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Xarkly

Story Actor
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About Xarkly

  • Rank
    Staffslayer
  • Birthday 05/02/1998

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  • Discord
    Conor #8203
  • Minecraft Username
    Xarkly

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    Male
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    Tíocfidh ár lá.

Character Profile

  • Character Name
    a loyal haenseni patriot
  • Character Race
    Human

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  1. HOUSE OF COMMONS INTERIOR COMMITTEE, 1770 Mandated by the Sixteenth Imperial Diet, the Interior Committee, composed of both Josephite and Everardine Members of the House of Commons, is charged with the oversight of provincial matters, governmental relations, and assessment of candidates for interior government positions to facilitate confirmation hearings before the House of Commons. Composition: MHC Konstantin Wick, Chairman; @Xarkly MHC Karl Amador, Member; @Sander MHC Angelika Bykov, Member; @AnonymousAlexa MHC Peridot Carrington, Member; @Heff MHC Lajos Károly, Member; @CrownedLime747 Annual Agenda: To meet and assess his Highness, Prince Nikolas of Reza, to facilitate his confirmation as Lord-Lieutenant of Reza before the House of Commons; To meet and assess Lazlo Korsakov to facilitate his confirmation as Lord-Lieutenant of Northland before the House of Commons; To meet and assess Henry Helvets to facilitate his confirmation as Lord-Lieutenant of Owynsburg before the House of Commons; To prepare a report on the Scyfling invasion of Haense. In pursuit of this, his Highness Prince Nikolas of Reza @Eddywilson2, Lazlo Korsakov @6xdestroyer and Henry Helvets @Fishy are called to answer this summons and appear before the Committee before the next sitting of the House of Commons. Konstantin Wick, Member of the House of Commons, Chairman of the Interior Committee.
  2. Don’t push for consequence for the sake of consequence, and make it fun and natural and people will often accept consequences of their own accord. Doing an ongoing eventline in Haense in which 5 people have already PK’d.
  3. CHRISTIANSEN-WICK SOLICITORS Have YOU suffered an injustice? Have YOU been charged with a crime? Have YOU been the victim of a mild inconvenience and want to sue someone for everything their worth? Your search for justice, and selfish financial gain, ends with Christiansen-Wick Solicitors, the Empire’s BEST private law firm! Our firm of experts provides legal advice, court representation, legal proceedings, contract drafting, mediation, settlement agreements, appeals and much more to deliver YOU the premier legal service on Arcas. Christiansen-Wick are the elite when it comes to knowledge, understanding and application of all forms of Orenian law, and we can assist in any matter, including but not limited to: Criminal Defense: We can get you off the hook if you’ve been charged with a crime, wrongfully or otherwise*! *Christiansen-Wick exercises complete client discretion. Private Suits: Want to sue, or are you getting sued? You can’t spell victory without Christiansen-Wick! Cease & Desists: Someone causing you trouble but don't want to take it to Court just yet? Scare them into submission with a Cease & Desist letter from Christiansen-Wick! Contract Drafting: Going into business and want to make sure your contract is air-tight? Hire Christiansen-Wick to make pure no sneaky terms go unnoticed*! *Unless you’re the one doing the sneaking. Right Infringements: Have your property or civil rights been violated by another person or even the government? Christiansen-Wick will take the matter to court and see justice done, no matter who the opposition is! Settlement Agreements: Christiansen-Wick can close your case before it ever sees a courtroom! Our superior legal knowledge and advocacy can bring your opponent to the table and emptying their pockets to avoid losing in Court! Prosecution: Christiansen-Wick even accepts governmental contracts to put our elite legal skills to use on the other side of the bench! When your government grunts just won’t cut it, call Christiansen-Wick! You can rest easy knowing Christiansen-Wick has your back! Our elite team is composed of Lauritz Christiansen, renowned imperial lawman and respected Circuit Court Judge, and the up-and-coming Konstantin Wick, who has achieved remarkable success in all his cases to date. Needless to say, Lauritz Christiansen does not act as a judge for any case handled by Christiansen-Wick. Here are some of their recent successes: The Crown v. Corbish: The Defendant hired Konstantin Wick when he was charged with eight separate charges. After a dramatic court battle, all but one of the charges were dropped and the only penalty was a restraining order. Hampton Tea v. The City of Helena: When the Plaintiff was evicted due to a local edict, they hired Christiansen-Wick