Author Topic: After the Flesh (RP)
Toorc 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
Prologue:

This thread continues from where the Price of the Fall left off. I know Crispian put a lot of effort in on that thread, and inspired and fueled this character of mine, Arcalan. Hence I was unwilling to let the story die out completely, and so now begins the tale of a different event, in which I hope many will participate. This is just a short post to get me going, else I'll never get round to starting it.

____________________________________________

"Stare not too long into an Abyss; for if you do the Abyss stares also into you."
____________________________________________



The League Hall had known much rejoicing over the past few days, but little had been seen of Crispian. His workload in the expansion of the guild and it's constant maintenance had become mountainous. Between his own troubles and the absence of one of the Seneschals, Toorc, Crispian had been hard pushed to keep track of all that went on.
He sighed and looked up from his paperwork, to look at the filtering shards of light catching the dust in the room. He was shut up in a dark room when the sun blazed forth in it's glory outside. In truth he felt he was almost in hiding, for still much was outstanding between the cleric Tobyas and himself, since the curse that drove him into Toby's arms was lifted. He sighed again. No use this sitting about pondering things in a drak and musty room, better and healthier to takein the air, and pay visits on a few Guilds who he had neglected the friendship of in his past months. He rose and donned his cloak, sweepig out through the League Hall, and waving to his friends who were there this afternoon.

************************************

That eve many in the League Hall were perplexed. A constant stream of sobbing could be heard from one of the upstairs rooms, and this strange noise was compounded by the heavy rumbling coming from outside.
Apolexi emerged into the Hall trundling her mini-pult along. The mad little contraption had already cost Asotrem a good deal of time and money fixing the roof and a broken door, and had earned Lexi a sound spanking for lying about the damage.
Dracarn, Marshall of the League sat by the fireside polishing a blade. He looked up on hearing the mini-pult's distinctive advance.
"What on earth is that thing doing inside here, Lexi?" he asked.
"Going to help 'Archy'.. she's upstairs sobbing in her room and I'm going to find out what she's doing."
Yardo the frair looked up from his tome and his ale to see what was going on.
"Why is she crying?" he asked them.
"Going to find out now" said Lexi loading a shot into the mini-pult "She won't let anyone in, so I'm going to make my own entrance"
The quick hands of Dracarn grabbed the shot out of place.
"You'll do no such thing" he commanded her, and began to make his way up towards Arcalan's room. "Arcalan?" he inquired at her door "Arcalan?"

The sobbing stopped.
"Please.. please just <sob> let me be.. I'm so sorry.. I must speak to Crispian.." she replied in a shakey voice. Apolexi joined Dracarn and Yardo at the door.
"COme out Arcy" called Lexi, sliding her twin blades from her sides "I'll make it all better whatever upset you..."
"Please Arcalan" said Dracarn "Let us help you. Crispian isn't here right now, but as a MArshall I could perhaps.."
"No" came the voice "No I owe him this much.. <sob> I hurt him so much Drac<sob>arn... I hurt you all..."
"What are you talking about Arcalan? What happened?" asked Yardo, so concerned he mometarily sat down his ale.

A scratching noise was heard as Lexi carved a single line down the door with one of her jambyas "Aww Archy, come on out then.. one quick slash and I'll end your misery"
Yardo looked startled and Dracarn glared at her "Put those away right now!" he barked.
Lexi jammed a mithril blade into the door up to the hilt then pulled it out leaving a hole in it's stead.
"No!" yelled lexi defiantly turning to face him, weapons in a combat stance.
"I SAID NOW!" he retorted, and her arms dropped to her side.
"Yes sir" she said somewhat abashed. Her buttocks remebered what Dracarn's gauntlet felt like falling on them, and she didn't feel like another lesson about behaviour so soon. Her face redend, and she went downstairs to put away the mini-pult.
Dracarn could glimpse Arcalan through the hole, face down on the floor seemingly praying. She wore simple robes instead of her usual cloth armor.
"Arcalan, very well we'll let you be and pass your message on to Lord Crispian when he gets back. I hope though in time you'll grow to trust us enough to help though"
Muttered prayers and tears were his sole reply.

As Yardo began to retake his seat and say an arrow prayer for Arcalan, upstairs Arcalan rose and looked at the hole. That little brat would pay dearly... in time. She smiled at the thought. Now she'd just have to keep this up till she could speak with Lord Crispian, and set her plan in motion.

<<More later>>

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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<<knows what happens next and can't wait to read it happy >>

/bump

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
<tired of being manipulated in stories and sharpens his sword while pondering>

/nump

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Toorc 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
<puts on his rubber glove and walks over to the Crispian Doll on his workbench... c'mere Sooty>
__________________________________

It was nightfall when Azi awoke by the fire in the great hall. She shivered slightly, trying to recall when exactly she had come back. Her sudden sleeping fits were growing in frequency.

((Edit: See the RP thread "The Power"))

Dracarn and tashtego were in the hall, talking over the war, women, and fine ale. Dracarn saw Azi awaken, but had not the heart to wake her sooner, assuming she was badly in need of rest after some testing battle.
Azi had indeed been through a lot. The Sorceress D'Vena had brutalised her mind in an attempt to gain control of her, and the battle with her physical body had been equally grueling. Still, all that had passed, and Dracarn was proud to see she remained as full of spirit as ever.
"Hail milady Azi" he said looking at her stifled yawn "Did you sleep well?"
She flushed a little in embarassment and nodded "Aye friend, very well thanks. How is everyone?" she asked.
"Ah'm well thank ye Azi" said Tashtego. He smiled broadly to her, but underneath his grin he worried for her constant spells of drowsiness. His natural gifts warned him all was not right with her, but in the flickering firelight that bathed the room he hid it well.
"Azi, how well do you know the lady Arcalan?" began Dracarn, his mind returning to her weeping earlier in the day.
"I know her well enough" said Azi with a tight curt smile. Arcalan had tortured Crispian and herself with rumours and lies, and had been a force of great unrest in the League. Azi recalled their early meeting when a rooter had charged her from behind, almost snapping her spine in two. As she was trampled into the dirt she swore she saw Arcalan smile, and the beats left that Cabalist untouched.
Dracarn missed or ignored the tension in the reply and continued his line of thought.
"Perhaps ye'd be good enough to have a word with her then? She's shut up in her room, and won't come down." He had poured himself a whiskey as he spoke, and raised it to savour the aroma. Flames danced behind the glass, making the amber liquid sparkle as though alive.
Azi looked a bit shocked, this was unusal for Arcalan "Certainly Dracarn, I'll see what I can do" she said, and the three of them proceeded upstairs. Dracarn knocked heavily on the door and then withdrew again to allow Azi and Tashtego to speak with her. He felt prehaps he'd intimidate Arcalan a bit, since she didn't know him so well.
"Lord Crispian?" Came a voice with a hint of a tremor in it, and a sniffiling noise.
"No Arcalan" said Azaeli as she leant in to the door "It's me, Azi"
"Oh Azi" came the reply "Oh Azi I'm so so sorry, I am so very sorry"
"Now lass yeh've nothing to be sorry for" chided tashtego gently "Come out and tell us what's the matter?"
"Oh Tashtego.. if only you knew... I've done terrible things.. terrible... I wasn't strong enough.. she was too powerful for me Tashtego..."

Azi grew more worried at this. "Can we come in Arcalan?" she inquired. The door opened a crack and revealed eyes rimmed red with hours of weeping, and a face tear stained but still beautiful to behold. Behind her a few candles gave light to the room, a fairly sparsely decorated room save for the banner hanging on one wall that stretched to the floor. It's design was ancient, and it was no doubt a memento of a hunting trip to some forgotten place. Arcalan opened the door yet wider to allow them entry. Tashtego slipped in behind Azi, saying not a word but sitting crosslegged on the floor once Azi was settled on the stool and Arc had returned to sitting on her bed.
"Now lass" he said to her in a soft voice "Whit's troubling ye so much?"
"Tashtego.. since before I met you I have been working for the downfall of the League. I have lied and opened sore wounds, I have hurt and slandered all of you who have been so good to me" her eyes brimmed again "I have been a monster, stabbing at you all for the kind love you have shown me.. I betrayed the League, and put you all in danger" She slid to the floor and buried her face in her hands crying inconsolably.

"What's this?!" exclaimed Tashtego "When and how Arc? Speak more!" Azi made a gesture towards her to touch her, to comfort this woman who had been the vilest enemy to Crispian and his friends. She withdrew her hand without bestowing a comforting touch.
"Oh Tashtego.. Lexi wanted to kill me earlier.. and so she should... I want only to see Crispian first.. I should have been stronger... I must see him.. only he knows what I feel.." Arcalan spoke in broken sentances and sobs punctuated her speech.
"When I have spoken to him I'll turn myself in to the King's Men"
Tashtego's anger and bewilderment died as his compassion and love stretched out to this poor wretch.
"Tell me whit has been done tae harm us lass, an accident, aye?" he began.
"Too weak" repeated Arcalan, hugging her knees and rocking to comfort herself, calm herself.

Azi could hold back no longer "I may know of what you speak Arcalan" Tashtego turned to look upon her wondering what she meant. "Do you speak of D'Vena?"
The name brought violent rocking and renewed tear threatend to flow. A tiny nodding was just barely perceptable from Arcalan.
"We all suffered Arcalan" Azi continued "It was you who sent that tome to me wasn't it?"
The magical grimoire of D'Vena had served as a trap to bring Azi into the heart of D'Vena's sanctum, ultimately resulting in the sorceress' botched assault on Azaeli's mind.
Again Arcalan nodded "I was too weak Azi. She was so compelling, so very very strong. I should have resisted her."
"Wait wait!" implored Tashtego "Did ye enter into a willing pact with the witch Arcalan?"
"NO!" Arcalan almost screamed. Fool, she thought, doesn't he get it? She reigned her emotions in again, she couldn't let anything slip here. "Tashtego no indeed, I fought her, fought as hard as I could every day" she stared into the middle distance, trying to picture what posession would have been like "I was a prisoner in my own body"
A flicker of recognition from Azi told Arcalan she had hit the right sentiment.

"Oh Arcalan" said Azi "Crispian will forgive you, I know that. We'll see what he has to say as Seneschal of course, but don't be rash. I too understand what you went through" and saying this she reached out to squeeze Arcalan's hand.
Azi nearly threw the hand away from herself in the backlash. A wave of icy evil flooded through her as she squeezed that slender hand, such as she'd felt the chill when she first met Arcalan. The face before her contorted, it seemd to Azi, into a mocking grimace of evil, and she quickly dropped her hold on her, shuddering obviously.
Tashtego looked from the poor girl on the floor to Azaeli and saw the shudder. "ah.. just a chill" explained Azi quickly, her mind racing.

Tashtego took up where Azi left off, and gripped Arc's hand in both of his. "Ye fought her Arc, and tha's whit's importan' here. Ye are made stronger fightin evil, and evil comes in many forms. I'm proud to hae ye in the League. We'll get ye through this Arcalan, believe me. Bein on yer ain isnae good fer ye, ye have to come among us, so's we kin help ye. No matter what comes from this ma Heart will always be with you. Will ye remeber that?"
She stared into his eyes and her pupils grew large. She filled her expression with gratitude. "Always" she said in a half whisper. "Tashtego, I cannot know what's to come of this, but if I live, I wish to know you better" she replied, touching his strong arm with her other hand "And no matter what, I thank you for these words, and the peace you have given me in this moment"
His broad smile showed it was a speech well recieved, but Azi looked distinctly uncomfortable. She rose to her feet and made to leave. "I must go downstairs Arcalan, perhaps you'll.. join us later" and with that Azaeli departed the room and went downstairs to find out how well Dracarn knew this woman.

Tashtego long stayed with Arcalan hearing her story of how she blackmailed her way into the League at D'Vena's command, and how she had sent the tome to Azaeli. She told him how she could not belong among such a proud and noble fellowship as the League, and of the agony of seeing the faces of those she betrayed smile upon her. Their love was misplaced, she had served them th role of an enemy, though they heaped kindness on her in return. Tashtego nodded and soothed her, told her how it was that the person she truely was had a home here, and of his pride in her spirit when it shone through in her charitable acts, which could not have been D'Vena's bidding.

Eventually the two came downstairs, having been convinced that company was better for one in her distress, and Arcalan waited for Crispian to arrive back.

 

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Toorc 
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As she sat waiting Phalos, Sorceror and now Marshall of the League entered. He was the major recruiter for the League, a man who had brought them many new faces and rejected many unsuitable ones. He was a good judge of character it was said by all, and so on his very first meeting with Arcalan he'd taken a dislike to her.
They had hunted together often, most notably in Cornwall against hunters and later Moor Boogeys. There she had mocked his ability, and when a tragic lapse of concentration ended in the death of Jashen and Phalos both, she chided him endlessly. It was fortunate that Tobyas had been able to bring them back, unless you looked at it from Arcalan's point of view.

As she met his disdainful gaze she quickly dropped her eyes. Would the deception fool him too? It remained to be seen. Azi had dropped into a light sleep in her chair, which afforded Arcalan her oppertunity to speak with Phalos quietly. Fortunately for her chance took a hand in the proceedings. A newly initiated woman by the name of Hecathia entered the Hall. Phalos immediately became agitated, for he had promised this woman shelter in the League against his better judgement. Secretly he had passed the word to many of his friends that if she commited the least of dubious actions word was to reach him as soon as possible so he could expell her. The woman was an infiltraitor of 9 seasons standing, but she gracefully swept through the hall as though she were a noblewoman in her own home.
"Greetings Hecathia" said Dracarn "I trust your interview with Marshall Phalos went well then?"
She looked at him with barely concealed contempt "That one" she nodded her head at Phalos "Talks too much. He's a very foolish man."
Dracarn rose to his feet. Cheek from lexi was one thing, but this refugee was quite another, and he'd have some respect. He placed his whiskey down on the side table and stared at her.
"MARSHALL Phalos is a highly ranking member of the League, and as such you WILL show him respect" A contest of wills was shaping up here as all could see.
"Hmm" sniffed Hecathia "Well if you'll excuse me I have actual important things to attend to" she sneered and turned to leave from the hall, wrapping her cloak around her as she left. Phalos was shaking with anger inside, but restrained outside as was befiting of his station. He barely looked up when Arcalan approached and said:
"Dear Phalos, sweet sorceror, I would like to.. to apologise for all the names and insults I have heaped on your good reputation. I am very sorry for the hurt I have caused you... everyone." she began to back away, unsure how long to spend speaking with this dangerously perceptive foe. Azi had already been slightly off-beat about her performance, and she didn't want her having an ally in her suspicions.
Phalos looked up into Arcalan's eyes. He held her gaze for a long moment, and then said simply "No need to apologise, from what I understand it wasn't your fault at all."
Arcalan made a genuine gesture of happiness, which seemingly tipped the scales in her favour. Phalos noted her acceptance of his forgiveness and was convinced the League would find it's pet viper turned into a worthy companion. The distraction of Hecathia had played to Arcalan's benefit.

Dracarn was over in the corner as Arcalan withdrew to the fireside to speak with Tashtego again. Something in the flash of Azi's eyes to Tashtego said "beware friend" to him, but he was too concerned for Arcalan's health to heed Azi's worries. She would naturally be wary of this former foe.

Azi sat down next to Dracarn, and as the League hall filled up with people returning from the hunt this eve Azi found time for a near-whispered conversation with Dracarn...

((OOC: passes Talking stick to Azi happy ))

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
/morning lift

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Apolexia 
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/bump just because Im going to work and cant post right now =P

 

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Hecathia 
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Ilara left the guild hall quite satisfied with herself. She had found a place here... time, something she needed. The guards would never even guess of looking for her in such a prestigious order, and thus Silkhand's (Essyllt) attempted murderer would now find time to wait them out. Thanks to the trainers in the guild of shadows... her clerical trainings were now thrown out to the wayside. She learned new skills, and most importantly, how to disguise oneself and to look like another. She remembered back to that poor confused girl of Relic, Apolexia, and noticed that she was now a legendary smith... so the first thing she did was to steal away all her shields she had made the day before to sell. Now, she had funds to work with, and all the time she needed to act...

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump till I can gather my notes to take the stick from azi =P

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump, will have the next part posted by Monday afternoon, promise!

 

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Toorc 
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((Sorry to interrupt your flow Lexi, but I have 1/2 an hour to fill and Winterbourne has been filling my head with new ideas...))


Arcalan left the League Hall early that morning. She had much to do before joining in a hunt planned for later on that evening. It would fit her "new" persona well to take up the challenge of Lady Winterbourne, former Baroness of Snowdonia. The BAroness had proclaimed that the Arwanite camp near the fortress of Snowdonia was in opposition to Albion, and was being led by a rogue shamanaess named Saelonna.
The foolish woman was questioning why the Arwanite camps had been established, and why these people had begun to take an aggressive stance against Albion! Arcalan was amazed that the nobility of Albion knew so little of their lands, for the Arwanties were by nature a hostile people. They had removed themselves from the heart of Albion to practice their own religion, a death-cult which worshipped Lord Arawn, the old god of the Dead. Many of his priests remained in Lyonesse, and no doubt the faction in snowdonia now felt itself strng enough to make moves against it's neighbours. Even as the residents of the Bearded Lake were threatend by the Arwanite forces that Captain Dillon had let enter their homeland.
Arcalan recalled the delicious moment when she slew the Arwanite assassin and smiled, even as she came to castle Excalibur.
She gathered provisions for that evenings forray, including some detailed maps. She didn't trust the competance of others, but she'd keep the maps concealed so as not to arouse offence.
By early eve she was underway to Swanton Keep, but as she passed through Snowdonia Station she was sure to leave word of her intended good deed. She'd also left word at the League Hall that she sought out Lord Crispian desperately, and was riding to this call to arms partly in the hope of meeting him there. She also claimed it would help soothe some of her inner demons.. paying back what misery she caused the land. Yes, she felt sure Tashtego and Azaeli would be convinced by that gesture.

******************

She arrived at Snowdonia Fortress eventually, having been told at Swanton Keep that the Baroness' force had moved to the Border Keep already. Arcalan cursed at this, and doubly so when she noticed how small the force was. From the Baroness' speech about the King giving them a special mission, Arcalan guessed that Winterbourne stood to benefit greatly from it. No doubt some political manouverings were to be made, but such petty interests didn't interest her. When the Master came all would be under his banner.

 

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Toorc 
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After some initial outlining of the objectives the two forces that had answered the call were underway. Arcalan knew that even this token force would match their objectives, but was concerned for the ambush of oppertunistic enemies. The Frontier was dangerous land in more ways than one.

The first part of their plan was to scout the nearest camp, and then proceed west to a second encampment seeking Saelonna. Arcalan had no doubt they would, as the BAroness hoped to discover, find a cyclops among the camps. The cyclopsi were held as holy among Arwanites, for they believed the dead could see through the cyclops' eye. In no time at all they spotted the gigantic orange flesh of one of the creatures, stalking along through the trees nearby the camp. The camp itself was near deserted, but they approached cautiously, sending the infiltraitors ahead to scout for them.
With the safety of the situation established they were able to quickly rush in and overcome the foes. The Cyclops fell under their combined strength, and the lone Arwanite warrior was heavily outnumbered. Even so, his religion bade him embrace his death, and he did so with morbid glee. As the warriors wiped their blades clean, Winterbounre stopped to pick up an object from the Arwanite.
"This is most curious... this isn't typical of their craftsmanship at all" she said. The group began to search through the tents and remnanants of the camp, but were interrupted by a yell from the Baroness...

 

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Verrell 
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Tired of RP dropping to page 2,3,4

get back up there

 

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Toorc 
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/lousy thread! Get back up there! I'll Bump you good!!!


________________________________

The party turned to see Winterbourne hard pressed by three Arwanite warriors. Already bleeding from the first strike she was undoubtedly going to lose.
With a battlecry the group convergend on the foes, dragging their attention off of the lady Paladin, who collapsed to the ground. Arcalan waited till the party had surrounded the Arwanites, and too advantage of their tactical error by summoning a spirit to slay them. The mystical force of the spirit bored down into their skulls, sending blood gushing from facial wounds. The pain in their heads increased as the spirit's wrath slit open their flesh and and spilt their lifeblood on the ground. The infiltraitors struck hard and fast, gouging deep wounds in their enemies, and brother Doxial swung his quarterstaff with rightious anger. In a few seconds the Arwanites who had lain in ambush were dead, and Carys the Cleric was helping the Baroness to her feet again.
"This is a dangerous place to split up" remarked Arcalan.
"We should press on to the West camp" remarked the Baroness, clutching her rapidly healing wound. Carys chanted a few more prayers and the pain disappeared.

The company moved off in good spirits. They were confident in their abilities and had pocketed a few coins from the Arwanites already slain. The second camp again proved nearly empty save a lone Shamaness, brewing some concoction. Again the infiltraitors moved in closer but initial reports proved true. This woman was alone. At Winterbourne's command the three infiltraitors turned from shadows into assassins. Their blades ended the Shamaness' life in an instant, and keeling her forward into the pot muffled her death-cries. The soup bubbled over the side merrily, and sizzled as it hit the fire.

The third camp was neared as Dawn broke, and the reddish tint of the sky added an eerie glow to the snow. Already it was much colder here, and occasional patches of snow crunched underfoot. The Arawnites were easily spotted this time, gathered at the side of a small lake, with a collection of tents that looked to have been put together in haste. Little time was spent on planning an attack, as an Arwanite on the hillside spotted the strangers movement towards the camp. A great howl went up, and many Arawnite warriors charged towards the company, their Shamaness' casting spells of blessing upon them as they went to meet their foe. In the name of Lord Arawn they would spread death or else enjoy it's touch.

The battle ranged on for some minutes, and several of the warriors lay dead. Carys prayed feverently for the protection of her party, and the two paladins chanted hyms as they waded into battle. Arcalan stood back and picked targets further back. A quick curse twisted the muscles in their legs so that they could not move, and then she turned her attention on the knot of melee ahead of her. Brother Doxial had again taken to smiting the foe with his staff, and was making short work of a Shamaness heathen as she tried to invoke her pagan gods. Arcalan unleashed her spell again and the results were the same, blood gushed from open wounds, and her Golem sucked the life force from her foes.
Finally the camp was cleared, only the company stood in the aftermath, bloodied and battered. They paused to refresh themselves before going onwards, and Winterbourne murmered her surpirse at the fletching on an arrow she found.
"This bird's feathers.. I don't recognise them at all... this is most strange"
She resolved to make for Sursbrooke, where a fletcher was known to be quite an expert in his trade. He'd soon identify the fletching.

They made off for Sursbrooke, and as they left snowdonia behind them Sir Racius of Shroud joined their ranks.
"Hail" he said "I have news of Saelonna, the Arwanite witch"
Winterbourne gave a firm salute "Hail and well met. Tell us good paladin, what have you learnt?"
Racius reported what some guards at the Mile Gate to Hibernia noticed, that some elves were taking an Arwanite woman to their Keep. The woman in question was no doubt Saelonna. On this information the party made it's way out towards the Mile Gate, avoiding the battle that had brewed behind them. The forces of Albion seemed prepared to repell the invaders, and new Albion forces were pouring into the area to liberate Caer Benowyc.
Winterbourne pressed ahead, insisting on the important of the mission at hand. Further reports placed the Arwanite witch at the camp of the Templar Knights, who stood near the Mile Gate, on the Hibernian side, and were known not to take sides in realm warfare.
Passing the remnants of a battel at the Gate, the company pressed on until Racius led them to the Templar Camp.
"She was last seen at this wall, not long ago if our scouts are certain of their report. Wait here while I scout ahead a little" said the paladin "I do fear Hibernian enemies are common here"
At this Winterbourne cracked a small smile, as if daring a foe to attack. Racius left, and some minutes passed. The Templars regarded the srtangers with indifference, and Arcalan climbed to the top of a ruined section of wall to keep look-out. A movement at the corner of her eye told her one of the infiltraitors had the same idea, and together they looked out towards the Hibernian keep and the road.
They were startled from their vigil by a loud roar, and some oath in a foreign tongue. Behind them a Celtic warrior charged at them, her armor resplendant in the midday sun.
Winterbourne drew her sword, and then fled some distance, while the others sought to engage the foe. As Arcalan unleashed a could of acidic mist at the assailant she heard a voice ring loud and clear:
"Yes! Now my Celtic ally! Kill them all!"
It was the voice of Winterbourne the Baroness of Snowdonia.


 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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/sneaky retired bump

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump

(( My computer completly died, as I told my guild that and reason for a 24 absense... THIS ALSO MEANS MY CHAT LOG WAS LOST!!! NO!!!!!! NOT MY CHAT LOG!!! <cries>

This means I wont be able to fill in what I wanted to do <cries again>

Continue posting Arc! I'll find my spot here eventually... esp since it involves Winter))

 

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{old}LadyWinterborne 
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Swanton Keep, 3.35 AM in the Year of our Lord 987

********************
A storm broiled overhead. The snows upon the high carrocks began to glisten over as the cold sleet honed the snow-bound hills. The grim face of Swanton Keep's gates welcomed the black riders as they returned late in the evening from distant Hadrin's Wall.
********************

She sat with furrowed brow, her heavy ermine cloak resting upon her thin and wastrel-like shoulders. Her visage, the likeness of her grandfather Basaia -weary, cynical and distrustful - Winterborne had grown into a hateful and strong-willed woman. Some claimed her false, others a zealot - either way, she was not welcome in most parts of Albion. Her only vanity lay for the love of her Snowdonian peoples and the safety of her lands. The Baroness had fought hard to preserve her people's hertitage, their independence from the Roman ruler Constantine and her people's livelyhood.



"What would you do?" Constantine queried.




The Baroness's memory flared with the incident again in the Counsil Halls in Camelot.




"What would you do, Baroness if I were to occupy the southern routes?"

Constantine paced before her. His accent of a Southern bend, his Romanesque mannor of dress he carried even in his rulership of Albion. The King held his aqualine nose high in the air, his mere presence enough to deter even the eldest of the courts. The Roman Emperor-turned-King was both loved and despised for his hautiness towards the Britons. His cloak, a royal purple velvet fell distinctly to the edges of his heels, the golden threads that wove the symbol of Albion, the cusp of the Grail, captured the torchlight as he stepped from his throne into the light.



Winterborne leaned back into her throne as the memory fleeted past as the melodic slinking of chain boots pervaded the chamber.

"My Baroness, I arrive here with grim news" Uli, the Captain of the Guard spoke. " They have occupied the Tower of the Bridge, upon the river that divides Ludlow from the Black Mountains. What is your wish, M'lady?"

Winterborne sank into thought...was it war that Constantine wanted? She knew this would come, eventually it would have came to light for her defiance of Camelot's will to steal her throne and her alliance with the Celtic rogue whom she led Constantine's chosen soldiery into the trap.

Without adeau, she spoke "Uli, bring me my sword. Dispatch runners to LLyn Barfog and sequester ap Alwys of the Avalonians and give word to Sir Bors of Snowdonia Fortress. Summon the trackers and send word to the Hillsmen clansmen of Barfog. Call our siegemaster back from Thidranki and have your seargent rally our soldiers. We are going...

To war!!!

(((to be continued)))

 

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Apolexia 
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Apolexia had got into a fist fight earlier with a cleric of the league, one known as Rhizzia. She was hearing it from Crispian now... when Arcalan broke through the guild hall in panic.

"She's betrayed us! She's betrayed us all!"

Everyone turned to Arcalan, hearing of how Drusse Winterborne had led them all into a trap. Everyone seemed to listen, save one, the one being yelled at just moments ago.

Lexi's mind raced back to what happened before she had joined the league. Determined that her Grandpa Basaia could not be whom she knew him to be... she had sought out to slay her cousin in cold blood. Her plan had of course failed... when everyone thought she had died on the front. A name escaped from her lips, before she knew what she was saying... 'Anikka'...

Those in the hall suddenly remembered Lexi sitting in the chair.

"Anikka?" about five people said at once.

Lexi knew there was as many people that knew about Basaia than she had fingers on her hand... yet... none knew about Winterborne... she didn't even tell Azaeli the full truth... for she had thought that the one known as Anikka was lost forever, and Drusse was all that mattered.

Yet... her actions... they were alike the Anikka of old. Could she have been faking her illness all along? Does Dru... Anikka... know?

She then said that the people of the league should go look out for Drusse, find her, imprison her... anything to get them to forget the name from her lips.

She was asked who Anikka was, what she had in relation to what happened now... but Lexi was resolved to not say anything. Thankfully Crispian remembered that he was yelling at Lexi earlier, and resumed to do so. Hearing his punishments were better than letting him know the truth about Anikka. Her final links to a past she was trying to forget... Basaia and Winterborne... both she assumed to be gone... but now?

 

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{old}LadyWinterborne 
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((Crossposted by Carys1))

Carys sat quietly under a tree, her love and champion Lord Trohan craddling her within his arms still worried about her.
She sat deeply in thought, trying to piece together all she had seen and witnessed this day.
Several friends had told her of this call to arms, and she having no love of the firece Barabrians agreed to go to watch over her dear friends.The other main concern was to see that this priestess, be treated fairly. Carys still had nightmares of her mother being burnt as a witch for being a priestess of the Goddess. Her love Trohan would not leave her side, so he followed along, not happy that she in her condition should be involved at all.
They made their way to Swanton Keep, and waited with the few numbers who chose to come and give their aid.
As they waited, Trohan ever viligent stood guard over Carys while she sat and took in the surroundings.
She listened to the boasting of the others as they spoke of tales of the barbarians and evil celts.
Carys kept to the shadows grateful that her love kept close and held her hand. She feared what the others would say if they knew she was a celt, that she was of the old blood and followed the teachings for the Goddess.
She meditated while waiting for the small band to gather and soon they were off running across the frontier searching out the evil Arawnite cult leaders and their bands.

By the time they had hit the second camp Carys was un-nerved to her very core. In every camp there were 1 or 2 token raiders, the camps were empty, but what un-nerved her was the skulls impaled upon spears and then used as torches and markers.
The evil was so dark and strong that Carys used every ounce of the Light of the Goddess to keep from collasping into a dark deep void.
The one bright spot, was when they found themselves upon a snow covered mountain, and Carys not being able to resist, made snow angels in the snow, and tossed snowballs with Trohan and Eledriwen.
The respite was short, and off they went again, they roamed deeper and deeper into the frontier, until they finally reached Hadrian's Wall.
They found themselves in a small section of ruins with templar knights protroling around.

Suddenly shouts were given, and Carys turned towards the battle and was stunned to her spot totally unable to move.

What was before her was un-believable, and she fought her senses and her disbelief.
Standing before her was the White Stagg of the forest. Also known as the Druid King.
Half man and half stagg, he cast spells upon her and beat her senseless.
As she felt her knees give way, her energy drained, she heard the battle raging around her and yet all she could focus upon was
How did they know? How did they know who she was? How did they realize she carried the Goddess'child?
Her last thoughts before the darkness swallowed her was I need to heal . . . she thought she heard Trohan call to her, but it was too faint and the darkness called.
Carys' next memory was being held tightly by Trohan as he poured blessings upon her.
She still felt woozy, and wanted to sit and rest when the band realized who had betrayed them and saw her trying to run away.
She followed behind them and watch as the band captured her, bound her with chains, and declared they would return her to the king and the council.
Carys knew before the others that the Baroness had great powers and they could not hold her.
She listened to the Baroness' outrage with the King and the council.
Sadly she felt for her, for she too had no love for the roman king upon the throne. The throne belonged to her people. To the blood-line of Arthur,which coursed thru her veins.
Arthur was of the old blood, and she realized that this new relgion had made Arthur a Saint, and cursed the rest of his family for not understanding nor respecting their ways.

As she sat resting in her loves embrace she
felt his love caressing her soul, trying to
heal her for their long trip back.
She smiled as she saw the Baroness disappear, as she knew she would. She listened to the rest of the band talk and decide who would stay and who would follow.
Trohan, battle wearly and sore afraid for carys led her back to one the border keeps.

They discussed what had happen, and Carys even at this time unable to explan to him
the depth of horror she felt, knowing the powerful magic that the Baroness had unleashed in this realm.
Finally they returned to Snowdonia Station where Trohan got Carys a small room.
As she laid there, her mind active and reflective she wondered who could she trust.
Who could she make believe her about what was to come.
The Baroness had only just begun. The evil she had unleashed in this realm lay dorminant, but who in this realm would believe her. Her last moments she felt Trohan sitting by the bed, rubbing her back, and runnng his fingers thru her hair, trying to ease the tensions of the day.
She curled up, snuggled in his cloak, closed he eyes and slips down the path into sleep.

 

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Toorc 
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/bump

OK so this is comprehensible to people who don't spend all their time reading the Rp threads please post links to explain things like Carys carrying the Goddess's child and Basia's story and a few other deatils. Otherwise this story will not make any sense, short of a summary paragraph upon mentioning these events.
Thanks!

 

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I will try to explain Bas' background... but I don't know how he wishes to return yet, so till I know, I wont mention anything (though if he beats me to it <winks to basaia> I wouldn't mind).

 

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Toorc 
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Annika.... Annika....
The name stuck in Arcalan's mind. Why? What significance did it hold?
Once lexi had contradicted her story about growing up in Camelot on the streets. Arcalan had managed to trick her into mentioning a Grandfather of some kind, from the bearded lake. Apolexia was surely an assumed name, but Arcalan had becaome curious about this girl's past. Annika was another clue.
It was evident Lexi didn't want her Grandfather revealed, for she'd hidden him from Crispian, and blanched at his mention when Arcalan confronted her with her lie. Tricky work, but Arcalan had time enough to investigate. The peoples of Llyn Barfog were friendly towards her for her part in slaying arwanite invaders, but how much could they tell her of Lexi?
Arcalan's new face among the League was beginning to take root. She was known by her kindness and generosity, even accepting blame for lexi's misdemeanours and backing down from insults. Her patience was paying off, and soon the next phase could begin. The house of Hammerfel would be her target...
Still though she sought Crispian, who she had not managed to find in several days, to see if her spell upon him worked.
((Edit: see the end of Price)))


For now though she must content herself. The League was focusing upon Lexi and the discontent up North. Arcalan dismissed the idea of civil war in a time when Midgard was so strong a foe.. Albion would crumble for certain if that were the case.
Nevertheless the fears gave her room for manouver. She had already made provisoon for a trip to Tepok's Mine, to see how the goblin progressed in her Master's wishes. All this had been only one step in the plan of an immortal... but Arcalan would be there for the final part, and power beyond measure would reward her.

 

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Crispian thundering into the north gate of Camelot leading a second horse on which was Tannir, his squire. He also brought a recovered Aceramar, both found in the wilds of Snowdonia and nearly out of their wits.

The fierce scowl on his face made guards follow his orders quickly about getting the two men to aid. The shattering of D'Vena's control on them seemed to have had extreme physical side effects as well as the expected mental torment. Crispian prayed that both would return to normal quickly.

The Elven orb against his chest still pulses warmly, as it had since he got it. There had been the few moments following D'Vena's death that it had cooled, but then it had pulsed to light again. He thought he knew what it meant, but was planning to confirm it later that day with a friend, if a meeting could be arranged.

He followed the litter-bearing guards into the city to tend to his men. Someone was thinking to cross the League, and Crispian. Whomever that was would find some trouble lurking from the mild-tempered Seneschal.

 

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Ilara watched from the shadows as she always did, trying not to come out for any reason. She was not good at it, but her goddess helped her blend in, and she could obtain information without even being present. She watched as Apolexia seemed to have a troubling day. Yet, when Rhizzia had told her to go and make some dishes from the pottery shop in Humberton, and when Arcalan agreed to come along to help... Ilara followed them to the shop, watching.

Rhizzia wanted a hundred plates for the wedding. But yet while Apolexia was firing up the plates at the pottery shop, her gaze turned to Arcalan. Interesting. Arcalan was putting some plaster into the clay, along with what looked to be some kind of gem. Apolexia took the clay, and when she went to heat it up... Ilara was thrown back from the potter shop as an explosion brought the place to the ground. Shaking herself off, she saw Apolexia walk over to Arcalan, coughing from the smoke, asking what had happened. Hecathia smiled. She knew that the so-called niceness of Arcalan was all a ploy, but till now she could never prove it. She watched as some of the guards carried Apolexia away to the guild hall.

Ilara decided to watch Arcalan a bit more after the explosion, but since the guards were investigating the scene, she couldn't get near the remnants of the shop to do anything else. Walking upstairs to the guild hall she laughed at what she saw. Hanging from a hook, was Apolexia, by the collar of her robe. Next to it was a sign: "Do not remove! - Rhizzia". Ilara sat down, watching Apolexia squirm around. Managing to rip the collar of her robe, she was able to get down from the hook, and then retired to her room for sleep.

---------Later that Night However-----------

Tashtego walked into the guild halls, looking happy as normal. And why not? So many good things happening with the guild, Lexi had stayed out of trouble for two days, Rhizzia was getting married, Kymeri was getting married, it was the twin's birthday coming up in a couple of days... Lexi walked down the guild hall, and walked over to Tashtego. Apolexia sat there, trying to explained what happened. Then Tash asked if she had looked for any evidence herself.

"Go over there, an look fer it...would ye like me ta come along with ye?"

"The damn guards looked already... nothing..."

"So, ye are tellin me ye din look yerself? Noe anyone else in the Guild?"

"How could I? When I got back Dracarn came in, left, then Rhizzia hung me by the collar of my robe on a hook, and furthermore Im grounded for the day! I couldnt leave without getting in more trouble..." letting out with a sigh. Hecathia remembered back as Rhizzia having grounded her for the day for causing trouble in the morning service of church.

Tash formed a smile, and idea coming to his head. "Ok then, would ye like me ta go o'er there an look fer ye?"

"Yes Tash... I would love you to see if you can find anything... though knowing that farkin witch.. she planted stuff against me!" referring to Arcalan, convinced she had something to do with it all.

Tash snapped back, "STOP USING THAT WORD Lexi!" trying to get her to be more ladylike. Apolexia promised not to use that word anymore, so Tash continued. "So then, be there anythin I should be lookin fer when I get there?"

"I don't know the first thing of pottery..." Apolexia frowned.

"Well, luckily I do then... me... sister... used ta be a real wiz at it."

Apolexia smiled, jumping up giving him a kiss on the cheek. "Thank you Tash!"

Tash blushed lightly and smiled. "Ye are welcome me sweet Lexi, now be good while I be gone."

Apolexia agreed, heading upstairs back to her room. Tashtego left the guild hall, Ilara following closely behind, down to the potter shop... what was left of it, a huge mess made. Tashtego looked around. 'Clay Casing? Bulk of the Kiln?'... continued to look. 'Shattered pottery?' goes off to look through the whole place. Finding ablsolutely nothin but large lumps of fresh clay, dying agents and sculpting tools, Tash casually picks up a piece o the broken clay and thinks a little. Nessin with the clay piece, it crumbles ta dust in his hand, leavin tiny crystalized peices of... what be this? Curiously, he picks up a few more pieces, and begins finding more and more of the crystallized pieces of an almost glass like substance... 'Now that don belong there!' Tashtego does a little test with a small sample of the pieces of crystalling and... BOOOOOM! 'OUCH! Luck y I had me shield ready an me helmet on...' he chuckled. Looking to the remainder of the pieces, he tucks them away in his pouch, finding something at least he heads to camelot.

