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  1. https://youtu.be/ZFr7AyT17sI “Come away, O human child!; For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” The Stolen Child, W.B. Yeats 1744 Arianne Renée awoke from her light slumber as her head fell from her hand, having lost her “balance” as her carriage passed over a moderately sized stone in the road. She squinted her eyes as she brushed aside the small curtain to her window, being met with the sight of a sprawling meadow freckled with some wildflowers and framed by a brush. Upon further inspection, it looked to be a clearing of a forest rather than a meadow since birch and oak trees past the young princess’ carriage window. Although it was a simple sight for her to bear, Arianne couldn’t help but smile as the thought of getting ever more close to Kaedrin came to her. Naught a week ago, the sights that decorated the roadside were rocky fields of frost-covered heather and forests of pine; the sights of Hanseti-Ruska that Arianne had grown more accustomed to during her years spent within the kingdom in order to become more acquainted with her betrothed, Andrik IV, and her future people. Although she had found the land to be rather enchanting, young Ari had grown awfully homesick over the years and became wracked with worry for her father’s declining health--which is what has brought Arianne to where she is today; on the road to Ves from Reza. It had been a little over five years since she had last been home. The thought of her seeing her brothers and father in just another week practically made Arianne giddy. She had grown a lot since the age of ten, and was excited to show her father what she had learned in her sword lessons, if his health even allowed him to leave his bed. Even then, Ari would be eager to show her father her specially made sword gifted to her by Andrik. “Krusaevorev - To Protect and Serve,” Arianne’s betrothed had said with a smile the night he presented the blade to her. Ari rested a hand over the sword’s sheath as it sat beside her within her carriage. The ruby within its hilt glistened faintly, drinking up whatever rays of sunlight would pierce through the thin curtains. A contentful sigh escaped the princess, she leaned her head back to idly watch the trees continue to pass her window. She was on the verge of dozing off before a thunderous crackle and rumbling pierced the air, being accompanied by the anxious whinnying of the hackneys and coursers, and the muffled commands issued by the knights of her escort. The coach came to a halt. Confused, Arianne creaked open the door to figure out what had happened to cause their delay. Upon peeking her head out, she could see that a tree fell onto the road just a few yards ahead. “Jus’ a minor incident, Your Highness,” said the coachman, nodding assuringly toward Arianne as two guardsmen past him were warily nearing the brush, their hands on the pommels of their blades. “I don’ think it somethin’ serious - this, ‘ere’s, an old forest, trees likely fall all the--...” He never quite finished his sentence, since his words were cut off by a sickening crunch; the product of a throwing axe hitting its unfortunate target -- that being one of the levymen who were nearing the thicket lining the road. “Raiders!” shouted one of the knights of the escort, his sword hissed out from its scabbard as he reared his horse. Chaos followed his words and all the rest was a blur for Ari, because the next thing she knew was that she was back in her carriage, hearing the muffled shouts of men, the clangour of swords, the cries of horses, and the roaring of her coach’s wheels as it began to race off. Arianne’s heart pounded in her ears, she was jostled around within her enclosed carriage as it was run off the road. “Hang on, Princess!” called the coachmen’s voice from outside. “Stay down, it’s the Morsgradian Basta--..” Again, he was unable to finish his sentence as he was interrupted by a familiar crunch. The last sound the poor coachmen ever made to Ari was a weak gurgle, in which the princess brought a hand to her mouth in horror. Following that, a loud snap was heard from beneath Ari as a wheel shattered, which threw the carriage off its balance. Before Arianne could brace herself, she was being tossed and thrown around the inside of the coach. Her vision went dark. A few moments passed before Arianne stirred, groaning quietly as she came back to her senses. The carriage had, with no doubt in the world, rolled over several times. The glass from the small windows had shattered and cut up her left arm a bit, which caused a trickle of blood to run down her fingers. Her head throbbed, as did the minor cuts on her arm and, when she went to rise, her knee ached. Outside the carriage, the sounds of death gradually ceased and unfamiliar voices were heard a distance away. Arianne’s escort had been slaughtered. The leather roof of the coach had been torn up during the crash, Ari had noticed. She grabbed her longsword and began her climb out with some of the glass cracking more beneath her weight. Before she could straighten herself, a figure appeared before her with blood splattered along his tattered garb. “Looks like another one for the ransom, Svaen!” the man said with a coarse chuckle, eyeing Arianne. “A little kitty, with a long claw,” he added, noting the sheathed sword in her hand. “Careful she don’t scratch you, Eyvald!” teased another man, closer to the road. He was in the process of freeing his axe from the abdomen of one of Ari’s guardsmen, who remained deathly still in the soil blackened with his own blood. The man named Eyvald released another harsh laugh, he went to step closer to Arianne when... She drew her sword, tossing the scabbard away from her. “You will not approach me, you barbarous filth!” hissed the princess, donning her stance. A few more chuckles were heard near the road as the other surviving Morsgradians listened in. Eyvald seemed to be only amused as he watched Ari, not threatened in the slightest--especially after having successfully ambushed her escort. “Come on, girl. You know you can’t take us all on,” he said, gesturing to the six others who were gradually making their way from the roadside. “You’d be wise to surrender now, then perhaps we’ll give you a swift death when no one pays for your ransom.” Arianne only adjusted her grip on her sword, saying nothing. To be frank, she didn’t know what to do. Her heart continued to pound in her ears, she couldn’t feel the sting from her cuts anymore. Eyvald eyed her for a moment further, taking another step in her direction. He looked at her expectantly, though in a dismissive fashion--as if he were growing tired of this “joke” of a young woman of gentle birth wielding a blade. Behind Ari, she heard the snickering of two other Morsgradians muttering to each other. She shifted the weight on her feet. Fear coursed through her body, rendering her speechless as Eyvald stood before her now, reaching a hand to take her arm. Would this be how her life ends? “No!” Ari suddenly blurted out, closing her eyes as she jerked herself away. She jabbed her blade forward, knicking something, as she twirled on her feet before shuffling back. A curse came from Eyvald’s voice as she opened her eyes again, realizing they had traded places. The man pressed his hand to his side, where his shirt had been torn and where blood oozed between his fingers. It was a shallow cut, though it was still a cut nonetheless. Arianne was shocked, as were the rest of the Morsgrad raiders; their snide whispers and chuckles were gone now. “You little bastard!” growled Eyvald, his expression darkening. “She nearly impaled me!” He stormed toward Arianne, who was now frozen with her fear. He slipped his dirk free from his belt, reaching his other hand out to grip the terrified princess by her arm. She dropped her sword as the pommel of the dagger smashed against the back of her head. Arianne’s knees gave out before her vision darkened. She fell unconscious. --- Arianne stood in a garden. The gentle warble of birds surrounded her, occasionally accompanied by the sighs of leaves from various plants surrounding her when a breeze found its way into the Varoche Palace’s courtyard. In front of her, sitting in the grass, was a girl of four years wearing a lemon pink dress; her little sister. She was hunched over something by a peony bush. “What have you found, Margaret?” Arianne queried, kneeling beside her sister in the grass. Margaret was weeping, clutching an injured sparrow close to her. Its wing was broken, and it looked horribly dazed. “It flew into the wall,” the little princess muttered tearfully. “Is it going to die, Ari?” she then reluctantly asked, bringing her doleful eyes up to look to her older sister for comfort. “No… No, Margaret, it won’t,” Arianne replied, wrapping an arm around her sister’s shoulder to comfort her. “We can try our best to nurse it back to health, yeah? Come, let us take it inside.” She helped her sister up, going to guide her back into the palace. --- It had been several days since Ari had been taken. Perhaps it had been a week, though she wasn’t certain. Ari wasn’t sure where she was anymore in relation to Haense or Kaedrin either, since a dirty sack was kept over her head for the majority of the time she travelled with the group of Morsgradians; however, she was finally allowed to not wear it yesterday since they have moved onto far more unrecognizable paths. In the evenings, when a camp would be set up, a large man with a beard named Halstein would attempt to interrogate her to learn more about who she was, which she caved in to. He looked to be the largest of the raiding party, though he did not have the most brooding of features. Arianne grew to be less intimidated by him as the nights would pass, for she would hear him singing in a voice of honey during the daytime. He seemed more sympathetic; much unlike Eyvald, who frightened her. She sat in the back of an old, wobbly wagon drawn by a scraggly man with thinning hair, her hands bound together. Two others from her escort had also seemed to have been taken, though they weren’t kept within the wagon with her. Instead, their bound hands were strung to the back of it where they were to walk along the unforgiving roads. Everything, save for their clothing, had been stripped from them. Arianne’s sword had been taken, which now looked to be in the possession of Eyvald for she noticed it strapped beside his horse’s saddlebags. He often eyed her rather spitefully, and sometimes she overheard him muttering and cursing about his cut festering to the others in the party, though they just passed it off; It seemed like Eyvald was one for sympathetic attention. The time came where they would set up for camp again, for the sun’s light gradually shifted toward a hue of gold and orange. Arianne was placed by a relatively thin tree, where she would be tied to in order to be kept from running; she had tried to the first night or two and failed in her attempts of escape, having received a few swift punches to her gut as punishment. “How much longer ‘till we reach the camp again?” Arianne overheard a few of the Morsgradians mingling with themselves as they carried firewood back to where they had chosen to settle down for the evening. “Eh..” One, a relatively young lad with dark moppy, and curly hair, shrugged his shoulders as he plopped his twigs down on the dirt. “Two or three days, methinks - if the weather is kind. It’s growing colder, y’know? Might snow.” “So that’s how long I’ve got…” Ari thought to herself, dread beginning to grip at her heart. She didn’t know if she would be ransomed for a handsome amount of mina, or if she would be given a brutal death that would be turned into an example to boost morale for the Morsgradians. Either way, she knew she had to escape soon. But how? Upon glancing around, Arianne noticed that the campsite was relatively empty. A good number of the experienced warriors were absent, having likely gone to the nearby stream to wash up and refresh themselves; leaving the younger lads to keep watch of the camp, horses, and prisoners. An idea came to mind. “I’ve seen snow in the late spring!” argued one of the lads, it seemed their conversation devolved into a debate of sorts. “It’s possible!” If only they would see the summer snows in Haense, Ari thought. Their little squabble would be interrupted. “Hey! Can one of you untie me? I need to go to the bathroom.” Their attention shifted to Arianne now, falling silent - for the most part. They exchanged mutters, some wearing partially amused expressions. “Piss yerself then, wench,” one of the older boys called back with a snicker, nudging another next to him. They shook their heads and went back to collecting firewood for the night; a lot would be required to keep warm. It was getting colder. Arianne awoke that morning to find frost was building up on part of her clothes, and she felt chilled to her core. She wasn’t often kept too close to the campfire and was only provided a thin and wretched-smelling blanket, so the cold easily reached her. With the sun gradually nearing the horizon now, Ari could tell that tonight would be another dreadfully brisk one, so a tinge of hope flickered in her eyes as she noticed one of the wood-gatherers had lingered behind. It was the mop-head. “Will ye be quick about it?” he queried her after glancing over his shoulder to ensure none of the others noticed his absence. The young man stepped closer to Ari. She recognized him as one of the archermen retrieving arrows from the corpses of her escort the day she was taken, his name was Svandred… or something like that. Ari never quite caught it, and didn’t care for it. She nodded to Svandred’s question. “Yeah. Of course.” She held a sort of earnestness in her gaze as she looked up to him. Svandred narrowed his eyes slightly upon her, his lips curling in a mild frown on contemplation before he sent another cautious glance in the direction of his friends - who had disappeared within the brush. He gave a gentle nod to her and knelt down. Arianne could feel her heart beginning to race as the bindings around her hands loosened, though she tried to conceal her dumbfoundedness. “Come on, geddup - ye said ye’d be quick, aye?” She blinked and nodded again, going to rise to her feet. Her wrists were bruised and felt raw, and ached mightily as she moved her hands; however, that didn’t bother her now for her heart continued to race within her chest. It was as if time slowed for her, the world around her grew distant as she stepped near a shrub by the side of the camp - Svandred standing just a foot behind her. Arianne knelt down as she spotted a sizable rock, and took it into her hand. --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTL_rAfcEC4 The next thing Arianne knew was the crisp air brushing against her face as the thunderous galloping of a dark mare blended with the beating of her heart in her ears. Trees and branches raced by her as she sped through the wood, kicking for her horse to go even faster as distant shouts erupted far behind her. Her cheeks burned from the cold wind nipping at her flesh, which was then whipped and scratched by low-hanging twigs; the woods were thick and difficult to maneuver through. The pit of dread in Ari’s stomach gradually dissipated into nothing the longer she galloped and the quieter the shouts of the Morsgradians became; she was almost free and could return home. Her hands trembled with her adrenaline and rising joy; however, such excitement faltered and shrank back once her mare’s foot snagged on a root and sent the princess flying and the mare tumbling down a ditch ahead of them. Arianne plunged into a shallow stream and landed harshly within it, narrowly escaping the black mare’s body that tumbled alongside her. The poor creature released a loud wail of pain, for its leg had snapped. Arianne was practically in a daze, having smacked her head against the rocky bed of the stream. Her head pulsed as she felt the icy water drip from her face and rush over her hands as she pushed herself up, the taste of blood was in her mouth. The horse thrashed beside her, splashing the water around and making a ruckus loud enough to stir the whole forest; her captors would be upon her soon enough. She had to leave now. A glimmer of red within the shallow waters caught her eye; Krusaevorev. She had to have used Eyvald’s horse for his escape, but there was no more time to think. Arianne swept her blade up and bolted for the thicket across the stream, just as the distant shouts of the Morsgradians began to echo around the area. Her heart pounded within her chest as her feet thumped on the forest floor. The sun was crawling beneath the horizon now and the forest was growing darker, and colder; however, Arianne felt nothing except for the burning of her legs as she continued to power through the brush, twigs occasionally whipping at her arms or face. This was her escape. Arianne didn’t quit her running until late into the night, when the cold really gripped her and when she felt as if she were going to collapse and cough up her lungs, which also burned painfully in her chest. The woods were silent around her and she felt as if she were allowed time to rest, but she knew that she had to continue moving; that she needed to return home. But how could she do that? Arianne was lost; set deep within a land unfamiliar to her with the threat of Eyvald and his group still present. Her name wasn’t safe, neither was her appearance; Ari knew that if she wanted a chance of making it back home, she would have to become a different person. Arianne Helvets would be no more, not for now. Joanne Lovell would then be born. Her hair was shortened, though done in a horrible manner since it was cut by her sword, and her travelling clothes - which were stained with sweat and smeared with mud and dirt - were discarded; a new outfit was obtained, having been stolen from the clotheslines of a farmstead by a creek. All she kept with her was Krusaevorev and her necklace, which was a golden Lorraine Cross. Small jewels were set into it, though it looked as if a few had fallen out or cracked from her unfortunate ventures these past weeks. Still, she kept it close to her heart. 1745 Arianne had been missing for several months now. It took her a great deal of time to figure out her surroundings, as well as to find a way to keep herself from starving. She had taken up work at various shabby inns or businesses; aiding in preparing meagre meals for other weary travellers, scrubbing floors, or even shining shoes to earn coin or a warm meal for herself and a roof to sleep under - be it stables or a mattress stuffed with hay. She eventually discovered that she had somehow wound up in the north eastern territories of Arcas, but she was gradually making her way back west; to where she could return to Kaedrin, and be delivered back to Haense in safety, where she would go forth in marrying Andrik and carry her duties out as Queen. She clung to that hope, it drove her on; to see the faces of her siblings again, to be welcomed back into the city that she would help rule over and protect… The day would come eventually. The Plump Otter was the name of a little inn Arianne currently found herself resting at, it was located on a crossroads and its caretakers were keen on keeping the establishment in good conditions; so business was abundant. Many curious travelers and wanderers looked to make their way through, watering their horses and filling their stomachs with mead and bread before returning to their journeys, where they would take them. Ari was seated at one of their tables and was in the process of stuffing her face, for she hadn’t had much of a meal in the past two days. Nearby, she overheard a conversation. “If the wind’s in favor, I’ll be able to make it in time to the wedding,” a man mumbled to his companion beside him at one of the tables as he drank thirstily from his mug. “Lots to be sold at weddings, especially royal ones. Always got festivals for ‘em.” Arianne slowed her eating, pricking up her ears. A royal wedding? “Not sure on how well you’d do in trying to sell your sweet wines in Haense,” commented the man’s companion as he reclined in his chair. “I hear they fancy that Black ale there.” “Pah, it could still make for a good gift to present to the King and his bride; get in their good favour.” “Pft, what are you expecting from them? A keep for your gracious gift?” The man’s companion snickered and shook his head before he raised his mug to his lips. “Good luck.” Arianne felt confused and almost struggled to process what she had overheard, so she stared blankly at her plate. They really think I’m dead… The buzz of the tavern grew distant and became muffled as thoughts raced through her mind, her lips pressed tightly together. It’s not too late, I’m so close to home. A flicker of hope passed through her eyes before she abruptly rose up from her seat, stepping out from the inn and into the yard. A man and the tavern’s stablehand looked to be prepping his wagon and horses for travel. “..Excuse me, sir,” Ari called to the man, who was in the process of strapping down sacks of grains. He cocked his head toward her, a perpetual grimace lingered on his weathered features as the sun shone on them. “Eh? What is it you want, girl?” he queried, seeming rather hesitant to address her as an actual woman as he eyed her grimy, cut hair and attire, which was an ill-fitted coat and trousers with nordling patterns died into the fabric. She looked more like a highlander boy who was yet to grow out a beard. “Are you headed west?” “Pah, I’m nay a cabman. Piss off.” He spat at the dirt by her before resuming his work. The young stableboy only eyed her curiously, most notably staring at Krusaevorev on her belt. She had wrapped the crossguard and hilt with a cloth, so no one would be tempted to thieve it from her; the ruby drew unnecessary attention. It still remained an odd sight for most, to see this young “boy” with a blade. “No- I need you to take me west - to Kaedrin, at least. It’s urgent,” Arianne replied in earnest, she took a step closer to the wagon to try and meet the man’s gaze again. He paused and looked to her, though more curiously. “What fer?” “To reunite with my family; I am Arianne Helvets, daughter to King Adrian. I was--..” She could not finish her sentence, for the aged man bursted into a fit of rough laughter. “Pfft, quit pestering me, child,” he dismissed her with another rugged laugh. “Go play yer games elsewhere.” “I’m not playing any games! I am Ari-” She was cut off again. “Pah! And I’m the Emperor of Man. Now piss off!” Arianne gritted her teeth, she could feel her anger rising up within her. “Look,” she said to the man on the wagon and withdrew Krusaevorev from its scabbard, the Slayersteel blade reflected the light of the sun; its ruby glimmered as she removed the cloth around it. Upon the crossguard were heraldic bats and crows of Helvets and Barbanov; it was a fine blade. However, for the man, it was almost too fine… He narrowed his eyes at her and stood up straight. “Now how’d a kid like ye get yer hands on a weapon like that?” “It was given to me, by my betrothed.” “Aye? That so?” “Yes. Now can you take me west?” He scratched his chin and eyed Arianne a moment longer, before waiving the stablehand off. “A moment, girl,” the man grunted before hopping off of the wagon. Without another word, he disappeared into the inn. A few lengthy moments passed as Ari waited by the wagon, having tucked her blade away again. She felt her frustration beginning to fade away as the man returned to the yard; however, a handful of others stepped after him. Most were armed. “Aye, that’s her,” the man said and pointed toward her. “The thief trying to pose as the King’s dead daughter.” Arianne’s eyes widened as she looked over the group, her rage boiled up again as she backed away. “It’s not true!” she snapped, though her hand went for the pommel of her blade as she continued to eye the group bitterly; by the looks in their eyes, there was no way they would believe her - nor care enough to investigate. They believed Ari to be dead, and their hands withdrew their own weaponry from their scabbards. “Don’t be foolish, child. The Princess is long dead, gone. Now drop that stolen blade and your hands might be spared,” called one of them, who wore a tabard; the crest was unidentifiable to her, for it looked heavily worn and stained from prolonged use and travel. He was likely some knight or another, who kept to the eastern territories of Oren to fend off any raids for the war; many plagued the farmsteads and hamlets dotting the roads. Arianne gritted her teeth as her eyes darted between them all. There was no chance she could fight here, not after her display with Eyvald. So, she did what she currently knew best to do, and that was to turn and run. Ari darted across the dirt road and vanished within the thicket of trees, which lead to the southern hills of the Fell country. --- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNiOnMMxak0 Dejected, hurt, and sour, Arianne lost herself. Her own name became foreign to her, unwanted; she clung to her new identity of Joanne Lovell, the bastard daughter of some spice merchant who took to travelling northward from the sandswept lands of Korvassa. Joanne’s hair was a warm auburn, Ari’s was a dirty blonde; she had managed to acquire the dye for it upon discovering a modest tailoring shop, led by some half-elf. Her frustrations gripped her as she shoved the echoes of her old life away. Everyone she knew had thought her to be dead, yet hardly mourned her passing in her eyes; instead, they moved forth quickly in replacing her. Had I ever truly been welcomed to Haense in the first place? Her thoughts returned to her time within the walls of New Reza, where she often butted heads with the other young women of the court and struggled with her freedom under the shrewd eye of Queen Milena while she still lived. A rare few had treated her kindly; Primrose, Otto Sigmar, and Andrik... Andrik. Did he not care for her too? She could not linger on such thoughts, and her mind went to home; Kaedrin. Is it even safe to try to go there? Arianne knew of the inner turmoil and struggles her father’s kingdom was going through during his illness; she recalled the letters from her brother Leopold expressing his concerns of safety in the capital, with ambition plaguing the minds of power-hungry Fleeperites. She could easily be removed, if identified by the wrong individual. Weeks passed. Joanne was squatting at the edge of a farmer’s field with her sword resting in the dirt beside her and was trying to dig up potatoes from the soil. The snapping of a twig was heard from some distance behind her and she quickly turned, only to see the blur of a figure dart behind one of the oaks that dotted the fields. “Who goes there?” Jo called with some alarm, gritting her teeth. There was no answer, however. Instead, an arm appeared from the tree, only to toss a stone away from it. There looked to be some attempt at being discreet; however, it was done horribly. Moving in the opposite direction from the stone was a dark elven man, who was prone and crawling along the soil through the brush of the crops. Joanne simply blinked. “I can see you plain as daylight!” she exclaimed, almost dumbfounded at the man’s further attempts at stealth. He was slender and without hair, a jagged scar went across his face and blinded his right eye. His other eye was crimson. Both narrowed at her. “No ye don’t.” “Yes! Yes, I do!” Jo said as she became even more bemused. “Who the Nether are you and what are you doing?” The elf sighed and pushed himself up. He tried his best to brush the dirt from his garb, but it was smeared with the soil; despite his dirtied appearance, he didn’t seem like a typical brigand or loafer looking to cause mischief. He wore leather armor of decent quality, and carried two blades on his person. “All right, ye see me,” he said defeatedly. His accent was a thick Kaedreni one. “I’m Devitus, was trying to see what ye were doin’ out here.” Joanne narrowed her eyes a little, a frown creased upon her lips. “Why?” “There’s gremlins out here, been a bit of an issue fer the farmers. I’m here to try ‘n’ stop their mischief, or to make sure their mischief ain’t some kid like you diggin’ up the crops or drawing away the cattle.” Jo wrinkled her nose. “I’m not just some kid!” “That so?” Devitus queried dubiously, he crossed his arms before himself. “Indeed! I’m, uh-.. A hunter.” A hunter? It was something that randomly sprouted within her mind; she had to say something back to this elf. Devitus simply looked amused. “Yer a hunter, aye? Catch any game in that dirt? And where’s your