to take a case on the grounds that the edict violated their property rights. After Christiansen-Wick submitted its case, the Defendant offered to settle the case to avoid going to Court, and paid 3,000 marks in damages. The Crown v. Loxcaster: Andrew Loxcaster was a serial killer who had murdered 13 people, and had admitted it all when he had faked his death in his "suicide" note. The trial wasn't meant to be conducted but Lauritz, but due to the absence of actual Crown Prosecutors, Lauritz was allowed to prosecute by the Solicitor-General. Take a look at some of our work here to see the quality of service you’ll get when you hire Christiansen-Wick: Our pricing is fair and reasonable, tailored to the complexity of cases and the financial resources available. So, if injustice comes knocking, don’t hesitate to call CHRISTIANSEN-WICK SOLICITORS today! LAURITZ CHRISTIANSEN, Partner KONSTANTIN WICK, Partner CHRISTIANSEN-WICK SOLICITORS 7 SILVER JUBILEE FOUNTAIN, HELENA, Oren Office 2 PETYR’S PASSAGE, NEW REZA, Haense Office [Conor#8203] [garentoft#7021]
  4. SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT HAMPTON TEA V. THE CITY OF HELENA Drafted and executed by Christiansen-Wick Solicitors on behalf of the Plaintiff. On this 13th Day of Horen’s Calling 1770, it is forthwith agreed in the matter of HAMPTON TEA v. THE CITY OF HELENA that: The Defendant will pay the Plaintiff a sum of 3,000 Marks; The Plaintiff will withdraw their Summons, a copy of which is attached; The Plaintiff acknowledges the Defendant acted within their legal rights in evicting them from their premises at 2 Merchant Street. Upon signage and payment, the Summons is withdrawn, and the matter CLOSED. The original Summons is attached below for reference: Signed, Nadya Blackwater, on behalf of HAMPTON TEA, Philip Louis Pruvia-Albarosa, of behalf of the CITY OF HELENA.
  5. PETITIONS FOR SUMMONS HAMPTON TEA V. THE CITY OF HELENA Submitted on behalf of the Plaintiff by Christiansen-Wick Solicitors The Plaintiff HAMPTON TEA, Represented by KONSTANTIN WICK of CHRISTIANSEN-WICK SOLICITORS, DESIRES TO SUMMON THE FOLLOWING PARTY TO COURT; THE MAYOR OF HELENA, on behalf of THE CITY OF HELENA, ON THE BASIS OF THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPLE(S), DOCTRINE(S), EDICT(S) OR ARTICLES OF LAW: 303.021 - Ownership is the right to enjoyment and disposal of a thing, without limitation beyond the law; 303.023 - Nobody may be deprived of ownership by another. -Oren Revised Code, CH303 ‘Property Ownership’ The Plaintiff, a company with legal personhood per Section 301.021 of the Oren Revised Code (hereafter the “ORC”) and entitled to the right of citizenship per ORC Section 301.023, submits to the Court that the Defendant did wrongfully evict them from their business premises at 2 Merchant Street. The Plaintiff does not propose to claim that the Defendant, charged with maintenance of the city of Helena, should be without the right to evict properties when necessary. Rather, the Plaintiff submits the Court ought to find that such a right should only be exercisable in reasonable circumstances - namely, illegality, failure to pay taxes, etc. Likewise, the Plaintiff does not propose to disregard the Eminent Principle; however, it is of the utmost importance that the Court behold this Principle as a general guiding principle, to guide the Court where the ORC does not legislate, subject to the specific provisions of the ORC that are worded specifically to protect the rights of the Orenian man and woman, and common reasonableness. In this instance, the Defendant invoked the Edict of the City Clerk 1768 (hereafter the “Edict”) as justification for the eviction in tandem with the assertion that the Plaintiff’s wares would be more appropriately sold by way of stall rather than shop. The Court today, however, is asked to find that the Edict and the Defendant's consequent conduct are unlawful and constitute a violation of the ORC. The illegal provision in question is as follows: Edict of the City Clerk 1768, Section III - On Unused Shops on Merchant Street: “It is the opinion of the City Clerk that while the shops in Merchant Street may have shelves filled with goods, these shops should be put to use for companies with active store clerks.” Not only does this Edict unreasonably interfere with the rights of property owners outlined in the ORC’s Lex Haraccene, but the Plaintiff was, at the time of their wrongful eviction, in compliance with this provision, which the Plaintiff has ample evidence of. Thus, not only were the Plaintiffs evicted on the grounds of an illegal provision, but they were evicted on the ground of an illegal provision that they were in compliance with. The Court is implored to recognise the supreme and binding nature of the ORC, which cannot be undermined by municipal edicts overruling it. While the newly-elected Josephite majority in the House of Commons intends to deliver a bill providing a much