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  1. The Hammer Falls Surely does the hammer fall, heavy against the shimmering heat of the forge. There works a smith: stooped over the anvil, beating his echoing rhythm in time with the whispered hiss of the blazing coals. Upon his anvil sits a length of steel, unformed, malleable in its fiery glow. With everlasting patience, the smith begins to work – slowly tapering, lengthening, forming the metal with each ringing strike. Elend Morilim stands in the courtyard of Providence city. The sun beats down on his iron helm, lopsided on his head, ISA uniform poorly fit to his thin frame. He looks around wondrously at the bustling life of city, the searching, wandering gaze of a child recently run away from home. A rapier hangs at the skinny teen’s side, shoddily crafted – a first attempt at smithing himself a weapon. He straightens his shoulders, face set stony with flickering embers of determination. In a great plume of steam, red-hot metal meets frigid water, ringing like a great bell as it cools. The smith inspects the blade, scrutinized with a practiced eye, running worn leather gloves along its length. Scale crumbles off, tumbling, dancing to the ground in flakes borne wildly upon the warm Western winds. The smith gazes upon his work for a moment, simply considering, before setting aside the weapon-yet-to-be. Elend Morilim Odinson brushes past the twisted foliage of the Voidal Hollow, hunting. Beside him, a dwarf and a human, a friend and a brother. As the howl of some fetid beast rips through the broken landscape, Elend looks upon his companions. For now, finally, he has found family. How strange it is, the feeling of love! To call someone his brother, his father – a silent tear runs down the face of the young man, hissing into nonexistence against the cursed dirt of the Hollow. With a small smile set on his face, gleaming sword in hand, he strides ever onwards. A hilt takes shape, now, in a rain of flecks of wood. From a piece of hard oak, as resolute and stubborn as the smith himself, a carving knife works its way by. Soft is the grasp of the thin leather ‘round the handle, set firmly in place with a nail. Brightly, then, shines the gem set into the pommel, catching the light in a brilliant explosion of azure. The smith sits back, affixing the hilt upon the blade, watching that gem-refracted light play lazily upon the ancient, soot-stained walls. He lets out a slow sigh, for the smithing is done. In a beautiful Western city, bedecked in flowers and laughter and song, Elend Morilim Odinson sinks to one knee, resting against warm ground. In the cup of his hands sits a ring, wrought of gleaming Starsteel, shining with all the concentrated light of the heavens in the gentle afternoon sun. Elend offers it with a tremulous smile to the woman before him – his maylu, his soulmate, his flame. The sun runs dappled golden rays across the faces of the couple, dipping below the trees. Elend’s love burns, though, a second sun, alighting the future in rays of joy. But the weapon is not yet complete. With a groan, the smith rises, and hovers his hands over the sword. In a rhythm that seems to echo with the soul, all at once esoteric and fundamental, the smith begins to incant. Silver mist, as bright and holy as the stars, leaps into brilliant existence, dancing along the length of the newly-forged blade. The weapon takes on a gentle sheen, radiant with absorbed power. Elend Morilim Odinson stands upon a battlefield, golden spear in hand. Stubble touches his chin, and the lines of age draw tight the skin about his eyes. But his gaze is ever sharp, piercing, as silver lightning sparks among his fingers. A javelin of such light crackles into existence and is hurled, sending the horrific Darkness stumbling backwards. Later, Elend stoops beneath the brick towers of the cities of the icy North. His silver mist, gentle as a summer’s breeze, heals the wounds of the beaten and the souls of the terrified, a weary smile upon his face. With a resonating crack, ripping violently across the shadowed battlefield, the strained metal of the sword tears in half. The warrior kneels upon the bloodied ground, damp with the tears and screams of the fallen, gazing at the shattered weapon in his hand. It had had a long life, guided by a steady hand. But now, with a dulled edge and worn-leather grip, perhaps, it was time for the great sword to rest. Elend Morilim Odinson drops to one knee, breath ripping ragged through the unnatural calm of the forest clearing. Bloodied wounds stain his gleaming armour, creeping crimson sashes of terrible pain. But within himself, the holy knight feels his ember, bright. It drives him upwards, lightning in his veins, crackling and arcing into the air with unstable power. His spear burns with light – silver so bright it is almost white, blinding. And he surges forwards, those claws of the Dark find his chest, tearing flesh from sinew and bone. But the Light flows ever-strong, and Elend brings his spear down upon the head of the Darkspawn. With a roll of resonant thunder and the bitter hiss of lightning, the corrupted skull gives way, the body before him dropping to the ground. Elend collapses, now, too – the Light coursing through him fizzling as his strength wanes. But hand clutching his spear, empty silver eyes gazing skyward, there remains ever a smile on his face. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– To my friends, family, and beloved ones: If you’re reading this, I am no longer with you. Perhaps I have fallen in battle, or of old age – but in truth, it doesn’t matter. This letter is my last will and testament, to let those I care about continue strong after I am gone. To Adrian, my friend: To Immeral, my son: To Radvan, my brother: To Astrid, my wife, my flame, and the light of my life: And to all those that have journeyed with me, for whom I have no more to give, I thank you. To live among such incredible people made life a pleasure, and I shall see you all again in the next. –Elend Morilim Odinson ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– OOC:
  2. Fallen Star So dose the bright star fall, golden locks turned dull, skin as pale as a corpse Eirene de Astrea an elven women known by almost no one for she never liked to go outside the safety of her room, bedridden and ill this young elfess perished with no will, for she had no one to leave anything too, she had many family members but never did she interact with them as she grew up, maybe once or twice as a young child but she did prefer to be alone lost in her books, and now as a young woman pale as a ghost and not but skin and bone the light in her eyes faded, perished from her illness.
  3. The Embers Go Out Once a great flame burning with life, now turned to embers, embers quickly fading, Thena Odinson, a young elfess within the park of Elysium laid silently roses surrounding her the blanket under her now stained red, a book on her lap open on the page she had been in the middle of reading page ruined with her own blood, a stab wound piercing from the centre of her back through her chest, her eyes were riddled with fear as she stared up to the blue sky and the only thought that came to mind was her family, she was scared of dying but there was nothing to be done, she was alone during her final moments, she stared up to the sky the light in her eyes faded and the pale violet colour turned to look greyed the last words she uttered was "mother..." the young elfess called out, but another stab, this one to the heart had her breath her last breath, the embers died out the young elfess now laid there lifelessly now left alone by her killer within the quiet city.
  4. [!] A halflings body laid in the tall snow of the Northern Region. His heterochromic eyes and brown hair made it obvious to the Weefolk of Honeyhill who their fallen friend was. [!] A journal sits on Grubby's bed MAH WILL to mah pop pop - Grigory Grubb (@Crevel), Ah leave mah wide collection of carrots. to mah buddehs, neighbahs, ahnd acquaintances - ah leave yah whateva tah fock is left in mah burrow! first come first serve!
  5. An Eye For An Eye The Death of Montgomery Potte, better known as Pisspot the Foul, Goldbarber, and Monty. "Fock or get fock'd" Potte House Words “It seems tae me a Rivian chill jus’ passed t’rough,” The Rivian knight grinned, the telltale rasp of a blade leaving its sheathe immediately signalling his intent. At once, the soldiers launched into action. The object of their ire? A certain Helton Helvets, the young heir to Cathalon. Steel cleaved into flesh, and blood painted the stone walls red. Men fell one after the other in rapid succession, either dead, or damn near dead. But Pisspot did not falter. Yet. Bastard. That was what they called him, at first. On his fifth birthday, it became Montgomery. A name chosen by his father, the Viscount Rivia - Phillip Galbraith. A decision spurred on by the death of his mother. A decision that occured out of mere chance, and yet, a decision that would set the boy on his sinful rampage. By his tenth birthday, the Viscount Galbraith had deemed him fit enough to serve in the Rivian levy. The boy was unnaturally large for his age, and stocky from tending the fields. Yet a boy he still was - and the violence of the men around him settled deep into his mind. By his eleventh, he had burnt his first man. Scalped his first dwarf. Sheared his first elf. And on his twelfth, his name became Pisspot. When the last of his boyhood was strangled out of him through a stream of urine leaking past his breeches. Of course, the boy had gotten his revenge on the brigand, but the outcome still remained; This was no boy anymore. The years blended quickly into one another. In his early adulthood, the onset of the Tripartite War sparked his infamous legend. His first proper victim: Gildroc Goldhand. Humiliated, belittled, and defeated, the poor dwed took his own life. But not before spreading the name of the foul demon that destroyed him; Pisspot. And then, the Brother’s War. The sacking of Darkwood Manor. When Rivia was at its peak, with their greatest monster at its helm. As the manor burned, the sick beast could not help but grin. News spread of the Rivians who had destroyed the house, and at its forefront stood one man; Pisspot. And now, a rampaging creature cleaving through the Acrean meeting hall, hungering, craving… hunting. The child-killer known only as Pisspot. Pisspot grunted as he brought the weight of his boot into the Baroness' chin. There was no remorse to be had. A simple gesture to remove a complication from the grand Rivian equation. Not that Pisspot could actually do equations, mind you. The soldier thundered forth, and with a mighty swing of his left fist, sent another lord sprawling over the meeting room table. Another obstacle removed from his path. A wild slash tore open the Helvet’s gambeson, wetting his blade with crimson. Then, as if that brief taste could not satiate the rabid beast within, he drowned his blade in crimson. The peasant knight plunged his blade deep into the young boy. It was not long, however, until his rampage had come to an end. As the boy fell to the ground, limp, those that had survived stepped forth to confront him. A knight by the name of Uther wrapped his arm around the beast, thrusting his blade deep into his exposed armpit. Enraged, the mad dog of Rivia fought back in spite of his impending doom. Armed with the dagger at his side, he thrashed about, as if in some savage trance, trying desperately to do something. His blade however, would not be enough. As he yanked his dagger out from deep within Ser Uther’s hip, a loud snap echoed across the room. Pisspot was dead, and he had died as he had lived; Cruelly and violently. His eyes bulged from his sockets as the knight snapped his neck, and as his lips parted, only blood spewed forth. Crimson spittle flew through the breaths of his helm. Steel tore, rended, sundered his flesh, as the arming sword delved deeper into his chest, till finally, it pierced his heart. But alas, a cruel smile spread across his lips, for the boy before him was undoubtedly dead. “An eye for an eye,” He grinned, as the world before him slowly turned grey, “Makes the world blind.” Shoutout my biggest hater @UnusualBrit You can rest easy now that Pisspot is dead.
