these days with you to know that he's done nothing but manipulate the strings of Pegulis. Mordabus, Mordakar, Mordakaramon. Whatever his name is, he's attacked and killed people. He put you in a coma to steal dragon eggs. Undoubtedly to raise more dragons to unleash on us all. Why would you make deals with this man. He should be dealt with directly, instead of all this posturing to please him."

    "And how do you suggest we do that, boy? How do we fight an ancient creature that may as well been created by the gods themselves, for all we know? His magic seemingly limitless. He has no boundaries."

    "Mordakaramon is trying to protect us."

    It was General Coul's turn to spin around surprised. He stared at the Archon, bewildered. "He stated before the entire Chamber that he did not care for the people of Pegulis."

    "He gave us the tools to survive. Gave us knowledge and taught us ancient magics. He can destroy everything at will. He could have killed me but didn't. All he demands is that we do not look in to the past. Are these the actions of a man who truly cares nothing? There is more to Mordakaramon than we can understand. He fears for us."

    "He fears US it what it is. These Divine Weapons could be powerful enough to destroy him. We wouldn't need him and he wouldn't have power over us."

    "I do not believe that is true."

    "Then you're just as stupid as the rest of them."

    "Have respect for your Archon." Coul growled sharply. He turned to Eirene, his features softening. Though he didn't share Wolfsin's opinions, he was also not apt to believe that Mordakar's interests were in the well being of Pegulis. "Eirene..."

    "Wolfsin is correct about one thing, however. It does not matter what the Chamber has decided. I will make sure we do what is best for the people of our nation. Whether it defies the will of the Chamber or Mordakaramon himself. Storms are now baring down on Pegulis, caused by the fall of the Aviary of Viridos. Intelligence from Kaustir hints at military movements. Our concerns now go far beyond Medwick and the Divine Weapons. We can't do nothing and wait to see what happens."

    "That isn't very democratic of you, Eirene." Coul mumbled in faint amusement.

    The Northern Archon smiled. "I never claimed to be a great leader. What is freewill if the individual can't choose to go against the masses?" She broke away from them, heading towards the archway. Skadi was quick at her heels. "There is a lesson to be learned from our Ghoul Sage. Sometimes we must do something wrong in order to do what's best."

    General Coul exchanged a glance with Wolfsin. One man frowning deeply. The other concerned.

    Wolfsin trailed after the Archon, leaving Coul alone on the balcony cliff. He looked back out over the pure white landscape of Pegulis, towards the horizon where the arcane storms were quickly approaching.

    He chose a fine time to come out of retirement.
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  6. Aldus - The Calm Before the Storm

    An emergency meeting had been called of the council. Refugees were literally dropping out of the sky and something had to be done. The five members of the council, along with two trusted assistants, all sat together in the council's chambers, discussing plans of action. The mayor paced back and forth as talk went from one person to the next.

    "And what are we to do about food, hmm? All of these new people - how are we to feed them an our own citizens and leave no one starving!?"

    "We can send word to Barvelle and ask that they send more food, or perhaps Hosia could send aid. These Avians have all come from Viridos after all if word has reached our ear correctly. Viridos should be more than -"

    "Barvelle? Darling are you sure? What with that brute over in Tavark causing such trouble, Bravelle must be swamped with requests and demands! We must not be too care free in our asking for aid, lest we make enemies of our own people."

    "Don't be so cynical, Velma. We are a united nation with conflict at every front. Now, more than ever, the people of Pegulis must stand together as one and help one another. It is the least we can do midst the many tragedies we've befallen as of late."

    "The question still remains though! What are we going to do with all of these refugees!?" the mayor cut across the other council members, his frustration very evident in his voice. Before anyone else could speak up, there came a thunderous knocking on the heavy wooden door to the chamber. "Councilmen! Please, open up, there's an emergency!"

    The entire room seemed to sag under the weight of even more bad news. The mayor of Aldus turned to his assistant Nathaniel and nodded at the door. The ginger boy got up and opened it, letting in the frantic guard, out of breath and sweaty. "It's the sky! To the west! There's a storm approaching!"

    "A storm? You call that an emergency?" councilman Cale frowned, turning towards the window. Councilwoman Velma stood up from her seat and walked over to the west window, looking out onto the horizon. She gasped and her eyes went wide. Seeing this, the mayor hurriedly rushed across the room to look out the window himself and fell silent at the sight of the oncoming storm. "Organize the city watch. Evacuate the refugees and the citizens underground. Tell them to bring food, as much as they can carry. Go now, warn everyone!"

    Nodding,t he guard turned and darted out of the door to complete his orders. "They'll never make it in time... it'll be here in a matter of minutes!"

    "We have to try... or else, I fear we may not survive to debate about the refugees in the future..."

    Some time ago, before the storm...
    Azareth did not believe in daydreams. If ever he had in life, he most certainly did not believe in them now. All the same, his assaulted mind was privy to any mortal weakness when it came to that which was old and ancient, and for a few moments as the beggar began to walk away, Azareth reeled and felt physically sick to his stomach.

    That beggar was no beggar - there was more to him than meets the eyes, something about him was old as the relics which he sought in A Way's Away and Aldus, and he intended to find out. This is what lead him to follow in the footsteps of the hooded person, after his stomach had finished heaving and his mind whirling, moving after him as his shadow and doing his best to follow his track from alleyway to alleyway.

    The way he moved... he was no stranger to the city. He knew where he was going, and likely knew he was being followed. That
    hallucination had not been as such; Azareth of all people would recognize a hallucination when it was cast upon him. No, it had been something different, something older, something fundamentally ancient, and he had to know more. What could he learn from this beggar in disguise...?

    As he turned the corner, he was gone. Azareth was left standing, staring out in wonderment and feeling light headed. What he'd just experienced... could it have been a sign? A warning? Who had that been?

    #6 Navras, Jun 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  7. ETHELWEN-BARVELLE, royalblue Ethelwen’s paw closed around the small pebble that Arktus had handed him as though it was a lifeline, and he a drowning man flung off of a ship in a stormy sea. He was going to be allowed a vote to decide the future of Pegulis. The idea was almost so ludicrous he would have laughed, except for the fact that Arktus’ face told him that he was perfectly serious. Ethelwen was going to be allowed one vote, among the many.

    If they continued on their current course, Medwick and company may very well succeed in finding a Divine Weapon. A weapon they would almost certainly bring back to Barvelle for the benefit of Pegulis. But, if they continued on their current course, if they dug into the past, the Ghoul Sage might very well take away one of the things that had brought the nation together. The thermic gems. And all of Pegulis would be left to the mercy of the winter wind.

