Ulthuan

Ulthuan, Home of the Asur
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:29 pm 
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Green Istari

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Larose wrote:
It moved into the moon light and revealed a dreaded Black Ark!
A Druchii floating fortress… how could such a force make it to Ulthuan without warning!

Fate is being steadily less kind to your heroes Larose.

:|

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:54 pm 
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Chronicler

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Hmmmmm sounds as though you may have not read the previous stories!! hahaha this is the prequel you know :lol: 8) Aicanor can tell you all about the terrible fate and the triumph of heroes or their fall throughout these tales.

:mrgreen:






She had heard their voices echoing through the winding catacombs… those who had cleared the tavern were now attempting to catch up. However, she had passed a few junctions with multiple directions in pursuit of the keeper, and now the voices were faint and distant.

Treia had her doubts on whether they would be able to find them.

Their small group had managed to keep track of the blond haired Asur in his attempted escape, and now had him cornered in what appeared to be a large office. The keeper had sharp cheekbones with dark eyes, which observed them in a rather confident manner… this disturbed her.

The Asur had rolled up the sleeves of his dark robe, and sat behind a large brown desk in the middle of a large square room. The roof was supported by numerous round pillars and they were surrounded by bookshelves. The books & scrolls appeared ancient and in disarray… as though they had once been sifted through and searched for valuables long ago. The light provided by the scarce magical lanterns was minimal and dust filled the air, she could taste it.

It all created an ominous setting.

Treia was still flanked by two overbearing sentinels, who were insistent on controlling her every move and keeping her a few paces away from Hystarys. The spy master wore no armor, which brought a bit of curiosity within her, she could feel a faint magical essence within him. She also noticed he was still bleeding from his left arm, which forced him to carry his sword with his right. The blood droplets made a light sound off the stonework as he gazed at the confident keeper.

The two sword-masters that had joined the pursuit, were slowly pacing outward and keenly observing the room.

“So you have decided to surrender?” Hystarys blatantly asked and broke the lingering silence.

The blonde Asur only smiled and started to tap his fingers on the desk.

“Oh you are too late, the secrets were released and the strike happens as we speak.”

“Secrets…?” Hystarys responded hesitantly and seemed in thought. Treia could only see his dull long gray hair from her angle.

“Well that is why we are here, and you will tell me everything… now or in time. Everyone breaks.” Hystarys was almost growling as he finished and took a step forward.

She had a weird feeling in her stomach, something she couldn’t seem to shake.

“Indeed, secrets… and I know you are very familiar with what happens when secrets are involved… Spy Master of the Phoenix.” The Asur continued to smile and leaned back in his chair. “I have done my part, and I believe you are outmatched.” The keeper continued and turned his gaze upon her.

“You had so much potential… my dear Treia, you know what happens with failure.”

This was not good, this was not what she planned.

Footsteps.

Treia turned and looked back in fear, though unwarranted. As it turned out to be Lenais and Toleran, they turned the corner and entered into the doorway at a sprinters pace.

Both looked wounded and rough, stopping in their tracks in response to Hystarys raising his hand to stay back.

The duo stood in the doorway and started to take in their surroundings.

“Ah… so nice of your daughter to join us.” The keeper said with a mocking flair of his hand.

She took a moment to take in his words, looking at Hystarys… then to Lenais who now had a shocked look about her.

Daughter?

“It seems you know much, though I know so little about you… keeper of the… ‘Blood Tavern’ was it?”
Treia watched Hystarys put his wounded arm behind his back and make some hidden hand gestures as he spoke.

“Well perhaps I should introduce myself.” The Asur responded and stood from his chair, prompting the sword-masters into a readied stance.

Then Treia felt it, the same feeling she had felt in the carriage… that damn short elders magic had a certain… aura.

Something she would never forget.

Though what came over her next… she could not say. All the hate she had born… the resentment for both Druchii and Asur. It washed away as she looked at the two agents in the doorway, the maiden from Averlorn had been an almost welcomed challenge in the streets of Lothern. While Toleran had treated her with an odd respect despite the entire situation.

Small details that she’d normally brush to the side… yet now….

Well she turned towards them and yelled.

“Run! It’s a trap!”

She felt her voice turn into a shriek as the winds of magic picked up within the room. Lenais had wasted no time to respond to the warning, as she tackled Toleran through the doorway.

A flash of blue light blinded her.

Then a booming thunderclap rang out with a strike of lightning hitting above the doorway.

Debris and rock flew throughout the room as she was thrown into a nearby pillar from the energy blast. The ringing pain in her ears almost out matched the pain in her back from the impact.

Treia slowly brought herself up on one knee, and noticed everyone in the room had suffered the same fate. The sword-masters, sentinels and Hystarys were trying to get to their feet. She looked at the doorway… which no longer was a doorway, now completely blocked off with rubble.

Then the ringing started to subside and she could hear a faint grunting. She noticed the keeper in an awkward position… and unable to move or speak.

“I believe there needs no introduction from you, you have done your part… yesss yes you have.”

The voice made her sick, and at that very moment the elders’ power became all too real.
Treia watched the blonde Asur hopelessly struggle with facial expressions of pain, then he was picked up by a magical blue wind and slammed into the ceiling with a sickening crack of his neck.

His body hit the floor with a thud, as the short elder came into view from a hidden doorway next to a bookshelf. He wore a sky blue robe littered with magical symbols, and within his hood… she could see the terrifying golden eyes. The same from the night in Lothern.

The sword-masters were the first to fully recover, slowly widening the distance between themselves in an attempt to flank their new foe.

“Get these things off me!” She pleaded desperately to the sentinels next to her. They had put special enchanted manacles , rendering her unable to wield magic!

“Oh Treia… not this time!” The tiny mage shouted and unleashed another spell. Light blue magic tendrils of electricity reached throughout the room, barely deflected by the sword-masters… while the sentinels were woefully unware of their peril.

Her two guards exploded in front of her very eyes… the magic rendering them into a disgusting splatter of blood and ash.
She cried out as it covered her from head to toe, blinding her vision and knocking her to the floor.

