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  1. THE TALE OF OSMUND Art depicting Osmund hearing admonitions from his people. DIE GESCHICHTE VON OSMUND | THE TALE OF OSMUND Raised by Owinrich Eadlacsson, Chieftain of the Eadlkin In the Age of Frost Transcribed by Aelfwin von Kretzen In the year of our Lord 1973 Medieval II Total War Music "The Widow" ÖHNE UND TÖCHTER VON REINMAR, HARK THESE TALES INSCRIBED ON STONE, KINSMEN. I have transcribed the Runespire of Osmund, one of the earliest known chieftains to undergo baptism and convert to the One True Faith. Formerly a mighty, prideful, and boastful chieftain, he found the Lord after committing a great sin and was granted salvation following a most divine punishment. THE TALE OF THE MARTYR Art depicting Leofred ‘The Martyr’. Long ago, when my son was but a babe and my people still praised the spirits of the forests, rivers, and sky, my hirdman and brother, Leofred, approached me after a great battle amid my feast. "Brother, brother!" he exclaimed as he entered my hall. "What? Come forth and partake of your bread!" I called back, eager to receive him. "The herder Alfgar recounted a most wondrous tale! He spoke of an ancient king, Goswin, if memory serves? How steadfast he remained in his faith even amidst defeat by his foe, Harwin." He shared the tale with me as he accepted my bread and seated himself beside me at my lengthy table. "Bah! Alfgar must be weaving foreign fables and myths. Why does this Goswin captivate you, brother? He was forsaken by his gods and met defeat," I inquired, scoffing at the account of what I would later come to know as the tale of the illustrious Godwin of Aaun. "Was it not honorable to remain loyal to his gods even in the face of defeat?" Replied Leofred with a curious expression. "I suppose..." I responded with a thoughtful hum before shifting the conversation to the spoils we had garnered from our triumph. It wasn't until a fortnight had passed that Leofred broached the topic of his tales once more. This time, during one of our hunts, he spoke to me of Horen. "Brother, have you ever heard of the chief of chiefs Hörn? A man of such magnitude that he held authority over all others? A trader came to our mead hall and spoke of him, mentioning how Hörn was bestowed power by a singular god. Have you encountered a god so mighty as to elevate a man to such heights?" I grunted in response, my focus consumed by the hunt, and in my ignorance, I harbored disdain for such tales. "If there truly exists a deity of such magnitude, why bother with any others?" I retorted mockingly. Leofred remained silent regarding this god until the arrival of summer and the resurgence of our campaign against the Joreksson clan. Following a skirmish with our enemy's warband, I was informed that my hirdmen had vanquished the most foes and seized the greatest number of steeds. "I beseeched the god of Hörn and Goswin ere the battle, and he granted me strength!" Leofred exclaimed joyously when I inquired about his newfound prowess in combat. "Brother, we must invoke this god; he shall shield us! His might surpasses that of the spirits!" he urged earnestly. "No. You shall not lead me or our brethren astray from our allegiance to the spirits. Keep your tongue still concerning this foreign deity, Leofred," I retorted with disdain, my fear of the retribution of the false spirits and gods palpable, fueled by envy and ignorance. I cautioned my brother, and he held his tongue. ! He gazed at me with apprehension, though at the time I mistook it for fear of my anger, only to realize later that it stemmed from his concern for my well-being. As days turned into months, Leofred's valor on the battlefield became legendary within our clan. Yet, with each triumph, I witnessed his inner struggle, the torment of not being able to attribute his victories to his deity. And with each pang of his heart, mine grew colder. Though I was mistaken, I persisted in my condemnation. Then came the moment when he could no longer bear the weight of my persecution. Amidst an assembly, he boldly declared that his triumphs were bestowed by the god of Hörn and Goswin, denouncing the spirits of the forest, rivers, and skies as false. He lamented my misguided convictions with sorrow in his voice. In a fit of fury, I rose from my seat and demanded of him, "Leofred, my brother! Renounce your god and embrace the spirits once more!" His response was a defiant shake of his head, unwavering in his faith. "Then face your end, brother! Renounce your god or meet death!" I demanded in return. In response to my ultimatum, he drew his seax and, with a solemn prayer on his lips, drove it into his own heart. I made a martyr of my brother, and the rebukes of my tribesmen fell upon me like thunder. "Silence!" I commanded, quelling their voices, before dismissing the assembly. I withdrew to the depths of our sacred forest, beseeching the spirits for solace, yet my soul found no rest. THE TALE OF CONVERSION Art depicting Osmund receiving a sign from God. On the night of my brother's passing, a mighty tempest descended upon my lands, wreaking havoc until I was granted mercy. This marked the beginning of God's retribution for my grievous transgression. My plains were submerged beneath floodwaters, and the ancient trees of our sacred forests were uprooted, the very shrines they guarded laid to ruin by the relentless storm. The following day, my adversaries, the Jorekssons, whom my brother had once vanquished with divine aid, triumphed over my forces on the battlefield, seizing our steeds and laying waste to our livestock. In the ensuing days, calamities befell my people, yet I remained obstinate in my defiance of God's will. Even as my tribesmen reproached me in assembly, I blasphemed against the Almighty, demanding their silence. But when the final blow of divine punishment struck, and my son fell gravely ill, I felt the fear of God grip my soul. With a heavy heart, I rode forth to the banks of the once-hallowed river, where I knelt in supplication, pleading for God's forgiveness and protection. I vowed that if He would spare my people and my son from His wrath, I would dedicate my life to His service, surrendering myself to the priesthood. As my entreaty reached its crescendo, I rose to my feet, and with me, the sun emerged from behind the clouds, the storms abated, and the trials ceased. God had bestowed upon me redemption and a divine purpose. My son and my people were spared, and together, we embraced the glory of God. He bestowed upon us priests and wise sages of the One True Faith, and at the hallowed place of my redemption, the sacred river, I underwent baptism. I took the name Owinrich, in honor of the renowned son of Goswin and nephew of Harwin. WER RASTET, DER ROSTET AELFWIN VON KRETZEN HER LADYSHIP, FREDERICA, Baroness of Sigradz, Seneschal of the Heather Court HIS EXCELLENCY, NIKOLAUS, Prelate of Reinmar, Chaplain of the Heather Court
  2. @siglms_ Mi challenge the honor of Krimpgoth agh hiz decizion, uzing the negleckful example of the foreign Onizhiman Uruks, and pardoning the Petra whitewazh whoze faith iz in the burs gods of Krug's enemies, agh who iz nub committed to the zacred zpirit of Krug, the Old Popo and Spirit Popo. A collectiun of beliefz is more like a confuzed zpirit than one who grukz its purpose. Any Orc that does not conform to the path ub Krug and their ancestors is lozt and haz fallen to the darknezz. I intend to challunj Druz the Krimpgoth to an honor klomp until he exhibits regret for his actions and seeks absolution in Krug and the Ancestor Spirits. Forgiving a deluzional brudda is nub an act of compazzion but rather an affirmation of their diztorted world-peep and collekted religiouz beliefz. A zon of Krug ought to remain wit hiz kin and blood family who can better protect and guide him in life. If there is no honor among blood-bound relativez, then the blessingz of Krug have been lost from the Uzg. Unfortuunatly, an Elder haz to be the only ash to uphold the remaining honor among blood bruddas. Name the tik agh plaze. [This is a challenge to the spirit of the Krimpgoth decision to pardon Gob Ztabba-Zniffa (@MrMojoMordor) of Whitewash status despite his lack of faith in Krug and absence from the Fatherland of the Desert. If the Krimpgoth reverses his decision, the challenge will be resolved. It is not an attempt to claim the role of Krimpgoth.]
  3. Arthur had sat upon the stairs of Celia'nor, awaiting the next time he'd be belittled. He peered to the ground, where a stamped upon missive lie. Seemed interesting, he thought. . . . . .After he read the news of Lanre's assault on Hallowcliffe, he had a joyous confidence about him. He went up to find some people to speak to- "Arthur! Thank God you're here!" Vulla, someone typically sending criticism his way, had said. "The princess has been captured! We need to go save her!" she added. He'd not expected this, but, agreed anyway. He prepared himself. . . . . .The bird sound was made, it was his time, his time to make a distraction. Save the day, at last. He conjured his spell- the most powerful one he ever did, and brought down half of the walls of the fort, before promptly running. But before he knew it. . . . . .He sat within a cage. Hoping for the allies he had came with to save him, until he heard Valindra's retreating taunt. His glowing eye flickered to his fellow inmate as they conversed, their conversation gave each other hope, but, deep down, they both knew, survival was unlikely. They sat for at first hours. . . . . .And then days. . . . . .And then weeks. . . . . .Rescue was coming, was it not? Art by la-Structure-du-Ciel on DeviantArt
  4. Written by Catriona Eilidh Baruch The Trolls of Billy Goat Grove is a cautionary fairytale, inspired by events earlier in this Saints day and by Lord Arn Colborns warning on the trolls who will come and trade their children for our own!
  5. ~Lapê Salavi's travel logs~ [a retranscription] DAY 4 Today, I was not aware, was feast day! We are welcomed by urguan to their grand feast. I headed towards the west and lost no time visiting for once, being right on time for the festivities. There were more people than I had seen in a while. Impressing. I even passed across a cleric I had met before. They were from the city, I realized, and handing out drinks and foog. I got 2 bottles and not wanting to drink at the moment, I decided to put my “Copper Boot Cocktail” and “dwarven Potatoe vodka” in my cellar I created back home. The ambiance was cheerful, but I was never fond of crowds, and it was getting exhausting. I stepped out the room and found a hot water pond upstairs. What a true gift of nature. The first thing I noted was that the city was remarkably well built, in hollowed out mountains. The inhabitants seemed keen on alcohol-making. The tavern where the feast took place had a lovely balcony side, and had a view on vines and moss. A lift up and I was on the upper level of the city, which I had not expected. Smells of well kept but old paper filled up my nose as I entered the immense library. The building was surely strange, with rooms I did not know the purpose of, a dark glowing pillar and an empty dark room. The city being composed of 80% walls, it made room for intimacy and different aesthetics from street to street. And then, the forge. Other visitors from Norland passed through me as my breath was stolen by the sight. In the mountain was a number of caves all filled to the brim with deep grey bricks, fire and a sorting of industrial machines, carriers and furnaces. I can’t begin to think the years of work it took to create this place, and the nation has all rights to be proud of it. The mines linked to it were fruitful. Reminder: explore Bjorn’s crack under the citadel
  6. The Old Lur traveled far and wide with his ancient Lur Wolf as an independent unit unaware of the events that transpired in San Velku. The Orc and Wolf find themselves in a dark environment full of Netherrite, Falum watches under his darkened old hood as many other descendent refugees flood into the area. The elder kept himself away from the Mori as he kept himself isolated working on his studies and practices. He would exhaust himself regularly due to his old age, but had the work ethic to continue on. For so long he allowed his mind to be clouded and for it the ancestors have punished him to a great degree. Falum’Lur traveled between the many caverns and found many of the ancient anvils amongst other things. He found many of these sites peculiar, having interest in such ancient ruins & relics. When he returned to the underdark ruins he found that many he acquainted with were not of his kind; not of Krug’s lineage. Though he searched through the ruins there was no place he would find Orcs to be taking shelter in. During his search he reminisced upon his life many centuries ago when he was displaced from his home after an attempted genocide on Krug’s people and the court execution of his father, Vorgo’Yar. The shaman returned to the ruins as he sought an isolated meditation. The Ancestors have possessed and punished the elder’s mind for decades with the lack of piety within himself and the iron horde. The orc compels himself to think with great difficulty as he rests his blood-red eyes while his Lur Wolf roams the lands of Failor on its own for prey. His eyes snap open and he leans onto his feet using his old but large and strong muscles and says to himself. “Mi shall raise a Temple to those who came before us. Ash dat will nub ever be wiped from duh memory of cubs and even the spirits themselves shall exalt.”