    Could his voice really make a difference in this? Who would truly notice where his pebble went. No one. But one pebble, one pebble could make the difference. And who would be to stay that pebble was not his?

    He stepped up behind Arktus, his hand still closed tightly around the pebble. He was not supposed to be here, but he had been let in by the will of the Archon. And this had become his right. The taste of irony was strong in his mouth. Him. He got to make a decision that would affect the future of Pegulis.

    He dropped his pebble, and it quickly rolled out of sight. It clattered, one among the many.

    His vote? Risk the thermic gems for the Divine Weapon, and bring it back to Barvelle, whatever the cost.

    “We never knew how much we would miss you until you were gone.” His tone may have been insincere, but the message of the chipmunk anima was probably true. “I had to haul all of your goop while you were off running around Barvelle doing who knows what.”

    Ethelwen gave a broad smile, briefly setting down a wheelbarrow full of various sewer refuse too large to fit through a filtering grate, and wiping a forearm across his forehead. It left a black stain on his fur, and the anthro rat laughed out loud.
    “Good thing I work by the hour, or they might have fired me.”
    “No one is going to fire you,”

    “Oh, and why not? Is it my winning personality?”

    “No. It is just that no one else wants your job!”

    In tandem the two anthros dumped their loads into a pit. There it would be sifted through for anything that would not decompose, and left to sit until it turned into the rich, dark soil used in the various gardens scattered through Barvelle. Nothing went to waste here, and it was used again and again until there was no value left to it. Then it was returned to the arctic and left to regain its value slowly through the millennia.
    “Do you know if the vote from the Council has been tallied yet?” Ethelwen asked, apparently at random.

    The chipmunk looked at him sideways. “Why do you care? The shit stays the same.”

    Ethelwen had told no one of his impromptu entrance into the council. He was not looking to boast or be recognised by the fellow trash-haulers of the city, and he somehow doubted that Eirene really wanted word to spread about how she had let a sewer cleaner into the council on a whim.

    “I heard this one was important. Something about Divine Weapons and the thermic gems.”
    “Weapons-shmepons.” The chipmunk replied, far more interested in the piece of something that had stuck itself to the palm of his hand. He wrinkled his nose as he finally managed to peel it off. “But, yeah. Now that you mention it, I think I heard a couple of ladies say that they had reached a decision. Don’t know what it is, though.”

    Ethelwen let the conversation drop, but he worked through the rest of the day with a normally unfelt buzz of excitement. As soon as his shift was over he cleaned up quickly, and raced off into the city to the shout of his workmate.
    “Why the hurry? Finally found yourself a lady-love?”

    Ethelwen ignored the taunt, far more interested in who he was really going to meet, and what he might get there. The Council had taken up much of his time, but, maybe, now that a decision had been reached, Arktus would keep his promise to teach him magic.
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  8. Dane Myros - Aldus, gold
    At first, they'd thought the city was being invaded. The winged figures fell upon Aldus by the score, their presence made known only by the northern lights outlining their forms as they descended from above. While most fled, or holed themselves in their homes in terror, the men of the Aldus Watch fanned out to meet the interlopers first hand, as was their duty. When they turned corners and ducked into alleyways, swords drawn, they found not enemy soldiers nor vicious raiders, but the emaciated refugees who'd fled the devastation of their home.

    Those that had been found were rounded up and ushered away, relocated en masse to a bunker on the western side of town, a structure that had been carved out of the ancient wall itself. Comprised of countless long corridors connecting a series of roughly hewn, dimly lit rooms, the only ingress was one set of doors at the very southern extent of the wall. It was intended to be utilized as a location to store excess prisoners when needed, as was evident by the number of cells that lined the halls, tiny compartments no bigger than a broom closet sealed by barred iron doors. However, its construction had never been finalized, and the location had yet to see use up until this point, barring a few squatters who'd made the place theirs.

    Now, there were more than just a few squatters taking up residence at the forsaken bunker. As it was quite apparent these people were no invading force, the natives were yet still mistrustful of these refugees from another nation; the watch captain had been ordered to put these stragglers under lock and key, cramming two or three of the poor bastards into each abysmally small cell and locking them in before a decision was to be made as to what exactly would be done with them. Huddled in corners, crying, tearing at their feathers from frustration and stress, their situation seemed hopeless.

    Of course, of the number that had been corralled into their pens, it was but a fraction of those who'd arrived. Many yet still remained hidden in the city, sequestered in whatever little nook or cranny they could find. Soon they found that, however, the armored men patrolling the streets for their kind had all but abandoned that cause, instead refocusing their efforts on getting their own out of the streets and into safety in preparation for the approaching tempest.

    While initially the people had been proceeding to the underground safe zones in a calm and orderly fashion, the rapidly growing commotion caused by the incoming storm set them on edge; lightning struck at repeated intervals, illuminating the dark streets so often it was creating a strobe-like effect that was disorienting, to say the least. Accompanying each flash came the rolling thunder, so deafening and powerful, it made the ground beneath shake from its fury.

    With what little numbers they had, the watchmen handled relief efforts to the best of their abilities. While the majority of the populace were at their wits end, most manage to keep some modicum of their sanity, reassuring themselves that they've weathered worse storms than this as they hunkered down in preparation. Regardless of whether it was true or not, it gave them the resolve to face this threat without devolving into madness.

    And there were always those that would take advantage of a dire situation such as this, unscrupulous types who would rob families of their possessions while their houses lay unguarded and while the policing forces were preoccupied managing the chaos. Across the city there were countless reports of break-ins and thefts, most of which were attributed to the refugees, still regarded with nigh xenophobic hostility. Unfortunately, in lieu of the current crisis there would be no time to look into these matters. Perhaps there would be after the storm had passed.

    Assuming there was still an Aldus left.


    Heart thudding in his chest, Dane pounded down the winding roads of the residential district, weaving his way through the crowds that ran opposite to him. His ears rang from the constant barrage of thunder, the quakes that came with nearly making him lose balance. Scanning the throngs of bystanders that passed, he didn't seem to see who he was looking for, cursing under his breath. Aldus was about to erupt into a catalclysmic event, and there was one little girl he didn't want to see caught in the middle of it all.

    "Dangit... I hope she's somewhere safe already..!" he muttered to himself through panting breaths, heavy greaves hitting the pavement with each hurried step. Coming to a screeching halt, he looked up to the looming Lisbon residence, quickly finding his way up the front steps and hammering his fist on the door impatiently. "KARISSA! ARE YA IN THERE?!"