gear?” A scoff came from Jo. “I’ve got a sword,” she replied rather haughtily, her nose wrinkled. “You see-...” Joanne’s words trailed off as she felt for her blade that she had sat in the soil beside her. It was gone! Jo gasped as she twirled around, hoping to have only misplaced it a few feet off; however, Krusaevorev was nowhere to be spotted. What was spotted, however, was a small shape across the field darting away. It had rather large ears, which bounced with the creature's movements. “GREMLIN!” Devitus bellowed out with excitement. “Come, girl!” He jogged after the creature with Joanne in tow. Together, they saw the big-eared gremlin disappear into a den beneath some stones. Krusaevorev was in its grip, though the longsword was too unwieldy for the tiny creature to properly carry, so it was dragged across the soil. Devitus and Jo weren’t able to get into the den, for it was far too small and cramped. They could get a look within it if they knelt down, however; a great deal of snickering emitted from within as Jo poked her head down. “You little sh*t, give me back my sword!” she barked toward the little beast, who only taunted her with more snickering and an insult in broken up Common. “I’ll tear your ears off, if-- AHCK!” Jo reeled back as it hurled a clump of mud at her. “That ugly fiend has no manners!” She spat out mud. “It’s a gremlin, kid!” Devitus said as she watched Jo wipe her face angrily, he looked utterly amused and humored. “They never have manners, but they’re harmless shites.” He scratched his chin as he eyed the den. “Go fetch me some twigs, we can smoke the little bugger out, aye?” “Why can’t you fetch your own twigs?” “Because I’m watching the shite here to make sure he don’t run off!” Joanne huffed as she stood up, spitting again as she still tasted mud in her mouth. Vexed, she gathered twigs and other kindling for Devitus, who clumped it all near the den’s entrance. He withdrew a match from one of his pockets and leered at the once-smug gremlin, who ceased its taunting; it had nowhere to run. “All right, ye little shite,” the dark elven man said coolly. “I’ll give ye one chance to return that sword to the kid here, then you can leave these fields so I don’t have to skin ye. Because, believe me,” His hand tapped a slightly curved dagger on his hip. “I will, after I make you choke on smoke.” A torrent of broken up insults and threats poured out from the den. Devitus ducked his head just in time to dodge a clump of mud being hurled at him, which almost smacked into Joanne. All became silent, however, once Devitus lit his match. “Last chance.” --- “What’s yer name anyways, kid?” Devitus asked after he finished counting his earned coin a third time. “Joanne, uh- Joanne Lovell. Are you really a monster hunter?” “Aye, I am. Are you?” He already knew the answer. “Ye’ve got the sword for it, slayersteel is a choice metal. It’s strong like steel, but bites like aurum; very expensive.” He looked toward her curiously as they made their way down the road leading away from the farmstead, pocketing his coin now. “How’d you manage to get that blade of yours?” Joanne blinked, though opened her mouth and said whatever came to mind first. “My, uh- My father gave it to me,” she said, then continued. “He… knew of my interests in tales about those Marked Men, and gifted me it. There would be nothing for me to really earn or keep at home, since- eh.. I’m a bastard, so he gave me this and sent me away.” “Pah, he likely wants ye to die. Something to get ye out of his life.” Devitus released a dry laugh and shook his head. “This business ain’t like a fairy tale, kid. Yer better off in selling that sword and finding yerself other work.” “Well-.. Why can’t you help me?” “I don’t got time to teach you how to use that thing.” “You don’t need to teach me!” Jo insisted as she walked alongside him. “I already know how to use it and handle myself. If I prove to be horrible and die… Well, then you can take my sword for yourself!” That looked to be enough to convince him, he piqued an eyebrow as she looked at her. “Hrmph, if ye say so. Deal. Just don’t expect me to hold yer hand.” Devitus and Joanne became a pair that afternoon. Jo managed to eventually prove her worth with a blade as they were hired for smaller jobs, such as fending off brigands or dealing with ratiki infestations on the outskirts of Kaedrin. They proved to be rather efficient together and earned a great deal of coin, which was often spent on their travels looking for more work. Five years would pass. 1750 Over the years of her work with Devitus, Joanne’s skill with the blade had improved immensely and she had worked to train her body to be stronger in order to better wield her longsword. She was no longer some lithe maiden, but a hardened warrior of a woman; her temper and personality still remained fierce, she took enjoyment in this new life for her. Being head-strong and bold worked in her favour, for the world was not kind to the meek and rewarded those who took action. Word of their skill began to spread around the northern bits of the Empire, which led the two to a job commissioned by a mirror merchant. His caravan was ambushed by harpies as they traveled through the mountain passes north of Ves, and he had lost a lot of his investments when one of his supply wagons was overrun. He reached out to Devitus and Joanne to clear the nest that had been made and return whatever mirrors they could for a hefty sum of minas in return. So, the duo set their sights to the north and sought out the harpy nest. Joanne hadn’t quite gone so close to Ves before, and they would need to pass near the capital in order to enter the mountains. She wasn’t sure what to expect, truth be told, but was tense and uneasy; fearful of finding a familiar face, or of just confronting memories of a life now passed. None of that quite came, in truth, for there was a shift in mood as the walls of Ves were spotted along the horizon. The common folk of the inns, fields, and roadways were all speaking of news from the capital; King Adrian Helvets was dead. Taken from his sickness. Joanne was sick to her stomach and felt numb for a long while, her words becoming distant and half-distracted whenever she spoke to Devitus. He had noticed her shift in demeanor, though made no comments. It wasn’t until their encounter with the harpies, when Arianne snapped and let loose. It was her fault that she didn’t return home; her frustrations blinded her and kept her from returning home; she had allowed for her stubbornness to keep her dead. And for that, her father passed away thinking his daughter had died at the hands of roadside bandits. Her emotions took control of her when the harpies swooped down and she grew too bold. A wordless shout of anger melted into a scream of agony as the claws of one of the flying hags bore into her left forearm, tearing into her flesh and muscles to grip her and begin lifting her up from the ground. Her blood poured everywhere. As her vision grew dark and the shouting of Devitus became muffled and distant, a bolt sunk into the chest of the harpy, which caused them both to drop and return to the earth. Darkness came to Arianne. --- https://youtu.be/cKJA-D3ltPM “I want to get my fortune read!” Arianne chirped eagerly, tugging at the skirts of her mother with one hand while the other clung to her father’s pant leg. A bright smile adorned the young girl’s visage as she gazed wide-eyed toward a booth on the festival grounds of Ves, where an elderly man with a milky-white beard sat. He was in the process of examining the palm of a young lad, tracing one of his gnarled fingers over the lines of the boy’s hand and uttering to him about curious prophecies. A crooked sign hung over his head, reading in mystical lettering: Wise Old Wick. Annabelle offered a hesitant look to Adrian, though the king gave an assuring grin as he patted Arianne’s shoulder. “Pah! What harm could a peek at our sparrow-bat’s achievements do? It shall only take a minute, go on ahead Ari.” He gave his daughter a little nudge, though she quickly scurried forward and toward the Wick soothsayer as he finished up with his previous customer. “Me next! Me next, please!” Ari called as she scrambled onto one of the stools that sat before the wooden counter, which had flecks of bread crumbs leftover from the Wick’s lunch. “Read my fortune!” The soothsayer offered a hearty chuckle at the princess’ excitement, he bobbed his head and took hold of the hand she was waving excitedly before herself. “All right, all right, let’s have a look…” he muttered and narrowed his gaze, a look of thought crossing his weathered features. “Oh! Oh, my!” the Wick exclaimed after a moment, he stroked his beard sagely as he pondered further, before wiggling his fingers and waving his hands spiritually before himself. “I see... ! I see…!” he said, before setting his eyes on Arianne again, who held her breath with her excitement. “I see… you going forth to achieve great and wondrous things! A leader, you shall be… of an army! You will be a general, yes… And you shall battle powerful armies of foriegn and nefarious lands! Such is your Destiny!” Arianne gasped, her jaw dropped. Of course, the Wick was merely guessing based on what he had seen and heard about the princess; her fiery spirit was well-known about within the city, and she’d often be seen around the streets of Ves or on the outskirts of the Varoche Palace chasing after stray cats or waving sticks around with her brothers like they were fabled swordsmen living out some grand adventure. He had made a decent guess, for the girl grinned widely and dumped a few coins into his tip jar - alongside a rock that she thought looked pretty neat and kept in her pocket. “Did you hear that?!” Arianne called back to her parents, she twisted around in her stool to face them. “I’m going to make for a great warrior!” Annabelle wore a soft smile as she watched her daughter, her arm looped with Adrian’s as she said, “You could be made into a Dame in time, you know.” “She’ll be more than a Dame!” Adrian replied with a warm chuckle. “She’ll be a Queen; a good one, too, who’ll defend her people and land well. That right, sparrow-bat?” Arianne was beaming, she nodded. --- She awoke within an abbey. Devitus stood across the room she was rested in, peering out of a narrow window that offered a view of the cloister. Warm sunlight poured into the room. A jolt of pain shot through her left arm as she attempted to move it; the wound inflicted by the harpy was tended to, but it still needed to heal. A tired breath left her, which caught the attention of the dark elven man. “You’re awake,” he stated as he turned to her, his arms crossed before his chest as he leaned his weight back against the plain wall behind him. “Aye,” Ari replied with a sigh, turning her gaze up to the ceiling. “I am… What happened?” “Suppose I should be asking ye the same.” Devitus shook his head softly. “I don’t know what came over ye, but ye seemed to think it best to try and pummel that harpy with yer sword and fists ‘stead of keeping with our plan. Damn nearly got taken away by one of those hags, sliced yer arm up real nice.” “Hrm…” She still felt weak, her head being cloudy. “Thank you.” “Ye gonna explain to me what got into ye? Ye were acting strange the whole trip there, ye know.” “Aye, aye… I know.” Arianne closed her eyes as another exhale left her. She knew that she could run no longer, that her past would always come back to bite her in the ankles. Her memories still clung to her like fleas would, and wouldn’t cease their nipping and reminders of their existence. She had to face the truth. And so she did. Arianne revealed everything to Devitus. They talked for a while, until the sun dipped beneath the horizon--then they talked more; the hours of the night grew small; the moon hung high in the dark sky; and the wax of their candles was half-melted away. She explained her frustrations, her pain, and her confusion; however, the more she opened up to Devitus, the more her head began to clear and the less lost she felt. Devitus was greatly confused in the beginning, and almost thought Ari to be messing with him; however, he could see her genuinity and her grief within her grey-blue eyes as she insisted he listened to her. When their lengthy talk ended, he insisted she try to return to her former life; to reconnect with her family and redeem herself rather than continue to wallow in her turmoil and live a life of running and regret. She agreed to this. They would eventually part ways, though Devitus stuck around until Ari’s strength returned to her. The abbey they were given rest at was along the north western territories of Kaedrin, nearing the territories of Haense. Occasional pilgrims would pass through to and from their visits to The Basilica of Fifty Virgins, some began to speak of troubling news from New Reza; the Queen, Maya Valeriya, had been kidnapped by a defected group of Haeseni soldiers that wished to hold her for ransom against King Andrik. Last one of the pilgrims had heard, the King wasn’t interested in negotiations and was in the midst of rallying a rescue party to head north to where their camp was settled. Something didn’t sit right with Arianne as she heard this. Andrik wasn’t a proper fighter, that she could recall; she remembered his struggle with his father’s attention and approval for not favoring swordsmanship. Ari grew worried for his safety, as well as for Maya’s; she knew she must return, to seek out her redemption, to keep her oath of Krusaevorev. To Protect and Serve. Such was her Destiny now. --- https://youtu.be/K0etyrdJSC8 Arianne hadn’t realized how much she had truly missed the frigid lands of Haenseti-Ruska until she was greeted with the familiar sights of rocky fields of frost-covered heather and sprawling fir forests, when the cool winds brushed aside her hair, or when the dreary clouds occasionally parted to allow for the sun to shine and cause Lake Milena to glimmer and glisten. Such had happened as Ari neared the front gates of New Reza. She felt anxious, nearly sick to her stomach with worry, though she still made her way through the portcullis and onto the streets. There was a lot of excitement in the air, many people were moving about and shouting. It took a while for Ari to try and figure out what was going on, for the rabble of everyone was rather overwhelming as she tried to maneuver through the crowds. “The clinic, the clinic!” “MAKE WAY, MOVE!” “Step back, keep your distance!” “Where’s the damned doctor? The King needs her!” It was utter chaos. Andrik had returned from his mission to rescue Maya, and it had been successful; however, he had been injured during the conflict and was returned to New Reza for treatment. Arianne was unable to reach him during that time, and found herself a bench to sit at within a nook as she waited for everything to grow calm again. Many hours passed by and the sun’s golden light began to shine red as it drew closer to the western horizon. The streets grew quiet as the cold crept more into the city, many took to their homes to be warmed by their fires; all was still. With a frosty breath seeping out from her, Arianne stood and sought out the clinic. “Halt right there,” said a man donned in the colors of Barbanov, wearing the armor of the Royal Guard. He was standing near the entryway to the clinic alongside another gentleman in the same setup. Both eyed Arianne and her sword curiously. “What business have you here?” “To speak with His Majesty, King Andrik.” It took a little bit of a while for Arianne to finally be welcomed into the hospital, in truth. She was nearly arrested, and she had to keep herself from snapping out of frustration at the guardsmen when they had begun to argue about her being there, as well as the genuinity of her identity; however, before much more could be escalated… A young page peeked his head out from the clinic doors and said that Andrik would see Arianne. It turns out their argument had picked up in volume and caught the attention of many, the King included. Ari was escorted into the building and was shown to a room where a familiar man with dark hair rested. “Godan…” The King muttered in a hoarse voice as his weary eyes settled upon the lost princess. “It’s r-really you, Ari.” He was propped up by pillows, being too weak to sit up on his own. Sweat was formed on his brow and his breaths were ragged. His arm draped over his stomach, hand gently clasping over his freshly bandaged side. He really had been gravely injured, his energy was drained; however, despite his weakened state, something within the King pushed for him to remain conscious, to see Arianne. Perhaps he thought she was a mere dream; a hallucination; but something kept him from wanting to “wake” from this dream. Something in him didn’t want for this ghost of his youth to disappear again, so he remained awake. His stormy blue eyes never left Arianne. She stepped further into the room, and they were left alone… “I don’t know what came over me, Andrik,” Arianne murmured, she was seated in a stool near his bedside. Her arms propped herself up on her knees as she gazed solemnly at the floor. They had already spoken for a decent while by now, the shock of Ari’s return had faded; the time for truth and rectification had come. “I just felt-... I felt like it was better for me to remain dead in everyone’s eyes. I was lost and hurt… And in my pain, I only caused more with my absence.” A quavering breath left her, Ari closed her eyes as she felt the sting of tears gathering. “I’m trying to fix it all now; I’ve stopped running and I’ve come to face my destiny.” “You were lost… But now you are found,” Andrik replied, he had managed to form a faint smile as he gazed toward her. “Have you returned to your siblings in Kaedrin yet?” Ari shook her head as she opened her eyes, glancing toward Andrik. “No… I haven’t quite figured out how to return to them. I only came to New Reza as soon as I had heard word of what happened to Maya and you.” The King dipped his head softly. “Your sister is set to marry my brother. The promise that our father’s set in stone shall be fulfilled, Godan-willing. S-still a couple of things to work out, but it will be done.” He paused a moment as he eyed her. “He misses you; L-Leopold… He inherited your f-father’s tites as Duke of Cathalon. Kaedrin is… collapsing though, I’m afraid. I f-fear it may not survive terribly long after the war…” His hand suddenly reached out toward her, fatigued eyes staring pleadingly toward Arianne. “Please, Ari… S-stay here. C-come back into my Court and serve my regent- and my son, as the Master of Hunt. Please.” Arianne took his hand with hers, she sat in silence as he spoke to her. Her eyes rarely met his, being wracked with grief and guilt; however, at his request for her to stay, she blinked and slowly leveled her gaze with his. “Master of Hunt..” she uttered slowly. “I-it is a humble position, b-but one I think you would enjoy greatly. Your spirit is s-strong, Ari… You’ve always wanted to fight for this Kingdom, to p-purge it of monsters and ward it of other dangers; to protect and serve. Th-there is still time for you to do that… There is still t-time for you to come back and begin your new life.” He placed his other hand atop hers. “Please.” --- That evening, Arianne had become Master of Hunt and swore an oath to King Andrik with Krusaevorev; the sword he had gifted to her years ago, when everything was so different. She had used that blade over a dozen times to protect herself, but now she would wield it with intent to protect The Kingdom of Haenseti-Ruska. Arianne would wish to dedicate the rest of her years to the Kingdom she was promised to at her birth; she would wish to give all of her strength and compassion to the Kingdom she had grown to love; she would wish to give her life to ensure the safety of the King she loved, as well as to protect those close to him. Although they had been separated for many years, Arianne had loved Andrik. She knew he did not feel the same toward her; how could he after she had been “dead” for so long? His heart was for Queen Maya, which Ari accepted; she was beautiful, wise, and benevolent. She was a woman that Arianne respected; she was a Queen that Arianne would wish to protect and serve as well. In the remaining months of Andrik’s life, Arianne kept close to the King and Queen’s side and did their bidding. She gained the courage to seek out her siblings and reconnect with them at last; however, such was not an easy feat for Arianne had lived a life completely separate of theirs and struggled to relate and connect with them. Although the wound of her disappearance had healed, a grotesque scar remained. Only time could make it fade. Still, her love and dedication to her family remained unwavering; Ari refused to make any more mistakes again. When Andrik’s illness grew worse and took his life, Arianne became more reclusive from the rest of the Haeseni Royal Court and took to isolating herself in the northern forests of Haense through lengthy hunting trips that would last weeks, sometimes even a few months. The cold forests became her home; they were her life. She roamed the Kingswood, Graiswald, The Steel Hills, and the Wickwald and found her solace at last in the heart of it all; the heart of Haense. She defended it from poachers, ensured the wolf populations wouldn’t grow too big to threaten farmers, and escorted travelers, pilgrims, and any other weary wanderers through the pathways to ensure their safety. She would take occasional trips back to the capital to check up on the Royal Family and see if they would have any tasks for her, as well as to sell the pels she had managed to acquire through her hunts. Arianne rarely kept any coin for herself, however, and often donated her earnings to The Basilica of Fifty Virgins; she did not think herself deserving of much. Her life was now dedicated to protecting and serving Haense; it made no sense for her to earn minas or other forms of reward for such. All she kept with her was Krusaevorev and her mother’s cross. Many years passed and Arianne continued her service for Haense. Troubling rumors eventually formed and began to float around about a soon-to-come invasion; Scyflings were coming to Haense. Concerned, Arianne looked more into it and realized the threat of war coming to the Kingdom. She decided it was time for her to return to the Royal Court and leave her duties to the forest aside, to protect the Royal Family as she had promised Andrik many years ago. Court was held in New Reza, in which Arianne presented herself and laid Krusaevorev out before her in order to reaffirm her Oath to King Sigismund II. The winds of Destiny called to her, she would not run this time. 1768 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0ySBYbKMnk The war had been raging on for a few months now. The Scyflings had made an attempt to try and siege and take over Valwyck, which led to a grand battle. Arianne had defended the Queen during it, and assisted in defending Fort Buck from a band of Scyflings that had tried to claim it while most of the Haeseni forces were distracted in the north. The battle was gruesome and bloody and Arianne knew that only similar encounters lay in wait for the future. A counter attack was to be made on the Scyflings after the Battle for Vasiland, though this one would take place on the sea; an attempt to destroy the Scyfling fleet would be made. Arianne kept close to Princess Amelya during it, her shield being raised over the Princess the whole time to protect her from arrow fire. It was their ship that began a chase after a rogue Scyfling longboat that slipped past the Haeseni forces. It was making a mad dash through the waves to head south, toward Vasiland. It had to be stopped. Their chase went all the way to the Vanir Hold, where a battle ensued within the keep. Arianne remained close to the Princess’ side throughout it all, her shield and sword at the ready. She was determined to keep Amelya safe and sound; such was her duty, and she would not fail to upkeep that again. Somehow, a fire had managed to start within the attic of the keep and it was beginning to cause parts of the floors to collapse and fill the building with smoke. It was no longer safe to be inside. Arianne was in the process of trying to escort Amelya out when a splintering crack occurred from above, cinders and debris fell into the dining hall before them, alongside the body of a man familiar to them both; Godfric Alimar. Ari had known Godfric when she was young, the two often butted heads and teased one another as kids usually did; however, he had ended up marrying Arianne’s sister after complications arose with Andrik’s brother. She also knew of Amelya’s attachment toward the Alimar. He could not be left behind. Both were horrified to see his unconscious body on the floor, half covered in smouldering planks and soot; however, he emitted a faint groan of pain to show he still lived. He desperately needed medical attention and could not be left there, so Arianne passed her shield to Amelya and sheathed Krusaevorev. She stooped down to lift up the Prince and carried him into the courtyard. There, they discovered that Vasiland had been surrounded by the Scyfling forces, with many Crows still behind the walls. Escape would prove to be dangerous; but it still had to be attempted. This battle was lost; Vasiland would be taken. The Haensemen had to escape with their lives now, and tried to move out from the front portcullis. Arianne kept beside Amelya, instructing her to stay at her flank away from the Scyfling archers as she continued to carry Godfric in her arms. Johnstown was so close to them; if they could make it through the field and under the cover of the trees, they would find safety within the town and medical aid for Godfric. So, in the midst of all of the chaos of the battle, the three made their attempt to reach Johnstown. They had made it halfway through the field when a deep shout was ordered in the Scyfling ranks, ordering a volley of arrows to be fired toward them. As Arianne heard the familiar whistling of arrows in the air, she turned her back to it and stepped before Princess Amelya, yelling for her to duck down. She clutched Godfric close to her front as she remained hunched over the Alimar and Barbanov; shielding the two with her broad body. A sharp gasp of pain left Arianne as she felt the tips of arrows sinking into her back, burying deep within her body, causing her to drop to a knee in the grass. Her body felt rigid and stiff with the arrows protruding out from her, the sharp pain went deep into her chest and kept her from breathing normally. Arianne’s energy and strength were fading, but as she gritted her teeth as she managed to push herself up to her feet again, maintaining her hold on Godfric. Amelya looked horrified and tried to assist Arianne in rising, ushering her across the rest of the field. Fortunately, the archers that had their sights on them became occupied with the other Haeseni forces trying to pour out from Vasiland. They entered Johnstown. Arianne laid Godfric in the grass, her breaths were ragged and unclear; she coughed blood as her vision blurred and could barely stand now. Her energy was spent. The next thing she knew, she had somehow managed to seat herself at the base of an oak nearby Amelya. She and other medics looked to be trying to treat Godfric and any other wounded that had managed to escape Vasiland with their lives. The chaos of everyone grew distant to Arianne as she turned her gaze over the forest and Lake Milena that Johnstown looked over. Her hands, covered in the blood of Godfric’s and her own, gripped her scratched up and worn Cross of Lorraine that her mother had given her when she was just a child. Her thumb brushed over the empty crevasses of it that once held fine gems, now lost from her many rough endeavours. She was dying. Her vision began to darken and her pain melted away, replaced by a cold and numb feeling. Before her now stood King Andrik, smiling warmly with saddened eyes. “Andrik…” Arianne rasped out, resting her head back against the trunk of the tree. “I kept my Oath…” And so, the wind-bitten bat closed her eyes and passed on. Arianne Helvets was dead. Arianne Helvets in the Wickwald [[Art done by me]] [[ Thank you to those you let me play the character and develop them. I wanted to write a story about her life to make up for the time that I had been inactive on her. A lot of my plans for the character never quite worked out or became a possible thing due to various issues and other roadblocks, so I felt disappointed in what I had managed to do with her. I wanted this post to represent something for her, I’ve put a lot of work into it over the past weeks/months.]]
