The Age of Heroes

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Keiro, Jun 10, 2016.

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  1. The time had been set as noon. The day, the Eighteenth of Sershret. It was then that the King’s Heroes would gather within the castle, putting forth their names and the professions they would be leaving behind as they took up their new mantles. Ethran Delivo, one of the King’s three personal butlers, looked down at the sheet of paper in his hands and frowned. The sun was nearing its zenith indicating the cut off and the list was woefully short. He knew the King had been hoping for the room to be packed as dozens of men and women took a grab at the glory he offered. The old man was waiting now, in the throne room through the doors behind him, rubbing his hands in anticipation of what was coming. A storm of armed and armoured warriors ready to fight to the death for their lord. Ethran was not looking forward to crushing that dream.

    Perhaps a reward would have helped, a material prize to draw in the greedy and desperate. What they lacked in individual skill they could make up for in numbers. But looking around the entry room Ethran knew the kingdom could not afford such. Paint was peeling off the walls, the great stone columns supporting the roof were chipped and cracked and the once vibrant rug that stretched from door to door was now a dull maroon from years of use. Mrs Ferrin slowly worked her way around the room with a broom and dustpan, one of the few cleaners left they could afford to keep on permanently.

    Four decades ago Mercen had peacefully swallowed up its southern neighbour, Tufant, preventing a civil war between the multitudes of noble families and expanding its own borders in the same action. It had become a common practice over the last century as dozens of kingdoms collapsed under the pressure, and the remaining nations had grown fat on easy conquest. Yet few could actually afford to rule so much land and so many people, now their own avarice was betraying them. Armies were stretched thin and poorly armed, underprepared for the terrors they faced on patrol. Bandits had easy pickings and peasants had little left to spare for legitimate taxes. It was a vicious cycle.

    Only the guards positioned around the room looked as if they belonged to a proud, healthy nation. The metal of their armour was dull in places and the blue and white paint could use another coat, but they stood tall and proud, halberds held straight up and plumes vibrant in colour. There were enough monsters slain near the capital every month that the latter could be replaced on a regular basis. One of the few sources of proper colouring in the palace. Today’s guards were wearing green and purple plumes of various shades despite how they clashed with the colour of Mercen.

    Ethran’s attention swung back to the door and he tapped his foot impatiently, willing anyone else to make their way to the castle quickly.
    #1 Keiro, Jun 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
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  2. Of two minds about this, Elyn wavered from confidence to regret with every bump of the wagon underneath. And given the pitted, uneven state of the roads it amounted to plenty of wavering. It was that lack of maintenance that had her mind drifting from one emotion to the other and back again. The ever-present threat of banditry on the king's roads sapped the will to improve or protect them, and Elyn could never forget that she had once been part of that cycle.


    Another jolt nearly knocked her from her seat and she grabbed on with both hands to the wooden beam beneath her. Some of this roughness could no doubt be attributed to her actions, so the just and right course would be to make amends. And how truer to serve her nation than to respond to the summons of their King to do his bidding?


    This time the wagon dropped a few inches and the feeling of her heart plunging into her stomach reversed her mood just as quick. What if the King or one of his other retainers knew her face from the wanted posters from a few years back? Granted she'd looked a bit different in those rough sketches that had circulated, and they'd been taken down when she'd been captured... for the most part. But surely some village inn still had her face on a board of targets offering a small but not insubstantial reward.


    The jarring of the ride was becoming too much to handle, and with a hop too eager to to manage any grace, Elyn dropped into a crouch beside the wagon. She opted to walk. They were only another hour from the castle anyway and even this close to the heart of the kingdom she still expected at any moment to hear a roar or a yell that would bring a monster or bandit attack upon them. Only her sense of self-consciousness prevented her from drawing her daggers in preparation, not wanting to come across as needlessly antagonistic to the various merchants and other traveling men going with them.


    An hour and forty-five minutes later- the delay the result of a broken wheel that required repairing- they arrived at the castle unperturbed, and far closer to the cut-off period than Elyn would have preferred. She wondered if any of her fellow travellers were also there to respond to the king's summons, but avoided checking with them. Instead, she headed for the castle with her pack on her shoulder, and tried her best not to make eye contact with any guards. The experience was... intimidating, to say the least, and she had never felt more out of place-- aside perhaps for her first time serving her former lord at an official banquet. Poking her head into the hall so that a blaze of red hair appeared over wide green eyes, Elyn surveyed the room and realized that it was so... empty. Had all of this been an elaborate ambush of sorts for the former bandit? Surely they wouldn't need to go to such lengths if her lord's mercy was to be rescinded!

    "Eh, greetings to you," she called out while walking in and attempting to look as legitimate in her movements as possible... whatever that meant. "I eh- I am Elyn, and I've come to answer the king's... summons?" she offered with faltering certainty to the butler before her. Unspoken in the latter half of her introduction was the obvious query: was she in the right place?
  3. The mare had a light scent. It was why Thaycin had always loved this horse; the scent of shit and sweat did not linger on this animal, though it was penned up in the stable just as the others. She gently pat the hair covering its neck before sliding off and handing the reins to the stablemaster.

    "Is it what you want to do?"
    Her eyebrow arched, albeit just, "It's what I've been ordained to."
    The old man smiled, shaking his head as he gently put the warm cup down.

    It wasn't that odd of a question, Thaycin knew. She didn't know why she had reacted that way, but he was used to that by now. It was why it amused him so. How could she help it, thought? Sometimes she'd get so lost in her keeping of the records.

    "Quite the perilous task," he said gently.
    "I'd say more so for the 'heroes' asked," she proclaimed. This earned her a chuckle.

    But there was truth in that. All she was asked to do was to be a keeper of what transpired. She wouldn't be in immediate danger, certainly. And even so, Thaycin was sure there was a way to preserve the Tome so that it would find its way to the Castle. But such a thing was caution, she doubted it would come to that.

    By the end of their conversation, he'd said something odd to her. Her old master was usually never cryptic, but this felt as close to it as he would get. "You'll be up close to it all, Thayce, and I cannot help but think you'll feel warmth so close to the flame."

    She knew what he meant, but pushed it aside.

    + + +​

    Cleaned, changed, her items in her many hidden pockets within the Historian's robes, she stood two or four paces away from the King. The kingdom's ruler had been making comments every so and again, she listened without intent, accessing mental inventory of what she had on her. A hint of gaudy green and royal purple caught her eye. Ah, yes, the guard's fancy feathers. How she wanted to simply pluck it off their person and collect them to make quills.

    What worried her most was ink. Yes, she wrote in shorthand so it saved space and used no more ink than need be, but what was to say her stash would be enough? Highly unlikely as it were... but what would thinking of it do when there was no way to really know when her stash would dry up?