    It was no good, however; the roaring of the storm, supplemented by the cacophony of violence spreading throughout the city drowned out his voice with ease. With a frustrated growl, he took a few paces back. Immediately after he'd rush forward, slamming his pauldron-covered shoulder against the door, the impact making it give way just slightly. Relentlessly he kept ramming into it, adrenaline in his veins keeping him from feeling pain that he would normally.

    With the door sufficiently bashed in, he gave it one final kick, forcing the lock open and stumbling through the breach, fingers wrapped around the grip of his sheathed blade. Looking about frantically, he saw that the embers in the hearth were still glowing, albeit faintly. Someone had to have been here recently, at least.

    "KARISSA! Where are ya?! We need ta' get unnerground! Right NOW!" Stepping cautiously along through the household, Dane's only lighting from the voltaic collumns that flashed continually outside, only growing more intense with each moment that passed. If he was going to get her out of here, it had to be now.
    #8 ConstructPylons, Jun 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014
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  9. Artorius Cale - Aldus, burlywood
    Standing a bit behind his father's seat, Artorius listened in on the council's discussion quietly, arms crossed against his chest. This respectful silence was a strange thing beheld by few other than the folk in this very room, some might think it even stranger that the troublemaker would take time from his busy schedule to attend these meetings at all. Nonetheless, it was not uncommon for him to do so.

    The young man's eyes turned from one person to the next as they took their turns speaking, considering everything that was said. He was inclined to agree with his father in that Pegulis as a whole should stand together, but a thought arose beyond that; All these troubles spread across the nation felt so sudden, so closely timed. To him, it felt almost as if they were not coincidental. As if perhaps these had been diversions. If this Ghoul Sage was what people made him out to be, who was to say that he didn't orchestrate all of this to distract the nation as a whole from some greater disaster that might wipe Pegulis off the face of Sunne all together? More like than not the lad was overthinking it, and voicing his thoughts would do little more than get him laughed at or worse, weave fear into the minds of the city's council. With that in mind, he'd keep it to himself.

    It was more important that they focus on the problems at hand than such wild theory right now, how to handle this situation with the avian refugees.. And now this coming storm. Artorius approached the window to get a look for himself, only staring out for a moment before looking back toward Councilwoman Velma, eyes narrowed briefly as though the defeat dripping from her voice irritated him. The mayor was absolutely right, they had to try. Artorius made way for the door.

    "Son, where are you-", Councilman Cale began, but was cut off before he could finish.

    "Out. To help", Artorius explained briefly, then hurried out in the guard's footsteps.

    "The city watch is more than capable of-", the boy's father began to protest, but before he could get all the words out of his mouth he was gone. He rubbed at his brow and sighed before turning his attention back to the rest of the council.


    If the storm was going to hit as suddenly as was expected, the watch might not reach every citizen in time. Now Art might rob a person blind without so much as a second thought, coerce them into doing something they would never do on their own, but he would not stand idly by while these people faced their demise. Artorius sped off after the guard who had brought the news to the council, exchanging a glance once he caught up. Soon the two would come across Commander Marin in the street, trying in vain to maintain some order among the city's panicked civilians.

    "Sir! I return with orders to begin evacuating civilians and refugees! Everyone is to bring as much food as they can carry and nothing more!", he yelled over the noise polluting the air all through the city, saluting the dark haired woman as she turned to face him.

    "Already on it, guardsman", Marin said, motioning toward guardsmen trying to keep convince people to calm down, pointing civilians to safety, escorting children who'd been separated from their parents.

    "Looks like you're having some trouble, Marin", Artorius pointed out, watching the insanity that had stricken Aldus.

    "I could do without your judgment, Artorius. I am doing what I can", she replied impatiently, crossing her arms against her chest as she turned her attention toward the young man who'd come up a few paces to the left of the guard, "As I'm sure you realize, fear often obscures reason." The woman looked as though she could scream, which might have been understandable considering the current circumstances..

    "No need to defend yourself, I was only taking note", he assured her, though she was quite certain it'd been false.

    "Did I hear right, commander? The refugees too?", a nearby woman of the guard asked, "Should I go release them?"

    "Leave the avians where they are, focus on getting our people under control and led to safety", she ordered, shaking her head.

    Artorius' brows furrowed and he took a step toward the commander. "Let me guess, you've locked up our guests and left them at the mercy of the storm."

    "I have", Marin answered bluntly, matching the young man's expression as she held his gaze. It felt as if she was challenging him to do something about it.

    "Where are they?", the councilman's son asked plainly in contrast to his increasingly agitated expression. Marin gave no answer. The two stared at eachother for a moment that felt like an eternity before Artorius turned and walked away, unenthusiasticly waving to Marin as he left. He'd go off in search of someone he expected would both know where exactly the avian refugees were being held and have the decency to help get them to safety. He'd met with him a couple more times since the night he treated the man to drinks with the bit of his own money that he hadn't found and taken back, got to know him a little better. Seemed like a good man to Art, and he seldom doubted his own judge of character. Had a good idea of where to find the man too.

    As Artorius began to make his way to the Lisbon household, commander Marin approached one of her guardsmen. "Keep an eye on him, Brynn. I'll not have a horde of Viridosi running amok while our city is already in peril."

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  10. One Day Before..... Tavark

    Darin leaned against the tall oak on the edge of the forest, his eyes transfixed on the shattered wall of the once proud hunter city of Tavark. Six days ago, Darin barely escaped with the help of the Avian, Ture,and his outspoken friend, Amara. When he had finally met with the army it was Amara that had to convince the soldiers that Darin, dressed in a raider's armor, was not a member of Eimund's rebellion. It was the avian, Azriel that healed Darin and saved his life.

    For the past six days, Darin had been working with the disheartened but determine soldiers and sharing what information he could with General Herriksson. The general was stubborn and those around him. Friend and stranger, could see how Eimund's betrayal affected him. It took some time, but Darin and some others were able to devise an attack that would surely catch Eimund off guard and help them retake the city.

    It was also during this time Darin met Raige, a wolf Anima. Raige had come to him during his rest on the first day of Darin's arrival to the camp. Raige was the son of a well known family of hunters in Tavark. During the fall of Tavark, his parents were killed leaving him the last remaining member of his house. When he approached Darin that day, he saw within the wolf the same things that had driven Darin for so long. The very same emotions that had almost made him forget what he stood for. From the beginning, Raige expressed a desire to learn under Darin, the last remaining paladin, and Darin saw an opportunity to teach another man not to make the same mistakes as he had.