  6. A Trauma’s End Oh it was but another ordinary and beautiful day for the crippled Pyotr Ludovar! He kicked open his front door and with much effort, pushed himself out of his home and into the street! The Man smiled, a hopeful smile, that perhaps he could recover from his crippled state. Though he couldn’t rely on the possibility that he could recover, so instead he decided to attempt to do things he used to be able to, that now he could hardly do.. - Pyotr happened to notice a group of Haeseni fishing in a small pond near the Karosgrad Palace, with that same hopeful smile on his lips.. He went stair by stair up the Palace’s steps, which was near impossible for the wheelchair bound man, but he was surely determined. Upon reaching the summit of the stairs, he pushed over to the group around the pond. Pyotr eyed one of the various fishing rods being passed out to those who wished to fish.. Pyotr wheeled himself over and used what was left of his left arm to try to pick it up, though he couldn’t manage it. Instead, one of the Haeseni nearby helped the crippled man, setting the bottom of the fishing rod beneath his leg, before casting it out for him. Though only a frown curled up on Pyotr’s lips, then accepting that he could never be the man he once was. Though he sat there and watched the line, waiting for a tug! He was still determined to catch a fish! He sat and sat, and waited for that tug. An hour of time went by before the line received a tug. The Ludovar’s face alit at the tug of the rod... he then looked down at the rod and then to what was left of his arms, his left nub. Pyotr couldn’t let all this time he had waited to go waste, so he wrapped his nub around it and jerked his body backward as quick as he could! Which happened to cause his wheelchair to flip. Those around him hurried over in concern, and to their surprise.. Pyotr was delightfully chuckling at what had happened! For he did indeed manage to catch a fish! But at what cost did the man catch it? Was it worth flipping out of his chair? In his eyes it certainly was. Those around Pyotr then lifted him up from the ground and set him back up right in his wheelchair. He then exclaimed to them all, “Spasibo! Spasibo!” With that smile of hope on his face. Pyotr then abandoned his fishing rod and pushed himself away from all of his fellow Haeseni, and made his way to the Palace stairs. - Pyotr flew down the stairs! Instead of being filled with horror, Pyotr bellowed out a laugh as he went soaring down the stairs, that huge hopeful smile still there! He managed to make it down without injury, to his joy! - Pyotr sucked in a deep breath and moved over toward the aviary! Where he found a letter, meant for him! He pushed into his lap and used his nub to open it, the letter read,“Pyotr; I need to speak with you. Do send me a bird in reply - Wu.” Pyotr’s hopeful smile then faltered as he finished reading.. but he forced it back onto his lips! Deciding he didn’t want to be a Grumpy Old man that day! He then waved down a familiar Halfling with his nub, calling out, “Aye! Vy Lad! Do vy know how to vrite?” Minto, the halfling replied with something similar to, “Yeh'p! I can write 'n common and sign language!” Pyotr smiled that hopeful smile once more, before bellowing, “Dobry! Would vy please vrite something for eam?” Minto nodded his head, saying something similar to, “Sure! Whaddeuah want it to say?” Pyotr asked him to write, “Meet eam at Dowry Street, house number five..” Minto did such then, and sent the bird to Wu Kiramira on Pyotr’s behalf. Pyotr then said, “Spasibo Lad! Now Ea must get home and prepare!” Pyotr then began pushing himself home, picking up a sweat. He made it about eighteen feet before a man suddenly put his hand on his shoulder. Pyotr was rather shocked as his gaze shot upward, and there he was.. Wu Kiramira, the young man had a black handprint upon his face and somehow managed to get his limbs back that Pyotr had taken years ago. Pyotr smiled that same smile at him, and said, “Ah! Dobry! Now vy can push eam home!” Pyotr then sat up straight and pushed that note from earlier into his pocket with his nub. Wu looked at Pyotr as if he had gone mad, and asked, "You do know who I am?" Pyotr replied with, "Ea do but ea do niet feel like being a gumpy old man today.." Wu then nodded his head, understanding Pyotr's point and pushed him to his home. - The moment they entered Pyotr’s house, Wu raised his hand and delivered a slap right across Pyotr’s pale face, it left a faint red mark. “What happened to you old man!” Wu shouted at Pyotr regaurding his crippled state. Pyotr’s hopeful smile then faltered, “Vy go ask vyr papej what happened!” Pyotr scoffed then, a total change of mood. “. . . What? My father abandoned me long ago. I’ve moved past him now.” He muttered, clearly having no idea of what Pyotr referred to. Pyotr sighed, his gaze dropping and going dim and dark.. “He caught eam.. or… ea fell into his trap.- He’s a coward had to deceive eam!” Pyotr scoffed, his gaze looking up to Wu, “Vhat man deceives another man!” He threw his nub up, before explaining, “Knocked eam out.. and.. began his evil vorks.. removing mea limbs as ea did to vy,” His gaze fell from Wu, and went down to his singular foot, “Yam.. szam about that..” Wu did not take Pyotr’s apology lightly, and he then muttered, “..I could kill you for that, you know.” He then withdrew his blade, a cruel smile on his lips. “Who’s to stop me?” Pyotr sighed as he watched him withdraw the blade, then muttering, “Ea hold vy to a higher esteem than slaughtering a man in his home..- Ea fear niet mea death.. vy must.. Try harder than such..” Pyotr muttered out to him, looking the cold Wu in his eyes, letting out a hoarse cough. Wu then began to scream at Pyotr, “You. You ruined my life. It was your fault. You should be begging for mercy, not..” The young Lad began to shake, his grasp on the blade loosening. “It’s your fault.” He uttered out once more Pyotr lifted up his nub, wagging it at him. “Nie Nie Nie! Vy made that mistake vhen vy slaughtered the child..- Vhy ought ea to plead of vy? Yam a man vho sits in his misery… plagued with watching his friends all die or disappear.- Vy got the better end of it..” Wu then yelled, enraged by Pyotr’s words, “The skies turned GREY! He put the TAR INSIDE ME! I have it WORSE than YOU. You can’t even..” He stopped, and at that put the blade at Pyotr’s throat, “You think far too highly of me.” Pyotr began to chuckle with the blade at his throat, showing his lack of fear of his own demise “Kiramira.. must vy add onto vyr suffering? Vhy must vy add onto others suffering? Vhat do vy gain in leaving mea children vithout a papej?” Pyotr’s eyes closed, the weak and frail man just sitting there before speaking once more, “Vy gain niething… But vy only show to be a lover of pain..” He says opening his eyes, his nub then raising and slowly moving it toward Wu’s right hand, just resting it by his hand, in a father like manner. - And with such, Wu began to sob and dropped the blade to the floor, “You.. Need to stop talking, old man.” Pyotr then chuckled out, “Ah.. Just like Primrose.” recalling something that took place in Vienne years ago. Pyotr was a tad shocked he hadn’t thrusted the blade into his throat, then speaking, “Ea said it on that road.. And ea’ll say it again.. Yam szam vith vhat happened to vy… Though do know Lad.. Vy do niet have to be like that man vho regarded vy only as a pawn.. Nor like one who has to go through suffering.. Vy can change it all..” He concluded with, his eyes closingWu then protested such, saying he couldn’t do such due to a being who came into his life.. when the being came the animals and insects fled and the grass died, Pyotr then said, “Vy should have taken the animal's heed.. and fled..” Wu protested with something like, “He was on a steed! I stood no chance.. I’m not a good swordsman..” Pyotr looked at him and muttered, “Is that what you fear Kiramira? Death?” He chuckled at him, Wu replied with, “I do fear death.. But I fear him far more..” He then paused, “I was sent here to kill you..” Wu admitted as he sat on the ground, the blade still on the carpet.. Pyotr’s eyes widened a smudge as he learned of Wu’s true intentions, - Wu then muttered something along the lines of , “I fear him more.” Before picking up his blade and standing up. Pyotr’s eyes stayed wide before he screamed on the top of his lungs, “HELP EAM-“ Though no one heard his cry, or they simply chose to ignore it.. Wu panicked then as Pyotr called for help and thrusted the blade forward in an attempt to pierce Pyotr’s neck, “MAKE IT EASY FOR ME! PLEASE!” He begged of the man he was seeking to slaughter. Pyotr then lifted up his only leg right as he sent the thrust, causing Pyotr’s head to fall to the side due to lack of balance, and used that lifted leg to kick Wu in his knee, before shouting once more, “VY COVARD! TRYING TO KILL A MAN IN HIS OVN HOME!” Pyotr’s kick managed to connect, and Wu fell onto a knee; Though his left hand jutted forward, grabbing Pyotr by the neck, “Please.” Wu hissed as he sent his sword forward into Pyotr’s gut, which led to Pyotr letting out a scream of pain as his leg flailed, before screaming with the breath in his lungs! “COW- ARD!” He paused for another moment, before screaming for anyone to hear his possible final words, “TELL MEA KIN YAM SZA- am..” And that was that. Wu turned the blade inside of Pyotr’s abdomen before yanking it upward, creating a large gash in the man that led up to his neck. And in that moment, all Pyotr could do was flash that hopeful smile! And that was it for Pyotr Ludovar, he breathed his last with that same hope.. Wu then yanked the blade out of Pyotr, and spat on the dying man. “But no one came. No one would, for you.” Those words echoed through Pyotr’s mind as his heart began to stop, his mind set on those words. He wondered if Kiramira’s words were true, would no one truly come for him? Even if they heard his cries and pleads for help? Pyotr never got to determine an answer as his heart pumped a final time.. And it was over, Pyotr’s life filled with trauma.. Came to an end.. Pyotr's Body was found the very next saints day,
  7. THE DEATH OF LADY DE ROCHEFORT The Fallen Minstral Written and disputed by Heloise of Artois Penned on the 19th of The Amber Cold, In the year of 1883 Lady of Hightower (1880) I write this while my soul prepares for the escape from my rotting flesh. I regret so many things but also I do not. I am proud to be of Artois. I am proud I was able to birth many children and see them be healthy. I am proud to have written a play, been a senator, and been a minstrel. I only have parting words for the ones whom I love. Which I shall begin. My sons, You make me as a mother proud to see you be strong and assisting your fool of a father in his endeavors. Even though I have not been a mother and been ill all these years, a curse which befalls all mothers of my bloodline, I am truly proud. I want to see you all grow and have beautiful wives of your own. To treat them with respect and your children with the love I could not. My daughter, Victorie, I miss you. Mi amour, I wish I could see you grow into the rose I had hoped. If only I had not vanished you would not have vanished from me. You are Julia in her wisdom, Milena the Red, in intelligence, and Maude of Copper Court in beauty. I only wish for you to be happy. Baron of Halcourt, Young lord, you have a legacy of princes to follow. Our name will only grow under your reign, you shall make your mother and forefathers proud. I remember our conversation, I want to say to treat her right. Treat your wife as a queen and respect her opinions. But do not let yourself be fully controlled by her, consorts in control only bring the worse. I have seen. Katerina de Sarkozy, My only friend. I miss you. I wish I could have been a better friend, I envy you for how your words are better than mine. Your words are like a gentle stream compared to my swan songs. I remember when we grew within Providence. I remember it all. The joy we had. Where did such joy go for me? I see you as a strong woman like your mother. Now strive and continue to tell the stories of old. The stories which were seen by you and I. Orenia and her people. Acre and his people. I wish to say goodbye. I wished to be a poet but I was nothing at all. No legacy to leave for myself but the ones whom I love or loved. Thank god I shall not see the outcome of this horrid war. I have seen too many wars in one life time, such a short life time. I only ask for the world to seek out the mistakes of the ones before and learn. So our children, great grandchildren and so on shall live in an Era of Peace. DIEU AVEC NOUS, The Lady de Rochefort Heloise of Artois
  8. Aper Adolescens Requiescit 22nd of the Sun’s Smile 1883 ♪ Charles of Rivia, 3rd Viscount of Rivia, 4th Baron of Rivia, commander of the Watch and Protector of the Rivian people Arriving at the Castle of Kaer Coch the Rivian Lord was greeted by his dutiful levymen. Making his way through the red fortress to his dining hall Charles was in the peak of his life despite the grief he felt for his late father, Philip of Rivia, evermore weighing upon the Lord. The power of all of Rivia at his fingertips had no doubt corrupted the man’s mind. Known by his enemies as a bastard and torturer, perhaps such slander was not unfounded. The Lord sat idle in his grand hall surrounded by few. Making idle chatter with the handful of levymen on guard, the Lord poured himself a drink in an attempt to pay little mind to the war at hand. His eyes fixated upon the sprawling collection of severed elven ears hanging adjacent to him. Barbaric in nature, the young Viscount never relented in his obsession with cleansing the realm. Lord Charles’ moment of reflection was interrupted by commotion amongst his watchmen. Upon climbing the stairs to the battlements of his fortress the Viscount was greeted by the sight of the fluttering red and black banners of an Acrean host demanding entry, at its head the famed Sir Gustaf De Vilain. The Lord exhaled deeply calling for his squire as he descended the steep stairs to the innards of the red keep. Equipped with an assortment of alchemical concoctions the plate clad Rivian departed to treat with the Acreans. Leaving his levymen to guard the pass, the Lord escorted Ser Gustaf deep into the bowels of the Rivian fortress, Charles near blissfully unaware of the horror he will soon subject himself to. In near solitude deep within the Castle the two men argued. As time passed the Viscount found himself reaching for a bottle filled with an unknown concoction. Intent on ending the rebellion with one fell swoop the Rivian flung said potion towards the man soon after the dining hall was set aflame, Sir Gustaf barely scratched by such an attempt. The Rivian Lord ducked behind the flames reaching for yet another potion, suffering from burns painting the man’s face with red the Viscount yelled. It seemed not long after the Rivian’s call was heeded as echoes of a charge of footsteps could be heard piercing the air of the ablaze hall. It was not long until the doors were burst open yet no Rivian was to be seen. Coming to the aid of Sir Gustaf was his host, at its head Darius Romstun, Seaxburh of Arichsdorf and Charles’ own aunt Aloisia 'the Kinslayer'. Lord Charles was no match for the Acreans which soon filled the incandescent hall. Tossing all manner of flaming furniture and alchemical concoctions at the horde, the Rivian, like a cornered beast, began to lash out sporadically. While achieving some minor gains he could not hold. Soon enough the Bastard Lord was fatigued and slumped. In one final strike the Lord drew his Stiletto from his belt thrusting it forth to little avail. In due time the Rivian was defeated. Unwilling to yield, the command of execution would be given, and he was slain by Darius and Seaxburh. And thus another chapter of the Viscounty of Rivia ended. Marmoream se relinquere, quam latericiam accepisset.