  2. *A posting is hammered to doors and noticeboards throughout the city.* The nature of being a Mali’aheral to exist in an ever flowing, ever contrasting stream of old and new. Old traditions upheld by new people. Old people forcing new changes. Guardians of the old standing against new progress, and guardians of progress rallying against the old. There is progress, and there is health. There is forward change, and there is the traditional heart of the nation. This is tradition and silver. The lifeblood that makes up the Mali’aheral. When tradition, the heart of our nation, is threatened; it is the eternal duty of our people to be vigilant against those who would threaten it. On this every Mali’aheral agrees. Where they often disagree is their source and form. Sometimes they come in the form of our enemies, and sometimes they come in the form of our friends. Most often they come in the form of ideas. Like the eternal flow of contrast between progress and health, the line between an idea that challenges tradition and an idea that embodies our future is often tumultuous and murky. The rewards vary from mind to mind, pitting allies against one another, creating discontent, causing turmoil, and generating revolution in our state. This too is a representation of the ever flowing, ever contrasting stream of old and new. Today, the city of Haelun’or stands on a precipice. Representatives of the new with no memory of the old, but bearing old allies in the shadows who instruct their every move, seek to command control in the name of what they consider to be progress. They command this control against many of the old themselves. Representatives of tradition. The form this progress will ultimately take only they know. Such is the normal in Elven politics, where the written plans often end at power’s acquisition. Make no mistake that this is a period of decline. The city may appear at a glance to be running as normal despite the hushed voices and knives in the dark, but a war rages on the cobblestones of Haelun’or. A war of ideas that has divided our people. A war between the traditionalists, and the silver council. A war of tradition and silver. A war that has taken the life of our blessed Maheral. A war that has seen our council attacked. A war that has seen our government take to hiding away behind steel doors underground, as if the city itself were occupied. This war has taken much from us already, and it will take more if nothing is done. For a war between tradition and silver is tantamount to a body wounding itself; and while the High Elven state has already suffered greatly, this war bears the potential to do more than divide and damage. It has the potential to destroy. Progress can come only in one form. A return to tradition. To this end, I call upon silver to concede to tradition. To look to the people their council is supposed to represent, and to afford them the representation they deserve. I call upon Okarir’indor Kinahen Athrilum to resign immediately from their office for gross incompetence in the face of threat, and a violation of their oath to protect and give honor and breath to the Maheral as their office demands. I call upon the Sohaer, and the whole of her remaining council, to put their offices to public election - as we did in the past - that the people might be represented by a Mali of their choosing rather than a Mali selected for them by a tyrant. I call upon the Malaurir who influence the current silver council from the shadows, delivering whispers into their ear to broaden their power or consolidate their legacy, to cease in their destructive behaviors. I call for peace in our homes, and in our city, under a government that loves its people and who its people love as we did before tyrants instead commanded their fear. I call upon these things not as one Mali, but as the voice of the Mali in the city who are downtrodden by a council that no longer serves its people, but who instead expects its people to serve it. By Larihei, let your people choose.
  3. Although it would be incredible; I’d just like to say now that I’m NOT expecting this to be accepted. I just had the idea not too long ago and wanted to share it. Basically a throng of lunatics led by Mr. Beautiful completely take over the city of Helena. The guards are imprisoned; criminals are set free. The gates are shut; no one comes in and no one gets out. The town will be in a state of unqualified pandemonium; everyone is on their own. Trapped in this engirdled mobocracy swayed by a psychopathic begetter who will be sitting in his chair; laughing his ass off until somebody stops him. Discord me if you’d like to hear more.
  4. The Flying Orrir [[This is a transformative work of “Enchanter” from “Dragon Age: Inquisition”]] As Siol sits in his room, the elf takes up his handcrafted lute. His eyes close and a soft melody starts playing. The soft melody progresses during the next hours as the bard comes up with the instrumentals for his new song. Picking up a scrape paper, Siol makes to write on it, putting down the words of his next ballad. As his mind is converted into words, the elf makes to get up once more, leaning on his cane as he remains still unrecovered from his injuries during his last adventure... which he narrates into his new song. Moving the lyrics into a proper book, the elf writes: “The tale you are about to read or perform speaks of the adventures of the Order of the Orrir’Ullral, beast slayers. This particular adventure takes place up in the sky, on what appeared to be a floating island, resting atop air as if it was ground. Siol ‘the Orrir’, Vyasaldris ‘the Lioness’, Uhtred ‘the Bear’, Zodd Callibal, Otto Wittenbach, and Zozanulia are the key figures to be mentioned, all monster slayers of different ranks. However, there were indeed more units of the Order to have taken part in this expedition, adventure and contract... who are most likely to remember of their first time flying into an sky island to balloons, discovering ancient ruins and defeating two beasts... and Hyfowl and a Shredwing” The Orignal Song: Male Cover (This one doesn’t go perfectly with the lyrics): ((Simply start the video and follow with these lyrics)) [Verse 1] Orrir now, It is nigh time to go to hunt, In the floating island up where we shall land, As we all fly. [Verse 2] Orrir now prepare, That weapons you keep clenched. Like Otto cut the ropes flying up with him into the sky. The balloon goes up, departing him away, While the rope will not retreat as it clings ‘round, his stucken legs. [Verse 3] Orrir now - Nigh time, has come to go up high, Form formations come and stand beside The lines of your Shield Wall. [Chorus] Orrir you come to me! Orrir you come to me! Orrir you come to see! Can you, see what, we shall end [Verse 4] As it stands up high, In the sky now we can see.. In the floating land, Retrieve what is unseen to rest of thee [Chorus] Orrir you come to me! Orrir you come to me! Orrir you come to see! Can you, see what, we shall end [Verse 5] As the chick before, In the light it stands below. In the crooked mouth of ruins, It chips the old rocks commonly [Verse 6] Orrir now beware, The hen is uncommon! For it opens beaks and force follow it on... Like it’s magic! [Verse 7] Orrir now it pu-ushes, and throws you aground The Hyfowl crooked howl Shall be stopped, not be summoned forth [Verse 8] What a screech, It screams, when Zodd thrashes with force Pinning down the foul beast Fore’ it comes forth, chipping Siol’s neck. [Verse 9] Zozanulia forth, Approaches and her sword. She thrusts down the body of the chick, ‘Fore t’screams and throws us off! [Chorus] Orrir you, come to me! Orrir you, come to me! Orrir now, can you see! Uhtred... saving... Vya now! [Verse 10] As the Shredwing bat, Forth approaches with quick haste, Towards Ducem Vya, she’s covered By Uhtred, Armored Bear! [Chorus] “Shredwing comes to me! Shredwing comes to me! Shredwing comes to me!” Uhtred... sees it... luckily! [Verse 11] Bat with razor wings, In the dark where she can’t see! On the Bear, Vya relies And he protects her bravely!
  5. A Trial of Unrivaled Importance The soft lapping of ocean waves could be heard, gently kissing the fine sandy beaches of Siramenor. Many ‘ame had dueled upon these sands before, including the young Oryl Sirame on many occasions, but none had tested him like the spar he was about to enter. Across from him, blade held at neck level was an ‘ame clad in blue, with his hair tied back behind him. Rhathalas, sporting a fine short sword and a dangerously calm expression was waiting expectantly for Oryl’s first move. The young ranger-to-be donning a green tunic held out his blade, a fine single-edged short sword forged by the silver elves. Oryl let a smirk cross his face as he opened with a confident advance followed by a swift strike. Their blades met, slicing through the calm air that had enveloped the beach only moments prior. Rhathalas countered with a strong kick, aimed at the much younger ‘ame’s abdomen, which was immediately rushed by Oryl, as he took the force of the Okar’ir’s kick to his stomach. Having only managed to absorb the kick with his left arm partially, the stunned ‘ame was left slightly doubled over, as Rhathalas stumbled to regain his balance. Grimacing and straightening himself back up, Oryl raised his blade just in time to catch his opponent’s counter-attack. Taking a step back, Oryl was soon locked in an intense series of parries and deflections as Rhathalas pressed his attack. Having been training for several years by himself, the young ‘ame was light on his feet and able to counter most of his opponent’s attacks. Their blades clashing, the pair danced across the beach, until Rha’s blade lept out, soaring down towards Oryl’s leg. Breaking away from their deadly trance Oryl tried to avoid it, but the blade flew too quickly, boring a shallow cut through Oryl’s left quad. Hissing in anger rather than pain, the young ‘ame brought his blade arcing down at his Okar’ir’s still extended arm, landing a shallow hit of his own. Both fighters drew back from each other, regaining their composure as Oryl wiped the sweat from his brow. None of his spars over the years had challenged him quite like this one. Sparing a short glance around, he noticed that a small group had gathered on the beach. Wonderful, now my loss will have an audience. He’d think to himself as his pant leg slowly began to soak up the blood from his shallow wound, the sweat from his skin stinging it slightly. Bringing his blade up once more, another series of quick strikes brought the two woodland elves into a heated battle of strength, speed, and quick thinking, the result of which could be decided by even the smallest mistake. As Oryl brought his sword sailing down toward’s Rha’s blade once more in an attempt to disarm him, he miscalculated the angle of attack, allowing his opponent to swiftly counter this. The force of Rha’s counter opened up Oryl’s defense, leaving him vulnerable for a split second. This mistake left Oryl with a deep cut along the side of his shin, cutting into his calf too. Without a moment’s hesitation, Rhathalas slipped underneath Oryl’s poorly aimed counter-attack, holding his blade against the young ‘ame’s neck. Dropping his sword and doing his best to mask the screaming pain coming from the fresh laceration to his shin, Oryl hissed out a pained “I yield” as he bowed his head respectfully to Rhathalas. With an injury of his own, the Okar’ir returned the bow, holding his left arm close to his side, blood seeping out of the wound Oryl had scored upon the man’s flesh. Both ‘ame turned their attention to a beautiful, young, red-haired healer that had been watching the fight for some time. She hopped up quickly, readying her medical supplies as Oryl slowly lowered himself to the ground. “It’s not that bad,” he said to Aedrie as she began to clean his wounds. Oryl wiped the sweat from his forehead once more, looking at his injuries as the now-familiar sensation of the foul-smelling coagulant was applied to his shin. While this assessment of the young ‘ame’s skills may not have gone quite as he planned, it was a welcome lesson nonetheless.
  6. The Sharp Whisper’s First Hunt ”I will be sure to let you know how it performs” Oryl assured Rhathalas, a magnificently crafted Ironwood bow slung over his left shoulder as the young ‘ame turned to leave the Okar’ir’s home. As he stepped out into the forest, he took a deep breath of the forest air. Securing his quiver over the fur pelt that covered his back, Oryl set off at a brisk walk- allowed only by the recent healing of his injuries. As the ‘ame migrated towards his favorite hunting grounds he began to observe the land around him. The path was quiet, although he soon strayed from it, having been in these parts for quite some time, he had little need for the guidance of the often confusing signs that dotted Arcas’s network of pathways. Slowing his pace, he shrugged the bow off of his left shoulder, peering up at the trees that had been greeting him since his very first hunt in the village. The woods around him creating what could only be described as the face of a loved one, always watching over him. As he continued through the woods, clouds began to roll in overhead, a smile was brought to the young hunter’s face as he slowed to a stalk. Carefully placing one foot in front of the other as he glided effortlessly through the woods until he found a large, sturdy tree that seemed to branch out in four directions. Oryl slung his bow over his shoulder briefly, hoisting himself up into the fork of the tree, lowering himself into it as he shrugged his bow off and drew an arrow from his quiver, awaiting any sign of his prey. A flicker of light tan fur against the dark green and brown backdrop of the forest floor caught Oryl’s eye through the rain. A smile crossed his lips as the scent of the downpour filled his nostrils, he straightened himself up slightly to nock his arrow. He saw a large tan hare resting but thirty meters away at the base of a large oak tree. As he notched the arrow to the bowstring, he very slowly drew it back, raising the bow as he did so. Oryl steadied himself, leaning his left shoulder against the tree trunk, drawing a deep breath as he drew his bow. He looked down the straight shaft of his arrow, letting the breath out slowly. As he found the hare, he held the tip of his arrow to be just above the hare’s right shoulder. The tension in his fingers slowly ebbed away. As he reached the bottom of his exhalation, the arrow lept forth from his fingers, the woven-silk string cutting silently through the chilled air. The ‘ame watched in anticipation as his arrow sailed through the air, landing a little to the right of where he had intended. The arrow struck the hare in its midsection near its spine, the furry creature letting out a surprised squeal upon being hit with such force. Oryl quickly shouldered his bow, dropping to the ground. He would have landed perfectly if it weren’t for a nearly-healed cut to his right shin, he let out a grunt as he hit the ground but sprinted over to where the stunned hare lay, its back legs thrashing as if trying to escape its own demise. Oryl reached his right hand over to brush his left wrist, a lever-activated wrist blade extended from under his sleeve after a split second, locking into place. He thrust his arm forwards, driving the blade into the hare’s neck, just at the base of its skull. The animal stopped twitching immediately, as Oryl then slowly drew the blade back, shifting back to rest on his knees as he bowed his head briefly, offering his thanks to the aspects for his kill. Oryl walked back into the village, the hare in his right hand. He had cleaned the blood from his blade and returned the arrow to his quiver after removing it carefully from his kill. As he passed through the village’s back gates he made his way through the trees in search of the Okar’ir’s home. After a short moment, he caught sight of the blue-clad ‘ame. “Rhathalas!” he called out, a satisfied smile on his face, holding his catch up to the man. “I am proud to inform you that your bow is not only a work of beauty, but a fine and effective work of true craftsmanship, I could not have hoped for a better weapon upon which to string my arrows” he said, as his first hunt with his new weapon had been a successful one. Oryl knew that this bow- Othelu’vihai -would seldom leave his shoulder.
