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  1. #481
    Within the Boundaries of Taroc: The Hidden Fortress of Alain LeCavalier

    Eri.jpg Ganard.jpg Merelin.jpg

    Prince Eri, Protector to the Heir of Rekōdo and his guards, Ganard of House Fallandor and Merelin of House Diorna


    Ganard's voice thundered so loudly in Eri and Merelin's mind that they both visible winced. Ganard stayed in a corner of the room, but he clearly looked like he wanted to go thump some sense into the laughing Guild Master. Eri's brown eyes were momentarily wide before the training and schooling he'd undergone dropped like a heavyweight upon him.

    ~Highness, you must go back to the Temple. This is reckless. Alain has gone mad and you are in danger every moment we are exposed.~

    But the Prince said nothing. He watched Alain wrestle with something else, something deeper than the laughter. He could not pin it, but it was there. He recognized it, but could not place it. Merelin's brown eyes met Eri's and he felt her open to ask a question of him. Eri nodded to her, a gesture to continue the work of good faith he'd asked of her. Ganard was furious, but the Prince simply watched the exchange between Ryth and Alain, the odd healing of Nalia's successor by the Second of Shamaa and then Alain's focus on the bracer at his arm. The Prince looked to Verona.

    "Did Nalia of Enchantry kill him?"

    They were not close enough to hear Kali's words. Her voice had been too weak, too close to death for him to make out, but there was no secret of the hateful relationship between Nalia al'Vatar, Enchantry itself and Darmon of Maginus. If there was anyone else who would want Darmon gone as badly as she, it would be Alain, but he had been entirely surprised by the announcement. He'd lost himself in laughter over it. Alain didn't kill him. Someone did. All other fingers would point toward Nalia, and it was that question he asked Verona.

    Killing a Guild Master was a highly punishable offense. Assassination attempts, since the Great War especially, were not taken lightly. There as no conjecture over the fate. Quieting was the sentence. There was never deviation. Such an action, regardless of who committed the crime, could send Rekōdo reeling headlong into civil war. Eri's brown eyes locked on to Verona's.

    Merelin kept the back of her mind trained on Eri, what he said, how he felt, his every move was monitored as if her mind were split into two segments. A third, small sliver, was focused on Ganard. He wanted Eri out of here now. Hide the Prince. Keep him safe. Merelin's brown eyes are calm, but registered something different about the good doctor. Something awkward, as if surgically altered about the way his aura presents itself. It is like he's taken pieces of other energy signatures and stitched them together with his own. It blended as well as patchwork could, but it was as frustratingly confusing as puzzles pieces that didn't quite line up. She only had a moment to think on the oddness of the man before her before her eyes were directed to the glyphs above the red-haired Second's body. Merelin's eyes rapidly assessed the runes, their placement, their shape and color. As Doctor Doraen explained what each meant, her mind knit the information together into a cohesive foundation of knowledge. The system is efficient and effective, but slow. Merelin can feel the effort it takes to pull off such a feat. Momentarily, her brown eyes look to the Mystic healers in a trance near the doctor. Simulated healing. Merelin inhales deeply and closes her eyes.

    "I will offer what I can" she said quietly in a voice so low it sounded as if it were meant to move a child. Merelin moved around to Doraen's right in order to get better access to the gaping wound at his ribs. She walked there without sight, guided there by the need. She spreads her hands, palm down above Arion's ribcage. She cold feel see it, the broken tissue, the veins and nerves, the bones and sinew and organs. The damage was extensive. She tilted her head back ever so slightly as a white light blossomed at her palms. Her brown hair, tied back conveniently, fluttered as if touched by a light summer breeze. A delicate white light, like tiny starlets glowed softly beneath her eyelashes. The blossom of soft, whiteness form her hands bloomed outward, opening up like a flower spreads its petals and reveals its beautiful inward scent to the world. The light curled and swirled, like the proboscis of a monarch toward that red-marked wound. As soon as it touched the delved at the ravaged flesh, Merelin drew in a sharp breath. Outwardly, she said nothing, but if Doraen had any ability to read her, he would feel an instant assessment of the scope and depth of the wound, the severity and of everything that was awry because of it. It was not like taking notes, taking the time to write, observe write observe. The information just came to her and was expressed by thoughts. Merelin's white light flowed freely into Arion's ribs. As the pure light touched him, it began to mend. Not quickly, not at first, but carefully. Doraen could feel the naturally energy flowing from her, not plucked and patch-worked as his was, but connected with something deeper within herself and Emporium. She began there and would divert her attention wherever it was needed. Her breathing was slow and rhythmic almost to the point of meditative.

    "If it will not detract you from your work, Doctor" she said gently as she mentally probed and mended. "Tell me about him."
    *The Golden Goddess|The Goddess of All Motherless Secundae*
    *Dexter to the Core|Council of Guidance|Matriarch of Poetry*
    -Official #2 fan of Greg Land|#1 fan of Reesha Teramu & Nevole|#3 fan of Gareth|#4 fan of Arwyn
    1656OF56**Beeber Heads Unite!**4270

    \"You know me: everything detailed and long, blah blah blah.\" (Brath OOC)

  2. #482
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier

    Within Alain's Hidden Fortress... Somewhere Under Taroc...

    Alain glances up from the gem on his wristband, to watch Branwen's efforts to heal her injured sibling. Worry for Kali had slipped out of his mind temporarily. He had allowed himself to forget that the healers of this fortress are still entranced by Dr. Doraen, and wouldn't be able to aid Kali. Everything Alain was holding within his mind seems to have been cast away by the news of Darmon's death, and slowly he is reassembling his duties. He's thankful to see his negligence did not cost someone their life, as Branwen is able to heal Kali.