  9. The sun, a radiant crimson that streaked through the waving clouds and sparkled brilliance beyond the sea’s horizon as it set, bore naught but fortuitous omens of good weather and clear skies. That self-same brilliance struck out across the land, crept along homes’ foundations, chasing shadows. A silhouette. Clip-clop, clip-clop. The slow, dreary rhythm echoed from the edge of the cliffside village, as a familiar figure emerged from the desert haloed in all the sun’s setting glory. Bubba. Glory only lives in twisted memory and cursed land devouring. The aged, withering mule plodded along, courageously returning to the “home” its owner had oft forsaken. Once beloved, now trodding the brink of death. Lagging behind, Safar. A mount once proud and strong, spirited after the likeness of his owner, now hung his head nearly to the ground. Qadir ibn Qamar al-Nabeel hung from Safar’s stirrups by one boot. His lifeless body dragged in the dust, prepared to return to that self-same earth. The Heartseeker, a blade passed down to Fatimah bint Thamer al-Hadad from her mother, now plunged through the heart of her own son. Qadir, the Prince of the South, whom joy had deemed it just to abandon. Thus tradition lived on, a fatal seeking of the next heart. Glory only lives in the hope of what should have been, not in what is. A memory of a Dandelion, whose seeds have now been blown by the breeze, scattered. Wilted. Whatever blazing characteristics Fatimah bint Thamer al-Hadad had once possessed were now echoed only in the fiery sunset during its last rays, which now faded. Dimmed. Overwhelmed by the deep void of night. Reflections of a life spent in loneliness. Family washed away with a receding tide. The remaining vestiges of her life, lost to the wilderness she’d traversed a thousand times over. Bubba had found his way back. Not home - for home never remained the same. Ever-shifting, with the dunes moved by the winds. He rested now. As he lay upon the street, eyes closed, his spirit left to meet that of his loving owner in Jannah. Safar had carried his mistress across the sand. Carried what little remained of her, now. Two matching bands of gold, strung together on a long piece of thin leather that now hung around the weary creature’s neck. Shortly after Bubba’s strength gave out - Safar knelt to the earth as well. Gaunt, stricken with fatigue, thirst. Hunger. Safar - a name that meant journey. A journey now ended with the rest. The motley group, one absent. Lost to the desert. The remaining three, now devoured on the edge of salvation. Glory only lives once death has struck. Even then, can it be called glory?
  10. THE FINALE DUEL Tw : Suicide Perhaps it was his own pride which led him to his foolish demise. Pride over intelligence. Patriotism? Perhaps? How did this even come? What caused such a death? It began as any day for the growing squire. Well, not any day. He had returned from a two year quest to find more of his own father. What lead him to his madness and his own death. An omen for his impending fate. Before going to the capital, The Ashford would decide to go to Acre. hearing vile rumors of the honorable Ser Gustaf and Baron Hannes. Alas, the Falstaff found the Barony with the honorable Knight being surrounded by his wife, soldiers, and others. The squire, thinking of joy, walked to the Heir. Asking him if he had heard the silly rumors which surrounded him. The silly rumor of Acre rebelling against the crown. How silly would such a thing be? Right? That joy faded away as soon as the Heir questioned him, soon after a Romstun ally approached the group, blaming the soldier for the attack upon his own family. Allies became enemies. So quick. So sudden for the young Ashford. Glares of hatred and distrust starred at him while he kept himself surrounded by trust and hope. But it soon faded. The Heir drew his silver blade upon the Legionnaire. Right after, the cunning Duchess-Dowager too drew her dagger upon the youthful Falstaff. His hope was gone after Romstun too drew his blade. All demanding him to give up his own arms. To become a prisoner, a tool. This is when it went down to the path of his own death. The prideful and foolish Falstaff wished to have a duel of honor. If he would lose, he would become their prisoner. If he had won, he would gain his freedom. Be able to return home. So the Heir sent his Champion. Ser Uther to duel the young Falstaff. The Ashford followed the Knight with some other grunts of the Lord Acre. Perhaps this is where the Boy began to realize that either way he would become anothers tool. The Finale Duel. Had Begun The Ashford, fighting for his survival never wished to harm the Knight. Choosing to stand in a defensive manner with the pole of his pike under the grip of his hands. The truly honorable Knight charged forward with his body, being reckless but strong. The two fought with vigor and savagery. But with some strange dab of honor at the same time. While fighting. The thought came once again. He knew he would still be a tool used by traitors. By these once allies. He knew. That his time was coming to an end. It had been hours, the two men exhausted. Lysander, seeming hopeless. Only being able to breathe and think of how to survive. How to escape after he lost. Thoughts before flew and danced around his pysche. How he was a mad child. Bond to be mad like his father. Crazy and insane like his ancestors. His pale and cold gaze looked back at the knight while he held onto his sword. Losing the pike while dueling the fair Knight. Perhaps it was when the sun finally rose above himself and Ser Uther. He realized. The sun’s smile. A phase his mother said. A phase which was passed among the honorable Savoyardic men. Closing his eyes for a minute. Remembering the sun upon his skin while standing upon the dirt. Remembering his sister, mother. Even father. His mind finally shattered to realize a new narrative. His honor will forever be diminished. A useless mad child who wants to play knight. So then. He turned, giving a false yield to these men. Who in the end only stuck to their own morals. In the end of all stories. We all fall. He remembered this while he saw his mother and then sister go and fade from his life. These memories flowed while he falsely yielded. Letting out a tear then The Sun’s Smile while he still looked at the rising sun. Turning to the grunts and honorable knight. Expressing his thanks. Tears flowing down while he pierced his chest with the cold blade. His body moving back into the steam while his chest bled. Strangely enough, it was a sense of release for the troubled soul. Smiling while the blood flew from his chest and the tears from his eyes. Lysander Yves Ashford de Falstaff was dead. His life ended by his own hand. The story of the fool, the brave, the truly scarred. The son of the Last Count of Leuven. Had fallen.
  11. The Quietus of a d’Azor “By our blood, we shall rise.” The words of Azor often repeated themselves in Edmund’s mind, originating from his lessons with his grandfather to the day that Edmund bent the knee to King Frederick I. As a young man, Edmund was full of spirit, his toy ships exploring and battling in the fountains and ponds of Orenia as he only imagined what his future would hold. When he would tire of his ships, a gift personally carved by his mother, he would return home to his loving family. Many fond memories were made with his parents, siblings, and his extended family. It was a time of peace. As all children do, Edmund grew up. Upon coming of age, Edmund purchased a commission in the Imperial State Army and quickly garnered combat experience in small skirmishes against bandits. It was then, however, that the period of long-lasting peace in the empire came to an end. With the outbreak of the War of the Wigs, Edmund was finally given his chance to participate in full-blown battle. And participate he did, having fought in major battles such as the Battle of Lower Petra and the Siege of Haverlock. By the end of the war, Edmund had put up his sword, moving to Azor permanently. He did nothing of note beyond spending time with his family and starting a small pocketwatch business- a business that never lasted. With the outbreak of the War of the Two Emperors, Edmund was once again ready to take up the sword and eager to leave his retirement. His sister had been crowned an Empress and while concerned, Edmund was optimistic for the future. It was shocking, then, to see the swift declaration of neutrality after his father was captured followed by the defeat of the empire’s forces and the execution of his sister and brother-in-law. Confining and isolating himself in Azor, Edmund rolled over the words of his house. “By our blood, we shall rise”. With the route of the Imperial State Army and the conflict being over before it truly began, his decision was clear. And yet, Edmund still isolated himself, wondering what truly could be done. In the end, it was his bedridden wife and young children that made his decision for him. Edmund swore fealty to King Frederick I, ensuring that the Azor lands would survive on to the generation of his children. With his loyalties now declared, Edmund turned his attention towards his family. With the establishment of Balian, the family was divided. Gone were the days before the War of the Wigs where there would be garden-parties with family and friends, the days where the family had truly prospered. Instead, Edmund and the county underneath him became reclusive. No events were hosted by him, no political sides were taken, and silence became the theme of Azor. Even in the kingdom’s societal events, Edmund was rarely seen. Edmund simply spent time in Azor, educating his daughters and spending time with his wife. It was only with his daughters becoming older that the amount of functions in Azor increased. Pondering on all of these developments from his office in Azor, Edmund let out a cough as he reached for his grandfather’s cigar box. Looking it over, he simply paused and leaned back into his chair as he drew a cigar. His gaze panned over the valleys and gardens that stretched on the outskirts of his family’s estate with his mind riddled with thoughts of what could have been. While Edmund had never been a talented statesman and military officer, he looked on in pride at his family that he created with his dearest wife and its future. It was this pride and the love for his family that he carried with himself throughout life, and it was his love of cigars that brought him to his grave. Edmund Ledicort d’Azor ANNO OBITUS 1830 -1878 A depiction of Edmund Ledicort d’Azor in the previous years. “And by our blood, we shall stand until the end.”