Ilara watching this whole time, follows Tashtego back to the city. Thankful it is nightfall, for it is more easier to blend in here than anywhere else. She saw Tashtego experimenting, and had an idea that she had been waiting on acting upon for sometime now... reaching into her pouches taking out a blue robe, she put it on over her leather armor. Taking the arcanium scimitar she had paid another to get from Apolexia, using some funds made by selling her shields, she coated it with an imbalancing poison... and followed Tashtego closely.

Tashtego stops just shy of the first mighty pillar, feelin eyes on his back, quickly turning around he sees nothing. Scanning the distance fer something or someone yells out: "Who be there!?" Finding nothing or nobody in the distance, begins walking again towards camelot, Ilara following closely behind, waiting for a chance to strike. 'But whoever it be, still be back there, for I can feel yer eyes' Tash thought to himself as he walked. Reaching the gate to Camelot, looks back fer one brief second, still feeling like hes being watched. Walking on back from the gates turns down the street that would soon turn into the one leading to the league. Spinning around again, he saw nothing. He called out: "Show yerself!" Ilara saw her chance.

Walking around the back of Tashtego, carrying a Duskwood Tower Shield she had stolen from Apolexia, she brought the shield down hard over Tashtego. Tashtego slumped to his knees, grabbing for his asterite war mace he swung behind him at his mystery assailant. Ilara had the surprise, she meant to keep it. Ducking under the war mace and unsheathing the scimitar she slashed at Dracarn's side, his armor providing little protection against the power of the arcanium blade. Dracarn now facing forward down an empty street, on one knee, reeling from the effects of the poisonous blade. He found himself quickly losing consciousness... performing his skullbreaker style, bludgeoning the neck of Ilara. Ilara collapsed to the ground, dizzy, the blow almost being enough to knock her out in one shot. Tashtego was on his knees, still fighting to stay awake, both of them struggling. Tashtego started to turn about, and Ilara knew that she couldn't be seen, so with her energy spun as Tashtego did around. All she had to do was wait for the poison to get too much for Tashtego, and he would collapse under the strain of the blow to the head earlier. Tashtego seemed to know this as well, and with his last bit of energy flings his head backward at whomever was there, falling over as he does, letting out a yell: "GUARDS!!!" Ilara dodged the head-butt, but was crashed upon under Tashtego's weight, pinned to the ground. Tashtego's hand was able to reach back and yank a piece of the collar from Ilara's robe as he sank unconscious. Struggling, she was able to move Tashtego off, though the delay meaning she had little time. If it was in the daytime, guards would've been about, someone would've seen this all. But it was not. Dropping the scimitar down next to Tashtego, she then searched him for the crystallized substances. Finding the pouch, she then turned back to Tashtego. Smiling she mocked him, "Imbalancing poison... you'll awake soon... Im sure... and when you do... you'll find a blue torn robe, a scimitar, and this shield..." throwing the shield down next to Tashtego. "too bad I dont wear robes either..." throwing off her robe revealing her dark blue leather armor. "Oh, and here, a present for you." tossing a hilt on top of Tashtego's body.

"There was a noise over here! Come on! Someone cried out!" Ilara looked down the streets, seeing the guards coming to the scene. Smiling, she set off for the shadows, and to find her safely away. A safe distance away Ilara tossed the pouch in her hand, then putting it away. "Im sure Arcalan would like to see this..."

(( passes the 'stick' to Apolexia ))

 

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Apolexia was bored. Can't craft... can't hunt... slept most of the day she didn't want to sleep now. She thought to her sister Azi, her father Judan, and then decided what she could do. Coming down to the guild hall, she announced she was going for a walk, and set out the dark streets. She walked over to Judan's shop... 'Closed for the night' a sign was posted. 'Maybe they are home...' Lexi thought, going to the Hammerfel home, her home... but noticed it was locked and no lights were on. She looked up to the second floor, and realized they had probably gone to sleep. With a sigh, she headed back to the guild hall.

Meanwhile... Tashtego stumbled into the guild hall with some help of the guards. Crispian turned to them, thanking them, then helped his friend and brother of the league to a chair.

"I need a healer! Poison!" He exclaimed.

"I knocked whoecer it was pretty good.... but.... uh" Tash said in a semi-conscious state.

Cranthor looked up from his sewing. "Let me try..."

"Please! My brother is an infiltrator now, so I know some of this!" Crispian exclaimed.

Tash tried to get up but fell back again. "Twas... a woman..." Cranthor placed his hands over Tashtego's heart, and muttered a few prayers.

Heathyr came running to Tash. "You said poison?"

"There... That is all I can do for him. I hope it helps." Cranthor remarked, her healing powers trying to help Tashtego fight off the ill effects.

"I... heard her voice..." Tash said.

Crispian immediatly jumped at this, wanting vengeance on any who would attack his brother of the league. "Whose?!"

"I don...I don know..." being unconscious when he heard it.

Lexi had reached back to the guild hall, seeing her friend crumpled in a chair she immediatly rushed over crying out: "TASH!" Crispian scowled at Lexi, obviously thinking ahead. Cranthor meanwhile walked around, lighting a couple of lamps that went out. Lexi knelt down by Tash. "What happened?!"

Tashtego held his head. "Och me head. Someone colcocke me good"

Taking out a piece of wet cloth she rubbed Tashtego's head with it. "Tash..."

Crispian told Lexi. "Aye, and there is a stink of poison too!"

"Poison?!" Lexi exclaimed. "Tash, did you see anyone, hear anything..."

Tashtego weakly got to his feet, Crispian and Lexi helping him up. Opening his hand revealing a small blue piece of cloth, he said: "I have this... find the person who wears this and ye have me would be assassin."

Lexi's eyes froze at the substance. She knew what it was well. "Cloth... woolen cloth... this is to a collar of the robe... much like where mine was torn earlier today... even my same color..."

Tashtego visibly tried to shake the effects away. Crispian swallowed, turning to Lexi. "Lexi?"

Cranthor returned to his sewing, knowing nothing else can be done to help. "Let me know if I am needed."

Lexi turned to Crispian pleadingly. "I didnt do anything! Tash..." turning to tash. "What happened, what else did you find?" Tashtego tried to remember what there was when he was rolling on the floor. He finds a bronzed hilt wedged between his weapon haft to his mace. Lexi reached down to the bronzed hilt... her mark 'AA' on the hilt (ApolexiA). "This is one of mine..."

Tashtego looked to Lexi. "m'la...dy?"

"B... but... I didn't do this!" Lexi exclaimed. "A... a weapon, was there a weapon, tash..."

Tash tried to remember. His head still spinning. "Um... aye... there were."

"What did she use? If you can remember, much can be told about one by a weapon they use..." knowing this to be true, a weaponsmith by trade.

"The first blow hit me on the head..." Tashtego said, taking off his helmet.

Lexi looked confused. "It had to be a strong weapon to hit you that hard with a helmet on..."

Tashtego inspected the dent on the helmet. "Uh...the falt o a blade could do this aye, if it were a mace or hammer... ohhh me head... it... it would be much larger. Crispian?" turning to crispian.

"Aye brother?"

"At the gate, go, in me stupor, I left one o her weapons, can ye?"

Summoning Ardy and Lynis, two faithful companions, he sets his cloak in place. "We shall return. Lexi, don't leave."

Lexi nodded, taking the cloth to Tashtego's head, trying to calm him. Rhizzia walked in, worn from the day's ventures, immediatly looking to Tash and Lexi. "Whats happened?!" she exclaimed."

Lexi jumped up. "He was attacked ma'am!"

Rhizzia looked to Lexi, "By whom, do you know?"

Crispian walked in, answering Rhizzia's question. "She is under arrest, Rhizzia, for Assault, Poisoning, and possibly murder."

Lexi turned quickly to Crispian, not believing the words. "Im under... arrest?!"

Rhizzia stood firm, having given legal status over Lexi for a month, she felt it her duty. "Not until i hear what happened she goes no where."

Crispian walked over to Lexi holding out a Round shield and an Arcanium Scimitar. Crispian looked miserable... crushed... betrayed... but a beam of light shone from Lexi's eye. "Wait! You see! Im innocent! That shield was stolen from me you remember?!" thinking back to a week ago when all her shields were taken from Lord Urqhart's vault by some imposter.

"She is my responsibility...She stays here until she gets proper council..."

Crispian looks to Rhizzia, unable to look at Lexi. "Council?! She goes to the king!"

Lexi got behind Rhizzia. "But I didn't do this!"

Crispin clenched his jaw. "Rhizz, it's the law, we have no choice."

Lexi clutched Rhizzia by the arm, tears coming to her. "Please... I didn't do this!"

"No authorities... Until we figure this out... No one knows... If we cant figure it out then she can go to the king..." Rhizzia trying to remain firm for Lexi.

The Seneshal had had enough. "Sir Tashtego, Lady Rhizzia, need I remind you of the oaths you took from my hands?"

Tashtego looks to Lexi "Lexi, ye did this...I canna believe this.."

"I took no oath, my oath is to the church!" Rhizzia exclaimed.

Crispian scowled. "Rhizzia! You are a knight of the league!"

Lexi meanwhile was trying to plead with Tash, tears in her eyes. "Please... I didn't do this... I swear..."

Rhizzia looked to tashtego. "Can he prove SHE did it?"

"Though I may have taken yer Oath Brother Crispian, I canna see how whe could have done this ta me..." looking over to his sweet lexi...

Crispian glared at Tashtego and Rhizzia. "PROOF is not the matter here, evidence is!"

Cranthor finally spoke up from her sewing. "Is there an accusation? You must have one first before you can do anything."

Rhizzia and Lexi both said, "AYE!"

Tashtego was almost at a lost. "....Lady Rhizzia.... um.... there be the proof.... be it real or planted...."

Lexi gasped, continuing to hide behind Rhizzia. Rhizzia turned to Tashtego. "Tashtego... Look upon this poor innocent face and tell me she did this! Can you?!"

Lexi tried to put on her most brightest smile. Crispian immediatly glared at her. "Spare us the smiles, Lexi. They are oft used and of little effect!" Lexi's smile quickly vanished as Tashtego spoke.

"Lady Rhizzia, there are thins me and sweet lexi and shared together and tests I have given her....trust me when I tell you this, it not be her."

Rhizzia told Lexi to goto her room, that she wasn't helping any. Crispian turned to Ardy, "Follow her, she IS under arrest."

Rhizzia hearing this called Lexi back down. "Crispian's right... you don't have permission... but..."

Crispian's eyes narrowed. "BUT?"

"Come here." Rhizzia spoke. Whispering to Lexi that she should leave quickly seeking the confines of the church... Lexi shook her head, knowing to run from this wouldn't help any. Then, Tashtego called her over to him.

"I can solve this I believe..." he said.

"Please sir Tash." Crispian spoke.

Lexi walked over to Tash. "You trust me right?" he spoke. Lexi nodded. "Then sit down here where I can see your neck."

Lexi sat down, but then looked to Tash. "But my robe was ripped earlier! I swear! Thas why its ripped!"

"Aye, I not be interested in yer clothin sweet Lexi..." looking to the back of her neck, not finding a scratch.

Crispian beckoned to Rhizzia. "Go get your sacred scrolls Rhizz."

Rhizzia left the guild hall, doing as she was told. "Crispian..." Tash began to speak.

Crispian turns on his knight. "Hold your tongue good Sir! We shall await Rhizzia!" turning to Cranthor. "Cranthor, can you fetch me a robe suitable to lady Lexi?" Tashtego looked hurt and a little angered at this attack by his Brother and friend but says nothing. "Open collared please."

Cranthor nodded, leaving the room she comes back a moment later with the desired robe. "Here mi'lord."

Rhizzia came back in with her sacred texts and thrusts them at Crispian in anger. Crispian held his hands back. "Hold them for a moment." Handing the robe to Lexi. "Go change into this."

Lexi looked around the room. "Milord, can I go upstairs to change please?"

Crispian nodded, then looked to Lynis. "She will accompany you upstairs, now go." Going upstairs with Lynis she changed into the new robe, then coming back handed the other to Crispian.

Crispian turned to Rhizzia. "Rhizzia, for this act, I free of you of pledges to the League and ask you act as a witness of the church, will you?" Rhizzia nodded. "Sir Tashtego, please take holy scripture in your hands..." drawing his sword.

Tashtego takes the scripture. "What is this for?"

Crispian holds his sword cross-styled to Tash. "I ask you to swear now by this holy text, and by the relic in my blade, that you will speak no falsehood on forfiet of your life and soul. Do you so pledge?"

Tash looked confused, but spoke anyhow. "Yes, I pledge it. I pledge to tell the truth my brother Crispian... as I have always done in the past..." he added.

Crispian called over Lexi. "Lexi, show me your neck.

"Yes Milord." walking over to crispian arching her neck down to reveal the back of it. Crispian looked at the unmarred skin.

"Sir Tashtego, would this be the neck of one you violently ripped the cowl of a robe from?"

"It appears ta be yes..." Lexi frowning at this.

"Lexi, please take this." hefting the scimitar to her. Lexi handled the blade easily enough, having worked in arcanium she was familiar with it, and the curve of a scimitar not being much different from the curve of her jambiyas or sabre. Crispian sighed. "Hand it back please." Lexi did as she was told. "Arrest her." he said in a cold voice.

Tashtego couldn't believe what had happened. "Wait! I know she did not do this!" he exclaimed.

Crispian fixed him with a dead stare. "And why is that?"

Tashtego looked at Crispian unfliching. "Because I hit me assailant heavily with't me mace usin me skullnreaker style. No one could have walked away from it withou a serious bruise! I am sworn ta tell the truth as I saw it."

Crispian nodded. He could not go against the word of his knight, especially after swearing to be truthful. "Very well, then. Lacking MORE evidence, I place her in YOUR custody, Sir Tashtego."

Tash got to his feet. "I thankee me good and noble Brother Crispian." Takeing him in a brothers embrace.

Crispian claps Tash on the shoulder. "Now please, let us set this aside until the morrow. We all should rest."

"...and I shall piece this puzzle together, this I swear ta ye me good Brother Crispian."

Rhizzia and Crispian both headed to their quarters, then Lexi remembered something, and went to Tash. "Wait Tash, did you find anything at Humberton?"

"Aye, I did..... I found a most peculiar substance in the pottery... a crystallin substance... I tested it and it nearly took me head off in the explosion."

"Where is it?"

Tashtego searches his person noticin the missin pouch. Lexi threw her hands up in the air. "It....it was here.....the assailant..."

"Great... now I still have no proof I didn't do this... thank you though Tash..." reaching up kissing him on the cheek. "Though it looks like I'll be sleeping in your quarters for awhile, I'll move my stuff there before I goto sleep. Night!"

Tash smiled. "Good night my sweet Lexi, I shall be up there soon."

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump till tomorrow

 

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Grinning from ear to ear, Azi skipped lightly down the ramp of Lethantis. She turned yet again and looked up to the tower window, waving and smiling at Ascot, whose lithe form shifted in the flickering lamplight as he waved back.

She gave the stable boy twice the fare for a horse and mounted gracefully, pulling her cloak around her as the chill wind whistled past. It had been such a pleasant supper, a well-needed break from her sister's antics. She had felt guilty at first for slipping away unannounced, but it had been worth it in the end.

They had talked about many things, Lexi, D'vena, and then Arcalan. Ascot, in his wisdom, had given her insight to a few things that hadn't occurred to her, and now she had a few things to keep alert to. Time would answer questions, she knew. She brushed her finger over her lips, still feeling his kiss there, and smiled.

 

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Hecathia 
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Hecathia looked about for Arcalan... 'It appears that witch is away for awhile...' she said to herself. Sitting down she writes on a scroll.

'To Arcalan Hemlos:

I know you are playing a ruse, your niceness is not who you really are. I have saved you from the others finding out, for I have the proof they needed of linking you to the explosion at Humberton. I need to speak with you, immediatly. I am running out of time and I feel without your help the others will know that it was I who attacked Tashtego that night. You can turn in this note to the others, though remember, I still have your shards that caused the explosion. Turn me in, and your ruse will fall as well.

We are not enemies... and I hope to know more about you, we may have more things in common than you think.

Might the goddess grant you protection.

Hecathia Daiga'

Wrapping up the scroll, sealing it tightly, she walks into the guild hall, dropping it into Arcalan's office, then walks out before anyone ever knew she was there.

'It is time to decide Arcalan. Do not disappoint me...'

 

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((Arcalan has an OFFICE? hmmmm....))

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Evaeach 
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((This might go deeper then even you know Crispian!))

 

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Hecathia 
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(( Arcalan is an officer... so I made him one ))

 

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((Crispian doesn't even have an Office!))

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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{old}Basaia 
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The old man leaned back against a settlement of tattered bags of grain along the dock. The sun cast a beautiful light across the waters of Llyn Barfog, the Bearded Lake.

Tiny ripples maade their way to shore as Basaia's line was tripped; he began to smile toothlessly as the bamboo stick bent into the waters. He raised to his feet, grasping the old fishing pole along the docks and tried with all of his might in his seventy-seventh year of age to reel in the lake trout, its scales glistening along the crest of the clear waters.

"Got'che na'!"

 

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Toorc 
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((Woot! an old rp face gracing my thread! Many thanks!))

Arcalan Hemlos was not best pleased.
Her day had been going well, for she'd discovered a few people at the forge only too willing to speak of Apolexia, especially since Arcalan was going to help Lexi...

Many in the League were worried that Tashtego had taken off for a few days leaving only a note, and still others were welcoming the recouperating Tannir, and Aceramar the infiltraitor. They had been victims of D'Vena out in Snowdonia, and they had both nearly perished in the harsh snows.
Arcalan had returned and quietly made her way into her room, and adjoining office. Her popularity in the league was on the rise again as more acts of generosity showed her repentant self to be true.
She was not pleased however to discover someone had been here. Scanning the scroll Hecathia had left, her temper worsened. Arcalan had indeed planted a few explosive shards into the clay lexi would be using, in order to ensure the little whelp was in as much hot water as possible. Next to Azi, Lexi was the only real threat in the League, and only then because she believed Azi. Arcalan knew that Azaeli could see through her disguise, her facade of noble repentance... but how?

Rereading the scroll Arcalan could smell the fear in Hecathia's soul. Her powers were sharpening themselves every day, attuning themselves to the powers of the spirit. Hecathia stood to lose far more here she knew. Plus the girl had the audacity to imply a threat. Arcalan smiled at her bare faced cheek, and decided it would buy a little more time for her, she would indeed help her.
She secreted the scroll away so no one would chance upon it, and began to weave her own message. Instead of a mere letter she thought it best to let hecathia know who she was dealing with. Arcalan emptied a smooth golem stone taken from a dead telamon from out of her rucksack, and began to work her magic upon it. Finally it was ready.

Arcalan left her message for Hecathia, and once more failing to catch the ever busy Seneschal Crispian, made her way out of the League Hall. The Feast of the Saint was tommorow, most important day of the league each year, honouring their namesake, and his Martyrdom for the faith. It gave Arcalan an attack of bile to even think of these folks inane celebrations. She'd escape it on grounds of her own worthlessness after D'vena and on seeking to attone by trying to "help" Lexi. Arcalan readied a steed and set out for Llyn Barfog. Time to seek out the mysterious Grandfather, and the truth behind Apolexia.

______________________________

That night Hecathia slipped into her bedchamber and secured her door. No word from that witch Arcalan yet, which meant she may have to do something drastic. She made her offering to the godess, before slipping into bed, a slender dagger under her pillow as insurance...
sleep closed in on her.
Suddenly she was jolted awake with a tremendous force pressing on her chest. Her eyes flicked open to see a massive Golem pinning her with it's hand to the bed. Above it the sky was visible, shimmering grey and white. Clouds raced over the sky like skimming stones across the water, and the whole place seemed surreal and unnatural.. where was she?
Arcalan leant over her pinned form as she struggled to free herself.
"Good evening Hecathia" spoke the grey-white image of Arcalan. "It seemed you wanted to speak with me" a cruel smile lit up Arcalan's face as she said it.
"Release me!" Hecathia heard herself say, but it was far off and dreamlike, not her voice at all.
"Don't struggle Hecathia, it's utterly futile" Arcalan warned. In the distance the sun, or perhaps moon seemed to slip aross the sky, leaving a wake like a boat in the water. "You made the mistake of phrasing a threat to me in order to enlist my aid. You won't be doing that again." Arcalan leaned closer to ensure Hecathia's eyes registered understanding. "You do, however, interest me. I will lend you my aid, and you will dispose of the crystals you took from Tashtego. I will ensure you are not discovered, and you... you will tell me everything. That is my offer Hecathia, and I advise you to accept it. If I were to reveal my true nature to the League, then I wouldn't hesitate to unveil to them EXACTLY what I am capable of.. and I'd need an example" she looked at Hecathia with power crazed eyes, seemingly toying with a hideous idea.
"Now Hecathia.. tell me what it is you ask of me"
The silver moon set again on the horizon, and threw brilliant watery beams over the surface of the gigantic simulacrum. Hecathia thought careful, and then spoke:

 

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Hecathia 
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Hecathia found herself pinned under the force of this golem. Dream or reality? She could not tell... though she knew one thing was for certain, she wanted to talk to Arcalan and here he was. She looked up to the moon, her goddess' symbol... drawing strength from it she found herself able to speak.

"What do I want? I shall tell you what I want. I want that girl's head on a stick! You know who I refer to, because of her I was banished from this land! I also seek something you already have... power... the power I have but more than this power Hecate has given me!" Ilara's eyes flashed, the power she once had once again rose to her fingertips, the power of her dark goddess... lightning bolts streamed out of Ilara's eyes up at Arcalan.

Arcalan laughed, with one wave of his hand he sent the bolts flying in different directions. "Ah, so you seem to not be as utterly weak as I thought you to be... but no matter. Your power is nothing to mine Hecathia, I shall ask you again, for the last time. Tell me what it is you ask of me."

Hecathia looked up to Arcalan. Her powers were unmatched to his. Stopping her struggle, she spoke truthfully. "I seek the power my father had. The power to rule. Whether it be slaves, or servants, I seek control. I seek power, and I also seek vengeance... on Apolexia. Do not decieve my twenty years of age as a weakness Arcalan, I may be young but I know what I want...."

The golem vanished, Arcalan vanished. Ilara jumped up from her bed at the room in the tavern. She looked around, no golem, no Arcalan. She looked to the walls of her room, on them was a message written in a blaze of light: "Dispose of the crystals first." As she read it the message disappeared and another appeared. "Do not harm the girl until I say otherwise." The message disappeared again and another appeared. "Disobey me and you shall surely die." It faded another reappearing. "Obey me and you shall get what you seek." The line faded, but no more appeared. The room grew dark again, and she was left in the room alone. She felt under her pillow... a smooth round stone, picking it up another light message appeared then disappeared as she read it. "Remember, *I* am in control."

Ilara flipped the stone up catching it in her hand and smiled. "Give me what I want Arcalan, and I shall follow..." reaching over to her armor she changed into it and walked down to the main part of the tavern. A loud crowd was there drinking the night away, Ilara ignored them all walking to the fireplace. Getting out the pouch she had taken from Tashtego, she threw it into the fire. The magics dispersed, the gems grew bright red but then flickered into nothingness. Waiting till each one had been burnt away, she then walked back to her room, pocketing the now plain golem stone. Taking off her armor, she once again found her sleep...

 

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Toorc 
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((Arcalan is a she. Lexi just has some kind of mental block on this issue, but ARCALAN IS FEMALE!))

 

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Ilara awoke the next morn to a surprise. A note was left for her, it was from Arcalan, with a small pouch next to the note. She unfurled the note and read:

Hecathia, I will be gone for a few days on some matters I need to look into. I said I would solve your problems with Tashtego, but I need you to prove yourself to me to do this. In the small pouch is a stone, much alike the one you found underneath your pillow last night. The stone works only once, so make sure you do not fail. The first one that touches the stone will remember nothing about you except your name, and you are in the league. Use this to clear Tashtego's mind. The magic is irreversible. So I hope I do not need to tell you to not touch it yourself... - Arcalan Hemlos

Ilara looked to the small pouch next to her. Picking it up finding the stone, she left it in the pouch, secreting it away in the folds of the robe, hurrying off to the guild hall. She had heard Tashtego had left mysteriously for a few days, but she also knew if she followed around Azaeli enough, she might find a clue. Then it came, Azaeli writing a note, giving it to her squire-girl Emlae to deliver to Tashtego, and she overheard where he was. But how to get him to touch the stone?

Ilara got out a letter of her own, taking great care to not touch the stone dropped it inside, then sneaking into the Hammerfel home, sealed it with Azaeli's seal. Ilara smiled. It would be simple. Walk up to Tashtego, infuriate him, flee as he runs at her to draw his mace, drop the note as she flees, and then Tash would touch the stone. She made her way around past the great bridge of Ludlow, and headed along the riverbed finding Tash in waiting.

'Let's have some fun first...' Ilara thought. Drawing the power of her goddess, she sent a lightning bolt up the hill, knocking down a boulder to Tashtego. Tash hearing the rock come tumbling down turned quickly, bashing it to the side with his shield. He looked around, a clear day yet a boulder comes flying down the hill? Ilara stepped out of the shadows, and he knew what happened.

Just the other day, with Tashtego, Azaeli, Apolexia, and a couple others, Lexi had told all she knew about Ilara. It was Azaeli who theorized that Hecathia *IS* Ilara, both being Greek it made sense. Examining the cloth even more closely than before that Tash had ripped off from his assailant's collar, they found a black strain of hair, not brown like Lexi's. So now, on this hill, Tash had every reason to believe it was her that had attacked her.

"WHAT DO YE WANT WITCH! GET AWAY FROM ME! I DIN ASK YE HERE SO LEAVE!" already angered by whatever had caused him to leave the guild hall. Ilara decided to put her plan into action. Extending her hand to Tashtego, shooting out a bolt of lightning from her fingertips surprising him. The lightning was deflected as it hit his shield, causing him to fall back a step. Fire was seen in his eyes. "OH NOW YE *&^#@ WILL DIE!"

Ilara shot another bolt of lightning, her plan working so far and smiled. "Oh you are no match for me."

Tash seeing the second bolt come out once again deflected it with his shield and moved over to Ilara. 'Yes, rush me you fool, draw your mace and while you do, I shall disappear...' but Ilara's plan did not account for what Tash did. Burning with rage, Tash forgot about his mace and went straight for Ilara. "WE SHALL SEE WITCH!" Tash threw all his strength as he lunged to tackle Ilara. Ilara completly caught by surprise rushed to draw her blade, but Tash had grabbed her sword arm as he tackled her. On the ground, Tash was a hardened warrior, a veteran in the fields. Ilara panic'd, but did not know what to do, her plan had failed. Tash was under full control, slamming his fist into Ilara's face, hitting her against the beach. Ilara did what she only thought she could do, and feigned unconsciousness. But Tash was out for blood, and this had little affect.

"Oh no, I not be that stupid." Tash says, as he drives the shield down directly at her leg, the blow shatters all her bones in her knee, as she cries out in pain and horror. The note that she had meant to use now flipped out of her armor onto the beach, but Tash had not seen it, and he continued his attack. In panic Ilara tried to grab her blade again, but Tash with his mace swung at her weapon hand, sending the blade flying into the river's depths. Tash got up, drawing his mace again. Ilara tried to move, but could not, her leg completly shattered. Drawing up his mace again, he swung it low at Hecathia, launching her into the air three feet before landing just short of the riverbed. Tash walked over to Hecathia, grabbing her by the hair lifting her up, her helmet having been thrown off her earlier. "DIE YOU WITCH!" as he takes her head over his knee, a skull-shattering noise heard for almost a mile around. Blood sputtered from her head, her mouth, the pain overwhelming she blanks out of consciousness. Tash with her hair still in his hands walks over to the river, and dunks her head into it, holding it down. Picking up Ilara again, he then tossed her into the river like a rag doll, then settled back down to the beach. "I DON NEED ANYMORE FROM THE LIKES A YOU WITCH!"

Ilara lay unmotionless, sinking into the water. Tash looked down at the letter, ready to throw it into the ocean he stopped, his lady Azaeli's mark on it. Opening up the letter finding a stone, he pauses. "This be more of that witch's magic, I'll hurl this stone into the ocean!" grabbing the stone ready to do just that... the stone resonates with its magic. Tashtego throws the stone into the ocean, the note falling un-noticed into the river.

Tash looked up, his eyes catching Hecathia sinking into the river. "No what the..." in shock as he dives into the river, pulling her out, the stone's powers taking its affect, causing Tash to forget about something that even happened one minute ago. Laying Hecathia on the river bed, he shakes her lightly. "Hecathia? HECATHIA?!" Ilara's blood streamed from her mouth and forehead, not moving, her leg dangling as if not even attached to her body. "Um... what do I do... how did she get here..." having come out to the river to avoid the league for awhile. "ARGHHH, what is this....I am NOT READT TA GO BACK TA THE GUILD!" Tash sighed deeply. "She is a friend..." Tash picking her up, noticing her leg dangling oddly, carrying her back to Camelot.

Tash kicked open the guild hall doors, "HELP!" he cried out, carrying Hecathia over to rest upon the Master Table. There was not many people in the hall. Crispian had taken to sleep, as had Azaeli. Dracarn was missing. Rhizzia was out hunting. Tobyas had disappeared. The others of the league had apparently either fell asleep, or were still out training or defending. The only two in the hall was an inexperienced cleric named Sergen, who immediatly jumped up from his work at Tash's cry for help. The other a more experienced cleric named Hamoul, ignored the scene, getting back to his book. Sergen got up, began to look over her wounds, asking what had happened.

Tash looks totally confused and almost out of breath from the long run from half way to Snowdonia. "I don know...I NEED HELP!"

Heathyr, a friar of the league, hearing the commotion from outside entered the guild hall. In a calm state, asked Tash not to panic. "Sergen, why don't you see to Tash, I'll take care of her..."

Tash looks at his hands like they be useless for this. "WHERE IS EVERYONE?!"

Sergen started to add some compressives to stop the bleeding then turned to Tash as Heathyr had instructed. Sergen pointed to the chair, telling him to sit down. "Tash, are you injured? Were you attacked?" Heathyr suddenly stopped tending to Hecathia as this question was asked, looking to Tash for a response.

"No, I was just sitting there, then I saw her floating in the water. HELP HER!"

Apparently that was what Heathyr had wished to hear, and began work on trying to treat Hecathia once again.

"Where were you headed Tash?" Sergen continued to ask.

"Headed?! AWAY FER AWHILE!" still upset and very confused.

Heathyr stood back from Hecathia, casting her healing spell on her. The blue lights flickered about Hecathia, but nothing happened. "Hmmm... odd. That should have worked. We'll need someone's help who knows more than I."

Tash looks aroun for anybody but at the same time not wanting to be there. "Where is Azaeli? Lexi? Crispian? ANYONE?!"

"Can ye do anything Heathyr?" Tash asked.

"My heal should have worked... I don't understand it..."

"Milord, maybe a drink would help..." Sergen asked him.

Tash clasps his head in his heads tryin to get hold of himself. "NO! I DON need a drink thank you!"

"Tash, take her up to a room. We'll keep her warm while we try to get more help." Heathyr suggested.

"I do not wan ta move her, the run o'er here I'm sure did not help her condition."

"NOW Tash! A warm room with no drafts. MOVE!"

"She shall stay right here fer now...any wrong movement could do more harm than good!" he tried to explain, Sergen meanwhile coming back into the hall with some blankets, being careful to not move her as he warms her up.

Tash sighs heavily trying to. relax. "I'm sorry Heathyr, and thankee Sergen..."

"Keep her warm, quiet, and send someone to the temple. My heals should work, something is preventing it." she pondered.

"I shall goto the church and fetch whoever I can." Tash said, bolting out of the room.

Heathyr turned to Sergen, "Don't move her if you can, keep her warm. I must retire to my room, I am no help exhausted." figuring why the heals must not've worked.

"I shall watch over her, do not worry." showing a smile as if he has everything under control.

Heathyr smiled back to him, and got up to head to her bed. Arriving moments later was Tash almost dragging a Master Healer into the room. The Master Healer looks to Hecathia lying on the table, and holds his hand over hers channeling his energies. Hecathia didn't respond. The Healer looked quizzicly at Hecathia, and tries again with a much more powerful spell. Once again, Hecathia doesn't respond to his energies. "I..I..this can not be.." he says in confusion, trying one last time, still getting no response from her.

Tash tried to explain to sergen as the healer worked his powers. "I do not know Sergen...I mean her leg literally be broke in two.. and her spine I fear is broke in two and shattered.." his voice trailing off. Sergen the cleric almost losing his lunch at this description.

The healer looked to Tash shaking his head. "I am sorry me friend... she is beyond me power ta help... but somethin it wrong... I must confer with me Elders on this..." quickly leaving back to his church.

Sergen adds another blanket to her, trying to cradle her head. Tash looks around uneasily. "Um... I... this not be right... I..." stopping to calm down. "I need ta find a room for her..."

Sergen said a prayer. "If her back is injured, we should leave her here."

"Sergen, how strong be ye...? Can ye help me lift this master table up ta me own room up those stairs?"

Sergen blesses himself and Tash with strength. "We can try, I got this end."

The two men put thier back into moving the massive table, moving it very slowly up the stairs, and into Tashtego's room. "She can rest here, thankee me friend."

Sergen walked past Tash and sat down praying next to her, "I shall watch her."

"Thankee again..."

 

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His slumber was awoken with the morning mist of Barfog; the light of day broke over his encampment.

The old man gave a wide yawn, his gums and tongue covered in a thin layer of slime from his rest. Wiping away the crust beneath his eyes, he stretched his old bones out along the somewhat comforts of the leafy ground he had slept on the night before.

Reaching for a silver flask buried beneath his robes, he took a long pull from the strong spirits contained within. Swallowing the Cotswoldian concoction, he rose to his feet. The alchohol had given his a sense of renewed vigor as he stood strong, looking to his lower parts, naked in the mist of the morning...however, it quickly caught up with him as he began to wheeze incessantly, falling to his knees.

"Seventy-seven wint'rs old na," he coughed to himself 'an' I kin still stand at atten'chun in the m'arnin', hah!"

Finishing his morning routine, he gathered his things and made again for the docks along Barfog.

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump

 

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Hecathia 
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Hecathia lay there unmoving. Sergen walked into the room, checking on a fellow leaguer. Re-applying new blankets and cloth he smiled. "You've made it through the night, now just sleep, you'll be up soon."

 

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Toorc 
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Arcalan rode hard the first day, wanting to cover as much ground as possible. Far behind her in the night the Feast day of St. Crispin would be moving into it's night-time revels as she slowed the horse. Unable to travel further by night she stopped and made camp at a tower in the mountains, not far from Tepok's mine.
A quick supper was had, before she slipped up into the goblin's vantage point and made for the mine. Overseer Tepok would have a visitor tonight. If all was well, he may even see tommorow.
Her mind wandered to the simple amnesia stone she had created and Hecathia's adventures, for she was certain that rogue may take much attention onto herself, and away from Arcalan. Yes, this time was best, and she could be sure Jashen wouldn't be trailing her up to the mine. The amnesia really wasn't that hard to do.. her Master knew sorcery as well as any alive today, and surpassed any in cabbalah. She yearned for his vast knowledge, and took delight in his instruction, yet practicing amnesia herself she'd met with little success.

She entered the goblin camp above the mine with open contempt for them. They carried word to their master Grillik, but none would confront her openly. Suddenly one broke off and made it's way out to her, strutting and working itself up for a confrontation. A welsh hobgoblin, stronger by far than it's kinfolk here.
In broken English it yelled "Starp! Wha' be your biz-ness" it's hand was reaching for a scimitar by it's side, and it's gruesome face clearly showed it had treachery in mind.
With a word Arcalan dropped it to the ground, mystic threads wrapping around the creature, tangling it's moement. Five other goblins rushed forward but stopped as she looked up at them, and kept a defensive stance with their spears. Arcalan motioned and filled the night with blazing energies, which formed into the shape of a huge man, immense but crudely shapen. Sappy the golem stood over the snarling Welsh Hobgoblin and then stamped one heavy foot down upon it. A glowing mist streamed from the goblin as it's yell was stifled, and Sappy soaked up it's revitalizing life energy.
Arcalan flashed a smile at the goblins still watching her warily. Tepok would know she was coming. She hoped he wouldn't try to cross her, but if he did... well, that could turn out to be a lot of fun too...

She descended into the mine. Llyn Barfog would be her destination tommorow.

 

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Toorc 
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As dawn graced the new day Arcalan Hemlos rode back towards Camelot. That foolish gremlin-spawn Tepok was short on the Arcanium he needed to extract from the mines, and Arcalan would have to see to it thatsome could be diverted from the amiths of Camelot. Her journey to Barfog would have to be postponed again, and this soured her mood further.
Returning to the Legaue Halls at early next eve she found Tashtego and Kanna, Azi's cousine, deep in conversation. She pulled a chair along side them, to see how the Feast day had gone.
They regaled her with tales of merriment, and the wedding of Rhizzia and Dracarn of the League, and again the merrymaking to be had there. Tashtego all the while looked worried. Arcalan pried to find out what ailed him, and at last he spoke of his short recent journey to save Azaeli from the clutches of trolls. His face darkened with anger as he spoke of the invaders, and it was clear it had been a hard fought battle. His own power had been called upon, for though he was an armsman, his tribe posessed ancient magics now lost to the Academy. His was among the rarest gifts, the gift of Heart, a power to heal others.
His power had been sorely tested in helping Azi, and Arcalan overdid the feigned horror to mask her anger that Tashtego had saved this meddling wench. It seems young Apolexia had been in trouble again too. The feast had been a lively day, and left a lot in it's wake...

Finally Tashtego moved onto the tale of Hecathia, whom he'd found broken and bleeding, floating downstream. When he told her of this Arcalan asked to see her immeadiately.
"Ye ha'e my permission, she's restin' in my room, but to be hon'st I know not if she e'en lives" he said bluntly.
Kanna was still merry from the mead she'd consumed, but she accompanied Arcalan and Tashtego to see the resting Hecathia.

Her wounds were severe. She lay stretched on the table Tashtego and Sergen had carried up to Tash's room, and her blood was clotted in sticky lumps on her forehead. After much examination of her wounds Arcalan decided to gamble by telling them she'd live, but may ntot awaken. It was true her head was badly hurt, and bones had begun to heal at odd angles. It'd take a healer to ensure that she would ever walk again. Her back had been near snapped in half above the pelvis, and Arcalan was no stranger to beatings and their effects. Battle and her own childhood had taught her a little.

A heavy burden lay on Tashtego. He desperately wanted to call on his gift of Heart again, but feared the strain it's invokation would cause so soon. Eventually Arcalan and Kanna persuaded him to rest a day.
"Aye verra well, I'llget tae ma tent then" he agreed
"You'll do no such thing" countered Arcalan seeing an oppertunity "You'll sleep in my chamber, I'll watch over Hecathia"
As they argued over this she began to bath hecathia's wounds. She knew that the reason the prayers of Christian clerics did her no good was because she was a child of another religion, a priestess no less. Eventually Tashtego gave in.