Treia groaned and rolled on her side, then wiped her eyes and spit out whatever had made it into her mouth.
She slowly got to her feet once more.

“A Se’Cruen?” Hystarys cried out and seemed to be conjuring his own magic, apparently unscathed by the attack. “Is that you Anoras?” He continued and looked back in her direction.

She knew that look all too well, and she definitely felt the same way.

Hystarys turned to face the short Asur. “You were reported dead… centuries ago.”

The elder smiled and kept his eyes switching back and forth between the sword-masters trying to inch their way forward,

“Oh… I am very much alive, yesss… and so… disappointed in the filth… the corruption of the courts.”

“Now hold on.” Hystarys responded wearily.

“Tiranoc will correct the course, yesss our people will rule the seas once more.” Anoras said with a smile as energy started to swirl around him.

Hystarys was the first to strike, unleashing a blast of dark blue ice crystals towards the elder. While the sword-masters charged in unison to the attack, yet as the keeper had said earlier… they were outmatched.

Anoras channeled his energy into both hands, deflecting the ice crystals into one of the charging sword-masters and he turned his other hand into a claw… which stopped the second sword-master where he stood.

A clang rang out as the one sword-master dropped his long blade and sluggishly took a last step forward before falling to the ground… completely covered in piercing ice shards.

“Damn you!” Hystarys shouted out and attempted to channel his magic once more. Yet the spy master was thrown towards Treia from the blue hued magical winds, and the unlucky sword-master was thrown upward into the ceiling… suffering the same fate as the keeper.

Hystarys landed at her feet, wincing in pain from his wounded arm as he slowly regained his composure .

The spy master looked at her with a key in his hand… reaching out to hand it to her. Yet sensing another attack, he turned with a magical barrier to protect them. It shattered as the thunderbolt hit dead center and sent them both sprawling in different directions.

Treia’s head was spinning, and she was panicking. Her wrists instinctively struggled with her restraints… to no avail.

“So you plot assassinations… that is your solution Anoras!” Hystarys growled and sat up against a pillar. The left side of his chest was scorched black with a light smoke rising in the air. He winced and grunted in pain as he adjusted himself, all the while staring deep into the elders golden eyes.

“Oh it is much more than that, the Druchii are but a blunt and predictable tool… yesss, they are easy to manipulate with a small push.”

Anoras came to stand a few feet away from them both and slowly conjured more energy as he spoke.

“Blood shed is needed for change… for those who wish to return our people to their rightful place… yesss it is needed.”

Treia spit on the floor in response and spotted the key a few feet to her right.

“I’ve heard this all countless times, you are no different than those you attempt to replace… Anoras.” It was the first time she spoke his name, or even knew it for that matter. This caught his attention as her voice carried a clear and scornful tone.

His eyes glowed in anger… clearly he was still upset over her escape.

Then Hystarys let out another blast of ice magic, it hit the elders hasty barrier and clipped his shoulder before striking a pillar nearby.

Anoras cried out before his voice was lost from an overbearing thunderclap and flash of brilliant blue light.

Treia sprawled forward and grabbed the key, the cold steel within her fingers bringing new life and purpose within.

She crawled and rolled as she struggled with the manacles… then stopped.

Fear gripped her as she noticed nothing remained of the spy master… save for the blood and ash now in the air. Then her eyes met those of Anoras, but a few paces away and with golden eyes that were somehow more terrifying then the first time.

“You are but the last loose end… Treia. Everything is now as I planned… yesss… it is.”

“Wait!” She cried out and coughed while her hands desperately tried to turn the key. Yet the manacles were awkward and her hands were not meant to bend in that direction.

“I served you once… I can continue to serve!” Her voice rang out with desperation.

He stared at her for what seemed an eternity.

Then raised both his hands towards her.

“You already have.” He said... his voice echoing in her ears.

Then blinding blue light.

_________________
Shadowy member of The Mage Knight Guild

Attack when they are unprepared, make your move when they least expect it.

Only in your darkest hour, will you triumph over true evil.


Last edited by Larose on Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:32 pm 
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Green Istari

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Desperate stuff. We really get inside Treia’s head here.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:20 pm 
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Chronicler

Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:37 pm
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Desperate indeed! haha oh man, happy new year everyone! I tried to write during the time off... to no avail. Far too much wine and food. lol But here we go.




He twisted his sword hard and leaned upon the hilt, briefly catching his breath and silencing a screaming Druchii beneath him. Calehir was exhausted, the fighting had become brutally personal. There were no battle lines within the port town, and everyone was covered in blood and filth from fighting through the night. He had almost cut down his fellow Asur on numerous occasions, the blood lust and disarray was numbing.

Calehir stretched out his shoulders and pulled his sword, blood came with it and a muck that was hard to describe. He concentrated on his breathing and took a moment to gaze upon the mountains … now hued with orange light from the rising sun. The noise of war had become a droning sound that was pushed to the back of his mind.
Though it had become a skirmish, it was clear the Druchii were now pushed to the shoreline. They had broken the beachhead.

Yet it seemed to be only the beginning, the outline of the Black Ark could be seen in the dim light. The sheer size of the floating fortress was growing by the minute, which also made it misleading on when it would make landfall to unleash its legion of Druchii.

“There you are dragon rider!”

The new voice rang out and startled him from his trance like state. It was the Druchii Dreadlord.

Their dueling beasts could be heard above the clashing of steel, though he had lost track of their actual location.
The Dreadlord was also covered in dirt and blood, mostly masked by his dark black armor. Its piercing edges were menacing and he seemed to have lost his helm. He had pale skin and red hued eyes, partially covered by dark hair that hung loosely over his shoulders.

“Your people will watch you die today… like the Asur dog you are!” He shouted and readied his two jagged long swords while pacing towards Calehir.

“Maybe you should run while you can.” He simply answered and tightened his grip on his shield. His heart was almost jumping out of his chest in anticipation… or more likely in fear.

‘Fear means you are still thinking clearly, it keeps you sharp.’

His father’s words came to mind and re-focused him on his breathing.

The Druchii yelled and charged in response. His pattern shifted as he closed the distance between them and turned into a zig-zag feint.

