The Scrolls of Gelbaron: The Forsaken Saga (IC)

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  1. The Scrolls of Gelbaron: The Forsaken Saga
    OoC and Sign Ups

    Terrubane. It was the pinnacle of human civilization. Originally the home of refugees of the mighty empire that reigned under Conuence's banners, it has now become the beacon of everything that is advancing. It was the capital of the technological revolution, with a few inventors realizing that steam, or to a few individuals mana crystals, could be used as a driving force for things that would ease their way of life. The young capital had everything going for it; a few buildings that were more than a couple of storeys high and had mechanical gizmos that allowed people to choose which storey that they wanted to go to, methods of transportation that was at the same pace as a horse and many more that are coming out. While it was only the rich that were able to run the technology, it certainly was a sight to behold for every living being that walks through its gates. Even a few people from the rival capital, Conuence, watched in wonder at the marvel, while being fearful that these new inventions could mean that the world of magic was about to collapse. For many scholars, however, magic will have many more years before the contraptions would rival the basis of civilization.

    However, all of that wonder was brought crashing down when the army of an unknown man, going only by the name of Lord Sacremento. Men from the town of Chaldon had long dwelled on the thought of Terrubane being reduced to rubble, so when this man had rallied them under his name and determination to do what they had wanted to do, they were more than happy to oblige. In return for this service, the lord had struck a pact with the nightmarish creatures that lived in the neighbouring mountains to rally under him and swore an oath that they will no longer plague the city with death. Werepyres. Whoever had thought about the unnatural union of two children of the night, vampires and lycanthropes, had accomplished their wish. They had produced monsters that stood over 7 feet tall on average, their bipedal canine's muscles growing so much that they could, theoretically, rip trees out of the ground and throw them to speeds of a runaway train. What also gave these beasts a ghastly sight was the leathery, bat-like wings that expanded at least twice their own length so not only could they spread terror on the ground, but from the sky.

    With this army, Terrubane was reduced to a shell of what it was. Soldiers, warriors of the nearby villages, even the mercenaries that had been hired from as far away as Galbeez & Silvæa were being swept aside by this massive force. Weeks went by and all of the city had been turned to ruins, rubble lying on the ground. However, those that had survived the initial attack had started to drive them back. Magisters from Silvæa and Conuence were brought in, as well as people who were able to use ranged weapons, to aid those that had still survived and drive Sacremento's army back. While it had been a lot of hard work and a lot of strategic planning, but this ad-hoc army had managed to drive them back and, with any luck on their side, this day to be the last fight of the Destruction of Terrubane.



    On the outskirts of Terrubane, a sight of broken bodies was scattered. Many had been left to rot. For the living, however, the struggle carries on. Soldiers fighting for the city began to charge. Their swords, spears and any usable weapon lunging out in front of them. There was only one line of the enemy left, but they were consisting of nothing but the fearsome beasts of the night; Werepyres. Most of their villainous human counterparts retreated from the sudden surge of their enemies. These large beasts, however, were something to be feared. Each werepyre needs at least 10 men to kill them. Still, the humans charged, using every last bit of strength and morale to push this army of darkness away from their beloved city. For what seemed like an eternity, they finally clashed, both man and beast raining down their deadly attacks. One man was ripped into two. Another was brought down by gashes in the legs. Magisters and marksmen formed deadly hails of bullets, arrows and magic.

    For the few minutes, it seemed that the men of the ruined city were on the verge of winning. However, the beasts started to fight back, their deadly claws and vicious fangs finally having a footing in the battlefield. Things went from bad to worse in minutes. There was still a glimmer of hope. Out there in the battlefield, one man had managed to cut himself through two of the monsters. He kept the morale high for those who were left. While there were still commanders out there, they were few and far in between. He decided to take up the reins of keeping everyone together. The man was hardened with years of experience. His ash blond hair, completely caked in the blood of man and beast, flowed as he moved through the battlefield. His armour had been cut and battered, but it was still holding together. His sabatons were drenched in the bloodied soil. All the meanwhile, his hardened, scarred, hawk-like face scoured the battle. His deep blue eyes picked out his targets and keeping check on the line that they had created. He made sure that no enemy breached the line, protecting the marksmen and magisters.

    One werepyre charged towards him. Its claws outstretched and ready to cut the man down and start its rampage. For the young mercenary, however, his weapon was poised. Despite the rain and dark clouds above, his claymore shone out into the darkness. Its icy-blue edge acted as a beacon of hope for everyone around him. The aura that came off the blade reflected off the gold hilt. The beast cut the distance between them and was on the warrior. In one swift move, the man pirouetted around the beast. He cleaved its arm in an up stroke. He whipped the blade back down again, the wicked edge slicing through the werepyre's back. It was instantly crippled. He left the beast for others to finish it off.

    Someone shouted for him. “Auroreon!” Pinpointing where it came from, the mercenary moved through the people, trying to get to the source of the call. “Auroreon!” Tried as he might, his progress through the thick of battle was slow. People and the sludge slowing him down. He realized that the line was faltering elsewhere. The beasts started to whittle the numbers down in the area. The dead and the dying were numerous in this area, mostly from his side. Finally, he reached the person that was calling his name. “Auroreon!” the man started, his voice heavy with fatigue. “We can't hold this line! Their attacks are too strong and are almost through to reach the magisters and marksmen!”

    Auroreon could only watch as a werepyre came. It lifted the man high into the air. Its claws dug into their sides. With a show of brute strength, the beast tore the man in half. The werepyre threw the two halves in either direction. Before the beast began to attack the mercenary, a bullet ripped through the beast's shoulder. It was followed by the crashing might of 5 fireballs into the beast's chest. It sent the beast flying through the air and into a standing standard bearer. The spearhead of the standard stabbing through its chest. Without another moment to waste, Auroreon stabbed Silver Moon into the ground. “Men! If you value your independence, cometo me!” he roared. His voice boomed through the battlefield for the ears of the people that sill have energy to come to his call.
    #1 Mercinus3, Nov 30, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
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  2. Umbra watched as the night raged on, the blood red clouds covered the night sky, an all too familiar setting for the ghoul. His mind was racked with the pleas and calls of dying...soldiers, not his usual offering but it's happened before. A war was raging, he knew that much as the spirit disappeared and reappeared miles from his original spot. Standing atop the walls of Terrubane, the battle having gone on for around two days already. He'd decided to ignore their pleas until now, he always does when he gets so many, a petty front-line soldier's soul is not much worth to him.

    He stood atop the walls, the stench of rotting flesh so powerful even he could smell it. the spirit watched as men were cut down with ease, the beast's claws cutting through their flesh like butter, the sheet metal armour barely holding up against their piercing fangs and pure strength. "They would be better prepared with light armour...fight them with mobility you feeble minded imbeciles" he mumbled to himself. Their delectable souls floated in the air above their cold, dead corpses, still pleading towards the blue figure for help.

    "Umbra, may my soul fuel your hatred" one begged "May I guide your bolts into the hearts of your enemies!" another exclaimed towards the blue figure, "your blade shall reap those who stand against us!" more shouted at him while others simply begged, repeating the words please in an almost religious fashion. "I never understood this place, why not ride a horse instead of metal?" he asked, mainly to himself as he hopped down onto the ground.

    His arms extended to the sides as he slowly walked through the fields of souls, reaping their afterlife without even a look, their words dooming them to an eternity within the aspect of revenge. One of the large beasts charged straight at him, claws outstretched and fangs bared, wings folded back as it plummeted towards him. He simply continued to walk, taking his pay.

    The creature passed through him, his body fading slightly as the blue souls fluttered away from him like dust in the wind only to be pulled back into two light blue orbs in his hands. A thud and a crack was the only sound that could be heard as it hit the ground, the fangs breaking off as it's arms and neck broke, collapsing into a crumpled pile on the ground.

    "Pledge fulfilled" he said, some of the souls in the orbs separated as he opened his mouth wide and gulped them down with a satisfied sigh. "You might not taste amazing but sometimes, quantity beats quality" he chimed, walking further towards the fray. By this point he'd noticed something odd, mainly the sheer amount of people left.

    "Those men will have a lot of women and children to look after" he mumbled, still being caught in the past where women weren't allowed even to wear armour or wield a blade, let alone fight along side men. "I feel sorry for both their minds and crotches" he added with a sigh, pressing his hands together and forming one large orb. He opened his mouth wide and engulfed it, swallowing the lives of many men in one gulp, no more than a bulge in his neck as it slid down into his stomach.

    "Let's get to business then shall we?" he said, once again, to himself, as he pulled out two rapiers and darted forwards to the aid of the fallen's brethren. He span, blades extended as he shredded through one beast, his blades dulling as they went through. "Oh, they are strong!" he exclaimed, giving his rapiers a single shake as if cleaning the blood from them, they began to glow a brighter blue than the hilt or even the rest of his body, only his eyes could match the brightness.

    "That guy seems fine" he muttered, looking over to the person he could only presume was called Auroreon due to the amount of times it's been shouted at him. Umbra decided to tactically work away from the man and defend those who were less trained in the art of combat. His blades pierced their bodies, decapitating, heart piercing or debilitating blows hitting each and every time he struck. Their pledges were only to either protect their allies, kill the beasts or defend the kingdom, and he would perform such an act with such a mighty payment.
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  3. Atlys' hands worked at a frenzied pace, her long, pale fingers flitting between the piles of ground herbs, bottles, and bowls. She was no stranger to herbs, but the woman screaming in her ear was definitely a stranger. Apparently, she was some old healer gone housewife who had decided to set up a makeshift hospital in the midst of the carnage and pulled every able-bodied healer within a two-mile radius to her basement by the ear. Atlys had just happened to be in the area, selling her remedies in between discerning the best way to rob the nearby bread stand when battle horns sounded, and some old crow had grabbed hold of her elbow. She'd tried to talk herself out of anger. She really did. But consolations of "wrong place, wrong time" were the best she had, and it just didn't cut it. If she hadn't been "drafted," Atlys probably would have fled the city at the first sign of conflict.

    The floor was littered with the wounded - mostly soldiers with deep claw marks marring their torsos, bones broken, eyes gouged into oblivion. Her fellow unwilling volunteers, the native healers of Terrubane, wove their way between the makeshift hospital beds (scavenged cloth pads upon the dirt floor), administering disinfectant, bandages, stitches, and copious amounts of painkiller. Every time she produced another batch of disinfectant or painkillers, they were gone before she could start on the next. All of the other healers seemed frightened of their overseer, that old, hawklike herbalist that shouted and chastised and ordered until Atlys' ears rang. But gradually, the demand for herbs slowed - for each wounded warrior, all that could have been done had been done. Starkly tranquil against the thrummings of battle above, they fell into fitful, drug-induced slumbers. When the last soldier had relaxed, so did the healers. They slumped against the walls, wiping the sweat from their cheeks and the blood from their hands.

    "Oh, get a grip!" the old woman crowed. "Maybe if you all hadn't spent your lives dishing out crap cures to these city lap cats, you wouldn't be so damn soft yourselves." The hunched woman wove between the rows of sleeping soldiers, scrutinizing stitches, watching for any sign of malpractice. Her analysis was done within seconds, and she would move on, muttering darkly about how this leg would have to go, or how he'd be dead by morning. Altys' peers largely ignored the woman, but glowered at her behind her back. In the past two hours, Atlys had stitched, bandaged, cauterized, disinfected, sanitized, coaxed, prodded, ground, mixed, bottled, poured - her fingers tingled, but it was nothing compared with the frustration that burned like an oil fire in her heart, betrayed by the toxicity in her green eyes. Would nothing satisfy that woman?