((More to follow but it's 2am! More tommorow))

 

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Toorc 
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Arcalan tidied a few things out of sight in her room. She paused over taking down the massive and ancient banner on one wall, and decided to leave it. It was only a mere hint of her Master's presence after all, and she didn't credit Tashtego as that much of a scholar.
Before she left the room she set a small cone of incense bruning in a small brass holder in the corner. It would give off a pleasing oder, but would also drug the sleep of Tashtego. It'd take hours to burn completely, and those hours wold be well spent by Arcalan.

She moved out of her room and called to Tashtego that all was ready for him, before she moved into his own chamber. He'd recently moved Apolexia's things into this room, to watch over her. Now Arcalan would have a whole night to rifle through both his posessions and Lexi's. Hecathia had unwittingly aided Arcalan much more than she would have conscious.
A glance at the comatose body assured Arcalan that short of Tashtego's powers that girl wouldn't be waking up. Her mind was deep down in the pits of sleep, where no normal traveller reaches in their nightly wanderings. It was a sleep that rest alone would not break.

The eve passed on, and Arcalan secured the door just in case. Tashtego would be the only one to come into his private chambers, but she was sure he would be sound asleep by now, and wouldn't wake till late next morn.

The moonlight streamed in through the window, and the League Hall was silent save for a crackling fire in the grate. The subdued night air of Camelot drifted gently through the rooms, and the League were all abed or else far from home.


She began methodically searching the posessions of Apolexia one by one, seeking more about her Grandfather. This would surely turn up something...
As her hand closed around a leather pouch hidden in a deep recess of Lexi's clothes chest, Arcalan smiled. She knew she'd found what she was looking for, and tipped out the contents of the pouch into her hand.

 

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Toorc 
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/sad widdle self bump sad

 

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Apolexia 
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(( sorry arc =) ))

Lexi wandered the streets of the city for a bit, thinking about the past few days. When Tashtego and her sister azaeli said they thought the best thing for her was to leave her alone and not see her, she fell into a huge depression... actually trying to kill herself twice, and even murdering an old woman named Bethsaida, though she had been called back. She feared being alone... but now she realized she wasn't left alone, she was just given the chance to be more independant. Even still... she realized that she still had to tend to the cleric Rhizzia for another few weeks, so she walked up to Tash's room to move her stuff.

Grabbing her stuff, she realized something seemed wrong. Reaching into her clothes, she knew what it was. She had been learning how to write just recently, her sister tutoring her closely. Once she had learned how to write, she had decided to first put into writing what's led her to these moments. Her life as she knew it, drawing on the information that her cousin Anikka had told her, the information her grandfather Basaia had told her, the information she had gotten while talking to the citizens of Caer Ulfwych... but the small book she kept in one of her pouches was gone...

Lexi then sighed in relief, she knew it was a good idea to lock her book up. The key was something she knew she would never lose. She had fashioned the pendant Azaeli had given her into a small key, which she always wore around her neck. Just to make sure, Lexi checked her neck... but her neck was bare. Panicing, she looked around the floor, but nothing... she looked all over the room, nothing... Then she remembered...

The night Tash was attacked she was told to change robes by Crispian. The small necklace could have gotten tangled in the robe. She looked to the sky, it was getting dark. 'Who else could know?' she asked herself, looking to the girl on the table. 'Wow, you do look alot like Ilara, if you weren't unconscious, I could've swore you had taken it.' Lexi giggled. 'Nah, just in those other robes. I'll get it back in the morning.' Grabbing her stuff, Lexi left the room, closing the door behind her.

 

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Hecathia 
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'Ilara... Ilara... Ilara...' the name echoed through her mind. She saw nothing but darkness, but the voice seemed to call on her... 'Ilara... Ilara... Ilara...' she knew that voice... that was that girl Apolexia that had caused her so much trouble, the one that had alerted the guild about her and her murder attempt on the one named Silkhands...

She tried to open her eyes, but she couldn't. She found herself not even breathing, she was just existing. Then she saw something, the moon. She was on it, looking around, seeing a figure in a cloak. 'You are not done yet my servant, and although your wounds may never heal right, you can still do much...' The voice was colder than the snow of Snowdonia. The voice was high-pitched, as a banshee's. Ilara froze in terror at the figure. 'W, who are you?' finally finding the words. 'I am that which you seek. I am one that has power, and is willing to give it. You have proven to be faithful, and I shall restore you.' Ilara gathered her wits about her, smiling to the figure, knowing that she was in the presence of her Goddess Hecate. 'Let it be done, and I shall not fail you my Goddess.' The goddess of the moon, witchcraft, and the underworld looked at her. Ilara felt as if she was seeing through her, but said nothing. 'Remember child, if you do fail me, you shall regret it for all eternity... now GO!' speaking go Ilara felt the vision dissipate. She could hear Apolexia speaking to her, but she kept her eyes closed, saying nothing, and then Apolexia left the room.

Ilara opened her eyes, and went to stand on the table, but the pain in her head forced her back. The pain was horrendous, she could barely stay awake. She looked over across the table to a small desk, Tash's writing area. She had to get a message to Arcalan somehow. She forced herself off the table, getting to her feet she fell forward, her leg giving no support. She had to bite her lip hard, causing blood to come off it, in order to not scream in agony. She held her leg with both her hands, she could not feel it at all. It felt as if it wasn't even there, possibly shattered in pieces. She was surprised she could even move at all, it appears her back had healed, but the pain in her head was giving her problems. Crawling over to the desk, she pulled out a scroll and wrote:

'Arcalan. That which you seek is in the folds of her old robes, that Crispian has, I heard Apolexia mention it to me.'

Rolling up the scroll, she crawled to the door of the room and looked out. No one was around, the hall was quiet. Crawling downstairs, and over to Arcalan's room seemed to have taken hours, but she was able to deliver the scroll to Arcalan's room. Noticing Tash in the corner she panic'd, but then seeing him out like a light, she sighed in relief. Crawling over to Arcalan's study, she had a bad feeling. She looked around, then saw Arcalan bending her knee's looking directly at her.

"Hm... you awoke. Now that is interesting. More interesting is that you are crawling about my room in the middle of the night... would you care to tell me why?" her eyes looking as cold as the eyes of her goddess. Looking over, she saw the small book that Apolexia must've referred to. Arcalan had apparently not found a way to open it yet. The lock being made from pieces of the pendant, the pendant given to Azaeli when she first entered the church... the holy powers hidden inside it must be preventing her from breaking the lock. "Th.. th... oll..." she tried to speak, but her head not letting the words come to her, passing out in front of Arcalan due to weariness and extreme pain, the scroll in her hand falling loose on the floor...

 

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Toorc 
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A stone hand swiftly caught the limp form of Hecathia, even as a flesh hand wrapped around the scroll.
The golem servant moved with amazing agility for it's form and bulk, and scooped Hecathia up into it's arms. Arcalan meanwhile unfurled the scroll and read it.
A long time seemed to pass before she decided what must be done. Hecathia was proving too faithful to let her die, and besides, Arcalan had promised to watch over her. Tashtego's powers would seemingly be unneeded since Hecathia was awake, but the damage seemed irreperable by the priests of the Nailed One. Arcalan smiled, knowing that friars and clerics were not the only ones who could mend flesh and bone.

Taking Hectahia back to Tashtego's chamber she lay her again on the master table. She was too intent to notice the removal of some of Apolexia's objects from the room. Her mind worked furiously at her most recently acquired skill, and she drew deep from within herself. Arcalan felt pain and weakness flood her body as her life force ebbed away from her. She almost swooned at the strain, but she was stronger than Hecathia, and the process wasn't as long as she feared.
On the table Hecathia's body twitched as wounds knit together, and bones realigned in the shape they once held. The life-force of Arcalan was transferred to cure her, in a process much the same as a lifetap stealing vitality to heal the caster. Arcalan had studied well, and her teacher was the greatest in the world. Hecathia's eyes fluttered open as Arcaln sunk into a chair, temporarily exhausted by the effort. Her Golem servant stood close by, for even in this moment Arcalan feared treachery in her weak state.

Her mind was bent upon Crispian Pontiff, who had been almost avoiding her of late. She hadn't laid eyes on him since he slew D'Vean, and she could not help but think that was deliberate. She was still pondering how to get that key from him when Hecathia sat upright, her eyes blazing with renewed vigour.
Surely, thought Hecathia, the goddess has led me to this woman for a reason.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Crispian surveyed the dispatches and reports his agents had placed in his hands. So many thought they could do so much without observation, without detection. He tapped a rolled scroll against his lips as he frowned.

The League was his first concern. Always. His first love, his passion, even beyond Albion, but not by much there. He considered all he was learning and smirked. Some people had so much to learn that a campaign or two could teach, but petty little back alley politics and deciets never could.

He sat down at his desk and issued forth replies he would deliver himself later. The hardest one would take him somewhere he needed to go anyhow, Emain Macha.

Slinging his cloak over his shoulders and fastening it to the heavy metal rings on his breastplate, he slipped down the back stairwell of the League hall and out into the brisk Camelot day.

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Toorc 
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Deep in the heart of the earth Toorc sighed.
The demonic babble around him was driving him to the brink of madness, yet it seemed the Grand Summoner Govannon listened to them and by their hideous noises could make out what was happening in the world above him.
Daily it seemd his army of the dead grew stronger, and it was only a matter of time before the surface world would be his to control. Toorc was certain he'd have to escape but he'd not seen any penetrate this far into the Summoner's Hall before.

He swung from the ceiling in a cage his magics could not bend to his will, and thought hard upon the League. the feast day of the saint must be approaching, by his reckoning of time, though it was hard to say how long he'd been a captive. He assumed he was thought to be dead. No, no rescuer would come to his aid.

His eyes turned back upon the demonic cohort of Govannon, and he watched as the bulk of them left the hall. It was surely his imagination that as they slipped out he saw a small thin figure run across the edge of the wall, wasn't it? Or was this elf he swore he saw, a messenger to the Summoner? he looked hard again but could see nothing in the darkness. Wailing chattering noises filled the chamber again, and he slumped back against his bars, delerious from starvation and thirst.

___________________________________

Arcalan had left Hecathia to recouperate fully on her own. She had enough to worry abot before the girl begged anymore favours from her. This good deed would impress the League too she hoped, for already Kanna had let it slip how kind she thought Arcalan was, and added accidently "I wonder why Azi says..."
Arcalan smiled at it. She recalled telling her that Azaeli had every reason to distrust her, afterall bad feelings from that time were bound to remain with Azi. Little did that foolish Paladin and her adopted sister know what was in store for their precious household. Every evil act Arcalan had commited had been neatly within D'Vena's time, and since then she'd been a shining example of the League in word and deed.

Thinking of deeds she double checked that the shipment of metals was being sent to Llyn Barfog, in time for Tepok to hijack it. All was in preperation wih the merchant when she saw Crispian stride through the street. She was certain that was his cloak!
She began to push through the crowded streets and yelled out to him.
"Lord Crispian! Lord Crispian! Please.. I would speak with you Sir!"

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump just because =)

 

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Toorc 
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/if Azi was still posting she'd have wanted a bump here happy

"Good sir Crispian" said Arcalan getting within earshot of him "I beg f you one moment of your time, please!"
The young knight looked round at her, breaking stride. His eyes took in her familiar form, but none of the usual anger and emotion she had stirred in him came to the surface.

"Please, I know why you may have reason not to hear me, but I did desire greatly to throw myself upon your mercy and with all my heart to tell you... Crispian, I am sorry." Thus saying she stopped in the street before him and bowed her head. She could not meet his eyes, and her own reddened with tears.
"Sorry that I was weak, sorry I have been the instrument of your ...torture. Sorry for these past miserable months" she turned as if to go, then looked back on him again. Would he speak with her? Would he believe she had been D'Vena's minion, and against her will?
She finally met his eyes as he spoke.

_______________________________
<talking stick moves to Crispy> happy

 

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Crispian turned to Arcalan, a smile of greeting on his face. "Arcalan! Long have we missed each other in the Guild hall with our duties! A happy coincidence this!" He bowed slightly to her. "We missed you at the feast, I fear, but I'm sure you had pressing matters to attend to elsewhere."

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Azi frowned at the voices outside her window, pulling the sheets tight over her head and trying to force herself back to sleep. But then it dawned on her.. that was Arcalan.. and Crispian...

She drew the sheets around herself and crept to the window, pushing the shutter open to a small crack. There in the street stood Crispian, bold and gentle, his armor shining in the sunlight. Arcalan stood before him, trying her best to look meek and humble. Azi shivered even now, even this far away from the witch. She listened to the exchange quietly as thoughts of the past few days ran through her mind.

She wished she had proof of Arcalan's evil intent, but all that she did have was a feeling. And Azaeli was not one to make false accusations.. perhaps it was just her past with Arcalan that bothered her so.

She was grateful at least to have Kanna and Emlae keeping a watch on things. Kanna had told her of Hecathia's attack, as had Emlae, and Azi felt something was wrong there.. She knew also of the potter's kiln exploding, and that Arcalan had been there with Lexi when it happened, and that made her uneasy. So many things were swimming in her head, along with the wine from feast day that still seemed to be making her ill.. Her stomach turned again and she crept bcak to bed, leaving Crispian and Arcalan talking in the street.

 

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((time-break, to be mended later))

Crispian watched Arcalan continue on and paused, listening to the rhythymic hammering of Judan. He liked this simple shop, and wished the public work space was more like it. He smiled slightly, allowing himself the moment of being a lesser smith near to a great one, rather than an involved young leader of the Realm, or at least the League.

 

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Toorc 
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Arcalan replayed the conversation in her head as she parted from Crispian. How well had it gone?

"My lord, forgive my absence, but.. I did feel worthy to be there." She held up a hand to stop any protests "I know that many have forgiven my past and given me words of comfort, but the sight of so many people I betrayed.. it bothers me terribly still. Lord Crispian I owe you my life, my sanity and my thanks. You owe me a swift death if truth be told, for I was D'Vena's instrument in causing you pain" her sight misted over in recollection and pain, and a dew came to the corners of her eyes.
"I have longed to say this to you, but .. now I have the chance, I... I can barely stand to speak with you so" It was true, she was fighting down the urge to cast an acidic cloud onto that patient face of his "I spent the feast day in atonement, fighting the goblins that stole the mines from Ludlow. But all i do is a mere drop in the ocean of my past weakness... I have decided to turn myself over to the King's Men Lord Crispian. I just wanted you to understand, to know how sorry I am..."
She let her voice trail off and lowered her eyes, awaiting the effect on Crispian. he was a good man, a man of generous and large heart, and she felt sure that this weakness in him would let her continue in her ruse. Even if it did not, the peace spell upon Crispian meant he couldn't move against her until she took action against him first.

 

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Crispian sighed. He had the evidence he needed himself to act, but would continue to let her play this out. The Officers and Leadership of the League, Omnia Patricius, as well as some other key people, would know of it. His agents continued to work the matter, at no small cost.

"Arcalan, dear," he said to the cabalist, only a bit older than he was himself, "we all make errors in the part, and let us make sure that they stay part of the past." He knew she thought him weak, soft, even too trusting. "I am sure that you have genuine sorrow in your heart, and who am I to gain say what forgiveness the Almighty has given you?"

He put on his best tender look, even calling up his innocent look that had worked on Mirashta in the past.

 

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Azaeli sighed to herself through the turning of her stomach, and gingerly rolled to her side. She could still hear the two talking, and now her thoughts were racing enough that she knew it would be impossible to salvage the wonderful dream she'd been having.

Reluctantly, and slowly so as not to upset her stomach any more, she slid out of bed and pulled on a thick robe and soft boots. Down the narrow staircase she padded, and set a kettle on the hearth for tea. Ever aware of the conversation outside mingling with the ring of her father's hammer, she lowered herself onto a stool. She would wait for Arcalan to leave, rather than risk having to invite her inside with Crispian. The thought of that woman setting foot in Azi's father's house was undesirable, to say the least.

 

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Toorc 
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"You are too kind sir" Arcalan had said "Much too kind" she hid a smile at first but then let it show, grinning as though she were truely happy, rather than the grin of amusement at this fool's naievity.
"I will indeed seek forgiveness from the Almighty, for he is compassionate beyond our measure. I am right glad to see you looking so well after your ordeals, and pledge to continue to try and do equal measure of deeds to atone for past failures"
Yes, she had failed her Master once before, and she'd set that right. Crispian and the League were the perfect hiding place for her activities, for beyond Azi none doubted her intentions. Suddenly she looked up, and caught the eyes of a woman staring through her window. The daughter of Hammerfel the paladin, now a Paladin herself.. ha... no doubt she'd continue to spread rumours of Arcalan, but to what effect? Even Crispian believed her blameless. the figure quickly withdrew, and Arcalan used the moment to make good her escape from Crispian before he became sentimental and sickening.
"But now milord, by your leave, I must to Church to undertake some tasks for the clergy of Albion, following the troubles in Brfog. I'll spare you the details, but I hope we can speak more later?"
"I have no doubt we'll have much more to talk about soon Arcalan" Crispian assured her with a pained look in his eyes, clearly a sign of misplaced compassion. Arcalan returned the pitying stare and curtsied, before making her way down the street.


Yes, it had gone even better than she hoped. Now to get back to the Hall and find the key, then she could take off for Llyn Barfog and discover Lexi's past....
It was all going so well!

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Crispian watched her go, and saw the shadows that even she could not know of detach and follow her. It was good, he thought, to have so many friends outside of the League and mostly unknown to others. Being quiet is often mistaken for being stupid, he mused. He paused a moment to buy an apple from a vendor and nod to Master Judan. As he munched, he thought over what Arcalan was up to.

He was not complete sure of it, but he knew her deeds were vile, and that others were now being implicated. He chewed a mouthful of apple as he mulled this over. Justice could be swift and merciful, or it could just be swift. He would see which Arcalan deserved when the time came.

Let her play her games, and think him the fool, or niave, or whatever. He grinned as she turned at the tailor's shop, to be about her business. She did not all of what stirred in Albion, and a surprise might be in store sooner than she thought.

He was musing so when he heard the door open. Battlefield time taught one to listen for everything at any moment. His grin was warm as he turned to greet Azi.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Azi stood in the doorway, looking out at Crispian. Her eyes flicked toward the tailor shop for a moment as the shiver disappeared. Had she been deaf and blind, she would still be able to tell when Arcalan was near, she thought to herself.

"Crispian, it's been ages. Come inside and have a chat?" She smiled warmly at her dear friend. He was looking rather well since D'vena's threat had passed, and even his badly broken leg showed no sign of a limp anymore. She swallowed with a smile as he stepped inside and settled himself at the little table. Another quick peer into the street, and she closed the door tightly behind her.

"Tea?" she asked pleasantly, setting two mugs on the table.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Crispian could not help but smile. It had been what seemed like weeks since even so simple a thing as tea with Azi in the afternoon had been possible. Things had been very hectic since that night of disaster and death. "Of course, tea would be wonderful," he said as he shifted his weight in the chair.

It took great effort to hide the small limp his injury had left him with. Tinalynth had said the leg would never truly be the same again, and that he should be greatful for the healing that Tobyas did on it when he did. Of course, she said that after he had allowed Laraleloth to rebreak it while Kelvyn pinned him down.

"I feel as though we have been out of touch, dearest. Tell me all manner of what has happened in your life!" He was so filled with joy to be relaxing with Azi that, for the time being at least, he set aside other concerns.

 

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Azi kept her head low, feigning the business of making tea as she blushed. Crispian always seemed to do that, speaking to her in a way that made her feel as if she was most important. She smiled to herself in thanks for the friend she had in him as she selected various little tins and bottles from the sill over the table.

Into his cup she sprinkled a few chamomile leaves and a bit of dried apple, poured in the steaming water carefully, and finished with a long drop of honey. Making tea this way always reminded her of her mother. To Azi it had become almost a sacred ritual of reflection more than just simply pouring some water into a cup. She sighed with a smile. Into her own cup she sprinkled some bitter leaves in hopes that they would soothe her stomach, and watched the steam rise up as the water turned a deep green-brown.

"It has been far too long, Crispian, we've neglected each others' company!" She smiled and settled herself onto a stool beside him, smoothing her robes. "Things are well with me," she blushed as she thought of Ascot, "despite my sister's antics. And Emlae has proven to be more than I could have wished for in a squire. How is Tannir?"

Part of her wished she could rush through the idle chat and talk to him about Arcalan, but it was so pleasant to have this time now. What did people do whose lives were uneventful? How nice it would be to just sit and chat without constantly worrying about what evil lurked around the next corner. To tell him all about herself and her love, and to ask him about Jashen and Tobyas. So much had happened that she wished to talk about, but she set them aside in her mind and smiled softly, sipping the bitter brew.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Crispian's eyes grew haunted for a moment. Tannir had been in a grave state following his assault in Snowdonia, but his recovery was going well. "Oh, Tannir is doing fine. Typical teen-ager, thinks he ready to wrestle a moorlich already." He grinned crookedly, being officially now five years passed his own teens. "Mostly, it seems to be bad dreams, but I have had Sir Tinowan check him regularly, and he says the recovery will come along nicely.

"Of course, I still feel badly to have put him in harm's way, but he insists it is nothing he would not have done if I had not asked him." He sipped at the tea, savoring the taste. His own never tasted this good, and Tannir's was little more than steeped leaves. He grinned, anticipating Azi's next two questions, he hoped.

"Jash writes me that his retraining is slow, but satisfying. He is now a full infiltrator, although he is having troubles with poisons." He smirked. "He said they're messy than he thought they would be, and that he misses chain mail."

His grin spread a bit and became sheepish. "And yes, Toby is fine. He is about the Predwyn Keep area administering to the young and newly trained of the Realm." His face clouded for a second. Would this war never end? He smiled at Azi again.

"Now, how is Ascot?"

 

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"Tell me, friend," she chuckled, "how have you come to learn to read minds?" This time the blush came too quickly for Azaeli to hide it, and she laughed to herself that she would still get so flustered by the mention of her dear cabalist.

"Ascot is well," she played with the golden band at her finger subconciously, "He insists that the maps of Lethantis are inaccurate, and so he has started an expedition into various areas up north to begin measuring and redrawing.." She frowned slightly, feeling a tug at her heart. It had been only two days and she missed him so already. "He sends messengers twice a day with letters and trinkets."

She smiled again, motioning to a stack of scrolls and little sacks on the bench near the hearth. Her eyes danced pleasantly as she sipped the remains of the bitter leaves in her cup. "Tobyas has such a kind heart. It seems I run into him more than I do you, Crispian!"

 

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It was Crispian's turn to blush at that. He knew Toby had been spending more time at the city than he had. His pursuit of a captian's slot at the Defenders' Guild had kept him afield quite a bit. "Aye, he is much about these days. He has been," he paused a moment, "understanding since that night with D'Vena. There are still somethings to be sorted out, of course."

He relaxed, stretching his left leg out a bit. "So, finally, a ring fo Azi? Tell me he did not get that from some Centurion!" He chuckled. "It looks very fine and proper on you, Azi, but when shall you take his name for yours?"

 

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Azi gasped before she could stop herself and hid her hands behind her back. The blush reddened deeper on her cheeks and she stared at Crispian, unable to form the words. How much should she tell him? That she and Ascot had secreted away and married with only her father and the priest as a witness? That they enjoyed a short honeymoon and decided to leave it quiet and secret? That her stomach had been queasy for almost a week now, when it was known that paladins do not catch illness? She managed a weak smile and tried to think of the right words.

"My name will always be Hammerfel, as my father had no son. But if I had taken Ascot's name, it would be changed now." She beamed at him, "And it is not from a centurion!" she chuckled.

 

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Crispian smiled at Azi, surprised that his guess had been correct. His eyes danced with humor and joy. "I would congratulate him, but he is never here!" He could not resist however kissing his friend's cheek at his joy for her.

"That is wonderful! I am sure he will be a good husband to you."

 

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Azi grinned at the first official congratulations she had recieved, and suddenly felt guilty for not telling him sooner.
"The League will want to hear of such joyous news!" he bellowed, but Azi quickly quieted him, knowing that it was especially hard for Crispian not to say anything about it. She explained to Crispian the reasons behind thier secrecy, and thier desire to keep it so, and he agreed reluctantly not to tell anyone. With a grin, she remembered how she and Jashen had joked at the Feast. Yes, indeed, Crispian was a man with a love for speeches..

The two friends talked long into the night, and she was grateful for the distraction. She told him what Emlae and Kanna had reported of Hecathia, including Azi's meeting with the lady Sakara who had recently joined the guild. The conversation turned to Lexi for a time, and her recent problems. That conversation led to the her sister's murder of the old woman who had warned them of Azi's capture by trolls, which in turn led to the tale of her rescue.

Crispian listened with great concern as she told how Tashtego and Emlae had braved the snow of Midgard to rescue her. His expression soured to anger at the attack she had undergone, but she assured him all had been healed, thanks to the noble armsman Tashtego and his very strange tribal gift.

After a long while Pappa came inside, dusting off his leather apron. He smiled at Crispian with a warmth that he'd have shown his own son, and clapped him on the back and congratulated him for his victory and station with pride. Then his gaze turned to Azaeli, and his eyes sparkled fondly as he kissed her forehead.

"Off to bed, Angel," he said sternly, giving her a pointed look.

"Yes, Pappa," Azi chuckled to herself as he clomped his way up the stairs and closed his door. Thirty-two seasons and still Pappa felt she needed to be told when it was time for bed.

"It was such a pleasure, dear, dear friend. Please, let us have tea more often." With that, she hugged Crispian warmly and was even bold enough to kiss him on the cheek, which made the two of them blush madly in the darkened room.

 

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Toorc 
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Arcalan returned to the League Hall and fetched the diary from her room. She couldn't just ransack Crispian's quarters, but she had to get that key!
She made her way downstairs to see how many people were about and was annoyed to find a good many drinking and talking in the main hall this eve. She would never have the time to slip into Crispian's room with all these people about, for they would surely discover her.
At that moment Hecathia limped slowly down the stairs and into the hall, with a bewildered expression on her face.
"Hail" she said simply but with a small and quiet voice, shakey and unsure.
"Hail Hecathia!" replied several who were there.
Hecathia looked around herself and then asked "Who is Hecathia? I.. am I?"
Arcalan caught on instantly, knowing the woman hadn't had amnesia when she healed her the previous evening.
She moved to her side to help guide her down the stairs and took the chance to whisper "I brought you back from the brink of death, getting that key will be your payment" and then aloud saying "Well of course it is! You told us you were called Hecathia. Don't you know your own name?"
She let Hecathia sit down in a chair in the hall, and retiered to one corner to watch events unfold.

 

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Ilara limped to the chair. She could not feel her leg as she used to. Though repaired, the damage done to it would still linger for some time. She looked around confusingly to the room, hearing Arcalan's whisper then looking to her meaningfully.

"I, I am, Hecathia? He... cath... ia... such an odd name... and you Lady, brought me back? Thank you, what is your name?" asking Arcalan.

"Arcalan Hemlos" simply replying.

"Arcalan Hemlos..." repeating. "Well, thank you Lady Hemlos. But could you tell me what had happened... why my leg is like this... who did this to me?"

Arcalan shook her head. "I am sorry, I do not know. Tashtego is the one that found you, though he doesn't know either."

Reaching over Hecathia grabbed a long wooden board, then used it as a crutch to stand with. "I shall take a walk... the air might do me some good... and it is a nice night..." hobbling out the door. Tashtego quickly rushed over to try and help, but Hecathia refused his help, limping out the door. Turning the corner, Ilara came to the back of the Guild Hall. Looking around, not even the moon shone in the sky this night, which made Ilara smile. The Goddess was giving her the cover of darkness. Looking up to the hall, she saw a window that led into Crispian's quarters. Bending down, she carved the wood to match the size of her leg, then tied it tight to her leg, so it would give her mobility. "Well, those clerics of God did teach me something at least..." she muttered, then looked up to the window.

Scaling the guild hall, she reached up, finding the window to be locked. She muttered a curse under her breath, and looked through it. Crispian was asleep, now was her chance. She knew Arcalan was being watched by spies, she was not, this might be her only chance to get that key. Muttering a prayer to Hecate, a stream of lightning arched from her fingertips, destroying the lock on the window. Opening it, she fell down into the room, and froze. She looked to Crispian, he did not seem to be snoring any longer... had he awoken. Hecathia paused, sliding over to a dark shadow in the room, and waited for Crispian to resume his sleep...

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Crispian heard the sound, instantly fully awake but not moving in the least. The hand under the covers gripped the hilt of his dirk tight. He continued breathing steadily and evenly. He would wait. Whoever it was would move. He was suddenly thankful for all those weeks in the field that made him comfortable sleeping in plate mail.

 

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Ilara scanned the room with her eyes from the darkness. She looked to Crispian... then looked around once more. 'That robe... that robe... it had to be some where... there... behind the desk, it's sticking out of one of his drawers.' she thought to herself. She then turned her eyes to Crispian. 'He isn't snoozing like he was... and only Hecate knows for sure if he is really sleeping or just laying there... wait... distraction. Yes, that is it, I need a distraction. Though I must hurry... I need to make it to the church to have an alibi where I was at this night... though it would take me awhile to find a guard at night that could direct me there, since I do not remember...' silently laughed inside thinking of what she can do.

But then her eye caught something... it was small, but... THE KEY! Sticking out of the robes. 'Surely you are watching me this night my Goddess! I dont need the whole robe. In fact, he doesn't know it is there, so if I can just grab that and leave, he would think he scared off his robber without the thief finding anything!'

Ducking low, she silently got to the edge of his desk. Reaching up with her hand, she palmed the key, and carefully to not make the chain any noise, folded it together into one of her pouches in her armor. She then went back to her corner, but she still needed an escape. She looked to the damaged window... if she opened it he would know. But if she can buy one moment to distract him, she could be out the window and down, gone before he knew what happened.

Reaching into her pouch she pulled out a pebble. The rogues had taught her this trick... though would it work against a Centurian of the Realm? A trained battle-warrior? Looking to Crispian... still not snoozing as he was before. 'No... he may be trained in battle, but tricks he knows little of. He would think this pebble is me, trying to sneak around the room stealing his items...' taking a breath, Ilara scanned the room again for a target. She smiled. By the door was a small chair. She could hit the chair, and Crispian might think the thief was sneaking out through the door. 'Goddess help me.' she prayed, knowing all she needed was one second to be out the window... she threw the rock against the chair, the chair echoing a large wooden knock...

 

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Jashen's smirk was both cruel and evil as he set tinder to the Lantern wick, lighting the room bright with oil-fed flames. He casually held a crossbow to one hip. His eyes did not show the slightest emotion as he set the lantern down, lowering the crossbow at the same time to be level with Hecathia's chest.

Crispian rolled over on his cot, hand full of steel and eyes full of anger.

"Hecathia, explain yourself," he said in a voice the brought chills of the grave to her spine. "And don't try a break for it. Your leg is injured, the hall way is guarded, and alley is watched." He smiled coldly. "Jashen's bolts are poisoned as well."

He waited with the same calm he felt when on keep ramparts with Midgardians charging. Let her move, even an inch, in the wrong way. His struggles with D'Vena had taught him that sometimes a dead for is the best kind. They had fewer opportunities to strike at you.

 

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Ilara cursed under her breath. 'Blasted brother...' Jashen. The one whom had been retraining his skills... how could she forget Crispian's Twin? Well, to their knowledge, she had taken nothing. The lock on the door was damaged, but she had nothing on her that could cause such damage, and the fact that she could call on her goddess was still unknown to them. She was tempted to send Jashen through the door with such a power, but two things stopped her.

One was his brother... asleep in full plate... and Arcalan would not be pleased if she attacked him since that would lead suspicion to her...

Two was Crispian's words. "And don't try a break for it. Your leg is injured, the hall way is guarded, and alley is watched." Jashen must've heard a disturbance... a disturbance... Crispian was not watching her! He did not know it was her...

"I was walking out of the hall, I was bound to find a healer of some sort to help me with my leg... I bandaged it some myself but I couldn't find anyone to direct me to a healer, so when I came walking back, I heard something. I don't know what I used to do... but that noise alerted me leading me to the back alley. Hecathia extended her hand to the window. I heard something, so I climbed up to look, and found the window damaged. I thought there was a thief in the guild hall... so I came to stop him. I tried luring him out, and then you <looking to Jashen> walked in. Please milords... I awoke heavily injured and in bad shape... I felt my pursuer had come to finish the job and do even more harm! I didn't take anything, I was just trying to help!" she pleaded, thankful that the necklace formed into a key was hidden away.

She looked to Jashen... Jashen... if he searched her, he might find it. But even if he did find it... how could he say it wasn't hers? It wasn't Crispian's... and since she has *amnesia*... if they bought her story... then she wouldn't know where it came from either... 'A clue to my past...' she could hear herself saying now... but first... she had to get past the Pontiff twins...

 

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Crispian flicked his gaze to Jashen, who shook his head slightly.

"First error, coming in here," he said in a low, dangerous voice. "Second error, never lie when you don't know what is being done by someone else. Third, you twitch, you move, you blink the wrong way, and you die.

He watched her. It was in her court now, and he had to trust to what he had in place against such a moment. He had not expect this Hecathia to be a traitor, spy, turn-cut, and possibly murderer. However, the reports from the Massacre in Snowdonia, the strange goings on in the League hall, and the many other things being reported in from other sources added up to so much going on.

"And the keys a fake," he added with a last, cruel smirk as he reached down and slid his own cocked and loaded crossbow from under the cot. "Why are you here?"

 

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A web of lies... something Ilara was familiar with. Her whole life was a lie. Her father whom had ruled with an iron fist, treating her well and giving her much ended by her sister, a slave under her father, murdering him in cold blood as Ilara watched. Coming to Camelot... because she then had nowhere else to go, and then her sister leaving her again, saying she wanted to find her father.

Had they seen the shock she gave the window? No, it was impossible she was certain. She had looked around the alley before doing it, and made sure the light produced was a minimal, just needing enough to open the window. The key though, Crispian did not know what the key belonged to. Apolexia seemed to get in trouble so much that she doubt she had told Crispian about her diary... and if the information in that book was what she heard it to be, she would be too afraid to tell Crispian about it anyway.

She realized that she was trapped, if she continued on with her amnesia now, she would be shot. If she came out truthfully, they would know she had decieved them, and she was better off dead knowing Arcalan would not let her live if she could be linked to her. 'Goddess help me' she prayed silently, and the answer was swift. She dropped to her good knee, letting out a scream, the pain in her head swelled, as she toppled over unconscious...

 

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Crispian looked to Jashen quickly then sprang into action. First, he made sure Hecathia was alive. Assuring that, he removed the key and chain from her possession. He inspected her for weapons, removing all he found. Binding her hands carefully, and sliding thin leather sheathes over forefinger and thumb to hold them immobile as well, he hefted her to his cot.

"Get Tobyas and Lynis, please, Tannir," he called into the alcove where his squire had hidden. "Tell them I'll need a litter-wagon for a trip to Saint Ilitad's."

Hecathia at least would be one threat not around. He wondered how the foes of the League would react to her not being there in the morning. Then again, he did not really care if it upset them. They needed to be upset some just about now.

"She needs seclusion, to reflect on the errors of her past," he said calmly to the two churchmen when they arrived. He had briefed both on what they needed to know earlier, so this did not surprise them.

It was barely forty minutes from break-in to the now drugged exit of Hecathia from the League's hall. The wagon creaked south on greased axels, silent burden in the back and watchful guards about.

 

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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
Arcalan slept uneasily that night.
Her dreams led her back to the night of Betrayal with the Baroness, for that day she had seen Carys again, and hunted with her.
But her dreams were not of the betrayal, or that traitor witch escaping. Her dreams focused on a young girl, she'd seen her in the Arawnite camp as they hunted, she recalled her face and clothes exactly in the dream. This time she stood alone in the camp, only Arcalan and the girl face to face. The raven hair of the girl covered her shoulders, framing a face in which her eyes were set like rubies, full of fire.
"I am coming home" said the girl, simply, but with the weight of prophesy in it.
Arcalan suddenyl found herself transported from the place and images filled her head, a Cauldron bubbling away, the girl rising from it. A stag's head, Melody the Celt, in league with the Baroness, but no this stag was different, she knew who it was. It was a symbol of Arawn, in his guise of the hunter. Now more visions, the servants of Arawn, the Inconnu, whom Arcalan and Ceowyr had helped by pilfering the sacred tomes from the forbidden library, that men may learn the way of Arawn in secret once more.
She awoke suddenly, wondering what it foreshadowed.

In the hall Hecathia was being moved, two priests accompanied her. Perhaps her wounds really were worse than Arcalan had imagined, but the figure of Crispian standing watching her leave made her think that he was just ensuring that Hecathia was well taken care of. All hope of getting that key seemed to vanish as well, and Arcalan resigned herself to having to adapt her plans.

Frustrated she moved to the window to take in some night air, and suddenly she spotted a figure crouched on the rooftop watching her. It was well disguised, but she could make out that it was a little boy, likely one of Tobyas' charges, and she was in no doubt that he spied upon her.
She reminded herself that Tobyas had run up quite a debt in favours from the Shadow Quarter, and that she was owed quite a few favours from the Mercenary captain there. She'd have to see to it Tobyas paid up at the most inconvenient time. As it was her frustrations could be easily settled, she smiled at the boy and unleashed a limb twisting spell, causing him to scream out as his legs warped into unnatural and useless positions. He skittered down the roof, and dropped hanging from on hand and still screaming in pain.
Shouts from below indicated guards were on their way, and Arcalan didn't have long. "ASSASSIN!" she cried out "Help Ho! Help!" and as she did so she unleashed another spell.

The boy dropped from the rooftop as her magic hit him. His flesh burst in many places, and blood streamed from open wounds. A full grown warrior might survive the spell, but a mere urchin would not. As his head cracked onto the cobbled stones of the street a sickening snap saved the lad anymore pain. The spell continued to shed his blood in a pool on the ground beneath him, as guards ran to see what happened.

Crispian burst into her room with Jashen at his side, both ready for battle. She turned to see them and exclaimed "I think I got him! An assassin was by my window, lurking about, but I got him!"
The pained look on Crispian's face told her all she needed to know. She was still being followed, and he didn't trust her one bit more than before the D'Vena event. Well well, she was surprised by his resourcefulness, but he'd now have to negotiate a difficult pretense.

The guards searched the boy in the street, and though he was dressed in rags they found a purse containing a good few gold and silver. They confirmed it was unlikely an assassin, but Arcalan had rid the city of one of it's young thieves and could be commended for that. Crispian was oddly silent while the guards talked with them, and Tobyas appeared to pray over the dead boy. He shot a look of pure and undisguised rage at Arcalan, who was milking the situation as cause for her praise.
"After all, Hecathia had been attacked.. perhaps it was on of the enemies she had talked of trying to finish her. It's sad the boy won't have a chance to mend his ways, it seems Tobyas isn't able to restore his life. Ah well, sometimes justice is swift and merciful, and sometimes it's just swift" she said. Crispian had just had those thoughts surface again in his mind, and he held Arcalan's gaze steady in unforgiving eyes.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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He scowled at Arcalan before leaving. She had just murdered some innocent hiding on a rooftop. She could claim what she wanted, but he had taken steps to make sure he was very attuned to magics being worked near him. He'd have to get the report from his infiltrator friends later to get their view on it.

