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Private Age of War

Discussion in 'Archived Stories' started by Blitzz, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. Blitzz

    Blitzz A Friendly Brit

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    "But, your grace, I really think you should reconsi-"

    "I said no, Vincent." Isaac's voice cut straight through the old Lord's mumbling, dominant and overpowering. A sky blue woolen cloak was draped accross his shoulders, a simple grey tunic underneath. The chain linking the shoulders of his cloak was iron, encrusted with sapphires. When the sun hit them right, it looked like a string of shining eyes, glimmering with curiosity. He looked a simple man; dirty blonde hair topping a handsome face, and the shadow of a new beard showed strong. He looked good for his age, having yet to find his first grey hair and his face was still as chiseled and flat as when he had been a teenager. His lips were thin and his mouth wide, the ends curved into a permanent but chilling smile. "There is no need of a tourney to celebrate the harvest. We have not done it before, I see no reason why we should waste all of the extra money we earn on a tourney, so that we have to pay even more money to winners." Lord Treasurer Moyses Vincent had always been a man for extravagance and indulgence. If he hadn't been a mathematical genius and financial miracle worker, King Isaac would have had him turned to onto the streets years ago. The fact remained, however, that there was no one who could fill the gap he would leave.

    "As you wish, your grace. But know that your people crave entertainment, and you are depriving them." He looked expectantly at Isaac, as the rest of the Council sat at the table turned their eyes to him.

    "Guard your tongue, Lord Vincent. If you're not careful, you may lose it." He had always ruled with an iron fist, but somehow his people adored him for it. He turned to Lord Tanner. "What news of the desert? Have the Li'ivi calmed yet?"

    "No, your grace. The Iirikh Clan struck out at a caravan passing on its way to Felldor, from the Easterlands. They were cutting through, and were robbed. None were killed, however."

    "I will go to them. I will talk to them and calm them, convince them we are not intent on stealing their lands."

    "My King, I beg you to reconsider." Isaac threw Lord Southsun a sharp glance, and he silenced himself.

    "I will leave one week from now. Lord Denton, you will make the arrangements." The young, black-haired renegade nodded in acceptance. "I am done with this council session. We shall meet again in a fortnight." Isaac stood, his long legs hoisting his 6'3" frame into the air. He turned and walked away from the table, as Ser Troy Barrett and Ser Levi Quinn came up to flank them, clad in elegant blue crystalline plate armor. The pauldrons were decorated with murals of a roaring griffin, a true work of art. They were halfway down the hall to his chambers when he said, "Ser Barrett, find my son Jonno and bring him here."

    +++​
    "Oh come on, Rob, don't be an ass! Give it back!" Robert Herrin was a replica of his father. Tall and handsome, with dirty blonde hair, except 28 years younger and with a thinner beard. Layna was small, and had the black hair of her mother. Her face was young and sweet, stamped with innocence. Rob was holding her teddy bear Stuffy in the air above her head, mocking the young girl's height.

    "You want it? Jump for it!" He was laughing wildly, as the small girl swung her thin arms wildly at it. Eventually, however, she got an idea. Whilst Rob held it high, she swung out and punched him in the stomach. Winded, he doubled over and dropped the bear. Layna grabbed it proudly and walked off.

    "You had that coming." Jonno Herrin put his hand on Rob's shoulder and pulled him to his feet. Jonno was older by four years, a bastard by birth, but legitimized by his father who married two years later. He was loved like all the others. Rob pushed him.

    "Shut up, Jonno. She's stronger than she looks."

    "Is she? Or have you just gone soft?" He was teasing him now.

    "Shut up!" He punched his older brother on the arm. "I'm not soft!"

    "Yeah you are, right here!" Jonno poked his stomach, beneath the boy's muscles into the soft flesh. Robert recoiled quickly and punched Jonno's arm again.

    "Have you seen father this morning?"

    "No I have not, he was not present at this morning's meal, and mother said he called a council session, so I doubt we'll be seeing him any time soon."

    "Peculiar. He must be planning something, otherwise he wouldn't dare leave mother on her own in the morning. I wonder what he's up to."

    "Whatever it is, I doubt it will concern us." As if on queue, Ser Troy Barrett appeared through the arched entryway to the courtyard. the sunlight was beating heavily on his crystal blue armor, dazzling the two boys as they turned to look at the approaching knight.

    "Lord Jonno, Lord Robert."

    "We are not Lords, Ser Barrett, you need not address us as such. What can we do for you?"Jonno was good with words, managing to befriend people with just a polite greeting.

    "With all due respect, my Lord, you are the sons of King Isaac Herrin, and Lord Robert is heir to the Throne of Vorrindor. That does, by all rights, make you Lords, my Lord."

    "Yes, I suppose by all rights it does. Very well, Ser Barrett, but it is customary to kneel when addressing a Lord." Ser Barrett looked at him suspiciously, and went to go down on one knee. "I am jesting with you, Ser Barrett! Rise, you damnable fool." Both sons let out a burst of laughter, whilst Ser Barrett smiled slightly as he got back to his feet. The Knight's face was mostly hidden by his helmet, but a pair of eyes as blue as his armor still showed through his metallic face.

    "Jonno, your father wishes to speak with you in his chambers." The two boys looked to one another.

    "Did he say what it was about?"

    "No. Only that he wanted to see you. If you'd be so kind as to come with me." Jonno followed Ser Barrett as he lead him out of the courtyard and along the wide hallways until they were at the base of the tower that was home to his father's personal chambers. The climb was quick, and they were soon stood outside the heavy oak door. Jonno pushed it aside, and strode in. His father was sitting at his desk, scribbling with a quill onto some tattered paper, whilst Ser Levi Quinn stood just inside the door. Ser Barrett took up his position on the other side of the door.

    "Some privacy, good Sers?" Isaac spoke without looking up, and both knights left to watch from outside the room.

    "You wanted to see me, father?"

    "I did, Jonno. Have a seat." Jonno shuffled over to a small wooden chair in the corner of the room."Do you know why I have called you here?"

    "No, father."

    "You are a bastard, Jonno. You are my son, of course, and I love you, but you are a bastard. As such, you cannot be the one to inherit the throne when I pass."

    "I am aware father."

    "Good. You cannot become an heir, but I have a plan for you."

    "Go on?"

    "You are a remarkable physical specimen, Jonno. You are tall, powerful, dominant, and at the same time graceful and agile and swift. You excel with a sword, a bow and are a talented rider. You are special, Jonno."

    "Thank you, father. But, is there a point to this praise?"

    "Since you have no claim to the Throne, I would ask that you undergo training with the men of my Royal Guard. Within the next three years, you will be one of them. You will forsake all rights to titles and land, and be known as Ser Jonno Herrin."

    "My father, I would be honored."

    "I'm glad to hear it. For the first part of your training, you will be accompanying me, Lord Denton and Lord Southsun, Ser Borra, Ser Quinn, Ser Blackwest and Ser Lynn to the desert. We are going to bring an end to the hostility between us and the Li'ivi once and for all."

    "When do we leave?"

    "I like your eagerness, child, but patience is a virtue. One week from now we leave. You have until then to prepare yourself. You may go now, my child." Jonno stood to leave. as he walked out, Ser Quinn and Ser Barrett looked at him and smiled, both with outstretched hands. He shook them both, realizing they had been listening.

    "You will make a fine guard, Ser Herrin," Quinn said with a wink.

    + THREE DAYS LATER +​
    Isaac watched a small bead of sweat roll down the Lord Treasurer Moyses Vincent's brow. It was warm, but that was not the real reason he was sweating. His tight features seemed to shrivel up as Isaac spoke. "If we do not trade our excess to the other kingdoms, then it will go to waste. We could use the extra funds, and you know that better than anyone, Vincent." Isaac raised an eyebrow at the older Lord, who seemed nervous that he was being called upon.

    "I am a Treasurer, your Grace, not a diplomat. Sending me to negotiate is a mistake."

    "You're the only one who knows the numbers, Vincent. It has to be you. Someone else might get it wrong."

    "I'm honored your Grace, but I just don't think I'll be of any use."

    "Take Mandra, take 50 of my men. that should be enough to get you west. Do a tour; start with our neighbors, then head northwest to Sondheim, then south to the Patriarchy. You should be back within the year. And, whilst you're in the Patriarchy's lands, see if you can recruit a few Yunta, if you can afford their price."

    "My King, you are wise and powerful, but this is folly. You cannot send your Lord Treasurer away for a year!"

    "Perhaps you are right. Perhaps not. We will only find out, however, once you leave. That is all, Lord Vincent." The man turned away from Isaac, his features screwed up in a mixture of fear, humiliation and rage. He slammed the door behind him like a child as he left, leaving Isaac alone with his thoughts. The Kivikoshi won't be able to afford all of our excess. We need to get rid of it somehow. Stone, food, all the extras need to go. We don't have the facilities to store them through the winter. Maybe... yes. We can get rid of some of to the Li'ivi, a sort of peace offering. If we can strike a deal with them... yes. His thoughts were interrupted by a knock on his door.

    "Lord Marka, your Grace," Ser Quinn called out.

    "Send him in." The door slid accross the carpeted floor of Isaac's chambers as Marka walked in. He was short for his age, but muscular and a skilled fighter. He had his mother's black hair, and her size, but had his father's handsome face. He was too young to yet be growing a beard, but the shadow was beginning to appear on his upper lip for the first time, even though the boy was only eleven.

    "Father."

    "Marka. What can I do for you, my boy?"

    "You're leaving."

    "Who told you?"

    "I heard some of the men talking."

    "I was going to tell you, just not yet."

    "Why do you always go? Why do you have to do everything yourself? They're savages! They'll cut your legs off and eat them in front of you, they'll bury you in sand and let the Viryi eat out your eyes!"

    "Those are all just foul stories, my child. The Dunedwellers \re just like you and me. They care about their families, their home. They feel like we are invading theirs. What if someone came here, my boy, and threatened to kill your sister, your mother, your brothers. What would you do?"

    "I'd kill them! I'd kick them to the floor and stab them till they die!"

    "Precisely, Marka. They feel threatened. All they need is a little reassurance. That's why it has to be me. Any of these other brutes will just anger them more. They need someone who is willing to accept their ways, and embrace them." A tear had begun to stream from Marka's eye. "Don't cry, my boy. It will be fine. I'll be back soon, and all the Dunedwellers will be friendly by then. You'll see."

    "Promise?"

    "I promise. Now run along, Layna is probably looking for you. She was calling after you for hide and seek earlier." Marka chuckled and ran out of the room. He wasn't even fully down the stairs when Isaac could hear him calling Layna's name. Isaac thought through the coming days. In four, he would leave for the Desert. In about three, Vincent would reach the Supremacy's capital. In about a week, more iron would arrive from the Kivikoshi city, so new building projects could get underway with the new resources. It would be an eventful month. The winds of war were rising. He could smell it on the air. They would need allies, they would need the Yunta and the Li'ivi and the Kivikoshi to have any hope of surviving the war to come. This next year would change the course of Vorrindor's history, and it all started here, with his own decisions. The pressure was almost unbearable.
     
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  2. Valin Oakthorn

    Valin Oakthorn Vagabond Extraordinaire

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    "Please Luke! Tell me the story again." Lilly Connors pleaded. Her voice echoed slightly in the halls around the living area they were at.
    "Oh, alright, sis." Luke replied.

    They were but two of the four children sitting around a fireplace in their favorite living place in the castle. Luke was the oldest at 23. Lilly was the youngest girl at 14. Joseph or Joe as they call him, the youngest boy at 11, was as eagerly awaiting the story, while Sapphire, the oldest girl at 19, had just glanced up from her book. She was not quite as intrigued, having heard the story many more times the the youngest had.

    "Well, once upon a time..."

    +27 years earlier+​
    Joshua Connors is sitting on a hill over looking the capital. His best friend, Joseph Black, is next to him.​
    "Can you, believe that the Tyrant is in there?" Joshua asks rhetorically.​
    "He's probably sitting with a book by his fire while his subject starve out here, and he doesn't even care." Joseph replies.​
    "I'm gonna kill him one day."
    "Ha, you do that."
    "I'm serious, Joseph."
    There's a moment of silence as Joseph scans his friends face. He looks solemn, but Joseph doesn't understand.​
    "You're insane!" Joseph exclaims. "That, or you've been eating some Inkus droppings! Those things can kill you, man!"
    "No, no, no! Listen to me!" Joshua says, a bit frustrated by his friend. "Think about it. Would you rather die of starvation while the Tyrant sits up in his castle, or take the fight to him? So what if we fail, at least we'll go down fighting for what we believe in!" Joshua says, he always was good with words. He thinks back to the time he talked a large man out of killing Joseph for taking the mans wife to the town dance.​
    Joseph thinks for a minute then looks up at his friend. "Okay, let's do it."
    "Really?" Joshua says, having expected more resistance.​
    "Really." Joseph replies.​
    Their conversation is interrupted as they are shrouded in a large shadow. They look up to see a swiftwing flying above them. They're mesmerized by it's beauty, it's scarlet and gold feathers shining in the sun. Then, as quickly as it came, the bird is gone, and they're alone again.​
    "It's official then!" Joshua, says with a smirk.​
    "I guess so." Joseph replies.​
    +Current Day+​
    "Then they went on to form a rebel group, and kill the Tyrant." Luke says.​
    There's a bit of silence as the kids aren't sure what to talk about now that the story is over. The fire is dim now.​
    "Oh, c'mon, you left out the part about how we sweet talked the guardians into letting us stay in their forest so the Tyrant couldn't get us!" A deep, slightly raspy voice says from the doorway into the living area.​
    The kids turn toward the voice to see their father leaning against the door frame. He has black hair, with quite a few gray ones throughout, that turns into a short beard. He hasn't aged all that well, quite a few signs of age on his face, for being only in his late forties.​
    "How did you do that, dad." Joe asks.​
    "Well, son." Joshua says, stepping into the room. "We agreed that if they let us stay in their forest, we wouldn't harm anything and, should we win the war, we would do everything in our power to help them protect the forest."
    Joshua turns his attention to his oldest. "Time for a council meeting, Luke. Let's go."
    Luke nods and gets up from his seat. Together they head down through the halls toward the council chambers.​
     
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  3. Blackdoom59

    Blackdoom59 BATMAN!

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    Mighty King Issac
    I write to you with hopes of establishing naval trade routes between our states. I am very much aware that your kingdom needs wood, and I am happy to inform you that our lands are rich with lumber. It is also rumored that you have surplus of food. Even if our lands aren't doing poorly, we would still like to import so I can better feed my people.
    Willard stopped writing and placed his hand on his head, thinking of the best words to use. He wore his general royal attire, as expected of a patriarch - two layers of expensive ornate leather, red and black, with dozens of golden jewels hanging from the jacket. He sighed as he smeared his quill with ink before continuing.​
    Onto more personal matters, I'd like to arrange a marriage between my youngest Eva, and your eldest Robert. My daughter is the most beautiful woman of the Patriarchy, and I'm sure she'l do nothing but please prince Robert. I hope you will agree to my propositions, and have our houses joined. I sincerely believe our children will be happy together. If you do agree, the wedding will take place in Duskspear, and I will cover up to a quarter of the cost. May the stars keep you safe
    Signed, Patriarch Willard Solari
    He wrapped the letter in his hand and thew it away. He wrote again, this time not mentioning the cost of the wedding. As soon as he finished writing, he marked the letter with the royal Etumas seal, meaning only the king's eyes could see it. As he marked it, a loud knock on the door disturbed his tranquility.
    "Come in" the patriarch replied, just before he started coughing. A servant walked in and bowed before Willard. "I am deeply sorry to disturb you, your holyness!"

    Willard smiled as he answered "Do not worry, child. What news do you bring?". The servant stood as he swallowed dryly "The High Inquisitor was supposed to reach Starhold at sunrise, but his party turned north. It is said they are heading to the Golden Palace, right on time for the yearly ceremony."

    The patriarch looked down trying to think what to make of his brother. Each year in North Soforia, the nobles gathered in the Golden Palace to celebrate the year's wealth. The Patriarch and Inquisitor were always invited, but most of the time they refused going. William was not the man that enjoyed parties, he wouldn't go to the Palace for celebration. William was turning more and more reckless each day, making decisions on his own and disregarding Willard's orders.

