Reign of Discord - When Silence Falls IC

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Malkuthe Highwind, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. OOC Thread

    "Discord is where all things impure lead"

    Men and women crossed the streets, attending to their daily affairs; the birds continued trilling in the forests nearby; the Crownsong held his court; the banners of Dovry and House Skynne snapped in the wind; and the inns rang with the raucous laughter of patrons. Yet that day was no ordinary day, despite all its appearances. Deep underneath the bowels of the great Cataline Palace of Dovry, the war generals gathered, setting out plans against Renala.

    In the outskirts of the city, camps were being struck up for soldiers that had readied themselves for the coming march. For the first time in 300 years, Dovry was about to enter a massive conflict. Its fertile soils guarded by the Edge of the World to the north were about to be sowed with the seeds of battle and watered with the blood of men. And for certain, before the war was over, the strains of the Song will be heard far and wide from both sides.

    Before the war was over, there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    As the sun fell from its high seat and the silence of evenfall was draped across the land, there was a sinister chord in the Song that everyone could 'feel' but could not comprehend. The once-carefree citizens of the land's mightiest kingdom quivered in an inexplicable fear as they prepared their dinners and finished up the day's work.

    In the Cataline Palace, there was an unmistakable stench of "wrongness" that hung in the air, just like the ghastly pale bars of the even sun's light. The unnaturally pale white beams of light were caught by the icy claymore that hung behind the golden throne. It danced across the blade, casting a mesmerizing dance of lights and shadows across the room.

    The gilded doors swung open and decked in the royal robes with the sky-blue of house Skynne and the gold trim of Dovry, Feltaniel Skynne, Crownsong of Dovry, Lord of the Cataline, Hand of Gold, the Great Conductor's Mandate, strode inside the throne room. It was the only deserted part of the palace at this time of the day, long after the King's Court had ceased, three hours after High Hour. Behind him entered the flustered Lord Courier and the King's newest, most influential adviser, Agnor.

    "Your Grace, the Swordsingers refuse to fight for Dovry..." said the Lord Courier, panting. When he had received word of a response from the choirmaster, he had ridden all the way back to Cataline, driving his horse nearly to death. Many a day on that long journey had he cursed the lack of an airship. They were all being conscripted into the army and even his courier ship was in one of the large fields near the southern border, awaiting commands.

    "Your majesty, if I may--" said Agnor, his voice carrying the thick drawl of the Soranin. "--the swordsingers entered into a treaty with you. They have been signed into your service, yet now they refuse to aid your plight. It is treason, your majesty. Treason!"

    The Crownsong hesitated for a moment. But then it seemed as though a light came on inside him. "Yes. Treason. For this they must be executed. Gather the Sentinels!" he yelled at the Lord Courier. "I want every Swordsinger within the Cataline walls to be rounded up before the Even High Hour!"

    The Lord Courier rushed out the door. When he was gone, Agnor strode to the king and said "Your majesty, we must not execute them. I have a plan..." He leaned in and whispered in the king's ear, and the blazing anger that had been in the Crownsong's eyes just moments before was replaced with something more sinister. Behind him, black flames danced on the sword of ice.

    Tittering. Fluttering. One by one, as a large flock, the songbirds took wing, angling north, carrying with them not good, not evil, but tidings of a new melody in the Song. As one they flew across plain and forest and river and lake, seeking refuge in the one place they knew Harmony still ruled. From all over Dovry and Renala entire flocks of jays, mockingbirds, nightingales, larks, robins, lyrebirds, and many more fled to the Citadel. Upon their backs, terrible news: Discord was rising.

    <div style="float:right;"><iframe width="400" height="225" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="0"></iframe></div>It was a harrowing experience, one that Gwyne had never thought he would experience in Cataline. Sure, House Kortan had once been an enemy of the Crownsong, and they had once been kept under watchful eye. Since then it had fallen out of grace and was now nothing but a shadow of its former self, far too puny to be considered a worthy enemy of the Crownsong. Be that as it may, the young Nightingale Instrument, yet to find a partner to earn his Adryn with, had never even in his darkest dreams thought that he would be fleeing the Dovryn capital for his life.