Arcalan had just pushed the ante up again. At least he knew she was jumpy as all get out if she would strike at any roof dweller in a city full of them. He hoped she did not do the same when she saw someone sleeping in a doorway.

He met the guards on the street and got their report of it. Yes, the lad had some serious coin, they told him. He made a mental note to have that checked into although there were many ways to come by coin in the city. He looked about the Hall, satisfied that those doing his spy work were unseen before he returned to the hall.

 

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Toorc 
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Beyond the scope of Humans he existed.

Immortal, evelasting and immensly powerful.

He watched the world of men and demi-humans unfold before him, and he made ready to step into that world once more

Long ago he walked the soil, and the tribes cowered at his presence.

He was no demon, he was unique and his powers challenged the authority of Heaven, for he was as a god to motrals.


He had been in the world of flesh once more of late, a foothold in the body of a man called Pompin. Many had flocked to fight him when they knew that he was posessed, but yet they knew not the force they faced.

Though he had been repelled by the Clerics of the Nailed God, yet he had learnt much, done much. Many of his foes that day now screamed in torment in Darkness Falls, their souls torn by his curse, nevermore to return to Albion.

He had planted the seeds that would grow into his victory, and had learnt no mortal body could sustain him now. He needed a new form.

Arcalan stood facing Crispian, and beyond the veil of time and space, her Master watched his faithful servant. She had in her the power to open a gateway for him once more, and the many faithful who awaited him would prepare his way.

The time of Rebirth was near.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Azaeli woke with a start and a loud gasp, jolting upright in her bed, her heart pounding. She reached for the mug of water nearby to wet her dry mouth, and pulled her sweat-drenched hair over her shoulders. Something, somewhere was amiss. The darkness of her bedroom was still and thick around her, and she kicked off her downy blanket in effort to cool herself as she peered into the shadows. Content that there was no immediate threat, she lay back down and began to pray, trying to recall the nightmare she was certain she'd had. Before her prayer was finished, sleep took her again.

 

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Toorc 
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The priests carried Hecathia out towards the abbey overnight, travelling slowly, but surely. They knew their charge would not be drugged too long, so they were anxious to make progress. They moved quietly, carrying their burden among the four of them, and speaking only rarely to one another.

Suddenly their march was halted as a figure jumped out before them, sword drawn and draped in a black cloak.
"Who goes there?!" the figured demanded brandishing it's blade. One of the priests moved into a defensive stance.. he was ready for any uncouth bandit.
"We are the humble servants of the Lord God Almighty, and we bear a troubled soul who needs tending to. Stand aside sir" said the lead clergyman.
The figure sighed "Ah father thank goodness it's a friendly face out here, I tell you, I am getting too jumpy because of all the villains out here now. You can hardly travel a day from Camelot without spotting a bandit or a heathen filidh."
"Ah my son it's good you're vigilant" the priest at the back lowered his quarterstaff and stood down, happy this wasn't going to be a confrontation. He knew as a frair he was here to protect the others, but he didn't relish the idea of violence.
"Tis true indeed, all good men need vigilance these days" said the stranger sheathing his blade "I'll tell you, the things I have seen out here would send a chill down your spine" the lead priest nodded his head at this, all too true.
"But you know what's worse?" asked the stranger "The thing's that you *don't* see..."
A soft thud was heard as the friar dropped his staff and keeled forward. Th priests looked alarmed as the man unsheathed his blade again.
Hecathia wasn't going to be in the abbey anytime soon.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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When the report arrived back of the interception of Hecathia's escort and her being freed, Crispian made arrangements to withdraw the agents he had employed from the field. He made brief arrangements for an extended absence from the League Hall and packed up what belongings he valued, having others moved to hidden storage places through out the city.

As he could do nothing to impede or act on the course of events unfolding, he choose to simply not be there for them. He dispatched Camlin, Lynis and others to hiding or points of safety, and saw Jashen off last of all. When he was sure everyone was safely away from the city for whom he cared and could act for, he sent word to Azi with instructions how he could be reached.

Clearly, anything he did to try to alter the course of events was thwarted or turned about, so he would let Arcalan run her course. If the League was destroyed, he could find other Guilds to join, he was sure.

As the light of a new day rose over the Camelot, he himself closed the door to his empty chambers and left the League hall for perhaps the last time.

 

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Toorc 
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((heh no idea who thkose guys are but I didn't think hec would enjoy being couped up))

 

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((shrug))

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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"My thanks, Emlae," Azi forced a smile as her new squire pulled the straps of her breastplate tight and buffed a hardly noticable smudge away with her sleeve.

"My Lady Hammerfel-" the squire said with concern, then stopped herself. It was improper of a squire to ask questions of her knight. Instead she busied herself with Azi's packs, making certain they were closed tightly, and that her war mattock and great scimitar were wrapped securely in leather so as not to get dented or scratched as her lady traveled.

Azi read the message again with a frown as Emlae bustled about. What did Crispian mean, sending everyone and everything important to him away from the Hall? She felt Emlae at her back, fastening her archmace to the hilt there, and then her cloak to her shoulders.

"Emlae, I have something very important to ask of you. Please go to the guild hall and try to find out as much as you can about what happened there last night. But try not too be very obvious about it, and if anyone asks, tell them," Azaeli frowned, "tell them I wished to know. But avoid Hecathia and Arcalan please."

"Yes, Lady Hammerfel," Emlae answered without hesitation, immediately heading for the door.

"I go south to Cornwall, Emlae. If I am not at the station when you arrive, wait for me there. Please tell nobody where I went." Azi smiled as Emlae nodded seriously and made her way downstairs.

The wind in her hair as she rode to Cornwall was welcome and pleasant, and she arrived in no time at all at the Yarley's farm. She smiled to herself as she gracefully dismounted her horse and peered toward Lyonesse. Glittering on the horizon, his back to her, stood a noble figure. As she made her way to greet Crispian, his cloak flapped gently in the breeze.

 

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Crispian smiled to himself. Emlae really should go easier on the roseoil she favored for the leather straps of Azi's armor. Keeping them clean was one thing, but the scent of roses in battle was a bit odd. He slowly turned, squinting into the sun as he did. Azi's armor flashed as she approached him.

"You make a habit of chasing me down, fairest one," he said as he bowed. "You are almost as bad as Toby." He smirked at her. Toby was already in Lyonesse making a camp spot past the house of the pygmys.

"You shouldn't worry so," he continued on, the wind ruffling his short cropped hair as he smiled at her under sun-crinkled eyes.

 

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"I fear if I didn't worry, I'd lead a rather boring life, milord." Azi smiled, pulling her long hair back and retying the windblown strands. "And you think I'm chasing you? Cannot a young paladin come to hunt in Lyonesse?" She grinned in time with Crispian at her own bluff. "Is there room for another in your hunt, dear friend? Or do you wish to be alone?" Alluding to the two men spending time together still made her blush, and she could see the amusement at that in Crispian's eyes as he looked at her.

 

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"Your company is always welcome, but I fear there may be little left to return to." His face grew more serious. "She is out of hand, Arcalan is, and so is this Hecathia. They waylaid Toby and Lynis last night after she broke into my room with some spell to retrieve this." He held up a key. "I fear they will destroy the League."

He looked into the sun directly, allowing it to blind him a moment. "For that, I will hunt them to my end of days and kill them both. I have no love for either in my heart, nor room for patience. Let them play out there games. I will have no more part in it."

He turned back to face Azi. "It will be a long hunt down here."

 

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Azi looked to the key, watching it twirl and glint in the sun as he held it up to her.

"That is mine," she said softly, "gifted to me by the Church when I took my vows. I gave it to Lexi...what did she do to it?" She held out her hand and Crispian lowered it into her palm. She turned it in her hand, feeing a pang in her heart at the sacrilege of its altered state. "How did it come to be in your room?"

 

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"It was in the robe of Tashtego's assailiant, whomever that was," he said quietly. "And Hecathia thought it important enough to steal, which annoyed Arcalan enough for her to kill someone."

He sighed. "I am tired of her, and tired of this. Since neither of them are going anywhere it seems, I have decided to."

 

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Azi frowned. Something was very wrong here. This was not the Crispian she knew, to resign himself so easily and leave the guild in the hands of those who would destroy it. Suddenly, she was not worried, or concerned, but angry. No, furious. Her fist clenched around the key and she stared at Crispian with a look that would have even suprised herself.

"You are Seneschal, and a leader, and you would leave your loyal family behind this way? When they need your strength most of all? That is not the Crispian I know." Her nostrils flared as her lips tightened with anger. "Get them gone from the League, remove thier names from the roster! You have the power to do that! If you abandon all that you have worked so hard for, then they will have won. Don't you see? You are the heart of the League, and in getting you gone, they have succeeded.." Her eyes narrowed at her effort to keep her voice down.

 

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He smiled down at her. One of the few people he could do that to. His voice was calm as he replied. "Who will they hate if I am gone, hm? They are so concerned about deciet, they fear to fall out of practice." He lifted the key from Azi's hand. "And they'll come after this, I am sure." He looked north with a smirk. "I am sure."

He laughed suddenly. "Did you think I really thought I could hide? I am the shortest blond knight in the realm, saving you, my friend." His smile spread more. "Besides, Arcalan will want to be in control of this," he held up a small leather pouch, "sooner or later."

He dropped it into a pouch and closed it. "Then she can come find me. And I have a surprise or two in store if she does."

He smiled a wicked little smile. "So, care to hunt?"

 

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Abandoning her plated armour, her blade Penitent and the thin, silvered tiara which rested for many years upon the crown of her head, Anikka Winterborne stepped from her chambers and gave Drusse a gentle smile.


Anikka began to softly speak, "Woman, you have eased a great burden off my shoulders. For many a winter, I have bore watch over these lands, over these peoples...my cousin, I now hand my gilted throne to you."


Drusse, the woman of Barfog, gave a disconcerted smile as she looked towards her predecessor with sympathy and remorse. She had long aided the Baroness in her times of need; as a trusted consort, as a friend, as a loyal follower and as a cousin. Many a time had Drusse stood in for Anikka within Camelot's courts; their faces so alike that not even their Uncle Ulfwych could tell the difference at times.

Though Drusse knew Anikka would do this....and she was prepared to take the mantle of leadership.

Anikka, wiping a single tear from the crease of her eye, she passed a final look to her cousin, to her lands and to Swanton.

Anikka left a commoner, to never hold the throne again and to start anew in Albion.

 

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Hecathia 
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The figure took Ilara threw the darkness. Once a safe distance away, he set her down. Ilara looked at the strange figure, now coming to out of her sleep. "Who are you?" she asked.

Giving a bow, he spoke: "Ah, Lady Ilara, you are not an easy one to track I see." the cloaked figure replied.

"Ilara, my name is Hecathia Daiga."

"Daiga... funny, your last name is that of my master's, cept backwards..." smiling at her.

"Your... master's?"

"Yes, my master Leonidas Agiad, your father I do believe. I have been searching for you for a long long time... over ten years now."

"You knew my father?"

"Yes young Mistress. My name is Dannindas. I was your father's main man, till he was murdered that one night."

"Yes... my sister Tlara..."

Dannindas waved a hand in dismissal. "That is in the past Mistress. I came to find you, hoping you would take your rightful place as heir over our lands. We need you to lead our men in combat, against the Greek uprising. It has been difficult since your father passed."

"I cannot leave, I have business here."

"Business here Mistress?"

"Yes, there is one of whom I was helping. My road to power is here, in Camelot! Not in my homelands of Greece!"

The figure looked at his young Mistress. Kneeling down, he took out his sword and offered it to her. "Mistress, I control a small group. Not as grand as your army in Greece, for we are under attack by the rebellious slaves... but I offer you my and thier services." as he gestured to ten men cloaked behind her. "Just tell us what to do, and it shall be done Mistress."

Ilara scratched her chin, sitting down for the pain on her leg was forcing her to, she continued to speak to Dannindas. "Very well, but we must move quickly. Send out a note to an Arcalan Hemlos, alert her to your presence. You will obey any order she gives. I must go into hiding for now, tell her where I am, and I await word. You have a scroll on you?"

"I do Mistress" handing Ilara a scroll.

Ilara quickly wrote a message to Arcalan, informing her of the situation and her failure to complete her task. Wrapping up the scroll, she gave it to Dannindas. "Give this to your best man, and hurry, we are losing time."

Dannindas nodded, walking over to one of his men, he gave him the scroll, and he disappeared. "Now... Dannindas, let us go, it is not safe here."

 

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Toorc 
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OOC:
"I liek Jellybeans" to this

/end thread.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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OOC: Oh NO you don't, my friend! Intregue flows both ways! Maybe Arcalan needs to worry about Crispian going Turtle on her for a change there!

/ooc off

 

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Hecathia 
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(no message)

 

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Azi smiled, still unsure whether that had been Crispian's intent all along, or whther he had just thought of it.

"I shall be glad of a hunt, I haven't been out since before feast day." She pulled her helm from her pack and set it on top of her head, nodding toward the south. Azi welcomed the warmth of the sun on her back as the two made thier way down the steep slope toward the lake.

"Crispian, I wonder if you know.. What do you suppose that key opens? What would Lexi have that would be so important to them?"

 

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He looked serious for a moment. " I don't know. But Arcalan will come looking soon, I am sure."

 

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Toorc 
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/thread back on!

((sorry all the misunderstanding is cleared up... normal service will resume! happy Thanks to all involved in getting this back on track, especially my good friend Crispian))

 

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/ooc
The dreaded TransAtlantic Internet Lag strikes again! Apologies to my friend Toorc/Arcalan for the mis-communcation. Should have PM'd to avoid.

 

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ooc

<edited for the timing of events, just moved this post down a little =) >

 

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Ilara was always impatient... her biggest flaw she realized, but she did not like to sit idle while others worked. She had failed her new Mistress, Arcalan Hemlos... she would atone for that mistake. "Dannindas! A word with you." she called to him, in the forest just outside humberton.

"Yes Mistress" he responded answering quick to her call.

"I want you to go into the city, and watch for a girl there named Apolexia. She wears blue robes, probably stained with some soot of that of a crafter. I want you to follow her closely, do not bring attention to yourself, but at the same time, do not lose her. Bring me back information."

The cloaked figure bowed, turning and speaking in Greek to the others. Ilara listened to his orders, shaking her head walked over to Dannindas. "I said *you* Dannindas, I want no mess-ups, and you have yet to prove yourself to me."

Dannindas bowed to his Mistress. "I shall do all and more Mistress. You have your father's blood in you surely, you have a commanding presence, despite a damaged leg."

Ilara looked to her leg. "Yes... Hecate has given it to me as a reminder of my failure."

Dannindas froze. "Mis... tress... did you say HECATE? The goddess of the underworld, the moon, witchcraft?!"

Ilara extended her hand, launching out a lightning bolt at one of the other Greeks, catching him off guard the lightning tore into his flesh, leaving a hole in his stomach, the man collapsed over in pain, death coming quickly. She turned her gaze to Dannindas. "The goddess has been kind. We serve her now! If you do not like that, you can be like *HIM*!" pointing to the dead man. "Now I gave you an order, why are you still here?!"

Dannindas bowed. "As you wish Mistress, you do have the power to lead. I am sorry." Dannindas bowed again, then left for the city.

 

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Dannindas 
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Dannindas found Apolexia easily enough, sticking to the shadows. There was a reason the men submitted to his authority. He had learned to sneak better than the most agile rogues and could swing a sword better than most trained veterans in the field. He relied on his speed and strength, and there she was. Walking around doing nothing. Dannindas looked up to the moon and shivered. 'The goddess Hecate? Why do you serve her?' Dannindas then almost dropped his sword in fear. The moon had changed, or was it just him? He looked again, it was back to normal. But he knew he had seen it... he saw a dark face in the moon with an evil smile... 'I serve my Mistress first goddess, but if she serves you, then I am yours to command.' he spoke up to the moon.

He saw Apolexia look to the church, then walk along a dark section of the street. 'Mistress Agiad had told me to get information... what if I got the one that had all the information...' he wondered, looking at Apolexia. His eyes caught something then in her robes. 'Where are her weapons? That bulge must be her smithing hammer, but I do not see her weapons on her!' He leapt to his feet looking back up to the moon. 'I understand' and scurried down into an alley.

He approached a merchant as he was closing shop. Grabbing his blade, he grabbed the old woman by the throat. 'Scream or die...' he said. The lady let out a bone chilling scream, and he smiled, seeing the girl rush to him. It was almost too easy...

 

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Apolexia 
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Lexi strolled about Camelot... bored. The moon shone high, she should be going home, but the nightly walk was relaxing. She still had a day or two left before she could freely smith again, her punishment for attacking Rhizzia a week ago. She reflected on all that had happened, especially the time when she tried to kill herself, and when her sister almost died.

Her sister had almost died, yet the only one she was thinking about was her... her possible final words being Apolexia... lexi... yet Lexi had struck down the messenger in rage, stabbing the old cleric Bethsaida with her jambiya. But that all seemed like years ago, even though it was less than a day or two old... so much has changed.

Coming up to the church she looked at it, still upset that she had lost her sister's chain. She fingered the spot on her neck where the pendant once was... given to her out of love... love. She wondered what that truly meant, only realizing when she had come to truth with it all. She vowed to try to turn her life around... looking up at the church a tear came down her eye. The God whom had left her in fear, whom had given her over to the clutches of a demon... too much had happened... she did not believe in him, even though her sister would give her life for him... she slowly walked past the church not entering it, continuing her stroll through the streets... when she heard a loud cry. She looked around no guards were about, coming from an alley. Lexi ran down the alley, determined to show her sister that she really did care about more than herself, not just her sister... all of them...

She looked at the man, with the blade to the woman's throat. "Unhand her!" she called out, reaching for her jambiyas. Her jambiyas? Where were they? Searching the folds of her robe... it then struck her with realization... Crispian had taken them the day before... and he still has them...

 

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Dannindas 
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Dannindas smiled letting the woman go, then turning to the girl in front of him. "I don't want her girl, I want you." pointing his blade at her throat. "Oh and how careless of you, walking around the city with no weapons... truly now girl, that is just foolish."

He could see Apolexia tremble, walking around her he punched her in the face, the blow knocking her out as she hit the street. Then taking out some rope he bound her hands and feet, gagging her mouth with cloth, then tossed her over his shoulder as a rag doll. Turning to the merchant, he looked at her. "You there, do you know who this is?"

The merchant was trembling in fear, then seeing the cloak he answered. "No milord... but her cloak bears the mark of the St. Crispin's League..."

Dannindas ripped the cloak off of Apolexia's shoulders, tossing it to the merchant. "Then go tell them that House Agiad has her as our prisoner, and any move against us will result in her immediate execution. Her name is Apolexia..." looking to the merchant frozen in place. "I said, TELL THEM THAT..." though was interrupted by the merchant quivering about in fear.

"Yes yes milord. Apolexia... house Agiad... yes yes..." grabbing the cloak and putting it away. "I shall without delay..." looking to the cloaked man she waited to see if he would truly let her go. With a nod from him she realized that now was as good a time as any, fleeing the street before he changed his mind.

"Now you Apolexia... my Mistress might want a word with you..." he said, sneaking down the passages of Camelot, then climbing the wall leading back to the Mistress' hiding spot.

 

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Hecathia 
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Ilara's eyes flashed with anger and rage. Dannindas quivered under her gaze, wondering how she could not have been pleased. "YOU FOOL!" she yelled at him. "Hemlos ordered me not to harm her, if you killed her..."

Dannindas quickly interrupted. "Shes not dead tho..."

"SILENCE!" she screamed, her eyes flashing blue with lightning. Turning to the knocked-out Apolexia, she thought for a minute on what to do.

"Dannindas, is your messanger back with an answer from Arcalan Hemlos?"

"No Mistress, he has yet to return."

"Very well then, write up a message, say we have the girl in our encampment, and we request orders on what to do with her."

"Orders Mistress? You are your own leader, why do you follow her?" Dannindas asked, then quickly wishing he never did.

"I do NOT ask your opinion Dannindas! I told you before, she is the key to power, and until we are done here, we follow HER! Do you understand ME?!!"

Dannindas gulped deeply, then bowing low to Ilara. "Yes Mistress, I apologize."

"Then tell one of your men, your best one... no... you yourself deliver this message. Tell her this was YOUR idea. Now hurry off."

Dannindas bowed again. "Yes Mistress." getting out a scroll he wrote something quickly, folding it up he disappeared.

"Lexi... Lexi... Lexi... tsk tsk..." walking over to the bound and knocked out Apolexia. "You there!" pointing to one of her men. "Watch her constantly, tie her to one of the trees here. I do not want a second to go by that she isn't being watched. She is sneaky... and I do not want her to escape now that I have her."

Ilara watched her men do as she bid, then curled up looking to the moon. 'Goddess, tell me what you wish of me, and it shall be done...' she spoke, then drifted off to sleep, waiting a return message...

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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/bump till I get home and can write more.

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump cause I got to goto work <frowns>

 

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Zollinar 
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/bumping to rid the boards of all the first page garbage

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Azi and Crispian stood shoulder to shoulder against the towering lesser telamon while Tobyas called out blessings of healing. Holding her archmace firm with both hands, she swung hard, missing again and again. Crispian's strength was waning, she could tell. As he struck another hard blow with his sheild, Azi began a low chant to aid his endurance. Finally, the plated black giant fell to its defeat, and Azaeli and Crispian dropped to the ground in exhaustion.

"I'm not touching them.." Azi frowned, shielding her eyes from the sun to see Crispian smile warmly.

"You will soon enough," his voice was gentle as his gaze turned to Tobyas, "And I'm enjoying the company." A glint of chainmail caught her eye over Tobyas' shoulder as she smiled at him. She squinted to the hillside to see a young warrior making her way hastily between two telamon stones.

"Emlae!" Azaeli gasped, throwing Crispian a concerned glance. Without a word, the three jumped up to greet the young squire.

"Emlae.." Azi's expression hardened, and Emlae shrank away. "I thought I told you to wait for me at Cornwall Station! What are you doingout here? You could have been killed!" Emlae looked to her feet, a blush creeping up her neck as she produced a bundle of fabric.

"Please, Lady Hammerfel.." she whispered, "I disobeyed, I am sorry..but this came with a message to the League Hall.." She pushed the fabric into Azi's hands. "I'm sorry."

The cloak wasn't very fine, and was charred in places from the spray of sparks. Azi ran her fingers along the embroidered emblem as the familiar smell of coal and steel wafted to her nose.

"Lexi's cloak," Azaeli whispered, looking at Emlae with tears in her eyes. "What happened?"

 

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{old}Emlae 
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She looked into the tear-filled eyes of her Knight. She cared deeply for Azaeli for she had given her a chance to learn and one day be a knight herself. Fourteen years, but still aspired to be more. Azaeli was kind, compassionate, and she hated to tell her any news that could hurt her, but it must be told.

"Lady Hammerfel... this cloak was given to me by a courier in the city. He got your location from one in the league and sped down here to find you. When I told him you were away, he gave me this cloak and a message..." she found it hard to continue. The words she knew would wound Azaeli deeply...

"Emlae, what was the message. Tell me quickly." Azaeli returned.

"A merchant in the city, an elderly lady was attacked. She cried for help, and your sister ran down an alley to help her. She told me that the man knocked your sister out." Azaeli gasped, holding her hands over her mouth, but Emlae continued, unsure if she could start again if needed. "She said that it appeared the man was after your sister all along. For some reason your sister had no weapons on her, and she was bound and thrown over the man's shoulder... the man ripped off her cloak and tossed it to the merchant and spoke that she was now under captive by House Agiad and any move against the house would result in her immediate death. He then told the woman her name and she came to find one of us... the guard recognizing you were her sister sent word via the courier... Lady Hammerfel... he didn't say anything else or how and when your sister would be released. I'm sorry..." she did not shed tears, instead she bit her lip to control her rage. She wanted to kill this man for causing her Lady pain... she lowered her head to indicate the message was finished... and waited for the three...

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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/bump until I have the time to write

 

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Apolexia 
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ooc

HEY! I thought someone actually posted here... <pouts> you got my hopes up azi =P hurry up and write =P <laughs>

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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/nump
family stuff came up

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
Council member, Omnia Patricius, General, Defenders
Http://www.warlordcentral.com - Omnia Patricius's home site
http://Writing.Com/authors/crispian My writing site
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Kanna__ 
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Kanna cautiously rose to a crouch in the underbrush surrounding the camp. She pulled a branch aside carefully, staying hidden in the shadows, and peered out at Apolexia. Hecathia went off to sleep, and the conversation with her man rang true in Kanna's ears. Arcalan's name was spoken. Azi was right all along.

Her hand gripped her bow with certainty, and she chuckled quietly to herself. Who would she aim for in this camp of thieves? She had no love for that girl after all the trouble she'd caused in the guild. And more recently, when Azi had been captured by trolls, the two mixed words and Lexi had almost found herself full o arrows.

Kanna shook her head, alert to the hidden figures all around her. Azi had paid her well to follow her sister, an that kept her flask full. Thinking of that, she uncapped it and had a sip or two in silent thought. Without a sound, Kanna slipped from the underbrush and sprinted toward Camelot.

With a brilliant smile at the stablemaster and a a flip of her fire-red hair, she was on a horse and on her way to Campacorentin forest with no coin exchanged. She pressed her flask to her lips as she rode, thinking on the reward that was sure to come from her little discovery.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Azi's hand found her holy symbol as she turned to Crispian and Tobyas. Her heart was in her throat.

"By the Almighty.." her voice was quiet but strong as Crispian reached for her hand in comfort. What would they do? Any move against the house would be cause for Lexi's death, but they couldn't leave her there! Crispian looked at her with resolve, she knew they shared the same thoughts.

"We'll go back to Cornwall," he said decidedly, "and plan from there." He and Tobyas exchanged glances and together turned northward toward Cornwall. Azi followed, deep in her own thoughts, with Emlae close behind.

Azaeli couldn't help but feel that this was her fault. How could she leave her sister in Camelot with no weapons and no protection? She frowned. She hadn't even told Lexi that she'd gone off to find Crispian. Her hand gripped the symbol at her neck tightly as the four made thier way up the steep embankment. She felt Emlae's hand on her arm to assist the climb, which wasn't easy in full platemail, and turned to smile at her squire. Emlae frowned with worry as thier eyes met.

"You've done well, Emlae," Azi said breathlessly as they crested the embankment, "well indeed."

 

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Dannindas 
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'Ten years of searching for this one girl...' Dannindas thought. Though his thoughts were interrupted as one of his lookouts came to him.

"Sir, we are being watched. I saw a figure in the brush, what is your order?" speaking in Greek to Dannindas, wary of any others looking on.

Dannindas thought for a moment, Ilara was sleeping, and he could take care of this. "Where did she go Anilis?"

"Sir, she left to Camelot, and she rides south."

"Hm... is this the same route the courier from Camelot rode?"

"Yes sir!"

"Well then, this could be trouble. Chase her down, and kill her."

"Sir, I shall do this personally." Anilis bowed, then taking off with lightning speed.

Dannindas walked over to the girl Apolexia, awake but bound and gagged so not saying anything. He called over three of the other five left in the encampment. Anilis had left to kill the spy, and three others were scouting the hills. He was the tenth in the company. "You three, I want you all to stand guard around this girl. When you feel sleep come for you, call over one of the other two and switch off. I want this girl closely watched, more so than what Agiad wanted."

"Sir..." one of the men walked closely over to Dannindas. "We spent ten years finding this girl, as is how we served the Agiad house. But sir, she is a girl with a limp, and though she has power, why do we not just leave her and return home? I fear staying here will just end up in our deaths..."

Dannindas put his hand to his chin. "I know what you say, and no I am not angry for you saying it since I have thought the same as of late. The gods have commanded us to follow the Agiad house, so we shall, even if she has been taken in by the darkest one of them all..."

"Yes sir, I and we all have always been loyal to you sir, and we shall follow you wherever you go or whatever you do."

"Thank you Onilis, and I shall pray your brother returns to us safely."

"I know he will Sir, but thank you."

Dannindas looked to the girl bound shaking his head. 'Though Onilis is right, I fear her plans will lead to our deaths. She said she does it for power... and she might never be satisfied till she is all-powerful, which I know will never happen. No one can be all-powerful, one only gains in power then seeks to gain even more power... I can only hope she leaves with all of us still alive.' his thoughts encompassing him as he falls asleep.

 

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Kanna__ 
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Kanna's breath was shallow in her chest as she jumped to switch horses at Caer Ulfwych. Someone was following her, she was certain of it. She sprinted with haste to the stable boy, pressing her payment into his hands and mounting before her could hand her the bridle. She nudged the horse fast and crouched low in the saddle, leaning forward to press it faster.

"Yah, horse, c'mon now, git me there, git me there." She didn't dare look over her shoulder, she knew what she would see there anyway. Through Avalon Marsh, another hasty dismount and payment, and she was in Cornwall Station. She peered around at the activity. A few seasoned warriors worked hard at the forge. A large group was gathering for the hunt.

Breathlessly, Kanna pushed open the door to the inn, glad of the guards who stood watch there. Even more glad was she when she clomped inside to see Azaeli and Crispian speaking to the inkeep about a private room.

 

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Toorc 
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Arcalan sat at her desk with a high pile of parchments and a third stick of sealing wax. She had been very very busy of late, and ran the League's domestic affairs with a zeal rarely seen outside Pontiff and his family.
Mirashta, her husband and Allonan had all taken to the frontier, for the relics had been too long in the hands of an enemy. Allonan the Mercenary had stood in Camelot and proclaimed his intention to lay seige to Midgard, alligance to Arguyle's cause, and the banner of the Red Lions. The massive mercenary stood almost a full head above the stutest of the realm, and was known to be able to out-drink anyone alive. His payments were in rum and his nature was like the highlands he came from, sweet and gentle beyond compare, but able to explode forth in fury unthought of. Few guessed his blood was not all human, or of his troll father and his bastard secret.

The three Seneschals of the League had immersed themselves in preparations for attack and defence, and much had gone unseen to in the absence of both Crispian and Toorc. Indeed Toorc had begun to be a name held only in memory of the seneschals, so long had he been absent, feared lost to the mortal world. Arcalan had busily absorbed all their tasks these past two days and worked with blinding speed to catch up on paperwork and missives. The most usual method of a dispatch ws not, however, to be delivered by a hooded man sliping in the window.

Arcalan regarded the stranger without fear. His soul was baren before her, and she could tell that though he was a killer, he intended no harm for her. Seeing his Greek features and having heard of Hecathia's escape she jumped ahead of him.
"Deliver your message" she said bluntly.
The man looked taken aback. Could this woman read minds? And did a trained assassin really inspire no hint of fear in her? His mistress' awe began to seem to have merit in it to him.
"I am to tell you that the girl, Apolexia, is in my keeping, I have her safe though." he recalled she would be displeased if the girl was harmed "she's safely hidden. Ah.. this kidnap was my idea my lady" he looked to see what reaction this would elicit.

Arcalan was secretly pleased. Azi was with Crispian she was sure, and her movement would no doubt flush Crispian into the open again. Lexi really had a talent for ruining her sister's life. Arcalan was poised to capitalise on that fact. Whoever Lexi's family were, the Grandfather was enough of a miscreant to warrent Lexi's lying to the League. Perhaps it'd even be enough to have her expelled, thus tormenting Azaeli doubly. Azaeli would suffer so much soon, a little more would be welcome payment for sowing doubt about Arcalan's return to a state of goodness. But this man needed an answer now.

"No doubt" she said, rising and walking towards him "you fear that my displeasure" she moved so close as to be whispering into his ear "Will result in some horrible curse wracking your body? You wonder if I'll be upset enough to kill, or just torture you? You wonder how much pain a cabalist, specialising in slow painful spells and curses, can cause a man? yes?" he was sweating now, as she stepped lithely round him, and she knew the fight or flee response would break out in him soon. "Well don't." she stepped away again "I strike only with intent to kill, if I left you alive you'd want revenge.. in time"
She scribbled a note onto a piece of parchment she had lying on the desk.
"My mistress awaits your instruction" he said, hating himself for appearing to toady to another. He longed for Greece where his house held true power and he could be the one intimidating others.
Arcalan handed him the note. Hecathia had a way of generating unexpected but useful events. Perhaps she could let her have Greece when the Master returned. "Take this and see Apolexia doesn't give her position away. She's a meddling fool with a temper and no thought for consequences, but so long as she lives Azi is bound to her. That doesn't concern you though. Move Apolexia regularly, keep her hidden always and have no doubt many eyes will turn to search for you. Speak of this to no one, this room is a safe haven, where we can talk openly, but outside these wards you never address me. Hecathia will be killed if you fail her in these things, and your life will not outlast hers by a breath. When I turn around I don't want to see you in this chamber"

Arcalan spun round as she finished speaking and caught only a glimpse of a cloak vanish through the window. She had much work to do here to secure her desired place as Seneschal of the League, but Rhizzia and Tashtego would soon support her she was sure. She had sent word of her displeasure to Hecathia, and tasked her instead to prepare a little surprise in Ludlow. The arcane ritual would be meaningless to hecathia, but the menial task of preparation would be both useful and a punitive insult of her skills. Once finished she was instructed to check with every tavern for Azi or Crispian's presence. They would need to move quickly to secure their success.

 

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Toorc 
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Meanwhile:

Toorc stumbled through the passage way, unaware of what was going on exactly. he feared it was a dream, or more exactly a delerium. Elven voices spoke quietly as they navigated the twisting dungeon, and a few times the party stopped to engage undead attackers. A massive Firblog carried a shining spear, and when Toorc fell or was unable to go further the Firblog carried him. An Elf pressed a canteen to Toorc's lips and precious water burned in his throat.
Where were the going? Why had they stolen into the Summoner's Hall and rescued him? He cared not, nor could he fathom what was going on. He was grateful for the touch of the earth again, for his communion with it, instead of his imprisonment in a high cage.
He was aware that these too were enemies, but the further they carried him from Govannon, the less he cared about that thought.
The Firblog sat him gently again as a Druid cast his magics on his companions, and they stopped to refresh themselves. One elf seemed to try to speak the tongue of Avalon to Toorc, but the words were garbled as Toorc slipped into darkness.

 

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{old}Tashtego_JWM 
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The dreams, or rather nightmares, haunted Tashtego’s mind e’ery time he slept since that day he had brought Hecathia take to the Guild Hall in a broken pile. At first, they consisted of a dark figure, a dark maiden, chantin incantations o’er a bubblin cauldron. They were very unsettling, and caused Tashtego to be consumed in deep thought about their meanin.
The eve that Lady Arcalan offered her room to him when she had found out he was sleepin in his tent because Hecathia had taken his, the nightmares took on a new twist. He did not sleep in her room, he could not bring himself to sleep in another womans room, but he appreciated the thought just the same. A wrench was thrown into the machinations o this dark maiden…the Circle began appearin in his dreams feedin energy inta him. The first few nights were only o this witch, but the next, Tashtego was in it grappling with this dark witch. The Circle was aidin him, channelin energy inta him…soon, the Circle dominated this contest within Tashtego’s mind. In his wakin hours, he was consumed in thought about what this could all mean, and he talked ta his close friends about it, lookin fer any insight inta its meanin.
Then the final night came. The dark maiden came full force inta his nightmares, inta his mind, tryin ta take him…a geat fight was takin place within his mind…The Circle and the Witch fought usin Tashtego as a vassal…but it was above her…she could not comprehend its powers…or its place above her…it was a weakness…she did not expect it…
<as Tashtego slept in his comfy chair by the fire in the Hall, the nightmares began anew and grew in intensity>
<the mutterin o dark incantations could be heard unner his breath, then grindin teeth>
<this nightmare was comin to a head as something dueled within his mind fer control>
<his body becoming a vassal fer this duel, his body was absorbin tremendous amounts o energy, like something had plugged directly inta him …his skin became searin hot, so hot it gave off a steam>
<Lady Emlae tried ta shake him awake, only to come away with burns on her hands>
Lady Emlae and Lady Rhizzia, who were present, watched in horror wonderin what had possessed their friend with nightmares so, not knowin what they could do fer him.
<The fight becoming so intense, Tashtego’s muscles and limbs shakin from it, the Circle threw the dark maiden from his mind>
<Sprinin to his feet, Tashtego drew his mace quicker than the blink o an eye, ready ta pounce on the dark figure and yellin “NO, I will not LET YOU!” and “get OUT O me!”>
<His skin steamin, he looked through the Hall, past his friends, mace in hand, glowerin and ready fer her again…and then fell>
<the powers lent ta him began dissipatin, and he curled inta a ball shiverin>
Lady Rhizzia lend what aid she could as did Lady Emlae. O’er the course o time, he came around, and fixed his eyes on Lady Emlae who leaned closest ta him…”Lady Emlae… ugh… I have beaten her…from…uhhh… me mind…the Circle…” Lady Emlae very confused could only listen. “Tell everyone…everyone…there is an enemy amongst us….two of them…tell everyone…tell them I have beaten her from me…go hurry…I need to rest now...ugh..” Lady Emlae looked ta him not knowin wht ta say, but helped him ta his chair so he could rest. “…the Circle…it is above her…please…tell everyone..I need ta rest” and there he fell asleep inta a rest he hadn’t had since this began…the dark maiden no longer had power o’er him.
And Emlae rushed off to give the news, tho she did not unnerstan its import.

 

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Zollinar 
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/bump

up to the top with ya

 

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Hecathia 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
Anilis looked to the inn. He could not let this scout reach the others. To fail would mean death, and even if he died, he could not allow this scout to give her message. He looked to the guards outside, if only he could get by them then he could get to the scout, and he could kill the scout before she alerted anyone of the news. She looked over to some people by the forge... that was it...

Anilis threw a dirk towards the forge from the top of the stable, it landing with a loud CLANG as it struck the anvil. The smiths jumped up as the guards rushed over to hear what happened. Quickly, Anilis jumped down as the guards turned to her. Opening the door he found the collapsed scout with two others that she had apparently wished to find on the other side of her coming to her aid. The scout had just arrived, he had one chance, and grabbing his scimitar from his back he jumped to plant it into the back of Kanna, the guards not close enough to stop him...

 

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Hecathia 
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Hecathia recieved the message from Dannindas. "Untie her from the tree, keep her gagged, then bind her again. We are moving out from here as per orders from our Mistress."

"Where do we head Mistress?" Dannindas asked.

Ilara looked around. "I do not know, nor will I say aloud, for we do not know who is listening." Dannindas, send Lorimar to the guild hall. Tell him to keep out of sight from everyone, but lay in wait for orders from my Mistress..." trying to make sure she did not say Arcalan's name aloud.

"Yes my Mistress."

 

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Hecathia 
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As they started to move out, she turned to Dannindas and led him aside whispering to him away from the rest. "Keep her moving, send word to me everytime you do. Keep a company of three, send the others out to scout the taverns and be on the lookout for word of Azaeli Hammerfel and Crispian Pontiff."

