[Forum Game] Agorath and the Maegi Prophecy

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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BlackBishop

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High Council
of the
Order of Light


During a thorough investigation immediately after the battle of Azure's Ridge, conducted by trusted members of the sacred order, it is the finding of the High Council that Qylan the Fallen, the former ArchMage whom disgraced this very order, is still alive. After interrogations of enemy prisoners, and through eyewitness accounts of soldiers in the field, it is evident that Qylan did not return to the Light Basin following the battle. According to our findings, Qylan was en route to the Basin when it was cleansed by forces unknown. Afterwards Qylan was spotted heading east, back into the realms of the Light. Needless to say this is most alarming news, considering the potential damage he may cause.

Lords of Light, please distribute these papers among your vassals and watches. It is not our desire to cause a panic among the populace that may lead to crimes against innocent elves, for that reason alone, please keep the posters in hands of your guards and lesser lords only, rather than distributing them in public bounty boards for mass view.

May the traitor Qylan be brought to justice. Light bless you.





WANTED

Qylan the Fallen


By Order of
The High Council
of the
Circle of Mages
and the Lords of Light!


For the heinous crime of

High Treason

White hair
Distinct Golden Eyes
Muscular Build
Scar upon left eye

Last Seen Heading East from Azure's Ridge, in the Ashenwastes
 
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Evhana's Regency

Evhana wiped the nosebleed from her upper lip. Autumn had come to the Chasm, and every leaf had turned red, or fallen off the branches towards the canyon floor. The always so still and clear channel was covered by the canopies above, lying as a coat to shield the water from the incoming winter sun. It was getting draft. Not only nature was conspiring, but the vassal’s of her sister was too. Rumours of the young Therain’s escapades had travelled far and wide, but her recognition remained low, and especially among the lords from her home province. But such was the custom here, and Evhana despised it down to her very bones.

“They cannot see the greater purpose. If the army had stayed here, what would we do when the Dark comes knocking on our doors? We can’t even stay safe from rabid trees, supposed to be of our own kind, and they bicker over her fighting in the West.” She spoke in her usual unimpressive tone, her eyes relaxed with eyrie calm.

“She’s been so busy protecting us, she haven’t even sent a letter our way for months. Yet their plots run across the canyon like solar famished vines.” She stepped over the wooden floor with gracious feet, the rhythm of music guiding her way. The soft knocking of her heels echoed across the hall, softly resonating against the glass covered walls. Short, discreet stains of watery rain had showered over Lúrien for days. Black clouds were filling the sky, and the sun struggled to penetrate the massive cushion in the high heavens, filling the darkness with a radiant colour of amber.
“Wouldn’t you agree, Elvander? Bold are the snakes when the hare is young, but not much so when the badger mother comes to guard her burrow. I wonder, why is it so?”

“Age brings wisdom, age brings strength.” He replied to her philosophical monologue. His downtrodden gaze didn’t interest her.

“I’ve bled. I’m old enough.” She started twirling her thumbs before reaching out her arm, tapping her heels into a momento. “The council will leave their verdict, but I don’t care. They have their squabbles, but I have my crown. The people hate the middle lords. They’ve not lift a finger for them, and the guilds are hurting. With all the gold being funnelled into the war in the Chasm, and beyond, noone’s there to aid them. Except for us.” Her face turned in wonder, her gaze curiously staring into the ceiling. Her collar felt tight, so she unbuttoned it, rubbing at her shoulder.

“When is dinner?” She looked over at the Steward, spreading that warm, charming and soothing smile the Mindrilla sisters were so well known for.
“It's on its way already, my Lady.”

“Captian...” Evhana looked over at her military aide, who followed her urging with a hard beating to the chest. A practice now well spread by her sister across the Chasm. No Deep Elf would bow. Never, and to no one. “...make our guest ready for his meal.” The captain rose Elvander to his feet, leading him to the table, securing him firm.
“How am I supposed to eat without my hands free?” Elvander asked. She raised her eyebrows, puzzled by his inquire. Did he not know what he had done?