    Turning her attention back to his Highness, she wondered how many 'heroes' his offer would attract. No, more than that, she wondered what kind of man or woman would take this on upon themself. Truly, she shouldn't have been making guesses. But Thaycin couldn't help the images of bandits, ruffians, and the lot, appearing in her mind's eye. She bit her lip before the scoff could escape.
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  4. The sound of Rose's hooves pressing against the soft roads were Lucius' only company. He had been traveling alone for days now, through winding roads and long forests, all without issue. Lucy could at times cut a very intimidating presence, and his bow was an effective weapon at keeping away all sorts of manners of threats and foes. Still, he had to admit his was surprised to have had been so unhassled by bandits or monsters...Smiling softly, he rubbed Rose's mane. The Mare was a smart horse, with good hearing. If there were any foes in the forest and Rose had managed to scent or hear them...well, he'd know what was coming at least. Responding to Lucy's touch, the horse let out a contented whinny. Lucius then turned his attention to the growing buildings far in the distance. He wasn't sure what the king was going to think of the hunter with no home to return to...Lucius knew he was unlikely to be one of the strongest men in the room, or even the most lethal. He would just try to stay low, the hunter supposed. After the Caessur attack...well, he hardly had a happy home to return to after all, so there was no turning back now. Lucy touched the scar that crossed his face, letting out a soft sigh in response as his hand traced along the wounded flesh. No...definitely no turning back.

    Besides, he had Rose. The horse he had known from a young age and whom he trusted with his life. Rose was the reason he was still alive after all, the Caessur was fast, but Rose had been faster, and given Lucius the time he needed to shoot arrow after arrow into the Caessur in an unending barrage of rage and fury, mixed with desperation and fear. The experience had been terrifying, but he had to turn to the future, leaving his mind in the past would only blind him to the present. Taking a moment to clear his head after Rose let out another whinny Lucius kicked her into a gallop, heading towards the keep.


    After reluctantly handing Rose off to the stable boy who had insisted he not leave her out in the open, and had reassured him that the confined stables were perfectly normal for his horse, and no, they weren't trying to trap her. Lucius still wasn't sure about it, but if the King wanted to confine his horses, than there wasn't much Lucius could do in the end. He'd just be sure to get Rose quickly, the last thing he wanted was to leave her here after all. He approached the chamber with a determined look on his face, only to be stopped by the guards. They wanted to know why he was approaching the king. Clearing his throat slightly, Lucius replied. "Answering the summons."

    After getting past the guards, he moved forward, into the room. There were a few other people there already, who he nodded to. He then turned his attention to the butler fellow who seemed to be talking to people, and called out himself. "I am Lucius Marcus, answering the king's call." After announcing himself he looked to one of the other people in the room, and gave her a shrug. She was looking as unsure as he felt, so perhaps he was in the right place.

    (Realized I forgot to tag @Insomnant )
    #4 TerraBooma, Jun 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
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  5. Klnkkk klnkkk!

    "Looks like the roads are in great shape, send my regards to the king" The young man spoke to himself shaking his head. The carriage was not the most comfortable ride to have, especially in the city that wasn't so financially stable. Em was in the rattling box, trying to keep his cool, though it was impossible when he was ready to vomit what he had the morning of. That's when the young lad jumped out of the carriage from the side. The driver noticed.

    "I hope you know the castle is quite a far distance from here" He explained to Em, but the man didn't get a reply he was hoping for
    "Sorry bud, I could use the exercise anyways, a warm up if you will." he started "Its either that or you'll be scrubbing the cart for days trying to get the smell of my regurgitated breakfast... well I mean if you want?" He turned to face the driver who gave a disgusted look in reply.

    "Didn't think so..."


    About two hours later, give or take, Em finally made it to the home of the king....and wow was it depressing. Didn't even look safe enough to find shelter in. Even the guards who stopped him from entering had tarnished armor on.
    Em put his hands behind his head and leaned his head back "here for the king's calling" he said with a yawn, giving the slacker impression to the guards, even though Em had better looking armor than both of them combined. They let him in, and as soon as he entered he laid his eyes on the king. " this where I am supposed to be?"

    #5 ~\The Talentless/~, Jun 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016

    Ansgar was leading a group of villagers away from their village, a place most had not left in their entire life. This was some weeks before he would arrive at the King's beck and call, of course, and while some had wanted to fight, a rather wise statement that none of them had any sort of combat experience, and would be slaughtered by the numerically superior bandits, won over anyone who doubted the idea that they don't run. Besides, right now, the original plan had gone to hell in a hand basket, as he was fond of saying, and he was leading them towards safety. As in, the last place a Serephim had been spotted. Even if it wasn't there, bandits rarely pursued if there was even the slightest chance for there to be one of those angels. Sure enough, they turned tail and set themselves on those that had just refused to listen to Ansgar, one of which was a young girl who was screaming in his arms, trying to reach her father who had been too stubborn to run. Too young and small to really break free, the group ran into the woods, making their way for the nearest town, while her screaming and crying slowly died down to a sullen, depressed look that he had seen one too many times, and in the mirror as well in the rare nights he slept somewhere that afforded him such a creature comfort. They arrived at a nearby town, much more protected than the outlying village had, and plenty of good samaritans and guards rushed out to help the ragged band of refugees. Several recognized Ansgar, and they thanked him for doing what he could, which he shrugged off. An old seamstress took the sullen girl to be cleaned up and taken care of, and the man sighed, looking at the bustle die down. "Gods, we're running out of places to run..."

    Ansgar turned his gaze towards the direction the capital was in, the old thought cropping back up. The King had put out a call for those willing to stand and be heroes for the people of the kingdom. He was no hero, but then again, no one was anymore. Not with their divine protectors, dwindling so few in number now, to protect them. He...supposed that was the problem with using a finite number of, albeit powerful, beings to defend a kingdom. They run out, eventually. And now, they had to fend for themselves, somehow? No one, he suspected, HAD combat experience in this kingdom anymore. The only ones that could ever train them were the Serephim themselves, something that made Ansgar antsy. But, he couldn't really just keep running, could he? As good as he was at it, he would run out of places to run eventually. The world was finite, after all. So it was with a sigh that he would find himself a carriage willing to take him to the capital, for not too harsh a fee. Apparently he had helped his family escape obliteration, so he had snagged quite the lowering in fee for, well, repaying the favor he had done the carriage driver's family. And with that, looking forward to a long trip ahead of him, he relaxed, a rare thing he could be afforded, and let his mind drift over the trip.