    He feels a slight chill down the length of his spine as he notices the brief glimpse of orange energy within the gaze of the reunited sisters. Much of their nature is unknown to Alain. Out of respect to the mentors of the two women, he has never made any effort to study Kali or Branwen's power. He wonders what power bringing these two back together may have unlocked.

    Alain gives them a thankful nod as he stows away any small worries and accepts their pledge to bring their provinces to his aid. His focus begins to fall upon Kali.

    "I'm trying to contact Nalia," he explains to the only other person in this room that Nalia can consider a friend.

    There isn't much time to say anything more. Alain stares back into the glow of the emerald gem as he can hear and feel Nalia's mind through the talisman. He can feel the reluctance, and so he nudges out to her psyche. He unknowingly takes a step back, as if physically staggered by the force of her mental embrace when Nalia can no longer hold back. He returns the hold. Alain's eyes close as he hugs onto his love's mind through their connection.

    ~Don't go. Come to my fortress in Taroc. Please,~ Alain psychically pleads to Nalia. After much strain he redoubles his efforts to speak. He pushes his still unsteady telepathy to the limits, in hopes of still reaching her if she should try to push his mind away.

    ~Kali's here. She told me what happened. You acted to save her...~ Alain doesn't want to lose her. Though he sees no wrong in killing Darmon, he knows Nalia will feel guilt in taking another's life. She will feel the renewed sting of those that have accused her of being a murderous monster. He needs to remind her that she is not a monster. There is hope.

    ~I know where Pasce is. Prince Eri and I spoke to her in the Realm of Dreams. I met Capria, she's with the other Ancestral Spirits in Pasce's mind. She thanks you for resurrecting her legacy.~

    ~Pasce has pledged to help you and I. She can change the laws restricting the council. Our relationship will no longer be illegal. We can be together, Nalia. We can raise out child. I just need to free Pasce from those who are holding her captive.~

    Alain stumbles sideways and leans against a stone wall. The strain of reaching so far with his weakened telepathy is taking its toll. But still he pushes forward with his psychic communication.

    ~Once I free Pasce- she and Eri can put things right- Darmon was going to be put on trial anyway- we were going to Quiet him and hand him over to the Dragons for his crimes- We can convince the Council that Darmon was a threat to Kali- he had to die- it was justice-~

    Alain slides down the wall. He curls up. His hands visibly shake. If not for the mystical properties of his stone arm strengthening him, Alain's body would have given out by now under the strain. But he still continues. His embrace of Nalia does not waver.

    ~Please don't leave- I'm not sure how much longer I can keep going without you... I love you...~

  3. #483
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Within Alain's Hidden Fortress... Somewhere Under Taroc...

    It takes Eri's question a moment to break through Verona's worry for Alain. She glances towards the prince, visibly realizes who he is and gives him a small, respectful bow. Her already immaculate posture straightens even further as she speaks to Eri.

    "Y- Yes, sire. Kali said Nalia did it to save her from Darmon," Verona quietly replies. She glances down at her notebook, but only sees a red stained page. She hasn't been writing anything down.

    "Kali said she didn't take a book from the dragons and this enraged Darmon." Verona doesn't understand what Kali was talking about. She wasn't in the Realm of Dreams with Alain and Eri. She didn't witness the memory that the prince and Guild Master did.

    Meanwhile, halfway across the chamber, with Merelin healing other critically wounded areas, Doctor Doraen is able to focus his own energies more specifically. Much of the weight has been lifted from his enormous task. He does seem momentarily entranced by the sight of Merelin's healing energies at work. He has always loved seeing the naturally born healers work their craft. It's like listening to the works of a virtuoso as it fills the air with glorious melodies.

    It takes him a moment to realize that he is being asked a question. He glances up at Merelin as he recalls what she has asked.

    "Arion?" Doraen looks down upon the unconscious Second. "I don't know a lot. I was travelling abroad when LeCavalier recruited him. I didn't get to know him very well."

    Doraen tilts his head slightly, as if contemplating the complexities and unknowns of Arion. "I know he is the last of the Sohil. There was some controversy involved in LeCavalier choosing him as a Second. But I haven't heard of him failing in his duties. Arion can hear the soul songs of others. And his music is said to be beyond beautiful and carry mystical potency."

    Doraen now glances back up at Merelin. He smiles through his bushy beard. "I trust in LeCavalier's judgment. In the War he took farmers, street thugs, bandits and anyone else he encountered and turned them into an army. He made an oracle and an alchemist's apprentice into the deadliest warriors on any battlefield. So I trust that if Arion was made Taroc's Second, then he's got what it takes to do the job."

    Doraen's attention soon shifts towards Alain, who is huddled against a wall, obviously in serious physical distress. The doctor recognizes that Alain is stretching an ability beyond its limit, and it's taking its toll on the Guild Master's body. Again, Doraen is faced with a dilemma. He needs to stay here to finish healing Arion, but he must also serve Alain's needs as well.

    Verona gives Eri another quick bow before stepping away. She walks between Doraen and Alain. Verona gives the doctor a quick glance and with her hands she motions for him to remain with Arion. As Verona continues moving towards Alain, Doraen decides to do as he was silently instructed and continues healing his patient.

    Venona kneels down beside Alain. She places her hands onto his right hand and forearm, above and below the green gemmed bracer he wears. Alain hardly seems to notice her presence, as much of his energy is focused on maintaining contact. Verona's hands glow with cold blue light as she channels her own mystical energies into Alain's efforts. She gives up her own magical energy reserves in order to reduce some of Alain's burden. Alain's body ceases shaking and some of the physical strain seems to melt away.

    There's a sadness in Verona's expression as she assists Alain. She doesn't know if helping him to speak to Nalia will doom all of Taroc or not. In Verona's mind, Nalia has finally shown her true nature and taken the life of another. This murder will thrown all of the provinces further into war. Verona feels no joy in seemingly being proven right about Alain's relationship with Nalia dragging him and all of Taroc to their destruction.

