[Forum Game] Agorath and the Maegi Prophecy

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

BlackBishop

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If it is a question of payment, I would not think any coin spent on buying answers from this Captain Jacob ill spent. Having witnessed the power of his abilities first hand, I think it is of the upmost importance to determine how he came to have them."

"Indeed, Master Wrothiron, and believe me, I offered him much. However, gold earned by the tip of the spear and the clash of the sword is the only interest held by our dear Captain Jacob."
 

BlackBishop

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Near the Village of Great Oak, Ecclestius
21st day of Hallows, 1000 Age of Empire...

(days after the Assembly)

The setting sun turned the sky ablaze with a tapestry of reds and crimsons. Underneath a great oak tree, Jacob sat eating a blood-orange. The tart juices of the fruit dripped down his chin and into his beard. Soon the mercenary heard the gallop of a horse in the distance but he made no reaction, only continued to watch the sun sink into the horizon. A gust of wind, crisp and cool, brought with it the scent of winter.

An armed man reined his horse up to the Captain and stepped off the steed, giving Jacob a salute. "Captain, we lost him." Jacob finally looked up from his orange and waited for the soldier to continue. "We tracked the ArchMage to Oxtree, but he up and vanished like a fart in the wind."

Jacob spit a large orange seed out of his mouth. "It matters not. Qylan will turn up again, and right soon. When he does, we shall be ready."

"We should return to the Golden City, we can reform the company there."

"No." Jacob quickly replied. "I am done with that city. If Mathlion had offered me a lordship one more time, I would have knocked him right in his face."

"A lordship wouldn't be that bad."

Jacob gave his left-tenant a cross look. "Fuck the lords. They can keep their crests and castles, play their games of power and pretend their piss is made o' gold. Give me a wench, a strong ale and a sword any day. Least I'd go to my grave with a full stomach, empty loins and an honest man."

"You mean to go back to Azeratii then?" Asked the soldier.

"Ha! Fuck no." Laughed Jacob. "I grow tired of their prattling. We can find recruits elsewhere."

"Surly not the North. Galadreil and the Norselands are at war. Every able bodied man will already be marched under one banner or another."

"We are going west. West is where we will find men."

"Dwarves and desert men?" Questioned the left-tenant.

Jacob stared out into a field. The soldier followed his captain's gaze to a girl, no more than eight years old, playing amongst the autumn flowers and grass. Jacob tossed the peel of the orange to the ground. "Sometimes I am disturbed by your lack of vision, James. We stay here another day, than we move out."

Left-tenant James watched his commander walk down the hill into the field, and after the elated squeals from the girl at seeing her father, took the small girl's hand in his before vanishing in the fire of the setting sun.
 
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Bialaska

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"Three Rivers will send aid against the troubles in Elven lands. I believe a small expedition, led by my sister, might be able to achieve the most."

Three Rivers sends Helena Celestian to join against the Dark Elf Menace.
 

BlackBishop

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((Make sure you all have your orders in! Remember, one diplomatic order - anything from a wedding, to a dragon hunt - One Plot - assassinate that player who has been ticking your off! - Quest - Zex's Dark elf Quest, or Galren's Library Quest - One War Order, and one build order.

Deadline is tomorrow, 12:00pm eastern. So easy on the mead, update will be up soon!))
 

Bialaska

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Justinus was sitting in his story, looking down at some reports of eligible young women of Agorath, as he heard a knock on the door.

"Enter," the man said, looking up, only to see his son, a young man named Antonius, aged 20, entered.

"Father, I come with a request." Antonius said.

"No, you are not avoiding marriage. One of these days I will find a young lady for you. It is of utmost importance for this family to make alliances." Justinus said, dismissing his son with a wave of his hand.

"Wait, father. I hope you are finding a good match for me. I... I am not here to prevent it." Antonius chews on his upper lip, quite unhappy with the direction of the conversation. "But before being tied down by a family I wished to go on a pilgrimage, a journey to see all the holy sites of Agorath."

"Pilgrimage?" The eyes of the oldest man narrows. "You have never been devout. In fact I seem to remember you only visited the temple because of those two pretty birds, those initiates. Didn't one of them actually have to leave the order being pregnant, and did you not come here to ask for a sum of gold to pay her silence?"

Antonius is silent for a few seconds, considering his words. This is definitely not going the way he planned.

"I am older now, father. More devo..." he starts, only to for his father to raise his voice.

"Lies, lies, lies. You need to become much better at hiding your deception. But fine, go on your 'pilgrimage', but afterwards you will return here, you will accept the wife I have arranged for you and you will smile as you enter into the holy matrimony."

Antonius shivers a bit and then gives a nod. "Yes, father." A small smile is forming on his lip. He sees his father's dismissal by hand, turns and walks through the door.

The next day the pilgrimage begins... Directly to the Golden City, to get a taste of all of the various whore houses...
 

jeeshadow

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Gunther von Saxon rode next to his son Wilhelm von Saxon, his champion Sir Leopold von Stockholm, and his son’s champion Gilbert von Danzig. Gunther’s wife Claudia, daughter Johanna, and his new daughter-in-law Navaris sat in the carriage. They were riding to Azeratii City to have a wedding between Jutarian Krestarii and Johanna. Jutarian and Johanna are childhood friends and Johanna seemed ecstatic about the marriage, unlike Wilhelm. Gunther looked at his son and mentally investigated him again. Why would that boy not be happy about marrying Navaris? She is exceptionally beautiful and kind. She is a little independent and fiery, but that just made her sexier. Gunther honestly had never once thought of the truth. He also had never heard of the rumors surrounding his son. They were never made known to him for fear of punishment, a very advisable fear for if Gunther had heard that he would have punished the speaker.
Azeratii City loomed ahead. Its tall walls were almost as formidable as the Golden City that Gunther was still uncomfortable in. Why would men crowd together like that? They live crammed up next to each other like sardines, sometimes bathing in their own feces. A disgusting place, these cities, but the palaces were beautiful. Even Gunther would admit that. The lords of the South were wealthy, that much is true. Their wealth is built off of rivers of blood and iron. The von Saxon wealth comes from trading wheat and sausages. Something many would say is a harmless business practice, yet Freidrich von Saxon had assisted in razing in the razing of Vlashian. Not for honor, but because they were stealing wheat.
As they approached the Gate of Heroes, they saw the damage that the Cortorii attack had caused. Many of the statues that had adorned the mighty gate laid in ruins, and several of the watch towers had been reduced to rubble. Regardless, the Azeratii harpy still flew over the gates. As they approached the gates, a honor guard of several Palace Guard, led by Atarian Krestarii, Champion of Azeratii.
"Well come my friends, or future family, you choose," Atarian jested. Turning to a guard, Atarian ordered, "Go tell the Palace that our guests have arrived."