"Where are you going Mistress?"

"I go to make sigils... my punishment for my failure from my Mistress. Then I shall catch up to you. Do not fail me Dannindas."

"Yes Mistress." bowing turning back to the others giving out commands. Ilara headed to Ludlow to make the items Arcalan asked of her, though a menial task... at least she had not felt the wrath of Arcalan.

 

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Toorc 
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A full night passed as Arcalan struggled to put some of the paperwork of the league to rest.
She worked non-stop to regulate mountains of coins and transactions it seemed, paying for rams used, materials and upkeep of the Hall. She paid out to debts and sent for collections of loans, she took inventory of the armory and drew up schedules of repair for the weapons. Crispian had not been seen for a few days, surely he hid from her. Oaklief and Mirashta were out on the front with Allonan and Toorc was likely dead. The Seneschals of the League were absent from their duty, and Arcalan would take >full< advantage.
As discontent had grown over the last few days, Arcalan had been at pains to suddenly step in and put to right any troubles. When materials at the forge seemed to dry up, Arcalan found Oak had not paid a merchant or had not sent out word of what was needed. She instantly fixed the situation. When ale ran temporarily short (mysteriously) Arcalan had her golem fetch many kegs from the nearby inns to restock, and waived the price aside, paying from her own purse.
When trouble brewed she smoothed things over, and had just finished telling tashtego that she'd put the local garisson to rights over Apolexia. Tash was the latest to inherit care of Lexi as a burden, and the King's men were said to have shown quite some interest in the murder she'd commited, even if the old lady, Bethsaida, hadn't pressed charges. The Law was not to be ignored she warned Tashtego.

Tashtego rturned to telling Illos the old minstrel of how he had thrown off troubling nightmares that had plagued him for a few days now. When he reinacted his battle for control as a mock-play to amuse her, Arcalan looked up from her paperwork.
"Before you vanquish the maiden, doesn't she say 'I will return to my homeland?'" she smirked.
"An how wo'ld ye be knowin of such things Lady Arcalan?" inquired Tashtego genuinely taken aback. Kanna the scout had confided some doubts about Arcalan that Azi had with Tashtego.
"I.. "Arcalan faltered "I saw it in a street show" she lied badly
"oh really?" Tashtego pressed her.
Arcalan sighed "Nay tash, I cannot lie to you, but I didn't want to worry you. i have seen the Dark Maiden in my dreams also"
"Is't so?" he cried "Then surely you are concern'd fer this dark port'nt?"
"Tis a mere phatasm friend, I worry over these more" she said holding a sheaf of papers in her hand.

Suddenly a hollow voice rang out "I shall return, and hell shall follow in my footsteps"

All in the hall looked for the originator of these words, but none saw anything. This disembodied voice was the same as the Dark Maiden both tashtego and Arcalan had dremt of.
"I don' fear ye!" bellowed Tashtego "The Circle threw ye from me, and I will fight ye again!"
No answer greeted him, and the search subsided. Arcalan tried to dismiss this as a trick of the mind, but all were unsettled that eve.

As night came on again the hall had a fair few guests, and the last member of the Knights of the Crest, the good friar Osgoth, joined the banner of St. Crispin's with much rejoicing from his newfound family. Though the demise of his noble guild was sad, yet his move to the League was cause of much joy.
Arcalan cursed mildly as she found it hard to locate a proper seal to record his arrival. Lady Rhizzia the cleric complained loudly of the lack of Seneschals, and Illos has ventured to go and look for one in Camelot, lest they be carousing at this late hour.
After some initial problems all was set to rights, but the problem of a lack of senior staff remained. Arcalan knew the time was ripe.
"Rhizzia, you've been with the League sometime now, and never has it has such a lot of members and thus extra work. I know the frontier is busy, but with Toorc .. gone, maybe dead, we need a temporary Seneshchal here for domestic matters" Arcalan whispered to her.
"Aye that's true" said Rhizzia "But me? I'm just a knight, I don't know if I could be made Seneschal"
"Well Rhizzia, you could help me, a small faviour to allow me t complete the rest of these matters" Arcalan indicated a table burdened with much paper and strange documents.
"I sorted your letters from friends of yours in the realm Rhizzia, I must say you're a very popular person" Rhizzia smiles "and you could either do all this work yourself" Rhizzia's expression told her no... "Or create me as a Seneschal so I can do it. Toorc's position has expired according to the League charter, and I'd relinquish the post when I was finished..."
"Well it makes sense" agreed Rhizzia "and lacking any Seneschals here I AM the most senior member" Arcalan nodded at Rhizzia's words.

The documents were all prepared, and the paperwork filed in a remarkably short time. Arcalan had set everything in readiness. Rhizzia made the announcement that Arcalan was new Seneschal of the League, and handed to her the seal and a cloak of office. Alas the ceremony usual to this type of event would have to take place later, since Arcalan's skills were needed to be put to work immeadiately...
Ceomyr burst out "May I raise a concern here?" but was silenced by Arcalan.
"Friends, I am honoured and I thank you all! I will continue to work for the League and wish to express my dee thanks at this recognition!"
Some applauded others rose to their feet in anger. Tashtego shot a startling glance at Rhizzia. Ceomyr tried to yell above the noise "Arcalan you work well with the easily influenced!"
She looked at him and replied "Give my regards to your brother Ceomy Kelson!"
"What is this?" cried out Tashtego "This is not right! Why have you been created Seneschal of the League?"
The hall hushed down again, and Arcalan began to trade words with tashtego.
"Because lady Rhizzia agreed the League needs a Seneschal for domestic affaris. Lacking any here this eve and with Toorc's rank passing into lapse, Rhizzia filed the necessary process to transfer his rank to me"
"Domestic affairs? This is an outrage!"
"Tashtego, why are you so upset...? I thought you of all people would be pleased for me, and I do this for the good of the League"
"The manner you have come to power disturbes me greatly. It smells foul and I wonder about your motives Arcalan!"
"Tashtego! You once called me friend, and now this? Why do you abuse my friendship so? I have worked many days on setting League affairs in order, and this honour is greatly appreciated. Are you not happy for your friend? I took up this post in an emergancy.. the Seneschals temporarily neglect their duty and I was called upon to help"
"What emergancy?! They are out in battle! I am not happy, because at a time when enemies are within the League I don't trust this sudden elevation in your status!"
"Enemies in the League?" As Arcalan asked the question a murmer ran through the hall. She could not resist letting poor honest Tashtego fall headlong into the trap. Tjhough she bore him no malice, yet he would act against her if she didn't take this oppertunity to discredit him.
"Speak Tashtego! Brother you do neglect your duties by us if you do not name the traitors right now!"
"Aye speak Tashtego" urged Rhizzia
"What is all the fuss?" asked the aged Bethsaida pottering about cleaning at the far end of the hall.

"So you want to know my suspicions lady Arcalan... you truely want to know?" asked Tashtgeo, a tension in his voice that made it sound like a threat.
"Do not delay in telling us a moment longer friend!" she replied, eager for him to spring the trap.
"Very well" he turned and stood upon the table to address the whole hall "I suspect the enemy is none other than your NEW Seneschal!"
Sacandle broek out and many had come down from their chambers to hear what was going on in the hall. A messenger instantly slipped out the back door, and many voices jostled to make themselves heard.
"Proof!" yelled Rhizzia, silencing them "What proof do you have to accuse Sister Arcalan who has been so hard working of late?"

They waited expectantly for him to produce evidence, but he found himself at a loss. Emotion had carried him further than he intended. "She is linked to that voice.. the Dark Maiden, an' the dreams I was havin'" he blurted out, unsure but now desperate.
"Tashetgo" Arcalan began in a voice full of the weariness of a thousand years and utter dissappointment "I expected so much more of you friend, than this jealousy. You now accuse me of being a traitor, who, until I was made seneschal, you had called your friend?" she shook her head sadly.
Rhizzia cried in the corner as Tashtego tried to salvage his speech "Lady Rhizzia please hear me out. Arcalan I won' be made out ta be jealous, yer up tae sumthin'"
Again she shook her head sadly "Begone from my sight Tashtego, you were the first person to call me friend, but you'd throw that away in a fit of jealousy? The League has place on for open hearts, not those shut up by hate."
Althea muttered "Open hearts are fine as long as you close them before you bleed to death"
Tashtego looked distraught then angry "I'll not play this game 'lady' Arcalan, time will out. I'm no jealous, and I didn'y accuse you of anythin' I only suspect. There's a worl' o' difference there"
"I'll take these remaining papers to my room and work there, you've sadend me deeply Tashtego, I hope that you will look hard and find the man I thought I knew, the man who had room in his heart to pity me at first. I pity you now, for though I am free of D'Vena, you yet are cursed by the power of envy." She turned away from him weeping quietly.
"Oh no you don'! Yer no makin me out tae be a jealous man" he called "I suppose ye want ma Knighthood tae?"
"Keep that which Crispian gave to you for your deeds Tashtego. May those tokens of Knighthood remind you of what a pure heart free of hate and envy can do. I ask only that you don't spread poison of your foundless suspicions to your brothers and sisters, for the sake of the League." she knew quite well most were gathered here already and witnessed this. And was well aware how Tashtego must appear.

She withdrew from the conflict and smiled an evil smile. She went to bed that night and rested well, free of the dreams of any Dark Maiden or of Crsipian Pontiff. She briefly thought upon Jashen agin, and thought it had been too long since she saw him. Then she drifted off to dreamless sleep.

 

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Toorc 
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/bump in case you want to read a non-flame thread for a change happy

 

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Toorc 
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Ceowyr had remained out of sight for a long time now.
Accomplice to Arcalan's early dealings, he was now held deeply suspect by the League. As her confessor he was charged to see her convertion to rightiousness, but she had been the one to oversee his convertion. Arcalan had shunned his contact since D'Vena died, making herself seem to be under the Sorceress' control, and he felt angry with her. His reputation had been all but destroyed, and he now wandered secluded areas and in the depths of Darkness Falls, frightened of confrontation with the League of which he ws a part.

He knew that his own brother Ceomyr believed Arcalan was evil, and had led him astray, but others may think Ceowyr was more deeply involved, and they'd be right. He'd helped the Master take posession of Pompin, he'd known of the plan to return to master all along. Now Arcalan had spoken of a different plan, not using another mortal to hous the Master.. but she told him nothing more! He was infuriated, for he wanted to gain his master's graces by aiding in the plan, yet Arcalan had surely cut him out of it.

He forumlated a new plan. He would not skulk in shadows forever. He held deep hatred for the boy-cleric Tobyas, and his lover Crispian, and he'd expose them to the masses, and let vengance be done..
He needed to gain Arcalan's ear once more to achieve results, and he needed to gain the Master's confidence so he could get rid of that backstabbing wench Arcalan.
Ceowyr returned to his journey through the passages of the Falls, his mind occupied with anger and schemes to return to his former position.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Meanwhile, still in Cornwall....

"Guards!" Azi screamed in time with the innkeep as the assasin moved to plant his sword in Kanna's back. She drew her blade instinctively as Emlae ran outside to find the guards. In a flash of metal she and Crispian advanced, and with a swift bash of Crispian's sheild to the man's head, the assasin collapsed.

Kanna stood stunned, frozen to the spot while Tobyas rushed to check the assasin. He shook his head as he felt for the man's pulse, then turned to look at them. His eyes widened and he jumped up to catch Kanna just as she collapsed. Azi gasped at the bloodspot spreading through Kanna's studded leather armor at her back just as Emlae burst through the door with the guards close behind.

"There!" She pointed at the spot where the assasin once stood, now where Tobyas stood holding the limp body of Kanna.

"What is the meaning of this?!" One of the guardsmen stood at the ready, his pike pointed at Tobyas. He surveyed the scene; Azi and Crispian with thier blades drawn, the man lifeless on the floor, the scout pale and bloody, limp in Tobyas' arms. Emlae gasped as she realized how it all must look.

"No, no, it wasn't my lady," she said quickly. Then in a burst of activity practically everyone in the Inn began to explain the events that had passed, in a jumble of raised voices.

"Please." Tobyas held up a hand calmly as the chatter hit its peak. He looked at the guards as the room quieted again. "This woman is poisoned. I must tend to her immediately." The elder guard and his charge exchanged looks, and the elder nodded to the innkeep. Azaeli released a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding as they followed Tobyas and the Innkeep to a room.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
/morning bump

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
Council member, Omnia Patricius, General, Defenders
Http://www.warlordcentral.com - Omnia Patricius's home site
http://Writing.Com/authors/crispian My writing site
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Kanna__ 
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Kanna woke in a daze, a strange and foul taste in her mouth. She opened her eyes slowly to see Tobyas leaning over her in prayer. Her eyes moved slowly around the room, Tobyas' voice wafting in and out, and locked on Azaeli. She bolted upright in the bed.

"They 'ave yer sister!" she cried out hoarsely. "Tha' greek woman, an' she said somethin abou' Arcalan... Arcalan's involved! Humberton.. jes outta Humberton.." She saw Azi and Crispian exchange knowing looks as she fell back on the bed and felt sleep come over her.

 

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Dannindas 
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Dannindas looked on to Ilara, just back from her chore. 'Why am I following this woman anyhow? She has done nothing but kill one of my comrades and possibly another by sending Anilis south. She says she serves the goddess...' Dannindas looked up to the sky. 'Well let us see if she is the right one to follow then...'

"Mistress..." Dannindas spoke calling over Ilara, speaking in Greek so Apolexia could not understand.

"What is it?" Ilara spoke back.

"Mistress, I was thinking, why do we wait on word from your Mistress? Why do you not go see personally to the guild hall and find out what to do with her?"

"Are you mad?! If I were to return, I'd be killed."

Dannindas smiled at this. "Go with Onilis. If you are slain, then the girl dies, you will not be harmed."

Ilara smiled back. "Very well, stay with her then, and I shall return later." gathering her armor she set out for Camelot calling over Onilis for him to follow behind.

The other two guards left walked over to Dannindas. Kili and Rili, twins, looked to Dannindas. "What are you doing? She will die, you know that!"

"Yes yes, prisoner or not she will not survive this!"

Dannindas smiled. Walking over he grabbed his long bow, his preferred weapon.

"Sir! You can not ignore this! Tell us!"

Dannindas grabbed his longbow, then fitted two arrows on it turning to the twins. "It is simple, the girl is free." firing the two arrows striking into the chest of the twins.

"Trai..." "...tor" the twin finishing his brother's sentance, but both collapsed on the ground.

"You see it is simple," talking to the two dead twins. "Ilara is foolish, hungry for power, presumptuous. Ten years wasted searching out of loyalty of her father. I have my own life to live, and the power she saught I shall have." getting up he turned to the bound, gagged, and blindfolded Apolexia.

 

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Hecathia 
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Ilara walked over to the guild hall. Yes, Dannindas was right. Why should she, rightful heir to the Agiad house, ruler of part of Greece, be afraid of the people here, especially when she has a prisoner. Stretching out her fingers with a blast of lightning, she blew off the doors and walked inside. "Oh, hello, sorry about the door here, is Crispian around? I would so love to have a word with him..."

The others in the room turned with a deadly glare to Ilara. It had appeared the group from Cornwall had returned just recently, Azaeli and Tashtego sitting around the hall. Immediatly Azaeli jumped to her feet, her Great Scimitar aimed at Ilara. Tashtego also got to his feet, readying his war mace and shield. Azaeli muttered a prayer of protection, as Ilara turned to her. "Ah, Azaeli, kill me now, and your sister dies."

Rhizzia entered from behind, wondering what was going on, when Azaeli spoke to her. "Hecathia, it is unwise for you to have returned here."

Ilara leaned against the wall. "I wish to speak to Crispian about your sister... my prisoner... and soon to be the Late Lexi if you harm me."

"Crispian stepped away for a minute but you can be assured if he was here he would have your head."

"How ye limp witch?" Tashtego jibed, looking to the shattered leg that was now bound tightly with ropes and wood so she could walk properly.

"It hurts, though I still live..."

"You admit to it then? Then the king himself shall have your head."

"Give me a second and I'll do the same ta the other leg."

Ilara spread out her arms. "Kill me then, but know this, if I am harmed, detained, or killed, your sister dies."

Azaeli whispered next to Tashtego: "Patience"

Rhizzia did not hear her words. She had come fond of Lexi, one of her many watchers it seemed, but she would have none of this witch. Ilara extended her hand to Rhizzia, firing a bolt of lightning at her, the bolt knocking her back a step. "I can do that trick too Rhizzia."

The flames of rage burned within Rhizzia. It was a delicate balance for Ilara, to keep them from not killing her despite the fact she had a prisoner, but Ilara broke the balance, and Rhizzia wanted her chance for payback. The lightning from Rhizzia shot out at Ilara, knocking her back against the door, again, and again, and again. Smoke started to appear over Ilara's blue armor, as Azaeli tried to cry out to get Rhizzia to stop. Rhizzia then try to put her to sleep, but Olinis from outside was quick to wake her, just as Crispian strided into the hall with a black hilt over his back. "You don't know what you've done!" Azaeli yelled to Rhizzia. "Lexi struggled to her feet, then yelled out to Onilis in Greek, "Kill her!" and Onilis took off down the streets.

Azaeli walked over to Ilara, "I kill her now." she spoke.

"No, she will be hanged by the King." Crispian told her.

Azaeli strided to Hecathia's side and raised her sword over her head to strike, driving the blade into Hecathia. "Your false god means nothing to me." As if he was cued by Azaeli, Tashtego also clubbed Ilara with his mace inta her face. Ilara staggered, falling to her knees with the blade sticking out of her back, fading from consciousness.

Azaeli readied her archmace, waiting to swing. Ilara looked up to her, "So be it... your sister is dead..."

With fury Azaeli swung her archmace over thee top of her Scimitar, driving the blade down and inward, causing her to be pinned to the floor, bleeding profusely, her eyes lifeless. Azaeli then dropped to her knees, stunned by her own actions, whispering... "forgive me." speaking to her sister, the one she now knew was dead. Azaeli shakily pushes herself up from the floor. Dracarn who had just eentered seconds before could do nothing but stare in bewilderment at the events transpiring before him.

"I have forsaken my oath as a knigh, I've blodied the guild halls with that of our own family. By your leave I shall go to confession and turn myself tro the guards." Azaeli said disheartily.

"Lady Azaeli, ye turned on a witch," Tashtego tried to say comfortingly. "and nothin more. And one that attacked me when I was away to boot."

"Nonethless. I am guilty of murder."

"Lady Azaeli STOP!" Rhizzia pleaded with her.

"Azi, you shall do no such thing." Crispian returned.

Azaeli looked to Tobyas. "It was me. And it was in a fit of rage."

"No, it wasn't Lady Azaeli!" Tashtego returned.

Tobyas raised his hands in blessing. "Tego Absolvo. I forgive your sins." he spoke.

Azaeli collapsed in exhaustion. Tashtego helped her to the chair. He then turned to the corpse. "Is someone goin ta take care o this filth on the floor?"

Azaeli got up, tears in her eyes. "I shall call her back, we still need to find Lexi." Tashtego disagreed, but Azaeli walked over to Ilara... her hands to her... but she could not do it... collapsing in tears again.

Tobyas walked over, helping her up. "Let me." reaching down to Ilara summoning forth his most powerful spell. "Fiat Fiat FIAT!"

Ilara didn't move, the wound did not subside. Tashtego spoke the obvious, "It isn't working."

Ilara looked around, the chamber dark, laughter being heard all around her. She got up the hole still through her chest, a cold breeze flew by her shuddering. She saw two red eyes peer at her from the darkness. "You've failed me, and now you shall suffer for it..." the voice trailed off, Ilara screamed in horror, but no voice came out, as she was now home with her goddess...

 

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Dannindas 
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Dannindas plucked his bow, looked to Apolexia still tied and bound. He waited for Onilis and Ilara to return, though he only expected one to. Rising from the hill, he saw him, alone. Dannindas smiled, turning to the sky. 'Hecate, I want nothing from you, you have no power over me.' plucking his arrow again he fastened an arrow to it.

Onilis scambled up the hill making all haste. He came in sight of Dannindas. "She is dead, kill the girl now!"

Apolexia did not know what was going on, but the voice she heard was not Greek and she knew what was going to happen. Silently she did something she never did before, she prayed to God, asking for some help, when she heard the twang of a bow.

"Kill her now D..." Onilis voice faltered, his last word never coming out as he collapsed under the force of the arrow.

Dannindas walked down to the beach, leaving Apolexia there. He took some sand and a bottle out of his pouch and coated his hair with it, turning it from black to red. Taking a small blade he cut into some places on his skin, leaving small scars. He changed his clothing, disguising himself completly. He then made his way into Camelot, and headed to the Defenders Guild. He heard the guards down the way at the hall, and it was easy enough to find the new recruits list, and scribed the name 'Dandiar' under it, heading back to the hidden place where Apolexia was.

 

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Apolexia 
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Apolexia felt herself being untied. The gag was taken from her mouth, the bonds broken. She removed the cloth over her eyes and looked to the man over her. "Take easy now lass, I got you now." he spoke, with a British accent in his voice.

"Who... where..." Apolexia spoke confused.

"I am Dandiar, a scout of the Defender's Guild in Albion. I was scouting the hills of Camelot... a boring job really lass but being a new recruit they asked it of me, when I found these men standing around you." Dandiar pointed to the three bodies with arrows stuck out of thier chests. "Do you have a name lass?"

"My name... yes... Apolexia... Hammerfel..." she spoke, still very frightened and confused.

"Hammerfel... ah yes, report was you had gone missing. I am sure your league will want to see you back. Come now lass. You are safe with me." Extending his hand to her.

"Thank you... Dandiar... I am in your debt." forming a smile to the stranger in front of her. She looked at him carefully, but she then saw he wasn't one of them, and embraced him in tears. "Thank you... thank you..."

Dandiar embraced her then looked at her on one knee. "Now lass, we need to take you home don't we? If I remember from my reports, you are from the St. Crispin's League correct?"

Apolexia nodded, no longer afraid. "Yes sire, I am."

"Please, call me Dandiar, I do not like formalities lass."

Apolexia smiled. "I'm Lexi."

Dandiar smiled, as the two made thier way back to the city.

 

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Toorc 
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An hour earlier, Crispian strode through the marketplace for the meeting place. Arcalan would be waiting for him he was certain, but he didn't want to drag anyone into this conflict lest they lose their temper to the witch and fall into her trap.

He climbed the stairs in the tower and turned to face the red and purple clad woman waiting for him in the seclusion of the belltower. He was ready for any trickery she may try, but he felt she would play a more subtle game. Lexi was still missing and he'd left Tobyas and Azaeli back at the League hall.

"Lord Crispian, it's nice to meet you alone so we can spend a little time together" smiled Arcalan "but I don't want to waste too long on pleasantries. I believe you have something I want. Can we assume you're not just going to hand over the key?"

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Crispian smiled at her. "You assume correctly, Arcalan. We both know that whatever it is the key to has some bearing on the League, and you know well I will stand aside on those matters." He sat, his weapons conspicious in their absence. "So, what agreement can we come to then?"

He waited to hear her offer.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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/nump
no...
/hump <BLUSH> no no no
...erm...

/BUMP

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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/bump

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Toorc 
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Arcalan sighed. "Well I hadn't really expected you to give it up so easily. Would you like to see what the key opens?"
Crispian indicated his mild interest. No doubt some box of power or wicked tome.
"This" Arcalan produced a slim volume from under the stone she sat upon. She rose and handed it towards Crispian, while still retaining her grip.
"And that is.." Crispian began, certain Arcalan would tell him this was the key to ultimate power and riches.
"Lexi's diary" she answered. Crispian almost laughed. "I want to know what is in her past" continued Arcalan "And I need to key to open it."
Crispian regarded her with a firm even stare.
"There is more to all of this than you suspect Crispian, son of Jasper. I am now a Seneschal of the League, and am as I always have been, concerned with Lexi's past. You suspect me, but I bear you no malice. You spy upon me, but I have done no wrong since I broke free of D'Vena's curse. What do you want in return for the key. Think upon it Crispian, there is much I can offer."

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump till the morning

 

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Toorc 
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((This IS my morning!!!))

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump till the morning... still 2 hours away... sorry arc <tries not to laugh> =p

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Crispian's eyes narrowed at the cabalist across from him. There was much she did not know that he knew, about those terrifying moments near the end with D'Vena, when the entity within her had asailed him and he had been one with the two. He could recite much about D'Vena by memory, could tell Arguyle why she hated him, and so many other things. He decided to let the ruse play for the moment.

"What is that obsesses you about her, Arcalan? And what of your secret errands and meetings?" His gray eyes surveyed her cooly. "Answer me some of your own riddles before we share in this one."

He let the book go and stepped back, sitting on the stone bench opposite her.

 

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Kanna__ 
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Good shot, Kanna thought through the cloud in her head as she crouched in the bushes, watching the man fall with an arrow in his chest. Carefully she brought her flask to her lips and welcomed the warmth of the brandy as it flowed through her. She pondered this turn of events as Hecathia's servant untied Apolexia, and shrugged.

Azi had asked her to return to the camp and keep close watch on her sister after she was certain Kanna had fully recovered from the poison. The others had returned to Camelot, Kanna knew, and she was content to creep around in the bushes as much as anyone asked her. She'd spent most of her life doing it, and she was pretty good at it..

"Bettern tha' smelly city anyway," she murmured to herself as she took another swig. She slipped silently out of the bushes, leaving a safe distance between herself and the pair as Danndiar and Lexi left camp.

 

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Toorc 
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"You don't fear me Crispian, I'll give you that" said Arcalan "but I am not obsessed with D'Vena. She sought power over others and sacrificed herself for it, she was a fool who meddled in things she didn't understand and paid for it. I'm not like her." She smiled at him, held his gaze firm. it was tempting to be totally honest with him, it would feel good to gloat, but she knew it would be a mistake at this juncture.
Far away Hecathia broke into the League hall full of self-importance and confidence. In a few minutes she'd lie dead on the cold stone floor.
"I am not ready to tell you all of my doings, just as you are not ready to expose all of your own. You have shyed away from Tobyas since you ended D'Vena's life. You're not ready to deal with the truth behind what is going on here, but it's enough for you to understand the surface. I won't be like other people Crispian, I won't stay in the gutter when life deals me a harsh blow. And I won't shrink back from the edge when victory is in my grasp, fearful of what some may say. I won't rush headlong like a fool into the honey-trap of power, but I won't stare at it like an untouchable idol either. Do you think I play games Crispian? Content yourself that I do, convince yourself of that. But don't stand in my way Pontiff." she smiled grim smile and her eyes set with the determination that had turned her from Slave into Seneschal in a few short months.
"My meetings should not concern you overly much, I am frequented by those who see in me what they lack in themselves. They hope I will show them a path to glory, but they should hold little hope. They are moths Crispian, and I am the flame, they dance with interest and if they try to approach me they fall dead."
Hecathia was bleeding, bleeding into a pool on the floor. Her soul was struggling off it's mortal shell, and the hand of Hecate reached out for it. Arcalan felt it soar into the nether realms as she sat in the belltower watching Crispian staring intently at her.
"If you want an answer Crispian ask a straight question. Else, hand me the key and our business for today is concluded" she cocked her head "There are things in motion now you should be a part of. Speak quickly for the League will call you back soon, and we'll return to the dance we're locked in, you watching me, and me watching you."

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Crispian smiled a chilling smile at Arcalan. "Let's end one lie right now, then, Arcalan. You were never touched by D'Vena, and I know that in ways you could not fathom." His expression changed not one bit. "And as to Tobyas, we have spent much time together." His eyes were cold and steady on her.

"To say you play games would be like calling a Troll large. If you want what's in that book, it's time for you come clear on your purpose here. Don't think you can't be expelled from the League, nor that I do not know enough now to act against you, IF that were my intent.

"Tobyas has stayed my hand against you, Arcalan, saying you seek a goal that might aid Albion, but that you have a bitter edge from poor treatment in the past." He shrugged. "I personally feel you're a vile bitch, but I am willing to hear out otherwise."

He toyed with the key in his hand, finally slipping into his belt pouch.

"Care to prove me wrong, Arcalan? To come out of your murky shadow and risk an honest hearing? Or would you rather continue to feel you can manipulate everyone to get what you want?"

 

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Toorc 
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((150 posts woohoo!))

"Crispian, your idle banter is wasted here. We both know the truth, but you'll never have anything beyond shadowy doubt. I have made myself instrumental to the League in ways you don't understand and I am now comfortably entrenched, do what you will. Tobyas has bought me more thn enough time to settle in, and it will always be thus with people who think the world is basically full of good honest people. A move to destory my powerbase will collapse the League and leave many of your friends hunted and alone, not to mention that it would weaken Albion further. It would be your conscience that dealt with the ramifications, for if all goes smoothly I shall have no need to harm what you have built."
She turned her back to him and looked out the window onto the city of Camelot below and it's many spires.
"If you want me to tell you of my alligence, then you already look upon the one who has my devotion. I have already begun to have an effect upon you Crispian, and the trials you faced of late have taught you some measure of wisdom. You won't learn a single thing more than I wish to reveal to you, and you won't expell me either. I will make the League powerful beyond the petty aims you envision." she turned and sat near him on a windowledge, secure in the knowledge that he could not harm her until she did him harm, for thus were the greatest of magics binding him. "If you want to know a little of the mystery of me, Crispian, open that book and we'll both find out something. If you walk away from here you will stumble through the darkness and you are well aware of it. I need no fair hearing, you cannot judge me. Open the tome and we both gain, refuse and I will destroy the diary and we both leave as we entered. What will it be Crispian?"
She paused with her hand hovering over the book. She could dissolve it in an instant and block the path that would reveal more of what Lexi was hiding, or else Crispian could unlock it and Arcalan would rely on her wits to stay ahead of him in this chess-game.

 

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{old}Basaia 
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The Darkness Eternal stirred within the Ether. The lone summoning tower trembled as the clouds began to coalesce above it's crumbled spires.

"Op'n tha' Book, open" a wraith-like voice whispered...

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Crispian could no longer surpress a chuckle. Arcalan could be so much filled with herself.

"Let's clear some things up, Arcalan. First," he stood, pacing, "I tire of your condescending attitude. Second, your spell," he watched her shocked expression which she quickly hid, "was purged shortly after you set it. Third, I am not intimidated by threats to the League. It has survived and grown from schisms before. In your supreme arrogance, you forgot to learn your history."

He stood apart from her, hands braced on hips, all the pleasantness that normal marked him gone. "I have known of some of your shams from the beginning, when you threatened your way into the League. Now, either you take the offer of an honest partnership, or it is you who lose what is in that Tome. Recall that it is you who wants what is in the tome. Want it enough to send a thief into my chambers. I did not come for it."

He looked at her sternly. "And yes, I can judge you. As your senior as a Seneschal, I can, but wish not to." He smiled a grim smile at her. "My trials taught me more than mere Wisdom, Arcalan. They took me deceit and ruthlessness.

"Now, do you want to strike this deal or not?"

 

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Toorc 
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"You're a fool to think you can purge my magic Crispian. You really are. No mortal man can lift the spell that is upon you, nor even the most holy of men lift it. It has power enough to defy heaven, as Eve defied your God. Had you really been able to lift it you would have tried to strike me down already. No Crispian, you delude yourself into thinking I can be fooled so easily. But I congratulate your pet sorceror on discovering it in the first place."
She stepped defiantly close to him, for her Master had made the earth tremble and the Angels roar in fury when he walked this world. Crispian could not decieve her with his bluffing.
"I will bring the League glory, you will bring it to it's knees. But our aim is the same even if you will fail where I succeed. I agree then Crispian to be a partner in making the League great, and since the spell that entraps you forbids that there be any resolution through conflict, I will seek one through peace. Open the book now and I will accept the hand you offer to me. When it lays open you may stay and learn or depart and see what has already transpired while you stand here."
Standing there in checkmate, the two eyed each other. Arcalan knew Crispian underestimated her greatly, but he could be troublesome nonetheless. A deal would ensure she could move forward with her plan.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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He glared at her in rage. "You are working with some dark force, Arcalan, and that I will not condone. Nor will I just yield up to you whatever you want. Clearly, this book means something to do, or you would not have taken this meeting, on my terms."

He wished he could strike her down at moments like this but something stayed his hand. She was corrupt, he was sure, but more than that he could not prove, yet.

"So, what do *I* gain from this book being opened, Arc?" he asked archly. "What are you giving me, for all that you have. You know full well I can reduce you from the Office you wormed your way into. However, we both know that would make us look petty, and small minded." He held her gaze as unflichingly as if she were an Eldritch he planned to slay.

"State what you think your terms should be."

 

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Toorc 
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Even her magics didn't cow Crispian, for he had a soul that blazed forth in certainty and devotion to his cause. He would not back down, and nor would she... perhaps then, they could stirke a deal.
"I propose that you open the diary Crispian, with your key that you guard there. I know you could thwart me in this, but you *are* interested in Apolexia, as am I. I merely want to share what you learn, but if that's not enough..."
she turned and looked out again, what could she offer him? He'd see through empty promises, and she could not swear an oath against her Master. She thought for a moment.
"I'll make donations to the guild funds for crafting" Crispian shook his head, mere gold was not enough for him "And I'll swear not to harm a single member of the League until they raise their hands against me!" she glared. "Will that satisfy you Crispian?" she was furious, she wanted the diary open more than ever, and she was making rash promises. "I'll even.. " she waved her hand in the air "There! Hecathia lies dead now, at the mercy of the godess she served!" Arcalan's voice was almost screaming and she brought it back under control. This steely warrior was getting the better of her! Damn him to hell and deeper, he was playing on her nature to get what he wanted! He knew she'd see dissolving the diary as defeat, and would risk much to "win". He still wanted to know what dark force she had joined in alliance with, but it was unlikely he'd wrest that from her right now. She didn't deny it though, and he was well aware of how demonic powers could use a corrupted soul to gain entry to this world.
Arcalan had clenched her fists unconsciously, she was breathing hard and she was raging at him, determined to read the diary now.

 

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Apolexia 
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Apolexia got back to the city with the support of Danidar. He left her at the Defender's Guild to walk the rest of the way safely. Apolexia walked down to the guild hall, entering it and finding out what took place just a short while ago. The one whom had caused her much pain was dead. The thief that stole her shields was dead, some of the shields being returned but some sold and lost forever. She looked back to her life and sighed, but she was home once again. Her worries over her Diary lost seemed to fade from her memory, forgetting about it as she saw the ones she loved once again.

 

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Dannindas 
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Dannindas walked over to the Defender's Hall reporting what had happened, inwardly laughing at this so called Lieutenant. The papers he forged and added to the files no one noticed, for all this idiot knew he was Dandiar Kitar, a 29 year old who after having his family killed by bandits joined the Defender's Guild. He was afraid that the Lieutenant would make a big deal of this all, the last thing he wanted was to attract attention to himself. To his shock, the Lieutenant was furious. "What were you doing scout?! Do you not know your duties?! I should have you hanged for not following orders!!! You know what those orders were did you not?!"

Danni... Dandiar tried to get a word in, "Ye..." but was cut off.

"SILENCE! I did not ask you a question SCOUT! They couldv'e killed that girl because of you! Sure she has caused us numerous problems and is a pain in the neck..." the Lieutenant said in a more hushed voice before going back to yelling at Dandiar. "gives you NO RIGHT TO TRY AND PLAY HERO!!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!!"

"Ye..."

"I SAID SILENCE!" Rydderac was obviously very upset. Taking a breath he walked over and sat by his desk, pulling out a scroll. "Hm, Dandiar Kitar, joined us two months ago, so far no blips in your record, up for promotion very soon... well, that won't happen now." Rydderac crossed a line through something Dandiar couldn't see. "This is going on your record Dandiar, but because the girl IS safe I will not punish you any further. Though I gurantee you, if she was killed because of you your head would not be attached right now. DISMISSED!"

Dandiar saluted his supervisor, then left his office trying not to laugh. 'That almost went too well...' he thought, when one of the other scouts rushed up to him. "Dandiar, this message came for you from a young female while you were with Rydderac." handing Dandiar the message.

"Thank you kindly." bowing to the female in front of him, offering her a smile before reading the message. So, this Tashtego wants to meet with me. Dandiar smiled, meet me at this courtyard yes yes, I am coming, and he left for the courtyard, bowing to the Armsman as he walked up to him.

"I heard you were looking for me." Dandiar said, looking up to Tashtego.

Tashtego looks to the young man standing afore him. "Are ye Dandiar? The scout who rescued Lady Apolexia?"

"Any other would do the same milord." Dandiar returned, giving a bow.

Tashtego smiled at the younger man. "Aye, we all do what we can, I only wish I would have been given the opportunity ta do what ye had done... but good sir... I wish ta thank ye..." as he looks into his eyes to let him know the import of his words. "Fer what ye have done this day."

Dandiar bowed again. "If you'd like, I can tell you what I know, it might help bring the ring-leader out, since the three I killed were nothing but puppets from what I saw."

"Yes indeed, is there any information that ye may know of that could aid us in killin these vagabonds..."

"The defenders had told us to be on the lookout for any information on this girl, and when I was scouting the nearby hills..." Danidar leaned into Tashtego. "Bad work really, but as a new recruit, they say it gives us practice for the front..." Then returned to his stance a short distance away. "Anyhow... I came across a group of drunk brigands, their dress was funny, and they were making quite a racket, I could not understand them, they spoke strangely which alerted me immediatly..."

"Did ye know the language?" Tashtego inquired, listening in closely.

Dandiar shaked his head. "No, I would not have paid any attention to a bunch of drunken brigands if I did not hear them talk, for the reports on the missing girl was she was taken by a bunch of foreigners."

"Drunken? this does not sound like the kind o people I had expected ta take sweet Lexi." he said dubily.

"Which is the exact reason I think she might still be in trouble Milord." Dandiar quickly returned.

"How do ye mean good sir?"

"According to the reports, the lass was taken from inside the city, these brigands could not have infiltrated the walls of camelot and taken her away."

"So then there be another that is more skilled..." he thought aloud.

"Does this make sense Milord?" Dandiar asked.

"Aye, this does make sense..." he returned.

"Were ye able ta look through their camp?" Tashtego asked, hoping for clues.

"Yes Sir, I did, though my main concern was on the young lass you must understand."

"Aye I unnerstan that, but did ye or anyone else go back ta their camp afterwords?"

"Well Sir, after delivering the lass back to safety I reported to my supervisor, he said he would send people to check the camp, last I checked, they found nothing of interest."

"Hmmm...I would like ta check this place meself then if possible."

"I tried talking to the lass, she kept muttering something on our way back to the city, the main reason I think the head of this band is not one that I slew."

"Mutterin somethin? what was it?"

"The lass said, 'Ilara is Hecathia'. Whomever this Ilara be, I feel she is behind this, and I told my supervisor this when I returned."

"Well, Hecathia has been dealt with and executed..." with no sign of remorse in his voice.

Danidar sighed in relief. "That is good news Sir, I shall report that information to my supervisor immediatly, he would be wanting to know that. Might I ask, was she behind it all? He would want to know."

"Not 'all' I think...there is another wrapped up in this affair as well methinks..." he spoke suspiciously. "tho the proof be hard pressed ta be found in the light o day..."