“Snakes don’t eat with their hands, milord.” He deserved to be abased. They both knew it, yet he stubbornly stuck to his pride. It was annoying. She knew those dark clouds outside was for him. Barumin’s thunder seeking to strike him down where he stood, and she offered the kindness of shelter and a warm meal. She walked around the table, not refusing to break eye contact, and even as he tried to steer his gaze away, she quickly raised her steps to further intimidate him. She bent her knees, leaning at the table, stretching her head back to expose her throat. “I give up, milord! I surrender! You properly fooled us all. End me, here and now. I’m the Doe, you’re the wolf. I am no threat no more. Feel free to strike the final blow. I am at your disposal at last.” Her mouth curled in disgust as she looked down to penetrate his black pupils again, trying to deduce whatever was moving inside his head. “Every night for the past few months I’ve practiced my surrender. Dramatic, wouldn’t you say?”

“Your mockery ill suit a ruler. You throw yourself with these theatrics, and still doubt my judgement? You’re too young to be regent, and not even a man. And your sister has outlived the patience of the nobles in the Chasm. We gave her a chance to...” Evhana let out a laugh.

“You gave her a chance, did you? You murdered my father, and she let peace be. You know what would have happened if you hadn’t come here to promote your little scapegoat.” She winced at the smell of his breath across the table, but her face returned to its calm self. She forced herself to smile once more. They couldn’t read her when she smiled.

“How many times do I need to explain myself? I had nothing to gain from Galimon’s demise. I do not know whoever would.” Evhana grew tired of his evasions. She knew the truth, aye, but he had no idea she wasn’t actually suspecting him. What Eylinn did was wrong, but there was heart behind her motives. She loved her sister for what she’d done. She cared for her father, but she knew he shunned her. Her entire life she had felt it. He blamed her for her mother’s death. Evhana had felt it in his gaze, his dry tone at dinner, how he always had kept her at an arms length. It was Eylinn that had cared for her, tutored her. And now she was...

“Gone. You all will be gone.” Her smile clad as a statue’s face, her hand kept in a maiden’s pose. “You can’t keep the people on your side. You know this as well as I do.” She nodded at the captain. He opened the doors and brought Miras towards the table. The boy had grown since his warden times in Lúrien, and his handsome features were still impressing her. Her heart skipped a beat as the old soldier pushed him down into the chair next to his father. “Are they well secured?”

“Yes, my Lady.” She shone.
“Grand! Bring in the food.” Suckulent dishes of poultry and game, roasted and dried, poured in lingon sauce and spiced with thyme. A regal feast by all measure in the Chasm was placed on the fine table, and Evhana’s stomach was growling with anticipation. She inhaled long through her nose, savouring the delightful scent of hot food. By the Light, she was hungry. “This is too generous. Please do tell me they didn’t overextend their own reserves? It will soon be winter...” She looked at the Steward in genuine worry. The Mindrilla didn’t tax or reserve any food from their people. Whatever they could spare, the court paid fine silver for.

“No, my Lady. Your generous contributions to the new corrals by the southern slope paid off well. They will survive the winter without any problem.” Evhana relaxed, and nodded at him.

“That would be all then. I wish to speak to these two in private.” The room was cleared, and she sat down on the opposite side. She blushed with embarrassment when a short gleam of saliva sought to exit her mouth, sucking it back in and avoiding Miras’s face. “Her silence worried me for a long time. But I at least had the courtesy to await her return before questioning her motives.” She barred up her eyes in confusement. “You may eat, do not worry. I do not wish to hear you speak regardless.” The two men didn’t move. She decided to ignore them. “How many in the council have you bribed?” She took the cutlery in her hand and seared off a thin piece of flesh from a roasted chicken.

“We have nothing more to say.” Elvander said. “You’ll banish us, then be done with it. You can live with the consequences.” She peeled her eyes in bewilderment. Even now, when she was so gracious. She took the cutlery in her left hand, leaning over the table, and gently pressed her hand at Miras cheek, pleading to him with the most benign expression she could muster.
“You don’t have to stay on your father’s corrupted course. You still deserve his titles and lands. No one can take that away from you.” The young boy’s eyes darkened.

