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Quantumatics

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    Ardashir
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    Human

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  1. “There, in the hills of Adria, the wild and untamed grassland, canopied by primordial trees and the beaming crescent above, portends an inescapable truth. Be it through ancient augur or the dreams of Saints, God implants upon all men a singular and inviolable understanding. Nothing remains in perpetuity, for there shall always stand an enemy to mankind’s persistence. Thus, in the short gift of this life, some amongst us must rise to serve the purpose of our preservation and temperance. Some must oppose the evils inherent to this imperfect world, so that one day these lands might stand to reflect the beauty of the very firmament above.” - Ardashir, Knight Paramount of the Order Index I. Overview II. History III. Symbology IV. Ranks & Titles I. Overview he Order of the Flaming Cypress is a knightly order founded by Ardashir of Chaldees and headquartered within the city of Velec in the Duchy of Adria. The Order’s primary purpose is the protection of the downtrodden and innocent against unholy or flagitious forces in the lands of human-kind. Whether it be the hunting of monsters, witches or roadside brigands, they intend to spread zealous faith and security through their ascetic and disciplined methodology. Likened by some to warrior monks, the Flaming Cypress is distinguished from other Orders by virtue of their utilizing a unique approach to the traditions of knighthood through a dedication to intense ritualism and esoteric study in addition to purely martial skill. Often draping their trappings in distinctive symbols and imagery associated with their Order, knights and squires of the Flaming Cypress are rarely seen in the traditional heavy plate associated with typical Knights. Instead, they are often outfitted in lighter and more hermetic attire that services their diversity of pursuits. Dedicated wholly to the principles and teachings of their organization, a typical Knight of the Order can be discerned as anything from an alchemist or philosopher to a physician and craftsman. Furthermore, neophytes and potential knights of the order are not required to bear any noble blood or lineage to be considered for oath, for the Order rejects all discrimination on the basis of origin or class. The vehemence of their rituals and tradition are displayed through the incorporation of southern and eastern customs into the structure and daily life of the Order. From Mihyaari to Oyashiman, their eclectic framework diversifies their goals of preserving the mundane and natural in the world for the security of descendant-kind. To them, that which seeks to undo the order and divine decree of the Heavens is an abject transgression that demands retribution. It is ever seeking new members to join into its flock, though the severity of its trials and lifestyle are far from accessible to all but the most devout aspirant. Whether a postulant squire youth or a warrior seeking oath, find the Knight Paramount within the bounds of the Adrian Duchy for information and membership in the Order. II. History eep within the forests beside the city of Velec, an itinerant of a bygone order found himself hunting amidst the brush. Game proved an unruly absence that day, and so he chose to sit upon a perched rock beneath the illumination of sun concentrated through the gaps between the branches. It was not far from his day-time resting place when the Duke of Adria, one Heinrik Sarkozic, was attacked by the haunted remnants of the drowned fisherman of the nearby river. Their flesh peeled at its seams and their forms were reduced to hunched, disfigured amalgams of rotting tissue that attacked the entourage indiscriminately. The once tranquil hunting party was suddenly ravaged as guard by guard were slaughtered or mauled by the attacks, forcing them to retreat in ascension of the hill that backed the riverside forest. Ardashir caught wind of the ruckus and ran toward the aid of the Duke. For some time he assisted in fending off the beasts until the arrival of his own companion allowed for a final death to be rendered unto the Vodniks. [A woodcut depiction of the rescued hunting party of the Duke of Adria] The attack was a violent and unanticipated brutality for the fledgling Duchy, but the Duke was ardently grateful. Ardashir declined any offered coin, instead requesting temporary housing within the nearby tavern and a gratuitous meal. Some weeks later he found himself summoned upon a dias during a held court, and was bestowed the honor of Knighthood. He was tasked with the creation of an order by the Duke, and despite the sudden and unanticipated nature of the proposition, accepted graciously. Ardashir and many of the initial members of the Order belonged to an ancient Mihyaari guild known as the Banu Sayatin. Their ancient monster-hunting practices informed their skill in martial combat, as well as their ascetic lifestyle. Through this bestowed honor, the new Knight Paramount believed