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  1. The Last Goodbye Pride in myself was something I swore would never die Gaining respect means giving up a past life As I lie here, my strength waning, I reflect on the path I have tread and the legacy I leave behind. I have dedicated my life to their prosperity, to ensure a better future for them. There is nothing left for me to do now but to embrace the twilight of my existence. The light at the end of the tunnel It is their time to flourish, to rise and shine in the light of their own achievements. They are capable, resilient, and I have every faith in their ability to thrive. Yet, as I surrendered the reins of responsibility, a mixture of hope and pride swells within me. I have witnessed their growth, their resilience, and their unyielding spirit. They possess the strength to overcome the challenges that lie ahead. It will be difficult at first, for change always brings uncertainty, and the unfamiliar can be daunting. But they will adapt, they will learn, and they will forge their own destinies. They must. However, I have lived far longer than I ever imagined. Old enough to witness the rebuilding of what was destroyed and to see my grandchildren. Remade into something that is a tremendous achievement compared to the horrible past we experienced. It fills my heart with pride to know that I have played a part, however small, in shaping a brighter future for those who will carry our legacy forward.. Leika sat her herself down, her knees weak the very idea of what was going on. She came to terms with it.. Long ago, and yet it was bittersweet. She never foresaw this, after so many years. This couldn't be the end their lives could it? To feel the very life slip through her own breath. The illusion crafted by my arrogance had protected me from the wrong that I couldn't admit In the pursuit of happiness, I found moments of joy and followed people blissfully, basking in their smiles and finding my own contentment. Amongst this journey, I discovered those who became my steadfast companions. My sister Amethyst, who embraced me into her family with open arms, even though she barely knew me. Their laughter became the lightness of my existence, a true embodiment of happiness. Ellathor, a remarkable man who may hold resentment towards me, but remains a great warrior. He always gave his utmost effort in every breath, a Vanari in his own right. He was my greatest confidant. Rosalyn, a recent addition to our circle, holds an intense fire within her soul. At first glance, she appears quiet, but lay next to her sword, and you'll quickly learn the error of your ways. Ahmanu , you came at just the right time. You filled a hole in my heart where once was held by previous military leaders. I was so used to being betrayed Fo I was skeptical of your every move. But every time you strove far beyond my own sword. You were there to command what i could not. It was always an honor fighting with you. Floria, our fates intertwined in rocky fashion. Both ambitious when we first met, she was a young Vanari, still finding her footing. Our minds clashed from time to time, but as the days grew longer and darker, she returned to help pick up the pieces I had broken. I never truly understood why she came back, and I suppose I'll never have the chance to ask. She saw us as family, and I willingly welcomed her in, scared of being alone, terrified of being abandoned once again. Valindra, one of my oldest friends, despite our different outlooks on life, we never strayed too far from each other. Even when we lived apart, I could proudly proclaim her as my oldest friend. I defended her, defended who she was, and stood silently by her side, ready to embrace her whenever she allowed it. Madoc, my cherished drinking partner, our friendship began with laughter and games. Through the years, we witnessed each other grow into distinct individuals, yet our bond remained unbreakable. In times of disappointment, you were the friend who gave me hope, and I could never hate you or turn my back on you. Thank you for being there, my dear companion, throughout our shared adventures. Fal’leon, oh, I always joked that he would steal my husband from me. They were much closer than I could ever be to my own husband. I would jest that it was all part of their druidic connection, but maybe I wasn't too far off the mark. Falleon's helpful nature extended beyond the realms of knighthood, becoming the foundation of the Vikela system. I admired his gruff yet loving demeanor, his carefree nature that seemed to envy his infectious smile. Floods of memories drown me in the abyss Ceiling fades, empty space, hanging barely from a cliff that's thousands of feet tall Ehrendil, my second love, the only love I could hold onto. Our story, tragic and poetic, akin to something a bard would create for the stage. Perhaps one day, our love will be immortalized in a play, and I often wonder what title it would bear? I still remember the playful banter we shared, the bets and games that entertained us. "Are you dangerous?" he would ask, as I fired a dart while Valindra watched as a fair referee, blindfolded shots aimed at a hidden target. "Maybe I am, so what?" I echoed, firing the dart that cost me the game. It seemed I would not receive free tattoos as we had wagered. I would have to find a new teacher, and surprisingly, he offered, "I don't usually do this, BUT I'll show you how to create one tattoo." My voice resonated with hope, for a new teacher had been found, despite losing the game. "Really?" his gruff voice inquired, "Don't let me regret it." The vision shifted, transforming into a bird of paradise pin, then a tattoo a symbol of our smiles and a pledge of eternal love under the night sky. Pledges we never broke, devotion to one another despite the challenges we faced. Our enemies may have been vast, but they could never comprehend the depth of our love, nor know us beyond their own limited perspective. We loved deeply, and our love bore beautiful children. Kaev and Larissa, our first born twins, an unheard-of occurrence within our family. They emerged from the crucible of war, perhaps explaining their divergent views and stances. If I had one last chance to see him, I would wish for him to be alive, and Larissa, a blossoming flower of growth, a remarkable young girl. May she outlive me by far, surpassing my years with her own accomplishments. “Little dandelion take care of our people, Do what I could never do.” Cyprien, the next in line of our bloodline, a strong-willed boy. One day, he will break free from his shell and embody the dramatics of his father. He may not see it yet, but I do. His father resides within him more deeply than I ever could. I hope he finds someone he loves. He's everything I wished for him to be- he exceeds my expectations every day. Medea, Raell, Solus, children not of my blood, yet bound to me as if they were. They bleed for me, and I entrust them with their own futures and lives. They hold the keys to their destinies, but they will always find comfort in knowing that a De Astrea will be there to catch them if they ever fall. I love them beyond words, for they gave me a different perspective. I used to resent the concept of adoption, for one child is always left behind. Yet, this did not happen to them. They will grow into fine warriors and leaders. The memories of happiness far outweigh the bad, and I treasure them deeply. They deserve to be cherished even more. I often wonder if the friends I made still think of me as I think of them? And now I fall Now I fall into oblivion The void of memories that plagued me, was it Oblivion? The ideals that motivated my actions were preserved in my mind during the last decisive moments of truth. Was it a fall from power or a fall from grace? I still had no idea. At the end of such a long life, you would think I knew more. But each truth I discovered didn't change only the world and its great mysteries. I was envious of my father's authority and respect, especially after seeing my friend Karl achieve it with Haense. They possessed things I did not, but by the time we were through, I had far more. I still held onto the memories that had just surfaced—bitter, sweet—a mixture of my life. It was something they could not take from me. Landing back at the beginning of our prime We'd built ourselves and our kingdom in the summer sun one brick at a time I missed my mother, being in the desert, the kharasi, and the people I loved. And yet, I longed for the heat and the light on my face. But as I stepped into the stone city, everything was taken away from me. Chaos engulfed me, and I formed new friendships and found lovers. Initially, I was content with being no one, having only my family and a few questionable companions. I treasured those relationships. However, time passed, and I was given tools and bestowed with a title. At first, I despised being referred to as a princess, as I wanted my mother's title. I simply desired to be a wildflower. I recall doing my best to maintain the favor of my father and sister, willingly fulfilling any request they made. The reasons behind the drastic changes they imposed upon me remained unclear. From being a diplomat to an ambassador for the south, I received assistance and a title that I initially detested. The Ashford name, unfamiliar to me, was one my father took pride in, yet he never used it. Astrea... Ashford, a title with a bloody history. Nonetheless, here I am in the city while the rest lies in ruins. Is our world truly crumbling? Is everything I dedicated my life to falling apart? There is no salvation this time. Not this time. I was labeled a wildflower, but appearances can deceive. Like delicate petals, my spirit was once whole, but the world had cruelly pruned me, leaving me to languish in a vessel of uncertainty. A mere façade of beauty, I withstood the weak sun, all the while lacking the nourishment my heart yearned for. I clung to the edges of a glass, my existence teetering between sinking and floating, lost in a tumultuous sea of emotions. As a protector without a shield, I embraced the weight of responsibility, shielding those unable to fend for themselves. But as I built walls of obligation, the ones I cherished most were forcibly pushed away. With each bond severed, I found myself retreating, cornered by adversaries lurking on every side. Society's expectations for a perfect princess became my cage, confining my vibrant spirit and preventing me from soaring free. Oh, how I longed to bloom with authenticity, to embrace my untamed nature! I sought the gentle touch of empathy, the nurturing soil that would help me flourish. Until I had someone to be my shield. Now those walls are nothing but rubble and dust What was once silver lining of us has turned to rust SA 85. With fierce determination, my arm swept across the chessboard, shattering the delicate balance of the pieces. My voice echoed through the heavens as I unleashed a primal cry of defiance, challenging the very fate that had entwined me. Every step I took toward the West sealed my doom and, with it, the fate of my people. Each stride became a tempest raging within my mentality, a relentless torment tearing at the fabric of my being. The weight of my decision pressed heavily upon my shoulders, threatening to crush my spirit. Should I fall alongside my beloved city or offer them a sliver of hope, a fighting chance at life? The agonizing deliberation consumed me, as I questioned whether there would be people left, whether they could endure the encroaching wars looming on our doorstep. My heart writhed with the torment of remembrances and conflicting ideas. Yet, this was not the perspective of a mere puppet manipulated by external forces. No, this was different. This choice held a potency that allowed me to stand as something more. We had fought relentlessly and tried our hardest to safeguard our world, but this judgment, this sacrifice, stirred a force within me that kept me standing. In the face of despair and against overwhelming odds I marched onward, embodying the defiance of a fallen kingdom. A monarchy that disapproved of the custom of kneeling and pleading with a city that was significantly worse than their own for forgiveness. They had done nothing to warrant such treatment, yet they expected it. No outrage came from those we once thought were our friends. We were betrayed by friends, betrayed by those we had extended a helping hand to. I accepted the weight of my decision, the ultimate expression of sacrifice and the embodiment of hope, as a lone figure against the backdrop of a world in disarray. A deal was struck, our hands shook, and a bottle of wine was opened. Our fate was sealed, without so much as a council. Was this where everyone turned on me? Or was it before ? In those days when we’d fight our demons together If we had started over, oh, I wonder... Returning to the gates, I, Leika de Astrea, was met with a scene of chaos. Guards fought guards of the same colors, engaged in a fierce skirmish. Then their accusatory gazes turned toward me, their words laced with frustration and anger. "Where were you?" one of them shouted, his voice filled with resentment. My eyes flickered to the side, my grip on my crown tightening before I abruptly cast it aside, the symbol of my authority discarded onto the cold street below. But as I spoke, a revival of tenacity erupted from within me. The restrained hatred and resentment, the weight of treachery and hidden intentions that had tortured me from behind closed doors, erupted. So much time spent raising the city rather than my own kids. Was it all for this? I stopped trying to act like my sister or my father. Instead, I was engulfed by my ancestors' ferocious hatred. My golden eyes narrowed at the guard, my voice cutting through the air like a sharpened blade. "Did you truly believe I was blind to the intricate web of deceit you spun, the plots you orchestrated behind my back?!" My voice thundered, each word infused with seething anger that resonated through the air. My eyes blazed with a fiery intensity, piercing through the guard's facade of arrogance. My grip on my emotions tightened, my rage fueling my words as I continued, my voice a whip crackling with righteous indignation. "But now, you shall bear witness to the repercussions of your grave underestimation of me. I Am no longer the little girl you once knew. Let's see how you fare with this." My voice resounded with Fierce grace. My tone carried a sense of dignified authority, befitting a monarch who had been wronged. For the first time, I was no longer the warrior princess, the war-torn queen. I was the wildflower queen, Leika de Astrea. In my final moments of strife, I stepped into my role. The chaos broke my heart. Heart breaking, If I has tears to give them it would be spilling out. Flooding the streets. How far had I let them all fall to come to this? Would we have fallen? The guard's facade of bravado faltered under the weight of my presence. His eyes widened, a glimmer of trepidation betraying his realization of the formidable force standing before him. The force he had forgotten had thwarted so many plans and coups before. This was just a droplet of my anger. "I have grown wise to the intricate schemes woven behind my back, and I shall not be swayed by the deceit that once ensnared me," I declared, my voice filled with measured resolve. Infused with an air of regal certainty, my words hung in the air like a delicate tapestry of power and perseverance. My graceful authority resonated, transcending the realm of petty revenge. My purpose lay not in obliterating my adversaries, but in showcasing my unwavering strength and resilience as a ruler. I was not my father; I was not my cousin who stood above them on the staircase, the weight of my words being calculated in his head. Behind him stood my son, my sweet son, brainwashed by his own family to turn against his mother. Did I blame him? No, the answer was clear. I could never blame him, I could never even let my heart and my mind battle to hurt him. If he had wished to kill me, I wouldn't have stopped him. Every regret, and yet... I could never turn my anger toward him. I watched as he turned tail and ran. Would I ever see him again? The answer was no, I would never get to hold my son, see him grow up. His sister left to be the eldest, his name erased from history.. Snatched by the very people who sought to kill me countless times. Fallen into oblivion? Then it was just my cousin left. Faust witnessed his own plans crumble to dust, his treacherous raid against his own people unraveled by my cunning. And yet, here I stood, one step ahead. My hands curled tightly around the draft of the western concord, rage burning in my eyes, and my voice trembled with a mix of heartbreak and fury. "How dare you! How dare you betray our own kin! You could have come to me. We could have found a way together. But no, you chose silence and darkness, plotting behind our backs, until your actions led to the slaughter of our own people! Tell me, do you feel any remorse? Do you regret the blood on your hands?" I spat each word, my voice laced with a deep anguish and a seething anger that threatened to consume me. He gave no answer, his cowardice on full display, and he fled before I could even give the order to capture him. At that moment, Leika de Astrea emerged as a force to be reckoned with, fueled by a mixture of righteous indignation and sorrow. I became a beacon of defiance against the dwarves, the wood elves, and all those who dared to challenge me. My resolve, hardened by the fires of betrayal and the sacrifices of my fallen comrades, propelled me forward. No longer burdened by the weight of leadership, I embraced my role as a warrior, a strategist, and a symbol of resistance, vowing to bring justice to those who had caused so much pain. Yet, such a memories only brings me anguish only brings me the option could it all have been changed? How fragile of me to break so easily Fear took the lead, now I'm still falling Falling deeper, faster, I find myself weighed down by the burden of choices. My world is torn by war, and yet I wear a mask, a smile on my face that only my husband sees through. He knows the cracks in my facade, the torment that keeps me awake at night. I see the toll it takes on him too, trying to shield me from the weight of it all. The pain, the screams, the never-ending paperwork—if my hands were real, perhaps they would feel the same pain I do.So many lives were lost in the service of our country . Gratitude fills my heart for those who remain steadfast, while regret lingers for the bridges that have burned. So many people I will never see again. Fallling I yearn for Astrid, her blade gleaming with determination, and her unwavering support that bolstered me in the darkest of times. I wish I could have done more, offered solace and strength in her moments of need. Her absence leaves a void in my heart that echoes with lost battles and unfinished conversations. I miss seeing Roy's smiling face, his eyes alight with mischief, always trailing behind the woman and princesses. His unwavering loyalty and playful banter brought a lightness to our heavy burdens. I shall miss seeing Mikas Face, Riding along on his chicken.. simply observing Lord knows that man has seen it all. Nikko and Luca, my brothers by blood and bond, with whom I shared countless childhood memories. We laughed, we fought, we dreamed together. The distance between us now weighs heavily on my soul, and I long for the simplicity of those carefree days. Roylan, whose warmth enveloped me in his embraces, his words a balm for my weary spirit. The void left by his absence feels unbearable at times. I ache for his presence, for the comfort and understanding he offered without judgment. Plume, the young child known as the heart of the city, whose green thumb nurtured the plants that adorned our once vibrant streets. Now, as the world crumbles, I worry for the fate of those beloved flowers. Who will tend to them with the same tenderness and care? Verrona, whose motherly presence brought comfort and direction during difficult times. In the middle of the confusion, her wisdom and compassion stood out like beacons. She instilled strength in me, and I long for her kind words. A second mother when my own has abandoned me. Theo, my half-brother with whom I shared blood and who I cherished company. I miss the connection we shared, his laughter, My little brother. Where have you gone? Will you even care that i am gone, you have no one left. No one that knows your name. Frisket, whose fascinating demeanor and ever-winding wisdom offered clarity to even the most complicated of situations. I yearn for their advice and their enigmatic puzzles, which frequently held the solution to our victories. Your highly developed hyspian culture, Would you be alive today if I had pleaded with you more to stay at the wedding? Our Sorvian Monty the friends that stood by my side through my trials and difficulties. I am terribly saddened by their absence as I consider the significance of their sacrifice. What should I do with their unclaimed books, tales, and wisdom now? When he learns that yet another colleague has perished, lost in the never-ending flow of battle, who will be there to console him? Absolon, whose talents and charisma commanded admiration from the people. His legacy still reverberates, his name whispered with reverence and respect. I mourn the loss of his light, extinguished too soon. Flour and his bakeries, their delicious creations that brought joy to our civilization. Ereine, with her infectious smile that could light up the darkest of days. I yearn for her laughter, the way it lifted our spirits and kindled hope within our hearts. Her absence is a void that cannot be filled, the sky lost a star that day. Aylin and Esmond, the true heroes, whose wisdom surpassed measure. They were taken from us too soon, fighting for the very ideals I shattered. Their loss weighs heavily upon my soul, reminding me of the consequences of my actions. I often wonder what would Aylin have done? A question I often asked myself in times of need. Falling into oblivion Into oblivion But it wasn't all bad. Not at all. And as I approach the end of my journey, I can leave behind a legacy of both triumph and lessons learned. It's time for me to find my final rest, to embrace the peace that has eluded me for so long. May my enemies learn the consequences of their actions and may those who come after me forge their own paths. I shall miss the people who I called home. [!] With her aged body, the former monarch closed her eyes one last time. She held onto hope, finding solace in the idea of finally being at peace. These were the last wishes of a dying woman, her farewell to the world and her hopes and aspirations for the future. Goodnight, Leika Juno De ishe Astrea , Little Butterfly, Lady Dangerous, Warrior Queen ,Queen Leika De Astrea Wildflower of Elysium, Lady Paramount, Mother of the Realm, Countess of uhrie, Princess of abhrami.