“Let me go, you cunt!” It stung, all the way to her heart. Her first crush, so mean, he hated her. She let go of him, sat down, and stared down into her plate. She cleared her throat, and dammed her tears from ever surfacing.
“I... Well, I see. I’m sorry, I just thought...” She peeled at the meat with her knife, cutting it up into small shreds. Her appetite was suddenly gone. They sat there silent for a while, listening to the thunder growing in the distance. She made a sigh, and closed her eyes. “I need to know. I don’t think I can even stay here anyway, but... The Chasm will crumble with a divided council. Can any of you live with that? This may not be the most ideal situation, but...”

“Would you ever shut up?” Miras bellowed. She looked up at him, tailing her blue eyes with disgruntlement. “Banish us, do it. And when the nobility finds out you’ve dethroned your vassals, that you’re supposed to protect, they’ll come for you. You’ll be thrown out into the mud with the rest of them, begging on the streets. And when you can no longer live with the hunger, I’ll be there.” He grinned. “A gold coin for the first pop. It’s a noble trade, I’ve heard, the oldest in the world.” Evhana was lost for words. This was going nowhere. She wished her sister was here to guide her actions. She’d know what to do. She’d let them go, she’d ignore their threats. She’d find a plan to appease them, convince them of the dire situation on their hand. The rain was starting to drum at the windows, and evening had turned to night. Evhana returned her gaze towards Elvander again, smiling, smiling, smiling.

“You raised a true gentleman.” Her heartbroken chuckle was apparent. “He talked this way to his betrothed as well.” She stood up. “He made her miserable, scarred even today. But everything was getting better. She got healthier, happier, and we both were starting to feel safe. Feel strong. And now she’s dead.” The vassal and his boy responded identically. Faces in shock, their bodies flinched in their chairs as a bolt fell outside the window and lit the room for a split second with a deafening sound.
“How...”

“I felt her go. I just felt it.” She jumped at the table, practically sitting in Miras lap. She grabbed his chin and looked down upon his face from the edge of the table. “I’m your Therain now. But not for long.” She raised her silver knife, covered in delicious meat juice, hovering it’s pointy end over Miras’ right eye. “Who else in the council wish to resign my regency?” She smiled, and smiled. Her face calm, her face soothing.
“There’s no one else! I swear!” Miras burst out.

“Forgive him, Therain! I beg! His tongue was foul, I...”
“Who else?” Her nose was but an inch from his. His sweet breath was blowing into her face. The handsome boy, two years older than her... “Please?” She descended the knife, practically resting on his cornea.

“Therain...” Elvander pleaded in a calm voice. “You already know which ones. They’ve been replaced already. My pouch ran dry, and I couldn’t buy any more loyalty. Leave my heir be, I beg you.” Evhana held him tight, her frail arms only barely able to keep his head still. Slowly she let the knife cut up his eye, and the gooey red liquid that ejected stained her face. His screams were unmeasurable. It echoed through the hall like a siren of war. His tormented wailing was filling them all.
“Who else?” She asked with calm, as she started to twist the knife around in a circle, following the edges of his skull. It was important for a lady to be polite. “Please?”

“What in the Light’s name are you doing?! Let him go! Stop it!” She twitched the knife to cut lose his eyelid, and picked it up, throwing it over her shoulder. She moved the knife over his left eye. She forced up his lids with one of her fingers as she let go of his jawbone. “This is not how justice is practiced in our lands!”

“Justice?” Her eyebrows rose again in confusion. “I’m just asking questions. Is your father telling the truth, Miras?” Her face was calm, serene, and red with his blood. She smiled at him, enticingly, panting. “Do you want me now, you treacherous filth? You lowlife.” She kissed his nose. “I know what you extorted my sister into. I would have welcomed your advancements. I just wanted you to know that.” And now that she had told him everything she wanted him to know, she plunged the knife as deep and hard as she could into his skull, his yelling for clemency and aid gone unheeded. She looked over at Elvander, emotionless. “I’m sorry you had to witness that. It wasn’t very ladylike, but now I at least know you were telling the truth.”

