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Rise of True Rectitude, or the Founding of the Teutonic Order

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Rise of True Rectitude or the Founding of the Teutonic Order is a transcribed narrative from the mouth of the Hansetian king and founder of the Teutonic Order, Gaius Marius (Narmarian: Geiyus Marus), written down in volumes by one of his successors Mark von Nurem. Gaius rose to promimence as a Hansetian warlord, originally fleeing the north to the undead invasion, commanding armies for local lords and armies in the heartlands, and later, forming his own ‘Hansetian Order of Teutonic Sariants’ (or Teutonic Order), composed of mostly Hansetian refugees and local levies. He would later become King of Oren for a brief time, before declaring himself the independent King of Hanseti, led by a military junta under the Teutonic Order. During his life, he wrote a set of disorganized memoirs and logs of his life, detailing the founding of his famed Hansetian host.

 

(OOC: Full credit to @Gaius Marius who wrote this, posting it here for easier access. Link to his original thread below:

 

)

 

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RISE OF TRUE RECTITUDE, OR THE FOUNDING OF THE TEUTONIC ORDER

 

SPOKEN BY THE MOUTH OF

GAIUS MARIUS

AKA

GAIUS VON HANSETI

 

WRITTEN BY THE HAND OF

MIRTOK VON NUREM

AKA

MARK VON NUREM

 

PUBLISHED BY

HIEROMAR LUDOVAR THE ELDER, SSE

 

---

 

An Order, composed of the truest and most intelligent men and women, begin their rise. Steadily, the Order coldly calculates their every move, even resource they gather, every body they count. The Order remains engulfed in the cloak of secrecy, knowing in it's infancy, arrogant kingdoms and groups would happily kill the young with no remorse. The members remain secretive of their truest intentions for the Order, knowing the words passed along can alert the most corrupt of the Order's intentions...

 

---

 

Rumour has it that this Order has erected their first bastion, yet it is equally as shrouded in the veil of secrecy as this Order's intentions and members are. Travelers who do perhaps stumble upon this bulwark by chance will be awed at the extremities this Bulwark was built upon and how the men whose masonry built the very walls survived in the climate.

 

---

 
Travelling into the deeply encrusted lands of snow and ice of Northern Oren, the figure gasps in complete awe upon the awkwardly rigid form that appears through the blinding wintry precipitation. A citadel with an aura of glad tidings beckons this figure to slowly step backwards to take into account the enormity of this formation. After the long pause of minutes, taking every detail of the citadel to memory, the figure stumbles and walks back; suffering from the awe inspiring features that he just witnessed. Upon returning from his original location, it is deemed that the Order will dispatch a member of eloquence to beckon a meeting with those who inhabit this citadel in the North.
 
---
 

The cries for amnesty, mercy, and beggings of rest, food, and shelter ring within Gaius's ears as he limps throughout the battlefield. Despite his injuries and the limping as a result, Gaius ensures his every step is carefully placed as he walks upon ground painted with blood and hosts the strewn bodies of humans, orcs, and elves. Witnessing and beholding the final siege upon the Keep of the Undead, Gaius tempers the cold as he fights the demons now placed inside him, the sights and sounds of death blow knots inside his stomach and a constant torture upon his mind. Yet despite this torture of what he witnessed, yet another thing he witnessed brings joy to his heart, the truest victory he has ever tasted, the redemption of those hundreds of men, women, and children that were slain by the devils themselves. Upon the success of the latest siege, Gaius heads back to the Order, smiling almost maniacally at the news that is on his tongue and wishing release as glad tidings. Upon returning to his Sariant Monks, Gaius reveals the heralded news and the men let out a cheer of triumph. As the chill of night sets, Gaius reveals a warning to his men and an urge that the Order must progress much faster to answer any future threats... this certainly cannot be the last trick up the sleeve of Iblees so to speak...

 

---

 
The bustling of a newborn village keeps Gaius's senses alive and hearkens all that goes on around him. His title, Hochmeister, gives him complete control over Nuremburg and with it, the tiresome responsibilities. Despite the stress, he knows this village will thrive and grow and the military will alongside it. He gives greetings to two of his fellow knights passing along the freshly hewn stone path, already giving the path a beating of dust and dirt from their armoured bodies as they approach the Fort of Nuremburg to gather needed materials. Hochmeister Gaius is impressed with the progress, especially increasing due to the destruction of the Undead Keep, giving relief to the tested nerves of the Teutonic Knights so far. Gaius knows now that his Order have released themselves from the thick fogs of the mountainous forests, he must pay even more crucial attention and thought to the progress from here on out.
 
---
 
Just as was spoken of days before, the calculated possibility of a reemergence has proven true. Lightning stands contrast on the horizon compared to the ink black night skies, the Knights pick up their pace along the stone paths to their homes to gather supplies. The Hochmeister marches his OrdenMarschalls Alizyn and Lunar throughout Nuremburg to answer to the heralds causing commotion within the town. Word brought of a figure sprawling out from a cavern, wretched in sight and sound as it ran swiftly throughout the woodlands. The heralds told of how the creature spoke of the Undead, of Iblees mocking the destruction of his Keep in the North and how he will rise swiftly back to higher station. Gaius sighs heavily and knows the time is closing, he must secure his position and empower the military structure of the Teutons and ensure that they can readily respond to any encroaching threat.
 
---
 
With the events that have happened recently, it has become increasingly imperative that the Order begin to recruit the most honest and hard-working individuals of Oren and the other regions alike...
 
---
 
The expansion of the town has gone very well, with newly linked roads being used in modest manner and new homes being constructed of the finest yew, stone, and fabricated with craftsman quality. Adornment of the streets with the wildflowers of the area and the roses of the thickest thorn crown have given the town a much more livelier atmosphere. The townspeople have shown gratitude to the Hochmeister for his wise civil initiatives in the town and many civil works have been planned for the town. The Hochmeister has sent a few of his Knights to act as messengers, to recruit from the lands the most intelligent and hardened men to act as Monks and fellow Sariants of the Order.
 
---
 
With the influx of Sariant Knights to the town of Nuremburg, the terraced hills expand from the origin; the Fortress of Nuremburg. Rolling hills now flattened, sprawling streets and homes of various sizes and heights spring upon the freshly dug planes of land. Hochmeister Gaius issues his best agents to pursue espionage missions in the North, eager to start his next phase for military preparedness. Gaius knows that the first moves of the Order in the military aspect will be crucial to the success of campaigns that the Order may pursue. Rumors that the strongest servants of Iblees may have fallen back onto guerilla tactics and inhabiting Snowy Fields secretly has given Gaius a start for his spies to start searching for any organization amongst the Undead. Trusting his agents well, he sends them off with morale raising words as he turns his masonry skills to the next task, a barracks fit for training Knights of the Teutonic Order.
 
---
 
Gaius stammers in utter amazement as a man appears before his eyes, greeting this mysterious man, he is responded with the gift of calling this man The Wandering Wizard. Gaius gives this Wandering Wizard a tour of the town of Nuremburg, at the end, the Wandering Wizard exclaims extraordinary wishs of great success for the town, somehow brightening the day of Gaius's, weathered down by the past hours of hard labour and sweat inducing activities.
 
---
 

The grunts and shouts are Sariants ring along the cold stone walls of the Duel Arena in Nuremburg, accompanied by the stretching sounds of arrows being nocked in place and the whirl of missiles plastering across various bullseye targets. The Brethren have made great strides to train for military campaigns, hopefully the training will finally pay off...

 
---
 
Gaius enters a rustic tavern, noticing the cabaret entertaining the folks sitting upon wooden stools and along tables filled with food and drink. Scanning the faces are merriment and intrigue, Gaius finally finds who he is looking for and approaches in a nonchalant fashion. Reaching the tavernkeeper, Gaius and the tavernkeeper sit amongst the more populated side of the room, entranced by the musicians seducing their drunken minds with instrumental jubilee. Leaning into their own conversation, Gaius and the tavernkeeper trade many a word before heading their separate ways. Gaius shifts a parchment scroll from his left to right hand and back again, eyeing the contents contained little by little. Gaius walks carefully throughout the crowds gathered in the main square of AlKhazar and walks out the main gate to meet a few of his Sariants gathered on the King's Road.
 
---
 
Sliding his hands against the grime riddled walls of the dimly lit sewers, Gaius steps ever so carefully through the briny liquids of waste and decay as he navigates the sewers. Upon reaching his destination, he wipes his hands upon the mail skirt to rid them of any residue and commences grappling onto a ladder and pushing himself up step by step. With the lift of the trapdoor, he peers around the edge of the opening and hoists himself up and out from the hole and crouches to belittle his figure in the city. Skipping along the paths intertwining within the city, Gaius climbs and moves amongst rooftops and picks a spot that gives him clarified view of a hooded man sitting in a shop, his hand gestures tell that he is awaiting a guest. Gaius whispers, 'Black Hand' and furrows his eyes to notice any other details in the shop that he is missing...
 
---
 
As both men's breathe began to synchronize with each movement closer, Gaius tilts with his last step and leaps at the man he was trailing within the forests of Oren. Gaius's dagger thrusts into the figure, quick and serene is the process, but even quicker is the process to gather the limp body and orchestrate its defiling within a nearby cesspool. The lagoon blossoms and blooms with velvety red as the body begins to float ever so slightly along the surface of the water, Gaius sifts through the man's pockets for any parchment or maps, then looks around and starts to dart amongst the oak...
 
---
 

The rustling of forest decay cloak the conversations amongst the group of men traversing the Tundras of the North. Hochmeister Gaius and his Teutons, making up the left column of the army peer silently across the landscape, now billowy white in soft snow in search of any lingering spies. Accompanied by the House of conDoin, Cataris and his nobles make up the right column and then citizens of Kramaroe filled in between. It was only hours before when Kramaroe was razed by what was perhaps an attack by the Black Hand, Gaius and Cataris answered the pleas of the residents misplaced by the disaster and mustered their men to the ready and marched forth from AlKhazar. Weary of any stragglers, Gaius and Cataris move through the woodlands to spot any possible heathens wishing to take count of the impending force moving through. Gaius, with information gathered from his tavernkeeper, speaks of a tower made of stone and obsidian, but then stares in stark surprise as the tower seemingly appears from within the fog as they move steadily forward. Ordering his men to spread looser and to find hiding places, he moves forward with Cataris and hear a faint whimper.

 

Upon closer examination, a woman lies upon a dirt mound near a destroyed home, with a creature of sorts crouched across her. Gaius and Cataris unsheathe their swords as quietly as possible, but the creature peers at the two approaching men and sneers, flesh dribbling from its mouth and flashes its blood caked teeth at them. Drawn back, the two stare in horror as the woman chuckles and sighs hysterically and beckons them with greetings, the creature lifts itself up and presents itself in a more human-like form, a necromancer it calls itself. Gaius and Cataris glance at each other then call their men forward, the necromancer skips backwards from the mutilated woman and shrieks threats of death and dispair. Upon hearing a rush of yells and crunched leaves, Gaius turns about and attempts to yank a man by his linen shirt, but misses as the men of Kramaroe rush forward and scream curses and wishes to relinquish their revenge upon this necromancer. Cataris and Gaius both curse the ill disciplined and order their own Men to stand in rows behind them as they look around and notice new faces shifting about the grounds. The Sariants and men of conDoin assemble and brace themselves as Cataris and Gaius call out to the strangers newly arrived...