    As the patriarch was lost in thought, the servant spoke once more. "Eh, also..." Willard quickly snapped out of it and eyed the man once more "The High Priestess requested you to come at the Temple of Stars" William nodded as the servant exited the room.
    +++​
    The Royal Gardens in Starhold where the largest in the entire Patriarchy. Rows of flowers and tall trees clouded the air with their miasma, with no soul to smell them but the birds that sung their ballads on the branches. From time to time, however, nobles came to chat and walk through the gardens, as it was one of the few cultural places in the Patriarchy that generated tourism.

    Eva stood on the balcony that resembled a large tree bark, staring at the waving waters of Ferocia Coast. She wore her usual attire, a silk red hooded dress that left the arms exposed. She visited the gardens a lot, it was her place of tranquility, and overall happiness. As she was enjoying the view she could hear metal clanking accompanied with hard and loud steps. As Eva turned to look she could see none other but her beloved brother, Caelin, whom slowly walked towards her, his face masked by his helmet. As soon as she caught a glimpse of him, she instantly started running, with a wide smile painted across her face. She jumped and hugged his brother.

    "Caelin!" she shouted as a tear ran down her eye as he removed his helmet, reveling his long blonde hair. She backed away a little bit than slapped him across the face, without truly meaning it. "It's been six months! Do you know how worried I have been? Father wouldn't tell me anything." Caelin sighed subtly before looking his sister in the eye "I'm sorry, ok? Uncle didn't say how long it would take."

    They started walking through the gardens as the sun kept coming down from the sky.
    "You shouldn't have gone in the first place..." she said while avoiding his eyes.
    "Sister!"
    "Well, you're gonna become a patriarch! You don't need combat training...you-you'l have guards to protect you!"
    "Eva don't put it like that...Father went through the same thing." he smiled a little
    "You just don't like uncle, do you?"
    "Of course I do, wh-why would you say that?"
    "Do you now?"
    She nodded with an obviously fake smile
    "So if he was here you would hug him like you hugged me?"
    "Er..Yes, obviously"
    "Even if he had a sword on his back"
    "Well..."
    "And two angry knights next to him?"
    "Alright, you've made your point, Caelin." she pushed his shoulder jokingly. Eva was greatly afraid of men in armor, regardless of their kind. They kept chatting and joking around as they walked in the gardens until a maid rushed to them. They both stopped and looked at her. "My lady, my prince!" she switched his eyes from Eva to Caelin. "Lady Catherine summoned you to the Temple of Stars." Eva turned to Caelin
    "It's probably about your arrival, so I'l go to my chambers, brother" she looked at the sky that started to turn dark "It's getting late anyway". They hugged before she left and Caelin walked with the maid.

    +++

    "Why didn't you tell me!? It would have been much better if I heard with your words!" Caelin heard as he approached the temple entrance. The maid awkwardly stared at the prince before deciding to leave.
    "I figured you'd find out eventually, and I knew you'd be against it" Caelin entered the room to see his mother and father next to eachother, fighting over something. Catherine wore a temple robe with a large sun on the chest and two metallic moons on the shoulders. When the prince walked it they both eyed him, but Caelin stood in silence. His parents never fought.
    "Where is your sister?"
    "In her chambers, she told me she was tired"
    Willard nodded and turned his eyes back at Catherine
    "Go ahead" Catherine spat with a hostile tone "Tell him"
    The patriarch approached his son with a saddened persona. "I...I am going to marry Eva off to-" he didn't get to finish his sentence before Caelin shouted "WHAT!?".
    "Hush, Caelin, let me-"
    The prince pushed his father using quite some force
    "How dare you do that!? You're gonna send her away like you did Anna!"
    Catherine smiled seeing Caelin stand up for his sister "You know that wasn't my choice! I didn't arrange Anna's marriage!"
    "But you allowed it!"
    Willard frowned at Catherine. "I do not only what is best for you-"
    "Best for us? You've allowed Caelin to undergo training! With William, nonetheless!"
    "Not you too.." Caelin mumbled
    "And how is it good to send my daughter away like a package!?"
    "But also what's good for the Patriarchy!" Willard's tone changed to a much more hostile one, this time actually shouting. "You two think you know her, you think you know what she wants, but she never actually told you!" he paused briefly "Not like she told me..."
    Catherine and Caelin looked switched their eyes from themselves to Willard, whom started coughing midway through his statements "What do you mean?"
    "Eva might not look like it, but she is a free spirit, and you're keeping her here for your own selfish desires. She wants to see the world and not just the halls of one castle, she wants to meet people who aren't cooks or maids, she wants befriend and to love-" he spoke somewhat quieter "People who aren't her family. Which is why she'l be married to Robert Herrin, and you two will not speak a word to her, before I do so myself!"
    Catherine nodded with a pained face. Willard stared Caelin in the eyes "Are we-" he coughed a little bit more than usual "clear?" he asked with a sickly voice.
    "Yes father. I...I am sorry."
    "You should rest, my dear." Catherine said as she massaged Willard's burning forehead. The patriarch nodded as he exited the room and made for his chambers. He was always sure of his decisions, but time even he had doubts.
     
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  4. Skyrimosity

    Skyrimosity Fine Southern Gentleman

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    "Are you ready?"

    "Yes, King Romain. You may speak." said the Scribe.

    "To King Isaac Herrin of Vorrindor: I send you this message seeking to establish trade between our two kingdoms. It is my intention that my kingdom may trade lumber in appropriate amounts in exchange for either iron or steel. Please respond with the utmost of haste, and I wish the best for both your family and your kingdom.
    Sincerely, King Romain Joffer of Lotharine"

    The Scribe finished writing the message and handed the message to King Romain whom signed it, put into a container and handed it back to the scribe. The scribe then rushed away, carrying the message to a ship which would then carry it to Vorrindor in a matter of days.

    King Romain sat in his majestic throne at the end of a long corridor, with large statues of various nature lining the corridor on each side. It was at this time that High General Varran Aurrus approached the King from the nearby Strategy room, within which were many highly detailed maps. "My King" said the General on one knee, "if I may inquire, why is it you wish to increase our iron reserves?"


    "Because, Varran, you as well as anybody know of our horrendous shortage. It is hard enough to supply our current military with weapons. What if we ever need a larger army, Varran? Are we to supply them with wooden swords?"

    The High General simply nodded and walked out of the palace. "Guard" King Romain said to one of the heavily armored statue appearing men standing near him. "Fetch Prince Lucarn. Tell him I have an important announcement to make to him."

    Queen Alexandra Joffer looked up to her King from her lesser throne. "Are you sure about your plans for Lucarn?" King Romain simply nodded.

    The Guard bowed and walked up nearby stairs two floors to the living quarters of the Tertium Palace. He passed multiple doors before approaching the room of Prince Lucarn. He knocked, and moments later the seventeen year old Heir to the Throne opened the door. The Guard looked over him to see a number of books open on the Prince's bed. One of them read "Naval Battles of Lotharine". "Your father requests your presence at the Throne." He has an announcement for you. Lucarn nodded, and followed the guard to the Throne.


    "Lucarn", King Romain said when he saw his son, "I have some news for you. I have decided I may not allow you to become a simple sailor.Lucarn's eyes filled with despair for a brief moment, for all the brightest and strongest men of Lotharine dreamed of a life in the mighty navy. He opened his mouth but only heard "Let me finish. Now, I know of your studies and how much you yearn for Naval glory. However, I cannot allow my heir to the throne to be in danger. As such, I shall assign you to the ship of Grand Admiral Oriton Cines, effective in ten days upon your eighteenth birthday."

    Lucarn was speechless. He'd be serving on the same ship as a military genius. He smiled and returned to his room, having not even noticed the silent Grand Admiral but feet behind him.
    "I'm sure he shall be an excellent student." Said Cines, in a voice that was smooth as silk and carried with it a power and authority that was of regal manner. He stood straight, wore the finest of military gear due his position, and had the look of a powerful man about him.

    "Yes, I have every assurance you will train him well. But keep him in line. He can't be left to roam freely due to his fortunate birthrights."

    The Grand Admiral nodded his head and left the room.

    "Artrius bless him!" the Queen said rather loudly.
     
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  5. Blitzz

    Blitzz A Friendly Brit

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    It was almost time to leave, the wagons had been loaded up and horses were strapped in, ready to leave at a moment's notice. King Isaac stood on a balcony watching the chaos unfold in the yard below, the same blue woolen cloak he always wore still draped over his shoulders. There was a breeze, but not enough of one to make the heavy cloak float on the wind. He was enjoying the chaos; two men were about to start brawling over who got to ride in the back. It was quite pathetic, really. However, two guards stopped it before it could become a problem, much to Isaac's disappointment. The door behind him opened and suddenly a young messenger was beside him. "Your grace, messages from foreign kings!"

    "Thank you, Ollyver. Wait, I may need you to return my orders." The small boy nodded and stepped back. The first was stamped with the wax seal of the Patriarchy. He opened it, delighted at its content. A trade offer from a land rich with lumber was everything that Vorrindor needed at this time. Plus they wanted excess food in return. It seemed too good to be true. Then he read the next part and realized the catch. "Ollyver, fetch my son, please." The boy left, and the second letter was no less pleasing. They wanted iron, or steel. Clearly, they could tell war was coming. The only reason anyone would need great amounts of metal was for making things, and iron and steel were for weapons. Delightful. It would be done, but he had no time to write the responses now. He would have to do so after his encounter with Rob. He arrived soon enough, and Isaac told Ollyver his responses so the boy could have them scribed, Isaac would sign them later. "Rob."

    "You wanted to see me, father?"

    "Have a seat, Rob."

    "Is this grave news, father?"

    "That depends on how you respond. Tell me, what do you know of the Patriarchy, to the west?"

    "Not an awful lot, father. They have a ruler, and then another ruler on the side, like a religious ruler of sorts."

    "Do you know of the royal family there?"

    "They are ruled by Willard, who has Caelin Solari as an Heir and a daughter named Eva. Willard is married to Catherine Solari, and William Solari is High Inquisitor."

    "You've been studying, haven't you." He paused "Never mind. You are to be married, my boy."

    "What, to Eva Solari?" He seemed excited, if he knew them this well he probably knew she was a beautiful young woman, and any chance to experience something new was a treat to Rob.

    "No. To Caelin Solari." Isaac watched the disgusted look trawl accross Rob's young face, washing away the excitement. "Of course to Eva, you fool!" They both burst out laughing, but Rob's seemed to be more a laugh of relief. "I will send someone else in my place to the desert, whilst we arrange the marriage here. They should arrive sometime soon. What do you say?" Rob jumped up and hugged Isaac, and then ran out of the door with a new sort of spring in his step. Isaac smiled at his innocence, and then went off himself to sign his replies.
     
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  6. Valin Oakthorn

    Valin Oakthorn Vagabond Extraordinaire

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    The two strolled down the halls of the castle side my side. Luke's eyes danced about as he admired the beautiful stone and wood work decorations. The castle was of stone base, but covered in beautiful trim and decorations of different woods.

    "What's the council meeting for?" Luke asked his father.
    "Trade. We're looking to lighten the load our nation has placed on itself, and become less self sufficient." Joshua replied.
    "Ah, I see."
    "C'mon, they're probably waiting on us."

    +++​
    The large wooden double doors opened to the council room, and Joshua and Luke entered. It was a somewhat small, circular room, with stone walls, a wooden floor, and a spherical ceiling that had a skylight in the center. Around the room were fifteen indents that formed seats, each with a symbol of sorts above it, representing the council member that sat there.​
    The two took their seats. The council members who had been standing and talking while they waited also took their respective seats.​
    "Okay, then." Joshua began, silencing the others. "Is everyone ready?" He asked, to which he received nods and various noises of confirmation. "Alright, then let us begin this council meeting. Today our topic is trade, and as so, seniority goes to Lord Rico Tanner, with any one in management of resources having high say, and the rest of us following generic order." Joshua said, following the typical order of things. "Any objections?" He asked, receiving none. "Alright then. Lord Tanner, what do you propose?"
    "Well, your Majesty..." Lord Tanner, master of Coin began.​
    "Oh, sorry. Casualty granted among the council." Joshua said, preferring not to hear "your Majesty" after every sentence.​
    "Okay, well, anyway. We're in no way short on coin, having done little to no importing since the end of the war, however we aren't rich, due to the Tyrant's debts."
    "Alright."
    "I propose we import lumber and metals. We are not short on these resources, but importing light amounts should prevent us needing to rely on another nation for the majority of our supplies for a good amount of time."
    "What do you, propose we export to make up the coin spent on imports?"
    "I say jewels, we're mining more than we can craft since we discovered the blue mountains are loaded with them."
    "What about the hounds? They're some of the finest in the world, and could benefit plenty of other nations armies." General Troy Redblade, asked.​
    "No, we can't sell my hounds. They're our only edge on the battle field. We give them away and they could likely be used against us." Lord Aaron Knight, master of hounds replied.​
    "Alright then. The export of Jewels should be enough to cover light lumber and metal imports, should it not?" Joshua asked.​
    "It should." Lord Tanner replied.​
    "Are the military leaders in need of supplies for anything?" Joshua asked.​
    "Got nothin' to use what we have on, sure as hell don't need more." Admiral Rose Brandy, stated.​
    There was a moment of silence as Joshua allowed any other council members a chance to get in anything they wanted to say. There was nothing.​
    "Okay then. Does anyone propose the nation or nations we should trade with?" Joshua asked.​
    "Perhaps Lotharine, for lumber. They have it, and they have the boats to trade." Admiral Brandy replied.​
    "Well we won't be able to trade with the Patriarchy." Lady Jenissica Valexstra began. She is a harpy, and tends to deals with non human races, and things regarding the old gods. "They probably want my head on a stake."
    "True." Joshua replied.​
    "Maybe Vorrindor will be willing to trade." Lord Tanner said.​
    "Alright then. I will send letters to Lotharine and Vorrindor." Joshua said. "Is that all?" he asked, pausing for a moment. "Okay then, meeting adjourned." he declared.​
     
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  7. Blackdoom59

    Blackdoom59 BATMAN!

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    With morning's arrival Willard was already trapped in his letters and books. There was a lot going on in the Patriarchy, hence he called a council that very day, despite his brother's absence. The door to his chambers opened slowly as fiery red eyes peaked inside, only to be instantly felt by the old Patriarch.

    "Come in, Eva" he said with a loving and soft voice as the young girl entered the room and sat opposite of Willard. She didn't say anything for quite some time, instead she kept twirling her hair while she looked down. Willard knew his daughter well, and he noticed something made her uncomfortable.

    "What is bothering you, child?" he spoke equally as soft as he did before.
    "Well, father...it's about Caelin, and mother. They have both been very distant to me lately, and I hate to say it but I suspect Caelin is hiding something from me..."
    Willard was impressed that his son managed to hold a secret, especially from his beloved sister.

    "Your brother is keeping a secret from you because I told him so" Willard replied with his eyes still on the paper. Eva seemed confused, but she was too shy to ask for the revelation. They spent some moments, in silence, Willard writing his letters and Eva nervously looking around the room, until Willard finally spoke.