  7. [!] All around the lands of the Cloud Temple, you can sense that something greater once existed. The aqueducts by the lake and the ruined gate of the Northern Pass are not creations from this era, as any scholar of modern halfling culture could tell you. These monoliths of stone that now stand rotting in the wind and rain are but a faint memory of what came before, and of what great civilization must have built them. [!] As you come across the gate, you find a message carved onto it. Graffiti, perhaps. It reads: "What -nce w-s shall be a-ain" What a strange message.
  8. THE DREAM OF THE ENDLESS STEPPE 5th of Grand Harvest, 116th Year of the Second Age Sir Milonir of Whitehall leads a Raevir warband of Weiss House Guards to hunt the Harbingers. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ “PRO MARIAAAAA! Dnes dosáhneš svého konce, ďáble! POMSTA ZA MARII!” The clattering of a warhammer, slamming into steel. The whinny of a steed. A clattering of blades. The muffled sound of a tackle to the ground. Steel clatters, and two warriors make ragged grunts. Groans of pure exasperation. Howls of pain. Slit. The setting of the mellow sun cast a rosy hue in those golden southern waves of Almaris, serving to illuminate the triumph in the gigantic northern warrior’s fat, beady brown eyes. Sir Milonir of Whitehall, the colossal beer-bellied Northman, arose from his kill. Below him lay the body of the the Harbinger of Fear, who was responsible for many heinous acts across the lands of Almaris alongside the other Harbingers. One such act was the foolish decision to take the arm of his Liege Lady Maria Weiss in the Red City of Karosgrad. House Weiss does not receive wounds unanswered. And now, that Harbinger knew this. The others would soon know, too. Valkskej i Ghaestenwald, the amber jeweled, black longsword burrowed its way out of the mess that remained of that Harbinger’s skull, and back to the gloves of that valiant Knight. Yet... The reward of triumph fled, as quickly as it set in. A throbbing, all-encompassing pain. Panic, terror replaced triumph. Crimson ichor oozed down his ginormous, mud-caked figure – painting his neck in a deep crimson. Adrenaline coursed through his veins no more. Reality set in. There was a hole in the side of his neck that would not stop flowing. The cost of his vengeance. It was to be determined he must pay this blood price - fluid he had never seen flowing so dramatically as it did now. Desperate, hysteric pants escaped hoggish lips, masked only by the sound of crashing waves. The abyss reached for Milonir. Bells tolled. He was cold. Pale as a ghost; pallid. Crows circled; they found their next feast. The night was coming. The Bogatyrs of Old called for another to fill their Great Hall in the Skies. His soul would soon be theirs. What a fitting end, it would be. Rewarded with the unending throng of battle with heroes of legend for all of time. And he saw them. Beckoning. Despite this warrior’s end, for the first time in years, he understood true fear. He was afraid. Afraid of what truly awaited him in death. Doubt cast through his mind of the abyss that surely awaited him. The Harbinger of Fear had succeeded, inducing fear, and terror which gripped the very fiber of his soul even in its death. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ He was spiraling. Spinning, growing dizzy. Milonir needed to find a way to clog this hole. Fast. Make it stop, he panicked. You're going to die! Mind racing a million miles a minute, his consciousness was polluted with waves of terror and hysteria which washed over him like the sea. He was losing a lot of blood. Milonir desperately spun, searching for any end to the pain. He had to think – and fast, before shock set in. Deep in the recesses of his mind he remembered the words of that medical prodigy, Haus Weiss – stuff it, apply pressure. Yes. This might just work. It is my only option. Vibrating, shaking hands gripped that ornate longsword Valkskej i Ghaestenwald, cutting a selection of cloth from his undershirt. And so entered that grubby cloth sleeve to the oozing hole in his neck. It was thick. Thick enough to absorb the blood like a sponge. The agonizing, hysteric cry of pain was heard for miles - like a dying animal's screech. In an act that saved his life, he applied pressure to his gaping wound, locking an x with his arms around his neck to prevent that wound from flowing. And so, with an oozing hole now plugged, and tremendous pressure applied, that river of blood turned to a dribble. Whether it was GODAN, the Spirits, the Father, the Bogatyrs of Old, or perhaps simply luck, none could say. But powers beyond the mortal realms saw it fit to keep this young Knight alive long enough to receive aid. Whoever it was sought more valorous deeds from this wretch of a Knight. They were not satisfied with his accomplishments yet. There was still work to be done before he was permitted entry to the Great Halls in the Skies. This would not be the end of the glorious song of that Champion of Whitehall. Those Skies would be left without Sir Milonir – for now. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ The way to Talon’s Port. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ There was only one town close by: Talon's Port. The forested town of shamans who had healed his Liege not one day before. It was not far now. Under cover of moonlight did dogged, crimson painted warrior be pulled towards that mystic town of Talon’s Port atop a horse black as night called Stargazer, the Wonder-Steed. Rider and steed shared a bond that surpassed words, and that steed galloped as fast as her legs would take her. It was a miracle he hadn’t fallen off of that midnight steed on the thickly wooded path there. He fought the haze of unconsciousness long enough to make it to that town of farseers. Milonir was now with the dark elf shamans in that opulent, mystic town of brick. The shamans were met with a rider who appeared on the verge of sliding right off of that steed, crumpled against her mane. He successfully clung to the little life he had left. A truly mysterious elfess of ebony named Lenora flanked by another named Gusiam were unflinching in their duty. Lenora the guide did not hesitate to lead the Northman and steed through those streets of Talon's Port. Gusiam retrieved an offering to the Spirit of Akezo. A ritual to save his life was to take place. Through delusion, and near unconsciousness, Milonir mistook Lenora as his mother. With breath practically a whisper, he asked, “mamej... did ea... become...” “...Bogatyr... mamej?” “...Yes, my son,” resounded within his head. His life was now in the hands of those shamans. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ 360 pounds of highlander and steel collapsed to that poor white medical cot that dutifully supported his tremendous weight. No hesitation was made, as that hideous wretch Milonir became surrounded by the mystical silver and peach mists of the farseers Lenora and Gusiam, engulfed in their ritual. Chanting surrounded him, in a language he was not conscious to listen to. The duo invoked the Spirit of Akezo, who deemed fit to bestow upon to Milonir the gift of life. Blood flowed from him no more. He was truly safe now. Sealed. Whole. Stable. Delirious days of healing, Blood Lotus soup and broth awaited him. He was unconscious for an entire week. And in that time, he was in the land of dreams. Dreams. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ The holy, endless steppe of dreams. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Milonir was lost in the endless steppe. He wandered for days. He saw Bodbmakos, Koeng Georg. Lord Felix, Audo, Haus, Sir Onon, Sangilak, Ikumak, Veronica, Via, Sierra. All joined him on this journey. After what felt to be years of wandering, he saw the Bogatyrs of Old. They were in two columns, stretched to the horizon over endless hills. Thousands of blades were raised, forming a tunnel endlessly long to a destination unknown. Friends, Lieges, and Bogatyr alike welcomed him to traverse the tunnel of swords. For the path of blades led to an ocean of golden grass. It was familiar. He knew this place. Somewhere he had not seen in many, many years. It was the grass of his homeland. His home was right over the horizon: Whitehall. He knew what awaited him in Whitehall; his mother. Milonir, atop that steed of midnight, galloped with might towards Whitehall, towards mother. Blades retreated with thundering hooves, as he cantered past those Heroes of Old. They who roared, relishing his name endlessly: Milonir, Champion of Whitehall. The road home was not to be made without a fight. For past the hills of heroes swarmed an army of one million enemies as black as death. Banners as black as their armor were raised, and in unison, chanted a dark, evil language. Sir Milonir faced the army utterly alone. Or so he thought. On his sides an army of one million did appear, all atop horseback. All manner of warriors from his homeland were present. Glorious Haeseni Hussars, their armor gleaming like gold. Grim, unflinching Raevir knights remained true, composed. Men and women adorned in the colors of the Brotherhood of Saint Karl and even Czevuskoving warriors and shieldmaidens of Whitehall joined the army, with shields as wide and thick as oak. And his Friends, Lieges, and Bogatyr alike did accompany him. Warriors unflinching prepared to charge, atop eager steeds. In his quiver lay a million arrows. In his hands a lance made of unbreakable gold. And under him, that horse as black as night; Stargazer. The golden sun of the endless steppe penetrated the eyes of the enemy, dousing the glorious army led by Sir Milonir in divine rays. Days of battle ensued. The battle of Whitehall. The battle of dreams. Sir Milonir was invincible, indomitable. Victorious in endless battle, a reward was due. Entry to that nostalgic village of Whitehall. Yet, in dreams, victory in battle was to be the only reward. For he was not met with Whitehall, nor his mother he so desperately wished to see. He was met with a smoldering ruin. And silence. Heroes and his immortal army vanished to dust. His friends and followers were gone. He was alone. And he looked to his hands. He was a kid once again. Stood before him was his father. He was flanked by two Harbingers on each side. Father’s face, as still as death, donned a mask as black as night and took lead of the Harbingers. All charged with blade in hand. Milonir, no longer Sir, was defenseless. Those blades of both his father and the Harbingers plunged into the chest of that screaming, fat kid. The child was dead. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ He awoke screaming cries of agony, tears streaming down his portly cheeks. Milonir was covered in beads of salty sweat as the pale, crescent moonlight shone like a silvery claw through silk purple curtains. He was alone. Just like in his dream. Brown orbs gazed to his shaking hands. It was just a dream. A nightmare. The Harbinger of Fear’s reach gripped his psyche. With the guidance of the farseers, many offerings to Akezo were made by Milonir in the following weeks. The Spirits had won a new follower. After weeks of ritualistic healing chants, visits from his friends of House Weiss and his personal Raevir guard, as well as many discussions on how best to venerate the Spirits, Sir Milonir found himself atop Stargazer, the Wonder-Steed. He bid farewell to those dark elven shamans who had saved his life. This debt would never be forgotten, and he would find a way to repay their kindness and venerate Akezo and the Spirits. He was a new man, who possessed new convictions and beliefs. For now he too counted himself amongst the believers of those Spirits. Gone was that stupid, oafish kid. Killed in dreams. Yet gloom followed him like the plague. Fear cast through his mind. Where there was unending confidence before, doubt, weakness rooted themselves in his being. He could be killed. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Yet, he remembered why he had started this path. His love for House Weiss. The defense of his friends. His conviction. His pride. The unending, soul-burning desire for vengeance against the careless enemies of House Weiss. This all-encompassing vortex of emotion controlled every part of him. Suffer not the Unworthy. Stand against the Long Dark. Venerate the Spirits. Hold GODAN above all else. These tenets gripped every fiber of his being. Sir Milonir was not allowed to fail. He must be unflinching. He was on a righteous path toward becoming a true Bogatyr and he knew it. Conviction restored; every wound received to Lady Maria and House Weiss would be returned with limitless fury. There would be more blood spilled. Sir Milonir, Hero of Whitehall was prepared to lose every drop of blood in his body to this end. But it was time to return to Zvaervauld. North. Northman and steed began the long path home. Yet, reaching jungle's end, they paused. They observed endless golden grass beyond the cover of that humid forest. This land was known. Milonir and Stargazer were in the endless steppe from dreams. The Stargazer and Knight stared skyward at the blanket of stars that stretched to infinity for hours. He knew peace unending. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ The infinity of stars. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Harbingers thought it would be they to assume the role of hunter. Not so. They would soon learn they were the prey. Woe unto them. And woe to the enemies of House Weiss. There would be Vengeance for Maria.