 

---

 

After parrying another follower, Gaius kicks in the knee of an attacker from behind and maneuvers over the fallen attacker. His eyes moving about in calculating glances, he takes in the number of Black Hand and feels relief as he notices the numbers quickly dwindling. After swinging his sword into the shoulderblade of another follower, he notices his original targets escaping and fleeing back to the tower, striated of granite and obsidian; he then howls at Cataris of his intent and gives chase. Trailing behind the scrawny necromancers, flowing black robes nearly camouflaging them within the shadows casted by the imposing structure they entered, Gaius almost loses track of them before one curses and swings his hand in his direction. A burst of electricity surges from the mottled fingertips and travels in an arc towards Gaius. Narrowly escaping the bolt thrown, Gaius throws himself against the walls, knowing that stone would not conduct the electricity cast...

 

---

 

Bitterly biting his tongue to subdue his body's reaction to the windy snows falling around him, Gaius glances for another cobble ledge to grab for as he scales the Black Hand's tower. Thankful for the blinding snow enveloping him from any men on the ground from sighting him, he pushes himself feet upon feet closer for the parapet of the tower. Upon clumsily hoisting himself up and over the parapet edges, he straightens up and enters the tower. Upon entering the interior, he looks in horror at what seems to be mottled flesh and charred bones adorning the obsidian walls of the tower. Upon his first few steps, he slips and stumbles down a few steps, gashing his hand used to balance himself as he reinforced his weight against the walls. Stepping more carefully, Gaius spots the draping robes behind a pillar and swiftly takes cover behind a worn door as he overhears talks of Scions being sent to AlKhazar...

 

---

 

Upon arriving back to the town of Nuremberg, Gaius notices his OrdenMarschall standing upon a looming tower standing within the valley bowing close to the bosom of the Earth. Upon climbing the stairs within the spire, Gaius stands upon a stone ledge overlooking the town, along with his companion Glylith and gaze upon the magnificent progress they made. The clouds adorn their town in both a cloak of secrecy and a cloak of beauty, the true face of determination and courage veiled with the most beautiful cloth of pure calm. The many stoic buildings, the men, women, and children traversing the stone paths, the humility of being able to provide the safe haven for the races of Aegis, yet.. Gaius realizes that this can not come to last forever, that he must mobilize his forces and pursue military campaigns. After the skirmish North of AlKhazar alongside the House of conDoin, Gaius knows the attitudes of the Undead at the moment, and he knows he has the capability, manpower, and tactical knowledge capable of ensuring success in the North.

 

---

 

Onlooking from his own home in the Inner Keep of Nuremburg, Gaius notices a figure running in the distance towards the town. Rubbing his eyes and blinking, Gaius observes the distant creature as it's image grows clearer the closer it gets. The image now completes itself in the identity of a woman, face worn with a reddening skin and tears as she flails her arms in a bizarre manner, long hair intertwining with the wind as twigs and leaves detach from the moving entity. Gaius's face distorts in confusion and disgust as the woman lets out a frightening wail and her movements become more erratic, prompting him to climb feverishly down the staircase and sprint out from the Inner Keep and into the streets. Upon noticing their Hochmeister's concerning entrance into the streets, they march to arrive at his side as Gaius stares down the street at the woman approaching.

 

Noticing all of the men lining the end of the street she is running down, she slows to a brisk walk, her neck contorting different possible angles and her mouth giving out a low hum mixed of distress and humoring. Faces of disbelief greet her as she inches closer and closer to the Hochmeister, laughing hysterically and muttering curses and otherworldly words. Gaius shouts for her to stop her blathering and to answer back, but she only responds to his demands by worsening her behaviors, shaking her head and twitching her eyes quicker and quicker. Putting a hand on the hilt of his sword and grasping it slowly, Gaius steps a few paces forward to the strange woman and addresses her as a witch, the woman only issues a earsplitting shriek and skitters backwards, falling onto the hard stone path and throwing her hands up in defense.

 

Staring at the woman in this pitiful position, he demands to know her problem and only gets a reply of utter nonsense. Calling his men to grapple with the woman and put her in bindings to keep her from escaping, the woman cries out for help from Gaius and claims that she was affected by a necromancer who had entered her mind. Furrowing his eyebrows and glancing at the woman, he lays a hand on the shoulder of one of the approaching Sariants and demands them to retreat back to their original business as he looks over the woman and asks her to lead him to her home...

 

---

 

Noting the men traversing the streets in his direction, Gaius rests his shovel with the spade sliding into a crack on the stone path and he lies his head upon the handle. The Sariants, feverishly digging soon slow as they notice the numbers approaching and relax their bodies and ready for what these familiar people bring to them. Gaius gives them salutations and the men return greetings with a wavering tone. Wishing for a private word with the Hochmeister, Gaius confirms that he is the Hochmeister and one of the men step forward and gently grasps Gaius' shoulder and walks him towards his camaraderie and beckons his men to act with respect. Gaius looks at what seems to be the leader of the group and acquires the issue at hand, and grins as the man replies wishing to be able to put his village under the protection of the Teutonic Order. Ensuring the man that his question is respectfully asked, Gaius issues his declaration that he will inspect the nearby village and take the oaths of every villager to serve as Sariants of the Teutonic Order.

 

---

 

Men wearing chainmail shirts scatter in array towards the impending scores of monstrosities wailing and barking in the midst. Swords raised, the men pick up speed before clashing in powerful awe with the opposition, sending some of the heathens flying backwards with a plume of dust enveloping much of the action from the battle. The cries of slaughter and screeches of cretins fill the air just as much, yet even still, the chants and hymns of the Teutonic Knights blasts the ears of the enemies with morose desperation as they try to fight off the superior force...

 

---

 

The masonry of the walls and gatehouse of the castle stands pristine in stark contrast to the foreboding and sullen landscape that surrounds this establishment. The gatehouse is set in place made of stone riddled with moss and inscribed with the most solemn and grave sounding hymns and poems. As the mist dissipates and the fog fades, the walls stand tantamount to the impending power and gaining of the Teutonic Order's momentum. The Brethren have already seen complete military success in each campaign they've embarked on and a solidifying such as the walls around the capital of Nuremburg should show that the Order has independent interests outside the usual talk of the tavern and lonesome hero, the Teutonic Order has evolved from a crusade to a Military Order, calculating the need for their personal interests being sought even more than the wilting Undead and their miniscule threat.

 
---

 

Spitting on the ground, face grimacing in disgust at the ignorance he hears, Gaius stands with another man as he watches Princess Aliciana and her friend trade words. Looking at the current situation unfolding with further and further agitation, Gaius speaks up, cutting off Aliciana from her conversation with the deamon-possessed Schatten and curses them both for prolonging the inevitable. With Boiendl slowly agreeing more with him, Gaius urges the Princess to kill the man. Explaining that the body would see more peace and would be thankful to be put to its final rest than to be animated into agony, Gaius pulls out his sword and faces the man. Aliciana cries out words of command and Gaius looks back at the Princess, baffled at the arrogance she exudes, but she quickly apologizes and tells Gaius to leave the friend to her own to dispatch, after a quick exchange of sorrowful words, she cracks a whip and unhinges Schatten's head off from his shoulders.

 

With a wisp of smoke alike to steam from a stove, Schatten's demon dissipates and his body falls limp on the ground. With a gasp and shudder, both Aliciana and Boiendl flinch at the scene of gore, as Gaius looks solemnly at the body and grasps the handle of a shovel. Upon breaking the ground near the body, the body creaks with the reanimation of bone and flesh. Without a word, the body picks itself up and scrambles through the streets, Gaius attempts to throw the shovel awkwardly to stop the body from running, but misses terribly. Aliciana guffaws at the poor attempt and scorns Gaius for coming too late to her call for help. Coming face to face with the Princess, Gaius sticks his forefinger in her face and informs her that he had to get his men ready for he had thought the threat real and not one filled with nonsensical drama. After trading barbs at each other, the Princess takes out a yellow gem and swings it about to create a means to get back to AlKhazaar. Gaius urges her to heed one last bout of words from him, chastises her to never order him about, stating that he is the one of the land they stood on, not one of the Court jesters and to hold her tongue in respect when not in her palace. Aliciana curses him heavily and seemingly teleports from the location, leaving Boiendl and Gaius standing alongside Praxedis, Boiendl holds out a hand in a show of friendship, albeit in a nervous manner. Gaius takes the hand and thanks him for helping him earlier and tells Boiendl that he is welcome in Nuremburg whenever he wishes.

 
---

 

Nuremburg has finally risen to it's zenith, a flourishing and lively town, complete with an amicable plebeian population and knights in fellowship as the streets are bustling with the talks of the land. The architecture is pristine, lending homeliness to the austere environment of the solemn Teutonic Order. The climate, the rolling clouds and misty fog add a crisp quality alike a woman's warm smile to all those who traverse the town and many walk with fur apparel to combat the cold that lingers in the night.

 

---

 

Followed by his Sariants, the low chants and hymns ringing across the plateau they now stand on, Gaius slows to a bare step and raises his hands and motions his men to stand in place. Gaius peers across the vast stretch of rugged land that lays forth from his vantage point, squinting his eyes to notice the wildlife in abundance skittering around. Tools clatter against the soft earth below their feet as the Sariants begin projecting what is needed to raise a camp where they stand, Gaius pulls aside Mirtok and tells him that he has the final choice of where to break ground for the new village. The growing population, the full capacity of Nuremburg, and the well thought out ambitions have pushed the Teutonic Order to possibly found a new village. This new village will eventually thrive into a town to rival Nuremburg and will ensure that the sphere of influence of the Order is ever growing in size, capability, and impact on the neighboring tribes, clans, and guilds who will come to know the Order in short time.

 

---

 

Gaius orders his men to throw the freshly lit torches upon bales of hay stuffed neatly within the corners of the homes, his eyes shimmer with every ember that skips forth from the growing flames. The helmets of the Sariants glint as the flames grow from the youth of kindling into an infernal display of billowy yellow and red flames, lashing about menacingly as the wood it roots from becomes slowly eaten. Gaius looks about, ordering his Sariants to march about with swords drawn, to find the man they came for. An old woman limps her way to Gaius's side and throws an arm upon his shoulder and wails against his actions, Gaius looks at her solemnly and addresses her kindly, informing her that her farmlands will not be scorched. With the old lady accompanying him, Gaius marches into the villa and looks in utter surprise as he finds Lynx looking out of the window. Upon hearing the door open, Lynx trips and catches himself on the windowsill and stares in horror as the Hochmeister enters, Gaius glares at him and tells him to stand still as he slowly slides his finger along the inscribed handle of his sword.

 

Gaius does not flinch as his Sariants suddenly slam the door open and hustles around Lynx, his face glowering in horrific fear. Gaius addresses his grievances with Lynx, citing the entries in his journal as proof to his betrayal and slams the journal on the table with a thud and uses two of his fingers to flip to the pages and reverses the journal against the table and slides it toward Lynx. Shouting now, Gaius demands Lynx explain himself, Lynx simply stutters and slowly slides onto the floor and stares into Gaius's fiery eyes. Taking his sword out with a loud sliding stammer, he steps swiftly towards Lynx and points the sword perpendicular to his throat, Lynx then bolts upstairs to the shouting of a woman.

 

Gaius follows him behind step for step and they arrive to the scene of a woman lying in pain draped across a bed. Lynx turns around and informs Gaius that he must take care of her and tells of his being a Druid with Gaius swiftly responding that even a Druid can be corrupt. Lynx attempts to shut a door on Gaius but is quickly responded with Gaius sticking his arm out and keeps following Lynx. Upon arriving at the woman's side, Lynx tells him to not act lewd, Gaius refutes saying that he is a modest man and not one to find perversion in such an act as childbirth and keeps an eye on Lynx. Lynx then leans towards the woman to whisper, glancing suspiciously at Gaius, looking upon this; Gaius yells for the old lady. The old woman slowly walks into the room, Gaius asks her if she is knowledgeable in midwifery and she replies in kind response.