    "And here we are, I can walk from here, thank you friend." He wasn't very far off, and he wanted to stretch and walk off the trip he had undertaken. The route from the outskirts he had been at, and the capital, had been long and winding indeed, to avoid trouble mainly, so as he walked, he shook off the dust and problematics, relatively speaking. Way the place looked? Well, this was going to be a charity act, something he had expected anyways. Not like any of them had anything worth coin anymore. Well, not that they would willingly part with anyways, his mind looking at the twin swords sheathed on his sides. Approaching the gate, he exchanged quiet words with the guards, nothing overt, explaining why he was there. These men seemed the only decently armed and armored men in the kingdom, fitting, they would guard the grounds of a falling apart throne. Relatively speaking, and literally looking at the walls as he was escorted to the throne room where the meeting was to take place. Entering the place, he looked about him, taking in those that arrived before him. A woman with the king, not related or married likely, nor a concubine. Too distant, far as his eye could tell. The other two, well, normally he would put more thought into them, but he inclined his head in greetings to each, lifting his hat slightly in respect, before turning to the king and bowing, rather awkwardly mind you, an obviously ill rehearsed gesture. "Ansgar Staudinger, answering your call..."
  7. [BCOLOR=transparent]In tall grass, a spotted mushroom circled in on a worn path. A tired and presumably, hungry man walked upon the road. His hat casted a shadow over his somber face. He grunted at the rustling grass as he kicked a stick towards the red mushroom,[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] “A mushroom ain't a good place to hide in this barren wasteland.”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] His voice grated against the dry air, denying any comfort from intimidation. Mion popped up from the grass, wearing her unusual hat upon her head.[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]She groaned and yanked her hat off which sparked the static to lift short strands of her bright orange hair,[/BCOLOR] [BCOLOR=transparent]“Hmph, it fits right in at home!”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] Mion quickly jumped over hurdles of grass to catch up to the traveler, “It doesn't help that I would stick out like a sore matter what I do!” Mion hid her mouth with the mushroom hat and walked with the taller and sadder of the two. She glanced up at him with some sort of admiration. From which, she drew her observation of him. He was the strong and silent type. The hawk-eyed man had been travelling with Mion for about two minutes,[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] “Your nose reminds me of an eagle..”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] She walked ahead and paused to look at him, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“Your name wouldn't happen to be Magpie?”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]He gave her a sharp stare,[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] “No, it isn't. Now leave me alone, kid.” [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]The man didn’t need to . It was a sharp edge that doubled as somewhat nurturing. Mion bit into her hat.[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Great! I had always hated the word sounds like maggots. Are you called...Raven? Jay? Uhh...Crow?”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] Mion began to name off bird names, which were all greeted with a swift no from the gentleman.[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Kid, can you leave me alone?”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] He walked around her and trudged on to his destination.[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]"I am no kid! And...I can't exactly just leave you alone.." [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]Mion raked in her mind for excuses that would work in this situation, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]"My carriage..! It's stuck in a ditch and I can't seem to push it out." [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]She made a pushing motion with her hands and caught up to the man.[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]"Too ba-.."[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] The man was quick to become alert. He glanced back at the girl and shoved her head down as they both ducked for cover. Without second guessing himself, the man carried Mion behind a dead tree. From a distance, they could hear laughter erupting. Bandits or muggers, the man presumed, he glanced down to see if the strange girl was hurt. Mion was standing on the dead log and pointing at the mugger, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]"What the hell are you doing?"[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]"Hey! Leave us alone!" [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]She twisted her arm to reach for something. Her bow! It was left in the carriage along with her other stuff, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]"My...Hey, wait a second! Why do you have my bow?"[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] She glared at the man.[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]The villain looked at her and at the bow he was harboring on his shoulder, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]"That carriage was yours? You shouldn't leave your stuff around. You followed me over here? I’m impressed.."[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]Mion's face flamed up at that,[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] "I get it! Why is everyone lecturing me today?"[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] She dropped down and collected some stones, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]"Hand it over! Or else, I'm going to pelt you with stones."[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]The man behind the dead log was appalled at her, who was she and why was she like this? With a gruffer voice than before,[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] "Hand it over to her."[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] Mion spun on her heels and peered over the log with a smile glued to her face. The thief laughed it off and headed off on his merry way. With the eagle-eyed man behind the dead log, the thief was confident in his escape.[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]Mion huffed out her cheeks at the perpetrator. She weighed the stones in hand and threw them at the man. All of the stones hit his head, stunning him momentarily, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]"What-.."[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] His face contorted to an unhappy expression, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]"Quit pissing me off!" [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]Without any warning, arrows rained towards Mion. In the midst of her confusion, the thief grabbed her, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]"Call out your friend or mine are gonna kill you off!"[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]"No need for that."[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] The gruff voice came from behind. The perpetrator was greeted with a right hook. A rain of arrows came from the trees. He let Mion so he could twist around and attack the bird man. Mion ducked down kicked his shin and grabbed her bow as the man flinched from pain. Raven face slammed fist down on the man's back while he was hunched over. Mion plucked a few arrows from the ground and aimed at the trees. Before she could even fire, she was swept off of her feet by the man,[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] "No time to explain, I know these men. At first I thought they were the run in the mill bandits.."[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]Mion struggled in his grip, she had no idea where they were running off to, but she could see the receding figures of the men and the archers. She aimed at the men and pulled back her arm, but was restricted by the constant moving,[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] “If you aren’t going to stop...take me to my carriage!”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] She had more arrows and they could run away better,[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] “Go in the grass!”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]With guided directions from Mion, the man with the hooked nose managed to reach her carriage with the expense of the men finding them. As she rummaged around, she picked up a duplicate of her bow. It seems like she had bothered the man for no reason at all. Mion stared down at her bow, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“Ehehe...Looks like they didn’t steal my stuff. You can fight, right?”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] Of course he could, the bird man was on wanted papers for murder and trespassing. She climbed up on the roof of the carriage, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“Can you fight and ride the carriage?”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] He didn’t say much but sat in the coachman’s spot. Mion reeled back her arm and aimed at the men.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]A few arrows shot out and hit the men in the knees or shin. It slowed them down enough that they just stopped chasing the carriage and moaned about their pain, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“They aren’t very good at hunting people down.”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] The man mused. Mion stared at the fading men and felt a pang of guilt from the attack. She hopped down from the roof and sat next to the man.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Hand it over. We need to make a stop.” [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]She slowed the carriage to a stop and turned to the man, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“Take off your shirt, your knife stab is going to drain out your blood.”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]“How do you kn--”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] Without much of a warning, she applied rubbing alcohol to the wound.[/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]“I came into the bar to ask for directions. You were fighting with some other man…” [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]She opened a few boxes and pulled out a light green paste. Mion placed the ointment over the stab wound and began to wrap the bandages, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“You did quite a number on him. He has a black eye. You….need medical attention. So I followed you and came up with an excuse for you to come to my carriage and just...heal you? Speaking of healing, I think we should go back and head those poor men that I could have killed with my arrows..”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] Mion decided that she had rambled on enough.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]The man seemed to be in deep thought, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“Oh…Wait. What? Go back and heal them? They did enough. Plus, they won’t even die!”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] Mion pouted and slapped his back, right on his wound. He winced in pain,[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] “Ack, what’s your name?”[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“I’m Mion Umbra.”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] She took the reins in hand and snapped the two horses back to work, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“You are Ravenman, correct?” [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]Mion was being completely serious with his name.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]The man stared at her and stuffed a laugh under his cough, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“It’s L-...You know what? It’s Ravenman.” [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]He leaned back and propped his legs up, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“Where are we headed?”[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“The King’s castle!”[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]He choked on his spit, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“You’re turning me in?”[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]She frowned as she momentarily took her eyes off the road,[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] “What?” [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]She drawed out the word, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“Of course not! I am going to the king’s aid!”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] Ravenman didn’t think she would last long. She was just a child and she couldn’t even kill the men attacking them. Mion read his expression before he could even speak. With puffed cheeks, she yelled at him, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“I am in my twenties, not a child.”[/BCOLOR]