    When the order had come to capture all Swordsingers in the capital, Gwyne and his preceptor both had the fortune and misfortune to be outdoors, on the way to visit one of the more scholarly Swordsingers that the older of the two had befriended over the years. The city guard had descended upon them almost instantly, and the only warning they had was a brilliant flash of green light from the emerald pendant that graced his preceptor's neck. It was a stone enchanted to be sensitive to nefarious intentions, but it was too slow to help them much at all.

    His preceptor's sword had barely left its scabbard when the sun-emblazoned chestplates of the city guard rounded the corner. They were surrounded. Something heavy was placed in Gwyne's hand, a hunting knife. He had protested. After all, Instruments were not allowed the use of weapons. "No time to be squeamish, boy. You live or you die. Forget being allowed" the preceptor had said. It was a good point.

    He awkwardly held the dagger and he felt a blaze of power come alight within the preceptor. The next moment, the man's sword had come alight with blue flames. More city guards rounded the corner. Realizing that fighting would be fruitless, the Preceptor told him "Run, Gwyne. Run and make our plight known to the Choirmaster."

    Never before had such guilt and terror seized him. Before he knew it, he was dashing the other way, frantically making his way out of the city. He stabbed a number of city guards, but only enough to incapacitate them. The blood made him grimace and, had circumstances been different, he would've fallen to his knees and retched. However, fear kept him running, his blood running cold in his veins and his heartbeat pounding like thunder in his ears.

    He would've escaped unscathed, if not for a guard that had caught him unawares and left him with a gash from his collarbone to his shoulder. When he finally stopped running in the woods a little ways away from the city, he felt like his legs were burning and his breath came in ragged gasps. The would he had acquired was stinging and the blood was flowing freely. Embracing the Song, channeling it through the healing charm, and singing a simple tune softly, he at least managed to close the wound and stem the blood before he felt too faint to do magic.

    Shrouded by the dark of night, he shivered in his place at the bottom of a tree in the middle of the woods. He knew only one thing, he had to get to the Citadel. Praying to the Great Conductor for strength, aid and maybe a companion or two, he staggered to his feet and began to limp through the woods, never once noticing the eerie silence that had once been filled by the numerous songbirds of Dovry.
  2. Radinka

    "What do you mean the guard is coming for us?" The news brought by the little woman was surprising, but the Swordsinger that she had spoken to was cursing.

    "They're not far behind Chels, they'll be coming straight here," the aged blonde told them as she grabbed her sword. The Danser had been correct, and Radinka's only hope was she and her Singer made it out as well.

    The morning had seemed so promising when Jaromir and Radinka had ridden into the capital. Their purpose there was simple, they had gone to seek information about a town under siege to the south. It was their first time traveling alone out of the Citadel as fully realized Knight Swordsingers and the idea that they would be going through a situation reminiscent of their childhood made Radinka glad not for the first time she had followed the song of her heart.

    They would never reach that town now.

    Jaromir and Radinka were now riding double through the city streets. While this had been how they came to town, they were now without their pack horse. For the short term this was a good thing, there was no way Radinka could jump over the cart she was coming to with a second animal being lead.

    "We need to get into the woods," she muttered as she tried to avoid the people walking on the street. She couldn't spare the attention to look behind, but she was well aware of that she had only momentarily lost their pursuers. They knew the city after all. Still with Jaromir and a song, Radinka would not fear.
  3. Hadrian Westmont

    It appeared to be just another lazy day in the city, which, of course, meant that Hadrian was up to no good. He had been lazing on a branch in the shade of large maple tree for the past hour. It takes a lot of work finding just the right spot and peacefully resting, you know? Well, after a nice, well-earned nap, his stomach rumbled in subtle discontent. Time for a snack. The sun was setting and that meant vendors would be heading home soon. Lucky for him, he didn't have far to go.

    At the end of a yawn, he mumbled,
    "Haven't seen old man Leonard in a while!" He continued with a devilish smirk, commenting to himself, "He always picks the shiniest, juiciest, crispiest apples!"