 

Gaius then grabs Lynx by the armpit and drags him out, the Sariants start chanting a grave hymn and take out their swords. Gaius gives final warning and asks if he wants any words spoken, the woman cries out and the old lady attempts to restrain her, but to no avail. As the Sariants slash upon the scared body, the woman attempts to tackle a Sariant, but as that Sariant retrieves his sword from a blow; it cuts into the woman's arm. The woman flails with a low scream and cries out in response, falling to the floor with a weak thud and bleeds out...

 

---

 

The cackling of glowering timber calms Gaius's nerves, taking in the smell of hickory filled air with a smile creased along his jaw. Addressing his men, Gaius states that the ruins of Sargoth must be razed, in consequence to rebels who voiced antipathy towards the Teutonic Order. Afterwards, Gaius leads his Sariants through the streets, barging into homes and acquiring about any men living within and leading women and children outside the city as more Sariants hold their swords to their side and talk to the residences and leads them away. Gaius clambers atop the town hall of Sargoth and spreads peat along the roofing and sets fire, standing for a second to see the flame engulf all else around and feel the warmth.

 

Samuel the OrdenMarschall and Tesawa the GrossTrebler guide the Sariants along the alleyways stealthily, anticipating any possible resistance as they make their ways through the labyrinth of darkwood and hewn stone and ensure all is burning. Landmeister Mirtok and Komturei Viadar start nailing parchments to the door of the Town Hall stating:

 

Know this and heed this warning! You shall be watched for no threat will thrive! So long as we rise in strength, we see you in infancy, surely you had not thought you had a chance to grow into anything more!

 

---

 

The new Refectory is a work of art as well as the shrine of the Teutonic Order, despite the religious sound of the word shrine, the room is better described as a hall dedicated to the systematic and ideological concepts of the Teutonic Order. Gaius praises the architectural genius of fellow Sariant Viadar and initates him as a Pontiff of the Order and they give warm welcomes to new Sariants Barador and Brutus.

 

After the warm talks and celebratory cries die down, Gaius raised his hand to calm commotion and to inform the Order that military preparations are underway for an ensuing campaign due West...

 
---

 

Coming upon a mysterious structure on the ice, many of the Sariants brush their mail greaves through their icicle adorned hair as they near the newly discovered area. As the icicles indent the snowy landscape, Gaius holds his hand out motioning his men to be steady on their feet as the structure seems to be built upon a hardy ice. Upon coming close, the fluidity of blood appears in puddles near the entrance, an obvious sign of sinister acts. Opening the door, Gaius falls back and steadies himself as the ice around his feet show fissues from the pressure of his sudden movement, holding his nose and hacking at the burst of foul smell contained within.

 

Sariants speak up as a crypt is soon discovered close by, revolted at the scene they enter, Gaius commands for a Teutonic cross to be erected and burned and leaves etchings in white wood of a threat to this family and their malevolent practices.

 

---

 

Gaius strides out of the walled citadel of Nuremburg and approaches the ranks of men that look upon him with varying facial expressions of smirks, faint smiles, and stone visages. Seeing these men, Gaius brightens up and asserts their destination and gives them a speech about how the men they shall attack were ones who let arrogance seduce them to hoard the lands of Oren and separate themselves from the fact that they had to unite in the direst hour and failed.

 

The low noises of the marching of the Sariants fill the forests with an otherworldly noise, accompanied by the chants of somber calls of death and the hymns as perilous as what they seek to do. The Sariants march orderly, but seem aloft in the quiet forests, floating swiftly and quietly through to their destination. Upon seeing the first layer of walls, Gaius gestures to slow his men to a halt and whispers to his OrdenMarschalls Glylith and Samuel to organize the men to rush ladders against the walls. With heightened vocals in their chants, the Sariants plant some siege ladders firmly against the walls and climb up with shields raised over their heads.

 

Gaius struts solidly through the raised gate irons and looks within and sees the fleeing populace, ordering his men to take any straggling males and kill them if they resist. He then orders the buildings to be lit on fire and to spread embers throughout the paths they walk on...

 

Taking out some mixtures of egg whites and squid ink, he grits his teeth and finds a strip of wood to set up and writes:

 

Blind men, do you not see? Your walls will not hold if not held with stoic hearts, yet you lay about with greedy ambition for only your own gain

 

Gaius then sets the wooden strip to be seen easily and orders the Sariants to continue their push, little resistance indeed met so far. Upon seeing what seemed to be the central citadel of the castle, the Sariants were attacked from the narrow alleyways leaving the street they walked upon, but quickly repelled the desperate charges into their ranks and clean their blades off on their mail skirts. Continuing their hymns, aggravated by their annoyance in the futile attempts to turn them back. Gaius orders the Sariants to use salvaged anchor hooks and latch them onto the gates and together, Gaius personally wrapping the end of the rope around his greaves pull and detach and distort the gates for openings inside. Accompanied by his OrdenMarschalls, Gaius steps inside the citadel and immediately start reading signs directing to different buildings and are led by one leading to a modest room with a plethora of parchment nailed to the walls.

 

Gaius starts fumbling for the nails and rips them out of the sandstone wall, with ease as the sandstone easily cracks and detaches in shelled chunks. As Gaius acquires the many forms of parchment into a neat fold to be put under his chestplate, Glylith and Samuel both climb scaffolding and stairs into a tower and snuffs a freshly lit torch into the wood planks of the conical of the tower and leave the fire to fester and consume the air of the fair noon...

 

Along with the smoky beacon that stands tall now, as the sun creeps downward, the Sariants light the Guardian's banner on fire and leave the tatters to drift cleanly in the tense air and bury itself in the grains of sand.

 

Gaius, with the newly found information discusses with the Sariants his fiery feelings, of how the Order shall rise to combat the most deviously held value in a heart blackened by it's stockpiling; the arrogance of Man. With those words, he tears some of the signs and turns them about and begins writing one last warning to those who may bear witness after the Sariants return home from this attack...

 

You allowed your arrogance to seduce your view of reality. You separated yourself from the very men you had to keep good company with, you shall feel the pain of having your stockpile of greed taken, looted, burned, desecrated.

 

---

 

The Sariants, whipping their hair out of their eyes and slowly fitting the helm onto their heads and strapping their swords onto their belts and march with a harsh chant out of the gates of Nuremburg...

 

The Vale shall Fall.

 

---

 

Charred embers glow in the fog ridden night air, warming what appeared to be steam at the feet of the Sariants. The Vale lays in ruins, roofs collapsed from structural damage, belongings dragged out from the homes and laid bare on the crisp gravel paths. Bodies slain and blood drawn markedly in haphazard patterns as the Sariants continue their gruesome deeds accompanied by somber chants, Gaius glares at the windows of the houses they marched by, determined to snuff any and all men who would call for a festering resistance to the Teutonic Order. Gaius and his Sariants collide with every sword wielding man and quickly dispatch them, the anger at the populace of the Vale growing ever slowly, spitting on corpses and looting any and all weaponry and armour from the bodies they cast down to forever lie.

 

Upon rushing the Keep, the Sariants cut down the guards who attempt to assemble a defensive and throw their limp bodies in a pile outside of the Keep and drag the iron gate slowly down. Suddenly some Sariants flinch violently as lightning strikes the iron gates and electrocute them, sending them cursing and shouting in disapproval. A necromancer, mottled visage glaring at the men in the shelter of the Keep curses them and keeps shooting bolts as a scare tactic, but then Samuel hustles the archers to higher levels and start punching out windows. With a glint of quickly shot arrows, the Necromancer buckles and bleeds out and misses his last thrown lightning bolt...

 

---

 

Shuffling a parchment from out his yellow robes and ultimately discarding the yellow robes onto the ground, Gaius nails the parchment with a lengthy message onto the main gate.

 

'Your King, spared and returned his right to live, shall bear in his heart the gravest experience ever beheld. My men have invaded and assaulted the entirety of AlKhazaar, under the most elaborate disguise as Monks, and we seeked entry and pursued our tactic successfully. All you who witnessed the standing of the men of black crosses, know this! You shall not survive if you ever wish to step a single foot as obstacle to our path, whereas you read this message, men stir vile rumors; know that we are of the wisest creed. Sadly this land has fallen to the very trait that we seem cursed with, the arrogance of many men supersede their vision of reality, do you not realize what split Oren apart piece by piece? Oren laid as a puzzle strewn on the tables of the Undead as they gambled the destinies of many men, women, and children and Oren did not unite when the time needed it most.

 

Know this... our Black Crosses march against those so seduced by greed that they hid in the darkest crevice of their castles only concerned of the stockpile of their tarnished deeds. Stand not in our way, your King has been warned and so have you!'

 

---

 

The chants, hymns, and prayers of many men is heard in the distance, the rumbling of mail boots sing in the air the coming of soldiers. From out the west of Krugmar, soon a banner with a Black Cross appears to float above the numbers appearing out of the woods. With the hand gesture of the man leading the formation, the Sariants stand still, with a few waving their swords and shouting and others standing on their knees and releasing a ominous chant. The Hochmeister, leader of the Teutonic Order steps forward and issues the situation, the Kruglands is to be untainted by Human arrogance and admits his shame that men would attempt to plague other lands with their wishes fueled by greed...

 

---

 

Gaius approaches the Capital of Oren, AlKhazaar in his armour and strides to the gate, closed and creaking. With a shout, a guard cries out his intent upon entering and Gaius gives a false name... Marin. Entering, Gaius looks around and remembers his deeds only a month before, he remembers how he strode within in monk robes, claiming to be of St. Daniel. He looks upon the Keep in a distance, remembering the struggle and cries of mercy of the men his Sariants marched upon. With an odd look upon his face, he stares out as he remembers the sound of thunder crackling about AlKhazaar, causing him to snap out of his memory and keeps walking. Approaching the slums, he overhears a man in a struggle and rushes to the scene to see many guards punish a rebel and chuckles. Suddenly straightening up, Gaius approaches the scene closer, causing some of the guards to notice and shout at him, Gaius simply requests to talk to the highest of ranks.

 

Hearing a reply from the appropriate man, Gaius heeds him to talk privately to him, but the Sergeant scoffs and tells him that all of his guards are in their presence and that they shall continue as such. With agreement, Gaius slowly takes off his armor, link by link, piece by piece until his mail shirt underneath is exposed causing gasps and taunts as many guards surround him. Gaius looks around and sighs, knowing that he is nearing a deathly situation, but looks boldly into the Sergeant's eyes and continues...

 

This is for all of Oren... My apologies, deepest and truest for the actions that I had taken in the past month. As many of you may hear, rumours simmer as gruel does in the cooking pot, but surely the taste of something so bland would make you recoil, hear me out please. The Order was founded after the successful Undead invasion, verily they did not take all of Oren and I feel euphoric, but they did succeed in much of which should have never been granted to them. We rose to combat the growing arrogance amongst the many shattered fiefs of Oren and their guilds who denied to unite when Oren needed it most. Many say we kill women and children, our Canon contradicts it, I have stood as commander of our forces and oversaw only the killing of resisting men, all women and children were returned to Whisper Isles and other surrounding Oren vicinities. You must realize that when a man is seduced by his greed, he will scrap the earth and pile all that he can pile, as it grows his greed grows, he consumes what he cannot and should not; which is not what Oren needs nor deserves.