    [BCOLOR=transparent]Over the last couple of hours left in her journey, the two bonded with yelling and stories about their past week. Ravenman knew the way and helped her navigate through the forest and towards the castle. As the carriage pulled up to the castle property, Mion hopped out of the coachman’s seat. Ravenman gave her a thumbs up as she approached the castle. Mion grinned and gave him an okay sign.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Mion Umbra, reporting for du-”[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent] She noticed the butler and stopped mid-sentence, [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]“Wooooah, you’re pretty old.”[/BCOLOR]
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  8. Victoria Dawn
    Victoria made her ways through the back alleys, away from the morning crowd and patrolling guards. Though few and stretched thin, Victoria would rather not get into a situation with the law only hours before she was supposed to meet with the king and become a hero.

    It would be that easy right? No, It can't be! Or else everyone would be a hero.
    A voice took her out of her thoughts, as two men stepped out in front of her.
    Oi! That's Dawn isn't it Horace?
    Aye, it is! Come to give Theron his money?
    Victoria paused a took a step back. Theron was a well known bandit in these parts, and Victoria bought some gear from him a while back. She avoided him and his goons ever since. She quickly shook her head and took another step.
    Sorry boys not yet! I'm off to answers the kings call! I'll have your money shortly, with interest.
    The men busted out with laughter, the one name Horace grabbed ahold of her arm and pulled her close, his free hand brushing against her face.
    A petite thing like you going off to join the Kings army? Good luck. Since you don't have the money to pay Theron, you might just have to pay me.
    A devilous smirk crept to the mans face, which was quickly replaced by a look of pain as Victoria kneed the man in the privates. Pressing him to the ground, a knife flew from her hand and into the second mans knee. Darting from the alleyway, she threw her hood over her head and pulled her face mask over her mouth.
    Hours past and Victoria finally pushed through the crowds and up to the kings castle. The guards stopped her at the gate, and for a moment she thought she was caught, but she quickly said.

    I'm here to answer the kings call!
    They let her in and she was lead to the room among with a few others.
    Victoria Dawn, answering the call of the King.

    She sat to the side, giving uneasy glances towards the others. She didn't trust them, the majority seemed strong and ready to fight at a moments notice. Hopefully things went smoothly.
  9. The carriage had a child.

    Or, well, the people who were driving the carriage had one. A child. Tae stared unabashedly at the remarkably clean and innocent looking little boy, who stared right back with a clear blue gaze. The contrast was astounding; here he was, a small human dressed in simple leather breaches with a pageboy hat resting quite cutely on a mop of flaxen hair, sitting across from a woman dressed in old leather and thin, ugly beige clothing, smelling faintly of animals with a lame leg that clunked with every pothole they crossed, almost like it was reminding them of its presence. Tae licked her lips and swallowed, trying to force some moisture down her dry throat as she suddenly looked away and picked at the threads on her fraying scarf.

    "Mom said you were sick." A clear, squeaky voice resonated throughout the cluttered carriage, Tae raising her head and blinking in response.

    "I am. Well, I was. Sick. It's not really... Sickness. I was just dehydrated. Which means I didn't really have enough... Enough water. Your parents gave me some stuff, so I'm good now." Turns out, trying to walk all the way to the king's palace was not a good idea.

    "I know what dehydrated me-"

    "-and I was also hurt. Because of my leg. My left leg." Tae shut her mouth with an audible click of teeth, staring down with a grimace. "Sorry. I interrupted you." She muttered, chancing a glance up after a period of silence, only to be met with the same, slightly valid stare. Shifting restlessly, Tae resolved to go to sleep, pulling the blanket she had been provided tightly around her shoulders.

    When she woke up, a strange warmth was absolutely constricting her. Letting out a low grunt and straining, Tae froze when she heard a soft mumble of protest. Looking down and slowly lifting her blanket, she stared at the sleeping form of the boy, who had somehow managed to wrap his arms and feet around her body and fall asleep with her, pinning her arms to her sides and her legs together. She let out a soft, resigned sigh, tensing and trying to be as still as possible until the child woke up(which was not until fourty minutes later; by that time, she was considerably sore).

    "Hey. Uh, Rios." She mumbled awkwardly, a few minutes after the boy had awoken and returned to his post across from her. "When I... When your parents drop me off, or, well, after, I want you to give them this. After, though; after I go through the palace gates. Okay?"

    She quickly dug out her coin purse and deposited a half of it into her palm, holding it out to the boy who reluctantly accepted it, still looking at her with that same, goddamned wide eyed gaze.

    "It's... A thank you. Yeah. I'm..." She trailed off. "Thanks."

    As she suspected, Rios' parents refused her money when she tried to give them some after they arrived. No matter; Rios would do the job. Gazing up at the imposing castle(it didn't matter that the garden was untrained or that the windows were grimy; it was honestly one of the tallest buildings Tae had seen before), she marched up to the guards at the gate, uneven gait and unfamiliar cobblestone underneath her feet making her stumble slightly on the way.

    "I'm... I'm here for the king. His call."
    She fumbled with her words as she eyed the guards' armour and weapons with apprehension.

    They were relatively good-natured about it, and simply waived her in and directed her in the general direction. Tae was positive she would have been lost if it weren't for the person a little ways in front of her, who she had decided to follow in hopes that they were going to the same place. Despite losing the girl after a little due to her slower pace, Tae fumbled her way to the meeting room, slowly pushing open the doors. She entered and bowed stiffly, unused to the action.