stronger legal framework for property rights and evictions, the Court is, at the present moment, bound by the objective wording of the ORC that can currently be applied for matters such as this. That objective wording provides and means: 303.022 - “Ownership is acquired through occupancy, by gift, testate and intestate succession, and as a result of contracts of tradition”: Under the ORC, the Plaintiff has met the criteria for ownership by way of occupancy and contract of tradition through sale. 303.021 - “Ownership is the right to enjoyment and disposal of a thing, without limitation beyond the law”: The outlined provision of the Edict constitutes an illegal intrusion to the Plaintiff’s right to their enjoyment of their lawfully-owned property. 303.023 - “Nobody may be deprived of ownership by another”: The outlined provision of the Edict constitutes a blatant and unlawful interference with this right. The Plaintiff acknowledges that this right should be subject to reasonable exceptions, such as illegality and failure to pay taxes, but that no such reasonable grounds can be found to exist in the present matrix of facts. The Plaintiff respects the need for urban administration to conduct evictions, but submits that such evictions must be done in full compliance with existing and binding law in order to ensure that the rights of Orenians are respected. A municipal edict cannot be found to overrule the ORC, as doing so would establish a catastrophic precedent whereby local mandates can overrule the supreme legal codex of our Empire. In learning from this case, it is implored that the Defendant familiarise themselves with the ORC and operate within its parameters, and are assured that the newly-elected House of Commons shall be looking at legislating this matter in greater detail. In consideration of this, the Court is urged to find that the Edict is unlawful and incompatible with the ORC. Not only that, but the illegal provision in question upon which the eviction was enacted was satisfied by the Plaintiff at the time of their eviction. In finding the Edict to be illegal, the Court must find the eviction itself to be illegal. The Plaintiff is a business that relies entirely on its shop premises to trade, through seating and liaising with customers, etc. Without their premises, the Plaintiff have been unable to go about their livelihood. Owing to the unlawful conduct of the Defendant, they have been unable to pay taxes and earn a living through no fault of their own. Consequently, the Plaintiff is today seeking damages in the amount of 4,000 mina, calculated from the value of the lost property, loss of earnings and legal costs. Before proceeding with this case, the Plaintiff invites the Defendant to negotiate a potential settlement. WITH THE PRESENCE OF THE FOLLOWING RELEVANT PARTY OR PARTIES: Nadya Blackwater, Milo Vitale. ON THE DESIRED DATE OF: Pending discussions with the Defendant. YOURS HUMBLY, KONSTANTIN WICK on behalf of HAMPTON TEA, CHRISTIANSEN-WICK SOLICITORS, 2 PETYR’S PASSAGE, NEW REZA. [[Conor#8203]]
  6. Konstantin Wick passes Conrad his card.
  7. "Good grief," a lawyer grumbled as he read the missive by candlelight in the cramped Reza offices of Christiansen Wick Solicitors. "Pull up your breeches and take the loss like a gentleman. You campaigned well and admirably, but don't dishonour your good name like this now that the battle's over."
  8. CROWSLAYER’S VOW EVENTLINE: A MESSAGE TO REZA The razing of Fort Buck Vasiland had fallen, and Aleksandr Vanir was dead. Fort Buck had fallen, and Valwyck stood as the last Haeseni bastion in the north. Scyflings took to the woods in small bands of raiders, thrusting every mile north of Reza into danger. It was on that northern border that messages appeared; a simple stone slate with jagged letters carved into it, left along the road north of Reza on spears thrust into the earth. The message itself was short and simple. TO THE KING CROW AND HIS NEST IF YOU ATTACK THE CASTLE OF VASILAND WE WILL KILL THE CROW CALLED JOHANN PETER VON REMSBURG ACT WISELY
  9. The Scyflings sweat as that PK list has since doubled.
  10. From one of the balconies in Serpentstone, Bralt tossed a pail of water over a patch of flames spreading along the ramparts, extinguishing the blaze with a hiss. He paused, and glanced down towards the keep's courtyard. His Scyflings were dousing the blaze they had started to win the keep, and despite their victory, the mood was rather muted. Bralt’s eyes lingered on the blood smeared across the earth, and the stench of a battle's aftermath in the air mixed in with smoke. There was enough blood on the ground, dried into the dirt or running like rivers, to fill a ship. “Tsch,” he grunted as he averted his eyes from the blood - the blood of Karolina Barclay, and so many others. He had known there would be needless death and loss long befoe he ever left Athera to seek out the Haeseni. He knew that. But he still hated it.