  12. Owyn was the sixth born amongst his siblings, and the second son. It was a loving family he had been born into, in times when peace was abundant. Yet fate would not leave it so. Tension and turmoil would sink their roots in as Owyn first learned of the world. First was his mother’s death, not so long after his final sister had been born, little Laurentina. Then came estrangement as his eldest sister, Henrietta, would be cast out for what she wrought upon their father in her marriage. Next a sister, Daphne, would be taken this time by that Pale Rider. Years passed and Owyn grew, confiding himself as no more than the spare to his brother, Helton, the heir. That was the task he gave himself in quiet, availing these deaths in righteous delusion that he would one day as Duke make this pain and suffering worth it. But that was a lie, all to mask the covetous nature of his heart. And then came war. From then on all was calamity, the complete and utter upheaval of the world Owyn had been born into. Institution after institution crumbled and decayed, smashed to bits as surely as Southbridge had been. Owyn had fought then, alongside his father and brother, for an Emperor and Empire the world despised. He did so because he thought it made him better, for only a dutiful son could ever hope to inherit. Where others fought for wealth and baubles, land and wives, he did so only because he was obliged, a true nobleman. Only this was another way Owyn deceived himself, for he had his prize in mind, though pride and patriotism were there in equal measure. The war dragged on and the nation’s fortunes withered. His father, an already elderly man by the war’s onset, had passed away between campaigns, leaving his brother as Duke. Owyn had spent much time away from home then, finding comfort in traveling abroad between campaigning seasons. Still he was drawn home with his father’s death, embracing his remaining siblings at the funeral. With his brother, though they quarreled, he still felt the fraternal bond, and the two wrestled as they had in younger years. Glad that despite their divergent paths, they were brothers still. Not long however after, was their family visited with death once more. Murder is what Owyn likened it to, the day the news broke of his brother’s demise. Caius de Ravensbourg, may his bones be crushed, had issued the execution of the Duke at his capture, affording him no ransom or cell to wait out the war. This was a blade through Owyn’s heart, an impotent fury that engulfed him, for while the war was waged this murderer was beyond his reach. So then the task of raising the orphaned children of his brother fell to Owyn, children who bore the title he once so coveted. The prospect dangled in front of him so, he needed only to reach out and take the title he so righteously considered as his own, like so many others would have done. But Owyn did not, after all this time Owyn’s ambition faltered, it was not right. The prospect was a poison to his soul, he could not imbibe it in his grief and his zeal. To do what is right, Owyn obsessed himself with this now. So then when his youngest sister, Laurentina, went to him with her prospect for marriage, Owyn was inflamed. How could she have possibly considered such a match? For she would forsake what Owyn considered to be right and good in the world, the faith and family that they had been brought up in, for so trite a thing as love. Owyn challenged the man on the spot and was promptly refused and beaten by the suitor’s men for it. Of the hands that pulled him up to recover from the pummeling were those of a Prince whose place in the succession was not so dissimilar from his own. From then on, Owyn was estranged from Laurentina, a rift that had only just begun to mend when fate would next reveal its hand. The war was at long last lost. A conflict that had consumed over half of his life, of his families’ lives, was over and they were defeated, the entire nation laid low as the vanquished. The country was then put into a tailspin; the defeated monarchs sought to quarter the realm in their final act before death. Quickly enough, armies were again raised, beneath one banner was the heir, who claimed righteousness to reunite, and under the other was the spare, who had once lent Owyn a hand. Owyn went to neither initially; there was no right in this Brother’s War, either side would have seen him slay comrades and dear friends alike. But then this civil war came to Providence, where his kith and kin had resided, the entire world being drowned in the fever pitch of the armies. Owyn damned what was right and wrong right there and then, abandoning the false pretenses that had guided his life until then. With victory came a dead niece and the title he had long ago coveted. Then his sister Laurentina died. Laurentina had flung herself from a tower, taken by madness. Owyn could not weep a tear for her, heart hardened to news of death, instead his sorrow manifested in the hollowness he felt inside. Years passed and friends died just as they had before Owyn became Duke. Owyn took a wife and tried to find love with her, but his growing reservedness held him back. She bore him a son, but he remained unfulfilled. Ever the Duke reigned, the more alone he felt, prone to a brooding depression. Time would pass still but eventually that too would be cut short. A word on his youngest sister drew him from home, and then his demise. Owyn Leopold Helvets 1836-1876
  13. MORNING GLORIES Theodosia Illaena O’Rourke 1826 - 1876 “You have to be strong… You’ll be okay. We’ve gotten this far, hm?” ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 3 1 It started when an arrow soared across the cloudless summer sky, and a scream followed, echoing throughout the ivory capital; the sniper was unseen but the aftermath was oh too evident. A man keeled forward with it lodged between his spine and shoulder blade. Soon, a cacophony of deafening yells and chaos ensued– medics were called, army men paraded about to find the perpetrator. The man was alright, and the nigh assassin had escaped, but the source of that scream– a girl, was not. Her name was Theodosia, aged only five. Haunted and disturbed after her young father’s almost-death, she cried and cried till her eyes were dry. Then, she’d hold her head high and muster a relieved, meager smile in the wake of his survival. He lived, and life went on. That was the day she was reminded of the transience of being; anything could be taken in the blink of an eye. Although she may not have realized it then, the aftermath was oh too evident. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 3 4 “AAAH!” She once shrieked, aged eight. Two figures, masked and foreboding, had entered the Augustine Palace prior and held her mother as a hostage; she and the other noble children were mere helpless witnesses to the horror afar. That is until she was stabbed in the leg, around her calf. She’d be alright, as would her mother, but a limp followed her forever thereafter– as did a cane gripped in her right palm. As did questions about the aforementioned things: irksome questions, and judgemental stares she was never unbeknownst to. So, Theodosia changed; she tripped and stumbled, staggered with little grace, but she gathered her bearings and adopted an almost-normal gait. Similarly, she stifled her Northern accent to take a voice fitting of an Orenian peer. She wasn’t weak; she wasn’t feeble or odd. There was no room to be. No room to be at all. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 6 9 Seven years preceding the world unraveling and her passing, the solemn Countess grew perturbed; those times she wondered what her mother would think of her now. After all, she’d gotten past the age whence her mother had died. And what a strange thing it was, for in her youth she’d sought to divert the blame to her. Theodosia had sworn she would develop to be better, stronger, different. Yet, here she was, with her estranged father’s face, and the worst of each parent. Distant as ever, when had she become so cynical, so cold? It was the curse of her lineage, to transform into husks of bright-eyed adolescents, she figured. She wasn’t sure, though. Psychology had never been her particular forte. Time slipped away too quickly, at this pace, at this point. Just yesterday, she could swear that she was a nomadic teen escaping that drafty estate halfway to nowhere to end up somewhere she knew not. Somewhere unfamiliar, somehow feeling more welcomed than she ever did at home. Though she’d never ever admit it, Theodosia resembled her father in that respect. It was her way of connection, and- “Countess.” A voice called out, abruptly removing her from her absent-minded reverie. A red haired girl sat across, maturing to that of a young woman — maybe seventeen, eighteen now. “Oh, Cass.” She spoke up, clearing her throat. They sat opposite within the exterior greenhouse, light pouring within upon the flowers freely rising in midday’s wake. “What were you saying?” Cassia asked, offering a slight smile. Theodosia reflected it, a bittersweet edge remaining which she couldn’t conceal. “...Botany, the likes,” — “My sister would know it better than me. It’s a nice pastime though, at least when there’s less time to paint. Sadie is at that age.” She mused in part jest, eyeing the blooming morning glories across. Her ward snickered. “Oh, I know. She’s what, two now?” “Almost three.” “My, my…” She trailed off, faintly amused. Silence festered thereafter. Theodosia ruminated. She interrupted the quietude with a casual notion. “You’re lucky.” Cassia frowned. “How so?” “You have a lot of free time. More so than most. Not just your age, just… generally.” “I’d say that’s too much time.” She jested with a half-smile. “And that is a wonderful problem, dear.” “I know… What are those, right there?” The ward diverted the subject, gesturing to the blooming flowers facing them. “Hm,” Theodosia squinted. “Morning glories. Not the most popular flower, but they grow well in the West and I like them quite a lot.” “Why are they… rejected?” “I didn’t say rejected.” She retorted, rising with a quiet huff on the way. “Only that they’re unpopular.” “Sorry, I just assumed–” “It's a valid assumption.” “Would you tell me about them, then?” “They’re not particularly special.” She remarked, withdrawing a pair of scissors from a bag, briskly snipping a flower which had begun to wilt. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 4 2 Beads of sweat lined the Lady’s visage, derived from the heat exuded from a bonfire ablaze which she sat beside. How long had it been? Five hours? Six? She’d lost track hours ago, only that she must wait. Patience and endurance were virtues, after all; waiting brought about better times. "Waiting brought about better times…" Better times… Nothing ever seemed to happen, perhaps she was just asking for heatstroke in the quieter hours of the night. It wasn’t fair. She gazed to her left, toward her best friend. At least he made things a little lovelier, although they spoke little amidst the trial. Ioannes Temesch, Owynist Lector to be. He too stared into the flames, wiping his brows, and she couldn’t help but wonder if she was missing the point somehow. Perhaps he knew, he was really smart. Before she could speak up, the seventh hour had passed, announced by an exuberant Hyspian calling out for “mijo, mija!” Her pensive musings were flushed away with the best drink of water and hardtack she’d ever had. It was ironic, an Adunian on the Path of Owyn against her very own ancestor; she prayed she wasn’t like her forefather Harren even if most treated her in such a way till proven wrong. That Temesch boy didn’t mind, and they were the best of friends. It was only when Du Loc turned so tumultuous and her responsibility turned out to be too much that Theo visited less and less. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ “They don’t bloom for long.” She explained, grasping the flowerbud betwixt her digits and swiveling toward Cassia. “Only for a day, mornings even.” She chuckled. The girl nodded with a smile, quizzical looking. “I suppose that’s why some people don’t like them. They’re short lived, see- this one’s starting to wilt.” She said, gesturing to the flower in hand. “That’s a shame…” “It is. But they’re very pretty living, don’t you think?” She chimed, tucking the flower into Cassia’s jacket akin to a makeshift corsage. “Some deeper meaning in that…” “Probably. Don’t worry about that stuff too much, though. Enjoy the flowers.” She joked, faintly chuckling as she reclined to gingerly sit down beside her. “I won’t. You tell me to be careful though.” Theodosia paused, her smile diminishing momentarily. “That’s a little different, dear.” ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ For survival, we do what we must. A friend had told her, or something like that. Steadfast, she had abided by this rule; strangely enough it often seemed that most disregarded the idea entirely. People disappeared, venturing across Almaris and acting unruly, the world ever enveloped in chaos. Wars sprung up like errant moths drawn to the light, even her very own antagonized uncle had briefly treated her as an enemy, and vice versa. They made no sense; the very world made no sense. She didn’t want that everlasting worry for her children, as hands-off as she was. It was the sole guidance she gave the lot of them: cooping the kids up within the confines of Halstaig. Nevertheless, they found their way as rebellious children do. Everett snuck out from the premises more times than she could count on her hands, and Alexandrina was too outdoorsy to be bound. Was she a bad mother? Was she insane? She’d tried her luck at a family as a wife, as a mother, as a sister, a Countess; some of it hadn’t been her choice at all. Or, was there no point whatsoever; how different would her life vary had she been the second child born? She wondered, notwithstanding the melancholy and doing what she must. Even if that meant neglecting her values or being the “villain,” even if it meant growing into the icy effigy she’d inadvertently become. The alternative was much worse, at least Theodosia covertly hoped. It couldn’t be all for nothing, her mistakes, her clashes, her struggle and strife eternally awaiting a happy ending. Though, those storybook conclusions were all made up for her kids, leaving her unsure. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ Leopold de Ruyter was a man, her husband specifically. It would be plain incorrect to hail the couple as “madly in love,” or romantic platitudes akin to it, but they shared a mutual respect. He wasn’t around often, and just this once… Theodosia was alright with that. Had she wed for the sake of love, perhaps she would very much mind it, but their union could better be described as utter convenience. He was a scholar, she was Countess. She spared no sentimentalism over it. She couldn’t. She was too old for rose tinted romanticism to view the world from. There came a time when the question of children and marriage became a tad too much to bear. She knew how her younger self would judge her now, but couldn’t bring herself to grow too bothered over her state. She was lucky, more so than many— a lady with everything a proper lady ought to desire. And yet, when she stared over the balcony at night like a cliffside overlooking the abyss, a sudden wave of dissatisfaction was unshakeable. Of failure, and every other bad thing in between. Where would she be were it not for her luck? What had she truly achieved? What of everything she’d not yet done, and wouldn’t do? Would anyone remember her name or wonder about her well-being after she died? Was she any more than a title mentioned in a brief tabloid? Had she failed? Was she a failure? It was her fault. It had to be. Her decisions, her idle idealism awaiting foolhardy hopes. A foolish woman with foolish children, only known by her title and home. Theodosia crumpled to the ground, overcome by smothered grief as she wept over her many errors and her family estranged ‘till her eyes were surely dry. It got to be lonely, bearing the weight of it all without aid. There was no comfort in the depths of the night, and no meager smile to wake with either. None of it wasn't fair. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ “Countess,” A voice which she recollected called once more, ringing in her ears like tinnitus. Cassia Daphnia: her ward, such a sweet girl, cheerful too. More than Theodosia was,, with unwavering diligence and kindness. She was her firstborn, hidden from the wider world since she could recall; that could be why she was so sweet. She favored her, admittedly. “What happened to my mother?” She asked the very last question that the Countess had hoped to hear. Theodosia faltered, clutching her teacup within her interlaced palm. She swallowed a lump which had formed in her throat, stricken with a sense of unease she couldn’t quite conceal. “I don’t know.” She replied, coming off harsher than intended. “Matilda went off with my father.” “She- what?” “I thought you would’ve figured it out by now.” “She… hasn’t written.” She sighed. “Patience is-” What was she saying? “She’s not your mother, Cass.” She muttered thereby. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 7 3 Theodosia loved her children, she just didn’t want to see them. They were reminders of her shortcomings, and the state of things. Of course, that wasn’t their fault; they were just kids after all. She prayed they’d have a little more time to be just that: just kids. She never did. At every turn, her interests were cut short. Who else would bother to gather the pieces? It was the O’Rourke’s against the wider world, at times. Then, as the family began to splinter whilst she clung to the remains, it was just her. She knew that when her mother left her to her own devices, even after she'd sobbed and nearly perished. There was no point for resentment anymore, not when she'd been taught that what she wanted had to be done alone. Leopold was gone; Michael was gone; Woodes was gone; Iduna was gone; Alexander was gone. Even her anchor, Uncle Auden, was dying and she knew it. Then again, she was dying too. Her vices in youth had caught up. Escapism's consequences loomed over her very face, having once extended solace from countless regrets and brooding. Even if she was clean from cigarette smoke and drugs, the damage was done. Each day, it grew harder and harder to maintain her stalwart demeanor. After all, she desperately sought to never miss a thing, even when deep down, undoubtedly, she’d die before her children got to be adults, and die before Cassia would forgive her. She dreamt that Everett would never feel this lonesome or troubled. Alexandrina would never be plagued with worries. Sadie would triumph past her naivete and shyness, at least one day — some day. She dreamt they’d be different from her. They’d be tight knit, and they’d have each other: that they would be free, and capable, that they would be liberated from the weight of things, that they’d never wait so long for things which never came. It was all the Countess could do, dream. For others, even after she’d been left in the ruin of all things long ago. If only she wasn’t so moody nowadays, maybe she could give better guidance than, “Don’t worry.” If the world could stay still for awhile, she'd be okay. If she couldn’t do that, she could be proactive, or maybe try. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 3 1 ”Little one.” A gruff voice called above the bustle of Old Providence. The green eyed girl turned; she wasn’t quite an heiress then. Her grandmother was still alive, and that humble Providence home hadn’t been taken by flames of arson just yet. Trauma hadn’t settled in. “Ave!” She exclaimed, a guileless grin across her face. She’d just won tic-tac-toe against a new friend. Things were pretty good. The source of the holler was none other than Woodes O’Rourke. He was a tall man, and his appearance matched his attitude. Despite his age, his visage was aged by an unruly beard and countless bar fights. He bore a cane, then. He knelt down to meet her eye level. People offered them odd looks from the sidewalk. “Take this, alright?” He said, extending it to her with a certain poise and formality. “Why?” She asked, like the child she was. Woodes snickered. “It's an heirloom. Your great grandfathers. Great man, you might live to his legacy one day.” “Mhm…” “Keep it with your soul, yeah? Might just need it someday.” “Okay!” She assured with a prompt bob of her head; the cane was twice her height and more of a staff but she managed. Woodes gave a rare smile and stood up, towering over her. He turned off, waving as he went. Perhaps if she were older, she’d have noticed his empty pockets and missing weaponry. She could have offered a proper goodbye, had she known that was the last she’d see her uncle. She went on her way with her braids flopping against the wind. That was before it mattered; that was before she cared or even noticed at all. Instead, she carried that cane; Theodosia carried that burden like everybody else. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 7 5 Theodosia heard of her newfound position on the Council of State when she sought to import pineapples to sell at the reopened Paddy’s Pint. She might have been a highborn housewife and failed artist, but she’d be damned if she didn’t have a pineapple. It was a novel thing, but she’d lived life straight. If this was an adventure, so be it. Her inclination came from her dim subconscious, but that was irrelevant. She’d been a mediocre Lady Vicar, and a mediocre Countess. She presumed she’d be a mediocre stateswoman. Justice this, justice that. Most of it was gobbledygook to her; she wanted a pineapple. She wanted to be happy, but found herself very tired. The cough was worse too. Things were better, but she felt worse. Bleak. She covered it up, for others sake. Being a burden was the worst fate, and her prerogative had to be some kind of justice in an unjust world. It was on a normal night which she manifested this, after bidding Sadie a sweet goodnight in the maid’s stead for once. “Alexandrina,” she beckoned her daughter’s attention, inviting herself to a seat opposite from the young teenager’s bed. Alex resembled her great grandmother more than either of her absent parents. “What is it?” She asked, pushing herself up from the mattress to sit upright. “There’s… a talk I ought to have with you, that neither my mother or father really did with me.” Theo began, offering a bittersweet smile to alleviate the newfound awkwardness. “Oh- uh, okay.” “Don’t worry.” She laughed, then. “I hated these dramatics when I was young too.” Alex frowned, puzzled. “You are… gonna face a lot when you’re older. Already. There’s a lot of hardship in this world, and a lot of beauty.” Theodosia mused with melancholic eyes, swallowing the lump which had formed in her throat. “I won’t be here for all of that, and there won’t be someone to catch you all the time either. You’re going to have to look over your family one day, but know that they love you too. And it’s okay to fall sometimes. It's okay to be hurt, as long as you pick yourself up. No matter what, I’m on your team. You’re already getting it… looking after Sadie.” She laughed, looking away, enveloped in a brief reverie. She’d made the same mistakes her mother had, and her mother’s mother. It might have been too little, too late, but it was all Theodosia had left to give: a last hurrah. Had she more time to waste, she could amend her wrongs with Cassia and raise Alex right; she could see Sadie grow up. Alas, perhaps some things were destined to be missed; true closure eluded her. “Seize the day, alright? Time is precious for human beings. We don’t get all that much of it.” She chuckled, fiddling with her hands in her lap. “I love you, and you’re growing up to be better than I ever could. Cassia is there, so is Everett. Don’t forget about you.” Theodosia concluded her spiel with a sigh, shifting to be a little more upright. It was rare: her vulnerability, that is. Alexandrina frowned, appearing familiar to her namesake. Theodosia wondered whether her mother felt this way, fostering her late brother to health when his illness was imminently fatal. She was just waiting, when both parties already knew how it ended. To her surprise, Alex drew forward to her mother’s lap. They embraced, and she spoke. “I love you too, mam. I’ll be sure to do that… look after me, everyone, and- and seize the day.” She reassured. Glossy eyed, she gave the best response she knew. “Good, you’re strong. I know you can take on this world. And, I-I’m sorry if I haven’t always done well by my own advice.” “You’re strong, mam. I guess that’s where I get it from.” The Countess smiled, clambering to her feet from the sofa. The evidence of her brooding was bygone, extending half hearted comfort where she could. “O’Rourke’s aren’t quitters, love.” She pondered, standing still like a thoughtful effigy in the door frame. “Goodnight.” She turned, shutting the door and pacing down the hall. Unseen to a soul, she silently wept. With much left to do, and much unfulfilled, there was nothing to be done. Powerlessness was her greatest fear, and it taunted her that night and the following days. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 7 6 Promises were broken; relationships were rekindled; friends were made and lost. Things always went wrong. Faced with the fleeting grandiosity of a mediocre life lived, Theodosia wondered what she’d missed. When she was a child, she swore she would never grow to be an irrelevant wife. Here she lay, gazing toward the blank ceiling anyway. She wasn’t a great artist, nor a particularly notable politician. That didn’t really matter though. Whatever she sought, she stayed unhappy. Even after Auden had narrowly survived a grim situation, and she carried on amidst it all, she felt a gaping void in her chest she could not shake. It was her unspoken grief, in pursuit of so-called strength. Where was Eloise? She was so very guileless, in spite of her loss. That horrible man she’d almost married; what happened to him? Questions all unanswered, now (more so than ever) was the instant to take a gambit. It may have been too late to amend her heartache and lamenting, but something subconscious urged her. Theodosia gave brief goodbyes to Calahan, her children and the tenants, then there was the quiet Sadie. Together, they wrote a letter. “I’m going to go out. I need to meet with a friend and tend to some things, okay?” She said, bittersweet. “Okay.” Sadie nodded. “C-Come back to… tuck me in.” “I will.” She promised; she could hold on long enough for that. “Be good, will you?” “I will." Then, Theodosia had gone. She ventured from Halstaig to the cold reaches of the Kingdom. Everything had shifted, but the plains had not. They were bewitching, gorgeous. She discovered respite in the unknown, as if she was a girl once more. But, she had a purpose. Her oldest friend wished to confide. She could hold up a promise there, at least. She reflected if she was as sure as she thought on what he longed to say. She would never truly know, because she had never acknowledged it — too late, now. She loved him, just not in the way he suggested. How she missed the days of her early adolescence alongside the Lectors nevertheless. Her steed carried her forward notwithstanding her decaying health. They passed the capital and Cathalon but she was not found with Ioannes or a pineapple. She didn’t find Eloise either, nor that De Ruyter she’d decidedly married. She prayed they would forgive her, as well as her father, children and kin. That lone steed found its way back without a living equestrian to follow. The paranoid Countess was dead. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ B E Y O N D The bureaucracy mattered not, nor did the countless titles or so-called power hitherto, nor did the sympathy towards Owyn and the seven-year patience she held, nor did her desire to be so different from her predecessors. She was the same, albeit naive at times: not a prophet, nor a deviation from the general norm. Surely, her wariness kept her from either. Calahan takes care of the kids, or so he had promised as much. Perhaps they’ll visit Elias, for he is their kin from a generation foregone. Eloise returns one day, and the levy will likely be dispersed without Nikolaus. Auden sorts the books and Sadie assists. Cassia grows melancholy. Everett is left with a rather intricate old cane. The family is a little closer, and things are a little better — pretty good, for now. Theodosia is not there. Some will say she made it, others condemn her running away. She’d consider it honorable, to escape a slower end, pitiable. Perhaps had they known, the prior farewells would differ. She arrived at the other side with open arms; she endured. Happy endings are for kids, and ennui plagues adults. Pictures are produced of a brighter world to reflect one back, but she never had time to really paint much. Somewhere, now, she is happy and free. At least, she is on standby wistfully no longer. That is her justice. And at home, a quiet ember dances from inside Erin Hall’s rebuilt hearth. LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THEODOSIA ILLAENA O’ROURKE I, Theodosia O’Rourke, Countess Halstaig, and resident of Halstaig declare this as my Last Will. All wills heretofore are null, whether influenced by myself or associate partisans (jointly or severally.) I hereby declare Calahan O’Rourke as the executor of my will, and valid regent in my absence. To Sadie Cristonia O’Rourke, my heiress, I leave my garments and emerald tiara. To Alexandrina O’Rourke, I leave the rest of my jewels and green sash. To Everett O’Rourke, I leave my steed and Kaedrini Rose Cane. May you bear both well. To Auden O’Rourke, I leave the establishment of Paddy’s Pint and responsibility alongside it, bound to Helena Avenue 8 within Vienne. I hope it will continue to bring closeness to the family as a whole, and bring about prosperity. To Cassia Daphnia Erinsehn, my eldest, I leave any works of art (drawings, paintings, et cetera) I have produced and my unused dagger Custodia. Cremate my corpse if it is attained. Put me in that blue dress with the yellow floral skirt. Signed, TRH Countess Halstaig Theodosia Illaena Anastasia Anne Clover Vasa Cassia Lucia Emma O’Rourke