“You monster! You whore! I will kill you! I will kill you!” Evhana made another sad chuckle as she moved down from the table, standing over him.

“Of course you will.” With a swift slash, she had opened his throat. She didn’t care. Evhana wouldn’t be safe in Green Chasm, even before this. It was just more relaxing this way. Now she could leave for shelter in peace. She knew Alvon would most likely come, hopefully with her sister’s remains, but she hadn’t heard from any of them. She couldn’t wait anymore. She needed to leave. “Captain!” The captain re-entered the room, and stood diligently ready for her next command. “Burn them in the tower, hide their ashes in the woods. Amongst the ent congregation in the Wheat Glade. Tell Coerthas his newborn have just been awarded a fief of his own.”

“Yes, my Lady.” No one knew. Only her. Only she knew she was dead. But she kept up appearances. No need to subject her people to grief and lament. They deserved better.

“We’ll travel north tomorrow.”
 
Last edited:

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Cohen aep Coral
Battle of Azure's Ridge

Yarpen didn’t see the battle yet, he heard it. Sound of clattering steel, blows being exchanged, screams of the wounded and curses of the soldiers. He feared he was too late and all was lost.

“For theirs freedom and ours! Charge!” He ordered. Six thousands of dwarves raised their weapons, shouted and started running. As they grew closer they noticed that center flank was taking the hardest beating. Fellow dwarves were being decimated. Yarpen sounded his horn and pointed in that direction. The army followed his lead.

Like a stroke of lightning Mahakam army ran past Deagrin Wrothiron’s army and struck the enemy with all their might. Although on the move, they kept a very tight square formation – rows of heavily armoured warriors on each side, rangers and other support inside. Wrothiron called the retreat. Mahakam army moved forward to push back the enemy to secure safe passage of the dwarven army. High King immediately went on a small hill behind the front to observe the battle and consolidate the ranks. Only now he noticed that formation of the light army was falling apart. Seeing the danger threatening he understood what was happening and without waiting he sent a messenger with orders to Yarpen..

***

In all the naivety of his sixteen years, the messenger, Cohen aep Coral thought that he could get down to the center, transmit his orders and be back up the hill in no more than ten minutes and not a second more. Certainly not on Shaella, his light foot mare.
Even before he was half way to where he thought was the center he realized that he didn’t know when he would reach Yarpen and that Shaella’s agility will be very useful to him.

Fighting raged, dark cavalry fought against the Coamnel forces who were protecting Saxon infantry. Before the eyes of the messenger from the heat of the battle rode individual riders in bright scaled armour holding their spears. They were part of the elite unit of the Chasm army. Behind them, like a black river, spilled enemy raiders. Cohen jerked the reins, stoppind his horse, ready to turn it and flee out of the way of the fugitives and pursuers. But his sense of duty prevailed. He clung to the horse’s neck and went into a wild gallop. Around him was shouting and confusion, jumble of silhouettes, crashes and rattles of swords.
He yelled and Shaella excited by the howling, took off at a gallop, saving his life by putting it out of a reach of the enemy sword. Above his head arrows whistled and flashed around the blurring silhouettes.

“Where am I? Where are ours? Where is the enemy?”
The thunder of hooves, neighing of horses, banging of weapons, shouting.
“Stop you little shit! Not that way!”
A woman’s voice. A woman with one eye blue and one green, on a chestnut stallion, in armour, her hair and face splattered with blood.
“Who are you?” she said, smearing the blood on her face with the back of her hand which held the sword.
“Messenger Cohen aep Coral, on services of High King Deagrin Wrothiron with orders for Under King Yarpen”
“There’s no way you’ll get to Yarpen through the fighting. I’m A……. Fuck they’ll flank us! Ride!”