    But Verona's duty is to Alain. Right now he needs a boost of energy to speak to Nalia, and for good or ill, Verona will give Alain what he needs.

  4. #484
    The Aile Bones: The Island of the Forever Mist

    Attachment 1636

    Nalia of Enchantry

    Nalia can feel him. She can feel the embrace he gives back to her and it makes her knees buckle. As she sinks down to the ground she makes a small noise, a soft admission of relief that only she and the trees can hear. Nalia supports their child as she leans back against a tree. If she does not give herself the leverage she needs to get up, she doubts she will be able to. Nalia closes her eyes and focuses solely on Alain's voice.

    ~I can't~ she whispered in a voice that is robbed of its strength. ~Alain, you know I can't.~

    His voice is so quiet, as if he were leagues across the Liar'Adon to the West, from where all their ancestors once sailed. They were, both of them without power, relying on what small reserves they had been spared. Everything else was gone, taken, and the rest of their secret life together was slowly slipping away. Nalia's breathing became labored. She could feel the Old Magik leaching into the emerald on her forehead. It was making her dizzy in a hypnotic way. She had not heard the wolves in a while. Where had they gone?

    Nalia's mind was brought back from the odd question. Sharply back.

    ~She's alive.~ Nalia's voice was overcome with relief. Relief and guilt and something else. Alive! Happy, joy, relief, guilt, regret, anguish, shame, horrible, horrible shame. Shame that ran to deep, so furious she could never tell him. It was growing hard to focus. The magik this far away from Rekōdo was overwhelming.

    The Princess. Dreams. The Prince. Capria.

    Disgusting, shame, dirty, vile, unworthy of him, fear. Scarily, Nalia's strong hold on him suddenly drops, as rapidly and swiftly as one drops a tea cup from their hand. He would almost feel Nalia inhale sharply and reach out for him again. She did not want to let him go, but him knowing that name made her afraid. Very afraid.

    ~The- the Prince? The Princess and- and...~ She could not get her mind to form the name Capria. He would feel the sounds and the syllables floating there, jumbled and refusing to cooperate. He would feel how afraid she got at the mention of her island-sake's name. He would feel the dark things slide in her mind, the things she put so much power to keep at bay. Nalia felt her felt going numb. There was a creeping tingling in her legs that was beginning to travel up her knees. She was beginning to shake again, but this time it was not from the cold.

    ~Alain- ~ Nalia's voice broke. She couldn't- She just couldn't-

    Shame, sorrow, regret, regret, stolen, regret, anger, rage, fury, despair, shame. Nalia felt her eyes water and looked skyward. It was as close to prayer as she'd ever come. The mist was deep, the fog thickening along the ground as the temperature of the day was shifting toward evening. Nalia was tired. Alain would feel how tired she was, just as she could feel his struggle to hold on. The last three words he said to her were what made her finally weep. Nalia closed her eyes and let her tears fall in utter silence down her face.

    ~I love you~ she repeated the three words back to him, gentle as she sometimes was in bed with him. infinitely gentle and loving beyond all scope and comparison. Who could ever have pictured her so? Who could ever have imagined how much she was capable of such tenderness? He was the only one that knew it, of the secret gentleness of Nalia al'Vatar. Nalia felt her tears hit the ground, as if she and the ground were one. She'd lost her shoes in the surf. The moss beneath her feet was cool and soft. Nalia did not wipe her tears. They were hers. Hers and Alain's. There was the sound of wolves again.

    ~Y-you must find her, Alain. Find the Princess.~ Her voice was unsteady. ~I will keep our child safe until you do. I promise. I promise.~

    Nalia held on to him tightly, like this would be the last time she ever spoke to him. Her shaking was growing worse. Thank the Gods could not see her. More wolves. Closer now. She could feel the drum of their many paws rattle the earth. Nalia tried to push herself to standing again. She cried out. Her legs were so numb with cold and fatigue they hurt.

    ~And- and Capria- ~

    She couldn't. Nalia squeezed her eyes shut. Alain would feel the torrent of uncontrollable emotions tear through her psyche again. Her anger, her anguish, the torture and the shame.

    ~It's not safe for you. It's not safe for you to know the things you know. I tried to protect you- ~ and failed horribly. He was knee deep in her problems and the problems of the world. Telling him the truth may have better armed him for this fate. Telling him what she could about Capios, about Darmon and what he'd done, about the Book, the Dragons, the missing Provinces. Everything. She could not dwell on hindsight now. She forced herself up from the tree. There was an urgency in the earth beneath her feet. It bid her to run or it bid the things that were coming to move quicker.

    ~I have loved you since you found me. I never deserved that happiness.~ she whispered quickly and he would feel her hold on him starting to slip. She was moving through the trees again, deeper into the forest. She was trying to hurry. She was so, so tired. Nalia's heart was beginning to race. Nalia could hear their breath as they tracked. She could hear the underbrush parting at their speed. Then she felt the earth suddenly go still and she was left with the thumping of her heart in her chest, of the presence of the only love she had in this world.

    ~This is my fault. All of it. Forgive me. Please~ she pleaded with him. ~We could still be there with you. I destroyed all our happiness. I am now everything I have been named. The world will never see it for anything else but coldness and blood.~

    The family that raised her and now the family they were making. All gone. Gone. Gone by her hand. One destroyed, the other broken. A monster. A murderer. She had fulfilled that namesake at last.

    ~When it is safe for our child, when it is safe for us, find me.~ It was as much an order as it was a beg and a plea from the depths of her core. Nalia pushed through the trees and climbed over patches of bedrock that jutted upward like dulled dragon teeth from the mossy earth. The deeper she fled, the more distant she sounded. Her voice was being slowly extinguished by the thick, ancient magik that haunted these Ailes.