  14. [!] A halfling corpse would be found north of the swamps far off in Attenlund, its head weirdly round and nose strangely long. [!] A note rests under the Filibert Applefoot's bed: Final Will I have lived a long live, yet with my age it is clear that I will expire soon. Thus, I write this will to detail what will come of my belongings: ~To Mimosa Applefoot, I give my burrow and all the family's herbs. ~To my beloved grandson, I give my pipe, all of my pipeweed, and all of my booze. ~To the Thain, I give all of the resources I stored in the village vault. ~To the Sheriff, I give my bounder's badge and my walking shovel. ~I give my journals, notes, papers, and quills to any halfling willing to write newspapers for the village. I wish to be buried next to Iris Peregrin, and on my grave shall be planted a single tulip. -Filibert Applefoot
  15. A Fallen Sparrow and Whisper of the Wind. [!] Lady Analiesa and the cat she finally got, in an exaggerated portrait a few weeks before the death of the Lady. [!] A grand clock ticked in the distance of the room as the golden handle swayed from side to side, a small bird sat on the edge of windowsill seeming to be entirely normal with brown and blue feathers. Analiesa Ludovar had fallen into a spiral, her doors locked, the shelves dusted over, her clothes old, worn, she looked to be skin and bones. The lady had her hair tied in a tight bun as she stared at the painting just next to her bed. It depicted a younger version of Analiesa and her first husband Michael O’rourke. "Michael.." she whispered with a frown, wrinkles tending her lips and cheeks as her head tilted "Myrana, she's safe.. vyr.. vyr right, she's as beautiful as vy were.." a pained laugh left her in a dried tone seeming she was talking to the air. Fumbling with her boney fingers she pulled out a thin cigarette, a habit she’d picked up from her friend.. Seeming the closest thing she had to a friend Nikoletta, whether the princess knew it or not. Over the past ten years of Analiesa's life, she'd gone dormant. Hiding inside, seeming to grieve for something no one understood. Her four children and niece, we're growing up with mothers and fathers unbeknownst to her. Myrana, her eldest and only child with Michael.. She’d be in her midst of life. Cecilya and Johanna.. The two daughters she’d had with Josef, Johanna had a spark that bickerd often. Cecilya, was a blonde. Her favorite at that most days. Ilya, her youngest and last child and only son. A blonde and a boy.. He was the golden child of her life. Adalia the third, her niece adopted after her eldest sister passed away and left her an infant when Myrana was only a few months old. Why would she want to know of her failure? Her blonde hair had gone gray and her smile faded, as time passed with the click of the grand clock. Her late husband Josef.. a mere memory in her mind.. Regret shrouded her senses. In her youth she seemed only neglect her family the Ruthern’s now it had continued. “They will never know.. V’hat ea gave to ensure v’heir safety.” she hissed out, bitterness sinking her tone. She’d neglected her daughters.. her son. They all seemed to grow angst to her absence and to that, she simply ensured the locks on her door were fastened tighter Pulling herself up as she looked out the window again..this time to the bird "Mamej Rosey." her whisper echoed in the air as she turned to stare into the coldend gaze of an old ghost, having taken the form of a bird. The ghost’s figure shifted as the plasm only a ghost could grow formed into a young lady, with slicked back hair and a warm glow to her blue and transparent skin. "Analiesa, you should stop doing that.. or teach me how you learned it." the ghost let out with a warm chuckle "Yam going.. to die." she explained with a faint smirk, one the ghost and herself had not seen in awhile"Teach mea little girl's about mea.. ea.. didnt.. tell them.. about v'he green men, v'he conspiracy's, v'he murders.." she trailed off "Ea didnt tell v'hem about meaself at all.. Ea didnt raise v'hem even.. oh mamej ahm ea a horrid person?" she asked with a huff of dissatisfaction. Alethea, hovering beside her, lets out a sigh. “You have experienced far too much. Far too many things I wished you’d never experienced. I know how much your kids mean to you, and why you locked yourself up for the rest of your life after reaching your breaking point.” She says, holding her hand above Liesa’s own, almost hovering above due to her incorporeality. “Just as I appeared when you needed the help, someone will be there for your children. I can assure you, daughter.” “Well.. I didn't want half of v’hem.. But.. but Myrana was safe! Ea grew to love.. The rest as they got older. Its silly.. Ea gave Johanna to Sibylla and she’s already developed a liking to her.” she explained as if defending herself to a ghost was much help. Analiesa frowned deeply “Ea.. loved.. Love Michael.. Josef made a dobry cover for mea settling down.. I had a baby, nie more killing and trying to take down nations.. Nie more castles and wizards with pointy dagger ears.” Analiesa Ludovar flopped onto her bed with a huff. “Mamej, if ea died today, nie one would find out. Nie one would notice for years ea bet.” “You changed the hearts of many. Both to the living and to the dead. Many people will be affected by your death, and many will remember you. Even then, was the point to die famous?” Thea chuckles, staring out the window at the night sky. “You are my last daughter on this plane. It gives me peace to know that I can finally pass on without worrying about the safety of any of my children.” "So vy feel.. its time aswell da?" The lady asked with a soft tone a hint of fear in her voice "Maybe.. now vy can meet my mamej Adalia, and.. Mea sestra Adalia v’he second.. And perhaps ea can finally see him again." A few tears of the tired old lady trailed down her wrinkled cheek "Yes my dear, you and I have avoided death more times than I can count. It's quite exhausting really." The ghost chuckled before leaving the two in a dead silence "Saspiba mamej Rosey.. I think.. its time we rest." She whispered in a peaceful tone as she took to her bed ensuring her hair was perfectly combed and her nightgown without a wrinkle, for when you have a date with death you do try and look your best. Her soft voice filled the air for a final moment "Ea will see you again someday." —------- [!] —------ Not more than a day later it had been discovered by the hand maids in Otistadt that Lady Analiesa Vasile Ludovar had passed away, clutching both the two rings of her late husband's Whispers spread around that the lady had gone crazy and was talking to herself all night long. Perhaps that was the truth.. or.. maybe there was something more that would be lost in history. However it didn't matter anymore For, the beautiful blonde, and the whisper in the air. We're both no more. Ooc
  16. 【 𝓚𝓲𝓷𝓭𝓷𝓮𝓼𝓼 𝓒𝓸𝓻𝓻𝓾𝓹𝓽𝓮𝓭 】 Kindness. That is what she swore by time and time again. If one was kind they would only receive kind things. Even as a little girl, she believed if she was nice and treated others with her best intentions, then she would be forever happy. Such was merely a childlike view on what was really a unkind world that was riddled with lies, cheats and pain. She soon learned this but much too late. Even still, in her last moments the beauty thought if she smiled through it, Godan.. no, the world would be better. Even with such thoughts as she was held in a dark place, she let her mind wander. What life would have been like if she had seen it for what it really was. And how her life panned out because of her naïve views. She started thinking of when it all started, her youth. Youth, it was a pleasant time for the dear Vasilia. She was loved by a big family. She had four siblings that she cherished in her heart, Vladrik, Emelya, Viktoriya, and Nikolai. The closest to her was her eldest brother Vladrik. When they were younger they were often seen throwing their beloved beets at people, and were inseparable. So close indeed that he was her comfort, her home. Even when her father would scold her for things, Vladrik was there to get into trouble with her all over again. It was the fun times she would long to return to. This bond shrunk however, when news of the dear Jan Otto Kortrevich's mauling was heard. Their beloved father was dead, he was there before and then not. Even this didn't wake up Vasilia's childlike thoughts. She continued to be kind, even as she struggled to eat. The food never tasted the same, and nothing felt as bright. Everything was dull and soon she found herself growing closer with one of her eldest sisters, Emelya. Vasi's mother was distant and didn't care much for her daughters struggle, but Emelya helped her sister get through the depression, she helped her distract herself with goofy ideas and pamphlets. One noteworthy was the cute pamphlet made by the two about Kindness, they named themselves the Daughters of Haense and spread them around. It could be seen as a Childs ignorance to the painful world, but it was a bright light in dark times for the young girls. And so Vasilia continued to grow. Near her young adult years, Vasilia grew much closer with her youngest brother, Nikolai. He hadn't been one she focused o most of their youth, but she rekindled the bond. They grew close, closer than she had been with Vladrik. Nikolai was her new comfort, her borsa. She came to him when she needed him and shared time with him when she needed the warmth of family. Nikolai grew much faster than she had mentally. Even in her early twenties she still believed kindness was the only way, and killing was wrong. Second chances existed. Nikolai had learned that this was not true and many times scolded his sestra on such, but to no avail. She loved and continued to spread such, even when it ended with her getting hurt. One of such noteworthy accounts was her small time with the late Johann Ludovar. Vasilia truly loved him. She had been arranged to marry his brother, but found herself falling for the eldest sons charms. She organized such and began to court him, and even shared the love not only to him, but to his two lovely daughters, Adele and Amicia. She loved them all deeply, and in her heart began to picture them as a large family. She was too naïve still, and made many mistakes. She broke Johann's' trust many times by mistake and risked the girls life on a trip she thought was completely safe. Her childlike actions made her unqualified to be the lead of the Ludovar family, and Johann had to put an end to their relationship. Even in the end, she still loved him dearly and always considered him her true love. It wasn't until the beautiful Kortrevich reached her thirties that she had truly gauged how cruel the world could be. She hadn't found another love, and struggled to make friends with the other noble ladies. She felt she was disappointing her family more and more, and finally she broke and made a mistake. She fell in love with a commoner, a simple farm boy. He would be her biggest mistake. She was blinded in what she thought was the acceptance of love, he said she was perfect and that she didn't need to change. She needed that, no one ever said such and under the pressure to change her ways she instead chose to escape, and escape she did. She fled to live on his farm, on the outskirts of the large Oren empire. They were happy, for a time. She found herself pregnant and the world finally made sense, she wanted to raise her children in safety and comfort. To be as they wished. Just as she wished, two beautiful sons entered the world. Kaleb Joseph Kort and Jan Nikolai Kort. They were her everything, life was happy and full of reason! All that happiness crashed down, when her beloved cheated on her and threw a fit when she was upset of such. She sent for her brother for help and was taken home. And a brief argument befell the Kortreviches and her beloved. Her children were taken and her love had hit her and blamed her for it all. Many things went down, and in the end the rightful parent won, Vasilia had her two sons again and she would raise them without the influence of their cheating father. She thought distance was enough, but her soul took a beating one day when she witnessed his trial, and his hanging. She still loved him deeply, and witnessing his demise because of her broke her deeply inside. She cried often, staying in her room in Jerovitz. She raised her boys by herself, hoping they'd earn the full Kortrevich name, preying they wouldn't only be bastards for the rest of their lives. She was happy and loved them, but deep down she was tattered, her ideals of kindness were always wrong. Kindness was something one would be lucky to have. The world wasn't meant to be kind, people were meant to struggle. Even still, she kept a happy demeanor for her darling boys, and paraded them around, helped them make friends. Jan flourished in Haense and made many friends, Kaleb was more secluded. She never really thought much of it, until one day he vanished. All her happiness and hope drained. The ladies days of enjoying her life crippled down to frantic searching everyday. She searched and searched until her beauty was worn down. She was weak and thin, not taking care of herself and being a shell of a human. She needed her boy to be okay, and she didn't know if he was alive or dead. And so did her searching bring her to her end. She asked the wrong people and was taken somewhere so dark. She was terrified, but in her heart she just pictured resting in the seven skies and watching her family, watching her sons. She could be freed of her weak body and be able to see them grow old. So in her last moments she did not fear death, she instead smiled in the face of it, forgiving whoever was doing this to her, and accepting them with a loving heart. She wasn't going to be hateful, not when happiness was a breath away. And with such a smile, her life was ended in the dark rather than the bright lights of the world above. News would be spread, a lock of her brunette hair was sent to Jerovitz, inside a note, one that read: "Lady Vasilia passed a grim demise. Her pointless life had been freed from it's chains. Her death has served for something far greater than herself, in paradise again she joins you. "
  17. The Ringing Of The Bell. ❝ I know a lot of you probably hate me right now, and I get it. If I could be a different person, I promise you, I would. ❞ The cause shall remain unknown, but one must recognise the preparation and unmitigated control into her passing. Lorna kept authority over her death like she did everything else; direct, obstinate and unbending. She makes it certain to keep her fate in no hands but her own. Despite being known for her capriciousness, her decision stayed consistent. Lorna leaves her home with nothing but an engagement ring, and that's the last the world saw of her.
  18. The night crept upon the small halfling quickly, her addled mind only making the time pass quicker. But there she sat, beneath a tall willow tree, only a day's trek away from the destroyed and deserted Rozania. The smile on her lips shaky and her eyes unfocused but her hand was in the form to write. 'To those who may not have known, my years have doubled… As I sit in a place that feels familiar but in my mind I have no idea where I am, I grow weary that my days are coming to an end.' The small halfling stopped to draw a shaky breath and blink some wayward tears away as she continued, knowing that this note is important for the people she loves. 'Since Rozania my mind and spirit haven't been the same. The days fly by now, I don't know my way home anymore, I am starting to lose memories but don't remember which. Even forgetting the ones I live with on occasion, Donna and Marb.' She stops again to blurily look at the paper before crossing out the names. A concentrated frown on her face as she tries to think but sighs and continues once more. 'I remember more though, mostly bad but some good. With this note shall be a series of letters to the important folks I've had the honor to meet and know… I'm terribly sorry that things must come to this. I never thought my time would end this way either. I feel old and I never wanted to feel that way ever. Bless be, safe travels, and don't forget to wander off your path everyonce and awhile.. you never know what adventure you might find along the way' The halfling smiled at her closing line. Then signed her name 'Delphi Wanderfoot' the one thing she felt confident in anymore. She then took another shaky breathe and gave the letters to her snowy owl with a short order. "Deliver these to the proper folk, and make sure to be there for my rose bud" The owl flew off quickly as the previous owner drew a couple more breathes before grinning down at the ground below, right before death managed to capture the tortured soul that was Delphi Wanderfoot. To Bella, To Mellow, To Per, To Rosebud, To Otter, To Will, To Filibert, (OOC)
  19. BEEN HERE LONG TIME, YE? Music :3 Painting of Jindrich, around 55 years old. Gray clouds grouped around the March of Grodno. In one of the rooms of this newly built castle laid Jindrich Jazloviecki. He was not in the best shape, and he knew about that. The Jazloviecki knew his days were numbered and he was going to meet his end soon. Because of that, a few days ago, he paid a last visit to the nation he loved and belonged to for nearly his entire day, visiting the abandoned city of Freimark, the duchy of Drusco and of course, the hill where the Margraviate of Lvinsk once stood. Filled with sadness, nostalgia and much, much more emotions, he returned back to what was now his home, March of Grodno, built deep in the hills of Kingdom of Oren. There, he suddenly felt it. His body weakened, his skin turned pale white and his face was covered in sweat. "Tak t-tady to je.." He muffled on his way to his room. He felt his strength go away with every step. Jindrich was shocked, even though he counted with this moment. All the blood he coughed out and the headaches reminded him that he will be gone at a close point in the future. He limped to his bed. Jindrich immediately fell onto it. The Tschech's entire body was covered in sweat. His entire skin was pale like marble. Laying on his bed, he felt every last second. Every last drop of blood in his body. He decided to think about all the ones, that cheered his life until his last moments. Sebastian Velho... Genkai Iekami... Berra Mierzwinski... Masashi Iekami... Andrzej Kowalski... Catalina Bennett... And mainly, his own family, the ones he shared his blood with... "Stanislaw, Maciej, Otton- carry your father's le.. legacy, and mine too, if I l-leave some behind." He thought to himself. "And never forget about August and Fiodor, my dear cousins. I w-will be waiting for you, wherever in Hell or in the Seven S-skies, because only GOD knows where my soul will end." He was done. His truly last moment was left for the person he valued the most, the reason all this, that right now is around him was possible. The Defender of Lechians, Borys Jazloviecki. "I w-will see ya a-again, dear c-cousin.." He muffled. Jindrich then closed his eye. And those... Were the last words of Jindrich Jazloviecki. Siła w Bogu, a my z Bogiem...
  20. He hadn't seen it coming, no one had. The young veteran had seen many die, but now it was his time. But oh, it was a time to be alive. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Treble de Murat, or as he would come to be known, Treble the Patriot, had been having a normal day when the attack started. He saw visions of men falling in the streets around him, Balian becoming the warzone of Providence from when he was an Imperial Guardsman for the Empire. Sights he had put behind him now revitalized in his mind once more as the young man flashed back to when he was but a boy, fighting for his country. He saw blood running through the streets, bodies everywhere, faces of those who he had slain on distant fields up close, grasping at him for the carnage he caused. He saw dwarves, blood spattered across their faces as his comrades fell lifeless around him. He saw the innocent Sedanite woman that his comrades had butchered outside of Haverlock, himself sobbing as they burnt down the church in the city. He saw the faces of children in the besieged city, cut down by the monsters around him as he transformed. All he found was sorrow and regret from his actions as he held onto the locket Lorraine he treasured so dearly. The man was pushed into another vision of the past, his joining of the family he loved so dearly and had given him a place to call home. Banjo, Arsenios, Tony, Klaus, Mikhail, and Morado all flashed by him so slowly, but to him it was too quick as he saw the coveted bandana he seeked for so long. His son, his bastard, taking refuge in the only place he could think of. His poor son, now an orphaned bastard like he was. How the Ferrymen would shape him to be so great, better than his father. Snapping back to reality, the olog’s hand crushed down on him all too quickly. Where the psychotic breakdown controlled his life, the olog had swiftly ended it, leaving The Patriot dead on the pavement of the Oren he loved. His final breath sighed as loud of a cannon as the bells tolled and a star beaming across the night sky in the desert heat. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Letters for the loved ones of the fallen. For Banjo Mareno ( @Masouri ) For Klaus ( @Estew ) To Primrose ( @MapleSunflower)
  21. The Eternal Rest of The Last Argent Knight [Sir Sebastian Velho in his Lord Commander armour in the savannahs of the South] (sydniart on DeviantArt) Sebastian stood. The empty man stood. It was all he could do. In his grasp laid a missive, detailing on the dissolvement of the Principality of Savoy, a single teardrop had permanently marked the page from a few hours earlier. Recent events had crippled the man, leaving him an empty shell of what was once a proud Freimarkish man, a Son of St Tylos, a Commander of the Argent Legion, an Argent Knight, the first and last Grand Komes of Lvinsk and most importantly, a Savoyard. It was almost as if the world had crumbled around him, moved on from his lands, but left him behind. He stood. The empty man stood. It was all he could do. He turned his golden-clad visage up towards the empty county of Freimark. Nothing could be heard but the wind and the movement of Sebastian's armour, clanking as he trudged upon the cobbles to the main square. This is where it started. His life truly began here, he had seen a great many things in this town, this County - the comings and goings of many people, most of whom he would dare to call his friends, the rise and fall of a great, great County. He ran his finger along the dishevelled walls, clearly with a lack of care given to them in recent years. As the metal collided with the rock, he recalled upon the time he was sat upon this wall, as he saw an innocent man be dragged into the castle to be executed for deserting the nation. He'd walk further into the square, noticing an old, dried pool of crimson splattered on the corner of a building - the time his ribs were crushed by a bison on a hunt, but the medical expertise of the town helped him recover. He reached his destination in the town. Each step he took up the stairway would creak, the wooden planks not used to this kind of treatment for a long time. He'd arrived. His store. He'd hold his throat as he let his gaze drift to the sign above the door. "Velho's Elixir's and Tinctures." A few of the letters had worn out, but of course he remembered what was in the blank spaces. He'd push the door and with a creak it opened smoothly, there had been no lock protecting it for a long time. Dust was dancing about the room, sunlight peering through the windows, leaving a distracting beam hitting the centre of the room. He would spend some time there, sat on the cold, cold floor. He stood. The empty man stood. It was all he could do. He'd reach the top of the cobbled slope, a chill overcoming his body, to the base of his spine. The ruins of San Luciano, the once great capital of the region. As he stepped into the city, he could feel the thanhium begging to be let into his golden case. He furiously denied it, encroaching upon the empty throne room. He'd kick the door to the palace, breaking the ice which had made it's living upon the hinges. Each step would echo throughout the hall, combating with the mist appearing from his face from the temperature for dominance in the space. He'd kneel to the throne, placing his sword in front of him on the old, forgotten carpet as he closed his eyes. He had fought many battles in this city, and tried his best to protect it. But thanhium bombs from external forces - that was something even he could not have prevented. He stood. The empty man stood. It was all he could do. He'd approach his final destination, a place he had been not but a few hours earlier. Lvinsk. The walls towered over him as he stood in the now flattened centre of the settlement. He'd get down on one knee and inspect a rock which had been left from the deconstruction before the inhabitants moved to Orenian lands. He'd chuckle, inspecting the rock before mustering a small amount of strength to toss it into the nearby pond. This had been his last home in Savoy. He would spend an unknown amount of time circling the town's interior, running his hand along the walls as he did so. He'd stop at the keep, which had been the home to House Jazloviecki until recent times. He'd enter the courtyard, which had been left open, before sitting down on the lower wall to inspect the area. His blue eyes would be affixed upon a specific area of stones, where a small trickle of red laid between them. With his deeds done, Sebastian would nod to himself, preparing himself. He had no purpose anymore, his nation - everything he'd known was gone. He'd take a long, deep breath into his lungs before rebounding it back out, nodding once more to reassure himself. He'd drop the missive in his place, the leaflet being left in the dirt as he left through the city's back gate. He didn't know where he was going - he didn't frankly care. He took a gaze up to the sky, seeing it painted a beautiful orange. He'd scramble up to the top of the hill, planting his sword into the ground once he had reached it. He'd look at his weapon, before removing his helmet and turning it around so he could gaze at the visor. He would thank the helmet, pressing his forehead to it's. His words would croak, as if a blockage was in his throat, and a beautiful stream flowed down his pale cheek, leaving his face cold in contrast with the southern winds. He'd approach the nearby tree and take a seat, a smile forming on his face, As the sun set over Savoy.