    When she had made her rounds, the woman returned to the head of the room and clapped her hands for attention. One healer, who'd been nodding off, snapped awake. "Alright! Time for some field work!" A silence advanced through the chamber, commanding as the werepyres themselves. The woman wrinkled her nose, as if she could smell their fear. "Hmph. Cowards. Chaemre, Vinn, Devata, I want you to seek out other field hospitals and deliver more supplies to them. Friedul, Ghasdon, you two are to bring me any and all lost children you can get your hands on. Saya, Waspin, Arwil, Demetrae, I have prepared two boxes of waterskins for you to distribute. Go in groups of two - the boxes are heavy. Atlys, Quen, you're distributing bread." As suddenly as she had announced their tasks, she shoved a massive wicker basket of halved bread loaves into her arms. "Report back in two hours, all of you. Now go!"

    Fearing the woman's wrath, all eleven of them fled the basement and stepped tentatively into the open air. The hospital was a fairly safe distance from the battle, but it wasn't hard to tell where it was. A steady stream of soldiers dragging the wounded and the dead from the fray. Friedul and Ghasdon quietly ushered the wounded soldiers into the house before disappearing into the emptier parts of town with the hospital team. Swallowing hard, sharp fear in their throats, the distribution crew charged towards the battle.

    The moment they entered the fray, they split up - which was all well and good, for they would cover the most ground, but Atlys was lost almost instantly. There was always a desperate hand grabbing for the bread she bore, and one by one, she offered it up to the soldiers. Some took it without question, others had to have the sustenance forced upon them, but in all cases, she would look behind her to see soldiers obediently chewing the offering in what spare moments they could find.

    She was an odd sight in the midst of that battle, that Atlys - her great black coat rippled and billowed as she darted between clumps of warriors, revealing a stained, tattered dress and bare feet. Her hood was drawn, leaving her face in shadow, save for luminous green eyes. The basket she carried was huge, but it could hardly run out fast enough. There were so many soldiers fighting the battle of their lives - any remaining bread would surely mean she had failed. After satisfying the hunger of one grouping, she moved on to the next, and the next... the bread basket was deceptively deep. By the time her supply was halfway exhausted, she started into the crowd that had begun to gather around Auroreon. The men, suddenly transfixed by the mercenary at the core of the gathering cluster, took the bread readily, but never took their eyes off Auroreon. Atlys worked her way to the center of the crowd, passing out bread all the way, until, between tall, swaying bodies, he could see him - a tall, commanding, muscular figure stood, the call for order falling from his lips - Men! If you value your independence, come to me!

    The man's very hair, showing mere flecks of its natural ashen blonde, was stained red with blood. He had fought, and fought hard. Bribing her way to the front with loaves of bread to those in front of her, she passed through the crowd to stand before Auroreon. To say they were face-to-face might have been a bit generous, for he was quite large, and she was quite short, but Atlys stood before him and looked him in the eyes nonetheless. Reaching a black-sleeved hand into her basket, she offered him a chunk of bread.
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  4. Human, purple
    Clink clink clink, The sounds of metal on metal could be heard from miles as the battle raged on around her. A Werepyre split from a group to charge her, its fangs dripping with the blood of her brethren. Reaching behind her head, Aurora unsheathes her twin blades from her back before running straight for the beast. Right as it went to skewer her with its claws she dove to the side, avoiding the blow by inches. Rolling to her feet she uses her superior speed to her advantage, dashing behind the Werepyre she makes 2 clean slices to each of its legs, severing the tendons along with muscle. Now enough to walk, or stand for that matter, the beast falls to its hands and knees.

    Without wasting a second Aurora leaps from the ground to land on the Werepyre's back, using her swords she stabs into its shoulders to keep from falling off. A deafening roar sounded from the beast but was cut short as she pulls one sword out, keeping holding of the other, and slices the Werepyre's head clean off. The body crumbles to the ground with her on top. Grimacing beneath her helm she slides her other sword out before walking away from the corpse. 'Senseless death, senseless misery, all for naught.' Her thoughts were dark as she walked through the battlefield full of the dead from both sides.

    Aurora dispatched a few more enemies before a roar fell on her ears, this one was distinctly human "Men! If you value your independence, come to me!” Raising one eyebrow she looks for the source of the shout. Spotting a rather large man on one of the front lines. 'Must be him...' Curious of what this man had to offer she makes her way over to him, sheathing her blades for now. Within a minute Aurora stands a few feet in front of the man, her bright emerald eyes almost glowing beneath her helm. Her hunter green cloak was stained with blood and god knows what else.

    "And what of women, oh brave one?" Her tone is somewhat arrogant but it was a valid question. Her voice is deep and silky, almost seductive
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  5. As the men slowly came to answer his call, Auroreon scanned the battlefield. He analysed the Werepyre’s tactics. While he did notice that there is a thin amount of men that is in his area, something did seem off about everything. His memory did recall that there were a lot more of the beasts that fought during this siege. What are they planning, he thought, feeling uneasy about a possible thought. Ever since the day his mentor Damenth had died due to an ambush, he had always been afraid of possible ambushes. While it is certainly difficult for ambushes to occur during times of war, it is possible with the use of Garresch Rainforest to hide in. The rest of the numbers could be hiding in there, waiting for the right time to strike. That worried the mercenary greatly. But, for now, he had to push those thoughts back and concentrate on the now. If any one of the people coming to his call senses his uneasiness, then morale is going to drop. That could prove fatal.

    His concentration on the battlefield led him to focus on one particular being, who was fortunate to be fighting on his side. He had heard of some spirits being unable to pass onto the afterlife, leaving them to wander the world for eternity until their desire is completed, but to see one in the… flesh, now that is something that was a new experience. He watched as the spirit took down Werepyres with dual rapiers. It must have shown that they had been an exceptional fighter when they were living. For now, the spirit didn’t come to his aid, but the mercenary had a suspicion, judging from where he was fighting, that he is making sure other, less capable fighters remain alive just in case the Werepyres decided to unleash the rest of their forces. He watches as three groups, each group consisting of two of the beasts, charge at the spirit in a three-pronged attacking formation. That was something he wanted to see the outcome of to see the warrior’s capabilities.

    However, his concentration on the warrior was broken when an unusual sight broke his vision. A woman, in better terms, was standing in front of him, holding up bread to him. He stabbed Silver Moon into the ground, almost ready to accept the offering. There was some needed energy for Auroreon to pull through this fight. But to send someone who just reached adulthood? There was something wrong in his mind about the idea. Granted, he knew that the fighters needed people like her to help out. But without at least arming them with a weapon, especially something like a firearm, it would make them worthless if they were cut down. Especially since he knew that Werepyres were quite opportunistic when trying to defeat an enemy army. Just as he thought that, one of the beasts did charge at the forming group. He noticed the beast’s target: the girl. It carved through the group. It was impeded as it tried to reach her. He had to act now. He unsheathed his dagger from his belt with his right hand. He also reached to grab the girl’s wrist. The force of the move would probably knock the bread out of her hand. At the same time, he would tug her so she would be behind him. It also gave him momentum. He flicked his right wrist forward. The dagger flew out of his hand. With a sickening thud, the dagger sunk deep in the beast’s head. It dropped to the ground and skidded to the spot where the girl had been standing just a moment ago. Seeing that the threat was over, he reached down and yanked the dagger out. He cleaned it on the beast’s fur before sheathing it. This fight is far from over, he concluded, grabbing his claymore from the ground. He turned to the girl, checking to see if she was injured. Once he was satisfied that she was safe, he spoke, “While it is noble for you to feed the fighters, the beasts would be targeting you. Head back to safety. If the person in charge is annoyed with your return, they can confront me once this is…”

    “And what of women, oh brave one?”

    The unknown voice was feminine, judging from the seductive tone it had once it reached his ears. When he turned to face the person who had interrupted him in mid-sentence, he was surprised to see a female warrior in front of him. He did have to admit that it was uncommon to see a woman who was equipped to be a fighter, but it was something he had seen on a few occasions. The first thing that he did notice was the woman’s green eyes behind her helmet. He did admit that the first thing that he did notice from someone of the opposite sex was the eyes, but he often pushes those interests to one side. He knew that the life of a mercenary is often cut short at unexpected times, so there wasn’t a great chance that he was going to become interested. If a woman really stands out in his eyes, then he would garner the interest to them. But at this moment in time, the thoughts were not needed and he needed to concentrate. “Well I did say man, any helping hand is appreciative.”

    While the numbers had dwindled due to the recent Werepyre, there was enough for him to command so that the line could be held. “Right, men!” he bellowed, allowing everyone who rallied around him. “We need to hold this position! The odds are stacked against us, I know. I can see it in everyone’s eyes. But remember this: We held them off for the weeks that they had relentlessly attacked us! They have been beaten many times before by our determination and perseverance. And we will persevere again! We will drive them back to the damned crags that they crawled out from! We will send a message that will tremble through Lord Sacremento’s forces! We are the Beacon of Hope! And we will persevere!” The men roared with a cheer. Just as Auroreon had finished his speech, a group of 20 werepyres charged towards the group. He realised the girl was still in the group. She needs protection while she goes back to safety. He raised Silver Moon, ready to defend. The hilt gripped tight with both hands. “Hold your ground, men! Protect the girl!”
  6. The momentum of Auroreon's pull sent not only the lone offering, but also the breadbasket toppling to the ground. It took a moment for her to register the monstrous creature caught on on the tip of Auroreon's blade. In a rush of unwanted emotion, she was caught between being grateful for her still-beating heart, and being disgusted with herself - there was nothing she hated more than being rescued like some damsel in distress. She took a moment to catch her breath in the face of that abomination before turning back to Auroreon and speaking. "Believe me, I thought it was a bad idea, too."

    But before he could respond, the same voice rang in her ears with the last words she wanted to hear - werepyres. Many of them. Atlys almost wished she could share in the men's cries of joyous desperation, but terror stopped her shouts, held them in her chest. Almost before she could even think, she was off, passing between the clusters of men that gradually dissolved into chaos as werepyres descended upon them. The last words Auroreon had said burned at her heart - protect the girl. As far as she was concerned, she didn't need protection... and she wasn't a girl! Was she?

    Atlys was swift. Atlys was sure-footed. But in the end, no amount of speed could have prepared her to evade the werepyre that tackled her from above. The firm weight of muscle sent her skidding across the mud, talons latched to her shoulders. She almost couldn't bear the idea of looking into the thing's eyes, but for the sake of the plan forming in her head, she forced her eyes up. The beast's wolflike face bore gleaming fangs, dripping saliva onto her chin. Those eyes, peering out of bloodstained fur, shone malevolence, hunger, evil. They peered into Atlys' soul. They shook her to her core.

    They were her target.

    Even as she had evaded forming battles, minutes before her capture, her hand had been clutched around a bottle of disinfectant, deep in the folds of her cloak. The alcohol would fly further than her dagger might reach, and do more damage, if used right. Now was the time. She ripped the cork from the bottle and splashed it in the face of the beast. Immediately, the werepyre's talons were gone from her shoulders, tearing at its face as it howled in pain as the alcohol burned its eyes. Before it could fall forward, she rolled out of the way - it fell to the ground like a cut tree, very much alive but very much in pain. As she stood, recovering herself, a small force of men engulfed the blinded werepyre. It didn't stand a chance.

    With renewed speed, she took off once again. This time, nothing stopped her from escaping the fray of battle, leaving behind only a spilled basket of bread and an empty glass bottle.
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  7. Caoilainn Banner.png

    Far away from the terrors of battle and death, in what appeared to be an entirely different world, a small company of silver beings travelled. Far they had come, from overseas to the port of Gelbeterron their path had lead. The three had dubbed the path they currently followed, 'the silver road', as it followed the silvery waters of the river Silvæ, the only large river on this part of the continent that dared to leave the save borders of the Jaeltreg forest. Moreover, the road would take them back home if they were to follow it. However, the path wouldn't even take them halfway, as their final destination for now would be Galbeez, the large city that lay closest to the imposing mountains of 'The Gateway'. Vast grasslands lay stretched out all around them, hidden by the cover of night. The mountaintops bordering the outstretched Plains of Mercet to the south, remained utterly invisible even to their keen eyes. The trio was the only source of light in the area, as a lantern and torch lit their way.