    ~I love you, Alain~ she whispered to him and her mind reached through the mist to caress his. The embrace was long, tight, as if it would be the very last. She knew she would not survive this without him. She might not survive giving birth. Not without magik. Not without him. The Old Magik of the island was thick in the woods, surrounding and smothering and all-encompassing. She knew he was hurting. She knew talking this way was hurting him and it made her heart tear within her chest. But she pushed herself further away from that which was her hope, deeper into the belly of isolation.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 04-30-2013 at 07:56 AM.

  5. #485
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier

    Within Alain's Hidden Fortress... Somewhere Under Taroc...

    Alain wants to go to her. He could use this gem to try to teleport to her. He's sure of it. Especially now that much of the burden of reaching out to Nalia has somehow been lifted. A bronze cane slides out from the sleeve of Alain's military-styled frock coat. He'll need to use the teleportation power of the cane to take him along the psychic path leading to Nalia.

    Before Alain can begin his plan to reach Nalia, his curiosity gets the better of him. Where exactly is he getting this renewed energy? Alain opens his eyes and discovers Verona kneeling beside him, giving up her own mystical energies. She's staring at him. Alain gazes into Verona's light-blue eyes. He can read the worry and fear within her stare. Her features almost plead to him. If he leaves now he'll be abandoning her. He'll be abandoning all of them. Arion, Berlix, Ryth, Kali, Eri, Branwen, and Pasce. Alain recalls his encounter with the princess in the Realm of Dreams. Her torment. Her noble spirit.

    He wants to abandon them all. He wants to take Nalia in his arms and let the world consume itself.

    But he can't. He's needed. Pasce will suffer and die at Jinai's hands. Rekōdo will slip into chaos and everyone here will suffer for it. Taroc will suffer.

    Nalia will feel a trembling within Alain's mind. He doesn't want to let go of her, but he needs to.

    ~Nalia- my love, don't think of yourself as a monster. You slayed the monster today. You saved Kali and the countless others Darmon would have killed or abused in whatever time he had left. You're a hero. Trust me... I am of Taroc, we see the truths that others cannot.~

    The energy Verona offers begins to waver. She is reaching her own limits. Alain's grasp upon Nalia slips even further.

    ~Stay safe. If you are in any danger come to Taroc. Anyone born on Taroc soil will gladly offer you safe haven in their home. We all remember his touch upon our land, and will reward the one that has removed his blight upon our world.~

    ~Keep our child safe. When Pasce is free I will come for you. I promise.~

    ~Stay safe, my love- ~

    Alain shudders as his mind can no longer hold on to Nalia. His thoughts slip away from hers, leaving him with any echoes of what she may have said to him in those final seconds. With the connection broken, Verona's hands pulls away from Alain, her mystical energies have been spent. Both Guild Master and his ever loyal aide sit on the floor, exhausted and breathing heavily. They take a minute to rest, then Alain rises. The magic of his stone arm is quickly restoring his vitality. He offers his hand to Verona, helping her back onto her feet. Verona spends a moment straightening her grey gown, as Alain steps towards the others in the room.

    "Nalia has gone into hiding. I can't go after her right now," Alain sadly reports to the others.

    He turns to look upon Branwen and Kali, as he continues speaking,
    "Princess Pasce is currently being held captive by Jinai of the Da'Jinn. They are trying to Quiet the princess in an effort to unlock the Ancestral Spirits she contains."

    "If Astral is holding Mindoka hostage, we will need Pasce and the spirits to help free him. With the princess and the spirits aiding us, Herotus will surrender. He doesn't have the fortitude to resist all of us standing together."

    Alain focuses on Kali, knowing her loyalties to Nalia will require him to further explain his decision to focus himself on saving Pasce instead of seeking Nalia. "Maginus is going to seek to Quiet Nalia for what she's done. In order to protect Nalia and see to it that the world understands what she did was just and done to save your life, we will need the aid of the princess and a restoration of order that the freeing of the Ancestral Spirits will bring. This is Nalia's only hope. This is Rekōdo's only hope."

    Now Alain turns his attention towards Branwen. "I have been told by my mystics that Adaya has arrived on Taroc soil. She's seeking an audience with me. Before we can go to free Pasce, we must learn what role Astral plays in Jinai's schemes. Mistress Branwen, would you care to join me in meeting with her?"

    ((Tigers, if I posted too much here let me know and I can edit. I realized that my last post didn't give you much to respond to, so I tried to make up for that with this one. Tell me if I over did it.))

  6. #486
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Commander Ryth, Commanding Officer of the High Guard of the Taroc Guild

    Clow City... Of the Taroc Province... The Meeting Chambers of the Council of Guild Defense...

    Within a broad chamber hidden away in a stout fortress, which decades ago was converted into a grand hall and administrative building for the military leaders of Taroc, sits a gathering of Taroc's highest ranking generals. Sitting at the head of the wide table is Commander Ryth. A grey haired man, the hard-earned lines on his face tell the tale of over forty years spent in trouble of one form or another. He wears the armor and tunic of one of the personal guards of Taroc's guild master. His hunched over posture and constantly shifting gaze announces to the room his unease at being here in a meeting, rather than testing his armor and storm-gun sidearm in heated battle.

    Surrounding Ryth, on both sides of the wide, wooden table, sit an assembly of the wisest and most ambitious that have ever risen through the ranks of Taroc's military. Some preferring ambition to wisdom, and vice versa for others. All wear crisp uniforms of immaculate crimson, with bright trim of gold. Their buttons, stripes and medals all gleam with the pride of a constellation announcing its grandeur to the cosmos. Ryth recognizes a few of the men and women sitting around him. He might recognize more of them if he could see them twenty years younger with the splatterings of mud and blood of far away battlefields coating their faces. There are others, the younger members of this council, that Ryth knows he won't recognize. In the twenty years since the Great War the old have gotten older and moved on to a well-earned retirement, leaving these fresh faced soldiers to march across the ranks with the vigor of youth and an ambition cultivated in years of learning at one military academy or another.