    "Sir Darin?" The gruff voice of the Raige pulled Darin from his reflection.

    Darin turned his head toward the wolf hunter turned squire, "Hello, Raige, I was just looking over the field," he nodded to the hole the dragon had made. Eimund's men had been hard at work and in a few days had erected barricades of wood and steel. From this distance, it was hard to see what other things the men laid out, but Darin knew them to be far from friendly.

    "What do you see?" Raige stepped up next to Darin and peered over the soon to be battlefield.

    Darin smiled and turned to Raige. He could use this opportunity for a lesson, "What do you see?" He asked the wolf.

    Raige peered for a moment shifting his weight ever so slightly as he looked over the snow covered clearing and onto the broken wall, "I see a very well defended breach. Barricades, increased troop movements, Eimund has really sealed it up tight."

    "Anything else?" Darin asked him. Darin wasn't much older than Raige, but he had more experience in combat and was a paladin. It was something he hoped to pass onto Raige one day. Maybe even restart the order after this was done.

    Raige sighed and looked harder, "No." He finally replied, his tone slightly defeated.

    Darin smiled and slapped a hand on Raige's shoulder as he pushed off the tree and to his feet. Though his smile was short lived, "Raige, there will be a great battle here tomorrow. Tavarkian will slay Tavarkian. For some it will be friends on the ends of their swords, for others, family. Do not blame yourself for not seeing the darkness that looms over this city no matter the outcome. Tomorrow will be a day that no Tavarkian will ever forget."

    Darin dropped his arm and sighed, "Now, check our armor for tomorrow. The army was only able to spare me leathers which will have to do. Find me a sword and shield. I won't miss tomorrow for the life of me."

    Raige bowed slightly and then raised a good question, "Sir Darin, what about the squid?"

    Darin furrowed his brow and sighed. He had grown used to his bandage. The creature still fused to his neck was a subject of much discussion with Azriel. The Avian was not excited about removing it without further studies, so it stayed on. Even now, it slid tentacles tighter against his body as if it knew what Darin had finally determined what to do.

    "Come," he ordered.

    Raige didn't question. He moved swiftly behind Darin as the paladin moved with purpose back to the camp. It was nestled in a small clearing, with several white tents scattered amongst the trees. The soldiers were all doing what Darin had purposed for Raige to do, checking their armor and weapons for the fight to come. He moved to a small table and swept up a dagger the length of his forearm and then sought out Azriel.

    When he finally found the Avian healer, Darin informed Azriel of his intent, "Azriel, I'm cutting this damned thing off of me. I can't fight with it here and I will not stand by and watch as everyone else fights tomorrow," he continued before Azriel could say anything, "They need me. Every available sword is needed. Come on, Azriel." A deep sigh fell from the Avian's lips followed by a nod of surrender.

    Darin nodded a thanks, took of his shirt, and undid his belt. He passed the leather between his teeth and then raised the dagger. The point rested against his flesh and he took in a deep breath. He would pry this squid off his shoulder. It would be excruciatingly painful, he knew this.

    Suddenly a furred hand wrapped around his wrist. Darin looked up to see Raige and e look in his eyes said everything. Darin nodded and loosened the dagger letting Raige's hand capture the hilt. As Raige positioned himself behind Darin, he placed one paw against Darin's neck exposing the side and forcing his head down to expose the entire squid. It had fused to several spots on his upper back as well as in his neck. This was going to be more painful than Darin even realized.

    "It'll be like skinning a kill," Raige joked with a smile. Neither Darin or Azriel returned the gesture, "Okay, don't move." He said as he began to slide the blade under the squid and shallowly into Darin's flesh. Darin began to grunt and bit hard down onto the leather of his belt, but as soon as the blade found the first fused spot, he began to scream in agony. Azriel tried to calm the Paladin, but the pain was too great. It was too late in the surgery to stop, so too strong soldiers were called in to hold the paladin in place so that Raige did no further damage.

    The squid squeezed hard, its tentacles searched for new places to grip. Mercifully, only after the first suction cup, Darin had passed out and been moved to a table. Raige, after freeing a tentacle and cutting it from the squid, had finally removed the creature. Darin's neck would split open once again and crimson life flowed from it once more. It was Azriel's turn. When all the injuries had been sealed by the spell and all flesh was restored to the paladin, he was moved back to his tent.

    "Let him sleep the remainder of the day, Raige," Azriel instructed, "Do not let him up till morning." Raige nodded and entered Darin's tent. He busied himself with the two armor sets, his and Darin's while he waited for his master to stir from sleep.
    #10 4everDifferent, Jun 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014
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  11. Darin's Dream
    There hath he lain for ages and will lie
    Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
    Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
    Then once by man and angels to be seen,
    In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

    "The Kraken", Alfred Lord Tennyson​

    Dark green...

    Dark green!

    Honeydew claret yellow carmine.

    Thistle Indigo Orange Browns: iris whites fuchsia yellow.


    ....Thistle Diamond Wenge.



    ....Thistle.... Diamond Wenge....

    #11 Asmodeus, Jun 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014
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  12. Tavark

    The wind carried upon it a foul nature, a brewing storm from the border that even from this distance looked to be more menacing that a lot of things Raige had seen. Howls of wind screeched past his ear, like the angered scream of a siren or a banshee that took upon the sky and broached the world with a vengeance to not be soon forgotten. Raige stood on a rock outside the city peering as he had the day before into the city; past the hole that taunted them all forward. His breathing lasped a bit as he clutched in his hand the token he had stolen from the sill corpse of his mother only days before this event. A bit of sentiment that was long over due on the dawn of a city soon to be made a graveyard

    Only days before this; Raige had walked in with the rest of the survivors, he had surveyed the camp. he had looked over each soldier and he would have resented each of their faces out of childish fear, rage, and stupidity. he did not hate Horrikson, or the army that had gathered to retake his home, quite the contrary actually. His feeling was of resentment and harsh misplaced judgement for them not showing up to save them before it was too late. Raige remembered the thrill of the chase, the scent of blood. It would come to him again on this day but not under the same circumstances. A life in Tavark, as the son of Raighan Mordekain, Former Sentinel in the armies of the blue republic, treasured asset and provider for the woodland city of Tavark, and now he Raige Mordekain was the only thing that still existed of that legacy as the white snow and the storms of power forced all to forget what names no longer mattered.
    A thought occurred to the young Wolf type anima as he watched the sky, the city, and the forces within the city. A thought of the one hope that'd come to him in a time where darkness overlapped vengeance and the too coiled in his mind like a mating of serpents. Darin was a hope now in his life, a Mentor, a friend and an ally that understood him. Darin knew him for what he was to the core, and appreciated him all the same. Only a few days had been allowed for the pair to know each other but in that time they had shared times that he may never soon forget. The difference in skill when they clashed blades, it wasn't as far as he might of originally guessed. In the night when things calmed down Raige would travel with another smaller group into the forest. His wolf like stamina could carry him much further distances than the rest of them, and the way he hunted allowed him to be precise when he was alone, precise in the way he killed his prey and tracked them to their death, and the ring of bounding wolves at his finger allowed him a certain level of safety, in times of need he would rest easy that only the one he wished would heard the message he carried and know his perils... This was a comforting fact that kept him content in the group hunt.