    Like a jovial fool, he began with one over-exaggerated stride as he simultaneously patted his stomach. Comically, all it took was but three or four strides until he reached old man Leonard's cart. Hadrian raised his fist up to his mouth and cleared his throat, but before he could say anything old man Leonard spoke up.

    "Don't'chu be thinkin' I dunna remember who you are!" he announced; knobby forefinger shaking in the air and stink eye locked onto Hadrian's gaze.

    "A-hah! So you're not as daft as I thought!" The young man chuckled trying to disarm the old vendor. He leaned over the cart motioning for old man Leonard to come closer. As if about to tell a big secret, he shifted his eyes from one side to another, then cuffed his hand at the side of his mouth. Reluctantly, the old man leaned into hear what Hadrian had to say. "I just wanted to let you know, Leonard, your last batch was a little... well, under-par, don't you think?"

    Suspicious, Leonard eyed him up and down with a cockeyed look. "I'll have you know tha' those were picked at their peak! You also stole tha' app--"

    "Well, would you look at that! This one looks great! Much better, Leonard! I'm glad we had this little talk,"
    he hurriedly said. Before the old man could do anything Hadrian was off and running in the races.

    The young maestro in-training never looked back, but he could just imagine old man Leonard shaking his fist in the air. Then, just as he was about to take a bite out of the juicy morsel, he could see one of the city guards charging toward him. "Hey! I paid for it, don't worry! Don't listen to a thing the old coot says either!" Something seemed different though. Out of nowhere, a second guard began running by the other guard's side; both had weapons drawn. At this point, he knew there was something horribly wrong. He could just feel it. His countenance changed from a light-hearted thief to a serious warrior.

    He shoved the freshly stolen apple into the small leather satchel attached to his belt. He had to make an escape. These guards meant to capture him and he wasn't about to let that happen. What in the world went down while he was peacefully resting?

    Thankfully, he knew this part of the city like the back of his hand and was light on his feet. It wouldn't take much to loose pursuers clad in heavy armor. With skilled footing he could turn the sharpest of corners and effortlessly climb over numerous obstacles.
    By now, surely, he had lost the two guards, but he wasn't about to look back. It didn't matter who got in his way, man or woman, rich or poor, he shoved them aside. The city wasn't safe for him anymore and he knew that meant everyone else associated with the Swordsingers.

    Beads of sweat collected on his brow and down his cheeks and neck. He was almost out. The gate was-- the gate was closing?!

    "Shit! No, no, no!"

    It looked impossible to make, but he had to try. Hadrian put one last burst of power into his strides and made a bee-line for the gate. On both sides guards were swarming toward him but he took little notice. His mind was locked on getting past that gate. It was only two feet from closing by the time he reached it, and closing fast. Thankfully the ground was dirt, so in one fell movement he was able to slide under the wooden bars laden with metal. A cloud of dust swallowed him as he rose to his feet again. He stumbled once, but successfully regained his footing and continued to run into the forest just outside the city walls. At this point his panting was heavy and rackety.
  4. He was on the horse behind her, his world reduced to her in front of him and his arm around her stomach while the other remained free. His ears were pricked for sounds behind them as he leaned against her legs braced on their shared mount's flanks. Their latest disagreement seemed unimportant now. Radinka wanted to ride to the rescue of a besieged town, feeling a kinship to their plight. Jaromir had failed to see the similarity. The people she had wanted to protect had been politically active, and had probably brought their woes on themselves. Still he had agreed to seek permission to help, not for the rulers of the city, but for the citizens who your undoubtedly die in the siege.

    "I hear the stream to the left of us and forwards, riding up stream will buy us some time if they're using hounds." he said quietly over the crunching of hooves in the loose gravel of the road. If we're lucky they may split up to find us, then we can take them one small group at a time."