    There are also, of course, various aides, record keepers, seconds-in-command and mystics milling about the council of generals. Ryth muses that there's so much power and bravado sitting at the table that they need a dozen functionaries in the room just to balance it all out. It's while he's enjoying the brief musing that Ryth reminds himself that the generals are still talking. They've been talking since he portaled in.

    " -it's war! Why can't anyone else see it? Why doesn't that earn us the 'privilege' of Alain LeCavalier's presence?" Says an angry woman with greying hair, and medals, of battles Ryth doesn't recognize, gleaming in a row across her perfectly cleaned and pressed jacket.

    "He's got other matters to attend to," Ryth snaps back. His tone then loses much of its aggression as he continues, "I'm still processing the information he dumped into my brain." Ryth hates to admit that. He's never been the best when it comes to dealing with telepathy, and Alain seems to have been really, really sloppy when it came to pouring information for this meeting into Ryth's mind. It's an ongoing struggle to keep information straight and to recall everything. This sort of thing was a lot easier twenty years ago, in the heat of battle.

    "Pffft. I knew it. Master LeCavalier has lost the stomach for battle," the youngest man in a general's uniform says from across the table. He sneers at Ryth, as if Ryth's age and inadequate disposition were something repulsive to him.

    Feeling Ryth's glare heat up the space separating him from this young general, one of the older generals quickly sits forward and addresses the younger general, "Wurin, let's not get into this. Now's not the time for politics."

    "Exactly. Now's not the time for politics. Has anyone told Master LeCavalier that?" Wurin responds as he enjoys a small smile. He seems unfazed by Ryth's glare. He's endured such looks from the older men and women of Taroc's military before.

    "Let's face it, LeCavalier has gotten soft over the years. It's been twenty years since he set foot on a battlefield. And all that time he's been preaching about diplomacy, and open trade, and bending over so the other provinces can have their way with us." It's not often that Wurin can get such a prestigious audience for his anti-Alain speeches. Normally he has used it with groups of like-minded military officials that don't see any merit in Alain's quest to build peace. Through those that share his views, Wurin has managed to assemble enough support to make his way quickly to the top of the chain of command of the southern defense battalions. Since the southern defense battalions only need to maintain their equipment, march in straight lines and lend aid to the occasional Shamaa traveler, Wurin has had plenty of time to work on his anti-Alain ideas.

    "I know, he's done a lot to help in the Great War, and we'll always be thankful for that. But let's face it, when Alain's precious peace is threatened he crumbles. He's a coward that hides behind politics. He doesn't have what it takes to fight a war." The young Wurin sits forward with a well-trained swagger in his movements. He's winding up to really hit the idea home that Alain is not the legend everyone says he is, and is really just a fat, lazy politician that would rather sell away the people of Taroc than ever get his hands dirty again. But something that was never included in his practice sessions brings a halt to his speech and bleeds the pompous amusement from his now terrified features: Wurin now looks across the table at Ryth, who is standing and aiming his storm-revolver directly at the young general.
    Last edited by Qwaring's clone#1; 04-30-2013 at 08:59 PM.

  7. #487
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    Commander Ryth, Commanding Officer of the High Guard of the Taroc Guild

    Clow City... Of the Taroc Province... The Meeting Chambers of the Council of Guild Defense...

    The other generals take a moment to process this seemingly impossible occurrence. Someone has drawn a weapon and is aiming it at one of Taroc's generals, in the middle of Taroc's military headquarters, with thousands of soldiers filling the halls and chambers all around them. Who would be crazy enough to do this? Why?!

    "Listen, you snot-nosed-little-#^@&, I don't care what hole you crawled out of, or what kind of @$$es you kissed to get here. If you say one more filthy #^@&ing lie about LeCavalier I will fill you with so much #^@&ing elemental fire that there won't even be bones left to bury!" Ryth snarls through gritted teeth. The insides of the chambers and barrel of his revolver glow red with the threat of an alchemical inferno. It is by this time that the generals, other than Wurin, stand up from their chairs. There is a panic and anxiety that grips the room. Those that know Ryth, back in times when mud and blood splatters covered their faces, know full well the grey haired guard is serious in his threats.

    "Good gods, Ryth! Put the gun down!" pleads the woman with greying hair.

    "This is madness!" another general cries out.

    Wurin's expression forces away fear and, after a brief struggle, finds the right muscles needed to express anger and indignation. Obviously the grey haired brute with the revolver isn't serious. Wurin's family is one of the richest in all of Taroc. His record is the cleanest and his advance through the ranks was the fastest. It doesn't matter what this crude thug in a crimson tunic did ages ago, he's worth less than dirt on Wurin's shoes, or so the young general's expression and tone of voice would have others believe.
    "You can't do that! See this just proves what I'm saying. Alain doesn't have the courage needed to face his own advisors, and so he sends this thug to bully us. Well, I can't be bullied."

    Before Ryth can follow through with his threats, his revolver is plucked out of his hand at the exact instant that his attention to his surroundings is entirely consumed by his hatred of the snobbish general sitting across the table from him. It takes Ryth a moment to notice his weapon is gone. He glares over to the red-robed mystic that is standing beside him and holding onto the storm-revolver. The mystic, a red-haired woman in her mid-thirties, foresaw the moment she needed to take action. This prediction allowed her to move after Ryth no longer cared about what the others around him were doing, but before he could pull the trigger. It was a risk, but the mystic's job is to look out for threats to the military council. She never expected the threat would be from a member of Alain's guard.