    "Tae Xi. Answering the King's Call." Tae called out, voice hoarse. She tried to smooth out her gait as she moved a little bit away from the door and leaned against the wall, letting out a sigh of relief as she was able to take the weight off of her aching leg. Rubbing it slightly above her "prosthetic", she winced as fingers touched chafed skin; she was definitely going to need to switch out her bandages sometime soon.
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  10. Ethran’s prayers were answered as mere minutes before time was up an influx of new faces appeared, adding themselves as volunteers. It was barely more than a dozen people all up, but that was far better than the eight or so it had been. The King might be able to salvage the plan after all. Most of them were courteous in their introduction, announcing themselves by name and intention. He had to inquire further to find out most of their previous lines of work before directing them to the seats around the room if they wished to rest as they waited. There was one girl though, dressed in a mushroom cap, who took the opportunity to poke fun at his age. He gave her a frown in return, “This is no place for those who show such immaturity young girl.” he admonished her, “If you’re here as a volunteer I suggest you conduct yourself in a more fitting manner.”


    Within the next room the King sat upon his throne, fidgeting with excitement and rubbing his hands together with glee. Today was the day he met his country’s ‘heroes’. Volunteers who would scour his countryside clean of the vermin that now infested it. Dozens of them, more than all the Seraphim left in the world, just for Mercen. All for their personal glory and the goodwill of the people. So it wouldn’t cost him a single coin. It was the perfect plan, and he wondered why no other nations had tried something similar. They were probably all too far in the thrall of the Church and the Seraphim.

    The man glanced upwards at the window in the roof which allowed the sun to pass directly over the palace, shining its light through and down onto the throne. A relic of when the Church’s grip had been stronger upon the world, the king would always be under the protection of the light. These days it caused more problems with its insistence on blinding him whenever he wasn’t directing his gaze downward. Just this one time he was happy to see its light shining directly down upon him, squinted eyes barely able to make its true position out. But he could tell, noon had arrived, and it was time to meet his heroes. He clicked his fingers at the guards who went to open the throne room doors.


    A person suddenly walked into the entrance room, dressed in golden armour and with a bladeless sword hilt tucked into their belt, a furious expression on their face. Though their wings were currently inactive it was clear what they actually were. Without a word to anyone they brushed past Ethran and threw the doors to the throne room open, before slamming them shut behind them. Not even the guards had time to react. And none of them felt brave enough to follow the angel and challenge their entrance.

    There was dead silence in the room apart from any of the volunteer heroes who might’ve spoke. Ethran looked aghast and was staring at the paper in his hands, not meeting anyone’s eyes. Voices rose from within the throne room, the exact words were muffled, but it was clear the occupants weren’t happy. The awkward scene lasted for a few minutes before the voices finally quieted down. The doors were blew open, slamming into the guards who stood on either side and knocking them off balance, dropping one to his knees and forcing the other to grab a nearby pillar for support. There was a black semi-circle on each half where they met when closed that was lightly smoking as if the door had been hit by a fire.

    The Seraphim stormed out of the throne room, an aura of light shining around his body, almost bright enough to hurt those who looked directly at them. They were through the entranceway in seconds, face twisted into an even darker expression. Behind him the heroes could catch a glance at the king’s face. The man, even in the distance, looked flustered and was standing in front of the throne. Then the guards quickly closed the doors. Once again none of them dared to follow the Seraphim as they left the palace.

    Another few minutes passed in a silence before the doors opened once again, this time at a more leisurely pace. The guards indicated for the waiting men and women to enter. Generally unnoticed by anyone due to her line of work, Ferrin had managed to make her way up to the doors while they had waited. As each hero walked by the old woman she gave them a semi-toothless smile and a large thumbs up, showing her support. “I believe in you all.” she whistled out, using a quiet voice so the king wouldn’t be at risk of hearing. Ethran flashed her a stern look, but she paid him no mind and kept her encouragement up until the last hero had gone by.


    As the heroes entered the throne room the now seated king rose to his feet and spread his arms out wide in greeting. Gone was the flustered expression, replaced by a wide smile and bright blue eyes. In stark comparison to the run down state of the rest of the country and palace the king was dressed quite handsomely. He wore a crisp white surcoat with the crest of Mercen in blue with long blue trousers. A sea blue cape flowed down his back, another crest was embroidered in gold on the side facing away from the heroes. A crown dotted by sapphires sat atop his head. The man himself was approaching his mid-forties and had the makings of a gut just visible. A little extra flesh was noticeable on his hands and arms and in his cheeks but he was not overweight. Like most Mercen natives he had pale skin. His hair reached his shoulders and was well groomed. There was a very regal look about him.

    “Welcome Heroes of Mercen. Your king,” his voice boomed out, initially, “greets you on this day.” What had been loud dropped considerably in volume as the ‘flow’ of volunteers cut off rather quickly. He did a quick head count mentally and noted there were only fifteen people here before him. His gaze drifted upwards to where Ethran stood, still visible in the next room. The butler didn’t look happy with himself and a brief flash of annoyance crossed the king’s face. “Welcome to the first day of a new era.” the King continued, hiding his disappointment, “Today is when the Age of heroes begins and when Mercan provides the world with a new path forward!”

    “There are two tasks before you that threaten our great country. The Dreadwood continues its eternal march towards the lands of the living. The abhorrent trees must be stopped, or at least halted temporarily so we may deal with the other threats to our land before returning our attention to them. And in the south the Tyrant of Vannar prepares their army for an invasion, something that must be stopped before countless innocent lives are lost. To this end I task you with assassinating the Tyrant themselves, leaving their army leaderless and allowing it to collapse.”

    He gestured to his sides and the King’s remaining two butlers stepped forth on either side of the throne. “I leave it up to you heroes, to choose which issue you shall challenge first. Those who wish to journey to the Dreadwood go to my left. Those who would kill a Tyrant to my right.” He then gestured to the woman beside his throne, “This is my historian Thaycin, she shall be accompanying one group to document their endeavours so we may spread the story of heroes around the world.”
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  11. For Lucy, the question wasn't really that tough. He had come to escape the forests, not to delve right back into their greatest threat. He was sure that whomever went to deal with the dreadwood would be more than capable...he wasn't ready to face the forests again, not quite so soon after everything had gone so wrong. Wordlessly he stepped forward, to the side which would focus on the assassination of a tyrant...maybe he could do some good for some people. Lucy wasn't quite sure what life was like for those in Venar, but if they were living under a tyrant...well, it wouldn't get good. The nice thing about fighting humans meant Lucy could be lethal easily.

    Human flesh wasn't great at stopping an arrow anywhere in the world.

    Lucy noticed he was one of the first few stepping forth, and raised a brow. He was hoping that the others would be a little more certain in their choices, but he could work with whoever. Lucy wasn't exactly picky with his company. He let out a quiet chuckle, alone with his thoughts, and awaited for the rest of the group to form. He gave each person an amiable nod as they came closer, staying silent until everyone had gathered. Quietly, Lucy introduced himself.