After a furious galloping, they emerged from the dust in front of the infantry square who were defending themselves like a turtle with a wall of shields and like the skin of a hedgehog covered with spears. From the inside you could hear a song and drums pounding, over a square loomed a huge banner with crossed hammers.

The square who were moving and jumping around like a dog escaping from an old man waving a stick, were being attacked by the enemy cavalry and infantry from all sides. The woman spotted an opening and cried “Na pochybel skurwysynom!”, the wall of shields opened before them. They were inside the square, in a crushing ring of dwarves in bright steel armors.

Soldiers led them to a stocky dwarf in a helmet decorated with a red plume, sitting on a captured horse, with a high saddle, with which he could see over the head of his soldiers.

“Under King Yarpen syn Światowida?”
The dwarf nodded his plume and looked at the blood that covered the Messenger and his mare. He involountarily blushed. It was a blood of orc soldier who Coamnel raiders cut down right next to him. He did not even draw his sword.
“Cohen aep Coral…”
“Son of Coral the Wanderer?”
“The youngest.”
“Ha! I know your father! What have you got for me from the High King, messenger?”
“The right formation is in the threat of a breakthrough, the High King commands you to move your men to support.. “
His next words were drowned out by an incredible din of shouting and neighing horses. Messenger realized how useless the orders he had brought were. How much these orders meant to Yarpen and the dwarves with the banner with the crossed hammers who were besieged from all side..

“I was delayed…” he wailed. “I’ve arrived too late.”
“You arrived just in time Cohen, son of Coral the Wanderer.”

“Father, it’s suicide. We’ll be slaughtered before we even get there! We’ll die for nothing!” – said Zoltan.
Yarpen furiously cursed, took off his helmet and threw it on the ground. His eyes were wild, terrible and bloodshot. Zoltan has never seen his father like this.
“Fetch me Radomir and Sulibór! Hurry!”
Two dwarves waded out of the bloodiest part of the battle; it was clear at first glance. Both were covered in blood. Shield of one had a deep cut that was sheered at a sharp angle. The other had his head bandaged with a cloth, which was soaked in blood.
“Are you all right, Sulibór?”
“I wonder,” sighed the dwarf, “why everyone is asking me that?”
“This is the youngest son of Coral the Wanderer. The High King commanded that we go to the left and help there. Make sure you keep your eyes open, messenger. There will be something to look at.”

***

After sixty-five years, when asked about those days, about the Battle of Azure’s Ridge, about the square marching over corpses of foes, advancing towards the Pale Ones, the old man smiled, further wrinkling his face, which was already wrinkled and dark as a prune. Impatiently, or maybe just pretending impatience, he waved his trembling, bony hand which was twisted with arthritis.
“Neither side could gain advantage” he lisped. “We were in the middle and surrounded. They attacked us from all sides. We simply killed. “
The old man controlled his coughing with effort. The listeners who were closest saw him wipe away a tear that was making its way through his maze of wrinkles and old scars.
“They were as brave as us” he muttered… “and we were just as strong and stubborn as fierce as they. Us and them”
He paused. For a long time. The listeners urged him, watching him smile at the memories, with its glory. Smiling at the blurred faces of those who survived through the fog of forgetfulness. Those that could not been by liquor, plagues and war.
“We were equally brave,” end Cohen aep Coral. “Neither side was strong enough to be braver. But we.. We remained braver one minute more than they.”

***

“Strike, Kill! Kill these motherfuckers!”
“At the same pace!” Yarpen shouted. “Walk the same way! Keep the ranks tight! Stay as a group! A group!”

No one is going to believe me, thought the messenger. When I tell people about this, no one will believe me. The square is breaking out of a full siege.. Surrounded on all sides by cavalry, torn, beaten and harassed… And it’s moving. Advancing at the same pace, in close formation, shield to shield. Advancing, treading on corpses, pushing themselves against the dark forces… They were advancing.

“Keep the pace! Walk the same way!” Yarpen shouted again. “Hold the ranks! The song! Our song soldiers! Forward, for Mahakam!”
From the throats of thousands dwarves came the famous Mahakam song of War.