    "If we want to reach the Gateway save and sound, our best course of action would appear to be to hire a guide of some sort in Galbeez, am I correct Adairin?" The leader of the small group, a young Silvæan woman named Caoilainn, turned the map slightly in an attempt to make it easier to read. The lantern she held barely provided enough light to make out the names on the map and she had tumbled over rocks and roots several times before, engrossed in her reading as she was. The only male in the company, Adairin, took a few large steps to catch up with his mistress, his torch providing a welcome extra source of light.

    "Yes my lady, I doubt there would be none of our kin with knowledge of the mountain passes in a city as large as Galbeez. Moreover, it's close to the forest so we'll most likely be able to learn more about what happened in our absence." Despite the fact that Silvæan rarely displayed signs of old age, a few lines of worry and laughter were etched in Adairin's forehead and around his eyes. The latter were a shade of silver so dark that they seemed close to black, yet Cailinn had always found them to be very gentle. While he was already thirty years old, a respectable age for a Silvæan, Adairin still maintained a good condition, something his broad chest and thick arms confirmed. Cailinn nodded happily as he agreed with her, but before she could reply, a wailing voice sounded behind them.

    "M'lady, I hate to be a bother, but can't we stop for t'night? My legs are tired of walk'n and so am I. We've passed sev'ral inns and taverns already and I can't see no thing in this bloody darkness. I beg you, can't we turn back?" The third and youngest member of their company, Meròwyn was carrying by far the most luggage, as she had insisted 'as m'noble lady's loyal maid' to carry all of Caoilainn's clothing and provisions. Clear unhappy- and tiredness diminished the beauty of her silver features and she appeared to be ready to drop to her knees and sleep right where she walked, if giving the chance.

    "Meròwyn Argenti, you should be fully aware of how we cannot afford to return. It would cost us an hour if no more to return on our steps. Moreover, you shouldn't complain to our ladyship about such minor things, she has far more important things to concern herself with than your dislike of camping and any other sort of discomfort for that matter. After four years, you should have learned, but of course you haven't, simply because she favours you and-" The suppressed annoyance of two weeks of Meròwyn's regular complaints had finally become too much for Adairin and now that he was talking, he could have gone on for hours. With a swift movement of her hand however, Cailinn silenced his fury. Her young friend seemed to be at the brim of tears and overcome by exhaustion, yet she could understand Adairin's annoyance as well. A hint of a smile playing around her lips, Cailinn put away the map, laid one hand comforting on Merò's shoulder and pointed ahead of them with the other.

    "Do not despair, I believe I see a light in the distance. We will be able to seek refuge for the night or make our camp there, for you are certainly right; it has been hours since sundown and we have not rested yet. Let us save our breath for walking, for we are all tired and sensitive, are we not, my friends?" Both nodded silently and thus they continued on their way, each lost in their own thoughts as they followed the road towards the source of the distant light. The peaceful sounds of critters and the gurgling river filled the air and the strive was soon forgotten.

    As they came closer, the light turned out to come from a lone lantern that shone its light on a sign stating "The Comfortable Carrefær". The name belonged to a cosy, small, one-story inn, that laid on the edge of a town so small that it did not carry any name. Inside, a few candles still burned. With a sigh of relief, Adairin opened the front door, his torch quickly put out and one hand resting on the broadsword on his side. In these places, one could never know when to expect an enemy or friend after all. The warmth of the inn surrounded the companions like a warm blanket, ridding them of the chill of night as they entered. Fortunately, Adairin's caution was for naught this time, as only the sleepy, bolding innkeeper stood behind the tap.

    After shortly explaining who they were and the sound of Adairin's well-filled purse, the man quickly woke his wife to provide them with a hot stew with an abundance of carrots and potatoes yet a lack of meat. Adairin held on to the key to their room as they sat down to eat -he would have to find a spot near the fireplace to sleep as there was only one room left. The bolding, skinny man, Brojn, wasn't one to talk but his plum, dark haired wife Sophi talked enough for the both of them. Her sleepiness was soon forgotten at the sight of a Silvæan noble lady and her companions. Adairin felt it was below him to speak to humans more than necessary and so Meròwyn was the one to speak to the woman about their travels and hear of all the local gossip and of the other guests. While she didn't particularly enjoy the company of humans, gossiping easily overcame her reservations.

    "There's one like ya'll upstairs y'know. A silver man." "A Silvæan, truly? What's he like and what's he called?" "Well, he ain't half 's pleasant 's y'all I have t' say. Hasn't spoken a word t' me really, and his name... Afraid 't was too pretty for me to r'member. Oh, there's those two dark-clad fellows too. Barely said a word, but paid all th' more, hah." "Silvæan as well?" "Oh no deary, not a chance, they're humans... I think. 'S well 's those two sweet y'ung lov'rs, wish I was y'ung 'gain whenev'r I see them. Seems with tha war goin' on down south, more people're goin' this way, all the better for us 's long 's we can house them. Luck'ly we've still got place for you lot."

    Cailinn, who had been eating her stew in silence until then, interrupted their conversation with a soft cough. "Excuse me, madam-" "Call me Sophi dear, ma'm makes me feel like 'n old bag o' bones" the woman interrupted with a smile and a wink. "-Sophi. What did you mean to say with 'war'? I am afraid that I have not heard of such a thing as of yet." During her short visits home, no one had told her of an ongoing war and at the surprise on the woman's face, Cailinn explained that they had been travelling overseas until ten days ago. She tried her best to ignore the distaste that showed on Adairin's face when she spoke to the human.

    "But deary, they've been going at 't for weeks now. Terr'ble war goin' on 'n Terrubane, just plain terr'ble. Lots 'a wounded folk, lots 'a dead too. Those terr'ble creatures've been the cause I've heard. Those wolf-things. I've heard they can rip a grown man 'n two, just like tha'. They say there's a dark lord leadin' them, kills 'n eats children 'n women for sport, tha's what they say." After telling several stories she had heard from some of the other guests, the woman left them alone to tend to their room. The three spoke in a hushed tone about how the war would affect their journey, when the sound of the front door opening made them look up.
    #7 AlidaMaria, Dec 12, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
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  8. Somewhere west of Galbeez trotting near the river was a figure easily noted from the flat grass. Suddenly it stopped, and a string of muttering curses was heard. Rasiro desperately tried to have his steed moving again but failed. Tala sat on the ground and refused move. Rasiro couldn't really blame her, it had already been a long day. There wasn't much game on the plains, and they had been hungry for quite a while. Sighing Rasiro slid down her back and leaned over the river to fill his flask. Drinking his fill he weighed his money bag, merely enough to feed them both, and maybe a night on the stables. Maybe. He grimaced at the thought of having to find a job, then again, it had been his idea to travel to Galbeez. A bigger town would offer more jobs, even for a krimntaar. Or so he had though, but living was also far more expensive in a city, and finding somewhere to stay the night with a carrefær in tow was ridiculously hard. Not to even mention the bedlam in Galbeez, a bombardment of news of a war from every direction. In the end they were forced to leave back for the forests, Rasiro deciding against the terrifying voyage across the sea to fight at the war. Glancing at Tala, who was glaring at the water dubiously, he couldn't help but wonder if the decision had been wrong. Tala was not as young as she used to be, and these boring grasslands offered no incentives to either of them. At least the war would had given her a chance to die in battle, instead of withering away with old age.

    Above, the starts shone beautifully, it was a clear night, but Rasiro had long since gotten used to the vast skies while travelling and merely spared them a glance. Deciding to stop at the next inn he started walking forwards on the river bed. Tala sniffed in disdain, but walked after him, not willing to stay alone in the windy night in an unfamiliar place. The two of them had traveled quite far on the continent of Gelbeterron, but had avoided the meadows for a simple reason, food. It was harder to hunt in an open field, and apart from an occasional rabbit or two, there wasn't much to eat. And then there was the fact that people near open fields like these often raised cattle, and a hungry carrefær near them was not a good idea, especially when there was no where to run out of sight when the sun was up.

    Feeling a nudge that nearly toppled him over Rasiro woke up from his thoughts to notice light not so far away. He was surprised Tala hadn't just run ahead and ate anything to be found. Closing the lights he realized the lights belonged to an inn, and there was no cattle of any kind in sight. The small town near it explained Tala's reluctance. The children in Galbeez had made a game of pulling her tail, even after she almost ripped one of their arms. Her antlers had prevented her from chasing them down the narrowest alleys, forcing her to give up the chase. This was only one more reason to stay out of towns, should she had cached any of them, Rasiro was n no way willing to explain to a guard that the children had provoked Tala themselves.

    Rasiro gave Tala a comforting pat on the back and walked in. The name "The Comfortable Carrefær" sounded promising enough, and though the stables were small, there didn't seem to any horses that would be disturbed, or become the next meal for Tala. Stepping through the door and noticing the the silvæans lowered his spirits. It wasn't as though he had never met one before, even talked with some, but he still felt his hand inching closer to the hilt of his sword. He stifled his grumbling and asked the innkeeper for food. The price was more than he could really afford, but at least he received a permission to sleep in the currently empty stables with Tala. The innkeeper's wife, who appeared seemingly out of nowhere with his food -re-heated soup that was very welcome- apologized to him nervously that if wanted food for Tala it would have to wait until morning. Rasiro grudgingly accepted the price that would eat up rest of his money, and sat the farthest corner possible from the silæans to eat his soup.
    #8 kikinki, Dec 14, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014
  9. With everything that was happening moments before his speech, Auroreon did register the woman's words. It was one thing to think that someone like her was in the battlefield, but when someone else was sending a group into the battle where the mortality rate was low? That was something that got on his nerves. Clearly there was someone that he would need to have words with once this battle was over. That is, if this battle ever ends. Even as the Werepyres were making their frontal assault on the band of fighters that he formed moments ago, the result of this battle going to the fighters of the city were bleak. He needs to think of something fast in order to turn the tide on this battle if they are to overcome these powerful beasts. But what? We could use him now, he thought, remembering one of the earlier battles that he had fought in. Despite the idea, he decided against it. Now is not the time. I think we can still turn...

    His thoughts were distracted when men started to move away from where the formation was, shortly after the group of beasts collided with his own group. After taking down one of the difficult opponents, his gaze turned towards where the men were scrambling. He caught a glimpse of the girl managed to escape from one of the beasts, an empty glass bottle on the ground before another beast crushed it into the ground. A swathe of men lie dead on the ground to prevent more of the beasts getting to her. And the swathe of dead comrades means less people in his group to defend the area of the beasts from getting through. While his mind was adrift, a smaller werepyre snuck up on him. Its claws cut through the air. Caught off guard, Auroreon managed to parry the beast's arm with the flat of the blade. However, he was struck on his right leg. He grunted in pain. He slashed up in defence. He slashed through the beast's chest and throat. It fell, unable to roar out in pain. The mercenary then looked down at his wound. He saw three gashes through the armoured trousers. He looked back up. He saw the girl running away towards the range unit line. Werepyres followed her. There were too few men to defend this area to stop the beasts. It was at this point that the mercenary decided on what was to be done.