  22. This post is ooc, do not comment ic unless your character knows of these events. Thank you! The High Pumplar Jeannette, third of the title, was chosen in person by The Pumpkin Lord Knox himself and the chaos of lightning — at the trifling age of thirteen. In her time, she bore witness to six halfling villages, and the eventual fall of five. This meant she spent a good deal of years following her ascension preserving the sanctity of The Knoxist Doctrine, at odds with the false King Cyris, in addition, her own cousin; Cardinal Jorenus of the Haeseni clergy. Always though, she put peace between weefolk before her disputes and pursued making amends. On a particular, unremarkable day she set off, seeking enlightenment on the hidden truths of her people. Entering the marble vestibule of the library eternal, she was unknowing, unaware of the feuds between bigg’uns that shortly would leave white stained red. Alongside a high elf, and two others, she ascended to an upper floor. She had taken these two others to be fellows, unobtrusive visitors, unsuspecting of their forms. The smouldering fire in the eyes, mouth and chest of the one beside her only brought to mind the one she trusted in most. Lord Knox, the Olden Overwatcher of the Weefolk The concept of ‘trust’, between wee-kind is paramount, but seldom does it extend to bigg’uns. In a few fleeting moments, Jeannette was reminded why. Her own blood-curdling howl rang out — the high elf she was in company of smothered, whilst freeing herself, only able to protest Jeannette’s entanglement in the abrupt attacks with a fruitless flail of an arm towards the unfortunately misplaced halfling. Her nimbleness allowed her to be spared barely, for once she was grasped, it was over as swiftly as the bellows of the wind. The air was pulled from her throat, guilty fingers squeezing her flesh as they sought to draw the last breath. In her reposeful home village of Honeyhill, her grandma, ‘Meemaw’ Applebottom, awaited Jeannie’s return for supper. The elderly woman tapped her cane on gravel persistently, peeking above whilst the skies darkened, a brooding omen of the message the weefolk were soon to receive. For the screams of The High Pumplar could cultivate clouds that thickened with thunder and lashed with flashes. Beyond their blackness, brewing teardrops to collect and cascade, to grace the landscape with wistful drips. Finally, to bleed streams into thirsty earth. A hefty collection of screenshots
  23. A Gasp of Fresh Air What is life? Is it a gasp of fresh air flowing through the lungs of a living person? Is it the birth of a child and the death of an elder? Does life truly end? Does it ever even start? Andrik woke from his seemingly eternal slumber. It had been days since any person had even seen the now estranged Prince. Even the servants who regularly tended to his every need were locked out of his private chambers. It’s not like anyone wanted to tend to such a room anyways, the place was barren. As once stated in a poem, Andrik had manifested his quarters into a truly dark and depressing prison cage, yet he played the role of warden and prisoner at the very same time… Perhaps it’s not so simple? No, it can not be, for life is not just for the descendent. It resides in every cottage, hole, stump, and castle. It is valuable to the most devout sinners and those seeking repentance. “The wedding, Highness, it is time” heard the Prince as he awoke from his rest. For a moment, Andrik paused. Should he show? Is he ready for such a feat? Is the world ready to see him again? Would they even care? These questions, and many more, ran through his mind as his maids laid out a simple selection of clothes. “Well, Ana surely would never forgive me if I missed this one” replied the Prince, only it was already an hour after he awoke. It was funny to him how fast time flew by in his head. Perhaps life has no meaning at all? After all, history has proven we obsess over social structure, Is it too foreign to say that we have no right to question it? Are we so arrogant? So hubristic? Or even egotistic? After all, it was not too long ago that Andrik nearly lived a fairytale life. A separate path that was so foreign to the life of a traditional Prince, even he had trouble imagining it sometimes. But he did dream… Those dreams were severed along with his lover’s head. Oh well, God had punished him much more harshly, right? It was tragic, but the Prince had a void growing in his heart beforehand. Besides, feelings have no place in the Royal Household. It was simply improper. Annika had taught his son better etiquette than that. Is life ever beautiful or horrible? The wolfpack hunting a herd of rabbits is gruesome to the privileged eyes of man, Yet no man sheds a tear for tearing down the home of a squirrel. Perhaps there is no right answer, no conclusion, or plan? The ceremony was like all others for the Prince, a simple reminder of what could have been for him, and what could be for the newly wedded. Marriage, in his eyes, was an overrated social construct of humankind. Why should a man and a woman be pressured to wed for social status and not for the love of one another? Why are divorces so final and yet a betrothal can be remade at any time with little consequence? Oh well, no matter. The past was just that and he had no future to look forward to. “Just a few more minutes until I can lock myself in again.” The truth may never be found. However one thing is for certain, Life is valued by all things that hold on to it And is a mere existence of those who let go of it. “Margrait looked beautiful in her dress. I wonder who tailored it?” thought the Prince to himself. The dinner was okay. Andrik had been picking at a small slice of carrot cake, freshly made by the Queen herself. Andrik was never really a fan of sweets, even as a child. He’d always cherished the more unique foods like various fruits and cheeses. It reminded him of how he so yearned to be unique, and yet ironically ended up like every other Barbanov royal; He was a broken and dysfunctional mess, and yet let none of it hinder his duties. Life is a blessing to most but a curse to the lonely. It is both utterly meaningless and yet means more than anything. It can be cherished and cursed in both birth and death. It is the end of the road for some, and the start of the pavement for many others. Savoyard Port was always a close favorite of the Prince despite the harsh memories it gave him. Surprising to his gossiping servants, it was true that he’d been sober for nearly a decade now. Most of his adulthood had been spent drinking, Andrik didn’t even remember holding his first, and only, son in his arms. A distant memory of what could have been… It’s both beautiful and cruel at the same time. Suddenly, as he dreamt of a better life, a servant bumped into the drunken Prince, causing his face to collapse face-first into the cake. I no longer wish to know what life means. In the end, is it all meaningless? Even if the generation ahead of you screams your name until it echoes through history, Would the noise sound forever? Walnuts. Andrik never had walnuts despite his varied pallet. He’d always loved unique tastes, yet his adventure had come to a sudden unsuspected halt. The laughs slowly faded as the Prince's eyes shut, forever in that dream. I refuse to accept that. Life is not about what you do as you live, But rather what you leave behind for your successors. Life is not a purpose, but rather a legacy. ~ P.A.N. B.B., Akovia “Anya? Bran? Is that you?”
  24. [!] Grief. Grief is what the Khurhukar family felt, when they learned that Nossir was dead. The events leading up to it: Nossir, living in Elysium, joined the war effort. He couldn't really do anything, so he just helped out where he could. His family supported him, but then, the fall of Ebonwood. That, as the clan got a piece of land there, drove him mad. Then, the blood rain came, which, while didn't touch him, made him even more mad. He couldn't take it. One day, he woke up, got dressed in his clan armor, then went out. He was feeling...weak.... He couldn't run, and even walking was hard... The curse of foresight: He knew he didn't have long. He has had a lot of visions leading up to it. He began writing. [!] A book could be found under the pillow of his death bed My dear family. If you are reading this, then I'm most likely dead. I want you to know, that I love you. I tried my best to make your lives better. Kax, my dearest friend, you taught me a lot. About our culture, our ancient history and our culture. Thank you for that. Tuluk, my partner in trouble, you really did make my life really fun. I hope you will remember me as the clan leader who killed a giant bear, and not that one Tigrasi who was doing stuff. Kabuki, my dearest son, I'm sorry that I left you alone. This world is a mean one, and now you are alone in it. I hope the clan will take good care of you, and that you will carry the name Tul'Kabuki Khurhukar with pride. Please do not mourn me, or dwell on my passing, instead, live your life to the fullest. I ask you one last thing. Please remember me, and tell stories about my life. I love you all the same, I really do, but this is what Metztli wanted. Remember me. I have spoke with some people, and they told me that, after death, if even one person remembers you, you live on as an observer, observing the lives of your loved ones. [!] Some words would be unreadable, as he cried when he wrote it. The passing of a leader: Nossir felt that he wasn't okay, and sent a bird to Kax'ahli. Kax received the letter, and hurried over to the clan house. He saw that Nossir could barely walk, and he helped him home. They sat down. Kax asked Nossir what the problem was, and he told him. Then, Kax helped Nossir upstairs to his bed. He prepared his stuff for the ritual. This is when news got to Ursus Grandaxe, who was a dear friend of Nossir, and he rushed to the home. Nossir was sleeping. When he woke up, he signaled to Kax to begin the ritual. And so, Kax started praying and gave a lot of things to Nossir, as to help him along his way to the afterlife. Nossir started saying random words, and he fell asleep for one last time. Kax finished the ritual. In tears, he walked out onto the balcony, and yelled something along the lives of this: Elysium! The great leader, Tul'Nossir Khurhukar of the clan Khurhukar is dead! He was a good friend and a great leader. Kax then went to blow the death whistle. Ursus walked out to where Kax stood, and he yelled: NARVAK OZ NOSSIR! NARVAK OZ TAE KHA!! After the two went to leave, the bed started shaking violently. It stopped after a few minutes. Then, Nossirs dead body started levitating. His eyes and mouth were open, and spewing out a blue light. His fur was glowing with the same blue light too. It stopped right after, the whole ordeal lasting at most 5 minutes. Nossir's body was now laying on the bed again. A whistling was heard inside the room. Then whispering. It couldn't be made out what it said, but it could've been heard. Nossir didn't go without a fight. He fought his fate, and he tried to outplay death. Well, he almost did. He almost survived. He was dead. Well, he wasn't really dead. A last, fragile and quite word came from his lifeless body. Goodbye... Nossir, at last, was dead... or is he? After a few days, the house was closed. No family member entered. Nothing. But after 4 days, Patlana entered. He entered sad, and left shocked. Nossir was gone, his body nowhere to be found.
  25. A DANCE WITH DEATH “Manfred would keep the gate open and have a guard,” spoke a person. That struck her ire. Again and again, Laurentina was reminded of how terrible she was at this. She was never born to do this. She was never meant to do this and she did not want to do this. “Well, I am NOT Manfred,” snapped the Lady Arichsdorf, bitter as she often was in the months after her husband’s death. She was not a leader. She was not a leader. She was not a leader. “You are running out of advisors,” spoke the man coldly. Perhaps it did not have the effect he wanted it to have. “Yelling at them might not be exactly what you want to do.” As he turned away and his footsteps faded, a tear fell from her eyes. Laurentina’s gaze turned over to the Cathedral of the faith she had abandoned for love. Was she a fool? Perhaps so, indeed. Not even thirty and ghosts keep haunting her. Her mother, her father, her sisters and brother. Tears began to fall uncontrollably. Noone noticed as the Lady approached the Cathedral. Happier days flashed before her mind. How she missed Catherine, her best friend. How Helton and Henrietta mothered her and how her older sister, Daphne, shone a light upon her. How she shone when she became ruby of the Astercalia. The pride her father felt for her that day still brought a smile to her face. The fluttering she felt within her stomach when her husband kissed her for the first time. And then, a year later, when they stood before Philip III and Anastasia I, who wed them. She experienced love when she held her firstborn, Athelred Heltyn, within her arms. Five more followed, each and every one of them sparked joy in Laurentina whenever she thought of them. Pride washed over her when she thought of the people of Arichsdorf, who used to be so close. Noone noticed as she broke through some doors and moved up the stairs to the clocktower. Was it a sin? Was this the answer? She had never felt so desperate. It clung to her, for hours, days, weeks, months - years even. Inhale. Exhale. “It will be alright.” Laurentina spotted a smile as she walked on ahead. Ghosts of her past visited her, all of which had their dance with death. Family, friends, all those she loved so dearly. They were just out of reach. “Just a step. One step. Stop being a coward, face it - for once.” Inhale. She extended her hand out. “Wait, wait for me! Don’t leave - I am coming!” And as she took that fateful step, the desperation faded and became euphoria. It WILL be alright. I’ll be home with them. Come, dance with me! Laurentina von Arichsdorf (neé Helvets) 1842-1870
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