 

The attack on AlKhazaar was based on false information, the informant has been given in name as sadly he escaped after the information given, I was told that King Edmund opposed our purpose and verily wished these guilds to stand, the same guilds who segmented Oren enough for the Undead to swallow swaths of land whole. Thus our offer stands as this... do not shy or fear to ask for our assistance, we have realized after many talks with the Oren Military that we are wise equally and hopefully shall stand as so, we advocate with you to not shy away from asking for our support and I shall personally continue talks to support Oren. If the Undead truly are increasing their attacks, something lurks in the hearts of evil and a plan may be plotted, surely we can plot better than them.

 

Our Offer will forever stand, and if a man of our ranks strike against your flesh, then we will bear their flesh in AlKhazaar for all to see and shall deal justice, my amicable stance will not be tarnished by disobedience and it will be dealt with for all of AlKhazaar to see...

 

---

 

Gaius strides along the King's Road, blinded with hazy distortions of what he had witnessed just hours before. Just hours before, his Sariants were in pitched battle, having been ambushed marching towards the South in search of a rumored ruin, his companion and dear friend Cataris being cut down by savages. The memories of how Cataris and Gaius came from being harshest of enemies to the best of friends play in his mind, soothing him at moments and torturing shortly thereafter. He stumbles as wayfarers stare in wonder at the figure in mail armour almost tripping and falling over, Gaius however concentrates on any sign for a Sage to confide in. It is becoming to apparent to Gaius that he may need to impose his superior military in the coming events, knowing that he is more than capable of swaying the weights of situations to come.

 

In his sad confusion, he blinks and down the street he notices a man in pristine white robes, taken aback and blinks again to ensure he is not hallucinating. As Gaius opens his eyes, the robed sage locks eyes with Gaius and walks ever so slowly, causing Gaius to fall onto the ground in deeper throes of confusion. Gaius clutches his heart to slow his rapid beating and addresses the Sage who now stands over him, only to have a hand lended and swiftly put back on his feet. Staring in astonishment, the Sage beckons Gaius to follow him.

 

After miles trekked, the two arrive to the Cloud Temple, the magnificent structure clouded by the quibbling of multitudes of men in what seems like a heated situation. Nearing the scene, the Sage pulls out his staff and taps the ground and as people start to turn around and see the origin, men step back to give the Sage sight of the two Undead minions in their midst...

 

---

 

Gaius raises both his hands, beckoning the Sariants to silence their hymns and prayers, lowering them in sync with the slowly quieting ambience around him and his men. Addressing them in complete quiet, he informs the Order of a grand military campaign to strike at which has been deemed a threat to the brittle peace briefly being held throughout Oren. Knowing that questionable figures have appeared in Oren's midst and realizing that Aegis is becoming more and more chaotic, Gaius tells his Sariants that the actions of the Teutonic Order from then on must be more calculated and more thought out. Announcing the peace that was struck with the Oren Military, Gaius voices that this will free the Order of an annoyance and enable to focus more on the darker horizons that lay near their borders.

 

Gaius informs his Sariants of coming reforms to build upon the great efficiency of the Military and the Teutonic Order in general, to be implemented soon...

 

---

 

Gaius marches out of the Guardian's Citadel... for the second time. His Sariants push and shove chained men outside of the gate as the OrdenMarschall throws out the edges of a new flag and leaves it to flutter and fly alongside a tower of the Guardian's Citadel. Gaius takes the leader by both cheeks into his clenched hand and raises his head to look into his eyes and tells the leader, Adian that he will not return back to this castle again. Sliding his hand from Adian's mouth down to the base of his throat, he gives a violent shove that sends Adian backwards and lying on the cold cobblestone path they walked out onto. Lifting up his left foot, he sends a crushing blow to the abdomen of the leader and looks out to the other prisoners and states that he will make an example of them.

 

The OrdenMarschall, now walking out onto the path from the vantage point he just had, states of more men coming towards the castle. Gaius points at different locations and commands the Sariants to take their bound prisoners and to lay in those locations, setting an ambush. The foreseen intruders near the gate and acquire as to whom is within, with no response, the men enter with their hands on their hips and look about. The sudden intrusion of many gloom hymns and somber prayers make the men quicken their movements, spinning about trying to find the origin...

 

---

 

Slowly lifting his face, the glint of his eyes being matched with the other Sariants slowly raising their heads, a hundred eyes reflecting in different arcs the fires of burning architecture. Strands of hair rippling atop the heads of the victors, just as the spittle of embers fly into the night sky. Determination is a word befitting for this moment, as Gaius and his Sariants stand juxtaposed in black and white to the fiery reds and yellows a burning township. Just as slowly as their eyes fix to the west, their mouths curve and let out the gravest sound to send the most bone-chilling vocals throbbing into the icy air. The rise of the baritone of the impending hymns sung make some of the Sariants grin with fortitude, the swell of hearts with a strong bravery cause some of the Sariants to bend on one knee and sing out in a trill.

 

Gaius looks out as the wind picks up, causing the mail skirts of the Teutonic Knights to ripple and cause a tambourine effect to add onto the songs, hymns, and chants originating from the Sariants. Gaius rests his hand smoothly along the hilt of his sword, takes a few steps forward and looks back at his men with a smirk of admiration towards his men. With a twitch of his wrists, Gaius grasps his sword and slides it out of the scabbard and holds the sword up in the air. He looks to the west once more and declares:

 

Sariants, understand our passions are inflamed beyond saving, an inferno in the heart and a hearty fire to fuel our muscles. The very men who fear us shall realize that we seek to near them in hopeful amnesty, but it would be a travesty to see them be the ones dealt with by our swords! These words are simply to boost morale, but we all know the letters drawn by the mouth is weaker than the blood drawn by the blade and that the arrogance shadowed by castle walls compare not to the arrows creating an eclipse; omen of downfall! Doubt will be subject to be purged by each and every man who surged to the beckoning of my speech, inspiring for us and unsettling for them! I would rather speak a limerick with each parry in combat then rhyme and tarry on the podium, preaching of false unity! Brethren, Knights of the Teutonic Order, it is our time to ride the crest of our superiority compared to all in this land of Oren, we shall not fail in our endeavors!

 

---

 

On their first push west, the Sariants march in solemn order toward a citadel, awakening the lax atmosphere around the fortified keep. As the air tenses and the sleeping denizens stir, a piercing cry of prayer awakens those asleep and causes a rush of emotion rising through the Knights as battering rams are wheeled towards the gate. Dust shakes off the gate as the iron bends and pops out of place, the Sariants continue to chant as the gates rips apart and Sariants flood in. The Grosstrappier Tesawa strips himself of iron chestplate and leggings and climbs up a tree near a parapet and leaps onto the edge and balances himself as he grabs the masonry while unshealthing his sword and striking at a half-asleep soldier. As the Sariants rush through the pitifully designed town, OrdenMarschall Samuel takes out his bow and strums an arrow with the sound of a beautiful harp as the arrow meets it's mark in between the eyes of the Mayor of the Citadel...

 

---

 

His teeth slowly grinding together, his eyes furrow as thin as an arrow's fletching. Gaius steps with his hand caressing the bandages on his side, but nonetheless his eyes glow with the twinkling of rectitude and determination, this time is ripe as fresh fruit and as prime as his coming will ever be. His Sariants all stand in formation, knees as solid as stone as they brace and cry out in a sober hymn, with a few men breaking formation to get onto their knees and cry a sickening trill. Taking his hand away from his wound without a single grunt, Gaius slides his hands across the cold iron of his winged helmet and raises it slowly, the curvature of the helmet hiding a smirk of daring challenge. As his helmet fits into place, Gaius opens his mouth and sound a dirge so grave and forboding, his Sariants raise their voices to their highest pitch and clang their swords against their shields.

 

Gaius then walks, slowly and deliberately, raising each foot and letting it fall in place with an air of confidence. Splayed across the horizon are the many towers, homes, and the great wall of AlKhazaar, Gaius looks upon it and grunts and clucks his tongue in satisfaction. Turning to his men and the populace gathering to see the latest gossip unfold, Gaius turns around on one foot and faces his Sariants; quickly pulling out his sword from it's scabbard and addressing his men...

 

Oi! Sariants! Take heed of your Hochmeister's presence and the spirit of the endeavor we shall strive towards. The Nation of Oren deserves a capable leader and a proper military to see to every citizen's wellbeing! We must reveal to the common folk that our mighty Order is capable of assisting and ruling over Oren, not for arrogance, but for the very need that Oren has of an intelligent, capable ruler! Many of you Sariants were released from the womb in these very lands, shall we not repay with our lives the debt we owe to the men, women, and children who have formed their communities in this mighty land! Humankind, realize that we are truly capable, worry not about the silly politics of this realm that has driven nails in the coffins of many! Intelligence must reign, Reason must prevail, true capability must flow in the blood of this Nation! The Order will truly ensure the best of this Nation and ensure that we will truly grant every human being to live off the soil and toil the circumstances we will lift up to the highest station for you all!

 

---

 

Sweat beads dropping upon his raising feet as he moves about on the docks, Gaius looks out into the large lake stretched from the origin he stands at at the edge of the dock. Just a couple hours before his citadel of Nuremburg felt the first tinge of the Undead, an invasion nonetheless successfully repelled. His OrdenMarschall Samuel informed him of all of their deaths and pyres set along the coastline that he can see from the corners of his eyes. Glancing once more at the steady ripplings, losing his mind for a second in the serenity of his surroundings, he quickly found that frame of mind shattered as an arm quickly reaches for his foot and grabs it and yanks. With a loud thud rickety reminiscent of the wood the docks were made from, Gaius feels his body in a terrific throe as frail figures climb onto the dock and surround him. Gaius's mouth twist and eyes furrow at the situation impending and looks in a moment of confusion at the sudden climax that brought him onto his back and fallen backwards, he addresses them with an insult and chastises them for disturbing him.

 

Finally getting himself on all two feet, Gaius glares at the numerous visages mixed of anger, wrath, and the few faces of mottled flesh of the Undead. With the tap of a golden staff from one of the fetid figures, another more armoured and lively figure whips out a chain made of stone and secures them around Gaius's wrists and catches him at surprise and Gaius responds with a curse, but quickly a smirk covers the mouth agape. As the armoured man growls demands for no resistance to Gaius, Gaius turns his head to the staffed figure and tells him that he wont cower and that they should be most disappointed that he is a man of strong fortitude and not able to bow to fools. The necromancer attempts to use the curve of his staff to unbuckle Gaius's breastplate to ask of his affiliation, but Gaius spins around dodges the staff. The necromancers spits a fluid resembling lymph at Gaius and demands his name.

 

Gaius states his name is Tulli and the necromancer demands Gaius's hand and grips it with sharpened nails anchoring his grip onto Gaius and with his other hand in an otherworldly spell of glowing white hot power sears a cross on the palm of his hand. With the grinding of teeth, Gaius manages to contain himself and wear the constant smirk, once more showing determination not to let up to the Undead's torture. The necromancer stoops to level height with Gaius's face and gives him an equally devious smirk and tells his group to follow him.

 

Being dragged through the landscape his men had marched upon in the past began to unreel a timeline of memories, especially after being taken within the yet unrestored ruins of Crimson Vale. Feeling a form of retribution due to the attack, Gaius stewed the necromancer's nerves with complete confusion as to what is the importance of bringing him here, denying his own name as he had in the beginning. Leaving the Vale, the Undead travel North and one of the armoured men trade barbs with Gaius in an attempt to warn him to be frightened of the leader of the pack and with a return of noncompliance, an uppercut to Gaius's jaw throws him into complete resistance. With Gaius pulling against the chains and dodging each attempted blow by the same armoured men, arrows strike one in the shoulder blade and his OrdenMarschall, Samuel rushes at the chain and is deflected from his attempt to sever them as a rush of smoke originates near the middle of the chain. From the soiled hole that appears, decrepit figures straggle towards Samuel and Gaius as the others attempt to fight back and are repelled by the massing of zombies.

