Rise and Fall of the Taurren Empire

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Rise and Fall of the Taurren Empire

Postby Thenician » Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:38 pm

Valen City

Footsteps echoed through the great hall of Valen City. The sound of three sets of feet walking on the stone floor. Until recently, the hall would've been filled with people to drown out echoes. Filled with decorations and rugs and flags and all sorts of things to make the place seem comfortable. But now it was bare. No long rug softening the steps between the entrance and the throne, no hanging drapes or flags to diffuse the light from the torches along the walls. Only smooth stone floors, with smooth stone pillars, holding up a smooth stone ceiling. And the foot steps echoed all the way up to the throne.

There sat a man, dressed in expensive silk clothes, wearing fancy jewelry with rare gems. His skin was very pale, and he sat completely still. There was blood all over his clothes and fancy jewelry, though it was dry now. And most noticeable of all on this man who was clearly dead on the throne, was the long bloody sword buried hilt deep into his chest.

One of the men stepped up, he was fully armored in bronze plate mail, except for his left gauntlet, which was made of black iron and was quite vicious looking with knuckles and fingertips ending at a sharp point. The man stepped around the throne and saw that the sword had pierced the chair as well. Removing his helmet, he turned back to the other two men.

"Take it away. Burn it with the rest of the garbage from the great hall."

"Yes, Emperor." The men replied in unison.

The emperor moved aside to give the men room to carry away the damaged throne along with the corpse of the late king. It took them a short time to get a good enough grip to lift it up, but they soon had it taken out of the great hall, which now stood completely naked.

Melkum Sett stood where the throne just was, and looked around. He admired the bare stone pillars, and thought for a moment that he should have a sculptor carve statues around them. He let his mind wander a little longer as he raised his left hand close to his face so he could admire the black gauntlet, the Dragon's Claw. As he watched it, he felt a surge of energy flow through him which made him grin. The energy flowed through him and into the cruel looking gauntlet, and it began to glow. The black iron turned bright red as the magical energy channeled into it was turned into heat. A faint almost invisible glow could be seen around Dragon's Claw as the heat ignited the air around it. Then, almost regretfully, Sett pulled the magical energy back from the gauntlet, and watched it grow dim as it cooled.

He lowered his hand as he heard footsteps echo in the hall again. He looked up to see it was one of his military advisors, an attractive woman who claimed to be from Arturia named Aerin Solaire.

"Ah, Miss Solaire." Sett began with a cocky grin as her footsteps grew closer. "Come to bring me good news I hope."

"I'm afraid not, Emperor." She replied, kneeling at his feet as she reached him. "I've come to report that the 4th Regiment was defeated by Farallas troops. It seems our information regarding their numbers was inaccurate."

"Well..." Sett began, surprisingly still grinning. "...Colonel Granfir was leading the 4th, is that correct?"

"Yes, Emperor."

"Bring him to me."

"Yes, Emperor."

"You may leave."

The woman quickly got up and left the hall. Sett was still smiling. He knew he would have to execute Granfir, but that wasn't what he was thinking about. He remembered about a week ago, when his troops took Valen City, he saw something in the east. Beyond the desert, above the Kurten Mountains, he saw something floating in the sky. At the time he assumed it was one of the Doman Republic's airships. He'd seen one of them up close once when he first began his campaign, a representative of Doman had come to inform him that they would not be involved in the conflict, and that they would provide no assistance to either side. Up close the ship was huge, but as he thought about it now, the floating object he saw in the distance was too big. A Doman airship floating over the Kurten Mountains would barely be visible from Valen City, so he had to suspect it was something else.

Convincing himself that he needed to investigate the matter, he spoke into the shadows, knowing that Vorcan was there to hear him.

"I have an assignment for you, my dear."
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Postby PoisonedDragon » Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:47 pm

Vorcan

Vorcan was pleased to be back in the presence of the Emperor, she found being near him very soothing. Her missions had been taking her further away from him of late, and she didn't like being away for extended periods of time. The mission had been a fairly easy one, which the Emperor had hoped would improve their chances of a victory over the kingdom of Farallas. She had been sent to Karrsenne to kill the general of Farallas' armies.