  2. ───────────────────── ☾ ───────────────────── The sun was burning onto Reetus' skin. Along the shore, a wooden boat sits there. Nothing was on the small wooden boat. Just a sail and an anchor. All alone on the sandy bench, laying on softest hot sand. He tried to rethink his decision and what Gaius said to him. His own best friend begged him to stay. He felt guilty. How could he lie to his friend? How could he look at Grayson with his own two eyes? He felt like an impostor in someone's skin. No, He is one. An impostor. An impostor who was pushed and pushed. What was the last time he did something for himself? What was the last time he loved doing something? What was the last time he hung out with his friends? Who was he again? Impostor or nobody? He couldn’t tell anymore. He was nothing to everyone's eyes. A nobody. A nobody who hated himself for all these years. Who wanted someone to notice him. How he was suffering. How much people push him away. He was tired of getting back up. Tired of watching everyone grow. But to Reetus, he saw his family and friends still younger. Maybe it was too late. Too late to say sorry. Getting up from the sandy ground. Reetus looked towards Almaris for the last time in his life. Then taking off in his wooden boat to never be seen again. [!] Under a couple of rocks, a couple of letters were left there. Maybe to be found or just left there to be washed away. Tobias Gaius Wyn Theo Sheo Ayred Grayson ───────────────────── ☾ ───────────────────── Oocly
  3. [♪] It was a sunny day in the realm of the Argent Sun. A Holy Knight, named August Jazloviecki-Buckfort was sitting in his old armchair that remembers the golden era of Savoy, while smoking his cigar. The sun was shining on his old, hairy face and the man simply smiled at the distant star. He was old, he sensed that his end would come sooner or later. He puffed his cigar one more time before extinguishing it and standing up “It’s time” he thought to himself before walking back inside the old Triglav Keep. The man put his sword on the clothed table and prayed for a moment. Once he was sure of his intentions he went down to the cellar and took out a barrel of Uruk Guzzoline. “I once cheated death, it’s due time to embrace it” he said to himself before walking out with the said barrel and putting it on his horse. It took several days for the Knight to reach the heartlands that have been like a second home for him ever since his beloved Savoy fell. There was one thought in his head - Dumapalooza. So as he did exactly what he has planned - August approached the gate, and greeted his nephew Aleksander Wilhelm with a smile, as none of his relatives knew of his intentions. He went in carrying the barrel in his bag,after that the Old Knight went for a peaceful walk toward the building, while entering he moved through the crowd to find himself standing near the fireplace that was close to the podium where the candidates for a new Duke of Adria were standing. He hesitated a bit, but after a short prayer he glanced at the gathered Adrians and opened the barrel. The smell was quite distinct, though due to the crowd it didn’t spread quickly. August raised his arms and poured all the content of the barrel over himself. He was certain that his decision was righteous and thus this action will be the best and only possible way to purify his soul. Moments later the elderly man reached into the fireplace and immediately caught on fire. The crowd turned their heads towards the Knight but it was too late. Holy Knight screamed his last words as his body stood in flames… His goal was simple - hit the representatives of House von Draco, enemies of his relatives and of his own. Then the most unexpected of all possible things happened - a poor recruit stepped in to stop the burning Knight. He could not stop therefore he rushed into the boy, causing burn damage to his clothes and skin. He did not succeed, but he tried. His duty was fulfilled and his soul cleansed. The last Argent Legionnaire, last living Savoyard and last Jazloviecki Holy Knight dropped dead as his body burned in agony. August Mikołaj Jazloviecki-Buckfort lived 109 years, now he departed on his last journey, to find eternal peace and finally reconnect with his lost friends and family.
  4. FEAR THE OLD MAN IN A PROFESSION WHERE MEN DIE YOUNG. “It is not what you want, when duty calls. I must answer, always.” “And now for the promotions to Armsman. Step forwards, Sebastian Bishop.” Lord Marshal Johann Barclay called out to the members of the Brotherhood of Saint Karl gathered on the square. Sebastian grinned with a cocky smile as he walked forwards to the Lord Marshal. He knew this promotion was coming, not for his outstanding mentality or likeable personality. Sebastian Bishop knew this promotion was coming due to a simple fact of him being one of the best in battle. “Thank du, Lord Marshal.” He said with a sly snicker towards The Lord Marshal Sebastian found himself on the battlefields facing down enemy forces. “Get the Lord Marshal!” The now Armiger shouted out as he spotted Lord Marshal Hieran Melphestaus unconscious on the floor infront of the enemy. He charged forwards together with Sviatoslav Godunov to face down the foes. “Cover mich, Sviatoslav!” Sebastian Bishop called out as he grabbed the Lord Marshal to carry him away. SWISH! The halberd of the enemy went right towards Sebastian’s face, cleaving half of it off. The Armiger cried out in pain yet he carried the unconscious Marshal away to safety nonetheless. “I am pleased to announce a new Sergeant to my officer core.” Spoke Lord Marshal Sergei Aleksandr. “Please come forwards, Armiger Sebastian Bishop.” Finally, Sebastian thought to himself as he stepped forwards on the podium to be promoted. “Thank du, Lord Marshal. Ich promise to serve the Brotherhood of Saint Karl to mich last breath.” He spoke with a sense of duty and loyalty in his voice, the left side of his face now scarred and partially covered by an eye-patch. The young upstart that once was, who only cared about being the best with no regard for others had now faded. Now, Sergeant Sebastian Bishop was truly ready to give everything he had for the Brotherhood of Saint Karl. He gave a salute as he finished his speech before sitting back down. “Down the hill, sir! There is a wooden bridge that we can use to flank them with, permission to assemble a squad to engage!?” Sergeant Sebastian Bishop roared out in the midst of the siege on the Inferi fort. “Permission granted, Sergeant!” Royal Captain Felix Weiss shouted back at Sebastian before the Sergeant assembled a force to go engage, consisting of Ser Vanhart, Baldrum Colborn, Ser Walton and Tulip. Soon, they were receiving heavy hellfire and projectiles from above. “Put up dur shields, do nie falter!” Sergeant Sebastian Bishop commanded as they held firm against the constant onslaught of fire, an incredible feat as they covered the main force with only five men. Soon they pushed upwards the wooden bridge, with Ser Vanhart and himself at the front. “WATCH OUT!” Sebastian Bishop slammed himself infront of Ser Vanhart as a massive olog sized Inferi charged through ice, taking heavy damage and the loss of his only remaining eye. And there he sat in the square of Karosgrad, flipping around some medals of Valor in his hands with no vision remaining, a disabled veteran that now lingered as a ghost of his former self. It was many years before he finally amassed enough mina to purchase himself artificial Animii eyes. “Hallo.” Sebastian walked up to a pair of kids who were looking at a Brotherhood poster. “AAAAAHH!” They pointed at his extremely scarred face and pair of golden Animii eyes before running away. “Bah.” He walked inside of the barracks where he encountered the now Lord Marshal Felix Weiss “Gutte day, Lord Marshal.” He grinned at his old friend before giving the man a salute. “Permission to go back in the line of fire und duty?” Sebastian Bishop asked of the man. “Go back? In my eyes you never left, Sergeant.” The Lord Marshal said towards the man with a pat on the shoulder. Sebastian read a missive now, he grinned to himself as he read the title. ‘Writ of Aulic appointment, Lord Marshal of the Realm, we now announce Sebastian Bishop as the new Lord Marshal of the Brotherhood of Saint Karl!’ The man beamed with pride and enthusiasm as he got straight to work. “I am here to announce my retirement as the Lord Marshal of the Brotherhood.” Sebastian said with a somber tone, Alas, he had been struck by a condition that caused him to be far too tired for the Lord Marshal job. He left the podium, dissatisfied with his work. He scribbled down Lieutenant Wilheim Barclay as his favoured replacement and went to his home. And suddenly, there he stood. In the duma hall facing down hordes of Mori legionnaires with their commander at the front. “Retreat, Sebastian!” Lord Marshal Wilheim Barclay shouted out at the oldest veteran the Brotherhood had left. “Ich will cover du, leave the rest of du!” He roared out as he went to face down the commander, drawing his shield and blade. “Care for a duel!?” The old veteran challenged the commander, their best of the best. As the two clashed weapons, he held firm. He always did, he always will, Sebastian thought to himself. Then he heard a friend, A Lieutenant under him, a man loved by many drop dead in the hallway. Ser Baldrum Colborn had fallen behind him. “DID DU KNOW HIS NAME!?” He roared out in fury at Nakaas. “HIS NAME WAS SER BALDRUM COLBORN, A LIEUTENANT UNDER MICH! LOVED BY MANY, HE WAS A GREAT FRIEND!” His blade struck through, slicing apart a piece of Nakaas’ shoulder. “DO DU WANT TO KNOW MY NAME, NAKAAS!?” He shouted at the commander. “ICH AM SEBASTIAN BISHOP, THE OLDEST MAN STILL REMAINING IN THE BROTHERHOOD, AND ICH HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE!” The two clashed blades but soon the old veteran began to tire out, and it showed. “Well met, Sebastian, then let me tell you something. Nakaas does not mean anything, it is simply a title of someone nameless. I was once known as Toriel The White under her ladyship before YOUR kind slew her!” The commander roared back out at Sebastian before both men let forth a wicked grin. “Then let us see whose vengeance is stronger, Sebastian.” Toriel The White said as he readied his blades. “Ich would have it nie other way!” Sebastian responded before the two men engaged once more. Yet it did not last. slowly, Toriel gained the upper hand as the man’s indomitable spirit that had trademarked him his entire life soon died down, soon he was impaled on the commander’s war glaive. “Well fought, Toriel The White.” He said as he took a final puff of his cigar before the man slipped out of consciousness, dead upon the Duma floor. “I will remember your names, Baldrum Colborn and Sebastian Bishop.” The now scarred commander of the Mori said towards the two dead men.
  5. FIELDS OF GREY [♪] The battle was going to be horrifying. That, the old soldier knew for sure. In his lifetime, Wiktor Jazloviecki has seen enough to make him able to predict that from the atmosphere alone. And even so, it exceeded anything he could have ever expected. He rallied together at the Herzogtum of Minitz along with his Lechian brethren, adorned in the armour of the Hetman of Eagle’s Watch. He listened as soldiers and warriors chatted around him- some prayed, some jested, some discussed- but all appeared well-prepared for the upcoming clash. Upon hearing orders shouted left and right, he made his way up on the wall, gone to inspect the horizon. There, he met his nephews- Waclaw and Aleksander Jazloviecki. As he was talking with them, many men and women, the proud defenders of Minitz, flooded the walls and Wiktor was sure the collision of the vicious and dreadful Mori and the honourable descendants was upon him. He unsheathed his sword and readied himself to oppose the horrors. The locusts came first- twisted, sky-faring spawns of Iblees. The Minitzer protectors loaded their bolts into their crossbows, stones into their trebuchets, and shortly after, the black night sky was filled with hundreds of projectiles, many of which found their targets. On the ground, eldritch arachnoids came in like an avalanche, crushing into the walls with horrible vigour. And, the worst of all- from the Minitz lake, bubbles appeared on the surface. Not very long after, a massive orb of energy and dark magic showed itself at the sight of the defenders. Soon, it started to hover over to the Duchy. The vile creation started to rip the city apart, tearing it piece by piece. “Retreat to the gates!” The orders were clear, and Wiktor, with the rest of the soldiers moved from the walls to defend the main gate, which has fallen under the attack of a horde of Dreadknights. The plate-clad undead beings stood armed in front of the gate, their lifeless eyes laid on the descendants. As the protectors of Minitz stood prepared right at the bars of the gate, the Duke gave the order to open it- luring the battalion of Dreadknights in. Once they stood under the now-lifted gate bars, the Duke commanded for the gate mechanism to be activated. The bars crashed down, impaling through all who stood under them, that being, in the favour of the defenders, a great portion of the Dreadknight force. Another order was shouted- ignite the buildings that stand nearest to the gate. With the order being accomplished, Duke Brandt instructed to open the gates, letting the Dreadknights in. The two armies collided, and a storm of steel began. The battle was fierce, and Wiktor tried to cut through as many as he could. As the numbers thinned, he noticed that red colour cascaded down his side, and soon enough, he started to lose conscience. The world started to spin as he felt his strength slip away, his legs now being barely able to carry the weight of his body. He tried to resist, to strike one more time, but could very scarcely raise his sword- and in a brief moment, he only felt a cold breeze and complete silence. Closing his eyes, he then departed to eternal rest.