    Reaching across his right side, his left hand went one further from the small firearm that he had, he reached another firearm on his belt. As he pulled it out, it had a much larger barrel than the other one that was on the belt. He pointed the barrel into the air and pulled the trigger. The smell of the burnt gunpowder came shortly afterwards as the pellet was fired into the air. This pellet was specially designed by the magisters so that a few seconds later, much like what happened, the pellet burst into a bright light in the sky. A couple of minutes went by, nothing. Then, just behind the retreating girl a small Werepyre, metres ahead of the the rest of the beasts giving chase, instantly exploded in a shower of mud and gore. The beasts instantly stopped when they were faced with an object that was in its place. The block had a sheen on it, the metal reflecting the dim light. At various parts, the metal plating had rust on places, though the amount of rust varied on each panel. There were areas of exposed tubes of unidentifiable nature. For a few seconds, the object remained motionless. Suddenly, it started to rise up, each of the edges moving away from the centre of the object. As the object transformed, it started to light up, the channels leading to a centre chamber where a mana crystal resided. Each of these glowing tubes ended at the extremities, which were revealed to be a crude, three fingered hand. The object rose, towering over the majority of the beasts. When the transformation was finished, the object took on a humanoid appearance, the conduits coming from the central mana crystal. Each of the joints were signified by smaller mana crystals. Much of the joints of the metal on the blocky arms and legs had a small amount of steam emitting from them, with a lot more steam coming from the body. Also at the joints were pipes that consisted of the hydraulic system that allowed the being to move about. Much like the metal that it was created, the conduits glowed a purple-white tint, more light coming from the sockets in the head that gave the appearance of eyes. However, instead of the purple-white light, a dark green shone out with hints of a light green lines that formed grids on the surface. One the arms of the construct was an insignia as to what the being was: Magic Augmented Guard and Infantry Automaton, though the thing that stood out was the anagram M.A.G.I.A. On the legs, there were cracks on the panels. An identifiable feature to show its allegiance were on its shoulders: A falcon, wings raised up with a scythe in its claws and a skull on its chest.

    It stood there for a moment, looking at the beasts that were in front of it. It was at that point that two of the beasts charged. They recognized what it was. Their claws were outstretched, ready to tear apart the construct. For ages, the construct didn’t move, still analysing the scenes of the battle. As it remained idle, more of the beasts began to charge, way behind the two already in motion. As the werepyres carried on with their charge, Auroreon began to run in that direction. As he cut the distance in half, the leading beasts were almost upon the construct. That was when Auroreon bellowed. “M.A.G.I.A, defend!” Seconds later, it began to move. In its robotic eyes, the battleground was highlighted with red outlines. One outline for each enemy on the field. It began to move. The movement was slow and deliberate. Then, in a monotonic voice, it spoke.


    The two beasts’ claws swiped at it. They were suddenly stopped by the constructs own hands. Then, the titan’s hands slowly clenched. Bones and ligaments started to snap one by one as the hand slowly closed. The two beasts yowled in sheer agony. Finally, something gave way. M.A.G.I.A’s hands closed suddenly. The beast’s hands erupted in a mist of blood and flesh. Both beasts sunk to their knees, their other hand clasping the stump. The titan reached and clasped their heads. With a show of brute force, it rammed both of their heads together. The force caved their skulls in, instantly killing them. Discarding of their bodies, it then lumbered towards the rest of the group. They had paused at the decimation of their two comrades, but then carried on with their charge. The construct was then swarmed by the many beasts, but it held its ground as it fended them off.

    Good, just what I needed, Auroreon thought. While it was bad that M.A.G.I.A couldn’t handle the numbers of werepyres that were upon it, it could take a beating and was creating a huge distraction. That in turn allowed the men to gather and attack the distracted beasts. As the battle carried on, with a possible battle-changer in play, the mercenary caught up with the retreating girl. “Stop!” he barked, a stern tone in his voice. “Running away would cause the line to falter as it just did then.” He then turned around and slashed at one of the few humans left in the opposing forces. “It could also get you killed. Stay with me if you want to survive this day.” Unknown to him as he was fending off a small group of human fighters, another one crept up, a dagger in hand. It was poised to stab the mercenary in the back.
  10. Rasiro and Cailinn

    Every minute the Krimntaar spent in the same room as him, made Adairin grow more tense. His teeth gritted loudly and even if they hadn't, it was more than obvious to Meròwyn and Cailinn that Adairin was supressing his urge to lash out at the Krimntaar. Meròwyn seemed to agree with him, as the tiredness on her face made place for disgust. Cailinn breathed in loudly and placed a hand on Adairin´s. It was wrapped around the hilt of his broadsword so tightly that it must have hurt him. Softly, she whispered to him in Silvæanin.

    “Save yourself the effort Adairin. I am aware of your thoughts but you should never be the first to strike. You know their skins are not easily pierced and will need all the strength you can muster on our journey. Are you not the only one Merò and myself can rely on? I am more than confident that you are capable of letting any feelings of hatred slide.” The two Silvaens locked eyes, but where hers were filled with hope, Cailinn found nothing but pain and sadness in his.

    “My lady … Agarwæn..” Cailinn averted her eyes at the sound of that name and her breathing became slightly unsteady. A long moment of silence passed before Adairin pulled back his hand. “Forgive me my lady.” With that, Adairin rose and with a few brisk steps he stood beside the Krimntaar, who was still peacefully eating his soup.

    “Would you tell me, scum made of black earth, how you dare defile our light with your filthy presence? Begone, before I decide to improve your overall appearance by extinguishing those malicious red flames and severing them from that barrel you call body.” Adairin sneered, his voice of ice. Under Brojn’s loud protest and a soft yelp of Sophi, he pulled his sword from its scabberd. Inventing curses had never been one of his talents.


    Rasiro kept his eyes tightly on the soup, even as he heard the silvæans whispering among themselves. Though re-heated the soup warmed him nicely, and perhaps due to his hunger tasted marvelous. He tensed hearing footsteps closing on him.

    "Would you tell me, scum made of black earth, how you dare defile our light with your filthy presence? Begone, before I decide to improve your overall appearance by extinguishing those malicious red flames and severing them from that barrel you call body.”

    Rasiro sucked in a deep breath and refused to look up even as he heard the sound of a sword being unsheathed. If he were to see that silvæans face, he wouldn't be able to contain his anger. And he couldn't get into a fight. Not now when Tala needed food. And being kicked out of the inn to spent the night outside didn't sound that attractive either.

    He stubbornly refused to answer, but his hand twitched closer to the hilt of his sword. If silvæan attacked first, he couldn't be blamed for defending himself, and maybe the inn's owners wouldn't throw them out right away. At least judging by their sounds of protest they sympathized with him, or they just didn't want to involved in a fight. The man approached nervously, careful to keep his distance and stay between the troublemakers and his wife, his eyes silently begging the other silvæans to stop their companion.


    As his insults met nothing but silence, Adairin let out a loud scream and lifted his sword high up in the air. He had never been one to make empty threats.

    “Enough Adairin!” Before the broadsword could descend onto Rasiro’s neck, it divided into two halves that curled up to both sides of the blade. With his blade now utterly useless, Adairin turned to the one that had stopped him.

    Behind him stood his lady, Caoilainn. Her unsteady breathing had made place for a shallow and hushed panting. “Enough.” she repeated with a strict frown on her face and an air of authority surrounding her. Her words demanded to be heard. The frown made place for a slight smile as she added: “Completely forgot to use the crystals... Dear, I have not used my powers in a while now, haven’t I?”

    At that, she fell to her knees and her two servants rushed to her side. Adairin’s anger cooled as soon as it had risen, making place for worry instead. “My lady Caoilainn, please don’t push yourself.” But before he could help her up, he was pushed aside by Mèrowyn. “Get ‘way from er, you bloody idiot. You could ‘a killed her with what you did. As if usin’ er powers ain’t enough, you also had to worry er by sudd’nly atackin’ that little man. Shame on you, and shame on yer house!” In her anger and worry, Mèro fell back into the local accent she had used in her youth. Moreover, she had forgotten that she and Adairin were bound to the same house by their oaths of loyalty.

    In all of the sudden confusion, Brojn had grabbed a pitchfork from behind the counter and now pointed it at the three Silvæans. “No fighting in my inn. Stop now and leave, or take it outside.” His frown and low, threatening voice marked his words. Cailinn nodded silently. “There will be no fighting today, master Brojn.”, her words both a reassurance and a threat. She rose with visible effort and walked towards Rasiro. As she stood beside him, she clenched her fingers tightly around the table’s edge to support herself while standing. “Master Krimntaar, I apologize deeply for my companion’s behaviour. He had no right whatsoever to attack you.”She halted a moment to catch her breath. “Unfortunately, as you most likely know, my kin harbour a hatred towards yours... and Adairin has some personal reasons to harbour more hate than others. I do hope you can find it in your heart to forgive his hot-headedness.” She stretched out her hand to Rasiro, a slight smile on her face.


    Rasiro clenched his sword and prepared to parry the sword. Before he could do anything more, the sword that the silvæan was waving around split. Rasiro's head involuntarily turned to stare at the sword that had been rendered into useless scrap metal in moments. His thoughts raced around in his head and he could only stare dumbly at the former sword. His attention was turned to the silvæan lady as she collapsed on the floor. So she had done this? Rasiro felt his mouth hanging open and promptly closed it tightly, hoping that no-one had noticed. All the attention seemed to bee on the collapsed lady so he allowed himself to relax a bit. He knew that magic could do miraculous things, but he had never expected to see anything like a sword being split into two. And by someone so fragile looking.

    Completely having forgotten the innkeepers presence Rasiro almost jumped at the exclamation. Almost. He was prepared to fight off the lady that approached him as well, despite her words to the innkeeper. She didn't look like she was in a good enough condition to start a fight, but after her spectacle with the sword, Rasiro wasn't so sure. Despite himself his eyes widened at the apology. A silvæan, apologizing to a krimntaar? Staring at the hand in front of him he hesitated for a moment, but grabbed the hand nonetheless. No need to waste the peace offering and start another fight. Realizing he would have to say something as well he squeezed a few words out of his throat. "As you wish."


    Caoilainn nodded at hearing that answer. She had expected nothing less than agreement. "Very well, let us leave it at that for tonight. I bid you goodnight, master Krimntaar." As she turned around to Adairin, her eyes turned bitterly cold. "Don't hurt him, Adairin. That is an order." she said inSilvæanin. The anger seeping through her voice was obvious, even to those that didn't speak the language. The tall Silvæan nodded obediently and sat down as far away from Rasiro as the room permitted. From time to time he would glance back at the Krimntaar, still not trusting the creature for one bit.

    Satisfied with his answer, Caolainn made her way upstairs, aided by Mèrowyn. For now, all she needed was rest. She decided to try and find a way to repair Adairin's sword tomorrow. Splitting it had been rash decision, caused by the heat of the moment. Repairing armour and weapons had never been her forte, but with a sigh Cailinn realized that she couldn't leave her friend and guard unarmed. "That sure was an entertaining day, now wasn't it..."
  11. A day's journey away from Terrubane, in an unnamed settlement...

    Shifting through the leaflets before him, an aging man sat in the corner of the gloomy tavern his eyes weary as he read meaningless details on assorted jobs. Most were simple jobs, more of the same that he had been doing over the years, though a few stood out from the others. Taking a quick swig from the tankard of ale before him, he discarded the escort-jobs and bounties on local criminals to see the call to arms for the siege of Terrubane. The flyer was worn and creased from sitting in the tavern's bounty wall for so long. It seemed like a good cause to him, a city under siege from varied forces intent on destroying it. A frown began to form as he read what details the leaflet provided of Lord Sacramento and the Werepyre army that had been amassing. He had few run-ins with the Werepyres of the area, only one of them truly hostile. What he did know was that they were inhuman creatures that wielded great power, and in mass they would surely be a force to be reckoned with.

    Clearing his throat, he looked over in the direction of the bar-keep who seemed to be half-asleep. "Excuse me, but what do you know of the siege of Terrubane?" Surprise marked the keep's face as he sighed and walked over closer, as if he wished to keep the topic private in a tavern with only one patron.

    "Though news is sparse in these parts," He began, sizing up the mercenary who sat before him. "Word has still reached us that apparently Terrubane has already fallen. Assistance is still greatly needed, however, for the defenders bitterly hold out against Him." A clear sense of unease came over the man all of a sudden, as if the mere mention of Lord Sacramento unsettled him.