Looking back on it, she realized that it had been far too easy. A man of his stature should have been more heavily guarded, but she had only had to kill three others to accomplish her goal. She had arrived in Karrsenne after a week's hard ride, and had immediately set about learning the man's habits, as was her usual style.

It had been incredibly simple. The man followed a strict schedule from which he never deviated. He woke at dawn and immediately met with the other commanders of the army at the garrison within Karrsenne. From there he would go to personally oversee some of the training of new recruits. He would then have a midday meeting with the king before returning to the garrison to listen to reports from advance scouts. By nightfall he was always in his mansion near the palace and in bed before midnight. It was almost too perfect.

In the dead of night a week after her arrival in Karrsenne, Vorcan had scaled the wall surrounding his masion and slipped through the grounds completely unseen. She had had to kill the guard who was patrolling near the servant's entrance, but his body was easily concealed in some bushes within moments of his collapse. Her journey through the mansion was uncontested, since most of the general's defense lay outside the house. That is, until she reached the door to his bedroom. Two guards stood watch outside the room, and she killed them so skillfully that there was no time for either to raise an alarm. She left them both leaning against the wall on either side of the door so that a casual observer would not notice anything awry. The general himself was easiest of, since he was asleep, and after quickly slashing his throat she made good her escape.

It took a week of hard riding to reach Valen City, where the Emperor had told her to meet him. She had found the city conquered, but still did not risk letting anyone see her. She knew where the Emperor would go, and she slipped into the palace's throne room to wait for him. She found the king dead upon his throne, a long sword driven through his chest to stick out the back of the throne. She stood for just a moment, admiring the sight, before her keen ears detected footsteps approaching, three people making their way towards the throne room. Even though the Emperor was one of the three, Vorcan remained hidden. He had made it very clear to her that no one was to know of her existence, and that it was even more important that know one know of her connection to him.

The Emperor had the other two men remove the damaged throne, corpse and all, then climbed the dais to stand where it had once stood. Even when the other two were gone Vorcan did not reveal her presence. The Emperor knew she was there, he always did, and he would acknowledge her presence when he was ready. One of the Emperor's military advisers, a woman named Aerin Solaire came in and held a quick discussion with the Emperor about the status of their conflict with Farallas. Upon hearing that the 4th Regiment had been defeated, Vorcan frowned a little to herself, it seemed that her assassination had had no effect on the efficacy of Farallas' army, a truth which dismayed her a little.

The conversation between the Emperor and Aerin lasted only a few moments before Aerin bowed and took her leave. It was only then that the Emperor acknowledged Vorcan's presence.

"I have an assignment for you, my dear."

Vorcan merely waited, as she always did. She knew there was no need to respond, he always continued without waiting for a reply.
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Postby Thenician » Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:47 pm

"I'm afraid I must send you out on another long mission." he began, knowing that she was there listening. "Last week, while you were away, I saw the most unbelievable thing floating over the mountains in the east. At first I thought it to be one of those airships from Doman, they do come this way from time to time. But, unless it was far closer than it appeared, it was too large."

He paused for a moment, as if trying to remember exactly what it looked like.

"Anyway, I suspect that the Doman Republic, being the only ones to know the secret of flight, are responsible for such a thing. And once the Farallas Kingdom is annexed by our great empire, we'll be setting our sights on eastern Ordo'Nai."

"Now I don't have to tell you, my dear, that Doman already poses the biggest threat to us when turn in that direction. I don't want any surprises."

Sett stopped for a minute, trying to decide what exactly he wanted Vorcan to do.

"In short, I want you to travel to Doman, find out if that massive airship does indeed belong to them, if it does not, find it by whatever means necessary. Once you do, I want you to steal it, if you cannot, you must destroy it. I expect to be ready to turn our forces eastward in three months. If you fail to complete this mission..."

"...I advise you not to return."

With everything said, Sett marched out of the great hall.
"I love stealin', I love takin' things."
-Bender B. Rodriguez

"How 'bout I alter your face?"
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Postby Thenician » Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:44 am

Five Days Previous, Near the 18th Border Garrison

A battle raged between soldiers of the Farallas Army and the Taurren Empire. From a hill behind the border, King Arduros Thale watched it unfold. He sat mounted on his armored horse, fully covered in armor of his own which shone like gold. The entirety of his massive body was protected, only his long grey white beard peeked from under his helmet. And from either side of his waist, hung two long, thick broadswords. Though obviously well kept, they wore proud scars from decades of use. They hung loosely, since no scabbard could hold them. Chipped and nicked in some places, the edges were quite straight, and very sharp.

From behind him, Arduros heard the sound of hooves on grass getting closer. Another mounted soldier stopped next to him. He wore the armor of the king's royal legion.

"Your highness?" The soldier asked, though it wasn't really a question.

Arduros grunted in response, then grabbed one sword in his right hand. He pulled it from it's hook slowly, almost relishing the sound of the sliding metal. Every time one of the sword's nicks would hit the hook as it slid, it would ring almost like a crystal bell. Eventually the blade was loose, he raised it up above his head easily in one hand. Though a sword of that size would likely be difficult for an average man to wield even with both hands.

"Chaaaarge!" He shouted, prodding the horse into a gallop with the reins in one hand and sword high in the other. As he gallopped down the hill to the battle, over a hundred more soldiers of the royal legion emerged from behind him.

In less than a minute the battle was joined. Arduros and the royal legion rode through the enemy troops, creating a much needed distraction for the infantry. They took out as many as they could manage as they pierced the enemy lines. They continued on after passing through in order to regroup and pass again. Once they had turned to charge again, they saw that the Taurren troops were dividing their efforts, some prreparing to fend off the cavalry charge while the others fought the infantry.

"Hmph, fools." Arduros commented as the rest of his men assembled.

"Highness!" Shouted one of the soldiers as he rode to formation. "I just saw Captain Nerrus fall."

"I see..." he said, pausing for a moment. "I will take command of the infantry, continue the charge!"

"Of course, your highness!"

Arduros prodded his horse to a gallop again, and the cavalry followed. They broke through the enemy lines again, but this time Arduros lept from his horse as the rest of the men continued. Despite his size, and the weight of both himself and his armor, he did not tumble when he hit the ground. He landed on his feet, and before any of the enemy soldiers near him could even realize what he'd done, he had already drawn his other sword and begun fighting.

He let out a beastly war cry as he lunged himself at the first group of Taurren troops. The first man to die didn't even have the honor of dying alone. He shared the fate of three others who were caught in the first horizontal arc of Thale's sword.

His fighting style was simple, it consisted of many wide lateral arcs of his swords, with the occasional downward slash when he felt an individual deserved special treatment. He didnt need to be precise, since even if someone managed to block his swing, there was enough force behind it that it would not matter. Even heavily armored soldiers were knocked away by the power of his strikes.

Before long, the battle was over. Though after the first few minutes it became a matter of morale rather than actualy combat ability. With his presence in the field, the Farallas troops fought twice as hard. Taurren survivors were set loose, and the leader of the regiment was brought to the king.

"Colonel Adroj Granfir, Imperial Taurren Army, 4th Regiment!" The man stated proudly.

Arduros laughed with joy at the colonel's statement.

"A very good, very military statement!" He said with a bit of laughter still in his tone. "But I'm not going to interrogate you."

Granfir said nothing in response, but the confused expression on his face was enuogh to give Arduros another slight chuckle. But then, his face suddenly turned serious.

"I wan't you to tell that pompous clergyman" emphasizing the word almost mockingly "that the Farallas Kingdom wil outlive the pathitic ambition of such a small man."

Granfir was not allowed to respond before Arduros turned away from him and left the battlefield. He was set mounted on his horse and sent riding south with his hands still tied behind his back.
"I love stealin', I love takin' things."
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"How 'bout I alter your face?"
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Postby PoisonedDragon » Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:23 am

Khevin - Three Days Later

Khevin Thorne, retired general of the Farallas army, sat in a comfortable winged chair poring over a scroll. The scroll was one he had read many times in the past, but it was one of his favorites. It detailed the battle of Seventh Closure, nearly two hundred years ago. The scribe who witnessed it and made the record was incredibly skilled, and his attention to detail was second to none. Khevin was always impressed when he read the record, since it detailed the victory of an army that had been outnumbered nearly seven to one. The strategy employed by the army's commander had been brilliant, and though they were outnumbered, Khevin got the impression that the troops in that army were extremely well trained. He was nearly halfway through the scroll when there was a knock on the door of his study, then his valet, Buruk entered and bowed.

"Master Thorne, there is a Colonel Marcus here to see you."

"Send him away Buruk, I am not in the mood today."

It wasn't a lie, Khevin really didn't feel up to having visitors. Ever since the Taurren Empire had set their sights on Farallas Khevin had taken more visitors than ever before. Many came merely to pick his brain for advice on tactics and troop movements, while others came for lessons with the sword. Normally he was only too happy to oblige, but today he was just not feeling up to it.

"Tell him to come back tomorrow, I will see him tomorrow."

"Ordinarliy sir I would be pleased to tell him just that, but he insists that this is a matter of the utmost importance, and that it must be today."

Khevin let out a deep sigh and stood from his chair. He rolled up the scroll and handed it to Buruk.

"Very well, bring him into the drawing room in five minutes, I will meet with him there."

Khevin usually used his study for such meetings, since it was more comfortable and the fire helped ease the ache in his bones. But for a matter of the utmost importance it seemed more appropriate to use the more formal drawing room down the hall. As Buruk left the study Khevin made his way to the drawing room using the back hallways, it would clearly be best if he arrived first, and the back halls were much quicker. He got there well ahead of Buruk and the guest, and when the two entered Khevin had his back to the door and was pretending to be studying a portrait of his daughter, who had left several years earlier to marry a merchant's son from Arturia.

As Buruk and Marcus entered Khevin turned to face the door, and was startled by the severe look on the man's face. It must be important indeed.

"Greetings Colonel Marcus, what brings you to my home?"

Marcus cast a suspicious look at Buruk, who bowed and retreated from the room, closing the door behind him.

"General Thorne, I come bearing a summons from the king. He has just returned from the battle at the eighteenth border and requests your presence at the palace."

Marcus then held out a scroll bearing the king's official seal, which Khevin took. Marcus then saluted and left the room. Once he was gone Khevin broke the seal on the scrol and quickly scanned the letter. It was an official summons, not just the request of an old friend. Yes, very serious. Khevin decided to waste no time. He summoned Buruk and told him to bring out his dress uniform, Buruk nodded and went off to get it. Meanwhile, Khevin made his way back through the back halls to his study. He stood in front of the fire for a few moments to warm himself and stared at the sword mounted on the mantle.

It was a beautiful sword, nearly four feet in overall length, with a blade just over three feet long. The steel was a dark blue, and seemed to ripple in the light, though to the touch it was as straight and smooth as anyone could ask for. The guard was expertly crafted, flat where it met the grip and curving upward at the base of the blade. The blade itself was razor sharp, and had been for as long as Khevin had owned it, no matter how much he used it, it never needed to be sharpened. The details behind the crafting of the sword were a complete mystery to Khevin, but he had received it from the king himself when he was promoted to general.

As Buruk walked in with the uniform Khevin reached out and took the sword off its mount, once again marvelling at how light it was. He also picked up its scabbard and sheathed it, then handed it to Buruk who attached it to the uniform's belt. Khevin took the uniform behind a screen and changed into it, then buckled on the belt and sword. He checked his reflection in the full length mirror. He grimaced a little at his hair and beard, in his robes they weren't so pronounced, but in uniform they looked strange and out of place. Then he shrugged and left, deciding that it was best not to keep the king waiting.

When he reached the palace he found one of the king's personal servants awaiting him. The servant bowed deeply then motioned for Khevin to follow. Khevin had expected to be led to the throne room, since it had been such a formal summons, but instead he was led to the king's private sitting room. The servant opened the door but did not enter, motioning for Khevin to go in alone. Khevin entered and saw the king standing by the fireplace, leaning against it and staring down into the flames. Khevin had never seen the man looking so tired, but perhaps it wasn't fatigue, perhaps something was simply weighing heavily on the king's mind.

"Greeting your majesty, how fared the battle?"

Khevin decided that inquiring about the battle was the best way to open the conversation, since victory always brought a smile to the king's face. Khevin already knew that the battle had been won, Buruk had learned that from a source that Khevin had within the army's command structure. At his words the king turned and smiled, clearly pleased to see Khevin. He approached Khevin and opened his arms to embrace him as a brother.

"Ah Khevin, my old friend, it is wonderful to see you again, it has been far too long. The battle fared quite well, considering, would that what drove me to summon you was good news as well."

The king motioned to the two chairs in front of the fireplace. Khevin unclipped his sword from his belt, leaned it against the chair and sat down. The king remained silent for several moments before fixing Khevin with a look that told him the news could only be dire.

"General Keneb was found dead in his home, his throat slit, and three of his bodyguards murdered. We believe it happened two days before the battle, but there is no way to know for sure."

"The Empire?"

"We must assume so, it matches their style, though there is no way to be sure since no trace of the assassin was found."

The king turned back to the fire, and was silent for another long moment. He seemed to be deep in thought, and when he continued he sounded sad.

"I am very sorry to do this Khevin, but I have no choice. I need you. I need you to return to duty and take command of the armies once more."

Khevin was shocked, but it passed quickly, to be replaced by joy, quickly suppressed in light of the distressing news of Keneb's death. This was exactly the chance Khevin had been waiting for, an opportunity to recapture the glory of his youth.

"I would be honored Arduros."
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Postby Thenician » Fri May 11, 2007 12:32 am

Valen City

After leaving the great hall, Sett wandered the palace grounds for a while. He admired the architecture of the Aikos Kingdom, which was now simply the Aikos province. Much of it was damaged during the invasion, but mostly salvageable. He had always been a great admirer of sculpted art and the capital alone was brimming with it, which is a major part of why he chose Valen City as the new imperial capital.

Continuing to wander, he eventually made his was back to the great hall. Entering, he saw four armed palace guards holding a man in chains between them.

"Ah, Colonel Granfir..." he said, acknowledging the shackled man. "Tell me, where is your regiment?"

"We were defeated, Emperor." stated Granfir proudly, yet clearly frightened.

"I already know that." Sett replied calmly. "I asked you where your soldiers are."

"I do not know, Emperor. After ordering the retreat, I was captured."

"I see, so you're telling me that you just lost an entire regiment of my... our people's army?"

"Well, no, Emperor." He stuttered, obviously nervous now. "You see, we had victory within reach. Then King Thale arrived with reinfor..."

"WHAT!?" Sett shouted angrily, cutting him off. "Thale himself was there and you ordered a retreat? You are aware that every single soldier of this army, regardless of rank, has a duty to engage and eliminate that man."

"Yes, of course, Emperor. But I was only trying to save my men from certain death."

"Oh yes, of course. The men we cant find now. You are aware that if they arent found by the end of the week they will be declared deserters and killed on sight. You did them a real favor. You also did a great service for all the other soldiers who will be killed by him in the future by your failure!" He shouted sracastically, then turned to the guards. "Leave us!"

Without hesitation, the palace guards turned on their heels and marched out. Then Sett turned back to Granfir, calm again.

"A certain degree of failure must be expected in war, and if one is to succeed, it must also be tolerated from time to time." He said preachingly. "But you have condemned hundreds of loyal men and women with your cowardice. And that cannot be tolerated."

Granfir did not reply, but stood bravely before him, not flinching at his imminent punishment. Sett raised his left arm and pointed it directly at Granfir's chest. As he poured magical energy into the Dragon's Claw it began to glow, dark at first, then a bright orange. The air around it ignited, creating a faint halo of flame around the gauntlet. Sweating a little, Sett finally activated the firey wraith blade within the relic.

A sword of searing hot fire poured out of the outstretched hand and plunged into Granfir's chest, releasing a high pitched demonic wail at the same time. Within seconds, his entire body was vaporized, leaving only a faint stain scorched onto the stone floor, and an eerie orange glow throughout the great hall. Then, as Sett pulled back the energy, the blade dissipated.
"I love stealin', I love takin' things."
-Bender B. Rodriguez

"How 'bout I alter your face?"
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Postby Dengar » Fri May 18, 2007 4:02 pm

A white-haired young man was floating on his back in a silvery void. His limbs and head were hanging downward, his eyes closed. Pierced through his heart were five differently shaped swords, but the man was still breathing. Suddenly, the man felt something, and opened his eyes, to reveal purple irises and cat's pupils. What he saw was none other than the upside-down view of the spitting image of himself, yet with black hair. He spoke to his mirror image.

"What's the matter, o valiant me? Come to laugh at your fallen self?"

The other man stayed silent for a while, but then opened his mouth to speak.

"As interesting a past time that would be, I was just wondering what happened to your usual struggling."

The white-haired man smiled for a bit.

"Would you believe me if I said that I finally realised that struggling against you is futile?"

The black-haired man did not respond, he just stared at his other self sternly.

"Didn't think so. Oh well, I'm just taking a break. I admit, at this point in time, your grip is much too strong for me to break, but it's only a matter of time.

At that moment, something resembling a black cloud seemed to move across the white-haired man's right eye. Upon seeing this, the black-haired man looked shocked.

"...Impossible..."

"Looks like you figured it out. Now, what will you do? You know you won't be able to stop me when the time comes, don't you?"

The black-haired man said nothing, he turned around and disappeared.

"I thought so..."


~~~~~~


Doman City

Erdin Ranoun is a busy man. Although he is still 31 years old, he is one of the more important figures in Doman's benefactor's guild. He can usually be found in his office, buried in all kinds of paperwork, today is no different. Suddenly, the sound of shouting can be heard from the ground floor of his manor. The shouting came closer, and his office door opened.

"I'm sorry, sir, I tried to stop him but he just barged on in."

The two people who entered were Dengar Arcus, followed by one of Erdin's servants.

"I told him he should make an appointment like everyone else, but..."

Erdin looked up from the document he was looking over.

"It's quite alright. Although I'm not fond of doing things like this, this man is well known for being the type who simply cannot be reasoned with."

"It's good to see you, too Erdin. But I know, if I go through the regular channels, it'll take about three months before I finally got to see you, and this matter is urgent."

Erdin shook his head.

"I just don't know what to do with you anymore. Your matters are always 'urgent'. And each time I listen to your story, I just know it'll bring me trouble, but go ahead, what is it this time? But keep it short, I have things to do."

"I hear the Aurora is doing quite well. With all their scientific and mystic research facilities, I just know they're researching a lot of interesting things.

However, I come here offering a live specimen of something that is more interesting than anything else. For the right price, I'll let your researchers have a look at it.

I speak of nothing other than myself, of course."


Erdin's jaw dropped.

"You want us, to study.. you? And you expect us to pay for it?"

Erdin thought about it for a few seconds.

"And knowing you, your price will be something ridiculous."

Erdin then made a serious face.

"It's about what happened back then, isn't it?"

Dengar did not reply, but Erdin could read his face, which confirmed his suspicions. He then grabbed a blank piece of paper and started writing a letter. After he signed it, he handed it over.

"Very well, take this to the sky port. They'll let you board the next flight, it also contains instructions to the researchers."

Dengar took the letter, thanked Erdin, and turned around to leave.

"Oh, one thing. The letter also contains instructions to not allow you to overcharge them. You're not getting easy money out of us this time."

Dengar grumbled a little, and left...
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