  6. Chagrin d’Amour et Étoiles Filantes The Maiden She was a fiery thing when she arrived in Petra, likened to a wildfire with her messy red curls and that temper inherited from the father she had never met. Her grudges seemed never ending and so were her questions in regards to the authority of her relatives over her. The sheltered upbringing Laetitia faced caused her to become somewhat uncouth and foul-mouthed, especially in regards to those she viewed as trying to force their authority over her. Laetitia didn’t understand why her mother insisted on dragging her off to a place so cold and dreary. Only that she was finally being allowed to show her face in official, formal settings. This was a great change for the poor girl, and something she had never been allowed to do prior; for fear of her grandmother’s reaction upon learning of little Lottie’s existence. The bastard of a second daughter with the illegitimate son of her grandmother’s treacherous sister; her mere existence was scandalous enough to rend the heart of any woman. And Laetitia proved to be no exception. During her time as Mistress of the Robes to the River Court, Laetitia had fallen head over heels for the illustrious Prince Marius of Haense, younger brother to the man who would later become Georg I of Haense – the latter being none other than the man poor Lottie’s heart would ache for most in the final years of her life, a fact known to everyone who was anyone as she was almost constantly at his side; doting on and fawning over him. The Mother Much like her heart, the state of Petra would become war-torn and weak in the aftermath of Renilde and Marius’s affair being leaked to the public. For many years Lottie traveled Almaris in an idle manner, no responsibilities or desires aside from finding some… purpose for herself after her very world was torn asunder in the chaos of Petra. Peace and respite, that was what she wanted most. She found it in the Morrivi Courts, and for a handful of years she was golden. She was loved, admired… she felt whole again. There was a time when smiles and jokes were a common part of everyday conversation, no matter if it was with a stranger or her nearest and dearest. The highlight of her life was undoubtedly at her debut, when she was named the first ever Swan of the Symposia Pragma. But it would not last, much like the reputation of the woman once thought to be the loveliest of roses in the garden of her family. The Crone Her father’s outright dislike for Laetitia came suddenly; it was one huff at the news he’d eloped without informing anyone and suddenly he was jumping at the chance to disown her and put an end to her “disrespect.” What’s more, he had taken to scolding her for being a “golddigger” every time they met, a fact that was by no means true. During the Symposia she had briefly courted a man of common status before he suddenly stopped attending the Symposia’s events… At which time another suitor made himself known, and she accepted him. What’s worse with her situation at this time, the sudden deaths of Georg’s wife and daughter caused him to grow distant. Not that she was not sad at this news, but She had never met Georg’s wife and infamously had a rather sour relationship with Mariya. Laetitia grew worried, and sought solace from this familial and romantic strife with an uncle, Franz Sarkozic. He was supportive, warm, and paternal; everything she needed at the time–and everything she wanted out of a father figure. He prioritized her over his work, and was there to comfort her when she was upset. He always stood up to protect her, and offered her advice when she needed it most. During a particularly heated conversation, Emir announced that he had ruined Georg and Laetitia’s relationship by gossiping with him about how 'wouldn’t she make such an awful wife and stepmother?' This was Laetitia’s last straw, and she promptly announced that Emir was dead to her. After storming out of Haute-Epine, Laetitia and Blanca promptly filed a lawsuit against Emir, which they were quickly intimidated into dropping as Emir formally disowned Blanca. The rest of Laetitia’s life was one complicated, downward slope. Her heart continued to weaken from the stress of it all, leading to another family argument as Emir refused to treat her for a heart attack until Franz insisted he would have Emir charged for murder if she died. She was well enough for a time, and her family soon decided enough was enough and arranged her marriage. She was to wed a man from the Roa family, who had established for themselves a Viscounty in Urguan. The marriage was as brief as her first, secret marriage. The only difference being that this time Lottie was the one to make a widower of her groom. Her heart was failing, slowly. She knew it. She would never live to watch her children grow up. And so, she wrote. [!] A public statement would be released announcing the death of Laetitia de Roa, formerly Laetitia de Rosius d’Abbassia. It is with great sorrow that the passing of Lady Laetitia Henrietta de Roa, Mistress of the Robes to the Morrivi Court, is announced by her next of kin. She passed on the 18th of Snow’s Maiden, 1923, of heart failure. We ask for you to be with her family at this time, and offer them your prayers. [!] In the days following the news of Laetitia’s death, letters would be sent out Eryane Franz Renilde Emma, Mariana & Blanca Emir Georg The Roas OOC stuff
  7. [This post is about an IRP event, if you were not there you don’t know about it!] A lot of things were to be said about Otton. A lonely individual, a misguided individual, a gullible individual. A pushover. Despite being one of undeath and immortality, there was still an ever so slight resemblance of his previous life within his bones toward his own kin. He was doing just that, aiming to assist his kin and an attempt at repairing mistakes, reconciliation. A quick meander happened upon that keep and he would greet the man outside. A quick exchange of words was to be had, before he was quickly ushered and led inside of those isolated walls. A cold feeling overcame Otton as he approached the project that was to be worked on, just a few days prior he had done the very same thing, his guard down from familiarity and comfort that his apology had been accepted in his mind. Misguided once more, nothing unusual for the immortal, yet this time truly fatal. An uncountable number of assailants, ones he had seen before and yet denied their deal. But this wasn’t about their rejected deal. It was about his actions. He had been found out, and no matter how innocent he truly was, guilty was all that awaited him. His pleas had run out, no more were to be accepted, and this plea to be his last. The impossible was being committed, an act so heinous he had only ever seen it once before himself, the event that had led up to the present. His power fell, a draining not felt before as genus was stripped from his marrows. Gift soon depleting, and nothing left of the Prince of Comoară, nothing left of the Hierarch of Illia’s Blood and nothing left of Otton Jazloviecki. He was truly slain. “You have become what you hate, what you feared has overtaken you. Your daughter unable to be brought back, and all was not by mine hands. Not even a smell is present upon my marrows and yet the most heinous crime against our kin to be committed. Revel in it, writhe in it. Your fate awaits you, eternal shunning and a life of being prey, not the hunter.”
  8. A Halfling's Life [!] A portrait of Aech, expression devoid of laughter or mischief. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. The grandfather clock upon a certain halfling’s wall tick, tick, ticked through the minutes. An amber eyed figure of just two feet gazing upon it’s glass face. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. How infuriating. Aech thought to themselves. How long have I been here, staring at the time go by? How long has time been staring at me? Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick- CRASH A crystalline dagger embedded into the old clock’s crystal pane, stuck perfectly between the minute and hour hand. . . just before the time hit 12. Aech with his right hand outstretched, golden and amber mists, trickling through their fingers like sand before dissipating back into the aether. Perfectly aimed. Perfectly thrown. Perfectly done. He supposed that's what happens when you’ve been alive so long. Practicing endless repetitions. Fighting in countless battles. Then again, she had barely been alive compared to many of her friends. . . Though surely, she’d lived a long life for a halfling. They studied their hand then, glowing orange eyes watching that glittering aura orbit around her fingers, weaving through the air. Watched as the magic traveled through where her ring and pinky finger used to be. . . How funny it was to think back to how she had lost them. Decades ago, before they were even an eminent. . . Must have been in Krugmar, multiple rexes ago... His gaze traveled up further his arm, the beads of orange light that pulsed through just beneath their skin. Illuminating a pathway to the many scars he had collected through the years. Burns along her arms from fighting a water elemental. . . Her magegold tattoos that ran like veins across her collarbones. . . Her two missing legs, of course. . . The stab through her hand. . . a large scar across her back from her first brush with the ferrymen… my, wasn’t that eventful. She recalled that injury, how it had almost been the death of her. Perhaps for a larger descendent, it was one to recover from quickly. But not for she. What a fate that awaited for such a small being, born with a heart of fire. Born to burn, born to fight, born to illuminate. Perhaps that was the day she realized how weak she was. And so began the climb. Training, learning, fighting, everything in between. Until they stood as they did today. Certainly no longer young, but with power thrumming at their fingertips, they had everything they had ever wanted. Money enough for anyone, gold and all that glitters in amounts a dragon would envy, and power. Strength. Magic. And yet. Bored. How infuriating it was, to have all you wanted! Life was meaningless without something to want, something to chase, something to become! To amble about your days with power so great you could challenge a god, power enough to raze cities! And for what? Never would the chance arise to be part of something more. She could feel it in her bones- her time was coming to an end. And there was nothing she could do to stop it. Aech lifted from off their seat, floating through the air towards a nearby mirror. They gave the smallest of smiles, even in such a state of boredom finding amusement in their minor flight. The two atronach legs they had, which allowed them to float about as they did. They had a dire wolf to thank for one, and a siren for the other. So many adventures had she partaken. Adventure. Excitement, discovery, knowledge! That’s what she was missing. In their youth, such was commonplace! Everything was a new experience, there was thrill in everything if you looked in the right places. Pranks to be played, chaos to cause, memories to make. . . He had seen kingdoms rise and fall, perhaps even helped with a few. He had seen enemies die, some by his own hand. He had watched children grow old and die, he had loved, he had lived while many friends had not. But now. . . nothing. Just the clock. Ticking by. . . . Silence. Ah, that's right. They murmur to themselves. The clock is gone. Perhaps. . . it is time that I go too. [!] A portrait of a young Aech- full of mirth and joy. And so they sat before the fireplace. A hummingbird of copper and ruby feathers resting upon the mantle, old as a bird could be. “Are you ready to fly, my jewel? One last time?” They uttered out. A booklet of letters sat within their lap, each small letter handwritten with. . . the closest thing to love a sociopath could feel. She placed the small bundle of letters beneath the bird’s claws, and off it flew to the aviary. . . For clearly, such a small bird could not fly across Almaris alone. She smiled faintly as it flew off, though she was not sad. Rather. . . relieved. She stood from where she sat, and pain suddenly arced its way across her body. A feeling too frequent now. I’ve grown old. Somewhere within her, she knew tonight was the last night. The tiny halfling curled up in their chair by the fire, staring into the flickering flames. He felt his eyes grow heavy, his breathing slow. She wrapped herself tighter in a thick blanket, fighting the chill that threatened to pierce through her body. Dreamily, they thought of all the people they would see again, soon. . . Brian. . . Vesryn. . . Octavia. . . Plume. . . Alucard. . . Frisket. . . Her ex-husband, that would be awkward for certain. . . Countless others, to be sure, that their sleep-addled mind could not remember to iterate. Bah, no matter. I’ll be seeing them all soon. Vaguely they could process someone entering her home. . . Ah, she got my letter. Good. Valindra kneeling beside him, holding Aech in her arms. He smiled, as she held his tiny hands in hers. “Thank you.” He whispered. In and out of consciousness did they float, every now and then being aware of the tears falling onto their body. . . The mana gem that sat embedded between her collarbones began to flicker, as they used a last bit of magic to dry her dear friend’s tears with a breeze of warm air. Magic pulsed through their body, as for one last time Aech enjoyed the power it gave them. Am I selfish? She wondered. To leave so many behind? There are ways to evade death. . . and yet I let it take me with open arms. Do I fight to stay alive? Like I always have? No, no. . . I deserve a rest. His eyes closed.
  9. Bruised, bloodied, and battered. His nose is broken and dripping blood onto the steady cannon which rests upon the San'Velku gatehouse, overlooking the many primitive and red huts of the sons of Kurg. Hands were tied behind his back and his feet were tied together as Bogdag'Lakul speaks out to the masses gathered below, announcing a sacrifice to his patron spirit. Some uruks take the liberty to spit at Bjorn as he looks towards the many huts, wondering where he f*cked up... Merely a lady's hour ago he came to sell an artifact to an Uruk which he had stolen from the Druids in the south, having taken it with the very man that was now about to sacrifice him. Yet he was betrayed and sold out by the seller. When they entered the city they were greeted by the supposed buyer, who was Bogdag'Lakul, but also by the Rex of Krugmar. "The orb is a weapon of Iron Horde and you will give us it!" declared the Rex towards the group of Redclyfians. "If yew ain' buyin' i' t'en f*ck off." responded Bjorn and attempted to leave after a while which he was stopped from doing. "You can klomp us for it." spoke the rex or the supposed buyer. Bjorn did not remember nor did he care. After haggling to no avail, they were forced into a klomp where they lost. Yet no magical artifact was to be found on Bjorn's body as they searched through him! He let out a crude laugh at them when they figured it out. Little did they know that he had given it to one of his family members when locked inside the city but time was running short since the uruks wanted to search through everyone.. Adaranth of Redclyf came to the rescue! Having made a fake beforehand and handed it to the uruks, managing to trick them into believing it was the real one. Adaranth managed to save the rest of the Redclyfians and the one who was handed the orb managed to slip out. Bjorn was to be held hostage until his countrymen returned with the authentic and real item. They never did... "Mig't aswell go ou' wit' a fig't." was the only word that escaped Bjorn's mouth before he turned around to face Bogdag'Lakul, gathering all his strength as he with great force kicked the uruk's leg, forcing him off balance and off the cannon! Desperation and a hope for freedom was the thing that drove Bjorn forward in a fight against impossible odds yet there was no fear in his heart as he rose from the cannon, bunny-hopping back onto the floor of the Gatehouse. He had two options as Bogdag came to cut off any chance of escape; jump forward and perhaps find a way out behind the corner to his right or get back on the cannon. Seeing that he had no other choice, he hopped forward only to see that there was no escape! Only a door! Bogdag raised his mighty axe and swung it towards Bjorn! He had to act quickly and react quickly! He threw himself forward and onto the Uruk, the handle of the axe slamming into his arm yet the Uruk stumbled back as he was hit with Bjorn 300 pounds of mass. The hit from the handle sent Bjorn off his balance, flying towards the right as he got closer to the balcony of the Gatehouse. Bogdag approached him again, swinging his axe down towards Bjorn in an attempt to split him in two! Bjorn began rolling on the floor like a madman, trying to get ever closer to the balcony as the Uruk either missed him or glanced off the plate armor of Bjorn. Bogdag had had enough of Bjorn's desperate escape and antics! He forced Bjorn to a stop by putting his foot over him as he attempted to strike him. Bjorn got desperate and attempted to kick the uruk in the groin to no avail. The Uruk raised his axe above his head before he swung it down at Bjorn. Bjorn dug his feet into the ground and pushed himself across the floor to save his head yet the axe came down on his chest, breaking ribs and cracking whatever was left unbroken. Axe raised again as Bogdag stood atop of him, feet on each side as he swung the axe down towards him again. All hope was gone... This was the end... Cleaved in two just like that? Would be shameful... yet that is not what happened! Bjorn rolled himself up into a roly-poly, bones breaking and becoming more cracked before delivering a mighty kick towards the jaw of the uruk, knocking him away several steps. Freedom was near! He could smell it! He could taste it with each breath and it tasted like blood! He got on his feet and a chase began. Bogdag charged after Bjorn as he continued bunny-hopping toward the ledge! He would escape and bring revenge to the sons of Krugmar for their betrayal! That was not to be. He slipped as he jumped over the ledge, falling over and rolling off the cliff, slamming into rock and stone as his body shattered and twisted, bone piercing his organs and flesh from within. A swift death. A quick death. A fatal bunny hop. His body was soon returned to Krug where they stripped it of its armor and began peeling off the skin with blades, leaving the contorted body skinless and naked before it was strung up in front of the gate in Krugmar for all to see...
  10. "Perhaps if I had more time..." A painting of Hans' loyal canine, Cardinal It is not often that life in Almaris is taken by illness nor by age, though it seems for the lineage of Alstreim one is so lucky to die a more peaceful death. His things set aside in his now abandoned room, left for his remaining family along with a more private letter. After surviving thanium poisoning and shamanic curses for much of his life, the now grown-old Hans Lorenz von Alstreim was taken without warning. Succumbing to his ailments at last, the elder Alstreim left behind the copies of a letter that upon reading seem to have been written in frustration. Perhaps, this letter is important? It sits quietly upon the ground just outside your home, drifting in the wind across the road- all reaches of the continent with scattered copies of a final message. Whether this letter was written just before his passing or some time ago remains unclear, though his signature is left emblazoned upon the bottom, signed in clarity. ((I ask now that, out of character, you do not use the contents of this letter to start any sort of villainous roleplay nor against me oocly. I have reached a point where I do not think I could stand it, and I do not want to make life any more difficult for Meleutherius. I cannot stop you, but take my request as you will.)) If you read on, it begins: Amor etiam in morte, virtus etiam in ignavia Hans Lorenz von Alstreim @Tigergiri @Ramon @LithiumSedai @Fireheart @ScoutTheWitch
  11. It was somewhere in the snowy tundras of the North that the Dwed met his end. It was cold. A day of endless wandering as any other, the Dark Dwarf having lost all he held dear when the nation of Vistulia fell and his friends perished. He merely wandered since then. Devoid of purpose and hope. Nothing accompanied him but the cold sounds of metal from the weapons at his belt and the crunch of the snow below those worn leather boots of his. For once, he enjoyed the solitude, the ability to make amends with his thoughts, for no man could possibly interrupt him here. He took rest near a singular pine tree that stood, as solitary as he was. He began setting camp, as was his usual routine. Gather some scraps to set a fire with, set up the tent and boil water for tea. “A long road awaits me.” He thought, “But where am I even going?”. Crunch. The sound of feet touching the ground rang through his ears like an explosion. He had looked around and no one was anywhere near him, yet it sounded mere feet away. His head cocked instinctively towards the sound, and he was met with a frostbitten woman of bluish skin. “Don’t scare me like that, lass.” His figure grew tense. “You are far, far from home, Dwarf.” She noted. “No such thing as home anymore.” He muttered in response, standing up from his momentary rest. Within moments, the womans’ face was torn open, a giant, gushing wound and a hungry mouth at once. The creature charged towards him. “WHAT THE ****!” He cried out, his weapons now grasped within those cold palms of his, ready to defend himself. Stab. Twist. The creature lunged onto him. An elongated, talon-like nail biting into the cold flesh of his collarbone and then twisting. His shortsword came digging into the female's waist. No response. Then, the warhammer fell upon her head. THUNK! Her skull vibrated, cracking from the impact, yet it only made the creature angrier. Stab. Twist. Another talon dug its way into his eye, those fiery embers quickly dimming out as another frantic blow came at the creature’s head. THUNK! crunch. . . The warhammer sunk in the snow as Kargârn contorted. A terrible scream and a wet crack rang out through the frosted valley. Kargârn was no more. The creature feasted well that gloomy evening. A lone mountain goat wandered the areas of Alisgrad and Urguan, a pack of letters strapped to its' back.
  12. Folly of a Performer Memories of the first Countess of Otistadt "We Come as Crows” “Ist vyr papej planning for vy to debut as vell?” Asked Theodosya Cecilya as she sat with the young Adele Emma Ludovar during the aftermath of The Snowflake Ball which the girl had organised. “Uhm…” The nervous girl started, “Ea believe so… Since Ami and ea are both his first born daughters. Though, ea think Amicia is already betrothed. So yam niet sure what it would achieve..” She mumbled, a hint of grumpiness in her voice. “But nie one is interested in me anyway. Yam too quiet, ea suppose…” Theo glanced to the girl, faint concern washing her face before she added, “Zome people like zhe quiet - it is niet alvays about.. Being zhe loudest or… Most social.” The young Ludovar wished the sleeves of her light blue ballgown were longer so that she may hold them, as she always did, to keep herself calm and give her something to fidget with while uncomfortable - as was her tendency during her first couple years entering court life. “Ea do work…” She murmured, “But ea don’t think yam the sort of person a nice boy would want to marry.” She grimaced, not entirely convinced of having to marry later in life. “Ea don’t think ea want to leave home anyway…” “And ea think mea papej needs someone to be home with him.” Theodosya’s brows furrowed in thought at that, then asking: “Vhat makes vy say zhat about Johann?” “Well… He broke up with Vasilia because of us.” Adele swallowed nervously, “And he’s always saying that we’re the most important things to him. So… Ea feel like one of us should stay at home to be with him.” “Ea know…” Theodosya crooned, gently patting Adele’s head and wearing a troubled smile. “Johann… Still loves Vasilia. He vas just… Vorried about vy two when the three of vy went to Oren vithout telling him. It ist… A whole debaucle.” The woman frowned, “But vy are still young, vy do niet have to worry about getting married yet at all.” Adele sighed to herself, before leaning her head against Theo’s shoulder. “Ea know that if yam going to live well, then ea either have to decide niet to marry and face the… Rumours, or ea need to work and-” In her rambling, the young Ludovar had not noticed someone creeping up on them. Thus, when Ser August leaned down, Adele jumped off the Mondblume and shrieked in fright - triggering Theo to send her fiancé a death glare. Adele stood, alone, at the Sedanian Admirer's Masqerade. The dulcet tones of the music filled the air as dozens of couples danced on the makeshift dancefloor. One of those couples included her sister and her betrothed. Who could live up to becoming a Princess? It sounds like a fairytale. The eldest daughter of the Baron was to be married to a foreign prince! And the younger twin sister? Strewn aside to be picked up by whoever would settle for the younger, far more shy sister. Amicia's raven black hair stood out to all who met her. She looked like her father. And like his father. And like the rest of the family. And she? She had scraggly blonde hair. She looked like more of a Barclay than Ludovar. And everyone said that she looked like her mother. Her mother, who Johann supposedly hated. Her mother, who Johann was rumoured to have killed. Sometimes Adele wondered whether she was adopted. Whether the terrible stories that their father told her of Anya were fake and that really she had been adopted and thus unworthy of her position and status the entire time. Her mask slipped, obscuring her vision and it was gone in a ripple of the water slipping down her reddened cheeks. Amicia sighed, shaking her head. “Adele. Who would send mea chocolates?” She asked, as Adele held a box of Juliyafest chocolates the two had been sent in her grasp. “Ea do niet have someone who adores mea like vy do.” Her twin added, then briskly walking away to join another group of young minglers before the gobsmacked girl could respond. Adele was stung, watching her sister beeline her way away. Deflated entirely from her initial excitement about the prospect of their secret admirer, she huffed to herself and hopped up from the chair the twins had been sat in and continued off swiftly, trying to get as far from Amicia in that moment as she could. She got caught in the throng of people, grateful to have lost sight of Amicia in that brief moment of spite towards her sister; her own older twin. And who was she to sound as though she was jealous. Of her? What did she have to be jealous of? Adele’s stomach turned as she watched poor Matyas bleed from the nose upon the ballroom floor. The Baruch that had headbutted the young man had retreated from the room - flanked by several knights and the Queen herself - though what really irked her was that thing attached to him. Whoever she was - Kaustantin Baruch’s daughter, Fenika - Adele didn’t like her. The girl clung to Matyas like a leech and ever so occasionally she would open her mouth and screech like an inbred mongrel. Adele could only stand still as a statue, ever so often making brief, worried inquiries, as she watched the chaos ensue around her. She blinked, and the scene was completely different. Matyas glanced around the bustling ballroom, asking, “So, uh, what’s happening now-?” And everyone replied at once. “Ye need to sit Matty.” Instructed Fenika, sing-songlike, before Elizaveta added, “Yam waiting for a spasibo.” And finally Adele found her lips moving to echo the previous words of Klara as she left: “Prinzenas Klara told vy to rest.” And as she watched the pair rise from the floor, her breath hitched when the girl - who couldn’t be much older than her - tightly grasped Matyas’s hand and held it close to her chest. “Come, ye need to si’.” She told him and he obliged, following her to a chair in the corner. But Adele’s heart nearly stopped when, after standing stocky still in shock as chaos continued around them, the elderly Kaustantin Baruch approached the pair of Fenika and Matyas (a good-looking couple, she couldn’t deny). He spoke. “Ea’m sorry for hitting vy, but if vy make mea daughter cry again-” But he got interrupted by his minx of a daughter. “Papej… Please dinnae hit my man- ah’ mean… Matty again.” “Aleksey… prefers researching birds and wants to focus on that during his life much more… Than he wants to manage the family.” Johann finished, then cautiously scanning his daughter for her reaction. Meanwhile, Adele blinked as her mind filled with concern. “Oh.” She murmured as her face contorted between shock, worry and then … Regret. “Then- what will vy do?” She asked worriedly, “What will happen to us…?” Johann took a deep breath as he listened to her, “Well… Ea could force him to take the role… But… Ea do niet want to.” He stated, the air between the two growing thick and tense as he continued. “Ea suffered greatly because of this position that landed on me just because of the time and the parents ea was born to. All ea wish for the three of vy is happiness and if that is what brings him pleasure then so be it.” “But,” He glanced up a bit to meet her eyes. “Someone will still take the title… And none of us want it to be Josef.” He joked to clear the air. Unbeknownst to Johann, his brother would die of wounds sustained from his Knight’s Quest in the Hospital of St. Amyas less than a month later and he would soon regret his words. However, Adele’s brows furrowed for a moment. “But… Amicia will be the Prinzenas of Sedan, so she can’t-” And suddenly she paled as it dawned on her, and all those suggestions and predictions from her friends seemed to be coming true. “But- vy can’t-” She stuttered as her eyes widened, “It’s niet- d-don’t vy need the Koeng’s p-permission??” A small uncontrollable grin grew on Johann’s face as he watched her reaction. “Da. Well, ea do.” He stated, “He agreed.” It was as though time was slowing in that moment. Even though she was full of nerves and her heart beat with a quickening pace inside her chest, as she looked around the dim yet warmly lit Von Audrick home she finally knew that this was Peace. Her mother stood hugging Christopher tightly as he arrived, dinner was ready, and over there was Matyas. Their happy banter earlier had cheered her, even if his teasing had agitated her so. But he helped Adelaide with the food, and her mother was pregnant again with her final sibling. What bliss. And then… That which sealed her fate: Matyas whispered to her. “So uh…” He looked to her with vague suspicion. “This is… Vyr friends-?” It was later. ‘Adele. We need to talk. - Matyas’ These were the only words on the note that would later ruin her marriage. This was all he had thought to say. “What’s the problem??” She asked him in concern as he tightly hugged her, and tears spilled from his reddened eyes. “Ea don’t believe et…” Murmured Maric Ruthern from a distance off as he watched the exchange between the betrothed pair. “Yam so, so sorry.” Matyas blubbered, his voice soft and quiet because of his sobbing. “This es an act, Adele.” Chimed Maric, “Do niet fall for et.” Adele pulled back from the hug, cupping Matyas’s cheek worriedly as she looked at him. While her eyes momentarily flicked to Maric, they landed back on her fiancé as she spoke. “What’s wrong???” “Da- Tell her.” “Ea, ea…” He stuttered between sobs, clearly frantic as he tried worthlessly to wipe his eyes with his sleeve. “Ea went to Vidaus to congratulate Lucien and Stefaniya after ea left Adelaide’s…” He trailed off some, pausing as his sobbing became uncontrollable and increased in volume. “And ea… Ea had some wine, and… Ea danced with Angelika, and…” He continued on, but his words became incoherent and muddled. Eventually, Maric ran out of patience and chimed in. “Ea found them together in her bedroom.” Her hands shook uncontrollably as she removed them from his cheeks, her eyes filled with what could only be described as shock and horror. And under the surface, something she didn’t name… Regret. Her pale face stared into his cloudy, tearful blue eyes. Her hands were cold. Her head felt foggy as her stomach turned under her silk-laden gown of intricate embroidery and the red fabric symbolising their passion. “He’s just… Stubborn, and he thinks he knows best.” Adele grumbled, pursing her lips as he began to chuckle. “... That doesn’t mean it’s niet mea fault. He would niet have-” Suddenly he cut himself soberly off at the notion, glancing off into the distance and only uttering a: “Szam.” Meanwhile, Adele had begun to trace the woodwork an line pattern of the table. They pair sat outside in the Palace gardens, the wind occasionally whipping through the trees above them. She bit her lip as she began to speak, “Matyas…” She mumbled, “... Why did vy do it - ?” “Yam hurt everywhere, Adele…” He pushed himself to sit upright, his eyes staring into hers as his hand sat slightly retracted from her. “Ea mean, what am ea supposed to do? Ea never … had anyone to be there for me, nie one that really cared for me. Ea have always felt like … Ea just existed, but never lived.” He then crossed his arms over his chest, “Ea don’t know. Vy managed, somehow, to become someone to me and for the first time ea finally felt like ea had someone who cared … And then, ea do niet know what happened from there … Maybe ea panicked? Ea … Ea have never been able to figure out how ea feel about anything.” Adele seemed to be shrinking down with each of his words. “Ea believed vy when vy said vy needed to help vyr aedypapej with something. S-so imagine mea surprise when ea heard what ea heard, and ea saw what ea saw.” She swallowed as she stared down at the ornately made-up spruce table, bearing a hole into it with her fiery eyes. “And vy told me it was because ea lied to vy about mea mamej, when if she was discovered they could kill her- or mea papej could- h-he’d panic. And then vy lied to me about where vy were going, and vy went to Vidaus and slept with another woman. C-can vy niet see- why … Ea think there might be more to this?” She asked in pleading, looking up and allowing her eyes to bear into his. “A-a-and how hypocritical that was. And why ea could feel like vy thought there was something wrong with me, to trigger t-that behaviour … ?” Horses’ hooves clattered along the cobbled road from Karosgrad that night. The Ludovar twins had visited the Palace after their father’s last episode, in order to attend the reading of King Sigismund’s will. Adele clutched in her hand the watch which the late-King had left for Johann, yet it was meant for her. Even as Adele and Amicia rushed up the stairs, they passed Johanna waiting patiently outside the Count’s door. Servants had been instructed to place him and care for him inside his bedroom, and they prayed for his recovery, yet in her heart she knew. “We’re back.” She breathed, breathless from the fast riding. Meanwhile, Amicia clambered onto his bed and clasped his hand like the twins did when they were small children. “Hello, papej…” She huffed for air, “Adele and ea came as soon as we could…” The twins seemed to have swapped roles; with Adele playing the part of the older sibling and standing beside Johann’s bed holding his hand, while Amicia laid beside him as they did when they were children. Adele reached down into her pocket, grasping his weak hand and placing the clock from Sigismund in his palm as tears spilled down her red cheeks. “H-he left vy this …” She whispered, and Johann chuckled. “Hmmm … Niet a sword.” He mumbled weakly, “Ea will scold him for that in the heavens.” She welled up at those words, shaking her head in tearful protest. “N-nie, papej … Please …” She whispered, “V-vy’re niet- vy can’t… Yam niet- e-ea still don’t feel …” And then the Count spoke his final words; and then Adele was broken in two. “Let me … Go with a quill .. In hand … Please … Ea want to die with mea weapon. Like Papej …” A loud sorrowful cry sounded the bell signalling the passing of the Count, and it was clear that Johann Fredrick Ludovar was dead. So much work would go on in the forthcoming months, as Adele planned Johann’s funeral and sorted through his affairs; through everything he left her, and everything he never told her. This was the beginning: that devil that would follow her forever. And yet there was more work to be done. “Da, ea have … L-letters to send.” Whispered Adele from within the Hospital of St. Amyas. Her dearest, brave cousin lay still on the bed in the cubicle. He was dead. He had been discovered - murdered - in his home, and was dead hours before anyone found him. Theodosya looked to the Countess with sympathy, “... Take care, mm? Ich am sure Conrad will deal with it.” The Surgeon General glanced a final time to the Ludovar’s body before exhaling. “The body will be ready soon enough, do niet worry. Focus on durself and dur family, love.” Adele was still, glancing down momentarily at her hands before she next spoke. “Ea have to make sure that Sibylla and their children with be alright. Spasiba for vyr work, Theo … Uhm … E-ea have writing to do, as vy can see.” Theodosya silently nodded, wheeling out the body to take it to the morgue for funeral preparations. Adele watched her go, resigning herself to leave. As she turned around she jumped at the voice of Godric Colborn. “Evenin’ Adele … Apologies for eymr loss.” “Ah - Prevja, Lord Colborn.” She murmured, attempting to put on a brave face for the dire circumstances at play. “Oh … Spasiba.” She grimaced. “Truly a tragedy.” Unbeknownst to the pair of them, it would be mere months before the Colborn Lord would be honourably killed in battle while protecting a child in the Royal City’s fraught streets. Whenever Adele thought back on their last conversation, she wished she had lingered longer … Said more. On a chilly winter’s day in the Ricksburg Keep of the Otistadt tundra, two indomitable wills came to blows. The Countess of Otistadt sat, employing every technique she could, stirring the chocolate-coloured liquid in her teacup as she stared at her cousin, Ilya Ludovar. Beside him sat his fiancée, an inexpensive ring carved out of wood rested on the common woman’s finger, as Ilya spoke. “It’s Zemzy, or nie one.” Instructed the younger man, sending a look to Adele; a Challenge. Her eyes narrowed at this, just as the commoner’s face lit up at the proclamation of love. “Then yam szam to the Firress,” Murmured Adele, accepting the challenge. She turned away from them in order to begin collecting each teacup back onto the tea tray. “As it’s nie one, then.” She finished coldly, standing up and gripping the edges of the tray. “Ea believe we’re done here then, Ilya?” She smiled, intent on irritating the man. Instead, he shrugged and got to his feet with a sigh. “Though ea shall have to disagree with one thing,” He slowly turned, almost fearfully, towards the unsurmountable will of the Countess herself, “Ea’ll have mea things packed by next month.” He finished, to which she stared at him intently, barely moving a muscle. “Ea hope vy have a nice holiday.” She spoke chillingly, “And when vy come back, traitor to House and family, ea will laugh.” She paused for barely a moment, although thousands of things ran through her mind in that breathless second until she spoke once more. “Both our papejs would be disappointed.” Only at this point did she lift the tray from the table, her final show of power and influence as she issued the pair with, “Vy may go.” In dismissal. As her cousin and his soon-to-be wife walked away, she called after them one last time. “Throw away everything our papejs worked so hard to provide for vy. Think about that.” And yet it wasn’t him she was trying to tell. Adele took a seat within the confines of her warm bedroom in Ricksburg, admiring the two paintings depicting her four children as her youngest, Rickard, peered up at them; One of a 3-year old Rickard, and the opposite of a 4-year old Valeriya, 6-year old Tatyana, and 7-year old Emma. She looks to her son with a smile. “See? Aren’t vy sweet?” The boy approached his portrait with a shocked face. “Wow … Yam so handsome.” He remarked, bearing a small smile soon wiped off his face as he spun around to spy the painting of his sisters. “Val!” He exclaimed, and it was quite clear to his Mother that he was unhappy at the sight of her. “Ea do niet like Valeriya anymore.” He huffed, crossing his arms. Adele sighed gently, going to pat the space beside her for him to sit. “She’s vyr sestra - why don’t vy like her?” She asks, tilting her head curiously. Rickard pouted, “She said ea reeked and Lily said that means yam very stinky.” He complained, as though he was disgusted with his older sister’s behaviour - he was. “Have vy tried bathing?” The Mother questioned patiently, “Vy are perfectly clean, mea son, but maybe she thinks vy don’t smell very nice.” “Because she is so stinky she only smells her stink and thinks it’s me!” The young child spoke with a grin, to which Adele rolled her eyes. “Neither of vy are stinky, vy’re both lashing out.” Rickard mumbled under his breath in protest. “Ricky, vy have to look after vyr sestras,” She told him gently, “Vy might be younger, but vy have to look out for them as their borsa.” “But whyyyy?” The boy chimed out in protest, “When yam niet there, vy’re the one who can protect them from bad people. Do vy understand? Vyr job as a borsa is to look out for vyr sestras and make sure they are niet in any trouble - especially with boys. Promise me vy will.” She stared intently at him, clearing asking him to make a very serious vow. “Ea will, Mamej.” He responded with a nod to his Mother. “Ea promise.” Adele sat calmly at her desk, counting coins. She sat alone, a single shaft of moonlight illuminating her monetary reports and shining upon each silver coin. Her eyes squinted in the dimness, whispering hushed numbers under her breath with each gesturing of her hands to count her coins into piles. Very often did she sit alone at her desk late into the night, filing papers, or writing the House accounts. “450, 460, 470, 475, 480, 490, 500 …” Her voice trailed off all of a sudden. Her eyes widened for moment as she tiredly completed the mathematical equations in her head. “5- 5000 …” She whispered in shock. “I-it’s-! 5000! Ea made it!” Tears welled in her dull green eyes. “Ea made it to 5000.” She sniffs, a hand reaching up to cover her mouth with joy. “We made it back to 5000, ea can support her …” The realisation dawned in her mind that her daughter, Emma, would have sufficient funds to support her enterprises during her tenure. After spending heaps of her Father’s savings early on in construction costs to their new home, Ricksburg, she had so often been wracked with worry that she would never make that money back. That Emma would be limited in her opportunities due to her own frivolous spending. She hated that idea. And yet, now she didn’t have to worry. No matter what happened to her, whether she died tomorrow, her successor would inherit plenty of money with which to support the coming generation. What peace of mind. Adele stood before her daughter - all dressed up in the attire that Adele had lovingly made her just for the occasion - as Emma started to cry. The background noises of the ongoing dual-Hauchmetvas emanated from within the Morrivi Palace while Countess Ludovar and her Heiress stood outside, away from the music and the dancing, backlit by golden light. “How could vy!” Cried the young Ludovar as tears rolled down her face. “Ea love him!” Such a proclamation shook Adele, reminding her of her own exclamation to her father at a similar age, and she dropped the act. “Wh-what? Emma- nie.” Spluttered the Countess, at which Emma continued. “But ea do, mamej!” She insisted, shaking her head. “He is kind and he cares about me!” “Nie-” Adele shook her head, silently cursing herself for her juvenile self’s headstrong demeanor, now reflected back at her. “Emma, nie. He might say that he cares about vy, but he does niet love vy. There are mch better choices, dear–” “He does!” She exclaimed once more, cutting off her mother as tears continued to flow. “He is the only one who has paid any attention to me! He is handsome, kind, and funny. And ea do niet care about status. Ea care about him!” The young Baroness insisted, causing Adele to to quietly sigh. “Ea know how vy feel, daughter of mine, ea truly do.” She reflected on her disobedience as a young adolescent with a sad sigh. “But he does niet love vy - he courts several girls at once, ea know what men like him are after.” She frowned pointedly, “He only wants vy for vyr looks, mea dear, when vy and ea both know there is so much more to vy than that.” “Vy are lying!” Emma shook her head, storming off towards the edge of the balcony the mother-daughter pair stood on. “Emma –” Adele called after her, trailing behind as she steeled herself for what she knew she must do. “Vy will understand,” She murmured remorsefully, strengthening herself to speak with concrete firmness. “Emma, vy are niet to associate with that boy anymore – he has agreed. There will be others, dearest, ea promise. Ea will simply betroth vy to a boy who canniet hurt vy.” “Vy wouldn’t!” “Ea can and ea will, if vy do niet stop this right now.” She returned harshly, staring right back at her daughter. “Emma, please, vyr papej is sick.” She began with a pleading expression. “Just agree, and he and ea can rest much easier. He wants to walk vy down the aisle with confidence,” She murmured exhaustively, “Niet worry.” “Ea love him, mamej …” Murmured the young woman. “Vy do niet love him, Girl!” Adele snapped, “It is vyr mind playing tricks on vy.” Emma paused for but a moment at this outburst before replying, very quietly. “Is that what Hauchpapej told vy when vy wanted to marry papej … ?” These words stirred Adele. “Nie.” She returned, face becoming void of all emotion and being replaced with only determination. “He said ea would thank him later.” Adele stood beside the crackling fire and flickering flames of the fireplace within the apartment designated to House Ludovar in the Morrivi Palace. Her brows creased as she stared intently at the young man before her. The nervous Samuel Vuiller stood firmly, though offering her a smile as they conclude their meeting. This was not an affable smile or a warm smile, but one belonging to a caring and devoted son. The Vuiller gave a deep bow. “By the name of Vuiller, of my Father, and my Grandfather, and St. Herald, and the trusted Eagle that protects us, by my Word … I will protect Lady Emma till my last breath.” He swore such words to Adele, a confidence and firmness to his gaze as he stared into the Matriarch’s eyes. His words of devotion appeared to meet Adele, who smiled gratefully and reached out to shake his hand. “Spasiba - then we have a deal.” She agreed, nodding her head in satisfaction. Samuel nodded his head as their hands shook, his own final experiences with his Grandfather’s last day echoing in his mind upon sensing the worry that came with the touch of Adele’s hand. The young man’s smile never waned, but his brows lowered in a sense of honour and pity for the aging Mother. “Ai, we have a promise.” He issued, then hesitating for the first moment. “I apologise - I don’t deal those I love, I put not price on them … So I promise with no price. It’s just how I do things.” He explained to the Countess nervously, to which she frowned momentarily before nodding her head sagely. “An admirable quality, for sure.” As Adele crouched beside her bleeding, dying husband, tears slipping down her wrinkled and reddened cheeks, she was hit by an electrifying lightning bolt of realisation. The Countess sobbed, clutching at her husband’s weak and bloodied hand. “Matyas please …” She whispered pleadingly. Despite her desperate pleas, the Count’s eyes drooped and closed while his pained breaths began to slow; clearly dying, unable to even speak. Meanwhile, their eldest daughter’s cracked lips were covered in a combination of Matyas’s blood, and her own tears as she crouched beside his body alike her mother. “Papej …” The daughter whispered desperately, her pristine white wedding dress being stained bright red by the spilled blood of her dying father. The dying man’s weak lips breathed his last words to his daughter; the Bride. “Congra … Tu …” But he would never complete his felicitations as his heart stops beating - giving in. A piece of Adele broke that day - finally giving in. The constant in her life since taking over her Father’s House and Office was dead at last. But worse than that: a realisation cleft within her. An unspoken goal to surpass or at least match her Father’s notoriety and goodness. And yet … As she knelt there, clutching at her dying husband’s bloody hand, she realised that she would never be a great as her Father. No matter how hard she tried. He was a friend to all. A stern yet warm man, loving yet damaged, and hardworking yet he always had time for his daughters. She was like Johann but lesser, no one could live up to him. He was too … Perfect. He’d have hated to know she thought that, this she knew, yet she couldn’t deny it. She had hoped to capitalise on her Father’s goodness and improve upon it, but no woman could be friends with everyone or improve everyone around her in the way that Johann the First could. This knowledge hit her like a ton of terracotta, throwing her into the depths of despair in conjunction with the loss of her most beloved husband. Adele drafted up the missive of her abdication that night. The Lady Justiciar’s mourning attire hung loosely around her form while the ebony-inlaid kokoshnik sat atop her head. It had already been months since Matyas passed, yet she couldn’t bear to be without her dark attire marking her as a widow. No longer a Countess, but still anchored by the Judicial responsibility, Adele found herself once more in her classroom next to the courtroom. Her heart beat thunderously in her chest as her breath quickened and her eyes remained wide. A fireball flew furiously across the room, sending violent spatters of sparks and hissing noises outwards. Expelled from the hand of an attacker, the fireball spiralled and twirled towards the Justiciar’s student, Godferik Barrow, whose leg was being held strongly in place by a secondary - blood cloaked - attacker. Adele cursed under her breath, diving - even in her advanced age - below one of the desks to avoid the wrath of the being’s magicks. She sweat at the horrific sounds of the young man being burnt alive. A rancid smell of burnt flesh and hair suddenly filled the small room as Adele began to crawl in terror to the cover of the next desk. Despite her best efforts, the pair of infiltrators quickly stamped their ways over to where she was hiding. The red-cloaked being roughly grabbed her arm and dragged the aged woman up from the floor. “Going somewhere?” Asked the hollow, empty voice. Terror filled the aging woman, yet she no longer had it in her to act afraid of death. “Da.” She hissed in response, voice full of disgust for the creature as she stared into its hollow visage. “Yam trying to go home if vy could release me.” Her voice dripped with ire as news of the birth of her first Grandchild had recently been received by the Lady Justiciar, and Emma had subsequently fallen sick following the delivery. “Mea daughter is ill.” At such words, the being released her immediately from its grasp and her eyes widened. “Let’s go.” Emanated its harsh voice. Both beings seemed to have been affected by her words, for the red glow from each of their eyes twitched and faded out at which point they left as swiftly as they had arrived. Adele breathed what felt like her first breath as the door closed and she stepped back in shock. She had been so very close to death, and yet … She no longer felt afraid. Without her Matyas, without being needed to provided for her Family, there was nothing fuelling her on. Nothing to live for. Blood stained her mourning attire as she made her way home to care for her daughter. Adele, now widowed, knocked on her twin sister’s door to wake her. Amicia had arrived from Sedan the day before, though the Princess-Dowager had only been able to spend a brief moment with the Lady Justiciar before the younger twin had needed to retire to her study again. “I am ever so glad you have found some time to yourself.” Amicia had said, grasping Adele’s hand in hers with a warm smile. Over her time in Sedan, she had slowly lost her Raevir accent; just one of many differences between the twins, but they had both changed over the years. Adele frowned and sighed impatiently, knocking again. They had once been each others’ closest confidants, but Amicia lived on the other side of the continent with her husband and family, and Adele had remained in Haense after their father died to care for his estate with her husband and family. They had been divided by Johann’s death, and now brought together by the simultaneous losses of their husbands. Adele had crossed the courtyard that morning to the de Joannes family suite, shivering from the cold, to invite her sister to share tea and go for a walk together in the frigid Otistadt snows. “Amicia?” She called, cross at being ignored. “Are vy still asleep?” Eventually she lost her patience and pushed the door open. “Yam vyr twin, there’s niething ea haven’t seen befo–” But what she found indoors was not her twin; her other half. Amicia’s body was cold and still. She had passed peacefully in her sleep with a smile resting on her face, just like Johann. Another devastated cry filled the Keep at Ricksburg that wintry morning, bringing servantry and family alike running. Tears streaked down Adele’s wrinkled cheeks as she sat on her sister’s bed, cradling her body back and forth. Suddenly Emma’s face filled her swimming vision as the young Countess gently took her mother’s arm. “Mamej,” She whispered, her sage-coloured eyes reminding the aged woman of her father and sister. Emma helped Adele off the bed, signalling for the servants to take Amicia’s body away. “Shh, it’s okay…” She gently told the fretful widow who turned away. “Amicia …” She covered her mouth to prevent a wracking sob from coming forth. The piece of her that had held her together was gone forever, not just off in Sedan anymore. Part of her was broken irreparably, and it could never be fixed. She returned later that day to the de Joannes family suite to search through her sister’s possessions for her will which broke her in two. Adele donned a darkened mourning veil on top of her raven attire in memory of the two most dear to her. In her ailing years, Adele frequently found her sturdy daily routine interrupted by the chirpy character of her eldest daughter, Emma, who would whisk her away from her work to chat of life’s frivolities. Soon after the birth of Emma’s last child, Karina Amicia, a new face of the servantry was seen about Ricksburg by the Countess-Mother’s flank. The ruling Countess hired the attendant to serve her mother in her growing age, having subsequently and very gently suggested to Adele that she take on a clerk and younger lady to wait on her. Naturally, convinced that it was a genius idea of her own making, Adele agreed. At which point Emma assigned the young attendant; Polina, to flank her mother at all times. Coincidentally, another army of clerks appeared to arrive in Ricksburg and the Offices of the Justiciar to assist Adele with her stacks of paperwork at around the same time. All of this extra help was luckily well received, despite their skittishness. Adele found herself hounded by her childhood coughs more frequently as her body weakened, along with a complex cacophony of other medical issues - naturally she denied any and all advice from her family and friends to visit the Hospital of St. Amyas. It was during this period that Adele found herself sitting with the Countess Ludovar; the pair chatting with one another as they often did. “Is everything alright?” Asked the younger Ludovar with a light smile. “Ea have a lot of work, dearest.” Replied the elder with a sigh, triggering her daughter to frown and rest a hand on her mother’s shoulder. “Ea have told vy before and ea will say it again,” She said, sharing a worried look with Adele’s clerks swaddled in paperwork behind her. “If vy ever need help, all vy have to do is ask. Vy deserve a break.” “Ea wish it were that easy.” Spoke the Justiciar with a firm frown, lowering her paranoid yet supposedly wise voice to a whisper. “This world is filled with enemies, mea dear, whether it be those who despise vy for one reason or another, or those who lust after vyr position and vyr power; vy will always have enemies wherever vy go.” To what Adele had hoped would be an anticipatory reception, Emma merely rolled her eyes with a sigh and patted her mother’s shoulder once again. “Alright, mamej, ea know…” The papers were stacked high in the Lady Justiciar’s office as wracking bloodied coughs emanated from within. Clerks gathered around the closed door, sharing looks and whispers between one another. “Should we send for the Countess?” Murmured one, eliciting a hasty shake of the head from one of the others. “Nie - niet unless vy want to be thrown out again.” One of the others, clearly more senior, frowned and his hushed voice spoke firmly. “Her Excellency will call for us, return to vyr work. Polina will tell us if things are seriously wrong.” Within the office sat Adele Ludovar, hunched over her desk as her quill scratched a piece of official looking parchment. She wrote while hacking out her coughs, stilling as a snap was heard. Ink spilt over the parchment to the sound of swearing under her breath. Polina stepped forward to carefully hand the aged woman a replacement quill and clean up her spillage. She grimaced. “Ea will run for more quills, we are almost out.” Murmured the attendant as she handed Adele their last quill. “Ea see…” Frowned the Justiciar, appearing to be barely even listening to Polina as she vacated the office. “Maybe don’t bother…” She muttered, now to an empty office, since she was nearing the end of the document. She scrawled her signature at the bottom, breathing a sigh of relief. “Ah, spasiba Godan.” She huffed, sitting back in her chair in satisfaction, “Finally.” Before her, now the Chief Jovenaar, lay a completed copy of the Edict of Staalgrav; the final work of her life. She quickly summoned a clerk from outside to deliver the document to the King’s office for his perusal and edits before publication. Adele’s crusty, straining, tired eyes blinked once more as she heaved another breath and a desperate cough tickled her throat. She wondered for a moment if she was well enough to travel to Otistadt to join her daughter and many grandchildren for dinner, nevertheless hefting her aged body up from the chair and beginning to make her way outside. She stumbled down the stairs and past the courtroom; now empty and hollow. The room and offices which she built would never again be touched by a Justiciar, she would be the last of that name. “Yam szam, papej… Ea could niet conserve vyr legacy as vy may have wanted.” The weight of her father’s legacy had been weighing her down and now her tired body felt heavier than ever as she began walking through the streets of Karosgrad for the last time. Children stumbled and ran in the streets - the children of their children, those which she had fought so very hard to protect from the horrors of war in her greener years. They would grow and mature to take on the mantle of their parents just as she did. Would they succeed? Or would they do as she did and buckle under the pressure - ? Adele Ludovar was spent - she had nothing more to give. The world had taken everything she cared about from her, and all that was left was herself and the bright new world to come. Adele laid weakly in her bed; Emma and Anastasia had arrived in a hurry to be by her side. She beckons them both to her side, reaching for their hands. “Come.” She whispered, to which they obeyed. Emma climbed to sit beside her mother on the bed, stifling tears welling in her beautiful green eyes. “Why could vy niet just listen?” She accused. Adele stifled a minor fit of coughing, attempting to squeeze their hands with what little strength she had remaining. “Ea have never listened, love, and yam niet about to change now.” She smiled through her croaking voice; her lips cracked and throat parched. “Vy will start now,” Emma said, ignoring an item balled in her mother’s hand as she tried to hold back her tears. “Vy will niet go here, niet like this. Ea will niet let vy.” The silent Anastasia fought back tears as she looked between her Aunt and a curious item draped over her desk chair. Whether too deliriour to hear her daughter’s words, or too absorbed in a continuing echo of her father’s words in her ears, Adele whispered to them. “Tell me … “ Her broken lips strained to speak the words. “Are vy happy?” Emma scoffed in response, “Of course niet,” Her hurt voice remarked in sad anger. “How can ea be happy seeing vy like this … ?” “Ea thought that too …” Whispered Adele’s almost imperceptibly quiet voice. Her breathing became more ragged as every inch of her body fought her with each tiny movement; longing for rest. Even though she was fighting furiously to spend these last moments with the two of them, her soul longed desperately to let go; then she would be able to at last see the eyes of her beloved. “Vy both are beautiful,” She spoke through the pain, “Ea did all ea could … Godan has taken everything from me.” She whispered, quietening for but a last moment as a realisation came to her. “Except vy . . .” And Adele Ludovar laid still; never to rise again, never to speak. But she opened her eyes to feel the pain subside, she felt light and burdenless. “You’re here!” He spoke, enveloping her in a tight hug that she recognised. As she hugged him ever so tightly, she peered past his shoulder to meet the gazes of her father, her mother, her sister, and all of her other family and friends who had awaited her. And she felt safe for the first time in a long time. And she felt complete. She had kept up the act all her life, and now the curtains were closing. Adele Emma Ludovar Daughter of Johann Fredrick Ludovar and Anya “Adelaide” of Elysium 1846 - 1913 399 E.S. - 466 E.S. A portrait of Adele soon after she ascended to become the Countess of Otistadt 1st Countess of Otistadt 1st Viscountess of Sezwesk, 1st Baroness of Juliksburg, 1st Lady of Ricksburg 12th High Justiciar of Hanseti-Ruska “We Come as Crows” Following her death, Adele’s family and attendants discover several sets of letters subsequently distributed to their addressees. Emma Ludovar @DearConnorMurphy My Family, House Ludovar; Tatyana, Valeriya, Rickard, Henrik, Klara, Jakob, Karina, Fredrich, Anastasia, Liliyana, Elizaveta Ulyana, Ilya Barrow, and all others. My Students; Arthur Stafyr, Haus Weiss, Atilan Bishop, Giovanna Barclay, Vladrik Kortrevich, Hamish Kortrevich, Matviy Kortrevich, Mari Colborn, and all others. Klara Elizaveta @crazedpudding Peter de Joannes of Sedan @Raijen Stars House von Audrick Borris Kortrevich; Bo-Bo, Maghnus Balyaev @tcs_tonsils_ Furthermore, an additional insert was discovered - addressed to no one in particular - and published for the public to peruse. To whom it may concern, I wish to thank Felix Weiss for his continued devotion and loyalty to the Office of the Justiciar during my long tenure. You have always been a friend to me and supported my ventures - your loyalty to Haense is unquestioned and you deserve all of the good will that has come to you. I know that my daughter has, in past, offended you, and I pray that you will not hold any of that against her in future. We never truly spoke one-on-one, however know that I always considered you a wise and kind man. Thank you for your dedication. Thank you to Theodosya Barclay, if she reads this, for her good counsel when I was a child. You were always there for me, and even when we may have disagreed I know that you were looking out for me and wanted the best for me. Thank you to Matviy Kortrevich for your loyalty. I also wish to thank you on your parents’ behalf for everything that they did for me. I had great fun with Esmée who was a generous friend, and Nikolai was always a strong man who wanted the best for you all. I trust their judgement in making your their successor, and I hope that you and Viorica continue to do good work. One of the greatest regrets of my life was not finding your mother’s killer. For that I am eternally apologetic. Many thanks to King Georg. Thank you for your faith in me to continue my career as your Lady Justiciar until we could collaborate on my final work. Being the head of your Aulic Court has been a grand honour, and I believe in your ability as a wise and strong ruler to make the best decisions for our nation. You have grown quickly, but in you is a jovial wisdom that reminds me of my earliest memories of your Grandfather. Thank you for everything you do. Yours Faithfully, Adele Emma Ludovar My favourite reference images of Adele Final Thoughts:
  13. 20th of the Deep Cold, Year 114 of the Second Age. Bjorn lay on his bed, his beard knotted and cuffed with metal jewels. His long red hair braided and swept onto his chest. One hand rested on an axe, a beautiful design forged by an old friend in his early years. His other hand held a shiny ring that seemed to glow slightly. His wedding ring to Rathona. His chest did not move, nor his eyes. The dwarf had peacefully passed. He had felt it coming. Scattered around the floor were books the dwarf had written over the years, pages of drawings that his children had made while they were dwedki and a few empty bottles of Grandaxe Rum. A creation of his own. Bjorn had been through alot in his short dwarven life. Fighting in many wars, participating in multiple battles, the dwarf had earned the respect of his fellow dwedmar. He was known as a successful Jewelerysmith and an even better Merchant. A brewer when he felt like it and a writer as his hobby. Though many in recent years would not know of him because his sickness kept him withdrawn from the community, the dwarf shared many close friends and relationships. Those dwedmar forging him into the person he was. On his bedside table next to the melted wax candle he’d lit before his death was a note. His last words and will to the dwarves of Urguan and his fellow kin within his Clan. I have forged countless pieces, written never ending pages and sold ships worth of goods. But nothing has been as hard as this. I knew my life was coming to an end many stone months ago though I struggled to comprehend it. Though I have lived a difficult life, countless axes swinging towards me I have always found the light at the end of the tunnel. Now though, it is no longer a light. The Brathmordakin called for me, my wife by their side humming soft tunes enticing me. My time is now. To the dwarves that knew me, I hope you remember me as a kind dwarf. I tried where I could to help those in need. To those who don't know me, I hope some will one day tell you of my adventures. Though they may not be as grand as some, I have had my fair share. I would like to give a small message for some dwarves very dear to my heart, be them walking among you or feasting besides the Brathmordakin. Astmar Grandaxe, my father. You didn’t even know I was alive until we first met. Didn’t know you had another son. But none the less you took me in like I had always been there. You helped teach me the ways of a dwarf, aided my hand with a bow and showed me the art of cooking. You were my first anchor within my own culture. Thank you. Wulfgar Grandaxe, my kin. Wulfgar you were the first dwarf I met within the halls of the great dwarven hold. You showed me my true lineage and taught me of our clan's history. Without you I would have never known half of what I do now. I was able to follow your footsteps and teach those of our dwedki about our history. Thank you. Brynaelda Grandaxe, my aunty. You were a mother to me. Coming to Urguan you hugged and fed me without me even asking it. Half the time I’d either have a mug of ale down my throat or a spoon of your broth stuffed into my mouth. You taught me to be kind, to help others be them dwarves or something else. You will forever be the most important dwarf in my life. Thank you. Asvi Frostbeard, my first love and dear friend. Asvi you were a beautiful jewel among a sea of stone. I remember our first meeting on the beach of a fair, you were stabbing the water just after the Goldhand’s had declared their grudge to it. It didn’t take long for the roots to take hold and my love to form. Though you never told me if those feelings were mutual. You cared for me as a close friend either way. PS You still have to fix the marks you left at my house in Hefrumm. Asvi I have always loved you and always will. I hope you find peace wherever you are in the world. To you if you ever return I leave my axe, one of my most dearest possessions. It will remain with my children for the day you return. If that day comes. Enjoy living with the squirrels. Thank you. Gorlim Ireheart, my dear friend. You were the first Ireheart I tolerated. We had our good times and bad. Doesn't mean I liked you. To you I leave a bottle of Grandaxe Rum so you can drink in my honour old friend. Thank you. Dorimnur Goldhand, my mentor. I don’t know where you went Dorimnur. Though the rumor is you to entered the halls of the Brathmordakin. You taught me the skills of the forge and the ways of the merchant. I never knew if you looked to me as a friend but to me you were someone close. Wherever you are Dorimnur I hope you’re at peace. Thank you. Garedyn Mossborn, my dear friend. Green Dragon as my daughter called you. You helped me in my darkness. You aided me in my worst. Though we didn't speak a lot, you were a great friend. I hope I offered you knowledge that aided you to being where you are today. You are a fine dwarf Garedyn, I know you will be great. Thank you. Yazmorra Blackroot, my dear friend. Yazmorra, the most beautiful dwarf to ever live. To this day I still wonder if my father loved you or simply just liked to flirt with you. Thank you Yazmorra for all you taught me. For guiding me in the ways of the forest and always making me feel like an honorary forest dwarf even though I was not. I hope wherever you are that you take one long drag for me, toast to my honour with your horrible strong brews and pray that we meet again. Thank you. Celeste’Tol Blackroot, my dear friend. You didn’t like me as a kid. You sided with Asvi all the time and when we fought you grew scared of me. Though in the years I was away I returned and you were a full dwarfess. You were beautiful. Though you had your scars you helped me heal my own. Celeste without you my life would have ended a lot sooner. I would not have had my children and married my amazing wife. Thank you. Rathona Grandaxe, my wife. My love you have fell before me and I have not much to say. Though I will be by your side soon. You helped heal a broken dwarf and gave him a reason to live. You gave birth to our beautiful children and made me happy. I will see you soon my love. Thank you. Eivor, Orvar, Ashla and Torvi Grandaxe, my children. You were all brats as dwedki. Well besides Ashla who always ran away to the forest. It has been an age since I have seen you all but I hope you all know I love you. You will all become great dwarves. To Eivor I leave 'Ekran Karrzark' or Little Thunder in dwarvish The crossbow made by my father once I had completed my trials. You have not been much of a hunter son, though this will piece armour well from the battlements. To Orvar I leave my Dagger of Grimdugan. A prized pocesson given to me by Dorimnur Goldhand. Maybe you look after it well my hard headed son. To Ashla I leave my bow. Something so dear to me it was made by Asvi Frostbeard as a gift. A token of our friendship. I have held onto it everyday since. Hoping that one day she would return and I could see her once more. You are a great hunter so I know you will use it well. To Torvi I leave my spell rings. Once gifted by Tahorran Divadri. An old teacher of mine and dear friend. It lets you teleport your group. The other a ring of instant snowball. Made by Falk Irongut. Children.. I love you all so much. Aneblla bless. Thank you. Clan Grandaxe, my kin. There are many I have not written about. Agnar, Thumbrindal, Ursus, Levian’Tol, Lillian and more. I want you all to know that my time among this Clan has been amazing. I was born in Sutica though you never made me feel like an outsider dwarf, You are all amazing dwarves with so much strength. To the Clan I leave all my possessions that are not already given. To do with it as you choose. This is not the end. I will see you all once more. I have also spoken to those who will receive specific gifts from me. Thank you all. All I have not mentioned. There are many I have left out, Torsun Goldhand, Brand Irongrinder, Norli Starbreaker to name but a few. Though I have not written a separate part for you I have cared for you all and apricate everything you have done for me and our kin. Thank you all. Signed Bjorn Grandaxe Son of Astmar, Grandson of Svardin. the Wolf-Scared, Elder of Clan Grandaxe and Former Grand Merchant / Armakak’s Coin of Urguan. Noteworthy battles and titles, Grand Merchant of Urguan / Armakak’s Coin - The Snow's Maiden, 12 S.A. - Malin's Welcome, 26 S.A. Earned the title of Elder within the Grandaxe Clan - Unknown Year Fought Oren in the “Tenth Nordling War” - 13th of the First Seed, 22 S.A. - 10th of the Deep Cold, 27 S.A. Battles - "The Forest Interception" 16th of Snow's Maiden, 23 S.A. Fought Oren in the “War of the Wigs” - 17th of the First Seed, 53 S.A. - 11th of Snow's Maiden, 72 S.A. Battles - "Storming of Kal'Darakann" 24th of the Malin's Welcome, 53 S.A. "Seige of Southbridge" 10th of Sun's Smile, 58 S.A. "Second Battle of the Stone Tower" 16th of the Deep Cold, 60 S.A. Fought ‘The United Sovereign States of Almaris’ in the “Almaris Coalition War” - 10th of the Amber Cold, 83 S.A. - 85 S.A. Battles - "The Slaughter of Acre" 11th of the First Seed, 84 S.A. Fought in the final battle of “The Dark Harbour” in which Admiral Rutger von Drak, Lord of the Dark Harbour was killed. - 12th of Grand Harvest, 84 S.A. [OOC] Bjorn has been my most loved character I have ever made before in any RPG, DnD ect. I truly fell in love with him and felt he was a part of me. Though his time was coming and I felt like it was right for him. He has been through tremendous struggles, tirelessly fighting his inner demons that seemed to chase him wherever he went. To all the dwarves seriously thank you so much for all the Roleplay. Everyone played an important role to him. To the dwarves I specially mentioned above. You are all amazing people, don't worry about what anyone else says you made me love LOTC and love playing Bjorn. To anyone interested in learning Bjorn’s story feel free to reach out to me in discord as I have 2000+ words written of his tales. They are long, I warn you lol. Lastly, Bjorn Grandaxe. To you I leave all my memories of Lord of the Craft. All the good, bad and inbetween. You have been an amazing character that has honestly inspired me in so many ways though you were simply played through me. I don’t understand why you become so important or why I felt such a connection but it is your time to go. To Khaz’A’Dentrumm you go. I know the Brathmordakin will bid highly on you and may you find peace among them.