  9. Forging a Path Home | ᚠᚬᚱᚴᛁᚾᚴ ᛅ ᛒᛅᚦ ᚼᚬᛘᛁ “Ah finalleh made et, ma.” “Where did you go?” “Urguan, tae find our kin. Tae join th’ dwed ahn tae start new there.” “Do they treat you right?” “Aye, they do. Ah found everythin’ ah coulda wanted.” It was a day for reflection, as the dwarven woman toiled deep within the forge of her clan hall. In recent years, the blessed space of Yemekar had become her second home. One of which she created in, trained in and taught in. As hammer met steel, Ealisaid pondered the last few years she had resided in the dwarven capital. Five, or even six years had passed since she had first stepped foot into the mountain, and had began to make her home in Hefrumm. What a change it had been. She’d had no expectations of what was to come. How she had been surprised. “Who did you meet?” “Evereh one. Bakir, Garedyn, Tuzic, Agnar, Briga. So maneh differen’ dwed.” Ealisaid forged on. The heat of the fire and the physical toil of crafting brought sweat to her brow, but that was nothing unusual. The flame warmed her heart, and it gave the dwed woman a sense of home. She quickly lost track of time as she recalled her introduction to Urguan, to the people she now called kin and family. “What is it you do now?” “Ah smith, ah create. Buh ahm a wife too now.” “Yemekar bless your work, Anbella bless your home. ” *Tink* *Tink* *Tink* The metal atop the anvil finally began to resemble something of use. A blade of some description formed with each strike of the hammer. Once she was satisfied with the shape, Ealisaid took pause. She removed her gloves and found a towel to wipe her face, and she made her way up the stairs of the forge. There, she overlooked the crafting area. The anvils and fires - everything a dwarf needed to create masterpieces. But the forge was not only its equipment. As she leant forwards on the railings that ensured she did not fall, she gazed forwards at the figurehead carved into the stone. Yemekar. The Maker. “None ef this woulda been possible wi’out ye, ma.” “None ef et woulda been possible wi’out Garedyn.” “Ahn none ef et woulda been possible wi’out Yemekar.” Ealisaid gripped the railings, and she bowed her head deeply. She offered a silent prayer to Yemekar and to Anbella. In thanks for their guidance, their wisdom. Their strength. Resonating along with the dwed womans prayer, echos of a long since lost soul joined her. “May Yemekar be the reason you continue creating. May he be with you in each craft, and may he protect you on your way. May Anbella bless your marriage, and your family. Your home and hearth will be warmed with her grace.” “Thankye, ma.”
  10. Royal Poetry Volume 3 - Katerina Foreword Upon closer correspondence with Haeseni Royalty and the people within Haense, Felyx becomes inspired to write yet another addition to the Poetry Series. This hobby of his has been expanding, and may be something serious simply by handing these works to their respective muses, who hold great power. Nevertheless, as the young Colborn sits down to put quill and ink to paper, he is reminded by the semblance that the name "Katerina" holds against his first poem's "Karenina", thus silently vowing to match his previous standards to fit at least a single aspect of the many diamond fractals of an equally incredible individual. 'Katerina' Waves and waves of light are shimmering Into which, no man may see. For the pond of life within this vessel As a fiery summer's breeze grow free. The eyes of the maelstrom The onion layers of sun will capture - Out of melted icy footprints The mind shall drift to what entraptures. Allusions of flame dancing on a red wall Bring forth slender fingers around gold to linger. Yet as men stand tormented in transparent halls, A graceful figure here shall make its stand. Age has a number that ripes like fine wine Which, as poured, pours into many souls in time, To form a web of fine gold strands - And band us together lest we fall from our climb. The slender hand arches up, to clutch her Lorraine For belief alone may keep us all sane - So our trust placed in her to guide us the way, By the mercy of God we shall not astray. Blunt as a mace, her protection can kill Those who threaten her kin of the Land. In snow-capped red dress, and golden necklace Her temper comes forth like winter's fury unmanned. In time the laughter-lines grow, A temper subsides and a gold heart does show, With firm slender hands she holds her Lorraine, Within her still waves, to lap up her pain. As strong as a comet, a will resolute Within you'll find diamonds before it is spent For within us she sees just who we are Through countless ages and not just one scar, So let yourself be healed by the Lady; "Katerina Ceciliya Barbanov-Bihar" Afterword There is only one copy of this poem in circulation (IRPLY) and it is the original, signed by Felyx Colborn himself. What has been writ cannot be undone, and more royal poems are sure to come... Signed,
  11. Expedition Log Four As it was starting to become the norm now, a new team of people for this expedition outside of the few returning, and ever curious bloom joined in. Though I’m admittingly starting to feel the change of time as my hair was slowly growing white now, even the tan didn’t help to make me feel any younger from the time in the south. Almost didn’t recognize myself in the reflection of water by this point. We set off to the strider and after a bumpy, almost sickening ride for several days we headed up to our camp and took a little moment to prepare ourselves by the stream. Checking supplies, armours, weapons and other equipment to make sure we were ready for as much as we could. We had brought goods that we believed we could trade with the tribe that had settled up within the land and was living among the nature there, not hunting, but more surviving with them. Something we could approve of. And as we were discussing how we would go to encounter them and what we had brought to offer in trade a familiar figure in the form of the same child we spoke too before showed themselves. Starting to believe this kid is somehow the scout and negotiator with outsiders of the island. Of course the fourth fleet also gave us a little bit of information as well, though it was only enough to let us know that the people of the island were hoping for a new meeting. We began to discuss it there, and she brought up how they weren’t open to seeing us right now. But they were considering us and needed our aid to show sincerity. Giving information of a deadly cloud that left behind medical residue that they could use, but they didn’t have the manpower to investigate closer and scout out from what was said. We discussed it with our group, and offered them alternatives such as getting herbs from the homeland and raising them, and growing them, but there was no way of knowing how that might turn out in this strange new land. Nor were they able to get enough medical supplies from the fleet to tend to their needs. Eventually the group decided in whisper to aid, and with the girl's guidance we reached the mountaintop that the creature was spotted landing as one of their own shot an arrow towards the cloud to see what would happen. Honestly the young lad that did it was luckily it didn’t fall on them with how deadly the fumes seem to be from what was said. Thankfully the path there we were not bothered by the many dangerous creatures of this island. We prepared ourselves, with only one among our numbers that had a breathing contraption that would allow them to take in clear air within the fumes they took the front while the rest of us gathered cloth, leather, and other forms of masks and tightened them around our heads to block the fumes from reaching us and holding them back for as long as we could. Then we waited til nightfall to try and limit the sight that would fall upon us The moon is truly a breathtaking sight on this island. But that is for another time. With the hint of the black mist slowly beginning to flow from the gap of a tree that hinted the direction we needed to go we slowly crept up. Keeping as high to the crevice walls as we could to avoid breathing in this mist ourselves as we heard the sound of movement before us. Rain began to fall, and the land itself became even more difficult to see with the shadow of the smog that was before us. So we moved slowly, cautiously. Not wanting to alert the entity that had landed that we were there as we moved to investigate it. And heard it slowly moving further and further away as he tracked it. A wailing call to the skies came with several echoes in response, that had us consider retreating if they began to descend. But thankfully its pack remained in the skies and didn’t follow. While barely being able to catch the sight before us. But soon enough there was a break in the crevice, a lift up that flowed over some bushes where the majority of the mist seemed to be gathering. With careful steps the majority of us hunt back, as the shifting figure of the creature's form seemed to be sighted. As our main member with the safety of the mask that allowed them to breathe cleanly moved closer to investigate. The mists began to give way as the creature appeared to be eating mushrooms, mushrooms that were growing from a gathering of corpses that were set upon a pile. Allowing us to see a scale tailed, four limbed and winged creature that reminded us of a bat. With many more noses on its face than you would expect and long wings. Which one appeared to be injured by a hole that was through it. Likely from the young lads arrow. When it noticed our ally that had moved forward and began to collect some of the mushrooms for samples it wasn’t hostile. In fact it was curious. Sniffing at them and taking in the scent and looking almost like they were nervous, and afraid of them. But also curious. The moment they spoke to warn us to keep our distance the creature showed a quick, and potentially dangerous agility with how swiftly it sprank back and clawed itself to the walls. The caution and tension continued to grow as the samples were taken until the creature's neck began to bulge much like that of a frog as the mists covered and hid their form from view once more. With a cry to retreat we began to head back the way we came as those dangerous fumes flowed like a cloud of shadow behind us. By the time we had reached out of the crevice the morning sun had begun to rise to greet us. And the youngest to join us and their friend hugged each other in relief as the others caught up to us on the mountain top. And of course. The girl that had shown a skill to vanish out of sight and return at all appeared and the information and samplings that were discovered were spoken on. We had gained favour, and information of another creature of this island while giving the locals a potential source of medicine through the mushrooms that they can gather if they are cautious. Now we just needed to speak to one of their elders. One potentially being a bit intense and will dig into us to get as much information as they can. Knowing our luck, that is the elder we were going to encounter and have to deal with. Let's hope she’s like the majority of vale’s own slightly mad crew and likes to drink as well. Overall, it's been a relatively nice, and informative expedition once more. And with the Siru' iheiuher adding its name to our own personal bestiary.