Danidar bowed again. "I shall tell the Lieutenant this, and I shall remain vigilant on any more of these bandits I see sir."

"I thankee fer yer help in this matter good sir." taking his hand in his and shakes it. "I cannae thankee enough, and if there be any other items that spring ta yer mind, please call on me. And if ye need anythin at all, anythin, I shall help ye if I can."

"Actually Sir, I was wondering something..." Dandiar spoke.

"Please, ask away..."

"Sir, I became a scout cause a group of bandits like such burned down my family's home, killing my wife and my young daughter, I see this lass and I do not wish for her to be a victim of such an attack, nor do I want anyone else to suffer. My family is gone, my home burnt to the ground, I seek new family and a new home, and I offer my services to you and your league."

"Then we have much in common you and I friend... much in common..." looking away a little, his past haunting him as he spoke.

"Sir, is something the matter?" Dandiar inquired.

Tashtego ignored the question. "So then, ye wish ta join our happy Guild? I can make that happen right now if ye so desire it... and in fact, it would be an honor ta have ye."

"I wish to offer my services to your guild yes, I feel I have much to offer and will work hard to keep all in it safe, I will not fail my family again..." wiping away a tear.

Tashtego lets his feelings pass before saying anythin else lest he cry. "Someday, we shall talk on this but not now... then it be settled, ye shall join our Guild..." smiling as he spoke. The two shook hands, and Tashtego showed Danidar his new home, third door on the right upstairs Tashtego told him is where he could rest.

Dandiar sat in his new bed, pleased with himself over how well that went. Now he just had to seek one other... Arcalan... though that would not be an easy task. Arcalan would see right through his disguise he was sure of it. He had Apolexia on his side, Tashtego practically calling him a brother, all was going well with his plans. But her... she would not be happy that he had 'fed Ilara to the wolves'. He knew why he had to do it... Ilara was too forceful, and would only cause Arcalan's downfall if she was not put down. But how would he explain this to her? 'Twas a weary day...' he thought to himself. 'She can wait, and I know she has the smarts to not expose me before she had a chance to talk with me...' and with those thoughts, he fell asleep... though he could not help the dream that kept coming to him in the night, the female in blue that he served, crying out in an endless agony...

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Crispian considered Arcalan dispassionately as she finally showed some signs of humanity other than her coniving. He could accept the pledge not to harm a member of the League less they strike at her first. That was easy enough to hold her to. He dug in his pouch for the key. She was right. The Mysterious Past of Apolexia was intreguing to him.

"Oh, and I do not expect you to try to usurp any of MY authority within the League. You may be a Seneschal, until Master Toorc can be recovered, but I will not have you lording that over me, or anyone else."

He held her eyes until she nodded curtly. "Very well, I'll play your game of equality," she snapped. She wanted to act as she should be able to, superior to the rest, but if it would keep this one off guard, she would play it his way for now. Let him learn later the folly in that.

"Now, let us see what is in here," he said calmly, fitting key he held into book she held. With a snip, it opened.

 

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Arcalan held her breath, her joy at discovering a secret lit up her face with an almost child-like smile and as she leant over to look she absentmindedly rested a hand on Crispian's shoulder and made little noises of surprise at what she read. The handwriting was terrible, childish drawings of letters more than an elegant hand, but then Lexi had only recently learnt to write. But for all that Arcalan was thrilled by it. She murmered softly as she read:

((Over to Apolexia's voice for the contents of her Diary))

 

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Apolexia 
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'Dere Diry,
I dun not know y I m riting tis. I ges evr sins sis taut me ow to rite, I ave fet dat if anydin wer two hapn to me, den de odders shuld no de truth. Sory diry four my riting, I fet i portant dat as son as I culd make somding I wuld rite it.'

'Dear Diry,
I said dat I wuld rite into this as soon as I culd, doe it is tugh to say it all at once. I gess I shall start at the beginin... doe dis is mostly from anudder, cusin Ani, who tol me the truth.'

'Dear Diary,
Ani tod me dat it all started in cornwull. Frum the summonnnin towa he brught the power into hisself, and our grandpa was den los as Basya was envelped by de demon. He fet dat he deserved jus as muh honar and praze as did fadder, and wen faddah was grnted land and he wasnt, dis cauesed him to do dis.'

'Dear Diary,
Sorry I havent wrote in a cuple days, thouh my writing I dink is improvin. Im sory, I dont hae much tie to write, got in truble.'

'Dear Diary,
Ware was I... oh yes. The demon took time to work on grandpa, he was patint, wayting for the right moment. I du no not no how many years passed, if any atall, but I do know father had me. Was a grate day for father and mother, I was their only child, Uliyana Ulfwych. It was den dat grandpa struck...'

'Dear Diary,
Got in trouble again... I will right more lateer...'

'Dear Diary,
Well, I am grounded to my rum, so have time to right. Grandpa, frum wat I found out, saw me as a weigh that he culd gain power. He organzized sum mercanaries from Llyn and captured me away from mum and dad. The brigarnds maed it look ike I had been kiled, and father neer knew that I had been captured. To dis day, he dinks I am dead. I was yung, and I didnt know any better. Grandpa tol me father died defenin de lands from the gobins. He sad mother died givin birth to me, thas why I was named Apolexia, dough I dont understan it atall. E had me smith, I luved to smith. I had freedom to do watever I wanted to do, since the mercs followed grandpa and grandpa et me do wutever. Den the day came when I came to the city... grandpa seemed all too willing.. he knu dat with me here, he could work his plans. He wasn't arund much anyhow, I know. I knew growing up that dere was something de matter with him, dough I lied to myself about it so I wouldn't see de truth... he had been poisonin my mind for years, letting me get my way, and then when he worked his dark magics I blamed my cusin for it all, Ani, and I tried to...'

'Dear Diary,
Sorry, sumeone came up and had to hide you. Anyhoo... I tried to murder Ani... dough she was not at fault. The shame I live with, knowing that I worked with a demon, that I actually tried to murder my own blud, a noble even. I was redy for Basaia, he was redy for me. I had filled my min with hate and evil... and the demon inside him yearned to tak me... but sumdin stopped him. I dun no what... but he vanished. Basaia vanished... and I've not seen him since... but I believe he is still there somewhere, him and his dark legions...'

'Dear Diary,
When sis and I were at a weddin, I touched an altar of the church, and it burned me... sis told me dat I was tainted wid evil... I had told her of my past before I became her sis... yet the evil still lurked in me... she casted out... but my evil is still out there... waiting...'

'Dear Diary,
I fashioned the necklace sis made me into a key to your lock... she would know how to open it if something ever happened.'

'Dear Diary,
I feel that I dont wish to write in you anymore. I will live day by day... but you shall be my words if anything happened.'

<the entries end here>

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
/thwap

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Toorc 
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((numps are ok, but I'm not sure about Thwapping. That was my first thwap, and I can't say it was as good as a nump))

Arcalan gasped and looked up at Crispian. She waited for him to finish the page and then stepped back from him.
"You were looking for a dark influence .. milord" she stumbled over the need to place genuine respect on that term "and it seems you've found it, though not where you expect. I wonder if Lord Ulfwych ever found out..." she let the sentance hang in mid air.
There were cries in the street below and some commotion taking place. Arcalan didn't bother to look, knowing it was a report of the fight at the League hall. She wondered who had killed Hecathia, and where Lexi was now? Presumably Lexi was free if Hecathia had been killed, they'd not be stupid enough to kill Hecathia before Lexi was safe.. would they? Arcalan's eyes widened in shock, they would indeed.. now Lexi was a major bargaining chip she'd better not be harmed!
Arcalan raced for the stairs yelling "Adieu Lord Crispian, I have much to do!"

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Hecathia's body lay in a crumpled mass before the door of the League hall. Her blood seeped from her in a pool that crept ever so slowly closer to Azi's plated-clad toes. Azi stared, unable to take her eyes away from the body, and her own great scimitar still jutting upward from the woman's chest. Though countless seasons of battle lay under her belt, this was the most horrifying death Azi had ever seen.

Blood spilled in the League hall. Blood of a fellow League member. Blood spilled by her own hand, she, a knight of the League. The rage was gone now, but it had been terrifying. It would be scandal, no matter the reason. It would tarnish the reputation of the League, and her own reputation..

Tobyas stood closeby, trying in vain to call the woman back, but seemed miles away to Azi. She raised shakey palms before her face and stared at them in disbelief. She had tried to raise Hecathia, and the Almighty would not allow it. Tobyas had heard her confession and absolved it, but she knew her crime was unexcusable. Only the Lord Himself had the right to decide life and death, and Azaeli had taken that decision into her own hands, defying even Him.

Tashtego's hand was gently on Azi's arm, though it seemed he was in the far end of a tunnel when he spoke.

"Me Fair Lady Azaeli? Come sit an calm yerself. The witch is gone now.." In a daze, with her eyes locked on the bloody corpse, Azi felt herself lifted in his arms and lowered into a chair.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Crispian stood for a moment stunned at what was revealed. He himself had been touched by a demonic influence, what the Exorcists called a perfect possession of an individual, unwittingly done by D'Vena to further her own goals at first, but ultimately becoming the sad victim of a demon named Mirth, who led to her undoing. And now to learn this of Apolexia, young enough to be his sister, close enough for the same to be true.

No wonder she acted as she did sometimes, with her outlashing at people and things. His shock fell quickly away as he heard names from below, Hecathia, Azi, the League. He bolted down the stairs to emerge only steps behind Arcalan. A quick gesture called back the two swift shadows who would have given her pursuit. He now felt he could ask, and get mostly truthful answer, about what she was doing.

Not that he would entirely be non-vigilant. He was not that foolish.

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Tobyas 
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Unable to call back the fallen woman, Tobyas knelt and blessed her body with oils, absolution, and prays for divine salvation. Even with the mighty power of resurrection at his command, not all could be saved. His titian head stayed bowed for a time as he murmured the low and quiet prayers for the dead. Then he rose, to minister to the Living.

He crossed to Azi, his chain mail hissing as it rubbed against itself. His eyes, a vivid, innocent blue, met hers. He read in them the loathing and anger, fear and uncertainty. "Wish you to speak about this now, Azi, or would you prefer to be miserable first?" he said quietly, his tone conveying what he knew of her.

He held her eyes until she looked away to the fire, then settled down next to her. Other members of the League withdrew, creating a space about them in respect. He waited for her to speak.

 

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Toorc 
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Toorc opened his eyes again and saw the green grass bouncing up and down in his field of vision. He felt a bit sick and the light was so bright his eyes stung and watered if he did more than squint. He felt himself lowered to the ground and heard voices yelling out orders around him. He could also hear a cry in the distance, a bloodcurdling battlecry designed to rally the primative forces of Midgard. Troll voices boomed out a thunderous "RrrrAAAAAAAAAAA!"
The Celtic company formed a defensive ring and sent their ranger off to find a vantage point. The forces of Midgard were near at hand and were trying to gauge their numbers before charging in. The massive Firblog twirled his spear in the sunlight and the swift ranger loosed an arrow at the enemy forces. Toorc watched on still very weak, seeing the Healer of midgard advance with his troll bodyguards trying to shield him. The Healer raised his hands to entreat a pagan deity to stun his foes, when suddenly a tiny figure appeared from the long grass and drove a dagger into the Norseman's side. The trolls quickly smote the brave little Lurikeen with hammers, and he fell with a horiffic thud. The Healer however was doubled up from the poison on that fatal blade, and learnt how potent certain Hibernian berries can be when properly mixed and prepared. His companions adopted a more straightforward strategy and closed in, one dwarf ripping out of his normal skin into some vile furred form, and howling like a beast.
As the two sides clashed in the rolling expanse of Emain Machia Toorc got to his feet. He summoned the energies he knew best and the land did his bidding, the power of earth forming a skin to deflect the enemies weapons. His power fell upon the hibernians and coated them likewise, bouncing blow after blow off of their skin and giving them the edge. The towering Firblog stepped in to protect Toorc, and denied the Mids any chance to strike down their unusual ally. As arrows rained in from the sniping elven ranger and brought the wounded and fleeing to their knees it became apparent the Norse warriors were losing. The last of them to fall was the shapechanged berserker, refusing steadfastly to take even one step back, and even pulling himself along the shaft of the massive spear when he was impaled, still trying to claw the Firblog.

When all was doen Toorc collapsed again, unable to withstand the strain any longer. He'd have to rest before that, for he was badly drained from his ordeal. The Celts gathered him up again and once they'd had a short chance to bandage their wounds the company made off once more, heading deep into the Hibernian territory.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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The flames flicked and cracked, but even with her eyes averted she could see the body, the result of her rage. Tobyas leaned close. His voice held a soothing tone, but Azi could not grasp the meaning of his words. They slipped through her like the blade that had slipped through Hecathia's chest. She stared into the fire, seeing herself driving her mace down onto the hilt of her sword. Savage! She saw the sword drive into Hecathia's body and then through the wood of the floor, pinning her. Tobyas voice stopped, he was finished, waiting for an answer. What had he asked her? She swallowed the lump in her throat, tears stung her eyes as she watched the flames.

"Yes," was all she could manage to whisper.

 

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A tight, pained expression came over Tobyas' face. This was such a sad moment, when a foe takes a guise to which one is unaccustomed. "She came as a wolf in sheep's clothing, Azi. You acted as the Just Warrior, surely you see that?"

He reached for her hands, ice cold as she clenched and unclenched them.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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He was inspecting her hands now. Why did he feel the need? He had been standing there all along, he saw the whole event. She was guilty, she knew. He knew. She let her hands lax, allowed him to look them over. His words came and went in her recognition. Wolf, he called her..Just... Yes. She understood what he was saying. She would see justice for this murder.

"Yes, Tobyas," she answered softly.

 

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Tobyas 
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Tobyas took her hands between his own, both consecrated to a purpose. "Thou art My right Hand, My Holy Arm, You strike down My foes, None shall stand against Thee." His right thumb, still shining with oils from blessing the corpse that had been Hecathia, traced signs of blessing on her hands.

"Wash me, Lord, that I may be clean in your sight," he intoned, letting a nuance of healing energy flow through his touch, the slightest of healing spells. "As Michael raised his sword against the Fallen One, so you have acted."

He looked up to her, hoping for a more active response than he had recieved thus far.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Azaeli blinked. She felt Tobyas' hands on hers and realized it was a gesture of warmth, not accusation. When he spoke, she heard his words. One more time, the scene flashed before her. Tears flowed freely now. Her mind cleared. She was comforted. She looked from the flames into his eyes, still utterly saddened.

"Tobyas, what have I done? Yes, I acted as the Just Warrior.. and it was Right.. but surely I've killed my sister--?" Her voice cracked as she spoke those last words, her eyes moved from his to the lifeless body once more as she remembered the terms of the message passed to them.

 

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Tobyas 
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Knowing the pain of a lost sister, his own now five years or more dead, he frowned. "We don't know that yet, Azaeli. Only the Almighty, in Divine Wisdom, knows the outcome of these events. Today, you have acted as the Sword of Justice, even as blessed Saint Michael did defeat the Fallen One for the security of Heaven, you have defeated a fallen one."

His eyes lowered. "For Lexi, all we can do is pray and hope. Even action now would not be as swift as word upon the wind. We must hope for her safe return on to us, and trust that if it is not to be, that it is as the Almight wills it. Recall the words of Lot: 'Naked I came into this world, and naked shall I go forth. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Lord.' If she is not returned to us, we must recall that Apolexi is a Gift from the Lord."

He swallowed hard to control his own emotions. He would not want to lose a sister again, and here he was faced with just that.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Tobyas' words, the words of scripture, washed over her. His voice was soft and kind, filled with Wisdom and Truth. She wondered at that, remembering how young he had seemed when they first met. He was truly in his element now, and even in her grief Azi was happy for Tobyas. That he was able to give such comfort, that he had become so full of the Lord, brought peace and joy to her heart.

It was then that Azi realized her own element. Never had her own emotions been selfish, whether happy or sad. Always, her feelings were a direct result of the feelings of those around her. She was a sympathetic soul. Her happiness came from others' happiness, her sadness came from others' grief. That was how she lived. Never had she allowed herself to feel one way or another because it was how she, herself, felt.

It had always been that way, she suddenly realized, though it came to her as a revelation now. At that moment, she realized she did not know herself. She had never allowed herself to be free of others and just live and feel and be true to Azaeli. There had always been Pappa, and Ascot, and Crispian and D'vena, and the League, and Lexi..

The Almighty did work in mysterious ways. Had this not happened, Azi may never have come to realize this about herself. She squeezed Tobyas' hands and allowed herself to have faith. He was right. Whatever God willed would be done.

"Thank you, dear Tobyas," she said softly, bowing her head, "I shall pray for her.."

 

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Tobyas 
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Tobyas smiled, a wistful look at this moment. "In the quiet of your soul, Azi, He knows you. Trust in him." He smiled at her, more warmly, as he rose to his feet. His hand raised in blessing over her, then he was turning away, a haunted look on his face.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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As he turned away Azi sighed and rose from her chair, still shakey. Her eyes passed one last time over the body of Hecathia and the blood that seeped across the shining wood of the floor. She made a mental picture of it, to save as a reminder of this day, of what she was capable of, of what she had learned.

"I go hence to church," she said to herself more than to Tobyas, her whisper resounding from the walls of the hall. Gingerly, she lifted up her cloak behind her and stepped over the pool of crimson to stand in the charred remains of the smited doorway.

 

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Toorc 
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Illos watched them bring Lexi into the city and was very glad she knew she must run back to the League Hall as fast as her old legs would carry her. She beat a drum as she went and sang a song, the Song of Rescue, and it told of Lexi's escape even though Illos knew no details, for songs, like stories, can oft describe things that are universal and constant, even in such an uncertain world.

_____________________

Arcalan paused in the street and saw Crispian gesture to two men employed to follow her. He called them off, which she felt was an act of faith on his part. She resolved not to do mischief right now, and to bury soem of the animosity she had for that pompus Armsman. Afterall, she could afford to be generous, for her ultimate reward would be immortality and godlike power over pety things like men.
She now knew of Lexi's claim on the House of Ulfwych, and since Lexi must know too that meant she wanted it kept secret. She certainly would want her Grandfather kept secret! All these many things she could hold over Lexi, but she needed Lexi to live first. If Hecathia's men had slain the girl her revenge would make Morgana shudder in horror, but if she had been spared the Greeks may yet retain their skins.

She decided to wait until Apolexia was found, and dispatched a dozen riders to comb the land near Ludlow for her, then retired to a local Inn to wait for word. She had gone through a lot of trouble for that key, and it had yielded great results, but now it could all be dashed from her at the 11th hour. She swore that she'd harm no member of the League lest they struck first at her, and now that oath may bind her for no gain! It was unthinkable.
Hoping for the best she prepared provisions again to make haste to Llyn Barfog, but this time she had ample information to go on. She considered whipping up a little trouble to delay Crispian but waved the thought aside, it was more trouble than it was worth. As she thought upon that a whim came to her.
She sent a short letter to Jashen the Mercenary turned infiltraitor, and brother to Crispian.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear Jashen,
I have not yet extended my warm congratulations on foiling the theif who broke into the League Hall recently. Her true nature was exposed in great part due to your cunning and bravery.
Impressed by your skill I cannot help but think you may be well suited to another task of fact finding. I am preparing to set off upon such a mission to the region of Llyn Barfog, and would be honoured if you would accompany me.
I am sure you know it's not safe for a girl to travel by herself in such times of strife, but aside from your protection and companionship I think that your eye for detail would be very well suited to the undertaking.
Your dear brother Crispian will fill you in on such background as you may need to know, should you wish to join me.

Your Sister in Arms,
Arcalan
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She began to add some drivel in postscript about having longed to speak to him after D'Vena's death, but she quickly crossed it out and cut away the bottom of the parchment. What was she thinking of? She had merely offered to take him to discover more about Grandfather Basaia and "cousin Ani" to convince Crispian and his advisors that she was willing to co-operate. She chose Jashen because he wasn't Seneschal like his brother, and he was well trusted by Crispian... and... and.. well, ...just BECAUSE. She didn't have to justify herself to herself, she though haughtily and promptly sealed and sent out the letter.

She tapped her fingers impatiently for word of Lexi and to hear back from Jashen, while she sat in the public house, sipping a glass of wine.

 

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Apolexia 
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Lexi looked around the guild hall to cheers and many hugs. She quickly told her story of her rescue, but was distracted. "Where is my sister?" she asked, worried that she might've went out to look to her.

Obviously noticing this in her voice, Tobyas smiled. "Worry not child, she's at the church."

"Thank you Tobyas." she smiled, and quickly left the guild hall without a goodbye, though all understood where she went.

 

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Little did Dannidas know that he was being watched by more than one set of eyes. Dannidas had spotted Kanna easily enough, and dispatched his men to kill her. She had barely escaped with her life intact o’er it, but there was another set o eyes trained on these men, Dannidas specifically. He sat silent and cloaked and watched everything. He watched Kanna be chased off. He was sorry for this event, but his mission per Tashtego was not to mount any rescue attempt, or ta make any sudden moves to attract attention to himself, his orders were to strictly watch. And watch he did. In the end he thought, Kanna’s prescence and eventual chase helped ease these vagabonds tensions thinking that the enemy had been spotted and dealt with. Oh no! There is more than one way ta find out the truth, he thought to himself as he watched things unfold.
He watched silently, cloaked, all that took place before him in his secure spot. He watched Hecathia belt out orders, he watched Dannidas kill his own men, he watched Dannidas free Lexi, he watched Dannidas change his appearance, and he watched Dannidas cart her off to Camelot. He had what he came for, and he had Dannidas cold. The message was relayed to Tashtego at the most opportune time, and e’erythin was told ta him that was witnessed.
Lookin grim and his eyes fixed on the distance, Tashtego spoke ta him, “you have done me a great service, nay ye have done the Guild a great service this day Thenard. Your reward will be handsome, and I will call on yer services again I am sure soon enough. Lay very low now…you know me sign…” Thenard spoke not one word in this exchange after his accounts of Dannidas were laid out. He silently nodded, took his payment, and exited, finding the shadows and eventually his hideout until he was needed again.

 

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{old}Tashtego_JWM 
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…a struggle in the night at the Hall, and one falls to the arcing swing o a mace…

Dandiar, or les jes say Dannidas now, hung upon the short manacles secured to the Guild Hall great wall. His feet as well were secured tightly. He awoke to an abrupt slap in the face. His eyes opening slowly, he could feel his hair clotted with blood, three loose teeth, a broken nose, and his head throbbin in pain. The taste o blood in his mouth almost made him gag. He hung there stripped down to his unders, everythin that could conceivably be a weapon taken from his person. He was a pathetic sight ta see, and he was utterly defenseless.
In front of him stood Tashtego, Crispian, Lady Azaeli, Lexi and Rhizzia. They were all in full battle gear. Tashtego, the closest, glared at the spy with a thirst for vengeance in his eyes. Crispain stood there very eager to question this new found spy. Tashtego had given him the full story as relayed to him from his own infiltrator and confidente. Everythin had checked out, and his old supervisor had given information that was damaging to his character as well. Lady Azaeli stood there wondering just how far all o this treachery could go. Lady Rhizzia stood there with thunder rollin in her eyes, and Lexi stood there almost in shock at the news about this scout and his actions against her. Striking the spy again, Tashtego belted out, “WAKE UP ASSASSIN!” Dannidas’ broken nose let out a burst o new pain, and he could not help but yelp at it. Getting ready ta slap the spy once more, Crispian stayed his hand and spoke up walkin towards the spy. “I charge ye with attempted murder, murder itself, treason and espionage against this House. Do you have anything to say in your defense, or do ye wish for a plea bargain? I WILL have information from ye one way or another. I give my officer, Tashtego, full leave ta torture you here on this spot right now for any information ye have tucked away in yer head, and trust me in this, he is very good at it. So, I will have answers…NOW!”
Forming a protective ring around the spy Dannidas, they wait fer him ta speak what he knows and began questioning him very intensely, the threat of toture unner the hands of Tashtego havin its effect.

 

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((scratches head, trying to recall))

 

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OOC fine then disregard me by OOC


OOC my two post up top there are no longer valid OOC

 

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((Toorc to the rescue! Allow me a few minutes to correct this grin ))

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
/ooc- Something got out of hand here

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Toorc 
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((OOC this post is mostly intended to bring the previous things back on track, forgive the cliche I am about to invoke...))


The face of Tashtego leaned close against Dandiar and growled with menace. "Ah goin' tae enjoy tearin' ye apart with ma bear hands for hurtin Lexi ye son of a ..."
As sweat rolled down Danidar's forehead Tashtego and the whole room dissolved around him. He was in a grey-white world with liquid clouds flowing across the sky. The stars were out and rippled brightly in the sky. Arcalan Hemlos stood next to a withered tree ahead of him, and her voice seemed like a whisper though it sounded like thunder in his ears.
"Do not think the skin of any mortal man can hide from my eyes what lurks beneath, Dannidas. I know you are among us, and this was but a hint of what may come to pass were I to reveal your presence. You have a few hours grace to decide what you want..."
A vison of TAshtego, terrible in his battle gear and weilding his mace swam before Danidar's eyes and he shuddered awake yelling out in the darkness.
The dream had been a dire warning from Arcalan, he knew it was no mere nightmare. His hand felt a smooth cold stone lying by his bed, and he shuddered again.

((So it was all a dream vision, Dani is still active and unknown.. we now return you to your scheduled viewing))

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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**A tear-stained note and familiar emblazoned cloak arrive for Crispian**

Dearest Crispian,

As my friend and Seneschal, I am writing you with my whereabouts. As instructed by the church, I have gone to pay pentinence for the grave sin committed by my hands. I have told none else of this but you. I will not run from any charges that are brought against me resulting from Hecathia's death. Therefore, if any seek me for law's judgement, please direct them to me in Lyonesse.

I cannot bear to think that my actions may have caused the death of my sister, I cannot bear it.. and so I ask to otherwise be left alone to mourn and pray. I send you my cloak which is too gay and improper to wear at such a time. Take it as a symbol of my grief and deep regret. I hope that I can soon again be in your company and that of the League. Until then, I ask your prayers and patience.

With a heavy heart,
Azaeli Hammerfel

 

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{old}Rhizzia 
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((My head hurts))

 

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Apolexia 
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Lexi looked around. "Sis? Siiii-iiiis?" she yelled out at the church.

A hand grabbed her and swung her around releasing her, an old man in robes stood before her. "EXCUSE ME young lady, but this here is a CHURCH!"

"Oh, I am sorry Father..." she said, lowering her voice. "I am just trying to find my sister, Azaeli."

"Azaeli Hammerfel? Oh, so you are her sister Apolexia, the troublesome one." he said with a smirk.

"Troublesome... um... no Fa..." she tried to say but was quickly cut off.

"HUSH! You cause your sister enough pain, I hear her confessions sometimes and you cause her much trouble." Lexi opened her mouth but thought better of it so closed it. "And now you come to my church and cause a racket!" He glared down at Lexi. "And look at you! Wandering here in THOSE!" pointing to the blue soot-stained smithing robes of Lexi's.

"I'm sor..." though once again cut-off as he leaned over and glared at her.

"Your sister is not here, though you coming here, dressed like that and causing a ruckus, that was a mistake, one you shall pay for." grabbing her arm again. "Come with me." marching her off.

"Where we going?" she asked.

"Where else? I believe your Liege is Crispian is it not?"

"Um... yes..."

"Don't studder, it isn't proper." he said, stopping his walk.

"Yes..."

He looked at her closely, leaning in to her. "You show me great disrespect. I am a Bishop of the Church." walking dragging Lexi along with him. "We shall make sure Crispian knows of this."

Lexi sighed, 'what did I do wrong?' she was tempted to ask, but held her tongue as the Bishop dragged her along... 'Crispian wouldn't like this...' she thought. 'Just got back and I'm already in trouble over something... just my luck...' as the Bishop flung open the guild hall doors.

 

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Toorc 
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((bump coz Rhizzia is here!))

Arcalan steadily recieved news of the days events. Tashtego was furious about Lexi's kidnapping and was refusing to leave her side. He was by her side to protect her from any would-be kidnappers.

Arcalan discovered a new recruit had brought her back, safe and sound, and Tash had welcomed him into the League in recompensse for returning his sweet Lexi. It was no time at all before Arcalan saw through to his very soul, and realised his cunning disguise. She sent a little "welcoming" gift for him that night in the form of a dream-vision. He'd betrayed one mistress already, and Arcalan wasn't certain that she wouldn't be better off turning him over to Tashtego...

Azi meanwhile had fled the city. No one knew where, but one of the riders Arcalan had employed to look for Lexi saw Azaeli leave through Cotswald on horseback. The foolish paladin probably was out looking for her already found sister. Ah well.

No reply came from Jashen yet though. She waited impatiently now she knew Lexi lived. She was glad Tash would guard that girl, it saved Arcalan the trouble of keeping her alive.

She decided to turn in for the night, and make ready to tackle Barfog on the morrow. If Jashen hadn't gotten round to a reply by then she would go alone. She dreamed of her many arguments with him that night, and took a strange joy in that dream.

 

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{old}Tashtego_JWM 
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Tashtego leaves his sign for Thenard to see and waits fer him at the predestined spot they had agreed upon. It was late, and the night sky offered no proof o their meetin, as Thenard uncloaked himself and walked silently towards his very old friend, not a whisper o cloth ta be heard, but at the same time hidin his face unner his heavy cloaks head gear. The sharp glint o peircin eyes only could be seen. Tashtego spoke only and under baited breath, "there is a...person...I wish ye ta follow. Report to me anythin suspicious from this...person, who they meet, what they do durin the morn, the day and the night. Be very careful old friend. This...person...could be very dangerous I beleive." Handin him a small weighted bag and a parchment with the identity o the person, he watches his friend look upon the parchment with his dark keen intelligent eyes committin the ...person... to memory and where this person could be found. That done, the parchment was destroyed leavin nothin but ash. With gold filled bag in hand, he put it into the folds o his cloak with the agility o an expert among his trade. A nod from the man, and he vanished again jes as he had come. And Tash went back ta his business o the hunt, givin no clue to anyone what his business was.

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump till the morn and till I can edit my logs

 

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Toorc 
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/I numped myself!

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
nump'ed yourself? (raises eyebrows) oh really now..

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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The expanse of Lyonesse spread out before Azaeli as she lowered herself to the grass and pulled a small bit of bread from the pouch at her hip. She chewed silently, reflecting on her confession with the Bishop the night before as the sun warmed her...

...the bishop seemed to straighten almost with pride as Azaeli confessed to him her grave crime. Her head was bowed, her face veiled to hide her reddened eyes, and so she did not see the flash of pleasure that shone in his eyes at this news.


"Then you have committed the worst sin imaginable in the eyes of the Almighty," his voice was steady and stern, and she imagined a hint of amusement. Azaeli suddenly found herself wishing she'd just spoken to Tobyas, who always had a kind word and a light tone. But hers was to grave a crime to rely on a friend... Bishop Elgen, on the other hand... But who was she to choose? She deserved no kindness for her actions.

"Yes, Your Grace," she said softly, hands clasped tightly in her lap. He raised a hand over her and began prayers of atonement in a voice that droned on with no compassion. When he finished, he passed out her penance.

"Those are the last words you shall utter for one week. You shall go to Lyonesse and dispose the scourge of ghostly farmers and townsfolk that plague the lakeside there. Use that time to reflect on you sin. Speak to no one."

...she looked down at the hillside and nibbled a bit of the bread. The apparitions seemed to appear as quickly as she could cut them down, and a few were beyond her skill to engage. A few times she'd been asked to raise a companion of those hunting the hamadryads to the north, and gotten strange looks when she offered nothing more than a smile and a head-shake in response to hunting invitations.

But those trials were nothing compared to her grief in the wrong she had committed. It may as well have been her own hand that slayed her sister. She wiped her face wit the back of her hand, finishing the small bit of bread, and drew out her sword, a ghostly farmer in her sights.

 

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:::Just outside the east city gates, the purple-robed prophet speaks to the surrounding crowds upon makeshift pulpits:::



At the summits of Heaven,
the Immortal Creator weaps!
At Caligo Cadere
the Eternal Sleeper sleeps!
Borne flesh of deceit
from ilk of Darkness,
the begotten of Barfog, he shall harness!
The Antipater is borne,
the two womb bear at last!
So come the Cataclysm,
the reckoning of future's past!


:::A storm begins to brew over Cotswold, despite the earlier clear morning. Some jeer the madmen, some pay nary a mind, yet some stop to think to themselves:::

 

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Toorc 
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The vista around him rolled and boiled, and the stars shimmered in the sky, for here it was always night.

The world was laid out before him, and long had he studied it since his exile. When he returned he would be stronger than ever, no longer would he have to wear a mortal coil to live on earth.

He would once have smiled at this, but long ago his body became non-corporeal and it was rarer for him to have these petty human responses.


His sight wandered from his faithful servant for a moment, she was quite capable of looking after herself while he diverted his attention to another little creature. She was blonde and athletic in build, and more importantly her soul shone with a great purity and compassion. Lodged in it's side was the thorn of guilt, the tremendous guilt was eating at her, gnawing away at her from inside. It brought sorrow and pain to her soul.
He regarded her for a length of time, she was silent and promised no word to others for one week, meditating on her pain and sin. Azaeli Hammerfel was alone with her guilt, carrying the burden of her sister's death.

Originally he had chosen Lexi for his needs, but now he knew of her past it may be unwise to aggrivate another power. he knew that the world was a tangle of plots and forces, and he always stepped carefully in his dealings, honouring the strong and being merciless to those weaker powers who opposed him. Now he reconsidered it he had a better pawn for his Rebirth.

Azaeli would oppose him, he was certain. Apolexia would too, but she was a mere child. No, Azi was the most likely to intervene. He never considered himself evil, but he never shyed away from what must be done either. His power stretched out towards her, and he knew the human soul like no other save it's Creator. A few subtle manipulations over the next week would do the trick. He stung her with guilt, he lifted her feelings of Lexi to that first moment where they became sisters, and then let her imagination run upon her death. Death without confession, for Lexi didn't believe in the Nailed God, and so Azi would know her sister burnt in Hell for her rashness.

It was a very subtle and delicate process to stir a soul thus, but Arcalan's Master was working in his speciality in this. Where demons tried to posess and drive their victims, and failed, he needed only to work with what was already there. Azaeli fed her own grief, her own pain, he need only induce a little more and implant the single enduring theme..

Azaeli thought of the blade in Hecathia, the body in her mind reminded her of Apolexia, with her sister's scimitar impaling her... it should have been me... it should have been me...

Could he break this paladin's will, and turn her hand to self-slaughter? Time would tell, but already it was at the back of her mind.. to atone for her act, she must be with her sister, by the hand that slew Apolexia in rash deed, Azi's life must end.

He sat back satisfied that the process was underway. He would not concern himself with her oppositon, if she could be persuaded to commit suicide. His thought returned to his adoring disciple Arcalan, and he noted that he would have to work on Azaeli a little more in a day or two.

The Moon made waves as it passed across the horizon and he enjoyed the clouds swimming across the sky, obscuring the moon then darting away again like formless fish. He recalled seeing the world with human eyes, as he had with Pompin, and vowed it would be thus again soon.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Azi swallowed hard as she rested between fights, and almost cried out at the anguishing thought that had just crossed her mind. She had never considered that end before, it had never occurred to her to think that way..

Silent tears streamed down her face as she angered a ghostly farmer and readied her sword again. It was true though, it should have been her.. She swung her sword swiftly, cutting through the ghostly form, falling into the familiar rhythm. Swing, parry, parry, swing. Her mind was numb, her heart was heavy...

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump cause Im awake and this'll take awhile

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Jashen's reply finally arrived in the early morning. He indicated that he would meet Arcalan at Snowdonia Station if Lyn Barfog was her goal.

 

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Toorc 
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Arcalan awoke in her room at the inn. She'd paid in advance much to the innkeeper's delight, and she knew she could not afford to wait much longer. She was thrilled by the early arrival of Jashen's reply, and ordered in a few additional comforts to make the journey more pleasent. The two bottles of wine she had packed were merely because Jashen was always kindly sharing his drink with others. It was only right to take a bottle as a present for him, and a second just in case.

When she had finished her extended toiletries she made her way outside and sent off a few letters to ensure League business ran smoothly, pre-paying the most common services the League used and ensuring a tip for those who tolerated any member being a little rowdy. She hired a fast horse and set out towards Snowdonia Station. It'd be quite a long ride, but she was content about it. She had brought a slim volume of poetics to read, in the Avalonian language which always made her nostalgic. She'd settle down to that tonight if she didn't reach the Station in time for sundown.
She thought of the next step in the rebirth, and of using Danidar to ensure she was blame free. She knew her master wanted her to hold off a little while longer, but she knew not why, for the workings of that immense mind were not for her to question.

She spurred the horse onward into the bright new day.

 

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Apolexia 
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The Bishop Cleric escorted Lexi into the hall. Lexi looked about the hall, Crispian wasn't around thankfully, though her watcher Tashtego was, though she'd prefer Tashtego over Crispian anyday. She turned to Tashtego, the cleric letting go of her finally. "Um, Tash, this man wants to speak with you..." The Bishop rapped his staff into the group, obviously disgruntled by being called just a 'man'. Tash looked over to her quizzicly. "How could she be in trouble right now..." he thought. "She just got back..." though he accompanied the outside, where the bishop wished to speak away from the hall, away from her ears.

Tashtego tried to plead with the bishop repeatedly. "But I've done much progress..." "she's gone through so much..." over and over though the bishop was cold as an icicle. After much talks back and forth he was able to calm the Bishop, and asked him to wait for her apology. The man crossed his arms, knowing of the sister's apologies and how much they really meant, dubious of it.

Tashtego walked up into the hall, finding Lexi and pulling her to the side. Telling her of the Bishop outside and what he expected from her. Lexi turned to walk outside, but was grabbed by the arm and spun around by Tashtego. "First you shall go clean up and make yourself look nice, put on a dress, I promised him that."

The word 'dress' flashed through her head and she shuddered. Last time someone told her to get into a dress was when Rhizzia had taken her to church, and she told Lexi they weren't leaving till she made one. She didn't make one, and spent all night staring at the roof of her room. "But Ta-ash!" she whined, hating the idea of a dress.

"No, I told him that I would have ye cleaned and dressed nice now DO IT!" giving her a glare she knew all too well, the one that said this conversation was over.

"I don't own no dresses though Tash." she said.

"Well then, let's check with your sister shall we?" getting out the backway so the Bishop doesn't see them they headed to the Hammerfel home, finding a dress in Azaeli's drawers. It had a square neckline with long sweeping sleeves, fited to the waist and has a loose black silk belt... along with a glittering embroidery at the hem and neckline elvish in design, a gift from Ayslyn. Tash waited outside, as Lexi struggled to put on the dress. She found a matching haircomb then added it to her hair, and walked out to Tashtego. Tash looked, unable to speak a word, finding Lexi beautiful in the dress, flushing red Lexi said her thanks, pulling on the neckline.

"Like I told you... I'm a little bigger... this dress is kind-of tight... though it is nice..." not wanting Tash to get angry again. The two went back to the guild hall and Tash looked at Lexi sternly before going out to see the bishop, reminding her again to be nice, to which Lexi nodded.