Then the Druchii jumped and stabbed with his momentum.

The sword deflected off Calehir’s shield with a hard clang that pushed him backwards. He then twisted and blocked the second sword with his shield once more. The Druchii was ferocious, and Calehir tried to use this. He shifted his footwork to circle the Dreadlord who continued his attack. Calehir parried once with his sword, followed by a block with his shield and then spun on his heals with a horizontal slash.

Sparks flew through the air as his blade glanced off the Druchii’s armor, halting the reckless advance momentarily.

His adversary snarled and looked at the gash in his armor, it seemed to be bleeding slightly.

This also enraged him even more… the Dreadlord screamed and attacked again

The clashing of steel rang out within his helm as they parried and pushed each other through the streets and onto the docks of the port.

This area seemed to have the largest concentration of the remaining Druchii, their backs to the sea and the Asur warriors sluggishly pushing forward. It was more of a standoff, with fighting in certain areas… yet it was clear that everyone was exhausted.

“You cannot win, we are but the vanguard… and this will be the stage for your death!

They were both panting and staring at each other, but a few paces away.

“I will mount your head on a pike before that Ark makes landfall.” Calehir growled venomously and seemed to catch the Druchii off guard.

Then an explosion erupted behind them, a Druchii escort ship became a pillar of fire in the distance. It almost stopped the battle entirely, as everyone knew the Asur ships had been overrun.
Even the Dreadlord looked back at the dim darkness.

Moments later the sunlight crested between a few mountain peaks and revealed the sea’s horizon. And there to the south, as far as his eyes could see… were Asur white sails. Countless ships that were now unleashing bolts and magic into the air.
Calehir had heard discussions of Prince Althran’s plan to attend the gathering with his fleet, yet seeing it in full force was awe inspiring. Prince Toran had briefly shouted to hold off until they arrived. But the sea was fickle and who knew if they’d be in time.

Well he was right.

A mighty Dragon Class ship was at the center of the fleet, the only type of vessel ever known to sink a Black Ark. And it now was engaging a Druchii escort ship near the one that was in flames. The rest of the Druchii vessels looked to be in a panic from the overwhelming approaching force.

The spectacle actually brought a silence to the drums that had boomed throughout the night. And it was followed by a piercing horn soon after… perhaps a signal to withdraw.

A thunderous cheer rang out all around him as his fellow Asur were filled with hope and rage. They charged the remaining Druchii in an attempt to throw them into the port bay.
“You should have left when you had the chance.” Calehir simply stated with a small smile. Then a mighty dragon roar rang out over the cheering Asur.

The Dreadlord snarled.

“It is time for you to share your beast’s fate.” Calehir continued and readied his sword.

“You will not experience this victory boy!” He shouted in return.

Calehir pressed the attack.

His sword rang off the Druchii’s parry and he lifted his shield to block the return strike meant for his head. Their blades streaked through the air, some barely missing their mark and others sparking as they both sought to find an opening.

The Druchii found it first, his blade catching his shield arm and sliding beneath the armored scales. It felt hot, but only after he had swung his sword in response... which was easily parried. The shield seemed to double in weight and became painful to even move.

Now the Dreadlord held the smile.

Calehir screamed out and fought through the pain while charging forward, slashing over and over almost recklessly. Yet this put the Druchii on the defensive. His strikes clanged off steel in a criss-cross fashion at first, then he rotated his wrist to make two similar angled slashes, the first missed and the second sparked off armor once more.

His opponent looked down and seemed almost impressed.

Then his eyes hardened and the flurry of the two blades became difficult to follow. Calehir back stepped and attempted to parry, his shield almost too heavy to do much now. The Druchii spun and rotated, his blades streaking through the air with deadly hissing.
He managed to block one, yet the second caught his upper leg. Calehir screamed out and stumbled back... unable to avoid the next strike.
The Dreadlord streaked forward with a stab through his stomach, he knew it pierced his armor... yet his body felt numb and his mind was cloudy. Calehir flashed his sword upward and caught the Druchii at the wrist, blood sprayed as they both stumbled backwards. His opponent clutched his wrist now missing a hand, as Calehir looked down at the blade through his right side.

“A death to be remembered!” The Druchii shouted out and charged once more with his second blade. Calehir tried to muster all his strength to lift his shield, yet it barely rose above his shoulder. The Dreadlords blade streaked through the air and down towards his head.

He could do nothing, his vision was blurring… the damn Druchii had beat him.

Then the blade stopped.

A clear magical barrier formed around his shield and doubled its size. The blade bounced off as if hitting a wall and staggered the Druchii backwards.

Despite his condition, Calehirs’ instincts kicked in. He dropped the shield and used all he had to drive his blade through the opening in the Dreadlords armor… broken from his previous strike.
The Druchii’s eyes went wide as Calehir felt his blade pierce through the rib cage.

His opponent was in utter shock. “Magic….” He said slowly while spitting up blood. Calehir then twisted his blade upward and pushed the Druchii away from him. He fell to his knees as the Druchii fell onto his back.

Calehir sluggishly looked around, the remaining Druchii were no more and a ring of observers had formed nearby… they were cheering.

The noise was deafening and his vision started to spin. He gave his head a small shake and recognized his friend sluggishly limping towards him.

“Dethadrin… you sneaky bastard.” He felt his words slurring, as his friend reached out to steady him.

“You look like shit.” Calehir continued and tried to smile.

Dethadrin smiled in response. “I told you to stop fighting without me.”

“Does that make us even?” He asked as Dethadrin helped him to his feet.

They stood looking out to sea, the Asur fleet was destroying any ships nearby and posturing to retake the bay. The Druchii were in fact retreating, their remaining ships circling the Ark like a hornets nest... too lethal to engage directly.

“I’ve lost count” His friend finally replied and started to chuckle.

Calehir tried to laugh… not a good idea. His head spun with pain as he almost keeled over.

“I think I need a healer.”

_________________
Shadowy member of The Mage Knight Guild

Attack when they are unprepared, make your move when they least expect it.

Only in your darkest hour, will you triumph over true evil.