  12. Father Circle Trial Summer guided the sightless Through the biting chill of night Only darkness greeted the directed Sound, scent, soul. All that was felt in the newfound world A world untouched. Untamed senses outstretched. Hindering, humbling, and heavy. Suns Sightless Summer. It was a strange experience, to be blind; to have the eternal night brushing one’s senses. Where not even the outline of structure in the night can guide one's hand or steps forward, reliant on the hands and guidance of a mentor to mount a steed for the ahead while the only senses that he found was sound, rippling through the dark like a droplet on a river. Trot, Trot, Trot. Ruffle of fabric. Dance of leaves and a tickle of cold on the skin. “Are we in the north?” His voice felt consuming. “No. We are not.” Her voice felt distant. They arrived, and with an unsure step he carefully brought his feet down upon the unseen ground. Grass was felt, banishing the idea that they were in the north. As his mentor's voice danced in the air and he turned, trying to keep focus on the sound as insects buzzed loudly within his ears. Final words were given, the earth feeling coarse, and dry. He didn’t know this land. The ruffle of feathers echoed in his ears and the sound of the retreating trots of a horse grew distant. He was alone. Dry earth. Ticklish grass. Caution driving the man on all fours like a beast. Pushing forward, he crawled. Like an ape. Drawn deeper. It was getting…warmer? But wasn’t it already the day? It began to burn on pale skin. Scorching. Hot. Darkness revealed naught. The heat of the night had hidden the truth from his senses, making him believe that night was day, and day was night. Something that he became painfully aware of as the travel he made bared the heat on his skin as night began to turn to day. Not able to find shelter the heat bared down, suffocating his senses. Drawn by the sound of insects he found bark, wood. A tree. Grasping blindly. Insects grasped and crunched between jaws. Nourishment. Nectar. Refreshing in the burning drought. The sun scorched blindly on flesh. Fingers dug between roots. Digging out a hole. A burrow. Hiding from the heat. For several days hiding within that burrow when the air began to grow hot, and scavenging insects from the tree, clamouring up the branches and swinging upon them while being lured in by the sounds of fluttering wings, buzzing, and the feeling of carapace against skin. Yet it couldn’t last. The insects began to learn. Growing distant. Retreating from the tree he had made a burrow under. He needed to keep moving. Food is scarce. Hunger gripped and thirst clung. Braving the heat again. Only to slip. What was thought to be even ground revealed a slope. Gravity claimed away and tumbled the vessel down. Impacting against earth, ground, and then scorching sands. He stumbled down the side of what could have only been a cliff, a hill, perhaps even the side of a mountain. He could not know in the darkness. Earth and stone scratched and bruised flesh as he fell down, slipping further and further down the slope while protecting his head until the soft, but scorching heat of sand greeted him. And the sound of splashing waves - the shoreside? The heat bore down and the need for shelter had him pushing to the waterside, dipping in the salt and cooling off from the scorching rays. Salt surrounded the sense of smell. Waves echoed in the ears, drawing out all. Warm waters cooled and protected from the scorching heat. A moment of reprieve followed by the sting of a claw. Crabs are cruel demons, he decided then, when one latched upon his toe and soon became his dinner. Cracked under fist and bone then eaten raw. It was delightful compared to the crunch of insects he had been reduced to eating for the last few days. The shell of the crab had been kept and tucked into his pants for use later as thirst tugged on his dry lips and tongue. The juices of his prey could only sustain him so far. But what was that…smell? Flowery aroma. He knew that smell. Or something similar. Drawn to it, the touch of an oily petal touched his fingers. Then the texture of a fruit. Plucked. Feasted. Thirst quenched. The world swam. Diddyfunkle. While the fruit were refreshing, and likely saved him the aftereffects, it cost the time he needed to train his senses to stretch even further. He began to hear sounds where there wasn’t any, the scorching sun felt strange and tingly on his skin. Everything was different, soothing. He was hallucinating. No colours to see, only the world began to swim and dance all around. Passing out and awakening, unsure of where he was. Only feeling the scorching itch, and burn of blistered flesh from the sun he had laid within under the effect of the diddyfunkle. Pain spiked with every movement. Shaking the limbs. Aching the flesh. But he needed to.To move. Lost, lonely, light headed. Wings followed. He was starting to notice that the sound of wings seemed to circle him ever since he arrived here. The weight that birds were likely waiting for him to perish so that they could scavenge his corpse filled his mind in that moment. Doubt almost consumed his mind before he focused, calmed himself with a moment of meditation in a form that screamed with scorched flesh. And then the buzzing sound of insects returned. And he found an edge to a mountain side. Though If it was the same or another he had no clue. Fingers dug, scraped, and grasped at soil and stone. Tugging, biting painfully at an already abused form. Pushing through limits. Away from sands. Stone. Fingers finding grass, earth. Shade of a tree sheltering flesh. It was a different tree he had found this time, and he could only assume that he had found a different mountain. Or a hill that he had scaled on all fours. The leaf span of this tree was able to cover him, reducing the need for him to dig under the roots, so he instead pulled himself into a nook within the trees and began to rest. Taking a solid day of rest just to recover before his senses stretched out. Insects surrounded him from all around, but also…birds, and what sounded like a trickle of water? Water on a mountain. A lake? An oasis? Movement fled him as he moved to the edge. Finding nectar of sweet, cool waters. Flowing waters through a current. For the first time in what felt like weeks, he had fully tamed his thirst and had coverage from the sun of the scorching day. The scent of flowers, of flora, filled his breath and the crisp cool water. Life was around him. And if there was a lake? That meant one thing. Fish. He pushed into the water and attempted to catch fish as he felt the ripples of their movements against his skin. It took time. Practice. Eating the flora like a herbivore and drinking from the water until finally his fingers clenched around the scaled body of a fish. It was delicious. All was consumed. Head, eye, flesh, guts. It all went down. Nourishment. Sharp fangs tearing into flesh. A fish a day kept the hunger away. Time passed like this uncounted, the shift from scorching heat to warm summer being his only clue of the passing time. Soon followed by him getting used to the shifting sound of nature around him. The insects were quiet during what he felt was the ‘day’, yet the fish were louder, splashing and feeding. At night the song of the insects grew more vibrant, making it easier for them to be hunted. And so he existed for a while, catching fish, hunting insects, occasionally eating a flower when a day of hunting was sparse. Until one day he made a strange discovery on the lake…a boat. Tied up and bound at the bottom of it with a stone. Perplexed. Confused. Bamboozled. A boat in the middle of nowhere? It made no sense. Was there descendant life nearby? Here!? Confusion leads to curiosity. To blind exploration. Fingers searching the surroundings and seeing what they could find. No words were given, for he did not desire to meet anyone. Just understand more of where he was. And understand he soon did. Finding what felt like marks in the earth…of a battle. Old. Ancient. Abandoned camp with a blanket so worn with holes and full of insects that it must have been left here for a very long time. Further exploration found a hot spring that he took a moment to bath within. And felt the presence of other animals joining him in the waters. Soothing the aches and pains that lingered. And finally…what felt like an altar, damaged, destroyed. And a pedestal where a tome should have rested, stripped clean. A cult of some faith lived here. Had lived here. But something dealt with them. In fighting? Rivals? But they were gone. Long gone. Ruins reclaimed by nature. It was a strange relief knowing he was the only ‘descendant’ within the land. Tension he didn’t know had built up eased, and the continued path of survival reclaimed his form. Dead flesh from the scorching heat peeled off and washed away in the flowing hot spring, giving way to flesh that seemed to be able to handle the heat better. Able to bear and adapt to the flame of the land's fury. Time passed, his habit of checking the moon turning to counting the shift of temperature to mark the time that continued on. Until the day the rain came. The rain was heavy. Hammering the land and loosening the soil. The lake grew wild, the currents stronger. It gripped upon him and washed him away through the current. Direction less, breathe lost. Water filled his lungs. Impacting an unknown shore and hacking the current out. He hadn’t been prepared for that. The rhythmic repetition that he was slowly growing used to with his sense of touch, hearing and scent, washed away by the storm of rain and water. He didn’t know how long the waters had pulled him, how far away he was from where he originally was. But he felt he went down, flowing away from the mountain. And once again he was battered and bruised from the descent of the mountain. The rain made it difficult to tell left, to right, or hint in which direction to go as everything echoed its song. He could only rely on his touch. Digging into the ground and pulling forward to find shelter. Sand and earthy grass mixed under touch. The prickle of a cactus stung. Biting skin and clinging. Repulsed and a new direction found. Clear water found upon fingertips, a rocky growth giving shelter. A new nest was found. Rest and slumber came swift. The rain lasted slightly longer than expected, and the thorns from a plant that grew on the rocky walls burned as it cut and dug into flesh. Several pointy plants had wounded his hands now that they were starting to twitch from them. Or perhaps it had been the venom of the plants themselves that were making his hands tremble and twitch. It took a day for the sensation of touch to return to them where he nibbled on the moss that had grown near the water and drank of its source. The shell of the crab finally proved its worth as he scraped the moss from the stone to eat it. Recovered, thankfully no breaks from the slip down the water slide. Then..a cluck. A cluck of a chicken echoed out. Body froze. Stomach rumbled. The blind stalked the sound…waited. Pounced. Neck snapped in jaws. Crimson soaked skin. He went feral for a moment. Or was he just returning to how he was in his youth? He stalked the chicken; or at least he assumed it was a chicken, by its sounds. Lowered his form to be less noticeable, waiting for it to draw close before he launched at it. Sharpened canines biting down a thin neck before he jerked, felt a snap. And the body grew still within his jaws. He ate well that day. The feathers felt pleasant on his skin. He didn’t know where he had ended up but he could feel that the grass here was…softer, cooler. More vibrant in its life. And he couldn’t feel any sand around as the echo of crashing waves filled his senses from the left of him. Waves echoed in his ears. Cool grass under toes and knuckles. Insects were scarce, he couldn’t hear them anymore. But animal sounds tugged his senses. No trees to be found, only brush, green, and animals. An open plain by the sea. He had gotten utterly lost in the darkness and the rain. The origin he had been left at felt so distant, yet it could have been at his back for all he knew. Or even just ahead of him. But with a lack of insects around he began to regress to a..primal, natural state. Hiding in the bush and pouncing upon shifting and moving prey. Finding rabbits caught within jaws, chickens snapped and plucked. Bones and feathers began to decorate his hair and tattered fabrics around his waist as crimson clung and stained his skin until he washed it on the coast side. Berries found by following the trials animals had left with his fingers allowed him to quench his thirst. His mind regressed. Settling on basic needs. Food. Thirst. Shelter. The food cried and fell still under my jaws. Fruits and berries fed nourishment. The sun still burned. But shelter in trees eased the heat. Strangely the wings of the stalking bird still echoed above… The predator he had become was tempted to climb and hunt the bird that he caught circling above him so many times now, the flap of the wings, the ruffle of feathers. Even the cry of a hawk's call. Which increased when he caught the sound of swooping wings as a rabbit, or mouse he had been hunting became the prey of this bird instead of himself. It almost became a competition. Who could catch the prey first, the land bound beast, or the avain in the skies? It soothed a loneliness he didn’t realise he was feeling to humour the idea that it was the same bird each time, despite how unlikely that was. A grunt, a squeal. Something was rushing towards him. He dove out of the way. The feel of something sharp. Cut his flank. A heavy trotted foot. A huff of breath. A boar. He listened for the charge. Waiting. Ducking. Rolling. Evading. Landing kicks to its flank. A leg snapped. The boar tumbled. He pounced. Boar tusks added to the decorations of blood soaked feathers, rabbit toes and scrapes of pelt he hadn’t eaten upon his garb. It was too much to eat alone, eating his full and then trusting on nature to take their own filling. Listening, and agreeing with his senses as he felt wings descend upon the boar, and the brush rustle as other creatures grew near. The carcass was going to be plucked clean. But the wound on his side wasn’t going to deal with itself. The bite of salt water splashed and washed the wound. Leaves were cleansed and laid over the cut, and the vines of a king were bound tight around to apply pressure. The wound burned. Stung. And itched all at the same time. The leaves were packed tight. Nature’s bindings. And he laid still. Feeling the flow of crimson still. But he felt light headed. Tired. Sleep came soon. He, luckily, didn’t bleed out. The binding was tight enough to stall the blood flow. Even luckier that it didn’t get infected without clear, boiled water to cleanse the wound. But as he was healing. he went over his senses through the darkness. He was used to the sense of sound now, enough to catch the movement of beasts to avoid attacks, the sound of movement in the wind. The sense of smell gave him an idea of what was nearby, of what he was stalking, from the scent of pelts, to the markings left in surroundings, and even the aroma of flora. His skin had hardened under the trial and rough treatment. Yet he had honed his sense of touch, to the point where he could trust himself to move through branches within the trees without risking falling. He had returned…to nature. Sightless, Soundless, Boundless. He grew in the flames. Hardened against stones. Held by the grasp of rootes. Scent, Sound, Sensations. Honed, practised and grown. The lack of vision. Of colour. Have a way to a new world. A beauty in the ripple. The pulse of shadow. A canvas of the night. An Ode to the Blind.
