RPG #14 - The Children of the Crimson Sea

Discussion in 'RPG #14 - The Children of the Crimson Sea' started by Nienor, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. Nienor

    Nienor Administrator Staff Member

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    The History of the Children of the Sun
    ~excerpts from the Histories by the historian Malerian

    “...The world of Mhadur has seven gods. They are Stylliko the Sun God and the Supreme, Marys the Goddess of the Moon, Krylus the Ocean God, Lukylo the God of Wind and of Battle, Ramaya the Earth Goddess, Merius God of Metals, and Warwin, God of the Rivers….

    …Thousands of years ago, upon the continent of Amren (or Amryn, your preference), there lived the Children of the Sun. The Children were split into two clans which lived and thrived with each other. The names of such clans are long forgotten, and all that remains are the remnants of the ancient history passed down through many Ages.

    As the Children grew in numbers, quarrels broke out between the clans and many rifts created, so that warrior kings were elected by different sects, and civil war ensued. For hundreds of years the strife continued, and many small kingdoms were created. By this time, the Children had made alliances, and banded together with those of like coloring, for the Children were of two colorings, black haired with golden eyes or blonde with green eyes.

    No one knows how, or why, but the Children of the darker coloring built a great fleet and sailed through the Crimson Sea, to a land free of war which they could call their own. What they found was sufficient, and through the Ages, they created an unequalled Empire.

    Those who stayed behind also prospered, but their success was not so scientifically advanced as that of those who departed. Theirs was the building of a land of kingdoms and castles.

    Several hundred years after the Departure, as it is known to those few who still remember, two of the Lesser Gods [Lesser Gods = all but the Supreme, Stylliko] created their own races upon Amren. Ramaya gave life to those now known as the Traian , a tall, lithe race with an intimate relationship with all aspects of the earth. They had the same appearance as they do today, with white hair and bronze skin. Lukylo created those we simply call the Winged Ones, the Rasvan. This widely diverse race was much like they are today, a very tribal people.

    Some thousand years passed of which we have little record, for much was destroyed in the Children’s War. Then the Storm Children, as those who departed call themselves, sucked the last that their small land had to give, and crossed back to Amren, and began the greatest war of our time. The Children of the Sun, as we continued to call ourselves, had forgotten the Departure. The Storm Children, however, will never forget, and so both peoples fought for what they perceived as their own continent. It was a long, terrible battle, and even now I cannot claim to know the victor….”


    A Description of the Races of Mhadur

    The Traian, created by Ramaya

    A tall, bronze-skinned people, the Traian have white or light blonde hair, with eyes of varying colours. They are tall, averaging around 5’11, and are a Celtic-like people, with beliefs similar to Druids. While generally peaceful, they pride themselves on their unparalleled yew longbows and their graceful fighting skills. They blades they use are small in comparison to swords such as the claymore or longsword – rather, both their blades and fighting techniques (hand and weapon) are Japanese-like.

    The Traian have great healing powers, and are so close to the Earth that they possess powers of molding plant and earth to their will. They are not a loud-spoken people, using few words and much body language.


    The Rasvan, created by Lukylo

    The Rasvan, or Winged Ones, are the youngest race, and the appearance of each Rasvan varies with his or her clan. They are a beautiful people, with a myriad of colours. The Clans are the Golden Eagle, the Red Eagle, the Falcon, the Hawk, the Raven, the Swan, and the Owl. Each clan is powerful in its own right, each possessing attributes they consider superior to those of the other clans. All Clans are reclusive, living far from the Children and Traian in their dwellings among the mountains.

    The Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, and Ravens are very war-like peoples, and martial arts are a way of life to them. They live in eeries high among the mountains, while the Owl and Swan Clans prefer the lower foothills.

    The weapons used by the Rasvan are unique. A very common, and popular, weapon is the talons of metal fashioned in a series of straps and latches that bind them securely to one’s hand. The talons, varying in lengths, come off of the first joints of the fingers, so that one can still grasp a blade whilst wearing the talons. The blades used are scimitars, and some use bows, crossbows, and handbows, the latter of which is a device strapped to the forearm with one to three bolts in place, used in the first charge of a battle.

    While Clan rivalry is common, raiding among the Children and Traian is not uncommon.

    The Golden Eagle Clan has brilliantly white or golden hair, with the sun-tanned faces of all the Rasvan. Their ears, as with all Rasvan, are upswept and pointed, much like the Traian, and their eyes are hazel or amber. Their wings are like those of the golden eagle, of course, shades of gold and white and brown. They are powerful in build and of noble countenance.

    The Red Eagle Clan has red or auburn hair, green eyes, and wings of brick red, gold, and brown. They, along with the Golden Eagles, are the tallest most powerful in build, averaging at about 6’3 for men, 5’11 for women.

    The Falcon and the Hawk Clans are similar in build and color. Both are nearly as tall as the Eagles, with shades of brown, black, and gold in coloring. They are not so powerful as the Eagles, but are more swift and agile.

    Those of the Raven Clan have black hair, black wings, and black eyes. They are powerful and cunning.

    The Clan of the Swan are a tall, graceful people, powerful in their own rights. Their hair is white, as is their wings, and their eyes a very pale blue. Their way of life, as well as the Owl’s, is not so war-like as that of the other Clans. The Swans keep to themselves, and know much of magic and herbal lore. They are healers, and in a way, not so different from the Traian as they would seem.

    The Owl Clan has a variety of hair and wing colours, from white and grey to brown and amber. Their eyes, too, are a variety of shades. They live at peace with the Swan Clan, but are strong, and have their own quarrels with the Clans of the peaks. Unlike the other Clans, the Owls generally sleep throughout the day, and roam at night.

    ~Created by Morgan_of_Salerone & Senekha
     
  2. Morgan_of_Salerone

    Morgan_of_Salerone New Member

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    Magden gazed across the stormy ocean, his coal black hair whipping into his golden eyes. His pale hand gently stroked the dark, glossy feathers of his great-eagle.

    “Not long now, my dark friend. Soon our lost land shall be reclaimed.” The wind howled fiercely as the black ship screamed in protest, the tall waves breaking over its sides. Lightning flashed in the sky, the roiling grey clouds crying in return. The great-eagle screeched, stretching its dark wings to the sky. A clear voice cut through the thick air, calling soldiers to arms. Magden vaulted up onto the eagle’s back.

    “Family and home, men!” Magden cried, raising his lance to the sky. The cry was echoed by the other soldiers mounting their own eagles, each one outfitted in dark leather. Great-eagles screeched and shook their feathers, trying to rid themselves of the rainwater. A piercing scream rent the air, and a massive eagle landed on the heaving ship. Out of the gloom of the ship’s cabin, an imposing figure strode. Magden turned his face away, hiding it from the weathered king with a low bow from his eagle’s back. The king walked past, unaware. Mounting up on his eagle’s back, the king settled and gazed at his warriors. Magden looked past at the other ships sailing at their flanks.

    “Today we begin to take back what is ours,” the king shouted, projecting his voice over the wind and thunder. “Today, we make our name known to the soft people of this land. Soon our name shall be feared, for we are the Storm Children, and show no mercy!”

    A chorus of cries challenged the wind for supremacy, and Magden gave his eagle one final stroke.

    “And now, my friend, the darkness begins.”

    With a rush of wings, the great-eagles took off into the raging winds, heading for the storm-ridden land to lay claim to what had once been theirs.
     
  3. Arawn

    Arawn The Avenger

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    Julian cursed at the bitter night, calling silently to any of the gods to end the storm. He had places to be, people to kill…

    Looking behind at his ragged followers, hunched over in silent misery as the all-penetrating rain came on unrelenting, and thought of the hot meal and warm bed that awaited them just a league down this god-forsaken road.

    Powerful wings beat the air above, and one of the Winged People alighted upon the ground. It was one of the Owl Clan, he thought, but couldn’t be sure in the poor light. He heard the sound of swords being loosened in their scabbards, and he held up a hand, motioning for calm.