    Raige had learned to care for armor, to cook, to help place armor, and to keep swords sharp. Things that made little sense in the ways of his immediate goals but the prospect of helping another to gain help in return was nothing uncommon to the Wolf of Tavark. The conversations they had shared during his duties; Raige also remembered those now as he waited for the order, for the sound of his personal requiem and the quest for his vengeance to begin. Darin had warned him several times of the pain vengeance could cause him, but this was not so simple as that. The traitor.. Eimund Rath was behind the pain of this entire city, He was behind the pain Raige felt then. Eimund would pay for it in blood.

    "Oi! Wolf, the last rally is soon to start you should think about preparing, your task will not be an easy one."

    Raige turned and faced the solider he'd come to know as Kairus, and greeted him with a wolfish grin. "I intend to just that friend, I was merely.. thinking." Kairus wouldn't have too much to say as he moved along and informed the rest of the soldiers. this was a burdened day for all of them. Today just as Darin had told him... "The blood of brothers, friends, and family will be on the hands of all this day." Raige mulled that thought over for a while as he trotted down the beaten path and retrieved the things he knew his menotr would ask for right away. The recovery of the paladin was something to be astonished by, something that he admired. Even after having endured the removal of the wretched squid upon his neck, he was still far more determined than most to be upon the battlefield this day. The Paladin would shine for all of them, and guide them through this fog of dark, of blood, ash, death, and war. Darin would be a foundation that Raige needed to get him through the day, and if Raige did his name justice he would hope to return the favor unto his friend.

    "Master the final rally is being called. A storm rests upon the horizon swelling with energies that we might not hope to understand, seems like the perfect time for a battle doesn't it?" Raige smirked a bit as he gathered the leather armor from before. With a bit of convincing he had found ways to get bits of plate metal attached at the shoulder, and covered in layers down the entirety of one arm. Another piece at the back, and another with a rougher edge upon the opposite knee of the armor plated shoulder. it was mix matched horribly but at least this would be a bit extra to help in the battle to come. "there is no good day to shed blood where it should have been avoided." Raige could sense the sorrow and guilt that lingered like poison upon his mentors words but chose not to comment, instead he fastened the armor where it needed it, and then moved to do one final sharpening of Darin's sword. Raige spoke up.

    "This battle is not going to be easy.. we all know that, but there is no room for us to lose either.. if we do then nothing will have changed, and I can't afford to believe that the world is that unforgiving."
    Raige fell silent after that as the march of feet echoed through the canvas of the tent. A sound of soldiers readying for the assault, for a civil war in Tavark. Raige finished up with what he was doing and placed Darin's sword in its sheathe. He next worked on his own weapon. His father's curved blade was an intricate weapon that held a silver gleam to its blade. A gold piece of the hilt extended to the blade and gave it a specific ornate look to the beautifully crafted scimitar. Raige finished the last of the touch ups as a soldier entered the tent he and Darin shared at the time. "Raige I have something for you. It took a bit of digging, and some talking but I think Horrikson will agree that its necessary." It was Kairus again, but this time he brought with him a small chest, and when he opened it, a set of armor that raige would recognize instantly. "Mordekain family armor?" He mouthed barely audible to his surprise as he gawked at the set before him.

    "I feel that you wearing this is only fitting for a day like this, I also think that it could help give the men a morale boost. To see one of the Mordekain clan fighting among us and wearing their armor proudly."
    If the tension were not so high at this point; then perhaps Raige could have allowed himself to shed a tear at the sight of the dark brown leather set of armor. Each studded piece was a memento to his family, his honor. Darin glanced over and smiled as Raige sorted through it all. Raige could have hugged the soldier, but opted to remain on task, a subtle "thank you.." slipped from his wolfish maw as he pulled the set from the chest and ran his fingers over the emblem of his family attached to the chest piece of the set. Kairus had said his formalities, bowed to Sir Darin and was once again off. Raige still could not help but stare at the armor and try to force back the raw emotion that threatened to bowl over in his now. Darin moved and placed a hand on his shoulder soft words coming from the paladins lips as he embraced his apprentice.
    "You will wear the armor of your family proud and when the day returns in the morrow it will still be as beautiful as it is today. Be Strong Raige and meet me at the rally point when you are ready."

    At that Raige was left alone. The storm was blowing in and soon the battle to retake Tavark would begin.

    #12 Wolfsin, Jun 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
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  13. Aldus - The Calm Before the Storm

    While the city was being herded to safety and old men were in an uproar about the oncoming storm, Azareth was sat in his room going through his gathered books, looking for anything about an old, hooded beggar that wasn't really a beggar. It wasn't much to go on, but he had nothing but time on his hands really. The candle on his bedside table that lit the room in dull orange light flickered in and out of existence, as if indecisive on fleeing with the rest of the city.

    Azareth would flee, too, in time. He still had a few precious minutes though, and he would spend that time how he felt it would be best spent. There had to be something in these books...

    A popping noise drew his attention away from his books. The candle beside his bed had popped, as if a sudden surge of energy had been trying to give it a voice. The scholar watched as bright sparks hissed and fizzled into the dark, the flame dancing wildly as if fed by the wind that was not in the room. His eyes widened as the flame took the shape of a horse, galloping in some unknowable field! It only lasted for a few moments, then the flame extinguished itself and the candle rapidly melted. Perhaps this storm was going to be worse than he was giving it credit for... Azareth thought it worth his time to go out and take a look.

    Closing his book on a section outlining "Mordakar", Azareth sat it down on the bed and stood up, walking through the dark and opening his door. The Rusty Tankard was eerily empty, the light of the oncoming storm casting a thin veil of gloom over everything. A thin layer of dust covered the tables and chairs. It had been days since anyone had had a drink there, due to the barkeeper's unfortunate condition. He'd been so sick these past few days... though, he wasn't really sick at all. Not in your usual case at least. As he made his way through the twilit bar, Azareth spared a glance at the man sat behind the counter, curled up in a ball and rocking back and forth. He was a mess, had been for days.