  14. The Bloody Fox’s Final Log 104 of the Second Age A final bell rang out of the short life of Vallein Morea’ii Arvellon-Vuln’miruel. His life had been one filled with adventure, passion, love, betrayal, and violence. The mali’ame attempted always to practice the words he preached as the many mistakes he made in his early life led him to be one of firm principles and a strong will. The ame grew up well in Elvenesse surrounded by his family and friends. His young years were spent running through the wooded city of Elvenesse as he learned right and wrong from his haelun and how to play from his uncle and aunts. His brothers and sister growing as the Vuln’miruel seed was built around him, he embraced each one with the love that the adoptive seed always expressed towards new family members. Despite this happy childhood his earliest memory as a babe was watching as his birthplace and first home were overrun with inferni, the sight of the fires that burned as they fled on ships scarred his memory till his final days, so when Vallein attempted to follow the peaceful path and become a druii as all of his family had done before him, something snapped inside him. He left the path of the druii and joined up with a mercenary company to fight all across Almaris. The ame finally felt the strength to defend his home flooding into him as he survived battle after battle. Winning victory after victory till it all felt empty, there was no purpose in his actions. The ame left the mercenaries and returned home to Elvenesse in time to watch it burn. Azdromoth set fire to the street he grew up running down, to the room he grew up in, all the strength he thought he had gained was useless before something he could not reach. His path then led him to the Paladins of Xan who he aided in cleansing some evil from the world. Before he continued about on his own. The ame fighting darkness in whatever alley he could find it in an attempt to bring some light back into the world. The ambition led him to Haelun’or where he assisted in the rallying of the mali’aheral into a force that would one day become Celia’nor. Fighting alongside each of them till the city was established. Then as the time stretched on the taint that Vallein fought against filed into Celia’nor, seeping into even the palace as Vallein was banished. He traveled the world in an attempt to find a new purpose though his banishment merely reaffirmed his beliefs that these corruptions had taken root. He returned as a new Princess was crowned, attempts to be a measured voice of reason among the crowd fell on deaf ears and personal animosity overpowered anything that could have been made better. His anger at the corruption he believed to have taken hold boiled over when he attacked an Azdrazi. The ame’s attack was stopped by the Princess who threw herself in the way of the blade, with his attack failing, Vallein retreated. Returning some days later she attempted to take a step towards amends. A promise of protection offered to him was instantly betrayed as he was ambushed. Attacked in the back and dragged into the Celia’norian palace where the ame was butchered. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ OOC Notes: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Letters would be found within the cold and ruined confines of Vallein’s home and distributed privately to each individual. Sonna Vuln’mirul @Junoix Renae Athri’onn & The Athri’onn’s @TheHeftyDonut @TwistedFries Seraphina & Ventys @Endaaron @GlassySkies Ventys & Astulion @TaytoTot @X3N02k The Siblings @Kholibrii @Exolaltyl0305 Yulnayl @dove Nailo @TwiSama Kosher & Acanthus @Pancho @AgentofDeath13 Valyris @Cepheid [!] A few other private notes would be issued [That will be added to this post, people I inevitably forget as I am writing this at 1am. That is my bad.]
  15. On the 21st of Suns Smile, 109 of the second age. A heaviness can be felt in many places and many hearts. The death of Orion Adiler has been announced, he was executed by the hands of Templars fulfilling their duties. The loved friend and family member will be remembered for his accomplishments and the kindness he displayed to whoever he encountered. May his soul find peace wherever it shall be. His family would silently pray, hoping that the Adiler talonnii still has a future filled with more happiness than sorrow. Orion Adiler 69-109 SA
  16. Jackalopes, Martlets', and Roses (A Background Summary) Peralien was born in the year 1752 SA to a blind and deranged mother in Haelun’or in the Dead Isle of Arcas. She does not remember her name, her face, or her voice. And there was a horrifying lack of a father figure. Once she considered herself old enough, perhaps around the age of 23, she walked out of the Haelun’or walls and never returned to the city again. Her destination was the Wildlands, wanting to keep to herself. She, however, did break her own promise of not interacting with anything about Haelun’or, by taking its ship to Almaris. Upon her landing to Almaris, she found an opportunity working for a man named Antonio De Medina, who was the Baron of a Sutican Vassal called Osanora. Work was easy and fair and was not stressful in any way to her. However, her desire for chaos led to her being fired, causing her to go up to the lands of Vortice, and work for a man named Jakob Castington in his County of Selestia, a vassal and dependent of Talon’s Port. She worked as a Minister until the polity was abolished by the Vortisian Government. Now, she moved to the city of Talon’s Port, now called Vortice. And used her savings to buy a very nice home. Peralien did not understand what lead to the circumstances that had Vivian Maelstorm, the Monarch of Vortice to adopt her. Making Peralien a Princess of Vortice. Of course, all good things must come to an end. Rumors of slandering the Haense Crown and a impending ultimatum from Haense caused Peralien to be banished from Vortice and thusly disowned. The events that followed were all a blur, to Haelun’or, and then finally the lands of Sarissa, in the now Commonwealth of Sutica. She found the saving grace of a man named William Buckfort, the Count of Sarissa. He shielded Peralien from any person wishing to have her head, in exchange for the promise that she does not commit any crime or act of violence. Sarissa then came Rozania upon the people of the land fleeing from Sutica to establish its own independent land on the Northern Section of Almaris. Peralien would become a Knight of the Jackalope Order, and acquire the title of Lady, through a mixture of pure minae and keeping her promise of not murdering people. Although being a Knight thus meant she had to fullfill a military role, which she did during the Sacking of Rozania, where her legs were broken with a warhammer by the hands of Savoyards and Sedanians. She would fortunately be healed by a person with a form of Healing Magic, bending her broken bones and fixing her flesh in quick time. Eventually however William Buckfort abdicated from his position in Rozania, he left two people in charge to manage Rozania, Eliza Raven and Nadia Buckfort. His abdication also left several vacancies in the Rozanian Government, allowing Peralien to secure her position as Marshall and head of the KAR, the Rozanian Army. Her position did not see any use, as Rozania did not experience anymore conflict until it’s quiet collapse. When Rozania was dying, Peralien brought as many people with her as she could and bought a very considerably large area of land in Urguan, and founded the Barony of Pinemaw, which seeked to mirror as much of Rozania as possible without directly calling itself Rozania. This polity lasted until Peralien defected during the War of the Wigs, being offered a deal she couldn’t refuse by Oren, to be settled and receive land in an area surrounded by Elves. (During the years the population of Pinemaw slowly changed from Original Rozanians to Elves of different backgrounds.) However, Peralien funding her technical bloodless nephew, James Maelstorm, to overthrow Vortice from Jusima hands caused her to be removed from power, and the coup attempt of Vortice failed as well. The rest happened too fast and isn’t well worth mentioning in the grand scheme of things, but the last stretch of her life is a home in Lurin, and work as a Mercenary to a small Company in Norland. (Passing) Peralien knew where she was going, and she knew what would happen to her. She wanted to go to one thing that was familiar to her, Vortice. It would take several days of constant travel by Horseback, but it was worth getting there. Finally, she made it there, and stood at its empty gates, withdrawing an Old Sword, engraved with icons of Jackalopes, Martlets, and Roses. Before then speaking what would perhaps be her last ever spoken sentence. "I have caused a great tragedy by ruining lives and killing others. I have both threatened that I would and promised that I wouldn’t for what I am about to do. Send my apologizes to Lenora Jusima, and send my concern to any remaining Maelstorm.” Peralien would then fall on her own blade, and thus, the person who tried to do so much, either good or bad, yet failed to achieve what she really wanted, forgiveness and tolerance for her unforgivable actions spanning 153 Years, was dead. (Name & Titles) Peralien Maelstorm-Aurelius, Former Princess of Vortice, Former Countess & Baroness of Pinemaw, 1st Gwaithor of the Pinemaw Domain, Former Lord-Protector of Rozania, Grandmaster of the Jackalope Order, Dame of the Jackalope Order, The Chaotic, Defender of the Rozanian Realm, The Pumpkin of Rozania, 3rd Marshall of the KAR, Knife of Rozania.
  17. [https://youtu.be/nn_0zPAfyo8] Only a fitting end… [PK] Markus’ Resolution As if it was any other day, Markus began setting up his tent. He sat down his pack just off the road, a good distance away from a small hamlet. He was somewhere in the hills between Haense and Aaun. The rocky hills gave way to a small field, and he elected to create his camp there. No cozy tree to sit under- but that was okay for him. He couldn’t have it every day. He opened up his canteen to take a drink. There was barely any alcohol in it- just enough to ensure the drink was clean. If there ever was a promise he had kept, it was his promise to Koeng Sigismund- his promise to cease his incessant drinking. It was tough- very tough- at first, but eventually, it grew easier. It became one of his proudest accomplishments. Abandoning Haense. Abandoning his Marian duties. Abandoning his Morovar kin. Abandoning his responsibilities, duties, and expectations. If there ever was one thing that he abandoned that was good, it was his drink. If there ever was one thing that he abandoned that he wished he hadn’t, well – that story has been told a thousand times. It did flash in his mind still, often. How many years has it been now? Twenty? What if I hadn’t accepted the results? What if I didn’t let everyone down? What if- His doubts constantly plagued him, though he did never again attempt suicide. It is true. Markus had fled from Karosgrad. From Haense. From responsibilities. The streets he had grown up in, and served, were all too familiar a reminder of his failures. He had begun to recover, to move on- but he spiraled. What truly caused him to spiral, even he didn’t know. Whether it was the sudden change in the abstinence from drinking. Whether it was that one time he achieved euphoria at that one festival. Whether it was seeing Adelajda daily. But he did spiral. Before he left, he gave up his blade, back to his father’s friend. He walked with a newer one- a weaker one, one not thanhic. He was about to use it. He finished the tent- it was a simple piece of cloth, held together with stakes. It had to be light and small, considering it had to be taken around daily. Night had begun to fall, and he had elected not to make a fire and instead eat from some salted provisions. So that’s when he noticed the glare from the village in the distance. “Looks like some idiot kindled their fire too well,” Markus would remark sarcastically with a grumble, before putting on his belt, fastening his sword, and beginning his jaunt over. He watched it grow bigger and bigger, consuming more buildings. He then began to hear the screams. He then began to increase his pace. He then began to loosen his sword in his scabbard. He eventually became just about a field’s length away, and saw veiled men throwing about torches. A sacking party. He rushed forth, drawing his blade. He met his first opponent behind one of the houses, an unsuspecting bandit with only a torch in his hand. Markus slew him without remorse, but not without him crying out. Soon, it was as if they had swarmed upon him- many men threw themselves upon Markus, but they weren’t skilled bandits- they weren’t match for his experience. He cut down the five or so that came upon him, and rushed into the first house. Inside was a child, cowering in the corner as flames licked the side of the building. Markus gave the child a wave, as if he wanted him to come forth- but the frightened child shook his head in terror, tears consuming his face. “Move, or these flames will consume us both! Eam niet leaving without vy!” Markus exclaimed, pleading to the child. The pleas worked. The child fled, leaping over a burning piece of the thatch roofing burning on the dirt floor. Markus grabbed him by the shoulder, and began to lead him out of the house. Outside, two bandits had waited for him. Markus yanked the child to the side of the house, before engaging the two with his sword. Luckily, his gambeson had absorbed a weak blow to his arm- their ragged clothes no match for his blade. It was clear these weren’t professionals, or Ferrymen. Markus went back to regard the child. That’s me. Amidst the carnage, he found himself in a touching moment with the child. “What’s vyr name, boy?” “Ekhard.” “Ekhard. Take this. Run that way, to my camp. If eam niet there in a few Saint’s Minutes- pack it up and run. Don’t get help. It’s too late.” “What will vy do?” “Niet run.” And he did not. He faced many bandits, his training granting him strength. But his true strength came from not running. He had always ran. But not this time. The damage had already been done. But perhaps he had been able to prevent the slaughter. But he was unable to prevent his death. His gambeson had been torn to rags by the time he had finished- the adrenaline running off. Blood streamed out of his body steadily In his travels, he always had time to ponder. But it was before his death when he had the most time, as he laid comfortably on the ground. His thoughts returned to his life. All of his loss. He had lost his best friend. His mother. His father. His twin. His future. His positions. His name. His glory. His duty. His body. His love. His mind. But in the end- he had regained it all. His pride. His duty. He had served. I will have died with honor. He was soon to be reunited with all the people he had lost All except what had mattered to him most, all of those years. But that didn’t matter anymore, not to him. In death, he gained absolution. In death, he let go. He let go of Margrait. In death he finally achieved victory. In death he forgave everyone. In death, he forgave himself.