Walking outside, the Bishop was no-where to be found. The two looked around, and then Tash spoke up. "Well with all that waiting he must've returned back o'er at the church." so the two headed for the church.

Apolexia saw the service and wanting to get this over with called out. "BIII-..." her mouth was muffed by Tashtego quickly as a younger female walked up to them, probably no more than twelve years of age. Tashtego whispered in Lexi's ear: "Please fer me sweet Lexi?" then looking to the young lady. "Yes..is the Bishop in bychance?"

"Yes yes, that old fogey conducting the ceremony." Lexi spoke, Tash's hand removed from her mouth.

"No Sir Knight, but asked me to leave word for you..." looking quizzicly at Apolexia's crude remark.

Tashtego covered her mouth again. "Word for me? Pray tell what was it young Lady?"

The girl frowned, trying to remember. "That he shall accept the apology in writing, as he has important business to tend to. And that he will see," thinking again. "Miss Hammerfel in one week to see if there is a change."

Tashtego sighed at this. "Very well then fair young Lady, it will be so, I shall drop it here in the morn."

At the sound of writing Lexi started to fight free to say a word, mumbling un-intelligibly. She didn't want to submit a letter... her writing was still poor and she didn't want to see this Bishop knowing that, though Tash held her tight and wouldn't let her speak.

The girl lowered her head then, going to almost a whisper. "Please forgive me for being forward, but is it the Lady Knight he speaks of?"

Tashtego nodded. "Yes he does lady."

The child nodded. "Then I shall pray for her. It is a grave crime if the rumors are true."

Lexi kicked Tash in the shin, though only causing a clang to sound out as her kick is deflected off his plate leggings, as she desperatly wanted to hear of any news of her sister.

"Was there somethin else fair Lady? rumors? which ones?" he asked.

Tash finally let go of Lexi's mouth and she rushed forward grabbing the girl's robes almost lifting her off the floor. "Where is she?!"

The girl looked frightened. "Please... calm down..." looking over to the altar. "I shouldn't speak of it..."

A tear came down Lexi's cheek. "PLEASE!!!" pleading with the girl, causing a scene as others laughed to themselves watching the three.

The girl looked at her, then nodded. "Please, not here... follow..." Lexi let go, and she led them down to a more secluded part of the church. The girl looked down the hallway, to see if they were alone.

Lexi quickly asked again, "Where is she?"

The girl loked at Lexi pleadingly. "Please, I would get into a world of troule if any found out that I told you, for it is between the Lady and God."

Lexi didn't care, and she cried out way too loudly causing others to look thier way, "WHERE IS MY SISTER?!!"

Tashtego quickly once again covered her mouth, nodding to the girl. "I overheard.. and the lady Hammerfel was always kind to me, and so I am concerned for her..."

Tash whispered into Lexi's ear. "Silence will help your sister more than anything else Lexi... please..."

Lexi nodded, tear running down her cheek and did not say another word. "She was sent to Lyonesse, charged to clear the northern coast of ghostly apparitions there, in payment for... is it true sire? For murder?"

Upon hearing this Lexi tried to run off upon hearing this though was grabbed firmly by Tash and held in place. "There was a battle at the Hall... the captor o her sister showed up and threatened us all, Lady Azaeli was there..."

"She left clad all in black in mourning for her sister.. I thought it was she who the lady had killed..."

"Killed her sister? no in fact here she be all the spicier..." holding Lexi as tight as she can as she struggled to break free."

The girl formed a half-smile and nodded. "Well, I have told more than I should've... excuse me..." curtseying to Tashtego looking once again quizzicly.

"Yes, thank you." Tash said, not being able to bow but nodded his head, then carried Lexi off back to her home. "Change, now, we ride." he spoke.

Lexi nodded and smiled, quickly running upstairs. She came back in her robe, leaving the dress on the table. "Um... Tash... my armor..."

Tashtego looked at her. "No put something on fer battle..." he spoke as he saw her then stopped as she said it. "Where is it?"

"Um... I gave it to Kolbalt... didnt fit me very well.. and I was going to make a new set but just... um... got... tied up... heh..." she jibed... though being truthful because the armor was no longer fit for her.

"Well, go find some more... tied up huh?"

Lexi flushed red. "Yes... um... anyhow..."

Tashtego nodded, "Well, we shall buy you some new ones then."

Lexi shook her head. "I CANT! Armor cant be just done in a moment!"

Tashtego looked up on the wall to a set of old armor. "Wear that."

Lexi's heart sunk. "Thas decatory armor! Bronze! Weak!"

"PUT IT ON!" he bellowed, to which caused Lexi to grab the armor and change in it quickly, walking down in the flimsy looking mail. If there was one thing Lexi hates more than anything is second-hand gear not made by her.

"Should we not tell Crispian first Tash?" she suggested. So the two left for the hall.

(( more coming ))

 

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As Tashtego sat in his room in his writin chair by his desk, sitting perfectly still, poised upright, eyes closed, his mind crystal clear o anything but his fair Lady Azaeli, he bore his concentration inward. In his meetin with his fair Lady Azaeli in Lyonesse, he had felt … something … was not quite right. There was something bearin down on her, somethin more than her own thoughts and actions. There was almost a presence about her, something he knew was not hers, fer he knew her Heart very well. It worried Tashtego greatly, this presence, fer times now were becoming mired in speculation and rumors, portents and puzzles. Now was not the time fer Lady Azaeli ta be left alone, or any o the guild fer that matter. There was an enemy, no there were two enemies within the Guild, he knew that much…only, ta prove that was another story all tagether.
He sat there like this fer what seemed almost a half an hour … then, abruptly, the Circle enveloped him. His Heart was ready ta do its work, ta move mountains once again. <Ever since that day he had died and his fair Lady Azaeli had reached inta his Heart ta grab hold o him, his understandin o the Circle became more than he thought he could e’er know, and remain sane at the same time. He had actually witnessed the Circle of All with all o his senses, somethin he had ne’er done before…oh, he had always felt it in so many ways aroun him, but he had ne’er seen it until that day, the day that he had died and Azaeli had lifted him from it. His sister was there … she had embraced him and opened her own Heart ta him, showin him she bore nothing but love fer him. He had always felt like he had failed his family, that he should have been there, should have died with them…but she…she took that feelin that gnawed away at him every hour o every day, and flung it out inta the wind n’er to return ta him. With that feelin gone, and being so close ta the Circle of All in death, his Gift grew in power by magnitudes. Thins held another dimension ta him now…>
As his Heart bore the power o the Circle, his mind searched fer his fair Lady Azaeli…distance held no dimension in this exchange…and he foun her sittin alone in the fields o Lyonesse, afraid and dwellin on thoughts he knew she should not be havin. His Heart extended to her, the presence Tashtego had felt earlier fled from her.
“Tash?”, she cried out, wonderin if she was delirious, or dreamin. Upon speakin, she bit her tongue rememberin her vow, and remained silent throughout the rest o the exchange. The feelin o her very dear friend so close ta her was very unexpected fer this feelin came upon her in an instant, but it was a feelin that she embraced and needed. She could see nothin but the night sky and the stars shinin above, the moon playin with the shadows o the night. But she could feel him, an she could hear him whisperin within her Heart….come home…she broke down in tears understandin what he was tryin ta do.
But, she din unnerstan all o what Tashtego was tryin ta do. The … something … had fled initially, but it came back. It was up ta Tash ta guage the power o this … presence … and guide his fair Lady Azaeli away from it. Azaeli’s thoughts became clear once again as she felt her friend near her, in her Heart, and she caste aside the notions she had been thinking upon … those are not yer thoughts fair Lady … again, whispers in her Heart. Her tears came fresh, and she held tight ta the warmth o Tashtego’s Heart.
Then, without warnin, the presence came full force testin this new shield wrapped aroun what it considered its prey. Imagine if ye will two dimensions collidin with one another… Both suffered in power for it. Tashtego’s Heart dissipated only when he saw that his fair Lady had become very confused, frightened and agitated at what was occurring tho she could not see it, only feel it. His Heart left her, but with a parting whisper in her Heart … come home now, I cannae protect ye out here …be wary o thoughts not yer own …
Exhuasted, Tashtego leaned back against the chair. That had taken much out o him, more than he thought would be required … that presence … it would be a new test. Makin it to his bed, he fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow, thank goodness he had replaced the one Heathyr had put on his bed with gravel in it with a nice soft one.
Fair Lady Azaeli sat there wonderin what had just taken place…”Tash was here” she said ta herself as she held her chest where her own Heart beat. But, then she felt herself slip back inta what she had been feelin as o late … What feelin she would wish to remain in her own Heart had to be her own choice … she knew Tash well enough, and she knew that’s what he was thinkin …
…And so the choice was left ta her…

 

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Toorc 
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It was almost a distinct voice within Azaeli's head...

It should have been you...

You let her die... unshrived, now she burns in hell....

You stained the League with blood... you brought shame and pain where none was...

When your father looks into your eyes he will not see you anymore, just the adopted child you murdered....

End it all... fill the hole in your heart... fill it with steel... the blade is so sharp, so very sharp, it wouldn't take a moment... you'd be with Apolexia then....

Heacathia burns in hell beside your sister, and yet you live... what right do you have? It should have been you... not all the tears of a hundred years will quench the fire of hell for a second.... go to her... do it Azi.... take your life... your worthless life....

She'd looked at the blade and felt it's keen edge. Then a force came upon her like the clouds parting and letting through the sunlight. The pit she was in, with it's black and slippery sides dissolved. The power of the Circle, strange tribal gift of Tashtego was upon her, comforting and protecting her with his Heart.

All too quickly it faded, but she knew what he had tried to tell her. This was not her way... these were not her thoughts. The dispair was heavy upon her again, but a tiny speck of hope remained.. must remain...

It SHOULD have been YOU....

 

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Apolexia 
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/nightly bump cause I cant post what I need to right now =)

 

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Apolexia 
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Lexi was furious. Crispian was denying her permission to leave the city. She knew to control her anger, but this was her sister, and something snapped in her head.

"NO!" she yelled out to Crispian. "I AM GOING AND YOU CAN NOT STOP ME!!!"

Crispian sighed. He has had enough problems on his hands as of late with the alliance, the guild, this business with Hecathia. "I said no Lexi. Do not make me repeat myself."

Lexi grabbed her cloak and looked to Tash. "Let us go Tash. YOU can't stop me!" She said turning to Crispian.

"Oh I can't?" getting to his feet he walked over and grabbed Lexi by the wrist. "I said no, and since you plan on defying me, I think maybe a night in your room will calm your head."

"NO! I need to see my sister!" she yelled.

Crispian yanked on her arm, dragging her upstairs. Taking her to her room he threw her inside, then locked the door with his keys, walking back downstairs.

Tash could not believe it, but he did not wish to defy his brother Crispian. "I shall go then, tell Lexi I will say lo for her would ya?" he asked Crispian.

Crispian nodded, and Tash left the hall for Cornwall.

Lexi fumed in her room, trying to figure out ways to bash down the door. She had wondered what happened to some of her duskwood, apparently someone had used it to strengthen her door, so nothing was working.

She waited through the night, Tash coming to her early next morn, telling her of Azi's situation and the state she was in. Lexi inwardly cried, though she tried to remain strong for Tash. "She'll be okay... she has a good heart..." she said, then collapsing exhaustedly against the bed. Tash leaned over and kissed her on the forehead, covering her up then walking out into the guild hall.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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The blade rested in her lap, glinting against the charcoal of her plated thighs in the morning sun.

"End it all... fill the hole in your heart... fill it with steel... the blade is so sharp, so very sharp, it wouldn't take a moment..."

She ran her naked thumb gently over the blade, watching as it easily sliced her flesh, watching the crimson line form. She stared at the blood, entranced as she fell deeper into despair. Tash had been here, her champion. He had tried to soothe her with lies, saying her sister had been rescued, but she refused to speak to him or believe him. She knew it couldn't be so.. Lexi was dead, and by her own hands. Tash had always tried to protect her, and this time he lied to her to do it..

"You let her die... unshrived, now she burns in hell....

You stained the League with blood... you brought shame and pain where none was..."

Azaeli raised the tip of the blade to her throat, choking with tears. What she had done was unforgivable, unconsolable. There was no going back. There was nobody left.. they would all hate her...

The beacon of hope sent to her from Tashtego was lost, his visit a forgotten dream, buried in her own despair and wretched misery. She squeezed her eyes closed, shutting out the world. The blade was cold against her throat. Footsteps rushed toward her, but she ignored them. There was no going back now.


"Lady Hammerfel!" A familiar voice cried out in disbelief as Azi felt the sword wrenched from her shaking hands. She opened her eyes to see her squire, Emlae, standing before her, clutching the scimitar that had taken Hecathia's life and that was meant to take her own. "What in the name of all that is Holy--?!" Azi frowned at the interruption and pointed at the path to Cornwall. It was far too dangerous for her out here, and Azaeli's life was not worth it..

"No, I've finally found you and I shall not leave you here!" She stood firm, infuriating Azaeli with her disobediance. Azi pointed to her Knightly spurs, then to Emlae's squire pin, then to the path once more, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring. A pentitent in solitude did not need a squire following her like a shadow, doting on her every need.

"No, Lady. If you wish to demote me you may. I am your friend before I am your squire, and you are in no condition to be left alone. I will stay by your side and watch you fight, but I refuse to leave you." She grasped Azi's sword in her hand as Azi reddened with fury. She hated this girl for caring, especially when Azi was so undeserving.

Resolved that Emlae would not give up, Azi drew her archmace and beckoned a farmer. She swung hard, unleashing her fury, and felt a little better for it..

"Hecathia burns in hell beside your sister, and yet you live... what right do you have? It should have been you... not all the tears of a hundred years will quench the fire of hell for a second.... go to her... do it Azi.... take your life... your worthless life.... "

Despair, regret, darkness envelopped her as the farmer pommeled her relentlessly. She stopped swinging, dropping the mace to her side. As the ghostly form released its final blow, she heard Emlae's scream.

"No!"

 

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Emlae yelled at the farmer, she watched Azaeli drop her Archmace to the ground. She was no match for the farmer, but she had to do something. She tried to taunt the farmer on her... too late... the farmer unleashed his fury on Azaeli, and Azaeli crumpled to the ground. Emlae stood in shock, the farmer swung at her sending her fifteen feet across the dirt, and walked away satisified.

Emlae crumpled in pain... the ghostly effects taking to her. She hobbled over to Azaeli, falling on her knees looking to her. "Lady Hammerfel... please..." she pleaded. Her training in the church had taught her a couple of things. One was the power of healing comes from God. Two was God would not help others that did not wish to help themselves. It was because of this that reserrection sometimes failed, for the person would just give up on life. Emlae cried over Azaeli's body. She had watch her drop her mace. She had given up... "no... please..." she sobbed, bringing azaeli's body up to her chest, stroking her hair.

The Farmer looked over and saw the girl, then walked over to her glad she was still alive. Emlae looked up, too late, as the farmer punched right through her plate chest-piece. Emlae cried out in pain, then the apparition uppercutted her jaw, sending her flying backwards, her body bleeding internally from the blows. She got to her feet, staggered, still holding with her Azaeli's scimitar. The farmer looked over to her, and advanced again. Emlae, seeing no other choice, looked on to Azaeli with a tear in her eyes and fled the scene, not stopping her run till she got to the Yarleys of Cornwall.

The farmers looked to her. "H..or.s.e... le..a.gue... hal..l..." she spoke through her pain, coughing up blood. The yarleys did not argue, getting a horse they gave it instructions, and off Emlae rode. She rode hard, struggling to stay conscious. 'They must know' she thought to herself... keeping herself awake. She saw the city come into view, the guards helping her down, though she shoved them away, almost crawling to the hall.

She shoved the doors open, collapsing into the hall. "Lady... Hamm.er...fel... dea..d.. falle..n... gon.e..." she said, finally falling victim to her wounds collapsing.

Kanna looked on, as did Phalos. Together they helped get the plate off Emlae, though she was bleeding all over. Rhizzia and the old lady Bethsaida walked over, lending thier healing abilities, getting Emlae to her feet. Phalos tried to talk to her. "Who's dead?"

Bethsaida asked, "The wild one?" her nickname for Apolexia.

"No..." still struggling with her breaths, though un-injured, but the pain recent. "Lady Hammerfel... Azaeli... she just gave up on life... she's gone... dead... and I watched her die... I am a failure..."

Phalos looked on with deep concern. "Dead? Where is her body, help me find her."

"Shes gone... and I am a failure..." she said, taking off her cloak, with the squire pin attached to it and threw it on the table, then getting out Azaeli's sword places it down. "I will return to my farmlands in disgrace... I have failed... now excuse me..." she spoke. Phalos tried to stop her, but she would hear nothing of it. Walking out the doors to the hall she made her way back to Ludlow. 'What will father think of me?' she wondered as she made her way there.

 

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Toorc 
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As Azaeli dropped to the ground and soul split from body she thought she saw something in a silver-grey world ...beneath the stars and the ...mercury clouds ...a man ... the figure of a man ...who was he that whispered to her ... he smiled to her as she fell down into the dark ... dark.

 

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The bindstone was deserted, thankfully, when Azaeli awoke in the marsh. Even in death she hadn't been comforted, for the moment she fell she remembered her mother. Thoughts of the disappointment she'd feel finding out her daughter had died a coward and a traitor were more than Azi could bear.

Her legs wobbled beneath her as she stepped carefully toward the healer in her dizziness. Something was wrong.. terribly wrong. The man-figure flashed before her again and she shuddered even as she remembered its smile. She had never before lost her will to fight, not even in the darkest moments of her life. Never before had thoughts of self-destruction crossed her mind..

"You are troubled, my child," the healer said quietly as he prayed over Azi. Tears sprung to her eyes once more as she felt her strength return, but she looked away, refusing herself any comfort. The man frowned. "Forgive me for being forward..but you are Judan's girl are you not? The one who turned from wizardry to the Church?"

Azi swallowed hard. No doubt pappa would find out her condition now. She thought about lying, but decided it best not to add another item to her list of sins. The Almighty worked in mysterious ways, and she took this as an offering of His hand in aid. She nodded slowly, and the healer smiled kindly.

"Is there anything you need?" He asked softly. Azi frowned, and almost refused, but instead raised her hands and made a motion of writing, relieved to be given this gift of hope.

"Yes, of course," he said softly, ushering her to a tiny room with a desk and parchment. "Your father always showed kindness to me, he is a great man. This is the least I can do to repay him.. are you certain you need nothing else?" Azi nodded thankfully and the healer left as she took her seat and wrote hastily. Her hands shook terribly in her haste, making the writing almost illegible.


Dearest Father Tobyas,

I am in grave need of your divine wisdom and guidance. I fear for my own life. Please make haste to Lyonesse.

Yours in need,
Azaeli

She folded the note tightly and said a silent prayer of forgiveness, for though she remained silent, she still communicated when she should not have. Leaving the note in the hands of a courier, and paying him all of the gold she had made on the farmers to be certain it would arrive in a timely fashion, she made her way back to Lyonesse to continue her penance.

 

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Tobyas 
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Toby slogged up the hill from Lyonesse weary to his bones. Crispian had been possessed by some fervor to rid the land of Pikemen for nearly three days before he had left for Camelot. Toby had stayed afield longer, hoping to learn more on his own. As he neared the small farm where the Yardley's made their trade, he recalled coming here when he was a lad, with the man who had sired him on his mother.

With a bitter swallow, he began to transact business, haggling for every copper the traders gave him. Finally, purse heavy with gold and coin and packs emptied, he readied to head to the station at Cornwall for a bath and some ale. His titian hair was plastered to his head and he longed to clean.

As he sauntered down the road, breivery open and eyes scanning blessed Psalms, a courier assailed him.

"Yes, what is it?"

"Father, this letter is for you, most urgent I was told." The rider bowed.

Tobyas broke the Seal with his thumb and read the few brief lines. With a distracted nod he gave the man a gold coin, and turned back to the Yardley.s'

"Forgive me, Lord, but sometimes, dirty work needs to be done," he quipped as he tucked book away and headed with speed. After consulting the Yardley's about Azi, for she was hard to miss, he made his cautious way to the farmers.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Azi swung hard, falling again into the rhythym of the fray with her mace. Swing, parry, swing, thud, swing. She concentrated all of her efforts on battle, keeping her mind on the carnality of it, the feel of the mace in her hands, the sound of it swinging through the wisp of the being before her, the crunch of dry grass and the feel of lumpy earth beneath her feet.

As the form fell, she called up a chant in her head to aid her in enduring the next battle. Without a moment's pause, she beckoned forth another of the spirits and fell again into the rhythm of battle. Before the battle was ended, Tobyas stood beside her. She felt his blessings upon her as she finished her task, then turned to face him gratefully.

 

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Tobyas 
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He smiled at her. The scruff of several days afield making him look older, almost like the twenty-five he was. His eyes crinkled up against the sun, and the glint from Azi's armor. She was as bad as Crispian, he thought with a chuckle.

Sweeping his coif back of his head, he spoke. "You're note sounds very grave, Azi. I am here as a friend, or as your confessor?"

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Azi frowned, suddenly regretting the haste in her note. She should have explained more, what was she supposed to do? Mime her troubles to him? She let out a long sigh, looking at Tobyas sadly. He had come so quickly, she was so undeserving of such a friend. What did she want from him? Mercy? Assurance? Forgiveness? None of those things were due.

She looked to the ground, averting her swollen red eyes that burned from endless hours of grief. She thought about speaking, breaking her vow, but decided against it. Even if she could speak, she would be at a loss for words. Instead, she dropped to her knees before Tobyas, taking his hand with both of hers and kissing it in desperation.

 

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Tobyas 
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Tobyas sighed, sensing what was happening. He slipped his hands from Azi's and reached into his pouch for a small stole of purple silk, adorned with holy symbols. He kissed it and draped it over his neck, then sat on the ground. "Well, daughter of the church, I must release your bound of silence if I am to hear your confession." He blessed them both, and waited.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Azi looked around the shoreline that had been home to her for two days, taking it in. It seemed an odd place for a confession, and suddenly she felt out of place and strange here. A wizard and a mercenary rushed past toward the hamadryads, while an older friar nodded and sipped from a flask as he hurried toward Cornwall. Azi shook her head silently still and rose to her feet, leading Tobyas to the shade of a solitary tree upon the hillside.

She clung to his hand even now, feeling the warmth and light flowing through him even as undeserving as she was. He sat in the grass and she knelt before him with her head bowed. As she opened her mouth to speak, her voice cracked, sounding strange and unfamiliar after her period of silence.

"Are you certain I am alright in speaking?" she kept her head low as she whispered, her eyes following the individual links in his chain boots. "For my sins are so grave that I do not wish to damn myself further."

 

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Tobyas 
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Toby raisd his hand in a sign of blessing over her head. "May the Almighty bless you as you confess your sins, not to me, but to Him. Please go ahead, daughter," he murmured quietly. "The Almighty will hear in your heart, but as his instrument in the mortal realm, I have to rely on my ears. Even vows of life-long silence are eased for the sacraments."

He smiled kindly at her.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Even with that proclamation, Azi had trouble getting started, but once she began it was as if floodgates had been opened.

"I murdered Hecathia in rage, I spilled blood in the guild hall, I killed Lexi in the process, I broke my vow of silence, I cursed the bishop in my thoughts, I had impure thoughts," she was sobbing now, clenching Tobyas' hand, pressing her forehead to it, "I disobeyed my father, in my selfishness I let Emlae fall to battle, I lost faith and surrendered in battle, letting myself fall, I--" with this she sobbed, having saved the worst offense in the eyes of the Almighty for last.

"I attempted to violently take my own life.."

 

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Tobyas 
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Tobyas listened to the torrent flood from Azi, felt the emotional buffeting. Her words tumbled and fell from her mouth, a string of faults and failures, short-comings, and finally, at the last her most hidden feeling. He let a silence stretch between them, finally lowering his eyes to the ground.

"Is there anything else?" he asked, waiting, but Azi just kept her head bowed.

"My daughter, some of your sins are most grave indeed, even mortal. It shall take a life-time to atone for them. Rath and Pride. Deadly Sins. You have lusted," he paused, "so you are a mortal of the flesh. You have had impure thoughts. Few minds are ever focused on the Almighty. Scripture does say 'I lifted my eyes to the heavens, from whence shall my aid come?' We are ever supplicants to the Will of the Almighty, hoping to be perfect in His sight, as His love is perfect for us."

"Azaeli Hammerfel, are you truly sorrowful for your sins?"

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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"More than words can ever express.." She buried her face in her hands. Her burden lifted slightly, hearing his words ring over and over in her ears as she wept.

 

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Tobyas 
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He lifted his hand, prepared to deliver absolution, and stopped. His hand quivered a moment in the air, his eyes closed. His throat worked convulsively for a moment. Slowly, his right hand grew steady as he left brought forth his holy symbol, gleaming silver surrounding a small reliq of bone.

The absolution fell forgotten from his lips. He pressed his left hand forward as his right dipped into pouch, retrieving oils. Hastily snapping the top off, he plunged a thumb into sacred chrism and marked Azi's forehead even as he called on smiting power of the Almighty to stun her.

As she reeled from the unexpected attack, he knelt over her, reliced symbol held before her, her dazed eyes unseeing as he prayed, sweat forming on his forehead.

"O Glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil.

Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.

Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen."

His hands trembled as he slapping Azi again with oil and blessed water.

"Behold the Symbol of the Almighty; be scattered ye hostile powers.

The Lion of the tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.

Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.

As we have hoped in Thee.

O Lord, hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee."

He nearly swooned at the intensity of the hold on Azi, but it was so much less than Mirth, whom he had faced before. His voice rose in cadence and volume as he finished, knowing this round would go the Almighty at least.

"Divine Almighty, we call upon Thy holy name, and as supplicants we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of the glorious Archangel St. Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen."

He reeled backward, falling to his knees and slumped, soaked through with sweat, trembling, but victorious.


 

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Toorc 
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In the place where few men would name, even if they posessed that Dark Knowledge, he recoiled. His touch upon the woman had been light, but sophisticated and dexterous like a skilled chirurgion.

This man could never oppose his will, but it was no man he faced. The Legions of the Shining Host, the Angels and the Almighty creator poured out their myriad powers upon this beloved child, and his grasp on he soul was broken.

The Faith of this man must be mighty indeed to allow him to channel the Will of God like that.

Azaeli was free of his corrupting touch, left only to her natural guilt, and his whispering urges fled before the touch of the Divine.

He was content to retreat, for he knew he was not in a position from which to challenge Heaven again... not yet, anyway.
Unlike those powerful demons many fools turned to, he was not blasted and scorched by the faith in God, he was not of the infernal hordes, though his name was now associated with them. The priests called him a Fallen Angel, though he knew he was really an Elevated Man, one who had reached high enough to face the Lord Creator and his wrath, and who had eventually been exiled from his home realm by the Powers that be.

He had been repelled through the faith of Tobyas, and would have to ensure that did not happen again. Azaeli now lived, because she was yet loved, instead of being damned. Tobyas must be removed, but for now he was willing to let them live.

Even the Nailed God would not stop his Rebirth...

 

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Emlae walked over to her farmlands, and with a tear turned away. 'No... I can't go back to what I used to be.' she said to herself, and turned away. Gathering her armor she realized the one thing she must do. Coating her armor black she placed her helm over head, swearing to never lift the helm again. 'This is my pennance. Not being able to talk is a problem, but because of my failure Lady Hammerfel will never talk again either.' The voices around her softened as the helm blotted them out. 'I am a darkened warrior, fallen from the light of camelot. My armor shows my dishonor for all to see.' and headed out to do battle, and to atone for the crime she committed. 'If I was not there, Lady Hammerfel would be alive. She told me to leave, pleaded with me, I didn't listen... I didn't listen...'

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
Crispian went over the scrolls once again, trying to make sure all would be in Order for Sunday's festivities. He worried about Azi, and now Emlae had run off. He had to remind himself that Azi had wanted to be alone, and that Emlae was a young girl, and sometimes they run away. He sighed and went back to the records.

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)

“Azi?” Tobyas knelt before her, laying in the grass, and wiped his brow. Her head rolled to face him and she winced as she sat up, blinking.

“Tobyas.."

“You live at least," he smiled weakly as he helped her to sit up. Azi was at a loss for words, what he had done had been so powerful, so beautiful and terrifying all at once. She nodded to him as she pulled her helm free and felt fresh tears welling.

“How do you feel?" He asked gently, resting a hand on her shoulder.

"Weak. Drained.." She took a shuddering breath and wiped her eyes.

"I would expect that." He gave her a slight smile, looking beaten and exhausted himself.

"What..” Azaeli shook her head in confusion, still unable to find the words. What.."

"You were touched by something...demonic," he answered solemnly, gesturing a blessing between them almost reflexively. Azi swallowed hard, staring at the glint of chainmail at his arm, and shook her head. "Yes, and it was very strong." Azaeli took this in, trying to go over the events of the past days in her mind.

"For how long?" she asked hoarsely, bringing her knees to her chest and clutching her aching head.

"That is hard to tell, but you were still in command of your senses." They sat for a moment in silence while Azi contemplated this.

"Still there is no excuse... I killed Hecathia.. and.. Lexi.. Lexi is burning beside her.." With this she broke down completely, leaning against Tobyas and sobbing.

"What?"

"She's gone.. my sister.. I may as well have slain her with my own hands!" She buried her face in her hands, the grief too much to bear.

"Lexi?” He questioned, “I must have stunned you harder than I thought." He took her hands away and looked into her eyes with a calm sincerity. "Azi, Lexi is alive." Azi looked away to the shoreline, unable to believe him. She had been grieving her sister for days, if it was true.. if she was alive..

"Tobyas, don't you try to comfort me with untruths.." She tested. Tobyas shifted beside her and nodded with a meek smile.

"On my honor, my faith, and my love, tis true Azi!" Her heart soared. Tobyas would never lie, and especially not with an oath like that.

"Tobyas..how? How can that be? I killed Hecathia.." Her voice trailed off as she pictured that woman’s body seeping its blood across the League’s floors.

"Some scouts found her, and overwhelmed the greeks." He smiled at her as she wiped her eyes. “Let your heart rest easy." Azaeli smiled, then frowned. Her penance, her solitude, everything was for naught.. Lexi was alive..

"Why has no one come to tell me this? I sent word to Crispian.. I've been grieving her," she drew in a deep breath, "wallowing in misery thinking she was gone...thinking so many horrible things.."

"Cris has been tied up in Camelot for a few days.” He looked distant for a moment, but turned to smile at her.

"Of course.. that was rather selfish of me.." She knew Crispian was a busy man, though often she felt left behind as he tended business, and now in her time of great need he had not been there. But she had asked him for solitude in her letter, hadn’t she?

"No, I am sure he would have come," Tobyas said softly.

“I think Tashtego came.” She changed the subject quickly, sifting through the blur of memories of the past days. “And Emlae! What of Emlae?"

"What of her? I've been hunting for near a week," he motioned to his soiled armor and shifted uncomfortably.

"She came and I tried to send her away. She stopped me from.. she halted my own blade.." She swallowed, unable to face the pain of that moment when she’d come so close to ending her life.

"And? Tell me," Tobyas prodded.

"If she hadn't arrived at that precise moment.. I would be lying here dead by my own hand.." She choked out the last word and looked away in shame. Tobyas sighed.

“Even that act would not have been your own." Azaeli remained silent, considering that as she played with her boot top.

“I'm so confused.. I feel so ignorant.."

"Why? Because you do not know about poesssions?"

"I don't know.. I cannot even think of the events as they've played out these past few days.."

“Azi, that's because some one else was in your mind, and warring for your soul,” He gazed intently at her, staring into her eyes. “Some dark force, not the Fallen One, wanted you." Azaeli shivered, not wanting to remember. She shook her head, tearing her eyes from his gaze.

“Solitude was the worst place for me..”

"Isolation is usually something they want...like when D'Vena was locked up," he shook his head as they both remembered that ordeal. “Because of her, I have started to study this." Azi nodded, staring out in a daze as they sat in the silence that Azaeli eventually broke.

“I must go to my sister, and also find out what happened to Emlae." She resolved. More than anything, she desperately wished for a return to a carefree life.

“If you are ready,” Tobyas offered his arm, “I would escort you home." He helped her to her shakey feet as she slipped her hand onto his arm, and together they walked along the shore toward Cornwall. As they made their way, she felt strangely better. The grief had lifted from her heart, knowing her sister was safe and alive, and now she would go home to the League. But would they welcome her? Had Crispian truly been so busy that he could not visit? Or was he angry with her for soiling the League’s reputation and spilling blood in its Halls? Her nervousness grew as they arrived at the Yarleys and purchased their fare.




 

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{old}Emlae 
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Emlae stood in the caverns of Keltoi, fighting off the druidish prescence there. She had given up her Scimitar to another of her companions, using her archmace to fight.

<whish clump thud clang whish>

Her mace flew in the air, her armor giving her the protection she needed. The others looked at her, but she said nothing. She felt the rage pent up in her, and she took out her rage on these druids. Meurg stood in the hallway, and his skull splattering over the halls under her mace.

She looked at the disfigured body, no tears came to her eyes. Usually she hated to kill others, even those misguided like this, but she felt she had no tears to give. Her face if could be seen under the helm, was as dark and cold as her armor. The infiltrator looked to her curiously, then turning back to fight beckoning her forward. Yes, always the fight...

<swish thud clang swish swish>

 

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Tashtego had gotten word that Lady Emlae had been seen in Ketoi Fogou by one o his many friends, dropped what he was doin, which was killin Telamons with others, and headed straight fer the place as quick as he could. On his way there, he could not think o what he would say ta her, only tha he had ta try. His fair Lady Azaeli had come home, tho she was not out o the woods it seemed, and Lady Emlae had the patience and perseverance ta help watch her an keep her safe from harm. He had ta try, even tho he knew their relationship was not the greatest it could have been because o his quick temper one eve, he had to try.
Finally comin ta the ol ruins, Tashtego entered inta the pit and began his search for Lady Emlae. Down one hall after the next not findin her, he almost stumbled upon her as he rounded a corner. Her archmace was in her hand, bein used against a Keltoi Visionary with grace and a deadly beauty. She saw him out o the corner o her eye, and took a heavy hit ta her side fer not payin attention ta the battle. Then she resumed her concentration and proceeded ta fell this heathen. He patiently waited there for her ta finish off her prey as he knew she would, but then a gremlin appeared from aroun the corner, spied her, and charged.
Tashtego's own asterite war mace came out in the blink o an eye before the thin could get a swipe at her. She could handle one at a time he knew, but two was another story. Watchin her fend off two creatures and then dyin was not his reason fer comin here. The gremlin bein much smaller than he, it was put out o its misery post haste, its blood sprayin the walls o the Hall. Emlae took her last swing at the Visionary and it crumpled ta the groun.
Grabbin her by the arm and pullin her towards a safe area, bein careful not ta let anythin lock its eyes on her, he finally got her to a corner where he could talk ta her.
"What are ye doin here Emlae? Fair Lady Azaeli is back among us, and we need, she needs your assistance. Now is not the time ta break ranks and run, for there are too many enemies about ta have our numbers diminish."
Emlae gave Tashtego a cold, distant stare as if she wanted nothin to do with any o it anymore. "Leave me be!", was all she could say. She stood there it seemed not wantin ta listen, but also wantin ta know any news o her Lady Hammerfel.
"I will not!" Tashtego blurted out. "Don think ye are the only one who has suffered here Emlae. From what I unnerstan, an from what I know personally, Lady Azaeli was unner grave peril from somethin unseen while she was away. Her thoughts and actions were not her own. And you, you saved her from herself!" Tashtego told her.
Continuing his plea fer her ta come with him, back ta the Guild Hall, he kept on. "It was you Emlae who took the blade from her when she was ready ta use it against herself, I know, she tol me. How is that failure? If ye would nae have been there, she would have taken her own life with her own blade right then and there. No matter what happened after, it is not you to blame for it. Ye did what any one o us would have done fer her. I myself would gladly have given up my life fer right then and there if she asked me o it. The actions she took are not your fault Lady Emlae. Do not make the mistake o thinkin that it is. She is home and she is safe, and she needs yer help fair Lady Emlae. Please, come with me...come back home where ye belong."
Hopin beyond hope that any o this had gotten through to her ta come home, he offered his hand ta her in a gesture of friendship, kindness, and a pleadin desperation for her ta come home with him. "Please Lady Emlae."

 

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{old}Emlae 
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'Leave me be!' was the look she gave Tashtego, turning away from him. She wanted to so badly tell him everything, but she had said she would not speak again, she was not worthy to tell him. She could see Tash trying to say something, but the full helm blocked all that he said. She then readied her mace, attacking another of the druidish cult. Her mace arched high, though the druid was dead before her blow would connect, Tash's own mace bashing in its head. Emlae turned around, she could tell Tash was pleading with her. 'You are not responsible for her death! You tried to do all you could! You are a worthy squire and you will be a knight!' she could almost picture him saying all that, trying to build up her confidence. She tightened her full helm, then shook her head to Tashtego. Her dark black that she now adorn made her look like a shadow in the halls of Keltoi. How Tash had known where she was, what she even looked like with this new plate was a mystery to her, but she didn't care... walking away from Tash, readying her archmace if he chose to stop her...

 

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{old}Tashtego_JWM 
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Not wantin ta walk up behind her, Tashtego made a bead roun her so tha she would walk up to him. He stood ready if she decided to take her anger out on him fer not givin up, tho he knew he could not swing his mace at her if she swung at him. That was not within him ta do. She could damage his plate mostly, and maybe give him some minor wounds, but losin plate and gainin a few bruises was nothin compared ta losin Emlae. He did have his shield tho.
"Emlae, I am not goin ta pretend I know whats goin through yer mind right now, but ye must listen ta me. You are NOT responsible fer what happened out there in Lyonesse. You did everythin ye could do for her out there, I know you, your dedication ta her was unwavering. Don throw that dedication away now, because it is needed once again. She needs you, Lady Hammerfel needs you. I need you. We all need you."
Tashtego could see he had affected, maybe jes a lil, but it was a glimmer o hope at least. Before she could turn aroun again on him, Tashtego told her, "She is speakin again. As you should ta me...tell me somethin Emlae. Talk to me. No matter what it be, it can be worked out, jes as Lady Azaeli worked out much o her problems with Tobyas. Ye have been a most excellent Squire ta her, do not let yer service ta her, ta our Guild, to YERSELF end this way. Ye can go far within our ranks, fer ye have dedication in ye, a dedication ta others."
"I'm beggin ye, please, for your Ladies sake, and fer our sake, lend her your noble dedication and friendship once more. She needs you."
Offerin his hand o friendship once more, and a way back home ta where she belongs, he pleadingly yet patiently waits for her answer.

 

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{old}Emlae 
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Tash's pleads sounded like the chirping of birds in the morn... beautiful but distant. She could see the warmth in his face, but the noise of his voice was muffed by her helm, she couldn't make out barely anything he said, though she did not want to hear it. She shook her head sideways, then once again headed out to the entrance.