    His voice was calm, but grave. Their situation was as tense as it was unexpected. But so long as he had her and her song to be his eyes he would not be afraid. Still he didn't want to talk too much, there was no telling when they would be able to rest next and he needed to keep his eyes open for company. He clutched his necklace as they rode on whispering a prayer to the spirits of their tribe if they could hear him from this far south.
  5. A stream? That would work she thought as she pulled the reigns so that their horse turned left into an alley. Her blue eyes had been scanning for any trouble on the street ahead of them as they turned, but fortunately she had not caught sight of anything. As they galloped along the alleyway, they passed into another street and Radinka had to be careful to pick their way between startled citizens on foot and horseback. She had slowed down their horse in fact before they'd gotten there, but it was still faster then a person should have been going across a street normally.

    Trough a second alley, the woman thought she saw a glint at the far end. Water! They were nearly upon the stream her Marksman had heard. She smiled, a touch grimly, they could easily reach it and they would be closer to escaping out of the city. Then a shadow covered the glistening light. "Two!" She hissed to Jaromir. It was the only verbal cue he was given, but the way her body tightened told him everything he needed to know. Someone was going to try to block their escape at the end of the alley. There was however only two.

    The next breath after speaking was not for speaking, nor for a sigh, it was for song. Singing upon a cantering horse was not exactly easy, nor was it expected that she would then urge the horse into a gallop, but that was what she wanted, to surprise their enemies. Radinka embraced the song she sung and let it flow out of her lightly so that Jaromir could do what he needed to do.
  6. He braced his legs against hers for stability as her sing began to reverberate and he unhitched his bow and drew and arrow. "A little room." he whispered gently pushing her forwards a small distance to give him room to notch and draw.

    It was like the word was made of snow and bathed in moonlight, that is how her sing appeared to him. The narrow alley, the men moving to block then, the startled cat darting to safety. He say then all in a monochrome hue of swirls and outlines. He wondered if that was because of her, or because it was just like his last night before he was blinded. The arrow his then man in the unarmored thigh. He was just doing his job and had once been a friend. He would limp for a few weeks and was right now on the ground. "There." he whispered. "The other can't stop us alone."

    He kept the bow in hand and put his other on her shoulder in reassurance and to keep himself stable as they continued. No matter what her or the mount did, he would bot fall. If he did he was blind without her, helpless.
  7. "Agh!" The man beside him called out in pain, clutching the arrow that had come out of nowhere. Looking away from his comrade, back at the alley his blood ran cold. Galloping at him was not normal men, they were Swordsingers! He knew his duty, but also knew he could not match what was coming at him. He gulped, as he looked at the duo that looked more barbaric then knightly with their furs and long hair. He did not view the smaller woman as less of a threat then the large blonde behind him however, not with the determination she had on her face. It was as though they were as one.

    The arrow hit its target, though Radinka did not need to see it, nor did she need to cue from the man's scream. Jaromir's hand on her shoulder was all the instruction she needed. She lifted her head, the songs last syllable turned to echo, and looked at the other man that still was in their way. Even as she looked at him he was backing away. That was good, there was no need to keep fighting these two then.

    The horse broke out of the alley and a few strides they were to the stream, then a crossed it. They would go upstream. There had to be a source for the water outside the city. Downstream could have gotten them out, or they could have ended up in the center of the city at some lake or pond or something. Radinka only hoped the source wasn't underground!

    There was no need for words, their objective was clear after all and it was best to save her breath and energy for when they encountered more resistance. Even so, she couldn't just ride their horse without some sort of communication with the man behind her. She could not imagine doing this without him in the most literal sense. Her thoughts when turned to herself was often in terms of 'we' and not 'I'. It wasn't for a lack of her own self identity, but Jaromir was such a central force in her life. Her actions affected him and vica versa. Radinka tilted her head and raised the shoulder that Jaromir's hand gripped, touching the back of his hand with her cheek for a moment. She couldn't risk taking a hand off the reigns nor her eyes off their trail, but even in this situation a recipication of assurance was important.
  8. He squeezed her shoulder and grinned behind her. First obstacle cleared. "Where are we?" he whispered. He did not know the city expect by sound and smell during the day. Not it was night and he had no way of telling where they were or how close they were to the wall. The gates! they would undoubtedly be guarded. He growled at the thought but let the night air rushing past them clear his head. Then he heard it, the clattering of hooves moving parallel to them and he hissed a low warning. "Hooves to the right, galloping, I think we were spotted."