    "You mean this Lord Sacramento?" the mercenary asked, clearly unaware of the current affairs of the area. Quickly the bar-keep hushed him and frantically leered outside through the windows, his eyes wide with fear. "Be silent! That name brings only bad tidings! He is the one who has rallied the Werepyre to his cause and can only be described as evil. You would do well to avoid Terrubane and take your life far away from here."

    "Well, I respect your opinion si-" He raised an eyebrow as the bar-keep interrupted him, sweeping the leaflet off the table and crumpling it up. "That's enough sir Elric. Do what you wish once you leave, but until you do so I ask that you respect the settlement you currently reside in by not speaking of such evil things."

    Looking out the window, he noted only three homes, not even a blacksmith among them. Hardly a settlement, he thought to himself, though wisely didn't oppose the bar-keep further on the issue. "Very well, I thank you for the information. Here's my payment for the night as well." The bar-keep accepted the few silver coins provided and returned a weary smile to the mercenary before heading back to the counter to imitate being busy.

    With his jobs settled, the man got up and left the tankard on the counter for the bar-keep, looking back to make sure his table was as clean as he found it. A short walk up the stairs brought him up to his room, a small suite with few amenities. The candle on the table ignited with a flick of his hand, the low burning flame illuminating the room as he removed a crystal from the endtable next to the bed. Elric sighed heavily as he focused on the crystal and siphoned a portion of his soul into it, empowering the enchantment within for the day. "Sometimes I'm not sure if it's even worth it anymore, old friend." He said almost to himself, his grey eyes shut for a moment as he concentrated on the spirit within the gem. "It's only worth as much as you wish it to be, Belial." The voice spoke within his mind from the crystal, the bond between his soul and the one within allowing it to speak directly into his mind.

    "You've said that before, several times actually." He grumbled, setting the crystal down as an afterimage appeared above the crystal that looked very much like a younger version of the illusion that wreathed his form. "Though it may take eons, eventually a flowing stream will carve a mighty canyon through even the toughest of stone." His eyes narrowed as he caught the hint of a smile upon the afterimage.

    "Funny, I don't remember you being as much of a fucking tosser when you were alive." A moment of silence passed as they both stared each other down before they both laughed heartily. "I also don't remember you being so hung up on an obvious decision, Belial. Though you are but one man, your presence can make a difference, even against such evils that amass around Terrubane." Nodding slowly, Elric thought of what he had learned of the siege and the leader of the Werepyres. It would be very dangerous, and the possibility of victory seemed minimal. "I suppose I should start making plans to head on to Terrubane, and figure out an escape plan. With luck I won't get ripped in half by a Werepyre. That would be incredibly awkward." With a silent nod, the afterimage faded, and Elric placed the crystal into his bag. Looking out the window towards the road to Terrubane, he thought of the coming battle and his own destiny. An oath he swore a long time ago came to mind, that he had sworn to defend those who could not defend themselves and always put their lives before his own.

    "We are all dead already, merely searching for our graves."
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  12. "Life has an odd habit of making things go wrong, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse." - Raeviir El'Anadar
    - A forest, somewhere near Terrubane -
    The loosening of an arrow.
    The meaty, wet thunk as it hit the target, and the struggling of a dying beast.
    Then, quiet.

    "Better than nothing." A young-sounding, feminine voice could be heard saying, as a rustling indicated movement towards the corpse of the fallen animal. Then, the unmistakable sounds of a vampire feeding on the vitae of their prey; the slicing of teeth into raw flesh, and an animalistic sucking and the gasps of ecstasy as the vampire finally slaked their eternal thirst for the time being. The hunger was gone. For now. Raeviir wiped her mouth on her sleeve as she looked down at the stag, with the clear bite-mark of a vampire glaringly present upon the creature's neck. When it was discovered, there'd be panic in the nearby villages for sure - it had been that way for most of her sojourn on the surface, anyway. Vampires were rightly feared by the superstitious peasantry and any sign of vampiric activity she knew would be met with paranoia nearby, which ironically had the exact opposite effect to what the ignorant villagers wanted, in that she could move about much more easily in the panic and the chaos. Brother would accuse brother, friends their friends... And all the while, the real vampire would slip by, praying to whichever god they pray to that they escape with their accursed lives. At least, that was Rae's experience, anyway, she couldn't talk for anyone else but herself. Not that she had anyone else to talk for, though. Life by herself had been hard on Raeviir's mind, and she missed her family terribly - she wanted to return to her family, to her friends... to Nabisisstra.

    But that was not possible. She was on the surface for now, and for the foreseeable future, her place was on the surface, trying to keep going, trying to do her best to live day by day. She couldn't visit settlements, because they'd kill her. She couldn't talk to people or ask directions, because they'd flee or fight her. She felt so... empty, having nothing in the world but herself and her weapons, and her wits to live by. She couldn't even enjoy a meal like other people - in her eyes, normal people - could, because it simply had no effect on her. She couldn't drink like others, she couldn't do 'anything' but try and sate the eternal thirst, and fight the urge to attack and kill anything that was around her. Raeviir deliberately avoided targeting others, because she saw her condition as a curse, not as a blessing like some others do - the only reason she vampirised Nabi was because Nabi pleaded with her to, and even then it was reluctantly at the very least. And what exactly did she do to deserve this fate? She was attacked, she didn't invite a vampire into her house and allow them to bite her, she defended herself, and in the middle of the godforsaken Subterranean nonetheless... And it was all for naught. She kicked a pebble on the dirt track that had come loose, and it bounced and rolled away. Raeviir stopped and watched it disappear into the vegetation by the side of the track, a faint smile on her face as her eyes followed the skittering and cracking of the pebble, before losing sight of it in the tall grass and ferns. She could hear the water of a nearby brook or stream flowing somewhere a fair distance off to her right. It sounded inviting, to be sure - She had been on the move for days on end, and she needed a rest, and where better than on the bank of a stream, where one could cool off? She set off through the forest towards the sound of the running water, pushing her way through the ferns, bushes and various other forms of flora that were about. If there were places on the surface that Raeviir could say she liked, forests were one of them. It was darker, and less oppressive than the grasslands or the plains of elsewhere, where she was forced to seek shelter in old abandoned farmsteads or barns, and where there were far more patrols and town guardsmen to run into. In the forests, it seemed, people were less willing to stray off the path. Perhaps for good reason.

    After what seemed a long time walking through the undergrowth and the long grass of the forest, Raeviir came to a clearing where a stream was falling over a rocky outcrop into a small splash pool below. Looking about for any signs of danger, and satisfied there were none, Raeviir knelt to lay her cloak down on the ground as a way of 'setting up camp' almost, before taking out a handaxe from a small pack she had underneath her cloak. Choosing a young sapling nearby, Raeviir took her handaxe and cut off several branches to try and form a campfire. She went back to her cloak by the splash pool's side, stacked the branches together and took out a flint and tinder to light a fire. Cracking the flint, several sparks flew and the kindling caught, much to Raeviir's relief. At least she would be warm... Now to wash off the dust and dirt of the road. She stripped off her armour and her other assorted garments, before walking into the splash pool over to the small waterfall. The cool water was refreshing to say the least, and it soothed Raeviir's tired and aching muscles. It was a huge relief, to simply rest and recuperate... She sat down underneath the waterfall and leaned back, closing her eyes, allowing the water to fall on her head. She cupped water in her hands and splashed her face with it, rubbing off the dirt, sweat, blood and oil that had accumulated on her skin over the course of her journey. She then stood up and proceeded to wash the rest of her body, whilst humming a tune that she remembered from her childhood. She forgot the name, but it was certainly catchy... She looked over to her scimitar and whip, lying on her clothes at the edge of the water, and at the campfire, and smiled. Today had not been such a bad day, and those were rare for Rae nowadays.

    She walked over to the edge of the water, took hold of her clothes and threw them into the water with a giggle. They could use it anyway, she thought, before she lay down at the edge of the water and continued humming. "Hopefully nobody will think I'm a siren or something..." she muttered...​
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  13. [​IMG]A dozen yards above the battlefield, seemingly precariously perched on what was naught but a meager stone ledge barely wide enough to fit a human foot on it, sat crouched a peculiar individual. Indeed, he - from what humanoid traits he had, one could at the very least assume it was a male and perhaps a man of some description - was a rather unusual one compared to the remainder of the defenders of the city. From his clawed birdlike feet to his rather uncanny complexion to the pair of magnificent membraned wings folded against his back, it was evident from the first halfhearted glance that he barely qualified for a semihumanoid, some fabled being or, as the less tolerant put it, an unnerving creature that did not belong.
    [​IMG] Typically,those were the more human-looking folks that tended to look upon him as if he was a some sort of foreign intruder amongst their numbers, with the dislike clearly evident on their faces as soon as they laid their eyes on him... He was either borderline despised as if he were a vermin or otherwise a similarly undesirable element in the city-scape, or treated like some form of freak occurrence, half-beast, half-man, with people often seemingly expecting him to growl and bite like a feral creature rather than act and - when needed - fight in a civilized manner.
    [​IMG] Some went as far as to suggest that his proper place would rather be amongst the werepyres, since those were likewise winged and had claws. At that, he wasn't even unpleasant to look at, unlike the monstrosities - his features were likely unusual and perhaps even estranging for a human to look at, but in a very specific odd manner, he could probably even called handsome, as well as he looked much younger than a human of his age would have looked.
    [​IMG] Most of his winged kinsmen took good care to avoid "proper" humanoids, good or evil, but select few gave up the typical male agiroan ways and lived in human and similar cities... A subsection of those, in turn, even found humanoid lovers, though no children could obviously be born from such unions. Those cases ... to say the least, the families of those lovers typically went all out to ensure that his kind were even more hated than they would otherwise have been. Mockery, being chased away... "Cheap labor force" was the highest classification most humans gave him.
    [​IMG] He had long gotten used to this kind of treatment - what else could he do, if he were to continue living amongst humans and other humanoids? Those who merely stared at him or sent sideways glances in his direction were easy enough to tolerate; some of them were quite probably simply curious, even, not disapproving of his very existence. Those who regarded him as a cheap labor-force were fine, too . . . as long as they did not try to wriggle out of paying him the sum that had been agreed upon once the work was done. The ones to yell insults at him he could usually put up with, likewise, but when it came to throwing pebbles at him or finding something to literally poke him with... Then, then he usually had had enough and either left or retaliated in some manner. By that point, most unbiased minds would probably have said that he made a fine paragon of patience even if he finally did snap, he figured.
    [​IMG] Granted, in case he retaliated, it was usually him who got in trouble, not the initiators, but at the very least - as ironical as it might have sounded - one of the less than handful of people he would have dared call friends was a rather influential member of the force which generally attempted to keep order on the streets. That had had the tendency to keep him out of the worst of the consequences being picked fights with could lead to when your likes were not exactly in general favor.
    [​IMG] In the end, he had not broken the bones of or impaled any petty aggressor, so there was no true reason to detain him for long.

    [​IMG]Today, however, today it all could not matter less. Since if they lost this battle had had raged on for weeks on end, there would no more be the city he had recently been living in, no more citizens to pick on him, and no more friends to help him out if the latter got out of hand. At this time, the city-folk seemingly forgot that they was a largely unwanted resident, and if they even acknowledged his existence in the background, they were merely grateful that there was another gun on their side rather than felt resentful towards him.
    [​IMG]It was all because this day . . . this day, much like several before it, was devoted to battle.

