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  1. #1
    The League of Aldonadi: Seal of Fate

    The League of Aldonadi: Seal of Fate

    Prologue:
    It is a well known fact that the Aldonadi do not reign over people; in fact, they do not often meddle with political affairs (not that there are many of them). What most people do not know is that the code forbids them from ruling. "Should any of our league rule," Aldonadi stated, "It would lead to endless wars. At the end, there would be a single swordsman left without anyone to rule. Instead of pursuing the rule of man, let us pursue the sword. Let the affairs of lords deal with themselves. When a man is able to rule his sword, he will not need to rule other men. To seek the rule of man is folly. Seek instead the rule of your sword."
    In the sandy, desert realm of Midrok, people have lived in nomadic tribes for centuries, and not many of the "outside world" have bothered with the multiplicity of shepherding countries. They are not very rich, but they are the main suppliers of wool for the entire world. Thus, they are prosperous, but not in any manner rich. Because of their region, most people live in scattered villages around oases and do not have much contact with other villages, and certainly no manner of united government. But they are a quaint people, well-mannered, friendly to traveler and foreigner, with a good, earthy sense about them. They are people of the land, and they are content in their lazy lifestyle.
    So, it was quite a shock when news came of a village that was attacked by a small army led by an aldonadian. At the moment, it is nothing more than a rumour, as the village in question is out on the fringe of the desert, wedged between the harsh sand and vast cliffs of a range of massive mountains, and not many pass that way by chance. With no government to oversee the region, no one else is much concerned about confirming it, content that it is not their business. So at the moment, it remains nothing more than rumours.
    However, the League of Aldonadi knows that, if this is true, than there is a violation of the code, and a potentially serious one. None of the factions in the region know, or admit knowing, the identity of the aldonadian in question. Thus, a small group of aldonadians are sent to investigate the claims.
    For Foehn Jasmine Perry, this is her first mission. At age 14, she has just recently become a Squire, which means that, while she is able to take care of herself, she is not ready yet to become a full aldonadian. She is placed under the tutelage of a swordmaster (one who has advanced in training so that he may teach others) to further her training. It is a little troubling for her, for the deserts of Midrok had been her home before she was adopted into the League. While she is not quite interested in going home, she is neither happy to hear it is under attack.
    For her master, Jinn Wesserly, his mind is on the danger that awaits. If an aldonadian is claiming rule, how many will fall before there is only one left standing?

    ---

    "Is that it?" Jinn asked the guidance computer.
    "Affirmative," the computer replied, "Coordinates confirmed: ranching village of Coum."
    Jasmine, who was sitting next to Jinn, looked out the front window. She was at a complete loss of words.
    Jinn, however, was not, and made the most obvious statement; "Not much left, is there?"
    "Negative," the computer beeped.
    "That was rhetorical," he snapped. There really was not much left at all. A few remnants of walls here and there, a couple of scattered fence posts, a lot of charred ash, several bodies: some sheep, some human, most of them mutilated or dismembered, and a couple of desert brambles that the fire missed were all that remained of what would once have been called civilization. Amidst all of the ruin, visible even from their vehicle, was a standard. It was flown on a makeshift flagstaff, made out of debris, but it was a message exceedingly clear. It was a mark of conquest.
    Jinn set the personal cruiser down in a clearing in the desert. Both he and Jasmine hopped out of it.
    Jasmine wandered down the street. It was the first time she had ever witnessed such violence, and she had a feeling she would be sick. The smell of it, for one, was almost unbearable, but the sight of the dead faces, the distorted grimaces that each face bore, what was left in the rotting flesh, at any rate, turned her stomach.
    "Hey!" Jinn called as he raced up beside her, "What do you think you're doing?"
    "I... I was just investigating," she replied sheepishly.
    "With your guard down," Jinn chided, "A place like this could be rife with enemies still about. Keep your guard up. And your protective spells too."
    Jasmine had forgotten them. All aldonadians know a few magic spells; it was thanks in part to them that their otherwise primitive art managed to survive in such advanced times. Their powerfully magical swords helped too.
    Jinn looked around. The others should be arriving soon, he knew.