    That was all then needed. The guard, while not swordsingers were not stupid and knew this city. There was a net closing in and they were the prey, and he did not like it, it reminded him all too much of another night long ago. There was a bell far off the hound echoing over the rooftops, to large to be an alarm bell, maybe a church marking the hour.

    He didn't have to say anything to her, she would know what to do, she always did even when he did not. And if she didn't, she would say. That was the bond they shared. He trusted her, and he needed someone to trust. He would always need her.
    Gwyne moved cautiously through the woods, there was no telling how far the Cataline city guard was willing to go to capture him or anyone that had managed to make it out alive for that matter. There was only so much that the Instrument could do. He didn't know many offensive Songs at all, and even those he knew weren't really meant for practical battle applications. Even if they were, he doubted he could pull them off. He was feeling too faint to sing any but the weakest Songs at that moment.

    For the first time since his escape from the city, it began to dawn on him that the forest was dead quiet. It had never been that silent, not even in the darkest hours of the night. There were always songbirds around Cataline and it had been their song that settled his unease the night before, just like they had settled his heart during his childhood. Puckering his lips, Gwyne whistled a shrill birdcall. It echoed unanswered between the towering trees and their intertwined branches. It was strange, and extremely disconcerting. There truly was something awry in the air.

    A strangled gasp escaped his lips, despite trying to quell it for fear of being discovered. He sensed many Lifesongs that could only belong to Swordsingers suddenly stop dead. Tears gathered in the corners of his eyes and he began to shake, fearing all the more for his life. His Preceptor was probably one of the Swordsingers that had just died...

    Damn it. Now it was all the more important for him to get back to the Citadel. The Choirmaster had to know about this tragedy. Forgetting all thoughts of stealthiness, he looked immediately for the Conductor's Brooch, a bright red guiding star that was the first to rise in the west. Using that to get his bearings, he began to run(with more of a stumbling gait than anything) northwards.

    He hadn't gone far when he heard rustling within the trees and the flash of pale skin and tousled hair. "Who's there?" he said in the darkness. There was no soft clanking that came with armor, so he assumed he was safe.
  10. Hadrian Westmont

    Exasperated, the young maestro rested both hands on his knees to catch his breath. His short locks of black hair stuck to the skin around his face and neck, soaked with salty liquid. As he rested, all that he could hear was the sound of his own raspy breath, his heart rapidly beating against his chest, and the rustling of leaves around him. The combination was almost deafening and a certain fear began to swell inside him. With uneasiness, the back of his hand wiped the sweat from his forehead. Drops of cold sweat collected from his hand and fell to the ground beneath him. Each drop of sweat might as well have been cannon balls instead. The sound of it, or the lack thereof, further unnerved him.

    "They know I'm here... I can't stop,"
    he murmured to himself between breaths.

    Hadrian isn't the fittest guy in all of Dovry, which he hates to admit, but he wanted to just collapse. This time, however, was different, and he either had to go on or risk being captured -- probably only to be put to death or to rot in a moldy cell. Whatever the end result was going to be, it was a lose-lose situation if he didn't keep running. He took one deep breath and restarted his trek to the West. (Or rather, what he thought was West.)

    To little surprise he didn't get far before his side cramped.

    "Argh!" he stifled with a clenched jaw.

    The twill of a whistle snapped his attention back to his surroundings. It startled him at first, thinking it was a guard's whistle, but in fact it sounded more like the call of a native bird. He was never good at identifying bird calls, but even to his untrained ears it seemed odd. Where were the other birds? Even at night the forest was usually filled with their songs
    . In any case, the origin of sound was close.

    Keeping his guard up, Hadrian climbed a nearby tree with as much stealth as he could. Right as he was about to climb onto a higher branch, a voice bursted through the darkness causing him to
    freeze in place.

    "Who's there?" a male-sounding voice demanded.