 

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NYN-X 
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Subject: After the Flesh (RP)
bump happy

 

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Finding the smith she showed him the dings in her armor and weapons, handing over a gold coin for it all. Then she pointed north to the stableboy, riding into the snowy lands of snowdonia. Keltoi was too crowded, too many people come in and out and she wanted nothing to do with any of them, especially the ones whom she had respected before she fell into shame. She looked around the mountains, finding the entrance to the layer of the goblin named Tepok. Looking inside, she found none but the festering goblin horde. She knelt on a knee, said a silent prayer, then proceeded to destroy goblin after goblin, the thrill of battle helped forget her despair. The blood of the goblins splashed against her dark armor and her sword.

 

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{old}Emlae 
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/bump cause its almost on the 6th page wink

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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/bump-n-hold

I got an edit to do to get in here, so hold on folks, PLEASE!

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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((proceed, some details may be needed))

 

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Emlae’s cold distant answer to his pleas had had their desired effect. He felt his Heart fall from his throat to the pit of his stomach in a second. He din know what he would say to Lady Emlae when he got there, and he din know if he could have an effect, but nonetheless, this cold exchange was a crippling blow to him. He could do nothing ta help her. He could not even draw breath it seemed ta help her.
As she walked away from him, he lifted his hand ta her once more, but it all seemed too lil an too late. His hand felt heavy and time seemed ta slow to a crawl fer him as she quickly walked away. He stood there for awhile, others runnin by him oblivious ta anytin but their current foes down here in Keltoi, and wondered… wonderin what more he coulda done, what good was this Gift for, what words could ave moved her, what he was even doin here, why he felt like a broken third wheel, why he even bothered. Again, he was faced and plagued with thoughts he could not shake from his soul. He could do nothing yet again. He had failed yet again. A heavy, weighted single sigh escaped him, as almost as if it could have been his last tepid, defeated breath, and he finally moved his feet forward after stayin in that spot fer what seemed an eternity.
Walkin through the dark corridors, his feet guidin him more than anytin since he used ta walk these dungeons fer days on end, he brushed by more than one green-eyed aggressive Filidh. Not even carin ta defend himself or to even parry blows that did land against his plate, he continued ta slowly walk out towards the exit…
And so he exited, decidin it best ta not look back and to not get involved…

 

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Emlae looked onto the assemblage of Leaguers from the banister from above. She looked as Crispian called one by one up to be recognized. She didn't know why she was here... but she had hoped, just maybe, Lady Hammerfel wasn't really dead. But looking on to the crowd... there was only one Hammerfel there, and that was her younger sister Apolexia. With a heavy heart, she headed back out of the church, back to the mines of Tepok...

 

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Toorc 
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It was with a glad heart that Arcalan finished her second days ride to Snowdonia Station in the Black Mountains. She stabled the horse and made her way inside the Inn. A few regulars were chatting away and stopped to see who was passing through their lands, but little attention was paid to her overall.

She knew Jashen was meant to be here already but she hadn't caught sight of him yet. She ordered a light meal and reviewed what she knew of Apolexia thus far. Finding this Basaia could be difficult but it was necessary to learn what had transpired. LLyn Barfog was not a long way from this Station and she was welcomed by the natives there, and feared by it's lesser denizens.
She spun round with a smile to greet the familiar voice at the bar, and had to stop from shouting "Jashen!" like an excited little child. She composed herself and skipped across to say hello to him, taking in everything about him that had changed since her last meeting many weeks ago now.

"Good morning m'lord Jashen!" she beamed "I trust you're ready to venture into Barfog with me?"

 

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Toorc 
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The image endured with Azaeli.. a man, holding a serpent in his left hand... he came to her again in memroy, but riding upon the back of a terrible dragon.. who was this figure?

The dragon she had added from her own thoughts, that hadn't been what she saw wehn she fell to the farmer's blow... where did she get that image from? Some old memory lingered at the back of her mind, like a cut in her mouth she could flick with her tongue but not pinpoint it. It hovered on the edge of recall, but slipped from her like smoke.

Surely she'd seen this figure in some book before.. not exactly the same, but alike...

Who was he?

 

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/pre-patch bumpage

 

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/post-patch bumpage =P

 

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Jashen had been very busy at work that day, so it was not that ignored Arcalan's greeting, just that he was hard pressed for the time to reply when he wanted to due to some issues arising with those who worked under him and could not format a simple Excel report for the Guild Vice President who REALLY wanted it that day, by 5 PM.

Sorry RL and Online collided there.

/bump

 

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/bump cuz I'm back..

 

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Apolexia 
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/bump cause lexi is thrilled to see azi back =)))

 

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WOOHOO !
Me Fair Lady Azaeli is back!! <big smile>

<I guess consider this a bumpeth>

<hey Lexi, is this sig ok...ye said ye wanted somethin there happy >

 

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Jashen smiled cautiously at Arcalan and bowed slightly. His leather armor was still taking some getting used to, but he was still very adept with the twin blades he carried.

"Madame Seneschal," he said in a neutral tone. "I was a bit surprised to recieve word you wished me to accompany you into Lyn Barfog. I pray that I may be of some service?"

 

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"I hope so" she smiled.. how could anyone think Crispian and he were twins? The resemblance was slight at best, and Jashen had taken the basic features and gotten the best deal with them. Compared to him Crispian was perhaps of the same mother, but sired by a Kobold.
"We're to set off to discover a little more about where Apolexia came from.. quite a web of lies she's been spinning for us. I want to put an end to it, and since Crispian and I are on much better terms these days I didn't think you'd object to a little company?" she raised an eyebrow.

Horses were not wise given the terrain so they had to move by foot. As they walked Arcalan made pleasent conversation about the League and the fine weather. Jashen remained a little distant, and she was aware of the ice between them.

The eyes of King Smugluk of the goblins looked down upon them from his fortress, but as a war party prepared to swoop upon these humans he stayed them with a gesture.. "Look at tha' one!" he motioned at the Cabalist "She's tha' one what Tepok was tarking to. Eh lads let 'em pass. It's not worf tha' trubble"

The two passed below without incident wandering into the long valley that led to Llyn Barfog.
Arcalan turned to Jashen as it grew dark and said "There's an old guard tower upon that hill, I cleared it's former occupants out myself, after they terrorised the people of this region. We could make camp up there perhaps? In the morning we can seek the one called Basaia and Lexi's cousin Anni. I don't know if there will be trouble with them, but let's not go into this blindly eh?"

As they reached the tower she produced a bottle of the wine she'd brought. "Care for some while the golem gets the fire going and sets up camp?"

 

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Jashen smiled lazily. Arcalan was a cagey one, indeed. He hoped she would continue her practice of wantonly disregarding the depth of bond between twins, as she seemed want to do.

"Aye, some wine would be good," he said quietly, setting down his packs and instinctively checking his weapons. He had found that life was not really that different from mercenary to infiltrator, although he did miss his short bow.

"So, what is it with you and Lexi, anyhow?" he asked, settling against his pack and accept the offered wine. "I know she's about as mature as a ten-year old, and has that nasty temper habit, but why does she irk you so?"

His keen gray eyes missed very little of anything and he had catalogued quite a bit today already. More of this puzzle was constantly coming to the foreground and filling in information he already had. He sipped at the wine, having waited until Arcalan had some first, and waited.

 

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"I honestly don't know Jashen. I think it's because she is so very defiant.. a bit like me. She won't back down, but nor will I. I grew up a slave, I grew from harsh hands and beatings, and I defied them always. Lexi has talent, but even when I stretch the hand of friendship" she ignored the slight look of disbelief that passed over Jashen's face "she bites." She sipped her wine and thought some more. She felt honestly that now all their fights were behind them she was closer to Jashen. SHe liked him better now.. perhaps because they were no longer opposed? Hmm, much like Lexi...bah, no, she wasn't like that spoilt little brat at all.
"If we can reign her temper in and get her to grow up a little she could be a fine addition to the League. As she stands she's a drain, a burden and a hassel. You never know what she'll do next. I think in Barfog we'll uncover more about her, and besides all that I don't like being lied to." she smiled and looked away shyly, discarding an odd thought that just popped into her head. This was certainly a potent wine.. perhaps she should be sparing with it.
A voice called to her in the back of her mind, a cold empty voice, but she pushed it away. She could do the Master's bidding tommorow, but not now.. she just wanted a little time as a League member with a friend. She smiled and turned back to Jashen "Why did you come out here Jashen? I mean, what are you really thinking about all this" she gestured with a tad less grace than an Avalonian should have and almost swept the bottle over the edge of the wall. The fire blazed warmly and the sim stood flickering red in the firelight, a velvet blueblack sky behind it, with only tiny points of light, like gems, to break the vast silky horizon.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Jashen chuckled as Arcalan spoke. He wondered if *she* even believed all the twists she put on topics. "Why did I come out here?" He thought for a moment as he sipped at the wine.

"Well, I guess the first reason," he speculated, looking out to the night sky, "is Crispian. He still doesn't fully trust you, and you know I'll be telling him everything that happens, right?" His grinned widened a bit at the mock shock that Arcalan managed.

"Secondly, well, you can only do so much in the swamps. I've heard about Barfog, but never have been out here. Cris has been, ya know. Quite a few times now. He even brought back a ruby goblet that he gave me." He smiled again.

"I guess, last of all, to find out more about Lexi. It seems she has so much, I dunno, anger, pain, rage-- all tied up inside. And in someone that young...it's sad, really." He threw back the last of the wine and refilled his cup. "I thought it was bad growing up as orphans, ya know. I mean, Auntie Mir is a wonderful woman, and I love her like a mother, but there was always that doubt...What were mom and da like, ya see. I thought that was a hurtful way to grow up. Then I met Toby, and Lexi. I realize now there are much worse way to be grow up."

"And now you, with a sad past you hide away from everyone." He sipped at his wine again. "I suspect you're mean outwardly in part due to that."

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Toorc 
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She managed a look of real shock "Mean?!" she pouted first so he could see the expression then turned on her heel and grinned with her back to him. "Jashen Pontiff, you really know how to pay a lady compliments!" she couldn't supress the giggly quality her voice seemed to have adopted since that third glass.
"Well, I never expect Crispian to trust me. He thinks I'm mean too it seems. I keep my past to myself because, well, it's the past. I don't think people would enjoy hearing my story, and I don't think I'd enjoy dragging it all up again. it's not who I am ... anymore.. anyway" she gazed off into the night and tried to picture what father had looked like again. The only image that came to her head with her Master's face.. but it was framed in a childhood memory, as though he'd been there, in place of her father.. she turned to Jashen again.
"We won't be able to hunt much I'm afraid, we don't have a lot of time, but I'll be glad to show you the Afanc and a few choice spots to hunt in should you return another day." she sighed "That is if Crispian doesn't bring you back up here. I suppose you'd prefer him to show you" she sulked "Well that's alright with me. We'll not have far to go tommorow, but the gods only know where this Basaia is... he could be dead by now for aught we know."

 

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{old}Basaia 
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The water ripped slightly as he waded half-naked along the shorelines, plunging his long and gangly arms into the mud.

Shriveled and wrinkled, the old man laughed with a youthful-like glee as he caught the premature afanc in his hands and threw it into the wooden bucket.

"Got'chee!"

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Jashen rolled up to his feet easily, as graceful as his brother but diffrent. Where Crispian walked and stood like a grappler, always balanced and ready for a hit, Jashen moved with a limberness belied by his also-thick build. Sometimes seeing him move like that, Arcalan observed, was like seeing a fat person dance. To be so thick of body, in very different ways, but to hold such grace. She almost let a sigh escape.

"Really, Arcalan," he said as he joined her to look out over the night of Lyn Barfog, "sharing your past is, in a way, to decrease its hold on you. If you hold it in, then it is always there to torment you, to claim you." He had managed to keep the wine glass and now sipped from it again. "Sharing it, though, can strip it of power and meaning, make it just a *thing* that's there. It took Toby to really teach me that." He laughed.

"Of course, if you prefer to keep it all bottled up, that's fine. It should make for a good wager as to when you'll snap and start to fly apart." He took another drink and stepped a bit outside the tower.

"Yea, Cris will bring me back here, eventually, I imagine, but sometimes, it is nice to discover things without him." He sat on the worn stones of the step, back resting toward the tower. "Deadly and beautiful," he commented quietly.

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Toorc 
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Her ears perked up as he said that and she turned round to see him staring at the vast lake, Llyn Barfog. She felt crushed at first and then furious. "You sleep on the groundfloor of the tower, I'm taking up - stairs. 'Good' Night! Hrumph!" she pronounced every syllable clearly as if it was a different word, and through gritted teeth. She began to storm off into the tower but Jashen called her back. She felt a moment of hope and stopped ready to extract the best deal she'd get from this apology. She didn't stop to consider that he hadn't actually said anything offensive.

"Look out there" he said softly and she allowed her self to be coaxed to look "I can see firelight down by the shoreline.. "
She shot him a look like a Nightshade's dagger and then squinted out to the lake.
"WHere I don't see anything... how can you.. oh, wait yes.. what's that flickering light there.. campfire? Or a torch?"
"I think we might find out" Jashen said slipping off the wall and finishing his glass of wine.
"Humph.. I suppose I'd bbetter come too then" she grumped back at him. he looked at her with confusion.. what on earth was she angry about now?

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Thinking that she was so typically taking something with the wrong turn of mind, he slipped into shadow, quickly vanishing from sight and moving carefully down toward the lakeshore.

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Toorc 
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She grudingly followed him down towards the lakeshore, making no attempt to remain hidden and trailing a lumbering golem in her wake. the cold night air and chill breeze from the lake went right through her, making her both a good deal more sober and also keenly aware of her bladder.
As she nearerd the shoreline she could see it was two torches planted in the sand atop poles that were shedding the light. She could make out the naked torso of an old man wading into the sea at this ungoldy hour, and some wicket basket looped over his arm. The inhabitants of this region were a little odd it was true, but she thought it best to announce herself to this old codger now she was down here anyway. She cast her glance up and down the shore to look for Bwgan Hunters, but seeing none moved closer.. Jashen was nowhere to be seen.
"Hail! Old man!" she cried out. She thought for a moment and then concentrated, casting a defensive shield around herself and causing a considerable lightshow of swirling oil-slick colours to form around her. The figue in the water stopped, obviously aware of her now.
"Old man speak out! Hail to you!" she called.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Jashen clung to the shadows, his senses at a heightened state as he watched Arcalan walk into the pools of light and begin to talk to the old man.

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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{old}_Anikka_ 
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(no message)

 

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{old}Basaia 
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His ears perked up as he looked past the inky darkness of night. Looking down to his rolled-up leather leggins the old man, nearly dripping wet still, waded clumsily out of the waters.

Wringing his hands of water and running his fingers through his visibly-thinning hair, he fumbled up the hill with the bucket of afanc fish in his hands. Basaia gave a toothless grin as he approached the woman and her construct.

 

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Toorc 
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"Hail old one, I hope the fishing's good at night here? We've been travelling quite a way and we saw your light. Have you hospitality you can offer to two weary travellers?" She asked, returning a pleasent smile to him.

 

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{old}_Anikka_ 
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/up to the top.

Toorc, send me a PM if you would.

 

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Toorc 
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Toorc looked about the comfortable little room he was in. Outside he heard the jabbering of celtic voices and high pitched Lurikeens laughing away. He could not imagine why he wasn't dead already. He hadn't seen any of the party that rescued him for the last two days but a nice Celtic lass with spikey hair and facial tatooes had been brining him food, and had imparted a good few words to him and their meanings. It was implied that he was not to leave this room, and using magic here would be outright stupid, and more importantly, rude.
As he thought about it and enjoyed the feeling of a homely room again he felt he owed it to his hosts to be a proper and respectful guest. It was partly to this end he'd wanted to learn their language.

He was surprised when the door opened and an Elf walked in, but he was certain he knew this being from the rescue, and perhaps from elsewhere... he cleared his throat to greet the Elf, and being careful to imitate the inflections the girl had taught him as best he could, greeted the Elf in his language:
"I am a stinky old badger" he beamed, when he saw the Elf's face flicker a reaction, obviously he had greeted him correctly! he ventured to ask how he was, just to show he had grasped much already. "Is your mother a Troll or" he faulterd trying to recall the next bit "ooor.. or did magic make you like that?" he sat back pleased with his efforts. He was pretty sure it was exactly what the girl had told him.. mind you if the elf answered he'd have no idea what he said.
Hmm, well at least he was showing he was friendly. And the elf seemed to be grinning which was a good sign.. wasn't it?

 

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Cloak72 
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The elf fought hard to stiffle a chuckle. "Katlynn!" he called out, much to the bewilderment of the poor theurgist. The young girl that had been seeing to him appeared in the doorway, managing to look contrite will still softly giggling. The two of them spoke for a bit, the elf clearly, if gently, chastising the girl. He grinned and ruffled her hair gently before she scampered away. Turning back to Toorc, he said, in clear, unaccented, Avalonian, "Welcome to Hibernia, Toorc." He grinned and leaned against the wall. "That was quite a bit of trouble you had gotten yourself into. Care to tell how you managed it?"

 

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Ayslyn Greenwillow, Night Elven Hunter, Runetotem
Mokti, Troll Hunter, Runetotem
"Pain shared is Pain divided; Joy shared is Joy multiplied"
Everything I needed to know, I learned from drinking at Callahan's
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"You speak Avalonian!" Toorc exclaimed "Well this will simplify things a lot, but I do still want to contnue to learn your language.. please don't be angry with the girl for teaching me a little of it, I'm sure she didn't mean harm" he smiled hoping the lass wasn't in bother over it. Elves were known to skin people alive for seemingly trivial things, though this one appeared friendly.
"Ah it is quite a long tale, but to make it brief my studies showed me a power was rising in the Earth, one that was bent on great evil. I have fought many many evil beings in this world, and I sought to learn more of this new enemy. I'm sure many in hibernia are now aware of the threat too? Well indeed I discovered what was plauging the land with undead.. I had made ready an escape to Camelot when it emerged two men had not come out of the Hall of the Corrupt. You understand I could not leave them in that place. Alas it seemed the Grand Summoner was not unaware of our being there, and baited me back inside.. I was near death when you and your companions helped me excape.." he sat back, having blurted out much of his tale in a brief time "I still don't pretend to know why you'd rescue an Albion from those depths, or why I'm still alive, but it confirms what I hav heard.. you're not in league with this demon, and neither are Midgard." he relaxed, having been utterly open with this elf he felt he had little reason to fear him. In fact Crispian had once been helped by an elf himself.. could it be?
"Pray tell me good fellow, since my name is known to you already, what should I call you?"

 

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Cloak72 
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"Kat? No," he chuckled merrily, "She's not in any trouble. She's a lively lass, with a quick wit, but I believe," his grin broadened, "that we shall find another tutor for you. As for what to call me. I have been called many things, both flattering and not. My name is Ayslyn Greenwillow." He scetched a quick bow. "You are welcome to the common hall outside, and to any of the rooms that lead directly off it. I would, however suggest that you wander no further than that. While the Irregulars and myself are happy to be your hosts in our land, there are a few of my people that would take your being here the wrong way." Even while delivering this warning, his wry grin never faded.

 

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Ayslyn Greenwillow, Night Elven Hunter, Runetotem
Mokti, Troll Hunter, Runetotem
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Toorc 
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"well then" Toorc beamed "It is nice to meet you Sir greenwillow.. I have heard of you before now, but had no face to place you by. I am honoured and assure you, very glad to meet you. I'll follow your instructions for my own safety, I can imagine not all Hibernian's have your broad-mindedness to them. I am sure there is much, indeed a great deal, for us to discuss in the coming nights, for I have a good many questions and a good many tales you may wish to hear, save those on my realm's military defences, for you understand my gratitude cannot extend far enough to make me turn traitor." Ayslyn seemed to understand that well enough and happily accepted it. Toorc sensed his concerns didn't lie there, anymore than Toorc would have interrogated the Elf had the situation been reversed.
They sat down for a long talk of the matters of the realms, and neither noticed the night drawn on around them.

******************
Meanwhile upon the shores of the Bearded Lake...

((OOC thanks Cloak for jumping in on this, any other hibs have idea for the subplot of Toorc's going to Hibernia, PM me or jump in happy ))

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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/monday AM bumpage

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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Apolexia 
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ooc

<waves to ayslyn>

Ok... cheap bump but who cares =)

 

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Toorc 
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((Bit more storyline while we wait for Basaia's post...))

Overseer Tepok danced around the high pile of Arcanium he had gathered. he'd hijacked prearranged merchants, raided crafters and tunneled for years to unearth this much of the precious metal. Now he was going to trade it all away.. for he is no fool that trades all he has, for that which he can never lose.
Tepok was already one of the most powerful Goblins alive.. when this deal went through he'd be one of the most powerful beings alive!
He danced around again as instructed and threw a handful of magical dust at the pile. He gibbered out the incantation he had learnt by heart, and moved to the next point in the circle.
"Ack harramabarr, hamous al-abib.. aluck thule, thule annamis, thule animae, thule semper arrawag!" his goblin voice growled the flowing words with a gutteral bent and he threw another handful at the pile of metal. Dancing widdershins to the next point he again chanted, but this time the effect was noticable. As he threw his dust on the pile it became as molten metal and slid like living silver over the surface of the pile.. the other handfuls of dust were likewise coiling and broiling across the surface of the pile.. the magic was working. He began his chant, over and over again, faster louder, entreating the Master to accept this gift, this metal he had offered up, more precious than platinum, for the sake of immortality!
The air writhed like a thing in pain, and all the goblins who had gathered to watch fled like the cowards they were. The torches in the room sputtered with silver streaks and cast an eerie glow. The pile seemed alive now, warping and twisting as Tepok's screeching voice became louder and faster.

With a tremendous rasping of tearing metal the pile folded in upon itself and the room glowed with a horrid pale light that burnt the eyes with it's unnatural beam. A screeching arose to match the howl of triumph from the goblin Overseer, and the pile of Arcanium vanished into the other realm.

A deathly silence filled the room, strangely empty in the absence of the monolithic pile. As the light from the torches again filled the room, a number of the bravest goblins returned, to see tepok upon his knees in the middle of the chamber. Cautiously one approached his master, and reached a hand out to check for a sign of life. Tepok howled as he jumped to his feet tearing the subordinates limb clean off and showering the floor with blood. His triumphant yell contrasted with the screams as other goblins danced up and down in ecstacy. The bargain was struck! The bargain was struck! Long live Overseer Tepok!

**************
Those at the entrance to the mine heard the carcophany, and decided this day would be better spent hunting evil elsewhere..
*************

 

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Basaia welcomed the two to his small stone cottage, overlooking the Bearded Lake from a bluff. Its dilapidated shingles blew upward slightly as a nighttime wind passed over Barfog.

Inside was a small but cozy chamber. The smell of root tea wafted through the air lazily. A single wood-burning stove, blackened with grim and age lit the interior of the chamber. The old man gave a slight sigh as he hung his cloak over a wooden peg half-fashioned into the stone wall. He sat within an old rickety rocking chair, placed under a faded portrait of a young child. Basaia passed a long look at the painting, giving a deepened sigh as he pulled a quilted blanket over his shoulders and onto his lap. Reaching for a long-stemmed pipe, he packed a generous amount of Cotswoldian-produce ditchweed into the eye.

"Na', what kin I 'elp ye with, missy?"


 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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Meanwhile....


Clang.. whoosh...

Azi steadied herself against the blows, planting her feet to balance the weight of her sheild. She was unaccustomed to fighting this way, and the smaller blade in her right hand seemed like a sliver compared to the thick archmace of her adversary. She raised up the cumbersome sheild to block a heavy swing as she peered out of the slit of her barrel helm at her squire.

Emlae fought furiously and well, and in her newly acquired plate, though dyed black, she looked stunning. Azi hadn't believed it at first when Tashtego told her how he'd found her, wallowing in sorrow and silence in the depths of Keltoi, just as Azi had been. He told her of thier meeting, and of how Emlae had ignored him, and being the sensitve one that Tash was, he was clearly hurt by her rejection.

So Azi had taken it upon herself to extend a challenge to Emlae, and sent her this note:

Squire to Lady Hammerfel,

Should you desire to redeem the soul of your lady knight, I challenge you. The Silver Knight awaits at the crossroads of Humberton. Meet at dawn to save your lady's memory.


She smiled to herself at her own cleverness. Emlae never would have listened if Azaeli had just showed up to speak with her. This had been wise of her, and a good way to test her squire's skill at that. Azi frowned. The duel had gotten close, but she was gaining ground. Emlae had called upon the wrong chant, choosing battle fury over healing. But she knew what must be done now.

Azaeli slowed her pace and stopped her chanting, allowing through attacks that she normally would have blocked easily. And when she could barely stand, she stepped away and saluted Emlae in surrender and bowed. Emlae bowed in turn and removed her helm, squinting out into the sun to get a better look at this Silver Knight.

"Who are you?" She asked slowly. With that, Azaeli pulled her helm free and shook out her golden hair. Emlae's face whitened, her eyes grew wide. "My lady..its a vision, a ghost! Azaeli smiled.

"No, Emlae, it is I, flesh and blood and very much alive." Azi held out her hand and Emlae touched it in stunned silence. "Come, we have much to discuss." After a relieved embrace, the two made thier way back to Camelot, and to the League hall.


 

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Toorc 
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Arcalan looked long and hard at the portrait of the girl.. she'd lost her own father so long ago.. with no way to know what had become of him...
She returned to the old man sitting in his chair. The room was shelter from the winds from the lake, and for that she was glad. That sneaky Jashen must be outside, prowling around. Well let him cool off out there she thought, afterall, she recalled he'd insulted her.. in someway.. vaguely. It was enough for her to know she felt displeased at him, so she decided not to call him in. Sappy stood behind her, arms limp by his side.
"Thank you kind sir" she began "you look like you may be able to help me, for I seek someone who must surely have passed from the memory of younger folks" she smiled warmly at him, the aged always treated their decrepit advance in age as something they could take pride in, so she saw buttering him up on this "achievement" of not being dead may work. "The man we seek was called Basaia, though I doubt now that he lives, for he was old and this land can be harsh. Did you ever hear of him?"

 

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{old}_Anikka_ 
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bump

 

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"Ye speak of tha' codger Bas'ya, eh?" the white-haired spectre of a man spoke.

With that, he rose from his rocker and made his way over to the wood burning stove. Stoking the fires with a long, black poker, the cinder swirled out of the grill, caught within the smoke as it roiled outward, the fires emitting a brightish light for a moment. Carefully closing the hot grill, he resumed his position over by the chair. His glassy eyes, still somewhat reddened from the waters of Barfog, looked downward to the woman and her sapphire companion.

"Tha's a st'ury, a sad un' in'eed. 'Magine if ye will, a man... driven by tha' lust fer' pow'r. Imag'un a y'ung knight- a Duke know'tha'less, who gave up 'is life 'fer a larg'r sliv'r of pie th'un what's dealt to 'yer common, everyday man."

His gaze passed to the portrait once more, his thoughts astray.

"That is ol' Basaia, tha' man who has ta' live in remorse, 'un shame 'fer what he did ta' his family...the crimes he commit'd 'gainst his own famil'e. I am sh'ure not a day goes by tha' fallen knight does'nay regret what he did ta' his people."

"On'ce a powerful Duke, tha' knight was. Back'en the Isle of Glass was m'ar than a legend, literally hun'erds of wint'rs ago tha' knight rul'd with'a velvet glove o'er his people in Caer Gothwaite. His rule was'a even'anded one; lov'd by 'is people. Noble man'e was, I kin still recall his face an' his demeanor...though the mem'ry dissolves with ev'ry day I carry on. His wife, a fine Norseman slave she was, they bore a child', tha' Lord Ansil Winterborne. Tha' Duke of Gothwaite Bas'ya was...well, he hunger'd fer m'ar than what he could succumb with 'is own hands. He had Snowdonia un'ner his grasps through his son, tha Baron Ansil Winterborne; half Avalonian, half Norse. He had g'ud relations with the people of Barfog, back be'far the tusked Welsh had overran these hills 'round here. Bas'ya had secured relations with tha' outside w'urld with his progenity, but'e lusted aft'r ma'r."

The old man shifted slightly passing his gaze back down to Arcalan. He pressed his gloves hands together as he began to continue to speak.

"Well, ol' Bas'ya, well ov'r a hun'erd and f'arty years now, saw that there was m'ar to be gained outside of Avalon, but knowing tha Curse of tha' Island, he knew if he left, his youthful flesh'un immortal life would become that of'a mortal. Though tha' knight knew the cost of leavin' the island and knowin' he could never return on'ce he left...he took his most trust'd soldiers an' ma'e passage for Albion."

"Leavin' tha' Isle of Glass, Bas'ya took up residence in a nearby valley in tha' North Black Mountains, up with his son the Baron Winterborne nary far from here. There, he trained his grandaughter Anikka in tha way of arms, an' even tried to make her betray her own fath'r...but she did nay give in to Bas'ya's promise of pow'r or words".

"Na', you may be askin' yerself, whay would a Duke betray his son and live in obscurity, givin up Avalon, his wife an' his title...well, tha's a question best left ta' ask HIM yerself. But what I can tell'ya that I believe tha'it was all a ruse, tha' he was jealous of his son's power and single-handedly caused the downf'ull of the Fifth House, the House a' Winterborne. Hence, tha' ruins now tha' tusked Welsh Smugluk an' Mootang now take up residence. With this in mind, Bas'ya unwrestled his son's control over Snowdonia, an' Barfog was his next 'venture."

"Ta' make a long st'ary short, he did sum' scrupulous things ta' ensure his pow'r. He secured rela'shuns with dark pow'rs and even' did sum' horrible things ta' his own family. He kill'd his son, branded his granddaught'r Anikka a traitor an' even took his brother Lord Ulfwych's daugh't away from him, making tha' man believe her dead. An' evil man e'was....and maybe, just maybe he sits alone now, with'out his people, without any'un and exiled from the Isle of Glass repentin' fer his deeds."

The old man cleared his throat, his eyes glassy and watered. He removed his glove, revealing a charred and burned husk of a fist.

"This, missy, is the price Basia paid fer his deeds, that....is tha' price of the fall".

The old man's watery eyes once again focused towards the portrait.

 

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Toorc 
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"You know him and his story well then, old one. Tell me, how is it you come to know all this and recite it to me with such passion? Was he kin to you? And this portrait here.. this must be a relative of his too, then?" she looked again at the portrait that hung upon the wall, and the trembling eyes of the old man.

 

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Cloak72 
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*waves back to Apolexia* happy

OOC Lets keep this up top, shall we?

 

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Ayslyn Greenwillow, Night Elven Hunter, Runetotem
Mokti, Troll Hunter, Runetotem
"Pain shared is Pain divided; Joy shared is Joy multiplied"
Everything I needed to know, I learned from drinking at Callahan's
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Toorc 
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/lecture cancelled bump...

 

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bump

 

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{old}Basaia 
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"Missy, tha' Basaia ye seek no long'r exists".

His eyes seem to penetrate Arcalan's mind, and for a mere moment, she perhaps thought he knew her intentions and the power she saught.

"I give ye this parting advise," he whispered in a low tone, "that from which tha' body ha'e no escape,nay choice but ta' listen to it's Tyrant, its Master, its Puppeteer; pullin' strings as if ta'e rend tha' body from its flesh and tha' flesh from its body."

" 'Wary ward your way along tha' path of night, for tha' night will consume all who try to tame it, in tha' end."

The old man returned the glove to his hand, sighing deeply from fatigue. "I grow old, please, if ye need'in a place ta' rest this eve, ye may take tha' hammock o'er there. I m'uss rest fer' tha night."

 

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Azi-Icemistress 
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"You were toying with me this morn," Emlae gasped breathlessly as she tried in desperation to block the swift slashes of Azaeli's sword. Crispian sat closeby in the courtyard, occasionally glancing up from his stack of parchment to see how the spar was going.

"I wanted my squire back," Azi grinned at Emlae and began a complex combination, catching the squire by suprise. "Keep your focus Emlae." From the corner of her eye, she saw Lexi come through the door and attempt curtsey at Crispian.

"Morning Crispian," she yawned, "Sorry about last night.." Azi didn't care to know what kind of mischief her sister was apologizing for this time. She twirled her blade and swung, clashing it with Emlae's as the squire parried with some effort.

"Are you?" Crispian raised an eyebrow. Azi knew he was on the edge constantly because of Lexi's behavior, and decided to stay out of the conversation. Lexi nodded quickly.

"Yes, sir, and I must go speak with someone. It's important." She looked at Azi. The spar continued, Emlae delivering a graceful blow with her archmace, catching Azi off guard as she tried to turn some of her attention to the conversation.

"You are not allowed to leave the guild hall, Lexi," Crispian smirked, his eyes running over the page before him, giving him an air of importance.

"But, I have to go talk to.. a... a man...about..something important," she whined desperately. Crispian frowned and turned his gaze to Lexi.

"Who?" He demanded, leaning back against the wall and crossing his arms over his broad chest. Panic rose in Lexi's eyes and she looked to Azi now. The spar was getting heated. Azaeli was obviously distracted, and Emlae was taking full advantage.

"Si-is," Lexi whined again, bouncing in place, "Can't I go? It's important.. You know, the man.." she gulped, "the lake?" Crispian stood up suddenly, grasping Lexi's arm.

"Who!" He demanded, "who is it? BASAIA?" Azi dropped her scimitar and Emlae's archmace clanged loud into her side. Lexi stood, pale and stunned. Utter silence filled the courtyard.

"How," Lexi whispered, then spun on her feet to look at Azi, her eyes fierce with anger, "YOU!" she hissed, "How COULD you?! I trusted you!"

"Lexi, no.. I didn't.. I would never.." Azi choked out the words. How did Crispian find out about Basaia? Who else knew? Lexi yanked her arm from Crispian's grasp and darted down the street in tears. Azi turned to Emlae.

"Please go find her Emlae, and bring her back here." Emlae bowed and rushed off after Lexi. Azaeli looked at Crispian, trying hard to keep her calm. "How did you know?!" She shook her head angrily, "How could you just say his name like that? In public? Now she thinks I told you! Me, the only one she trusts! She'll never learn trust this way!" She glared at Crispian.

((more to come after work....))

 

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Toorc 
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Arcalan thanked the old man for his hospitality but declined to spend the night in his run down little cottage, no matter what it was like outside. He'd avoided her question and he could sense the presence of her Master just as he himself was touched by something...
Just like D'Vena this old man had been consumed.. she was sure she had just seen the dread Basaia face to face, and the worn old shell he was now was testament that the path of demonic power was a fools choice.
She made her way outside, leaving a few gold coins at the door, out of pity for the old wretch.

Outside the cold air made her decision to return to the tower seem a little rash. But she knew Jashen and she could camp here for a few hours until dawn, and then make their way to Snowdonia Station where a proper bed and a good meal would revive them both. Her Master had guided her to this old codger to let her learn all she needed to know. She could cow Lexi with the knowledge contained, that she was "banim shovavim" as the Caballah calls them. The term meant "mischievious offspring" half demon children who were motheed by succubi, and returned at their father's deathbed to claim their birthright and cheat legitimate heirs. It suited Lexi admirably. Lord Ulfwych would never be able to welcome a stranger as his own, wehn that stranger was raised by a demon who sought to kill him. Always that thought would gnaw at his mind.. no, Apolexia could never go home to him... ever. She was the daughter of Judan now, but this demonic influence was a problem indeed.

**********

Her Master sat in his domian of living silver and pale light, looking upon the chessboard world that played out before him. Apolexia was spoilt for his purpose, but the material was now at hand, a near mountian of Arcanium transported at great cost to his realm. Delay was not acceptable, but the instrument he had wished to use was unclean.. soiled by Basaia's touch. He would not intrude while that influence was still upon her, and it surely was. No, he would have to find another. The choice came easily to him... his servant must prepare the way.

*********

"JASHEN!" Arcalan called as she got a god way from the old cottage. "Jashen!" as she called out his name for him to show himself, the Master unfolded his plan to her mind. Arcalan gasped at his new intent. This would cause all her work at making the League trust her to come undone! They would hate her, hunt her, and she'd be lucky to survive until the Rebirth! For the first time ever a spark was kindled in the dark places of her heart, and she refused her command.
Trembling she sat down upon the rocks at the mouth of the valley and prayed for Jashen to come to her side. Sweat poured from her brow and she was pale and shaking with fear. The Master was wise and infinitely kind, but she couldn't go ahead with this surely.. she was just beginning to have .. well, friends.. almost.. she was doing well, she had made a place as Seneschal, and now the Master would rip it from her. Was there no other choice?! She cried out in her mind to him, please, let there be another way.. is there no other who can take the girl's place but him?
In the freezing night air Arcalan sat upon the hard bitterly cold rock and trembled, like one gripped by fever or a nightmare. Over and over she pleaded with the Master, and her quivering lips whispered "Jashen" over and over like some protective mantra.

**********

Never before had she shyed from his will. Never before had his servant refused him, knowing that he offered her immortality and power beyond measure, she still tried to deny him. His anger was limitless, for this pawn was the key to the Rebirth. Without her, this prison would hold him for centuries to come. He must disguise his wrath, make it the hurt feelings of a gentle and loving father.. he must errode her will and tear her heart, but he had already solved the problem of how to proceed. Another servant thirsted for his approval even more. Arcalan would suffer doubt and pain for her betrayal, eough to return her loyalty to him once more, and banish this foolish attachment to these mortals. He planted the seeds of remorse in the heart of her soul, and watered them with anguish and self-loathing. His other servant was given the first task his Master had given him since he last failed, and this pawn WAS expendable should he fail again. Nothing could halt the Rebirth. Nothing.

 

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Crispian_Pontiff 
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Jashen moved from the protection of shadow to shadow, slowly. He was wary and cagey after that bizarre old man. He was well aware that the man knew he was there, though his words had been for Arcalan alone.

With painstaking care, he emerged near her, making not a sound. Bared weapons filled his fists. "Sh...Arc, sh," he cautioned her as he settled next to her. He peered about them, senses extended as much as he could.
"It'll be ok," he said, setting one blade down and placing a comforting arm around her.

 

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Crispian Pontiff, Seneschal, St. Crispin's League
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"Crispian," Azi tried desperately to contain her anger, "Lexi was talking about Church.. she wanted to speak to God. She's been reading scripture. She's getting better.. and now this.." She clenched her fists, looking out into the street in the direction her sister had run.

"Church?" Crispian looked stunned, "But she said something about a lake?"

"The lake of fire," Azi nodded, "She started at the end, she's terrified of it.. She didn't want anyone to know, Crispian. She's embarassed." Crispian laughed loudly, his eyes alight with the irony of that.

"Embarassed about THAT of all things?!" He shook his head in disbelief.

"That isn't the issue, Crispian. How do you know about Basaia?" Her voice was calm and even, but inside she was boiling angry. Lexi had been through so much, everyone wondered why she was so troublesome. Only Azi seemed to understand that she needed understanding and trust to get beyond her past. Crispian nodded to the door and they made thier way inside to his room, where he sent Tannir off for tea and made certain the door was closed.

"I read her diary." Crispian confessed as they settled into chairs near the small hearth. "Arcalan found it, that was what the key was for.. I thought I could help her by