Ancient Evil (RP - IC)

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Ancient Evil (RP - IC)

Postby PoisonedDragon » Fri Jan 26, 2007 5:00 pm

(Please read OOC thread before posting, thank you)


One Hundred Generations Ago

It is a time of great evil. Beasts that defy description wander the countryside slaughtering all who stand in their way. Wars between kingdoms escalate out of control. The land is laid waste. But these are not random occurences as many believe. They are connected. One powerful evil force is drawing out all other evils, and inciting wars to prevent any from rising up against it. Saul, the Dark One, is that evil force.

Once a powerful sorcerer from the south, Saul made a pact with a dark god to gain near infinite power. He was once good and pure, but when a plague wiped out all that he loved, he became twisted with hate for all that lives and breathes. His pact with the dark god was to extinguish all life, and if he succeeded, the god would give life back to Saul's loved ones. Saul agreed to the pact and within a year was the most powerful being in the world.

He summoned the forces of darkness from the pits of hell to do his bidding, to slaughter innocents and lay waste to all that lived. He corrupted men of all races to incite wars so that there would be no one with the power to oppose him. For a time it looked like he might succeed in his task, for there was no one with the power to oppose him.

Then one day, out of the north walked four foreigners. No one knew who they were or where they came from, but within days, everyone knew why they had come. They began working like madmen to restore peace to the land. They slaughtered the beasts wherever they saw them, they brokered treaties between warring nations and they inspired the people to rise up against the Dark One. In mere months they had undone most of the damage Saul had wrought, and they took the fight to his doorstep.

Saul's fortress sat atop a dark mountain, and though the people of the land begged them to take an army with them, the heroes climbed it alone. No one knows exactly what happened on the mountain, except that after nearly thirteen days and nights, one of the heroes walked down, bloodied and near death. The other three were never heard from again, but neither was Saul.

The hero who came down from the mountain was Piotyr DeLeon, a Knight from the kingdom of Valda in the far north. It had been he who led the four out of their homeland in order to save the land from destruction. When he recovered from his wounds, the king of the now united kingdom named his Grand Duke, and granted him control over lands unrivaled by any other landowner in the kingdom. Piotyr accepted and settled down to raise a family. He still fought to defend the kingdom whenever enemies rose to confront it, but for the majority of the time, the rest of his life was peaceful.



Present Day

Mykael ducked behind a water barrel to avoid the patrolling guard. Not that the guard would say anything to the Baron's son, but Mykael didn't want anyone to know he was out of bed until he had a decent head start. When the guard had passed, Mykael ran across the darkened courtyard to the stables. He peeked through the door and was pleased to see that the stableboy had lived up to his end of the bargain, he was nowhere in sight. Mykael slipped inside and smiled when he saw that his horse was already saddled and ready to go. Being as quiet as he possibly could, Mykael opened the stall door and led the horse out bribing it to be quiet with a couple chunks of carrot.

Mykael waited a few moments for the patrolling guards to be as far away as possible, then quickly led his horse across the courtyard to the rear gate of the keep. Taking one last look at his home, Mykael slipped through the gate and into the outside world. He led the horse for a while to reduce the risk of being heard, then, when he was pretty sure he was out of earshot, mounted and kicked the horse into a canter in the direction of the nearest village.

He knew his father would be furious, and would certainly send people looking for him as soon as he realized Mykael was missing. Mykael had to put as much distance between himself and the keep as he could before daybreak. He rode his horse as hard as he dared, and by the time the sky started to lighten he had passed by the village and was well on his way to the next.

When the sun finally started to crest the horizon, the town Mykael was trying to reach was in sight, and Mykael slowed his tired horse to a walk. The town was small, but still within his father's lands, so Mykael knew he would have to be cautious. He had carefully removed all insignia from his clothes and armor that might give him away as a member of the DeLeon family, and since he had never been to this village before it was unlikely that anyone would recognize him.

Mykael stopped his horse and dismounted in front of the inn. He entered the inn and chose a table in the corner, hoping that the few other customers would pay him no mind. He ordered a meal and some wine, then spread his map out on the table to plan his trip.
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Postby PoisonedDragon » Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:57 pm

By the time his meal arrived, Mykael had decided on where to go next. It was obvious that he had to get off his father's lands, and preferably into a large enough city that he would be able to blend in more easily. The closest city on Mykael's map which matched both requirements was Tallus, a fairly large trade city about two days ride from the town he was currently in. Only one thing gave Mykael pause, and that was the drawing lying between his current position and Tallus, a large patch of the map taken up by drawings of tiny trees. The Wandering Wood, which stretched all the way down from the mountains in the far north to the sea in the far south, effectively cutting the continent in half.

There was little choice, however, since the only other city reasonably nearby was just under a fortnight away, and trying to go around would be nearly impossible. Besides, perhaps the choice would work to his advantage, maybe the forest would make his pursuers think he chose a different course, and maybe the forest wasn't nearly as bad as everyone said. Mykael nearly laughed as the last thought crossed his mind, like most people Mykael had grown up with the stories of the Wandering Wood, the stories of no one who entered would ever come out. Mykael knew that part wasn't true, he personally knew three people who had walked out, but none of them were ever the same again.

There was no point worrying about it, his mind was made up. Besides, with his father's men on his tail, Mykael didn't have time to sleep at the inn, and he knew that his first chance for rest would come once he was inside the forest. He quickly finished the rest of his meal and downed his wine, then tossed a gold coin on the table, nearly ten times what the meal had cost, but maybe they'd be less likely to remember him. He hurried outside and checked his saddlebags to make sure he had everything he'd need to survive the forest for a couple of days. Satisfied, Mykael mounted and left the village, riding south so that if they were asked, the townspeople would not know his true direction of travel.

A few miles from the town, Mykael turned his horse at a hard angle to the left, cutting across several plains and now heading due east, straight towards the Wandering Wood. His map had shown the place he was heading for as the narrowest point in the forest for nearly a weeks travel in either direction, so this was his best shot. He estimated two days to cross it, and then another half day from its eastern edge to Tallus. He could already see the treeline up ahead, and within minutes he was sheltered beneath the pale green leaves of the forest canopy.

Mykael rode for as long as he could, but when the brush became too dense he dismounted and led his horse instead. He was leading the horse with his left hand, and had his sword drawn in the right, since he had no idea what to expect. The going was very slow, and while he knew he must have been walking for hours, by the time it got dark, he hardly felt like he had traveled any distance at all. Fortunately he managed to find a nice clearing that could be used as a campsite. He quickly set about preparing his camp and within a few moments had everything laid out and had a cheerful fire going. He ate a few of his provisions then stretched out on his bedroll in front of the fire and listened to the sounds of the night.
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Postby Darian_Raven » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:35 am

It was mid day on another slightly overcast day in another small dusty village. Darian had just finished bringing a bucket of water back from the well when he used his foot to push the door open to gain entry. He walked past the men of the tavern without giving them a second glace, ignoring the boisterous laughs and loud shouting conversation. He proceeded up the stairs and into the second room; the one he had rented for him and his father. The room was bare with the exception of the two straw mattresses lying on the floor of the tiny space. Still, it was better than sleeping on the floor downstairs and they really didn’t need much more. Darian put the bucket down beside the door, and moved to look out the tiny window. The town was buzzing with activity, and he had finished with his duties for the afternoon. He began to consider how he would spend the rest of his day, though he already had some idea. It was another day, in another town he couldn’t recall the name of. He knew there would be little to nothing exciting to do here. One of the horses that drew their traveling cart needed to be re-shoed, and the blacksmith promised to have it done before the morning. It was for that reason that they had remained in this town rather than continuing along the road. Darian had been traveling with his father for almost a week now in route to their next appointment. Apparently some noble’s son had finally come of age to learn the use of the sword, and Darian’s father had been sent to instruct him. The thought of another three years spent stepping around sensitive nobles didn’t appeal to him; especially when he was not given the opportunity to learn for himself.

There was a loud crash from below as what sounded like an arm full of plates shattered on the floor followed by booming laughter. Darian rolled his eyes and left his place at the window to go downstairs. His father was already at a table, making the acquaintance of several members of the community. His voice could easily be picked out amongst the crowd. Darian came to sit at the table across from his father, giving a brief nod to the men seated around the table. His father continued to talk, telling the same joke he told in every tavern. The slur in his voice was evidence that this was clearly not the first round of dark ale this afternoon. Darian ordered a drink and remained at the table, sipping his ale as his father talked, boasted and joked with his new found friends. A few hours passed in the tavern and several more rounds of drink were had. Darian carefully kept to his one drink, nursing it as the other rounds were passed out. It had not been an uncommon practice for his father to reach his limit of ale, though it was not usually this early in the afternoon. Ordinarily it was Darian who would cut him off before things got too out of hand. This night would be different. He had planned this for months now, and it had come to the point that he would either do it, or leave it be. It had been eating away at him for too long. So, in silence, Darian watched as his father finished another drink, then another after that. Another hour passed before the effects of the ale had caught up to his father. His words were hardly discernable, and his eyes seemed to be almost constantly crossed whenever he tried to look at someone. It was then that Darian decided to step in. He wanted to get his father up the stairs before he would have to drag him the entire way. With a few short words of parting Darian convinced his father to get up from the table. With a loud thud, it became clear that his father would not be able to stand alone. Putting one arm around his shoulder, Darian supported the majority of the weight as he led his father stumblingly up the stairs. Once in their room Darian set him down on his bed, only to find that his father had already fallen asleep.

Darian sat there, watching his father intently. It was still early enough in the afternoon that he could get several solid hours of riding in before it grew dark. Their cart was pulled by two horses, and with one at the stables waiting for its shoe, that left only one for Darian to consider. On the positive side, if his father realized what had happened too soon there would be no mount for him to follow on. His father slept soundly, a gruff snore coming with each breath. Darian eyed his father’s sword, which was still strapped to his belt. Darian’s heart began to race as he considered what he was about to do. Going over to his shoulder pack he pulled out a rolled parchment. Carefully he unrolled it and scanned it.

Dear Father,
I have decided to follow in your steps and make something of my life. I know that you do not approve, but I know I can make a life as a swordsman. There are always people willing to pay for protection, and I am confident I can do it. I have been watching your teaching since before I can remember, and this is something I must do. I know you will be upset, but please do not follow me. I will return once I have made a name for myself and proven my worth to you. Please forgive me for taking Aelque. I will respect this sword and the example you have led with it. I hope to draw your strength from it as it leads my way.

With Love,
Darian


It had been a letter written nearly a month ago, though he hadn’t the courage to use it then. Now was his time. He had already gathered a large amount of food, water skins and a blanket. He had been saving his pay and had a small sum saved. All he needed was the weapon that would help him carve his name out of the world. Carefully, Darian kneeled down beside his father. Moving slowly, as though his hands were underwater, he began to un-strap his father’s sword belt. His father did not so much as stir as he acted, and soon Darian had the long curved blade in hand. He let out a relieved sigh. The line had been crossed, and before his father could wake Darian left the letter beside the mattress, picked up his pack and quietly stepped out the door. He walked as normally as he could down the stairs, though every nerve in his body urged him to run. He walked past the men in the tavern and stepped outside. Once in the dusty afternoon air Darian let his instincts take control. He sprinted around the back of the tavern to the tiny shed the tavern’s customers used to board their horses. It had been his duty to take care of their horses, and he had left one purposefully saddled. With a quick action Darian swung up and onto the beasts back. After leading it out of the small stable and onto the main road he put his heels to its flanks and took off at a gallop. Within minutes he was clear of the small down and down the road. The feeling of exhilaration and the rush of adrenaline was almost enough to make him dizzy. He had finally done it. He was free to do as he pleased. He rode his horse hard for half the hour before he realized he hadn’t the slightest idea on where to go. It was then that he realized he had forgotten to obtain a map before acting on his plan. Cursing his short sightedness Darian let his horse slow to a walk. Looking around he could see little else but plains and fields. If he wanted to find work as a guard, he would need to find a town large enough for such a need. Where to start and what way to go, however, was more of a problem. He knew that going back the way he came was not an option. His father would surely come looking for him, and Darian didn’t want to take the chance of that premature meeting. Reasonably the only direction he could go was the way he had been following. He continued on for a few hours, taking an occasional water break, until he realized it was beginning to get late. This territory was unfamiliar to him, but he knew better than to be caught on the open road at night when there could be someone out looking for him. Instead he tried to think of another option. It was only a short time later that a forest came into sight and Darian counted his blessings. The forest would be the perfect place to go. His father would never be able to follow his trail through there. Pleased with the idea of concealment, Darian turned his horse into the direction of the trees.

It was a few short hours later that Darian found himself wandering about the forest, leading his horse. He had a keen sense of direction and was relatively certain he was still going the right way… though he couldn’t say where that was. Time seemed to quicken in the forest, and before he knew it the sun had fallen and night had crept up on him. It was slower going, but Darian decided to go a little further. He ate some of the dried beef he had packed as he walked, stepping over roots and between trees. He finally considered stopping once it became too dark to continue safely. He had already stumbled over rocks and branches, but he couldn’t find a place suited for lying down. He continued along, snapping twigs with heavy feet, scanning the ever darkening ground for a suitable place to make camp. It was in the eerie quiet of the near night that he heard the unexpected sound of wood cracking in a fire. It was mixed with the buzz of insects, but it was distinct in itself. He stood there a moment to try and determine the direction, and confirmed that it had to be some kind of fire, though not a very large one. As he began to move in that direction the dim glow of a small fire became visible through the trees. It was obvious he was not alone in these woods. Cautiously he began to approach.
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Postby Thenician » Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:48 am

The bold red sails of the Rehal's Sunset caused a crowd to gather at the port by the time the ship pulled in that morning. The crew prepared to disembark as the dock workers tied the ship down. Through the crowd, a group of three uniformed officials accompanied by several guards, made their way to the ramp being lowered from the ship.

Thenician went down the ramp first to meet these men, he rest of the crew stayed aboard until signaled as usual.

"Greetings!" Said one of the uniformed men with a grin as he stepped forward and offered his hand. "Welcome to the Port Selvast."

"Thankyou." Thenician said, shaking the man's hand. Then he turned to face to crowd of people. "Is this part of the welcoming party?"

The man turned to face the crowd and chuckled. "Oh no, they've simply never seen a vessel as... colorful, as yours, Captain...?"

"Oh, pardon, Thenician Dusk of the Rehal's Sunset."

"Well then, welcome Captain Dusk, before I allow your crew to disembark I'll need to get some information from you."

"Of course." Thenician began before being asked, this procedure was common in many civilized ports. "My crew consists of forty-eight men and women. We are here to spend a few days on land while we resupply. Also we are dropping off a passenger."

"I see." Replied the man. "We do have one rule here though, you and your men are required to leave your weapons on your ship. If there's anything else, I'm Officer Laden. You can speak to me or any of my deputies at our office. It's the first building you'll see when you leave the pier."

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A few hours later, Kiera left the ship, accompanied by Virgo and her father. There was a few wagons leaving town that afternoon, she was to take one heading to Tallus.

"Are you sure you want to try this place?" Thenician asked Kiera with a concerned tone. "You could stay aboard until we get to Ordo'Nai. A more familiar place could be safer for you."

"You worry too much, daddy." Kiera said with a warm smile. "I'll be fine. You made sure of that, remember?"

"I know, I just..."

"Don't worry, I won't let what happened mom happen to me." She said reassuringly. "Besides, I have to make some friends and make a life for myself eventually. I can't do that if I stay."

"I'd feel a lot better if you let Virgo or Xeryn come with you a while." Thenician commented with a sigh.

Kiera just looked at him with the kind smile which seemed to have become her signiture. Then she hugged him.

"I already arranged for a carriage to take you to Tallus. It's not far, you should be there by nightfall. We'll be here for a few days if you change your mind."

"I love you, daddy." She said squeezing him harder.

"I love you too, sweetheart."

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After a prolonged goodbye, and an equally warm hug with Virgo, Kiera headed toward the carriage. The coachman made sure she was settled and ready before grabbing the reins and heading off to Tallus.
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Postby PoisonedDragon » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:36 am

Mykael was nearly asleep when he heard the first twig crack, and the sound brought his senses to full alertness. He nearly panicked until he remembered that he had almost a full day's lead on his father's men. He pushed himself into a low crouch and drew his longsword from its sheath, it was unlikely that his father's soldiers had found him so quickly, but the forest was still dangerous. Mykael couldn't see beyond the treeline, but he could hear the slow progression of footsteps as whoever or whatever it was got closer to the clearing. It sounded like a single person leading a horse or maybe a mule, so Mykael relaxed a little and stood up, but kept his sword at the ready just in case.

Just outside the treeline the footsteps stopped, and Mykael got the distinct impression that someone or something was looking in at him, sizing him up. Mykael decided to make the first move, since whoever was there obviously wouldn't. He stepped around the fire and took two steps in the direction he had last heard the footsteps. He kept his sword in hand, but dropped its point to display wariness instead of hostility. He called out into the darkness.

"Hello there. Step into the light and declare yourself."

A man stepped out from the trees, and Mykael let out a sigh of relief to see that while the man was armed he had not drawn his sword. Mykael lowered the point of his sword even further until it hovered just above the ground.

"Greetings, my name is Mykael..."

He paused a moment, then stopped without giving a family name, unsure of whether or not the man would recognize the name. Technically they were still within the borders of his father's land and Mykael had no idea who this newcomer might be affiliated with.

"Its very dangerous to travel the Wandering Wood alone, if you like you may stay the night at my camp. In the morning I will resume my trip to Tallus. If you are going in that direction you are welcome to travel with me, there is safety in numbers."

Mykael knew he was taking a big risk making this offer, but something in the man's face told Mykael that he could be trusted.
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Postby Darian_Raven » Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:41 am

Darian stepped into the light at the command of the man in the clearing. He scanned the surroundings briefly and was confident there was no one else waiting out of sight. He stepped into the light and saw the man’s suspicion; though he was relieved the man lowered his weapon somewhat. Darian was calm, and the sight of the naked blade was not something that bothered him. It was more expected than anything else. One could never be too careful in such a remote area after all. Darian’s expression remained neutral. He did not mean this traveler any harm, but neither did he want to be viewed as vulnerable. The man introduced himself as Mykael, and was even kind enough to offer company and a warm fire.
”Thank you for your hospitality Mykael. My name is Darian Raven. You can call me by either.” Darian didn’t offer his true name, as he knew the Spallia name was well known in many parts of the world. He didn’t want that to hold him back, or cause people to pass judgment on him.
”I would be honored to make the trip to Tallas with you. I was on my way to the city as it was, and as you say it is best to have company.
Tallas was a city Darian knew and it seemed as good a place as any to go. He couldn’t see any reason to let this newcomer know that he didn’t really have a direction before now. He knew Tallas was a large enough city to suit his needs. Darian led his horse to the side and tied it securely to part of the tree.
”I’m a bodyguard by profession, and I’m heading to Tallas to find a new employer. Are you going there for business as well?” Darian asked as both men returned to the fire. He sat down across from where Mykael had place his things, and began to dig through his pack until he found what he was looking for. He offered some of the dried jerky to his host as he sat by the warmth of the fire.
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Postby PoisonedDragon » Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:02 pm

The newcomer said his name was Darian Raven, it sounded a little strange to Mykael but since he had never been outside his father's lands he knew he wasn't fit to judge. Darian said he was a bodyguard headed for Tallus and asked Mykael if he too was headed to Tallus on business.

"Business? Yes, I am headed there for business. I'm a mercenary soldier, a knight without a lord. I'm hoping that someone in Tallus will have need of my services."

Mykael still didn't fully trust this Darian, he was sure he was a nice enough person, but Mykael had no idea who he might be working for, so he simply covered up the truth with something that was fairly close to the truth.

The next two days passed without incident as Mykael and Darian made their way through the Wandering Wood. They camped once more but kept heading due east towards Tallus. Along the way the two talked quite a bit, mostly just idle banter and smalltalk. After breaking camp for the second time the forest started to thin out a bit and Mykael could tell that they were getting close to Tallus, which sat less than a mile from the eastern edge of the Wandering Wood.

When they broke through the treeline Mykael could immediately tell that something was wrong. There was thick black smoke rising from the city, as if many of the buildings were on fire. Mykael drew his sword and shield, and mounted his horse, then took off at a gallop towards the city's western gate. The western gate had clearly been broken by some kind of ram and the gatehouses were deserted. Mykael dismounted and proceeded on foot, leaving his horse tied to one of the gatehouse doorhandles. He didn't see much immediately in front of him, several corpses littered the street, but the attackers must have already moved deeper into the city, driving the remaining locals ahead of them.

Mykael could hear noises, however, coming from a sidestreet on his right. He turned down the street, moving slowly, checking alleys and doorways along the way. The sidestreet took several twists and turns before opening on a small courtyard where he could clearly see the source of the noise. He could see about a dozen city guards defending a group of civilians in the center of the courtyard, they were surrounded by nearly thirty enemies. At first the attackers looked like humans dressed in furs, but when Mykael took a closer look he could see that the fur covering their bodies was their own, they were also shorter than average humans, none of them standing more than five and a half feet. They were incredibly ugly and were wearing mismatched and patched armor, some of which actually looked like human skin. Each was wielding a wicked looking battleaxe and they attacked with a ferocity that Mykael had never seen. They were savage and strong, but unskilled and disorganized.

Mykael moved up cautiously, and none of the beasts seemed to notice that he was there. When he was within ten feet he rushed in and attacked. He took the first beast completely by surprise, chopping its head off with one swift slash. The second he caught mid-turn, stabbing his sword through its side. It took him a second to extract it, which allowed the third beast to turn all the way around, but Mykael was faster, and he drove his sword right through its chest. In the time it took him to pull out his blade three more had turned and were prepared to attack. The one on his right attacked first swinging down with its battleaxe, but Mykael neatly deflected the blow, sending the beast stumbling past him. Mykael then reversed his sword and stabbed backwards, punching the blade through the small of the beast's back and severing its spine. The other two did not stand still while this happened, but Mykael was able to block both their strikes with his shield and after a quick exchange of blows, both were dead on the ground.

Mykael took this momentary break to back off a bit, which was a good idea since nearly half of the remaining beasts had started to redirect their attacks in order to deal with the new threat. Mykael was suddenly vastly outnumbered, he managed to drop two more of the beasts but after that it took all his skill to defend against the repeated assaults of a much larger force. Still, his sword flashed in the morning sunlight faster than he himself thought he was capable of, and he managed to protect himself from more than minor fleshwounds. He wouldn't be able to keep it up forever.
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Postby Thenician » Sun Feb 04, 2007 6:36 am

Kiera awoke in the bed she'd rented in the Hillside Inn in Tallus. After rolling around for a while, trying to put off getting up as long as possible, she sat up. She lazily rolled out of bed and stumbled to the water bowl that sat atop the table. After gently pulling the bowl closer to her, she dipped her hands into the water and pulled some up to wash her face.

A little more awake, Kiera then walked to her bag and fumbled through it. From her bag she pulled out a small silver mirror, slightly smaller than an outstretched hand and fitting perfectly in between her fingertips. She frowned as she saw her reflection. Her long, dark red hair was a complete mess. She focussed on her hair and within seconds it began to glow with a dim light. The light seemed to pick her hair up in all directions, and then faded, dropping her hair neatly around her head. She spent another minute arranging it around her head with her fingers before looking in the mirror again and being pleased.

Next she looked down at her nightgown and immediately it began to glow with the same light. This time however, the transmutation was more radical. Within seconds she was fully clothed, wearing a traditional white scholar's outfit, covered by a long dark red robe. The robe was worn open, looking somewhat like a long trenchcoat, or a cloak with sleeves.

Turning to face the door to her room, Kiera headed out, grabbing her staff along the way.

(OOC: If only all women could be ready to go so fast.)

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It was her second day in Tallus, and Kiera was no closer to finding anyone who knew where a scholar of magic would go to learn the arts in this continent. She did manage to learn a small amount about the area. Such as the forest to the east of the city is a dangerous place. She feared that perhaps magic was treated differently in this continent. Not as an accepted art but perhaps a private practice.

After another hour of exploring the city, Kiera decided to just go back to Port Selvast and wait for the Rehal's Sunset to reach Ordo'Nai. She knew of at least a dozen schools of magic on that continent.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of people suddenly screaming. One at first, then dozens. The screaming continued, growing louder every second. Suddenly, a crowd of people rushed through around a nearby corner and turned in her direction. They seemed to be running from something. She gave as much thought to the situation as possible, wondering if perhaps this country was at war, or perhaps it was bandits and pillagers, but as the crowd began to rush past her, she decided it would be better to run with the crowd than be trampled by them.

As the crowd ran down the street, it began to disperse, some people running into buildings and sealing the doors, others turning down side streets and alleys. Having no idea what was going on or what to do, Kiera did as the rest and turned off into a dark alley, leaving the rest of the crowd to run ahead without her. She turned around to face the street she'd come from. Slowy, as she tried to catch her breath, she headed back out to see if she could discern what what going on.

Before she could step into the street, a brutish figure ran past just a few feet in front of her. No sooner than she began to wonder what that thing was, that she heard a dusty scraping noise. Like a heavy object sliding on a dirt road. Whatever that thing was, it was probably the cause of all the commotion, and it had seen her.

The creature darted back to the alley and looked in. It was short in stature, as far as monsters went, but it was broad and brutish. It was almost completely covered in a dark shaggy fur, and it held a huge vicious looking axe. It walked toward Kiera almost condescendingly as she tried to slowly back away. Suddenly she felt herself bump into something solid. Feeling behind her with her fingers, she realized she'd walked into a dead end. She desperately looked around, trying to find a way to escape. There was nothing but a small door from the side of one of the buildings, but she had no way to know if it was even unlocked and as it was, the creature was far closer to the door than she was.

Before passing in front of the door, the creature twitched slightly and lookedat it. At almost the same moment, Kiera heard fast moving footsteps getting louder from behind the door. Suddenly, the door burst into large splinters as an armored man with a sword and shield broke through. She recognized his colors as part of they city's guard and she was slightly relieved.

"Quickly, miss!" shouted the guard, holding his shield up to the beast. "Run away!"

She looked at the new opening in the building beside her, then back at the guard.

The guard quickly turned his head back at her, "Go, now!" For the brief moment that the guard's face was turned in Kiera's direction, she saw his expression change from fierce to a sudden, cold, surprise.

For a long moment she stared at the guard's blank face as his body slowly fell before her. She realized that he was practically still a boy, probably a year or two younger than herself. The guard's body landed on its side, the side opposite which the creature had buried its axe into the man's abdomen. The beast cruelly placed its foot on his head to gain leverage to pull his weapon from the corpse. The jagged blade of the axe pulled pieces of flesh, kidney and intestine from the man's insides as it was torn out.

Before she could recover from the shock of what she'd just seen, the monstrous thing leaped at her with its axe overhead. Reflexively, she covered as much of her head and body as she could with her arms, not realizing than in the desperation she'd channelled an immense amount of magical energy to her defense, creating a pale dome of light between her and her attacker.

The moment she expected the creature's weapon to strike her, she instead heard a thundering boom. She had no idea what was going on, all she knew is that she was at death's door, crying in a dark corner with her eyes closed. Each time the beast's axe struck the barrier, the thunderous roar repeated, Kiera cried a little louder, the light grew a little dimmer, and the bloody blade reached a little closer.
"I love stealin', I love takin' things."
-Bender B. Rodriguez

"How 'bout I alter your face?"
-Thenician Dusk
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Postby Elijah Morteron » Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:59 am

If someone had told Wes that morning that he'd be faced with the opportunity to do something vaguely heroic, he would have laughed. But then not many people spoke to Wes, at least not without a dark curse uttered as he disappeared out of view with a liberated apple or a newly acquired silver brooch.

The latter had made an excellent replacement for his old cloak pin, and he was lazily nibbling away at the former as he leant against the warmth of a brick chimney casting an idle gaze over a city that, had he been possessed of any ambition whatsoever, could easily have been his oyster. But ambition was definately not a trait that Wes possessed, neither did he hold much hope for a change in his circumstances. Hope was not something he could so easily purloin.

Sometimes he blamed the Sisters for the way his life was turning out, othertimes his father and on darker days he even found a little hate for his dead mother. It was not however the sisters fault.. they had raised him and given him the happiest days of his life.They'd even taught him how to read. Nor was there any way that his mother could have done more for him. No.. the father was the one entirely to blame for what had become of the son. By the act he had commited his father had both given him life and taken it from him at the same time.

So all there was now was to scrape out whatever existence he could, by whatever means. These means had led him to the Inn and a little bauble that, fenced, would buy his meals for a few days and perhaps a warm bed for the same.

He pulled the little object from one of his pouches and examined it a little more closely in the light. It was a beautiful little silver mirror. In it he saw a reflection of what he had been made. A dirt marked face looked back, and pale blue eyes beneath a scraggly fringe of dirty-blonde locks. As he adjusted the mirror his left ear came into view, and suddenly he didn't want to see the reflection any longer. He wanted to throw the thing away. But then he felt a little guilt sweep through him. And he blushed as he thought about what had drawn him to the window of the Inn in the first place.

No. He'd take it back. Slip back in through the window and leave it where he'd found it, in the clothen travelling bag.

That had been a few hours before. He'd stumbled across her on the way back across the rooftops. But not before the screams and the smell of smoke had reached him. Something was terribly wrong. The City guard was running to and fro, some with buckets, others with swords drawn, in between people just trying to get safe. There were a lot of confused shouts, questions and orders and calls for help all mingling together and the distant sound of metal ringing and fire crackling.

And amidst all this he'd seen her running. I'll just return the mirror, that's all, he'd told himself as he'd set out after her, Then I'm getting as far away from all this trouble as possible

The going was slow across the rooftops, he had to make leaps here and there to cross alleys to nearby houses and in his pace he nearly slipped more than once, his barefeet scrabbling on slate tiles until he could find a firm hold and regain his balance, all the while the silver mirror was held tightly in his left hand.

He thought he'd lost her, then he saw her again in an alley that ended abruptly with a stone wall. The next few moments passed in a bizarre slow sort of dream. He saw the axe raise and fall, but it seemed to bounce back of the girl. In his haste, Wes had lost his footing and had slipped over the side of the roof. The mirror had fallen from his hand and his relief at managing to catch a hold on the gutter of the house had ended when it had given way and he'd tumbled to the ground, landing on the creature and rolling away a little, the air knocked from his lungs even as he'd seen the mirror shatter. And with that time seemed to return to normal as he gasped trying to get a breathe.

Stupid stupid stupid

A heavy hand pulled on his shoulder turning him onto his back. It was the creature, a hideous sharp toothed snarl on its lips. It had regained its footing all too easily. And now it was raising that great big axe to finish him. Wes felt terror stricken. He'd never fought before, was always the dodger, the runner. But something instictively clicked as his hand touched something sharp in his scrambling to get away and he lunged upwards, finding a home deep inside the monster's soft belly. Blood sprayed from the wound, even as Wes shuffled back, and the creature staggered in turn, looking down with a look of mixed suprise and pain.

Then he saw it clearly. It was a shard of the mirror. The same mirror he'd intended to bring back, the same 'bauble' he'd stolen, had been his salvation. Somehow he knew things were never going to be the same again.
"I give hope to men, I keep none for myself."
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Postby Darian_Raven » Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:17 am

The journey to Tallus was relatively calm and friendly. He was a little surprised when Mykael said that he was a mercenary soldier. After some thought, Darian considered that his new traveling companion fit some of the key markings of such a life. Although Mykael did not appear to be as gruff or surly as Darian had come to expect from soldiers, the weapon by his side was difficult to ignore, and it was carried casually as though it was a common piece of clothing rather than a hindering attachment. It appeared that the two men had a great deal in common when it came to profession, though neither chose to speak about it. It was all the better. Darian was not as comfortable talking about a profession he was still working his way into. The rest of their travel was spent in idle conversation to help pass the time.

When the two riders finally approached their destination it was clear that something terrible had happened. The smoke from fires helped to darken the sky and the evidence of a battle fought and lost stood like a scar around the battered doors of the city. Darian was still surveying the damage when he realized that Mykael had spurred his mount into action and was racing towards the city. Darian didn’t know what had happened here, but it was clear that it was tragic. If a conflict still raged somewhere in the city, he wanted to find it. It was due time he tested his worth. He wanted to prove more to himself than anything else that he could handle just these kinds of situations.

Mykael had gotten a respectful lead, but Darian was soon to spur his mount into motion. His traveling partner was lost from sight momentarily once he passed through the destroyed gates that marked the entrance of the city. Darian wanted to catch up if for no other reason than to have a somewhat familiar face in this foreign city. By the time Darian managed to find his companion he reigned in his mount and nearly leapt from the saddle. Mykael was standing shoulder to shoulder with several very unusual looking creatures. Several already lay dead or wounded around him. The first thing Darian noted was the fact that Mykael was fighting on the wrong side of the city guard’s defensive circle. That simple tactical difference made it look almost like a suicide mission, had Mykael not been as skillful with his blade and movements. Even still, it was only a matter of time before he was simply overwhelmed.

Once free from the restricting saddle, Darian ran to the conflict, commenting to himself on how he should really be trying to find a more defensible position. His sword remained in its scabbard as he approached, and it was only after he was within fifteen feet or so that he slowed to a near stop and readied his stance. Mykael fought like a mad man, his weapon swinging in wide and wounding arcs. He was managing to keep his attackers at bay, and with Darian’s arrival two of the beasts turned to him. It appeared that one foolish boy with his sword still away was a more appealing target than the clearly dangerous, wildly attacking young swordsman. Darian readied himself with several deep breaths as he allowed the two creatures to come towards him, his hand holding his sword, but keeping it sheathed. Both creatures quickly began to try and flank him before stepping in. They may not have been organized, but their attacks did come in close succession. Darian had been watching neither of them, but rather he looked between them and tried to un-focus his eyes to help expand his peripheral vision. He looked between the two beasts, and could see them both, though it was without being able to easily tell distinguishing features. He was able to catch the movement of the first, the one to his left and acted immediately. With a quick step forward and to his left he moved out of his enemy’s line of attack and with the powerful push of his back leg moved himself nearly to the creature’s side. In the same action, Darian drew his blade in a low upper slash. The edge of the blade easily cut through the patched leather armor it wore and scored a deep gash running from the creature’s hip up along the side of its ribs and nearly to its shoulder. In that action Darian felt an exhilarating feeling of fear and adrenaline. He knew he would have to kill this beast, or be killed himself. The thought of taking its life was only slightly troubling, though only at first. Darian could reason that the creature wasn’t exactly human, and so probably didn’t even have a soul. Besides, by the look of the thing it did not have a great quality of life to begin with.

With first blood drawn on his new enemy, Darian’s blade continued. Though he slowed the blade after the first strike he noticed that he had not recovered as quickly as he should have. He had meant to continue its movements in one flowing arc. It made more sense in theory, but in use he found it difficult to do. From his blade’s position high, he turned the edge and followed it down with a brief step across his opponent center. The howling creature moved one hand to cover his wound while the other raised his axe in defense. Darian altered his swing as the axe came up, and instead of directing his blade at the creature’s chest, the edge descended and cut the flesh of the wrist. In the same action Darian dropped his weight behind the strike for added force and drew it across. The razor sharp edge easily cut through the flesh of the joint, leaving the hand to fall to the ground; its grip still tight on the axe. The creature’s howls of pain renewed as it began to realize what had just happened.

Darian had been so focused on his first enemy that he nearly lost track of the second. It was the second creature’s quick intake of breath and a half shuffle of its feet that gave him his only warning. With a step to the side, Darian turned and raised his blade above him, angling the length of the blade down to create a roof like shield above him. In that half a second as he turned he prayed his attacker was coming in high instead of low to the stomach. Even before he could see the axe, Darian felt the powerful strike as his sword caught the edge and guided it down the roof and harmlessly off. The creature had put the full force of its weight and sturdy body behind the blow and the force of it nearly knocked the blade from Darian’s hands. He managed to keep hold of it, though only barely. While the creature finished following through Darian knew it was double weighted on its lead leg. He acted before the creature could re-balance himself and move. With a single lunge Darian sent the point of his blade into the creature’s neck just above the collarbone. It had been slightly lower than he had intended, but the effect was the same. With a twist he opened the wound enough to free his blade and the drawing action opened the fatal gash to end the creature that much quicker.

Darian gave his sword one quick flick to clear the blood from the blade, and his sword was moving back to its sheath when he felt a force hit him hard in the small of the back. He lurched forward, and knew immediately it had not been an edged weapon. He left more like he was being trampled by a bull than attacked with a weapon. His legs shot out to catch his balance, preventing him from sprawling to the ground. The maimed creature had become enraged, and even as it was bleeding out what was left of its life it was charging Darian unarmed. The initial tackle attempt had caught the young swordsman off guard, but he was aware of the threat now and was ready to act. The creature only had one hand, but it gripped Darian’s cloths from his back so firmly that he couldn’t turn away. The creature continued to barrel them both forward, and Darian could see that in a few steps he would be pinned by a wall. Without the time to turn Darian changed his grip and sent the blade under his own arm to pierce the creature’s sternum. With the blade impaling it, the creature slowed and stopped. Without turning to look, Darian forced the blade deeper; until he knew for certain it would be visible from its back. The he twisted, and pulled it free. The creature dropped to the ground, its wounds and loss of blood finally enough to prevent it from getting back up.

When Darian turned back to the battle he could see more of the creatures were beginning to turn towards him. He had certainly caught their attention now, and the maiming of one of their own did not seem to go over well with these creatures. While Mykael had slaughtered several, their deaths had been relatively quick. Darian had not shown such a mercy; at least not yet. Mykael was still engaged but with Darian’s arrival his burden had been lessened to a more manageable level. Darian gave another flick of his blade to clear the blood before returning it to the scabbard. He moved forward ready to engage the next three creatures that had come to challenge him.

With the addition of the two young swordsmen on the other side of the city guard’s fortification they had successfully taken enough pressure off the guards to cause them to act less defensively and push the attack themselves. With the added blades of the city guard, the creatures were now finding themselves pinned between one reasonably sized force on one side, and a single pair of swordsman on the other. They were far from trapped, but with a battle cry they charged again, intent on killing every last one of their enemies, or dying in the process. Darian was hoping for the later, and to help accommodate he gave another lunge with his sword. This time the creature could not scream, as the blade pierced one of his lungs. With a quick turn Darian readied himself to face the next. For a brief moment, he and Mykael locked eyes across the battle, and Darian couldn’t help but grin. The adrenaline was still pumping through his veins, and he was so scared that he thought he would be sick and he loved it. With a smile, he met the slash of the axe with a brief parry, step and counter. He cursed the moment he made the block. He had used the edge of his blade to block by mistake, and he could see a hair fine chip from the edge. Some may not have even noticed it, but Darian knew it would take him hours to hone the blade back to perfection. The move he had done was simple, impossibly easy, and evidently worked, as the edge cut the creature’s arm to the bone. Stepping forward Darian ran the blade up from just below the tip to the pommel, skinning the creature’s arm from elbow to shoulder, running his edge roughly along the bone. The wound was ghastly and would be impossible to mend. It was only a matter of time before the creature bled to death, and Darian was willing to let it suffer for those last precious moments before it lost consciousness. It could not hold a weapon again, and it was unlikely it could even think about anything other than the pain.

Darian turned on his last opponent as the city guard made a push, helping to circle the remaining creatures. It was now clear that the creatures were fighting a losing battle, but they fought on as though victory was assured. Darian gave no thought to mercy, and his enemy asked for none. He side stepped a wide downward slash and brought his weapon around low, striking the arteries on the inside of the creature’s thigh. The wound was not large, but he knew the creature would bleed out quickly. Darian’s study of human anatomy and the ways to exploit its weaknesses had been something he had always paid keen attention to. Within moments his last opponent fell; a small pool of blood growing around it. Mykael had finished his last opponent as well while the city guards slaughtered those that remained or lay wounded on the field. This conflict was won, even if it had been only a tiny victory in the scheme of the battle. If anything, if gave Darian a new respect for Mykael and himself. He saw Mykael as a worthy swordsman, and a very brave man.
[center]If you find yourself in a fair fight...your tactics suck.
There are some people who cannot stand the sight of no blood.[/center]
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Postby PoisonedDragon » Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:13 am

As he was extremely busy dealing with his own opponents, Mykael didn't get much of a chance to see Darian fight, but what he did see was good. Mykael had had no doubt that the other man was a very able warrior and was very pleased to discover that he had been right. He was also very grateful to Darian. If it hadn't been for him distracting a couple of the beasts that had surrounded Mykael, Mykael may have been overwhelmed within moments. The city guard did their part as well. Once they saw that the tide of battle was beginning to turn in their favor they capitalized on the opportunity and helped finished off the remaining creatures. By the time all the beasts lay dead Mykael's kill count was thirteen. He was covered in blood, only a very little of it his own as his defensive skills and his armor had proved sufficient to protect him from more than minor wounds.

Mykael grabbed a piece of cloth from one of the corpses and wiped off his sword before replacing it in its scabbard, then walked over to where Darian was standing. Before he had a chance to say anything to Darian the two of them were approached by one of the guards, the rest of whom were checking to make sure the civilians were unharmed. The guard who approached them looked grim, and wasn't wearing any symbol of rank that Mykael could see.

"I would like to thank the two of you for your help, that group took us completely by surprise as we were trying to get these citizens back to the command center. If you hadn't come along they would have killed us all for sure. You should come back to the command center with us, the Lieutenant will definitely want to meet you, plus its a lot safer there than out in the streets. Its not that far, we were out on a very short patrol to round up stragglers when we were set upon, the command center is set up in a nearby inn."

After Mykael and Darian had nodded their consent, and the civilians were up and ready to go, the whole group set off towards the command center. The guard hadn't lied, it wasn't very far away at only, only about two streets over from where they had been, and they didn't encounter any more of those beasts on their way there. The command center had been set up at an inn, the windows were boarded up and Mykael assumed that all but one entrance had been barricaded. As it turned out the one that wasn't barricaded was the rear entrance, and once the guards had identified themselves everyone was able to go inside.

All the civilians were immediately taken to the upper floors so that they wouldn't get in the way of the soldiers who were all running around like madmen with the exception of a tall brown-haired woman who was standing very calmly in the very middle of the room staring at a large map of Tallus that was sitting on the table. One of the guards who had escorted Mykael and Darian went over to her and started talking, motioning back to where the two newcomers were standing. After a few minutes she gestured for the two of them to come see her.

Mykael wove his way through the crowd until he reached the table. From here he could see that the woman bore the rank of Lieutenant on her shoulderpads and that she was about half a head shorter than Mykael himself. Other than that she was rather plain looking, but the hard look in her eyes told Mykael that she was not a person he wanted to mess with.

"So, my men tell me that I have you two to thank for their safe return. I thank you, what are your names and what has brought you to Tallus?"

"My name is Mykael, I'm a mercenary soldier here in Tallus looking for an employer who can make use of my skills, looks like I've found one."

"It would seem that you have. A mercenary are you, that's good, we can use every able warrior we can get, even if we have to pay a little extra for them. So what rank to you hold during your last assignment?"

Mykael had to think about that question a little. Having never actually been a mercenary he had no idea what ranks were possible. He did have a rank, however, among his father's men, so he supposed that would have to do.

"Captain."

"Captain eh? That's good, I definitely need someone with command experience, my Sergeant was killed in the first skirmish and I do not have the authority to promote from within. Since you already know the drill, you are now Sergeant. And do not worry about your pay, from what my men tell me you've already earned it. Now, pay attention."

She turned back to the map.

"We've got a pretty good set up here, there's lots of food and water, but we can't hold out forever. Our contact with the bulk of our force has been completely cut off and I doubt they even know we're still here. Those creatures attacked this morning at dawn, coming out of the Wandering Wood and attacking the Western Gate, our weakest point of defense. Within an hour they had spread through the majority of the outer city. No one knows how many there are for sure, but my most recent scouting report suggests that there are at least a thousand laying siege to the walls of the inner city. And that's without knowing how many isolated pockets there still are throughout the outer city."

She paused for a moment to shout for the rest of the soldier to quiet down. As soon as she did the room became utterly silent.

"Now then, we absolutely have to get word to Captain Hurdam, to let him know that we're still here, with any luck he'll be able to send us some reinforcements, if not at least he'll get my report. I have to stay here at the command center, and since we have civilians upstairs I need to keep most of my men close. I can spare five, maybe six guards, but I need someone to lead them, which is why they haven't left already. That's where you come in. You're an able fighter, and you can command, so you're going to lead these men to the inner city and find Captain Hurdam."

"If those beasts are laying siege to the walls of the inner city how are we supposed to get there without being killed? I'm no coward, but I'm not stupid either."

"I never implied that you were, but I think I know a way. There's a house, here in the outer city that is owned by prominent merchant who occasionally deals in illegal merchandise. The house has a tunnel that leads to the man's shop in the inner city. He uses the house to store his illicit goods and uses the tunnel to bring them back and forth. We were going to arrest him and seal the tunnel within the next few days, but now I'm glad we didn't. The only problem is that the house is fairly close to the inner walls, so you will likely have to fight through a few pockets in order to reach it. The house is here, I want you to leave within the hour, the men will be ready whenever you are and one of them will have a full copy of my report for Captain Hurdam."

Mykael took her last statement for a dismissal and walked away from the table, fiercely regretting that he said he had been a captain. He knew he was in over his head, but really didn't see any way out of it. He had given his word and he would stick to it, he just hoped Darian would stick with him. When the two got far enough away from the other soldiers Mykael turned to Darian.

"Look, I know I can't order you to come with me, since you're not within the chain of command, and I'll understand if you don't want to go. But I would feel a lot better having you there, you're a damn good fighter, and it'd be nice to have a familiar face in all this."
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Postby Darian_Raven » Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:22 am

So much had happened so quickly that Darian’s head was spinning. Only a day ago seemed like a lifetime past. So much had changed in so little time. Darian had finally been able to put into practice the skills he had studied from a distance for so long. He had taken life, and it was curious that he did not feel badly for it. The thrill of the battle had been enough to wet his appetite, and he wanted more. The city’s struggle was far from over, and that fact was made painfully clear by the Lieutenant’s request of Mykael. Darian had remained silent, more comfortable there than had he been the center of the woman’s judging eyes. He was interested to learn that Mykael was a Captain, though he wasn’t surprised. With a strong sword arm and a cool head in battle it was clear he had been meant for this kind of life.

Once the Lieutenant had offered Mykael his orders, both men moved aside to speak privately. The plan that had been proposed was dangerous and would be difficult. They had no guarantee that they could even reach their destination, and they would go out with limited manpower. Their situation was far from ideal, but it did bring a certain level of interest. Mykael had taken Darian aside, and spoke quite seriously.

"Look, I know I can't order you to come with me, since you're not within the chain of command, and I'll understand if you don't want to go. But I would feel a lot better having you there, you're a damn good fighter, and it'd be nice to have a familiar face in all this."

A silence fell over them for a moment as Darian considered his words. The bustle and the activities around them was more than enough to fill the space, but Darian did not need long to think.
”All you had to do was ask. I’m always looking for a good challenge, and from the sounds of it this is going to be one hell of a run. I don’t think you’d be able to get me to sit on the side line if you wanted me to. Besides, I’ve still got to catch up. You’ve taken down more of them than I have.” Darian said with a laugh, giving Mykael a rough pat on the shoulder. ”We’ll share stories about this later when we’re able to get a drink. When do we leave?”

Darian was ready to dive into the unexpected. There was no point trying to ease into this kind of life. If he was going to do it he might as well go full tilt. Trial through fire and all that. The lieutenant had given them roughly an hour or so to make any preparations they deemed necessary. Both Mykael and Darian had been introduced to the six city guardsmen that would be accompanying them. Each wore a chain mail vest with the guardsman’s emblem, and carried either a long sword or mace and small shield. They had been given their orders as well as the report for Captain Hurdam. They had been informed of Mykael’s rank and had been ordered to follow his guidance.

Even to Darian’s relatively untrained eye, he could see most of the men were not pleased with that decision. Mykael was an unknown to them, and his timely appearance and grace with the lieutenant had given him a higher rank than the men standing before them now. Darian didn’t think the men were upset enough to act on their feelings, but he would keep an eye on them. He knew that he didn’t actually owe Mykael anything, but in their short time spent traveling together he had come to enjoy the man’s company. He would look out of him the best he could. Still, these men were professionals, and in a very short time the eight of them would be relying on one another for survival.

Darian took the short time that they had been given to take out his sharpening stone and begin work on sharpening the hairline chip from the blade. He would be lying to himself if he had said he wasn’t scared. He was terrified actually, but for some reason that feeling was not something that hindered his thoughts or nerves. Rather, they seemed to heighten them. It did not take long for Darian to realize that the simple act of sharpening his blade had a calming effect. Within moments the coarse and even scrape of stone on steel had him relaxed. Then, before he had realized how much time had actually passed Mykael approached him.
“It’s time.” He said simply. With a brief nod, Darian cleaned his edge and sheathed his sword as he stood. Standing shoulder to shoulder the eight men prepared to go out into hostile territory. They were the last chance this small command center had of being saved. He knew that if they were killed before they could complete this mission the lieutenant, soldiers and civilians would most likely be killed before the morning. That thought combined with the primal need to survive would be what drove Darian as he readied himself for the conflict to come.
[center]If you find yourself in a fair fight...your tactics suck.
There are some people who cannot stand the sight of no blood.[/center]
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Postby Thenician » Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:51 am

Kiera peeked when she heard the pain stricken howl from the beast. She saw it stagger, then collapse. Slowly, the fear began to fade and she was brave enough to look beyond the creature's corpse. There, standing in the mouth of the alley, someone stood over the body, covered in blood.

Trying to compose herself, Kiera attampted to lower the barrier. It took some effort to get a grip of all the energy she channeled into it, but she soon contained it and the barrier dissipated.

When she tried to stand up she felt very dizzy and a little unsteady. This was when she realized she had forced too much energy through herself. She had never overexerted herself like this before, though she did see it happen to Virgo one time when the Decedian navy attacked their ship. She had focussed so much magical energy through her that she had physical burns throughout her body. It took her almost a month to heal. Though Kiera didn't feel any serious pain, the mental strain had left her exhausted and barely able to stand.

She wobbled over to the young man standing over the creature. "Thankyou, you saved my life." She whispered, barely audible.

Suddenly, Kiera heard a faint shrieking noise. It grew louder very quickly, she tried covering her ears but it had no effect. Within moments, the noise became physically painful. She gasped a short painful scream, then collapsed.
"I love stealin', I love takin' things."
-Bender B. Rodriguez

"How 'bout I alter your face?"
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Postby Elijah Morteron » Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:22 pm

The shock he'd felt quickly dissipated as the girl fell, and reacting instinctively he caught her in his arms and then wondered what he was going to do next.

He still wasn't entirely sure what was going on. A sudden chaos had descended upon Tallus and he had half a mind just to bolt for whichever gate he could reach and get as far away from it all as possible. But then there was the girl to consider.

It wasn't his concern really, he argued with himself, he could leave her here and somebody would find her. But that little part of him that had caused him to chase her down to return the mirror, also bade him to do something about her situation. Especially as that mirror now lay broken.

Having made a conscious decision, he lay the girl down gently on the ground, minding the shards of mirror and checked her pulse and breathing as the sisters had once shown him to do. Satisfied he checked on the poor guard that had taken the brunt of the beast's attack.

Solemnly, Wes said a silent prayer and closed the young man's eyes, thinking as he did that the boy could not have been much older than himself. Better a life as a petty thief. At least if caught he only risked a hand, this poor fellow had risked his life.. and lost. Fool, he thought, then corrected: Poor fool.

The sword looked like it might be handy, especially if he ran into anymore of the beasts, but it looked heavy and Wes was no swordsman. Instead he took the knife from the man's boot and tucked it behind his belt, then with an afterthought relieved the fellow of his money pouch and tucked this too behind his belt.

Returning to the girl, he tested her weight in his arms and hefted her up so that her head lay on his shoulder. She was suprisingly light, or perhaps it was his own strength that suprised Wes.

He moved to the corner of the alleyway and checked the streets either side for signs of danger, then moved as quietly and quickly as he could across and down the next street. He could still hear the sound of swords and burning and screams as he moved, but he tried to go away from them, whilst also making his way as direct as he could to the central square of the outer city.

He continued like this for an hour or so, until his arms and legs were stinging and he felt like he'd have to stop, when finally the street opened out into the cobbled square itself, wide and open and strangely empty. At its centre stood the old gothic temple, dedicated to a goddess of fertility who's name escaped Wes. It was the place he could leave this woman, at least with a partially eased conscience.

Your good deed for the day Wes, he thought as he made his way across to it, mindful of the other streets. When he reached the marble steps that led up to the two great doors, he paused for a breathe, and a little nod of reverence, then trotted up them. When he was at last able to set her down he exhaled loudly and rubbed his shoulders.

He was about to bang on the door when he head a fight rolling down towards them from one of the other side streets. His resolve broke and he knelt quickly "Sorry miss, but I'm sure you'll be alright." and with that he purloined her money purse, tucked that away and then deftly scaled one of the statues flanking the doorway until he could crouch and hide himself behind a gargoyle.

Well hidden he watched on.
"I give hope to men, I keep none for myself."
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Postby Darian_Raven » Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:32 pm

Post written by PoisonedDragon.

DeLeon Castle

Baron DeLeon had only one expression, calm. Despite what he might or might not be feeling at any given moment, his outward appearance never betrayed him. So even though rage had been building steadily within him when he learned of his son's disappearance two days earlier, he sat in his audience chamber looking as calm as ever as he feigned interest in whatever trivial little matter was being brought to his attention. He didn't really care about it, his scribe was taking it all down anyways and he could have someone deal with whatever it was whenever there was time. His main concern was getting Mykael back in time for the wedding.

The negotiations for the engagement of Mykael and Princess Azure had gone better than the Baron could have hoped. The Grand Duke had been very happy to find someone to marry his only daughter before he died, and well he should be. If there had been no one to marry his daughter his lands and title would have been fought over for years, possibly even to the point of outright civil war. Since he had no son, the Grand Duke's only choice to have a male heir was to marry his daughter off to a son of one of the nobles within his lands. Conveniently for all of Baron DeLeon's plans, Mykael was the only nobleborn son within the Grand Duke's lands who was of legal age to marry.

The only hitch in the negotiations had come when Princess Azure had asked to meet Mykael at the end of the final meeting which had taken place the day after Mykael's disappearance. Luckily the Baron's chief adviser, Bartemus, who was privy to all of the Baron's plans, and who had a wit of unequalled speed, stepped in and invoked an ancient protocol which stated that the bride and groom not meet one another until the day of the wedding. Bartemus explained later that he knew the Grand Duke to be an extremely old fashioned person, and that by invoking the protocol they could be sure that no one would enquire as to Mykael's whereabouts. As usual, Bartemus had been absolutely right, as soon as he mentioned the protocol the Grand Duke had silenced his daughter's requests to see Mykael, and would hear no more on the subject.

The wedding date was set for the first day of autumn, in four months, which meant that the Baron had exactly that much time to find Mykael and bring him back, or all of his plans would be ruined. All of this was assuming of course that the Grand Duke even lived that long. His health had been failing steadily for a long time, but Baron DeLeon's personal healer was the best in the land, and he had requested that she see to the Grand Duke's needs personally. She guaranteed that he would survive until the wedding, and she knew that she wagered her own life on that promise, so the Baron trusted her word.

The challenge, therefore, was finding Mykael and bringing him back in time, and Baron DeLeon had hired the best. A tracker by the name of Kayle, who specialized in live captures, unlike all those others who would have brought back a corpse. Kayle charged a hefty sum, but he swore that he could find Mykael and bring him back alive before the wedding. Kayle had left immediately after receiving the first half of his pay and with any luck had already picked up Mykael's trail. Baron DeLeon turned his attention back to the petitioner, who seemed to be wrapping up whatever it was they were saying.
[center]If you find yourself in a fair fight...your tactics suck.
There are some people who cannot stand the sight of no blood.[/center]
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Postby PoisonedDragon » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:25 pm

(OOC: actually, now that I've read Elijah's post again, I've realized that he has made everything easier, now I can get the entire party, including Khavi, together in one fell swoop.)

Mykael spent most of the hour they had before departing tending to his equipment. His armor had a multitude of small scratches, but its overall condition was still quite, besides, he knew he would have to wait to get someone with the proper skills and tools to repair it. So, he simply wiped off the blood and gave the scales a quick polish before putting it back on. He spent more time on his sword, using a stone borrowed from one of the guards to sharpen its edge and take out a number of small nicks and scratches that it had suffered during the earlier battle. His shield had a few dents, but as with his armor there was not much he could do until he found a smith, so he just wiped it down and left it as it was.

Once his equipment had been tended to Mykael took advantage of a bowl of hot water to wash the blood off his face, and to use a borrowed razor to shave the few days worth of facial hair that he had accumulated. It seemed a little silly to Mykael to be performing such mundane tasks before embarking on such a dangerous mission, but he found the action very calming. Before long he realized that it was time to go. He put his helmet on and checked to make sure that all of his equipment was secure before making his way over to Darian, who had, like Mykael spent his free time tending to his equipment.

"Its time."

Darian gave him a quick nod, then cleaned the edge of his sword and sheathed it as he stood. The six guards that were to accompany them were also prepared, and before departing Mykael did a quick inspection, as the master of his father's guard had taught him. Each was wearing a simple suit of chain armor with the insignia of the city guard upon it, though none wore any symbol of rank. They each had a short sword buckled at one hip, and had a small round shield strapped to one of their arms. There was a hint of dissatisfaction in their expressions, likely because Mykael, an outsider, had been put in command of such an important mission, but the overriding emotion was fear, which Mykael completely understood.

His inspection complete, Mykael turned to the door which was opened by a guard who stood at the ready to close and bar it as soon as the eight men were through. After Mykael had led them through, and the door had been closed, he glanced back to give a quick order.

"Keep your weapons at the ready."

The order was pointless, since all of them had already readied their short swords, but Mykael understood career soldiers quite well, and knew that being able to follow an order would make them all feel better. His guess was correct as he could see the fear and tension draining from their expressions. He drew his own sword and kept it at the ready as he led the way. Mykael had gotten a pretty good look at the map, and had tried to remember which turns to take and when to take them to get them to the tunnel, but after a few minutes realized that it had not been enough, and that he was hopelessly lost. He turned to one of the older guards, clearly a veteran, as he was the one carrying the lieutenant's report.

"You know this city better than I, what is the quickest way to get to where we are going."

The guard looked a little surprised before he responded.

"Well, there is something of a shortcut, its through an alley that can reached most easily from the outer city's main square. About three hundred paces that way."

The guard used his sword to gesture down a sidestreet, and Mykael decided to follow the man's advice. He led the group down the sidestreet in the direction the guard had indicated, and sure enough, before long they had reached what appeared to be the outer city's main square. It looked deserted, so Mykael very cautiously led them out, turning back only once to check with the guard.

"Its over there, runs down beside that temple before turning down beside the canal. We follow the canal a ways, then take another turn and we'll be right there."

Mykael nodded and headed off in the direction of the temple. He was about to head into the alley when he noticed a girl lying on the temple's steps. He held up a hand to stop the group about a dozen paces from the steps. Had the girl been killed before she could take refuge in the temple? If so, why did she not bear any wounds? Mykael sheathed his sword, climbed the steps and knelt down to check, but before he had the chance he heard a thundering roar from behind him. He spun around quickly, sword flying into his hand as he witnessed scores of the creatures pouring into the square from all three streets leading into it. There had to be nearly a hundred of them, and it didn't take long for them to notice the group standing by the entrance to the temple. Then they charged.

Mykael quickly checked the door to the temple, it was locked up tight, probably to protect the inhabitants from the attackers. He gave it a hard kick, but it held solid, so he turned back and jumped to the bottom of the stairs, standing shoulder to shoulder with the others. He had to scream his order so that he could be sure it was heard above the roars of the beasts.

"Defensive formation, around the entrance to the temple! If we are to die here let's take as many of these bastards with us as we can!"

They had barely finished moving into position when the beasts reached them. Mykael caught a fierce downward slash with his shield, then punched the blade of his sword through the beast's chest. He placed his foot against it and kicked hard to clear his blade, then made a quick slash at the next one, opening its throat and nearly severing its head. What followed was such a blur that later Mykael would barely be able to remember the details. He knew that he kept fighting, and he knew he was taking wounds but that none were too serious. The dead were piling up around him and the others, but still the beasts kept coming.

Mykael heard a scream, a human scream from somewhere to his left, and knew that one of his own had fallen, though he did not look to check. Shortly after, the guard who had been fighting to Mykael's immediate right abandoned the line and fled to the temple, to begin pounding desperately on the door. Mykael knew Darian was alright, since the man was immediately to his left, and they occasionly brushed against one another while taking evasive action. Mykael knew they were lost, there were just too many, but he kept fighting, determined to survive.

(OOC: hope that works for everyone.)
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Postby Khavi » Thu Feb 15, 2007 4:37 am

There was chaos in the city. Iseide could smell the smoke from myriad fires, could hear shouts and screams as people were attacked and ran for safety. She sat in the front hall of the old temple, listening for people seeking sancutuary and healing. Many had arrived in the early hours of the apaprent attack on the city, but there had been a lull in the arrivals recently. The blind apprentice knew that she would be more of a hindrance than a help in the temple's infirmary. She was slow, still learning, and what was needed now was quickness and knowledge to help the wounded.

She had a firm grip on her staff with one hand, the other absently stroking a pale grey dog, whose head was resting in her lap. Iseide fought the fear that was gnawing at the back of her skull, the fear that the attacking creatures, described by refugees as furred and wearing armour apparently stitched of human skin, would break down the door of her home and slaughter all those inside.

The ancient temple, dedicated to the goddess Ailaesti, matron of fertility and nature, had withstood many such attacks on the city, had survived fires and floods. It was unlikely the attackers would be able to breach it's heavy doors or burn the old stone to the ground, but that didn't give Iseide much comfort.

She had been sitting in the front hall for a long while when suddenly the dog's head snapped away from Iseide's touch, and started barking at the temple's heavy oaken doors. Over the dog's angry snarls Iseide heard the sounds of a distant battle growing quickly closer. There was a furious pounding on the doors, shouting, and then the clash of steel as the battle reached the temple steps.

"Dach!" she snapped, grasping for the dogs harness. "Dach, hush!" Her fingers brushed the leather harness and she wrapped her finger tightly around it, holding the slender dog at her side as she stood.

Cautiously she moved down the hall, pressing her pointed ear against the door when she reached it. She heard shouting on the other side, and then a pained scream. A human scream. Someone was defending the temple against the onslaught. There was more shouting, and then a pounding on the door that caused Iseide to cry out in surprise and jump back. The pounding was followed by a voice begging to be allowed in.

Iseide hesitated a moment, but when she heard another howl of pain she set her staff aside and released her grip on Dach's harness. Groping for the latch she heaved the iron bar upwards, then reaching for her staff she grasped the handle and pulled the door open.

The noise roared through the door with almost physical force. Before she could pull it all the way open, someone threw themself against it and shoved it open, nearly knocking her over as her rushed past into the safety of the temple. Dach began to snarl and bark again, but didn't leave her side. She took a step forward, but her foot struck something soft. A fallen body.

Kneeling quickly Iseide felt the body, felt it was still warm, still breathing. She quickly discovered the fallen was a woman, likely not too much older than Iseide herself, with no apparent injury. Iseide felt no obvious wounds other than what felt like minor burns and a fever, no blood, no broken bones. The shouting increased around her, and she tossed her staff behind her and moved to hook her hands under the girl's arms and drag her inside, to the relative safety of the hall. She groped on the ground a moment for her staff, and then headed for the still open door.

"Too many, there's too many!" someone shouted.

"Inside!" Iseide cried, stepping out and turning to the direction the shout had come from. "Bring your injured, you will be safe inside!"

Someone called for the fighters to fall back, and Iseide listened for the barking of her dog. "Dach!" she called. "Dach!"

She felt the dog rush through the door, brushing against her legs. There were men beginning to back through the doors, she could hear them moving past her. She kept her hand on the door, ready to close it. "Quickly! Come quickly, we can't let those... things inside!"

Suddenly the door was wrenched from her hands and slammed shut with a resounding crash. Iseide heard the latch shoved quickly into place. There was a very breif silence, and then an inuman baying and howling, and the sound of whatever was making the noise hurling themselves at the doors. Dach barked again, and Iseide put her hand on his head.

There was silence behind her, everyone holding their breath, praying for the door to hold. When it became apparent the monsters weren't going to break down the door, the tension in the air released. Slowly the noises faded, the creatures leaving to find more readily accessible prey.

Iseide could hear rapid footsteps rushing towards the front hall, the priests and priestesses of Ailaesti running to see what the commotion and shouting was about. There were hurried voices, and before long the soldiers were taken to the central courtyard, where an emergency triage was set up to handle the sudden influx of wounded and dying.

Iseide knelt on the grass of the courtyard, Dach lying mostly asleep next to her, the excitement of an hour past all but forgotten. Those with minor wounds were filing past her, sent to her by the other healers who were busy saving the lives of those critically injured.

She laid her delicate hands upon them, not caring as their blood stained her simple dress or wet her fingers. She murmured soothing words to them, little blue sparks dancing from her fingertips as she set broken bones and shrank their bleeding gashes before stitching them carefully closed and applying poultices. Though she could not see, her hands were deft and gentle.

The last to sit before her was a young man. A little hiss of pain escaped his lips as he lowered himself before her. Iseide guessed an injured leg, and when she asked the young man, he confirmed. She leaned forward, placing her hand on the wounded leg. The cloth of his pants was slick with blood, most likely not just his own. She felt slowly up from the ankle until she came across a deep slash just above the knee. He hissed again as she placed her hands on either side of the wound and conentrated, her hands warming as magic coursed through them.

"This isn't so bad," she said, smiling. She raised her face to where she thought his, blind eyes not quite meeting his. She introduced herself, as she had to every other soldier she had tended. "My name is Iseide. May I ask yours, brave sir?" Beneath her slender fingers, his wound began to slowly knit itself together.
I was so mad, I could have chewed up nails and spit out paper clips.
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Postby Elijah Morteron » Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:45 am

Wes was angry with himself. Angry and scared and if truth be told a little ashamed. He'd watched the fracas below, watched two men fall, never to move again, and others all but overwhelmed and all the while he'd done nothing.

He shook himself inwardly. It wasn't his fault, it was their's. Foolish men with their foolhardy bravado. All prettied up in their shining steel and what help had that been for the dead? Crossing such an open space like that, with so few numbers. Somehow he knew that had been a tactical error.. or perhaps it had been an act of desperation.

He wondered then, as he extricated himself from behind the stone gargoyle with its grim expression, what had pushed the men this way. They were not being chased: the creatures had come forth from the other roads. Perhaps they'd been sent to search the temple for survivors...

He stood on tiptoe so that he could look over the shallow roof of the temple in the opposite direction that the men had come from. There, shining in the distance, he could see the citadel distantly, tiny penants hanging limp in the dead wind as if in mourning. A group that small would have stood a better chance of slipping by the enemy force, and enemy force was what he was now thinking of the beasts.

It no longer looked like a random raid. Not with those numbers.. he'd counted a hundred at least!

The sudden thought hit him that it was strange for him to think in such a manner and he wondered where such thoughts had come from. "I'm a thief, not a soldier." He whispered to himself absentmindedly. A thief that needs to get as far from here as possible before those creatures come back.

It was then that he noticed the blood on his dusty, muddy clothes, still partly wet and he remembered more vividly his first kill. It made him shudder involuntarily. Yes, they looked like nothing more than beasts standing upright, but there was a vague similarity to humanity that made him feel as if he'd killed a person. With that thought he crossed himself and then chided himself for the act.

Those damn sisters. The lectures and the punishments had left a mark inside him that burned even now. It had made his life difficult: surviving as a thief with a streak of morality was like being a woodcutter but empathising with the tree. But what choice had he had? No tradesman would have offered to take him in, a boy like him. The merchants had a dim view of the street urchins. The vermin. And then there were his eyes. They unsettled people.

And now he was at his third dilemma of the day. It was as if he wanted to split physically in two, each half going seperate ways. Yes, half of him had seen only stupidity in the men that had tumbled into the square. But the other half was struck with the raw courage he saw in those men's eyes, even when faced with impossible odds. Now half of him wanted to escape and the other wanted to stay and see what these men did next. See what brave feat they would go on to accomplish. Perhaps.. to fight with them?

What?? He snorted derisively. Fight for a city that has given you nothing, Wes?? For the nobility who safeguard themselves behind the protection of a second wall and a citadel? Whilst the forgotten die?

He somehow doubted these men had been helping to save the beggars or those too lame or old or young and scared to move from their would-be coffins in the gutters of the streets.

And so there he stood, inwardly arguing, his gaze casting all about the city from his vantage point as if an answer would suddenly appear out from amidst the gathering clouds.

At the first few tiny drops of rain that forewarned of a storm, Wes pulled the hood of his cloak up and over his head and pulled the cloak itself close about to ward off the chill of the afternoon. Then he hopped up onto the roof itself, deftly balancing there for a moment before moving across it until he reached a square area that was open to the elements. Here he crouched and looked down upon the priests, moving like bees too and fro between the injured and his eyes alighted once more on the knight.

He'd known the instant that he'd seen that man that he was no guard. He carried himself with an air of the nobility, even when pressed in battle, a majestic lion like the knights of old had been. But here injured, panting with the exertion of the melee and yet still he was composed. He felt a mixture of respect and.. was it envy?

He cast his gaze on the other that had caught his attention. His garb was strange.. as was the sword that the warrior had wielded. He too did not belong with the city-guard. He looked fresher faced, a little more unsure of himself, but he still had a deadly air, like a sword that has been freshly forged and recently tempered. The other guards seemed to look at the knight as to a superior, but the two men looked at each other, on the occasions that they did, with mutual respect.

Then there was the girl he'd brought to the steps. He spotted her there, being tended to by one of the priests and he felt relief. Now its definately not your problem.. time to go Wes..

But then he looked back to the knight and saw that a young woman was tending to him and the more he watched the more he thought there was definately something odd about her.. but he couldn't quite place it... was it the eyes? Or the way she moved.. almost awkwardly..

He wasn't sure how long he crouched there, watching them all, like an observer from on high watching a drama play out. But all the while, Wes' chances of escape were extinguising like the fires in the city in the face of the approaching rain.
"I give hope to men, I keep none for myself."
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Postby Darian_Raven » Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:07 am

Darian followed Mykael’s lead as they made their way through the city. Neither of them knew specifically where they were going, but with the help of their companions they were soon following the right path. Darian tried to keep himself calm as they walked through the streets. His blood was already beginning to race, and he wanted to slow himself down. He couldn’t have himself burning out because of it. Darian had been expecting a fight from the moment they stepped out the door, and was pleasantly surprised when they were able to get a fair distance without trouble. Their path led them all past the church of Ailaesti, where Mykael stopped to check the condition of a dead woman. It wasn’t until they got closer that Darian realized the woman wasn’t dead; at least not quite yet. Those creatures had overrun this part of the city and a lone unarmed woman wouldn’t stand much of a chance. Darian wasn’t confident that he would be able to stand much of a chance against them himself, but he was here now in any event.

When the creature’s howls and battle cries reached his ears Darian turned quickly to see the beasts swarming through the streets. He had seen a bull stampede once that resembled this quite well, and that thought was defiantly not a comfort. Mykael was quick to spur them into action.

"Defensive formation, around the entrance to the temple! If we are to die here let's take as many of these bastards with us as we can!" Mykael shouted to them as they closed together. Darian agreed that the temple entrance seemed their best place to make a stand, but he had no intention of dying here… though as more of the beasts surged into sight he was beginning to think he wouldn’t have much choice in the matter.

The soldiers had their weapons at the ready, while Darian remained standing, doing his best to appear calm. His hand was on his sword, though he had yet to draw it. He could see the uncomfortable glace a few of the soldiers had given him, yet he remained firm to his teachings. A battle cry was shouted from the enemy as they came charging in. In the excitement of the moment Darian found himself screaming a battle cry of his own as the first creature came upon him. He appeared unprepared and the creature charged forward recklessly, confident in its victory. It swung its axe at Darian, only to have the young swordsman drawn his blade and disembowel the creature in one swift action. The axe had not even begun to decent as the creature realized its carelessness, but by then it was already too late. The creature fell in mid stride, and Darian nearly slipped as he moved to get out of its way. As the first body fell another came to take its place. Darian’s sword continued to move, this time sliding another axe strike harmlessly to the side before he attempted to counter. Darian moved as he fought, stepping to the left and right, working circles around the endless sea of opponents.

One creature fell after another, and it began to work in their advantage that the creatures were beginning to stumble over the bodies of their fallen comrades. Darian’s blade was slick with the gore of his enemies, and if he would have looked in a mirror he would not believe the man looking back was in fact him. He looked half crazed and bathed in blood. Many of Darian’s slashes had been meant to decapitate and maim as much as kill. Arms removed at the elbow, hands and fingers all lay scattered around him as he flailed in the melee. Darian tried to stay moving, but he wasn’t fast enough to deflect or dodge everything. His thick leather armor provided some protection for him, but it did not seem near enough as the razor-like axe blades carved chunks of leather from it. Darian could feel pain, but he could not distinguish his blood from his enemies. He knew he had taken a graze across his arm, and another somewhere around the right side of his ribs, but he didn’t have the time to check. His lungs burnt with the exertion and his arms began to feel impossibly heavy. Still, if this was to be his last stand he would try to make his father proud, even if word never reached him. One of the soldiers finally succumbed to his wounds and fell under the howling, axe wielding creatures. Darian caught a glimpse of the man as he turned away from a lunging swing. He noticed immediately that the man who had fallen had been the very one entrusted to deliver the report. Three creatures had covered him, and were in the process of removing his head in a fashion Darian found barbaric.

The momentary distraction could have proven fatal and Darian paid for his curiosity with an axe burying deep into his leg, just above his knee. He cried out in surprise and pain even as he plunged his blade through the creature, aiming at one of its lungs. The axe was pulled away and Darian knew immediately that his mobility was limited. The paid was like nothing he had felt before, but his adrenaline helped to ease the pain as he called out another battle cry. He parried another attack from the next creature but was unable to move as he wanted for a counter. He could hear the banging on the door behind him as one of the soldiers attempted to retreat. Darian stumbled, and would have been vulnerable had Mykael not turned to take a swing at the same creature and distract it’s attention.

[color= limegreen]"Inside! Bring your injured, you will be safe inside!"[/color] A woman shouted from behind him, and Darian didn’t need much motivating to want to obey her command. Two of the soldiers turned to bolt, while the others remained with Mykael to attack defensively while they backed up. The creatures were not organized and that was the only thing that kept the soldiers alive. Had the creatures found any sense of unity Darian knew they would have all fallen long ago. Pushing off with his back leg Darian moved over to the mutilated corpse of their companion, swinging his blade in wide arcs to forge a path. With one motion he grabbed the scroll case and ripped it from the man’s belt before turning to follow the defensive retreat with Mykael. The creatures pushed forward, trying to overrun the defenders to breach the temple, but Mykael, Darian and the remaining soldier managed to keep them at bay. A few of the creatures were beginning to grow shy and were hesitant to move within sword reach. Within another few steps back the soldiers were behind the door, and it was forced shut. Darian fell to one knee then, opening the cloth around his wound to see how bad it was. He was bleeding quite badly, but he could still put weight on it. He looked himself over and knew he would be bruised with some cuts, but nothing he was concerned with. He knew his leg would need stitches at the very least, and the throbbing pain was something Darian wasn’t used to.

Once the door was secure and the initial threat was over there was a universal sigh of relief. They were led to a courtyard to be treated for their wounds, something Darian was grateful for. He had cleaned his sword blade, and still held the scroll case tightly. It was here in the courtyard that Darian was taken care of by one of the priestesses. He recognized the woman tending to him as the same one that had saved his life only a short time ago. It was clear that she was without sight, but her movements were confident. She had a kind voice and asked him of his wound. Darian directed her to his most pressing injury, and although a searing pain ran up his leg as it was touched, he knew he could handle the burden. He was grateful to the woman that had saved them all. He knew that she could have felt them out there to die, and probably would have been in the right to do so. She had endangered everyone in the temple, but her risk had granted them life. Darian watched intently as the woman smiled at him. ”This isn’t so bad,” she said pleasantly, even as a cool tingle began to run across his leg. It was a feeling he had never before encountered. Something like jumping into an icy lake, and against the searing pain he had felt a second ago it allowed his muscles to relax. He was amazed to see the wound on his leg begin to mend.
"My name is Iseide. May I ask yours, brave sir?"
Darian was stunned for a moment; though once he realized it he drew his wits about him.
”My name Darian, and I am honored to meet you Iseide. I can’t thank you enough for taking the risk and allowing us entry. We owe you our lives.”
Darian moved his leg, testing the feeling. He couldn’t help but smile when he noticed it felt great, if not a little stiff.
”Thank you for seeing to my leg. It would seem I owe you a lot already.” It was then that Darian noticed Mykael approach.
”Iseide, there is someone here I’d like you to meet.”
[center]If you find yourself in a fair fight...your tactics suck.
There are some people who cannot stand the sight of no blood.[/center]
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Postby Thenician » Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:58 am

Kiera awoke for the second time this day. Slowly, her eyes opened and began to focus. She felt something touching her left hand, and she sat up seddenly to try and see what it was. She pulled her hand close to her before her eyes finished adjusting, everything was still a blur.

Within moments however, her sight cleared and she saw that her hand was being bandaged by a priestess or cleric of some local deity. She didn't know if this continent worshipped the same gods as Ordo'Nai, so she looked around the courtyard for some clue as to who or what the patron deity of this temple was. There were several symbols and paintings along the walls, but none that she recognized.

Cautiously, Kiera extended her half bandaged hand back to the woman that was caring for her.

"Forgive me," she said softly to the woman, "I felt something touching my hand, and felt an outdoor breeze, I thought I was still outside with those monsters." The woman smiles gently and nodded in response, implying she understood.

Kiera looked around the courtyard again while her hand was being tended to. This time she searched for people though, not symbols. She wondered where the boy who helped her was, she didn't know what happened after she passed out in the alley, but she assumed that same boy must've brought her here. As she looked around, she saw the handful of soldiers that were being tended to, surely they must've been injured in battle with the beasts.

Fully bandaged, Kiera's hand was returned to her. She didn't know exactly what kind of injury she had, but looking over her body, she saw another bandage on her right arm and shoulder, and one on the left side of her waist. The pain beneath them was slight, but she could feel a warm sensation. And that's when she realized that she must've been burned when she focussed all that magical energy for so long. Either it took a while for the burns to form, or she didn't realize before.

"Thankyou." She said to the woman as she walked away.

Kiera stood up and looked among the soldiers. Most of the serious injuries were already taken care of. Out of the handful of men, she saw two that were not wearing the same armor as the rest, mercenaries, she thought. Maybe she could hire them to get her back to her ship before it sailed away, staying here was definitely out of the question now. One was still having a wound on his leg tended to, so she approached the other.

"Pardon me, sir." She announced as she approached him from behind. "I was wondering if you could help me, I need to know if it's safe to leave the city yet. I really must return to Port Selvast as soon as possible."
"I love stealin', I love takin' things."
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Postby PoisonedDragon » Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:38 pm

Mykael just kept fighting, taking a myriad of small wounds, but his armor and defensive maneuvers kept him safe from serious injury. He had no idea how many of the creatures he and the others had killed, but the bodies had started piling up, causing those who were still charging to stumble, giving the soldiers a slight advantage. Even with that advantage, however, they were still dangerously close to being overwhelmed. A second soldier went down and three of the creatures fell on the body and began tearing it apart. Mykael could tell that the situation was hopeless, and that drove him even harder, until nothing remained in his vision but the red of rage and blood.

To his left he heard Darian cry out in pain, and turned in time to see one of the beasts pull its axe out of Darian's leg. Darian had killed the beast, but now he could barely move. Mykael pivoted and took a clean backswing at the next creature to attack Darian, swiftly severing its head just below the chin. It was then that he heard the shout from the temple behind him.

"Inside! Bring your injured, you will be safe inside!"

Wrenching his head around quickly, Mykael saw that the door of the temple had been opened by a young woman dressed in robes, likely a priestess of the temple. He turned back just in time to parry a strike, then drove his sword deep into the creature's gut before calling out his order.

"Fall back! Into the temple! Now!!"

Two of the remaining three guards abandoned the line immediately, while the third, obviously a more seasoned warrior, and Darian stayed with Mykael to protect their retreat. At one point Darian crossed behind Mykael and stooped to pick something up off the corpse of one of the two fallen guards. Mykael did not get a chance to see what it was, but he was sure that Darian had a good reason.

It didn't take long to reach the doors, and Mykael retreated a little slower than the others, just to make sure that they all made it through. Once he was sure they were in he set all his weight against his shield and gave a powerful push, sending the frontmost creature tumbling backwards into those coming up behind. He then stepped quickly across the threshhold and, ignoring what the young woman was saying, pulled the door from her grip and forced it shut. He quickly slid the bolt into place and took a step back.

There was sudden silence, as everyone held their breath, waiting to see if the doors would hold. It soon became clear that nothing would be getting through them anytime soon, so everyone relaxed a little. From the main part of the temple behind Mykael, more priests and priestesses came rushing up to see what the commotion was all about. When they realized what had happened they said quick prayers for the fallen and led the rest to a courtyard, where the temple dwellers began tending the wounded, including the girl who had been unconscious on the steps, who Mykael could now see had several severe burns.

Mykael refused to allow himself to be healed until all the others had been tended. He knew his wounds weren't that bad, mostly bruises where axe blades had been deflected by his armor. He did have a few deeper wounds, cuts and such, but by the time it was his turn to be healed he was delivered a delightful shock. The priest who attended his wounds gasped in surprise as he examined Mykael and told him that somehow, the wounds were closing on their own, and the bruises were fading before his very eyes. The process was very slow, but it was happening, and the priest claimed he could see faint magical emanations coming from the wounded areas.

Mykael didn't really know what to think, no such thing had ever happened before, but he knew he would have to put off looking into it for now, there were still much more pressing matters to be concered with. After leaving his equipment in the hands of the soldier who never abandoned the line, Mykael began to make his way over to where Darian was having the nasty wound on his leg tended. Without his armor Mykael wore a tight leather tunic with no sleeves and leather leggings. With his arms exposed it was actually possible to see how the wounds had begun to close and fade, though his muscular arms were still covered with fairly large bruises.

Before Mykael reached Darian, he heard a voice speak up from behind him.

"Pardon me, sir. I was wondering if you could help me, I need to know if it's safe to leave the city yet. I really must return to Port Selvast as soon as possible."

Mykael turned to face the speaker and saw that it was the girl he had seen on the steps of the temple. She was quite short, compared to Mykael at least, barely taller than his shoulder, so he had to look down at her when he spoke.

"Well now, its good to see that you're up and about. I thought for sure you were dead when we found you lying on the steps of the temple. You say you need to reach Selvast? Unfortunately there doesn't seem much chance of that, if what I've heard is true. For one thing, there are still nearly a hundred of those beasts right outside this temple, trying to get in. Secondly, if the city guards scouts are correct, there are still more than a thousand around the city. I don't really fancy anyone's chances of getting out of Tallus at the moment."

She seemed to stagger for a moment, as if still feeling the effects of her wounds. Mykael had never seen burns like her's before and wondered what could have caused them. Suddenly she nearly fell, but Mykael was quick, and caught her before she did, taking all of her weight on one of his arms.

"Careful now. Are you sure you're alright?"

Mykael looked back over at Darian, whose leg looked almost completely mended, the priestess tending it was stitching the wound slowly, but seemed to be doing a very good job. Mykael turned his attention back to the girl leaning on his arm.

"Come with me. You should sit down and rest until you're felling well again. Besides, there's someone you should meet. If you need to get to Selvast that badly, I'm sure the two of us can help you. We just have one or two things we need to complete in Tallus first."

As he finished his sentence Mykael began leading the girl over to where Darian was still seated on the grass with the priestess. She had finished stitching his leg and the two were speaking softly to one another. Upon seeing Mykael's approach Darian gestured for him to come closer, then turned back to the priestess.

"Iseide, there is someone here I'd like you to meet. This is Mykael. He and I have through a lot together in the past few days. Mykael, this is Iseide, she is the one who opened the doors and allowed us entry to the temple."

It was then that Mykael recognized her. In his rush to ensure that the door was closed and bolted he had had very little time to pay attention to such things, and by the time he had turned back, the other priests had arrived and it had slipped his mind. A split second later he realized that was blind, and, looking down at the stitching on Darian's leg, Mykael was very impressed with this priestess' skills. After lowering the girl to sit next to Iseide on the grass, Mykael seated himself across from Iseide, and next to Darian.

"It is truly an honor to meet you Iseide. We are all in your debt. If you had not opened the door just when you did, it is likely we all would have died."

It was then that Mykael realized he had never found out the other girl's name, so he hoped she would supply it before things started to get akward.
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Postby Thenician » Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:33 am

"We just have one or two things we need to complete in Tallus first."

Kiera thought for a minute as she was led to pair of people sitting on the grass ahead of them. She knew that is she did not return quickly, she'd be stuck on this continent until the Rehal's Sunset returned in about four months. Finding another mercenary or two was certainly an option, but she couldn't guess how long it would take to find some or even if she'd survive outside these temple walls long enough. Then there was trying to make a break for it herself, but if there was really over a thousand of the beasts inside the city, there was no telling what she might encounter on the way to Selvast. So with a faint sigh, she decided the best choice was to stick with these men and hope their errands dont take too long.

They sat beside the priestess and the man she just finished tending to. Kiera still felt a little unsteady on her feet for too long, so she was glad to sit down again. As the man introduced his friend to the girl, she learned their names, Mykael and Iseide, but the other man's name still eluded her.

As the three of them spoke, she couldn't help but think about how she got here. Mykael just told her that he thought she was dead when he found her outside the temple, but how did she get from the alley to here? She suspected it was the same boy who rescued her from the creature that attacked her. If that was the case, why wouldn't he have brought her inside, or why wasn't he in here? She decided to ask him if she ever saw him again. Either way, he saved her life, she would have to thank him.

As her daze faded, Kiera noticed the two men staring at her, looking slightly concerned. She quickly realized how long she was absent from the conversation for, and decided this was as good a time as any to introduce herself.

"Oh sorry, I was distracted. My name is Kiera Dusk, I sail with the..." She paused for a second, she knew the Rehal's Sunset had a poor reputation in some ports, rumors of piracy spread faster than the good deeds accomplished by its crew. "... a merchant vessel from Ordo'Nai. That's where I'm from, so you must forgive me if any of my habits seem strange to you. I came here in hopes of finding a suitable place to study magic, but, you can see how that turned out."

"I also..." She stopped short and grasped her hands together shyly. "Sorry, one of those habits I mentioned is that I talk too much when I'm nervous."

She blushed as she realized she just made a fool of herself, but then she remembered a lesson her father taught her once. If you make an ass of yourself, change the subject before anyone has time to ridicule you. Back then she thought he was only joking, but being in the situation, itwas the first thing that came to mind.

"So, if you dont mind my asking," she said looking at Mykael. "What is this task you need to complete?"
"I love stealin', I love takin' things."
-Bender B. Rodriguez

"How 'bout I alter your face?"
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Postby Khavi » Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:12 am

Iseide smiled as Darian introduced himself, and thanked her for opening the doors. When he spoke his voice vaguely surprised her, for he sounded younger, more friendly than she had expected a soldier to. All the men had thanked her as they were tended by her, but he sounded sincere in his words.

And then his companion Mykael walked to them. There was a third, also, though no introduction was made for them. Iseide felt her cheeks flush pink as the second man complimented her bravery, thanking her for their lives. She turned her face down, somewhat embarassed by the compliments.

"It was nothing," she said softly. "No man should be left to die when he could be easily saved. I just opened the door."

He spoke again, and Iseide noted a very slight air of nobility to his voice. Mykael was no common soldier, the confidence in his voice told her that much. And much like Darian, he was younger than Iseide expected, and she could hear his smile in his words.

The silent third person finally spoke, and Iseide learned she was a woman, also young. Her words had the slightest accent that betrayed she was foreign before she mentioned it. She inquired of Mykael what his task was, though Iseide became distracted and did not hear his response.

Water struck her shoulder, then her forehead. Inhaling, Iseide could smell the coming storm in the air. Across the courtyard, the priests were beginning to usher wounded soldiers inside. She could hear the shuffling footsteps on the grass.

"Iseide, shutter the windows upstairs," one of them called to her. "The rains will be hard, we don't need flooding now."

Iseide reached behind her for her staff, then pushed herself to her feet. Beside her, Dach raised his head, then stood as well. She heard his ears flap as he shook the sleep from his skull. "I will see you all inside. It was a pleasure to meet you," she said, smiling towards the the three whose names she had learned.

Upstairs, Iseide and another apprentice went around the top floor, drawing in the shutters around the courtyard windows. Her staff clicked as she tapped it along the stone floor, counting paces between windows. Long years at the temple had taught her the number of steps to and from every point within it's walls.

At the final window, as she leaned out to reach for the shutter, Dachshuffled up beside her, craning his neck out the window, and barked. He stood on his hind legs, pacing his paws on the sill, and bakred again. Iseide put a hand on his head and pushed him back.

"Quiet, Dach," she chided. "It's only a storm. It will pass soon enough, you great coward."

She shook her head and leaned out again, but paused. She heard the slightest shuffle above her, as though someone were perched on the roof. She frowned, and turned her head to face one pointed ear in the direction of the noise. It was quiet, but concentrating she thought there was the faintest sound of breathing. Likely a cat or a bird had gotten up, but it sounded human to her.

"It's warmer inside," she said, perhaps to no one. She turned her head farther to better let her voice be heard, pale eyes staring into the distance. "You are welcome, whoever you are. Ailaesti shelters all beneath her wings."

Iseide turned and started back the way she came, staff tapping the stones, Dach's claws clicking as he followed. Behind her, the window was left open, offering shelter from the coming storm.
I was so mad, I could have chewed up nails and spit out paper clips.
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Postby PoisonedDragon » Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:13 am

The Forbidden Citadel

Trage stood in his small chambers at the centre of the citadel with his back to the large mirror, but it was not his own reflection in the glass. The reflection was of a man much shorter than Trage, which was not surprising since Trage stood nearly seven feet tall. The reflection had thinning grey hair, and wore robes of a noble cut, quite different from Trage's thick black hair and heavy black plate armor. The man in the mirror looked afraid, which was how people usually looked when they were in Trage's presence, even if they were really leagues away from him at the time, as the man in the mirror happened to be.

The mirror in Trage's chamber was the master in a set that allowed him to communicate face to face with his key agents, now matter where in the world they happened to be. It was a system that worked very well, since Trage liked to look into a person's eyes when they spoke to him. Trage suddenly opened his blood-red eyes and spun on his heel to face the mirror. When he spoke his voice was very soft and calm, though no less frightening because of it.

"Say that again Bartemus. I'm not sure that I heard you correctly the first time."

Bartemus flinched under his master's penetrating stare, but did not dare to look away.

"Well master, he is... well... he is gone."

"Gone?"

"Yes sir, disappeared in the night, two days past."

"And why was I not informed of this sooner? You know how crucial he is to the resurrection."

"Of course my lord, but you have been so busy of late, and I was scheduled to report today anyways, so I just thought..."

"I have never given you permission to think."

Bartemus closed his mouth and wilted a little further, but Trage did not pause.

"Everything will be ready in three months time, I expect you to have found him and delivered him to my feet by then, alive. Am I understood Bartemus?"

"Of course master. You can count on..."

With a wave of his hand Trage cleared Bartemus' image from the face of the mirror, cutting him off mid-sentence. Trage waved his hand again and another man appeared to replace Trage's own reflection in the mirror. This one stood tall and proud, about half a foot shorter than Trage, and wore the uniform of a city guardsmen, the rank of Lieutenant displayed on his shoulders. This one showed very little fear when faced with the image of Trage, no more than was normal at least. He bowed deeply when he saw the image of his master, then straightened as Trage began to speak.

"How fares the attack?"

"Brilliantly my lord. The city guard were taken completely by surprise and most now cower behind the city's inner wall. Nearly a third of their number were either killed in the initial assault, or are now trapped in the outer city, and therefore as good as dead."

"Excellent work. How long before the citadel falls?"

"No more than a week sir, and I have it on good authority from a saboteur I have hired that it will be considerably shorter than that."

"Wonderful. Contact me as soon as the citadel is taken. The Gnarls must not be allowed to defile it."

"Of course sir. Anything else?"

Trage stopped talking for a moment, looking thoughtful. When he began speeaking again, his voise was even softer and deadlier than it had been.

"Yes, there is just one more thing. Make sure that none leave Tallus alive."
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Postby Darian_Raven » Sat Feb 17, 2007 6:18 am

Darian’s leg was feeling remarkably better and the pain it had caused was now a distant memory. For that he had to thank Iseide. He saw her as a kind and sensitive person, and it troubled him to know the danger she was in just being within the city. She was an innocent, like so many others here and it was clear to see that the innocent always suffered the worst. Darian was grateful the temple was so well protected from the rampaging creatures outside, but still he could clearly see there were very few able bodied men capable of defending it when their attackers did decide to bring a battering ram to destroy the great doors. As troubling as that thought was, he chose to not share his concern. There was absolutely nothing that could be done about it here. His only option was to help raise a resistance from the soldiers in the inner walls to repel the attackers. That was the only hope these people had of surviving the day.

Mykael had come and brought a new acquaintance; a woman who called herself Kiera Dusk. She mentioned that she was student of magic, though Darian didn’t fully understand everything that involved. He knew very little of magic other than stories he had heard. His father had always stayed away from people with those particular talents, and by default Darian had as well. He was more than a little interested, but understood that now was not the time to quench that curiosity. The woman seemed friendly but also nervous and uncomfortable. She was clearly anxious to leave but seemed to understand the impossibility of that option. A few drops of rain began to fall, only to grow slightly heavier after a moment. One of the priest asked Iseide to lock the windows and she excused herself from their company, her dog trailing at her side. Once she had parted, Kiera turned to Mykael.
"So, if you don’t mind my asking, what is this task you need to complete?" Mykael paused for a moment as he considered how to answer the question, though it was Darian that stepped in with the answer.
”We are meant to deliver this,” he said, holding up the scroll case still slick with blood. ”I retrieved it from our fallen comrade. This is a report intended for the soldiers defending the inner walls. It has vital information for them, as well as a request for help from a surrounded command post farther back in the city. We are the only chance those soldiers have. If we fail, it will only be a matter of time before they are overrun and slaughtered… if it’s not already too late.” Darian said almost regretfully. He knew their situation was bleak, but he wanted to believe that they could still be saved.
”We should make our preparations and come up with a way out. We can’t afford to be trapped here for long.” Darian suggested, looking to Mykael. The next hour was spent in busy preparation. Darian had since wiped the blood from his hands and face, and cleaned his blade properly. He was pleased to see that there were no new nicks in his edge, though he had the urge to sharpen it anyway. There was too much to be done. One of the priests had found a map of the city upon his request, and both Mykael and Darian were standing over it. Mykael had since donned his armor and appeared relatively rested and composed. The other three soldiers also stood around the map and even Kiera watched with slight interest.

”We have no other choice but to go back out the main doors.” One of the soldiers protested, making the clear observation that there was only one entrance into the temple. Their options were severely limited.
”Then we’ll have to face that horde we nearly lost our skin to. They may not be as organized, but there is still something to be said with sheer numbers. Even if they were unarmed we couldn’t cut our way through them all. Eventually they’ll land a blow, or our sword arms will tire. Either way, we’ll fall one by one until there is no one left to oppose them. There must be another way.” Darian said, even as the howls of the creatures outside echoed over the walls. The rain was coming down in sheets now, and the open courtyard had been abandoned for the dryer confines of the inner temple.
“I know a way.” A voice said confidently from behind them. Each man turned to see a young boy leaning against a stone pillar. His cloths were dirty and slightly ripped, and Darian guessed the boy to be the son of a merchant. The once fine cloths were evidence of that.
”Is that so? Can you show me on this map?” Darian asked skeptically. The boy shrugged, but made no motion to move towards the stretched out parchment.
”It’s not on the map… and its no secret either. There are windows that look out over the southern street. Just tie a rope and climb down. As long as most of those creatures stay around the entrance they’d never see you. Still, you’d be safer here.” The boy said, pushing himself off the pillar.

It was then that a loud bang echoed through the temple. Before the vibration had stopped priests and citizens alike were running to the main entrance. Another bang echoed through the temple grounds. In that instant Darian exchanged a quick glance with Mykael and the other soldiers. There was no question in his mind that sound was caused by a battering ram striking the door.
”We have to reinforce the door.” Darian said, even as the soldier began to move to do just that. The doors were strong, but they had no way of stopping the ram from working its way through. In time the door would fall. There was another bang as the ram struck again. Darian hoped that if they could reinforce the door well enough it could hold, at least long enough for reinforcements to arrive. He knew deep down that no help would come, but even still he allowed that illusion to keep him moving. More beams were laid across the door and shored up to try and make it more difficult to bend, even as the ram continued its assault.
“These doors were never meant to withstand a siege. They can not hold for long.” Mykael said even as he and Darian worked to secure another beam along the door. With another echoing thud they could hear the wood of the door crack. After two more a gap opened enough for them to see the enemy outside, though it was impossibly small for anything to fit through.
”We have to fall back, this door can not hold and we don’t have the men to hold this gateway. We must evacuate those we can.” Darian shouted to Mykael and the soldiers, and although grim faced they had come to the same conclusion. There was no hope of protecting this place. It would fall, and it was just a question of who would be unlucky enough to be here when it did. Many citizens had already fled, trying to find places around the temple to hide for when the inevitable came.
”To the south windows. It may be our only chance.” The men turned and made their way through the temple. Chaos had erupted all around them, even as the next ram hit, sending another terrible crunch as more wood gave way. Iseide had since returned to the courtyard with her dog barking furiously by her side. Darian could see the panicked men and woman running past her, bumping into her and sending her stumbling in a disorientated circle. Mykael spotted her as well and made straight for the woman who at only hours before saved their lives. There was no time to explain fully what was happening as Mykael tried to lead her hastily to the steps that lead up to the windows. The crash of wood splintering helped to push them on. Darian could see that she was resisting the attempts at being led, and she voiced her concern over her dog Dach. Darian bent low and grabbed the dog under one arm, carrying it to speed their move. As they moved he spotted Kiera, and called out to her.
”Come with us, we have a way out!” It took her only a moment to respond and match their pace. Darian noticed that the hour of rest had done much to restore the young woman and he was glad she was able to walk on her own. Still he watched her as they climbed the stairs, ready to reach out should she lose her balance. They just reached the top of the stairs when they saw the young boy from earlier. He had already tied a rope around a life sized statue of a woman and was preparing to repel down.
”I didn’t think you were going to make it.” The boy said, even as the small group moved to his side.
”We’re not safe yet.” Darian answered as another smash echoed, and the terrified screams of those unable to hide filled the air. Those sounds were mixed with the howls of success from those hideous creatures as they finally breached the door. Darian felt sick to his stomach knowing they were abandoning all those people, but he knew that if he stayed his sacrifice would be meaningless.
[center]If you find yourself in a fair fight...your tactics suck.
There are some people who cannot stand the sight of no blood.[/center]
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