    Lacking forethought, Hadrian replied,
    "Hadrian Westmont." He took the opportunity then to peak around the trunk of the tree. It had grown so dark, and darker even within the forest, that he could only see the silhouette of what appeared to be a young man, such as himself. Only the slightest glint of moonlight revealed a sliver of blonde hair atop the figure's head. "N-now hear-you-me, mysterious figure in the night," he stuttered, proclaiming with false confidence, "You go my way and I'll go your way!" Immediately, Hadrian realized what he had said and stumbled, "Er, I mean, you go your way and I'll go my way!" Checking himself this time, he whispered, "Right?" then exclaimed, "Right!"
  11. They had been in training in the woods when the news rang out. It wasn’t that there was a big announcement or anything, but something had gone wrong and Xanthus knew it. He quickly directed the horse towards where Kalea had been hiding who revealed herself with a frown on her face. She, too, felt the discord in the air. He gave her a small nod and she immediately jumped from the high branch into the horse flawlessly.

    Instead of going back to the direction of the Cataline, the horse ran deeper into the woods. Kalea had mapped out at the space where they won’t be able to find any of the Guardsmen that will be hunting for them. But there was still a risk no matter how stealthy they may be. The Galains did not know for certain what could’ve caused this sudden attack on them, but they had a pretty good idea.

    They rode in silence with only the sounds of the forest surrounding them and the hooves of the horse thundering through the ground. Just then a resounding yell of “Stop!” made the siblings look up but never stopping. Xanthus had quickly drawn his throwing knives and shot the two guards in succession without hesitation.

    They need to get back to the Citadel and fast.
    Surprisingly, the answer to his question came from somewhere above him. Gwyne flinched and looked up in surprise. That had been a bad move on his part, calling out a question to the darkness with nothing but a dagger that wouldn't do him much good against someone intent enough on causing him bodily harm. Whatever the case, there was now no choice than to converse with the seemingly harmless voice from the trees in an attempt to determine where the other man was.

    "I'm Gwyne Kortan" he said, wincing at the sudden loudness of his voice. "I mean you no harm..." he continued, toning down his voice. "I'm fleeing from the Cataline city guard. I am a Nightingale of the Swordsingers. I vow upon my Song, I will cause you no hurt. Show yourself."

    His eyes rapidly scanned the trees above him. Blast it. It was far too dark and whatever little moonlight filtered through the dense foliage did not help his frantic search any. Craning his neck to try and get a better view at a patch of leaves that seemed to be moving, he managed to tear the wound in his shoulder a little. Whimpering at the sudden pain, he dropped the dagger and clutched his shoulder.

    Tears were coming back to his eyes now. First, it was the blood, making him a bit queasy. Second, it was the fact that he had a wound and was too tired to do anything about it. He was beginning to doubt he could make it back to the Citadel with a gash that big. It wouldn't take very long for the wound to get infected.

    "Please, show yourself" he repeated through gritted teeth.
  13. "We are near the south wall I believe," Radinka told him quietly. She absolutely hated this, and with Jaromir's words she felt a moment of hopelessness. The guards were using their advantage of numbers and knowledge of the city. They had also been able to surprise the two young Swordsingers. Thus all they were doing was reacting.

    It was time to stop reacting.

    Radinka didn't tell her Marksman her plan, there was no need, he trusted her, and right now talking could be worse then foolish. She set her path as though they were going to make a rush to the gate. It was expected, though she doubted the guards coming after them realized they'd been found out yet. As they galloped along the cobblestone streets, she began to sing. The song was a lament, but she sang is softly, with a breathy voice as fog started rolling onto the streets. On a night such as this, where the darkness in the sky reflected the darkness of deed being done in the city, the fog was almost expected.

    Carefully Radinka slowed down the horse. It would be difficult for anyone to spot them, let alone follow. She then turned her horse back to the stream, where they followed it to the wall. "There's a grate that does come down for ships. It's our only way out of this place, through the stream." Radinka did not ask, she did not have to, all she did was sing a new song, so that Jaromir could secure their safety.

    The events leading up to the flight of the Maestro and Instrument were as ordinary as they could have been as Edelgard and Delphine dined with Edelgard's cousin, until the nobles' spy came to inform them of the Crownsongs decree about the Swordsingers. As such the two women left the house in disguise.