    "I am Lucius, it's a pleasure to meet you, I specialize in archery. Feel free to call me Lucy."
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  12. Ansgar seemed to try and be one with the shadows whenever the Serephim, or the King for that matter, cast their respective gazes in their general direction. He really didn't need their gaze or thoughts to readily notice him, he wasn't one to make polite conversation with kings and such anyways. Send him back out into the wilds, and he could blaze a trail anyone could manage, which might be necessary looking at the group he had fallen in with. Not the most impressive, but he'd seen far more motlier crews, so he wouldn't really judge just yet. They seemed more readily workable than nobles or the like, so he could at least pretend to be able to organize things. To be honest, his speciality in leading people AWAY from the danger wouldn't help nearly as much here, but what the hell, maybe being able to avoid unnecessary trouble could get them places that otherwise wouldn't be reachable?

    Not like having to avoid fights was hard, if one readily put their mind to it.

    Some fellow named Lucius had stepped forward first, after the king's introduction and speech, introducing himself as an archer, feel free to call him Lucy. Ansgar wasn't readily sure how to read him, not like reading folk helped over much, but the archery bit would be nice to have. But as to where he chose to stand, well, that took little thought. Ansgar hated the Vannar, so it was an easy choice for him to make his way over to join this Lucy fellow, the archer, in standing with the group that would stand to assassinate a Tyrant. A rather bold thing, and didn't sound terribly heroic, then again, assassinations rarely did, the word assassinate didn't seem to ring well with the idea of a hero. But, not like he was an expert on the matter, so he really stopped thinking in that regard before things got any more confusing. Nodding firmly towards Lucy, once the group formed, Ansgar offered a quiet greeting, arms crossed over his chest.

    "Ansgar Staudinger, tracker and trail blazer, at your services."
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  13. Mion huffed out her cheek and felt her face heat up at the old man's remark. She pushed her mushroom hat over her eyes to avoid any eye contact with the others. That old man, her thoughts burned with some type of vengeance left unfilled, how dare he make me a target of laughter. Although no one took it funny, due to their impressive maturity, Mion still wanted some justice. As her face cooled down from its beet-red color, Mion kicked the ground. So far, she did not enjoy the recruitment process. The young doctor wanted to go back to her "broken" carriage and to Ravenman. Maybe she could convince him to come in and ravage the place. She suddenly realized that she was in the presence of a king and her thoughts weren't as noble as the people around her.

    Unfortunately, with her eyes shielded from everything, Mion missed the opportunity to see a Seraphim. However, she did not miss the older woman stood near the gate as the future heroes lined up to go in. Mion brightened up as her former unhappy mood dispersed in thin air. She rubbed her cheeks and whispered a quick word of thanks.

    As the old man on the throne began his speech, she glanced at the butler. A stern gaze signaled that she was probably supposed to keep her trap shut while he spoke. Mion staying quiet was a rarity, it was no surprise at how antsy she had gotten from just standing around. To soothe her nerves, she tossed her hair to the side and began to braid her bright red hair. Mion was partly listening to him. Her braid was abandoned halfway as the King began to talk about the missions available to go to.

    People began to line up and left Mion with a choice. Two split roads, trees or a tyrant. A whimsical smile replaced her lips, she picked the tyrant's path. Her walk changed, as she took long strides to the right side of the throne. Her dress floated up and down as she twiddled her thumbs and danced up and down from her heels to her toes.

    "Lu-..Lucy?" She stuttered as she walked out of line to examine the man called so, "What a cute name for a scary looking man!" From what she could see, her entire team seemed unique, "Ansgar sounds scary. Can you guys imagine a giant screaming that his name is Ansgar at us?" Mion twirled on her heels as the glass vials on her dress chimed together, "I think we'll be fine, we have pretty girls on our team."

    "Anyways," She dragged out the word and grinned at the newly formed team, "I'm Mion Umbra, I'll be the one keeping everyone alive!" An idea popped in her head, "You guys can meet Ravenman later. Bonding is important." Ravenman was socially inadequate, Mion decided that her team would have to meet him personally.
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  14. Victoria took a courageous step forward, despite the knot forming in her stomach. She followed the others a joined the group with the Tyrants. She didn't have stabbing a man with a blade, specially a man who deserved it! Trees might be a tad bit more awkward. Besides she would be much more useful in a city or camp rather than the outdoors. She glanced around and her hopes deflated.
    The first man, Lucy, used a bow, much more reliable and longer range than a throwing knife. Out to more deadly if he knew how to do it properly. A thought crossed her mind. Perhaps he could show her how to shoot a bow? She'd have to ask in the future.
    The second man stepped up. Ansgar. He seemed to be a strong man, a good edition to the team no doubt if they were to be going into enemy territory.
    A rather..... strange... girl stepped forward next, a cheerful attitude about her, which was rare in these times. She went on to confirm Victoria's suspension as she sprouted off about names. She had a point tho, Lucy wasn't a particularly scary name, and Ansgar was much more frightful.
    Then Victoria noticed the mushroom cap
    You mean to take that off before the task don't you? That outta give us away if situations call for us to behave stealthily. Which I prefer to do.
    Victoria said making it known she was indeed apart of the Tyrant group.
    As beautiful as it is, I don't see it being practical.
    Victoria added with a smile, not wanting to seem rude. These people were to be her friends and fellow heroes, her first move shouldn't have been to criticize the girls fashion taste.
    I'm Victoria Dawn. Not going to be to helpful in a straight on fight, but when we need someone to pick a lock or scout ahead, I'm the girl for the job.
    She said glancing at everyone smiling, giving a small bow to everyone.
    I look forward to working with everyone.
  15. Thaycin pondered over the small pad of bound paper held facewards in her palm. Written in her own form of shorthand, she gave it a once over in case of error, no sooner finishing than have before her the heroes enter. The historian flipped to next blank page.

    She noted the men, their number, a side note of the King's subtle reactions, but more emphasis on the words, and actions. She light dipped her head, crossing her hands together so her robe's sleeve-cuffs met, when introduced by the King. Then wrote, in tally, which hero moved where.

    If Thaycin was a betting woman, she'd bet on the place those wanting to be heroes would gravitate to. But it was not her place to bet, but record what transpired. And such a bet would be frivolous in any case. Some shifted left, more right, some stepped forward and introduced themselves to the King. Oh? Well calculated.

    Thinking others would see the value in this and follow suit, Thaycin readily placed her quill just over the page... and then blinked. Do I... record all her speech? The young girl spoke a mile per minute. And it wasn't only her speech to note, it was her appearance. Making quick decision to note her appearance first, she wrote in her shorthand a sort of note on the side before having to move to the next.