Last edited by Larose on Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:46 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:02 pm 
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Green Istari

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Larose wrote:
tried to write during the time off... to no avail. Far too much wine

Some writers find this essential!

:)

I was struck by bits here that recalled similar themes in great stuff I’ve read previously. Where Calehir loses himself in the fighting reminded me of a passage by Rosemary Sutcliff. Other bits some viking writing.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:52 am 
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SpellArcher wrote:
Larose wrote:
tried to write during the time off... to no avail. Far too much wine

Some writers find this essential!

I read the memoirs of Stephen King, "On writing". In parts of it he talks about his alcoholism. One of the things he mentions is that the needing it for writing was just an excuse. (he wrote just as well or better after he stopped drinking). Another thing I remember is that he mentioned feeling sad about drinking since he now remembers very little about actually writing some of the books. And they read like they were very fun to write... So there's that.

Rod

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:11 pm 
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@SpellArcher : I think I like the wine when I'm pondering for ideas and sorting out plots, though during the actual writing part not so much... many of the beginning parts on page 1 of these chronicles are influenced by that lol. Can't say it's very strong writing and requires some heavy editing. Not to mention this whole story simply started as an army background fluff. It has transformed into a monster over the years hahah i'm not even sure I can stop at this point :lol: :lol: :lol:

Thanks for the compliments though, any reference to distinguished writers or Vikings in general is definitely appreciated 8) 8)

@ Prince of Spires

Doesnt' remember at all?! Yikes that's some heavy writing and drinking, I can't say I ever reached that point but i definetely noticed it's impact. Although when all this started I can't say I was a very strong writer to begin with hahah :lol: I like to think i've improved and I hope everyone has been able to follow the story without too much trouble!!






Epilogue


It had taken hours to remove the rubble, or so he assumed… time passed oddly within the catacombs.

“You will take that secret to the grave.” She had said upon picking themselves up. Lenais had saved him from the trap, reacting almost simultaneously to Treia’s warning.
Toleran felt rather silly for his slow reaction, though kept attributing it to his shock of finding out the ‘Eye of the Phoenix’ was actually her father.

Now Lenais appeared to be in a hidden shock, portraying her usual bravado on the outside… yet he knew her emotions were chaotic on the inside, how could they not be?

They were no longer on their own, the group had initially been forced to split up during their pursuit. Norein and a few sentinels had stayed in the tavern, while the brothers and two sword-masters had taken a few other routes.

The entire process was arduous, even finding each other had become complicated. However, they all knew they had little choice and what needed to be done… was done.

The room smelt of ash… and blood. It was rather gruesome. The only bodies they could find were that of the sword-masters and the keeper, all had suffered sickening deaths. Blood was splattered across pillars and there were two areas scorched black with outlines of what he perceived as Treia and Hystarys.

He felt himself almost heave on more than one occasion.

The most disturbing part was that the keeper was dead… and that someone who he could only assume as very powerful, had killed highly skilled agents of the Phoenix.

“There’s no other exit.” Sontas said out loud as the group scoured the room.

“So they killed each other?” Norein answered with a puzzled look. She turned in his direction as he slowly shook his head in disagreement.

“I don’t think so.” Velnos continued as he kneeled next to the keeper. “His neck is broken.” He stated while looking up at the ceiling. “And I can sense very old magic… someone else was in this room.”

“I have seen enough, you two brothers come to the citadel once you’re finished… I will require a detailed report. Norein that goes same for you, meet me up at the manor… I need to speak with Toleran for a moment.” Lenais had a hardened look about her and she sent him a nod to follow.

“Wait it’s over?” Norein queried in a confused voice and seemed a bit distraught.

“Would you deem otherwise? Anyone with any knowledge… is dead and the trail is cold… we failed.” Lenais stated and walked out of the room.

Toleran had to quicken his step to catch up, her pace matched her mood and she seemed to desire a private conversation.

“Lenais, surely there is another angle for us to take?” He asked once he felt they had turned enough corners through the catacombs.

She just continued on ahead of him for a time before stopping within the ‘Blood Tavern’. Lenais then turned towards him with tears in her eyes.

“Don’t you understand?” She almost screamed as she grabbed the shoulder plates of his armor.

She let out a deep breath and appeared to calm herself.

“Our mission failed, not only that but I think we were always too late… whatever happened had been in motion before the raid.” Her eyes stared at him in thought for a moment, their bright green piercing into his. “We stumbled into the cleanup… whatever happened in that room only had one purpose.”

There was a moment of pause between them as she seemed to be waiting for him to figure it out.

“Tying up loose ends….” He added and she slowly nodded her head. “Usually it is us who does that.” She continued and turned to start walking again.

“What now?” Toleran asked as their pace picked up again.

“I finish your training.... then you are on your own.”

Toleran stopped in his tracks and made to ask the burning question, yet she quickly turned to him once more.

“That’s right, you were not chosen as an agent… you are his replacement, though far sooner than expected.”

“Wait I can’t do this on my own… what about you?” Toleran was almost in a panic, his gut felt queasy and his mind was racing. Lenais made to answer, however had to turn away and wipe her eyes.

“Not all of us are made for this work, after your training I am to return to Averlorn… I made a promise.”

His mind flashed to Hystarys making secret hand signals before being tackled through the door way.
“Is that what he was saying with his hands?” He asked in a sympathetic tone. Unsure on whether he should console her.

She simply nodded her head and took a deep breath.

“Surely there is someone else?” He continued and made to follow her down the corridors once more.

“There are plenty of agents, though none with your experience and family background” She answered calmly.

Family background? He felt a fire within and reached out to grab her shoulder.

That was a mistake.

She immediately twisted his hand in a painful manner and locked him in an odd position.
“You know what happened to my parents?” He queried painfully and tried not to move.

Lenais took a moment before bringing her face close to his.

“I only know what the records show. They were honorable, served as agents of the Phoenix… and they died in the shadows like mine did. You will have to live with that, as I do.” She let him go and paused for a moment.

“My father once asked why you would choose to live your life in the shadows of Ulthuan… what many believe only to be dark rumors.”

Toleran paused… it seemed so long ago, standing in that oval room for his final assessment with Hystarys.