    "You are aware your sister fell for Greymund, and married him against our will."
    She rose an eyebrow as she bent her back for her head to see only the ground "Yes...I was also against it, but she did not listen to me" Willard coughed before nodding "Although Greymund is one of the richest nobles in the Patriarchy, marrying him stripped an heir from me, and a chance of a royal wedding. Your brother Caelin is to become Patriarch, which means he can only take a priestess for a wife." she wondered where Willard was going, as if the answer wasn't already in her face.
    "You are young, Eva. Young, beautiful, and of Solari blood. Our bloodline demands we must make sacrifices to ensure prosperity, and happiness for future generations."
    Eva was somewhat scared when she heard the word 'sacrifice' "What are you saying?"
    "I'm saying you must be married off, Eva. Prince Robert of Vorrindor is the lucky lad that agreed to have you as wife."
    Eva stood speechless, not sure what to think or feel. On one hand, she was happy, she would finally meet more people, and witness things she only red about. But on the other hand, she was angry at her father, for keeping the marriage a secret.
    "Do you object?"
    Eva shook her head
    "You will leave tonight, and you shall spend a week with prince Robert before the ceremony." she remained shocked, but slowly nodded to Willard's last statement. The Patriarch placed his hand on Eva's shoulder, and slid it slowly down. "The prince is a charming man, from what I've heard. I'm sure you'l get along with him. I'l make sure to visit you as often as I can. You will be missed my dear..."
    She blushed a little as she spoke with shy and silent words.
    "What if...the prince doesn't like me?"
    "Then he's the biggest fool Rotafar has ever seen." they both chuckled a little. "Best not to concern yourself with such things, you'l have a sea to sail, a kingdom to peruse and a king to impress!" he smiled "Do try to have fun"

    ---

    The Night had just begun at the Golden Palace, a place where the upper class of the Patriarchy was clustered together for drinking and celebration like a swarm of bees at their hive. All nobles were having fun in what probably was the most expensive building in Rotafar, with towers that shined during the day but remained hidden during the night, their golden color turning darker as the sun passed. The halls of the Palace were filled with amusement rarely seen among the world - minstrels and bards sang ballads known from Sondheim to Cherawyn, the most delicate meals were served but also the strongest drinks. Through the abundance of nobles, one claimed to be the richest and the event's organizer. That was none other but Graymund Ashfort, a man revered not only for his accomplishments, not only for titles and wealth, but also for his artistic genius. Both a writer and a painter, the ministry of coin and the fair husband of princess Anna, Graymund was feared and respected in equal measure. It was him who funded the Patriarchy many times, thereby convincing his peers to do the same.

    While he was enjoying himself in the main hall, welcoming his many many guests, his madien stood on the second floor's balcony, cowering from the ruckus and the noises she deemed useless. Anna was always silent, she enjoyed beauty in delicate and quiet forms, making it no surpise that Graymund managed to charm her. As she sat on the balcony, she prayed to the stars, for she was very religious, a trait from her mother, no doubt. But her prayers were interrupted as the sound of a galloping horse echoed through the road. She looked down, to see not a fancy carriage, but a man well known to her, clad in armor from neck to feet, rushing towards the castle.

    "Uncle?" she shouted briefly, confused as to whom it might be. The horse slowed than as the man looked up to see the beautiful princess. "Anna" he stated, with a serious and rough voice. William was a man that didn't knew how to smile. "Y-You-You're here! For the celebration?" she stuttered as she was clearly amazed by the situation. William would never go to a place like the Golden Palace, or to any party at that. "I'm here child, where is your husband?". William asked with his voice unchanged. "I'l go get him for you, just-just wait there!" she ran inside hastily. William spat down as his horde marched forward, only to stopped at the large gates by a 2 guards.

    "Halt sir!" one of them said "We need to see your invitation before we let you in"
    "Pff, what invitation you *hic* moron?" the other one replied "He's not here to come inside covered in a fu*cking *hic* plate!" that guard clearly had too much to drink.
    William frowned as he got off the horse. "Yes I am, step out of the way." he walked to the gate like the two weren't even present. But the first one stepped in front of him. "Sir, I cannot let you inside if you don't have an invitation."
    Before he could reply a handful of knights could be heard marching towards William. Through them, a yunta broke out of the formation and rushed towards the man. "Is everything alright, Inquisitor?" he said. The first guard removed his helm and quickly bent the knee when he heard the yunta spoke. It was no mistaken it, as it was widely know that the inquisitor used a yunta as his bodyguard.

    "I'm sorry, my lord! I did not realize-"
    "Just step out of the way already, fool!" he shouted back. The guard complied as fast as he could. But as William was about to open the large gates, the other guard stepped before him, barely on his feet. "Kiss my ass, you don't *hic* get in without an invitation!"

    ---

    "Thank you for coming, lord Houndwood" Graymund said with a wide smile at the lord that appeared before him. "Looking forward to this year's celebration!" the lord replied, raising a glass of lotharian wine "Here's to one more!" Graymund rose his glass, but took only a small sip, unlike the lord which drank half the glass away. Before the next noble could get welcomed, Anna quickly grabbed Graymund's shoulder. "We might have a problem" she whispered as her lips gracefully approached his ear. "What are you talking about?" Graymund asked confused. "My uncle is-" her words were cut short as the palace doors were smashed open and a guard was send flying a meter away from them.

    Winds flew into the room as a strong gust of wind made every single noble in the hall turn to the door. The minstrels stopped playing as William slowly walked the halls, slowly approaching Graymund. He stepped on the guard's chest, ignoring his pained moans, and went forward, followed by a dozen knights. Anna and her husband looked awkwardly at eachother as the room was dead silent. "Welcome to you, Lord Inquisitor! In the name of all nobles of the Patriarchy, I apologize for whatever inconvenience you had at our doorstep" Graymund spoked with a charming voice, without realizing that William was not a man you could easily flatter.

    "Next time, make sure your idiotic guards aren't drunk on job!" he answered harshly.
    "Well, I hope you will make it past that detail, and enjoy yourself at the celebration!"
    "I'm not here to celebrate, lord Ashfort." There were a couple moments of silence as William faced Graymund, leaving little space between the two of them. He turned his head to the nobles on the left side of the room

    "After discussing with the other Inquisitor, I've decided to double taxation for the upper class in order to pay for sustaining the army." he signaled his platoon to start leaving the palace, but he couldn't make two steps before every single noble in the hall started shouting.

    "You cannot do this to us!" a loud one said, "The Patriarch will hear of this!" another cried, but William moved on like he was deaf. Through the angry shouts, Graymund's clear and loud voice could be heard. “William!”. Everybody stopped as the high inquisitor slowly turned to the master of coin, his . “This is outrageous! You do not have the authority to request such a thing!” Anna grabbed Graymund's jacket and mumbled. “What are you doing!?”, but the noble ignored her and walked towards William, up to the point his eyes couldn't see anything beside the inquisitor's scarred face.

    “I cannot wait for Lord Patriarch to punish your childish behavior.” he smirked. William remained serious, showing no emotions, but everyone else in the halls was surprised. Anna's jaw dropped when she heard her husband insult her uncle, and the nobles were so shocked couldn't speak. A few moments passed in silence, before William frowned and punch Graymund in his stomach, sending him to his knees, with blood dripping out his mouth. “UNCLE NO!” Anna cried as she rushed to help, but two guards restrained her. Graymund looked up to see nothing but William's fist. The metal of his gauntlet clenched as some bloodied teeth were sent across the halls. Graymund crawled back to his wife, clinging to her dress as Willaim slowly walked to him.

    “I am the High Inquisitor, lord Ashfort.” he said as he grabbed the upper part of the noble's jacket raising him above the ground. “UNCLE PLEASE!” Anna shouted, but William paid her no mind. Graymund was breathing heavily as he was now held by the Inquisitor. He heard the stories of William's strength, but the man was over 60, there was no way he could act like that. “I do as I please!” he spoke calmly, keeping Graymund lifted with only one hand as he cast a spell with the other. His skin started glowing with a blue light for a brief moment before becoming somewhat hardened. He grabbed Graymund's head with both hands and slammed the noble's face into his own head, heavily damaging his eye. He threw him on the ground, unconscious, and signaled his guards to release Anna and walk outside the halls. The girl rushed in, crying. She tried her best to heal him, but the wounds were too severe. As William left he loudly spoke out his orders “The next man that questions me is hanged!”.
     
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  8. Colonelscout312

    Colonelscout312 The Descendant of Tiber Septim.

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    "Time to wake up, Nomad!" Came a shout from Nomads bedroom door. Runsultare stood there, fully dressed and ready to pull Nomad out of bed if he didn't get up now.
    "Runsul, what time is it. And for crying out loud, shut the door! I'm still in my undergarments!" Nomad said, rubbing the sleep away from his eyes. Runsultare closed the door and approached Nomads dresser, opening it and fishing for clothes.
    "Well get into some clothes then! The Yaer are here, all of them. They've been waiting on you for an hour now!" Nomad jumped out of bed at this news and quickly dressed.
    He rushed out the door of his small manor and ran to the palace.

    It was not long before he burst into the courtroom, seeing the three Yaer of the loyal regions sitting at a large dinner table.
    "Ah, Nomad. So glad you could join us, we were just about finished telling of the condition of our regions, but we can start over if you'd like." Matthew Sabre, the Yaer of Naelon said.
    "No, just a quick rundown of each shall do for me." Nomad replied, taking his seat at the head of the table.
    "Very well. We are on the brink of being named poor. Every region has struggles and famine, people dying, and poverty abounds. Sundan, however, thrives. They flourish under the Remnant of Yolheim. And we have learned that Yolheim has supporters in our very walls, but we know not who. They could be anyone.
    This 'victory' in the civil war is only a calm before the storm. We may have the country, but they have the power."
    "I see. Thank you for the rundown Matthew. Now, given the light of our crisis with the Remnant of Yolheim, it is imperative we reforge the old alliances that were broken off when we took Sondheim for our own.
    I say we begin with the Mercer Supremacy. After all, they are our neighbors, and have quite a bit of land. Though last I knew they were at war, or at least it was at they're doorstep, I'm certain they could harbor our women and children. As for our army, we must begin training every able bodies man to fight, so that when the time comes we may defend our country." Nomad ceased to talk, and the Yaer nodded in agreement with they're king.
    All stood and bowed to each other, signifying the end of the meeting. Nomad approached Richard, his steward.
    "Send a letter to the Mercer Supremacy, inviting they're king to Kalder for a day." Richard nodded and Nomad went to the battle room to survey what needed to be done for the capital region, Zarak.

    Sent from my KFOT using Tapatalk
     
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  9. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon Madgod

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    Princess Charlotte Mercer

    "The Kingdom Of Vorrindor have sent over troops and provisions for the war effort, but The Etumas Patriarchy had terms Mercer labelled insane. He was disappointed, but he will not start a war. The Blackveil Covenant do still resist and your father is gathering the army to conquer them, worry not child, we will win this war." Morgan said with confidence. Morgan is Alex's most trusted adviser, Alex must have told him this information himself. Which meant he had returned from war and diplomacy.

    "Thank you for the briefing Morgan, but I wasn't worried about my father starting a war over something so trivial with the Patriarchy. And after all this bloodshed, the Covenant wont let up. Where is my father now?" Charlotte Mercer asked, Alex's second daughter. She hadn't seen her father in weeks as he had been fighting a war with the Patel's. She cared little for what support Alex got, she personally thought their conquering was wrong. There was always unrest, between the three kingdoms, but there was always peace.
    Alex Mercer had given terms and conditions to the Patel's, they refused and he nearly crushed them. They eventually surrendered and he spared them, their surviving armies swearing loyalty to The Mercer Supremacy. Alex has made attempts to repair the damage and is now looking after those he nearly destroyed. It was a pathetic power grab in the eyes of Charlotte. The gold mine in Xevenia has blinded her fathers eyes with wealth.

    "He has requested he be left alone Milady, he has just returned from making terms with the Patel's, he is very stressed out."

    "Maybe he shouldn't of started a war then." Charlotte said. She turned around and walked down the corridor, leading her way into the courtyard. It is there she saw her sister Veronica, along with her servant. "Greetings sister."Veronica said, "Come sit with me." Charlotte gave a faint smile, and joined her sister at the two seated table. Rosetta the servant stood up, allowing Charlotte to sit down. Being too used to the road she was not comfortable with servants going through such lengths to improve the life of nobility. "What's troubling you my dear?" Asked the caring voice of a sister, although she sounded like a mother. "I miss father..." She said as she lay her head in her folded arms on the table. She could see nothing, but she heard and felt the comforts of her sister. "He's a very busy man and I'm afraid he hasn't raised you the way he raised us... He wasn't as busy half a century ago, now with the war against the Blackveils..."

    "May I offer any services, my ladies?" The Draíochtan servant asked. "No my dear, we'll be fine. Treat yourself to forty minutes of free time if you will."Veronica Mercer offered. Rosetta smiled, bowed, then left the room. The suggestion obviously meant Rosetta was to leave the room, but what does a servant do in their spare time? It made Charlotte wonder, providing her troubled mind a distraction.
    ***
    Prince Jason Mercer
    Jason was still not used to the desert of the Li'ivi. The heat was too much for him, he was always uncomfortable and he had already bore witness to two sandstorms. Jason had been sent to the Li'ivi with a diplomat two weeks ago to sort out a peace treaty and alliance, they had succeeded at a great cost. They had to give the entire desert to the Li'ivi. Jason cursed his fathers name for making such a hasty decision, we were desperate but not that desperate Jason thought. Still, the people were respectable, but not quite equal with humans. Tales of their savagery were negative stereotypes but not entirely false, while he believed them to be justified in this he didn't understand their culture nor why they choose to cling to tribal ways and the harsh desert. They have only a few hundred square kilometers of desert left, as they have been forced out by The Blackveil Covenant. Jason's father had offered them the entire thing, if they win this war.

    "Lord Mercer." Andrea called out, cracking a smile, "It's time to go home, and this time we're bringing an army." Jason's lips curved into a smile, at last he would see his dear sisters again. They were to travel by foot, as they lacked the resources to keep horses fed and hydrated. They trekked their way across that treacherous desert, maybe it was of some use to leave it to the Li'ivi. Maybe they would keep out the Vorrindor's should they decide to betray us, thought Mercer.
    ***
    Queen Violetta Mercer
    The draíochta Violetta Mercer rested in bed with her vampiric husband, Alex Mercer. The quilts began to come off as Alex sat up and began to put his jacket on. "What are you doing Alex?" She asked, trying to sound sweet. Alex let the question linger in the air a few moments before answering. "I must depart for Sodheim." He said, an authoritative tone in his voice even as they were alone. "Alex, please." She begged, she really wanted him to stay here with her. He had been here for only one night and they had only been laying in bed together, they hadn't spent any quality time together. They had only rest.

    As he stood up she got out of bed herself and slipped on a silky red robe, Alex geared himself for travel. "I'll return as soon as I can, but I must leave now. We're on the verge of war and I want to be the one to strike first. We'll come at them from all sides and they will surrender or die."
    She didn't need convincing, but his voice was so vindictive and angry. She wrapped her arms around his back and let her head rest by his neck. She felt the cold leather of his hooded jacket, not his soft hair or smooth skin. She missed it deeply, she hardly got a touch of him earlier. He had wanted to be left alone. "Alex... Just stay with me for a little while longer." She offered a comforting, nurturing voice. "You've been working so hard and everyone knows it, I'll take over the castle for a little while and send someone to broker a bargain in Sodheim, you rest."
    Alex embraced her for a few minutes, they stood there in each others arms, until he let go. "I must fight and gain allies until we are done with this war. Tenderness is a weakness, do not try and weaken me again." He said firmly, but quietly. He walked out of the room, leaving his wife alone and confused.
    Alex wanted a woman who could back him up and make him strong, not for him to come home to after he has proven himself and he needs to be rest. He doesn't want the weakness of love, just the lust of hate. He wanted Violetta to make him more of a man, be the devil on his shoulder. It frightened her.
    ***
    Narration
    Nearly a week went by, the King Alex Mercer traveled alone to Kalder to greet the Great King Nomad War-Blade. Alex rode day in and day out, not sleeping a wink. He didn't need to sleep, but without it he did not allow his body to calm itself, and thus he was constantly paranoid and anxious. Alex arrived in Kalder, and he was given audience with Nomad. History was being made with each passing second. What happened here would affect both kingdoms forever.
    ***
    King Alex Mercer
    Alex Mercer was taken into the battle-room, where assumed strategies were made. An appropriate place, he thought. "Greetings King Mercer." Nomad said as Alex entered, they exchanged bows and Nomad offered his hand to shake. Alex took it, and gave a firm shake. Nomad spoke again. "It is a pleasure to see you here. I hear that you are in the middle of a war, would you care to enlighten me?" Alex gave a brief smile. "Thank you for the hospitality, Lord, and that is exactly the reason I have traveled this far. My son made peace with the Li'ivi, the desert race of warriors. They have agreed to fight for me in this last war, then I am to give to them the desert they used to call home. Then there is The Kingdom of Vorrindor, who have given me 2,000 troops along with provisions for the war effort." Alex gave a brief pause before continuing, "Then there is the Patriarchy." He said with bitterness in his voice. "They demanded 15% of all income I make for the next 5 years, if the treaty was broken they would demand all of my land." He let the bitterness within him settle before continuing. "I respectfully disagreed. I now come to you offering trade and alliance, and I would request soldiers for my war."