Hooouuuu! Hooouuu! Hou!
Czekajcie, klienty!
Wnet wam pójdzie w pięty!
Rozleci się ten burdel
Aż po fundamenty!
Hoooouuuu! Hooouuu! Hou!


So far trapped inside the square, a few elven riders gathered together. “Strike! For Eylinn, for our Therain!” Between the huge roar of the dwarves, like a thin blade of mercy, emerged the acute soprano of elven lieutenant. They left the square and made a counterattack on enemy cavalry. It was a suicide action – for the elves, lacking the protection of the halberds, pikes and shields of the dwarves were exposed to the power of the Dark army’s attack. The pounding, yelling and the squealing of horses made the messenger, instinctively curl up in his saddle. Something struck him in the back. He felt his mare become caught in the general crush and was dragged into the terrible carnage and confusion. He firmly grasped the hilt of his sword, which suddenly seemed to him to be strangely slippery and cumbersome.

After a moment he was driver across the line of shields and started to chop and fight around him like a man possessed.
“Again!” he heeded the wild cry of the elven officer. “One more strike! Hold on, boys! Kill! Kill, kill! For Eylinn as bright as the sun! To me!”

***​

On the left flank a fierce fight still lasted, but even though the Dark One’s army was hard and persistent they broke upon the Light army like a sea wave breaks against the rocks. For there stood the brave soldier of the Pale whom overwhelming enemy numbers and dark magic did not scare.

And there they fought, truly like the sea against the rocks and continued to fight, and it was not possible to guess who would win, because even though the waves beat against the rock, it did not weaken or disappear and it stood there between the raging waves.

Mahakam formation was slowly approaching them. When the flank of the Pale army was secure Jarl Alfdor of Frostverd called for a charge.

A wedge was drive into the right flank of the Dark Army. Soldiers of the Pale with true fury attacked the enemy, struck like a dagger into a living body and shed blood. Men slipped on the blood slicked ground. Tip of the dagger penetrated very deep and struck the hearts of the enemies. Morale of the Dark army was plummeting and soldiers started to flee.

The great enemy host that held Lords of Light from the Basin was finally defeated.
 
Last edited:

Jako473

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Vardøhus Fortress​

Vardøhus Fortress is rather not one castle, but two. Placed on either sides of the river by the Hilmarsdóttir Clan, to control their river, they slowly grew in power and so did their Fortress. The castle is identical, and the bridge can be closed, cutting of the river from any trespassers, there are docks on either side, to secure the fleet under any attack. To truly siege the castle, one must place an army and siege on both sides blocking both castles, twice the work as if one was seiging just an ordinary castle. The support/sister cities of Gamelhaugen and Oscarshall are the only other castles with docks able enough to pass the usually rough river, with barely any fords. Using this natural defense, the Vardøhus Fortress has barely ever been raided, the past Hilmarsdóttir generations being rather nuetral and pacifist comparing to the other Nords.

The current Hilmarsdóttir clan consist of five from the main branch, Freyja[Lord] Ainikki Hilmarsdóttir, the Mistress of Vardøhus. Red-headed and famed for her rough beauty, with a warm smile but a fierce bite she is strong-willed and rather ambitious, much of her past is hidden in myth and stories, of tales of affairs with men and animals alike, since none of her children are quite the same. She loves axe-throwing, archery, fishing, and dueling with her spear. Her rule is very strict, leading through example rather then another style, she learned how to treat with lords and how to deceive them early on, having a talent for it. Her daughers are as follows: Hanna, the oldest and heir by all laws, is blonde and she is a well-kept woman in her own right and loves doing girly things such as knitting and braiding her hair. She is very clumsy with any weapons however, and has never had any official training. She's terrible at deception but has a warm heart. The second oldest, Kalevala, is red-headed like her mother and loves the axe more than anything, she sleeps with her hauberk on and always gets in fights with the boys in the yard, not afraid to start riots and trouble no matter the punishment. She is the true nord spearwife, and cares not for anything that doesn't involve fighting or the sorts.. Except for music. Alexandria and Ashilla are twins, and recieved their mother's deception and diplomatic skill the most, however, they are useless without each other. Even when they were babes, they couldn't bare to be seperated, and even in their upcoming woman-hood no one can tell them apart if they don't tell them first.