 

Gaius grapples his sword and swings it into the flesh of the foul creatures, but then feels the gashing upon his back making him realize he does not have his breastplate on and gets into a crawling position and beckons Samuel to do the same as their wounds continue to bleed. Crawling in a crevice made of stone, they fall asleep and are woken up the morning after by Monks dressed of a lustrious white.

 

---

 

Flushed red, running with sweat instead of the usual bloodiness of war, Gaius steps back and sits on a mound of dirt. Lifting the shovel to lay by his side, Gaius removes his mail greaves and wipes his head till a clean sheen gleams atop his forehead as the sun pounds down upon him and he lays flat, stretching his weary body. The land before him, flattened and marked with stakes starts to shrink as the sun tortures him with its unforgiving rays of heat, Gaius's body limps and loosens as it spins in a slight circle and he falls back in a force to put him to sleep.

 

With a peculiar feeling, Gaius awakens to see stone and wood form entire buildings in front of his eyes, to see a civilization building itself from the air it would seem. Gaius walks down an entire bridge as each piece fits into place until he gazes with the moon climbing ever so solemnly on the horizon a forest draped with shadows and dark enclaves. From this forest, he sees the ghost images of his Sariants, marching accompanied with sharp trills and grim hymns and the taunts of a fearsome, brave soldier. Gaius falls onto his knees being on the receiving end of the march he started, realizing that through the world of Aegis, he has produced the most elite and promises himself till his death he will see the Teutonic Order to the greatest stations.

 

---

 

Gaius walks auspiciously along King's Road, his mind and heart restful and biding the many thoughts expressed by his Sariants the day before as they build the Capital, expressions of the knowledge that they will succeed in this endeavor just as endeavors past. As he walked more straggled due to his daydreaming, Gaius snaps back to reality as he nears the sands of Krugmar; off in the distance. Not so much the mesmerizing gleam of a million sands, Gaius tilts his head in curiosity as he sees the movement of the Orcs gliding across the dunes like the wind of the baking sun. Picking up his pace, Gaius meets them along the stretch of King's Road and recognizes the Big Boss Aerog. Greeting the Orcish General in proper Orkish, Gaius is told of how the Lord Brett Perea attempted to invade Krugmar and issue warnings of arrogant chords and that the Krughai see nothing wiser than to strike back to advocate the Lord to watch his footsteps.

 

Heading northeast to rally his men, Gaius seeks his OrdenMarschall to gather the Sariants in gilded armour and to head towards the Whisper Isles. Marching towards the Isles chanting, the Teutonic Order gather in a separate column from the Orcs to differentiate the men that both Big Boss and Gaius lead and march nearer to the heart of the Whispering Isles. As dawn rises, the Sariants begin to chant louder, shouting curses and threats to the guards of the Isles. Seeking out the Whispering Order, Gaius catches the faint glimpses of armoured men retracting away from the marching column and commands his men to pick their feet up and begin investigating the mysterious figures. Nearing a structure with a tower looming overhead, Gaius hears the rustling of gate irons being dropped and curses in annoyance. Slowing to a brisk walk, he lets each foot be heard as he walks heavily and gracefully to the gate of the barrack and grasps the iron bars with his mail greaves and peers at the soldiers inside...

 

Clasping the edge of his winged helm and pulling it off his head, Gaius smirks at the soldiers as they back away slowly from the gate and peer back at the Hochmeister. Letting out a sharp laugh, Gaius demands armour and weaponry to be given to him or that he will unleash the inevitable fate. Opening and emptying chests, the men walk back begin handing over the supplies, much to Gaius's approval. While this occurred, Gaius addresses what seemed to be the leader of said Whispering Order and instructed him to tell Lord Brett not to flaunt what he does not have, to watch wearily his movements so as to not appear arrogant and out of line again. With the last of equipment handed over, Gaius thanks them and turns around and begins to walk away. Hearing the first sigh, Gaius rushes the gate again and instructs his men to begin hoisting ship anchors brought from the harbor and takes hold of the ropes and pulls. Both Orc and Man pulled to the tune of the grinding and torturous sound of beaten iron as the gates slowly give way until the entablature containing the gate iron when raised had burst into rubble, brushing off the materials from their mail and iron armour, the barracks were rushed. A day worth of the inevitable passed as the slain bodies of the Whispering Order laid strewn across the barrack flooring, Orcs gashed the bodies to ensure no life animated as the Order begin to stuff straw in the wooden cracks and crevices to feed their torches of growing flames...

 

---

 

Walking along the King's Road, Gaius views some figures silhouetted by the dusk's cloak across the landscape. Noticing branches stretched forth between him and the two figure standing, facing away from him; Gaius shuffles backward and behind the tree from which the branches reach from. Placing his hands firmly upon the bark of the tree and leans out to allow his ear to hear more, he grasps strands of the conversation, learning they were talking about himself and that one of the figures dressed in crimson red was searching for him. Removing his winged helm and placing it easily upon a thick branch and walking forth with his arms outstretched. Walking softly without notice, as Gaius neared the red figure, he cheered with praises and began to hug the figure, unnerving and causing the red figure to withdraw in surprises.

 

Wrapping his arms around the figure in brotherly affection, Gaius leans in close to his cloaked ear and whispers that he knows of the man that he talks about and quickly withdraws so as to not cause suspicion in the figure being interrogated. Gaius smiles amicably and thinks of his success as he sees the lips within the cloak curl, charred streaks upon the lips become noticable. The red cloaked figure steps beside Gaius and quickly tilts his head in a direction and Gaius follows him as the other figure leaves feeling indifferent. Heading on a small road to a modest shop, doors open and glowing with candlelight bathing the walls in warm glow. The Red Figure addresses in immediate questioning, Gaius parries with a false identity, one he has moved throughout and accustomed to the story of his false identity. With the mention of how Marin seeked out Iblees, the red cloaked figure raised his hand with a slight raising of his hood at the mention of Iblees.

 

Alerted at the concern shown by the red cloaked figure, Gaius's eyes furrowed slightly and his mind interpreted his chances of facing what obviously was a necromancer after seeing the grueling facial conditions earlier. With a slight raise of his hood, the stranger shows a slight smirk, once again displaying the blackened lips and sticks out his hand slowly in mottled tones of skin color. Noticing the hand would need to be shook by the hand that was scarred by a cross when he was abducted, Gaius raises his hand in a call for a minute and Gaius recalls that he has a parchment marked with more information and lowers his hand into his pocket. As he fingers the pocket attached to his belt, he swiftly slides his hand upon the hilt of his sword and draws it forth from it's sheathe and immediately slashing the belly of the necromancer and spins around and guts the necromancer in the abdomen once more.

 

The necromancer, upon his last breathe throws off his hood and stares into Gaius's eyes, guffawing at the fact that he did truly find Gaius albeit too late. Barking at the necromancer with harsh curses and asserts to know his felled enemy's name, the necromancer coughs up blood as he calls himself Brevias. The Necromancer's knees buckle due to blood loss, stumbling upon one knee and growing unconscious and slipping closer to his last breathe, Gaius stares at him and smirks cleverly, telling him that none of his kind will ever find him. Placing a foot upon the chest of the necromancer, he shoves his foot against the limp body and slides his blade against rotten flesh to withdraw it from the body.

 
---

 

Slowing to a studdering walk, Gaius slowly sheds off his winged helm to a torrent of sweat beads spraying forth. Calling out to his Sariants to assemble in front of the main gate of the fortress of Nuremburg, Gaius rests his hands roughly upon his knees to catch his breathe. Having ran through the forests to alert his men of the ambush by King Enor's Militia, he gathers his Grosstrappier and instructs him to gather the armour and gathers his OrdenMarschalls to inform them of the numbers had. The Sariants begin to chant furiously at the news of their own brethren being killed out of bloodlust and march out of the gate with the trill of mail skirts impacting one another. Gaius swings his sword in the direction of King's Road and his Sariants keep a steady march onward.

 

Nearing the King's Road, Gaius lays his hand at his thigh's height and motions them to hide in the forests nearby. Quickly skipping to an enclave hidden underneath the road, Gaius rolls into the enclave and pokes his head out in the direction of Krugmar. Spotting one of the Krughai striding along King's Road, Gaius grapples the masonry of the road when the Orc crosses him above and grips the Orc's foot and sends him sideways crashing into the sand and quickly cups his hand and silences the Orc. Whispering in the Orc's ear that he is the Hochmeister, the Orc immediately loosens up his recoil from the fall and listens as Gaius explains that he needs the Warlord Mogroka to issue the Krughai back to the location they lay and the Orc shakes his head and whispers to hold the Sariants strong within the forest until he comes back. They both depart and Gaius heads back into the forest and lays in wait with his men, analyzing the horizon and who makes their path through the King's Road.

 

As the moon curves along the tender surface of the night sky, Gaius peers out from the bushes and notices a large group summoning from the south and marching north. Grabbing his OrdenMarschall and pointing towards the large conglomeration and noticing Krughai and another unknown party, they order their Sariants to come out from the dark forests and march towards the road as Gaius speeds up ahead of them and holds out his hand in amnesty and greets in Orcish language, responded correctly giving Gaius relief. As he nears the marching, Ned LudGorkil approaches Gaius and gives word that the Orcs called upon their elven allies, the Wardens and informs that they will be fighting alongside the Teutonic Order. Gaius takes off his winged helm and stands on one foot to observe both of the armies assembling into two columns and instructs his Sariants to ready themselves for combat.

 

Meeting the Warden Highborn Quazar, Gaius and Ned Lud alongside their Generals discuss their plans and with most agreements being found between each other turn and address their men for battle. Gaius walks in front of his men and tell them that the day has come that Oren shall have due repercussions, if one wishes to act, then they shall be acted upon duly for their efforts in however way it must be returned. Kramaroe being invaded when the Orcs were on their tribal hunts was the most ignorant disrespect and not even the Ascended can stop what shall happen, it is time for AlKhazaar to be razed for such ignorant of actions and let the King answer to his own deeds. Gaius then looks at the other two men, Ned LudGorkil and Quazar and initiates the northern march towards the gates of AlKhazaar.

 

As the main gate of AlKhazaar emerges from the dawning of the sun, the Warden column marches behind trees and begin to take aim with their elven bows and draw down the number of guards atop the towers and hiding behind parapets, OrdenMarschall Samuel and Viadar point out a fallacy in the iron gates in one section of the walls and with rapid arrow fire, the Orcish and Teutonic column rush forth through the shallow river and swim underneath and into the city. Charging the first row of guards, nervous and teetering on their feet, the Sariants and Orcs swiftly cut them down before noticing a second row of gates had been shut during the quick skirmish and more guards rest behind the secondary walls. Urara'Gorkil and Apollan the Warden draw Ned Lud, Quazar, and Gaius towards a sewer entrance and they formulate a plan to spring two attacks at the same time on the inner city of AlKhazaar.

 

Rushing with a handful of Wardens and a few Orcs, Gaius presses some of his Sariants led by him into a foul smelling lake near the mountain that AlKhazaar is based around and find a rusted, mottled sewer pipe large enough for them to walk into. Approaching it, Urara'Gorkil, Apollan, Gaius, Draco, and Gralka grab hold on the grimy sewer grating and pull until the feeble wrought iron pops off and sends the people flying backwards into the murk. Entering into the sewers, the men keep quiet so as to not alert the guards above the sewage system and make their way up into a city street and quickly pull themselves up and over and enter a house and Gaius locks the door with a wooden plank. Pulling woolen curtains over the windows, Urara'Gorkil, Ned LudGorkil, Durzio, Gralka, Vardak, and Gaius lean against the walls to peer out of the windows at the passing guards and ensure themselves that they are safely hidden.