“Because no one else will.” He replied slowly.

“That is why you are to be the ‘Eye of the Phoenix’… and you will report to the Phoenix King upon our return.”

She continued on and led them both out of the dark catacombs without another word.

‘I might be in over my head.’ He thought and felt panic flow through him as his mind raced.


***



The aftermath of such a battle was never easy, the pain and sorrow set in along with the exhaustion. Nightmares and broken hearts, weeping and denial. It had been a hard week so far.

Prince Toran had attended funeral ceremonies on a nightly basis, so many Asur from different realms with different traditions. His people from Tiranoc preferred funerals at sea, to join those lost before them and to remember the height of their kingdom during the Empires colonial expansions. While those from Caledor chose funeral pyres with fire... which comprised of many from the Silver Knights that perished. Calehir’s dragon helped maintain the true old ways.

So many had fallen, thousands of Asur and Druchii alike and countless more wounded…. So many prominent families lost… his wife, her brother, the Silver Knight council, lords and nobles that had pledged their support, the Silver Knight Chancellor, skilled mages, most of the local families from the port town, wealthy merchants, thousands of his citizens all lost, all remembered in their own traditions.

The Druchii were cast to sea or burned, no one had room for sympathy or any kind of love in their broken hearts.

Now Toran sat at a table with his saviour Prince Althran… soon to be a partner in his endeavor. The Silver Knights had lost their leadership, some would say the Order was broken… yet he saw it as re-birth. Names were being drawn to vote for a new Chancellor, and Toran had seen to have the young princelings’ name put in.
The Draconis name held weight in Caledor, and Calehir charging in upon his family’s dragon and later killing a Dreadlord in a duel… well it brought much talk. Toran would use his influence to see the young warrior become the next Chancellor.

It is also why he asked Calehir to attend this meeting, he sensed the fire within him… he would see the need for this professional legion… he would sign and as Chancellor, he would bring the Silver Knights into the fold.

“Before I sign this document Toran, there are some things I should bring to light… we found some disturbing evidence aboard a Druchii ship.”

The Lothern prince wore an extravagant blue and white robe of fine silks, his black hair was straight and long, while his dark eyes swirled with gray death coil magic. A rather dark art for a prince known to wear shinning golden plate on the battlefield.
Anoras had warned him about Althran, even went through measures of enchantments to block Torans’ thoughts… some said the Lotherner could read minds or thoughts unguarded.

“Evidence? Of what?” Calehir queried. The young warrior was bruised and covered in bandages over top of the gray robe he wore. His brown shoulder length hair was in was tied back, and his face showed old bruises; yet his brown eyes were still sharp and keen.

“Traitors.” Althran said with a disgusted rumble and threw a pile of charts and parchments on Torans’ desk.

He had brought them both to his private chambers for this meeting, far too many new guests within his keep and city for that matter.
The fleet had returned from skirmishing the Druchii up the coast and away from Ulthuan. The ships that were not on constant patrol along the horizon, were anchored in the bay. He had never seen so many ships in one place other than in Lothern. The field between Tor Wis and the town of Whelinos was covered in pavilions… thousands of Asur taking a well-earned rest and helping rebuild the town.

Althran pushed some of the charts and parchments in their direction along the smooth dark oak desk.

“These are Ulthuans’ sea patrol routes along the west coast and these are the past fort nights schedule… it contains ship class, numbers, scheduled stops and mission tasks.” He paused to let the information sink in.

“And this is a list of attendants to your gathering.”

Calehir seemed in utter disbelief, eyes wide and speechless. Toran paused for a moment, it was all coming together and he had to hide his part in the plot.

“They have been trying to kill me for months!” He shouted and slammed his fist on the table. “They tried in Lothern… and they killed my wife and her family during the attack.” Toran shook his head and stood up to grab the wine decanter from nearby, then began to refill the wine glasses on the table.

“We are rather lucky the weather delayed my departure… or we would have all perished if my fleet had been anchored before the attack.”

“I know.” Toran replied and handed out the wine glasses and then pointed at his large binder full of the signed agreements.

“What I have there, is pledges of support that will bring not only military strength, but political power and influence from every corner of the Ever Empire. With your signatures we will have a mighty fleet, a powerful army, a commercial trade network… and we will be self-sustaining.” Toran stated and then let out a sigh.

“Someone does not want us to join forces, someone does not want a private company with a professional legion loyal to the Phoenix Throne… Someone is scared of the power it could bring… of what it represents… and it seems to be one of our own.”

“Or Druchii spies have brought word to the Witch King.” Calehir added, still staring at the papers in front of him.

“Perhaps it strikes fear in our greatest enemy.” Toran continued and lifted his glass. “Whatever the case, will you join me? Will you help in the creation of the Royal Company, of the creation of an entity that can wield its power without the entanglements of the courts. An entity to ensure the will of the Phoenix king is carried out?”

Althran slowly started to nod in agreement and lifted up his glass of wine.

“And what say you? Future Chancellor of the Silver Knights?” Toran stated loudly and seemed to resonate a realization within Calehir. The young warrior had a look of doubt that changed to determined resolution.

“If my brothers and sisters of the Order deem me worthy of such a position… I will join this endeavor.”

Toran smiled and lightly clanged his glass with theirs.

“To the Ever Empire.” They exclaimed in unison.


***

Toran leaned back in his chair and began pouring himself what he could only guess was his sixth glass of wine. Despite everything that had happened, he felt a weight off his shoulders. Through so much loss… they would change the Ever Empire for the better. His new partners had left moments ago, and everything seemed to be falling into place.

“I suppose it was necessary.” He whispered softly to himself, his eyelids drooping and feeling heavy.

“Yesss… it is necessary.” Came a familiar voice from behind him, which also startled him from his chair.

“Damn it Anoras… where have you been?” He asked and clutched this thumping chest. Then started to rub his white robe upon noticing a red wine stain.

“Tying up loose ends.” The short mage replied monotonously and stared out to sea from the balcony. “The port can be rebuilt.” He continued as Toran came to stand beside him.

“You should have warned me.” Toran said after a time, and it came out as a passionate growl. This caught the mage’s attention and it seemed to upset him.