    Nomad gave a nod of understanding. "I am more than willing to establish trade and an alliance, but my troops there is a bit more trouble with. My men are stretched thin across my own land. Naelon perhaps could spare troops. We ourselves are in the middle of our own civil war, but I will assist you where I can." Nomad said. He paused and looked like was thinking, Alex kept his suspicion clear off his face. "I have one more request however. That I be able to meet with your daughters, I am seeking a queen for my kingdom, and I would very much like to meet with your daughters." Nomad turned and whispered to one of his men, who then ran out a door to the right. Alex was clearly suspicious now. "What was that about?" He asked. "We are to establish a barrier of trust before I do anything, King Nomad." His voice was firm, but not angry. "I will however allow you to meet with one of my daughters, not both. She is twenty three and could certainly get married, but it is not up to me to decide whether or not she is so willing. A marriage between our families would be something I would quite like, it would bind us together in ways words simply cannot. You can meet with her after the war, I will send her to live with you for a few weeks until you either send her back or you get married." Alex considers not saying anymore words on his daughter, but his heart demands it. "I would ask that if she does not want to be married that you do not force it upon her, and that you would treat her the way she deserves to be treated. She is a princess, and my daughter."

    "I would never dream of forcing her to marry. It would be of both our consents. And she will be treated with great respect while she is here." Nomad replied, which let Alex feel at ease and guiltless. The door opened and the guard from earlier came in and bowed to Nomad, offering him what appeared to be a sheathed sword. "Ah, thank you." He said to the guard as he turned back to Alex. "This sword is forged of a metal called Zerathiin. My ancestor before he was a king, was a blacksmith, and forged a sword of this metal for himself. It has been an heirloom ever since. May it serve you well." He said, handing the perfectly balanced and weightless sword to Alex with a bow. Alex smiled and took the sword that was handed to him, opening it just enough to see a little bit of it, it was a blood red. "Thank you, Nomad." King Alex Mercer had not said any titles, trying to establish a mutual barrier where the two could dispense with the pleasantries. "How many soldiers can you offer? Any amount is helpful. Also, after this and after my kingdom can stand on its own two feet again I would be glad to help you quell your civil war."

    "3,000 men is all I dare lend. I will gladly assist in the front lines of your war, leaving my trusted friend Runsultare in charge if you require it." Nomad said. "3,000 is a great help Nomad. I will take you up on that offer, having one of your own men would be a much better motivation for your men to fight than having one of my own boss them around." Alex was very pleased with the results of this discussion, it turned out in much better favour than the last."It was great meeting you King Nomad, you and your people are welcome in my lands any time. But if you will excuse me, I must return home." Alex said, knowing how unusual this would seem. He has just arrived after a long journey and is now already on his way home. He gave a bow and began his journey home.
    ***
    Narration
    Alex rode home upon horseback and upon arriving immediately began further war preparations. The Blackveil Covenant retreated to their capital city, but were overrun by the combined might of Alex Mercer and the aid he had received from The Kingdom Of Vorrindor and Clan War-Blade. The war was gritty and severed limbs and pools of blood scattered across the battlefield and city, but the war had been won.

    The battle being over, Mercer stormed up to the castle to claim what was now rightfully his. King James Ramdon's life, political leader of The Blackveil Covenant. Nobody knows what Mercer did, but the body of Ramdon looked like it had been torn apart by a beast. Alex wasn't seen leaving the castle but he returned home after the war. The rest of the Ramdon family was imprisoned, while some died fighting.
    ***
    Dame Andrea Needham
    Andrea stepped on board the boat to be greeted by Ghost, a member of the Steel Snakes. "I am Andrea Needham. I'm here on business of Jacob Mercer, he has sent me as a sign of good faith. He believes having along his personal bodyguard will show an openness with the foreign parties, a trust they wont butcher us." Andrea said to the mercenary. "I know who you are, Dame Andrea. Do you share the Mercer boys faith in our neighbors?" The masked man asked. His getup was clearly one of the Steel Snakes, it had ninja written all over it. His voice was muffled from the white mask, he had a hood that wasn't made of cloth. It covered his head but it was not loose, his unarmored clothing was black. It was unlike anything she had seen before, but pondering his question she responded with "I don't know." The man was looking at her, although she could not read his face. His eyes were an emotionless white, she could not see a pupil nor vein in those eyes. It was discomforting. He wanted her to talk more. "I trust him, I truly do, but I don't know if he understands the risk we truly could be in. I think believes they wont attack us, but I think he also believes if they were to I would escape alive."


    Ghost appeared to ponder before responding. "I am not as worried as you are." Then he left, to go below deck. The young Dame was slightly offended at his sudden departure but didn't let it show. It was a short voyage as they had left from Colkirk. As they neared the shore a white flag joined that of The Mercer Supremacy's, so they knew who they were but they also knew they were of no threat. Andrea could spot Ambassador Levi Vantora sitting on some crates by the bow of the ship. Ghost was no where to be found, although she hadn't quite looked, she expected him to be here. The Steel Snakes were hired for this voyage, to guard Ambassador Levi and the ship should it fall under attack. Though the event that Levi or the ship would be attacked were unlikely, their ambassador and Dame Andrea were too important to The Supremacy and Jacob to lose. As Andrea stepped off the ship, Ghost appeared behind her not saying a word. She gave him nod and he returned one as the soldiers approached.
    The soldiers escorted them to Duskspear. The journey took its toll on the weary travelers, but they finally arrived at the luxurious castle. ((OOC: Unfinished part with Blitzz, will be added in. We discussed what the outcome would be but it will be written in here when Blitzz and I have the time to write it together.))

    As they returned to Colkirk and began the carriage ride to Blacklight Andrea wondered why Ghost had been hired for the entire trip back to Blacklight, it would have been easier for him to just take a boat home once they returned to port. No wonder the man didn't speak, probably hating on the waste of time this is for him. She decided silence is what he wants, so silence she gave him. She had dozed off while Ghost still lead the carriage, but was awake with a jerk of the reigns. The horse carriage had stopped, and Ghost had nudged her hard. She didn't have time to ask what was going on before he pushed her to the ground. Moments later she heard the clanging of blades, steel on steel. She scrambled up off the ground and drew her blade, rushing around the horses to face her opponents.
    One man was swiftly executed by Ghost, then the remaining bandit was disarmed, though the fight was not over."Fight me like a real man you bastard." The bandit spat, raising his fists. Ghost obliged, sheathing his sword and giving a slight bow. The two then engaged in a deadly fury of fists, she watched Ghost counter. Andrea watched admiring their technique. She stepped back to give them space while watching for any other attackers. It is when Ghost front flipped over the bandit, kicked him in the back and stomped on his head when Andrea was truly taken aback. Why the Steel Snakes were famous for their mercenary work over others was now not a mystery to her. Ghost signaled for her to get back in the carriage and the two continued toward Blacklight.

    A few minutes later, Ghost asked if she had been harmed. "I'm fine." She said. She tried not to ask the feeling Ghost gets when he kills, but the subject interested her too much, she refrained from holding her tongue. "What feeling do you get when you kill?" She asked, wanting to know the thoughts of an undead. "You don't look pleased by it, nor guilty." Ghost kept looking at the road ahead while he controlled the horses as he answered her question. "It gives me a sense of accomplishment." He said, his eyes not leaving the road. That made sense, today those men stood in the way of accomplishment. She was still unnerved. "It makes me feel like a survivor." She said.
    ***
    The Bloodmime
    The Bloodmime sat patiently, fiddling with his dagger to pass the time. Ambassador Jonathon Van Howard watched him, the Bloodmime could feel it. They both sat on their bunks in the lower decks. "What is it?" The Bloodmime asked, growing tired of the constant stare. The ambassador pretended to be caught unaware."What?" He said, sitting up. "Are you talking to me?" Jonathan asked. The Bloodmime was rolling his eyes, he wouldn't waste time with a noble if he wasn't curious.
    "Why are you staring at me?"
    "Because you don't look like a killer."
    "Excuse me?"
    "You look calm, relaxed, even a touch of innocence."
    "This banter bores me, I will see you above deck."
    The Bloodmime made his way above, he climbed to the crows nest and sat perked upon the peak. It is here he stayed until their arrival. They went through a painful process of being escorted to the provincial lord, then finally to escorted to the council. The Bloodmime stood by Jonathan lest he be unguarded. When they finally stood before the council, the ambassador did his job.
    "Greetings, lords and ladies. I am ambassador Jonathon Van Howard, I am here on behalf of King Alex Mercer, conqueror of the Blackveil. Our great nation would come to yours, that we may align ourselves together. King Alex Mercer himself would like to meet the royal family, that they would celebrate should you accept our offer. We ask of nothing but trade and allegiance, and that we would declare war on each others enemies." The Bloodmime stood beside Jonathon, his face masked and adorning his Steel Snake garb. While most Steel Snakes personalize their outfit, it still is recognizable as that of a Steel Snake. The red accents on his garb was a nice contrast to the remaining black. His mask was a crimson red.
    Joshua sat quietly for a moment. The council had returned to their seats, having just began to leave before the visitor entered. Cherawyn has had little contact with the Mercer Supremacy before now. They hadn't had much contact with any nation for that matter.

    "You ask a lot of us, ambassador. We have had little contact before and you ask for an alliance." Joshua paused for a moment. The council was focused on him. "Tell me, ambassador, we are looking to trade our beautiful jewels from the blue mountains for light amounts of lumber and metal. Can you fulfill our needs?" Joshua said, surveying his option. He glanced at Lord Tanner, to which he received a slight nod, a silent "this could work." Jonathan smiled ear to ear, "Yes my lords. I believe this possible. Beautiful jewels, a fine luxury to be had after the fortunate events as of late. Light amounts of lumber and metal should prove no problem, as in these aspects The Supremacy is most resourceful!" The proud and joyous voice of the ambassador echoed throughout. "Would the royal family care to meet my lords and ladies? The children are also most welcome, even requested! My King understands that arranged marriages are illegal here, he doesn't request marriage, but the children are still royalty. My King and Queen have produced children of their own, and one of their children has a child of herself. 14 years old is our own little Emily! What do you say?"
    Joshua sat still in his chair, thinking. It seemed like a great opportunity, however he was unsure. "Does the council have anything to say?" Joshua asked, looking around. "I see no reason why not to go. A deeper negotiation with Alex may prove good for us." Lord Black replied. Joshua seemed convinced. However, he was still quiet, thinking through each situation. "Luke." Joshua said, looking to his son. "What do you think?" "He does not get a say! He's only an apprentice!" General Redblade, standing up. Joshua did not stand up, as there was company before them."He may be the apprentice, but he is still your superior so I suggest you pay him some respect if you hope to keep your position once I'm dead." He said, giving an intimidating look to the General. "What do you think son?" Luke seemed a bit nervous. "We should go. Our goal today was to become less self-sufficient, was it not?" Luke said, receiving a smile from his father. "Okay then. Joseph and I will go to the Mercer Supremacy with my children." He looked over to his wife "You will stay here. I don't want to risk your pregnancy." He said. Joshua turned his attention to the ambassador. "We can leave tomorrow."

    Jonathan watched them decide and smiled as things were going in his favour. The decision was final. "Thank you Lords, Alex Mercer will be most pleased. If you could send a teracari ahead of us, informing of this successful outcome, I would be most grateful. But we must leave immediately, the royal family needs to prepare for your arrival. It was a pleasure to be here, thank you for having me." Jonathan and his bodyguard then left the room, returning to their ship. Their journey home began almost immediately, they would return with good news. As Bloodmime and Jonathan went to bed that night, on board the ship, they began to talk once again.
    "Looks like you didn't need me after all."
    "Your services are still most appreciated, you did your job."
    "And you did yours, King Alex'll be most pleased with you."
    "He will. When do you return home?"
    "My contract with you doesn't end until you get to the castle, but once you arrive there I'll head to the fort. Why ask?"
    "Why don't you stay for the meeting of kings? I can arrange an invitation for you, despite your profession."
    "Nah, nobles make me angry. I only like being around them when they're paying me."
    "Fair enough, Bloodmime. Well, I'm going to sleep now. See you in the morning."
    "See ya in the morning." The two exchanged yawns, and rolled over onto their sides, sleeping until daybreak. They would arrive home a little after the other ambassadors who were sent to Vorrindor.
    ***
    Prince Jacob Mercer
    Jacob waited patiently in his quarters, awaiting the arrival of his own bodyguard. She was due to return today and he was quite excited to see her, although he would not admit it. He waited hours before she arrived, but when she did he could not withhold his smile. "My Prince." She said, bending the knee. "Get up Andrea, seriously! You've had a long journey. I'm sorry I asked for your immediate presence."
    "It's alright my Lord, I am glad to see you too."
    "What of the meeting?"
    "It was successful, they would like us to meet them as they are very busy with wedding preparations. Although I must talk to you about the Steel Snakes."
    "This is not what I planned but I will inform the family. The Steel Snakes, what is it? I personally assigned Ghost to your guard, and you look like you've besieged no harm."
    "It's not that it's just, I don't know, Ghost is discomforting. I do not like working with the undead."
    Jacob nearly laughed. "He is not undead Andrea. I hope you've kept this discomfort to yourself up until now."
    "Oh, well I have."
    "Good. Ghost is not undead, but he is believed to be possessed by a demon."
    "I find it hard to believe that."
    "So do I, folly, the lot of it. Some crazy old Harpies trying to find a reason for his pure white eyes, no doubt."
    "Speaking of Harpies, aren't they to be added to the council?"
    "Yes, my fathers lack of sense showing true again. Wouldn't you agree?"
    "I can't speak ill of the King, sire."
    "Ah, well, the Li'ivi gain a seat on the council too. And this is all to happen just after our guests arrive. He always wants to rush things, never finding reason to rest."
    "Perhaps he's just hardworking. With the war over it would make sense for him to appoint the new members of the council as early as possible, try not to be so racist and xenophobic toward the idea."
    "I am not a bloody racist you incompetent bitch. Get out."
    "I'm sorry Lord, I meant no offense I truly didn't!"
    "GET OUT!"
    How dare she call him a racist? He was the son of a King. A King he despised, but a King no less. These were the thoughts that were not in his mind. How dare she offend him, they're good friends and have been defending each others lives throughout the ages. Now, thanks to her complications, The Mercer Clan will have to travel to Vorrindor straight after they finish meeting the Connors.
    Two hours later...
    "This works out perfectly, young Jacob." His father said. "This gives us the right window of time to meet both families, and we don't have the risk of this being a problem between the two. Tell your bodyguard she did a good job, and double the diplomats pay." Alex was being unusually generous, as he was very pleased. "Father, it is only because the Herrins are unable to come here. Not due to who we sent." Jacob tried to reason. "Son, I don't care. This is a great day for us, it has been too long since I have slept and after both diplomats returned I can finally get some rest since this war started. The war is over, the Connors are coming to meet us, then we have a meeting with the Herrins. Alliances are being forged, we are now a respectable nation. Go spend time with your sisters, inform them of the events that are to take place and make sure they're ready. Then treat yourself. We are done Jacob." Jacob was infuriated, his frown marking his face. His father closed his bedroom door and went back to his wife, while Jacob was left alone and angry. He made his way to the council chambers, to speak with Lord Morgan White. As he entered however, a meeting was taking place. These meetings were regular and interruptions were not disastrous. The council will meet and discuss issues and how to fix them, it is the basic running of the kingdom. What he saw was unexpected.
    A harpie, sitting at the council table. "What is it my Lord?" Treasurer, Leonardo McQuillan asked. Jacob was confused, harpies weren't suppose to be joining the council for weeks to come. "Who is she?" Jacob asked. "I thought harpies weren't to be added to the council until our business with the foreign parties was over?" The harpie stood up and approached the prince. It smelled delightful, unexpectedly. He was discomforted by its presence, he had wished he had just left the room. "My name is Cordah, and I would appreciate if you referred to my kind as a respectable species. Not animals." He looked to her feet and saw the bird like talons, it was disgusting, yet elegant. "My apologies madam, I am not used to your kind being worthy of being treated like a respectable species. Perhaps you can change my views, but for now I will regard to you how I please. Sit back down and allow me to speak to Morgan White." He said, not knowing how truly disrespectful he was being. The harpie looked agitated, and did not move. "Your sisters approve." This struck Jacob as irritating, why does she dare talk back to a prince? He would be sure to put her in her place. The other council members were uneasy, watching from their table. "You best hope you maintain their trust, but if I hear of any manipulation or suspect it the slightest your race will be wiped from Rotafar. You hear me?" The harpie snarled. Jacob had just made an enemy of the first harpie on The Mercer Supremacy's council and he knew it, yet he didn't care. The harpie went back to the council, while Morgan White joined Mercers side.
    "I want her gone."
    "My Prince, this decision was approved by your father. It has taken months to find a suitable candidate to represent the harpie community."
    "I don't care that she's a harpie, but I don't like her. Replace her or there will be repercussions."
    Morgan eyed Jacob with disapproval, "My Prince, I'm afraid only your father can make that decision." Jacob knew this wasn't true, council members could vote on it. The council runs the council, but they answer to the king. Morgan was smart enough to know that if things went south with the harpies he would feel the wrath of the king but Jacob overestimated his fathers compassion towards his family. Morgan knew that Prince Jacob's blood would only protect him from his father to a certain degree, if Jacob didn't accept his rightful place as heir and start being more dedicated to The Mercer Supremacy complications would arise between them.
     