    “What do you want?” He had to shout to be heard above the torrent. His horse jittered back a step, and he laid his hand on its neck to soothe it. “Easy,” he murmured.

    The Rasvan ruffled his feathers and walked forward until he stood just in front of Julian’s horse. He rested his hand on the horse’s forehead, and the animal immediately quieted. “I bring word of invasion, from across the ocean.”

    Julian took a moment to register the words. From across the Ocean? “Who lives across the ocean? I wasn’t aware of any land beyond the ocean.”

    The Rasvan arched an eyebrow, and said in a weary voice, “I do not know. I only bring the news, for another of your kind wished you to be informed. You would be wise to prepare yourself, for many black ships come.” The winged man looked troubled.

    “There’s something else. What worries you?”

    “You mean besides the thought of mass invasion?” Julian received a wry look. “There are also great eagles, great black war eagles, it seems. I have never seen an eagle of such size, that could carry one of your kind.”

    “My kind?”

    The Owl shrugged. His long brown hair hung heavy with water, and his face was streaked with the rain. “Not of my kind, I mean.”

    “Oh.” Julian looked back at his men, who were eager to be on their way to shelter, then turned back to the messenger. “Thank-you for the tidings. I am sure you would rather be out of the storm than carry menial messages to my kind.”

    The corner of the winded man’s mouth curled up. “Do not take it for granted; it is strange for me to even talk to you.” He ruffled his russet wings again, showering the ground with yet more water. “Heed well the tidings.”

    With that, the Rasvan stretched out his huge wings and lifted from the ground. Julian was buffeted by the wind generated by the powerful wings as the messenger flew into the black sky.

    He turned his head, and raised his voice to call to his men. “Lets get moving! I’d like to be dry by the time this storm turns worse.”
     
  4. Senekha

    Senekha <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><

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    Anke snapped in her wings and began a spiraling plummet. Thunder boomed, and Anke sped through the black clouds as rain began to pelt her. This mission would be completed, no matter the weather.

    As her companions followed in her dive, she raised a hand and motioned to an eerie that appeared from out of the mists. The target now in sight, Anke beat her powerful wings and sped toward her destination. Already cries of alarm could be heard from the eerie, and Anke spread her wings and slowed to a near stop, unslinging her bow. On each side of her her warriors spread out, each readying his or her own bow. Anke let loose her first arrow, and watched as it flew true and struck its target full in the chest, throwing him backward and against the stone of the mountain.

    The Ravens had already taken to the air, and after one last shot, Anke sounded the assault and charged through the air, the leader of this Raven eerie directly before her, his bow upraised. Anke brought her wings in and rotated through the air, snapping out of her spin just wingspans from her opponent. She brought her left arm up and fired the bolt from the hand-crossbow, though it only pierced his left wing as he rolled to the side. Flicking her middle finger down to her wrist, she unsheathed a throwing star and hurled it at the Raven as she shot overhead of him.

    Anke ducked in a summersault that brought her nearly face-to-face with her target, and she saw that her five-pronged start had struck him high in the chest, near his neck and just above his breastplate of leather. He was grasping at it, and already his life-blood was pouring from the wound, and he began to fall. Anke dived after him, grasping him by his blood-soaked shirt, and retrieved her star. She left him, and pumped her wings and rose high into the crisp, thin air. Her warriors saw her, and immediately followed suit, and only seconds after the start of the raid, they were on their way back to their home eerie.

    That was too easy, Anke thought.

    As they cut through the clouds, Anke looked towards the far-off ocean and saw dark shapes gliding through the storm. Calling out a command, Anke changed direction, heading toward the specters. As she neared, she slowed and waved her hand about, and began a swift return to the eerie.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2006
  5. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    Go ahead? Jynariel asked in their sign language.

    Her twin chewed on his lip for a moment, and finally gave her a thumbs-up. Even if our employers think that we’re one person in two bodies, we’re still different, she thought. Zhirran was always the bolder one, while she was more cautious. But somehow, they continued to work so much in tandem that Jynariel sometimes wondered if they really were one person in two bodies.

    Preparing to squirm out the closet, she froze as she heard footsteps. Gripping her brother’s arm hard in warning, she pushed against him, her wings digging into him. It was uncomfortably stifling in there, pushed against each other as they were, and huge wings in the bargain, but the two of them had endured worse. And at least the closet was large enough for the two of them.

    When the person – whoever he or she was – had finally left, Jynariel waited for another minute, ears straining for any sound. At last, satisfied, she opened the closet door as quietly as she could and stepped outside.

    It was just as uncomfortable in the house itself. They had to hunch down to keep their wings from hitting from the roof, but then, they had experience at this sort of thing. Most Rasvan disliked walking, but the two of them had practiced running until they were reasonably fast, just in case they got cornered in a place where they couldn’t fly.

    She slipped on her metal talons on both hands, and Zhirran helped her to secure them more tightly. Then they stalked through the halls of the noble’s house, black forms blending in with the night.

    Jynariel had no idea what the noble’s name was. All she knew was that he was one of the Children of the Sun. Their current employer had given them information on their target, gold, and the necessary contacts to get close to their target so that they could observe him. Two weeks later, a time spent discarding plan after plan, they had moved in.

    This target was one of medium difficulty. The noble knew that the Jynzhi’s employer found him to be an obstacle, and had acted accordingly. He had hired several professional mercenaries, and now had four bodyguards attending him at all times. The precautions he had taken were great enough that he constantly moved from house to house, never staying longer than a day.

    He probably would have stumped most assassins, but they were the Jynzhi.

    They came upon their first guard moments later. Following their planned routine, Jynariel slid behind the mercenary, clapped a hand over his mouth, and ripped his throat open with her talons. Pausing only to wipe the blood off, they moved on.

    How can they not see us? she wondered, not for the first time. Both of them were tall, and on top of that, were one of the rare Rasvan, complete with wings. Yet people – and animals – rarely, if ever, saw them.

    They made their way to the noble’s bedroom without further incident. But the hall was brightly lit, and all four of the guards were tense and wide-awake, blocking the only entrance to the room. Stepping in that circle of light would effectively blind them, and at least two of the guards had bows.

    They glanced at each other, and they withdrew to the other end of the house. Finding another guard and stunning him for a little while, they dragged him outside and flew a little while away.

    When the guard came to, Jynariel jabbed her talons into his side, causing him to scream in pain. The alarm rose in the house, and they could hear shouts as the mercs rushed towards their comrade.

    Zhirran ripped open his stomach with his sword, and their luckless victim shrieked again. Making their way back to the noble’s house, they watched eighteen more guards, all that were left, for that they had slaughtered two, pound outside in a ragged line.

    It was child’s play to enter the house and race to the noble’s room. Although he had been awakened by the screams, he didn’t notice Zhirran until it was too late. Zhirran had a long, sharp knife glinting in his right hand, and the left clapped over the target’s mouth, ignoring the fearful, almost frantic pleading for life as the target bucked underneath his grip.

    Jynariel watched that cool, mocking smile – the last thing their victim would ever see – as her brother drove the knife through his skull.

    When he withdrew it, the noble was dead.

    After he cleaned the dagger and returned it to its sheath, both of them plucked a black feather from their wings and placed them on their target’s chest.

    Then they slipped back out into the night, leaving the new victim of the Kurohane to be discovered in the morning.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2006
  6. Onime-no-Enishi

    Onime-no-Enishi Dragonkin

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    To be editted in future
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2006
  7. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    A black sea and dark cloud ran before him, the pale greenish horizon like a cut it their middle lay before Orlan, somewhere there was the land they came for, somewhere there was his destiny.

    Stepping back from the prow of his flagship he swept his cape back and strode along the deck looking towards the other ships aside him. Making sure all was going well before going below decks to his cabin.