 

With the sound a blown horn, Gaius and the rest of the people inside rush downstairs and unsheathe their weapons and kick the door down and scatter into the streets and surprise the guards nearby and swiftly quell any guard defensives and move through the streets. Spotting the rest of the armies rushing through the main street along with his OrdenMarschalls, Gaius tilts his head towards the entrance of the Keep, grins, and rushes towards it. With news that the King fled, the armoured guards fortifying the Keep grew unsettled as a mass of rushing warriors threw themselves into the defending and after hours of constant battle they were whittled away and the cries of victorious virtue rang within the city of AlKhazaar. Gaius, wiping blood from his helm and the curdle of flesh from his blade walked towards the throne, to him now a symbol of arrogance. Accompanied by a Black Axe named Logan, the dwarf withdrew a pickaxe and struck at the diamond shards in the backrest and drew four chunks; gifted to the leaders of the victors. Gaius, Ned LudGorkil, Quazar, and Logan four received these shards in a symbol that his arrogance has been calmed, now he knows the prices paid for the actions grown from haughty ambition.

 

---

 

Gaius wipes the grime of mortar onto his mail skirt, observing the greys melting into the colour of his mail armor and steps back a few paces upon the sand. The night sky lingers as the bits of sands sink from the weight of the bystander and Gaius sighs relief. Flurries of sand blow from the night breeze as Gaius looks up at the newly erected outpost and puts his arms on his waist and catching his breathe from the near endless working. Satisfied with his work, Gaius picks up his winged helm, slips it on and gathers his tools and attach them to his belt and begins to walk into the dark horizon.

 

Before heading away, Gaius enters once more and plucks a thorn from the cacti within. Taking it within his teeth, he walks away with his winged helm strung across his back and with the cacti needle rolling from crease to crease within his lip.

 

---

 

Walking in strides, Gaius discusses the coming growth of the Kingdom of Oren whilst glancing at the wayfarer inn's and modest farms in full bloom of wildflowers, wheat, and the occasional melon plant. Gaius waves his hand in agitation as a armor clad man walking towards them gives Gaius an ugly glance and the OrdenMarschall Samuel places his hand on the hilt of his sword, Gaius beckons Samuel to retrieve his aggressive intent and to simply keep walking with him. As the situation quickly calms, Gaius catches a glance of a fortress between the thick timber west of the King's Road near Galahad and places his hand on Samuel's shoulder and beckons him to follow; the swiftly sidestep into the forest and hide themselves in the woods. Stepping over the decay of logs and withering leaves, Gaius and Samuel near the quaint castle and move their heads around to get views of any men standing around and notice a group accumulated by the gates.

 

Noticing the group in calm discussion, Gaius peels himself from the tree he was hidden behind and walks toward the group with arms outstretched so as to mean himself a peaceful addition to the conglomeration. Samuel quickly follows, observing the crowd of men closely and speaking in a different tongue accompanied by clicks of Gaius's tongue to show that he is listening. Greeted, Gaius places his hand to his heart and replies with equal kindness and acquires on the group. After a long discussion as to the history of the Knights of the North, Gaius makes an offer to the leader, Casamir; to join the Black Crosses. With a response of which Casamir expressed the need to think it through, some of the Knights step forward and request that they leave with the Hochmeister immediately. Casamir looks toward the Hochmeister and instructs that he take great care of the men in which Gaius promises to do so.

 

---

 

Gaius lifts his mail boot upwards, a limp arm draped over it. Tilting his winged helm and the crisp exhaling streams out of the nostril indents as he stretches his back. His Sariants solemnly chant as they gather weaponry out of the nearby barrack as OrdenMarschall Samuel guides a few other men to throw torches intoxicated in fuel. Shouting to the straggling soldiers thwarted by the Black Crosses, Gaius warns the Nical Empire to return to Oren's bosom and to never return to claim land outside Oren's stretch...

 

---

 

Gaius climbs upon the vast rock shelves in the Northern Reaches, ever so often dropping into small crevices as he makes his way through the wintery landscape. Seeing the distant silhouette drawn by the blizzard, Gaius quickens his step as he nears a sandstone wall. To his surprise, the gate swiftly unhinges and drops atop a tuft of snow. Gaius, peering through the arrow slits for signs of life, walks slowly across weighing each of his footsteps heavily. Seeing the luminous lanterns seemingly floating due to the blinding snow, Gaius tilts his winged helm attempting to find the one who opened the gate. Finally, a man with an aura of goodwill approaches Gaius, acquiring of who he was and why he came.

 

Looking at the ground in front of him, Gaius informs the man as others gather around him that he will be surprised what he had brought and who he truly is. As the other men show curiosity, the man who first addressed him looks to him with furrowed brows as Gaius reaches within his cloak to withdraw a lustrous staff of golden engraves. Handing it to the man who revealed himself as Commander of the FoA, Safen. Safen takes it within his hand and looked up towards Gaius and asked who he was. Gaius slowly removes his winged helm and runs his hand through his beard and strokes it gently as he observes Safen gasp and step back.

 

Suddenly, a woman approaches, long white hair blending with the snowflakes and a face pure and unblemished addresses Safen and asks about what is going on. Gaius places his mail mitten upon his heart and with a smile bends slightly towards the woman. With a few words traded, the woman takes the staff into her own hands and trace the engraving with a tear beckoning her to thank Gaius. Gaius asks that the woman let the Ascended know that the compassion they have committed throughout with certainly be returned and to let such news reach their own so that their morale is raised.

 

---

 

Taking a hold on his collar, Gaius drags the man till his body laid relatively horizontal with the ground. The man, wretchedly cursing at the Sariants slowly surrounding him whilst chiming a piercing trill into the air, stumbles as he is laid out. The entirety of his body exposed, Gaius orders his men to cleave his chest, to knock wind and word out from his body. Gaius looks towards the other men within the castle, staring in horror and points his sword and orders them to hide within or that his men will make their way inside. After the body limps after multiple strikes, Gaius looks toward one of the men in the tower and loosens his grip on the dead man's collar slowly as the head bobs from impact after falling against the ground. Smirking, Gaius instructs Silverblade, Ventraux, Segari, and Samuel to follow him as they exit.

 

---

 

Gaius steps through the portal and is affronted by a scene of confusing chaos. Arachnids the size of a man laying down were skittering up from a gaping crevice, shaking his head from the fixture he had on one of them crawling up strand-like spiderwebs. A man yells for Gaius's attention and he shakes his head, withdraws his sword from his scabbard and pieces the abdomen of one of the spiders climbing onto the stone floor he stood on. More men rush up a haphazard staircase towards Gaius and the stranger as their eyes race for a weapon on Gaius's body to use to defend themselves. After unhinging two axes from his mail belt, Gaius and the men slightly spin their weapons in their hands and watch for the arachnids to expose themselves. As each tender leg of the spiders attempt to grapple over the edge of the platform they stood on, each man took turns blowing gashes into their bodies and watching as the spiders wretch in pain and fall over into the abysmal scene below; too dark to know the spiders' true fate.

 

---

 

Leaning his head with concern towards the Grosstrebler Vanus, Gaius squints his eyes with the news informing him of the Nical thieves attempting to hassle his soldiers within the days past. Striding up the stairway and continuing until he saw sight of his men resting after their building labours, Gaius calls out to them to grab their armours and cinch their breastplates and tie their swords to the cords of the belts and to form outside the main gate of Konigsburgh. Standing against the parapet facing out and giving him view of his men standing in tightly formed lines, Gaius nods his head and smiles grandly under his winged helm and addresses their desitination. Instructing OrdenMarschall Samuel and Sariant Abeam to gather planks and lumber to bring to assemble siege engines, the Sariants behind their Hochmeister slowly move towards the Nical Empire.

 

As the sun crept slowly across the edge of the horizon, the Sariants took out torches tipped in oil and coal and lit them aflame and continued onwards until they reached the main gate. Gaius addressing his men to assist Abeam and Samuel's constructing of the catapults led him to finding a few Nicalis huddled within a tower with a wooden beam wedging the door shut and after a short peppering of arrows, many of the Nicalis were shot down and the resistance completely quieted when Silverblade, Vanus, and Segari brought ladders and unsettled the men to attempt and throw the ladder off, but resulting in an arm gashed agape for the fallen Nicali. With that pocket of resistance quelled, Gaius and his Sariants looked formidably within the Nical Empire's Castle...

 

Warning the Lord Caleb to give up all holdings and return to Oren's bosom once more. With shouts of defiance, Gaius peered out to Abeam manning the catapult...

 

Demanding the gate be broken in, with a few flaming boulders thrown; the Black Crosses succeeded in opening up the castle to attack. Samuel and Gaius lead the attack and after a few hours of cleansing rebel Nicali from the streets, the Black Crosses exclaim victorious shouts and begin to raid the castle of remaining war supplies.

 

After the fighting, Gaius, Mirtok, Segari, Samuel, and Pie walk along the streets and observe the dead strewn along the streets like waste in the slums of Al'Khazaar. Gaius urges a few of the Sariants to help him carry three bodies out of the Nical's castle and without a care, dump the limp bodies in shoddy graves dug earlier and Gaius takes out wooden posts and ink made of squids milk and writes stark warnings to any remaining Nicali...

 

The Black Crosses have rid the world of Aegis of an ignorant empire and have come forth from the shadows rumours cast and proven that they are much alive and powerful... perhaps even more powerful.

 

---

 

Each step of his weighing heavily, Gaius moves throughout the sprawling streets of Konigsburg; observing his Sariants resting across the grasses surrounding the paths drawn. Labor well endowed is something Gaius has always admired in his men, soldiers disciplined know the measures taken to ensure such feats of greatness are accomplished. Clasping the rings of his mail skirt and adjusting so he can sit flat onto a mound of dirt alongside his Landmeister, Mirtok; Gaius removes his winged helm and leans his head back. Twisting his head so his eyes can meet Mirtok, he acquires of the progress and what is to come in the last few days of their projects and smiles in admiration as he is chastened by the shrewd Mirtok in the fact that the men are getting lazy as the winter beckons. Leaning his head so far back that his view whips upside down, he sees a man emerge from the armoury behind him, stoutly carrying a heavy load. Daven and Samuel come forth showing Gaius the results of the beating of iron as gilded armor come into eye's focus and Gaius studies the intricacy of the black crosses embossed in the armor...

 

---

 

Placing his hand upon his heart and bowing ever so slightly to the Orc who has ended up in front of him, panting as he catches his breathe, the Orc greets him in the accustomed language and Gaius responds with his racial accent. Bending his knees to come closer to the Orc as he mutters distinguishable words as he still catches his breathe from the long strides taken to arrive at Konigsberg, Gaius lifts his head and looks onward in utter disbelief then turns his head suddenly and shouts to the OrdenMarschalls to assemble the Sariants. With the clattering of swords against the sides of hips as Sariants marched in array down the wide streets of Konigsberg and lined in formation in front of the main gate. Striding and addressing his soldiers as he walked on the side of the formation towards the front and glancing at each individual face, Gaius informs them that the Humans have become involved in a massive war that was to be had between the original conflicting Orcs and Dwarves. Sensing Enor was seeking to unbalance the odds to favor him as he stated that he believed that Enor was simply seeking popular support by ensuring his success would be heightened, Gaius told the Sariants that they were to come disguised and sent them back to wear different cloaks of armor. Once all returned, Gaius threw up his sword arm and roared from under his winged helm as all his men begin to slowly trill their voices in a chant inciting death to the Orenfolk and his men began to march forward and toward Krugmar.