Jutarian was sitting, looking out the window. He had a lot to think about. He had managed to gain a small reputation as a womanizer, something he was. He greatly enjoyed the company of women, something his father did not approve of. He was also about to get married. He most certainly had feelings for Johanna, and wanted to be a good husband for her. He also knew that if she ever found out that he had many affairs, it would probably break her heart. His thoughts were disturbed be the arrival of his father.
"Son, I have just received word, the von Saxon's have entered the city. Your uncle is with them. I need you to get ready, while I fetch your mother, and sister for a formal greeting."
"Yes father," Jutarian replied, as his father departed. Regardless of what the future would bring, this day was for him and Johanna, and by the goddess, he would make it be the best day of her life.

Zerantianii Krestarii is an interesting women. For one, she was completely crazy, and for two, she also had no desire for power. She also only cares for her children. Add on top of that she doesn't like her husband, and that makes her an interesting women. For example, she almost always stays in her room, in almost complete darkness, and only allows her family, and select servants to enter. This is the state her husband found her in when he entered the room to tell her about the von Saxon arrival.
"Sweetheart, the von Saxon's have arrived. You agreed you would great them," Asharian prodded.
"How many times have I told you not to try to flatter me, it won't work," Lady Krestarii growled back.
"Of course my lady, but your really must come, Gunther von Saxon is expecting you to be there."
That got Zerantianii to move, "Gunther will be here?"
"Of course my dear, he wouldn't miss his own daughter's wedding," Asharian jokingly prodded," freshen up, and come along. We are expected."

As the von Saxon's entered the throne room, the entire Krestarii family was waiting for them. Asharian sat on his throne, wearing the thin gold band that designated him Lord of Azeratii. Jutarian was at his side, wearing a handsome golden cloak. Zerantianii sat at her husbands throne, looking as beautiful as possible for Gunther. Finally, Anastanii wore a large, flowing gown, that almost hid the large bump that was her belly.
Asharian rose, "welcome my friends, I hope we can all agree that this is a happy, and joyous time for our two families, as we will finally be joined by blood. I am also happy to announce that the ceremony, and of course most importantly, the feast will be held tomorrow. It is late, and I recommend you all retire to your rooms."
With that the families shuffled out.

Jutarian was heading to Wilhelm's room to visit his friend. He wanted to talk to him before the wedding in order to hopefully sort over some of his jitters about marring Johanna. As he approached the room, the one person he really did not want to talk to right now exited, Johanna.
"Hey Jutarian! Fancy seeing your right now."
She was wearing a simple yellow dress, but it was made out of the best Imperial silks, her long blond hair flowing around her shoulders, and she looked ravishing in it to Jutarian. This only complemented the fact that she was already extremely pretty, often regarded as the most beautiful women in North Eccelstus.
"I must say Johanna, Southern styles fit you very well. You look absolutely amazing right now," Jutarian blurted out without thinking.
Blushing Johanna replied, "Thank you. You should wait tell tomorrow night to talk to me like that. What brings you to my brothers quarters, Jutarian?"
"I just wanted to talk to him. I must confess, I am a bit nervous for tomorrow," Jutarian replied.
"I am to. That is why I went to talk to him. I would send you in, but I left since Gilbert just arrived, and well, I don't think either of us want to be around for that," Johanna jokingly replied.
"Of course Gilbert showed up," Jutarian said with slight disgust. He did not like Gilbert, a fact Wilhelm did not know, but Jutarian had confessed to Johanna a long time ago.
"He is not that bad. He is a really nice and really good with a sword. He is also very attractive. Don't fret, you are still more handsome than him."
This caused Jutarian to blush, "Thank you Johanna, I kind of needed that. Regardless, you know why I don't like him..."
"Jutarian, how many times do I have to tell you, Gilbert will never replace you as Wilhelm's best friend. Regardless, I feel we should probably both go get some rest, we have a big day tomorrow."
Walking up, Johanna gave Jutarian a big, grabbed his hand, and gave him a brief kiss on the cheek, before turning to leave, her hand remaining in his for a brief moment longer, before slipping out. She then entered her room, which was across the hall, and disappeared inside.

Morning of the Wedding
Johanna was just finishing her breakfast in her room, when Anastanii walked in. She was wearing a beautiful dress, that was large enough that it covered her belly.
"Johanna, it is time for you to get ready. The guests are starting to arrive."
"Fine, I shall get ready," turning to her handmaiden she said, "please bring me my wedding dress."
The handmaiden brought out a long, gorgeous gown green, embroidered with golden silk. Krestarii wedding dresses are interesting. They are designed so they can be put on and off very easily, and smoothly, for the bedding, but a large belt is put on that prevents the wearer from taking it off, but someone else can, if they are in very close to the wearer. The belt was solid gold, with it being designed to look like leaves, and on the front, it formed a crown with leaves running threw it, the sigil of the von Saxons.
Watching her best friend get dressed for a wedding with her brother, Anastanii, blurted out a secret she had hid from her friend, "my brother is a womanizer. I am sorry I didn't tell you earlier. I know you are madly in love with him, and I didn't want to hurt you."
Johanna replied with something Anastanii didn't expect, "Wilhelm told me this over a year ago, he didn't want to see me get hurt. I have now come to accept the fact your brother isn't perfect."
With that, Johanna turned and left for her wedding.

As Johanna entered the Cathedral of Azeratii, she saw lines of important people from across the city, and neighboring realms. At the end of the long hall, standing on a platform was Jutarian, looking incredibly handsome, his father, and the City Mage, who would bless the marriage in the name of the Krestarii Goddess, and perform the ceremony. While the Mage didn't worship the goddess, the traditions of the Azeratii family dictated that he did the ceremony.
Johanna's father stepped up beside her and took her by her arm, and leader her up to the waiting Krestarii. He left her standing right in front of Jutarian.
As soon as she arrived, and the mage started droning on about stuff, Jutarian whispered her to her so quietly only the two of them could her, "Before we get married, I want you to know that I legitimately love you, and want to be with you."
Shocked, Johanna whispered back the only thing she could think of, "I love you as well."
It was about this time that the mage stopped talking and said, "do you both agree to love each other, respect each other, and care for each other tell the end of your days?"
The two replied, "Yes, we do."
The mage then said, "prove it," and produced the ritual dagger. Taking it first, by tradition, Johanna cut her hand open. She then placed it on the side of the neck of Jutarian, so that it left long line of blood. Jutarian then took the dagger, and did the something.
Seeing the two with their bloody hands on each others necks, the mage then proclaimed, "I now pronounce you two in equal, and eternal marriage."
With that, the ceremony was done.