    ~~~

    "Others?" Jinn said as he stood before his elder at the briefing.
    "Yes," his elder replied, "Several of the other factions want to send agents to investigate too. We decided it might be best to work together."
    "Not to question your judgement, sir, but I think I'm capable enough to handle this."
    "No, Jinn. If an aldonadian is claiming rule, than we will want more than just one person to deal with it."
    "I've got Jasmine. Yeah, she's only a squire, but she can hold her own, when she remembers to."
    "No. If there is a violation of the code happening, we want to use excessive force to prevent it from becoming too large, and to keep our own casualties to a minimum."
    "Well, it's not just that, sir. We don't know who's responsible for this guy. What if someone is planting a spy in our midst?"
    "That's why I've chosen you, Jinn. I trust you to get to the bottom of this, and if any of them is false, you are the best one to figure it out."
    "Takes a rat to find a rat, is that it?"
    "Jinn, I didn't mean--"
    "Nah, don't fret. You're right. If any of them is a spy, I'm the one to ferret them out."
    "Jinn, your past is just that: past. You are who you are now."
    "I am who I am because of who I was. I can't change that just because I want to."
    "Either way, they are to meet you at the sight. Some of them might get there before you, so keep an eye out."

    ~~~

    Jinn had seen one other vehicle when they were flying in. He guessed that one of them had gotten here before them. Which faction would he be from?
    Jasmine, meanwhile, had been looking over the ruins of the village. There was little to glean from the wholesale destruction. She was busy studying the flag. It was a simple white rag, by the look of it, but on it was an odd symbol. It was a spade, like on the deck of cards she had back in her room. In the spade were two hands, cupped like they were holding something. The "something" was a circle with an odd glyph in the center, which was not something she had seen before. It had been painted in black, except for the circle and the glyph, which were a deep crimson.
    "What do you think it means?" she asked her master as he came up behind her.
    "Don't know," he replied, "but I don't like it here." Without so much as a twitch, his sword lashed out on its own and cut down the support. The flag toppled over backward and fell into the dust.
    "Showoff," Jasmine said with a grin and walked farther into town. She had not gone far before she stopped, and rushed off to one side. "Hey, this guy's... oh. No, I thought he was still alive."
    "He is fresher than the others," Jinn said as he examined him.
    "I wonder why," Jasmine said as she knelt and looked at the face. He had several stab wounds in his chest, and his hair looked singed, but his face looked relatively normal. Except it was dead. Jasmine choked back a gag as she remembered that.
    "Looks like he was stabbed to death."
    "Probably by an aldonadian," Jinn stated.
    "Why do you think that?"
    "Because he was an aldonadian." Jinn picked up a sword out of the rubble, and there was no doubt that it was an aldonadian sword.
    There was a moment of awkward silence before Jasmine said, "Someone killed an aldonadian?"
    "It happens," Jinn said flatly, "Rather frequently, actually. What bothers me is that whoever killed him didn't take his sword."
    "Wouldn't that mean it wasn't an aldonadian who killed him?"
    "Or a very powerful one, one not interested in collecting new swords." Mentally, he added What is he interested in then?
    Jasmine was silent for a moment, looked at the dead aldonadian, and said, "I think we should bury him."
    "We'll make a cairn," Jinn said, "Nothing to bury him with, but there's plenty of debris."
    They began the work of piling debris over the dead aldonadian. While Jasmine was concerned about keeping her lunch where it was, Jinn wondered how many more would be buried before it was all over.
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  2. #2
    Founder Lairston is offline Lairston's Avatar
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    Grayden Walker flew his personal cruiser to the site. He had heard the rumors and he found them hard to believe. Well technically not hard to believe but more astonded that Aldonadian would destroy an entire village. Now if the village had something of value then maybe he could see it. But Coum? It was a backwater town. And he hated backwater towns usually. Nothing to eat that's decent. Of course in a devastated town there wouldn't be anyway.

    He flew in and saw that there were others here already. He sneered. They better not get in his way.

    "Computer identify."

    "The village of Coum. Destroyed."

    "No kidding. Who's here?"

    "Scanning Accessing..."

    He sighed. He wanted the information now. Not ten minutes from now. He hated his computer.He looked at the village and the destruction was pretty much complete. He flew to an open spot and set down. He then climbed out of his cruiser. Annoyed his computer had not informed him who else was here.

    He shook his head as he looked around. "They sure were complete."

    He walked down the street looking through debri and seeing the dead bodies. His hand held his sword ready should the attackers still be around.
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  3. #3
    (((Well, hopefully Ellesar will still jump in when she stops being busy.)))