  11. CROWSLAYER’S VOW EVENTLINE THE SECOND PIECE “So … now I roll again, I believe ...” The dice clattered across the Haeseni chess board as Bralt rolled. A twelve. “Oh, yes, well done, lord,” the balding fisherman on the other side of the board wheezed. “You can move one of your pieces out of the entry zone, now.” “But I just did that last turn,” Bralt said, frowning. “Oh, aye, but now you can do it again. Or move the piece you already have on the board.” Bralt brayed as he scooped the dice back up, and glanced across at the Haeseni fisherman who shared the longship cabin with him. They had captured the poor sod in one of their first raids on the tiny fishing wharves along the coast of northern Haense, and his right eye was still bloated and a sickly purple from where he had taken the butt of a Scyfling axe. Scyflings did not take prisoners; normally, they let survivors go to spread word and fear of their conquests. This fellow, though … Once the Scyflings had set fire to this fellow’s ship, he had gotten down on his knees, and begged to be killed; he claimed there was no point living in a ruined country without his livelihood. While the other Scyflings had laughed, Bralt had ... sensed something in the man, something that made him want to give up on living just because he had lost his ship. Bralt didn’t need to ask why. In spite of startled mutters from his warriors, he had brought the fisherman back to the fleet with him. The Haenseman had been teaching Bralt ‘Haeseni Chess’ for two days, now, but Bralt couldn’t quite wrap his head around the rules. “Okay, okay,” Bralt muttered as he moved his second piece. “Now, do you roll -“ The door to his cabin opened, admitting the pale grey light of the morning sunrise alongside a tide of noise. The attack on the Haeseni castle of Valwyck had ended nearly twelve hours ago, but it had taken another six or seven hours to douse the fire some Haeseni soldiers had managed to set on their armada. That had been an impressive blow that none had seen coming. Some of Bralt’s warriors claimed the Haeseni who did it were a band of warriors who called themselves ‘Hounds’. Bralt had come to slay Crows, not Hounds, but he supposed an exception might be in order; these Hounds sounded like they might be dangerous if left unchecked. He set aside thoughts of the Hounds, the battle and his damaged fleet, and instead wearily squinted at the two figures who stood in the doorway of his cabin. The first was Yva, tall and slender, tired eyes in stark contrast with the rest of her sharp face. Behind her was Luvir Ironrain, the leader of one of Bralt’s warbands. Luvir was short and lithe, but only a fool would underestimate him; he was probably the second-most dangerous person in the fleet. As they entered, the fisherman recoiled, his one eye open wide. “Are you playing that rotting game again?” Luvir snarled. Strands of matted, grey hair curtained his grim expression; Luvir had been in command on the ships during the attack, when the Hounds bombarded them with fire, and he had not taken the blow lightly. “It’s quite stimulating, Luvir,” Bralt told him mildly. “Come, join us, I believe four -“ “Bralt,” Yva said tightly as she closed the door behind her. “I do not think this is the time for games.” “I believe four can play,” Bralt finished calmly. The dice scraped as he slid them along the board to the fisherman. “Roll, friend.” Luvir shot forward, planting one fist on the chessboard, and shoving the startled fisherman back with the other. “Has your mind gone and rotted on us?” he hissed. “Do you have any idea how many warriors we lost last night?! Not only did we fail to take that thrice-damned castle, but that little trick in the forest didn’t even buy us enough time to burn that rotting camp of theirs! And if that wasn’t bad enough,” he drilled, spittle flying from his mouth now, “taking out that warship enabled those rot-for-brain Hounds to send eleven ships up in smoke! All that, and you want to play some f*cking Crow childs’ game?!” Bralt only sighed softly. He picked up one of his Haeseni chesspieces – his were red – and rolled it in his fingers. Last night’s battle had been a three-pronged affair; his warriors had attacked the castle called Valwyck to try overwhelm it before reinforcements could arrive, while said reinforcements were flanked in the burnt forest by Scyflings had attacked their base camp. Meanwhile, he had sent a squadron of longships to attack the Haeseni warship in the bay near the castle and prevent it from opposing his fleet. Even though they had rammed a crippling hole in the warship, as far as most were concerned, each attack had been a narrow victory for the Crows. “Blast it,” Luvir cursed through gritted teeth. “You have lost your mind.” In one fluid motion, Luvir’s axe left his belt. He raised it overhead, preparing to swing. As it descended, Bralt methodically caught Luvir’s arm just below his wrist, and pulled as he stood. Luvir slammed into the back wall of the cabin, and his axe clattered to the floor. The fisherman had abandoned his stool and was trying to disappear into the corner, while Yva only watched impassively with crossed arms. “You’re a warchief, Luvir,” Bralt said, stifling a yawn as he began to rearrange the chesspieces. “Not just a warrior. That means you ought to know that a victory or defeat means more than how many bodies pile up.” “What?” Luvir spluttered as he clamored to his knees. A bruise was already swelling on the side of his face from where Bralt had hurtled him into the wall. “What the depths are you on about?” “You know what I like about this Crow game?” Bralt asked he rearranged the four-sided board. No one answered; Yva stood by the door, her arms crossed, wearing a guarded, tense expression while Luvir staggered to his feet. He glared at Bralt, but Bralt knew he wouldn’t take the slam to heart; that was just how order was kept among Scyflings. Bralt smiled, then. He smiled, despite the shouts and groans of the wounded echoing from outside, despite the heavy smell of smoke in the air, despite the blood on his hands from yesterday’s battles. On the surface, last night’s conflict might have seemed an immediate defeat. But with the Haeseni warship disabled, his longships could move and land with relative ease, and the burnt forest kept their forces divided between Valwyck and this ‘Fort Buck’ with no means of moving quickly between the two. Any material was easy to break once it was stretched thin. He smiled softly. “What I like,” he continued, as he took up the dice and shook them in his hand, “is that you can have more than one piece on the board.” He rolled, and moved a second red piece onto the board.
  12. CROWSLAYER’S VOW EVENTLINE: A FIRE IN THE WOODS King Sigismund watches the burning of Camp Rock | Picture credit to Nathan Barnett Two dozen men, some oil casks, the vile tooter and a squadron of archers. That was all it had taken for the Scyfling invaders to fell the first of the Haeseni coastal defenses that prevented their fleet of longships from crossing the bay, closer to the city of New Reza. The leader of the Scyflings, Bralt the Boar – the Crowslayer himself – stood atop a hill near the northern fief of Valwyck, admiring the handiwork of his warriors. Well, admiring was certainly not the right word – their attack on the Haeseni bulwark of Camp Rock had led to a severe forest inferno that would undoubtedly leave the land scarred for decades. Even now, the evening after the attack, the blaze had yet to subside; it had spread like a slow wave of death through the forests the locals called the Wickwald, leaving a trail of withered, blackened trees in its wake. Though it was a clear spring day, thick columns of firesmoke masqueraded as storm clouds, clogging the sky and suffocating as many animals as the fire burned. Even from this hilltop, Bralt could spy the burning corpses of bears, foxes and deer unfortunate enough to be caught in the fire. The knot of anxiety tightened in his stomach with every lifeless, burning corpses his eyes glazed over. But he had to pretend he was admiring the travesty; around him, his warriors whistled impressively and watched the fire continued to spread with awe. The forest-fire had never been part of their plan; the original strategy had been to distract the defenders of Camp Rock, at the forest’s edge, using the music of the Vile Tooter – the Scyfling’s chief battle-bard. Then, slingers hurled small casks of oil atop the wooden hoardings, which archers then set ablaze from afar. It had been a beautiful execution; the Haeseni were left disorganized by the chaos once the blaze had started. Bralt had to admit the King Crow had been wise to abandon the fort so quickly; it might have looked cowardly to the untrained eye, but had the Haeseni sat in their burning fort, they would have eventually fallen to the Scyfling archers who began to bombard from the forests. It had all been going perfectly, until a band of fools had decided to try rush the archers in the forest. In order to cover their tracks, Bralt’s warriors had lit more oil casks, and started the inferno that now swept across the Wickwald. Bralt sighed softly as he leaned against his spear. He didn’t disagree with setting the forest ablaze; it had been necessary to keep the Haeseni in disarray, but that he still regretted the necessity of it. Whether their campaign on Arcas was successful, this wounded forest alone would stand testament to the bloodshed that occurred here for decades to come. It could have been avoided, Bralt thought glumly as he watched a doe, her fur afire, screech and ran wildly through the forest in a vain attempt to douse herself. As if the burning forest was not bad enough, it served only as a solemn, grim reminder to Bralt that soon he would not be observing a field of dead trees, but a sea of dead people. Kill the Crow, and the crops will grow, a wistful thought joined the fears in his head. The burning doe collapsed with one last piercing whimper, and she made not a sound more as the fire consumed her. “No crops will grow here for a long time.” “Eh? What’s that?” Yva muttered at his side. She was the only other one of the dozen-or-so Scyflings gathered on the hilltop who did not watch the inferno with an infatuated fervor. Her expression, marred with ash and soot as it was, was almost as skeptical as Bralt’s must have been. “ … Nothing,” Bralt told her after a moment. Perhaps he wasn’t the only one who had grown sick of the fighting, the violence, and the death. Slowly, he turned back to the forest. The doe had vanished, replaced now by a burning glob of flames. “Are things in order at the castle?” Yva shrugged wearily. She certainly seemed more tired now than Bralt had ever seen the spearwoman before. Idly, she twisted the butt of her own spear in the ground. “More or less. With this fire, the Crows can’t get near that castle of their’s, so the garrison is hugged up on the walls shitting themselves.” Normally, she would have finished a sentence like that with a balky laugh, but now she was uncharacteristically somber. “Hm. Good.” The slaughter and carnage would be no less sickening than Bralt expected, but he was committed, now. He would not falter – he could fulfill the Crowslayer’s Vow, kill the King Crow and save his people. If anything, he was grateful that the Haeseni had been so crushed in their first attack. At this rate, the slaughter would be bloody, but Bralt could get it over with quickly. He turned away from the fire, and looked to the north. This view was starkly different; though the stench of smoke still hung in the air, the sky was clear and blue, and the sun beamed down on the steep, rolling hills where goats idly grazed and patches of wildflowers swayed in the biting sea wind. There, atop a bluff near where the Scyfling fleet had anchored, stood the castle the locals called Valwyck. With the inferno in the Wickwald, a burning wall had cut off the main Haeseni force from their northernmost castle at Valwcyk. Scyfling bands were now descending from where they had docked rowboats to the north, and were constructing siege camps along the tall, treacherous hilltops that overlooked the coastal castle. They had an opportunity to establish an effective siege-line of the castle, now, and they were not going to waste it. Once Valwyck was dealt with, that only left a handful of hoardings along the coast until Bralt’s war fleet could move freely. Everything was going to plan, and yet Bralt still the knot in his stomach grow tighter with each passing moment, with each reminder of the blood that was about to run through this land like rivers. ”Come on,” he grunted to Yva. He shouldered his spear, and began to stomp down the hill. “Let’s get this bloody over with.”
  13. CROWSLAYER’S VOW EVENTLINE: A VAIN HOPE Following today’s event ... Bralt the Boar’s ship slowly glided across the icy waters, rejoining the Scylfing fleet. The sail had caught fire and arrows studded the hull, all thanks to the Haeseni who had opened fire during Bralt’s attempts to negotiate. Bralt, however, barely paid attention as the rowers frantically heaved the ship out of the range of the Haeseni archers, back to the safety of the dozens of Scylfing ships anchored in the bay. He didn’t pay attention as his crew scuttled to pull down the sail and stamp out the flames before they spread to the mast, nor the pained groans of warriors that had taken a Haeseni arrow. His eyes barely registered the unmoving body of a young spearwoman who had been unfortunate enough to take an arrow to the throat. As their ship joined the others, laughter and cheers broke out from the hundreds upon hundreds of Scylfing warriors – the wildling tribes of Athera, ancient enemies of the Haeseni in their infancy, that Bralt had united. Bralt did not join them, but he knew why they cheered; in Bralt’s attempts to negotiate – though he knew it was hardly worth calling a negotiation – the Haeseni had shown their teeth, and snapped them, too. This crusade to Arcas would not at all be like the expedition to Siegrad, where the Haeseni were constantly on the backfoot and had to flee Bralt’s forces. Here, the Haeseni were going to give them a true and proper fight, and the Scylfings appreciated nothing greater than that. Now, they had cracked open kegs of mead and gathered around braziers on their ships, singing and dancing, all in celebration for the impending battles. Bralt did not laugh. No, he did not even try to hide his disdain now. For so long he had tried to pretend he loved all this fighting and pillaging to maintain the respect of his clansmen and inspire fear in the Haeseni, but at that moment, as his crew tossed the burning sail into the freezing water and plucked arrows from the hull, he did not care. His fists were clenched so tightly at his side that his knuckles had turned white, and he could feel his heart thump in his chest like a wardrum. It took him a moment to realize some of the Scylfing, tankards of mead in hand and smoking pipestems in the other, were calling out to him. “... Stood right in their rain of arrows!” “And they couldn’t even hit you!” “They fear you, Crowslayer!” “Aye! Hail to the Crowslayer!” “Crowslayer! Crowslayer!” Others took up the taunting cry, and it spread across the longships like a wave as men and women raised their tankards in unison. “Crowslayer! Crowslayer!” Bralt tried to indulge them, but he couldn’t even bring himself to force the slightest of smiles. Instead, he stormed down the deck, and into his tiny cabin tucked away under the longship’s stern. He slammed the door shut right as the cries of “Crowslayer!” transitioned into indistinguishable cheers and yells. The door did little to mute the sound of revelry outside as his Scylfings celebrated in anticipation of the killings to come, of the chance to raid a rich land and lay waste to their fabled, ancient enemy. That was what Bralt had promised them, all so that he could fulfill the Crowslayer’s Vow prophecy, which promised that whoever killed the Haeseni leader - the King Crow – would become chief of all Scylfings. Bralt had promised a great crusade to Arcas, all for the chance to fulfill the prophecy, unite all the Scylfings under his name, and lead them into a future that was not tainted by a culture of raiding and warfare. He was tired of fighting. Deathly tired. Today, once the Haeseni had gathered at the nearby keep to watch his longships, he had tried to negotiate. He had donned his fake persona once again, the raucous ‘Bralt the Boar’, a Scylfing savage personified, and tried to compel the King Crow to hand himself over. If the King Crow would let Bralt kill him without a fight … then he could fulfill the prophecy, become the high king of the Scylfings, and save his people from their own violent past, and all without ending another life unnecessarily. It had been a vain hope; of course, he knew the Haeseni would never agree to such madness. “A vain hope," he breathed as he stood alone in his cabin, the sounds of celebration permeating through the walls. Abruptly, he turned and began to slam his fists into the wall. He pounded it, over and over again, until blood streamed down his fists. He didn’t want to kill; he didn't want to let loose another river of blood like on Athera. His pounding stopped at last, and he leaned his head to rest against the splintered cabin wall. He drew deep, shaky breaths as blood dripped from his fists onto the cabin’s floor. His plea for the Haeseni King to surrender, to end this war before it even began, had been a vain hope, but it had been his only hope to fulfill a prophecy he didn’t believe in without killing innocents. A vain hope, and his only hope. Now, he would have to kill them. He would have to kill all of them. A gentle stream of tears joined the blood dripping to the floor.
  14. Xarkly

    Haenseni Shores

    CROWSLAYERS’ VOW: HAENSENI SHORES Kill the Crow, and the crops will grow, and the sun will rise in the north. Kill the Crow, and all shall know, their herald will lead them forth. Kill the Crow, turn red the snow, lay down rival spears. Kill the Crow, cast soul below, and silence every fear. Kill the Crow, let heart be stricken, and all shall be forgiven. Bralt recited the Crowslayers’ Vow in his head for the umpteenth time that day as the dark water sloshed gently against the hull of his longship as it glided gently through the sea. Crowslayers’ Vow. Rotting prophecy. The eader of the Scylfing wildling tribes of Athera stood at the ship’s bow, and he sighed. The night was unnervingly still; the wind was dead, and so the sails of his ship – and the dozens of ships behind his – hung limp, sagging against their masts. It had been like this all day, which had meant they needed to row all day. That alone soured Bralt’s mood; he had hoped to make good time through the night, but now his warriors were too tired to row after a full day of the labor. Those same warriors were the ones gathered around the braziers at them mast of every ship, drinking and singing, so maybe they were not so tired after all. Their songs were traditional Scylfing verses, the kind everyone learned from a young age growing up in the wildling tribes of Athera, and so Bralt too knew them all, from the fast drumming of ‘Stone-Felled Crow’ to the melancholic drawl of ‘The Bear in the Bush’. Their voices were terrible, of course, but they were helped a little by the occasional drum or ocarina. The night was completely silent but for them, and so it sounded like their singing echoed for miles and miles across the empty, glassy sea. Though he knew the songs, Bralt did not join him. Instead, he took alone at the bow of his flagship, staring at the sea. The night was free of clouds, and so the sky was studded with bright arrays of stars and a crescent moon that shone brightly, making the ocean’s surface look like molten silver where it caught its light. Bralt just stared at the moon’s rippling reflection, wishing he could have shared the good spirits of his warriors. He wished he could share their ignorance. By their navigators’ estimate – and their navigators had done right by Bralt so far – the shores of Arcas were mere hours away. Almost there. Almost there now. Those were the thoughts that had haunted him for the past few days, now, and grew worse the closer their ships brought them to Arcas – the closer they came to Haense. It felt like a lifetime ago when the Haenseni had come to Athera on their little expedition with their boy king. Bloody rotting fools, bringing a boy to Athera. Bralt, however, knew himself to be the greater fool; had he just been able to kill the boy king of Haense back in the ruins of Siegrad … Had he managed that, it would all have been over years ago. There would be no need for this crusade across the ocean, no need to rally an army. No need for war. He could have had peace by now. He sighed once again, and ran a hand through his air. The Scylfings had lived on Athera for centuries with the Haenseni and other Descendant civilizations had abandoned it, but with most of the soil too poor to grow a fart, the Scylfings had developed a culture of raiding each other, war and violence, where battles could break out over a single goat. Fighting had become celebrated, and a cornerstone of their culture, simply because it was necessary to fight to survive. To die in combat was a blessing, and to kill in combat was to bless another. Bloodshed was to be celebrated, for it kept their people strong and mighty. Or so everyone seemed to think, anyway. Load of rotting hogwash. Bralt, like every other wildling, had been raised on the tales and sagas of the time of their ancestors, when Athera was a booming continent filled with life. Back then, the Scylfings had competed with the virgin Haenseni kingdom for territory – it had not been a time of peace, but the Scylfings had at least been united, not fighting each other without rhyme or reason like they did now. When the Haenseni had finally left after the Great Wyrms had driven off most civilizations, the Scylfings had thought it was their time to prosper – Athera was finally theirs to enjoy alone. But the Wyrms had left the continent devastated, and rot the soil. The tribes had remained united at first, but soon they turned on each other, fighting for food and resources. The fighting had never stopped, not really. There had been lulls and bouts of relative peace, but they had never lasted long. Violence and raiding had seeped into the Scylfings too much; now, killing and bloodshed was celebrated, and people enjoyed it. The very thought made Bralt sick. He was not sure when he had realized it, but one day it simply hit him that his people, the Scylfing, were no longer really people. They were wild beasts wearing the faces that had nce belonged to brothers and friends, obsessed with ending the lives of others simply because that was what their parents had done to survive, and so that was what they would do. Bralt could not believe that he was the only one who saw it, this sickness, this disease, that had taken his loved ones and warped them into blood-crazed savages. The only story Bralt had ever concerned himself with was the Crowslayers’ Vow itself, the ancient prophecy all the Scylfings knew