 

Staying in front of his men, Gaius glided through the dampened and darkened forests towards Krugmar. Arriving to the grand sandstone walls marking the entrance, Gaius notices some Orcs shifting uncomfortably and bearing their swords openly in anticipation, beckoning forth the Orc who came to ask for their assistance, Gaius cries out that they are Black Cross and suddenly the Orcs jump forward for a group of levers to activate the gate device. As the gate raised open, once more his Sariants marched into the desert with the stroke of a crescent painted across the sky as the men chatter their teeth slightly at the numbing cold of the desert at night. One of the Orcs, the Warbozz Blawharag grabs Gaius's shoulders and shakes him as a welcoming and Gaius chuckles under his breathe and acquires to what the news has been. News of a failure at KalUrguan is stated first with Blawharag adding that despite the failure of the siege, the war with the Dwarves has been contained and that the Humans had pushed a flanking on the Orcish army at KalUrguan and was the cause for the loss. Laughing heartily of the news that was of Felix's surprise attack, he stated to his men all stretching and resting their swords and axes on their shoulders that an attack was to be quickly repaid to the Humans. Leaning towards Blawharag and requesting him to gather the Krughai, Blawharag nods and replies in agreement and he quickly jogs towards Sanjezal.

 

 

Unbuckling his zweihander and resting the palms of his hands onto the hilt of the zweihander and observing his men, he told them that they were to fight with the most intelligent valor and the strongest stoicism. To be calculative and always aware of their brother's condition and to fight as one, not split as many. Issuing their destination as Galahar as he eyes the approaching Orcs out of the corner of his eye, Gaius stands back up and swings the Zweihander over his shoulder and smiles mischievously as he informs Blawharag that his men are ready. His men awakening their bodies to the stress to be endured look towards the Orcs and shouts words of insult of Oren and they trade guffaws at the brotherhood they have and with that, Blawharag and Gaius issue the marching orders. Leaving the sandstone walls, the soldiers form into two columns and march on opposite sides of the King's Road towards Galahar.

 

Nearing the feudal town, Gaius raises his hand and lowers it slowly to beckon his men to keep among the trees and hidden as he leans himself against a tree out of view of any who may be in Galahar and takes quick glances trying to spot out any soldiering within Galahar. Spotting the Barracks south of Galahar, he can see men intermingling on the walls with simple bows slung across their body. Whispering to his Sariants to pass along the information that the resistance has taken shelter, he waves to gain Blawharag's attention and points once more towards the Barracks. Smiling as he receives a nod, all the Sariants and Orcs unbuckle their holsters and pull out composite bows and a few pluck the sinew string observing they are in working condition and begin to hop into the town and take cover immediately as the Oren Militiamen take notice and begin to attempt to nock arrows. Some of the braver humans come forth and charge with their swords and axes, but the Sariants drive them to the ground in a violent clash and draw back towards cover as archers still attempt to get hits on the invading army. Suddenly a string of lightning trace across the sky as Lodrick the Necromancer makes his strides up a tower and takes quick shots at both armies, turning their heads and noticing the fetid on top of the tower, the Sariants raises their arms and aim for Lodrick and after a quick trade of fire he is knocked from the very tower and came forth to the ground where he dies.

 

After grappling hooks are attached to the wooden gates of the Barracks and with forceful pulling, the Sariants and the Orcs successfully drive open a hole for them to get through and force their way inside and with bloodied fighting against the combined forces of Humans and a few Dwarves, the Sariants cry out in victorious exclamation and celebrate and begin to raid the smiths and send two Sariants to carry the scarce loot back to Konigsberg. Having dealt a defeat to the Humans, Blawharag and Gaius gather at the gate and discuss their next move as suddenly, the piercing cry of King Enor invade their ears and pique their interest as they both turn their heads to look outside of the gatehouse. Overhearing him attempting to raise his freshly renewed reinforcement's morale, Gaius quickly pulls Blawharag aside and tells him to pull his men with his and that they were to leave the Barracks through another gate and fall back into the forests in a guerrilla move and with quick hand motions; the Sariants and the Orcs follow Gaius and Blawharag.

 

Finally exited from the Barracks, they circle around and swiftly fall back in the forests south of Galahar and being within earshot of Enor declaring his plan of action, they learn of the plan of a twin invasion of Sanjezal by the Humans and the Dwarves. With that, Enor strides with his army quickly following and just behind his step. Crouching behind fallen timbers, the Sariants observe the army and notice that with a combined force as Enor warned about, they were slightly outnumbered and thus they warily began to step in the same direction and kept up with the Human army. Blawharag running alongside Gaius informs him that he must take his Krughai to be able to greet the combined armies if and when they reach the walls of Sanjezal and barks at his Orcish comrades to hasten step and quicken their strides as they run ahead and successfully get to Krugmar before the Dwarves and Humans.

 

Finally slowing near the gates of Krugmar, Gaius calms his Sariants to a stop and allows for them to catch breathe and begin replenishing their hunger and thirst before walking into Krugmar. Seeing the last of the invading armies go through the broken gates, Gaius throws his zweihander and informs his men to get ready to outflank the twin armies and they march into the sands once more. Each sinking pace made onto the sands of Krugmar marks closer and closer to how far the twin armies have gone into entering Krugmar. Upon spotting the invaders, Gaius blinks his eyes as the sun beats down on the armor-clad army and he reaffirms their true form rather than a possible mirage. Wasting no time as the Orcs and the armies busy themselves trading arrow fire, Gaius raises his zweihander and charges with his shoulder pointed towards Enor and the Sariants ram into the armies and take them by surprise. Being disguised, the sudden surprise and confusion that ensues works for the Sariants as they cleave, slash, and thrust at the invading men. Sariant Icarus and Vanus work themselves into a frenzy that led them to knock unconscious the two Kings as Mirtok, the Landmeister, swings his arm in the direction to a more concentrated grouping of the opposing armies and the Sariants swiftly charge once more.

 

Trapping the blade of a yelping human between his own zweihander's blade and crosshandle, he twists his zweihander, butts him with the hilt to knock him down and cause him to slide slightly against the particles of sand that cushions his fall; Gaius reverses the zweihander in his hand and forcibly thrusts the elongated blade into the opponent and looks up towards the Orcs upon the wall. Nodding his head and greeting the Orcs in their language, the flustered looks on their faces turn into smiles and gleeful taunts as they recognize who the newer men were. Swinging the Zweihander to catch another man in the cheek and breaking his jaw, Gaius rushes towards Mirtok to assist him alongside his Sariants, but trips as he jumps into a depression from atop a dune and a dwarve rams him in the gut with his warhammer and puts Gaius into shock, but smiles slightly as he sees his men spreading through the field and successfully thwarting the invasion before falling unconscious.

 

Upon waking up, he eyes the Warlord Mogroka laughing playfully upon looking at Gaius awaken. Addressing Gaius in thanks, he swiftly counters his own words by whacking Gaius on the shoulder and laughing about how he got hit by a stout and Gaius chortles and tells Mogroka that the Black Cross won and Mogroka smiles alongside the Warmistress and state that the alliance they have had is the most honorable to be had and with that the Orcs and the Sariants celebrate in the streets of Sanjezal.

 

---

 

Lines of sweat defuse the complexity of his skin as Gaius rests against a tree and drinks from a flask of water. Laying stone to draw a wide road from Konigsberg to the more inhabited parts of Aegis, Gaius stretches his taut and weary muscles as his eyes droop towards a slumber in the crisp cool air of the Outremerlands. With his bowing eyelids beckoning him to rest, he looks up one last time towards the sun to ensure there is time in the day that he can dedicate to sleep before seeing a falcon drop from the atmosphere and fly towards Gaius. Alerted, his head immediately perks and he rolls onto his arms and legs and motions to avoid the falcon, but then sees it lift back into the sky as a ornamental letter drops onto the ground beside him. Taking the slivers of paper into his dirt mottled hands, he opens to find an invitation to High King Syrio's wedding with Lady Shoi of the Ascended; a smile creases ever so slightly and he begins to pack his tools and head back to Konigsberg.

 

Upon making due preparations, he takes along Sariant Kai and they head towards Alras. Upon arrival, Gaius notices the hundreds upon hundreds of people lining the street and follows the mass shaping of a wedding celebration, ever so softly beckoning his direction through the crowd with slight pushes and tugs as he observes the Cathedral. Pressing against the doors of the Cathedral, an Alrasian guard shakes his head to deny Gaius access, opening his cloak to show his Black Cross, Gaius and Kai are ushered through and take seats in the southwest corner of the Cathedral in observance of the holy matrimony. Sitting on the wooden pews, Gaius unlatches his zweihander and sets it in front of him and rests the palms of his hand on the hilt as he observes closely for Syrio's face in the conglomeration of the four races set to observe the event. Upon the announcement of Lady Shoi, a few hearken to her demise in the name of Iblees accompanied by giggles and guffaws. Disgruntled by the ignorant behavior, Gaius joins as a few older men chastise the odd ones and the event continues as planned. As the husband and wife take their hands together and Arcadius recites words of bonding, lightning resounds the stained glass with a glaring brightness as a necromancer kicks open the Cathedral doors and strikes Arcadius from his very own fingertips.

 

The scene ensuing was one of chaos as men and women in the back rows lunge forth at the necromancer as he disappears with a bounty of flame lunging into the Cathedral. Giving a side glance with Sariant Kai, they dissipate into the pandemonium of frenzied and scared individuals wishing escape and separate at one of the stained glass windows as Gaius takes the hilt of his zweihander and butts in the glass and they climb out. Walking towards the front as the mob of people rush outwards and scatter about as lightning taunts them into a fiercer fear, Gaius eyes the same necromancer and Lady Shoi trading words of mighty resolve and dancing with fire. Sidestepping and relaxed in their composure, both Gaius and Kai see another suspiciously robed individual glare desiringly at the Overlord as he had called himself and walk innocuously in the outsider's direction. With his zweihander leaning up against his shoulder, Gaius steps softly until he is but a foot behind the suspicious fellow and leans the wide blade of the zweihander onto the shoulder of the necromancer's shoulder and whispers into his ear not to make another move. Chuckling, the necromancer warns Gaius that his intervention wouldn't even be needed as they both watch the Overlord blasting Shoi with an infernal spell, but the necromancer shakes his head in disbelief as he then sees the Overlord being countered and escapes into a quick portal. Left aghast in an awkward position, the necromancer takes out his staff in a swift movement and knocks Gaius in the pelvis, throwing him off and stumbling backwards and the necromancer immediately vanishes into a portal as well.

 

Cursing as he holds his lower abdomen in shock, Gaius catches the hand given to him by Kai and lifts himself fully erect and stretches his back. Looking around, he sees Syrio call for the Leaders to come with him to his Keep. Following with a slight limp, Gaius enters the Keep behind Wargoth Mogroka'Gorkil and eyes Shoi, Syrio, a fellow named Blaedr holding the dead body of Arcadius with tears streaming forth and a few unnamed individual that he did not readily recognize. The Keep was filled with silence and pacings by the 'Leaders' as Gaius stares around waiting for a conversation to start in the seriousness of the atmosphere had been set by the attack and found none. Met with rolling eyes from Sariant Kai, Gaius shakes his head and whispers to Kai that there is no action going to be taken, just mourning of the very man whose essence was to inspire action. Alongside Kai, Gaius requests the Keep gate open and they leave only to be met by a smaller camaraderie wishing entry for the sake of safety. Frowning, Gaius thinks to himself how the situation seems to only get worst when ill-backed intentions of goodness and proclaimed more as in the sense of propaganda than in the sense of truly binding to fight the Undead. Finding a figure leaning against the walls of the Gatehouse, cursing the people inside, Gaius steps beside him and asks his opinion. After hearing Lucas Black identify with the same thought process, Gaius chuckles and feels a true brother lives in the midst of man.