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  10. Skyrimosity

    Skyrimosity Fine Southern Gentleman

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    "Oh what a joy it is to be
    Among the True in this city
    Where Artrius, fangs covered in rich battle's blood,
    Met Trite, Arms covered with hard work's mud.
    And the two of them agreed
    To create a land to be called Lotharine"
    ~ The Blessed City by an Anonymous Author, dubbed The Poet.

    The majestic city of the gods was not the capital of Lotharine, for that joy befell upon Tertium. The reasoning for this was that, it was so believed, that was to be only for the most devout of all worshipers. A King and his family having many other duties, they would never have been able to pray, honor the gods, and contemplate the meaning of godly omens whilst running a Kingdom. The city lies in the very far west, its buildings stretching to the cliffs near the Great Water.

    The Blessed City's walls defend the city from every conceivable front. They are the work of centuries of architecture, spanning several cultures and Kings. If one were to lock near the bottom of the six story walls, they could see inscriptions of the oldest language in the land by some lost culture known only as the Elders. These men lay the very foundation of The Blessed City and were a powerful force in the region. Yet, it is believed, that their leader renounced the gods and made himself a god among men. Artrius, seeing this from his spot among the stars, sent pestilence, war, and drought among the Elders. And thus did they die off in droves, the few remainders never mentioning their ancestry as they spread out and the culture being lost to time.

    "I cannot say what it is about Tertium that causes me to enjoy it so. Perhaps it is the many people that make this the largest city in all of Lotharine. Perhaps it is the marvelous palace which can be seen from nearly any point in the city. Perhaps it is the barracks just outside, providing protection. Whatever the case, the city simply feels extravagant in nearly every matter."
    ~ General Lamher of the Tolan dynasty

    Tertium is designed with extravagance in mind. The architecture, with details of Artrius and Trite (the chief gods) along with the lesser ones on every building that had an aura of importance around it. It's population is the largest of the Kingdom and the Royal Palace stands out above all other buildings. Tertium is the capital of Lotharine, and it is surely shown.

    "And let it be said, that in Orion where the Guardian of the forest did outstretch its power, forces rose against it. Tired forever of the unfairness of the guardian of Teran forest, all nearby peoples did rise. They formed together in large force and marched in the forest. It can not be known exactly what events took place on that day. It is said by the inhabitants of Orion that the men did battle with the very trees, and after a number of trees were felled the Guardian of Orion did screech forth from the Sky in a blaze of terror. The winged creature did take down many a man before clouds formed above the sky and a face did appear from among the cloud. It is said then that Artrius, whom pitied the fallen men, summoned his power and cast the Guardian down to the realm of men. Incapable of flight, the creature was eventually slain by the might of the gathered men and the Teran forest belonged to no guardian except for Artrius."

    ~History of Lotharine Vol II by Virgil Verious

    The city of Orion is located in the Teran forest which stretches across the North-eastern border of Lotharine. They have a deep, connected history with the forest and take care to treat it with as much respect as they can. They take care not to waste any resources and ensure no area of the forest is cut down faster than it can replenish. The forest is a way of life to them, and its citizens are certainly among the most colorful of the Empire.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "King Romain, we have received two messages from foreign diplomats."

    "Read them to me."

    "The first is from the Kingdom of Vorrindor. It reads "We would be very happy to trade iron and metals in exchange for your lumber."

    The second is correspondence from Cherawyn. They are wishing to trade pearls and other jewelry in exchange for lumber."

    "What use have we for pearls and jewels?"

    "To please the nobility, sir"

    "Those rats to be crushed beneath my feet? Fine, send an acceptance later. And prepare five ships to carry out the trading."

    "It will be done."

    Next, King Romain sent for High Ambassador Vodus Maco. The mid-thirty year old ambassador possessed within him a great zeal and love of his job, but more importantly, his King and Kingdom.

    He arrived later in his ornate robes, some of the finest clothing in Lotharine. "Greetings King Romain, how may I serve you?"

    "Hello Vodus. How are foreign relations faring?"

    "Well sir, the Patriarchy remains a distant enemy. Their beliefs simply contradict many of our own so no common ground can be found with them. However, they have no military navy to speak of. Sondheim still seems to be declining from when they were a major power. Their navy is sizable, but ours is superior.


    Elsewhere, in a somewhat worrying turn of events, the Mercer Supremacy have finally united their region. You may recall they were split into a three-way civil war? Well, while we have no reason to fear them, their entrance upon the world stage may certainly cause ripples throughout our diplomacy.

    Our relations with Vorrindor seem to be improving, and certainly their naval power makes it seem as if we have much to offer each other. The other Kingdoms have not had anything of much significance to us happen. If it does interest you, Robert Issak is rumored to be marrying Eva Solari."

    "Thank you."

    King Romain stood up and entered a door a few feet down the hall and to his right. He entered the room which was full of detailed maps of Lotharine, but more importantly to his current desires, maps of the newly discovered islands in the oceans. Lotharine was colonizing the islands, and already the lumber they provided was proving a great asset. However, there were no detailed maps of the island close to Artrius Point, between the Mercer Supremacy and Lotharine.

    "Their strife over the years have likely prevented them from colonizing...", he said out loud. "Guard!" a guard rushed into the room. "Get word to the Admiral. I wish for twenty warships and skilled map-makers to head for the island north of Artrius Point that is between our lands and the Supremacy. I want detailed maps to be made, and for any signs of resources to be briefly looked for. That is all."
     
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  11. Blitzz

    Blitzz A Friendly Brit

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    "Your Grace! He has arrived!" A guardsman shouted as he pushed his way through the doors and into the throne room. Isaac sat bolt upright on the throne, with Ser Tornt and Ser Clawtide on either side of him.

    "Good. Send him in." Isaac watched his two bodyguards shuffle in their places, nervous at the creature that was now in front of him. Nivoro Gyrakk crawled towards the throne, all six of his legs tapping incessantly on the tiled floor. His crimson thorax was long and thick, about three feet accross, and all of his leg joints were covered in a hard carapace. He was low to the floor, almost slithering accross it in a serpentine motion. As he neared the base of the throne, Tornt and Clawtide stepped forward with hands on hilts. "Stand down, good Sers. Nivoro means me no harm." Isaac stood from the throne and walked towards the Yuntan man as his guards stepped back, not once removing their hands from the swords at their waists. "It's been too long, Nivoro." The man stood to a full height of 7'2". His face was long and thin, and his now grey hair fell untamed over his bare back and shoulders. Brown leather pauldrons adorned his shoulders, and straps joined them together to form an 'x' over the center of his torso. His skin was pale, and he was practically rippling with muscles. He let out a grunt at Isaac.

    The silence suddenly broke when Isaac jumped forward and wrapped his arms around the Yunta. They both began laughing. "Isaac! It's been far too long indeed. How are you faring?"

    "I'm better than ever, Nivoro. My son is betrothed, my kingdom fares well. And you?"

    "I wish I could say the same. The plague claimed my wife and eldest two sons, leaving me only a sickly daughter. I fear the extinction of my people far sooner than we anticipated, unless the plague is stopped entirely, and soon." Nivoro had been a life long friend of Isaac's. He had been a mercenary captain in Isaac's father's service, and had been paid to teach Isaac how to fight. The two became close. Once Nivoro retired at 40, Isaac pleaded with his father to allow him to settle in the city. He stayed for a few years before setting off to travel the world, acting as a sort of ambassador for the Yunta of Rotafar.

    "I'm sorry to hear that. Truly, you have my condolences. Your people are what I wanted to speak to you about, my dear friend. Are you aware of Blade Rock?"

    "I've never visited it, but I'm aware of its location. It's been mostly deserted for years, has it not?"

    "Correct. There are a few hamlets on the fertile coasts, but mainly it's been deserted for years. I want to extend an offer to you, Nivoro."


    "Go on?"

    "I want to offer your people Blade Rock."

    "Excuse me?"

    "You will turn Blade Rock into the Gyrakk Republic, Nivoro. A Yuntan state under the protection of the Kingdom of Vorrindor. You will head a council of 5 that you will appoint, and you will take 500 Yuntans to Blade Rock. There you will be safe. The Dawnsword, the old fort in the heart of the Blade Mountains, will become the seat of your power. The humans there are to be left alone, of course, but on Blade Rock you will have a chance to rebuild the Yuntan population from a safe location untouched by the plague. We will send you food, and provide weapons for your law enforcement, and the humans there will act as teachers to your people, teaching you carpentry, farming, cooking, smithing, anything you need to survive and thrive. Eventually, over generations, your population will grow and you will once again be a strong."

    "I... I do not know what to say, Isaac." He simply bowed.

    "You can accept my offer. As soon as my son is wed and he has an heir, we will provide the ships for your people to cross to Blade Rock. You have until then, probably around a year's time, to choose your council and find the Yunta you need to colonize Blade Rock for the Yunta and form the Gyrakk Republic."

    "I... thank you Isaac. You could not possibly know what this means. For me, and for the future of my people. Thank you." Isaac bowed, and hugged Nivoro one last time before the tall Yunta turned left the throne room. When Isaac turned to sit once more on the throne, his guards were looking at him with grave looks on their faces.

    "You may speak."

    "Your Grace, are you sure it is wise, to allow a race as strong as the Yunta to grow unchecked?"

    "The Gyrakki Yuntans will be different in 500 years. No longer will they be simple mercenaries. They will be craftsmen, politicians, sailors. The Yunta will grow to be strong like you and me. You have nothing to fear from them."

    +++
    The long journey south from Duskspear had been painful for Robert. He was not used to riding a horse, and by time they reached the port the insides if his thighs were calloused and sore. He had traveled with his mother, and Ser Barrett, along with an escort of 20 heavily armored soldiers. The sun was beating hard on the back of Robert's neck as they all waited and he immediately regretted dressing in woolen garments. A thick blue cloak was draped over a gold and grey tunic, and all sorts of glimmering crystals shone like stars in the night sky against the black leather of his collar. In all honesty he felt sorry for the guards more; clad in heavy plate armor and undoubtedly becoming dehydrated in the heat. His mother had insisted on traveling with him and all the way she had lectured him at the front of the column on how to properly treat a lady. Now he was more than ready to put her advice to the test, and his heart seemed to skip a beat at the sight of sails on the horizon.

    The Patriarchy flags were waving as the wind hit them. Willard went the extra mile to to ensure his daughter's safety. He hired six privateer ships and a large warship for the run. All of that wasn't cheap, and he probably wouldn't have paid that much for his own protection.

    Eva stood at the front of the warship, the waves clouding her view of the horizon. She wore her usual red attire with the cape. Most would tell her to wear something more fancier to meet a king, but she liked to be free when it came to clothing, choosing comfort over looks. The dress was still beautiful, and the cloak couldn't mask her face.

    As the ships approached the docks she could clearly see the group waiting for her. That was no simple convoy, but prince Robert himself. She blushed just at the thought of having to talk to him, retreating from the front of the ship and to her circle of bodyguards. Her friend, Alessia Arrow was there. Her family and Eva's have been friends for decades. She stood there, next to around 10 guards, elite battlemages from the patriarchy army. They all wore a long golden cloak and no helmet, with the patriarchy flag painted on their chestplate and cape.

    "How is it?" Alessia asked. Eva rose an eyebrow "Knowing you're gonna meet the prince of Vorrindor?" The princess smiled
    "Excited...I guess...And a little nervous. What do I say to him?"
    "You don't have to say anything. He's the prince, not you"
    Eva swallowed dryly as the ship got closer to the port.
    "Come on, Eva, you've met hundreds of nobles before, this isn't any different!"
    "You're probably right, but still...I'm about to marry this guy, I can't just not talk"
    "He's probably chatty enough to lure you into a conversation himself. Think of him as Caelin."
    "Ewwww"
    "You know what I mean!"

    They were interrupted by the captain shouting, saying they've docket. The guards quickly formed a square with the two ladies in the middle. They approached the prince and disbanded, revealing Eva whom shyly rose her head from the ground and looked the prince in the eye. She removed her hood as a Vorrindor guard stepped forward and spoke.
    "Prince Robert, Son of Issac and heir to the throne of Vorrindor"
    A patriarchy guard returned the courtesy
    "Princess Eva, daughter of Willard"
    She breathed heavily but quietly in preparation, showing nothing but a warm smile.

    Robert pushed past Ser Barrett and his mother as the party docked. Two guards from opposite groups exchanged the titles of Robert and Eva, before making way to allow their first sight of each other. Instantly Robert bowed, lower than he had ever had the respect to before, and let his eyes run over Eva. He traced the curves of her bodice and the features of her face with hungry eyes. "My lady," he started, suddenly nervous, "I see tales of your beauty were not exaggerated." He could feel his face beginning to redden and the mocking eyes of his mother and guardsmen digging in to his back.

    She did her best not to blush, but it seemed like the prince couldn't keep his emotions in check. In the end she took up Alessia's advice. In the grander scheme of things this was just a regular meeting, she had nothing to be afraid of. "Thank you, my prince. You're a charming man yourself, if I may say so" Alessia smiled as she glanced at her.

    Eva switched her view to Robert's mother. "And you must be queen Jeyna. A pleasure to meet you all." She looked back at her future husband only to see him examining her from head to toe with a thirsty look. Her face turned red, and her courage was all but gone.

    Eva's words made Robert's face split from ear to ear in a grin. "Let me be the first to officially welcome you and your party to the Kingdom of Vorrindor." He turned to his mother to gauge her reaction but her face was as still and hard as granite. "You must all be weary from the long journey. I'll see to it that your sailors and soldiers are all fed and accommodated. We will begin the journey to the capital on the morrow. In the meantime however, I'd be honored to show you around the city while the others find their quarters." In truth, Fororn was no more than a coastal town with very little to see apart from a bustling market. He was sure he could find her something she liked there.

    Eva smiled at the prince's proposal she was at a loss for words. Alessia took over and replied "She would love to go with you, your grace". She winked at Eva as she quietly told the Patriarchy guards to leave the two alone.
    "L-lead on, my prince" she spoke shyly.

    Robert took Eva by the hand and glided through the ranks of plated soldiers. Within minutes they were away from the congregation and a few minutes from the markets. "This is Fororn, my Lady," he began. "Not much to look at, I'm afraid. I'm sure you'll find Duskspear much more to your liking." Rows of ugly mustard yellow houses stood in stilts on either side or the street, the wood damp and rotting and many falling apart. "Father has plans to expand on the port here and transform Fororn into our main Naval base, but he refuses to do so until I am wed." He looked to Eva for any sort if reaction. "The market is just up ahead. You could find anything there." The tops if the stands were coming into view, no more than brown skins thrown over a collection of wooden trays and shelves. All around shouts could be heard, offers on fish and knives and bread and wines. Robert drew Eva closer as not to lose her in the crowd and linked his arm with hers, as they began I walk down the busy aisle.