The feast afterwards was a great one. Much food was eaten, wine was consumed in vast quantities, and much dancing was to be had. Jutarian was prevented from drinking to much by his new wife. As the two laughed and joked, it was apparent to everyone that the two got along very long. They did not notice that for most of the feast, the two newlyweds were holding hands under the table. When it came time to dance, the two showed off their remarkable dance skills. Most of the Azeratiians did no know that the two were actually learned how to dance together. The party was so good that no one noticed Anastanii being sent off at the beginning, or the fact Zerantianii wasn't present. When the night turned late, Jutarian led his new wife away to his bedroom for the bedding.
After they entered, Johanna slid her hand around her husbands waist, and leaned his head against his back, "Well, I guess we are married."
"Nonsense, the best part hasn't happened yet," Jutarian wryly replied.
Spinning around, Jutarian wrapped his arms around his wife's belt, and gave her a long kiss, "We aren't done yet."
Reaching up, Johanna pulled undid Jutarian's, jacket and began pulling it off, as Jutarian in turn undid her hair, the golden hair falling behind her back.
Rubbing her hand on Jutarian's chest, she replied, "of course not. You aren't mine yet."
"Hm,"Jutarian replied as he undid her golden belt, letting it drop onto the floor, "we shall see about that."
Pulling of her dress, the two fell onto the bed, and their marriage truly began.
 
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BlackBishop

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Assembly of Hallows

The meeting of the lords in the autumn month of Hallows proved to be a difficult one. It seemed that all the unity that had been built during the Corpus Crisis had extinguished and the land was divided once again under the ugly banner of the slave debate.

As arguments drowned out the Assembly, and the ArchMage left in disgust, along with several other Lords, The attention turned to threats that needed the call of champions to answer. With Men and Mir dedicated to uncover the lost library of Hroniden, and the answer the threat of the Dark Elves in Galadriel, the slavery conflict was set aside, at least for the time being.

Somberly the High Steward called the Assembly to a close on the fourteenth day of Hallows with a fleeting hope that differences would be put aside for the good of the realm.
 

GreatSlayer

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A Letter to the Crown​

It was a gloomy parade that headed out of the assembly room. Not much had been accomplished but bickering and apologetic semantics, and Eylinn had only learnt to despise these congregations even more. She rubbed her temples as to exorcise the last hours from her memory. A waste of space in an already chaotic mind she just recently had managed to discipline somewhat.

“We should spend the night in your ambassador’s new lodgings.” Alvon finally said.
“Wha-?” She looked up, pulled from her deep thoughts and ritual cleansing. “Yes, let’s go.” It was a confusing sensation still, where disappointment and disbelief were mixed with joy and relief. She had walked into the room, convinced she would leave and go into war yet again. Combat gave her some momentary rest, but it was not an outcome she was longing for. Her speech had fallen upon deaf ears, something she had expected to happen. But it didn’t end with her having to fight her way out to leave. She clenched Armas letter in her hand. “This is why you should wear the crown, not I...” She thought to herself. “I’m not that patient, and I’m not that compromising.” How could she be when her stomach hurt the way it did? She had forced the pain into her, and she refused to get rid of it, even though deep down, her entire being wanted to throw it out and never look back.

The sun had given way to the black night, and chimes from the windlasses at the palace entrance ran through the air. At a first glance, this would have seemed a most peaceful city. But the sound of craftsmen echoing through the streets, and the soaring singing from the drinking halls truly manifested the size and activity of the old imperial capitol. A place of wonder, ever tickling the senses into an expansive curiosity.

But at the same time, Eylinn knew that would she ride to the very foot of the metropolis, there was plenty of squalor to be found, enough to kill her motivation to explore. The last time she had done so, it hadn’t ended well, and she was not about to make a second try anytime soon. They turned left on the next street to head directly for the embassy quarters where her representative lived.

“Did he have anything useful to say?” Alvon asked without turning his head from the road as they slowly rode over the cobblestone. Eylinn made a sarcastic grin to herself.
“It seems that I am young. I wonder what gave it away.” She looked up at the lanterns. “Maybe the lack of grey hair, but at this rate, they’ll be coming soon enough.” She let out an audible sigh. “I don’t get these people. Some days, they flaunt their tongues with words of honour, freedom...” She followed an old couple with her eyes as they passed them. “...other days, these virtues can be compromised.” She looked at Alvon, yet again indulging herself into the hopeless affair of trying to read his mind. “What am I missing here?”
“Being young is a short lived luxury... My Therain.” Alvon raised an eyebrow as he gave a short nod at her new crown. She leaned back on her horse, straightening herself up in a playful enactment of a most exceptionally prestigious and proud lord.
“I have a bigger Tiara now!” She said with a mischievous smile. “Gems, sparkles and everything!” Alvon turned his head again, looking down the road once more.
“It suits you.” Eylinn returned to a more relaxed posture.

“I don’t see the difference really. It’s just heavier.” She leaned her head to the side. “Not really me, is it?”
“A heavier crown gives heavier influence.”
“I wonder, if I’d lose it, would I no longer be a lady?” She was in a sarcastic mood this evening.
“If you’d lose your head, you’d no longer be a lady. The crown is just an expensive symbol.” It was her time to raise an eyebrow towards Alvon.
“You’re a true fountain of encouragement, aren’t you?” Her mentor just shrugged, clearly not paying any attention as far as she could notice. She reminisced for a moment. “They will cut your head off…” A bitter taste filled her mouth as she swallowed. ”Not before they’ve taken turns…” A cold sensation crawled up her spine. Alvon reached over and put his cloak around her back. “What was that for?”
“It looked like you were cold.” It was true, her dress was quite thin, but it wasn’t really cold outside and the air was disturbed by no breeze whatsoever.

“Sometimes, Alvon, you can be a true gentleman, and I don’t think you even intended for it to be so.” Another mischievous smile spread across her face. Alvon was not amused. Eylinn looked down the horse’s mane. “I want to apologize… For, you know…” Her skin flushed from embarrassment. It wasn’t the easiest thing to talk about, so she hoped he really appreciated this. “I had so much on my mind. Well, I still do. But you were there, and… It’s not like I won’t, ever, but I need time, and…” She stopped talking. This was not helpful.
“You’re forgiven.” She gave him a dark look.
“You have no idea how these things work, do you?”
“I do.” He smiled. “I’ve been a bit harsh and insensitive. I am sorry too.” She studied him for a bit feeling more and more relieved. The last minute’s ride to the ambassador’s manor was done in silence.

Eylinn withdrew to her room almost immediately, only exchanging the utmost necessary courtesy forced by protocol. She sat by the desk, rereading the letter Armas had given her during the assembly. The old Elf didn’t know her at all, that much was clear. “Maybe it’s time to change that.” Indeed, but until then, she remembered what the Orc had done. “It really isn’t more difficult than that. He spoke it, and they were free.”