    Several of the generals step towards Ryth, placing hands on his shoulders and arms. Each murmuring things to either calm him or restore his sense of duty. Ryth simply stares blankly at the red-haired mystic. He's not sure if he's more surprised by how fast she moved, how she took him entirely by surprise, or how much he really wants to ask her out for drinks.

    "We don't need Alain or his little circle of friends. No more of his thugs or secretaries relaying orders from a blubbering politician." Wurin announces as he rises from his chair. His posture is tall and victorious.

    "We can go straight to the Regents Council. If Alain has no time for Taroc, then Taroc has no need for his incompetence." Wurin smile's broadly. This is it, his greatest moment. From here he will climb that final rung in the chain of command. He'll lead them out of Alain's grasp and take full command of Taroc's army. It will be Wurin's legend that is taught in schools, not the old, absent Alain LeCavalier.

    Oddly enough, Ryth also smiles. It's a warm smile that is only ever used in the hopes of charming the hearts, and other parts, of many lovely women. This smile is aimed entirely at the mystic holding Ryth's revolver. Seeing Ryth is no longer consumed by anger, the other generals release him and step away, their attention now focuses on Wurin's ambitions. The mystic, unsure of Ryth's thoughts and intensions, returns the smile nervously.

    "You're absolutely right, red." Ryth tells the mystic. "I don't need a gun to kick his #^@&ing @$$!"

    And with that Ryth is off the floor, sprinting across the length of the conference table and tackling Wurin. The two men tumble across the floor until they end up against the far wall. Ryth straddles the now panicked Wurin, and begins to beat down with as much fury and punishment that his ever-so solid fists can inflict upon the smug features of a human shaped pile of filth.
    Last edited by Qwaring's clone#1; 05-01-2013 at 01:43 PM.

  8. #488
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    Commander Ryth, Commanding Officer of the High Guard of the Taroc Guild

    Clow City... Of the Taroc Province... The Meeting Chambers of the Council of Guild Defense...

    Many, many minutes later. Ryth and General Wurin have been separated. They sit on their opposite sides of the conference table and nurse bruises and cuts inflicted upon one another. The younger Wurin seems to have taken more of a beating than his opponent. Though, Ryth's injuries were sustained mostly by the various generals and aides forcing him off of Wurin. The room of crisp clean uniforms and shiny medals is now entirely disheveled and scuffed. Somewhere one of the other, older generals has produced a bottle of brandy and is sharing it among the others in the room, in hopes of calming nerves.

    Though they are men and women of war and conflict, one of their meetings has never broken down into a savage brawl until today.

    Ryth takes a sip from the glass of brandy that is offered to him. The conflict seems to have satisfied the great rage that consumed him earlier. Wurin waves off the offered glass as he holds a handkerchief over his bleeding mouth. The young general glares at the older Guild Master's guard. Wurin's entire life has been dedicated towards climbing the chain of commands and achieving great political power, now he gives serious consideration to shifting his focus on making this old brute pay for this humiliation and derailment of what could have been a great opportunity.

    "We need to call in Master LeCavalier," a grey bearded general, with an unbuttoned and now wrinkled jacket, announces before gulping back the remainder of his brandy.

    Ryth looks over the bearded general. A hurt expression flashes over his features as he begins to realize that he has completely derailed everything.
    "No, we- "

    "This meeting has been turned into a farce," growls a general with greying hair, while she wraps a bleeding hand in cloth. With her hair no longer secured in a ponytail and a bruise on her jaw, Ryth thinks he recognizes her from the siege of Elve.

    "The people need us to do something..." another general mutters.

    "Perhaps we should gather the Regents Council. If the people can't count on the Guild Master or his Second, we must fall back on the civilian leaders," Another general, with the sleeve of her once pristine jacket half torn off, speaks up grimly.

    "You can't- " Ryth feels panic knotting up within his gut. He's made a mess of things and he's not sure how. Everything seems to be falling apart. He needs orders to follow. If there are orders to trust, Ryth will make things work. He dips back into the information Alain poured into his mind. He needs something.

    "The Regents Council? They're only good for regulating taxation and building roads," the greying haired general scoffs.

    "Alain himself put laws in place that allows us to work with the Regent Council in order to bypass the Guild Master and Second, in times of emergency," Wurin winces in pain as he finally speaks up. There's more to say, but his jaw hurts too much to continue. Again he glares at Ryth.

    Ryth's thoughts make contact with some glowing piece of information swimming within his mind. It's a part of what Alain gave to him. Once he touches it, this information sends a jolt through his wide frame, forcing the older guard to rise from his chair and slam the palm of his bloodied hand down on the table. The hand slamming shakes the table and startles all in the room. They look up at Ryth, worried that the armored bruiser will attack them all now.

    "Jinai of the Da'Jinn has abducted Princess Pasce in an attempt to seize power!" Ryth shouts at the room. As he looks around at the many shocked faces, Ryth himself is startled by this information. He wishes he had spent more time training his mind for telepathic reception, maybe he would have been able to sift that little gem out of the flood of data weighing down the back of his mind. Though, now that this one spark of information has been unleashed, more information begins to flow out to the surface for easier access.

    The assembly of generals, aides, mystics and the newly arrived soldiers that stand guard around Ryth, all stare at Ryth in absolute horror. They had come here to deal with a terrible betrayal and massacre of the soldiers under their command, and now they're being told that the monarchy that they have sworn to serve is at the mercy of one that seeks power and is said to utilize great cruelty to get such power. Their gazes drift from Ryth and around at one another. Confusion mingles with their horror.

    "Where does this information come from?" The general with the bandaged hand slowly asks, hoping to find a flaw in this announcement and to somehow prove it to be false.