“You were told what you needed to know.” Anoras replied and gazed upon him with dim golden eyes.

“But my wife, my people! They were not to suffer!” Toran stated and started to become angry. “You went too far!” He growled once more before the short mage made a claw with his hand and his eyes turned a bright gold.

Toran felt the world upon his shoulders and he fell to his knees… not by his own will.

“Many have suffered through the ages!” Anoras barked back and brought his face closer to his. “You think yours is special? You think no action would bring any less suffering?”

He had never seen the short Asur in such a mood… he was terrifying.

“The Se’Cruen family was destroyed by the games at court, destroyed by the game of princes and the throne… destroyed by the civil war… we have suffered for ages.” Anoras continued in a passionate voice and then seemed to calm down… finally releasing Toran from his magical grip.

“I am the last of my line, and you are Asuryans champion. We do not have the luxury of easy choices, and we will never neglect the plight of our people.” The mage kept gazing into his eyes as he spoke.

“Yesss… there it is, find your resolve. You must remember who you are and who you made a deal with.” Anoras paused and looked out to sea once more.

“I am the one who brought you to such political strength, I am the one who manipulated the weather to delay the fleet. I am the one who fooled the Druchii into thinking they could strike. And I am the one who ensured all those who opposed your grand plans… were removed.”

“All at the cost of my soul.” He replied with a cold sadness in his voice.

“Yess… everything comes with a cost, we cannot forget our duty to protect this world… the Ever Empire must rise back to its former glory. We have become weak… darkness and destruction will come if we do not act… yesss it will come.”

“Once the Silver Knights vote, our endeavor will be complete.” Toran said with a bit more enthusiasm in order to change the subject.

Anoras walked into his chambers and removed his dark traveling cloak, then started to flip through the signed agreements. The symbols on his sky blue cloak almost danced in the low candle light from the sconces on the walls.

“This is good, yess… yes it is. Come and open another bottle of wine, I have some things to talk about.”

Toran furrowed his brow with curiosity and started to walk over to his private cabinet. Another bottle from the colonies would suffice he thought and turned back towards his desk.

“I wish to tell you a story about a certain amulet of power.” Anoras said quietly and let a smile sweep across his face.


***


Sefian Brakist sat at his desk and tried to repress his annoyed emotions, his little brother Gidras had always been weak of will… and now was no different. Sometimes he wondered if they were truly related, his brother had brown hair and eyes; whereas Sefian’s was black with eyes of ice blue.

Regardless, Gidras was family and they had already lost much… their parents perished to Druchii raiders at sea and their older brother was killed in a duel against Kendrakor Draconis. A duel over this damned amulet he held in his hand.

‘Orlias I will avenge you’ he thought to himself and then sighed out loud.

“Brother you think it wise to fund such an endeavor? The Draconis family will be part of the company’s leadership… they will rise high.” Gidras stated with a doubt ridden voice.

“The higher they climb, the harder they will fall. We will rid ourselves of Kendrakor, avenge our brother and then seek to destroy this ‘Royal Company’ in due time.” Sefian tapped his fingers in anticipation and looked at the broken amulet in his hand. It was a simple crescent shape with jagged edges from being broken in half…the second parts location was a closely guarded Draconis family secret.

An odd trinket that seemed to speak to him at times… when he was alone.

They were awaiting the Silver Knight delegate… the one he had arranged to meet with Prince Toran. The only reason he had agreed to provide funding in the first place.

‘One enemy at a time.’ He whispered to himself.

The room was his personal study within the Brakist keep in the city of Copher, accented with white and red drapes, an extravagant white oak desk and red leather chairs. He enjoyed his comforts, and it tended to put those he met with at ease.

He and his brother both wore the dark red robes of their house, with crossed spears and a star ridden shield richly embroidered upon their chest.

They would look their best for today… the first day of many in which they would finally strike at their enemies.

A knock at the door.

His house guard entered and announced his guest.

“My lord, Serionil Renalis… Captain in the Silver Knights Order and representative of Prince Toran Sen’thanoc of Tor Wis.”

The captain was garbed as anyone would predict, full silver armor and scales with a gray cloak reaching the floor. His helm was casually held under his arm and his blue eyes were much darker than his own. He also towered over his house guard… a beast of an elf with long brown hair.

Yes this would work perfectly.

They began with the expected greetings and courtesies that would accompany such a visit. He let the captain drone on about the purpose of his visit and the gratitude of prince Toran for his signing of the agreement and funding the endeavor.

He listened on until he could handle no more.

“Serionil, if I may.” Sefian interrupted with a hand gesture of courtesy.

The captain stopped mid-sentence.

“I have been curious to see what seems to drive and motivate you. Your position shows a dedication to duty and your demeanor tells me you are loyal to your friends… friends such as Kendrakor Draconis.”

Sefian paused for a moment as Serionil seemed to ponder on his words.

“It is true that the Draconis family has close ties to mine.” He replied and seemed to become suspicious.

“Well fortunately there are only two people in this world that know why you have been summoned here, and they are in this room.” Sefian continued with a sly smile, he was rather enjoying this.

“Summoned?” Serionil queried with a raised eyebrow.

“Indeed, I have a mission for you.”

“I am conducting my mission as we speak my lord.” Serionil stated and shifted uneasily in his chair.

Gidras started to chuckle and the captain clearly became angry.

“What is this mission you seek to task me with?” He asked and stared daggers at Sefian’s brother.

“Simply put… you will kill Kendrakor Draconis.”

Shock and hate, all expressed at once as the Silver Knight stood from his chair.

“Absolutely not, and you can be sure he will hear of this.” Serionil roared and made to turn towards the door.

“Oh you mistake this as a choice.” Sefian said coldly and stood from his chair, making the amulet visible.

Fear seemed to spread across the captain’s face, mixed with confusion.

“You see there are powers in this world that even we do not understand… very old powers.” Sefian said slowly and stared at the amulet… feeling its power course through him.

“You will kill Kendrakor Draconis.” He commanded and stared deep into Serionil’s eyes.

The captain slowly turned as his dark blue eyes were covered in a barely noticeable glossiness.