it fit that he would seek to intertwine his ancient beliefs and conventions into a new order that could serve Canondom. With that, the Order of the Flaming Cypress was born. Soon, squires and eager warriors flocked to the fledgeling order for recruitment and service, primed from across the realms to service a greater purpose. Since its inception, the Order has taken on contract and quest alike – from seeking out witches, protecting human lands from great ancient monsters, and stopping banditry among the squalid outskirts of cities and townships. Many once felt the days of monsters and great terror were over, but reality assured such a fact to be far from any informed truth. The Order of the Flaming Cypress has endeavored to act as a paragon of mankind’s steadfast opposition to the forces of wicked and ignoble origin. [An Ayrian woodcut depicting Ardashir and two of his squires as they are lauded for their fine deeds in the streets of Velec] In recent days, the Flaming Cypress has come to develop many popular rituals, trials, and acts that grant each of its members an individual importance and recognition for great deeds and service. Whether it be the bestowal of the moniker, the ascension of oath, or the bestowal of mask, each knight is afforded the opportunity to implant themselves into the annals of the Order’s burgeoning history. With this galvanizing prospect, words of great deeds and ambitious young minds has spread regarding the order, and only time can tell what tales and folklore about the Order will soon spew from the mouths of the elder spinsters of the countryside. III. Symbology The Burning Cypress Tree The Cypress Tree appears all throughout the imagery of the Order of the Flaming Cypress, its manuscripts, missives and documentation. Ancient folklore speaks of a great southern cypress tree lighting afire with a similar flame to that of the Exalted Owyn, and burning with the vigor of God. It is likewise from the Cypress tree that the natural growing Haoma-Yasna is harvested and used for many rituals of the Flaming Cypress. For this omnipresence in both the cultural practices and the stone-laced lores of the order, its imagery has found domicile in many forms. Whether adorning heraldry, architecture, religious manuscripts or even clothing, it is a universal sign of divine goodwill and warmth. Often, too, it is depicted in conjunction with other imagery, such as the Great Crescent or Silver Mask. Most notably, the Order’s foundational heraldry bears a central depiction of it. The Great Crescent The crescent, often stylized to have manlike features, is a personification of the moon that is usually depicted bearing an ugly, intentionally disturbing or at the very least uncanny expression. The moon is not revered as a divine celestial body, but rather a cradle of ill omen and wicked fate, for old traditions told that it is upon the moon that the lasting souls of dead men are drawn to be assigned unjust fates by the Aengul Aeriel, corrupting the nature of death itself. The moon draws upon the souls of the dead, and therefore, it is wicked, and it will always be wicked for as long as those souls are not subjected to the rightful laws of the earth and God. The Great Crescent, both with and without its unpleasant facial designs, can be seen printed on armaments or trinkets meant to both torment and ward away the undying, who are destined to be moon-bound if banished with enough strength. It is also used to signify the presence of everything cursed to be trapped upon the moon for harboring the essence of the Palebeasts, painted upon places like necromancer covens or upturned graveyards to convey such a point. Flame Fundament The Flame Fundament is a representation of the divine nature of fire, symbolized by the burning torch and as upheld by the Exalcted Owyn. It is both the light and dark bestowed upon mankind by God, in the form of flame, elevated by wings that carry it between the firmament and the earth. This suggests the nature of Order, in that there are two halves to men that are sacred and shall decide the fate of their future. The fundament is more often depicted in glory than other symbols, alongside the Burning Cypress, to emphasize the significance of fire and Raum to the entire movement of the Mihyaari dynasties and the Banu Sayatin. Brand of the Traitor The Brand of the Traitor is a mark of punishment burned into the flesh of betrayers of the Order of the Flaming Cypress, and draws inspiration from the Chi-Rahm symbol of the folkloric sword-demon Dagnir that inspires the desire to betray and kinslay within the hearts of all men who touch it. Furthermore is the blade seen piercing through the form of a dark moon, crested in representation of the Great Crescent, in significance of the blade being used to kill the entity which has the capacity to damn monsters and their ilk; thus inferring the bearer of the mark to have acted in their benefit in some way. Those who are branded as traitors are implanted with the brand upon the back of the neck or the palm, and are sent out into the world to live in constant fear of facing a punishment, for if one is ever to find them, they will be hunted and dealt retribution – often death. IV. Ranks & Titles A simple listing of the basic orders of the Order of the Flaming Cypress, for the purpose of public distinction. Many ranks exist in the Order not subject to this simplified hierarchy. This applies, however, primarily to the purpose of the Knighthood Ascension. Knight Paramount The Knight Paramount is the leader of the Order as declared by the previous Paramount or voted in by the inner circle of the Order. They are tasked with managing all pertinent affairs from recruitment to public directive and carry executive control over the Order. Knight of the Fundament Members of the inner circle of the Order of the Flaming Cypress, they are tasked with assisting the Knight Paramount in his administration of the Order. These are Senior Knights who have displayed themselves with exceptional zeal and are all often carriers of the Rite of Moniker. To this end, they are the highest regarded and are often the party from which the successor to Paramount are chosen. Senior Knight / Fidai These are Knights who have, through valorant display and long-time service, distinguished themselves from the commonality of the Order to ascend to a rank of higher pedigree. Knight One who has received an official knighthood by order of the Knight Paramount of the Order of the Flaming Cypress. These men have completed their trials, studies, and demonstrated their worth and capacity in operations across the Continent. Typically these are men trained from Squirehood, though there have been rare occurrences of Men-at-Arms ascending the ranks through exceptional deeds. Man-at-Arms A general member of the Order of the Flaming Cypress who is neither a squire nor knighted. There is a vast diversity among this category of members who can take up roles anywhere from that of a physician to an ascetic monk. Squire A youth inducted into the Order and having completed their Oath with the intention of ascending the ranks to attain knighthood. Their trials are long-lasting and grueling, but ensure skilled warriors upon their completion. Neophyte An aspirant to the Order who has not yet taken Oath. Oftentimes the Neophyte represents a trial period by which the eligibility of a potential member is determined by the Order’s administrative body.
  2. Settlement PRO MC Name: Quantumatics Settlement Name: Keep of Dún an Éin Proposed Settlement Locations (Highlight 3 on the map): (Build Already Exists in the Remnant of Savoy alongside region in Tile 122) Bounds: (11,0,2207) -> (163,255,2305) Settlement Lore (could include previous roleplay posts showing involvement with the community) (1000 words minimum): Settlement Government Structure Explanation: Being a guild rather than a city, the notion of government does not strictly apply. In simple explanation, there are three basic tiers in the hierarchy. The first being the initiates, those taken in by the Creed who have yet to finish their training and pass their trials. These are adepts who must undergo a series of vigorous examinations and on-field tests before their right to a 'brand' or marking as a fool Hexer is granted. Upon doing such, however, they are branded and graduate to claim the second rank, and title of Marked Man or Hexer. This is a title that associates plainly with one who has proven themselves capable through their survival and aptitude in hunting to be regarded equally alongside their brethren. The third and final tier is their Grandmaster, whose ordained purpose is to maintain and guide the members of the Creed in matters of monster hunting and the preservation of their knowledge and lifestyle. The keep also provides domicile for various characters and entities that work alongside the Hexers towards general pursuits. Whether it be alchemists studying the natural world and developing potions, tonics and salves to assist the Creed and expand their knowledge base on their trade, or sorcerers and sorceresses who's ideals align with the Hexers in seeking to rid the world of vile creatures and rendering adjacent aid and knowledge to that end. Settlement Builds and Infrastructure (photos required): How does this settlement offer a unique niche not already found in an existing polity on the server?: The Hexers offer a unique facet of roleplay in that they are an independent guild entirely removed from nations and political entities in the land of Almaris. From an IC perspective, Hexers operate under a tenuously strict code of political neutrality and abstinence; this in turn allows for a far greater sense of freedom for the players within the community, as they remain unbound to the relative OOC bureaucracy that is often found within general nation roleplay whilst still interacting with the RP bodies of these entities through roleplay events such as contracts. In terms of in-character dynamics, the Hexers are a group of warrior-monks who undergo intensive training from childhood in swordplay, bestiary study and philosophy in order to become monster-hunters for hire. Whilst the niche of monster-hunting is something that has been heavily explored upon the server countless times by varying groups over the years, Hexers have always been a group that have sought to solidify that niche and grant a proper basis for it to be explored. It draws the qualities and elements that worked well from old monster-hunting groups such as the Marked Men and seeks to improve upon them as well as make them more viable within the servers current climate. A core factor that separates Hexers from other groups that explore similar areas of RP is their motivation. For example, in comparison to the Lectors, another group which also dabbles in monster-hunting roleplay, the motive for pursuing their like cause varies greatly. Whereas Lectors slay beasts due to their adherence to Exalted Owyn and consider them unholy abominations, Hexers are more motivated by wealth of pocket and health of mankind. Hexer philosophy is a good window into the variety of RP that we as a collective provide. Whilst we take inspiration from classical monster hunter sources for themes and setting, lots of the group's IC ideals have been developed naturally through roleplay since the group began last year. Hexers are thematically low-fantasy with gritty and pessimistic tones; Hexer philosophy and dogma is deeply reflective of this, as it is often relative to the idea of nihilism and stoicism. But beyond that, it explores ideas that are pertinent to the characters that partake within the group. It facilitates an environment in which characters can involve themselves in the fantasy based aspects of the server in concentrated guild rp that is often lost in nations or other groups. These ideas of personal-character narrative and motivation blend with the RP that we provide, to allow characters within the group to grow, develop and pursue their own arcs and storylines congruent with the overarching narrative we pursue as a group. How does your settlement tie to the greater lore and narrative set by the community on LotC?: The Hexers began in October of 2021, starting off as a small-group of 3-4 roleplayers. A great amount of the guild's early interactions with other polities on the server came with their interactions with the Principality of Savoy where they were primarily based, starting off as a small camp upon the coast and eventually expanding into possessing a keep after they were granted it by the Prince of Savoy after conducting a series of monster hunts and bounty work on the Prince’s request. These interactions eventually culminated into a server wide eventline where the city of San Luciano was destroyed via a Thahnium Bomb by a foreign mercenary band known as the Band of the Cockatrice. The main motivation for this occurrence was because the Prince of Savoy actively chose to safeguard the Hexers from the Band of the Cockatrice, whose main objective was to hunt down and exterminate them as well as convince other nations and factions on the server to do the same. This same notion of sanctifying the existence of the Hexers came from the Empire of Oren and the Kingdom of Haense, as each respective nation signed a treaty that refuted the Band’s threats. The aftermath of San Luciano’s destruction would go on to become an active event zone for a short time, where other players could come and interact with the wasteland in ST ran events. Hexers have played a very active role in the ongoing Kivdrona eventline, and much of what is currently happening within that eventline has been shaped by actions carried out by the Hexers through roleplay. Alongside this, Hexers have also undertaken various roleplay monster-hunting contracts for nations such as Oren and Haense, allowing for a sort of collaborative narrative experience between the two groups and thus proving that Hexers can coincide and interact with other existing factions on the server without issue. We have been heavily involved in other assorted ST events relating to monsters and beasts, and even ran several of our own player-events. In addition, Savoy’s dissolution granted full independence to the Hexers and their Keep of Dún an Éin, meaning that our settlement would derive its basis from extensive pre-experienced roleplay that would facilitate its reputation and existence. Have you ever run a settlement on LoTC before and what experience do you have with leadership within roleplay communities among the current groups of players?: I've had experience in leadership in nations like Oren and Savoy in the past and also ran my own settlement for a time with the Grand Duchy of Vasiyeva, which taught me a great deal about player management and the importance of role play in facilitating a positive and efficient environment for a settlement The Hexers in particular have been run for over half a year now and have maintained very successful roleplay and even considerable activity just from passive RP and guild-style events and player directives. We’ve maintained around 2.5-3 percent at our height, largely keeping Savoy’s activity high prior to its roleplay dissolution. With our own settlement similar metrics would be maintained and continue on as an extension of pre-existing roleplay. Do you understand the metrics for maintaining activity and the grounds for settlement removal, along with the standing polity cap? Yes.
  3. Edmond of Sava peered out from the ramparts of Dun an Ein, eye set upon the flowing southern waters of Savoy. "And so Aeldin's encroachment goes not uncontested. Almarian will shall prevail, evidently, and our traditions endure. Certainty brings ruin."
  4. You’ve been one of my best pals on the server, Danny, and I wish you only the best as you step away from the server. Let the world come to you, king.
  5. "Damned Imperials," Edmond of Sava groaned, reading the parchment that finally found itself within his possession with a weary eye. "More of the Aeldinic agenda seeping into the Continent. Seeking to start another pogrom, no doubt. Hardly surprising."
  6. "A fort outside Kivdrona? Sounds real familiar," Edmond grumbled as he looked over a well preserved piece of parchment issued in contract by the late Lord Barnaby, his gloved finger tracing down the scribe-infused inkword carefully. "Real familiar."
  7. "This city will always unsettle me," spoke Edmond of Sava toward his fellow Hexers, gripping from a meat hook in his left hand the severed beak and wattles of a marred and grotesque Cockatrice, slain by members of the Creed within the plague-addled and corpse laden graveyard of the city of Kivdrona. "Though, the contract is done."
  8. If i sent old spice body wash to ur house would you use it?? asking 4 a friend...
  9. Edmond of Sava spun a stick in his off hand as he examined the contract, turning to upnod toward Arthur of Caermad. "Was waiting for this one," he'd remark as his eye set upon his fellow Hexer's.
  10. Edmond of Sava, contently sipping some plum rakija of which the flavor was unparalleled, chortled uncontrollably at the many bidders. "The ultimate auction house spook. . ."
  11. "Neutrality is not the abdication of sensitivity or empathy. A Hexer needn’t kill feeling when the quelling of hatred is toil enough.” — Adeon of Rhoswen, Founding Speech of the Hexicanum A collection of texts, journal entries, and accounts by the monster hunters of the Hexer Creed of Almaris, founded by Master Hexer Edmond of Sava. These writings have been amassed and collected over decades — detailing these monster slayers’ journeys and hunts, as well as the doctrines they have adopted during their time upon the continent. Such sacred tomes, innumerable in their knowledge and lore, depict the many trials and tribulations of the members of this Creed. Spread across the realms and made known to those propitious enough to find them, their contents reveal much as to the true nature of these Beast Slayers. These texts have become vital in training and conditioning the future generation of Hexers. Entry 47 Hunting A Griffin Journal of the Hexer: Edmond of Sava 14th of Grand Harvest, 1834 The patchwork by which that murky ground did sprawl into desert still confounds me, though the farmers tell that this fugacious beast bore an aquiline head. It is that fact which made me certain. I approached the carriage discerned to me by the alderman outside of San Luciano, four hundred paces west to my recollection, and there it was. I shifted about its mass, and slumped against its wooden frame did they rest. When I pressed my palm against that ligneous sideboard the squeal of hinges resounded in concert with the squeal I knew once rung from the woman’s destitute visage, her daughter lying upon her lap sprawled with blood and thrawn flesh not simply her own. The maiden’s eyes were gouged, her once golden locks now a percolated crimson as gore flowed like a stream from below her scalp, lifeless and desecrated by the bastard Griffin which tormented this woesome vale. Such, too, could be spoken of the tormented infant within her grasp, its limbs unmoving as two deep scarlet lacerations chasmed within the child’s chest, where talon’s no doubt penetrated. And oh, how that mother did cling— even with whatever life once ebbing through having long since passed, her countenance still wept for the child lost. The remainder of the cart was no different, two more bodies, these ones men, hanging from the now dilapidated rail-work that once kept the contents of the vessel stored. They bore similar cuts, the first mangled through the face upon which blood still coagulated over lividy-enveloped skin, slowly oozing forth. The second had his arms mutilated so severely that they hung only from his shoulders by the cartilage and tendon that remained in sinew between the two sections of his form, as though it was naught more than string binding flesh to flesh. Either wore studded gambeson of cheap make, one a tabard with Savoyard colors imprinted upon its white cloth, barely discernible behind dirt and blood. They were affordable guards, an escort for a likely middle class family hoping to make it to the city with heed and assured safety. Within the carriage the only contents I discovered within the wreckage were the clothes of the mother and daughter, and a small pouch of twenty minae, a traveler’s fee no doubt. I placed the pouch within my satchel and rounded the length of the carriage once more, contemplating the tale it soundlessly told. The attack that interrupted those travels was recent, swift, though the only entity that had disappeared from the scene was the horse that led the hansom. The breeching and traces that would have fastened it to the carriage’s shafts had been left cut waywardly upon the ground, and hidden beneath a small clump of sand the hoof of the mare I would later find sat severed in a small pool of vermillion blood. Of the beasts which cling to the skies few would carry with them the appetite of a fully grown mare, let alone make a strike of such unprovoked upon a well traveled valley path. No cockatrice, wyvern or crackadonk would befit the injuries afforded and the circumstance laid out before me, nor a manticore considering this beast’s proclivity to strike unprovoked. It was then that it was made apparent we were hunting a Griffin, and an Imperial Griffin, no less, considering the depth of the wounds upon the guards. It was upon that realization that my disciple arrived, Masuo of Yamatai, an Oyashiman whom I had been training by the code just as Sebastian had taught me those many years ago. He was astute, a model hexer, even, if not for his loquacity. He had been speaking with the contract giver, securing payment before reaching me with word of our bait. A dead sheep, black balls of yarn plunged into gouged eyelids with rope wrapping its form upright and into place. It was as though a children’s doll had been by some arcane machination enlarged ten times its size. A pathetic, sad-looking bait, but more than effective enough for the tribulation at hand. I poured an inordinate amount of Hunter’s Charm onto its form, emptying nearly the whole flask; enough, I’d imagine, to attract a damn Vodnik from Elysium across the continent. Regardless, we lugged that now putrid-smelling bait further into the Southern Plains of Savoy, the beating heat, I recall, adding some toil to the trek. We placed the sheep atop a foothill, placing ourselves a few dozen meters behind it beneath the brush from which we could observe the descent more easily. [A Sketch of the Imperial Griffin on the Left Hand Side of the Page] An hour passed, the beast lurking above in observation of its easy prey. It watched as though suspicious of an attack, though its base nature overcame it. A hexer must ever be made aware that Griffin’s are driven by their insatiable hunger. Griffins long had hunted wild goats, marmots, and other mountain kin, though the increased encroachment of mankind toward their territory led to their grazing of easier prey; sheep, horse and the shepherds that cultivated either. They too would often feast upon mankind, a secondary delectability, though one taken without hesitation— especially when made cause by encroachment upon that which those beasts deemed their cultivated territory. It was this particular Griffin, which upon its descent above us, confirmed our initial suspicions. It was an Imperial Griffin, a female subspecies of an Archgriffin with wings and talons considerably larger than the average size. The townsfolk had deemed it the Mistress of the Hills, for as we were told none dared engage in trade within the south for fear of its torment. Hence our employ under the then Marshal of the Principality of Savoy, a brazen and hot-tempered man by the name of Joseph Brandt. As the beast whipped through the afternoon sky, its wings expanded outward to halt its descent; displaying lines of feathers flailing against the formed gale of wind that thrust itself upon myself and my adept’s position. Still, however, it did not see us- those yellowed eyes far too consumed by the meal set before it. The obstinate and abrasive brute wasted not a moment to sink its mandible deep into the wool-enwrapped flesh of the lamb, blood spewing forth from the lifeless corpse and onto the beak of the Griffin. No time was wasted then, a flask containing alchemical Flash Powder launched toward the beast’s head as Masuo of Yamatai approached from the rear, launching his rope dart through the wing of the beast while it was blinded. I, too, set my path forth, levying my crossbow toward it, though it did not yet reveal its patagium, a membrane of flesh by which the wing is allowed to be made of any use to the aquiline being. As my crossbow lay where it stood, the beast pulled its wing inward, the initiate wrapping his hand about its chain as the Griffin bit into his leg and sought then to fly upward with him in its clutch, rope-dart now entangling its pinion. A Griffin’s most powerful attribute is, undoubtedly, their proclivity to the sky. Their attacks often consist of sweeping strikes from above, only to retreat to the air once more after their claws and talons had wreaked havoc upon any victim made its prey. Some are known to bear corrosive acid produced within salivary glands in their mouths, and others in adulthood develop a grating screech, so off-putting it has been known to put Ologs off their balance. Most paramount to a hexer’s success in battle against one is to deprive it of its ability to the air, thus cutting or piercing the patagium of one or both wings. It was then, as the beast ascended to the air, that I let free the bolt of my crossbow- striking true in the aforementioned tendon binding wing to scapular. An ear grating screech sounded from the beast, sending me backwards some and depriving my grip of the crossbow I once clutched. Still, I saw Masuo above tangling with the beast, managing to grip upon its wing with his rope dart as it plummeted, grating at its ribcage with his blade. Even when on ground, it was still a beast of great ferocity, launching Masuo a great many feet away from it, even ripping his rope dart out of the wing from the sheer force of the blow, as well as his unwillingness to surrender his grip upon the chain. It is then that I proceeded forth, and made my greatest blight- an attempt to strike at the beast head on. It made no hesitation as those three talons ripped through my chest, one breaking deeply enough through my armor to leave a scar I am certain shall remain until the end of my days. For many more minutes we exchanged blows, but without its aptitude for flight, a well placed blow through its nape made due for a certain end to its terrestrial ravaging. Still, despite its many injuries, it ensued its battle far longer than we could have anticipated. It is this fact which led us to our next discovery- for no more than a few hundred meters past the very mountain upon which we stood, on a terraced hill surrounded by stone a perched nest did sit. When we approached it we found a great many mutilated remains of soldiers and farmers alike, and upon the nest of seven eggs, only a single remained unburnt or crushed. The Imperial Griffin was a mother, which made due cause for the expansion of its perceived territory in the recent months, and its further reason for fervor in battle; defending its youth against those who had sought to slay it. Further inward we also found the form of a much smaller Griffin, an average one, and a male, who had been pierced by what was at least thirty-four pierces and lacerations by a steel blade. Still, it is a lusty beast far too consumed in its pursuit of mate and meal to be afforded more than a moment’s empathy. It is from this fact, however, that the Griffin has long been held as a symbol of valiance, courage and loyalty. It is a beast that finds only one mate throughout its life, and mates no more than once throughout that span. This makes any Griffin who lays egg and offspring a far more dangerous threat than one that does not. It is thus my hope that I will not for some time have to face again a Mistress of The Hills. Entry 132 Passage On The Entrapment Of A Griffin Journal of the Hexer: Adeon of Rhoswen 6th of Snow’s Maiden, 1464 [An ancient tome, centuries old, preserved through time purely by those so inclined to conserve its knowledge] The spot took three days of soggy travel through the rainy foothills of north-western Oren to reach. We settled after dark, and continued before dawn. Valahan kept chiding the squires about speaking too loud and leaving food out, so much so that I grew