    "LeCavalier and Prince Eri went into the Realm of Dreams in search of the Princess. They met with her dream form and- " Ryth pauses a moment, the information is hard to untangle at this point. Alain didn't share everything with Ryth. "She revealed that Jinai are holding her captive!"

    More confused and horrified glances are shared.

    "We need to begin planning the invasion at once!" the bearded general shouts as he slams his own hand onto the table. A crazed need for battle and enemy blood flashes in his old eyes. In that moment Ryth recognizes the bearded man as a former blacksmith he trained to use an elemental cannon during the battle of the Bandit Valley in the Great War. Meanwhile the table of generals seems to come to life, as each one begins talking over each other in an attempt to throw in their support for an invasion of Da'Jinn.

    Ryth tries to shout above the noise of everyone shouting at once, but he finds that his voice is lost among the sea of angry voices. He discovers that as soon as he has managed to capture their attention it has once again slipped out of his grasp. How does LeCavalier deal with this nonsense? It is at that point that Ryth sees a storm revolver being held out in front of his face. He glances over to the red haired mystic in the crimson robe. There's a sparkle of deeper insight within her dark eyes, and a mischievous smile beneath a constellation of freckles.

    "Just don't kill anyone," The mystic says as she hands Ryth back his revolver. Ryth repays her with a grin and a nodded promise. He then pulls back the revolver's hammer, points the weapon up and pulls the trigger.

  9. #489
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    Commander Ryth, Commanding Officer of the High Guard of the Taroc Guild

    Clow City... Of the Taroc Province... The Meeting Chambers of the Council of Guild Defense...

    Storm revolvers fire a bullet that's infused with elemental power. Such power relies on thought and will to find its true potency. Ryth has spent half his life training himself to be an expert with such power. In his hand, this gun can fire a thunder storm, rock slide, tidal wave, lava burst, lighting bolt, blizzard wall and dozens of other fantastic and potentially deadly effects. Right now, however, he simply fires off a thunderclap and an intense flash of light. It's a harmless display that startles the entire room and brings everyone's attention back onto Ryth. They look upon the old soldier with a silent mixture of fear and confusion.

    "Listen up, we're not invading anything. Not right now, anyway. LeCavalier has a plan. When doesn't he, you gold-brickers." Ryth holsters his revolver and looks over his audience, as if sizing them up for another fight. "Sending an army over there is going to leave us with a dead army and a hostage for a princess. So LeCavalier is going to go quiet. He's leading a small team over there for a stealth operation. He'll move in, grab the princess and split back home before those #^@&ers even know what hit them."

    "What!? He's putting himself and the princess in danger during a national emergency?! The fool!" Wuring shouts with a severe wince as his aching jaw makes him regret every word.

    "So if he doesn't attack, he's a coward? And when he does attack, he's a fool?!" Ryth shouts back, severely tempted to reach for his revolver again. Instead he simply storms around the table. The soldiers step forward to restrain the older guard, but the red haired mystic steps in front of them and halts them with a motion of her hands. Ryth grabs Wurin by his collar, lifting him up from the chair.

    "You're one of those snot-nosed academy $#*%s, aren't you? Where were you during the war, kid? I know, $#*#ting your diapers, right?" Ryth's tone is an angry growl. "Here's what I was doing, you dumb #^@&, I was chasing after this insane kid across battlefields all over Taroc. Back in the academy they taught you battles were fought from one trench to another, from one piece of cover to the next. But not with LeCavalier. Nooo. When you follow that crazy #^@& you're sprinting at full speed, wondering how you're possibly going to keep up with him and hoping you don't trip over the piles of dead Maginus that he leaves in his wake. What they don't teach you in your fancy academies is that when you've got LeCavalier on your side in a fight, you just point the crazy #^@%er at the enemy and let him go. By this time tomorrow, you don't have no enemies any more, you just have corpses to burn."

    Ryth releases the younger general's collar, allowing him to fall back onto his chair. Ryth then begins walking around the broad table. The instructions Alain gave to him begins to flow through him. It's as if the spirit of Alain LeCavalier himself is being released from this old soldier.

    "Here's the game plan: While LeCavalier is out saving Pasce, he needs us to ensure that Taroc doesn't fall to pieces. The people need to be reminded that they're still protected. We need to get all of our soldiers back on duty. We need to call in our reserves. Set up lines of communication with all of our local town militias out there. Admiral Zhilkin, how many ships in the armada have working celestial engines?"

    Still transfixed by Ryth's sudden commanding presence, the admiral stammers nervously for a moment before her aide hands her the paperwork that carries the information her mind can't recall at this moment. "Uhm, that would be thirteen, sir."

    "Good, send six of them to patrol the borders, four of them in a fallback formation and the remainder to reinforce the interior province. Also step up patrols on our coast. Begin recommissioning ships from the shipyards and equip them with celestial engines as well. This should give out ship builders and manufacturers something to keep their workers busy."

    "That's what we need to do. It's a time of crisis, everyone is afraid and unsure. We need to put something in their hands. Give them a duty, a sense that they can contribute. We need to remind everyone that we are Taroc. When Darmon's worst was thrown at us, when our guild all but died, when half of our province was taken away from us, we remembered that each and every one of us is Taroc. From the soldiers right down to the farmers and blacksmiths, everyone took up arms and fought. Men, women and anyone old enough to carry a gun or a spear fought. We earned our freedom and our peace. We earned it with battle, blood and misery. We did it then and we'll do it now."

    "Never forget. We. Are. Taroc!" Ryth slams his fist onto the conference table. The sound seems to set off a roar of cheering from the room. The fear is gone. The confusion is gone. The politics are gone. There is only a job to be done and armies to to make ready for possible war. They all have their orders, and through this messenger the will of the Guild Master guides them still.