The lands of Vardøhus have a distinct culture different from other nords, they believe taking whatever you can get in battle, and that being yours from then on. Thralls are slaves for life, but are treated differently throughout the land. They haven't interacted with many other clans in ages, and only bow to strength of the Hilmarsdóttir's, no other leader would lead them easily. They are great fishers and pillagers, not knowing how to farm greatly, thus winters are times of great dread and loss, but they endure as all nords do.
 

BlackBishop

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The Cabin​


The autumn snows came down in a thick dusting, blanketing all the land in it's clean white. The eye of the beast ached with a dull pain, just an echo of the intensity he felt before when first struck by the Nord's sword. Though the vampire blood in which he gorged himself on the night before he took his wound had done wonders to heal the cut, the beast knew that he would never be able to see with that eye again.

His legs burned, his body ached and his once snowy fur was covered in blood. The Direwolf stopped its slow, tired trod at the top of a hill, his snout stooping down and sniffing at the earth. Through his eyes were a sea of blacks and greys, but through his nose, the world came alive. He smelt the musty urine of a deer on a distant tree trunk, a rabbit hopping madly through the deepening snows, a lone northern bitch driven south for a meal. Finally came a familiar scent, one of cream and blue mountain flowers. The pace of the direwolf quickened.

The beast broke into a run as the scent grew stronger, filling its nostrils. The direwolf dodged fallen trunks and jagged rocks as the forest floor of the mountain foot impeded its progress. Only a short time ago, the beast could charge through all these obstacles, back when it was drunk off the power of the vampire blood, now, the power gone, it was a mere direwolf once again, but not entirely. This one held an ancient secret.

Through pine needles and its own frosty breath, the animal espied a log cabin, the scent so strong he could taste it. It crept out from the treeline toward the welcoming structure, its windows flickering with candlelight and smoke billowing out the chimney. His body now weak from exertion, the events of the past weeks finally catching up and the beast collapsed before the front door.

* * *

The fire in the hearth crackled and snapped as the flames hungrily devoured the wood chips that Ingrid tossed within. She would need more firewood soon, she had thought she had plenty stored, but the roof on the woodshed collapsed and many were now too wet to burn. She cursed the hungry flames. How she longed to leave this place, this body, but she knew it wasn't an option. She needed to keep the fire burning. She did not expect her friends back for another month, but if they came back early, she must be ready. Ingrid sighed, breathing in the scent of blue mountain flowers she had picked before the snow fall. Soon all the world would be buried in snows, all dead and buried beneath.

Ingrid heard a thump at the door. She spun away from the hearth, gripping a woodcutter axe in hands. Slowly she reached for the door and opened it. The cold wind blew the snow within, and lying on the ground before the door was her beloved, Ulfrik. She wrapped her arms around his naked body, dragging him inside, gasping as her eyes fell upon the gaping wound where his eye used to be.

"Ulfrik?! Ingrid cried frantically. "Ulfrik say something!"

The man just moaned as she pulled him up onto the bed, taking a rag from a pot of melted snow, and cleaning the gaping wound. She brushed her blond hair from her eyes and frowned as she studied the cut. Striding across the cabin, she returned with a glass bottle, slowly spooning out a green paste and covering scabbed and postulated wound.

For days Ulfrik lay there, muttering and moaning in a fevered dream. One morning, after the snows of Last Harvest finally ceased, Ulfrik sat up.

"Ulfrik!" Ingrid cried, elated. "You're okay?"

He brought his hand up to his face, his fingertips gingerly touching where his eye once was, and grunted an affirmation.

Ingrid's face grew somber. "Tell me, Ulfrik. What of Rolf, