A Land in Chaos 5

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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Vaalic » Wed May 06, 2009 6:59 pm

The following week was busy for Vaalic and Kitiara as they stayed by the prince’s side, yet Vaalic grew restless. Aramis had done all Vaalic had asked of him. Vaalic had the supplies he needed but he still needed to return to the Faith army outside the city. Aramis had treated Vaalic and Kitiara both as honoured guests, giving them anything they had asked for. Aramis did not have many supplies and the group that followed him was strange. Many were escaped prisoners from the prison. Cutthroats and thieves, yet there were also honest men who came to fight the tyranny of the Flurin. Aramis had explained that he did not have a large group of fighting men but he had enough to make a difference in a tactical strike. Most of Aramis’ followers were not men of steel, but rather common place men who simply wanted to see an end to the war. The one thing each of his men had in common was that they had lost something to the Flurin invasion. Merchants who had their business taken made up a large number.

Vaalic had questioned Aramis about his follower’s functions and in answer Aramis explained that most who served him acted as spies. Information passed freely to the prince, and though not all the men were willing to get their hands directly into the conflict, many were willing to provide information to hinder the Flurin. It was with that information that Aramis planned his actions. He had segmented his men into small groups, each acting independently of one another. The reason, Aramis had explained, was to prevent one traitor from compromising everyone. Vaalic learned that there had been Flurin spies discovered within Aramis’ organization, and for that reason the prince took every precaution on the secrecy of his location and plans.

Vaalic could see the prince was walking a fine line with the game he played, but he was impressed by the young prince’s new role in leadership. Aramis had spies of his own within the Flurin ranks, and it was their information he relied upon a great deal. It was one of the Flurin spies that had given the information for this night’s actions. Aramis would not say who the man was, but only that his information had proven reliable in the past.

Aramis had made arrangements with the spy to have a hole in the Flurin wall patrols. Tonight was the night Vaalic and Kitiara would return to their homes outside the city. The night had become late and the sky was overcast with a moderate rain falling. It was the prefect day. The moon was hidden above the clouds and would not light their escape, and the rain would dull the noise of their movements. Aramis had sent two men with Vaalic and Kitiara to bring them to their location.

Slowly the four of them walked through the streets of Freeport staying to the shadows as much as possible. The curfew was in effect and if they were discovered by Flurin soldiers they would be treated as enemies. The risk was necessary as the small group reached the Eastern wall of Freeport. Just on the other side the open fields awaited with the protection of the forest not far from there. The trouble would be getting over the wall and crossing the field without being discovered. Vaalic knew a good long bowman could strike them as they ran across the field nearly to the tree line. The wind and raid would certainly help to hinder any archers, but Vaalic was not interested in taking the chance. Kitiara had been resting and healing. She was well enough to travel, though it would be slower going.

There was no way for the small group to know if Aramis’ spy had kept his promise, and they would only know if all went well. The spy had sent a message in response to Aramis’ request that he would organize a dice game with the other guards, but requested a large sum of money to facilitate the game. Aramis had sent the money willingly. It had been taken from fallen Flurin soldiers anyway, and if it served their purpose he was not above bribery.

Vaalic listened for the sounds of the guards walking the walls, but the dull drumming of the rain made it impossible to hear. From where they were they could not see anyone, but that meant nothing. Still, they would have to try. The men Aramis had sent had assured Vaalic that they had an escape route already planned should things not go well. The thought did little to ease his worries.

One of Aramis’ men retrieved a long grappling hook and stepped away from the group as he began to spin it. With a powerful swing he let the hook fly and it clattered onto the walking path at the top of the wall. The man gave a tug and the hook came tumbling down. Each bang and clash made the others wince, but no shouts were heard and so the man tried again. It took three attempts before the hook stayed firm. The thrower was the first to climb, followed by Vaalic, then the other escorts. Once on the wall Vaalic looked around and saw the pathway was clear and for that he was relieved. With the three men on the walkway Kitiara wrapped the rope around her waist and tied it firm. They knew with her she would not be able to climb and so the four men pulled her up the side of the wall.

Kitiara reached the top easily and the hook was removed and re-secured. This time the rope fell across the other side of the wall with one side still tied to Kitiara. Slowly Kitiara was lowered to the ground, and once her feet touched the wet grass she quickly untied herself. This was where the small group would part, and Vaalic thanked the escorts for their help. Vaalic slid down the rope and Kitiara waited for him expectantly. Once on the ground the pair began to run. Vaalic slowed his steps to allow Kitiara to go at a pace she could handle, but he could see she was still struggling. She knew the risks of crossing the open field as well as Vaalic and she did not slow.

Their pace slowed only once they reached the safety of the trees. Looking back Vaalic could hardly see the walls to the city in the darkness. He knew they were safe now. They had escaped the city without incident and for that he was grateful. It was still a long hike to return to the Faith camp, but both were pleased with their success. After a few moments spent to catch their breath they began the hike into the forest.
When a Greater evil unites, the good must come together;
else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a useless struggle.
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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Vaalic » Wed May 06, 2009 7:01 pm

The following week was busy for Vaalic and Kitiara as they stayed by the prince’s side, yet Vaalic grew restless. Aramis had done all Vaalic had asked of him. Vaalic had the supplies he needed but he still needed to return to the Faith army outside the city. Aramis had treated Vaalic and Kitiara both as honoured guests, giving them anything they had asked for. Aramis did not have many supplies and the group that followed him was strange. Many were escaped prisoners from the prison. Cutthroats and thieves, yet there were also honest men who came to fight the tyranny of the Flurin. Aramis had explained that he did not have a large group of fighting men but he had enough to make a difference in a tactical strike. Most of Aramis’ followers were not men of steel, but rather common place men who simply wanted to see an end to the war. The one thing each of his men had in common was that they had lost something to the Flurin invasion. Merchants who had their business taken made up a large number.

Vaalic had questioned Aramis about his follower’s functions and in answer Aramis explained that most who served him acted as spies. Information passed freely to the prince, and though not all the men were willing to get their hands directly into the conflict, many were willing to provide information to hinder the Flurin. It was with that information that Aramis planned his actions. He had segmented his men into small groups, each acting independently of one another. The reason, Aramis had explained, was to prevent one traitor from compromising everyone. Vaalic learned that there had been Flurin spies discovered within Aramis’ organization, and for that reason the prince took every precaution on the secrecy of his location and plans.

Vaalic could see the prince was walking a fine line with the game he played, but he was impressed by the young prince’s new role in leadership. Aramis had spies of his own within the Flurin ranks, and it was their information he relied upon a great deal. It was one of the Flurin spies that had given the information for this night’s actions. Aramis would not say who the man was, but only that his information had proven reliable in the past.

Aramis had made arrangements with the spy to have a hole in the Flurin wall patrols. Tonight was the night Vaalic and Kitiara would return to their homes outside the city. The night had become late and the sky was overcast with a moderate rain falling. It was the prefect day. The moon was hidden above the clouds and would not light their escape, and the rain would dull the noise of their movements. Aramis had sent two men with Vaalic and Kitiara to bring them to their location.

Slowly the four of them walked through the streets of Freeport staying to the shadows as much as possible. The curfew was in effect and if they were discovered by Flurin soldiers they would be treated as enemies. The risk was necessary as the small group reached the Eastern wall of Freeport. Just on the other side the open fields awaited with the protection of the forest not far from there. The trouble would be getting over the wall and crossing the field without being discovered. Vaalic knew a good long bowman could strike them as they ran across the field nearly to the tree line. The wind and raid would certainly help to hinder any archers, but Vaalic was not interested in taking the chance. Kitiara had been resting and healing. She was well enough to travel, though it would be slower going.

There was no way for the small group to know if Aramis’ spy had kept his promise, and they would only know if all went well. The spy had sent a message in response to Aramis’ request that he would organize a dice game with the other guards, but requested a large sum of money to facilitate the game. Aramis had sent the money willingly. It had been taken from fallen Flurin soldiers anyway, and if it served their purpose he was not above bribery.

Vaalic listened for the sounds of the guards walking the walls, but the dull drumming of the rain made it impossible to hear. From where they were they could not see anyone, but that meant nothing. Still, they would have to try. The men Aramis had sent had assured Vaalic that they had an escape route already planned should things not go well. The thought did little to ease his worries.

One of Aramis’ men retrieved a long grappling hook and stepped away from the group as he began to spin it. With a powerful swing he let the hook fly and it clattered onto the walking path at the top of the wall. The man gave a tug and the hook came tumbling down. Each bang and clash made the others wince, but no shouts were heard and so the man tried again. It took three attempts before the hook stayed firm. The thrower was the first to climb, followed by Vaalic, then the other escorts. Once on the wall Vaalic looked around and saw the pathway was clear and for that he was relieved. With the three men on the walkway Kitiara wrapped the rope around her waist and tied it firm. They knew with her she would not be able to climb and so the four men pulled her up the side of the wall.

Kitiara reached the top easily and the hook was removed and re-secured. This time the rope fell across the other side of the wall with one side still tied to Kitiara. Slowly Kitiara was lowered to the ground, and once her feet touched the wet grass she quickly untied herself. This was where the small group would part, and Vaalic thanked the escorts for their help. Vaalic slid down the rope and Kitiara waited for him expectantly. Once on the ground the pair began to run. Vaalic slowed his steps to allow Kitiara to go at a pace she could handle, but he could see she was still struggling. She knew the risks of crossing the open field as well as Vaalic and she did not slow.

Their pace slowed only once they reached the safety of the trees. Looking back Vaalic could hardly see the walls to the city in the darkness. He knew they were safe now. They had escaped the city without incident and for that he was grateful. It was still a long hike to return to the Faith camp, but both were pleased with their success. After a few moments spent to catch their breath they began the hike into the forest.
When a Greater evil unites, the good must come together;
else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a useless struggle.
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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Somber » Mon May 11, 2009 1:56 pm

At the end of their short journey Somber and the other captives resided in a room of grand proportions. Well lit and luxurious in appearance it had pillows crowding the center floor, gowns of indescribable appeal lining the walls. Women stood stretched like a sea before her fear alight in their eyes.

A man tall and thin with crooked features traveled about the room releasing the bindings of several women; herself included. The others were swiftly removed from the room. Somber felt the fear arise in the pits of her stomach. This couldn't be real. She though over and again. She closed her eyes, willed herself away. There faces lingered, sharp cold reality hit her, her anger boiled within her mingled with her fear even as it sank. This was a regular occurrence in Flurin, the though hit her hard. She had to do something, couldn't... wouldn't let it continue. She felt renewed in her quest. Be strong Somber. She thought, You can do this...

"You." The man said pointing a finger around the room. "You all are the lucky ones."

Somber opened her eyes to find him pacing the room, a whip in his grasp as it danced up and down in his hand. "Tonight..." he began again, his voice authoritative. "You will all be gifted to the Emperor. One of you may even be lucky enough to gain the fancy of the Crown Prince. But all of you my precious pets will be branded by me first." His smile grew with his words his face a reflection of her anger. His snarl fell upon her, unknown to her what it was to be branded she reflected her anger back to him. His eyes cold and mocking locked with hers, her lack of fear a fire to him. He pointed at her with his whip. "You will be first."

Someone grabbed her arms from behind as he'd spoken. One hand clasped both her wrists and forcefully removed her from the room. Before her the man walked at an eager pace. Across the hall from the original room they'd led her down several steps to a large unwindowed room. When the man stepped aside Somber suddenly realized what branding was. He was delighted at the shock she expressed. "You can't be serious...Why...Why?? No!" She struggled against the man behind her, only to be struck to the floor by the man with the whip. The one who'd held her had his knee to her back pinning her to the ground, her hands held tight in his grasp. Before her eyes was a pool of molten fire several spokes of iron rested on stands to either side of it. She watched as the man walked about the coals his eyes locked on her. Such treatment he took in choosing her brand. She struggled still, begging them to let her free. His smile was sinister as he finally chose, slow steps he took toward her. He stepped around her, she tried desperately to see what he was doing, her thrashing pleasing him. Until he took one booted foot and held her by placing it on her length of hair forcing her to stare forward into the pool of fire.

Somber went limp with fear. All those women..., was all she could think, all those that would share her fate. The tears came to her and she wept for them. "Ready for this?" He questioned her mocking her. "This is just the beginning. I promise you." With his last words he placed the hot iron on the nape of her neck. Pain consumed her, she thrashed against it. Somewhere in the depths of her mind she recalled screaming. Then nothing, all darkness and throbbing pain.
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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Killean » Tue May 12, 2009 8:32 pm

Image

Looking around Shadow saw that he was no longer at the docks surrounded by Flurin sentries. What he saw was that he was in an empty alley, holding the manifestation that was his soul in his hands. It was obvious to him that he blanked out, overjoyed with the return of his freedom. The factor that possibly returned his demonic mind back to reality was just that, his demonic nature. He was a free demon, but not free from his tie to hell. First things first, Shadow had to protect this unholy talisman from falling into the hands of any other. His first thought on this subject was to give it to Angel. Shadow had no clue about where she would go, let alone if she would be strong enough to protect it. The alternative was to keep it on him, but where that would not draw undue attention? The howls that haunted him clearly knew where he should keep his soul. Inside.

With little effort Shadow pulled a ring from a barrel and tore the metal as if it were tissue. Inside was the safest place for this treasure, inside where it once belonged. Gritting his teeth the rusty metal pierced his belly tearing a hole large enough for a fist to enter. Choking on his own screams, he shoved the stone into the wound. After a long moment of suffering the stone was now safe, sealed under the skin that was now healed on his abdomen.
"It's funny." Shadow laughed weakly to himself, "doing this never hurt before."
Looking down at his belly, Shadow shook his head with a sigh and meekly stood.
"I think it is about time that I hold up my end. She wants to see him…" Shadow mumbled under his breath as he stared up to the sky.

Shadow made his journey back to the palace as quick as he could. But before he was to enter Angel's room, he paused, his hand just grazing the door handle. His thoughts suddenly fell to the howls of his taint, and images of her capture by his hands yet again were invading him. Moving his hand away and to his head, he willed the images to be gone. This is exactly why it was for the best that she would return to him. Even with his freedom, who knew how much longer his will would be free with hells ever changing tactics. The need to keep her close as his reality check was about to disappear, which drew upon his envy and jealously; yet another tool to make Shadow succumb to his instincts.

* * * * * * *

Read the following post for information after this point:
http://evernight.com/boards/canon/viewtopic.php?p=676559#p676559

* * * * * * *

Shadow watched helplessly as Angel entered the forest. But what puzzled him most was that she left Kayin with him. The end of her journey was here and now. Did she fear if the sentries were over zealous and struck her down, Kayin would be harmed as well? As much as his old self would argue, these people were not stupid or skittish. No harm would have come to her or the child. Or perhaps, she was simply trying to give Shadow false hope that she wished to remain beside him as his reality check. What a cruel thing that would be to do to him now, albeit he deserves much worse considering their past. The last thought was a product of his taint, but the bond of blood made it disappear in an instance.
"Whoa! Kayin, be careful…" Shadow repositioned Kayin, who almost managed to struggle his way out of his arms.
"Do you realize how much trouble I would be in if she came back and you were crying because you fell to the ground?" Shadow spoke in a soft voice. He was probably right on the mark with this comment. It was not wise to anger the mother of a child. Shadow just imagined the ruler of hell was shouting the same thing, pissed off that some harlot of his past was coming between her and her demon.

Deciding that she might be a while, Shadow decided to lie down in the shade of a tree for a while. Kayin; whom was now lying peacefully on Shadow's chest, began to coo and reach for the sky as a flock of small birds flew by.
"What do you think I should do Kayin? I'm free to do as I please, but I am cursed to a life of pain and suffering." The mention of his torment made Shadow's head spin from the intensity of the demonic howls. He tried his best to will them to go away, but it only increased. This was getting to be more and more troublesome, which only meant hell was getting more desperate for Shadow to fall once more. Through the pain in his head, a sudden thought made it through. The thought was with the book he had found many weeks before, the books written by sages of old and of he who was cursed as him. The only question was where could Shadow find a modern day sage?

The howls suddenly stopped as Shadow's gaze fell to Kayin. The child was now asleep, his breathing in unison with Shadows. It was then the image of Kayin trying to chase the birds that sparked his decision.
"I'm going to Eagle's Point." Shadow said quietly under his breath, more to Kayin than himself, "I should be able to find a sage there. And hopefully I will return a free man, not a demon, to hold my promise to you and our Angel."


For a time that seemed to take forever, Shadow remained under the tree and watched the sun slowly fall to the horizon. At last he heard a noise come from within the forest, clumsy steps, which could only mean that Angel had returned… but alone…
Why is she alone? Surely Vaalic should not be much further away. Shadow thought, listening intently for quieter, more trained footsteps. None were heard, it was Angel and nothing else. Something was greatly amiss here, which worried Shadow a little.

As she neared, Shadow alerted her to their position. When she found Shadow, he looked up to her and saw that she had been crying. She tried her best to smile when she saw Kayin cozily lying on Shadow.
"I see you two are getting along well." She said with a sniffle.
"Not so much getting along as he is asleep." Shadow said, gently picking up Kayin and stood. Shadow offered the child back to Angel, but she refused with a shake of her head.
"You can hold him for a while. It would be a shame if we woke him." Shadow tilted his head to her logic for letting him keep the child. He eagerly wished to ask Angel the question that concerned him greatly.
"Angel… Why are you…" Shadow began, however Angel cut him off knowing what he was going to ask, "So, where to?" Shadow stood there, dumbstruck by such a simple question.
"I, don't understand." Shadow stated slowly, finding that the situation was getting odder by the minute. Shadow could tell something big just happened because Angel was trying to restrain her emotions from erupting. She was trying to stay strong in his presence.
"You are free from your chains right?" Angel asked, waiting for the slightest of confirmation from him. Shadow cautiously nodded his head.
"So, where shall we go?" Angel asked again. Shadow could see in her eyes, she was desperately trying to escape from his questions of what just occurred. He had no idea how he should proceed. What of Vaalic? What of the people she knew and grew with? The right thing, as far as Shadow could see, was to send her home where she belonged. Not that he wanted her to go; it was just what had to be done.

"I… My plan is to head Eagle's Point." Shadow gave in and changed the subject he was on. Was this also the right thing to do right? Help her to avoid more sadness? Angel smiled with relief as Shadow started to go along with her.
"What will we find at Eagle's Point?" She asked, curious of why Shadow wished to go so far to the north.
"Do you remember the books I gave you?" Shadow asked which Angel managed to produce quickly and replied, "of course I do." She smiled.
"The sages who wrote that book might have left knowledge with the sages of Eagle's Point. It might be my only chance to sever my ties to hell, and make me truly free." Shadow could see his determination reflected in Angel. She looked as if she was willing to join him in his quest to the depths of hell if she must.

"I'm sure you will need some moral support then. But, could we join a group heading to Eagle's Point? I don't know if I could make it all the way north if we had to walk." Angel asked which made Shadow think for a few minutes. Where could they find a merchant caravan heading to the north? Most of the south was war torn, trading would be sparse if any happened at all. Or so he thought. Their best chance was to head to Faith Hills, as they may have opened their trade routes once again.
"We can head to Faith Hills. I don't know if there will be any merchant caravans leaving for the north, but it's worth a shot." Shadow said, pointing out the direction to the capital. This situation was odd, that she was willing to be away from Vaalic to join Shadow. However Shadow didn't want to press the situation any further right now. But he swore that he would get the answer out of her soon. Every second she was with him now, he felt paranoid and relieved that she was around. A strange combination.
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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Somber » Wed May 13, 2009 11:29 am

dbl
Last edited by Anonymous on Wed May 13, 2009 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Somber » Wed May 13, 2009 11:31 am

Angel - Tx J

It was nothing to say Angel was overwhelmed, her feelings so shattered at that point her heart felt as though a lonely shard of glass. Every ounce of her prickled with disappointment, with the pain she had caused Vaalic. She was right in it, right to cause them this pain. Without it, without telling him these things, without hurting him so thoroughly; he would never had let her go. She’d done it for both of them. Angel deserved the kind of love Vaalic could not give her, wanted even more now to be above all else in someone’s life. She’d been so selfish in her past; now with it over she sought her own life one in which she’d live for another. She’d give of herself in hopes of finding the same. Should she be so lucky to find the love she deserved, she’d embrace it fully.

Until then she’d made a vow to herself to help Shadow, to ease his torment…for she knew he’d succumb to hell’s call if she did not. Angel felt his struggle, knew of the will it must take to resist. He was fighting for his humanity and the pain she sensed waging war within him held her in awe. She had found a kinship in this pain, a trust that ran deeper than the surface. Unwillingly they’d both shared a past, a son; no nightmare held could make her forget that. To help herself she would help him.

* * * * * * *

They had been moving since her return. Gathering what little she had they had left Freeport. Now that numbness took hold of her limbs and her lungs burned for rest would she request it. She stopped her eyes locked on the stars above.

“Shadow…may we stop for the night?”

He looked at her, her weariness plain on her face. He had not considered her needs, as his own had never been prominent. “Of course.”

She followed him as they left the road finding peace among a cluster of boulders and trees to the east of the road they were following. She held no fear and instead took to the care of Kayin’s needs and her own as Shadow gathered there belongings and started a fire. She was weary, her back and legs stiff from the long walk with Kayin heavy on her hip. She took relief that he slept in a bundle of blankets at her side. Parched she took water when offered it and ate the oats and beef she’d brought along.

She’d taken notice to the way Shadow watched her, he’d moved about them watching her and Kayin with utter curiosity. Questions playing about his face, that as time passed she felt she’d never hear. Just as she lay down cradling Kayin into the crook of her chest did he speak.

“What am I to you?”

The question surprised her, having several answers, she was unsure on how to answer. Her mind spoke, but words never uttered… Father to my son, my past, my fu… He’d taken her silence for misunderstanding.

“Am I tool for your protection? To settle some quarrel you may be having?” He seemed impatient to hear the answer, but at least the answer was clearer to her.

“I’ll not use you, if that is what you’re asking. Though I’ll admit my relief when you didn’t decide to leave me behind for my protection.” That had been a true fear for her, she wanted this to be different, wanted to prove she didn’t need to be handled. “I do trust you’ll keep me safe, but I want to help you as much as you help me.” The irony didn’t elude her; this was different for her as well as for him.

He felt her honesty and he welcomed it, he didn’t understand her reasoning; but wanted to. “Need I remind you of our past? Why would anyone be so eager to help someone with that kind of history?”

Angel rested her cheek against Kayin’s head, his soft hair sending warmth through her. She spoke quietly though the pain of her past was evident in her voice. “I am quite aware of our past. Quite aware of what it has brought me. But I also know your pain, I may not feel it as you do, but I sense what it does to you and I believe that your fight is just. That this test will prove change for you. I believe that I can help you with that change and that it will mean better for both of us.” She felt it, but she would not speak of remorse, it was something she prayed he would feel but not something she felt she would ever gain. “Besides it is not eagerness that has brought me to this point, but the links in our history. Without the past you can better the future; and the future is here with us.”

Frustration played across his features, his head hung between his knees as he tried to absorb his words. He didn’t deserve this, it was some sort of trick hell was playing on him. How could anyone… “Angel I’m sorry. I don’t want to sound ungrateful now, uttering words that may push you away. I want nothing more than your company…But I need to know why? You are free now, as I. Why are you here, and not with him?”

“I don’t belong with him.” It was something she had felt for sometime, a feeling she’d feared.

He looked up to study her face confused, he asked. “But you do with me?”

“Yes.”

I don’t have that kind of luck. This must be some kind of joke. Shadow thought.

She saw his confusion, didn’t quite know how to get him to understand, but she had no reason not to try. She spoke from her heart, trying to settle his mind. “Shadow I can not say what tomorrow brings. But here, now, in this moment I need to be here with you. To help you. You know what it feels to be compelled. I know you do. I feel being here for you is something I need to do to benefit both of us.”

Shadow remained motionless staring at her. The confusion appeared to be gone, but Angel was unsure of the thoughts that passed through his head. She lay propped up on one arm as she watched the flames dance and crackle before her. It would be some time before Shadow would speak again. “Have you ever been to the north?”

“Not for some time.”

“Some time?” His gaze was hopeful. She would be familiar with the terrain then, know of the distance it would take and yet she was still willing.

“My family travelled a lot when I was younger. I don’t know if you knew but to many we were considered nomads.” She laughed to herself quite reminiscently. It was true they would travel away from the Faith Lands to the North once a year, but her home was on Faith lands, in the hills on the outskirts of there borders. As Azari kept a close eye on his daughter playing Princess over the years. She was bitter inside she knew, but she’d known Somber was better for it, she was stronger…more deserving than she.

“The life might not be as certain, but it is by far the more exciting and rewarding. I used to be like you, and considering my reputation in these lands; it is the only life I can live now.”

“I used to be like me too.” There was a certain sadness denoted in her voice Shadow noticed. “I miss the life I used to lead, for so long I have been trapped in a box.”

“I can hardly blame those who are trapped by their own will. Certainty and control are your own rewards.”

“I agree. It is good to have control; to have a voice. You know as well as I what it is to be controlled, to follow the will of another. I have punished myself enough.”

“You would prefer both then?” Shadow queried.

“Control and a voice?” In honesty…Yes. I want to have value. If that makes sense.”

“And yet you miss not having it? On the road you have no more value than a blade of grass in a field. No one has any value unless their nomadic ways keeps them to a single place.” The woman confused him.

“You misunderstand my meaning. We have two separate ideas of value. If my opinion matter it holds value. I guess what it comes down to is another’s perception of me. If someone cares enough to hold my opinion as they make a decision; that grants me value. Vaalic cared little for what I had to say.”

Shadow watched her for a long while unknowing whether or not to breach the subject. He didn’t want her tears, but he could see she was hurt at the thought she’d placed before him. “If I were to say that choosing me over him was the wrong thing to do, would you care for what I was saying? I mean he is a man trying to change the world, so he can get a little distracted if not passionate for his own beliefs…”

Her eyes darkened with her thoughts, it brought the bitterness back. She fought it, wanting no more of it. “You do not need to tell me Vaalic is passionate in his beliefs. I believe he will change the world, but I was never the one that meant the world to him. He didn’t believe in me.” Though Shadow’s opinion mattered to her she had to be honest with him in the instance. “To me there was no option. I did not choose.”

“You don’t…” She watched as his features changed, his thoughts playing in a continuous loop across his face. Finally he decided he needed to know. “You don’t have to be with me right?”

The honesty of the question lifted her spirits. He was worried but she hadn’t a clue as to why. “No Shadow I want to be.”
...faith isn't faith until it's all you're holding on to...
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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Vaalic » Thu May 14, 2009 2:10 pm

The following week was busy for Vaalic and Kitiara as they stayed by the prince’s side, yet Vaalic grew restless. Aramis had done all Vaalic had asked of him. Vaalic had the supplies he needed but he still needed to return to the Faith army outside the city. Aramis had treated Vaalic and Kitiara both as honoured guests, giving them anything they had asked for. Aramis did not have many supplies and the group that followed him was strange. Many were escaped prisoners from the prison. Cutthroats and thieves, yet there were also honest men who came to fight the tyranny of the Flurin. Aramis had explained that he did not have a large group of fighting men but he had enough to make a difference in a tactical strike. Most of Aramis’ followers were not men of steel, but rather common place men who simply wanted to see an end to the war. The one thing each of his men had in common was that they had lost something to the Flurin invasion. Merchants who had their business taken made up a large number.

Vaalic had questioned Aramis about his follower’s functions and in answer Aramis explained that most who served him acted as spies. Information passed freely to the prince, and though not all the men were willing to get their hands directly into the conflict, many were willing to provide information to hinder the Flurin. It was with that information that Aramis planned his actions. He had segmented his men into small groups, each acting independently of one another. The reason, Aramis had explained, was to prevent one traitor from compromising everyone. Vaalic learned that there had been Flurin spies discovered within Aramis’ organization, and for that reason the prince took every precaution on the secrecy of his location and plans.

Vaalic could see the prince was walking a fine line with the game he played, but he was impressed by the young prince’s new role in leadership. Aramis had spies of his own within the Flurin ranks, and it was their information he relied upon a great deal. It was one of the Flurin spies that had given the information for this night’s actions. Aramis would not say who the man was, but only that his information had proven reliable in the past.

Aramis had made arrangements with the spy to have a hole in the Flurin wall patrols. Tonight was the night Vaalic and Kitiara would return to their homes outside the city. The night had become late and the sky was overcast with a moderate rain falling. It was the prefect day. The moon was hidden above the clouds and would not light their escape, and the rain would dull the noise of their movements. Aramis had sent two men with Vaalic and Kitiara to bring them to their location.

Slowly the four of them walked through the streets of Freeport staying to the shadows as much as possible. The curfew was in effect and if they were discovered by Flurin soldiers they would be treated as enemies. The risk was necessary as the small group reached the Eastern wall of Freeport. Just on the other side the open fields awaited with the protection of the forest not far from there. The trouble would be getting over the wall and crossing the field without being discovered. Vaalic knew a good long bowman could strike them as they ran across the field nearly to the tree line. The wind and raid would certainly help to hinder any archers, but Vaalic was not interested in taking the chance. Kitiara had been resting and healing. She was well enough to travel, though it would be slower going.

There was no way for the small group to know if Aramis’ spy had kept his promise, and they would only know if all went well. The spy had sent a message in response to Aramis’ request that he would organize a dice game with the other guards, but requested a large sum of money to facilitate the game. Aramis had sent the money willingly. It had been taken from fallen Flurin soldiers anyway, and if it served their purpose he was not above bribery.

Vaalic listened for the sounds of the guards walking the walls, but the dull drumming of the rain made it impossible to hear. From where they were they could not see anyone, but that meant nothing. Still, they would have to try. The men Aramis had sent had assured Vaalic that they had an escape route already planned should things not go well. The thought did little to ease his worries.

One of Aramis’ men retrieved a long grappling hook and stepped away from the group as he began to spin it. With a powerful swing he let the hook fly and it clattered onto the walking path at the top of the wall. The man gave a tug and the hook came tumbling down. Each bang and clash made the others wince, but no shouts were heard and so the man tried again. It took three attempts before the hook stayed firm. The thrower was the first to climb, followed by Vaalic, then the other escorts. Once on the wall Vaalic looked around and saw the pathway was clear and for that he was relieved. With the three men on the walkway Kitiara wrapped the rope around her waist and tied it firm. They knew with her she would not be able to climb and so the four men pulled her up the side of the wall.

Kitiara reached the top easily and the hook was removed and re-secured. This time the rope fell across the other side of the wall with one side still tied to Kitiara. Slowly Kitiara was lowered to the ground, and once her feet touched the wet grass she quickly untied herself. This was where the small group would part, and Vaalic thanked the escorts for their help. Vaalic slid down the rope and Kitiara waited for him expectantly. Once on the ground the pair began to run. Vaalic slowed his steps to allow Kitiara to go at a pace she could handle, but he could see she was still struggling. She knew the risks of crossing the open field as well as Vaalic and she did not slow.

Their pace slowed only once they reached the safety of the trees. Looking back Vaalic could hardly see the walls to the city in the darkness. He knew they were safe now. They had escaped the city without incident and for that he was grateful. It was still a long hike to return to the Faith camp, but both were pleased with their success. After a few moments spent to catch their breath they began the hike into the forest.
When a Greater evil unites, the good must come together;
else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a useless struggle.
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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Vaalic » Fri May 15, 2009 6:03 pm

Double Post
Last edited by Anonymous on Fri May 15, 2009 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
When a Greater evil unites, the good must come together;
else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a useless struggle.
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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Vaalic » Fri May 15, 2009 6:14 pm

The homecoming for Kitiara and Vaalic was a simple matter. They both knew their way through the forest leading to their new camp and came to find it easily. The sentries that had been placed around the perimeter had helped to bring them safely back to the camp. Vaalic’s first visit was to his friend Christopher. He knew the Commander would be interested in his return. The second person Vaalic wanted to see was Warren but that would wait until morning. Kitiara came with Vaalic as they approached Christopher’s pavilion. It was still night and Vaalic knew Christopher was asleep. The pavilion was quiet but even as Vaalic approached the pavilion from a distance he could see a small glow of light start; then grow brighter as the light from the lantern grew in intensity. It was clear that word of his homecoming had reached the Commander before Vaalic could get there himself, and that thought was good. Vaalic had no desire to wake Christopher, but he knew that he had information to give. Vaalic and Kitiara waited outside the pavilion as Christopher readied himself to receive the visitors and after a short time the canvas flap to the pavilion opened and Christopher stepped out. His hair was matted from sleep and his eyes were blood shot and still trying to focus to the night, yet he smiled.
”Vaalic, Kitiara, it’s good to see you. You’ve been gone some time I was beginning to worry.” Christopher stifled a yawn as his body rejected his decision to wake.
”There were some complications and we had to wait before we could return.” Kitiara answered, though she left the details to his imagination. Christopher nodded his understanding as he looked between the two of them.
”I see. Then I am glad you have returned. You’re presence here has been missed. We have been busy and there is much on the go, but that can wait until morning. What news do you bring from Freeport?”
Vaalic was the one to answer.
”Prince Aramis is doing well but he is isolated from our help. He will be able to provide us with a great deal of information from inside the city. I would suggest we communicate with him more often, if we can. He knows a great deal more about the Flurin movements, manpower and habits than we do. We could use what he knows to our benefit.
“I have also retrieved the items we were looking for. Aramis was able to get everything I asked. I just need Warren’s help in finishing this.”


Christopher’s expression became stern and he looked clearly troubled.
”You know I did not approve of this quest of yours Vaalic, but I see the need for it. If you can accomplish what you’re seeking you may be able to nullify the effect of that demon. That alone would raise the morale of our men and be another chip out of the Flurin wall. Still, I have my doubts.
“There have been rumours around camp about you; about your past, and that of this demon. If half of what I hear is true, I don’t think you are seeing this clearly. Your view is clouded by your past and I need you to see clearly. We still have a mission to do here and you’re too valuable to what we are doing to be chasing a personal vendetta. To be honest, I don’t know if you can compete with the demon. It is not of this world.”


Christopher’s brutal honesty was something Vaalic could respect. Vaalic had spent a great deal of time reflecting on just those thoughts, and although he could not convince himself he was not on a personal vendetta, neither could he convince himself to stop. Vaalic had been surprised by what Christopher had said and for a moment could not think of what to say. It was Kitiara who answered for him.

”You may call it whatever you like, but the fact remains that ShadowRune is one major thing standing in our way. As long as he stands against us we can not win. Unless we find a way to defeat the demon and their dragon we will never take our city back. We know the Flurin strategy already. They do not have the manpower to continue their invasion. For whatever reason their plans have been halted, but we can not assume that will last forever. Before long the Flurin will get organized and more soldiers will come. When that day comes they will push out beyond the walls of Freeport. They have eyes for the rest of our kingdom, and as long as ShadowRune leads their way we will not be able to stop them. Vaalic has been the only man willing to step up to face this demon. If he believes he can defeat him then I will have faith. You should do the same.” Kitiara’s words were sharp but made their point. It was Christopher who took a moment before he could answer.
”Then I will pray you will meet with success. You both have had a trying day I am sure. We can speak more of this in the morning.” With that Christopher turned away from them and went back into his pavilion. Vaalic could not tell if Christopher was angry with their conversation or shamed by Kitiara’s comments. Either way they would leave him to his thoughts.

Kitiara and Vaalic left Christopher’s pavilion and began to walk through the camp. The wide pathways between the tents were deserted so late at night, and the pair walked at a casual pace making their way through the camp. They walked in silence for a few moments before Vaalic finally had to ask.
”About what you said... do you believe that?” It seemed like such an unusual question, but one Vaalic wanted an answer to. Kitiara looked at him as they walked. Her features were shadowed by the night and the rain.
”About ShadowRune? Yes, I do. I know the two of you have a history, and maybe that is clouding your judgement. I don’t know if you noticed, but there hasn’t been anyone else willing to stand up to him. Not a single man; and they’re right to fear him. I know that you hate him and it is your hatred that overpowers your fear. You may be the only one here able to stand up to him but you need the tools to do it. We have known each other for years, and if there is one thing you’ve shown me it’s that you don’t like to lose. You will find a way, and that is why I have faith.”
Kitiara smiled, but it was lost in the darkness of night. Vaalic felt reassured, glad to have Kitiara with him. It did not take them long to reach the small tent Kitiara had claimed. The enchantment would have to wait until morning. Vaalic knew better than to wake Warren up in the middle of the night, though the delay was a difficult one to handle. Kitiara had thought the same thing, though neither of them spoke of it. Kitiara stopped in front of her tent and turned to face her friend.
”Sleep well Vaalic. Tomorrow will be a long day for you.”
”Thank you for everything you’ve done. I’m glad you came with me. Rest easy tonight, you’ve earned it.”
With a nod Kitiara opened the tent and disappeared inside. Vaalic suddenly felt tired from the events of the day. He was soaked to the skin, but knew he would be able to find sleep shortly. The walk back to his tent was short, and he thought about the challenges tomorrow would bring.

The morning came when the noise of the camp woke him. The rain had stopped and the sun was shinning through the canvas of the tent, lighting the inside. Vaalic got up, and dressed in a pair of dry, clean clothes. The men around camp were busy with their daily duties. Vaalic began to wander and quickly found Warren eating his morning meal. Kitiara was already with him and they were talking. Kitiara saw Vaalic approaching and waved him over. Coming to a seat beside them he could feel Warren’s eyes studying him.
”Kitiara here was just filling me in on what happened to the two of you. It sounds to me like you’re both lucky to still be breathing. I’m glad you made it back. I assume you want to do this ceremony as soon as possible.”
Vaalic couldn’t help but smile. His intentions were transparent.
”I know I warned you about this, but I’ll tell you again. This ritual, it’s dangerous. I can’t promise that it won’t kill you outright. Do you understand?” Warren was serious, and his expression helped to state the gravity of the situation. Still, Vaalic knew that he had no choice. If he did not do this, then he would die by ShadowRune’s hand. He had no doubt of that.
”I am ready. Just tell me what I need to do.” Vaalic had thought on the subject before he had slept and he knew it was what he had to do. He was ready, and he could not let his will falter now. Warren let out a sigh.
”I was afraid you were going to say that. Alright, well it will take me some time to set up. Give me the Book of the Heavens; I will want to review it before we do anything. I have an idea on what needs to be done, but I have to say this concerns me. I don’t want your blood on my hands.”
Vaalic opened the bag Aramis had given him and retrieved the book. He handed it to Warren willingly and placed the rest of the items on the table in front of him.
”I have no intentions of dying. I will make it through this; I just need your help getting to the end result.” Vaalic spoke with a confidence he now felt.
”Fine. Give me your sword then, I will need it for the ceremony. Just the blade; I don’t need the sheath. Give me a few hours to get prepared. I’ll find you when I’m ready.” Warren said before standing up and picking up the bag. Vaalic hesitated as he looked down at his sword. He knew he would have to part with it, but it had so rarely left his side that he felt naked without it. Reluctantly he drew the blade out and placed it on the table. Warren looked it over critically.
”That’s a nice blade. Looks fit for a prince I’d say.” Warren said as he admired the design of it.
”It was given to me as a gift. It has served me well.”

Warren picked up the blade, and with the bag in hand began to walk away. His meal was only half eaten and left abandoned on the table. Vaalic truly felt out of place without his weapon, but quickly pushed those thoughts from his mind. Kitiara stayed and shared conversation with him as they ate their morning meal. Neither of them spoke of the coming ceremony. Instead their talk moved to other concerns. Kitiara was worried about the progress Jake had made, and Vaalic’s thoughts were of Somber. Together they spoke of where they thought the pair would be by now and what they could be doing. Kitiara stated that she hadn’t heard from Jake in some time, and his silence was beginning to unnerve her. Vaalic hated not knowing what was happening but had to trust that Jake would protect Somber. Together he knew they would be able to change things, yet it did not stop either of them from worrying. They had been gone for some time already but they both knew it would be a lot longer before they would return.

As time passed, Warren eventually came to find Vaalic. When he did he found him with Kitiara at the riverside. The pair was sitting on the rocks talking. Vaalic heard Warren’s approach before he could see the aging sorcerer and was ready when he finally came in view. Warren stopped once he saw them, clearing not planning to traverse the rocky shoreline.
”All is prepared.” Those simple words sent Vaalic’s blood moving. He couldn’t explain why but the thought of what he was about to do made his adrenaline begin to flow.

Kitiara and Vaalic followed Warren who led them along the outskirts of the camp, away from all others. Warren led them out of view of any tents, but still close enough that the sounds of men working and training could be heard. A small canvas tent had been erected on the moss covered ground between two large trees. Vaalic could see others waiting by the tent. He recognized Christopher and Dravven immediately. As they approached Vaalic greeted them both. It was Dravven who spoke as Vaalic came to view the tent.
”Are you sure about this?” Vaalic could see the concern in Dravven’s eyes.
”I am.” Vaalic would not allow himself to be deterred. Warren’s caution had made him slightly nervous, but he suppressed the feeling until he no longer felt anything but determination. It was Christopher who spoke next.
”Good luck my friend.” Warren cleared his throat getting everyone’s attention.
”Alright Vaalic, listen to me carefully now. All is prepared. I have read the Book of the Heavens and I know what is expected of me. I will be chanting the enchantment, but you must do something as well. I will explain to you what is to happen. Inside the tent your sword is lain out across ground. Do not touch it right away. Once you get in there I will begin my chant. My words are only to help facilitate this. It is what you do that determines the outcome. Inside I have started a small fire that’s been burnt down to coals. The tent is full of wood smoke. Once your inside and I begin chanting you must take the graveroot and place it onto the coals. It must start to burn and you must breathe the smoke of it.
“Beside the fire you will find a small flask as well as a vial. I have mixed the serpents venom with the holy water. The mixture is in both the flask and the vial. Now, first you must use the flask to drip a coating of the venomous holy water along the blade of your sword. Be sure to coat both sides. Once that is complete you will rest the sword on your lap and drink the flask. The rest is out of our hands and into the hands of the gods. From there I can not say what will happen. ”

Vaalic went over the actions in his mind.
”You want me to drink venom and holy water?” The idea of it sounded absurd.
”Yes. That is the risk Vaalic, it may kill you, it may not, but it must be done if you are to see this through.”
Vaalic looked to the others around him and it was clear that this had not been what any of them were expecting. In truth none of them had known what to expect. Vaalic took a deep breath before he second guessed himself.
”Alright. Let’s do this.” Before he could lose his nerve Vaalic opened the tent flap and entered the small tent. The wood smoke burnt his eyes and caused him to begin coughing. The tent was so small Vaalic was forced to crawl in and it had only enough room for him to sit cross legged with the blade in front of him. He closed the flap quickly to keep the smoke inside. The air was thick with smoke and it was difficult to breathe. Vaalic could make out each of the objects Warren had told him would be there.

Outside the tent he could hear Warren begin his chant. Vaalic tried to keep his breathing shallow to keep from inhaling too much smoke, but he stayed focused. Picking up the graveroot he placed it on the smouldering coals. The root began to hiss as the heat and coals began to burn it. The smoke it produced was far darker than that of the wood and within a few moments Vaalic was consumed by it. He could no longer see the wall of the tent in front of him, though it was hardly more than an arms length away. The smoke filled his lungs and he began to cough. The smoke was bitter and his throat became raw. Vaalic’s eyes watered and he was forced to close them.

Reaching to his right he felt the vial. Retrieving it, he reached out with his left hand and picked up his sword. The familiar grip was comforting. Vaalic continued to cough as his lungs tried to filter the black smoke. Forcing his eyes open he could see the blade in his had. As Warren had directed Vaalic coated the blade with the venomous holy water and rested the blade on his lap. The smoke was almost unbearable now and Vaalic felt the urge to escape from the claustrophobic tent. He desperately needed air and began to feel light headed. Still, he knew he could not retreat. Reaching out he picked up the flask, then hesitated. The thought of drinking the poison caused him to pause. He could feel his resolve fading, and his desperate need for air trying to encourage him to leave.

Vaalic tried to will his hand to move and bring the foul drink to his lips, but his doubts stopped him. The thick smoke in the air was making him light headed and dizzy, but his thoughts went to that of Somber, then to Angel. He could picture them in his mind. Then it continued to ShadowRune, and the death and pain he had caused. ShadowRune was a plague, and he knew neither Somber nor Angel would be safe so long as he lived. It was then that Vaalic felt his resolve returning. He had offered his life to them both, and for their sake ShadowRune needed to be put down. The thought of his own mortality was a secondary concern. Vaalic knew that he had to place the lives of Angel and Somber above his own, and with that thought in mind he drank. In two large mouthfuls he had consumed the sweet, syrupy liquid from the flask. Vaalic remained there, in the smoke filled room. Oddly he was beginning to breath easier though the dizziness remained. After several minutes Vaalic could feel a warmth moving through his body. His hand gripped his sword as his world began to spin out of control. Vaalic tried to bring his thoughts back to the women he loved, but his focus was gone and he felt his mind falling into darkness.

He could hear voices, though they did not belong to that of Warren, Dravven, Kitiara or Christopher. He could not clearly make out what was said, and he could not recognize the speakers. It sounded as though he were listening through a wall. The voices seemed to be coming from every direction. He heard his name said by one of the speakers. A woman he thought, though he couldn’t be sure. His head felt weightless and all was darkness. He clearly heard one voice say “death” while another said “mercy”. The voices seemed to echo around him. Vaalic tried to place the voice, or remember how he had come to be here. In that moment he had no memories but the utter blackness that now consumed him. Vaalic could not tell how much time had passed but he could still hear the voices repeating the same words until finally the darkness began to lift and the world became light again.

The feeling of light headedness began to fade and was replaced by a throbbing migraine. Vaalic heard himself groan at the pressure he felt in his head and his memories began to return. The voices he heard began to fade from his thoughts and soon from his memories. As his eyes struggled to open the last thing he could remember was consuming the venom. Finally, and with an obvious struggle Vaalic’s eyes opened. As his eyes focused he could see the blue sky through the canopy of the trees. As his senses returned Vaalic could feel his back laying against the damp grass of the forest. He was no longer in the smoke filled tent, but instead outside of it laying on the grass.

”He’s waking up.” The voice was that of a woman’s, though this one Vaalic could recognize as Kitiara.
”That was close.” Dravven’s voice came from beside him, and was clearly concerned. Vaalic tried to look around and found his lungs burned and his eyes took a few moments to focus.
”What happened?” Vaalic managed to say in a raspy voice and a raw throat.
”You nearly killed yourself you damn fool.” Christopher laughed then, pleased to see Vaalic returning to consciousness.
Vaalic’s memories returned and he remembered the ritual he had gone through.
”Did it work?” Vaalic had to ask and it was Warren who answered.
”I don’t know. You were unconscious for several hours and had a fever. There’s no way to know if it worked. Your sword looks the same as it did, but I guess the only way to find out would be to test it. If it didn’t work I think your test will be rather short lived. We did everything we were suppose to. If this could actually work, we did it.”

Vaalic began to feel balanced enough to sit up. His head still ached as though he had been hit with a rock, but he couldn’t help but laugh. He had survived at the very least. He looked around at his friends, who were all smiling, pleased he had made it through.
”I knew you would make it through.” Kit said as Dravven helped pull Vaalic up to his feet.
When a Greater evil unites, the good must come together;
else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a useless struggle.
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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Killean » Sat May 16, 2009 1:27 pm

Image

To appear before this post:
http://evernight.com/boards/canon/viewtopic.php?p=776324#p776324

* * * * * * *

Looking around Shadow saw that he was no longer at the docks surrounded by Flurin sentries. What he saw was that he was in an empty alley, holding the manifestation that was his soul in his hands. It was obvious to him that he blanked out, overjoyed with the return of his freedom. The factor that possibly returned his demonic mind back to reality was just that, his demonic nature. He was a free demon, but not free from his tie to hell. First things first, Shadow had to protect this unholy talisman from falling into the hands of any other. His first thought on this subject was to give it to Angel. Shadow had no clue about where she would go, let alone if she would be strong enough to protect it. The alternative was to keep it on him, but where that would not draw undue attention? The howls that haunted him clearly knew where he should keep his soul. Inside.

With little effort Shadow pulled a ring from a barrel and tore the metal as if it were tissue. Inside was the safest place for this treasure, inside where it once belonged. Gritting his teeth the rusty metal pierced his belly tearing a hole large enough for a fist to enter. Choking on his own screams, he shoved the stone into the wound. After a long moment of suffering the stone was now safe, sealed under the skin that was now healed on his abdomen.
"It's funny." Shadow laughed weakly to himself, "doing this never hurt before."
Looking down at his belly, Shadow shook his head with a sigh and meekly stood.
"I think it is about time that I hold up my end. She wants to see him..." Shadow mumbled under his breath as he stared up to the sky.

Shadow made his journey back to the palace as quick as he could. But before he was to enter Angel's room, he paused, his hand just grazing the door handle. His thoughts suddenly fell to the howls of his taint, and images of her capture by his hands yet again were invading him. Moving his hand away and to his head, he willed the images to be gone. This is exactly why it was for the best that she would return to him. Even with his freedom, who knew how much longer his will would be free with hells ever changing tactics. The need to keep her close as his reality check was about to disappear, which drew upon his envy and jealously; yet another tool to make Shadow succumb to his instincts.

* * * * * * *

Read the following post for information after this point:
http://evernight.com/boards/canon/viewtopic.php?p=676559#p676559

* * * * * * *

Shadow watched helplessly as Angel entered the forest. But what puzzled him most was that she left Kayin with him. The end of her journey was here and now. Did she fear if the sentries were over zealous and struck her down, Kayin would be harmed as well? As much as his old self would argue, these people were not stupid or skittish. No harm would have come to her or the child. Or perhaps, she was simply trying to give Shadow false hope that she wished to remain beside him as his reality check. What a cruel thing that would be to do to him now, albeit he deserves much worse considering their past. The last thought was a product of his taint, but the bond of blood made it disappear in an instance.
"Whoa! Kayin, be careful..." Shadow repositioned Kayin, who almost managed to struggle his way out of his arms.
"Do you realize how much trouble I would be in if she came back and you were crying because you fell to the ground?" Shadow spoke in a soft voice. He was probably right on the mark with this comment. It was not wise to anger the mother of a child. Shadow just imagined the ruler of hell was shouting the same thing, pissed off that some harlot of his past was coming between her and her demon.

Deciding that she might be a while, Shadow decided to lie down in the shade of a tree for a while. Kayin; whom was now lying peacefully on Shadow's chest, began to coo and reach for the sky as a flock of small birds flew by.
"What do you think I should do Kayin? I'm free to do as I please, but I am cursed to a life of pain and suffering." The mention of his torment made Shadow's head spin from the intensity of the demonic howls. He tried his best to will them to go away, but it only increased. This was getting to be more and more troublesome, which only meant hell was getting more desperate for Shadow to fall once more. Through the pain in his head, a sudden thought made it through. The thought was with the book he had found many weeks before, the books written by sages of old and of he who was cursed as him. The only question was where could Shadow find a modern day sage?

The howls suddenly stopped as Shadow's gaze fell to Kayin. The child was now asleep, his breathing in unison with Shadows. It was then the image of Kayin trying to chase the birds that sparked his decision.
"I'm going to Eagle's Point." Shadow said quietly under his breath, more to Kayin than himself, "I should be able to find a sage there. And hopefully I will return a free man, not a demon, to hold my promise to you and our Angel."


For a time that seemed to take forever, Shadow remained under the tree and watched the sun slowly fall to the horizon. At last he heard a noise come from within the forest, clumsy steps, which could only mean that Angel had returned... but alone...
Why is she alone? Surely Vaalic should not be much further away. Shadow thought, listening intently for quieter, more trained footsteps. None were heard, it was Angel and nothing else. Something was greatly amiss here, which worried Shadow a little.

As she neared, Shadow alerted her to their position. When she found Shadow, he looked up to her and saw that she had been crying. She tried her best to smile when she saw Kayin cozily lying on Shadow.
"I see you two are getting along well." She said with a sniffle.
"Not so much getting along as he is asleep." Shadow said, gently picking up Kayin and stood. Shadow offered the child back to Angel, but she refused with a shake of her head.
"You can hold him for a while. It would be a shame if we woke him." Shadow tilted his head to her logic for letting him keep the child. He eagerly wished to ask Angel the question that concerned him greatly.
"Angel... Why are you..." Shadow began, however Angel cut him off knowing what he was going to ask, "So, where to?" Shadow stood there, dumbstruck by such a simple question.
"I, don't understand." Shadow stated slowly, finding that the situation was getting odder by the minute. Shadow could tell something big just happened because Angel was trying to restrain her emotions from erupting. She was trying to stay strong in his presence.
"You are free from your chains right?" Angel asked, waiting for the slightest of confirmation from him. Shadow cautiously nodded his head.
"So, where shall we go?" Angel asked again. Shadow could see in her eyes, she was desperately trying to escape from his questions of what just occurred. He had no idea how he should proceed. What of Vaalic? What of the people she knew and grew with? The right thing, as far as Shadow could see, was to send her home where she belonged. Not that he wanted her to go; it was just what had to be done.

"I... My plan is to head Eagle's Point." Shadow gave in and changed the subject he was on. Was this also the right thing to do right? Help her to avoid more sadness? Angel smiled with relief as Shadow started to go along with her.
"What will we find at Eagle's Point?" She asked, curious of why Shadow wished to go so far to the north.
"Do you remember the books I gave you?" Shadow asked which Angel managed to produce quickly and replied, "of course I do." She smiled.
"The sages who wrote that book might have left knowledge with the sages of Eagle's Point. It might be my only chance to sever my ties to hell, and make me truly free." Shadow could see his determination reflected in Angel. She looked as if she was willing to join him in his quest to the depths of hell if she must.

"I'm sure you will need some moral support then. But, could we join a group heading to Eagle's Point? I don't know if I could make it all the way north if we had to walk." Angel asked which made Shadow think for a few minutes. Where could they find a merchant caravan heading to the north? Most of the south was war torn, trading would be sparse if any happened at all. Or so he thought. Their best chance was to head to Faith Hills, as they may have opened their trade routes once again.
"We can head to Faith Hills. I don't know if there will be any merchant caravans leaving for the north, but it's worth a shot." Shadow said, pointing out the direction to the capital. This situation was odd, that she was willing to be away from Vaalic to join Shadow. However Shadow didn't want to press the situation any further right now. But he swore that he would get the answer out of her soon. Every second she was with him now, he felt paranoid and relieved that she was around. A strange combination.
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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Vaalic » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:48 pm

Vaalic felt almost like a stranger in his own body for some time after the ritual. Each movement felt as though he was wading through a river and his balance was unsteady at best. Jurret had insisted Vaalic accompany him to the medical tent and Vaalic had not argued. Vaalic had spent the next hour there under the critical eye of Jurret. Over time Vaalic felt his body returning to normal. Jurret conducted several tests on Vaalic, testing his reflexes and movements as well as asking him questions that made him think. Over the course of the hour Vaalic’s responses to the tests became what Jurret had hoped. Vaalic no longer felt light headed or sluggish, but soon felt normal again. He felt strong and confident again. He examined his sword again but could not find the slightest of alterations. He had some doubt about the ritual. Had he succeeded in enchanting the blade, or had the smoke simply caused a strange hallucination. He could not be sure, and that thought was troubling. Finally Jurret gave Vaalic his blessing to leave. From a medical viewpoint there was nothing wrong with him, yet Jurret was still concerned. Rumours had spread amongst the soldiers in the camp and Vaalic noticed the men watching him as he walked past. He didn’t know what they were expecting but he could feel their eyes nonetheless.

Vaalic wanted some time to think and reflect on everything that had happened. He knew the place he would go to be alone. He would find the solitude of the forest. As he made his way through the camp he moved past the soldiers as they went about their duties. Cooking fires had been lit for the evening meal, yet Vaalic had no interest in the food. It did not take him long to be away from the noise and movement of the camp. No one stopped him or questioned where he was going. He simply walked out into the forest and found a quiet place to sit amongst the moss, grass and trees. Insects buzzed through the forest air and the sound of the occasional bird call was the only disturbance. Vaalic closed his eyes and tried to calm himself. He wanted to clear his head and take the time to lessen the tenseness he felt in his shoulders. A branch snapped behind him quite some distance away and he knew he was no longer alone. Vaalic didn’t move, but remained still and listened. He knew there were only allies here, but the disturbance irritated him. Another branch cracked as someone made their way closer. Knowing the visitor was here for him Vaalic called out.
”I’m here.” he said before standing up and brushing the earth from his pants. A young soldier stopped in place and stared at Vaalic a moment. It seemed the young soldier was grasping for the words to say, and the hesitation irritated Vaalic.
”Out with it man. If you have nothing to tell me, leave me in peace.”
The soldier settled himself before he spoke.
”I’m sorry Sir. Christopher has asked to speak with you. He stated it was of importance and you should be told as soon as possible. I do not know what it is he has to say.” The urgency in the soldier’s voice caused Vaalic to forget his irritation and begin his way back to the camp.

Vaalic found Christopher in his pavilion and the tent flap was open. The two sentries that were guarding the door nodded to Vaalic before he passed through the opening. Christopher was not alone and had several other advisors with him. Dravven was there, as was Kitiara and two others Vaalic recognized as Christopher’s advisors but whom he could not recall their names.
Christopher greeted him as he entered.
”We have news from Prince Aramis.” The statement got Vaalic’s immediate attention. With a quick scan Vaalic read the expressions of those in the pavilion and couldn’t help but note the mixed feelings shown. It was Dravven and Kitiara’s expressions he regarded the closest, and he couldn’t help but notice that they were watching him.
”What does Aramis have to say?” Vaalic found himself holding his breath as Christopher began reading the small script on the parchment. The statements were broken, but the parchment was small so that the pigeon could carry it.
”Prince Aramis says “ShadowRune abandoned city. Fled with woman to Faith Hills. Flurin in disarray at news. Time to strike is now. We will open the city gates. Attack and route the Flurin. Two days time.”
The words send a chill down his spine, though Vaalic’s attention stopped after the first statement. He did not even comprehend the rest of what Christopher had said. For a moment Vaalic remained speechless. Vaalic could sense Dravven’s eyes on him, and even before he made any movement Dravven spoke.
”Vaalic... no...” Vaalic knew what his old friend was going to say, but he didn’t need to hear it. Without a word Vaalic turned and left the pavilion. He could hear Kitiara call his name, asking him to come back but he knew he couldn’t.
”I need a horse!” Vaalic called to one of the soldiers. The man paused a moment but saw Vaalic rushed. The soldier knew who Vaalic was and did not argue. Vaalic waited a moment for the man to fetch a horse, and while he waited Kitiara and Dravven approached him.
”You can’t go alone.” Kitiara said, clearly concerned. Vaalic was silently grateful she hadn’t tried to talk him out of it. She knew his feelings towards ShadowRune and he believed that she understood. Dravven however had no such notion.
”Vaalic, think about this, and about what Aramis is planning. You are needed here now. You don’t even know if the sword will work. If he is leaving then let him go. You will have another chance.” Dravven knew his words were falling on deaf ears, yet still he tried.
”You know I must do this. If he is with Angel, then I must go. You know him as well as I do. I can not simply let him slip away.”
Dravven just nodded, knowing that nothing he could say would convince Vaalic to say. It only took a few moments more of the soldier to return with a horse, which he had saddled.
“I’m sorry Vaalic, but there’s no provisions. I only took the time with the saddle.”
Vaalic took the reigns and pulled himself onto the saddle.
”It will be better to travel light. Thank you.” With that Vaalic turned the horse and led it into the forest. He knew it would be slow going while they winded their way through the forest, and the time that passed seemed like an eternity. Vaalic knew the way by heart and soon led the horse to the main road that connected Freeport with the Capital of Faith Hills. Once the beast had gotten to the road Vaalic kicked his heels in and spurred the horse onward.

Vaalic traveled like a man possessed. He pushed the horse hard, and stopped only when he felt the beast near collapse. He did not know how delayed Aramis’ message was, and he had no time to lose. He hoped that Shadow and Angel had travelled on foot, which would give him a chance. Still he pushed the horse to exhaustion and the beast ran, frothing at the mouth. Vaalic traveled as quickly as the horse would allow him, and as sunset neared he spotted two travellers on the hill rise. Spurring the horse forward Vaalic prayed he had found them. As he neared Angel’s raven black hair and lithe figure became unmistakable, as did the image of his nemesis. Angel carried a child in her arms, reaffirming Vaalic had he had in fact found them.

As the sound of horse hooves thundered closer ShadowRune turned and saw Vaalic charging towards him. As Vaalic neared he dismounted from his horse, slowing it only slightly in his haste to get on his feet. Vaalic knew he was not a Calvary man, and he needed every advantage against his opponent.

Shadow turned to face him and stepped in front of Angel, putting her and Kayin behind him. Vaalic’s could feel his face twisted in rage as he drew his swords and began walking towards ShadowRune. The sight of him there, with Angel was enough to send Vaalic into a frenzy.
”ShadowRune, I have come for you!” Vaalic bellowed as he approached. ShadowRune drew his blade even as Angel cried for them to stop. Vaalic hardly heard her plea as he met ShadowRune, his blade come down hard in an attempt to cleave him in two. Shadow nimbly deflected the blade and turned away. Vaalic followed up with a lunge, which ShadowRune also deflected. Shadow’s return was slow and Vaalic deflected the attempts easily. It became clear that Shadow was not putting his full skill into the melee.
”I have come with the means to destroy you Shadow. Do not think your curse will protect you this time.” Even as Vaalic spoke he pushed the attack, slashing repeatedly at Shadow, forcing him back. Shadow tried to circle, but Vaalic barrage did not cease. Vaalic could hear Angel calling for him to stop from somewhere behind him, yet at that moment he could only focus on Shadow. The demon began to push back, issuing strikes of his own, which Vaalic met and deflected. The two clashed for only a short time before Shadow stepped back giving them both a chance to size the other up. ShadowRune had remained silent during their exchange, yet he had begun to fight light he used to. Vaalic was prepared to press the attack once more, but was caught short when Angel stepped directly in front of his blade. The sight broke Vaalic from his enraged focus as he regarded Angel in astonishment.

“VAALIC enough!” she'd put her hand on his chest and pushed him away far enough to reduce his blood from boiling to simmering. “YOU need to leave. You need to leave now.” Vaalic lowered his blade, though he kept ShadowRune in sight.

“You want me to leave you with this creature? You must not know what you’re saying. Do you realize the danger you have put yourself in just by being with him?” To Vaalic Angel’s actions seemed almost insane.

“Dangerous? He poses no threat to me. The only danger I see is the fall-out from a battle lost. You die, he dies, I'd hate you both for it. End it now and go. “

“How can this end? He is darkness reborn. He knows only how to hurt and destroy but I can stop him. I now have the tools to put an end to his chaos. I can not leave him with you knowing what he has done and what he will still do.”

“He has caused me no harm. I know what he has done, what he does, but not even I can say what he will do. You don't know him as I do. Tools or no tools this hatred needs to end.”

“What do you know of him? Have you seen into the eyes of the men he has killed? Not just men, but poisoning of women and children. His wickedness spares no one and whatever he had told you, you must not believe it. No good can come from him. I have killed him once before when he was a man and now he returns a creature of evil. Surely that speaks to the blackness of his soul. I can end this here and now.”

“I know what we have shared, both in the human realm and in the nether. I know Vaalic, I know redemption is possible. I must believe in this, I must. For I seek it myself. You can't take this from me. Just walk away, please, I beg it of you.”

“You need not seek redemption. You have done nothing wrong. If you think helping this cursed soul will give that to you, you are naive. There is no redemption for his kind. If you feel you must seek redemption there are better ways. I do not know what you see in him to save. He has made his choices and now he must live with them. He must also face the consequences of his actions, and that is why I have come. I must see you safe, and I know that it can not be with him.”

“What God made you his redeemer. Why must it be you that sees his end. You are selfish. I am not yours to save. You mustn’t see to my safety. This is not your choice. Now I ask you once more, leave Vaalic, before more is done that we will regret.”

“I can not grant redemption, but I can grant justice for all the lives he has taken or ruined. You say I am selfish, but don’t you see. I am the only one who has survived so many encounters with him. He has killed all others that have come for him. I am not selfish so much as the only one willing to stand against him. You may not be mine, but it does not mean I do not love you. Even with all that has happened I want only the best for you and your son.”

The words actually stung her. To hear him say she was not his any longer put a finality upon them that lashed her as though a barbed whip. She stood speechless for several seconds. He would never understand her, their love was something of the past, something built upon lies.

“Love… what a twisted word; especially from you Vaalic. You say you love me, yet I know your heart belongs to another. Do not feign that you are here for me. You are here to satisfy your own bloodlust and revenge. You are so quick to condemn Shadow. You call him a murderer and a destroyer, but don’t you see you have done these same crimes. You have taken life at the point of your sword. What makes you better than him? Is it that you did so at the bidding of your love and queen, or that you felt your cause was just? No, Vaalic. I know you to be a good man, but your hands are as bloodied as his. You can not condemn him without condemning yourself first. You ask how I can see any good in him, and I tell you that there is kindness in him, just as I see the good in you. I know what I ask of you is at odds with your nature but if you have ever loved me, even for a moment, listen to what I am about to say.”
Angel let a moment pass to ensure she had Vaalic’s complete attention.
“I am asking you to set me free to live my life. You say there is no redemption for him, yet I must try and you must let me. All I ask is for you to let us be in peace. Leave your hatred here and be free of us both. I do not want any more bloodshed. Please Vaalic. This is the last thing I ask of you”

Her words stung him and the sensation numbed him. Her words cut to the core of his being and it troubled him. He hated ShadowRune, and he knew that would never change, yet he also felt Angel’s pain. Vaalic could feel himself torn between what to do. He knew he was different than ShadowRune, yet he knew their lives did share some similarities. Forgiveness was not something Vaalic was capable of, and he knew it. Several minutes passed in silence with Vaalic and Angel starting at one another in a silent duel of wills. Vaalic knew he could not argue with her now, and as much as it pained him he would let her go.

”Whatever you may think I do love you Angel. You have given me a lot to think about, but one thing you have made me see is that I can not hold you close anymore. You seek to help him, and I can not say I understand because I don’t. If you leave with him I will not stop you. Not now. But know that you will be going into exile. I will not come for you, nor will I hunt for ShadowRune. Should he ever return within the borders of Faith Hills I will end his life. I trust you will make this condition clear to him.”

With that Vaalic sheathed his sword and retrieved the reigns of his horse. Vaalic mounted and began to lead his horse away. ShadowRune remained where he was and watched him go. As he passed Vaalic looked down on his old enemy.
”If any harm should come to her…” Vaalic didn’t bother to finish the thought. He knew it needed no conclusion. The ride back to the Faith camp would be long, and Vaalic would give his horse its much needed chance for rest. For Vaalic he would not sleep that night. He had too much to reflect.
Last edited by Anonymous on Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
When a Greater evil unites, the good must come together;
else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a useless struggle.
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Re: A Land in Chaos 5

Postby Khellandros » Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:59 pm

The rest of the journey remained uneventful. There was very little conversation as they traveled. With their first loss it had brought about a gloomy silence. Khell didn’t mind the quiet. It gave him time to reflect on just what they were doing. Jasmine rode by his side as the other soldiers and former captives traveled behind them. The following day was much the same as they traveled, though their destination was at hand. Oakhill village was visible from some distance away. It sat on the coast line in the hills and was little more than a fishing village. A vast change from the scale of the Faith Capital. Still, the sight of their destination raised the spirits of some of the men. Soon their mission would be underway. The group rode into the fishing village and watched as the peasants moved out of their way. The sight of their armed party earned them the extra space and the peasants didn’t want to be anywhere nearby when they passed. Khell supposed it would be a reaction he would soon earn. The group travelled through the single street of the village and Khell indicated the path leading to the shorefront. Jasmine nodded and their party continued down. Coming around the path Khell moved into sight of the ocean and what he saw made him pause.
”Is that it?” Khell failed to keep his surprise under control. What sat before him was but one moderately sized ship. In the center of the deck on the fore and aft of the deck he could easily see two large ballistae mounted. The ship looked old and in need of some work.
”This is the Armada we are to use?” Khell almost had to laugh, though he imagined his final days being aboard such a vessel.
”Well, lets go down and have a look. It might not be as bad as you think.” Jasmine was trying to stay positive, but Khell knew she had to have second thoughts.

Still the ground travelled down the pack and as they drew closer a bell rang from somewhere on the ship. Khell watched as men appeared from below decks and soon there were sailors going to all areas of the deck. Khell noted the ballista was being manned and pointed in their direction.
”That’s not a good start to things.” Jasmine commented dryly.
Khell couldn’t agree more. Khell stopped and waited. He thought he was far enough away for the ballista to be of any use but he hoped they could still hear him.
”I would speak with your Captain. He is expecting us.”

Several tense moments passed before Khell heard the command to stand down shouted out. The ballista’s lowered and a man walked to the rail overlooking the group.

“We’ve been waiting for you. Took your sweet time I see. Well, you’re master has paid me well for stayin here. You can call me Captain Gnarl and this ship before you is the Iron Maiden. Now get aboard so we can be off. From what I understand we’ve got work to do.”

It did not take long for Khell, Jasmine and their group to board the Iron Maiden. Khell was still unsure about this whole thing, but they had come too far to leave now. The Captain was a weathered sailor and was dressed the same as the rest of his crew, which was in common merchants clothes.

“Let me start by telling you I’m the captain of this ship, so you take your orders from me.” The Captain began once all were on board. Khell had been expecting the power struggle and he knew what role he would have to play.
”You’re Captain only because my employer allows it. Any one of us is replaceable.” The Captain bristled at the comment, but Khell continued. ”Still, you have a reputation as a smart businessman and you and I both know that working against one another to prove who’s in charge will be bad for business. All my employer wants are results and if you and I don’t work together on this we may both find ourselves replaced. So you see we have quite a lot in common already. This is your ship, and I will respect that, but you must respect the wishes of my employer.”
Khell noticed for the first time that the Captain had his crew arrayed behind him, and Khell’s soldiers were fanned out behind him. In truth Khell didn’t know how the Captain would react and if it turned into a battle Khell hoped somebody was quick with their weapon because he didn’t have anything for close range. The Captain locked eyes with Khell and seemed to be thinking through his options.

“Well, if you put it that way we’re both just here to make our fortunes. You employer seems like a mystery, but I’ll take his coin as well as any other. Welcome aboard. Now, let’s get ready to cause some chaos.” The Captain let out a laugh that Khell thought made him sound like a mad man. Still, he was pleased with the truce and laughed along with him.
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