    Ryth grins proudly as a new life seems to blaze through this assembly of men and women. If this is what it's like to be a temporary, for one meeting only, Guild Master, then this isn't so bad at all. As Ryth notices the red haired mystic standing by his side, adoring him with her dark eyes and broad grin, he's sure he might enjoy this job.

  10. #490
    Somewhere Under Taroc: The Hidden Fortress of Alain LeCavalier

    Eri.jpg Ganard.jpg Merelin.jpg

    Prince Eri, Protector to the Heir of Rekōdo and his guards, Ganard of House Fallandor and Merelin of House Diorna

    The Prince frowned at hearing Verona's words. His face was sternly set as it was, with the small telltale presence of a frown at the corners of his mouth. Stern, but reflective, thoughtful. The Book. Eri glances up at Alain sharply.

    "Darmon knew about the Book."

    His voice is soft spoken and firm, but his stern, brown eyes lock with Alain's. Unless the Guild Master furthers the subject, he will say no more. His point of concern was clear: How did Darmon know of the Book of Memories in the Dragon's cave when none of them did? In the memory, his mind was unfortunately keen on remembering things, the Dragonesses has said Damron stole something precious of theirs. Nalia's memory had revealed that Darmon searched for the Book of Memories a decade. It must be something terribly sacred that was stolen for the Dragonfolk to have come and taken the Book. Eri had seen very little of Darmon or any of the Guild Masters since he was a small boy. Only at select banquets or galas under the shadow of his ever-aging father and King. He could not remember anything terribly distinct and that irritated him. There were too many things in this world that held magikal potential. So many more that they knew so little about. The thing Darmon had taken could be anything. With grimness he thought it would be beneficial if Nalia of Enchantry was here. She might know the thing the Dragons had spoken of. Ganard has come across the room now, to stand once again beside his prince and charge. His hand is on his sword as he exchanges a silent look with the Prince. The Prince then looks farther across the room toward Merelin.

    But Merelin was otherwise occupied, so much so that she did not notice Doraen watching her. Her fingertips moved lightly, like the limbs of a spider or a pianist practicing their craft through finger-play. It was as if she were composing a great symphony over Arion's wounds, something the Second might have taken great curiosity in. Undoubtedly, there was a Song to her practice, if the craft itself was not reflected within her Soul's Song. But the young Second of Taroc was all but lifeless upon the table. His arms, what parts of them were not broken, hung loosely and at odd angles. His tall frame extended off the ledges of the pallet. His red hair spilled over like a crimson waterfall. It was hard to tell where blood stopped and locks began.

    Merelin listens to what information Doraen can offer. Her fingers move over the severely damaged areas, drawing out contaminants, fragments, things that simply should not be within his systems. Fibers of bones were stitched together slowly, slowly, as to be done with great care. Like anyone with a true, well endowed source of healing magik, it was not squandered. Every heal was taken seriously and done delicately as lace embroidery by fancy noblewomen over tea and gossip.

    "Sohil? So he is of Shamaa?"

    There were disputes about whether the Wilderland Clans, if they remained, were of Shamaa or Taroc heritage. There was certainly a healthy blend of both in what little is known of their ways and culture. There was evidence to suggest the Wilderlands and southern Shamaa was a part of the loose Taroc-Shamaa border before Rekōdo was founded. But that was long ago and the people of Rekōdo had a short memory, possibly because everything was recorded for them. Technically, she knew, anyone of the southern clans who llived, if they still lived, within the Wilderlands did not affiliate themselves with any of the Provinces. What made her hands pause was the mention of his music and the magikal potency it had. Her brown eyes glanced at Doraen from beneath illumined lashes. A hint of their true, brown color could be seen beneath the glowing white light, but that gaze is turned back on the unconscious Second. Merelin seemed to disappear deeper beneath the pureness of the white light that radiated so softly from her fingertips.

    "I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
    And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
    And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking."

    Merelin's voice was light and airy as she healed Arion. Her voice, but a whisper to the room, would ring purely for Arion and Doraen to hear. The stitching of bones and sinews by her own hand seemed to grow faster and more efficient. The bleeding was staunching and the shallow breathing of the lanky Second seemed to calm. Her voice continued to sing, of a woman waiting on the shores of Taroc for her love to come home from the sea, where he forever wandered. The sailors were trying to find their way back home again, across the ocean and a woman waited on the windy, cliff-shores of northwestern Taroc, of Caios by the Sea. Her voice was light and lilting, very soft and tender as her hands moved over Arion. Doraen's runes began to later in color and seriousness and when words ran out, Merlein continued to hum, breaking the old ballad to speak quietly to Doraen as she worked.

    "Comfort, not just magik, is needed to heal. Compassion. The man of the South likes music, so it is music that shall help him to heal. That song will stay with him now and be a tune for his mind to grasp if all others fail him."

    Arion's face was still pale when Merelin finished, but the deathly shade had left his face. She had promised Eri she would not overextend herself, in her oaths to him as his personal guard. It was with great gentleness that Merelin allowed the light to leave her eyes and hands and it was with a sigh that she stood back from the red-haired Second. Merelin gave the doctor a small, slightly drained smile.

    "I hope I was of use to you, doctor. May the rest of your endeavors be not in vain."

    Merelin rose slowly and smoothly before returning to the Prince. He watched her as she drew nearer to him, but said nothing to reveal how much of herself she had given to the Second of Taroc. But his eyes were inquiring and Merelin whispered an exchange with the Prince quietly. There was a look of small relief on Eri's face before the sternness took hold again. Ganard's look was more questioning as he showed a smll, deliberate window of disapproval toward Merelin.

    *John Masefield's 'Salt-Water Ballads.' (1902, London). This one is called 'Sea-Fever.' A (male-sung) version of it is here. For the sake of her gentleness, Merelin would sing it much, much slower and very softly.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 05-08-2013 at 04:14 PM.

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