tired of his voice. After three days of silent, cautious travel, we saw it crest a mountain further down the valley. The fog made it hard to see, and the rain made it easy to want to sit by the fire all day. It had long wings, and it was too hard to make out from here if it was a Wyvern or just a big vulture. Upon receiving the report, the creature was immediately assumed to be a cockatrice and we had brought with us a means in which to deal with it. When we finally arrived at its nesting ground, Valahan had the squires and sherpas make camp just over the opposite peak, and we awaited nightfall. As the night drew in, we sent three with a wagon of lumber and shovels. As quietly as possible, the men excavated just enough to lay lumber in an effort to maintain the trench. For what felt like hours, the men persisted, and deGrey and I watched with our pipes lit. Once the preparation was done and we had the Ballista’s parts carried in. We called it a night and slept early. Noon of the next day, we started planning our assault and to arrange equipment for the events to come. With Ballista in place, the area was thoroughly scouted and the nest was spotted. It had been empty and there was no sign of the thing, aside from assorted feathers and remains of various prey. Once we finalized the plan, we made our way back to the campsite and laid in wait for roughly 2 weeks. For a time, it had just become another home. Generally untouched, the land had plenty of wildlife to survive on and grain we brought on wagons had made life generally easy. A few of the men we hired to labor in our stead became displeased despite it, they’d begun discussing returning home but during such disarray, without warning, a shadow cast itself over the camp, moving toward the nest that had been deemed abandoned and useless. With unanticipated fervor, the camp burst to life, men moving to their tents and sliding on their armor or gathering the gear intended for their role. Within the hour, we departed from the camp, the beast was swooping over the men several times in what was likely a probing behavior. Valahan herded the sellswords to the site intended for ambush, as many of them were being picked up and lobbed skyward by what was now clearly a Griffin. Several times it swept over the men, and I watched its talons scooping flesh out of armored mercenaries, then flying out of range before any retaliation could be made- not that anybody at this point had the courage to. The group had split itself in two, with three of us— Morris, Gerald and myself standing before the makeshift ‘bunker’ in an effort to draw it’s attention whilst Temp and Valahan ran into the bunker and tended to the ballista. It was during this time that the massive feathered beast had set itself upon me, and tried to take me within it’s grasp. At the time, I hadn’t the slightest bit of knowledge of the beast. All I could perceive was it’s bald, vulture-like head, pecking at me with the might of a warhorse and its frightful claws nipping at my baldric. From within the ‘bunker,’ as the creature brought itself down for another attack, I heard Temp’s voice order the bolt to be launched and yet, there was nothing. I panicked, and it got atop me, ripping and crushing what felt to be every bone I had. Just when I thought I was done for, the weight was thrown off me, and I looked up to see a huge bolt in its side. The plan had worked. Like wolves, I saw Morris and Gerald immediately set themselves upon it, and hack it apart like butchers. And so it was no more.
  12. "So the tides of Empire shift," remarked the Hexer, Edmond of Sava, as he watched the ongoings from within the Savoyard court.
  13. The Hexer known as Edmond of Sava lofted himself from the rain-sodden ground upon which he had tenured a linen rag. He proceeded then to envelop it about the severed head of the Butcher of Buron, clutched by the beast-feller within his off hand by a clump of the unkempt strands of wayward black hair that had constituted motif throughout the alchemist's many forms. "May you torment no longer," he'd utter then as the cambric was lifted to slowly obscure the destitute and exanimate features of the pockmarked visage. Thick string was wrapped about the neck of the flax fabric receptacle as its straw-colored hue was soon tainted at its base with crimson. "Let's hope your rest endures."
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