She admired the Orcs. She remembered her childhood hero once more, the gigantic knight in full bronze-plate armour. She remembered how crushed she had felt when she later learned the Orcs traded heavily in slaves, and even worse, about the Crimson Tribe in eastern Galadriel making Elven slaves a sort of “fashion”. Considering the many disappointments the world had given her, she thought she’d be jaded by now.

But it was something about their simple, martial ways that appealed to her. The Orcs mere size scared her for certain, but their philosophy was so much easier to understand, and fitted well with her idealistic side. She lifted her head from the note, leaned back in her chair and stared into the ceiling. She narrowed her eyes. “Oh right, I’m an idealist as well...” She probably was, but it still made her mad to hear it. Or read it. In a fit of rebellious disobedience only to herself, she decided to write Ra’Gru a letter of sincere gratitude.

“Dear Warchief Ra’Gru of the Goi'Orka,” she read out loud as she wrote.
“I wish to forward my sincerest and deepest gratitude for the service you’ve done to my people…” She tapped the quill on her nose, thinking how to formulate the sentence. “Let it be known to you that the Elves of Green Chasm will forever be your friends, and…” This was the tricky part. How to make it appear feminine, authoritative, and yet only on cordial terms. She knew men were prone to often make mistakes in these regards. “…will always be welcome to my abode to stay the night.” She looked at it and smiled, quite proud of herself.

Then she became horrified. “What?! No!” She tore the letter and threw it to the side. “And I will burn you too!” She yelled at the shreds. She started over. “…will always be welcome in my home should your feet need to tread upon our sacred forest.” Much better. She signed it and branded her sigil on the paper. It looked so dull. “Maybe the paper should be pink?” She looked in the mirror, studying her rather pink hair ends. “Then again, maybe not.” How could she make a strictly diplomatic letter of gratitude seem a bit less formal? She poured a drop of perfume on her finger and held it to upper right corner until it had soaked in the paper.
“Perfect!”

She put it in an envelope and gave it to a courier at the door. She lay down on the bed, deciding to kill off all the wretched events of the day with a smile. She looked at herself in the mirror again. The tiara was actually really beautiful. She took it off and looked closer. Brilliant and deep blue stones were fitted in the middle. “Sapphires…”
 
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BlackBishop

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The Great Library of Hroniden

Roster of Champions
May the Light Bless Them

Emir Asad of Rostani

Bagamu of Goi'Orka
Swornsword to Warchief Ra'Gru

Najim Al-Din
Swornsword to House Ayyūbid

Atarian of Krestarii
Swornsword to House Krestarii

Zawisza syn Sulibora
Swornsword to House Yarpen syn Światowida

Leopold Von Stockholm
Swornsword to House Saxon

Brencis Kalare
Swornsword to House Kalare

Setting out from the Golden City, the diverse party had a fair journey traveling through the fields of Ecclestius. Farmers had yielded a bountiful harvest during Hallows and shared much of their bounty with the traveling heroes. As Hallows drew to a close, and cool winds brought the month of Last Harvest, the party realized that farmers had stopped meeting them on the road with their crops, and most fields were empty and doors and windows of farmhouses shuttered tight.

Reaching the town of High Rock on the Ecclestius, Hroniden border, our heroes discovered that packs of wolves had become aggressive of late, and had taken to harrassing shepherds and farmhands. Indeed as they came upon the border, the party ran into one of these wolf packs and were beset by sharp teeth and foaming mouths.

A quick fight drove the wolves off, but all agreed that they had never seen them so bold in the past.

Trekking through the desert was no easy task. The nights in Hroniden were quickly growing cold. They were afforded some luxuries when Emir Assad hosted the party within his castle, but after only a couple days of rest, the party moved on.

Finally they reached the Dune Sea, and as their supplies began to dwindle their eyes found the tower of the Great Library.

They found the door and a unlocking spell was said by Emir Asad and the door creaked open. The companions stepped into the shadows within.

Asad spit and pulled strings of cobwebs from his body, exclaiming how the Library must not have had many visitors in many years. Najim halted the Emir and insisted on some light before they continue. Lighting torches, the party's breath caught in their throat as the torchlight revealed hundreds of beady eyes staring at them from the shadows.

In the next moment, the eyes lunged forward. Dozens of Dune Spiders, their venom foaming on their jagged mandibles, spit and bit at the party. Brancis Kalare, knocked back from a heavy blow from a hairy leg of one of the beasts. Within a second one of the grotesque spiders was on top of him, its stinging pincer striking the champion and paralyzing him. Its legs worked quickly as it spun the man in a cocoon and began to drag him away.

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Seeing the fate of Brancis unfold, Bagamu of Goi'Orka charged the spider, and set vicious strikes of his axe into the putrid underbelly of the beast. With a horrific squeal, the creature retreated, but Bagamu kept charging. Nowhere to hide the spider's body was split apart by the axe of the hero and Brancis was saved.

With the spiders defeated, the party made their way up the stairs and found the main Library. Wan Shi Tong, trapped in a cocoon w as set free. The being, in the form of a great owl perched above the party and thanked them for the rescue. The Spiders had been under control of the Dark and had been devouring books and scrolls. Had the champions been any later, they would have devoured Tong as well.

All was not lost, however. Wan Shi Tong gifted the Heroes spell books and revealed the location of an ancient temple in the Ashland Wastes. A temple that could strengthen the Light in Agorath.

Victory!
Prestige Earned!

25 Gold Awarded!​



Rise of the Dark Elves​

Roster of Champions
May the Light Bless Them

Master Zepher Huaindren

Master Armas Coamenel

Gilthammer of Deagrin
Swornsword to House Deagrin

Helena of Celestian
Shielmaiden of House Celestian

In the thick underbrush of the forest of Galadreil, the imperial, elven and dwarven heroes came upon a pit in the earth. With strong rope, the champions descended in the darkness underneath. Their guides and pages waited, and waited at the mouth of the pitfall. For days there was no sign of the heroes. After eight long days of waiting, one champion emerged. Master Armas Coamenel, in his arms was an ancient seeing stone. After taking food and water, the shaken Lord of Light began his recounting of the Quest beneath Barendreil.

After descending into the caverns below, the party came upon a great chamber, where the ruins of a city once were. They only found ferocious goblins that attacked them without mercy. For days they were attacked until finally they reached the ruins of a palace. Within, in the old throne room of some old Dark Elven Lord they laid their eyes upon a dark skinned elf, who scorned them.

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"Who dares enter my city?" She demanded. Upon hearing their names and their intentions to stop the return of Melekith, the Dark Lord, the woman only laughed. "You think to stop his return? You cannot! For he has already come! Your doom has already been decided." A pulse of Dark began to flow within her hand, a sword in the other. With sudden ferocity she attacked the Heroes with her blade and blasts of Dark.