    As they walked through the crowds of Fororn, she started to become more and more confident. This was perhaps the prince she wanted, not just the one she was forced into marrying. When he mentioned the wedding, Eva chuckled, as she could relate. It seemed to her that Issac and Willard had much in common. "Your father sounds just as stubborn as mine" she said as they were slowly passing shop after shop. Suddenly realizing what she just suggested she immediately apologized "I meant no offence, my prince..". They kept walking through the shops until she dragged him over as they passed a shop filled with musical instruments.

    "None taken of course, my lady, you are likely correct. I've never met a man mote stubborn in all my years than my father." He grinned, glad that they seemed to be getting along. One minute he was gazing down the row and the next his intended had spun into a shop filled with instruments. He let out a chuckle. "I've never had the patience or skill to learn to play an instrument. Do you play?"

    She nodded at Robert "My mother thought me how to play the flute when I was young. They're not very common in the Patriarchy, most westerners would rather listen to drums. I dropped my flute over the balcony one day and...." she suddenly stopped. As much as she wanted a new flute she couldn't suggest that the prince should buy it for her. She bit her lower lip as she started moving past the shop.

    Robert halted Eva, staying rooted to the spot as she tried to move past. This was a good opportunity. "I'd very much love to hear you play. Would you not like to play the flute once more?"

    She was turned back and offered the flute. At first she was confused but soon a wide smiled was painted across her face when she realized what was going on. "If you so desire, my prince, then I'd be happy to play it."

    "Go on, pick one out," Robert gestured towards the shop and have Eva a light nudge in the back. While she browsed he wandered over to the shopkeeper. He told the man he would have whatever Eva chose. However when he went to his pocket to find money, the man blurted out with, "Absolutely not, my Prince! I could never charge my beloved Prince for a gift for his sweet lady."

    "Please sir I insist, I shan't steal from you, I shall pay like everybody else."

    "With all due respect my prince, please, consider it a wedding gift." Robert smiled and thanked the man, promising to return the favor if ever he could, and turned to see what Eva had chosen.

    The flute that caught her eye was just like the one she had back in the day. A golden flute with multiple rubies around it. She lusted over it, but she pointed her finger at a simple wooden one, beautifully carved. The golden was seemed to be the only one the man possessed, out of modesty and pity, she couldn't pick it.

    Robert watched Eva choose a beautifully carved ornate wooden flute. The keeper seemed relieved she hadn't chosen the gold and ruby one. "Go on," Robert said. "Let us hear you play."

    She smiled at the prince as she took the flute and started playing. She sang a tune known through the clergy of the Patriarchy, but foreign in those lands. It was quite relaxing, but it had some aggressive and fast paced parts. As she kept signing some people went out of their way to stop in front of the shop and watch Eva sign. Surprised she still had it after all those years, she started playing another tune as more people gathered around, some whispering, some clapping.

    Robert watched the crowds gather as Eva let herself go. The music was delightful, a pleasant change from what he was used to. Instantly he felt proud, even though he had only known her a short while. When the crowds dispersed he walked over and linked their arms again, praising her all he could. Finally he planted a gentle kiss in her soft lips as they left the store. "Everyone is probably wondering where we've gotten to. Should we return?

    She was very happy on how the entire ordeal went so far. She got herself a new flute and a first kiss with the prince of Vorrindor. It seemed her people skills were improving "I think we should, my prince" she said smirking.

    +++
    Jonno brushed sand from his hair as the convoy drew to a halt. He had never visited the Ari'iki desert before, and he had never predicted that the sand would manage to get in absolutely everything. The group had been travelling for four days, and had already lost three guards to dehydration. Some of the men, including Jonno, had taken to riding with no shirt on. His pale skin was horribly burned and his inner thighs welted from the riding, but it certainly beat being buried in the sand with not a drop of water in your body.

    The men had taken to calling the storms razor sands. The first time the convoy had been caught in them
    it had flayed three horses. The storms were deadly, and the winds were almost violent. He hoped they would near the Li'ivi camp they were searching for. It was said that the Urakha clan was the supreme, their elder being the one man in charge of every Li'ivi in Vorrindor. They had passed only one camp so far, and were nearing the center of the desert where the camp was supposed to be based. "Jonno! You look thirsty, boy. Drink." Ser Quinn threw him a flask. His dark skin seemed unaffected by the sun's rays, despite the thick film of sweat clinging to his exposed torso and face. His bald was shining brighter under the sun than his sword. Jonno nodded to the smiling man.

    Jonno dismounted his horse and walked to the front of the column, flask in hand. He sipped lightly on the cool water as he walked ahead of the carriage carrying the lords Southsun and Denton. "Walter!" Jonno called the carriage driver. He had become good friends with the boy, just 19 years old, over the last few days. "Why have we stopped?"

    "The horses are tired, m'lord. They need watering. We'll be on our way soon, don't you worry m'lord."
    Jonno nodded and began the walk towards his horse. He enjoyed the feeling of the air between his thighs rather than the sweaty leather of a saddle. All of a sudden, a roar could be hear. It was faint, far away, but constant. It was gradually growing louder, until Jonno realized what it was. "Razor sands! Everyone, get down and cover up!" Everyone hurried to throw on shirts and cloaks, and Jonno wrapped his thin robe around himself. "There's a cave, over there! Everyone hurry!" The roaring was getting louder. People started running. It was like a stampede. The roar grew louder. Horses reared and whinnied. The roar grew louder. People screamed and ran. The cave was filling up. The roar grew louder.

    "Where's Ser Quinn?" someone shouted. Jonno ran back into the face of the storm. Ser Quinn was with the last horse, trying to get it to the cave with the others.

    "Levi! Come on, it's coming!" Ser Quinn kept tugging at the reins. The storm was in sight; a devilish twister of golden death, spinning closer and closer by the second. Quinn ignored Jonno completely. He didn't know what was happening, but the next thing Jonno knew he was tackling Quinn to the ground and wrapping his cloak over the top of them. Quinn struggled and an elbow caught him in the face. Everything seemed to spin, and eventually turned to darkness.

    +++
    Caelen Griffin's white hair was wrapped up firmly behind his head so that it wouldn't blow around his face. He was stood opposite Luca Herrin, on the other side of a large wooden table. A map of Rotafar was spread in front of them, pins showing the capitals of each kingdom.

    "There." Caelen pushed a pin into an island between Vorrindor and the Supremacy. It was larger than Blade Rock, and just accross a small stretch of the ocean. "That's the one."

    "Okay. Now tell me, General Griffin, what possible reason would the Supremacy have to hand over the Island to us?"

    "With all due respect, My Lord, I would feel more comfortable discussing this with our King."

    "My brother does not need to be bothered. Anything he will hear, I would hear first."

    "As you wish, my Lord. That island is rich in lumber and iron both. It is valuable. After we supported them in the war to unite the Supremacy, I feel we should demand it as payment for the soldiers and supplies we lost in the fighting. We sent 2,000 away and only 1,300 came home. Those resources will allow us to create new ships and weapons for Vorrindor. We need to replenish and provide weapons for our new soldiers. Once we have leveled the forrests we can build a fortress and farms to help sustain it. Once we have it, we can guard our bay absolutely."

    "And why would they provide such a seemingly powerful piece of land to us?"

    "Because if they do not, they shall find no ally in us."
    Luca understood what Caelen wanted but wasn't sure how either King Isaac or Lord Mercer would react.

    "Very well, General Griffin. I shall take your proposal to my brother, King Isaac. You shall have your answer."


    "Thank you, Lord Herrin. That is all I ask of you."
     
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  12. Simus

    Simus An Excellent Site Member

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    [​IMG]

    Current location of the Solaran Fleet circled above.

    The gray sky looked down upon a mirror flat ocean. It's blue waters like an endless shifting carpet. Despite the noonday sun not a single ray could pierce the thick cloud cover. Rain had been expected for two days yet it had never come. The clouds only served to hide the sun's full light and dampen the spirits of both seagulls and men. No fish were splashing through the water. No birds flew through the air. No great kraken rose it gargantuan blue form to meet the surface world. Not even the wind bothered to blow with any great effort It would have been a completely silent day if not for a great fleet of ships huddled around a tiny island. The largest seafaring fleet the world had ever known. This was the Solaran Fleet, an awe inspiring collection of over 300 ships of all shapes and sizes that sheltered over 100,000 people. This fleet was all that was left of the once-proud Solaran people and their once-mighty Sun Kingdom. A huge island kingdom that ruled the seas over 300 years ago. In its hayday, the Sun Kingdom reached every part of the world. It had wealthy island colonies and mainland outposts backed and supported by the massive home island of Solare. The island's vast and wealthy merchant fleet fed it enough wealth to where it was bursting with it and its reserves of magical artifacts, ruins, and the precious mana crystals were so large that it controlled prices for the entire northern continent of Vardas.

    But the Solarans grew too wealthy, too powerful. They dabbled in dark magics to make their lives easier, the allowed themselves to become complacent and soon their own creations turned against them. The Hollows, the race of walking dead the Solarans created and largely became, drove them from their own homeland. But it was their own arrogance that destroyed it. Every Solaran remembers this, the Splinter War, and every Solaran guards against this. Service to others must come first. Service to the community, to family, to the Fleet must come first. For the Fleet is all they have left and if it does not stand united than it is doomed.

    Many vessels are as old as the war itself and maintaining them takes constant work. Every action a Solaran performs, everything he or she does, must benefit the fleet somehow. Resources are always scarce and there's never enough people to allow laziness or greed. Every adult is expected to do their part in some way. Even children are expected to serve. To learn from their elders, to explore the world around them, to obey and support their parents. Public service was a way of life for a Solaran. It was ingrained into every aspect of society. To outsiders it often seemed difficult, even desperate, but the community it generates, the certainty that everyone will help and support you, is what made the Solaran Fleet home.

    The island the fleet found was small and difficult to find. There were many islands such as this in Rotafar's oceans. Too small for most but valuable to the wise. The Solarans knew where many of these islands were and guarded that information very carefully. This particular island had great mineral wealth. A large vein of iron buried under sandstone and smaller veins of gold and jewels. Quartz crystals, amber topaz, even diamonds. The Solarans could use all of this and were here for as much as they could carry.

    An army of miners worked nodes all over the island and hauled their loads back to boats or wheeled them in carts. The boats would leave the shore when they could hold no more metal and sail to the large mining ships from where they birthed from. The cargo was taken aboard and the ore taken to smelters below decks. The smoke from their purifying work could be seen for miles around as their exhaust came up from walled grates and smokestacks on the ship. Above decks, marines, sailors and gunners ready with ballistas watched for any sign of trouble.

    Of all the ships of the Solaran Fleet, four stood out among all the rest. The Grain Maiden, the Marie Elena, The Sun Maiden and the Summer Harvest. These were the Solaran Cropships, massive behemoths of wood and metal with four cavernous decks. The topmost deck was reserved for the crew and all of their needs but the bottom three decks were devoted entirely to agriculture. Magically engineered, highly nutritious staple crops that crew in self-enriching soil and under carefully managed magelight. These ships were the literal breadbaskets of the Fleet and grew crops all day and all night. At over a kilometer long, fifty feet tall, and displacing millions of gallons of water they were the largest ships in the world and were held together as much by magical as mundane means. Seafood was ubiquitous in Solaran culture but by itself it was never enough for such a huge population. Without these Cropships the fleet would starve.

    The mining that most of the fleet was engaged in was hard work and a battle of labor. But aboard the Grain Maiden another sort of battle was being waged. One of words and politics and just as backbreaking as the mining. The ship's garden plaza, a massive amphitheater of wooden benches and artificial grass covered by a massive reinforced glass skylight that was part of the surface deck, was populated by the Conclave. Six hundred members, two from each ship, came here to represent their crew and plead their cases to each other. Consensus was reached on all proposed issues and the majority decision was acted upon. The Admiralty Board, made up of the five most senior Solaran Military leaders, served as mediators and defense councilors. Admiral Shala Rosenkov served as Head Mediator. Everyone, admirals and Conclave members, got one vote on most issues and Shala was the tiebreaker when necessary. She was an aging but venerable woman with a soldier's experience, a mediator's head and a grandmother's heart. Her long magenta dress had a high neck and went down to her ankles. A tall pair of black riding boots over white sheer leggings guarded her legs and a pair of long gloves that went past her elbow and were the same color as her dress guarded her arms and hands. It all went well with her pale, wrinkled skin, shoulder length brown and gray hair and kind wrinkled face. She was thin but not skin and bones and had a bearing that said she would carry herself. Overall she had aged very well. No one knew more about Solaran law or remembered more of their stories than her and she was looked upon as the de facto leader of the fleet when dealing with foreign nations. She was her people's "wise woman" and it was a role she had served for over forty years.

    Right now there was much need for her wisdom and experience. The Conclave had met to discuss a number of issues and they, like the mining, must be resolved as quickly as possible. The small silver bell she rang brought the cacophony of conversations to silence as she stood up to address everyone.

    "This Conclave is brought to order. Let us give thanks to Pelor, creator of all things, and to our ancestors. Who guided us, sustained us and enabled us to reach this season. Praise the Sun."

    "Praise the Sun." Everyone said in unison.

    "Now," Shala said. "There are many issues we must attend to today. There has been great change in the known world and much of it will involve the Fleet. We must take care to see that this is change for the better. Emily? Please hand me our list of events."

    A little girl of barely ten years old ran up to Shala. She was a spitting image of her grandmother and even wore the same style dress, though hers was bubblegum pink instead of magenta and she wasn't wearing gloves today. She handed her gramdmama a tightly rolled scroll and looked up to her waiting for approval.

    "Thank you sweetling." Shala said, smiling down at her granddaughter. That was all Emily needed to run along and play with the other children in the next room. Now that her duty was done.

    Shala unrolled the scroll and cleared her throat. "Our first order of business is the progress of our mining operations. Captain Idenna of the forge ship Vulcan will begin."

    "Thank you Admiral Rosenkov." The captain said. He was a middle aged balding man with a blacksmith's physique and who seemed more comfortable in leather armor working a forge than in the formal wear of a Captain (OOC: The fine clothes that Proventus Avanichi wears in Whiterun. Most Solaran formal wear is like that with the women either in dresses or Maven Black-Briar's file clothes.). "Our ships have mined approximately eleven and a half tons of iron over the past week, along with two tons of gold and half a ton of various jewels. We estimate at least another 5 tons of all metals in the next four days. This will be more than enough to meet the Fleet's needs for the next several months. I therefore propose to trade our excess iron and any gold or jewels we don't need."

    "Agreed. Admiral Morrigan? How much raw materials would the Mage Fleet require at this time?"

    Admiral Livinia Morrigan, a black haired woman in her late forties, stood up to address the Conclave. Despite her age she was quite beautiful, having yet to find a trace of grey in her hair or wrinkles on her face. She was in a blue mage robe with a cloak enchanted to leave a trail of blue flower petals that disintegrated just after they hit the floor. She was a master of both Illusion and Destruction magic and had found ways to keep her Scars of Sacrifice small and easily missed. Despite her talent and beauty however she had a reputation for being conniving and manipulative, as if she studied everyone around her with a surgeon's eye. The experiments she was in charge of were very secretive and she discussed her work with almost no one but the other admirals.

    "The Mage Fleet's current projects require approximately ten percent of our allocated resources. The jewels we require must be as pure as possible and the gold and iron must be stamped into ingots. This means the most valuable of what we find cannot be sold to other kingdoms and we understand the fleet's need for money. However, these resources will lead to several important breakthroughs in both our offensive weapons and our communications abilities with both Fleet and foreign vessels. I ask that this Conclave grant the Mage Fleet these valuable resources so it may continue to do its essential work. The rest of the resources are more than enough to cover our current needs and the investment you make today will bring us one step closer to our people's greatest dream: the Homeland."

    Livinia was a persuasive speaker and many members of the Conclave were swayed before she was done speaking. Admiral Gabriel Tacitus, a brick of a man in ivory plate armor adorned with gold, stood up. "I second Admiral Morrigan's proposal. I have seen her research myself and the applications are both sound and incredible. I call for an immediate vote."

    "Your motion has been recognized and is found to be in order Admiral Tacitus." Shala said. "The Conclave will now cast a vote to grant the Mage Fleet the best ten percent of our newly acquired precious metals. The rest will be allocated throughout the fleet and our surplus will be sold. Cast your votes now."