    To the Tyrant, it looks so.
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  16. As the other would-be heroes slowly filtered into the waiting area, their rag-tag and uncertain appearance actually brought a great deal of relief to Elyn. She knew of course, that she should be hoping for competent and awe-inspiring warriors who would see to the king's commands with nary a need for her own daggers to be unsheathed. And yet, the dispensing of such an imposing mental image lifted the shadow of doubt from her shoulders. If everyone else looked as lost as she, surely she must be in the right place.

    The antics of the youthful girl in the mushroom cap- dressed as a character from a fanciful child's tale- made Elyn give in and accept a grin rather than outright chuckling. Her mirth turned to concern a mere moment later, wondering why such a young one would be willing to put so much at stake when there were others to help. But then she glanced around the room and realized that no, they really did need anyone who would volunteer. What a disgrace that the situation had crumbled to just such a level, but so it had.

    As a sudden reminder of just how dour the scenario, the otherworldly visitor intruded on their gathering, bursting past a hall full of scared-but-brave citizens. Elyn hid no part of the disdain that welled up inside of her at the sight of the Seraphim. Before them what played out was- to her mind- a perfect example of the disgusting way that the 'angels' treated their subjects. Human authority meant nothing to them, even less than humanity's actual well-being. It sickened her, but Elyn could do nothing about it beyond harboring fantasies of a common uprising... or else just a time after the false security of the Seraphim's presence had faded away.

    But such abstract concerns had to be relegated to the back of her mind, as the time to meet the king had come. In spite of her deeply held belief that the king was not to be respected for his inability to protect his kingdom, Elyn still felt nervousness welling up inside of her- palms sweating in a way that would have interfered if she'd been wielding her daggers. Luckily her life was not at stake now, only her social standing, and that had died long ago.

    With a thoughtful gaze, Elyn watched the king's reaction to his ragtag militia. His disapproving expression came and went as fast as the morning mist, but it did not escape Elyn's attention. Her own lips pressed tightly together in a thin line, serving as a dam to contain the mounting indignation that swelled within her. Her tongue ached with the weight of a held condemnation- if the King felt such dismay at the quality of his subjects perhaps he need look no further for the cause than the one who ruled them. But she did not rebuke their leader so. It would not be becoming of a mere bandit-turned-kitchen servant.

    Two options laid before them. Head to the woods to face the unrelenting trees... or fight men with flags and swords. The mere thought of attempting to fend off the inexorable mass of the Dreadwood by themselves placed a pressure on Elyn's mind and set her muscles on edge. What folly, what impossibility! The king discussed it with such casual contempt as one might call for the eradication of a particularly bothersome hive of cave locusts. What arrogance, to insist they do something about a problem centuries in the making! They'd tried, Elyn's entire village, and received nought but chastisement for doing so. No support or aid or even encouragement. Only silence in the face of the trees. Twisted, dark, so many trees, so thick their very surrounding presence seemed to suck the air out of her lungs.

    Elyn nearly staggered- heart racing, fists clenched. She wouldn't go back there, not again. The trees couldn't be beaten, it was madness to try. With jaw set and eyes pained, she made for the Vannar camp. Although she hardly wanted to harm humans anymore, perhaps she could convince herself that the tyrant's soldiers were less than. Unlike the others, she offered no introduction nor made note of theirs. This was not some damned social function with twenty course meals and minstrels filling their ears with lofty song while servants filled their glasses with wine of decreasing purity. This was a call to arms, and as such the only matter of any relevance was the ability to answer said call. To that end, Elyn folded her arms in front of her green tunic and awaited the dismissal to see to their charge.
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  17. Tae simply crossed her arms and hunched her shoulders, fully intending to stay put and silent until the time came to meet the king. Gaze flicking to each volunteer as they entered but leaving a split second later, she stared down at her scuffed boots(one more so than the other) with a certain queasiness in her gut, a faint trace of embarrassment souring her tongue. She looked... Well, quite pitiful, compared to some of the volunteers. At least she could take solace in not being the strangest, an accolade that went to the young girl with the strange hat and a certain... Way with words. She grimaced sympathetically when the strange girl was admonished in front of everyone; how embarrassing it must have been, to be called out like that.

    Right as her foot was getting tired, the angel burst through the door. It took a moment for Tae's brain to catch up, to believe her eyes, and he was already vanished behind the throne room's doors by the time she relaxed and stopped what had most likely been a vapid, puzzled stare. Shaking her sad slightly, she gave a quick glance around to see if perhaps it was a normal occurrence; one glance at the guards and the man that had welcomed them showed that it was definitely not. Tae opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, quite curious and wanting to ask about what just happened, but thought better of it; better she be silent then reveal just how out of the loop she was. God forbid someone's first and strongest impression of her to be one that labeled her as stupid.

    When they were finally ushered into the throne room and after Tae had blinked the dazzling spots out of her eyes, she flushed slightly when she saw how unnatural her walk was compared to the others. It was clear that there was something wrong with her leg; she never actually wore shoes with her replaced limb, but had decided to just to keep up appearances and boy, was she regretting it. The sole created a slight difference in height that accentuated her limp and her metal "foot" kept on sliding around inside the shoe despite the cloth she had stuffed in beforehand. It created a strange, dragging sort of gait, and it also meant she was one of the last into the room, something that didn't help dampen the shame that flushed her neck and prickled along her back.

    Seeing everyone get up and make introductions to the King, Tae decided it was high time she did so as well. Taking a few shuffling steps forward, she bowed stiffly, her speech clipped and tense with discomfort.

    "Tae Xi. I'm a fur trapper. Wilderness survival is my specialty."

    Clearing her throat once, her eyes widened when the King gave them their objectives. Obviously the tasks were planned for a larger, less motley group, and were daunting to say the least. Tae had never even seen the living trees before, but the tyrant... She swallowed past the lump in her throat. The tyrant was a dark fog over her home, the source for the sour mutters at the edge of trading posts, what put hardness in the hearts and eyes of the mountain men, as disconnected as they were from the conflict. Tae felt drawn to that task immediately; a human was much easier to figure out than some monstrous tree. Still feeling too ungainly and uncomfortable to actually voice her opinion, she merely stared at the ground, and at her boots, marveling in the difference in shine.
    #17 Daices, Jun 24, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  18. The King watched as the mass of heroes split up into two smaller groups. Quite impressively they ended up in even numbers on either side, with Thaycin filling in the missing spot with the Tyrant’s group. He nodded at her in approval of the choice. The Dreadwood might be a supernatural occurrence centuries in the making, but fighting trees was not something that lent itself to an epic history. The fall of a Tyrant though, now that was how heroes were truly born. He was already looking forward to reading her account of the mission when they returned. He might even bring in another writer to spruce it up a bit. Appearances were everything right now, especially if he wanted to overcome the Seraphim.