Gilthammer charged with his mighty warhammer, only to be blasted upon a stone pillar with a pulse of magic. The sickening crack of his bones echoed in the chamber. Master Zephyer knelled upon the stone floor, clutching his ears as if to ward off unheard voices while the throat of Helena was ripped out by the Dark Battlemage.

Her sadistic laughter rang out loud as she parried a flourish of blows from Master Armas. She countered and drove her blade in his belly. Leaving him for dead, she grabbed Master Zephyer by the throat, Dark seemed to penetrate the ruler's skin and turn his veins black. Paralyzed, Zephyer was dragged down a dark tunnel outside of the palace before it collapsed under a mountain of stone. The whole cavern, now shaking and collapsing threatened to bury Armas under a ton of rock. Grabbing a seeing stone, in hopes it may reveal more of the workings of the Dark Elves, Armas managed to summon a weak spark of Light from his fingertips to ease his pain and slow the bleeding from his belly, and ascend out of the cavern.

Though Berandriel is confirmed to be safe from any threats underneath, there is no denying that Dark Elves have reformed their old kingdom somewhere in Agorath.


Defeat!

Seeing Stone held by Master Armas

Deagrin Gilthammer has Perished!

Helena Celestian has Perished!

Master Zephyer is Lost!
 

Groogy

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(( Just checking so you remember my private quest BlackBishop? I want to write an IC on it ))
 

BlackBishop

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((I'm afraid the rest of the update will not be up until late tonight. However, I have given you guys broad results of the quests, and I think there is plenty of room for you guys to do IC's on your own of what happened from your champion's point of view. So if you are bored, feel free to post an IC of your part in the quest.))
 

Plutonium95

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A Failed Quest and a Return Home

Armas returned to Coamenel a weakened man. It was not just the stab wound, which would be looked after by priests of Light, but there was a darkness in that cave that had damaged the Light inside. Something didn’t feel right, and Armas needed to find out what it was.

Armas got out of his carriage, and was helped down by his coachman. He looked up at the city of Coal and the castle on top of the mountain, it never looked more beautiful. As he walked towards the base of the mountain Armas studied the new fortifications that were being built. With increased aggression against Galadriel by the nords he had begun a massive building campaign to better fortify Coal. Until recently there had been no wall around the city, as it relied on the forest and the rather ingenious water redirection system to defend it, but Armas believed that a wall would be a good addition to the city.

Right now the wall was about fifteen feet tall and four feet thick, made of stones bought from the dwarves. Even now the garrison was manning the wall, keeping a vigilant eye on the forest. Armas planned to further develop the wall when he had more money, but for now he figured it would be a significant deterrent.

As he slowly ascended the mountain Armas looked around at the people of Coal. He saw honest men and women, working, laughing, and just enjoying life. He couldn’t imagine one of them being ripped from their homes to live as slaves. And signing the compact ensured that no one would have that happen to them again. But what of the people who are already slaves, who is looking out for them. Armas drove the thought from his mind, he was of course, but the process had to be more gradual, he couldn’t end slavery all at once, at least not while so many lords promised to fight against such an idea.

By the time Armas had reached the Citadel at the top of the mountain he was tired and could feel his stiches straining to keep his wound from splitting open. He walked through the citadel into the castles courtyard and leaned against a large tree, collapsing to the ground. It seemed it would be a while before he could lead his men into battle again. He had tried to heal the wound as best he could, but he was not a master of Light magic, not like that mercenary captain. But Armas could feel the light beginning to return, and planned to start working on developing his magic. In the end, Armas was stitched up by a village priest near the cavern where the quest had gone so terribly.

Feeling somewhat rested, Armas struggled to his feet and walked into his throne room, still managing to look regal despite his fatigue. As he walked into the throne room Armas saw his beautiful wife, Larien sitting on the Throne of the Forest. As much as Armas would deny it, when he was bleeding, alone in that dark cavern he didn’t think he would ever see her again.

10-red-elf-elves-illustrations-artworks.jpg


Larien looked away from the paper she had been studying, no doubt something about trade, a subject Armas found boring, but she was fascinated by, and saw Armas. He grinned and said, “Hello my lady, it has been a while.”

Larien gasped, she had heard that something had gone wrong on the quest, but that is all she knew. “Armas, you’re okay, thank the Light. Why didn’t you send word ahead, we didn’t know what happened to your quest, we only heard that something had gone wrong.” As she was speaking, Larien was gathering her trade reports and making room for Armas to sit on the Throne of the Forest, she could see that he looked exhausted.

“Really, I am surprised that you had heard anything, I wanted to surprise you. I am sorry if I have caused you any stress.”

Larien laughed, her husband always seemed to think about how others viewed his actions, something she never worried about. “Don’t be sorry, I am just happy to see that you are okay.”

As he sat, Armas tried to stifle a groan of pain, but Larien heard and saw the look of pain on his face. “What is wrong husband, are you hurt? What happened on your quest?”

The color drained from Armas’s face, though Larien couldn’t tell if it was form the pain or from thinking about his quest. “I am fine; I was just wounded slightly while fighting. We descended into the cavern where the Dark Elf was supposed to be, but there was a female battlemage, she slaughtered our party, but I escaped.”

Larien gave her husband an annoyed look, “Don’t bother lying to me husband, your pain is written on your face for all to see, open your shirt and let me see it.”

Armas sighed and untied his tunic, for Larien to see. The wound was a clean scar on his abdomen, stitched with black thread to prevent in it from breaking. “Armas, this looks like it happened at least two weeks ago, but you didn’t go even go into the cavern until last week. What is going on?”

Armas turned to his wife, clearly excited, “That is what I wanted to talk to you about. Magic is beginning to return to Agorath! After I was stabbed I was able to call on the Light to slow the bleeding and begin healing the process. Can you imagine if Light Magic truly returns in all its power? It would be amazing.”

Larien was less sure; she remembered the stories of the magic the nords used against the elves. But she wouldn’t say anything; she knew her husband’s love of magic and the arcane and she didn’t wish to spoil that. “Well I am happy that you have returned, do you want to head to the bedroom?” Larien said, smirking at Armas.

Armas grinned back at his wife, “Of course my lady, just give me a moment to write a letter to Zephfer’s son, he has to know what happened. Why don’t you go and get more comfortable?”

Larien snickered and walked towards the bedroom winking at Armas over her shoulder. Armas smiled, she really was beautiful. Armas quickly composed a letter telling Zhepfan what happened on the quest, and informing him that his father is not dead and that he planned to use the seeing stone to find him and organize a rescue.

After stamping the letter with his sigil Armas thought about the letter he had sent to Eylinn. Maybe he had been too hard on her, he certainly couldn’t fault her for being idealistic, many times he wished he still was, and she certainly cared about others. Armas composed another letter, this one to Eylinn, to tell her about the events of the quest and his plan to save Zephfer and defeat the Dark elves. But this letter included an apology for Eylinn, after all who was he to say that being idealistic was a bad thing.

And with his sigil on that letter Armas rushed to his bedroom to be with his wife.
 
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Deaghaidh

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((Am I the only one who thought her right arm was a tentacle?))

The wedding party of Deagrina Magmamane and her groom Zoltan wound its way through Galadriel. The Deagrins had brought with them 500 picked dwarves as an honor guard. Even more than most dwarf fathers, Master Wrothiron tended to go to extremes to protect his only daughter. To him and the other dwarves of his mountain home, the forest was a menacing thing, an impression not helped by the rumors of war. In this mood, Deagrin Wrothiron was not happy with his youngest son's intention to join the quest to explore the mysterious Dark Elf kingdom. But Gilthammer was young and brave, and a veteran of the great battle against the necromancer, and he would not be gainsaid.

"Dry your eyes pebble." he told his sister as she tried to convince him to stay. "Most likely I'll be back in time to dance the last dance with you. It's only elves after all, and father and I have seen worse."

But of course he wasn't there when his sister exchanged the stainless steel chain necklaces of marriage with Zoltan. He wasn't there to carry her around the dance floor with her father and other brother. Deagrin Wrothiron lingered in the forest, delaying the departure for home and his own heir's marriage celebration. He met with his new in laws, and their elven neighbors, in secret. Only when word reached him from the surviving elf did the party proceed.
 

Deaghaidh

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Originally, Deagrin Wrothiron had intended to return home from Xintrae once his daughter was safely wed to the Mahakam heir. But upon receiving word of his youngest son's death, he chose to set forth with a small party of companions to the Elven city of Coal. There he hoped to find the only survivor of the quest that claimed Gilthammer's life.

Days of tedious travel through the forest brought him to the frontiers of Coamenel. His party was guided by a Mahakam merchant who was known to the border guards, and word of his approach spread ahead of them. Wrothiron took little notice of the Elves words of welcome, nor of the houses high in the trees along the road. Only when the mountain city itself came into view did he see something that interested him. A city of elves, built upon solid ground like sensible folks, with tall towers and stately domes. As they grew closer, he noted with disapproval that the forest was allowed to grow to the very verge of the wall. Worse, there was only a single layer of wall, and that by all signs new built. What sort of people could be prudent enough to settle upon a mountain, but not think to build proper defenses?

These thoughts occupied only a remote portion of his mind. Most was taken up with brooding over his son's fate, and pondering the unwelcome changes in the world. At the gate he was stopped and challenged, and for the first time in several days he spoke.

"I am Deagrin Wrothiron, Master of Kogansunan, father of Gilthammer. I come to speak with your master."
 

Galren

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Emir Asad was inside Almeria's military district, watching the soldiers drill. Today was the day of inspections, where the Emir goes out and inspects the soldiers to make sure they were in fighting shape. Even though this event required his attention, his mind drifted to other things.

The wedding between Arl Arnulf the Young and his daughter, Arezou, was one of those things. Arezou was hesitant to accept the marriage at first. It was understandable though, because she thought that any of the stuff normal wives would do was for sissies. She spent her days climbing walls and exploring caves instead of listening to her mother. Asad didn't care what his kids were taught, because he wanted them to be the best at what they want to be. He arranged with Arnulf "Redbeard" to have the two go on a hunt together. After that, she wasn't so hesitant about the marriage.

The day of the marriage was carefully arranged to work out the cultural differences. So it wasn't surprising that a fight would break out. What was surprising was that a drunk Hronidan looked up Arezou's dress. Sensing the perversion, she knocked the drunk away with a swift kick to the face. As the drunk got up, Arezou cried out, "Pervert!" and tackled the drunk back to the ground. The men seized this opportunity to fight while using racial slurs. The fight seemed unstoppable until the quick thinking of High Steward Malthion.

After the fights stopped, Asad went up to the drunk. The guests thought he was going to let the drunk apologize for the incident. In an unexpected move, however, Asad kneed the drunk in the crotch and told the guards to take him away. Everyone looked at him like he attacked someone, and he responded with, "He definitely deserved that. No one messes around with my daughter." Soon after, all differences were put aside and the wedding was a success, minus a few troublemakers of course.



Asad was watching the soldiers demonstrate the square formation. Gleaned from a book on military tactics from the Great Library of Herasnia, the leaders of the military considered it to be a very effective formation against cavalry, but vulnerable to arrows.

As Asad looked back, His 16 year old son, Yunus, was at his side. Stunned, Asad took a moment to check if he was here a few minutes earlier. After he checked, he took the time to look at his son. One of the things he was taught as a diplomat was to examine the posture and the face in order to determine what a person is feeling. "Let me guess, you got in a fight again?" Asad asked.

"Of course I did, what else do I do?" answered Yunus.

To anyone, Yunus looks like he is wasting his life. He's picking fights, drinking, visiting ladies, and is a nuisance to the entire town. He's pissed off so many people that he's practically banned from certain parts of the city. His court has always been "advising" Asad to make Yunus change his ways. However, Asad has his reasons for letting him do such things.

When he was 12, he had a falling out with his tutor because he said that he didn't want to learn about boring diplomatic stuff. Instead, he hid from his tutor, stole items from the kitchen, and occasionally pick pocketed one of the visiting nobles. Asad noticed this, and decides to make a deal with him.

"Alright son, I'm going to make you an offer. You can stop your tutorship in order to become a schemer, but you have to learn the way of the schemer on your own, on the streets, and without my help. Deal?"

Yunus sat down and thought about the offer for a moment. "Deal."

The two of them shook hands, and Asad said, "Good. Your training starts tomorrow."
 

BlackBishop

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Diplomatic Efforts Across Agorath


The Slave Compact
Lord Asharian of Krestarii, Lord of Azeratii City, declared both sides of the slavery debate meet in his city to discuss an agreement that would see the eventual emancipation of slavery within the consignee's realms. Though the proposal was considered ironic at its best, and scorned as an insult at its worst, delegates from across the old empire met at the slaver city to sign the agreement into law within their own lands. Signing the Compact were; Lord Asharian of Krestarii, Jarl Kvothe of Kalare, Arl Arnulf the Young of Stronghelm, Emir Asad of Rostani, Warchief Ra'Gru of Goi'Orka, Master Armas of Coamenel, Master Yarpen syn Światowida, Master Deagrin of Wrothiron.
Lord Asharian of Krestarii has gained prestige!
Manor Built!



Oil of the Dragon
House Rostani was hard at work through the months of Hallows and Last Harvest. A manor was built within the Golden City to increase their influence within the city. Having produced a large shipment of Dragon Oil that not only rivaled the liquid fire produced by House Deagrin, but some say, even surpassed it in quality and effectiveness, however with the Corpus Threat now a memory, sales of the substance failed to take off.
Prestige Earned!
5 Gold Earned



The Unchained, by law
A new law proposed by Master Yarpen syn Światowida of Mahakam Clanship that outlawed slavery resulted in friendlier relations with their Elven neighbours and the release of many slaves that traveled within their borders. However, Eccletius traders and nobility soon avoided the province and conducted their trade in Highathar instead. Well the law may have been popular in Galadreil, the nobility of the Assembly failed to take notice.
Lose 10 Chests!
No Prestige Earned!



Betrothal in the Sands
Proposing a betrothal to Emir Asad, Shah Saladin has promised the hand of his daughter Ismat to the second son of Asad once the boy comes of age. Though there may have been more prestigious matches for his daughter, the Shah has secured an alliance once the son of Asad comes of age. The news did see an outpouring of visitors from the surrounding desert nobility to offer their congratulations, as well as counter proposals for the fetching daughter. As one would expect, the influx of wealthy visitors in Misr gave a boost to the economy.
No Prestige Earned!
15 Chests Earned!



The Great Slave Caravan
Despite objections from his Sharmen, Warchief Ra'Gru released 10 000 slaves from his land. Though this caused a strain on the economy of Clan Goi'Orka, it was seen as a magnanimous gesture on the part of the former Lord-General.
Prestige Earned!
10 Chests Lost!
Manor Built



Nordic Blood-Bond
Jarl Kvothe of Kalare formed an alliance with Arl Arnulf of Stronghelm. The Houses met upon the snowy shores of the Kalare where bride and groom were ceremoniously blessed in the frigid waters of the North Sea. The celebration continued for days as venison was served and mead poured. By the end of the celebration however, Kvothe Kalare, under the influence of too much mead, uttered an insult toward the favoured shield-maiden of Arl Arnulf. Apparantly the Jarl confused the woman for some sort of southern sow. After the drunken fight, Kvothe Kalare was quick to pay the Shield-Maiden and her noble family for the offense given. As his guests left, the Jarl of Kalare city remarked, "that could have gone better..."
No Prestige Earned!
5 Chests Lost!
Embassy Built!



Northern Trade
Master Celestian sent a trade convoy north to offer fresh foodstuffs for minerals and metals. Though his traders were well received by the Nords, the bad weather couldn't have been anticipated and an early snow saw one of the caravans lost in the mountains. By the time they were found, the traders were dead from exposure and their goods taken by reiklings. The few who made it back to Ecclestius only brought enough to break even.
No Prestige Earned
5 Gold Earned



Tomb of the Fallen
A grand tomb was built under Kogansunan to honour the warriors who perished in the Corpus Crisis. The tomb, having been mostly finished by the end of Last Harvest, quickly became a popular destination for pilgrimages for those in Highathar wishing to honour their kin who fell in the battle. Many Dwarve nobles gave their thanks for the dignity awarded their dead by House Deagrin.
Prestige Earned!
25 gold Earned!
Manor Built!



Sapphire Dreams
Funding an expedition to find suitable mining locations for sapphires at the mouth of Mirror River, Therain Eylinn of Mindrilla hoped her people would be able to inject much needed wealth into their economy after the horrors of the Corpus Crisis. However her efforts saw little return.
No Prestige Earned!
No Gold Earned!
 
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BlackBishop

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War in the North
vikingeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.jpg

Ragnar The Black Ragnarson surveys the field​


Siege of Mountainshadow, 3rd day of Last Harvest

With 5400 men under his command, Ragnar the Black ordered the immediate march of his troops back to Mountainshadow. The Fortress still had a full garrison and was largely untouched by the last siege, having successfully pushed the enemy back with a large sortie.

In keeping with the success of their former strategy, the levy of the Elven force marched out of their strong gates to meet the nords on the field, hoping to repel them yet again. Ragnar had a sound strategy, however. Using skirmishers and cavalry, he lured the Elf infantry further and further from the protective walls and their garrison of bowmen and deeper out on the field. Now out of range from their walls, Ragnar ordered the charge of his main force. The clash of steel echoed throughout the mountain valley as the archers looked on helplessly from atop their walls.

Ragnar carried his standard deep into the enemy ranks. Content he was well enough surrounded, the large captain drove his banner deep into the ground and blew a mighty war-horn, sending elves in his immediate vicinity into route, believing the Nord gods themselves would be summoned by the horn blast. The braver of the Elves charged at the captain. Ragnar answered with booming laughter. The man was known for his morbid disposition, but on the battlefield, Ragnar the Black was at his most elated. Casting down the bodies of his enemies, Ragnar's smile shone white before his blackened and bloodied face.

"Whoreson!" Called Ragnar to large Elven Captain, apparently more Nord than Elf. "Aye, you! Get over 'ere, son of whore! That's it, before I turn this axe and have to use my sword on your dear ol' mum!"

The elf charged into the Nord. Heaving his shoulder into Ragnar, the elf found only air. Sidestepping with surprising agility, the Nord Captain lunged forward with his axe, burying the blade deep in helm of the Elf. Blood poured from the helmet and he fell lifeless to the ground. The smile of Ragnar faded fast, apparently disappointed at the poor fight offered by the Elf captain.

Their leader dead, the elves go into route and retreat back to their fortress city under the shadow of the mountain.

Victory!
Prestige Earned!

5400 - 400
5000 Troops Remain!​



jharia-coal-fires.jpg

Kalare coastline set ablaze by raiders​

Elven Raid on Kalare, 14th day of Last Harvest

Small bands of war parties of an unknown house were spotted along the coast of Kalare, raiding trade vessels and fishing villages. The small bands were able to avoid patrols and steal away from any forced action from Kalare City.

Victory!
House Kalare loses 5 chests!​


Fornovo%201495.jpg

Holding the Rill​

River Blockade, 19th day of Last Harvest

Justinus Celestian has formed a blockade of the Rill River, cutting supply lines from Stronghelm province to their army led by Ragnar the Black in Mountainshadow. Cut off from their supply line, Arl Arnulf's army is trapped in Mountainshadow and unable to make a war order! Demands have been made of war reparations and an immediate withdrawal from Elven lands.
Arl Arnulf of Stronghelm must pay 15 gold chests to House Celestian in order to be free to make war orders!
Count Justinus has gained Prestige!




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The Galadreil Alliance battles Kalare Forces​

Battle of Mirrorwater, 24th day of Last Harvest
Under the cover of night, a large force of Elves, Dwarves and Men cross the border into Mirrorwater. Leaving 4000 men to cover their rear flank, and keeping any Nord army from joining forces between Mountainshadow and Mirrorwater, the rest of the army moves forward. An army of 2000 soldiers marched on Mirrorwater Hold and laid siege to the fortress. However, their arrival was already anticipated and the forces of Jarl Kvothe Kalare were already on high alert. Lacking the forces to mount any sort of sortie, however, all the defenders could do was hold the walls while they waited for reinforcements from Kalare City.

29th day of Last Harvest
Meanwhile an army of 3000 troops patrolled the Rill River in an attempt to hold it from Kalare reinforcements. An army of 5500, the full force of the Nord Jarl marched to the Rill. After a disastrous attempt to cross the river using ferries, the navy of Kalare City arrived and began to cover their army on the east side of the river with arrow volleys and ballistas. With larger ships to carry the army across, and cover from naval siege weapons, the Nord army was able to cross.

30th day of Last Harvest
by the time the army of Kalare crossed the river on the morning of the 30th day of the month, a reserve force of 1500 troops had arrived to reinforce the 3000 soldiers of the border protectorate. Outnumbering the Elven force, and under the direct command of the brilliant strategist, Jarl Kvothe, the two armies clashed on the banks of the Rill River. The battle was bitterly fought, and heavy casualties were sustained on both sides. Kalare may have had the upper hand if it were not for the genius of the Alliance commander, Master Wrothiron of Deagrin. Using liquid fire, the alliance was able to burn the navy of Kalare and send the army of Kalare into route.

1st day of Light's End
Clan Mahakam announced the successful liberation of elven slaves in Mirrorwater, though Mirrorwater Hold itself was still held by Kalare forces and presumed to hold a considerable amount of slaves.

Galadreil Alliance Victory!
Prestige Earned!
Though Mirrorwater Hold is still held by Jarl Kvothe of Kalare
the surrounding countryside has been liberated.

Yarpen syn Światowida
4500/5000 Troops remain

Armas Coamenel
4900/5500 Troops Remain

Deagrin Wrothiron
200/500 Troops Remain

Kvothe of Kalare
4300/5500 Troops Remain​
 

BlackBishop

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((Need a day to update stats. Players are encouraged to write some ICs of their results - plenty of material to go on, I'd say. Will try and have a new assembly open ASAP))
 

Marschalk

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It happened before, it happened now. Elven lords have stabbed us in the back once again. They have decided to start a civil war and destroy our unity, the unity of Empire. They attacked us, without declaration of war. They raided peaceful villages in the Kalare land, they murdered women and children there, they robbed innocent peasants. They dirtied the sacred Rill with blood. They are blocking my army in Mountainshadows now, and are demanding gold from me - like bandits do, when they take hostages!

I must remind everybody, that Mountainshadow and Mirrorwater are not vassals or allies of these elven lords. These provinces are ancient property of the Norse kings, and we just wanted to get back the lands that belong to us. It was our private business, we have never intended to harm these elven lords in any way.

I must remind everybody, that we fought in an honorable manner, like knights should. We never pillaged or murdered civilans - and elves have done just that. They do not respect the rules and laws of war, they are above them, it seems.

And I must remind everybody, that Mirrorwater was liberated by Jarl Kalare some time ago - and that the elves did not attack him then! No, they waited - and then started the war suddenly and unexpectedly, when it suited them best. It means, that these conquests are not truly the reason of the war, that they just once again aspire to dominate their neighbours.

I ask the Assembly to condemn and stop this elven invasion.

- Arnulf the Young, Erl of Stronghelm, Descendant of the Last King
 
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GreatSlayer

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She Fell​

Eylinn rose from the bed, in the middle of night. She had no control over her body whatsoever. She could feel his breath against her nape, and she was powerless to resist. She could if she only wanted, but she didn't. Whatever was controlling her, had no benign intentions whatsoever. It steered her across the room towards her travelling gear. She picked up the sword and tendered the edge with her finger-tips. A grim, cold screech echoed through the room and shattered the window. The mirror cracked, and shards from the glass flew over the floor. She raised the blade, and stabbed her abdomen not once, not twice, but many times more. Hot, red blood followed in its motions, pulsating from the wound. It crawled down her night-gown, turning it into horrifying wet ruby. Her face grew paler, and her sight faded slowly. She stopped, the sword left in her body. She grew weaker, and she fell forward. Five inches from the floor, three inches, two...

She woke up. Alvon had offered himself to lead the horses through the night and the sun was rising over Saxon lands. The air was getting colder as autumn approached Agorath. She shook her head, trying to make sense of the nightmare. Was it a sign? A vision? Was she just insane? "Maybe it was just a bad dream and nothing more to it?" Most likely, but as magic was seeping back into the world, she couldn't help but expecting the worst.
"Do you need some sleep?" Eylinn asked Alvon as she tried to fight back a yawn.
"I'm good." There was endless stamina in that man. Or he was just an amazing actor. Regardless, there was enough on her mind to care for his. She liked this new space. Maybe she was learning proper empathy, other than projecting it through her own pain? Maybe that was what the dream was for?
"Do you think the excavation will find anything?"
"No clue. What even gave you the idea to start digging?"
"Oh, nothing." She was too embarrassed to admit she found the sapphires so pretty. Vanity was not her usual trait, but whatever could bring more wealth to Green Chasm, couldn't be an inherently bad idea. She looked at him, he looked at her. "Do you think they'll find something in the library?"
"About magic?" She nodded. "A library in the middle of a desert, abandoned for hundreds of years. If it even exists, shouldn't the scrolls have deteriorated by now? Paper don't last forever."
"Even a single clue would be enough. It's returning..." She suddenly felt dizzy. But it disappeared as soon as it had appeared. "Maybe we should have gone there. We would have wanted..." Her lips felt sticky all of a sudden. Alvon penetrated her with his eyes. She lifted a finger towards her nose. She was bleeding. "What in the name of...?" She felt the darkness in her chest now. Something bad had happened. "We must hurry home."

The throne room was only occupied by Eylinn's councillor.
"My Therain..."
"What news?" She hadn't told anyone but Alvon about her sensitivity to the Light and Dark pulses of the world. They were faint, but apparently, manifested themselves quite violently if they so pleased. But there was no reason to share this with anyone she didn't know well enough to trust completely with their discretion.
"Mail has arrived in some quantity, but other than that, nothing eventful. Our excavations brought no fruit I'm afraid. We found nothing but remnants of an old vein, but we might find a new one if we widen the search."
"Do that. Any priority letters?"
"Only one. From Master Armas of Coamenel."
"I shall read it alone. I will tend to the rest at a later date."
"Yes, of course." The councillor left the room. She opened the letter and read it. There would be no long peace from the Darkness, that much was apparent. A wave of guilt fell over her as she read the more tender words of Armas.
"Who was I to judge, anyhow?" She said to herself. Without even unpacking, Eylinn set off and headed North to her Elven kin by the coast the same day she had arrived back to her realm.
 
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