    Each Conclave member had two special crystals that were sensitive to touch. One glowed blue when held and was used to say "yes" in a vote. The other glowed red and was used to say "no." Shala had a special tablet made of another crystal that showed the number of "yes" and "no" votes. In just a few seconds the Conclave members had voted and a field of blue lights lit up the chamber.

    "By a unanimous vote Admiral Morrigan's proposal has been accepted. Processing of the gold, iron and jewels will begin immediately." Livinia smiled with satisfaction, as if knowing her victory was coming and now able to savor it. She sat back down. "Now comes the question of which kingdom to trade our resources too. I believe Admiral Tacitus has our latest intelligence reports?"

    "That is correct Admiral." Gabriel said as he stood up. "There have been many changes in the world in recent months, which creates opportunities for us. There are however dangers as well. The Mercer Supremacy has united all three central kingdoms under its banner with King Alex Mercer as the uncontested ruler of all. This is a fundamental shift for the political landscape of Vardas and beyond and at this time we cannot say how far these changes will reach. As their king is a vampire few of our pilgrims wish to travel to the Supremacy so we know less about it than we should."

    "How do you recommend we proceed Admiral Tacitus?"

    "We need to understand what the Mercer Supremacy intends to do with its newfound power and what Alex Mercer himself wants. For all we know he could be preparing for war with the rest of the continent."

    "Or perhaps, Admiral Tacitus, he simply wants to unite his country!" Admiral James Sable said in his refined but passionate voice. It made him sound charismatic and caring when speaking favorably but elitist when disagreeing with you. "Just because Alex Mercer is of the undead does not mean he's a threat to the living. If we truly wish to find out what he wants than let us send a..."

    "I've met Alex Mercer and he's a monomaniacal despot James!" Admiral Edward Garrell interjected. "'What he wants' is for the world to bow before him and kiss his rotting feet! No method was too horrific to build his empire. What do you think he's going to do when he hears about black ships on the sea?"

    "Proposing that he would make an alliance with the Hollows simply because neither of them breathe is preposterous EDWARD!" Sable interrupted. "No one has seen the Hollows in 300 years! For all we know they've had a change in leadership and simply want peace!"

    "That's beyond childish! The Hollows would have killed every single one of us by now if they knew where we were! If their navy joins the Supremacy's army they'll be unstoppable and we'll all be dead because you chose to do nothing!" Garrell yelled. The two admirals were in each other's faces now and Shala had to step forward to stop them from coming to blows.

    "Admirals! Please! We are here to discuss trade relations with the other kingdoms, not the motivations of the Hollows!" They sat back down and Shala quieted the room once again. "Right now, no one knows what the Supremacy's plans are. Their lands have just been united and are likely in a state of constant flux. Most of the pilgrims we do have there have moved to other kingdoms and I don't expect many to stay. We will forward the matter to the Inquisition but entertain any offer they try and make. As Head Mediator, I declare this matter closed. Now, Admiral Tacitus, what of the other kingdoms?"

    "The Kingdom of Sondheim is still recovering from its civil war. Clan War-Blade defeated Clan Scar-Bearer but suffered heavy losses. The kingdom has much to rebuild and would not be a viable trading partner at this time. It also supported the Mercer Supremacy with its veteran soldiers. Possibly the beginnings of an alliance. We have little to no information on the Kingdom of Charawyn. Our best candidates for an alliance would be Vorrindor, Lotharine or the Eutemas Patriarchy. All have powerful navies and trade fleets and all would be in danger if the Hollows decide to expand. Especially Vorrindor."

    "Wait a moment." Garrell said. "Didn't Vorrindor also send soldiers and supplies to the Supremacy?"

    "They did, but considering those countries are neighbors with no buffer zones it makes tactical sense. I for one would rather live next to a grateful ally than a resentful enemy."

    "As would I Gabriel. And as you said, Vorrindor is right in the way of the Hollows. They're closer to Solare than any other kingdom. If we help them when the Hollows attack."

    "IF the Hollows attack."

    "IF the Hollows attack, they could openly help us. Give us a place to repair our ships, restock on supplies. Maybe even take back the Homeland!"

    "There's a lot of 'if's in that statement Admiral." Shala said, calming him down yet again. "Let's focus on what we can accomplish now. I think we all agree that Vorrindor would be a valuable ally. Perhaps even a candidate for a Pilgrim Exchange. Lotharine and the Patriarchy would be more complicated however. Admiral Sable will explain."

    "As some of you know, the Patriarchy has a very strong pro-human agenda. Enough that non human races such as harpies and driochta have been exiled or killed in their entirety. Lotharine on the other hand is quite tolerant of these other races. Its king, Romaine Joffer, even has a harpy adviser. Trading with one kingdom will likely anger the other and as Lotharine's views are approved by more kingdoms than not I propose that we trade with them over the Patriarchy. Politically it's a strong move and practically it makes sense. We're a mere hundred miles from their westernmost island and can meet within the day. They will buy our iron and most likely our jewels and gold and their fleet is the strongest of the know powers. Besides, isn't Alice Tacitus on her way there to begin her pilgrimage?"

    "That's correct." Gabriel said. "She's on her way now to live under King Romain's protection and learn about their culture. I believe their finest admiral will be taking care of her. I would hope so, my daughter deserves nothing less."

    "She's going to be just fine Gabriel." Shala said reassuringly. "King Romain has sent his little Amilia to come live with use in exchange and I'm seeing to her personally. Remember that she is a small child away from her parents and on a ship for the first time. She is a guest of the Fleet and everyone's charge until she leaves. We will welcome her as such."

    Everyone nodded in agreement. Children were the future of the fleet and were their most precious resource, even more than the ships they lived on. Solaran parents could normally only have one child in the interest of population control but any found at sea, victims of pirate attacks or slaves were always welcome and loved. A foreign child coming to live among them was exciting for everyone. Everyone wanted to meet this little girl and Shala was looking forward to taking care of another little one. Emily would certainly welcome another girl to play with. "Than it's agreed. Trade routes will be opened with Vorrindor and Lotharine. This concludes this meeting of the Conclave. Praise the Sun."

    "Praise the sun."

    "Go in peace."
     
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  13. Valin Oakthorn

    Valin Oakthorn Vagabond Extraordinaire

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    A full day passed before the group of nobles were on a carriage to Veralas. Joshua's teracari had been sent ahead to the Mercer Supremacy informing them of all that had happened. Now the full group sat together in a cloth carriage decorated with rubies, sapphires, and emeralds from the blue mountains. They sparkled as son dashed in through gaps in the cloth covering.

    Joseph black sat across from Joshua. The rest of the family, excluding Jade, sat around them.

    "Dad, what are we gonna do at that... other place?" Joseph Connors asked. He was a rather bright child, but he was still only 11 and lacked complete understanding of everything that went on.
    "Well, Uncle Joe and I will talk to their royal family about an alliance, and if all goes well we will have a party to celebrate." Joshua replied, referring to Joseph Black as Uncle Joe, not because he was his brother, but because he was such a close family friend and the kids had always thought of him as their uncle.
    "Yes, but what are we gonna do?" Lilly asked, wanting to know how she would pass the time.
    "You can do whatever you want to do. It is very nice there, and I believe Alex Mercer has a daughter your age."
    "Will I get to go to the meetings with you guys?" Luke asked.
    "You're to be monarch one day aren't you?" Joseph replied. Luke responded with a slight smile.

    The group continued on and eventually go on a ship and began to travel towards the Mercer Supremacy.
     
  14. Blackdoom59

    Blackdoom59 BATMAN!

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    It was a quiet night for William, too quiet for his taste. Followed by his entire regiment of elite knights he approached the border with Sondheim. Tall trees clouded the moonlight as William rode through the thick forests. He was the only one riding, for horses were hard to come by in the Patriarchy. The air was cold and the forests of North Soforia were emptied of animals. The knights haven't had a proper meal since they left the Golden Palace, but that didn't phase them. They were all sturdy men, the best of the best. As cold as it was, there was no snow on the ground or on the leaves, for it was still summer, even if it didn't feel like it so close to the cold lands Sondheim. Looking up, William could see a large smoke climbing from the trees ahead of him. That was his destination.

    Upon arriving at the rebel camp he signaled his men to go gather near the campfire and enjoy a proper meal. And so they did, they joined the rebels as if they all were brothers. Most knights were awfully quiet and respectful, courtesy of their old and fearful trainers. As his men left his company, he got off his horse and started removing his armor. This wasn't the first time he was meeting Gurak. As he looked over the large tent in the middle of the camp he could see a wide, cut in the middle like it was scared by a Styre. He approached the entrance, throwing off his torso armor and gauntlets, revealing his sturdy leather clothing. He didn't remember how his finger felt. As he got closer the two guards bowed respectfully to the High Inquisitor.

    He entered the tent and saw none other than Gurak Scar-Bear, who was looking at a wide map of Sondheim and the surrounding areas spread across a large table. He cleared his throat to grab the King's attention. "Gurak." he stated with his usual upside-down smile as he shook his hand. "How are your men? I hope this pathetic Mercer business didn't slow you down."

    "Oh, not at all. They have been preoccupied with their own war. If anything, it's only helped our cause what with the king being gone, however he will return soon. If we are to attack, it should be soon. We have an advantage without him with his army." Gurak sat down and offered William a seat and drink.
    "How goes your kingdom?"

    He sat down and took a swing "We've had it worse. My niece is to be married to some Herrin brat, and we're no longer piss-poor. Willard wants to save our wealth instead of spending it, expecting me to be a loyal ass kissing dog."

    The inquisitor leaned forward on the table "But we already know I'm not playing that role. I want Naelon, no more delaying. How many men do you have?"

    "Five thousand. We will be ready to attack within the week. Remember, our men must be allowed to use it as a forward command base, or else we will take it back." Gurak said. He may have been friends with William, but he didn't trust him, after all, he wasn't completely truthful to his own king, he doubted he would be truthful with Gurak.

    "The deal stays as it always stood, as long as you are discreet you can use Naelon until you finish your war. But you're mistaken if you think you can ever take it back." William frowned "I've sent you enough resources to besiege the city - food, lumber for cataphracts, steel...Make sure you put it to good use." he got off his seat and analyzed the war map, one hand on his chin. Looking at it, he could see the rebels were outgunned and outnumbered, even after William's aid. Sondheim was stronger than he initially believed. "My men will rest at your camp, and leave tomorrow." He started leaving, half opening the tent's entrance before he stopped and talked without facing Gurak. "After all of this is over...you owe me a drink."

    ---

    The council room in Starhold was renowned for it's modern and complex design. The first floor consisted of a room with one golden chair on the end meant for the Patriarch, decorated with crescent moon symbols. From his seat the Patriarch could see the second floor which was split in many very small rooms, one for each ministry. The rooms on the second floor, often called the floor of counsel, were separated by walls, so that the ministries couldn't see eachother, just the Patriarch, and the Patriarch could see each of them. In the middle of the first floor there lied a circle map of Rotafar painted across the floor.

    It was 11th of September, year 2000 AAL(after age of life). Summer came to end, and, by some accounts, so did the Age of Fortune. People craved for a new age to live in, governed by the great deeds that would occur during the coming years. The Patriarch sat proudly on his golden chair as his councilors all stood in their specific rooms.

    "This is the 327th recorded council meeting since the founding of the patriarchy. Let us rejoice, and find hope in the stars that this won't be the last." he coughed briefly and then continued "I will have to leave Etumas within this week, and reach the wave-washed lands of Vorrindor, as a royal guest to my daughter's marriage." Willard looked straight at Caelin, whom stood in the 3rd room as the Prime Minister and overall advisor. "In my absence, my son Caelin will take my place as a Temporary Patriarch."

    Caelin smiled at his father's decision
    "Stars guide you on your journey, father. I'l do my best to rule the Patriarchy with honor."
    "Now, let us hear how our brave kingdom fares"

    Joseph Clofis, the Minister of agriculture and food cleared his throat. He was an old bald man with a long white beard. Despite his age he was mostly healthy. "As the summer ends, I'm happy to report a food surplus as a direct result of the hard work of the citizens. As a reward, we should hold fairs in all of our provinces to keep the workers happy."

    "Can we afford such fairs?" Willard asked lord Houndwood, who apparently replaced Graymund, the ministry of economy. "I do believe so your holyness". Willard then nodded at Joseph. Zevros Areni, the ministry of diplomacy and foreign affairs cleared his throat. "Lord Patriarch, It has come to my attention that king Alex Mercer unified all the central kingdoms under his rule, with help from Sondheim and Vorrindor." He was a young and quite short man. Kept his hair in a ponytail behind his back.
    "Sondheim had enough men to help a foreign king?"
    "Not really, your holyness" the alluring voice of Silicia Robinson echoed across the halls. She was middle-aged, although she looked young and beautiful, with black heir so long that it could touch the floor. "King Nomad is either making a mistake, or has backup I'm not informed of".

    Zevros continued "Our offer of aid has been refused, lord Patriarch."
    Willard rose a brow and coughed "Offer of aid?"
    "Your bro-" he immediately stopped as the patriarch frowned "The High Inquisitor sent an offer, in exchange for 15% of the wealth produced in the Supremacy."
    Willard laughed "No king in his right mind would accept such an offer. This man, this Alex Mercer, did he attack Shirvaka as well?"
    "Yes. However the shirvakans surrendered before anything drastic happened. Even so, they lost men and wealth fending off the vampire king."
    "The Patels had an agreement with us, they could have called us into their war, yet they didn't! I can help but doubt Sierra gave up so easily."
    "My Patriarch, Alex Mercer had a force to be reckoned with at his command. He crushed the Blackveil covenant, killing their ruler and enslaving his family."

    Willard placed his hand on his chin and reflected on the events for a couple moments "As soon as I come back from the wedding, I want an arranged meeting with King Alex, get to know what kind of man he is. Other News?"

    "The Solaran fl-" Zevros tried continuing but his words were cut short by lord Houndwood
    "Thanks to to the generous funding from the nobles led by lord Ashfort, the wealth of Etumas has been restored. In a few years time we will be seen as one of the wealthy nations of Rotafar. Ten more trading ships have been built at various coastal cities, however there is a dangerous threat on our seas."
    "And that is...?"
    "Pirates, my Patriarch. There is an archipelago of very, very small islands that is swarming with them."
    "I have sources telling me their main base in Ysimnia, one of the larger islands, has a population of 4 thousand, and that they have over 60 ships to carry their loot."
    "That sounds immensely large! A pirate force like that poses a great threat indeed." Caelin wisely observed.
    "How many ships did we loose to them, lord Houndwood?" inquired Willard
    "None, your holyness. They don't seem to be targeting our ships for some reason."
    "But they have been raiding Lotharine's naval trade routes for a long time."

    Willard sighed. "Then why are you telling me this, lord Houndwood? They must think we're too poor to plunder. Where is lord Ashfort?"

    Houndwood swallowed dryly. "He-he's recovering my lord. The High Inquisitor wounded him greatly at the Golden Palace when he raised the noble tax."
    Willard frowned and clenched his teeth. His brother went too far, wounding a ministry.
    "Dismissed, all of you."
    They all turned back, save Zevros "But my Patriarch, there are-"
    "I said dismissed, ministry!" he shouted back. Not even Caelin went down, he knew when his father was troubled.

    +29 Years Earlier+
    In the gardens, Aeden's twins stood with on their knees with their swords in the ground, both clad in the heaviest armors of the Patriarchy. Before them stood no one but Aeden the Wicked. He was the Supreme Overseer of the Patriarchy, taking the name of both Patriarch and High Inquisitor, he ruled Etumas with an Iron fists, just as he did his sons. Unlike them, he had no armor, but his fancy noble clothes. Aedan was known for being ambitious, but not a fighter, there was no place for him on the battlefield.

    "Stand up" he spoke, and watched his sons comply. "I have risen the army, 40, 000 men. Half will go to you, William. You will take Sondheim. The other half goes to you, Willard, you will bring me the wealthy lands of Shirvaka."

    "Father, we don't have enough gold to pay for the army. Some citizens are dying of hunger." Aeden clenched his fist as he approached his son. "We have to postpone the invasions and disband the army, or else the Patriarchy will crumble!"