  13. THE LAST GOODBYE FINDING RESOLVE AND RESOLUTION This is written from the perspective of someone broken by emotion and escaping into their own mind to find solace in face of the reality of the world. It might be triggering to some audiences and elicit emotion in those who have gone through a similar set of experiences. As someone who has gone through plenty in my life, I hope to depict a tale of overcoming adversity rather than being imprisoned by it. Nonetheless, this is a fair warning to those that would rather not be reminded of such times. The City of Crows was a place usually filled with liveliness. But inside a small estate set by the wayside of the Karosgrad Colosseum emanated an unusual stillness. From the very moment one approached the door a lingering sense of sadness was felt. There was only pain now. Where the spacious home had once been filled with laughter, joy and active children, there was only this silence, this omnipresent feeling of death. Were it not for the whipping of family banners from the wind and the rattling of the tugging lantern chains, one might think it abandoned. In truth, it was far from so instead those inside were no longer fully grounded on this earth. But for now, the living room only held one figure whose gaze did not wander; that gaze was settled, settled forwards and staring off somewhere distant. Beneath those lost eyes, the elderly man’s beard had grown dishevelled from a lack of care and his mopish hair, which clung to his cheek and even laid strands across his gaze. The Patriarch of House Colborn was listless and all strength had long since left him, his greyed hues which so often held warmth were empty, filled only with a void of vitality, lacking in life and any sense of emotion else than hopelessness. Was this oblivion? To be cursed with a rarely seen long-lived star who others envied, only to watch those beloved part from this world, to be burdened with pain, again and again, assaulted by quandary after quandary. Was this life? To bring about and birth endless treasures only for them to be taken before one has a chance to appreciate them in their fullest value. To experience things that stab wounds to one very soul that not even prayer can heal, that cannot be mended by magic. Was this fate? To work until one's bones were brittle and one's hand could barely rise properly, only to be punished and put in one's place, to be reminded of the woes of the world and to be pained by twisted reality. A burst of hoarse croaking laughter escaped the elderly man’s throat as if a thousand grains of sand sliding against each other, his throat more parched than a man wandering the desert, as if water couldn’t sate him anymore. With each set of sounds, his throat twisted in pain, eventually leading to a series of coughs, and only a few more pained croaks as if he had swallowed a fly followed. There was a ringing in his ear which had yet to disappear since he had heard the news, that dreadful set of news. Whenever he tried to remember it was like an onset of fog clung to his very mind. What have I forgotten? What was it I’m trying to remember? His mind could not sustain this line of inquiry for long before the fog overwhelmed him again, eliciting another series of wind whistling through his throat, barely able to be called a chuckle, more if anything as if the soul was attempting to leave his body. In his blurry vision which grew darker with each coming moment he could see two figures, two adult men who spoke in the room before him, he could almost hear their voices now. Yes, almost. He was trying his best to make out those voices. The blonde-haired man and his opposite who wore a well-trimmed dark mane walked about the room, two opposites. Why can’t I remember their names? In the chair sitting across from where the disheveled man had sunk into the sofa was a figure he was far too familiar with, the third one present. It was from this man a much deeper and stern voice carried forth. “How long will you do this to yourself?” Adrian’s eyes were still staring in the direction of the two younger images who were silently laughing in the distance as if still alive, a distant memory of better days. The only thought lingering in his mind was why couldn’t he hear them. Breaking his line of thought was the sound of someone clicking their tongue, far too familiar. It caught his attention as it continued in its deeper tone “How long Adrian?” With his name being called he caught himself and as if echoing the thoughts of the person sitting across from him he asked himself. How long has it been? With each moment after the miasma which covered up his thoughts slowly loosened, each eliciting a thought. How long have I been sitting here? Before he could ask himself the next question he heard again that voice, the voice of his father. “Would you rather trick yourself until you are your own prisoner, guard and executioner? And what for? To live out a fantasy of what once was, of what cannot be any longer even if you so dreadfully wish it to?” gruffed the voice, one strained from many years of pipesmoking. He could almost smell the tobacco waft off of his father’s breath, strong and overwhelming. “Will you not return to them?” came the next sentence which echoed now through the elder’s mind. With what had clung across his mind and left it clueless slowly clearing, so did the vision around him, the brightly lit room full of warmth, with its two presences slowly breaking and giving way to an empty home, dark and empty. The fireplace held not even embers and brought no warmth to the cold which filled up the place. “Return to them? Who will I return to? What do I have left to do?” He asked himself while looking to the window which reflected in it a gaunt and harrowing face, his boney cheeks most prominent. His hands which had lay slack slowly making for it, twig-like fingers lanky and absent of warmth, clinging as best they could to a feverishly sweaty forehead. Next to him on the sofa sat Anabel with a tray that held a set of steaming soup bowls, her hands scarred with half-bandaged cuts from her labor. “Find your resolve my son. . . find it as you once did in your youth and bring about the change you want to see in this world. I know you are capable of it.” So came the last words before the elder returned fully to reality as he was jolted by a warm hand, which reached out and caressed his sunken cheek. He barely managed the words through parched lips. It came out in rasps. “My child. . . how long have I…?” With the fog gone now, he knew he’d been through a cyclical process - this wasn’t the first, more so the third or fourth and Anabel had been by his side through it all - his far too kind granddaughter - they all were the treasures of his long-gone Gwyn and what she had wished for the most. That was what made all of this so difficult, with each of their deaths a part of her died with them, a part of her he could never reclaim nor hold to him tight. With each pressing thought, small beads slowly rolled down his cheeks, staining the warmth which covered his right side. Her expression was weary and helpless as she was already not good with people as it was. But even the face of his granddaughter which seldom held much but shyness was covered in worry. With a voice like the soft midsummer gale that carried forth words. “A few hours, I had to reheat the soup twice.” She intoned the last perhaps more in an attempt to hide her worry. But she clearly wasn’t willing to divulge exactly how long it had been. “S-So long?” “That long, yes,” she answered. With the warmth leaving his cheek, his watery eyes drifted down to an extended bowl, held by a caring hand. As his hands gripped around the shape and found long heat he sank in a spoon and ate a mouthful of soup. To his surprise, it tasted better than anything he’d ever eaten, not because of the flavor, but rather because of the hands who had toiled to make it. “Baldram helped, even he seemed to realize what state you’ve been in. . . since.” She caught herself and became numb, her body rigid. He would have let loose a boisterous chuckle in moments like these in the past yet he didn’t find it right to do so, nor was he able. With all he could, he finished off the bowl after an extended period of time sat in relative silence. Though Anabel still remained by his side through it all with fidgeting hands and stirring the cushions of the sofa ever so often. “I’ve sat still for far too long.” Came a voice that had recovered some from having been wet with a meal and his appetite filled. “They say a blade will lose its sharpness if not used, but a trained blade never goes fully dull, ha.” He let out a very short laugh as he monologued a little for the first time in days, weeks even. Putting the bowl down on the tray and extending a thank you to his granddaughter he pushed off of the sofa and came to a stand, making way for his study. While making his way up the stairs brief flashes of what had put him in his state came over him. He had held onto the lifeless body of his grandson Godric with a grip so strong it had split nails and broken a finger. The man’s leg had been as best as possible sown back to where it had been cut off so that he might be whole for a funeral. Thunk, thunk with each step upwards carried another memory. He had wailed his eyes out until red and baggy, his very body broken, wracked with emotion - as if gripping onto any last memory he could of his precious descendant - the heart of his heart and gem to his eye - priceless to him each branch that made up the Colborn tree. Thunk, thunk it continued. He had returned to a home abandoned by Godric’s daughter and his eldest son drinking away his woes, the little one closing himself off from the world. They each sought their own ways to escape from reality and to close themselves off from accepting what it all meant. He had sunk into the sofa then in a moment of helplessness, in a moment of delirium, stuck there as if piecing together a time before all of this had happened and bringing it into reality. He was a craftsman since birth and adventurer by choice, but no tool could fashion him a replacement, no vision or dream could replace what he had lost, and no amount of travel could find his grandson. Thunk, thunk he finally came to a stop at the top of the stairs in front of an oaken door. With a rattle of keys, he slid a key forward and cranked the path open to his study. “I will be the change I wish to see in this world, my fate my own, my journey one of my own making.” He muttered a promise he had made to himself many years before when he had told his father after the tragic passing of his mother, that he wished to return to their homeland, to Haense. His father having seemingly expected as much handed him a bag and retinue, to offer him safe passage. “Your journey will be difficult, there will be times when you wish you hadn’t taken this path and instead taken the easy way out. Will you still travel down this thorny road knowing so?” As if responding to that distant past he whispered beneath his breath, when coming upon his armour and sword. “Now and forever, for inaction is the death of Man and sloth is the downfall of his Kingdom. I will carry forward my virtues and bring upon them my beliefs, my hopes, my dreams.” With newfound resolve he donned himself fully as he had done in times past, slinking his blade into its scabbard - sister to Aeternus. In its shimmering reflection, he saw his sharp gaze which carried with it the strength of his youth before fully sheathed. The blade had been maintained with great discipline as he had been taught to, perhaps he had forgotten to maintain himself - but he wouldn’t forget how - he would forge of himself a new blade that would shine brightly. When he finally came down the stairs with the sounds of his heavy steps following him, strained by his aged body which might give out any moment, he saw at the door his Burgrave Rudolf Vyronov - ready and waiting. He was the diligent sort and a truly loyal retainer, as his ancestors were likewise, once and now again bannermen of his family and bonded brothers. “Have I kept you waiting?” He shot back with a grin that finally graced his features. “Not at all Bossir, I have readied your horse and stand ready for your orders.” The Vyronov stepped forward and hung a cloak around Adrian’s pauldrons, clicking them in place. “Let this old man ask you something Rudolf, not as your liege, but as an elder.” He stated while opening the door to the fresh wintry wind outside, blowing into the home, as well as showing the black steed stationed outside. Turning back for a moment he spoke the all too familiar words. “Your journey will be difficult, there will be times when you wish you hadn’t taken this path and instead taken the easy way out. Will you still travel down this thorny road knowing so?” The younger Vyronov looked at Adrian with no uncertainty and flashed a small cheeky smile that he so often hid behind his well-mannered exterior. “Where you go I follow, where you ride I travel and where you die I shall draw my last - now and forever.” Adrian couldn’t help himself from letting out a chuckle. “Well said. If I was cursed with a long life it seems I was likewise blessed with good company and companions, you never disappoint my Burgrave.” The Vyronov held in his head thoughts of the Elder that he might not realize, for to him, he was more than his liege. No, it was fair to say they were family and he had guided him like a father, and he wouldn’t forget it. Whipping up a storm the two set off for a Haeseni Monastery where the holiest man of all lay in a coma. When let into its hallow chambers the elder kneeled down at the head of the Pontiff’s bed, speaking softly, he recited passages from the Scroll of Auspice. “Bear witness to this prophecy of Sigismund, of the line of Joren, revealed in his last days as he gaze into the Face of God. Attend, brothers, and record my revelation: Behold, and the shadow of GOD is cast thrice upon the land, and thrice the light of instruction is obscured, and men tread the sea in its wake. Now Iblees is rising from the Void. And his chains are augmented, and they are become two wyrms, one beautiful and one terrible. The world is given over to them. The first wyrm is Vargengotz, and he goes forth to conquer and to rule. His six heads bear six crowns, which are the great kingdoms of the world, and he lets no evil be spoken of him. His body is black iron and his wings are dark smoke. The banners of the world are struck down before him, and the sky and mountains are his conquests. And Vargentgotz calls forth three deceivers in the guise of messengers, with wings of cold fire. They are called Justice, Glory, and Reward.” Scroll of Auspice 1:1-9 “The Evil Heart of Iblees rears its ugly head. In my moments of wavering strength, it has taken two of my descendants from me, brought to the Seven Skies before their time. When the deceiver of Justice came to us in the image of St. Karl. His words were not of Justice but in its stead wrath misguided. When those present were fooled I was not swayed, nor did I listen. Holding in my heart the Holy Scrolls to which I leave my trust in.” With more intonation he spoke yet again, lowering his head further towards the ground as if beginning to bow - bowing to God. “Then I found in my land a woman strung upon a cross, perverting the holy. Below she was written in my people's tongue an idiom dear to my heart that only daemons could whisper or know, but I did not waver. When the man of many faces appeared before us I knew it was the deceiver of Glory, and so I swallowed my pride, revealing to the Knights and Acre my failure, trusting in the sacred.” When his palms finally touched the ground he came to a full kowtow, his head touching the floor. “Thus came the last deceiver of Reward before us in the shape of Sigismund III purporting to represent the will of the Golden and the wealth of his legacy, but in him, I found none but Avarice, and so my faith was tested yet I did not waver.” Remaining as he was with tears straining at the corners of his eyes only held back by his own will he spoke in a shout for the first time since Godric’s death. “I will have NO DEBTS LEFT UNPAID during my watch, their evil will be returned threefold, each a mortal blow to their cohorts for the sins against my heart and soul!” “NO EVIL LEFT UNPUNISHED on my watch for my hand will strike that which corrupts the land and the heart of Man, a vessel to the holy, may I take up my sword to strike them down in His name!” “This will be MY LAST GOODBYE to Him, for the forces of Iblees shall be vanquished and their influence freed from the earth at last. A Crimson Inquisition to guide us on such a path towards salvation!” With his last words echoing within the bed chambers it seemed to stir something in the Pontiff as his fingers slowly curled, slowly waking, slowly returning to his flock. Only time would tell if the Elder would have his answer, but he was ready to wait, wait as long as need be. For no man or woman to feel what he had felt, helplessness ever-permeating, pieces of their heart ripped from them. “Holy is thy cross and holy is thy word, crimson is thy punishment.”