    [​IMG]By all rights, Narandail - so he had named himself for the sake of convenience - was not even certain his friend was even still alive now, let alone would still be so by the sundown. In any case, he did not manage to detect the man amongst those of the defenders who were still standing. Armored men, drenched in blood both their own and their monstrous foes', were all distressingly similar on a glance, at least from this distance.
    [​IMG] Besides, there was simply no time for looking for familiar figures, as even a moment of hesitation meant that a monster had a moment longer to try and rip one of the defenders' dwindling numbers to bloody shreds. That one could very easily be the very person he was attempting to spot...
    [​IMG] Philosophical dwellings were also naught but needless distractions and the death-counts could wait until the battle was over - thusly, Narandail spent no more time on either.
    [​IMG] Having loaded his gun, the male agiroan - like his species was called - lifted his firearm, its back coming to rest against his shoulder, one of his fingers finding the trigger and the muzzle of the weapon moving to at roughly the center of the back of a werepyre, a few inches beneath the point between the creature's shoulderblades.
    [​IMG] The various shouts, cries and roars reached the winged man's ears, forming a hard-to-decipher cacophony. One man was yelling for Auroreon, Narandail was fairly definite; only a short while later, the same man's death-cry pieced the air as he was promptly torn into two. At the very least, the man's death was not about to be left unredeemed - bullets and fireballs took it out where it stood.
    [​IMG] He refocused on the one he was aiming at - the events he had glimpsed in the corner of his eye were too far away, out of his effective range. His target, though ... his target stopped in place, turning its bestial head in search of the next victim. Too long. Narandail pulled the trigger.
    [​IMG] Spark flew, the gunpowder was ignited and the bullet flew - hitting the target's right hip rather than some point by the center of the creature's back. Thirty-eight. The fact that the shot was not entirely accurate was no surprise - the distance was such... At the very least werepyres were large - harder to miss entirely than lesser-framed beings. The one he had shot spun around on its one remaining good leg, staggering half a step in his vague direction, only for the gruesomely damaged hip to give way as soon as it tried to put weight on it. The mighty beast fell, not even feeling the pain due to its rage and the sheer shock of the injury, barely even having enough time to realize he was crippled and done for before it was stabbed in the back with a spear and quickly overwhelmed.
    [​IMG] The winged man perching on the ledge some distance off went on to reload his gun; it was a dreadfully slow activity under those dire circumstances, despite his comparatively long practice with it. The only good thing was that he had gotten skilled enough with it to do it as quickly as was possible even when he was positioned like he was and constantly scanning the vicinity.
    [​IMG]He was safer than most op where he was, granted...Not all had wings to reach higher places, and not all had hard talons on their feet, fit for clinging onto seemingly impossible surfaces.
    [​IMG]Admittedly, werepyres could fly as well as climb (why did they not fly?), but one taking off with the mighty wingspans they sported - why, it would not be hard to spot. And he had full intentions of being ready for such occasion. Being shot straight into the middle of one's face with a larger bullet from barely three yards away was never particularly pretty, especially when the face under question was monstrous to begin with.

    [​IMG] From halfway across the battlefield, an order to gather was roared out; Auroreon, Narandail presumed. It was roughly where he had noticed the man shouting out earlier. The man who got torn into two, that is. Was this Auroreon fellow a commander of some description? Who knew. He had one job - one job that, incidentally, was done best when he stayed up above and kept up doing what he had done thus far.
    [​IMG] About the time it would have taken one to count to twenty at a moderate pace had passed, and the agiroanian gunman had another hulking monster on aim. This one had decided to sprint closer, probably lured in by the sound of the solitary marksman's gun firing. Again, the winged man pulled the trigger, but this time he did not score as lucky hit as he had the last time. Thirty-seven. He did not miss entirely, that was true, but the bullet only grazingly hit the beast's upper arm and punched a marginal hole through its wing-membrane. This kind of injury did more to agitate the monster than to stop it. And, as luck willed it, no one was close enough to take advantage of the distracted beast. Wonderful... Just wonderful.
    [​IMG] The werepyre charged towards him, sprinting towards his position at respectable speed. There was not quite enough time to reload the gun before the beast would have reached and managed to scale the vertical wall leading up to his position.

    [​IMG] Quickly making the decision - close quarters combat with a werepyre while positioned in a not too convenient spot did not feel like a particularly inviting opportunity - the winged man threw the strap of his gun over his head and one bare shoulder, keeping the weapon in front of himself as if it were a strange kind of handbag rather than slinging it over his back (it would have gotten in the way of his wings during flight, or at the very least proved to be notably more inconvenient than in this arrangement), grabbed his spear from the leaning position it had been stored in with the other hand that was not gripping the gun's barrel, and launched himself into air, much to the frustration of the enraged werepyre clinging to the wall with its hands digging its wicked claws into the available cracks just two yards from where Narandail's feet had been gripping the ledge. Sure, werepyres could fly, too, but the agiroan was lighter and more maneuverable and thusly held the upper hand in air.
    [​IMG] Predictably, the creature behind him wanted to give a chase, but by the time the beast had spread its own expansive wings and taken to air, the smaller winged being was already a few dozen yards higher up and facing the monstrosity, mighty wingbeats carrying him a feet and a half backwards and up each as the winged man waited. And then his wings were halfway drawn against his sides as he dived - not precisely at the werepyre, but rather aiming to pass over the creature. At the right moment, his spear drew an arc in the air, seemingly barely grazing the beast, but then he was already past the beast and his wings snapped open again as he went over into swift glide. Whether he succeeded or failed, the dive had at least given him enough distance for him to turn around safely and ready himself again.
    [​IMG] Despite the briefness and seeming lack of severity in the contact with the winged man's spear, the werepyre first tilted in the air, then fell, crashing sideways into the ground. It was quite hard to fly when one of your one wing's membrane-panels was just two loose stretches of skin flapping uselessly in the wind, sliced into two by the spear-tip. The impact did not kill the damned beast, as it slowly got back to its feet against all odds, but now, in addition to the gaping tear in the creature's arm that produced a steady stream of blood, one of its wings was now hanging limply - while the spear-tip had made it useless for flight, the fall had broken it. And it still looked entirely willing to fight on? Resilient bastard, may it slowly bleed out.

    [​IMG] He made a wide half circle to turn, his enhanced speed dieing down, then remained suspended in air above the battlefield, rhythmically rising and falling in tact with his wingbeats. The werepyre he had dropped from air was someone else's problem now.
    [​IMG] What now? Return to position? Find out what the Auro...ron? ...Aurora-n? ...Aurorean? Whatever the fellow who called out for people earlier was called, now that he had been forced to temporarily leave his position, he could at least see what it was he had wanted.
    [​IMG] He spotted the man as he threw a short, lithe individual to the ground. It was hard to tell with the elaborate clothing, but probably a woman. One of the supply-runners from the battlefield, if to judge by the basket the individual had been made to drop with the action... It was obvious from the follow-up why possibly-Aurora had done what he did, but nevertheless only one word came to mind: embarrassing. To be thrown into the dirt like a ragdoll in order to be saved from an obvious threat even a half-blind grandmother should have seen coming.
    [​IMG] The man said something to the woman - probably instructed her to return to whatever hiding-spot the runners held -, and she complied, turning to run off in the direction she had come from. Not a moment later, a shout to 'protect the girl' rang out...
    [​IMG] Just what are you doing, Auri? She'd have been fine behind the line; now you're just confusing your fighters - I'd not be surprised if dozen of them died just because they're looking around and trying to spot the 'girl' instead of, y'know, looking out for any nearby werepyres - and leading the nearby werepyres' attention to her.
    [​IMG] The runner made a run for her ... base of operations, or whatever to call it. One of the nearby werepyres - how many of those things were still left? - indeed lunged for her, and the agiroan's wings twitched unpleasantly as he was half-ready to dive down and press his talons into beast's back to get him off the woman, but a moment later she was free and running again. See? She's not so helpless after all.
    [​IMG] Some distance off, a mighty construct emerged. Narandail's eyes briefly to it, then back to "Auri". You're bringing things like that out now?We'd have needed them much earlier, just so you know. Fewer men'd be dead.
    [​IMG] Didn't matter now, did it? What was done, was done and gone. Scanning the ground for any more surprise werepyres, the winged man finally let himself drop to ground near the self-assigned commander, who was apparently telling the woman to stop now. Make up your bloody mind on whether you want her to stay or run... So her departure had caused the line to falter? Oh no, that was purely your fault - runners are supposed to do just that, run back and forth and deliver messages and supplies, you were the one to distract the men. Now you're just humiliating the girl for the sake of looking like some knight in shining armor.

    [​IMG] "If you don't have a better plan, I'll take another position with my gun, or at the least move to the air in case those beasts would think of attacking from above; I'm more useful in either place than here on ground." He had been speaking quickly, and from his tone, rather harshly.
    [​IMG] That was true. Although he could probably impale a werepyre on one of his wing-spikes with an accurate strike, he often felt rather vulnerable on the ground, furthermore so when he could suddenly find himself beneath a flying opponent. Had he not been driven away from his previous position, he probably would not have responded to the call, let alone landed on ground, at all.
    [​IMG] - He was a somewhat slow and clumsy runner, and relatedly not the fastest dodger, and furthermore using his wing-spikes meant putting his wing-membranes pretty much in harm's way, and that was a kind of injury he certainly preferred not to sustain. Wing-membrane injuries, although those tended to heal very quickly, were rather unpleasant. For one, those would hinder his flight or outright anchor him to the ground, for the second those tended to be disproportionally painful and always seemed to bleed profusely, even when small.
    [​IMG] One could tell he was not exactly comfortable. Instead of being folded properly to his back, only his wing-fingers were folded stiffly against his forewings, whereas the full wing-arms were poised at his sides, drawn back and ready to thrust, the wing-thumb-spikes pointed forward in a rather distinctively threatening manner. His stance was low, his legs half-bent for a leap upwards, his face contorted into an almost animalistic snarl that bared his fangs to their fullest. The fingers of his one hand gripped his spear almost desperately; the other hand was placed semi-protectively over his gun. His eyes were widened and flitted restlessly from one moving object to another.
    [​IMG] "And you," he directed at the 'girl', "you did nothing wrong. Runners are supposed to move back and forth; surely any soldier would know that and know to focus on the fight ... which incidentally means no one getting through." His eyes flicked to "Auri". "And what's your excuse for abandoning the frontline and -"
    [​IMG] Okay, chastising random strangers who were probably some kind of superiors was most likely stupid enough, but how blind could a man be? In battle, you focused on detecting danger and zoned everything else out...
    [​IMG] In an instant, the agiroan took a weird half-leap half-hop forward and one of his wing-arms with its poised spike darted forth, hitting a human adversary in his lower back with enough force for the spike to sink just over half a dozen inches in and the targeted to awkwardly lurch forward - possibly into "Auri", if he did not move out of the way quickly enough, although the mostly-impaled human certainly was no stabber anymore. Coordinating a proper stab was hard when you had just gotten your kidney perforated by something notably thicker than the average knife.
    [​IMG] The human was then drawn away from his intended target as the agiroan briefly struggled to free his wing, and slumped awkwardly to ground once the winged man got his appendage loose, leaving his "victim" still alive but probably not for too long. Lots of blood loss, and once the sheer shock from the massive damage wore off, possibly a world of pain till first unconsciousness and then death took them.
    [​IMG] "And you certainly ain't no safer with him than properly behind the lines. Don't exactly like this place myself." Much like earlier, he barely spared a few grazing glances at who he was speaking to, instead seemingly trying to look everywhere at once, his wings jolting nervously at any sudden motion in general vicinity. There was a noticeable pause. "You're small. I could probably carry you easily in flight... The werepyres aren't flying. Not sure why. But it'd be an easy way out, if you wished. I intend to return to a firing post as soon as possible."
    [​IMG] It was an ... awkward thing to suggest. She probably saw him as half the monster the werepyres themselves were. Most people did. Regrettably. The impression born from his cornered animal's readiness to fight probably did not help, either. And there was no telling whether or not she was afraid of height. But it was there, the option.
    #13 Shienvien, Feb 18, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  14. A day's journey away from Terrubane, in an unnamed village...

    The first rays of light slowly peaked through the window as the sun began to rise over the horizon, Elric awakening as the room filled with soft daylight. He rose from the bed, grasping for his traveling clothes by the bedside and swinging his legs out off the bed. With the due diligence of years of life on the road, he was fully dressed and out the door before the sun was even halfway above the horizon. Like the day before, the tavern was empty save for the lone barkeep. The sound of his boots on the stairs had alerted the barkeep to his coming, and so he was greeted by the man upon reaching the tavern floor proper.