    "You had best find some shelter," he advised, making the man flinch and rock all the harder. It was no use, the Echoes had already taken him... he, as it turned out, was the first. Opening the doors of the Rusty Tankard, Azareth looked to the west past the roof tops and the wall of Aldus, beholding the storm for himself fo the first time. It was... elegant, to say the least, and it certainly wasn't a normal storm. Magic was needed to alter things such as candles and their flames, and the air felt positively overripe with the pungent throng of magical touch. This was no ordinary tempest, baring its fangs and knocking on Aldus' door.

    "Oh dear... I had best find some shelter..." Azareth mused quietly, turning and heading north towards the city center. He'd be swept up with the crowds in no time and ushered along towards some mass underground shelter that was no doubt made for occasions just such as this. He didn't worry about a thing, what was there to worry about? His books at the Rusty Tankard? There were more and better ones within the council building's library, and that would be protected. Knowledge was key, after all. The little pickpocket and his gang of cockney friends? Children would have been evacuated first if at all possible, no need to worry about them either. Nor the council, nor the Rusty Tankard, nor anything at all that had to do with Aldus.

    This storm was just a roadblock, something that was meant to delay things for a while but ultimately it couldn't stop what was already in motion. Even if this storm lasted days, it wouldn't matter. It was too late. All that was left to do was act as necessary, which right now meant being herded underground.

    Through the panic of it all, Azareth hummed a tune.
  14. Aldus is a sleeping relic.

    The storms blow over the ancient structures. A tower is engulfed in the eye of a furious magical vortex.


    They take a deep, deep breath ...


    ... and begin stretching their limbs.

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  15. Tavark
    Ture pushed his way through the fabric and into the tent. "Oh stop that!" he grumbled, batting a spear away from his general direction as it was raised defensively by the guard inside.

    "Darin's all ready, I just need you to tell me we're good to go and I'll go tell the rescue team." He said, eyeing the general warily. The two were already familiar with the fact that they didn't quite see eye to eye, and Ture wasn't convinced the general, legend though he was, had the right goal in mind when it came to re-taking Tavark.

    "You should show more respect to those in charge." Horrikson grumbled, not looking around at the avian. "We are ready, so go and tell your little group we are ready, I do not wish to waste more time."

    "Yeah yeah" Ture replied dismissively "You just be careful until we've got the lot out ok? Dion's in there.."

    "I will do what is necessary!" roared the general spinning on the spot and walking towards Ture. He towered over the small avian, his beard bristling with rage "And I will NOT be told by some little upstart sparrow who wouldn't know a sword from an axe how to do my job!"

    Ture snarled at the use of the term 'sparrow' it was a point of contention especially with Azriel in the camp. "You risk them and I will-" Ture started but stopped as the tent opened, the guard too nervous to react as the tall black-winged avian walked in. "No fuck it! Nevermind." Ture grumbled, turning on his heel "Good luck General! See you once this is over."

    "And don't you start!" He snapped at the avian as he walked past , wasting no time taking off once he'd left the tent. He would find Amara with the rescue team and get this awful ball rolling.
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  16. Barvelle

    "You look better."

    "You look worse."

    Ethel cupped the elbow of Captain Anders and ushered him to sit back down. Even in the Chamber of Medicine, in the aftermath of plague, the officer had made his bed at first light and performed a bleary inspection of his platoon. The ranks of thermic-cots were filled with others of the convoy: soldier and sherpas lain together and equal before the healers.

    "Mother Kyra says it's a matter of time now. Liquids and bed-rest." The fae glanced at the flesh around her, where boils and bloodshot eyes had lost their violence. With each day she visited the signs of illness were fading.

    "Aye, a plague of idleness to replace the boils." The Captain gasped while leaning back on the pillows. "Two dozen lost, counting Kana and Tegol." One eye cracked open. "You went to the ceremony?"

    Ethel nodded. Over her shoulder her hummingbird aux dipped and lost its light - a mark of grief she denied her crux. "It was a good funeral. Tegol hated the sunlight. He'll be buried deep, beside the umber lake. I heard he used to walk there sometimes." She looked across the infirmary. "When the storm passes I'll find Arcantos. Well, I'll try, at least. Ilsa said there wasn't much le--" She broke off before the words could break her. Tearless, she swallowed and rephrased. "What I find I'll burn. The draken told me that his tribe honoured cremation. The last warmth... that no one can take from you."

    Anders gripped her small hand in his. "Between you and Sir Darin, we survived. Each man in this chamber owes you that."

    "I know."

    "Then why do you look as pale as I do?"

    The fae unhooked her hand and let it rest upon the bed. The sheets were warm, the gem placed beneath the mattress infusing it with heat. That comfort was bitter reminder of what Barvelle had come to know - of what had been revealed in the Council Chamber.

    "It's all a lie, isn't it? Pegulis." It was spoken sadly, without accusation. Her wings drooped. "When the Archon took me in I was nothing. Just a rose in winter: dying. She gave me something to hold onto. She gave me the belief that we had achieved something here, in Barvelle, without gods. I joined the Biologists Guild because of that. I wanted to remind myself, every day, that creatures could come back from something as terrible as the Cataclysm. And more than that: that we could pull together and find reason and conjure comforts out of magic."

    She rubbed her arms, where pine needle scars still showed. A gifts of the golems she had fought with Medwick. "But I was wrong. All this time, we were still at the mercy of a god. We were still servants and sufferers. The Ghoul Sage gave us everything, and he can take it away whenever we wants." Her brow furrowed with anger. "We didn't get anywhere. We achieved nothing. That god killed my friends and now he tells us to recall Medwick, and make it all for nothing."

    "Morakan is not a god."

    "He may as well be. We're under the heel of a madman, just like Viridos and Kaustir. Only we have less soldiers and our cities our divided." Her stare met the wall, and she spoke the next words with slow and icy certainty. "The Blue Republic will fall."

    The captain's arms came around her.

    At last she had permission to weep.
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  17. Barvelle, teal "Yes .. yes .. the vote was correct .. yes, we double counted it .. No, Governor Uriel, we cannot redo the count .."

    Arktus pursed his lips. That day, as the pebbles had finished roaring down the slide, the very last markers had fallen from the Aldus convoy and Ethelwen. The count was done in secret, but to anyone with a head on their shoulders, when the results were announced, it was clear that the young guests were responsible for the outcome. Since then Arktus had had to deal with older, conservative members, hotbloods, and people who disagreed with the solution. Their complaints were weak against the Pegulis constitution, but they were many and their voices combined into an absolute menace. Several times Arktus found himself ready to snap at them.