  14. Felyx F. Colborn, a Voice for Reform! Simple contemporary oil painting of Felyx F Colborn Introduction Felyx, born in the Second age 64, did not come into the world in a noble household. He worked for everything he has gotten so far, and will continue to serve his Kongzem to the best of his ability. The combined efforts of House Colborn now mean that Felyx is granted a unique position to let his voice be heard. As a child, he worked to start the St. Carolus University which still exists today, has participated in medic lectures, climbed to the rank of Armsman and Officer Cadet by now in the BSK Haeseni Army, and is an avid Adventurer and Poet to the Royal Family. Felyx made many friends during his time, be it commonfolk and nobility alike, and has expanded his horizons by carefully listening to minorities such as Orcs and Elves in Hanseti-Ruska. This has given Felyx the confidence he needs to run for Alderman on this day. Aspirations and Pledges I, Felyx Francys Colborn, do so pledge to honour our community of evolving peoples in-tune with their conservative roots by working with the Duma to issue reforms that benefit the Kongzem in the long-term. I will be your elected dreamer of a brighter future for Haense and, with the know-how and tools I have amassed so far, vow to work hard to listen carefully to anyone who would give me feedback or advice, and implement reforms that I deem necessary for the prosperity of Haense to Krusae Zwy Kongzem! More specifically, I, Felyx will pledge to work on Seven primary points: Promote Crown-endorsed reforms to stimulate political interest of the People of Hanseti-Ruska. Introduce non-politically aligned Commonfolk Societies for greater multi-social representation in our Motherland. Stand for greater Diplomatic cooperation, including a Worker’s Exchange Programme between allied nations to foster more open-minded generations who are willing to accept the diversity of Hanseti-Ruska and Almaris as a whole. Promote theological debates led by the Church across various beliefs, using a novel, proposed technique, coined: “Deep Listening”. Work to integrate the aforementioned “Deep Listening” into the Duma, which will hopefully bridge divides between opposite opinions to reach compromises. Introduce a Koeng or Koenas Royal Jubilee, in coordination with the BSK, every 5 years to celebrate the efforts of the Crown. Introduce a “World Pilgrimage” with the consent of the Church, in order to become aware of different and opposing cultures and beliefs, to reinforce Godan’s virtues and learn to live harmoniously with others despite opposing views. These are just a chunk of ideas I have deemed worthy to put to paper. Being a soldier of the BSK, I find it important that we can avoid War as much as possible. However, peacetime is never a reason to stop training and drilling diligently. I will take my discipline and dedication from the Army when pursuing my goals within the Duma. With great Passion Felyx Francys Colborn stands by his values, and hopes to work alongside Duma members with his Aspirations, by the pleasure of the Electorates of Hanseti-Ruska!
  15. Royal Poetry Volume 1 - Karenina Foreword One day, when Felyx Colborn was attending a Royal Birthday, he happened to chance on the longest-reigning Queen of Haense; Emma Karenina Barbanov-Bihar. Inspired by the singular name: "Karenina", a poem enters the mind of the Colborn, itching to be written down. So, with the goodwill of the Prior-Queen, he sets to work... 'Karenina' Graced beauty kills the beholden. She is more deadly the longer she lasts. She is the Northern wind that tugs your clothes like an insistent lover. Her soul, a vast landscape with rays of sun illuminating the fractals of a thousand crystals. Ageing and Ageless her temporal eyes stare unflinchingly into the past. Her beauty is a curse that sinks wayward souls deep into an icy abyss. Her beauty is a blessing that keeps those who manage to endure afloat to marvel at her bliss. Yet those who stare deep into her soul have the bone hand of Death tugging them onwards. She has many children, to which she grants her good looks fatally as her icy kiss. Beneath the surface of her kin lie the currents of eternal layers. A heart locked within flesh and bone, its key locked deep within the crevice of the soul. Where the realm of intellect begins, names command her power. She knows; kin to the icy lady who resides in the halls of the onion towers. Her being, her spirit, her soul an onion of layers - invaluable to the support of the perennial Kings. Of which she is bound, a curse, a "God bless" to the golden marriage rings. A rosy smile behind a crimson scarf, as red as blood flashes by. Her own kin is the Land on which the wheels of her carriage roll smoothly, and her people whose spirits fill the entire sky. Her name, on the tip of your tongue as if from a childhood dream long gone by. "Emma Karenina" Afterword There is only one copy of this poem in circulation (IRPLY) and it is the original, signed by Felyx Colborn himself. What has been writ cannot be undone, and more royal poems are sure to come... Signed,
  16. Hi! Strange request, I know. BUT I am looking for a necromancer/dark arts caster to organize a plot/roleplay to curse my character so I can continue to write/roleplay him the way I originally intended. After talking to one of the story and lore team, I now know that the initial written plan won't work. So the next best thing, I need a necromancer to curse me. I'm happy to go over character details and plot here in PMs, whatever you need. Thanks! Edit: Thanks for the offers of help and friendly chatter! My original vision isn't entirely feasible within the lore of LOTC, which is totally fine. So I'm gonna talk to some peeps and see what we can do and see where it goes.
  17. (An image from the Library of Yar, depicting a family of Yar Bone-Singers in traditional runed bonemasks.) Oh, how Barbog exemplified the spirit of Yar today! Leading a band of almost ten-thousand strong to the impenetrable fortress of the Ferrymen, with the weight of the life of a poor noble lass, and perhaps the world, upon his shoulders! It is a wonder that women of all races aren't already throwing themselves at his feet- not that he would accept any, of course. To leave a family behind is to only bring more weight upon him when he inevitably goes to save more fair maidens from their oppressors! Indeed, it is time that Barbog is recognized for his strength, his wit, his wisdom, his indominable faith in the Spirits, and the honor he brings to all of Uruk-kind through his every act. Drumming his hand upon the windowsill overlooking the empty village, he pens this declaration to be displayed throughout the Horde's territories; To All the Peoples of the Horde From San'velku to H'nor, Know This; THROUGH THE MIGHT AND WILL OF THE GLORIOUS BARBOG, SAVIOR OF PRINCESSES AND HERO OF THE URUK-HAI, THE CLAN OF Yar SHALL BE REVIVED! Be not afeared, good peoples of the Horde, for this is not a declaration of war or secession, but a declaration to the unwavering strength of your brothers-in-arms! Clan Yar, the traditional clan of wisemen among the Uruk-Hai, has long seen better days. With no response from former Yars, I fear them passed or in self-exhile. I have spent many moons and many months among the ancestral lands of the former Yars, having been under the tutelage of some, and studying the remains of their village library since. Whilst I cannot claim to be chosen by Yars to continue their great clan, I would rather face disrespect in the Stargush'Stroh by their ancestors for falsely assuming the title, than face the shame of letting this grand clan die. I write this missive as a declaration of my assumption of Yargoth, and in doing so, name myself Barbog'Yar, Savior of Princesses, Hero of the Second Horde, Shaman of Krathol's Eternal Suffering, Honorary Halfling of Honeyhill, Friend to the Vale of Nevaehlen, and the Last Vigilant of Yar's Way. I shall strive to do this title honor, and, should any of my brothers seek to prove themselves, be they of Uruk-hai blood or Honorary Uruk, I fully intend to contend Clan Trials soon to see whomst among you may stand beside me in representing Yar's Way. I leave you with these parting words from the late Malog'Yar, founder of Clan Yar; “Wisdom is born of a strong mind. It is more practical than philosophy, agh goes beyond mere knowledge. It is the ability for right living, common sense, wit, resolution of life’s problems, agh success beyond material gain. Gruk for latself, but heed the blahings of those more experienced with the respect agh consideration due them. Learn from life, agh apply latz learning in a way that means something.” 𝓑𝓪𝓻𝓫𝓸𝓰'𝓨𝓪𝓻 Last Vigilant of Yar’s Way Hero of the Second Horde
  18. The same shabby little goblin gathers himself up once more, grinning toothily at the egg in the corner, resting peacefully in it's box. He nods to himself as he pats the loamy soil, ensuring that it is still a bit moist- easier for the little creature inside to get comfortable upon should it hatch in his absence. After all, hatching season is coming soon for the Drûth tortoises. Still, he pushes this thought aside as he turns to the other object of interest in the room- the large corpse of some burly human, all gutted and dessicated. The goblin is quite pleased at the lack of mess to clean up, and drags it outside by the hair. He calls out a soft goodbye to the egg, and barges out the door of his outpost. The goblin then strides to the near-center of the village, by the large bonfire. A remarkable pile of skeletons and mangy hides await him, and await their new companion- the bones that hide in the flesh-bag at his side. He dumps it upon the ground, and makes quick work of the poor sod that used to be something, be someone. It doesn't matter anymore. Be it a beggar, thief, warrior, or king, it is now reduced to chapped hide and bones nestled in dry gore. He takes no pleasure in ripping the bones out of the trespassing sod's corpse, and tosses much of the skeleton into the pile- which, upon closer inspection, seems to be made of mainly humanoid remains. One must wonder how many people cross into this village, especially with all the shrunken heads and macabre designs lying about. It's quite a bit more likely that the goblin merely claims more of the lands around, and uses that as justification- or these may even be dead soldiers whom he came into conflict with. Truly, it is impossible to know anything about them, other than that they were deemed incredibly dishonorable to warrant this treatment. This line of thought is to be pushed out of mind as he finishes his work, leaving the human-shaped sack of meat behind as he gathers up the pile of fur and bone. Throughout the day he remains hard at work, gathering up twisted logs and branches as need be, entwining them around skeletons, draping hides and furs atop of those to complete the look. By the time a few hours pass, the end result stands tall by the center of the village, proud and ready to bear the ages. Looking to his feet, he notices he still has quite a lot of material left to work with. Looking up at the sky and seeing the harshness of the midday sun, he figures he still has time enough to carry forth and construct another, towards the boundary of the village- further reasserting Yar's claim to the land. As he drags the bones and hides across the ground with intentional disrespect, he bellows out a song he found inscribed in a hut- left for the former inhabitant's children to learn, presumably, to join with their elders during celebrations or toil. "Lyfe iz toyul, Lyfe iz pain. Tyll da zoil; Wayt fur rayn. Grizh coatz plowz, Wurkerz groan. Harvuzt now Flezh agh Bone!" The macabre tune is sang with an optimistic lilt, as if being given the chance to know and speak the lyrics is some grand milestone for the little wretch. This song is looped over and over as he swiftly constructs another harrowing ornament, covered in the same furs and bones- even featuring a full skeleton upon one of it's stronger "branches". With his work done, the goblin gazes up at the starry night sky, and can only hope that the road of war out in the distant cities does not reach the clan's slice of the forest.
  19. The goblin now wanders through the village, holding two severed human heads in one hand. It appears to be some gittish Orenites, judging by their hairstyles and the complexion of their skin. He grins broadly at his prize, carrying it throughout the “goi” as though it was a trophy from a hunt. The village is once again empty with these intruders’ demise, however, and it seems as though the goblin doesn’t mind it that way. Still, he has much more important matters to attend to than merely flaunting a bloody kill- he needs to make an example of them! He wanders up to the roaring fire in the center of town, an irregularly deep pot sitting nearby. He bought it specially for just this purpose. The goblin sets the bloody heads down on the ground, the pot full of water into the flames, and stumbles over to the collection of left-behind books he calls a library. He draws one out, the cover a depiction of a grossly misshapen and desiccated corpse- perfect. This, he brings back to the roaring fire. Flipping through the book, revealed to be sets of instructions for various rituals, the goblin stops on one in particular- the long-lived yet bold practice of creating shrunken heads. A toothy grin spreads on the goblin’s face, in stark contrast to the lifelessness of the head he holds in his hands. Shrunken heads were oft made by the Yars as warnings- though what these warnings conveyed, depended largely upon whom the unfortunate soul was whomst the head originally belonged to. In this case, the goblin prepared the heads for a warning of warding- a butchered pilgrim who lost themselves in the jungle midsts, and dared to trespass on the Yar’s sacred grounds. Whilst the goblin would not claim himself a Yar, and performing a ritual he was ‘taught’, he supposes that the circumstances would allow for it- a trespass such as this could not be forgiven, it was unto the lands of the Yar, and it would be the will of the Yar that such a fool shall be made an example of. Indeed, the shrinking of a head had several meanings towards it. Firstly, the ghastly sight served as a warning to any brave enough to come across it. Secondly, it was a severe disgrace to the soul that it once belonged to- to shrink a head would remove the bones, the most sacred of structure, the desecration of a head in particular to highlight this loss was due to their foolishness or callousness. Thirdly- to give appropriate notice to their kin whom would search for the body of their brethren. It was with these goals in mind that the goblin set upon the practice. With a weary sigh, the goblin lifts the finished heads from the pot, after a full day’s work. He grins proudly at their twisted, wretched visage, and nods to himself. The goblin’s hands are covered in cuts and burns from his lack of experience, but the quality of the finished product is well worth not taking shortcuts. He quickly tacks one up to a root at the edge of town, leaving below it a note forbidding anyone from further trespass upon these sacred grounds. He carries a smiliar note, and an equally disgusting head, over to the main city of San’Velku. He slams a post into the ground, sets the head atop it, and leaves the following sign below; Satisfied with his work for the day, he marches back to the riverside village, resuming his vigil once more. He looks off to the side, seeing the shrunken head at the village's border, and grins again with pride.
  20. The one-armed goblin makes his way around the village, tacking up banners he found in the hut of his old role-model, Fiil’Yar. The flags of Yar wave proudly now, allowing no doubt as to whom the village belongs. He nods proudly at the sight, and continues to clean up much of the overgrowth in the area. He peels away the last of the vines that onces encased the notice board, tossing it to a bag at his feet. He grunts with exertion, and directs yet another proud nod to the sight. With this option now available, he tacks up another large notice onto the wood; “Searching for Living Yars! Rewards Available for Information! - Barbog” This, and similar postings have been made throughout Krugmar’s lands. He steps back and grimaces a bit. Whilst it’s somewhat expected that there wouldn’t be any results so soon, the lack of any leads or evidence of the Yar’s continued existence is… demoralizing. It seems he’ll have to reach out directly towards dealers of information, possibly even bounty hunters… Still, it’s a small price to pay for solace and the revival of such a great clan. He heads back into his borrowed hut, dumping the vines into the forest along the way, and returning to the egg resting in a box of sandy loam. He kneels down beside it and scoops the soil back over it, wetting it a little from a nearby pail, waiting patiently for it to show any signs of life. For now, however, he sits back at his small table and gazes out across the village. Obviously, being so small, most structures were single-use. But there lies a large empty hut at the top, with an ever-burning firepit inside. It would make for a good shamanic focus room. The largest building, a two-story hut that someone lived in, judging by the bed… It already had a bunch of empty bookshelves, why not turn it into a library and meeting hall? There was unfortunately nobody to suggest these ideas to, and with him refusing to change anything himself, the goblin was left to sit and wonder what might be.
  21. The one-armed goblin continues his patrols around the ancestral village of the Yars. A few friends have stopped by recently, noticing the path he carved on his way to the river-village and following it. Unfortunately, none have been whom the goblin was waiting for- any to whom this land was their birthright. He sighs as he drops himself back in his chair, staring out the window as it starts to rain. He unconsciously reclines a bit as he starts to doze off, the chair scraping against the floor and filling the hut with a sharp noise, waking him up once more. The displeasure is obvious on his face and he tosses the seat below him a scornful look- but before he can undergo a one-man war against chairs, a flash of pale color outside the window alerts him. The sky has started to crackle with lightning, bathing the swamp ground in light. He watches for a bit, until a hint of mottled grey by the riverside catches his eye- certainly something he didn’t see before on patrol. He stumbles out the door and into the storm, trekking over roots and muck as he wades through the swampy riverside. He reaches the odd shapes he saw before, and is struck with recognition and pity. A collection of eggs lie about the shoreline- each quite large, a mottled grey-green. He recognizes their distinctive pattern; Drûth Skhell eggs, the Bush Tortoise. The reason for his pitying look is obvious- the eggs lie broken and spilled, the nest ruined as it was washed up by the violent storm. His eyes widen in shock as he turns one over- not a single crack upon it. By far the smallest of the clutch, likely to birth a runt, but the only survivor of this nest. He gingerly picks it up with his single hand and cradles it against his body, before hobbling back to his hut. Once inside, he lies it down upon a box packed with sandy loam, gently burying it again. Soon will be the season that these tortoises are said to hatch in, and the goblin can only hope that this egg shall bear fruit. His lips part in a toothy grin at the irony, living in this village; he may never be a Yar, and this is no Duhnah Skhell, but he shall care for it all the same.
  22. A scrawny, one-armed goblin struggles to work his way through the snares, vines, and brush of the jungle. He casts a scornful glare towards the scorched lands behind him, now surrounding the Iron’Uzg, before spitting and hacking as he walks into a large web. He wipes the cobwebs away from the shiny white bone of his skull, and with a grunt of exertion, marches onward. Just past the webbing, he hears the sound of a gently running river. A toothy grin splits his branded and scarred face, knowing he draws closer to his destination. The goblin cuts down a row of vines, clearing a small path for him to squeeze through, cautious of the Gaja snake-vines the area is infamous for. Still, he knows it will be worth it as the crunch of leaves beneath his feet turns to packed dirt and planks. The breath is drawn from him as he strides up to a large notice board in the center of the path, overgrown with vines and fronds… but a patch lies suspiciously bare. In this space is a sign, declaring this region claimed, under ‘new ownership’ of some foreigner. The relief, the purposefulness that drove the goblin to reach this place, is soon replaced with a blind fury. He rips down this sign in anger and carves a single word into the board in its place; He stomps around towards the only hut that hasn’t been similarly covered in overgrowth- signs of recently being lived-in, albeit temporarily. The door is locked, but it poses no obstacle to the enraged urukim. With a lift of his stave and a muttering to Anyhuluz, Ilzgul of Destruction, he smashes the door open and storms inside. A fine layer of dust coats the meager belongings of the individual whom attempted to lay claim to the abandoned village- their abandoned village. He snorts in derision. Clearly, they abandoned their own claim- or, hopefully, were killed before they could ruin this sacred ancestral ground. Instead, as one of the last bearers of the Ways to which this village was meant to serve, he stumbles over to another hut. He rips down more overgrowth, and opens the door of the wall of the smallest, centralmost building- with a commanding view of what he has sworn to protect. He carves a series of runes into the wall, which would clearly describe his purpose here to any descendants of the founders of the village, knowing only they would be able to read the inscriptions. The Watching Eye, The Wall, The Sounding Voice, The Giver’s Box, and last, The Tower Shield. Without the rightful owners to defend it themselves, he shall act in their place. He will be a stalwart tower on the river village.
  23. Tale of the Thresher Maw It was sighted shored upon the deep, burning sands of the south, when throats had thirsted for the sweet taste of firewater upon their lips. The ship had been enticing: battered and worn with age, but standing strong and hearty. Cautiously did the travellers approach, their investigations spurred on by respite and desire. They found no life aboard, yet signs of its activity filled the ship: skulls adorned every corner, every corridor, heads in various states of damage and decay decorating the captain's quarters. Should the owners themselves return... these travellers were not willing to risk an ambush, and so they left, taking nothing to not give away their presence. One man, however, looked upon this vessel with a different eye, taking a certain bottle by his own hand; the seeds of ambition had taken root. Time passed. The man who had finally acquired his sweet waters began to plan, and for many months did this plan simmer, as the ship never seemed to leave or raise anchor. Further scouting was performed, trusted allies spoken to, and those that would join the heist recruited. Having gathered a band of men, women, and a daft child that followed after them despite the dangers and warnings, they made for the ship to claim it for themselves. Alas, despite all of their scouting, they had missed an important truth; one soon found out as the first of his men began to creep upon it... They were pirates, pirates of undeath! Alarms were rung and cannons were armed with coconuts to fire down upon the advancing band! A monkey of a man with a patchwork of dead fur swung from the rafters and sent a hail of ammunition descending towards them. But as swift as the rain fell, the men continued to advance, fiery passion and cries of battle roaring as armour clanged and clamoured, the twang of bows echoing in the air as they dove into the water and climbed onto the vessel! The fight was fierce, the deck collapsing from each heavy blow, sending several men plummeting into the depths of the ship with the undead pirates. Their captain revealed himself, throwing the man that had organised the operation through a window in the process... an abomination of a shark with black ichor pouring from its sickly maw! The trusted ally, Taal, almost fell to the brutal assault of the captain, but quick-thinking Tally-bones saved the life of this dearest and cherished friend of many. The head of the beast was severed, the undead brought low. Only the monkey escaped, but their hat was stolen by an Uruk named after a fish of the abyssal deep. And so the Thresher Maw was claimed, and the highlander who began this operation, this theft of ships, became a captain with a straw hat resting comfortably upon his crown. —--------------- Repairs were made, the sails turned to red and green, mirroring a festive theme. With it restored to its full lustre and form, cannons shined and cannon balls forged, the ship was ready for an expedition! And so began the first of many voyages out into the deep unknown. There were voyages without danger, that brought warmth to the hearts of those that looked out across the ocean. Whales that rose up to greet the travellers as they explored the seas, an awe-inspiring sight to the crew that might have rested upon the deck in those hours. Dolphins that ran alongside the ships, diving amongst schools and colours of sea life dancing through the crystal clear waters. Bardic spirits were well-sated by these feasts of inspiration. But the sea wasn’t always so kind. It was a day of foreshadowing; rot and butchered beasts floated within the waves, spreading a foul scent over the winds that basked the hull of the ship and wreaked sickness among the crew. The captain guided the ship closer to investigate the unnatural waters, to find the source. Yet - it was a trap, a trap by a cunning creature that had left prey wasting away to lure in something larger. Meatier. It slammed into the side of the ship and sent it rocking, almost flinging many of the crew into the waters themselves as the call to arms was bellowed! The iridescent-scaled serpent of the sea slowly revealed itself as it reared its horrific head from the waters. Blind, but a maw filled with razor sharp teeth that hungered for all that it could sense as its thrashings hammered against the deck. And so the battle began. It was a grievous assault. Men were almost devoured, pierced through by its fangs that seemed to cut the very air, only to be saved by the rest of the crew. Cannon fire cracked scales and bloodied the beast. Arrows could only spark against them, a natural armour as hard as platemail, yet found flesh in the cracks that the cannons caused. Flames caught within the maw of the beast as a man shrouded in a blindfold sacrificed themselves, igniting a potion as the creature bit down upon them. The crew, and the ship, just managed to survive. The beast fell dead, laid to rest over the deck of the ship itself. Bone, flesh, scales and fangs were claimed as trophies, brought back to be cooked - a feast for their people after a successful hunt. —--------------- Pirates, undead, and monsters from the sea itself joined together in unison to attack and scorch the land, alongside the ships and their people who dared to venture out into the waters. Their homes burned, their ships sank. Ruin and death ravaged the domain, the ruthless and insane pirates of death finding no solace even as their numbers dwindled, abyssal abominations falling one by one as everything turned to ash. Yet surprisingly, when everything was said and done - when all the ships had plunged into the depths to finally sleep - the Thresher Maw was the only one that still stood. Waiting proudly within the waters for future ventures. —--------------- The actions of the pirates were not something to be taken lightly. They rebuilt, recovered, the lands restored and information gathered to find just where this enemy was residing. Allyship was born with men of faith and bearded folks, and so they came to retaliate as one. The Thresher Maw, unfortunately, was not brought back to avenge its fallen this time. Instead, the crew boarded a new vessel, a gift from these men of faith, with which they led their armada bow-first into violent fray. The pirates' ships burned, their people cut down, and even their sea beast, a monstrosity with tendrils upon tendrils to bear against such righteous onslaught, found itself unable to halt the tides. Yet, this battle bore its own costs. The ship of the faithful sank, lost to cannonfire like many of the pirates' own. From this wilderness of wooden corpses, the crew managed to salvage a single rowboat, joining the Thresher Maw as it rested in its home waters, ready for the next expedition. Which wasn’t long away… —--------------- As the location of the base, the island which the pirates called their own, was discovered. The guardians of the glade stepped upon the ship, an operation of stealth, surveyance and sabotage to be held as they set sail. As they neared, a fog crept in, and with it, a siren's call; Perhaps only a few, perhaps a great chorus, a sultry but morbid melody that also heralded the arrival of monstrous fishmen. One of the crew was captivated, and lured to their death. They gleaned what information they could bit by bit as they avoided the unnatural glow of a lighthouse. Eventually, the light died out, as if it had stopped its search. The eagerness of the crew did not heed caution and rushed to the lighthouse to investigate. A crystal of blood was found upon the top of the tower - but suddenly, an unnatural presence slammed and locked the door behind them. A great explosion burst the top of the tower and alerted the rest of the island to their existence. Retreat was the only option. Arrows flew through the air and cut through the sails as the crew fled a veritable army of pirates, rabid faces ignited in fury and desire to lay claim to their lives. But they escaped! Information in hand. Successful through the flames. —--------------- The final voyage of the once-pirate ship Thresher Maw came in the last expedition out to attack the pirate island. Unfortunately it was not with a familiar crew; only the strawhat captain guided the ship out with Uruk allies singing shanties and arming themselves for combat. The Uruks did not even wait for the ship to reach the shores before they dove off and swam fervently to begin their raid. Rejoining his allies, the captain of straw found himself in battle on land, when a vessel twice the Thresher Maw's own size pulled itself out of the fog and fired upon the ship. There was no way to defend, to fight back. Cannons fell, wood splintered, water rushed in through the gaps. Once a pirate ship, sunk by its own blood. The end of the Thresher Maw was an ironic fate. Captain no more, the man who favoured his hat of straw, teeth, and scale searches once more for a vessel to call his own.
  24. The Visionary Ooc: Time.. Time had always been a curious thought in Mèlawen’s mind. Since elves often didn't worry about time, they lived far too long to care. When.. .When had she stopped caring as the days passed by, already fifty four. Two children and a net of safety. How long until the net was cut? [!] Mèlawen sauntered around, with her mind full of worry, for her sister with child, for her son’s and daughter and the nation. Carefully she slowed to a near stop, gazing out at the window as a small voice whispered out into her ears.. The ‘ame lady turned around frightened at the sudden noise as she lifted her hand wildly gazing about the room Nothing was there Tic.. tic.. Tic.. tic.. The noise of an old grandfather clock chimed into her mind. Pleasant almost reminiscing as the smell of vanilla filled the air and continued to drift around the large Taliame’onn manor. “Aher’akel ome’ii, asimulum arche hae maehr synalli a’o taeleh” The voice echoed in the halls. Leaving a dead silence almost as soon as the last word had left the ominous voice’s tone. Mèlawen looked to be in pure shock. Standing straight as her emerald gaze widened. “Haelun?..” she paused, shaking her head as almost instantly her eyes turned a bright golden hue, light outlining her form and igniting small embarks of power from her frame. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] The night was too quiet, Mèlawen’s feet landed bare in the grass, in the middle of an unfamiliar forest, surrounding her small stones with inscribed words. Every step the mali’ame took closer to the stones, the harder the words became to decipher. The wind blew by, a gentle breeze.. However, the grass didn't move and the trees didn't ache as the wind brushed their leaves. A single flower, drifted into the wind as almost on command the flower tucked itself into Mèlawen’s hair, a bright white flower with pink imprints to the petals. “Aspects?” she asked while her voice appeared to grow stronger in tone “Aspects?” she called out once more. Her calls were met with silence, simply the night sky and the landscape to comfort the strange experience she’d been jostled into “Fear not ome’ii of flowers.” The voice sounded different, softer, a more melodic tone even “She shall be strong, she shall grow what you have started. She is the future.” Mèlawen frowned, deeply confused however seeming to be unable to speak, it didn't feel right.. It simply didn't work anymore as if her voice had been removed completely. “Chaos will settle in the storm. Light will carve a path in the cobbled streets. Everything will be gone. .Gone.. Gone.. Gone. Time will move along. The tree’s you remember will grow again. Stronger, and better.” The two voices began to speak as one as the final dreaded line hardened growing louder and louder until the voice’s tone was unbearable. “Time will not quake until you find it. Time will continue. It will not slow for your incompetence. Grow up Mèlawen” Mèlawen woke up. Staring up at the ceiling as she leaned over, peering at her husband Kosher, who was still asleep. The room was dim, nothing had changed, there wasn't a smell and the sound of frogs filled the bedroom. The ocean breeze along the widow's peak. Slowly, Melawen reached up pulling the flower from behind her ear.. It was still there in a white and pink beauty. “Clematis.” Ooc: For reference, here is the Clematis Flower
  25. From ashes and to ashes; conception until demise; everything must come to an end. St. Terrell may have not been around for too long, but his impact showed up differently. Known as Terry by friends, or father Shipp, the zealot made it his goal to rejuvenate the dim in spirit and better those who didn't deserve redemption. On the day of his demise, the man started it as he did any other, with a prayer: "Oh GOD, please instill me with the power to accept those who I cannot change; I request you burden me with their suffering and show them the light, the joy of life, rather than condemning them to live a life of sin and torment." This is how the man started every day. He went above, and beyond in his community, abstaining from food so as to 'face others' qualms.' by enduring the punishment of his creation. Continuing with his day, Terrell stopped by his slice-of-life spot: the Garden of Serenity. Quickly shuffling across the riverbed, the idol hobbled over towards a stone slab juxtaposed to a tree - it lay perfectly with the sunlight beaming down towards it; resting in the middle of the rays was the bread that the man seemingly had been cooking. Taking the bread, the zealot soon rifled it into his satchel as he ventured off towards that day's mass, planning to distribute the loaves there. After mass had concluded, the shoeless priest made his way towards the back of the Armenian church he frequented - starting to distribute his meal to the needy. It was only there that the true test of virtue happened, as a peasant put a blade to him, requesting all coinage or anything of value. Not being a materialistic man, St. Terrell opted out of conflict as he gave the man all that he asked for, as the thief needed it more than him. But alas, not caring about capital only goes so far when you are being robbed as his would-be murderer became enraged with the lack of wealth is shown as he plunged his knife into the man. Terry crumpled towards the ground, a smile dawned on his face as he muttered: "I forgive you."
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