    Once there he poured himself some strong brandy and sat at his desk, the slow and steady rock of the waves putting him at ease. Once more he looked over the map, if it could be called that, brought back from the soft land, nothing more than a hurried arrangement of shorlines. Nevertheless he looked at it again, sipping his brandy. The penstrokes like a riddle, his eyes trying to puzzle what this new land held for him. At the least it held war, one greater than any he had fought across the ocean, and that alone was worth the voyage.

    There was a hurried knock at the door followed by Assian entering without waiting for a reply. The young man stood before Orlan with back rigid and saluted before continuing. "Land has been sighted my Lord General."

    Orlan nodded, sipped his brandy and thought a moment. "The king?"

    "The great eagles are being prepared for the first launching, I believe he wishes to join them in their flight"

    Nodding, Orlan got up, with land in sight preparations had to be made, the great-eagle flight was the first planned attack, if records were correct the soft peoples had no eagles, the first attack would be easy, staging the way for the main force to land. Orlan never favoured flying himself, it was scout's work, too unpredictable to be relied on in battles. Nevertheless he got back to the deck to see that the ship's eagles were ready.

    On the deck the huge beasts screeched with anticipation, riders strapping on their weapons and armour and mounting. He could see the decks of other ships around him were all moving with eagles, the sight to come would be once in a lifetime.

    He was seen at last, and slowly the men hushed under his gaze, waiting for him to talk, Orlan had prepared no speech but he knew heartening a soldier was as good as tempering his sword.

    "You are all fighting men, you are here with me because you are the best and I will have no others. The peoples of the land before us will tremble before such mighty warriors, and we will reap the rewards and the glory till the end of days!" He unsheathed his greatsword for effect. "We are the Children of the Storm" Pointing to the land on the horizon with the blade he smiled. "And here the lightning strikes"

    The deck of the ship to their left burst into a ploom of feathered shapes, all around them ships let fly their eagle-warriors and Orlan's was no exception, the great eagles flapped and took off itno the dark sky, Seeming like another great black cloud heading inland. Orlan sheathed his sword and stood on his deck watching. When Assian came to his side, Orlan ordered him to pass the command for ground troops to be readied and the boy ran off t see to it.

    Ahead lay a new land, where the Children of the storm would find a new life, and so would Orlan, He smiled a deep knowing smile. At last he would be able to have what he wanted. And deep down what he wanted was everything.
     
  8. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    Sahira smiled at her patient as she finished wrapping his arm in a sling. “Now, don’t use that arm for a while,” she admonished. “Give it two weeks before going to one of your healers, all right?” The two of them stood at the base of her home, the simple tree-house that she had made. Sahira had come down to minister to the Traian, for his broken bone would not permit him to climb the branches.

    “My thanks, Mistress Ronsin,” the Traian returned with a grave bow. “I am sorry to have bothered you thus – ”

    “But your arm was broken and you were away from your family, and I happened to be the closest healer. I quite understand; you’re not the first of your people I’ve needed to heal.” Her smile was tinged with sorrow as she recalled the young Traian boy who had been attacked by a Rasvan Hawk raiding party. Even her famed healing skill had not been enough to save his life, but it had been enough to let him say farewell to his parents.

    She realized that the Traian was saying something, and asked, “Could you please repeat what you just said? I’m afraid that I was lost in memories.”

    “I was asking what I could give you in payment, Mistress Ronsin.” He hesitated a little before each word, and Sahira patiently waited, knowing that Traian used body language more than words. It must have been difficult for him to speak in a way that she could understand.

    “I don’t need anything. Please, the healing was offered as a gift.”

    But the Traian shook his head stubbornly. “I owe you something for the healing you gave me. What would you have of me?”

    She suddenly remembered that her younger brother, Damir, had wanted to become a Legate to the Clan-Chief, though he was only fifty years old. “Then could you make some special armor for my brother? He lives in my father’s eyrie – Darugh Ronsin’s the eyrie-chief. Do you know of them?”

    The Traian nodded. “Quite. Darugh Ronsin is a wise Rasvan, and we trade with him. Is that all you ask?”

    “Yes, please. And thank you.”

    “But that is a gift for your brother. I will give you one thing more – and it is for you, not for another. If you need help, ask for Rhodrin of the Jani Family to help, and I will come.”

    Before she could answer, he strode down the trail. Sahira thought about calling him back, then decided against it. Rhodrin was no doubt eager to be back home; it would take him a full day to return to his family. She knew where the Jani lived, and the trail Rhodrin was taking was safe enough that he could return home safely without her guarding him.

    I should go visit my own Traian family for a while, she thought. The Shamrin did tell me to visit as often as I liked…. And I should go back home afterwards.

    That suited Sahira just fine. Once in a while, she enjoyed visiting other people for reasons other than healing them, and visiting her two homes would refresh her mind as well. With that thought in mind, she flew to her tree-house and alighted on the platform, then began packing. Herbs, tools, and her scrolls of magic and herbs all went in. When she had finished, there was very little left in her tree-house save for her personal belongings. She hesitated, then gave into temptation and took down the fantastical mask her sister Keira had made for her, the base made of common leather, but it was covered with shining white feathers. She also took the bright scarves that her mother had woven for her; they were light enough and easy to carry.

    Some more keepsakes, then – the longbow the Shamrin Healer Family had given her, the formal robes that her sister priestesses had gifted her with, the knives her older brother the smith had made for her, the feather jewelry that Damir had fashioned for her with his hands, and the necklace her father had given her, sparkling with gems. All these, save for the weapons, went into her bags, and when she hefted them, they weren’t too heavy. After all, the sacks were small enough, and their contents were light.

    Then she stored them in her pack, and shouldered them. Carrying the unstrung longbow in one hand, she tucked her knives into her trailing scarves before flying up, a quiver of arrows on her hips. Loose leaves scattered to the floor as the mighty gusts of wind buffeted the branches of the trees surrounding her, and then she had broken past the canopy and was rising into the sky.

    She reached the Shamrin Healer Family area around sunset; the winds had been good. Landing just outside the perimeters, she walked to the healers’ enclave, ignoring the stares of the children.

    It was a familiar face that greeted her, and she smiled to see her old mentor, Darian. “Sahira! Welcome home,” the white-haired Traian said as he hugged her carefully, avoiding her wings. “Come on inside.”

    Holding her wings stiffly behind her, she prepared to duck inside the dwelling, but paused to rummage inside her pack. She tossed a tiny bag of candied rose petals at the children, and smiled as they shrieked with joy. A tiny girl stopped to give her thanks before returning to her feast.

    Darian seemed amused as he set out fifteen mugs and puttered around for a few minutes. Sahira spent her time examining the dwelling, noticing small changes. The herbs were organized differently, for example, but there were no major changes since she had left.
    Darian lifted the huge kettle off the fire several minutes later. He poured tea into two cups, and gave her one. Sahira sniffed the steam before sipping it, and her eyes widened in appreciation. It was ari tea, a complex mix of herbs that even she had no idea how to brew, and rare among the Rasvan.

    “So, my pupil, you came back. Why?”

    Sahira shrugged, careful to make sure that she did not accidentally hit something with her wings. “I wanted to visit, and I haven’t come for a while, after all. Is there another reason needed?”

    “No, not really.” Darian fell silent then, and the two of them drank their tea. The others thirteen healers trickled in moments later, and all greeted Sahira with enthusiasm. Sitting around the round table as they ate an evening meal and traded small talk, she felt curiously content in a way she had never been among her home Swan eyrie, though she could never fit in with the Traian, marked as she was by her Rasvan blood. Yet she remembered how to read Traian body language, and gradually, it came back to her until she gestured with the rest of them, winning a small nod of approval from Darian. I’ve come home in truth, she realized.

    She spent the night in the old eyrie the Shamrin family had made for her, back when she had first come to train with them. She had been nine at the time, and home sick, but the Traian were kind to her. Eventually, she had relaxed among them, and regarded them as family. Life has been very good to me.

    But one thought still nagged at her, reminding her that it was not yet perfect. And she swore, as she had thousands of times before, that someday she would track him down and kill him.

    Jaereth Andzyl.
     
  9. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    Niamh smiled a razor-sharp smile, watching Queen Sorana’s envoy squirm. “Your queen wishes me to give up the lands that are my inheritance and birthright?”

    The man had more courage than sense. “All the rulers of the North are… nervous… that you have three kingdoms.”

    “Two,” she corrected. “You forget that Sianna and Aioshi are now one kingdom.”

    “Nevertheless, your majesty, men remember our lands as the Twenty-four kingdoms, not as the Twenty-three. Sianna and Aioshi are two separate kingdoms.”

    “Which are mine by right of birth.”

    “Which are yours by right of birth,” he agreed, “but Mawr should be passed onto your late husband’s eldest brother.”

    “Who did not protest when I assumed the regency,” she pointed out. “And none of my people are unhappy with my reign. What right do you have to take away my lands?”

    “Your majesty, King Comran and Queen Sorana are the great sovereigns of the North. Need I say more?”

    “I believe you do,” she said, her mouth tightening in irritation. I’m going to have to move ahead of schedule. “Comran and Sorana have no right to interfere in a clearly internal matter. If the people of Mawr protest at my rule, I will of course step down and hand the kingdom to my designated heir.”

    “But Queen Sorana – ”

    “Queen Sorana, while she is one of the great princes of the North, is not the ruler of Sianna, Aioshi, or Mawr, unless I have somehow died and my lands have passed into her rule. And as long as she does not rule my kingdoms, then she has no grounds to make a complaint.”

    “Queen Sorana will be displeased at your lack of cooperation.”

    “Queen Sorana can be displeased at my lack of cooperation for all I care. You are dismissed.” The envoy bowed and left, clearly displeased, and a moment later, Niamh whistled for one of her greatwolves to come attend her. Scratching behind Sorrow’s ears, she called, “Steward!”

    The fussy little man was at her side in a moment, but though he could be at times irritating, he was worth his weight in gold. “Jaereth Andzyl said that he has news for you, your majesty.”

    “Ah. The usual place?”

    “As always, your majesty.”

    “Have Gray saddled for me.” The gelding was the one of the few mounts who would suffer the presence of the greatwolves and the snowtigers, and Niamh never went without them. “Rage, Sorrow, Patience, Fury, come.” The four named came forth, and with an affectionate smile for her lupine and feline guards, she set off for her chambers. After changing into leathers that were more practical for riding, she shouldered a bow and a quiver of arrows and walked to the stables.

    Gray was waiting for her, along with two human guards. Nodding at them, the three of them rode out of the palace and the city and into the surrounding hills of the north. Patience and Fury, being cats, roamed the land, but Rage and Sorrow ran at her side, tails streaming behind them as they raced forward. After several minutes of this, Niamh laughed and shook her braid back, waiting for the two guards to catch up with them. Though they looked unhappy that their charge had raced out of sight, neither could they argue with the fact that Niamh was amply – even overly – protected by her bestial guardians.

    They continued on at a sedate trot until they reached the little grove that Jaereth always came to. No sooner had they arrived then Jaereth came walking from the surrounding trees, holding his wings carefully so as not to entangle them in the branches. The Rasvan was courteous enough to land some distance away so that he did not frighten the horses, and Niamh appreciated his kind thought. “Your majesty,” he greeted, making an elegant bow as he smiled at her, though the smile did not reach his cold, cold eyes. Yet she understood – though he truly meant that smile, nothing ever broke past Jaereth’s mask, but he still – or so she believed – generally genuinely cared for her.

    “This is urgent, my queen. Lord Vor of Kyria – Sorana’s husband – has hired an assassin to murder you.”

    “Isn’t that interesting,” she said softly. “Well, they’ll have to get past my greatwolves and snowcats.”

    “My queen, you should take more care. Perhaps hire an assassin yourself – ”

    “Jaereth, besides you, there is no other assassin I can trust!” she said sharply. “Hire one, and Sorana will find some way to bribe the man to his own ends. And I know you can’t come this time of the year – ”

    “I could, if you truly needed me – ”

    “No, my friend.” Her face softened a little at the naked pain on Jaereth’s face. “I will not take away this time from you… especially on the fifty-first year.” Unlike the Children of the Sun, Rasvan did not consider the first year of death to be counted among the fifty years, as that first year was devoted exclusively to mourning. “Go to your Keira’s grave and conduct the memorial rituals. Do you have any idea when Vor’s assassin will strike?”

    “At any time, although I think that it might be a month, perhaps two. Vor will need to provide them with information, and that takes a while. For some reason, none of your retainers are willing to betray you, and that leaves either coercion or finding some other man in the city. The former is impossible, as they all keep confessing to you, and the latter – ” Jaereth shrugged, and his black wings rose with his shoulders. “A commoner in the city rarely sees you save at public functions.”

    “So it’ll take him a while to get information… unless the envoy happens to be the spy.”

    Jaereth nodded. “I think you’re right. In any case, I hope that I can come back to you in time. But this year, instead of doing one day, I need to stay there for the entire moon.”

    Seeing his agitation, Niamh laid a hand on his upper arm. “It’s all right, Jaereth. Go and conduct the rites. And thank you for the warning.” She smiled at him, and Jaereth responded a little to the warmth in her blue-green eyes.

    “It is an honor to serve you, my queen.” Jaereth strode away and left the grove. Several minutes later, she saw him spiraling upwards into the sky, black wings momentarily blotting out the sun as he flew upwards.

    Niamh grinned a little. Vor had hired an assassin? This would prove to be interesting indeed.
     
  10. Morgan_of_Salerone

    Morgan_of_Salerone New Member

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    Magden slit the dying man’s throat, his hands red with his victim’s blood. The man uttered one final gurgle, than lay limp and still. Magden looked up and surveyed the battlefield with dark eyes.

    It was a land of broken and bloodied earth; corpses – both man and beast – littered the muddied ground and stained it red while dark winged birds with naked heads circled in the sky. It was no different from any battlefield Magden had ever seen, and he doubted any more to come would ever change that view.

    “Ah, so you made it, eh Magpie?” called a fellow warrior, Torren, who had become a good friend of his over the course of the ocean crossing. Magden lifted a hand to the black cloth obscuring his face, nervous that it had become loose during the battle. Many of the men had taken to calling him ‘Magpie’ because of it; it was dark like the bird’s wings, and his name only served to make the nickname witty in the other soldier’s eyes.

    “The pale men die easy,” Magden replied as he wiped his sword on the dead man’s cloak.

    “Still, there are more of them than there are us… There is a bit of skill required to stay alive.”

    “Then how are you still here?” Magden joked as he looked up at Torren. Torren gave him a glare, but was betrayed by the smile slowly creeping up on his face.

    “Cheeky bum,” the soldier chuckled, shaking his head. “One of these days you’ll catch me in a bad mood and you’ll regret it.”

    “Oh no. I am quaking with fear.”

    Torren only laughed.

    “Hey,” he said, pointing across the field, “there walks one of the greatest men on this earth.” Magden followed his friend’s finger to see him pointing at a small party travelling across the bloodied ground on weary horses. “General Orlan,” Torren said, puffing up his chest with pride. “Without his brilliance we would have never gotten this far. The man’s a genius.”

    “General Orlan is a coward,” Magden spat. “The king is the true hero. At least he leads from the front, and it was his idea to reclaim our lost land.”

    “Since when have you loved the king so?” Torren teased. The black-clad soldier ignored him, glaring across the field at the general. His eyes gradually shifted to the king, who was looking very pale. Even as Magden watched, he seemed to grow weak. One of the party members leaned over to steady him, but before his hand could reach the king slipped from his saddle and fell.

    Magden was running, sprinting over the broken ground to the fallen king, Torren calling after him in a worried voice. One of the king’s escort stepped in front of him, grabbing his arm. Magden glared back, reaching up a black gloved hand to tear away the dark cloth veiling his face.

    “Let go of me!” he snapped. “I’m his daughter!”

    She tore her hand away, rushing to her father.

    “Father?” she whispered, kneeling at his side. They had taken his breastplate off and had staunched the wound where a sword had pierced through the armour’s joint, but the king was frightfully pale.

    “Soasan?” he murmured, eyes unfocused. She could hear the mutterings of the other men, and it unnerved her. She shouldn’t have revealed herself, even for this. Her father’s wound didn’t look too serious, but she knew many men who had died from lesser injuries. Strong hands pried her fingers from her father’s cloak and held her as they carried him away to the healer’s tent. She resisted, but only for a moment. The realization of what she had done began to sink in, and Soasan bowed her head in defeat.
    --------------------------
    They had given her one of the noble’s tents to use as her own, and clean clothes to replace her travel worn and blood stained ones. Still she felt naked and uncomfortable without her mask of dark cloth, even more so without the safety of her false identity.

    “Milady?” came a man’s voice. Soasan looked up.

    “Come in,” she called. The tall, silvery form of General Orlan appeared from behind the tent’s flap, his golden eyes revealing nothing.

    “How do you fare, princess? I trust these accommodations are adequate?”

    Soasan resisted a sneer.

    “I’m quite well, and these accomadations are more than adequate.” The princess of the Storm Children reflected on the housing she had lived in for two weeks, a dingy little tent barely big enough for her to curl up in, before she returned her thoughts to the business at hand.

    “How is my father doing? Will he be alright?” The general’s face gave no hints, to Soasan’s great displeasure.

    “He will live,” the general replied. “But I fear he will be unable lead the army for quite some time.”

    Soasan looked down.
    “Leave me,” she commanded. “I wish to be alone.” Orlan took his leave, and Soasan sat with her head in her hands. She didn’t trust the general, she never had. He had always seemed too eager for power. With her father unable to lead, she was the next royal in line, the heir to the formidable army her fathered headed. She had to claim it before Orlan did, or some other noble to big for his shoes.

    Soasan stood, glancing about the tent. She gathered the few belongings she had, and a few of the ones that had been lent to her. Then she took a deep breath, and left the tent.
     
  11. NeonPlums

    NeonPlums New Member

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    Ge'us sat in a tree within sight of what seemed to be a rasvan encampment. An oak staff strung across his armored back. The sun made his eyes glow an almost emerald color, making them glow with ethereal light.

    The tree whispered melodies in his triain ears; it was the chorus in the orchestra of nature. His robe hung lowly. He distinctly heard a yell to his left, the next thing he knew there were three rasvan men around him. His staff was taken by a rasvan with black wings to his left. He was dragged into the camp and thrown before a large tent.

    The men went inside, leaving him surrounded by what appeared to be low level soldiers. Whispers could be heard within the tent. The voices were as distinct to him as the difference between poisonous mushrooms and edible ones, an old man, a maiden-like woman's voice, and the voices of the rasvans which had found him. With his staff taken by the soldier he lay without weapons, although far from defenseless he doubt that his martial abilities could take down a whole armed encampment of soldiers. He felt as naked as he had been in all his life, what was he to do? Wait I suppose, wait for his possible death and disturbing torture.

    He grabbed a handful of dirt, "just in case" he thought, and stood up. No one challenged him; they knew they could kill him if they wanted to. At once the tent flap opened and someone stepped out....
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2006
  12. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    The small folding desk held up under the weight of several maps and objects, knives, paperweights and a goblet of wine. Orlan sat alone looking at it again, thinking. Soasan. Here! that was problematic, things would have to change and fast, the king was unconscious, now was the time.

    "Assian!" He shouted, the squire came into his tent at once, and made a hurried bow.

    "How is the king faring?"

    "Still strong m'lord, the wound had been dressed but he is fighting it, he will live still"

    Orlan ran a hand over his face, rubbing his cheek, then took another gulp of wine. The time was right.

    "Go to Forrely at once, tell him that the king is not to wake ever again. He is to go to work at once."

    "Aye M'lord, and the Princess?"

    He should not have been pleased at Assian's inquest, but the boy was faithful he had been part of the planning, the changes concerned them all, it may be enough to demoralise his troops into retaining their faith to the flacid old man they called king.

    But Orlan was no fool, every plan he made he had a hundred ways to change them, and this was no exception. Already his mind was ablaze with the solution.

    "Call together a company of loyal men, have them secure the Princess at once, before the King's end. No one is to talk to her, she is to be kept where she is, where I can watch her." Assian nodded and hurried away.

    Had the foolish girl remained back across the sea as planned, he would be content to leave her there. This new land was his, the old one was of no use to him, at least in the mean time. She could rule the domain she had the rights to. But she was here, and when the king fell she was next in line to take control of the fleet and the army, it was too much. The first step was isolation, the next.....well there we're two options, he could continue on his original aim to take full control, which would require her dead. But then there was option two, instead of fracturing the Children of the Storm, he could have them all under his command, even the loyalists, If he were the real king. That would mean joiing with royal blood, and the daughter of the king would soon be his captive. The pieces were all falling into place.

    Sitting back he drained the last of his wine and looked over one of the few maps aquired from their time in the land, once again puzzling out what lay ahead of them. Today one battle had been fought, and fought well. tonight a more delicate battle would be fought, and after that there was a war to be done.

    The tent-flap ruffled and Assain hurried in.

    "M'lord........" he said, forgetting to bow. "The princess, she has disappeared! Her tent is empty and there is no sign of her in the camp, the men are busy searching discretely."

    Orlan slammed His gauntletted fist into the wooden table and the folding legs collapsed under the force, sending maps, goblet, and everyhitng else across the floor. Orlan himself remained silent with a frown on his face.

    "Find her!"

    "Yes sir"

    "And have the king killed this second" It was too late for precise moves, he had to take command now, before the girl did anything.
     
  13. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    Zhirran kept his dark eyes fixed upon Sorana’s Consort, Lord Vor of Kyria. “You wish for us to assassinate Queen Niamh?” he asked in his soft voice. Beside him, Jynariel kept her own face expressionless.

    “Yes,” Vor replied. “You’ve done well in killing my other opponents, but this is more serious. I don’t think that you need – or want – to know the reason why.”

    “No,” Zhirran agreed. He weighed the risks in his mind, knowing that Jyn was also thinking about the proposal, but in the end, it would be his decision as it always was. “You have the papers as usual?” he asked at last.

    “Yes.”

    “Then one more requirement – don’t try sending any of your own assassins after us to silence us. It gets annoying after a while.”

    “Of course not,” Vor said with a smooth smile as he handed over a stack of papers. “I would never think of doing such a thing.”

    Zhirran had never heard a bigger lie in his life. He sighed; Vor had always been a good source of gold, and losing it to Vor’s own stupidity didn’t appeal to him. On the other hand, assassination attempts didn’t appeal to him either. He supposed that it was a pity that they would probably have to sneak back here and kill Sorana’s consort, but life was tough.

    Wheeling on his heel, he strode out the door, his sister closer than a shadow as they made their ways through the halls of Sorana’s keep and out into the open grounds. Once there, they took to the skies, flying with a freedom that landbound Children could only envy.

    They retired to their uncle’s simple one-Rasvan eyrie, which was empty. Zhirran recalled that it was near the death anniversary of Jaereth’s beloved Keira Ronsin, and no doubt he had left to celebrate the rites.

    Together, he and Jynariel peered over the papers containing information on Niamh’s life. There was, surprisingly, very little information for such an important figure in the Twenty-four kingdoms, but it was enough for them to work with.

    “Two weeks from now,” he decided at last. That would give them enough time to prepare, and Jynariel nodded in assent. “Just walk in there, kill her, and fly back out again. Doesn’t sound too hard.”

    “Queen or peasant, it makes no difference to us,” she said. “And after that, Vor?”

    “Mmhmm,” he said. Niamh evidently spent one year at each of her three lands; this year, she was residing in the kingdom of Mawr. Rather than maintaining a rabbit warren of a palace the way the other rulers of the Twenty-four kingdoms did, she had three luxurious houses that held perhaps two hundred people, no more. It would be fairly easy for them to navigate the halls, but Vor had provided them with a map.

    “Through here,” Jyn said, stabbing her finger down on the map. Grabbing a quill and dipping it in one of Jaereth’s inkwells, she traced a path through the halls to the room marked as Niamh’s bedchamber. The guardrooms were placed far from it, and Zhirran grinned. Niamh’s stupidity was just about to lead her to her death.
     
  14. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    Sahira knew no words to express her anguish as she beheld the wanton destruction of the father’s eyrie. Bodies that had once beat with life now lay broken on the earth, bound and constricted to stay upon the land rather than soar the freedom of the skies.

    She touched Damir’s face with gentle fingers, absently smoothing away his white hair from his face. Nearby, her mother, father, and older brother lay sprawled, empty eyes open wide.

    The ground is still stained with blood, she thought, stunned. If she had come but a few minutes earlier, no doubt she would have seen the killers escaping into the sky.

    Black feathers littered the ground everywhere, and she would have screamed if she had the strength to. Raven Rasvan, come to haunt her again –

    – watching them behead Keira Ronsin for being Jaereth Andzyl’s lover –

    She could not even bring herself to weep as she sang the traditional lament. Her voice sounded weak and pathetically alone, for the last time she had sung this, an entire eyrie of Swan Rasvan had joined in with her.

    When she concluded the lament, she whispered a prayer to Lukylo, to let them fly again on another wind. And though she longed to conduct the rites herself, she knew that she needed help.

    Several hours later, almost at sunset, she beat her way back to Darugh Ronsin’s eyrie, an entire eyrie moaning and bewailing the murder as they followed her, for murder it was. This is no simple raid, she mused as she helped to prepare the bodies of the dead for the funeral. This was a systematic massacre.

    By the time dawn arrived, Darugh Ronsin’s entire eyrie had been buried near the lake, a little distance from her sister, Keira Ronsin. The Swan Clan-Leader had ordered Keira’s grave to be held separate from the rest of the eyrie’s, saying that Keira deserved some punishment for loving a Raven.

    Yet the same Clan-Leader who had told her fifty-one years ago that Keira had deserved to die had compassion engraved upon his face. “I share your loss,” he said.

    How could you? How could you understand? she wanted to say, but didn’t. She knew that the Clan-Leader’s own wife had fallen victim to an Eagle raid years ago, but Sahira could not stir herself to warm to the man. You condemned my sister to lie in her grave, far from kith and kin.

    All the same, some response was required, so she inclined her head to him. “I thank you, Clan-Leader.”

    He sighed a little. “I fear that you will not, once I make my request of you. And this is truly a request; not an order. I would not willingly tear you from your mourning, yet – ” He paused, biting his lip as he tried to go on. Sahira didn’t prompt him or help him in any way; how dared he try and ask her to do something that would take her from her grief for Darugh’s eyrie?

    “Sahira Ronsin, I need your help,” he said at last. “Yours is not the first such eyrie attacked, though this is the first time it has been utterly decimated. No one knows who is behind these attacks, and the Owl Clan-Leader has sent me word saying that his people suffer as well. I need you to find out what is going on.”

    “No.”

    “Sahira – ”

    “Find another person. My entire eyrie was slaughtered, and you expect me to abandon the mourning rites to go gallivanting off on a foolish quest?”

    “There is no one else who can do this, Sahira Ronsin. We Rasvan hold ourselves too aloof from others, and your fame as a healer precedes you. Children of the Sun, Traian, and Rasvan all welcome you, and you are perhaps the only one who can discover the truth of the matter. The rites will be kept, I swear it; I myself will reside here for the one year if it will persuade you to go.”

    Much as she wished that she could refuse, he was right. And she owed a duty to the rest of her people as well. “Then I will do so, but I will hold you to your word. Stay here to conduct the rites, and give me four days – three for the First Rites, and another to pray at my sister’s grave.”

    “Then our bargain is sealed.”

    I’m sorry, Darugh, she said, wishing that her father could hear. It’s not that I love you any the less, but I have a duty. Please forgive me.

    But Sahira doubted that she would ever forgive herself for deserting the rites of mourning.
     
  15. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    “Your majesty.” Niamh did not look up as she continued to brush out Serenity’s fur, but waved a hand in acknowledgement of the steward. “The princesses Mhairi and Aoife are without, waiting for you.”

    “Have them come in.” Her sisters liked the greatwolves and snowcats, and besides, this was the one room where Niamh was certain of true privacy.

    When Mhairi strode in, her younger twin at her heels, Niamh thought that she was looking in a mirror. Though she had always known that they looked similar, seeing them again for the first time in a year emphasized it.

    The three of them could have passed for triplets. They were roughly the same height, and had the same regal – some called it arrogant – cant to their silver-gold heads, and identical blue-green eyes were equally challenging.

    Yet they were different as well. Most called Niamh the ice queen, cool and measuring, but Mhairi was softer, with a warmer light to her eyes. Aoife was far more heated than her sisters.

    She thought that it was passing strange that neither of them wanted the throne. Even as a child, Niamh had always wanted power over people, not to be cruel, but to make their lives better. In the process, of course, she would garner more power, and she had started first with Mhairi and Aoife, who were four years younger than she was.

    And that ambition was what had led her to this next course.

    “Sisters,” she said, turning around to stand up and offer them her hands. “Welcome home.”

    “It’s good to be back, Niamh,” Mhairi replied, smiling so sweetly that she coaxed a returning smile from Niamh in return. The three of them sat down amidst Niamh’s bestial guardians, and Serenity licked Aoife’s hand before returning to her drowsing.

    “We did what you wanted,” Aoife said, getting down to business. “Orid of Pasien’s been soundly put down, and none of the other Western kingdoms are in a hurry to help him.”

    “Good. Because I need you here.”

    “Oh?”

    “Yes. Now that you’re here, I can make my dream come true. I want to rule over all Twenty-four Kingdoms, sisters, and I know how to do it.”

    Aoife raised an eyebrow. “You’re certain you can manage this?”

    “Oh yes. First, I have to unify the North, then send an alliance proposal to the South. Then I just have to conquer the East and the West.”

    “ ‘Just.’ ” Mhairi seemed amused. “You are of course ignoring the fact that the East has more people than the North and South combined? And that the West has an army twice the size of yours?”

    “I’m not planing to do this with an army, little sisters,” Niamh answered. “But you’ll see.”

    “And what if the South sides against us?”

    “Oh, they won’t. They have feuds with the East and the West, remember? And besides, there are other terms I can offer them – equality when I become High Queen, one of their princes for my consort, that sort of thing.”

    “Equality? Isn’t that a little foolish?”

    Niamh shrugged. “They can believe what they like, but as long as they swallow the bait, I don’t care. I murdered one husband, so why not another?”

    “Ah. And your plan to conquer the North would be?”

    She smiled. “Oh, you’ll like this one. It’ll be virtually bloodless. Sorana first, then Maisha and Darugh. Comran for last. Just you wait and see.”
     
  16. Soul_Stocker

    Soul_Stocker Come to me my love...

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    The wind was very calm this monring. It had just rained so the wet smell still lingered in the air. My platnuim wings felt crsip in the air some how. Yet my skin was warm. The valley village was calm, which was nothing new, sence us Swan's were peaceful. But i had learned of the war brewing, and it wouldn't be long before it reached our little haven.
    I touched down infront of the clan leaders house. It was dressed with palm leaves over the roof, and grand marble pillars lined it. I walked up the stone sidewalk, to an oak door. I didn't knock because i was summoned to attented.
    I saw the elder slam his fist on a red oak desk, "NO! Coro, we are peacful, and i will not put my people in danger because of a hunch!"
    My jaw couldn't help but drop a little, "Father...?" The elder looked my way, as did the man sitting across from him.
    He sighed deeply, "Cline, please next time...."
    I rushed over, "You mean to tell me the war has worked it's way here?!"
    My Father just grunted at the smerking Coro, "No, it's just a rumor at this point. We've remained peaceful for this long. And i for one don't plan on fighting in this supposed war."
    Coro stood up slaming his hands on the desk echoing through the hollowed halls, "Sires! You cannot put us in dager! You are the elder, and think of our family. Why what if Cline was struck by a stray arrow; then would you fight!"
    My heart sunk at the thought of the war in my own back yard. Then something inside me bubbled, "I will fight with you..." The words had escaped my mouth before i realized they had come out.
    My Father's old eye's closed, followed by a deep sigh, "Very well, BUT if and only if the reaches our valley."
    Coro smiled wickedly, then shot me a glance that sent shivers down my spine. He wasn't the much older than me, but he'd always been around. We brush shoulders as he past. That set my face on fire. Then i looked back to my Father, who seemed to be having an anurisum. His fathers have gotten grey from age. The only one of us that has shown age in a while.
    "You know what you're getting into boy?" He shot me a warning glance.
    I gulped as i responded, "Yes, father i will be fine. I'm a good healer and if i have to my wind and fire skills. Plus, Coro will protect me, i trust him."
    He stands with a grunt, "Well lets hope the war doesn't come here..."
    "Yes..." But deep down inside i was more than excited to fight....
     
  17. Senekha

    Senekha <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><

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    Anke sank below the canopy of the forest, feeling at once its threatening power. But she was an ally, and so was safe…for the moment.

    Four times a year the Clan-Leader of the Red Eagles sent Anke to the Traian, to oversee the transfer of armour and herbs in return for the gems and stones brought by the Rasvan. Other Red Eagles would arrive shortly with the gems, and by then the goods would be ready to transport.

    As she landed lightly on the forest floor, a Traian materialized from the foliage and greeted her with a nod and a series of small hand movements, which Anke returned.

    “Welcome, First Legate of the Red Eagle Clan.”

    “Greetings, Herbmaster Darian. I trust the armour is ready?” Although the Rasvan lived in mountains rich in iron ore, they did not have the sufficient space or tools for extensive blacksmithing, and thus had to turn to other peoples if they desired armour not made from leather.

    It was nearly midday when Anke flew ahead of five other Rasvan, all heavily laden with their latest armour. The herbmaster had added a sachet of healing herbs and a promise that the concoction would heal nearly any flesh wound. The herbmaster had also insisted that it was a gift to Anke, in thanks for two years of faithful partnership.

    Anke smiled. The herbs would come in handy, especially if the Red Eagles decided to take part in repelling the invasion.

    The black ships had landed a sennight before, and battles had torn the sand of the western shores of the land for leagues, and the Children of the Sun were being forced backward into their own territory.

    If it were not forbidden, Anke would leave the eyries for a fortnight and learn more of the great black eagles she had seen that first day of the invasion. They had called to her, and she would answer their call to battle, somehow, even if it meant calling the wrath of the Clans down upon her.
     
  18. Soul_Stocker

    Soul_Stocker Come to me my love...

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    As the sun rose that morning, the nerves started to bubble up. I ran my fingers through my hair. I step out of bed with a yawn and a strech. Then i heared a knock on my door. I rush over with a flap of my wings, then opened it. I couldn't help but gasp at the sight that followed. "Good morning..." I was greeted by Coro's smiling face, which in turn made me smile. "Are you ready to set out?"
    I looked at him puzzled, "...Out...I don't understand i thought we were only to fight if it reached the valley?" He just laughed and shook his head.
    "Yes, but we need battle traning, yes? Thus we need to head north to the Red Eagle clan that lives somewhat above us." My stomach tied itself into a million knots at the very thought of having to leave the village, let a lone travling that far. "Is something wrong?" He cocked his head to the side. That made me blush.
    "Um...no it's just i've never been that far from the valley before....I'm nerves that's all..."
    He smiles then taps on the door frame, "Get ready, it'll be okay, I promise." He shut the door and I had a delayed reaction to it. But i pushed on, and gathered some things for the jurney. I grabed an article of clothing or two, then the thickest spell book i could find. If i was going to be around strangers then i was going to look powerful. Scare the thing that scares you most; my Father's words rang in my head. With my items in hand, i reach for the door and turn the knob. I open it and look out into the open valley. I take a deep breath as i step out into the real world. Coro waits for me at the coner of my house. He smiles brightly, "Ready?"
    I nod uneasily, "Yes, um can i say goodbye to my Father frist?" He just stands there smiling, i felt like i missed out on something...
    "Yes, we can go together. Might as well thank the old bird. He's the one that said to get traning..."
    That made me laugh, "And I thought i was the only one who called him 'old bird'." He laughs at the remark. I tie the extra clothing around my waist, then nodded. We started walking towards the place i called home for seventeen years. As we reached the stone sidewalk. The door flung open, and Sires came flying out.
    "My son, i pray that you will be safe, and return to me..." He embraces me tight.
    "O-okay Dad..please you're sqezzing the life outta me..." I etempted to laugh, but only gasping grunts came out. He let go and looked to Coro, "And you 'Hatchling', watch over my son. If he doesn't come back, then neither do you...hear me boy?!" Coro nods his head.
    "Don't worry i'll take real good care of him..." He shyed away for a moment.
    "Goodbye...Father...I will miss you, and please don't worry too much..." I smile and kiss his cheek. I turned and started to flap my wings heading towards the sky.
    Coro starts after me, he turns back and yells down, "Thankyou elder for understanding...!"
     
  19. Morgan_of_Salerone

    Morgan_of_Salerone New Member

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    Soasan settled her weapons more comfortably on her person as she began her trek to her father's tent. Her old weapons had been confiscated by the other lords, so she had been forced to obtain new ones at the armoury. She had just turned past a soldier's tent when she noticed a man following her discreetly at a distance. A quick, unnoticeable glance revealed two other men closing in on her, one on her left and another on her right. Soasan tried to act normal, trying to convince herself it was just coincidence.

    The men continued to follow her, coming closer and closer. The princess felt her throat tighten. They were coming for her.

    "Perhaps they are just coming to bring me news of my father," she whispered to herself. But that didn't make sense, she realized. The man behind her wouldn't be trying to hide himself if her were simply relaying a message. The Storm Child princess loosened her sword in its sheath, and stopped as the men surrounded her. The screech of a great-eagle rent the air.

    “Princess Soasan,” the man who had been following behind said. “We have orders to escort you to you pavilion. Please do not resist.”

    “By who's orders do you do this?” she asked, her voice cold.

    “That is none of your concern. Come.” The man reached for her with a gloved hand. Quick as lightning, Soasan slapped it away and drew her sword. Slamming the hilt into one man's stomach, she turned and slashed at the other before the first man caught her arm in his gloved hand. She tried to wrench away, but her strength was no match for his. Speed was her only ally in this battle. The nearby great-eagles, upset by the commotion, screeched in fury. Soasan's eyes widened with realization.

    Trying to pull away again, the princess put two fingers in her mouth and whistled shrilly. A human cry went up near the penned great-eagles, and one of the huge black birds lumbered into the air. Before she could do anything else, Soasan's hand was snatched away by the second man, stopping the whistle. The third man, the one she had slashed, stood shaking and pale with a bright red line snaking across his chest.

    “Let's go,” said the first man, and then the great-eagle struck.

    Soasan's brother had always taught her that the beasts ridden into battle could be as valuable as the men that rode them if used and trained properly. When Soasan had earned her great-eagle in the crossing of the sea, she had spent much of her time training it to obey many different commands. Some commands were given with whistles. The command she had given was “kill”.

    The great-eagle struck the first man, tearing his grasp from Soasan's arm. She stumbled foreward, saved only by the hindersome hand of the second man gripping her left arm. She swung around and smashed the man across the face with her swordhand. A bright spurt of blood flashed as the princess felt the his nose break. He released her, and she made a dash for the bird.

    More men had arrived by now; the great-eagle was beating around with its wings, talons and beak at anyone who came within reach. Soasan took a handful of glossy feathers and vaulted up, laying her heels to the bird's sides to get it going. The bird gave a shriek and leaped into the sky. She heard the cries of men around her drop away, and then she was free.

    The princess glanced behind her one last time, and her flashing, golden eyes meeting the fury-filled yet desperate eyes of Assian, the general's squire.

    Soasan screamed with rage as the great-eagle bore her away. She struggled to resist the desire to turn back and attempt to hack off the boy's head, if not his master's. Turning forward violently, the Storm Child surveyed the land below her, searching for a place to hide. Her great-eagle could only carry her so far, and she feared to leave her father far behind. Yet if she was too close, Orlan – or whoever it was who searched for her – would easily find her.

    Looking to the north, Soasan spotted a forest, the green of the many pines showing up dark against the rest of the landscape. Turning her great-eagle in that direction, Soasan cursed her luck and prayed she was not playing the part of the fool.
     
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  20. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    Lord Vanmer had been drinking too much, as ever, and while his wife was making vain attempts to stop him rambling, Orlan sat bad watching those at the table.

    After a few hours of preparation by the camp's steward's, a tent had been arected int he centre of the camp and within a huge banquet was held. The lords who had accompanied the first wave of the fleet, the prominent generals and their close family brought on the voyage, were all assembled to celebrate the victory won by the Children of the Storm, and the first stage of their return home. Many had thought it unwise to hold such a feast while the king lay wounded, but Orlan had counselled them that it was an ill omen for the campaign if they were to shy away from celebrations this early. To retain the highest level of grace Orlan had left the head of the table empty and made a toast to the King's health before the meal had started. He had to keep up appearances after all.

    The banquet had turned out to be a huge waste of time, as they tended to be, there was no useful commentary, just drunkeness, wishes of health to the king, some mild flirting here and there, but nothing at all useful. Orlan had kept quiet mostly, pondering, barely touching his food and often cradling his goblet whilst tapping one finger on the table, as he was known to do while thinking.

    Under the low murmer of the table conversation few noticed the guradsman enter silently, he come over to Orlan and handed him a sealed parchment. the wax on it bearing the mark of Forrely, the camp's surgeon.

    Orlan broke the seal with his thumb and read the contents, keeping his face a mask of calm all the while. his eyes passed over the words three times, and when he brought them up, more than a few of the people at the table were looking at him, curious.

    Rising to his feet, Orlan took a gaze across the room, eventually the banter died down, nudges passed between guests untill the room was quiet, only then did Orlan speak.

    "The King is dead" gasps broke out then, wild eyes looked back and forth, but Orlan continued anyway.

    "He died moments ago from his wounds, he fought bravely against his ailments but death is one foe none can withstand." With his empty hand he took up his goblet of wine and raised it above his head.

    "To the king, Lord of the storm!"

    The toast went out across the length of the table, all gave their salute tot he departed monarch. May he rot in hell, thought Orlan. he didnt hate the man, he was just glad he was dead, and as everyone swallowed in the toast to the king's reign, Orlan swallowed in a toast to his own cunning, the wine tasted sweet with victory.

    Quickly Orlan pushed aside his chair and addressed the banquet. "My Lords, this grave news calls for immediate action, we must have a counsel of war at once, assemble in the map tent within the hour." with that he departed from the tent and into the fresh night air, Assian was waiting outside. Orlan began walking for his tent, the boy followed and gave his news as always.

    "We went after the girl, and almost had her but she managed to summon her eagle and escape, I have already sent patrols after her. but found nothing so far" The news was not good, the king's death may have started minor suspisions in the ranks of men loyal to him, but the last heir's similtanious disappearance would only exaserbate things.

    "Keep me informed of their progress, and meet me after the war council, now away with you!" The news was annoying, and Orlan had little patience for the boy.

    He quickly made his way to his tent, where he scrawled out a few orders and marked them with his seal, before making his way to the map tent to meet the rest of the heads oft he army.

    When he got there mostly everyone had assembled, the few left would have to get ther word from others, he looked across the room. Orlan was easily the highest ranking military officer in the entire fleet and few could oppose him. one or two nobles might claim blood right to the throne but others across the sea superceded them.

    Orlan ceased his plotting again and strode to the from on the crowd, where a huge, recently painted, map of the country had been placed on a large fixed table, a wooden block marked their current camp near the shoreline, Orlan ignored it for now.

    "Gentlemen, i have just been informed that the princess is missing, it is believed under the stress of her father's death she had fled to seek solitude. the young often do not realise their responsibilities. But fear not, mean have already been sent to find her and protect her in this dangerous land. Untill such time as she returns to her people I am assuming command of the army and all forces of the Children of the Storm on this side of the ocean" he took a breath and continued "Untill such time as the princess is returned to us. If anyone disagrees say so now" Orlan's prowess and skill as well as his rank won out against any doubts being fostered and no complaints were made. And while he waited, Orlan fetcdhed a glass of brandy to ease himself.

    When he had given them enough time, he sipped his drink once more and went back into his speech. "Now with the unpleasantries dealt with, back to the matter at hand. We have one great victory against the people of this land, but likely it was just a hastily gathered defence, our landing was too swift and too well planned for them to have had any notice. Soon they will assemble new hosts to send against us, and there are only so many defences we can erect in this open ground."

    "So, the our next move will be to secure a strong foothold in the land, after pondering the map, several natural formations seem suitable but my eye was drawn here." He stabbed his finger at a circle drawn on the map. "One of the native cities, walled, and with a port open to the sea, a safe foothold to strike from and a place where our reinforcements can land safely. It will also send a message to the rest of the inhabitants if we take it within the week, that we are nt to be trifled with"

    There was confused muttering, already they had fought one battle, but to take a city so soon was madness to some. a few questions were vocalised, and Orlan nodded to them before he continued.

    "From what we faced already, the formations of troops, and the armaments they carried it does not seem they have faced Great Eagles before, this will play a great advantage for us. We will besiege their port with several of the warships we have, and move our camp outside their gates, without the eagles. They will be held within some of the remaining ships." He sipped his brandy again. "First we shall bring in the ships close before we launch the birds, who will descend into the city in the first wave, in the havoc crewated we will begin moving in troops by boat and on foot. Meanwhile those already attacking aback their eagles will open the gates for the attacking force. We will move in and overhwelm the inhabitants, and put the people to the sword" Taking the city was one message, slaughtering its inhabitants was a much stronger one. Orlan wanted his seat of power, leaving the natives within the walls would be too great a risk.

    The other generals ponderend and nodded, more questions and discussion went round but they were mostly in agreement that the plan was sound, as ever. The smaller duties were left as to who would command which parts of the attack, once that was done there was little left to do, they moved out at first light.

    Orlan left the tent first, as he often did and sought out Assian who waited in Orlan's tent. The general took out one of the letters he had written earlier. "We are moving out tomorrow to continue the invasion" He gave the boy the letter. "You however will not be accompanying us" He paused. "I am giving you personal command of a hundred men from the fifth legion, you are to find the girl at once and bring her back to me and me alone. I would prefer her alive but if she resists do not waste the effort. The men i am giving you are all loyal." He boy nodded, a little pail, this was his first command, Orlan trained him personally, so he should fare well, nevertheless...."Do not fail me, bring her back, dead or alive but do it."

    Corpses could raise no arguements against his schemes. The cold, silent lips of the king proved that.