from infancy, which proclaimed that whoever managed to kill the descendant of their ancient Haensei enemies would become the High King of the Scylfings and unite all the tribes. If Bralt could do that … if he could unite the tribes, and stop them from fighting … if he could take them to a better land and show them the ways of peace, they could work together to farm and grow instead of kill and take from one another. Bralt himself didn’t believe the prophecy, not really; it was just another wayward tale from a time long past, another promise of violence for the twisted remains of the Scylfing to grow drunk on. But that didn’t matter – the prophecy’s power came from the fact that people believed it. So if Bralt succeeded .. if he could fulfill the blasted prophecy, then he could lead the Scylfings to peace. He could bring them peace. He could save them. He had already united the clans under his banner of the Crowslayer, and they departed their ruined homeland once they learned the Haenseni expedition had returned to this continent of Arcas. The tribes that had once fought over cattle now drank and sang, all because they believed Bralt would kill the Haenseni king and fulfill the Crowslayers’ Vow – they believed he was the Crowslayer. In a way, Bralt wished the voyage from Athera would never end; on these ships, the Scylfings were all united. They sang and drank together, and their old feuds had miraculously faded under the promise of their crusade on Arcas. Here, there was no fighting, no division. It could not last, of course. They were only united because Bralt had promised them a violent fulfillment of the prophecy. If he failed to the kill the Crow King of Haense, then their support would melt away. But if he succeeded, then they would accept him as their prophecised king, and he could finally … “What are you looking so bloody sour for?” Bralt blinked in surprised as a woman, her hair a messy curtain of beaded braids, planted herself on the gunnel next to him. “I thought you would want to spend your night singing, Yva,” Bralt answered quietly as he looked back out across the ocean. Yva snorted, and Bralt could smell the alcohol on her breath. “Here!” she thrust a tankard towards him; dark ale spilled over the side and splattered onto the deck. “Drink this, it’ll help you stop being such a miserable cu-“ “I’ll drink later, Yva,” Bralt told the warrior gently. He was sure there had been a time when he enjoyed drinking and bantering with his warriors, but he could not remember when. “I must think for now.” “Thinking?” Yva snorted. “Think about what? There’s nothing to think about! Just drink, eat, and kill these rotting crows once we reach land. It’s easy!” This time, Bralt stifled his sigh. Yva’s words had struck the other thing weighing on his mind; if he even wanted a chance to kill the King Crow, to style himself as the prophecised hero and try save the Scylfings from themselves, hundreds of Haenseni, maybe even thousands, would need to die before he could shove his spear through their boy king, though he supposed he must be a boy no longer. Is it worth it? Can I truly justify that cost? He did not know. He did not know if he would readily lay waste to a civilization just for a chance to save his own. He supposed he had already answered the question, even if he felt like he could not; he stood here on this ship, with hundreds of Scylfing warriors at his back, all baying for blood. Yes, he knew the answer. He just didn’t want to admit to himself that he had become so ruthless. “ … you ask me,” Yva rambled on, though Bralt was not really listening. “Just hope we get to stick those Voliks first. I -“ Bralt held up a hand abruptly. “Quiet.” Yva blinked sleepily. “Eh? Quiet for what, what are you-“ “I said quiet!” This time, Yva obeyed, and his words had even carried back to the other warriors singing aboard his ship. Their song died, and they turned towards him expectantly. Bralt, however, paid no attention to them. He could have sworn he heard … Yes, there it was again. A shrill, distant caw. “Seagulls,” he breathed. “Eh? Maybe you have been drinking. What was that?” Yva asked. “Seagulls!” Bralt called, louder this time. “Go sober up, you fool. We’re nearing land.” The realization dawned in Yva’s drunken eyes. She dropped the tankard, spilling her ale all over the deck, as she rushed back to spread the news; they were about to reach Arcas. The singing died across their entire fleet, now replaced by excited voices and thumping boots as warriors rushed to prepare their weapons and spears. Bralt had promised them a great and bloody raid to fulfill the prophecy, and they were eager to cash in that promise. So long as it ensured Bralt could fulfill the Vow and lead them to a new era, he was happy to let them believe whatever they wanted. “Kill the Crow, cast soul below, and silence every fear,” he mumbled to himself as he heard the seagull caw once more. “Kill the Crow, let heart be stricken, and all shall be forgiven.” He glanced back at his warriors, stupid smiles plastering their stupid faces at the thought of battle. He would save them. He would. As he shouldered his spear and turned to see to the preparations himself, the sun had just peeked its head over the eastern horizon.
  15. “So he's Peter II and Peter III? Well, that's just confusing,” Konstantin Wick grumbled, unable to wrap his head around it.
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