    As Jinn and Jasmine were finishing up, another vehicle landed. He wondered who it would be? Lee Neopan from Elder Grans's faction? He had worked with Lee before, so it would be nice to do so again. He trusted Lee, if only a little.
    It wasn't, though. Jinn saw the man walking down the street, and the face and posture were unfamiliar to him. "Stay behind me, Jasmine. He's probably a friend, but let's not take chances." They walked up the street to meet their new ally, hopefully. When they were about ten paces apart, Jinn smiled, intentionally lowered his guard as a signal of friendship, and called to him, saying, "Howdy, pal. Name's Jinn Wesserly of Elder Ralthaford's faction. This is my squire, Jasmine Perry. Come to help us out?"
    Last edited by Shadowseldil; 08-16-2010 at 04:15 PM.
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  4. #4
    Founder Lairston is offline Lairston's Avatar
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    ((Just so you know, Ellesar is a she And hopefully she will be in soon. ))

    Grayden saw Jinn and Jasmine approaching him. He raised his weapon to defend and suddenly saw that they would not attack. As they were lowering his weapons. He waited less he give away an advantage and then lowered his weapon as well. He walked down, "I am Grayden Walker."

    He didn't smile. Instead he kept a posture of elitism. "It is good to meet fellow Aldonians Jinn." He bowed his head slightly to Jasmine, "My lady..."

    "I heard the rumors of an Aldonian attacking this village and wanted to check it out. I suppose we could join our forces. I have no squire so it would be beneficial I suppose to have other eyes." Though he doubted he would need them.
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  5. #5
    (((Yes... She... notice that I clearly said that... and the the post has not been edited in any way... and ignore the thing at the bottom that says so. That's obviously a glitch. You should look into that.)))

    "Sir," Jasmine said courdially as she bowed lightly. Aldonadian women didn't hold to curtsying. Jinn replied with a tip of his hat.
    "Yeah, it seems that's the case," Jinn explained, "We found a dead aldonadian here with his sword left behind." Here he held up exhibit A. "Aside from that, it's hard to tell much. Most everything's been destroyed or burned. We found this standard sitting in the middle of the ruins, but we couldn't make any sense of it. Maybe you'll recognize it. Other than that, I want to have a go at the pastures. Seems to me there's not enough dead sheep here, and that means that they must have gone somewhere.
    "Jasmine," he added to his squire, "Run and put this sword in the cruiser. I'll want to see who it belonged to."
    Jasmine nodded, took the sword, and ran back to the cruiser.
    "She's a good kid, but a little forgetful sometimes," Jinn said once Jasmine was out of earshot, "Anyway, we left the standard over here, if you want a look at it."
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  6. #6
    Founder Lairston is offline Lairston's Avatar
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    (( I'll get on that ))

    Grayden followed Jinn and looked at the sword, "I do not recognize who it belonged to or the Aldonian himself." He frowned. "Who would kill and leave the sword?"

    He absently looked out at the pastures when he mentioned them, "Odd that there wouldn't be..."

    When he described Jasmine as forgetful, he smirked, "That's not surprising."

    He chuckled, "I've found most squires to be... less then ideal. Other sword-masters as well."

    He nodded, "Let's take a look at the standard."

    He followed Jinn toward it to take a look.
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  7. #7
    As Jasmine put the sword in the cruiser, she looked back over the villiage. Who would want to attack a quiet place like this? What purpose did it serve? Why did they want to attack here? Is it just because no one would resist? No one would complain? Well, they would have time to figure it out. She trotted out to join her master and the newcomer.
    She found them studying the flag, and mostly the symbol on it. "It looks like something magical," Jinn was saying, "We should also sent it to the Magician's Consortium, see if they can figure anything out."
    Jasmine, studied the surroundings, hoping that some insight would hop out at her. She knew it probably would not; her mind did not usually think that way. She sighed.
    "You okay, Jasmine?" Jinn asked her.
    "What? Oh, yeah, just a little hot, I guess."
    "Mm... well, we'll do a fly by of the pastures, see if we can see anything from the air, once Master Walker is satisfied with the investigation down here."
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  8. #8
    Founder Lairston is offline Lairston's Avatar
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    Grayden frowned as he looked around the area of the standard. He nodded, "Yeah we should send it to the consortium and maybe they'll recognize what it means."

    He shook his head, "There doesn't appear to be anything else around that would tell us anything."

    He sighed, "Do you concur?"
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  9. #9
    Jinn nodded, "Nothing I notice. Jasmine?"
    "No, sir, nothing."
    "Well then, I say we do a fly-by of the pastures and see what we can tell. If nothing comes up, then alls we can do is head up to the next nearest town and pick up some rumours. Feel free to lead the way, Grayden; we'll probably be a little longer, but we'll be right behind you."
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  10. #10
    Founder Lairston is offline Lairston's Avatar
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    Grayden nodded, "Very well. It sounds like a good plan to me."

    He wondered what they would be doing that was a little longer but decided to let it go. He nodded, "See you in the next town."

    He turned and headed back to his ship. He climbed in and took off. He flew around the area looking at the destruction. He shook his head and then headed toward the nearest town.
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