  18. Ezra wandered around the old house that they managed to keep. She loved how it still looked almost new, Not yet being very old herself... 115. But she reminisced about their adventures and looked at all their pictures. Of themselves, and their children from being born all the way up to their current ages now. She remembered getting married to Brawly, whom used to be spritely and healthy. But now... He spent most of his time sick, and in bed. She thought about their children, those who chose to stay and those who left to go on their own adventures. But she realized that she knew that they knew something was up and they all returned home one last time. She chuckled, knowing that she couldn't have lived a better life then she had. Being surrounded by family, and friends just being happy to have those people around her. Ezra sighed, smiling at their children before lying down beside Brawly and grasping at his hand gently. "Rulg lat futh dihz amayzin' lyfe, agh gibbin' mi ahl deze kubz." Brawly smiled weakly as Ezra joined him on his death bed. His eyes regained a slight bit of their former luster as he beheld the face of the one he held dear above all else. The old man wrapped his fingers around Ezra’s hand as he forced words from his mouth. “Tiz lyfe wuld hav’ bheen emptee wit aut lat bhy mi zide. Indeed, et wuz… Mi waited futh lat… Zince da dey lat left, Mi long’d tuu heur latz voyze azh lazt tik. Dayt hope kept mi gwoen. Every tik Mi fought futh da ugz, mi unlee gurk wuz keepin’ lat ang aur kubz zayfe ang zequre” Brawly lifted his opposite hand to gingerly rub against Ezra’s cheek . His breaths became ragged and inconsistent, marking a rapid deterioration in the man’s physical state. The hand gently lowered to its former position, resting at the man’s side. “Et wuz wurth et… Every mouth, every year, every decade… Lat am ztill az beautiful az da dey wi met" And after this was said, She noticed her children gather around the bed. All sad expressions, some crying some not. She knew that they knew it was time for Ezra and Brawly to go. Yerro, had stepped up first. "Dew nub wurri momo, popo Mi whyll ztehy wiv bouf(both) latz...." Yerro nodded sadly, he fought back the tears and the immense sadness threatening to break through at any moment. Settling himself down beside the bed, close enough to both Brawly and Ezra trying to give them as much support as he could. Zahira, second beside Yerro was up next to say something. "Momo, Popo etz ahl ukee..." Zahira stammered, her voice starting to break. "Whee ahre ahl heere futh latz..." Zahira shed a tear, backing up to support Callum and Sola. Soon Soren, stepped up and walked over. "Mi ahm numb readeh futh latz tew goh..." The young goblin hunched himself over and started to really break down. He was afraid, and sad he wasn't sure what life had next for him after losing his adopted parents. Sola and Callum, both still slightly younger then the rest, had no idea what to say. They just cried for their siblings and their parents, clinging onto their oldest sister Zahira for what seemed to be dear life... The last to step out from the gathering was Emony. The shaman removed her white steel mask revealing to clear tracks where tears were streaming down her face. Emony kneeled to take her father’s opposing hand and gripped it tingly. “Mom, Dad, Thank you. You both were truly the greatest parents I could have asked for. The love you had for each other and for me and the rest of your children was boundless. It is truly extraordinary how much you sacrificed to keep it and us alive.” Emony wipes her face with her arm as she tries to force a compassionate smile through her pain. She stands, taking a staff from her back. The goblin taps its end against the floor as she clears her throat. “Kor, durub mat-ob, baduzg ogh za mbursh-ûr.” (Kor, ruler of death, show this couple the way.) “Naan ikhal khûr kraat-ul, gaakh ulu shakrop sha” (Though forces may pull them away, let it be that they stay together.) Soon Ezra took her last breath, eyes turning toward the window signaling that her soul had now left her body and went off outside. Her beautiful ruby red eyes, remained open. And her hand continued to hold Brawly's... [!] Ezra found herself within a lightless void. She beheld the vast expanse of nothingness with a cold indifference, for all her scenes had become foreign to her. Trying to move any part of her body brought no feedback. This had a single exception, a sense of warmth seemed to emanate from her left hand. Even in death, Brawly would be by her side, grasping her hand with the same firm, yet gentle grip he had always had [!] Before them, a thin tendril of light became visible, its light providing a slight amount of comfort to the couple. Ezra once again felt the embrace of her life mate as he hoisted her up into his arms. The two followed the shimmering radiance that seemed to call to them. Before them flashed moments from their life together. The moment they first met, their first date… With each passing moment, the darkness was dispelled, leaving only an ethereal white. [!] Before the pair lay a field of ankle height green grass with a singular tree not far from where he stood. Brawly began to move towards it, slowly and cautiously. Each step yielded no sensation to him. The man’s grip tightened upon Ezra, as if within his mind he held the fear of losing her. They were able to see a wake of trampled grass behind them where Brawly’s now shoeless feet had indented. Brawly eventually reached the lone tree and took shelter beneath its branches. The shade they provided was a light, muddled, black, far different from the void they had exited not moments before. It was unoppressive and welcoming. [!] Brawly set Ezra down with shaking hands, gently lowering her to the shade covered, grassy carpet that lay beneath the great tree. The man leaned his back against the wooded trunk of the arboreal behemoth, gradually lowering himself to a seated position, beneath its branches. His gaze turned once again to Ezra. “You won’t leave me again… will you?” He questioned, reaching his right hand out to her. Upon his face was a look of unease as he sat waiting for her response. Ezra remained silent for a moment. She moved to his side, leaning against him as she so often did while the two were younger. “Ob korze Mi won’t.” Found upon Brawly's desk were a stack of letters addressed to various persons Dear Borok: Dear Madoc: Dear Bumba: Dear Rex Dear Gusiam and Lenora Jusima: Dear Peralien: [ooc] Credits:
  19. Qrue would Take some Parchment and a Quiver and think deeply before he starts to write down his Final Words. When I think back on my long life I sometimes wonder upon all the things that went down, as I sit here writing down my Final Tale I wonder what would be relevant and what really mattered. Was it the beginning of living a normal life like any other watching everyone around me having the times of their lives all for it to be taken by decease, death, loss… Losing my Mother was hard on all of us. I attempted to pick up where she left off, to heal the sick with herbs we had found from the forest but those herbs did so much more than heal wounds. The potential was limitless. They could make us feel really good. Perhaps it was the time when I was so high I accidentally had my Brother Qrarm killed by my own hands. Rather than face my consequences, Face my Father, I ran, Hid for so long, From days to weeks, weeks to years, years to decades. Consuming my creations of herbs, forcing myself to forget what I had done, Losing myself wandering the long distant lands until I was completely Lost.I was so lost that I had forgotten my own name. The only name that stuck in my head was that of my Brother so I took it for myself, I named myself Qrarm. And yet with all that loss and forgotten I was found after so many secluded decades I stood before another Dwarf, Bjor Cottonwood. He took me to his village where more of our kind resided. Bjor offered me a Home to live in, a place to create my creations of herbs in peace and share them with others within the village. In time I formed The Huff n’ Puff and the Puffden. All seemed well in the world and yet… Death Followed. I followed within the deep Caverns of Urguan. Perhaps I could’ve been of help but the caves were dusty, I sneezed. The Creatures, Cave Alars awoke and bit a few Dwarves, Bjor stood his ground while we escaped that cave. Was it my fault, My sneeze that had awoken those beasts. It was never mentioned within the History books. Nonetheless I Lost it once again seeing Bjor die took me back to the time I got my Brother killed. I wanted to forget, I had to forget… I spent a week within my home, consuming and smoking so many Puffs. forgetting it all without a care in the world. I even forgot my own name again, I named Myself Qrue after that time. Time went off its normal course once again Like I was reborn, Met new Dwarves, Meeting Beorn felt familiar. I looked upon the petrified corpse of Bjor Cottonwood with a strange feeling but I could not remember why the Stories Told of this Paragon Bjor felt me with excitement and sadness without really knowing why, Sometimes tears would form I assumed that was just normal after all it was usually Karl that told them with great detail. Of Course when you think all was fine, Khorvad starts knocking. The ground shook, Fire spread… I awoke Alone, Broken Arm, Half burned. How much time had passed? Where was I? Who was I? Oh I remember… Qrue. This time I did not forget my name but why was I alone, I had slight head trauma. With the few Medical lessons I remembered I patched myself up, Gathered some things and went on another long lonely wandering path. Eventually found a ship to rescue those who have been left behind like myself, I kept to myself throughout the whole journey. The ship docked on some new land unfamiliar to me. I gathered my belongings and continued on my journey. My arm battered and broken started to hurt really bad, I found a secluded Doctor, tat insane perhaps but he told me I could die if I kept my arm like that and offered to chop it off but, He had that bloodlust in his eyes so I told him I’d think about it and left him be. Still thinking of what The doctor said I built a small form of guillotine with an axe head stuck to a few rocks hung from a tree, I prepared a fire with a steel pan on top to burn close the wound after… Let's just say I was successful and It hurt allot for a week or so. I had some herbs to help with the pain. I spend a few years wandering the new lands of Almaris hoping to find my kin amongst the trees only to realise I went the opposite way and landed a city with elves, they gave me directions to New Urguan once I arrived I was met with a Familiar face that of Beorn Cottonwood, I lived within the Puffden for a while before I picked a home that suited my needs but once I did I had finally decided to start a healing process of the mind while retaining my Puffden duties. I spend most of my time travelling, reading books from libraries. From the things I’ve studied I created other things like a prosthetic arm with little cabinets filled with many useful things, To replace my missing arm. Once again years passed by like it all was right in the world. Yazmorra was the Chief at the time. We've made a fairly interesting friendship, Both shared an interest in Puffs and other narcotics. I joined the Seers with Ogradhad as my devotion. Through many meditation weeks I started to remember my past, who I really was and what I had done… It almost broke me but I kept true to myself. I wanted to move forward from it all and I did. It helped me become the Dwed I am now. When Yazmorra’s husband Levian’Tol became High King of Urguan, Yazmorra was destined to become High Queen so a new High Chief of Hefrumm was required, I offered myself in attempts to extend my Puffs to more places however while I had kept Hefrumm’s image intact I did not achieve any of goals I wanted, I had hoped Yazmorra could guide me more but her Queen duties kept her busy and when we all needed her most she vanished. It was hard but I waited until a new proper candidate could take my place and before long Celeste’Tol Daughter of Yazmorra and Levian came along. I trained her in all she needed to know and even when the Crown was placed upon her head I stuck around if she ever required guidance from me. Even if Celeste was Chief it felt more like we still ruled together for a long time until it was no longer needed. And once more all felt good. Decades passed, Life went on, Dwed came and went, Old familiar faces vanished and became new ones then some of those new ones vanished. Like an endless Cycle. Now here I am a Familiar face soon to vanish. My only Hope is that my Legacy of the Puffden will live on as long as there are Dwed in Hefrumm and consuming those Fantastic Puffs, My Lives work. I Thank all those who have talked to me throughout the decades of my Living Life. May we meet in The Halls of The Fallen. Qrue would take one last hit from his Hookah and meditate one Final time. Within his vision, Dungrimm would enter his home as The Lord extends his hand Qrue would finely accept the invitation with a smile. Qrue would let out his Final Breath as his soul would leave his corporeal form and follow Dungrimm to The Great Halls! Qrue Grasswhistle would succumb to his illness of Lung Cancer at the age of 422 on The 6th of The Ember Cold, Year 105 of The Second Age
  20. [!] This missive would be publicly available The Final Will and Testament of Antonio de Murat, the Second Patriot of Orenia. ------------------------------------------------- It has come to my attention that I should start writing these again in case of my demise, especially before combat that I haven’t indulged in since my youth. As I have no heirs, no family, and only one kin that I know of exists, I suppose my fortune would’ve gone to her if I had ever amassed one. I suppose it st… (This line would be partially burnt by cigar ash.) ..Sedan has where it has ended. This fight will be a brutal one, one that we shall inevitably prevail in, but at a cost upon which will be greater than a few mina or swords, but with the lives of descendants. Thus, I shall play my part in the bigger game upon my death with which lives will be destroyed and some men never to show their faces again. ———————————————————————— The Confessions of a Sinner I have done many things I am not proud of in life, many of which shall be lost to time hopefully. As the nephew of the late Tony Romano, I was held to high expectations by the kin of the Titan. I met many, shook hands with the vilest folk who ever walked the continent. Many names are known, but others I shall take to the grave, and may GOD give us the strength to kill them all. I may have been one of them, but I will never stray the path in death. ———————————————————————— There will be no goodbye letters, as I have no one to say goodbye to other than the Ferrymen Company, Hogo Bojo, and Sedan.
  21. It was a restless night within the walls of the Jazloviecki Manor in Petra. He had been given a room to stay in by a Jazloviecki named Jan, bastard son of a dear friend of Aurion. Once in a long time, a smile appeared on his grizzled features, as he spent his last moments in the room. The Knight thought of everyone he encountered during his journeys across Almaris. He thought back to his time in Grodno, a place that meant a lot to the man. And after that, when Acre forced Grodno’s people from their homes. Eventually he settled down at Sedan, where old friends ruled that principality. He was knighted for his service to that very same principality, and even found love. The Grizzled Knight had a good life, albeit short. One full of adventures, full of stories. When he awoke during that night, he found almost all the strength from his body sapped away, he knew that this was the night he would die.,Using his remaining energy, he managed to go up the flight of stairs, until he saw her. She passed from this world into the Seven Skies seven years ago, so long ago he thought. Then he suddenly came to a stop, Aurion falling to his knees, extending a hand out into the air. He saw her, though it was merely a projection of his mind. “Giuliana?” He managed out, a soft smile cracking onto his face. “Is that you? My love?” He said, before slumping forward, his hand still reaching out. He then looked up, through the window, and finally took his last breath.
  22. Amelia Eleanora Amelia Leslie Amelia Hughes Dame Amelia Amelia 𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔇𝔞𝔤𝔤𝔢𝔯 “Half elf half elf, you’re a stinking half elf!” the children in the village little Amelia grew up in chanted. Mother a highlander, father a snow elf. An extremely rare child. She was unwanted by those around her, even her mother. They had not expected to conceive a child, nor for her father to die while trying to provide food in the bitter winter. “Thief, someone catch her!” the butcher yelled. A teenager now- skinny and dirty. 𝒮𝓁𝒶𝓅 “All you do is cause me more trouble!” Her mother screamed after the girl presented the stolen food. They were poor, hungry. Why didn't mother appreciate my efforts? “You seem lost, do you need a place to stay?” the young John d’Arkent asked. Thirty-five, that was her age when Amelia first entered Providence. “I’ll teach you how to make mina” Doctor Pruvia was so kind, so helpful. “Are you here alone? So am I” the kilted highlander asked at her first ball. They danced that night, and soon they wed. But not before she had to cut her ears to hide her origins. That was what he asked of her. Everything seemed perfect- for awhile “Why won't you let me help you, you stubborn fool!” she yelled at her injured husband, Mata Leslie. “I don't want your help, woman!” came the reply. Lonely, that's all she felt when she was with him. “I want to divorce that bastard,” she confided to her best friend Primrose. It was not hard getting the pontiff's approval. “I want you in the Fourth Brigade, Amelia” the invite came unexpectedly from Captain Othoman. Of course, she accepted. Fight, Toil, Reprimand, Repeat. For years, Lieutenant Amelia Eleanora dedicated her life to the ISA. And yet, the loneliness never left. “I like you, Amelia,” Her second closest friend confessed. Damien, oh my dear Damien. “I want to marry you, but i'm afraid the church will catch on to your elf blood- Your eyes” With every love, there was loss. First her ears, now her eyes. She sought an alchemist, someone who could create a potion to change her lavender color eyes to a normal blue. It worked, but it only made her feel more lonely. Lonely lonely lonely “Primrose, I'm pregnant!” Joy, pure joy. A boy and a girl, Andre’ and Yvonne. A farmstead outside the city, small, peaceful. Happiness 𝓌𝒶𝓇 At what cost? What was gained? “My son is dead,” Primrose cried out. Taken in the war, her best friend's child and Amelia’s Godson. “DAMN IT ALL” A cough that started in the night. Damien, the only man who treated her right. Taken by illness. Children grown up and off on their own adventures. But at least she had Primrose, and finally Peace in the land But only for one year “A murderer roams the farmlands, you are to stop them” the orders were clear. A band of soldiers set out. Richard Harver, Dame Amelia, Lucius Wick, Valentina Ruthern. Seasoned veterans mixed with young soldiers. Capable. “Captain?” The murderer, the butcher. No one had expected it to be Captain Vladrick Ruthern. Her friend, Ally- Her Captain. Insanity takes its hold like a viper around prey. Insanity caused her comrades to die that night, and for the dame to lose her right arm. “With this, I announce my formal retirement from the ISA. Oren Aut Mortem” Nothing to live for. Nothing to fight for. She thought of taking her own life, but Primrose would be sad. My Prim. ℭ𝔥𝔞𝔬𝔰 Life has a funny way of playing with your mind. This was supposed to be the end of her career, but still, she was a knight for the empire. Primrose for the Kingdom, Amelia for the empire. It was laughable, for such an unbreakable friendship to be divided by petty kinslaying. The Dagger, that was what she was known as. And that's what she held when she sat in the gatehouse with Primrose. A spy for the resistance. She was to overtake the guard and open the gates for the emperor's return. Fate decided Primrose was the guard that night. The pommel raised, the blade at her back. What was she doing? This was Prim for GOD'S sake. 𝔒𝔯𝔢𝔫 𝔄𝔲𝔱 𝔐𝔬𝔯𝔱𝔢𝔪 The Empire fell, and with it Amelia fell into an endless hole of regret, disdain, and betrayal. Driven to insanity All she had was her rusted helmet, her horse, the prosthetic arm of Richard Harver, and her long wilted wedding bouquet from decades ago. Loss had taken her mind, battle had taken her eye and arm. Face scarred by ungodly creatures. Broken A bird brought a letter. Scorched words telling of a fire within Vienna. Primrose burned to ashes with it. All she could do was laugh “The 𝕾𝖖𝖚𝖎𝖉𝖘 got to her, they got her. My Prim, my beautiful lovely sister” Incomprehensible Next came news of her son Andre’s passing. "𝕾𝖖𝖚𝖎𝖉𝖘 𝖇𝖊 𝖘𝖑𝖎𝖕𝖕𝖎𝖓𝖌, 𝖘𝖖𝖚𝖎𝖉𝖘 𝖇𝖊 𝖘𝖑𝖎𝖉𝖎𝖓𝖌, 𝖘𝖖𝖚𝖎𝖉𝖘 𝖈𝖔𝖒𝖊 𝖚𝖕 𝖆𝖓𝖉 𝖘𝖖𝖚𝖎𝖉𝖘 𝖇𝖊 𝖋𝖎𝖌𝖍𝖙𝖎𝖓𝖌. 𝕶𝖎𝖑𝖑 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖘𝖖𝖚𝖎𝖉𝖘, 𝖇𝖚𝖗𝖓 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖘𝖖𝖚𝖎𝖉𝖘, 𝖘𝖑𝖎𝖈𝖊 𝖆𝖓𝖉 𝖉𝖎𝖈𝖊 𝖚𝖓𝖙𝖎𝖑 𝖙𝖍𝖊𝖎𝖗 𝖉𝖊𝖆𝖉” Gone was her mind, her soul. A fragment of its original self. Still she wandered on her aimless mission, her tormented mind made up. Her stead took the lead, clopping down dirt paths across the land. No destination in sight. Krugmar, Balian, Ruins of Yong Ping, Haense. A military operation was to take place. Curiosity led the decrepit dame to follow. A ferocious battle, a daemonic beast. “Come at me you massive SQUID” Memories “Damie-?” 匚~尺~卂~匚~Ҝ A person such as Amelia was never meant for a graceful death. Perhaps this was what she had wanted all along To be taken swiftly in battle.
  23. 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:
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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