    "My lady, you look lovely this evening." Edelgard said with a smirk. She was trying to keep her comments lighthearted, because their situation was so grim she feared one look at her scowling and they'd have every guard in the Quarter after them. As it was Edelgard was being honest. Delphine was dressed like a lady, and her years as a Swordsinger did not erase the younger years as the noble daughter in this city. She has the poise and grace to pull off her role.

    Edelgard for her part was now disguised as a house servent, obviously there escorting the lady where ever the whim would take her. So far they had not been spotted, but without armor on, Edelgard was paranoid about her back. Her back not Delphine's. That was another advantage of the role she was play acting. She was able to guard her Instrument. "We should be nearing the Western Gate soon."
  14. As the swirls of white filled his vision he looked around, they were at the water gate and his vision was unhampered by the moisture he could feel in the air. There was only one thing to do. Drawing an arrow he notched it and drew it back taking aim at the mass of stone next to them. If he still had eyes he would close them. He could not see the target anyway but he could hear it though her song.

    He listened well and though minute movements of his arm found what felt like the right angle and the right draw, then he released. The arrow dissipated up a small hole next to the gate, and a second later came clattering back down and Jaromir let out the breath he had been holding and notched another arrow, took a deep breath and held it sending the arrow up the same hole only to suffer the same result but this time he listened ti every sound from the hole magnified by Radinka's song and he smiled.

    On his third try he drew back further and aimed lower. The metal head of the arrow glanced off the stone with a small flash of sparks and disappeared up the hole and the second later the water gate shuddered, then fell open with a splash, the severed rope trailing behind it along with the third arrow.

    "Your turn." he whispered bracing the bow against his knee and bending it to pull the string free and wrap is around the bow. There was only one course of action Radinka could have planned to follow and he didn't want his bow getting wet and the wood to become warped. From a saddlebag he pulled an oil cloth and began rolling the bow in it to protect it securing both ends tightly with cord and carefully placed the cap on his quiver. Both however would still be held above his head in the coming swim.
  15. He did it, as Radinka knew he would. As Jaromir prepared for what was next, his Singer moved the horse to the stream. A good horse though it was, it wasn't the water she worried about, but leading it under the wall. There was going to be no helping the matter and as the water lapped on the horse's flank, getting their feet wet, Radinka moved her leg over the beast's neck and slid into the water.

    While Radinka was fairly happy with her height usually, this was one case she wished she was taller. The stream bed was uneven and as she tried to quietly lead the horse into the tunnel both she and it stumbled more then once. To make matters worse the cold water made her hands feel numb and she could only hope her hold on the reigns would hold.

    The Singer tried to remind herself of all the summers up north as a kid, but it didn't do much to help. There had been sun and friends and laughter then. Not a cold night of being chased. Though she had one thing still, and as she thought that she felt the current, which had been fighting them since they got into the stream, try to pull her under. She yanked harder on the reign then she had wished and tried to right Herod before the water tried any more tricks.
  16. Feeling her he erratic pulls on the reigns as he waded chest deep, on hand on the horse's mane the other holding his bow he moved forwards and feeling his way up the horse's neck and along the leather her found her hand and followed her arm up to her shoulder before taking hold of her other arm and helping to pull her along walking slowly, feeling his way along the bottom with his feet and moving in the opposite direction as the current. This way they made good time and the sounds of the city faded slowly behind them.

    "We ready to head to shore?" he asked, not knowing if she could even see the bank of the stream though her fog, but the current was getting stronger and the bottom rockier and he could feel her arm shivering in his grip. If they stawed in the water much monger it might not matter if they escaped of hot. Radinka getting sick would be a disaster for them while on the run.
  17. "Yeah, I think so," she said, trying not to chatter. She was at ease relying on Jaromir while walking through the water, even if it had been in her mind to save at least one of them from being soaked. She had misjudged how strong the current was and they did better walking together.