“I will kill Kendrakor Draconis.” Serionil stated and straightened himself towards Sefian.

He looked at his younger brother with a wicked smile.

“Good.”








I'd have to say that concludes the 'prequel' of the Chronicles. I'm pretty sure some sort of new piece will start brewing at some point though :lol:

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Last edited by Larose on Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:50 pm 
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Larose wrote:
Thanks for the compliments though, any reference to distinguished writers or Vikings in general is definitely appreciated

You’re capturing something Larose.

Prince of Spires wrote:
needing it for writing was just an excuse

The author Dave Langford used to write an (excellent) SF/Fantasy review column for White Dwarf in the 80’s called ‘Critical Mass’. One day he attended the launch for an early Terry Pratchett. “Terry was there. So was some wine. X was there. So was some more wine.” It continued in the same vein!

:)

Larose wrote:
I'd have to say that concludes the 'prequel' of the Chronicles.

Unsettling. Not everyone back home for tea and medals.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:04 am 
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Larose wrote:
I like to think i've improved and I hope everyone has been able to follow the story without too much trouble!!

It's a skill. And, as with any skill, the more you practice the better you get at it. Lot's of research has been done on the subject. And it's safe to say that all the great writers have written a lot (even if not all of it has been published).

I think you have indeed gotten better.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:18 pm 
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SpellArcher wrote:
Larose wrote:
Thanks for the compliments though, any reference to distinguished writers or Vikings in general is definitely appreciated

You’re capturing something Larose.

Larose wrote:
I'd have to say that concludes the 'prequel' of the Chronicles.

Unsettling. Not everyone back home for tea and medals.


Unsettling for sure, I rather enjoyed ending off this way... not sure if I'd actually deem any of the characters as Truly evil, since as the old saying goes: everyone tends to see themselves as either necessary, doing what needs to be done, or maybe even as the hero... though perhaps too far gone to realize the consequences of their actions.


Prince of Spires wrote:
Larose wrote:
I like to think i've improved and I hope everyone has been able to follow the story without too much trouble!!

It's a skill. And, as with any skill, the more you practice the better you get at it. Lot's of research has been done on the subject. And it's safe to say that all the great writers have written a lot (even if not all of it has been published).

I think you have indeed gotten better.


Makes sense that it is a skill that needs to be practiced. Thank you for the kind words, it's definitely been a long hall since 2011 lol

Again I apologize for the 'year' long gap of writing that occurred. Time fly's when life keeps you busy.

If there are any characters you'd like to hear more about or have questions, please let me know. I highly doubt I'll be able to resist writing another side story or something regarding my large cast... might just require a small push :lol: 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:18 pm 
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Love to read more when you’re ready Larose.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:57 am 
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Larose wrote:
If there are any characters you'd like to hear more about or have questions, please let me know. I highly doubt I'll be able to resist writing another side story or something regarding my large cast... might just require a small push

Well, get writing. Chop chop. We already had to wait a year for the ending. Don't keep us waiting longer for the sequel ;)

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:24 am 
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Hahaha fair points, I'll see what I can muster up

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:56 pm 
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Soooooo I'm heading to the field for a month this weekend... and I will be unable to update this piece until I return... but the bug made me write it today so I tease you with this while I'm gone lol :twisted: :twisted:





A flash of lightning streaked across the dark clouded sky and boomed with a deafening crack shortly after.

The storm was getting closer... and its accompanying rainfall drenched her face despite the protection from the dark hooded cloak. She tightened it around her neck and tried to maintain her footing in the slick mud.

The gusting wind was becoming annoying.

Almost there.

She thought, and examined the small town before her. Its dim lights flickered amongst the downpour and its shadowed streets masked the movement of the town folk.

It was the town of ‘Langwald’.

Supposedly a quiet place on the Eastern edge of the Empire. Somewhere someone could find work with few questions asked. Though its streets appeared busy enough despite the storm, and the size of the town was a bit large for ‘quiet’.

Regardless, she pressed forward along the rolling hills… taking care to avoid the watch post near the dirt road.

Sneaking into town was always preferable, the people of Stirland were a suspicious lot and its towns were even worse. She had learned to trust her instincts and to stay in the shadows whenever possible.

It was safer.

Another crack of lightning thundered nearby and drew her attention upward. It startled her and a few moments later she felt her boot slip out.

Damn it!

She cursed as her other leg tried to regain her balance. Yet it was too late… she landed on her side and slipped down the slope on her back. One hand instinctively protected the pommels of her long sword and dagger strapped to her waist on her left side. The other tried to grab onto anything nearby.

The forest was a few miles East and the grassland hills provided little to grasp. Only the gradual decline of the slope slowed her momentum to a stop, and only after she was completely covered in mud. Water seeped into her knee high boots and the cold brought a deep shiver.

Why did she travel here? Damn this place… damn the Empire.

She slowly rose up to one knee with a grunt. Her mind felt exhausted and her emotions were running high.

Tears started to drip down her cheeks… and she instinctively wiped them with her sleeve.

Fuck… it was covered in mud.

Why was she even in this damned country?

She had lost her mother at birth, lost her father a few years ago and had no knowledge of how to find anyone else.

Another shiver ran up her spine as she sighed. Her breath lingered in the air from the cool air of the storm. Then her foot sluggishly took a step forward and then another. This place was all she knew… this country was home. She hated this place, yet it somehow brought an odd comfort… a weakness within that was scared to stray into the unknown.

Langwald slowly drew closer as she pushed through the storm and mud. Her boots squished and stuck with every step, her cloak dragged like an anchor and her shoulders ached in pain.

Then she was standing next to a building and scanning the alleyway.

Her instincts had kicked in and the memory of her approach was almost vague. She gave her head a quick shake and tried to focus.

Getting caught sneaking was worse than reporting to the watch like every normal traveler. But she was hungry and could not risk being turned away… not again.
Her deep blue eyes squinted in the rain as the wind gusts through the alley. She removed one of her black gloves to push back the wet strands of her dark hair blocking her vision.

At this point… muddying up her hair would probably break her.