    Aedan punched Willard in the face, sending him to the dirt and flowers. "You will do as I say, and ask no questions, Willard. Your brother here never mouthed off, he brought me 3 grandsons while you spent your time praying to the stars!"

    Willard got up and he was about to speak again. William stopped him by talking first "We shall do as you say, father. The heretics in the north will pay for their insolence in blood."

    Aedan nodded and left the garden leaving the twins to eachother "You know what we do is wrong, brother...Why do you support him?"
    "Because he's our father, Willard. Family, is more important then all."
    "You...you're right. But that doesn't mean his actions are justified!"
    "They don't have to be, brother. He's in charge, and we follow him, just like everyone else."
    Willard stared at his brother before turning his back and moving out of the balcony "Not for long."
     
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    #14 Blackdoom59, Sep 11, 2014
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  15. Colonelscout312

    Colonelscout312 The Descendant of Tiber Septim.

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    Nomad entered his court, after the war that they helped they're new allies with, the Mercer's, he was weary of battle, though knew there was still a war here to fight.
    "We must grow our army." He said after all the greetings had been gotten out of the way. "If we do not, than we shall be overrun by the Remnant."
    "I believe you simply wish to prolong this war." Fernd said. "After all, you started it. Perhaps we should make peace with them."
    "We cannot. Not when they serve the greatest evil of our religion. They believe in nothing but chaos, war, and all things evil."
    "I believe it is you who are evil. You and your war mongering."
    Nomad stated at him.
    "You believe that I am war mongering? I have done nothing but save this land of a great evil, a tyrannical ruler who threatened to destroy this country." Fernd stared at Nomad.
    "I wish to have no part in this war. My men will remain with me. I never asked for the Scar-Bearer's to be overthrown. I was content with they're rule." He said, then got up. "If this country wishes to destroy the Remnant, they shall have to do so without my help."
    Nomad stood up and looked Fernd in the eye.
    "If you will not help your country, then you will no longer be the Yaer of Jardith. We will remove you from your throne and put someone else in your place."
    "So be it." Fernd said, and left the castle. After that the council began making plans to draft men into they're army, and who to replace Fernd as Yaer. After plans of these matters had been resolved, the council was adjourned.

    Gurak led his men through Naelon, they passed many small villages, killing or enslaving all who lived there. It took them one week, but on the last day of the week, they arrived at the gate to Naelon.

    Koleg, a guard of Naelon, stood at his post on th wall, staring out across the dessert beyond the castle. It was night, making things hard to see. It was a cloudy night, the stars and moon were all covered. In the distance he thought he saw something, but after gazing at it for some time, he thought nothing of it. Soon he saw it again, closer this time. It was an army. He ran across the wall and to the bell tower, ringing it desperately. Every guard, soldier, and any man with a weapon ran out of they're quarters, ready to defend they're city. The woman and children were being led to the back gate, but not before the army arrived right outside the wall.

    "Prepare the catapults!" Gurak shouted. Beside him stood his son, Jurak. The catapults were loaded, and soon fired, hurtling large stones at the city. The wall soon collapsed, and sever towers and buildings were knocked down, crushing innocent people. As the gate fell, the thousands of men began rushing in.

    Matthew Sabre had arrived from the council meeting only the day before. He walked out of his council and drew his axe, preparing to meet the men in battle. Before he began fighting he turned to two soldiers, telling them to send messages to Jardith and Zarak, requesting reinforcements. The two men quickly rode off to do so. With that, Matthew began battling for his city. It was not long before the Remnant had taken the market district, establishing a barricade quickly, and setting up a camp. Matthew pulled his men back, and quickly set up a barricade as well, and as such, the fighting would wend for a short while.

    Sent from my KFOT using Tapatalk
     
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  16. Toxius

    Toxius Frost Wolf

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    Hidsrelm, Sundred Castle.

    “A message for you my lord,” one of the servants walked up but was stopped by the guard. They searched him thoroughly and picked out a letter from his pocket. The guard handed it over to the King.


    By night we watch

    By day we march

    Sunrise will fall

    And Dawn will rise

    Silence will call

    You will not

    Our tongues are not twisted

    Yet yours still lies​

    The king read the poem over and over, silently looking to the servant. The servant was quivering. The guards were watching the king’s reaction.

    “Where did you get this letter?” The king asked. The servant trembled.

    “I said where did you get this letter?” The king asked again and he wasn’t going to ask again. The servant started at the king, looking for the right words. He was speechless. He had to say something.

    “My lord… I was paid to… deliver that letter to you… I didn’t think it would matter, please my Lord I am just a simple messenger with a family. I have mouths to feed, they need me…” The servant replied, mumbling what he could. The king glanced back at the letter, then at the Servant. Taerst, the king stood up and walked down the stairs. He tossed the envelope at the servant and motioned for the guards to lock him up for a few days. Immediately after he left the room, two of his protectors followed.

    “Let no one through,” Was the king’s only instruction. They obeyed. He walked to the delegation’s main room. Elegantly fixed with the best the kingdom could muster. It was nothing but the finest in the castle. There was only one of the apprentices engrossed in his books. The king approached him and immediately the apprentice turned to the king and stood up just to bow down.

    “My lord,” he motioned.

    The king looked at him, and decided that he would have to do. He passed the letter to the Apprentice.

    “I need to find where that letter came from. If you can’t do it, then pass it on to one who can. You have two days. Don’t fail me.” The king said, and walked off to his study. Wondering who sent that letter, and what the poem meant. What was going to happen and why was is going to happen. Who was going to defy his rule? There were going to be a few more changes around here, and the surrounding threats. The king attached a letter to a crow; it contained his seal and the seal of the delegation. It meant the start of something; the isles were only the first, he had to have more.

    The crow cawed, and fluttered away to where it needed to deliver its message.

    Old Vaninor

    It was dark; they had managed to sneak into the district with a paddleboat. They had to do it all the way from their mainland, If only for a while anyway. Soon he would be back, and he would hopefully bring back his nation from the pit they landed themselves into. Well there were only two sole people to blame and not the nation itself, the one who rules currently and the other missing, possibly dead. This place is a miserable shadow of itself.

    “I remember when Vaninor was a proud and rich place, filled with people and ships, filled with merchants and children, filled with joy and hope, not dread and beggars,” Duncan said, looking around the half collapsed buildings, Still burned from the lava that plagued them nearly a century ago. There was still ash collected in the roads, it was like a ghost town yet he knew there were still people here. A black market, smugglers, thieves, and all sorts of people that wish to get away from the reaches of Taerst.

    Duncan was searching for the entrance to below. There was no hope.

    “Yes, but you are here now to change this. Bring Vaninor back to its glory days. It might be a long journey, but we will get there. Now then, this entrance you speak of? “ Saroth spoke lowly. Barely a whisper but Duncan could hear it.

    “I feel as If the dead has eyes, I can hear how the wood groans, there is somebody watching us I believe,” Dimetri suddenly added in. Both Duncan and Saroth glanced at one another and the small band of four men that followed, Men that were loyal to Duncan.

    “Then let’s find the entrance, and set up a safe base of operations. We going to be here for a while,” Duncan said, hoping that no harm would come to him or his men. The group walked off deeper into Old Vaninor, looking for the answers they seek wherever they might be. The rain fell even harder; it was going to be a long and stormy night. They were going to have to find something soon, and make use of their time wisely. Each one of them knew it, they knew it the moment they started this mission.


    Three days ago, Hidsrelm.

    He walked across the pier, dressed in finery. He had to look the part as he did not know if it was safe to be a human in these parts, especially if he wasn’t a confirmed follower of their so called religion and so far no human was. This was dangerous and stupid, but it had to happen. The wood creaked with every step; seemingly hostile looks were glanced in his direction every now and again. He felt as some sort of prey, slowly being hunted and watched. He would have to get out of here soon, before he did attract any trouble. He turned at the next corner, slowly entering the nearest tavern to the docks. As usual, there was a shift in atmosphere, and all eyes slowly eyed his every move. He walked to the table, to meet his mark.

    “I’ve got your shipment,” Javis said, which got his attention. The Kindred turned to him, and motioned for him to sit down. He took another sip from the mug he was holding.

    “Weell. Hic, Givvve mee that letttter. Hic,” He slurred every letter, and smelled of booze. His gaze shifted to the corner of the bar and then back again. Soon the bartender was over and handed the Kindred another bottle, he paid the suitable amount in gold. Javis looked at the both of the Kindred, and turned back to the drunkard.

    “Are you sure you can get these letters in, each one on a different day and time? You won’t lead them back to us at all?” Javis said rather rushed, hoping for the correct response.

    “Hic, az long az ye gott me. Hic, me gold.” He relied, again slurring and muttering each word. Javis tossed him a purse.

    “There’s more from where that came from, if this works.” Javis said, also handing him five separate letters. He got up and walked out of the Tavern, and at the same time got the attention of two Kindred guards who followed him. They were quick to grab hold of him.

    “What is one of you doing here?” one of them said.

    “He’s up to no good,” the other one interrupted.

    “I’m a merchant, selling my wares and as I see it is nothing illegal. You can go read your own rules yourself, if you do not know it” Javis replied. Both of the guards looked at one another.

    “Then where’s your ship, where’s your wares?” The same one that grabbed him said, tapping his hand against Javis’s chest with each word. One of Javis’s ship mates turned the corner, and saw what was happening. He approached the group.

    “Hey, what’s going on here? What are you doing to my fellow merchant?” he asked?

    Both of the guards turned to the man, the one let his hold on Javis go.

    “Nothing, just a simple misunderstanding. We will be on our way,” The main one said before he and his friend walked off. Javis turned to his friend, and patted him on his back before starting to walk back to the ship.

    “Are you sure we can trust that drunk?” Javis asked, looking towards the night sky. The water swaying his ship, as well as all the other ships back and forth, it was the peace of water. His friend looked back at him.

    “He’s the best smuggler in this place, he might be a drunk but sources say he’s reliable. He’s the only option we’ve got,” he said before they both boarded the ship and set sail.
     
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  17. Skyrimosity

    Skyrimosity Fine Southern Gentleman

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    "Send for Grand Admiral Cines" King Romaine told an assistant. Within an hour or so the man had arrived in the room. "As you know, Admiral, today is the day that the Solaran girl will begin her pilgrimage. I'm sure you know how important this is for our relations with the Migrant Fleet."

    "Yes sir, of course."

    "And so you also know that she should receive the very best care available. She will be staying on your ship. Is everything arranged?"

    "Yes, we have a room prepared."

    "And what of my son, Lucarn?"

    "He is already moved in."

    "That will be all."

    The admiral left the building. He could not believe that his King had made him keep board to two mere children. His ship was to be a feared war vessel, not a simple daycare. But his ship was already set to sail, and the young Lucarn was already onboard.

    *************SOMETIME LATER*****************
    Admiral Cines's ship reached its destination with his escorts, and saw the Solaran ships already there. His ship pulled alongside the Solaran ship. As was customary in Naval Diplomacy, he invited the captain for a meal. He accepted.

    The young Solaran girl, the daughter of the aristocracy, came onboard. Prince Lucarn noticed her immediately. They were about the same age, and he was happy he might have someone his own age to talk to.

    The Lotharingian Admiral and the Solaran Captain went into the Cines's Cabin for a quick meal and beverage. They talked of politics and of life, and of the Hollowed as every Solaran tended to want to do. Their dinner finished, the Solaran returned to his ship and Cines made way back in the direction of Tertium.
     
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    #17 Skyrimosity, Dec 12, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
  18. Simus

    Simus An Excellent Site Member

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    Alice pulled her blue cloak tighter around her shoulders and pulled its hood up, guarding against the shivering that had nothing to do with the cold cloudy day or the spray of the gray sea. To say she was nervous would be the understatement of the century. She was aboard a frigate, the Silver Arrow, away from the Fleet for the first time in her life and being sent to live with the royals of a foreign nation. The crew of the Silver Arrow and the two small galleys that escorted it were the only things reminding her that she was not alone in the world.

    But this was for the best she had told herself. This was her Pilgrimage, her chance to become a woman and to prove she would serve her people by going out into the wide world away from fleet and home and finding something to take back. Something worthy of her return and the celebration with it. She had understood and accepted all her life that she would do this when she came of age but now that it was here? She was only sixteen. She felt far too young to leave her father and Aunt Shala and everyone else who loved her. She was terrified.

    Elspeth Adrasita, the Guardian of the Pilgrims, walked to the bow of the ship where Alice was. Compared to the small girl in the plain but elegant long blue dress and matching cloak Elspeth seemed a giant. She was a middle aged but strong woman of five and three quarters feet, almost a foot taller than her young charge. She wore black ebony plate armor, had a silver longsword at her side and a large kite shield with beautifully rendered Solaran colors on her back. Her tongue was as sharp as that of any princess and she was at least equal to any man on the battlefield but that wasn't what made her the Guardian. She was a teacher, a mentor and a surrogate mother to all Solaran Pilgrims and she had enough love to care for a dozen rowdy boys on their way to train as knights in the Patriarchy or just one teenage girl being sent to Lotharine to learn the ways of their court. She cared for all.

    Elspeth could sense the fear and worry in Alice and laid a gentile plated hand on the girl's slender left shoulder.

    "Be at ease child. All will be well." She said softly.

    "I just want it to be over with." Alice said. "We're really doing this, I've accepted that, but why does it have to take so long? It's been two days since we levt, how do I know when we're finally there? What do I have to look for?"


    "I would suggest by looking at the horizon. It may surprise you."

    That's when Alice saw it. A grand ship on the horizon. The Lotharingians were here!

    The two ships quickly found each other and connected gangplanks while the galleys took up a perimeter with the Lotharingian Admiral's own escorts. Elspeth brought Alice aboard and was greeted by the Admiral and a boy about Alice's age who she guessed was a prince or the son of a noble. Elspeth spoke up first while Alice stayed shy and quiet.

    "Admiral Cines, on behalf of the Solaran Fleet I thank you for this kind welcome. I am Inquisitor Elspeth Adrastia, captain of the Silver Arrow and Guardian of the Pilgrims. I present Alice Tacitus, daughter of Admrial Gabrial Tacitus and, for the near future, the newest member of King Romain's court. Say hello dear."

    "Hello." Alice squeaked, eying the handsome boy with the admrial but still terribly nervous.
     
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    #18 Simus, Dec 19, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  19. Skyrimosity

    Skyrimosity Fine Southern Gentleman

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    Lucarn wasn't sure what he had expected the Solaran girl to look like. He had never seen a Solaran before, at least not one his age. He looked at her long blue dress, elegant yet completely out of place in the middle of the sea. He looked at her face, covered in a hood. He couldn't complain.

    Admiral Cines spoke up. "A pleasure, Inquisitor Elspeth. May I introduce Prince Lucarn, heir to the Lotharingian throne?" The grizzled veteran of many years at sea introduced Lucarn to the Solaran Inquisitor. And Alice. Needless to say, he was now rather nervous.

    "Admiral Cines, if I may ask, why do you have the heir aboard your ship?"

    "I assure you, I can explain that and much more in due time. I have had meal and drink prepared in my Cabin and I do insist you come."

    "It would be my pleasure."

    The Inquisitor kneeled down next to Alice, and spoke to her. Lucarn and Cines could not tell what it was about. Then she followed Cines into the cabin, accompanied by a few guardsmen. Lucarn had heard that it was old tradition for Lotharingian captains to invite their opposites to meals. It was just another of the many things he had heard or studied about that would be verified during his time aboard the ship.

    He found himself immediately talking to Alice. "You know, this is my first time at sea. I've been in that castle all my life... it's beautiful out here. Just like the books. But I'm sure you've been at sea your whole life. You'll get to see Tertium. You'll see the magnificent buildings, the giant statues and paintings, and think that it is extravagant. But it's not. It's prison."

    He didn't know why he had said that to this girl he had just met; it would probably creep her out. But there was a certain trustworthiness about her which he didn't understand. Perhaps it was simply the fact he had been in that castle, living a sheltered life surrounded by guards, soldiers, and nobility. But it felt good to say something he really felt.

    He sighed. "I'm sorry. I'm sure you're already nervous about seeing a new kingdom full of strangers. Just forget I said anything."
     
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