    A furry ear peaked around the corner. The burden of democracy shed itself from Arktus' face.

    "If you would excuse me."

    "Sage Arktus, I cannot - "

    "Governor Uriel, must I remind you that I cannot do anything about the results? If you will excuse me, I must teach." Uriel could not refuse Arktus his duty, and he moved away from the Governor. Uriel hailed from a hardy settlement along the frozen lake that Barvelle sat on. A lifetime of walrus-whale hunting would not be washed away by a decade in the tunnels of Barvelle. Sometimes, he forgot that the Sages were not allowed to interfere with the democratic process.

    "Ethelwen!" The Anima's tail stood on end. He had pressed his back to the cold wall, just around the corner from the two legislators. Arktus seemed a little more enthusiastic today. Ethelwen took small gasping breaths. "S- .. sage Arktus .. fancy see you here, heh heh .."

    "Have you tried the exercises?" Before they parted, a week and more ago, the Calm Sage had given Ethelwen three things to try. One was a textbook on general spell theory. Another was an illustrated manual on various meditation poses on Sunne. And the third was simply a good book.

    "Which one was the most agreeable to you?" A personality test.
    #17 unanun, Jun 14, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2014
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  18. Ilsa Lisbon — The Halls of Barvelle, Indigo
    Several makeshift barracks were popping up in various locations around Barvelle, emptying out large dining halls, ballrooms, community centers and other event locales. Chairs, dining tables and other colorful decorations and festivities normally used to prepare for the celebrations associated with Northern Lights were instead replaced by military bunks and simple mess hall equipment. The cavernous city was rather poorly equipped from a military standpoint, but Ilsa was optimistic. The initial turnout of volunteers for the militia was promising, and, beyond that, Barvelle held a unique tactical advantage.

    The cavernous city was well-hidden beneath the mountains of Pegulis, its only entrances difficult to find, and even harder to breach. Tunnels being an opposing force's only method of entry would mean enemies would be forced to funnel in, where even a marginally prepared task force could easily thin their numbers by raining down arrows and spells. In was in these types of small skirmish situations that Ilsa excelled, which in turn gave her confidence.

    Additionally, the layout of the city would make it difficult, if not impossible, to overwhelm the city - after all, it was impossible to surround. And with its numerous winding passages and intersecting walkways, only an opposition with prior knowledge of the city's layout would be able to find its way without getting lost.

    It had been seven days since their arrival, and even now Ilsa was still wandering the halls, mapping everything in her memory. Her broken plates of armor had been replaced with new ones locally, and while they did not bear the mark of Aldus, she wore them no less proudly. As a winding tunnel brought her out into a balcony overlooking the snowy Pegulian landscape, she found General Coul still there from his recent convening with the Archon. Dusk neared, and the General was taking a moment to observe the Northern Lights, already at work displaying their vibrant colors and tinting the evening sky in multitude of cheerful shades, an odd juxtaposition in comparison to the arcane storm looming ominously further west.

    "Excuse me, General," Ilsa saluted. "Have you seen the Archon? I would like to speak with her briefly."

    "Ah, Captain." Coul nodded, a gentle wave of dismissal signaling that Ilsa could return to neutral standing position. "She just left here. She shouldn't be far. How are the preparations?" He paused for a moment as he finished his question, quietly motioning for Ilsa to hurry away. "Never mind. You can update me later. If you are looking for the Archon, I assume it must be important. Be well."

    With a gracious nod, Ilsa turned to leave, heading down a series of caverns before they opened up into a sprawling town square.

    The caverns opened up high enough that even Pax had an opportunity to stretch his wings and take to flight, circling around overhead. Intricate columns of carved ice dotted the walkways, with lamps and chandeliers providing magically powered light that allowed Barvelle to function well into the night. It was there, standing near a set of columns off to the side of the square, that Ilsa found Eirene, with hood up, quietly observing her citizens as if deep in thought, Skadi laying on his stomach and doing the same. Wolfsin was nearby, leaning against a wall and keeping watch as he nodded towards Ilsa in acknowledgement. Ilsa approached, standing beside the Archon, but saying nothing so as not to disrupt her train of thought.

    In the silence that followed, Ilsa marveled at the Archon's ability to move about the city undisturbed. In a town square, of all places, Ilsa expected Eirene to be bombarded with citizens flocking to see her, meet her, ask questions, and make requests. But there were none; Eirene seemed to be regarded as one of the city's own. After a few moments of silence, the Archon spoke, though her gaze remained on the crowds of bustling people moving about the town square. "How go the preparations?"

    "Slow but steady, Archon. We get more volunteers each day. Most are not in any condition for close combat, but there have been a few. I am hoping that those unable to fight can at least assist in some way." The idea of unskilled, untrained volunteers risking their lives was a wound almost still too fresh for Ilsa, who still struggled with the knowledge that she had led nearly eighty men and women to their deaths, despite her having made peace with Vrein several days ago, both of them apologizing continuously to each other for being overly hasty. Speaking of which...

    "Vrein Bealithar has recovered from his bone-freeze and should be able to begin forging to help fortify the militia soon. He is the best I know, but he will still need help. Some of the volunteers can assist him, though I doubt he'd appreciate that," Ilsa mentioned with a hint of humor.

    Eirene's eyes smiled at Ilsa through her raven locks of hair and from behind the hood of her cloak. "The blacksmith. You seem rather fond of him."

    Thoughts of Vrein's profession to her in the caverns under Fissura Pass rushed into Ilsa's memory as she wrestled with her emotions. A noticeable flush tinged the skin on her normally vanilla cheeks. "I... I am."
    #18 fatalrendezvous, Jun 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
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  19. Karissa Lisbon — Aldus, royalblue
    It was intriguing, how a city reacted when befallen with a terrifying fate. The Aviary, ordinarily filled with a proud and noble race, resorted to becoming refugees in the closest civilization. And Aldus, a city which prided itself on its ability to reason and to intelligently weigh the options, reduced to its base instincts. It was a cruel twist of fate that the paths of these two proud cities must collide in this fashion.

    But for the Watch to imprison the refugees was wrong, and Karissa knew it. She and her grandmother had been harboring several Avian refugees in their home, keeping them safe and providing them with food and shelter - though they didn't seem to enjoy elk, much to her grandmother's dismay. Not that they had much of a choice, for they were already plenty grateful that someone had brought them in. As a pounding from the front door echoed through the home, Karissa and her grandmother hurried the Avians into a side room, unable to hear Dane's voice from outside over the cracking din of the storm.