 

Gaius Marius"These fools are like flies, they fly and land randomly only to be swatted by those who have the intelligence and patience to know when and how to act".

 

Lucas Black: "Its sad the way they can play with the people of Aegis..."

 

---

 

After the events at the Keep, Gaius receives word to come to Krugmar at the Arena Games. Joined my Sariant Icarus and Sariant Kai, Gaius accepts in invitation to form a team of three and to participate. Chuckling at the festivities of it all, Gaius enters the arena with his two others and meets his opponents, a team of Dwarves made up of King Thorik, High Lord Gimrik, and Champion Grimlie...

 

As the shorter dwarves approach Gaius and his two Sariants, they gesture at Gaius and warn them that they'd win. Gaius tilting his head and still laughing, feels his face warm as he has hardly matched swords with the Dwarves and tightens his smile to seem more humorless. Craotor'Lur gives Gaius and King Thorik both a coin and flip and with each slap of the hand to stop their coins in place, Gaius gains the favor and chooses to defend the shanty fort. Inside, Gaius peers out as Thorik catches his eye and smiles under his overgrown beard and hoots a holler of defiance. His Sariants captured in the celebration and the constant banter fail to listen to a word he tries to clearly say over the Orkish barking of coliseum manners and shakes his head as Craotor requests a countdown. Breathing in slowly and flipping the hilt of the wooden blade in his hand and bending his knees, Gaius then thinks again and moves Kai to stand near the gate as he and Icarus take to the walls and pull out their bows.

 

With the ferocious growl of Craotor'Lur for the match to begin, the Dwarves raises their axes and rush for cover near the gate as Gaius and Icarus strum poorly made arrows at the dwarves. Noticing the arrow only denting their hardened skin, Gaius takes out his blade and swings at one of the dwarves who were stuck as Icarus gets badly beaten and Gaius thrusts a punishing blow at Gimrik. Smiling at the surprise of his success, Gaius turns too late as King Thorik runs onto the wall and bashes Gaius in the knee to bring him lower as Thorik laughs and knocks Gaius out.

 

Upon waking up, Gaius sees Murgaw look him straight in the face as Gaius's eyelids attempt to keep themselves up and informs Gaius that he is not at all good at Arena matches. With that, Gaius chuckles and falls to a lowly slumber.

 

---

 

Becoming painfully obvious as he nears the fallen Jewel of Oren, Gaius winces as he views the mutilated bodies decorating the rubble of buildings near Al'Khazaar. Kicking a shard of stone as Gaius, Kai, and Cole walk alongside the main road into the Northern Gate, Gaius brings forth his zweihander from the leather strap running alongside his back and watches keenly through the gutted infrastructure for any sign of a necromancer. The air reeked of an accumulation of sulphurous gas and the smells of flesh decay as they got closer and closer to the dead heart of Oren's Capital; King's Cross. Slipping leather rags underneath their Winged Helms to help stifle the fumes from reaching their noses and gagging them, the Sariants leaned their heads down and weathered the changing atmosphere.

 

A large wrought iron ring with a variation of keys filling it's circumference swayed in Gaius's left hand as he looked through different shops, vending stands, and abodes. A bustling metropolis only a few days ago stricken with the taint of the Undead rendered it to a mere ghost town, with not even a stray wolf to scatter its stringy legs along the cobble paths. Marching in file towards King's Cross, they begin to shake their head in response to the repulsive change of climate as a morbid sight befalls the three; a fountain spewing freshly molten lava lays on King's Cross...

 

The ashy grey globules of thick smoke paints the horizon a deathly tint while the bodies lie charred and in certain places in a never-ending cycle of pus ridden necrosis. Gaius looks in utter disbelief at what the Undead has truly done and begins to sidestep and head towards Al'Khazaar's Keep.

 

Upon arrival, Gaius, Kai, and Cole climb through an obstacle course of searing liquids that had been splashed across the streets leading into the Keep...

 

Entering, Gaius and the other two begin to open leather pouches and sacks and begin disfiguring organized walls and chests and scavenge precious armors, arms, and other material. Despite the inferno that the Keep laid in, the Library of the Mage's Tower remained intact where Gaius would gather books on Druidic Traditions for his OrdenMarschalls to survey...

 

Upon exiting one of the upper tiers of the Keep to take in a breathe from the cold wintry air outside, Gaius gazes upon the apparation of one of the Ascended. Identifying herself as Selina the Seeress, Gaius addresses her to give terms that he would assist in leading refugees that he had thought she would know of. With a sigh of indifference, he learns that they were to be under Alras's direction and he gives thanks for the affirmation of this information. After a conversation of the latest events due much to the Undead, Selina begs pardon to be able to leave and leaves Gaius with one phrase that struck him with a rough ping of confidence: Gaius, Don't Die. Aegis Needs Leaders.

 

---

 

Laying his mail mitton out palm open and facing upwards, Gaius receives a peculiar young hawk with sharp talons scratching his raw hands. Having been laying down stone to stabilize the bridge across a body of water near Konigsberg, Gaius unravels the fine string tie to the talon and lets the Hawk go free as he pushes his thumbs against the curl of the paper and unfurls it. Reading the fine writing embossed on the paper, Gaius looks up towards the rising crescent in the western sky and loses himself in deep thought for a few minutes. Taking up his zweihander from it's place leaning against a dirt mound, Gaius briskly walks towards the small docks hastily erected and positions himself into a boat and begins rowing. With so many ideas haunting him of what Enor was intending to inform him, Gaius feels the throe of confusion and utter doubt in what the near future has in store. Upon arriving to his destination, he takes the hilt of his zweihander and throws it till it digs into the shoreline and pulls himself and the boat he sits in to bank. Placing his foot with a feeble limp of anxiety, Gaius strokes his beard and looks toward the home in which he had razed so long ago; he makes his way to said house and opens the door as quietly as possible.

 

Standing facing the fireplace was King Enor Sheffield and Lady Dawn Perea, both glancing at once at the newly arrived guest. He stares at them both in the eyes and makes his way over to Enor's side and after a long string of silence, Gaius beckons Enor Goodday and acquires of what he is needed for...

 

Enor explains to Gaius that despite their harsh differences and violent actions against each other, in Enor's earnest opinion, they were to come to agreement. Speaking of the weary days of ruling the Kingdom of Oren and feeling stressed over the many deaths tolled to his name and blamed on him, he looks into the fire and admits he has come to terms with how he is doing now. Both men observing how they aged with chuckles of memories and guffaws of trading comments, Enor startles Gaius severely with a revelation. The Kingdom of Oren... was to become Gaius's. In utter disbelief, Gaius cries out how they used to be enemies, but unmoved, Enor told Gaius that he knew what was best for his people. With his mind clouded of the situation that he was placed in, Gaius searches Enor for any sign of triviality in which he found none; Enor was earnest in his decision.

 

Stating that Gaius was formidable and well endowed with a military mind to protect the people of Oren, Gaius glances at the crown just handed to him and looks away...

 

Enor looks at Gaius purposely and nods his head, beckoning Gaius to do great things as King. After the conversation, Gaius returns to his boat and rows back to the docks of Galahar. There, he begins addressing the people wandering through a town riddled with signs of rebellious intent:

 

'Men, Women, Children of Oren, I beckon you to pay heed! With this crown in my hand, I have received the rule over Oren, but pray tell will you not observe me! I will be a Man of Action, I will be a Man who has earned his respect with the days of my age and as you may know, I am indeed the Leader of the Teutonic Order! Worry not, they will serve now to protect Oren! I may have a history with few individuals, but I am a man of intelligence, a man true to my word, and a man who has proven my ability to protect and honor those who give me their words of respect. Enor this day gave the throne to me out of earnest want for the best of the Kingdom, it is no time to throw names of insults, he deserves them not. We will be hypocrite if we throw insults constantly and busy ourselves with the slander of our own kith, ken, brother, sister, and neighbor! You say you want action, I will be that catalyst! You say you want reform, I will be the man to hear and choose wisely the progress of this Nation!

 

To the rebels, I have spoken to one leader and will parlay with others, I request the rebellion is over. You have voiced yourselves, now I will meet with you all, you call for reform, let is be organized and intelligent and we will have said reform. Some have already seen me, I mingle with the folks of any kind, for I am your equal. If you see a Black Cross marching through Galahar, treat him with respect, for he now will protect your families. It is time for Oren to correct our paths of progression, to build upon the foundation that we have forever held sturdy, it is time for a new Era.

 

More will be revealed as I sit down with the many and hear the thoughts so desperate to be heard. Warn ye though that I cannot logically implement every single wish that a man can desire, I must choose the best for the best results for all!

 

Thank Ye for Hearing me!

 

---

 

Entering the grounds with Ezekial'Tarus spying him for his facial expressions, Gaius walks into the sparse company in the room and shuts the door behind him. After a long conversation, Ezekial'Tarus and Gaius Marius shake hands and leave to go forth to Ezekial'Tarus's crowning as Gaius watches and leaves with the King of the Western Biumvirate to meet people in Galahar and gauge the reactions of the people. Relieved that their burying of hatchets had brought much appraisal, they declare terms of the Biumvirate.

 

---

 

Resting his rugged palms on the fine stone masonry railing in the Konigsberg Citadel, Gaius looks out with dreary eyes at the horizon; noting each tree that stands out in contrast to the reddening sky. Feeling the tearless sting of his eyes as he realizes the inevitable comes swiftly for him that night, he coughs with a worsening tone as his arms buckle in pain. His sight growing hazy, Gaius runs his arthritic fingers through his grey beard and chuckles realizing that he will die. With the sudden twang of noise coming from Gaius, OrdenMarschall Samuel Bealcrest walks authoritatively forward and meets Gaius's eyes and acquires his condition. With a couple of coughs to greet Samuel, he looks wearily at Samuel and informs him to ready his bed and with immediate concern; Samuel leans his head towards Gaius with a questioning look. Throwing his arm halfheartedly across Samuel's shoulderblade, Gaius stands himself fully, not as tall as the elven Samuel.

 

Walking up a flight of stairs to a finely set bed, Gaius slumps onto it sideways and rolls onto his back with aching pains. As OrdenMarschall Samuel shoos a Sariant away and soon afterwards a congregation of them enter undeterred by Samuel's pressing barks in opposition. Gaius welcomes them with slumped yet opened arms as each of them come in with troubled, concerned, and flabbergasted looks across their faces as they stare monotonously towards their Hochmeister. He beckons them with his worn voice and informs them that he was just a mere mortal and that no man from there on out should consider him invincible for he was far from it... He slips Samuel Bealcrest a series of scrolls and continues his message to his Sariants and Citizens...

 

I was brought forth from the womb only to inevitably enter once more within a tomb... I am a Simple Man and I will have my Death and die this once, but have seen the Era of a Golden Age of the Teutonic Order and the Realms being set!

 

With that last summoned shout from his spirit, Gaius slumps into eternal slumber as the heralded chants of a mourning Order prevails the quiet natural noises of the Realm of Hanseti. Thundering hymns of solemn peace exude from each citizen knowledgeable of their different chants that day...

 

Hochmeister Gaius Marius of the Teutonic Order; King of the Realm of Hanseti has passed away Sabet, 14th of Malin's Welcome, 1343

 

Hochmeister Gaius Marius has been succeeded by Samuel Bealcrest, a past OrdenMarschall with Mirtok stepping into his OrdenMarschall position.

 

 

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