    He clapped his hands together to bring silence to any final introductions. “The groups have been chosen and the missions decided. Yiri,” he gestured to the Dreadwood group, “Please escort the fine men and women under your command to the chapel so the bishop may instruct them of the details involved in their task.” Another reason he was glad Thaycin was with the second group. The Dreadwood mission was intrinsically linked to the Church and writing their efforts out of history would be difficult. On the other hand …

    “Jonathon, please escort your group to the armoury where General Million awaits them” he pointed to the Vannar group this time. Toppling a Tyrant was a purely secular task and was much better for the hero’s image. “Onwards my heroes now, to your victory!” He punched a fist into the air, being as inspirational as he could be. The two butlers bowed far more calmly and began heading in opposite directions to the doors on either side of the room, expecting the heroes to follow them.


    The armoury was in the castle’s western wing. It was a large room yet its contents were not as numerous as they should have been. There were swords, spears, a few polearms, bows and quivers. Yet it was clear that the racks were half filled and some of the weapons even showed minor signs of damage, as if they had not been cared for properly. Armour was even more sparse, with only a few various chest pieces, greaves, gauntlets, helms and vambraces. It appeared the equipment within was more fitting to arm light infantry than the guards of the palace and knights.

    In the centre of the room, standing over a wooden table, was an old man. He wore a breastplate that was a mirror to that the other palace guards wore, yet had been too lazy or apathetic to dress himself in the rest of his armour. He looked to be in his fifties with dark black hair that ringed the large bald spot on his head and bushy eyebrows. He had a rather impressive handlebar moustache and the rest of his face was clean shaven. Beneath the breastplate he wore a brown and white striped shirt, matching trousers and brown leather boots. When he looked up hard green eyes met the group.

    The man straightened up as the heroes filed in and spread his arms out wide, “Take whatever you want heroes.” he spoke the words with derision, “Rob your country of the last quality equipment it has so you can deliver it to the Tyrant in person, like the bastard needs more help.” He frowned deeply at them. “I guess you freeloaders want to know where he is so you can get it to him quick. Well you’ll find the Tyrant in his border fortress. Ten miles away from his actual army. Guarded only by his elite guard and corrupted Lumen. Sitting out there with a target on his back just daring the Seraphim to attack. And why shouldn’t he challenge them. Already killed four of the buggers so I don’t know what eight humans think they can do.” His gaze fixed on Thaycin, “I hope you plan to abandon these fools soon historian. Lest you wish to detail how Mercen showed just how pathetic its final moments were.”
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  19. The king clapped twice, causing a hushed silence over the others. Mion clasped her hand over her mouth in fake shock as she gestured to the girl that pointed out that her hat wasn't going to be helpful for stealth. She pulled her hat off, raising a few strands of bright red hair. She properly inflated the hat and placed it back on her head. Mion decided that she will wait for the King to be silenced before talking about her hat.

    "Jonathon," She repeated the name after the king directed his butler to escort the group to the armory, "Do you think we will die in battle?" Her tone was very cheerful and she fully expected the man to reply with full honesty. Mion's face turned a bright scarlet as she remembered the other's judging eyes on her, "I-.." She glanced over to Victoria, "I will wear something appropriate when I get back to my carriage.." Mion gestured to her large red gown, "You guys don't think I'm young...Right? Ravenman thought I was a young child! I'm twenty-two and ready to fight." She hmphed at her new friends.


    The old man in the center of the armoury would be just like her grandfather if she ever had one. He was awfully cynical about the entire aspect of the king's heroes coming to the rescue. Mion picked up a bow and a quiver and lightly swung it around to get a feel for it. As the old man grieved on and on about the kingdom's poverty and they were the ones robbing it even further. Mion tilted her head at the old man and raised her bow, pulling an arrow from the quiver, she aligned it with the bow and aimed at the man.

    "General Million, was it?" Her voice was lighthearted and soft, "Don't you think it is pretty pathetic for a man with no honor to be stuck in a room filled with tools of war?" She lowered the bow and aimed at the stool he was sitting upon. With some accuracy, she shot an arrow in between his feet, "Whoosh!" She mimicked the sound of the arrow whizzing past them, "I mean, I thought a stable boy would be greeting us and you would be leading us into battle. That's pretty disappointing."

    Mion looked over to Thaycin and curtsied, "Thank you for choosing us!"
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  20. In spite of the king's best efforts, Elyn didn't feel particularly inspired. A small group against an army, it sounded... implausible, to say the least. But she'd wait to see the plan, hoping that there was more to it than she'd been privy to so far. The fact that they were headed to an armory and therein awaited a General was a good sign. Perhaps they'd be coordinating with the king's guard or a militia? Although they were the militia, were they not? What a poorly executed martial undertaking this was proving to be.

    The outburst of their youthful and brightly-dressed companion lightened the dour mood somewhat, and Elyn grinned in spite of herself. She couldn't hold her tongue and spoke up softly with a philosophical tone. "It is a general rule, I have found, that it takes a certain mix of confidence and inexperience- which only the young can manage- to believe oneself fully ready for a fight." She realized she sounded a bit condescending and quickly appended with a warm smile- "Though I'm sure you are!"

    When they made it to the armory, the general state of disrepair and disuse only served to reinforce her pessimism on this endeavor. Because it certainly wasn't reinforcing any grand army any time soon. Elyn browsed through the equipment with a barely concealed look of disdain. She spared an equally unimpressed glance toward the 'general' they'd been sent to meet, recognizing him for a man with no real purpose to his existence. It was a sad display of grouching but as soon as he indicated they could take from the contents of the armory- Elyn began doing just that. She found a small rug and pulled it over by the weapon racks, laying it on the floor. On that tanned hide went sword after sword, a good eight of them laid in alternating orientations so that- when rolled up- the bundle could be carried under her arm.

    She mostly ignored the washed up man who greeted them and his incredibly dour words... at least, until Mion targeted him with an arrow. The telltale THWP! of the bowstring being released elicited a reach toward for her dagger but she stopped herself upon realizing that the general had not been hit, though her eyes remained wide and glued to the situation to watch for further escalation. Perhaps in an attempt to defuse the situation, she stepped up and lifted her bundle of swords to show off her haul. "If you are correct, and these are indeed Mercen's final moments, I should think the people will want these. I would not rob my country of anything- but I would see it armed and better able to offer up some attempt at a defense, over sitting in place while waiting for death. Thank you, for the weapons. I am sure your contribution to our cause will make a resounding impact in the completed account." She glanced over at their historian meaningfully, hoping that the woman was noting all this- including the General's fatalistic pessimism- down.
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