  7. The Holy Order of St. Everard The Palatine Guard “The Holy Order of Saint Everard protecting the High Pontiff and the public during an execution.” The Holy Order of St. Everard was founded in the city of Vuillermoz during the month of Harren’s Folly in 1760. It was founded by Holy Ser Johan Vuiller on behalf of High Pontiff James II, Cardinal Bram, Cardinal Wilhelm, and Cardinal Rodrigo. The Order is stationed in Vuillermoz and initially served as the city’s military. When Vuillermoz was named the Holy State, the Holy Order combined its forces with the Pious Brother of St. Peter and they became the official Palatine Guard. The ranks of the order are Munifex - - > Footman - - > Avocati - - > Armiger - - > Legate - - > Supreme Legate - - > Holy Knight → Grand Master of the Holy Knights & Lord Marshal → Knight Regent As the order grew, Knight-Regent Johan found it necessary to appoint a second-in-command, and thus Philip de Beamont was consecrated as a Holy Knight and Lord Marshal. His dear friend Bjornolf Stjorn was also assigned to this task. Not long after as the Order grow and people proved themselves both as skilled fighters but also to be pure in heart and true believers in the canonist church. They were therefore given the rank of a Holy Knight and took their oath to serve the canonist church and its people. The Oaths of the Holy Knights. Do you swear to never falter, to obey and guard the laws of GOD, who is the one true Creator? Do you swear to be the sword and shield of the Church of the Canon and her faithful, to fight for them when they cannot protect themselves? Do you swear to resist the temptations of Iblees and strike down those who have fallen under his dark rule? Finally, do you swear to keep your post as Holy Knight until death takes you from this realm into the next? Then rise [Name] and join your brothers as Holy Ser [Name and Epithet]. You are a Holy Knight under this land and all the lands of the Church of the Canon, sworn to protect the people of the Canonist faith. You shall be fair and just, defending the innocent no matter their rank, beggar and bishop alike. Each Holy Knight is also to take a acolyte under their wing and train them and prepare them to one day become Holy Knights. “a painting of Holy Ser Johan Vuiller under the protection of the Holy State during a attack of a demon from Iblees.” The Holy Knights of the Order. Holy Ser Johan Vuiller Horens Giant Holy Ser Philip De Beaumont The Fair and Just Holy Ser Bjorn Stjorn Fighter of Iblees Holy Ser Theon Virosi The Bright & Brave Holy Ser Ademar The Light of Horen
  8. ((SPOILERS ARE WONKY)) ~Pravum~ CHARACTERIZATION There are two subspecies of Pravum: the original beasts, known as the Harried, and their “perfected” successors, the Shikari. Both the Harried and Shikari were created from Descendants that have undergone an extreme alchemical transformation to their body and Soul. This augmentation grants the Pravum a slew of enhancements at the cost of the “Normality” of Descendant life. Credits: @Dymase @Cyprian1034 @NikoNiko @BoyWonderr @JaxonBlues @Archipelego @Ztrog @Temporal @AtrexPieren [Lucy-Lisett -- DeviantArt] A pair of adventurers caught wind of an abandoned town in the middle of the wilds of Atlas. Upon arriving, they were met with a thick mist throughout the surrounding forest. Once they entered the settlement, the group found the entire place in complete disrepair. Caved-in roofs, doors torn from their hinges, windows were broken, and the entire town covered in a thin layer of ivy and vines. The wind was blowing softly, adding an extra layer of discomfort to the damp and chilled air. The pair made their way down the muddied streets, their footsteps squelching loudly as the men looking for any signs of life. As they neared the outskirts of the village, one noticed an abundance of herbs in an overgrown garden in front of a small house. Deciding that it would be wise to search for anything medicinal, he strode over to the patch and surveyed the overgrowth for anything useful. The other moved cautiously into the house, with his blade drawn. “Oi! C’mere. Now,” the man in the house called out. The other man would let out a short grunt as he pushed himself to his feet. Stepping into the threshold of the abandoned cottage, the second man let out a sigh, saying, “What’s wrong?” The first man raised his arm and pointed to a darkened, far corner of the small lodge, where a skeleton lay, an arm extended towards a blood-stained book. The second man would stoop down once more, this time picking up the book as opposed to flowers. The man would flip through the pages before saying, “Seems like a sort of diary.” “Not much use for it, then. Better to leave it. Don’t want to upset his spirit, eh?” the first man responded, giving his companion a playful punch in the arm. “Right,” the second said with a short scoff. Nevertheless, he found himself placing the diary into his satchel with the plants he had picked earlier. The pair then made their way out of the lodge in search of new adventure and treasure... Origin: [!] The journal would be pawned off to a cloaked figure several days after the pair of adventurers returned to their city. ~The Transformation Elixir~ Description: Effects: Ingredients: Preparation: Mechanics: Redlines: ~Serum Ingredients~ Muscle and Bone enhancement Minor Regeneration Metabolic increase Sense enhancement (Vision, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch) Cardiac Enhancement Respiratory enhancement Serum Creation Brewing ~THE ALTERATION~ OOC: Please keep in mind this will be a very painful and mentally taxing procedure for the soon-to-be new Shikari. Give the patient time to roleplay out their pain. Also remember, for the performer, this isn’t an easy task either. They must be careful to keep the right order or they run the risk of killing the patient. The person creating a Shikari or Harried must have an accepted teacher application in order to do the procedure. The person being turned into a Shikari must be a preexisting character beforehand, you can’t just be brought into the world as a Shikari as they’re not born and must be created through roleplay. Preparations The Procedures Redlines ~The Harried (Event Creature)~ Appearance: Mentality: Muscle and bone Enhancement (Combat / Non-combat ability) Metabolic Increase (Combat / Non-combat ability) Sense Enhancements (Combat / Non-combat ability) Respiratory Enhancement (Combat/Non-combat ability) Major Regeneration (Combat/ Non-combat ability) Cardiac Enhancement (Combat / Non-combat ability) Mimic (Non-Combat ability) ~The Shikari (Playable CA)~ [Monolith Productions: Shadow of War] Appearance Strengths and Weaknesses PK Clause Mentality ~Abilities~ Muscle and Bone Enhancement (Combat / Non-combat ability) Metabolic Augmentation (Combat / Non-combat ability) Senses Enhancement (Combat / Non-combat ability Tracking (Non-combat ability) (EVENTS ONLY) Cardiac Enhancement (Combat / Non-combat ability) Minor Regeneration (Non-combat ability) Respiratory Enhancement (Non-combat ability) Reverie (Non-Combat Ability)
  9. el’Sirame - Seed of the Forestborn The Forest Shepherds, Priests, and Green Dragons of Siramenor The Lore of the Forestborn Haelun Mali’ame. The mother of Wood Elves and Seeds as we know them today. Long ago, when Malin first ruled the Elves under one united Kingdom, Irrin Sirame was born. She bore no noble blood, and lived amongst the common folk. In her earlier days, she served the Kingdom as a sentinel, quickly rising through the ranks as she defeated foe after foe, and claimed victory after victory for the Elven people. Seeing her prowess, the Elvenking himself granted her a place upon the High Council of Malinor, the first of common-blood to ascend to such an honored place at Malin’s table. When the days of the great Elven schism bore down upon Malin’s Kingdom, Irrin Sirame led her followers into the wildlands, deep into the woodlands of the world. These folk would soon be known as the Mali’ame. Under her guidance, they spread over the wildlands, claiming their homes among the forests, the plains, the coasts. The mother of Mali’ame spent many years traveling between these places, appointing chieftains of the tribes that settled throughout the land, creating the first Seed of the Mali’ame. To these Seeds, she passed on her devotion to the Aspect, and ensured that the memory of Malin’s teachings would endure for centuries to come. Despite bringing the Seeds of the Mali’ame into existence, she had no tribe of her own, none to carry on her ideals beyond the Seeds she helped make. Irrin vowed to take no husband, to mother no children. No tribe can claim her bloodline, for there are none in all the land that carry it. But now, centuries later, a simple ‘ame and her family seek to continue her legacy. The Sirame were founded in the year 1760, as a tribe of ‘ame who seek to emulate the mission of Irrin Sirame- to preserve the sacred worship of the Aspects, and to carry on the ways of the Mali’ame through times of peace and war alike, through the prosperous, or grave. Many are priests, or devout- studying the ways of the Mali’ame culture, teaching them to all who may seek to know the ancient ways. Wherever the forest folk roam, they seek to nurture and guide the future generations. Beliefs and Traditions Religion “May the mother give me the grace to spread life and light through this land, and may the father grant me the strength of spirit to protect it...” - An excerpt from the prayers of the mali’ame Following in Irrin Sirame’s footsteps, the Sirame hold a steadfast belief in the Aspects, as was the faith of the elvenking himself, and of the mother of Mali’ame herself. To them, the Mali’ame are inseparable from the ways of the wild faith- their way of life is entirely dependent on the wilds, as it should remain. While the Seed primarily worships the Aspects, their attention is not solely focused upon them. The Seed knows that the Mani, the animal spirits of the wild, hold an important place in the natural world, and will sometimes lend their prayers and offerings to them and respect those that follow them. The Seed holds no patron Mani themselves, as many Seeds do. While traditionally, ‘ame have sought to bring others into the fold through sermon and teaching, the Sirame are the sort to lead through their own example. They believe that only action will truly bring faith to the other Mali’ame, and remain fiercely devout through all, showing the power of faith in this world. Values Tradition sits at the heart of the Sirame, as their purpose is to continue the life’s work of Irrin Sirame. Their values and beliefs line with the old ways of the Mali’ame, and of the forestborn herself. Faith One of Irrin’s most steadfast pursuits in her lifetime was the spreading of the worship of the aspects. The Elvenking himself was devout in their worship, although he was no Druid. As one of his faithful lieutenants, Irrin followed in his steps. When the others turned their back on the worship of the huntsman and the mother, none were more furious than she. She dedicated her life to keeping the faith of her people alive, and so the Sirame adopted this hallowed belief. Unity The most prosperous days of the Elven people have been in the ages of unity, when ‘ker and ‘ame and ‘aheral stood side by side, marching forwards into the coming dawn. Malin knew this, and thus his people knew peace and prosperity like no other. Irrin Sirame believed in this too- in the memory of the united Kingdom. While no King can lead again, the seed of Sirame believes in a united Elven people all the same. Stewardship To always ensure that there is a safe home for the Mali’ame, no matter how the world may look. There must always be a place where the culture of the forestborn may endure, free from the shackles of others. Safe. Free. and Balanced. The Sirame must lead others to this home, if necessary. Fortitude We are long lived. Our eyes take in centuries of life, and with it, centuries of hardship, and loss. As Mali, we must have the resilience to endure all that the arduous road of life has to offer in our long lived days. This does not mean to remain untouched, or unbothered, but to bounce back- to tackle life with renewed vigor once you fall. Connection to the Wild Above all else, the Sirame believe in a deep, spiritual connection to the wilds around them. The forests are a sacred land, and all the life in them as well. They hunt, as their ancestors did, and pay homage to their fallen spirits. To fell a tree is to kill a piece of the forest, and so they live in burrows, intertwined within their roots, surrounded and protected by them. A Canonist prays in a temple, and a member of the Sirame prays deep within the woods, far from the sight of civilization, shaded by the branches of the trees that they so deeply revere. Appearance and Ilmyumier Dressings, Clothes Members of the Seed can come from many various walks of life, though they typically dress in traditional Mali’ame attire, seeking to be role models to other ‘ame. Robes, tunics, and other dressings of greens, reds, and even yellows. They wear no shoes, seeking to be connected to the earth and the world around them. Oftentimes, they will incorporate pieces of nature into their attire as well- flowers, leaves, and others. Ilmyumier The Sirame takes the mark of Taynei’hiylu, the green dragon spirit, using it as their symbol and ilmyumier. The depiction of the green dragon wraps up and down one arm entirely, snaking over the flesh in flight. The ‘ame may adorn themselves over the rest of their body in viridian flame, should they wish to, but it is not required. The mark of Taynei’hiylu mark is meant to represent wisdom and strength, and their connection to the forest. Another mark members may receive however, is the spring mother's wreath, a mark placed upon the palm of an ‘ame, meant to represent the peaceful ways of the tribe, and the harmony that they seek. However, this mark is not exclusive to members of the clan, and may be offered by the clan as a status tattoo to a peacekeeper.
  10. Haense, 1765. Earlier this year, I had been able to save up enough minas to be able to purchase my very first house in the city of Reza. The air had a mysterious haze and a sickly glow. The air was cool and the wind was dry. I had been touring the city, hearing news about the noble families, the government, and the new monarch. I had been staying in Helena on a forced notice. Unfortunately, my business with the Vanir family was put on halt, thus I had been set on another course of life. In my return I decided to visit the old Vanir house in the center of the city, as grand as a house it was, I found that it had been moved out of and put up for sale. Drats, the rumor had been that Lord Vanir was ill and could die any day. I had hoped to give my last parting blessings before my next adventure in Haense. I entered the dark house, and I observed its interior, every cobblestone and floorboard. There was an odd glowing from a trapdoor that was opened in the corner. I decided to take a look closer. Little had I known of the moisture in the air, I fell down the ladder on to a sticky grungy floor in a sub-basement. There were no windows, and I lay unconscious. For days I had been lying in the floor until suddenly, I woke up. The room was darker than before I entered, and the red-orange flames of the wall torches flickered with such flamboyant light as if it were trying to tell me something. The hatchway to the sub-basement had been sealed. I was stuck. More stuck than bees in molasses. I got up off the ground, my breeches covered in dirt, and my court jacket torn. I screamed for help. No answer. I tried again, no answer. I attempted to push on the cobblestone-lath mixture, it would not budge. I lay in the dungeon for days, and the days turned into a year. Suddenly, as my last cry for help had been heard, someone had come for my rescue. It was Madame Reza, with her great pickaxe. She had freed me from the dark dungeon. I asked her where the Vanir family had gone, and she mentioned a new keep across the great lake. That is where my next adventure awaits. -Clement.
  11. In Libre de Vuiller (ooc, this is a mythical history of Vuillermoz, most of the facts aren’t actually historically true, though irp they are believed to be true, at least by the people of Vuillermoz) For more than 900 years ago there lived a lord by the name of Alf Vuiller. This was a time before God worship, a time when even the greatest kings of arcas did not know the canonist truth. Alf and his people travelled distances farther than the greatest emperor could ever reach, father than even God’s own men have ever travelled, for he was searching for something that he had never heard of, nor seen, nor smelled, but he knew in his heart that it was real and so he had to find it. He travelled for 50 long years, facing the challenges of God and of nature, but for 50 long years he did not find his goal. On The Day of Light, the last day of the search, Alf had run out of food and water and his men were leaving him, but he stayed true to his path of truth, and it was on that day God finally rewarded his valor. A beam of light from Heaven, sent by God himself, led Alf, and the few remaining men he had, to a small lake with berries growing all around it. They feasted on the berries until they were as full as a king after his wedding and they drank from the lake until they were as quenched as norlander at a party with only beer. It was by the lake, on the spot that God had chosen, where he founded his city. For 600 years they lived in peace and prosperity, guided by God they grew the small town into a prospering city, with priests and missionaries spreading the word of God and holy knights competing in glorious tourneys to prove their valor. For 600 years Vuillermoz stayed true to God, and for 600 years God rewarded them. But Arcas was, during this time, a world of heathens and the heathen ways eventually spread into Vuillermoz. Lord Erik Vuiller had become weak to the temptations of the devil, and when foreign missionaries came he did not turn them away, but instead let them in and listened to what they said. Some say he listened with disdain for the words of these pagans, but others say he put up little resistance to the temptation of Gods who did not forbid drinks nor great amounts of food nor nights with women other than his wife. Which side was true, it is not known, but the next day, on the fateful morning of The Day of The Red Moon, a messenger arrived from the King of Purgo. The message read: “You are people of pride and wrath, believing you are as powerful as the gods themselves and going into a storm of fury on the slightest offence. You claim your God values forgiveness, yet you burst into a fury of wrath and violence at the slightest offence. You are a nation of tyrants and murderers, you want nothing but for the world to be under your control, and you shall pay the price in blood. The Kingdom of Purgo hereby declares war on the City State Vuillermoz” Lord Erik was startled by this, but he did not sound the alarm nor prepare his troops, for he was too busy looking for his maids, and resting in the bath in the bath. It was not until there was an army marching towards Vuillermoz that general Johan Vuiller, Erik’s younger brother, without orders prepared the army to hold off the invasion. But God was not on the side of the Vuillers, as the walls were soon breached. For ten years Lord Erik had been warned that the walls were not strong enough, and for ten years he had refused to spend his ever growing stash of gold, for he did not believe such an attack was possible. As the Purgorian soldiers stormed the city, the Vuillers retreated into the castle, and thanks to the bravery and valor of general Johan they saved the people by protecting them behind the walls. It was at this point that Johan realised he could not hold on forever, and so he sent a bird carrying a message to the Kingdom of Salvator asking them for help. The king of Salvator was not a canonist, but he was honorable and good, and he would not let good, innocent people die for the sins of their Lord And so he marched to Vuillermoz with an army of a thousand men to Vuillermoz. But before the army could arrive Lord Erik got jealous of Johan, for he was the savior of the people, they looked up to him as their leader. Lord Erik, therefore, had Johan exiled for treason. The next day the attacks became harder and stronger, and the defenders more cowardly and weak. It was not lunch before the keep was breached. Lord Erik saw his defeat, his failure, and could not live with it, so he jumped from the roof and died on that same day, not fighting with his men, but on the streets surrounder nothing but the emptiness and coldness of the streets of the raised city. But there was still hope for Vuillermoz, for Johan had not left in spirit, and as he saw his people being slaughtered he could not stand and watch. He charged his horse into the enemy, killing many and bringing hope to his men. The soldiers, inspired by their general's bravery held on in the keep for three more days. And though he died, Johan of Vuillermoz became it’s savior, for on the last day of the battle the army of the Salvator arrived. They crushed the tiered and unsuspecting Purgorian soldiers, killing most and driving the rest to the hills, but Vuillermoz was already lost. Many people had no home, and they were forced to leave for other lands, and the few who remained would not see a golden age like the old days in a very long time. Some of the priests and missionaries went to the Salvatorian king, for he had proven to be a good man and worthy of God’s love, they taught him of God and the ways of canonism. As a good and just man, he would die a devout canonist. For 250 years Vuillermoz was nothing but the old keep, cobweb and vines conquering more of the castle for every year that went. With no vitouse leader the ancient bastion of divine truth could not grow and for 250 years no leader was born worthy of God’s help and guidance. But on one fateful morning Johanne Vuiller gave birth to a boy. The boy would be named Harald Vuiller. He would bring back Vuillermoz from a decaying keep to a true city of God, recognized by the High Pontiff James II as a holy it was on the path up, and with the help of God it would be his task to spread the canonist truth to the whole world. Vuiller’s with the eagles farsight we rain victorious
  12. Climb the rolling hills, I say. Claw at them, at the grass and soil clinging to the hard grounds, thoroughly through the howling pull of the wind. Let every fibre of your body shift it’s way up, flattening every little weed and flower blowing in the grass; see them die, with glee, because this is nature. Mother calls; and your journey comes to an end at once, but has it, really? And so you rushed down the rolling heights of nature, feeling your form push past the walls of wind, losing balance as you made your way through the little crags and creeks, and produce, and carrots, and leeks. Supper time; and yet you’re famished, you think, looking into the bowl of soup, which to the childlike imagination, could be a lake of sorts, one of fire, and fry, blowing at it to bring it to a fair and just temperature. You’ve never enjoyed sitting at dinner, although to say it was dinner was rather modest, considering Father and Brother had rarely made an appearance, what with them deciding to neigh stray away from the mundanity and boring customs and traditions of common society, and deciding that waking up before the children had awoken, and arriving hours after they’d gone to bed was a way of life. But you remain silent, nonetheless. You rush up the creaking stairway, dragging your naive hands across the age old tapestries as Mother barked at you to come back and wash the plates, but you abstain. The bedroom seemed to have lost it’s charm, ever since Brother started working with Father back in the infirmary, but you can barely remember yourself having any memories with him around either. Something seems strange... “Dinner Time,” Mother calls, but dinner already happened. What’s going on? “Dinner Time,” Mother calls, Why, though? Father returns, but it is bright out, and Brother is not with him; Mother has perished. Why has this ensued? What is the meaning of all this? But soon, none of that will matter becausee ”Haven’t I told you to take three pills, and not two on multiple occasions?” You hear a lady ask you.
  13. Glocky18

    The Reunion

    “Enosis Acreton!” The Akritians, a proud people, have lived as tradesmen, philosophers, artists and scientists around the world serving different nations for almost two centuries after the fall of their Duchy. Many years after the events, all the Great Houses and the people who hold power within the society of the Akritians set up a meeting. They talked for hours, some disagreed, some agreed… but it is then, when the Patriarch of the wealthiest families stood up and addressed to the gathering, “My friends, my brothers… for years we have served other Lords, never asked anything in return, we only minded our own business and worked for a living.” the man pauses, clearing his throat, “Times have now changed, everyday all of our compatriots reach our shores. They seek Enosis! To unite with their brethren and form a new community! A new community based on Mystra of old!” The gathered guests seemed to whisper to each other, what could they possibly think about the Patriarch’s speech? He raised his glass for a toast and said “To Mystra! Chaire Acretes!” The crowd stood up and raised their glasses! Let it be known, those of Akritian blood are welcomed over at Savinia. ( ooc details ) If you want to experience a Byzantine themed community, feel free to join us! Here is the link to our culture post! We hope you that you will be a part of this soon! https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/154049-akritian-culture/?tab=comments#comment-1455635
  14. The Woodland Village of Siramenor “Light and Life - Sul Tayna'ehya” Settlement Guide (Credit to Callum for the Picture) Tucked in the eastern woodlands of Aegrothond, touched by the coast-land of elvenesee, lies the warm hearth of Siramenor. This quaint little Wood Elven village is home to many who respect nature, peace, balance, and the Fae creatures of this world. They host many, but not all of the Irrinite seeds- families of the Wood Elven way. These Mali’ame, many once of the Princedom of Irrinor, seek to rediscover their connection to the forests around them. They hold the forests sacred, and do their utmost to protect the balance, and preserve the woods surrounding them. Above all, they value faith, kinship, and harmony. The people of the village look to the Triumvirate for guidance, a triad consisting of the Nealu’ir, Awaiti Sirame, Okar’ir Abelas Caerme’onn, and Annil’ir Maruthir Basilton Caerme'onn. Each member of this triad is marked with the presence of an emerald and gold ring upon their finger, so that they may be recognized. Guilds and Housing The Green Priesthood - The newly reformed priesthood of the wild faith. The Green Priests are representatives of the Wood Elven way of life- torchbearers of the ancient culture of Irrin Sirame. A green priest serves as spiritual and cultural guides to the Mali’ame people, teaching their kin about all a Wood Elf should know- the history of Ame’, the establishment of seeds, the standing Ilmyumier, folklore, and the worship of the Aspects. They are not druids, not a circle of the order as they once were. While they host druids among their ranks, there is no official structure for the druii of the rite. No path written into the scrolls of the priesthood. If one wishes to become a druid, that is for them to decide, and may approach a druidic priest if they wish. The White Stag Brewery - The White Stag Brewery, which also may be referred to as ‘The Stag’ is the local tavern/brewery in Siramenor. It is owned and regulated by the Caerme’onn seed, many of their drinks having been brewed right there. It is not uncommon for those who manage the brewery to venture out in hopes of selling their finely crafted drinks. Otherwise, it’s a wonderfully peaceful place to sit down and have a drink! For Housing, one should inquire with the Annil’ir, Maruthir Basilton Kriswynn-Caerme’onn (PeachLova#6617) The Irrinite Seeds and Clans Siramenor carries on the Irrinite tradition of seeds, and their chieftains. Though the chieftains themselves have no authority beyond their own Seed, they often come to the Triumvirate, to express the concerns and ideas that their Seed members have. Sirame - This newly formed seed of the Mali’ame seeks to carry on the ancient mission of Irrin Sirame- the mother of all Wood Elves. Their members are faithful priests of Elnarnsae’ame, the Wild Faith, and serve as teachers and guides to their people in matters of spirit and culture. While she had no descendants, the Seed takes after Irrin Sirame’s namesake in hopes of emulating her journey through life- spreading the worship of the Aspects through their kin, ensuring that the culture of the ame’ stays alive, and keeping true to the memory of the Elvenking, Malin. They are currently led by Chieftess Awaiti. (gaia#5196) Caerme’onn - While little is known about the ancient history of the Caerme’onn, their ideals, and what they serve is commonly known, their two patrons being Amaethon, the stag, and Bolormorra, the bear. Their place is to teach other mali, specifically Mali’ame about Wood elven culture, acting akin to a shepherd in the eye of elves. As to those in the Caerme’onn itself, they are often considered survivalists, being taught vehemently how to operate multiple weapons, as well as how to hold oneself out in the wilderness. Above all, to a Caerme’onn, family is the most important, their own kin held before any other. As of recent, the family has become well-known for their brewing capabilities, the family also having a new addition, which was created by Allora Caerme’onn. This new addition, on top of the original portion of the family, is maintained by Abelas Caerme’onn, and Basilton Kriswynn-Caerme’onn. (Lockages#7000 and PeachLova#6617) Taliame’onn - The Taliame'onn are an Elven tribe whose values revolve around beauty, vibrancy, color, and art. They view everything as a canvas awaiting to be decorated, including every inch of their very bodies. They are significantly drawn towards self beauty and are known for their bright makeup, fancy hairstyles and flattering outfits. This tribe calls to all artists and craftsmen of any form. They are also a heavily ritualistic people, often performing acts of worship to the Aspects and Mani with rituals that contain primal instruments, sensual dancing, art, candles, incense, stones, flowers and trinkets. To join, contact Skylar or Amaryllis Taliame’onn. (pathetic aesthetic#1931 and Sora#7125) While these are the major Irrinite seeds, there are many other smaller families and clans for one to join, including the Chirran, the Sirona, and the Line of Ungarnos. One does not need to be a part of these seeds in order to make their way in this village. Religion and Culture The primary culture of the village of Siramenor is the culture of the Elame’uell - the children of the everlasting forest. These Mali’ame, also known as the fair folk, are steadfast followers of the Elnarnsae’ame- the Wild Faith of the Aspects. They value a deep, sacred connection with the forests and trees, praying in small, quiet groves where they bury their dead amongst the roots. The full Moon holds a special place in their culture, as it is a time when this world is most connected to the fae realm- the plane of the Aspects. They fancy themselves kindred of mali and fae alike. These people are semi-nomadic, going out into the world on pilgrimages to other cities to create these sacred groves, for Mali’ame around the world to pray in. They host traveling festivals, celebrating life and light in the lands they travel to. They perform blessings, prayers, and rites of the Elnarnsae’ame for any who desire it. However, all those living in the village are united by the dream for a peaceful, just, free, and strong Elvenesse, a dream that the folk of Aegrothond share with them.
  15. One day, perhaps, a book will be found. The pages brittle and made of leather, sewn in with sinew of some unknown animal, and poorly sewn in at that, the pages uneven, the holdings of the book is a harder, firmer leather, much like that of a mammoth or some other beast. The book its-self is much like that of some old musty tome. And hold the writings of a very specific Ork, named Jorg, and his thoughts on various things. RACES ”Mi haz nub zeen otherz besidez Mi bruddaz and variouz klans and tribez of Uruk. It waz zurprizing to find zuch things when Mi arrived, and more, how diff’rent they are.” ’Ommiez ’Ommiez....zome zhort, zome tall. They have tall tuff lookin wallz, live in bub’hozh goi of ztonez, twigz, and farmz. Each Ommie haz a role, nub trust azh anew’ther, az latz Rexez (kalled ‘noblez’ and ‘kingz’ in Ommie tong) rule with ztong and mighty force. They haz ‘guardz’, Ommiez in ar’or and wapons thaz protect latz goi. Zome Ommiez like latz Rexez, utherz nub, yet those thaz don’t, only complain, nub challenge their Rexez. They blah thaz if they do, they be imprisoned, Ommie kingz zound cowardly, hide behind many Ommiez....yet thez muzt of goattan powerz zomehow? Each Ommie haz different thinkiez on thingz, zome honorful, zome ztong, zome zoft...zome cowardly. Mi haz noticed that bigger Ommiez zeem to be tuff...or at leazt think theiez are. Ommie men carry zult and other waponz, they keep lat bruddaz close (Note: Ommie bruddaz are weird. Theyz chooze zelect boiez to be bruddaz, and zome timez theyz betray azh anew’ther....haz yet dizcovered howz da Ommie brudda thingie workz). Ommie women wear drezzez, zome hold more honor than thar matez, mozt of thoze haz kubz, rezpezctz to tuff momo’z. Ommie guardz where morez ar’or the higher up theiez are. Mozz guardz where floppy zilly hatz with a zingle breazt plate, while thoze higher up have zilly ztachez on face with a full zuit. Theze guardz zeem wary on thoze they deem dis-honorable (dezzpite latz honor...) or azgianzt uther nub Ommie (Zomtimez nub kaze, Ommiez are weird). Albia Albia....many different typez.....like meat. Theyz have pointy earz, like zpearz. Theyz taller than Ommiez, and they kan live pazt azhty (Iz there a nomber pazt 100?!). Theyz know alot, buzz zometimez nub the wizezt dezpite theirz knooledge. Azh...Albia of Ageron, theyz live in goi like Ommiez, buzz theyz uze twiggs alot more, buzz ztone iz ztill uzed. Theyz rule with ‘kindnezz’ how thiz workz Mi haz nub idea...buzz Albia Rex rulez, zo it muzt work zomehow? Theyz have parti and poolz. Drezz zimilar to Ommiez, woman have longer hairz. Men haz long hair two....Mi unzure zometimez if man iz woman or woman iz man. Theyz thinkie highly of themzelvez, howz they’z nub klomped yet iz confuzing (iz thiz the ‘kindnezz’ thingie?). They haz honor, buzz ztation iz everything, Latz haz noblez like Ommiez, buzz the higher in ztation azh iz, the more they hold thingz in regard....iz thiz an age thing? Duh....Albia of Renta’la. Theyz live like Ztoutz, under-ground. Theyz haz big fortz made of ztone, ‘retty fortz. Theyz wear white ar’or, zometimez with pur’le zashez. Theyz tall, buzz wider than uther Albia, Zkin dark az azh and koal. Latz hair iz zilver or white....zeem weak, buzz ztong heartz, Theyz noble more simple, only azh Rex, makez Bub’hozh zpeechez, zeemz all theze noblez zupport da Rex, like Uruk, much rezpezctz to da darkiez. They uze bowz and zhoota thingiez, zeemz klomping iz zcary for zoom....Mi thinkz that zome grow zoft behind wallz, or haz albia live zo long that klompin iz nub longer thinkie? Muzz do more rezearch on thiz. Zame az uther Albia, buzz men wear more ar’or, more quite, mi appreciate lat zilence...muzz challenge azh to klomp zome time. Femalez are....zoft, are all femalez az zoft? Mi must do rezarch on thiz, az zome uruk femalez have hard zkin, do utherz nub have hard zkin? Mi worriez howz otherz zurvive, at leazt Albia haz age and wizdom, like Zhomo. Ztuntiez Ztout, Zhort, Ztong. Thoz are Ztuntiez. They haz lotz of klanz, beardz, and know alot about hiztor’e. Nub tall, wide, theyz kan take a klompin, and win! They make for hozene klomp’z. They haz ztong ar’or, and live deep under da ground, with poolz of laza, remindz Mi of dezert, but lezz air. Azh, many different Ztout typez. Like Doom-for-e, black as koal, with glowin eyez, like they haz laza flowin through latz veinz! Uther Ztoutz haz nub zuch thing, but iz loud, zpeakz heavily, and talk....alot. Mi waz once at a table with an elzar Ztout....Mi fearz little, but the ramblingz of an elzar dwarf....Mi will never forget the horror...buzz zo much learned. Ztouz like to zmith, lotz of waponz and ar’or, zpent much time in zhopz and watching da Ztuntiez work. Mi even made work bazed off za Ztoutz, mi ar’or bezz ar’or cauze of ztoutz. Men drezz with ar’or and zeem higher up the more theyz know or longer lived latz are. Women are da zame, buzz hearty, anz round, Mi likez Ztout appreciation of hozne klomp and food. The Ztouz prize honor az well, mozz of what Mi zeen. Korectztion, Ztoutz are vengeful, wagh comez....mi will have to wuz iz right for Krug. FEELIN Many Uruk dizregard feelinz, for hozne reazon, uther racez nub dizregard, theyz accept. Mi haz peepzed a ritual among uther racez zimilar to ur own, buzz iz different. Theyz nub zit around, zmokin da green (Zomthing which mi found az en ezcape). Theyz drink grog, lozz of it, by da tankard, zometimez even Albia, Mi peepz ztoutz at it....mi thinkiez do it all tik. Theyz alzo like to talk about their ‘izzuez’ be it theyz owe tribute, wanna klomp zome-azh, or bub’hozh attempz at matin...then failin. They do thiz while inhibiated, much like being on da green, Mi zee nub difference in da green and grog. Mi tried thiz Ommie ritual *a large stain, from what looks like water is on the paper at this point* it waz mozz painful thing Mi haz ever done. Mi wizhez nub to blah about it, nub wizh mi brudda to zuffer thiz...they zay it waz helpful....Mi iz ztill unzure of thiz.
  16. Hey everyone, hope you and your loved ones are well amidst this quarantine. I'm looking to spit ball ideas for a DnD campaign to run for my friends that takes place in Anthos. A few of them are past players, and a few of them aren't. For those of you who played Anthos, what are some story hooks you think would translate well to DnD. For those who didn't play back then, do you have any ideas for a smaller campaign to start, that would then lead into a larger world ending type arche. Also, any DMs in here that have advice for writing compelling, non railroady campaigns? I want them to interact and build there own story similar to what makes the server so great. But I also need things for them to do. I'm familiar with my source material here, and I want the first campaign to take place predominantly in the human realm. I have a good cast of characters I'm familiar with, and location wise I already have a lot written down. If I ever get this ambitious thing done and it goes over well with my players, I'll be sure to share it here for you to run with your friends, imaginary or otherwise. Cheers, love you.
  17. THE LIFE OF SER NIKOLAUS KORTREVICH “The Most Distinguished Man to Live” By: Otto Kortrevich “A bull doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of cattle like yourself, Rodrik.” -Nikolaus to Rodrik Kortrevich, 1750 EARLY LIFE CHILDHOOD Nikolaus; born as Nikolaus Halldor, son of my uncle Henrik and aunt Lilliana. From the young beginnings of his childhood, Nikolaus held a tenacious bond with his father more so than his mother. He took prominent appreciation in his father’s expertise in swordsmanship which would later pivot his life in the direction that would land himself years subsequently. Throughout his adolescence he became well-educated on the simple fundamentals of wielding a blade, footwork and drawing a bow & arrow. His enthusiasm was mutual with myself, who together spent a great deal of time with each other as both of our fathers were distinguished within the first order of the Brotherhood of Saint Karl; both of which held the rankings of Master-at-Arms. Training amongst the four of us was commonplace during our early adolescent years as we fervently continued to get better at what we enjoyed most. Several hardships were inevitable and that laid true during both mine and Nikolaus’ childhoods, the major known conflicts that occurred at the time were the ever continuous Vaeyl Wars and The Third Atlas Coalition War among the two of them the Siege of Nordengrad (c. 1690) would take the lives of both my father and uncle. An already stalwart bond between the two of us later strengthened following our fathers passings. After numerous years following the deaths of the renown, heroic warriors of Lukas and Henrik, both Nikolaus and I sought to continue our common interest in following the footsteps of our esteemed fathers. By the time we reached the ages of eighteen[Nikolaus] and twenty-one[Otto] we quickly enlisted ourselves into the Brotherhood of Saint Karl under the direct commandment of Lord Marshal Rhys var Ruthern. Within prompt fashion, we rose through the ranks as we became distinguished in the brotherhood and made our names known amongst our fellow brothers. [see ‘Rise Through The Ranks’] MARRIAGE Through years of training a part of the Brotherhood and defensively taking part in countless raids and skirmishes against the Red City of Markev, the thought of marriage never came across his mind for a foreseeable acquisition but that opinion would soon shift when he was introduced to Lotte. On his excursion to the Imperial capital of Carolustadt he and I made way to the capital in aspiration to register to vote for the Imperial Parliamentary Elections of 1703. Upon our arrival to the capital of The Empire of Man both myself and Nikolaus would later be introduced to Lotte Rosendale who was merely a medic pondering the streets at the time. Soon after the meeting amongst the three of us, I suggested taking the conversation to the nearby tavern at the forefront of the city. Quickly thereafter, Nikolaus and Lotte would soon become well-acquainted and as time progressed their bond grew ever closer which would ultimately lead them to marriage the following winter. The wedding had a good showing as it was open to the general populace of Haense, featuring the attendance of His Majesty, King Robert I and Her Majesty, Queen Elizaveta with the added guard battalion of the Brotherhood and the Knights of Bihar presiding which featured the presence of notable figures like; Ser Henrik Ludovar, Ser Varon Kovachev, Ser Dominic Grimm and Ser Bjolfr Nord. The marriage between the two was unlike any other but faced victim to turmoil as any other marriage does but nevertheless their bond remained lusty and strengthened every day as their family began to grow day by day. BEGINNINGS OF HOUSE KORTREVICH The House of Kortrevich: ( Common: Kortrevich, High Imperial: Kortrevinus ) The House Of Kortrevich was once divided between two families; the Haldors and the Blackwoods up until it was revealed the two families had common relatives. Following this revelation made by my uncle Elijah Haldor, the two families assumed the common surname- Kortrevich{Kortrevinus}. Ever since the family’s first establishment in the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska, the ménage has played a significant role apart from the Royal Military where we once held a rather large host of men and women who too bore the colors of Black & Gold. Since the dawn of the famed legends of my father and my uncle our family has held rankings such as Master-At-Arms up through Kaptain until my generation of the family arrived and embarked on our own ventures and aspirations. The generation of my kin would be the very individuals who would continue to hold a large presence in the Royal military and seek to obtain knighthoods, political positions and direct oversight in the Royal government that resided in the Dual-Monarchy. It was only shortly after our family made our name widely known which would be rewarded by the titular enfeoffment of the Barony of Koravia by His Majesty, King Marius I, following our leal service to the crown and the insurmountable amount of due diligence in regards to leading the Kingdom’s army, Kingdom’s knightly system and help aid the Kingdom’s very function within the Duma halls. Our household itself has continued to praise the idealism of remaining committed to the crown and ever-fervent to serving the crown directly by any means necessary. [see ‘House Kortrevich’ post for more information] (*coming soon*) “I’m not questioning your honor nor your merit, Darius. I’m denying its existence outright.” -Nikolaus to Darius Ault, 1699 The Siege of Arberrang, 1691 RISE THROUGH THE RANKS When Nikolaus and I were of our adolescent years we looked to be enlisted soldiers in the Brotherhood of St. Karl in the likes of our fathers. It was only until Nikolaus reached eighteen years of age and I, twenty-one years of age where we would actually be recruited by the young Prince Marius and Lord Jakob Ludovar himself and bare the colors of Black & Gold. Our rise through the rankings was swift in fashion as our expertise with swords in hand outmatched those less skilled. Nikolaus took particular liking to being on the direct front-lines while on the contrary I took to rising through the ranks to become an enlisted officer and have oversight from the rear-lines. Our household during this period of time had a large presence in the standing military at the time which garnered us the respect of the already established nobility houses that have stood for generations. Nikolaus and I continued to rise through the ranks and receive promotions up through till I was granted the honor of being named Lord Marshal by His Majesty, King Robert I for eighteen years where at that point, Nikolaus sought to finally achieve knighthood and bring honor to the House once more. From the very beginning, where both Nikolaus and I were young children, our aspirations were common but despite this being the case we both chose different yet similar paths which would land ourselves years subsequently. KNIGHTHOOD Ever since Nikolaus was but a mere teenager his aspiration to become a Knight became well-known to that of his friends and family. Nikolaus, while fortunate to be born into a rather large common-born household wasn’t privileged to the natural-born right to squire and because of this he sought to prove himself by any means necessary. Varon Kovachev, the incumbent Paramount Knight at the time was one Nikolaus sought to personally prove his worth to yet, it was only until His Majesty, King Robert I himself placed a set of quests and adorous trials for Nikolaus to complete for him to then later be recognized years later by the populace of Haense as a Northern Knight of Hanseti-Ruska. WARS & BATTLES ★= Commanding role Third Atlas Coalition War: >Siege of Arberrang (1691) >Siege of Kal’Tarak (1692) Vaeyl Wars: >Battle of Last Hope ★ (1704) War of the Two Emperors: ( 1715 - 1721 ) >Battle of Upper Rodenburg ★ >Battle of Lower Rodenburg >Battle of Helena Fields >Siege of Helena ★ >Battle of the Rivers >Battle of Leuven >Second Battle of Leuven >Battle of Silversea >Battle of Koengswald Three-Month War: ( 1725 ) >Battle of Tal’Short >Second Battle of Tal’Short Lorrarinian Revolt: ( 1729 - 1730 ) >Siege of Guise ★ War of Orcish submission: ( 1731 - 1737 ) >Siege of Krugland Rubern War: ( 1740 - Present ) >Battle of Hangman’s Bridge >Battle of Reza “Never forget who you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to impair you.” -Nikolaus to Ulric Vyronov, 1716 The Siege of Helena, 1716 THE TROUBLES RODRIK’S BETRAYAL Upon the eruption of The War of the Two Emperors, our cousin Rodrik had his allegiances swayed in full support towards the Imperium Renatum as opposed to his sworn oath and once full-fledged support towards the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska, the very Kingdom he himself swore to protect. Following this revelation to the populace of Haense, the once praised Knight Paramount was perceived entirely differently and was now sought to be an oath breaker and one not to be trusted in the slightest of means. Immediate backlash from the denizens of Reza was imminent towards our House as the once esteemed Knighted figure was in actuality part of our nobility household; the Kortrevich ménage. Several prominent figures who dealt with the backlash first hand were; myself, Nikolaus, Duncan, Erik and Martin but from other perspectives within the family, this sudden betrayal of Rodrik’s saw changes in the way some members of the family lived- Sarah, Lotte, Primrose, Emaline and Arabella took more heedful precaution when travelling within side the city and took notable wariness when obligated to travel outside the city to the noble landings of Ayr and Nenzing. Among the many challenges that occurred throughout Nikolaus’ long life, this among any other obstacle was one that would later pivot the outlook on the future of the family. ROYAL ORDER FOR THE APPREHENSION OF RODRIK Rodrik, the incumbent Knight Paramount of Haense at the time before his betrayal was one of if not King Marius’ closest confidantes which was known as Rodrik took attendance in many of the Aulic council meetings during his short-tenure. With this being said, when Rodrik’s allegiance swayed entirely to that of the Imperium Renatum it was imminent that our House would undergo an insurmountable amount of backlash as the once esteemed Knighted figure bared the names of turncoat and traitor by the denizens of Reza at the time. Nikolaus while recently being promoted as Knight Paramount following both Rodrik’s betrayal and the unfortunate death of Ser Dominic Grimm it was Nikolaus’ task as Rodrik’s cousin to carry out the charge demanded by His Majesty, ‘to return Rodrik back to Haense where he’ll receive the proper punishment for treason against the crown’. The order itself came from the words of King Marius and would finally be fulfilled thirty-years subsequently when the two estranged cousins’ crossed paths for a final time. [see ‘Fulfilling a Promise’ for continuation] TUTELAGE OF RODRIK’S CHILDREN Following Rodrik’s immediate dismissal of his own kin during The War of the Two Emperors, Rodrik’s own children were kept under captivity under his sole guardianship. His mind was severely clouded which serves as adequate reasoning for him not allowing his own wife, the mother of his two children the ability to cater to them and raise them amongst a loving family in Haense as opposed to the war-riddled city of Helena under the guardianship of solely Rodrik and his twin brother; Cassius. Each of our family members, especially Nikolaus made it their priority to eventually retrieve the children from captivity despite the ongoing war that scarred the Arcasian plains. It was only a matter of time that Rodrik would retort something in response to the many missives sent by Nikolaus and the family and soon enough upon one early morning two dragon knights arrived swiftly to the gates of Reza on horseback where the two Kortrevich children and one barbanov bastard could be seen being pulled by the trio of stallions. The escort was not in the slightest bit small as accompanied with the two dragon knights, an entire battalion of Red Knights and Ordermen from the Order of the Red Dragon surrounded the escort all the way from the imperial capital of Helena to ensure their safe arrival. Upon their arrival to Reza the children were quickly placed in front of the gates where a singular guard then shouted to the nearest guardsmen in Reza: “Call for Ser Nikolaus, these children are of Kortrevich blood and Ser Rodrik wishes for their utmost amount of safety. . . Ensure they are brought to the hands of Nikolaus.” [!] Attached to one of the children’s baskets would be a tattered parchment signed by his Imperial Excellency, Ser Rodrik Jozsef Kortrevich, "I, Rodrik of Kortrevich hereby give full tutelage of my children to my cousin Nikolaus of Kortrevich, current Knight Paramount of Haense - this message will arrive sooner or later, but I might already be gone, I've sailed, away from this realm, away from this war and away from the fray - I care for the safety of my children and I understand that even after what has happened you all do as-well, The deal is very simple, you may raise them, teach them your ways and treat them as yours, but if anything happens to them, or I hear that they're being treated ill and they do not feel safe with you, the Imperial Crown of the Kingdom of Cascadia shall retrieve them. In brief. allow them to explore, teach them of the perils, but more than anything - let them be free." “So many promises…they make you vow to uphold. Defend the sovereign. Obey the king. Preserve his confidence. Do his bidding. Your life for his. But obey your father. Love your sister. Protect the innocent. Safeguard the weak. Respect the Gods. Be law-abiding. It’s too much. No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vow over another.” -Nikolaus to Otto Kortrevich, 1706 Lotte Kortrevich laying on her deathbed, 1729 HEARTBREAK DEATH OF LOTTE, 1729 Among the many things that Nikolaus was met with during his life, the death of his dear wife Lotte was one that struck him like no other. Their marriage had its hardships and blessings but one thing that remained true up and till the end was their mutual love for eachother and their children they brought into the world. The eternal bond between the two was recognized by their kinsmen and the extended families abroad which ultimately made her truly one that was arduous to leap over for all who knew her closely. While the tailend of their ever-fruitful relationship did encounter sour turns they remained resilient with each other for the sake of their children, even if that meant for them to live apart from each other for years at end. Both Nikolaus and Lotte had their evident flaws that I personally can list out but despite these flaws at every corner moment they sought to deal with them and overcome the many obstacles that covered their common path. By the end of Lotte’s joyous life, she remembered nought but the few names of those closest to her; Nikolaus and Primrose which saddened her to the longest ends. I myself grew a deep sense of sadness when the day arose when Lotte, a good friend of mine, my cousin’s wife, didn't recall who I was. Despite her sickness, Lotte’s passing was peaceful where she bore no physical harm but the harm of heartbreak. Her death transcended quickly through word of mouth where the likes of many who knew her tried to comprehend the reality that was in front of them. Nikolaus most of all along with his two daughters, Primrose and Emaline were in complete disbelief but ultimately came to a common understanding of what she sacrificed and accomplished throughout her simple life. Memories would be shared but the lasting impact of Nikolaus’ only love ascended to the skies that flew above further struck him down to a pitiful sense of hopelessness as the wars still raged on and saw no end in foreseeable sight. EXECUTION OF ERIK, 1725 Following the unfortunate death of Ser Ulric Vyronov, Erik would soon be held accountable for his death and brought to trial on the felony charge of Involuntary Manslaughter. After the quick guilty verdict by the Lord Justicar; Ser Gerard Stafyr would sentence Erik to death. Just following the verdict was declared to the general public, Nikolaus made an urgent plea to Andrik to be the one to carry out the sentence as he didn’t want to witness his cousin publicly executed in front of what would’ve been a large turnout of commonborn and nobleborn alike witnessing a man pay for his crimes. Andrik would graciously agree to Nikolaus’ request and soon enough moments later Erik was carried down to the cells in the guardhouse district with the assistance of Prince Otto Sigmar and Lord Lerald Vyronov. [4] (embedded link to map) where he then faced his sentence while letting out no last words before his execution. Years subsequent to Erik’s execution, Nikolaus’ initial reaction to his cousin’s beheading was demoralizing to see witness to. While Erik and Nikolaus did not retain a close bond they too were in fact cousins connected by blood which made it truly difficult for Nikolaus to overcome what he was entrusted to do. I noticed a change in his disposition also immediately as he began to remain distant towards his kin which grabbed my attention, the families attention and eventually the King’s attention which resulted in his removal as Royal Executioner after it was made abundantly clear he was in no place to be entrusted with that responsibility. The position itself remained vacant up until Lord Karl Vyronov took seating as the Royal Executioner until he himself was killed and the position remained vacant until recently, where Ser Jonathan Frostfire now stands. KNIGHTLY RECONSTRUCTION Well before Nikolaus took seating as Paramount Knight in Haense, the knightly orders were in a state of royal disarray as they all saw no clear structure and most importantly had no real basis on how exactly a man or woman achieves knighthood. Nikolaus saw immediately the condition of the knightly structure in Haense and sought to completely rework it to an adequate working condition. His first task of business was to clearly outline how one man or woman is able to be knighted. Soon after he outlined how exactly one achieves knighthood he made it well aware to King Andrik that he had avid interest in establishing a new Knightly Order within Haense that acted as a separate entity from the Marian Retinue which would take precedence as the primary Knightly Order in Haense as opposed to before having just the King’s royal guard in function. Nikolaus worked with many people to accomplish his aspirations. Among the lengthy list includes; King Robert I, King Marius II, King Andrew III, King Andrew IV, the grand knights of the deplorable Ser Darius Ault, the vile Ser Uthred Gromach and finally the righteous Ser Dominic Grimm. The many changes Nikolaus would make to the knightly structure in Haense would influence the other human nations and directly influence the construction of new ones under Nikolaus’ personal advice. [see. The Order of the Crow for more information] “THE ORDER OF THE CROW” KNIGHTLY OBLIGATIONS EDICT BOOK OF THE MARIAN RETINUE REAFFIRMATION OF OATHS "You think my life is such a valuable thing to me, that I would trade my merit for a few more years... of what exactly?" -Nikolaus to Rodrik Kortrevich, 1750 The Kortrevichbowl, 1750 FULFILLING A PROMISE Thirty years had passed since the conclusion of the War of the Two Emperors but no remorse was shown by our cousins, Rodrik and Cassius following their betrayal that would lead to the demise of hundreds. Out of all of us who sought to seek revenge for the treacherous actions Rodrik inflicted on the family and the greater Kingdom, it was Nikolaus who was tasked to apprehend the traitor and bring him either dead or alive to the Royal City of Reza on King Marius’ due directive. Decades would pass and the promise taken in my Nikolaus would be forsaken as the war neared its end where Rodrik eventually embarked away from the fray, and away from the likes of his kin. As the coward he was this was a given but nevertheless Nikolaus never sought to forsake his vow he took oh so many years ago. Many missives sent by myself, Duncan, Erik, Martin, Alexander, Sarah and even the likes of my nieces; Primrose and Emaline sent missives to Rodrik where we all plead and demanded he return to his homeland and face the countless punishments for his crimes so our family could finally seek closure. It was only till one day where Rodrik obtained a missive by Nikolaus himself which would finally lead the old-Imperial Knight to beckon his armor once more and ride north to his homeland. [see ‘Summoning a Sojourner’ for continuation] SUMMONING A SOJOURNER A handful of years had passed since the final missive was sent but eventually the arrival of Rodrik would soon stand outside the towering walls of Fort Korstadt. The host of men on either side of the wall stood still as the two estranged cousins shared few words before they would eventually sheath blades of their own and deal out justice for a final time. A period of time later would pass where the two bodies of Rodrik and Nikolaus laid; soon after the fight the garrisoned host of Brotherhood foot soldiers sallied out to motion for Rodrik’s once closest compatriots to disperse. Out of everything that I’ve experienced throughout my long life, to witness my two cousins bring each other to their pitiful end is among the many experiences I will naught forget. Nikolaus lived a fair life, one that retains more accomplishments than many well-renown field-commanders of the past. His legacy will forever live on and be remembered forevermore by the likes of our kin and our nation. Nikolaus and I shared our bountiful amounts of arguments but never did we leave a conversation without a smile on either of our faces. May Nikolaus be remembered as one of the most illustrious men to ever live. May Nikolaus be remembered for his many achievements. May Nikolaus be remembered for every vow he never forsook. My cousin, may he be remembered for the love he shared with his dear wife, Lotte and the family he raised despite his prolonged duties as the Paramount Knight for over thirty-years. My cousin, may he be remembered as one of the most honorable knights in Haense to ever bare the colors of Black and Gold. . Ave Nikolaus, Ave Haense. [see ‘Kortrevichbowl’ for more information] KORTREVICHBOWL “It's the family name that lives on. It's all that lives on. Not your honor, not your personal glory, family.” -Nikolaus to Primrose & Emaline Kortrevich, 1748 Ser Nikolaus Kortrevich “The Strong” (1680 - 1750) Knight Paramount of Haense (1716 - 1750) FULL TITLE The titles of Ser Nikolaus Kortrevich were; The Right Honorable, Ser Nikolaus Kortrevich, Knight Paramount of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska, Commandant Knight of the Marian Retinue, Meyster Knight of the Order of the Crow, Royal Champion of King Andrew III. Published by the House of Kortrevich Written by Otto Kortrevich
  18. One brisk day in the Princedom of Fenn, a female Mali’fenn would be quickly gathering supplies for a journey. As she scrambled about in her bigger than average room in Drakon Manor, she would quietly mumble to herself about various items; “Okay I have my satchel, but wheres my- oh theres my crossbow, now if only I could find that Trident..” After some further searching the Mali would open a chest to reveal the coveted item she was searching for, a Black Ferrum Trident with a shaft made of Fennic Ash. After smiling in relief that she found the prized symbol of her families heritage, in one quick motion she would place the Drakonic Trident on her back as well as secure it for easy access for when she next needed it. Some minutes would pass before the Mali would take one last look at her room she had lived in the past few decades, before walking over to her desk to have a seat on the stool that was there. After sitting, she would then reach for a quill, and begin to write the following message: Akkar, I am writing to you to inform you of my absence in the years to come. As you may or may not know, descendants of various races and cultures will be leaving Arcas, to explore the ruins of a previous land known as Athera. If there was ever a single defining trait about myself it was that I always would find myself venturing beyond the borders of Fenn by expanding my awareness of both Atlas and Arcas. When I heard of the ships leaving for Athera, I knew that I could not pass off this opportunity to see a past land where our ancestors once walked. It pains me to think that I may not return to you or Aelthos, but in the event that I meet my end in this ancient place I wish to share with you some advice. Throughout my life I have seen many forms of leaders rise and fall. As for you, I know you will be a strong leader like your father and his fathers before him. If there is one thing I warn you of its that in times of uncertainty, do not push others away, embrace them. Compassion is not a weakness but a strength. There was a time when I followed every order given to me, and when I finished them I was not filled with pride, but with guilt of depriving a daughter of her fathers embrace as well as disgrace for stripping him of his past accomplishments. The longer I write, the more my window to travel to Athera closes. As some final words remember to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant. Centuries of success and failure take root in you, learn and remember the past and use it to better both yourself and the Princedom. Your Mother, Aroiia Elena Drakon-Tundrak Warden of the Ivae’fenn Princess of The Princedom of Fenn Upon finishing, the Mali would then carefully close the letter roll it into a scroll and lastly, seal the letter with the Drakonic Family Crest. As Aroiia would stand from the desk she could feel the familiar weight of her trident as if it were reminding her of its presence on her back. She would then pick up the letter and whistle for her bird to come to her at once. Upon hearing the whistle, a Raven would fly through the opening on the balcony of Aroiia’s room and with Aroiias arm stretched to the side, the black of night colored avian would perch itself on her arm. Aroiia would smile at the sight of the bird and would offer him the scroll, before watching the bird fly off. When the bird had flew out of sight, Aroiia would then go to her bed where her shield had been resting and picked it up, before heading on her way to board a vessel into the unknown.
  19. ((Disclaimer)): The Realm of Anthos before Thorin’s Conquest. THE CHRONICLE OF VAERHAVEN Vaerhaven’s Western Tower over Lach MacGowan– one of two entrances into Vaerhaven. Vaerhaven was a ((IG)) city located in the Vale of Azgoth. Built by migrants form Silva Insulae, under the Jarl Ferron Andvare MacGowan, Vaerhaven prospered as a continental center for culture, trade, magic, alchemy, and architecture in Anthos. The tragedy of Vaerhaven is one of intrigue and power– a warning to the wicked. THE DOMAINS OF THORIN During the reign of Paragon Thorin Grandaxe, all prospered. For it was an age of auspices, sent down by Armakak and honored by blood-offering to Dungrimm. This was the Second Grand Kingdom of Urguan, in the thick of the Age of Paragons. It was the era of Thorik, Omithiel, and Yemekarr’s First– Thorin the Conqueor– who forged an age of glories and gold. The entire realm was the Dwarves’ frontier. And the chronicle presented here before you, dear reader, is precisely that– a story from Thorin’s first Anthosian frontier. Paragon-Emperor Thorin Grandaxe, Yemekarr’s Fist. The crown jewel of the Urguanic Empire was the city of Kal’Azgoth. It was a fine city; a city of great treasures and exceptionally fine ale. Great arches, thrice-and-twice the size of the tallest poplars, held up the great vaulted roofs. Cities and fortresses lay etched deep under the main halls of Kal’Azgoth, providing the overcity with food, water, alchemy, engineering, and all manners of sophistication. Culture boomed. Trade bustled– Renatians, Malinorians, and descendants of all stripes flowed through the city in search for fortune. Indeed, the Brathmordakin were smiling, for it was the age of Dwarves. And therefrom the Obsidian Throne did Thorin Grandaxe and his Lords rule the vast territories of the Khazadmar: Kaz’Ardol of the Doomforged, etched into Strongbrow’s Way in the Valley of Azgoth; Kal’Halla, far away in the Wild Isles; the Adunians and Mages’ Guild; and the Emerald Isles– all under the Urguanic Yoke. The Obsidian Throne dictated and folk obeyed. Yemekarr’s Balance was emerging from the chaos of aeons passed. For the ruler of the world would be Thorin– Paragon of Conquest. And the most prosperous of the cities under Dwarven sovereignity was Vaerhaven– the breadbasket of Urguan. VAERHAVEN– FIEF OF FERRON Aye, for Vaerhaven was prosperous indeed. Larger than any overland city (save, perhaps, Renatus) Vaerhaven was mighty and powerful. The city was encircled by formidable cliffs. Both its entrances were mired by lakes. Terraced walls cascaded down into the Valley of Azgoth, isolating the city’s farms from raiders and vagabonds. Three castles stood watch over the city’s bustling expanse. And eagles flew over its high peaks. All found a home in Vaerhaven. Jarl Ferron Andvare McGowan, with Compass and Scroll. Ferron was a reknowked architect who built several cities in his lifetime, most notable Silva Insulae and Vaerhaven. He was a contemporary and reported cousin of Paragon Omithiel Strongbrow the Builder. Jarl Ferron Andvare McGowan, a seldom remembered cave dwarf of high peerage– and previous Jarl of Silva Insula– founded the city upon arriving in Anthos as a continuation of the former. The tale of Silva Insulae, the tree-covered Asulonian isle of magic, alchemy, mystery and beauty, is another story entirely. The vagabonds, pariahs, misfits, and brigands who had previously occupied the Forested Isle became the denizens of Vaerhaven. And Ferron led them well. And Ferron led them justly. And it was because of Ferron that more souls called Vaerhaven home than anywhere else in Anthos. And the city would enjoy that life for many decades. It was Ferron who constructed the entirety of Vaerhaven. It was Ferron who secured the large bounties of the earth and kept the peace. It was Ferron who fought off raiders and maintained the law of the city without resorting to oppression. For Jarl Ferron was fair, and Jarl Ferron was just, and Jarl Ferron was good. And the many criminals who lived in Vaerhaven dared not steal under him. And Grand King Thorin respected him, and did not quarrel with him, for Ferron was a seasoned general as well as an architect. Dwarves like the Lord Ferron Andvere McGowan are a breed seldom seen– for Ferron’s greed was only carried out in justice. Aye! And the people paid no taxes– only their houses did they buy with tender, which was in part paid to Ferron under rite of Armakak. Vaerhaven’s Palace, which was built on a perennially frozen waterfall ((closest image to IG build)). Ferron was a great patron of the arts, alchemies, magics, and other trades of hand and mind. Vaerhaven was exceptionally beautiful. And its early citizens of utmost culture. But all good things must spoil in their own time. And, inevitably, his generosity was like honey for flies. And all sorts of persons did congregate in and under Vaerhaven. And all sorts of evils did they bring with them. But when Ferron lived, in their boots they did tremble– for Ferron’s axe was quick when it came to the wicked. But Ferron grew old– he approached one-hundred seasons without fear. And as he grew frail, and as his bad blood did outweigh his good humor, more wicked persons travelled to the sanctuary of Vaerhaven. And among those wicked newcomers was Vallei, the Fire Witch. Vallei the Coldless, for whom winter was spring and blood but water. No man knew where Vallei came from. But the whispers of history tell her tragedy through the pages. The Fire Witch was a high elf. She had fled Haelun’or. For Vallei was once a consort to Kalenz Uradir– the Khadrin’Hor, most hated of those most hated, thrice cursed Sohaer of the High Elves. Those who saw with their eyes whisper that he had tormented her endlessly because she refused his advances. Those who heard with their ears whisper that he broke her because she challenged his leadership. The beast that arrived at Vaerhaven was but a shadow of a woman once kind and warm– beautiful on the outside, yet a monstrosity of fragmented spirit. Many evils would come at the hands of Vallei. Men and Dwarves alike would waft away in the wind at her hands. For it was known that Vallei was a beautiful woman and desired by many. And even to Ferron were there whispered tales of her beauty, and he did listen and enjoy. And as men and women alike flocked to her kindness– as her flock of followers grew– Vallei came to assume a role in the shadows. A role which, in Ferron’s old age, began to usurp that of the Jarl. This group was called the Fallen, and Vallei called herself their mother. And rarely did things seemed to happen without their approval or knowledge. The Fallen, tormenting a passing merchant. The Fallen were worse than bandits. The Fallen were worse than vagabonds. For the Fallen did not draw blood for coin. The Fallen killed to sate their own twisted desire– the desire stoked by Vallei, the Fire Witch. Vallei began slowly, winning over hearts and minds. Then, the Fire Witch enchanted her followers into proving her loyalty– she challenged the tranquility of Vaerhaven and disturbed the rule of law. For she needed to assert her power. For she needed to satisfy her wicked impulses. And here starts the tragedy of the Vaerhaven Rebellion against the Grand Kingdom of Urguan: at the behest of a witch. As Ferron breathed, the Fallen were beholden to his strict governance. Ferron’s death was a tragedy for all: he was mourned for seven stone weeks. Ferron’s appointed the title of Jarl to Kardel Irongut. His placement came at the expense of Rosso, a Counselor to Ferron and the rightful inheritor of his titles (and, reportedly, a member of the Fallen himself). As Kardel was the former Ogradhad’s Alchemist to Paragon Omithiel Strongbrown the Builder, he was connected to the Urguanic government. Vallei stirred. Ferron was intentional and crafty in his succession choice. He knew that Thorin Grandaxe was conquest-minded: he had seen Paragon Thorin make short work of the Adunians and capture the Emerald Isles with bold maneuvers. And Ferron knew that Thorin despised the Yrrok. Ferron figured that a dwarf would be better able to maintain Vaerhaven’s independence and retain some autochtony under Urguanic oppression. And Thorin was pleased with his choice, for Kardel had served him as well. Ferron trusted that Kardel would not change much and maintain the spirit of Vaerhaven. But Vaerhaven’s tranquility would not be secured for long. Fate had written otherwise. A younger Jarl Kardel Irongut– before his Alchemical accident, which bleached his skin and hair. Kardel took upon himself the name Andvare MacGowan and styled himself kin to his predecessor– a political stunt. He gave speeches and utilized rhetoric. He attempted to convert the inhabitants to the Brathmordakin. But this was to no avail. He was perceived as a foreigner, and Kardel was an alchemist and guildmaster–he had never been a statesman. He lacked the tact to see with foresight the consequences of his election, and underestimated the Fallen and several other criminal groups that called Vaerhaven home. Rather, the new Jarl was all too happy to enjoy the boons of his power under the yoke of Urguan for leasure, an ignored the rot underneath. So it was that Kardel willingly gave tributes and handed license to Thorin and the Lords. And in exchange, he was in their good favor. And Thorin demanded that troops be quartered there. So the Legion of Urguan began patrolling the city– and the Glacial Guard of Vaerhaven was subordinated as a militia. Kardel permitted this– for the dwarf’s true allegiances had always lain with Urguan, despite his long and successful career as an alchemist on Silva Insulae. And underneath the pot continued to simmer. The liberties of the citizens of Vaerhaven were gradually lost for security. And the Fallen were enraged by this newfound order. THE ANARCHY: In the unknowably vast Sewers of Vaerhaven, which linked to the Deeproads of the Dwarves, the Fallen congregated. Vallei demanded her own order. She ordered her followers to spread their blasphemy and kidnap children for recruits. Terror and disorder spread. Throughout the city, legionnaires were murdered by torchlight. Their bodies left to freeze, only to be found thawing under sunlight. Stories of black magic and extortion ran rampant. Jarl Kardel and his council were ordered to remedy this at once. The Jarl was reluctant to prosecute his own residents, for the social order in Vaerhaven was more fragile that it appeared. After all, there was no proof that the Fallen were implicated in any of these incidents. Furthermore, the Fallen were a good source of income for Vaerhaven. Jarl Kardel made a few symbolic attempts at “quelling” the Fallen. His power over Vaerhaven would suffer as a result. For Vallei had increasingly begun demanding tribute. Hauberks of Chainmail. Provisions. Armaments– enough to support an army. And Kardel supplied these happily– he had little choice, for armed Fallen had visited him many a time in his palace. And so the corruption spread deeper. And, as do all roots, this corrupt plant would bear fruit. Vallei’s legend is epitomized by one incident. For as she was walking the labyrinthine streets of the frozen city, she was recognized for a bounty by a newly quartered, and rather unlucky, cohort of Legionnaires. Evoking unholy energies from the Void, the Fire Witch cooked the soldiers in their armor. It was only after the Fire Witch turned that entire troop to ash that Kardel ventured into the sewers to meet Vallei and put a stop to her madness. The Fire Witch turning a cohort Dwarven Legionnaires to Ash with the help of her Fallen. Those who heard with their ears wrote that Kardel was seduced by the Fire Witch, and became one of her Fallen. But those who saw with their eyes confirmed a sadder tragedy for the son of Heron. Jarl Kardel Heronsson– like his father, who was corrupted before him by the temptation of the mystical arts– was enchanted by the Fire Witch’s power. He coveted it. And Vallei played her role well. Vallei offered Jarl Kardel magic in exchange for political protection. She promised him arcane powers unimaginable and bizzare. And Kardel obliged, for he was stricken by greed for knowledge. The Jarl would become a mighty sorcerer in his own time, but never as powerful as Vallei, the Fire Witch. Concurrently, Duregar Thunderfist– a rebel Irongut who was a Maer of Blackreach and the Underholds–began his rebellion from underneath Thorin’s feet. In the Aquifer of Kal’Azgoth, a band of Ironguts who detested the idea of a Mountain Dwarf on the Obsidian Throne rebelled. Among them were powerful mages, and their control of the Undercity under the capital of Kal’Azgoth gave many holds under Urguanic yoke hope for salvation. The Thunderfist Rebellion organized swiftly. And many heeded their call for uprising against Thorin Grandaxe. It was at this time that the Adunians, completely subjugated after their defeat at the hand of Thorin, swore off Urguanic hegemony. Lachlan Mor Elendil, a coward and famed mace-catcher, joined the resistance against Urguan. The Adunians were, historically, a spineless people. Nevertheless, their rebellion swelled the instability already straining Urguan. The Thunderfist Rebellion threatened to delay Thorin’s plans for continental conquest. Duregar Thunderfist– A Former Legion Commander who began the Vaerhaven Rebellion because of his refusing to kneel to a Mountain Dwarf king. Vaerhaven caught wind of the emerging rebellion. With the urging of Vallei, Kardel abandoned his fealty to Thorin and closed the gates of Vaerhaven. The Legionnaires stationed in the city were attacked and executed. Those who did not turn perished in fire. Vaerhaven and the Fallen allied with the Thunderfist clan and the Adunians. Bandits and rogues gathered in Vaerhaven and prepared to stand against the Dwarven legions. But Thorin was cautious– he waited. Vaerhaven had ample food on multiple walled terraces. The city was too well stocked. Its defenses were impregnable. But Thorin Grandaxe was too crafty. He felt by intuition that this rebellion would not last. And so he waited again. A few skirmishes ensued between the Rebel Forces and the Legion of Urguan. Each time, the Rebels were crushed decisively and with no mercy. Attacks on the city failed due to its geographic advantage. And as time passed, the sutures began to fringe on the inside. Despite the best efforts of General Dizzy Thunderfist, the only sally the Vaerhaven Rebels attempted– the Skirmish of the Great Arch– failed miserably and cost the rebels many lives. The rebellion began to unfurl as quickly as it began. The Legions of Thorin, mercilessly triumphant over the Vaerhaven rebels and tasting the first blood of their conquest. At their forefront: Commanders Olaf Ireheart and Igor Ireheart (red beards). The Fallen were the weakest link in the Rebellion, for Vallei was driving herself into increasing insanity. The Fire Witch was fond of alchemical brews and fumes, of which there were plenty in Vaerhaven, and lost control over her “children.” The Fallen began ravaging the town’s citizens on the inside. Skirmishes broke out between the Rebel militia and the vagabonds. And this weakened the Rebellion at its heart. But what truly broke the rebellion was the defection of the Adunians. THE ADUNIAN DEFECTION: Aye, for Paragon Thorin was crafty! Thorin knew his enemies all too well. Thorin Grandaxe was familiar the character of the Adunians. He had fought them before and defeated them without raising his sword. The Adunians were a spineless people, lacking courage and overly self-interested. They were famed for catching the maces of their enemies and running away in the thick of battle. Thorin did not want to risk his manpower on capturing Vaerhaven– for he had bigger plans. Instead of employing brute force, Thorin employed his strategic mind. He broke the alliance up from the inside– he needed his manpower for later, for larger realms. For the true apple of his eye lay to the north. After allowing the rebellion to continue for a few months, simultaneous with Paragon Thorin planning his Great Conquest, Urguan laid siege to the hold of the Adunians. Mangonels and Onagers rained fire and stone onto the city of the half-elves. And there were no Adunians there to defend it. And so, the Adunians quickly surrendered and left Vaerhaven. They could not bear the idea of their treasure-lined halls crumbling into the sea. Thorin’s plan had worked seamlessly. Adunia under siege by Thorin’s Legions. To pour further salt into the wound, Thorin offered pardons to any rebel dwarves who defected. Morale was low in Vaerhaven. As the Adunians comprised half of all Rebel forces– all now gone– Vaerhaven capitulated next. Jarl Kardel had secured his magic and sold out Vallei to the Dwarves. Kardel bent the knee before Thorin. Those who saw with their eyes write that Kardel kissed Thorin’s boot and took a severed hand to avoid having his beard shaved. The Thunderfists were left with no base and no manpower, and went extinct as a clan– either banished, welcomed back as Ironguts, or killed in futile battles against their kin. With trouble at home quelled, Paragon Thorin Grandaxe– the Fist of Yemekarr– would go on to achieve his legendary conquest of Anthos; Thorin is the only mortal King ever to have conquered an entire realm, and the only Paragon to hold patronage from Yemekarr. Duregar Thunderfist was banished to the depths of Blackreach for the rest of his life– allowed to visit the surface only once: his descendants would grow sick and die of diseases, forever condemned to live under the feet of Urguanic Dwarves. Kardel Irongut would found the Third (and last) Grand Kingdom of Urguan in Vailor, establish the Consulary Republic of Holm, and die a famed alchemist and sorcerer– but he would be claimed by Dungrimm dishonorably, by old age: not in battle. And Vallei, the Fire Witch, would lose her mind and her following. The Fire Witch went insane after entering a Voidal Node and being possessed by a Voidal horror. She was subsequently captured by mercenaries and held for ransom. Kalenz Uradir would pay her bounty, bring her back to Haelun’or to burn her and her remaining Fallen at the stake. Vallei burning at the Stake in Haelun’or, her followers having pursued her to the fire. And thus Vaerhaven’s glory was never again regained, and the city was buried under ice when Ondnarch returned. It was Ondnarch that would kill Paragon Thorin Grandaxe, for no mortal creature could have killed such a monumental Khazad. And still, to this day, the Rebellion of Vaerhaven remains a tale of wonder and intrigue– an epitome of the war, corruption, betrayals, and power-games which characterized the realm of Anthos and defined the mighty empires of that time. For ruinous annihilation comes quickly those doomed things which are wicked– and they end not spectacularly, but pathetically. Vaerhaven’s ruined Western Tower over Lach MacGowan after Ondnarch’s frozen scourge of the Vale of Azgoth. When the Dwarven capital moved to Kal’Ithrun, after the Battle of the Crossroads and during the Trench wars, Vaerhaven was cut off from major trade routes. Its population slowly emigrated. The Dreadknights remained until Ondnarch– the corrupted Daemon form of Wyrvun– laid claim to the city from the south as Setherien gained territory from the north. Tl;dr:
  20. A Good Night’s Rest The stone of the mountain halls of Urguan was cold, the paths leading to Ironguita lit only by the lava pools boiling in the cracks of the deep earth the dwarves call home. A dwarf would be making his way home, the end of his cane clacking against the hard stone with a resounding tap… tap… the sound echoing through the almost endless cavescape. Grandor Irongut would be leaning heavily on his cane with his right hand, holding his lower chest with his left. The dwarf would groan, his face distorting as he would speak “Wot is ‘appenin to me” Confusion would resound in his voice, the halls echoing his worry as he would continue his slow stroll home, before finally arriving at Irongut Hold. As he would make his way to his office within the library, a sound would begin to speak in the back of his head, the words of his previous assailant, the one whom had done this to him “There is power, and knowledge unlike any known” The voice would persist, being echoed by screams of moonspeach, the dwarf would drop into the chair, rubbing his temple from the endless screeching. It had been days now, the screeches would not visit often, but every time they did they would grow louder, almost more personal. There was no escape, if the dwarf slept, the creature's voice would follow. There was no place to hide, nowhere he could run to escape the monsters within his mind The dwarf would scream out in rage, tossing the papers and books that had gathered on his desk onto the ground as he would yell “Oi will nay work for ye ya sick bastard! Ye will nay take moi moind!” he would go to attempt to flip the table he had been working at, though his muscles simply could not muster the strength. He would sink back into his chair in defeat, the sound of the voices returning to the dwarf. His breathing would begin to slow as the adrenaline would fade from his veins; his eyes beginning to flutter. It had been several days now since he last slept, and he could feel his eyes closing, slowly, the sounds of the gutteral screeching almost lulling the dwarf to sleep... His eyes would close, only to open and be met with the behemoth, the voidal creatures thousand of eyes almost staring into Grandor’s soul, the dwarf could not speak, his form frozen just as it had been when he was corrupted. The behemoth was huge, towering into the darkness above it, it would be covered in eyes, its purple tendrils the size of mountains, caressing the black night. The sound of the screeches of moonspeach from what could be thousands of monstrosities sounding around him, all the dwarf could do is simply stare up to the creature, and look into its eyes. In his mind, he would hear a simple call, the monstrous moonspeach that would speak would be clear to Grandor. It would simply say: I̷̧̨̹̻̦̣̺͉̻̊̌̀̿͛́͊͆̌͆̈́͋͝ ̴̨̢̢̰̠͓̼͍̙̦͓̣̗̤͖́̍̉̎̋̐̈́̐s̸̨̭̹͔̖̭̏̈́̈͛͒̽͑͌̈́͂͌̋̐̕͠ẽ̵̜̥̼̥͙͓̺̺͊͌̅̽́͝͠ͅe̸̢̖̟͙̮͔̻̬͇̤͍̰̹͋͆̐͑̍̽͐͒̚͝͝͝ ̸̡̛̼̩̤̮͔̰̐͐̏̈́͒̀ͅy̴̛̭̹͗̾̏̃͒́̕͝͝ợ̶̧̧͕̯̱͕͐̉͒͐̊͠ͅũ̸̞̳̫̼̒ͅ The dwarfs eyes would burst open, the clock on the wall revealing to his freshly awakened mind that it had been three hours. The dwarf would silently decide he had enough sleep, going to stand, the voices seemingly ceasing for now, and make his way back to the capital city and grab a pint, muttering to himself “ᚹᚺᚨᛏ ᚨᛗ ᛁ ᚷᛟᛁᚾᚷ ᛏᛟ ᛞᛟ” the hardly awake dwarf speaking in moonspeach without realizing, as he would slowly rise from his chair, he would close his door and make his way back through the twisting underground path, the cane slowly clacking with a tap… tap... resounding through the caves, as he would return. I got bored so i did a thing to document character growth pls no flame i luv you ❤️ Also if you metagame this i'll be the big sad So don't do that ?
  21. A book sits on a pedestal in the library of Aegrothond, the home of the Lorekeeper Maehr’evar. It is emblazoned with the devices of Almenor, the seven stars of the Mariner and the Crown of Malin in silver inlay. One would note upon opening the tome that most of the pages remain blank, save for the very first few- evidently this is to be a work in progress, so that one might read the entire history of Aegrothond at some far date in the future. The pages read as follows: A Chronicle of Almenor, 1753 As Recorded by Belestram Sylvaeri, Prince Emeritus A Breath of Life, and Fair Skies upon the Horizon For many years the Crown and its representatives have remained silent in our isolated citadel of Almenor, for we are not a people easily inspired to advertise our presence, nor to seek glory in word rather than deed. Amid a tumultuous world prone to bouts of ceaseless conflict, it is often preferable to recede to quietude- especially for a dwelling-place which concerns itself primarily with the preservation of the history and moral integrity of Elvenesse. But it is a foolish thing, to look behind and not ahead- for the future grows closer with each passing sunset, and the forges and shipyards of the Almenodrim are never truly quiet. They labour, the smiths and Oathblades, sailors and shipwrights, so that Aegrothond is not consigned to the ignominious pages of perished history as many, even today, believe it has been. Our future is as bright as the crimson sunrise, and the secret fire which burns at the heart of our city is not so easily extinguished. It is therefore the desire of the House of Sylvaen to initiate a chronicle of history for the Isles, so that posterity may read them and know that the hands of the Almenodrim were not idle, but rather toiled and built a greater land for their heirs. It shall honour the labourers, the knights, and the Lords who make this citadel our home, and work every day to make it a better place. Those who have kept faith with the Sea Prince and the House of Sylvaen will be honoured greatly by future generations, for they have stood beside the Realm in a dark and unsteady time. From the ember you have held close to your heart, a great inferno shall be ignited- from the sacrifices you have made, of blood and sweat, you shall reap a thousand times the reward. The forges are lit. The fires are burning. Thusly speaks the Crown. Aegrothond Prevails. The Flame of Silma is Lit The Keeper of House Silma, which stems from the great Elvish hero Siol, has taken up his duties again in full- he has caused the beacon of Silma to be lit in Aegrothond once more. The Flame of Malin, as the House terms it, is a symbolic representation of their devotion to the King of All Elvenesse; a mark that the home in which it burns is a harbour for all Elves who wish to warm themselves by its light. They have taken residence near the Oathblade barracks, and intend to transform the old building into a Hearth and home for all Silma and wandering Elves. The Elder House, which was the second such House to join the great citadel of Aegrothond, is highly regarded among the citizens of the Isles of Almenor. Despite great odds and no small amount of danger to their own wellbeing, the family and its leadership joined the fight against the Usurper King from the Atlasian island. For this reason, they are given the rank of Great House in perpetuity and honoured with the title of Lord Keeper. Citizens of Aegrothond (and indeed all Elves of any nation) are encouraged to seek out the young Haust Silma, or the elder Elros Silma, for more information about the venerable and legendary House. It is understood that this is to be the beginning of a new era in the history of their family, one which has lain dormant for some years. Old Roots Give Rise to a New Vintage A new vineyard has been established upon the western horn of the bay, behind the great statue of Eleron Stormheart, and planted with a special batch of seeds from the forests of Old Malinor. Carried and preserved through the lands by members of the House Sylvaeri, they are believed to have been acquired from the vineyards of the Telrunya Family- a famous wine indeed. The Crown and its representatives now seek a capable and practiced winemaker to take up the formidable task of growing these vines to harvest and fermenting its fruit. The seeds were planted by Feanor Kaeronin, and the ground was blessed by the famous Druid Gi’garun, otherwise known as Brother Pine. The Druid was heard to say that he looked forward to tasting even a small part of home, and the sentiment is shared even by many Elves who never saw the trees of Malinor. An Order of Elves Among Men Reports have reached Aegrothond of a group of exiles and city-elves dwelling in the Orenian Capital of Helena. While information is fairly scarce, it is understood that the group claims to have a Malinic creed which does not conflict with the Tenets of Aegrothond, but the truth of this matter remains to be seen as only two Elves of this organization have found their way to our shores. The Seed Elverhilin is known to play a part in the leadership of the Order.
  22. History of Hou-Zi on Arcas 4th of the Sun’s Smile 1751 [!] A neat scroll contained the contents of Feng Guihua’s take on the history of the Hou people, there seemed to be two versions of the book. One mostly written in a Hou dialect, whereas the other was looked through and edited with more common. The one with more common, was as follows: Chapter I: Introduction The story of the Hou-Zi civilization is one of cruel origins, and perhaps a bitter ending to a populace that is still attempting to strive even with their current conditions. To my Xiongdi, Hou title for each other, I send my deepest prayers to you. This short piece of scripture will serve as a memory, and recollection of the current events conducted by the Hou-Zi of Arcas. A remembrance of the lives lost and sacrificed to reach this very moment. I, Feng Guihua, hope that all of my fellow Xiongdi after many lunar cycles remember that our struggles and efforts were not in vain during this iteration of our civilization. Chapter II: State of Shen When the Hou-Zi first entered Arcas, some history was muddied or forgotten as the elders passed on or disappeared. We will start with the State of Shen, during 1710, which resided on the exterior of the Gongzhu tribe. Krugmar, the one place where the Rex had accepted the Hou-Zi and allowed them a small plot of land to build. There began the construction of the major Shen Temple, in respect to the deity of the Hou-Zi people, Hou-Shen. Around the same time that Guihua joined the civilization, the first peace treaty between the Hou and Kharajyr commenced. A peaceful future was clearly in sight. Lead by the chosen Huangdi Yu Zhuding, a Hei-Zhu of royal blood and chosen by Hou-Shen, the Hou-Zi people lead a prosperous life by the coasts of the Krugmar Savanna. Protected, and we fought for them no matter the cost. The current families at the time were: Yu, Liao, Hsieh, Tian, Shui, Feng, and Lang. Many Hou-Zi returned to their roots, in search of their culture and history. Yu Zhuding could be thought of as the ultimate incarnation of what is expected of a Hou-Zi, a wonderful retainer of culture and discipline. At some point, Yu Zhuding mysteriously disappeared and was replaced by Hsieh Xin. An activist for peace and respect, he was remarkably appreciated by most and some did not like his mercy towards others. However, due to the transition in leadership, it leads to a growing feud between the Gongzhu Ren and the Hou-Zi. The Rex at the time, Burbur’lur, was not fond of the demands for the respect that was in the treaty of Fur and Tusk. As time passed, tensions grew and times began to change. Chapter III: Qinghai Slaughter As the conflict grew between the Gongzhu Ren, and the Hou-Zi populace of Qinghai under the leader Hsieh Xin, there was an attempt to pass leadership onto someone who seemed rightfully chosen by Hou-Shen. Under Cao Cao and his second Shen Bu, it was thought that they would lead the citizens of the State of Shen to a prosperous and peaceful time. However, the council was misinformed, and we slowly descended to a time of panic. The Hou-Zi all equally respected Cao Cao, believing he was truly the chosen of Hou-Shen as he descended upon our people. Soon, it became clear that his actions to some were not favorable in the Hou-Zi name. With the council torn, half in favor of the previous Huangdi Cao Cao, the other disapproving of his actions. The fateful day came where a wandering Aishan, a dwarf, entered the State of Shen’s lands with the wish to sightsee. Cao Cao’s decision, was to tear apart the poor foreign visitor, making an example of him and displaying is military might. The citizens watched as Cao Cao brought back the might of the Hou-Zi from hundreds of lunar cycles ago, ready to make claim on the world. Obviously, the citizenry was full of unrest after the altercation. The Gongzhu were in favor of Cao Cao, many were at the time. However, the brutal murder of the foreigner led towards half of the Family Heads making a hasty call. Quickly, the Hou-Zi began to gather their things at the sounds of nearby war horns, it seemed they had an eavesdropper on their conversation. The Hou-Zi began to rush away, piling their things onto their boats to escape. However, Cao Cao and his brother descended upon them, only to realize they were ready to slaughter helpless civilians. The Civilians called out for peace, and to allow them passage away from the State. Cao Cao, decided to attack the civilians regardless of the negotiation. With a sword drawn, they attacked the ship. The venerable Lang Xiahou stepped forward to buy the rest time, as they all escaped through swimming or through using a nearby ship. The slaughter of civilians could be heard from the coast, as the State of Shen cheered for the deaths of the Qinghai people. The slaughter of the innocents had occurred on the very night their council disagreed with Cao Cao. The State of Shen referred to the fleeing group as ‘Yellow Turbans’ apparently due to some farming Hou’s current wear after a long day of work. Sun Wukong, joined the Military State of Shen with a drive to hunt down the rebels. The Qinghai victims referred to Cao Cao as the Tyrant for the rest of their separation. The rift between the Hou-Zi had spread rapidly. Chapter IV: Settlement of Xiongdi de Lianhe: The Jade Republic The rebel Hou-Zi of Qinghai immediately rushed to their nearby allies of Sutica and under Tul’Tsisha the Kharajyr. The treaty remained still, and the Kha offered up their home for the group until they could find shelter elsewhere. Under the statue of the Kharajyr goddess ‘Muuna’, Tul’Tsisha and Hsieh Xin shook hands to begin a new era of peace and protection between their new people. Relations seem to improve greatly between the groups until the worst had come to invade Sutica. Often, the State of Shen military would come to raid the land of Sutica in search of the rebel group. Most times, in an attempt to take prisoners of the people or other interesting times of when they would ask for the group to rejoin the State of Shen. Claiming that burning bridges will only stunt the peace between the two groups. The fear of Cao Cao grew within the current escapee group, and they have politely declined these offers. Soon, with the aid of Tian Hong and Shui Haiyang, they began to construct giant ships to take the population back to the roots of Hou. They began to sail off into the distance, in search of the jungles to claim once more for themselves, off the coasts of Queens Isle. Once they made their way to this far spot, away from almost all civilization, they began to construct their city: Xiongdi de Lianhe, and now most commonly known as the Jade Republic. The Jade Republic was a place of neutrality and peace, seemingly inviting all within its walls and any who seek shelter. At the time, they contained various groups within their walls who found the settlement to their liking. Living within the trees and building lavish homes on the ground, among their giant temple to worship Hou Shen, it was a dream come true for the once prosperous Hou-Zi. The Hou-Zi celebrated many holidays within their lands, in particular some included the Shōuhuò Yuèliàng jié, The Harvest Moon Festival. It was a worldwide celebration, gathering hundreds of civilians from all over the world seeking to attend the culture of the Hou-Zi. Then, came the Qīngmíng jié, Tomb Sweeping Day, in honor of those lost to the massacre and the bravery of Lang Xiahou. Although there were many meditations for peace, and prosperity, the day finally came when the prayers did not reach Hou-Shen. Chapter V: The Mother of the Void The ground of Arcas shook wildly, and missives were sent everywhere, posted on every single door of the realm. Beware the Mother, it spoke quaintly of an entity we did not know about. Then suddenly, large beams of darkness erupted from the underground of the Jade Temple, the Hou-Zi began to panic. Hastily, we began to pack up our things in order to escape the calamity ahead of us, though it was too late. Frighteningly, a large round beast of unknown origin grew from the ground, eating away at the temple and growing horrid tentacle growths. Grabbing at civilians and popping them into its mouth like candy, and summoning Voidal terrors unlike anyone has ever seen. Everyone on Arcas appeared to deal with the situation, though from my perspective it seemed that none cared for the Hou-Zi populace. Hastily, Hou-Zi rushed about to grab whatever citizens they could, some overwhelmed by the energy of the Mother whereas others succumbed to the tentacles to become fodder. At this moment, Hsieh Xin the Huangdi of the Jade Republic was lapped up by the Voidal Terrors and instantly killed during the fight. The Hou cried for their Huangdi and rushed into battle, many simply dying with grief due to the loss. The civilians quickly gathered, rushing out of the gates and rushing onto their separate ways. Without a leader, some Hou-Zi rushed off to Llyria in order to settle with the Chi Monk order who took refuge there. Others, rushed onwards to Irrinor the settlement of Wood Jiantou, hopefully, to seek neutral shelter in their walls. In an attempt to avoid war, many had simply gone missing or traveling. The State of Shen, sat comfortably within the Gongzhu walls, as this entire event occurred. Chapter VI: Conclusion I did not reconvene with my Hou-Zi people and stepped down from my position as Chancellor. This was the peak of Hou civilization in this era, and it truly did make an impact on the world at some point. However, this Voidal being that attacked the Hou people was a warning to us, a horrible omen for what the future will bring. The Hou-Zi will rekindle their culture, and return to their roots at some point. Xiexie, and Blessings from Hou-Shen. *This Scroll should only be in the hands of the Eternal Library or the Hou-Zi people. If the original copy is found elsewhere, please return it.* Written By: Feng Guihua, previous Chancellor of the Jade Republic Note: Feng Guihua will continue to write on Hou-Zi culture, and thank the individual who read the history of Guihua people. Unfortunate that Guihua had to flee during the final act of the Jade Republic, but still hopes that the other Xiongdi are alright. -= OOC NOTE =- I’ve always loved the Hou-Zi culture, although there’s quite a lot of dislike from the LOTC community towards them. I wanted to make sure there was some form of a literary piece left on Arcas for the Hou-Zi, so at least in the future players will have something to learn from this era. I’ll be putting all this information in a written book as well soon so the Eternal Library has a physical copy as well! Please look at the references section:
  23. Origin: The creation of this instrument follows suit, The Amber Cold of 1740 was upon the land of Arcas. Tinkering in his little cave abode, Goilard Costa Olivera the Second, alongside his manservant, created what he would call “The Accordion”. Months prior to this, Goilard had been researching and brainstorming ideas on how to make a new instrument. Being a Bard and a musician, his love for the piano heavily influenced his creation. The idea was to create a sort of portable piano, but also not making it a piano at all. When Goilard drafted up the plans on a strip of leather, he brought it to the trade master of Sutica, Mr. Uialben. Once the plans were explained, Mr. Uialben gave a gracious donation of 100 minas for the creation of this new instrument. Appearance: This portable instrument has two almost circular wooden disks being held together by what looks like the folding part of a fire bellow. Embedded in one disk is a miniature piano. On the other disk is several small buttons laid in a few rows and a hand strap. The size is around that of an orc’s skull and can fit comfortably on the lap or in the hands of a regular-sized male highlander ((It resembles more of a concertina, which still falls under the category of an accordion. Sound: The small instrument gives off a rich, reedy, and organ-like sound unlike any of its time. Its sound can envoke emotions of happiness and glee, making the player seem more charming. Purpose (OOC): I have been on LOTC for a long time now and I have never heard or seen someone with an accordion and I have not found 1 post of anyone actually inventing it. I also thought this would add more character to my Bard if he made/played a new instrument. If someone claims to have had an accordion before this post I do not discredit them, this is just an official unofficial post.
  24. ]=+ The Clan +=[ Emberhorn “How fair the mount at Hollowbold, And bright the embers’ forge of old, [...] Alas their halls the darkness swept, And there, forevermore, it slept.” -The Song of Tumunzahar The Aspects and Mannerisms += of the Emberhorns =+ The Emberhorns are fair of skin, with bright eyes the colour of emeralds which shine beneath bushy brows. Their hair is auburn, and rarely worn long enough to braid- though oft-times the older Dwarves among them will decorate their beards with braids and clasps. The Clan-members are slightly less broad and stocky than most Dwarves, but are still possessed of barrel-like torsos and powerful arms well-suited to the hardy professions. Their ears are slightly leaf-shaped- a peculiarity which some believe results from a far Elven ancestor. Mention this to a member of the Clan, however, and you may swift find yourself a few teeth lighter. While some are grim, prideful, and solemn, they are seldom evil-hearted, and cruelty does not come naturally to them except in the rarest of cases. They are possessed of a fortune to rival those of the richest clans and individuals upon the Isles, and as such the Emberhorns are somewhat more inclined to display Urguan’s Curse than others. Even still, the Clan will often be willing to help those in need, and charity is common and encouraged. There is only one line of the Clan at present, that of Hodfair, though it is believed that there may be others which have not yet returned to the Kingdom of Dwarves. Dwed of this blood bear all of the earmarks of Mountain Dwarves, but are not purely such- as stated above, it is quite likely that the Clan had an Elf in its ancestry, and even more-so that the Clan interbred extensively with Forest Dwarves. Their affinity towards their slightly leaner build and willingness to welcome their forest-dwelling kin into their clan is testament to this. They dress in tones of green, brown, and other natural colours, preferring to stay away from brighter shades and considering them needlessly garish. They often ornament themselves with gold to some degree, with many wearing engraved golden clasps and jewelry in their beards. This also translates to their armour, which is traditionally enameled green and gold like so: +=+=+=+=[=]=+=+=+=+ The Stones of += Tumun’zahar =+ Much of what is known today of the history of Clan Emberhorn finds its origins in the revered Tumun’zahar Stones, which were partially deciphered soon after the family's re-emergence in Axios. A series of seven stone-carved tablets, they appear to have been created around the year 800 by a skilled mason who used the moniker ‘the Keeper’. Of these stones, the first three detail the genesis of the Clan, and the last four various tales and stories of their exploits. Together compiled, they form the Song of Tumun’zahar, which is held in regard above all other relics of the family- though it was not always so, and a few of the stones (primarily the first few in the series) bear a great deal of wear and damage due to being at one point used as paving material. A central focus of the epic is the eponymous Citadel Tumunzahar, known also as ‘Hollowbold’ in the Common Language. Said to have been constructed some thousand years ago by Dwarves fleeing an unnamed cataclysm (possibly a dragon,) it nestled among mountain peaks and was possessed of a vast underground system of natural caverns. Precious little is known of this burg save its name and reputation for tremendous beauty, for the Stones which regard its construction are among the most damaged. To further cloud the matter, the stories that are translated have a tendency to conflict in the location, structure, and size of the settlement. This has led some to believe that the “city” is actually several cities, spread out over a long period of time, and that the Song of Tumunzahar is simply a retelling of much older stories. To quote the testament of the late Hodfair I Emberhorn, who spent many years translating the Song: “I shall tell it as it was told to me, many centuries ago, by my father- who heard it from his father, and his father from his father’s father, who had seen the glories of yore with his own eyes and beheld the founding of the great city Hollowbold, known as Tumunzahar in the Old Tongue. Carved into the side of a great and mighty mountain by myriad stonemasons, the citadel stood defiant in the face of all tribulations. By hammer, chisel, axe and shield was built upon that mount the greatest legacy of our Clan, the likes of which shall never again upon this world be seen. Such beauty there was that even the hardest of Dwarven hearts softened to see it. But ask me not to tell of it fully, for even my own father did not know its tales but for scraps and pieces which avail us naught. Perhaps it was as they say, in days of old, or perhaps not- those secrets are lost but for the earliest of the Seven Stones, and all our will must now be bent to translating them.” +=+=+=+=[=]=+=+=+=+ += The Ram =+ While we know very little of the city itself, it is told that the lone mountain of which Hollowbold was carved was surrounded by verdant highlands, upon which was found wildlife diverse and varied. Among these there lived an unusually large and abundant type of mountain-ram, exceptionally woolly and twice as dangerous as the frozen moraines upon which it survived. The rams were possessed of a pelt-wool softer than any other, well-suited for garment, rug, and all manner of weaving- but perhaps more importantly, their swift cloven hooves could traverse the treacherous alpine paths better than any Dwarven pony. Their violent disposition and resistance to any sort of domestication, therefore, presented itself as an obstacle to be overcome. A late passage in the Song of Tumunzahar tells that the dwarves of the colony attempted for many years to tame these so-called ‘Gabhar Rams’ to no avail, until the coming of a particularly lucky individual. The following excerpt from the Song details his victory over the largest animal in the herd, which led to the domestication of the species: "He leapt forth then, this tamer mad, whom in his hand a rope-length had, And with this made to gabhar bind. Lo! Ramhorn fierce, he kicked behind, for hempen bonds behooved him not, And dwed fell sprawling, temper hot. He tore his beard and cried aloud, To make return with spear he vowed. That clamour echoed through the peaks, There was a shattered, grinding shriek, And moraine swift came tumbling down. The dwed did sweat, and he did frown, And tumbled too, as not to fall, For snow, and ice, and boulders all, Came quick to bear upon his heel. He shut his eyes, his death to feel, But instead found himself aloft, As if by bough of tree. He coughed, And, baring frightened eyes, beheld, That by fair goat was he upheld. It bounded twice, s’if borne by wind, And as the falling glacier thinned, It set dwarf down upon the ground, Who reached fair up, removed its bond, And ever since, my sons, to fore, Gabhar and dwed, they fight no more." Whether it be true or fanciful, this passage records the beginning of a fruitful friendship which has lasted many generations, and in many ways defined the legacy of the Clan. The ram and its horns are often used in imagery, and the family employs them in everything from warfare, to caravans of goods, to shearing their wool for weaving. Members of the Clan who have proven themselves in war or other service to the family are said to have ‘earned their horns’, and receive the right to wear upon their helms the great spiraling antlers of the rams- a fearsome sight. Artificery, however, is not the only thing in which the rams have contributed to Clan’s culture, for they are also the inspiration of the Clan’s modern name- though it is never once mentioned outright and was never used to refer to the progenitors of the family. The passage is such, and recounts a battle against goblins late in the Song: And in that fateful charge of auld The dwedish clan, those brothers bold Dealt death unto the eldritch dark, Threw down their enemy, and hark! From that brash clamour embers flew, ‘Pon clashing horns, and bloody dew, which fell like rain upon the ground. And filled was glen with death’s grim sound. From which was gathered the name ‘Emberhorn’, and henceforth such was used to refer to the family in present times. The ram’s horns are also on the Clan’s banner, writ in gold upon a field of verdure. (to join contact D3F4LT#4284 or meet Nagorain Ekaraadorul)
  25. The Folk Romanovich “Godani jest wielk” The village of Muscovy and its Ruskan population at it’s peak -Circa 1723 ____________________________________________________________ The story of the folk Romanovich is a nomadic tale, riddled with violence. It begins with a poor Ruskan couple, Sergei and Mila. Sergei was a hardworking farmer toiling away daily in the Curonian fields whilst Mila looked after their home. Sergei fought in the Curonian levies whenever the able bodied men were called upon, there was no feeling that could match the rush he felt during the heat of battle. A love he passed onto his children. In 1697, Mila gave birth to the couple’s first children, twin boys named Dragoslav and Milos. Mila gave birth to a third son, Konstantin in 1700, and their final son, Yugio, in 1704. Sergei took Dragoslav and Milos to work in the fields as soon as they were able, trying his best to instill a strong work ethic into his boys just as his father had done him. Sharing stories of battlefield memories fondly with his boys throughout their arduous days. In 1707, the city of Avalain was raided by a roaming group of bandits. They had plagued Curonia’s countryside for many months and the local captain decided it was time to put a stop to their reaving, calling upon any willing able bodied men to assist the local guards. Sergei dropped his hoe and traded it for his axe and shield in an instant, joining the party of warriors. Sergei fought valiantly and played a crucial role in defeating and finally driving the bandits from Curonian lands, but suffered a fatal wound towards the end of the skirmish. He passed soon after arrival at the clinic in Avalain, his wounds proving to grievous. The loss rattled Mila, slowly driving her to madness. Dragoslav and his twin brother Milos did all they could at their young age to care for their younger brothers and deteriorating mother. The loss of her love Sergei proved to be too much for Mila to handle, she took her own life late one evening in the year 1714. Leaving her children to fend for themselves. The Romanovich brothers packing their few belongings, preparing to leave behind their Curonian overlords and build a legacy of their own -Circa 1714 ____________________________________________________________ Seeing no reason to continue their fruitless, limiting service to Curonia and yearning for adventure, Dragoslav and Milos decided to pack what little they had left and lead their family in search of a home they could truly make their own. The four brothers and Dragoslav’s newly wedded wife, Nina, left Avalain early in the year 1714. Their travels brought them to every corner of the lands of Arcas, picking up other Ruskan men and women living under the reign of people foreign to themselves, amassing a considerable following. After many months of wandering, carousing, and raiding the brothers finally found a spot they thought suitable. They began building as soon as they arrived on an island in a small cluster of islands near Arcas’ Southern borders, they called this cluster ‘The Ruskan Isles.’ Muscovy was founded, the year was 1715. Progress on the brothers’ village was rapid, drawing in many other Ruskan and Raev people looking to live free lives. Dragoslav had twins of his own with his wife Nina in 1716, naming them Nikoslav and Viktoryia. Young Konstantin fell in love and married a girl named Genevieve in the same year. Circumstances constantly improving for Muscovy and her people, who looked to the Romanovich brothers for leadership and guidance, idolizing the young men. Growing tired of raiding and looting the poor settlements around them, the brothers gather all their warriors and founded a company, Komanyia Muscovia, in 1717 and offered their services to the highest bidder. Signing a contract with the Marnantine emperor, Joseph, the warriors of Muscovy left behind their wives and children to enter The War of Two Emperors. Muscovian Cavalrymen leading a Marnantine charge in a skirmish against Renatian forces outside the walls of Leuven -Circa 1718 ____________________________________________________________ The brothers and their comrades forged a valiant reputation for themselves and amassed as much wealth as they could during the war, staying with the Marnantine forces until the end in 1721. Returning to their home to celebrate their successes with their friends and family. The mundane nature of daily village life soon got to the warriors of the Kompanyia, suffering from an insatiable bloodlust after experiencing the pure rush of battle. They turned to raiding as a solution to this thirst, devastating most of the settlements surrounding their own and completely wiping out a breed of elf that called themselves ‘Sun Elves’ held up in a town known as Mir’asul. The Romanovich brothers and their comrades believed themselves invincible. Late one night in 1727, Dragoslav woke to the strong stench on entrails and a thick cloud of smoke outside his home. Joining the defense of their beloved village, the Romanovich brothers and their remaining comrades finally drove the band of refugees from settlements sacked by the Muscovians back. Alas, the damage had been done. Many had died, including the Romanovich brother Konstantin, and much of their village and fields had burned. The strong and hardheaded population of Rus and Raev stayed in their village for as long as they could, but nothing was ever the same. With heavy hearts they abandoned their homes in 1739 and followed the Romanovich brothers back to the one place they knew they would be able to recover, Curonia. The Rus and Raev followers of the Romanovich feasting and celebrating their ever strengthening circumstances around a cluster of their farmsteads -Circa 1742 ____________________________________________________________ Avalain was good to the Romanovich and their followers. Their wounds healed, their spirits lifted, and many soon forged prominent names for themselves with Curonia. Dragoslav was appointed First Minister of Curonia by her majesty, Ester I Devereux, which he quickly followed with the appointment of Yugio and Sergei, Konstantin’s young and competent son, to the Cyrillian Cabinet. The brothers took ownership of the Bear Cub Pub in Avalain with their business partner, Charles, and discovered a new talent, the production of Vodka. They drank, laughed, and led in Curonia for five fruitful years, but the desire for freedom never left their hearts. Suddenly, in 1744, the Romanovich and their followers from Muscovy left Curonia to begin the search for a new home. Coming across a fertile valley placed by Godan between a forest in the East of Arcas and the Orcish Plains, they claimed the swath of land as their own and began building their lives in their new home. Rominsk is founded, the year is 1745. Rominsk amidst the vast Muscovian March -Circa 1745
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