    The fog wasn't as heavy as it had been in the city, but it's presence was still enough to make it difficult to judge how steep the embankment was until they were at the edge. They had to travel a bit further before they got to a spot the horse could climb its way out. "We won't have much time until they come out of the gate." It was half statement and half question as check to be sure the horse hadn't gotten too cold in the stream. The last thing they needed was for the horse to cramp up while at a dead run. "Should we try to find a place to hide?" She didn't mean right out there of course, but in the short term, versus trying to keep going for as long as they could. Getting as much distance as they cold from the city was important, but not at the risk of being in a place not of their choosing when they finally had to rest.
  18. Helping to push the horse horse onto the bank and then helping Radinka up and then allowing her to guide him up he then took the relatively dry wolf's pelt from his shoulders and then placing a hand on her shoulder handed it to her. He was dryer having had more of himself out of the water, she needed it more. "We should get away from the water into the trees and make a sheltered fire where we won't be seen and dry off." he kept his hand on her until his other hand felt the horse and he got into position for her to use him to get up.

    "Do you think there will be others?" he asked "Do you think we'll meet up with more swordsingers out here?" if so there would be safety in numbers, if not they would have to stick to the woods and use every trick they had to stave off the hounds.
    The minutes passed and no sound came other than the rustling of leaves in the wind and the soft whimpering of Gwyne as the pain in his shoulder began to intensify. It was beginning to really drain his morale and he was beginning to consider dropping all hope and just waiting for a slow death on the forest floor. "Please... If you're out there... Show yourself" he whispered. The silence dragged on. No answer was coming from whoever had been there just minutes past. Gwyne resolved that it was time to move on.

    "Alright... I'm leaving now. But please, if you see any city guards, don't tell them where I went" he implored. For all he knew the voice's owner could've left to bring the guards to him by then. Bending down gingerly to pick up the dagger he began to stumble northwards again, warm blood trickling down his arm. He tried not to think about it, but it was difficult and he was beginning to feel faint. "Great Conductor, please, help me..."

    Before long the trees had grown far too thick to see the Brooch. He continued on his way, wandering along the forest until he heard the sound of a river nearby. As long as he was north of Cataline, he knew that all the rivers in the area came from the Edge of the World, which was to the north. All rivers he would see from then on would flow downriver from the north. This made him hopeful and he began working his way towards the sound of the gurgling river.

    Stumbling out from the edge of the trees to the bank of the river, he suddenly saw two people getting out of the river. He immediately heard their lifesong. They were strong in it. They were probably swordsingers. In what was probably the stupidest things he had ever done, he called out "Can you help me?"
  20. GM POST
    Jaromir and Radinka's escape had been all but unnoticed. It was quite hard to miss the fact that the watergate was now in the water. The hounds were on their way, and these weren't just any hounds, they were hounds especially trained and enhanced by Agnor and his "guild of experts" that could hear Lifesongs. The intensity of the Song around the river would be problematic for the hounds, but it would only hamper them, not stop them.

    This was what they had been created for. This was their purpose. With a loud baying, the six large hounds and their two keepers began following the trail of the escaped Swordsingers. Elsewhere in the city, the hounds were being dispatched too. Taenthal Skynne and Agnor were not about to let the Swordsingers slip away without a fight.

    The doors of the throne room were flung open and one of many nobles that had spoken up or otherwise aided the escape of swordsingers was brought into the room. "My Lord of Steelwood" drawled Agnor with a sly smile. "So nice of you to join us." Even if the lord had tried to speak, he would not have found the voice to.

    "Cat got your tongue, m'lord? Well, by decree of the king, the swordsingers have been branded as traitors. It would be a shame if yet another noble was executed for aiding traitors..." he continued. "But you have been a friend to the kingdom for a long time. The Crownsong will spare you mercy."

    "You are hereby exiled from Cataline. All manner of possessions you have within the city now belong to the Crownsong. Your family and you will have until daybreak to leave the city. You will remain in Dovry, but you are stripped of all titles and honors in Cataline. You will be watched and even the slightest hint of rebellion will be punished severely."

    "Traitors can't be allowed to walk free, after all." Waving a withered hand, the guards dragged the lord out of the palace and threw him to the streets. He was the last for that day, but there were still many corrupted branches that had to be pruned from Cataline. Behind the Lord of Steelwood, the castle gates shut with a resounding boom.