The silhouette of two guards carrying spears and covered lanterns were slowly moving her way. Her heart started to pound as she tried to form herself to the stone house. Their stern voices could be heard amongst the storms background of rain and thunder. One would have to repeat themself more than once as the duo tried to hold a conversation.

“I’m telling you it went this way.” A guard stated with a grunt.

The other just shook its head.

They were garbed in chainmail, leather vests, wide brimmed helms and red cloaks of the city watch. This town seemed to have a capable guard… not the usual militia ramble that thought themselves warriors.

“It was not my mind playing tricks!” The guard continued defiantly.

The duo then turned at an alley crossing and disappeared from her view. She let out a sigh of relief and leaned up against the stonework.

Then a shadow flashed across another intersection in the distance... in the same direction of the guards. Then a second came to view and stopped at the crossing closer to her position.

The figure had a long hooded cloak… much like the one she wore.

It seemed to hesitate and then slowly turned in her direction. She froze and felt her eyes lock with the shadowy figure… its eyes seemed a dull red… shit!

Her heart skipped a beat and her legs had her sprinting without much thinking. It took a moment for her to realize she was traveling in the same direction as the guards. Yet she continued, if her instincts were right… those shadows were not human.

She passed numerous houses with similar alley ways and dimly lit windows. Then she chose to turn towards the center of town, the damn thing was probably following her.

Lightning flashed overhead and the thunder echoed off the buildings as she ran.

Then she stopped.

A scream… she heard a scream muffled by the thunder.

She was standing a few meters away from an alley crossing. The rain continued its attempt to drown them all and a different type of chill ran up her spine.

“No! Please!” Came a shout from around the corner.

Followed by another cry of pain as the guard with the lantern was thrown into view and hit the wall of a nearby house.

He groaned in pain.

Her eyes grew wide and she stepped back in terror.

Memories flooded her thoughts… she had seen this before and it crippled her mind. She took another step back and felt a cold grasp upon her shoulder.

“You smell nice.” The voice said and threw her with unnatural strength. She cried out and spun through the air... then hit the building at an odd angle.

The cold stone was hard and the mud splattered her face as she hit the ground shortly after. Her vision was a bit blurry from the rain and mud, yet she could make out a form picking up the guard with one hand. It then tilted the guards head to the side and bit his neck.

She could hear a faint gurgle before the guard was discarded onto the ground with a thud.

“Delicious.” A second voice said as a hand gripped her neck and lifted her up.

The creature pinned her against the wall and smiled.

They were damned vampires.

Its eyes glowed with a lustful red hue and its fanged smile flashed menacingly with the lightning strikes.

“Oh she’s pretty!” It said and sniffed her neck… then drew back and examined her with a squinted gaze.

“It’s an elven half-breed!” The vampire cursed and spit in her face.

She snarled in response as the vampires grip tightened... then she drew the dagger at her side.

She hated vampires.

Magic coursed through her as she channeled it to imbue her blade. The energy flowed and caused her eyes to glow white… this struck fear in the vampire holding her.

“You fool!” Its partner shouted out as she stabbed the one holding her.

It shrieked in pain and released its grip. The vampire staggered backwards and looked down at the blade embedded in its stomach. It made to remove the blade, yet cried out and hissed once more as the intricate pommel scorched its hand.

The second vampire crouched as if to pounce towards her, yet recoiled and gripped its shoulder in pain.
The boom of a gunshot rang in her ears and drew her attention towards the center of town.

A figure with a long coat and a wide brimmed hat stood sternly in the distance. Its arm extended and holding a smoking pistol.

“I will see you again… my pretty.” The vampire said painfully and disappeared with a blurring flash of speed.

In fact they were both gone.

So she leaned back against the wall in exhaustion and waited for the approaching figure.

She had heard about them… her famed rescuer was an Empire Inquisitor. Trained hunters of the cursed dead that plagued the region.

The footsteps drew closer.

“Damn, we were too late.” A feminine voice said and turned her attention back towards the alley crossing.

There was a second person examining the dead guard and garbed in the unique fashion of the Inquisition. The first that had shot a pistol, now carried a long sword and pointed it in her direction.

“Seems we have one survivor.” The man said. He had a short brown beard and dark suspicious eyes… he had seen her use magic.
His silver breast plate gleamed in the dim light from the lantern being re-lit from his counterpart.

She sighed again as his sword drew closer and lifted her hood up. It slid along the back of her head and she turned her to avert the bright light of the lantern.

The second inquisitor now squatted beside her.

She had blonde hair and looked older, her crow’s feet were distinct yet her green eyes looked sharp.

“Never heard of a half breed.” The female inquisitor said and paused with a tilt of her head. The wide hat drew closer. “Never really met an elf either.” She continued and looked at her partner.

“What’s your name stranger?” The male asked gruffly.

Silence.

She wasn't sure yet and it seemed to annoy the inquisitors.

“Alright… who trained you in ‘Divine’ magic?” The female asked with a small smile.

It was odly disarming.

“My father… though my training is minimal.” She said reluctantly.

The male grumbled in thought.

"You're going after them aren't you?" She asked and leaned forward.

“Take me with you.” She continued.

The female inquisitor drew back a bit and raised her eyebrow expectantly.

She looked at them both and sighed.

“Fine… my... my name is Adalinusi.” She said softly and started to twitch her foot nervously.

“So you do have a name… now why would taking you even be an option.” The male inquisitor replied and sheathed his sword.

“My magic for one.” Ada said and looked down at the pommel of her sword. “That dagger and this sword are all I have to remember my father... I want it back."

“Ah… I did enjoy its shrieks of pain.” The man said, now with a clear smile across his face. He was missing a few teeth.

Ada felt her passion rising.

“I hate those damn things.” She said with a growl and looked at the woman beside her.

“Take me with you.”

The woman paused and gazed at her in thought. Then she smiled and then gave a quick nod.

“It’s your funeral.” She said as the man extended his hand to help Ada to her feet.

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Attack when they are unprepared, make your move when they least expect it.

Only in your darkest hour, will you triumph over true evil.


Last edited by Larose on Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:27 pm 
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Thanks for this Larose. Distinctly different!

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