    As Dane began to bash the door down, Karissa and her grandmother scrambled to the kitchen to grab knives, preparing for the worst. When, in fact, Dane burst through the door, they heaved sighs of relief as the little girl ran up to hug his armored leg. "Come on folks, we gotta git y'all unnerground. It i'nt safe up here right now." His gloved hand patted Karissa's blonde head reassuringly.

    Karissa's grandmother opened the door to one of the bedrooms, as several sheepish-looking Avians scurried out, wide-eyed at Dane, who looked them over with a gaze that was somewhere between a sense of duty and a sense of dread.

    "Aw, hell." He shook his head, a gloved hand coming to his brow as he tried to think of a manageable solution. "Aw'right, well, I guess they're gonna have to come along too. Come on now, we gotta move!"

    "W-what about the others?" One of the Avians insisted. Another chimed in, "Yeah! They're being held captive. At this rate they'll die to this storm! There must be something we can do!"

    Dane felt a tug on his arm. He looked down to see Karissa staring back up at him. "We gotta help those people, Dane." She'd even started to pick up mild traces of his accent. Dane shook his head feverishly in response.

    "No way! There i'nt enough time, the jail is way across town, and... We could die. All o' us." Conflict was clear in Dane's face as he wrestled with the difference between self-preservation and morality. With a sigh, he came to a resolution, looking at Karissa and the Avians in turn. "We might die, but if nobody goes to help them, they definitely will. Aw, hell, I can't believe I'm doin' this. Aw'right then, let's go get 'em free."
    #19 fatalrendezvous, Jun 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
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  20. Tavark Memory

    "Ouch, dammit, you are getting much more aggressive in your old age grampa!"

    Raige had to be careful as another swing of a blunted off sword closed in on his shoulder. He was only barely quick enough to block and deflect the attack. Grey, brown eyes pierced the distance and met the subtle gold of Raige's own. A spark between the two as if they anticipated each others next movement a circle forming as each stalked their prey. A second later and both moved in. The larger Wolf anima made the first swing, and Raige barely dodged that. Raige was next but he didn't even come close to hitting his target. Another quick step and~


    Raige sat caressing his fresh wound atop his head and glared over at the old wolf. "You know, you could cause your own son brain damage one of these days!" he only got the response of a wolfish grin as his Father discarded his pure black studded leather armor and walked over to him. "If me beating the shit out of you someday keeps you from dying to someone else, then beat you I will pup. Get used to it. I'm not thinking of retiring any time soon." Raige groaned a bit; hiding a smirk but said no more on the matter. Raige's father walked into the house holding his armor and left Raige to think on his own. He was probably going to hang up and polish up the armor, check its straps, or sharpen up his sword. The old man always acted like he would be called to war at any moment. He was always attempting to be prepared, so the way things happened.. none of it made sense...

    Tavark Day of the Battle Raige rest his hand over the hard black studded leather armor, his eyes narrowed, his mind was not upon the battle in this time. Reflection? A reminder? This was his time to decide why he wanted to fight. What was his presence on the battlefield going to accomplish? People would die today, people he knew, and people that he didn't. Darin could die, or Horrikson, Eimund, the sorcerer, the baker down the street, the other hunters, a black smith? A blood pool was invisible before them, and at the end of this day names would be pulled at random. There was no fairness in Pegulis, not in the task they had to accomplish this day. Why, why would he fight?

    Fear was enough to stop a man from killing themselves even when they faced certain death. The fear of the unknown, a quirk that everyone had, but not all would be so easily willing to admit. Raige was scared, terrified even. Even now; away from the war, away from front lines or fire, or sword, or shield. Even in the very safety of this damned tent staring down his deceased fathers Armor! Raige was still afraid!

    More and more people had begun gathering. some had chosen to rise as militia. They had chosen to save their own city or die in the attempts. Eimund was cruel, and if they did this wrong Tavark would burn to the ground. If they did not stop this bastard in his tracks; then the only victory they would win here today, would be a handful of smoldering ash! This was the reason, the reason that fear was such a formidable ghost, a phantom, specter; of a thought that halted the strongest of men. What is Tavark? What is Tavark, now that almost everything about it has been altered or destroyed? Why would so many risk their lives to take back a city that held no value anymore? The simple answer? Pride. Raige didn't think it was so simple as that however. The city of Tavark, was a home; once. it was a place that people traveled to, it was a part of the blue republic, and a freeman's land in a world that harbored no mercy. For people that did not fit among the upper class, or desire the winds of the mountains, or to be so close to the poisonous forests, for those that wished to glimpse the sea. Tavark was an option for people that felt they had none. A sanctuary for people, travelers, mercenaries, retired Veterans!

    All until Eimund returned from the dead.

    Raige pulled the leather armor from the mannequin it hung on. Piece by piece, and strap by strap he molded the armor with himself.


    It took Raige a little time to fit his armor, and strap it to his body. The process was not easy, especially for one that hardly had worn armor in the past at all. Raige much preferred his cloak; which he would still wear. He liked loose fitting apparel that let him move quick and precise. Eveb still as he clipped the rest on the chest piece of the armor he couldn't help but study it for a moment. The crest was a reminder of what today stood for, and why he would fight. It would be the last thing that Eimund would see; so long as Raige had his way.

    Raige would fight for Darin, for those that had lost everything (including himself). He would do all that he could, Kill Eimund. This was a continuous thing that he told himself as he finished the last of his preparations. His sword, His father's sword was sharp. His bow had new arrows, and the string was replaced and tightened. Raige pulled a black cloak from the chest; and the cloak was wrapped around his figure, now covering his shoulders in tanned and grey wolf fur. Bow at his back, sword at his side. Provisions in a pouch, tie'd at his waste, though very sparsely packed. Raige looked once more upon his mothers necklace upon a desk. It was Darin's desk. The thought made him think of the paladin.

    Yet another promise he had to make for himself on this day. Raige would sit with Darin again, He would train with him again.. Darin would live through this day. Raige would make sure of that.

    Finally, Raige placed the necklace in a drawer and said his final prayers for his family. Raige turned and looked past the entrance to the tent, as the wind and cold snow blew in flurries outside.. It was changing between rain, and snow, another omen that in foolish hope; they had to take in their favor. he continued out the door and soon enough the cold, the wind consumed even his shadow as he joined the rest of the force.
    #20 Wolfsin, Jun 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
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