    "Morning sir, will you be requiring anything?" He asked, clearly having woken up not too long ago as well. Thinking for the moment, Elric came up to the bar and perused the board which listed the current available items which could be produced on order.

    "Well, a hot meal before I hit the road again will do some good. Let's start with a strong whiskey, and a full meal. Your lunch special will do excellently." Watching the barkeep take down the order, he stepped away from the bar and walked over to the warrants board again after the barkeep went off to prepare the meal. "Nothing new." He mused to himself, walking away from the board and heading back upstairs to his room while the meal was being prepared. Gathering his pack and weapons, he cleaned up the room a bit before heading back down to have a seat at the same table from the day before.

    Setting his mace upon the bench next to him, he stood his blade against the wall with his caplet covering it and his pack on the floor. He sighed as he reached into his pack, pulling out a package of fine leather bound by a silk string. The leather was finely worked, intricate symbols burned into the outer casing, while as he unwrapped the bundle, the interior was smooth and soft. Inside the bundle was eight cigars from Taelvera, the dark leaves wound tightly around finely rolled filler and banded by a thin band of rice paper with a wax seal denoting the family which produced it. He removed on of the cigars from the bundle and set it to the side as he rebound the bundle and placed it back in the pack. Lifting the caplet just for a moment, he took the cigar and made a swift motion across the blade to cut the cap off the cigar, leaving a smooth and flat end.

    As the barkeep exited the kitchen, he put the cigar in his mouth, lifting his hand up to the end and igniting a small flame about the tip to light the cigar. He let out a small puff of exhaled smoke as the barkeep set his plate down and his drink in front of him, bowing slightly and heading back to the bar to take the morning count. Making short work of the plate and whiskey, he was soon out the door as he paid his tab, leaving the barkeep a handful of coins as payment and heading back on the road towards Terrubane.

    The road for the most part was somewhat well traveled upon reaching the main road outside the village, the branches of the trees on either side not quite covering the path as he walked down the middle. As he walked he thought of the journey ahead of him, plotting along the course of the road as best as he had remembered and hoping not much had changed since the last time he had visited the city. Of course, it had been nearly a century, and he did get lost on the way there anyways. Such were his thoughts as he walked along, humming along with a tune he heard along the breeze. Stopping, he realized he was not humming along with a tune in his head, but in fact to what he thought was a female voice in the distance, just barely heard over the sounds of the forest. For a moment he debated with himself over whether to investigate, thinking that maybe it would be best to continue forward and put distance between himself and the tune.

    Curiosity, as always was his bane, however brought him to go investigate, making his way off the path and into the denser woods. It was not long before he found himself alongside a stream, the melody on the wind carrying much clearer as he made his way along the banks downstream. He stopped just as he ran across a campsite, seeing a set of armor and weapons lying neatly on the ground, and his eyes following the reasonable trail to the clothes drifting in the water and to his imminent embarrassment, the dark-skinned woman the clothes belonged to.

    "Oh, I am terribly sorry to have stumbled upon you so, my lady." He said as he averted his gaze back to the camp and held his empty hands out to the side. "I was walking the road and heard your humming, and curiosity brought me to your camp. Please forgive the intrusion of an old mercenary too curious for his own good."
  15. This siege is starting to take its toll on all of us, the mercenary admitted in his own mind. Before this battle had started, he was just a mercenary hired to fight alongside the rest of the army, with plenty more commanders to orchestrate the men. Within the first hour the number of commanders had dropped considerably, the majority of them hastily promoted by the various generals to prepare for this battle. His commander had been one of the unfortunate ones to have been killed early on in the fight. Instead of sitting idly and just fight while the rest of the group panic, he took up the reigns and ordered the men. Then had been simpler as there were more men fighting. Now, hours later after the beginning of the battle, both sides had been ground to the last dregs of stamina and mistakes were being made. Even Auroreon himself was making mistakes. He realized that, by running away from the frontline to get to this runner, the men he had gathered were left in a confused state and prone to attacks. It had been fortunate that not too many soldier had died due to his bad command, but it looked bad on his behalf.

    "If you don't have a better plan, I'll take another position with my gun, or at the least move to the air in case those beasts would think of attacking from above; I'm more useful in either place than here on ground."

    When someone spoke to him Auroreon turned to face the person that spoke to him, noting the harsh tone that they used at him. The first thing he noticed was that the figure had wings. Initially thinking that they were a werepyre, his hand tensed around his sword’s handle. He was ready to lash out at him in retaliation. It had been a good thing for the winged man that he took a short amount of time to note the details before acting on them. Another thing that he noticed was that the newcomer had a rifle, though holding a spear at the present moment. Is he a ranged fighter? Why is he here, near the frontlines? The mercenary could tell that the other was uncomfortable in being here and he couldn’t be blamed. Fighting for this long in this siege has left a foul taste in Auroreon’s mouth. He would rather leave this place as soon as possible so that he could get to the next place – a change in scenery – and do some work there. He would need to make a stop in various places to hire new members to his group, seeing as how every one of them is dead prior to this day. It was a good thing that the generals had agreed in paying him the amount for each member in his group, otherwise he would just call it a day and find work in another group. Heck, if there wasn’t any positions for him to be in charge after this battle, he would be more than happy to join any other group. But now, he just needs to finish the rest of this battle.

    "And you, you did nothing wrong. Runners are supposed to move back and forth; surely any soldier would know that and know to focus on the fight ... which incidentally means no one getting through. And what's your excuse for abandoning the frontline and -"

    Despite the man’s harsh remarks, which would infuriate him in any other circumstances, but the mercenary had no words for him. He had been blinded by the fact that the girl was running in the battlefield, risking her life, but she had a job to do. Concentrating on her instead of what he should have been concentrating on, fighting back the beasts, had cost his faction a few men that could have survived and pushed the beasts back. “You’re right,” he admitted, regret in his tone. “I was careless and lost that focus between fighting and leading…” Before he could finish his monologue, he saw the winged man dart to his right side, the spike on the wing tip aimed behind him. Clueing on the fact, he spun around, his dagger unsheathed and ready in his left hand. By the time he had finished, the man that was poised to attack him was struck down, writhing in agony because of the pain. Focusing back to the fight, he turned to the man. “My regret would have to come later. We are in a battle, after all. I sug…”

    "And you certainly ain't no safer with him than properly behind the lines. Don't exactly like this place myself. You're small. I could probably carry you easily in flight... The werepyres aren't flying. Not sure why. But it'd be an easy way out, if you wished. I intend to return to a firing post as soon as possible."

    “I agree with you on that. Take the girl and get her safe.” He then thought about what the man had said and he, too, pondered on one fact. Why indeed aren’t the werepyres flying? They would have more of an advantage if they took to the air and started picking off the army that way. Sure, they would have to contend with the ranged weapons and magisters, but even then the ranged fighters would have a hard time getting them due to a better manoeuvrability in the air. What are you planning? He concluded. But either way, he had to weigh up all possible options. “When you get back, make sure that some of the marksmen and magisters keep their eyes on the sky. You are right. It is unusual that these beasts are not taking to the air. Now go, get back quickly before you are struck down.”

    Once he had said his own piece, Auroreon turned to the battlefield and began analysing the battlefield. To be honest, the man had knocked some sense back into him, bringing back his alertness and tactical awareness to the forefront of his mind. Looking back at the troops he had carelessly left behind. They are holding their ground, but the thinning numbers are starting to take their toll on the group. To the right of that group, another group had more men than werepyres. It was the same on the left. Looking further right, in the direction of M.A.G.I.A, the mercenary learnt that the mechanical golem was being overwhelmed, with a higher concentration of beasts that weren’t fighting the automaton cutting down the men trying to assist. Prioritizing M.A.G.I.A, he turns to the group on the left. “Men, assist the group on the right with whoever has the energy to do so!” A few of the men in the left group acknowledged the command and started assisting the group he had left behind. “And you guys,” he started, pointing at few of the men in the group who are not as occupied. “Follow me!” Whether or not he saw the men agree to the command or not, his mind has switched to the fighter mode that he was more accustomed to. He charged in the direction of the golem, sword in his left hand and dagger in his right. He flipped the dagger, pommel between index finger and thumb. He punched out at the closest werepyre’s wing. The dagger sliced through the wing. The beast roared with agony. The mercenary span around. The sword sliced through the beast’s chest. At the same time, the dagger sank into another’s head. He ripped the dagger out, hacking at another. While spinning, he tore through another with both weapons. He jumped off a recent corpse and slashed at another. Slowly but steadily, he was making his way to the golem.


    Meanwhile, within the edge of the forest, trailing the outskirts of the battle, a small werepyre was retreating from the battle. The brown fur was caked in mood and blood, its jet black wings neatly folded behind its back. Gouges and arrows were dotted all over its body, though none of the injuries are fatal. Its dark eyes focused in one area in particular, sprinting with all its might to reach its destination. After a short time, it arrives at another werepyre. The second werepyre was over a foot taller than the new arrival. Underneath its crude shoulder armour and base, light grey fur poked through, making its already large frame larger. While its left eye was permanently closed, a scar in its place, the mud brown iris glowered at the small werepyre. After regaining its breath, the smaller beast spoke, “We are being driven ba…”

    Before it had a chance of finishing relaying its message, the larger werepyre clutched at his throat. Sharp claws ripped through flesh and air pipe. The small werepyre clutched its throat, choking on its own blood while sinking to the floor. It turns around and roars. “Anyone who retreats from battle will be executed on site. No exceptions.” Appearing as the leader, the light grey werepyre turns towards the battle. “Sky Terrors, attack their pathetic magisters and marksmen. Everyone by those closest to me, charge. Give these foul sacks of meat no quarter. My men…” The lone eyes homed in on M.A.G.I.A and the warrior that came to its aid. “Take down that machine. I’ll deal with that meat sack myself.” As all the werepyres began to charge, half of the hidden werepyres taking to the sky, the leader snarled as it charged towards the lone warrior. You will fall at my hands. No one is going to stop Lord Sacremento in completing his goal. Not even you, Auroreon Greyback.


    As Auroreon reached the automaton, he threw the dagger at another werepyre. The blade sank into the beast’s chest. The mercenary spoke to M.A.G.I.A, “Are you alright?” A monotonous command of ‘Affirmative’ was the response. Before he had a chance in directing the machine, the question that he had when the winged being was talking to him had been answered. He witnessed scores of werepyres shot to the sky from the forest edge, arcing over those on the frontline, rocketing straight towards the ranged troops. While the first burst of gunfire reached the leading werepyres in the air, it caught those concentrating on the main battlefield by surprise. The mercenary guessed that they have only tens of seconds left before they were hit, but his mind raced back to the forest edge as many more charged into the main fight. There were far less on the ground than there were in the air, but it definitely wasn’t a good sign. However, one particular werepyre stood out from him. “So, you finally show your ugly head,” he muttered, gripping the handle of his sword with both of his hands. “Well, time to put the head of the pack down.


    More coming soon...
  16. Atlys, though well-shaken, was able to make her way back to the lair of her newfound boss without too much physical trouble. But mentally, she was assaulted more times than she could count. People lay dying in the streets, far too heavy and numerous for her to carry, and far too desperate for her to ignore. And still the werepyres continued their assault, battering Terrubane from above and leaving bodies in their wake. Her cloak blended with the shadows which she clung to, so the werepyres paid her little attention, but she was thus forced to watch every detail. It was ironic, in some distant way - to stitch and dress a medium-sized cut took perhaps half an hour's meticulous work, but to wound someone beyond helping took seconds.

