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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLoytewvn0g To Behead a Serpent “The House of Horen is in itself a dynasty built upon ambition and the insatiable greed for power and domination. Claiming to be the most pure and divine descendants of Horen I, the Horen will always speak of their ancient rights and privileges to preside over all of man, likely from this day ‘till the very end of all time.” -An excerpt from “The Extinguished and the Exalted: An Opus upon the Prominent Dynasties of Humanity, both present and defunct.” drafted by Herbert of Metz in the year of our LORD 1600. The Fortress of Ostwick, circa 1592. The luminescent rays of the shimmering sun beamed down upon the form of three armoured riders, their steads racing in full gallop down the soil-trodden path winding towards the West Gates of Metz. Each of the riders shared a great deal in common - the standard they all bore, for one - checkered blue upon white. The Lorraine Cross brooch was pinned proudly upon each of their chests, a sure sight to all of their devout adherence to the Canonist Faith and the ornately-designed barbute helms donned upon their heads and sealed over their faces. But most distinctly of all, crimson red stains of blood and gore marked their tabards, soaked into the well-sewn cloth. The three-man troupe rode with hunched backs yet with high heads - evidently they all and each felt some shred of shame and despair, though they would not let a single defeat strip them of their pride. “Christophe, Leopold - rear your mounts. We’re nearly to the gate.” The trio brought their mares to a halt as they came to the tight steel bars of Metz’s west gate, each of their heads rearing backward in near unison as they heard a figure emerge from the cover of the citadel balustrade. A simple d’Amaury soldier - the golden cross of Lorraine stretching out upon his chest on a field of green, a nasal helm perched tightly upon his cranium and and an pre-loaded arbalest clutched within his hands. “Halt! Who goes there?!” In a simple physical response, the rider at the group’s head reached up, withdrawing his helmet from upon his head - steely grey-green eyes met with the footsoldier’s strained hazel-brown, and strands of his inky black-locks hung downward to cover his forehead and upper-face. Beads of sweat and moisture rolled down the rider’s porcelain tanned skin, an effect of both the humidity sealed within the confines of his weighted barbute helm and the pure exhaustion that racked his bones. “Robert de Anjou, Count of Cleves - I’ve an audience with his royal majesty Philip.” The soldier’s expression contorted to one of simple surprise, and perhaps a light touch of relief, as he brought his hand upward and cocked his head backward over his shoulder. “Raise the gate!” And so they rose… ~ Philip Owyn was already perched high upon his throne as Robert and his men filed into the throne hall. The youthful king cut a frigid, yet unimposing position upon his marble chair. The youth had matured greatly in appearance since Robert had seen him last - he was a boy of thirteen then, with puffy cheeks and a jovial smile. But now the boy, once simply a Prince of Lorraine, found himself seated upon his brothers throne - his face had took a gaunter, more mature shape and he held no smile upon his lips. And as he spotted Robert’s entry, his gaze uplifted, and a lone hand raised to beckon him forth. “Come forward, Lord Robert.” The de Anjou troupe strided forth with heavy steps, the flocks of gathered nobility and aristocracy gathered about the court swarming to the sides of the hall, allowing a straight, open passage for Count Robert and his men. As the Count Cleves neared closer., he and his bannerman came to a standstill - and immediately dropped down to one knee. “Rise, my lord - you bring news from Ostwick?” With the command, Robert and his two followers stood. “Aye.” he began, beginning to bow his head as threads of shame overtook the aged count. “We could not hold the keep, your majesty - there was no possible way. We had it seized and under our control for no more than a day before a host from Mardon arrived at our doors with a number far greater than our own. They demanded we surrender the fortress to them at once - we did not oblige, and they stormed through our petty, ill-prepared defenses and cut through our number within minutes.” Disgruntled, indecipherable whispers began to echo quietly about the court as the onlookers spoke amongst themselves. A grave moment of silence filled the air of King Philip himself did not utter a word - either in deep contemplation or feeling grave wroth. After some moments, the king was the first to break the silence; “What of the pretender?” he asked. “What of Anna Sophia?” “Alive, regrettably - when we made it into the keep the rebel Queen was nowhere to be found. My men deduced that she managed to scale down the walls as we were breaking in by the way of a rope tied upon the balustrade. Most of her advisors followed suit.” Philip’s brows furrowed downward with grave concern. Palms pressed to the armrests of his marble throne, he steadily rose up to his feet. Pacing to the forefront of the great dais where the lawful Throne of Lorraine stood, the young King opened his mouth to speak. “It would seem, then, that the work of my father is yet to be truly complete - it was only fourteen years ago to this day that the Battle of the Golden Fields was fought; the fight that turned the tides of the Coalition War to the victory our people longed so. And now, another Horen scion - an unlawful pretender with no true claim upon Lorraine and Lotharingia - would seek to cease my throne and enforce yet another oppressive and tyrannical Imperialist regime upon the people of Lorraine-Savoy.” For the briefest of moments, Philip closed his eyes - and when they re-opened, Robert swore he could see a deep, dark glint of fiery determination and ambition beaming in the youth’s eyes. “It shall be war.” the King announced finally. ((Credits to @Proddy for the RP portion)) WARCLAIM Tier Chosen (This cannot be changed after the first warclaim is held): 1 Type of battle: Siege Date And Time: April 23rd, Saturday 3pm EST, 7pm GMT Side A: Kingdom of Lorraine-Savoy loyalists + Allies Side B: Kingdom of Lorraine-Savoy rebels + Allies Location and boundaries: Direct Area: https://gyazo.com/29954fca356f4ee24dd0aadd03fd8340 Surrounding area of battlefield for reference to location: https://gyazo.com/df13205f9fd72716e876ba4afb97758a Terms of Victory Upon Victory For... Victory for the Attackers: All rebel forces are killed, flee the battlefield or lock themselves underground for over 20 mins. Victory for the Defenders: All loyalist forces are killed or flee the battlefield REWARDS Offensive Victory: Loyalists gain ownership of Ostwick. Defensive Victory: Rebels remain in control of the Barony of Ostwick, and have the option to either skirmish the following week or wait for another siege in two weeks time. Rules No status switching. All LoTC rules. No golden apples. No one day alts. Ladders and TNT enabled. No modifications can be made to the Barony of Ostwick and its surrounding area upon the posting of this warclaim.