    By the time she made her way down the staircase, into the basement where the old healer had dispersed her ragtag force of first-time army doctors, she was fighting nausea and fury. She was expecting to find the basement quiet, save for the muted noise of the battle above and the ragged breathing of their patients. This was not the case. Just over half of the healers she'd sent out had returned, and perhaps a third of them were nursing injuries. The bulky boy she recognized as Waspin was torpid in a corner, his head lolling as Vinn and Demetrae bent over him, tending to his wounds with a sort of desperate fervor. Devata was crying to herself, much to the displeasure of their overseer. Ghasdon, too, seemed emotionally drained. He sat with his head in his hands, still as a statue and dead silent, surrounded by six children whom Atlys didn't recognize. Chaemre, Friedul, Arwil, and Quen were nowhere to be seen. The room was abuzz with nervous words exchanged over the muted crying of Devata.

    At the sound of her entry, the old woman turned on her. Behind her back, Devata slumped, relieved that her attention had been diverted. "You! Where's Quen?" she demanded.

    Ah, that's right. Quen. The other boy assigned to bread duty - a sandy-haired kid who smelled of a bakery, not an apothecary. "We split up," Atlys replied simply.

    "And why in the hell would you do that?"

    "Because there's no point in handing out two baskets of bread in one location, miss," she said, her voice carrying an edge of anger and sarcasm that made the woman's face contort.

    "Grand!" said the woman, throwing up her hands and turning her back on Atlys. "He's as good as dead. Good as dead..." And she began to weave between the rows of wounded once again, muttering those three words to herself over and over and over again, making the unconscious soldiers stir in their sleep and the conscious ones cringe. Good as dead. Good as dead. Good as dead.

    Atlys was having none of it. The back of her already tattered dress was torn where the werepyre had knocked her over, split like a second layer of skin to expose a minor wound between her shoulder blades. Nothing that couldn't be taken care of later, after the major injuries had been taken care of. When she was content that her wound wasn't weeping, and the old woman wasn't doing any harm, she bent over to tend to a newly-arrived patient, a conscious soldier with a long, shallow gash across his torso. He bit his lip and moaned as she dabbed disinfectant onto the wound with a wadded cloth, but she couldn't bring herself to say anything - no words of encouragement or comfort, none of the lighthearted conversation she would normally strike up with a patient. They seemed under tacit agreement that positivity would border on blasphemy in this order of chaos. As she stitched her way across his chest, she watched Vinn and Demetrae working away at Waspin. They were both older than her, and arguably more experienced. You could learn a thing or two from people like them, so she watched them over her patient with quiet interest.

    In some way, she'd been a miracle. She'd half expected Waspin to rise up within the hour, glowing with health at the hands of two skilled healers. But the harder they worked, the more his wounds seemed to gain definition, the cloudier his eyes grew. Every once in awhile, Demetrae would mutter, "Stay awake for me, Waspin. Stay awake," and he would give a tiny nod of assent. But his breathing began to grow loud and shallow, ragged with the effort of each breath. And still Vinn and Demetrae worked diligently, scrabbling for herbs and bandages with wild desperation. It was hard to watch. Atlys turned her attention to the soldier in her care. But she could hear Demetrae's words; "Stay awake. Stay awake, Waspin." Just as she was sewing the last stitch in the soldier's chest, perhaps ten minutes later, a strange silence fell, a partial silence which was all too loud. She could hear Demetrae say it again. "Stay awake, Waspin." But there was a pause. "Waspin?" And Vinn gasped, and Demetrae let out a long, anguished sigh, and the late Waspin did nothing at all. The privacy of the situation was too bright in Atlys' eyes was all too great, so she looked away, and this time, she didn't look up again.
  17. Galbeez

    There was a fresh breeze skirting through the air. Not a single cloud in the sky, the moonlight illuminating the plains all around it. The feral calls of an unknown, terrifying creatures filled the air as they prowled the Plains of Mercet down to the south of the city. To the east of the town were the scaling walls of Galbeez, weathered as it stood the tests of time. The moonlight highlighted the gothic rooftops of every building that the academic city of Gelbeterron adorned. A large, crooked tower stood in the middle of it, an ominous presence emanating from it. With each of the corners decorated with freshly made skeletons, it was no wonder that the Watcher’s Tower was a home to necromancers, who controlled the city with a skeletal hand via fear.

    In the top room, a lone figure overlooked the city before focusing on the town to the west. Draped in black, the man clenched his bone staff – a staff made of a long spine with a singular, serpentine skull at the top of it – with his bone-white hands. His grey eyes glowered at the focus of his vision. He then turned to the centre of the room. Every wall was draped with various tapestries, each of them having a devious necromantic incantation woven into it. Various books and scrolls are stacked neatly on ebony bookshelves, the spines of the books worn with many uses. In the centre of the room, a lone pedestal with a sphere resting on the lone pedestal. On the ground, there was an incomplete symbol on the floor, each of the markings of the symbol a rust colour. The air in the room had a rotten, metallic tinge. The man knelt down to a part of the floor that didn’t have any section of the symbol on it. He reached into the folds of his robe and pulled out a dagger. The hilt, despite the appearances of the room, had a bright gold hilt. The pommel and guard had a similar style to it – rigid and crystal-like from a source. The blade curved to one side, the weapon looking like a small scimitar that are common in settlements surrounding the Celbarean Desert. Much like the hilt, the blade had a golden tinge to it, though many shades darker. The man placed the blade against the palm of his left hand, revealing many scars that ran from one side of his hand to the other, where the thumb and the index finger met. “Inidae feltum armenus,” he began chanting, slowly dragging the edge of the blade across his hand. Blood seeped along the blade’s edge and dripped onto the floor, exactly in line with the edge of where the symbol was. “Cerdenta tritus Albenum gurenta.” He repeated the words, using his left hand to carry on with the symbol. Soon, they will come. He thought, finishing the outer circle with his blood. I will not allow them to lay ruin to the master’s plan. In the name of Lord Sacremento, they will fail at my doorstep.

    Meanwhile, a figure peered through the window, long silver hair dangling down one side of the window. Remaining in the shadows of the building, they got back up, the reflections revealing silver eyes and outlines of masculine facial features, and looked to the town that was to the west of the city. His eyes focused on the inn that was on the outskirts, seeing activity that was brewing. “Well, it looks like the heroes are coming together in the near future,” he muttered, now standing on the roof of the Watcher’s Tower. “While they may or may not know the dangers that lie ahead in these dark times, the Ancient Ballad have foreseen an arrival. I will need to keep my eye on them just in case.” Without another word, he started to dissolve into a powder of silver, slowly being carried into the wind.


    West of Galbeez

    Outside of the inn The Comfortable Carrefær, something was brewing. A woman was running, clutching her partially torn dress. Tears streaked down her face as her eyes, wide with terror, focused on the safety that came from the inn’s doors. However, she would never make it as a wooden club clashed with the side of her head. As soon as she fell to the floor, rendered unconscious with the blow, a group of men appeared from the shadows. “Now, m’dea. Tha’ wasn’ a nice thing ta do now, is it? Mah companions jus’ wanted some company an’ yer runnin’ away was just going to make ‘em do nasty things te ya. If only ye jus’ submitted an’ we wouldn’t have ta kill ye. Too bad.” With that, the men started closing in on the unconscious woman, knives drawn and an insane delight in their eyes.

    Suddenly, one of the men yelped in pain, clutching a now-protruding throwing knife in their left shoulder. The hilt had a foreign look to it, originating from another continent. The blade, once it was yanked out, appeared to be made solely from one piece of metal, with only string weaved around what was supposedly the handle. The leaf-edge blade was slightly worn on the edges of the blade, but the tip of it remained sharp and pointed, well suited for its role. Before anyone can think, they heard the scraping sound of an unsheathing sword. They turned towards the source to see a lone figure. The long, blond hair partially covered one of his eyes, Celbarean tribal markings being darker than the tanned skin that the man had. The outfit the man wore was definitely like many men that came from Celbaron. His torso was covered with many strands of loose cloth, draped over his shoulders many times. There was only a hint of protection underneath when the moonlight reflected off a few rings of chainmail underneath. The darkness didn’t reveal what colour the cloth was, but it was dark to suggest that the man could easily blend into the shadows. A cloak-like piece of cloth draped over his left shoulder, which was used to cover his head and face when travelling across the sun-laiden desert in the east of Gelbaron. He wore light brown, baggy trousers with only boiled leather straps covering his shins. His feet, at first, looked like they were bare, but upon closer inspection indicated that the man was wearing leather sandals that were secured onto his feet so they wouldn’t come off. His forearms were protected by leather armguards, with one of them bearing slits that securely held the throwing knives similar to the one used. In his left hand was a finely-crafted scimitar. The hilt and pommel appeared crystal-like, the clear metal having a ting of yellow that resembled the sand of the desert. The blade appeared silver, gaving off a very small aura that was similar in colour to the hilt to those who paid a very close attention to the weapon.

    “Now that I have your attention,” the man spoke, his accent belonging to one of the nomadic tribes in Celbaron. “We can be civil about all of this. I can assume that you guys are just hungry for something sweet after many days of robbing people on the trading routes. But I can assure that being in company of each other would surely quench that thirst.” He smirked when the group of men’s expression changed to absolute hatred, the insult striking a chord. The lone man’s expression then changed to a more serious one, “If you leave the woman now, there will be no more blood shed on your behalf. After all, scum like you should understand that I am a man not to be trifled with, especially considering that I hate people who like to prey on innocent women like their play things.”

    Minutes later, the lone figure was backed up against the wall, his sword outstretched in front of him in front of the same group, with two men limp on the floor while another was approaching the woman’s unconscious body. Gritting his teeth, the man knew that he was trapped and unable to help the woman. “Well… looks like we’re in a bit of trouble now, aren’t we?”
  18. Rasiro made sure to eat every single drop of his soup and contemplated on licking the plate, but figured it would make him seem too desperate for food. He didn't want to give those silvæans any more reasons to send those contemptuous glances towards him. Sending glare at their direction he rose from his chair causing the silvæans to stiffen and one of them to reach for his sword. With a huff and a sneer at them he nodded to the innkeeper and retired for the night, not missing the relieved look on his face. The poor man had hovering around their two tables the whole time, obviously worried for his inn. His wife had sealed herself at the kitchen at the first available opportunity.

    The cold air hit Rasiro in the face as he stepped outside. Having already gotten used to the warmth inside the inn made the air seem even colder than before, and with a grimace he though about the cold night ahead. Letting the door close behind him he blinked at the scene in front of him a bit surprised that neither him or the silvæans had not heard the scuffle inside. He couldn't quite understand what was happening before him, but his quiet speculation on what to do was cut abruptly. "This is none of your business, walk away." a man who had paused for a while at the inn's door opening resumed approaching an unconscious woman with a sneer at him. A slow smile spread to Rasiros face. "And walk away from a chance to earn some pocket money? I think not. Besides, I could use some exercise to warm me up on cold night like this." He spared a glance at the man cornered against the wall. "Hope you don't mind sharing, I'm somewhat broke." Judging by the two men already unconscious on the ground he could hold his ground fairly well by himself, Rasiro started upon the one closest to the woman. As he reached for his sword he let a soft whistle from between his teeth. It would be a good opportunity for Tala to let out some steam as well, if she wasn't already asleep.

    The man he was approaching apparently didn't take well to having two glowing red dots, which were practically all that could be seen in the darkness, nearing. He grabbed his sword tighter, his face twisted in a grimace and took a sweep at Rasiro. Rasiro dodged easily, and sidestepped as Tala appeared from the shadows behind the man jumped on his back. She was stopped from ripping the mans throat by quick command from Rasiro and she huffed in displeasure, but settled to making sure none of the group could escape. Rasiro grinned at the man at his feet, who seemed ready to wet himself and stroke him unconscious with the hilt of his sword. trusting Tala to warn him should anyone try to attack him from behind he quickly searched the mans pockets. Wincing at his meager findings he turned face the rest of the group.
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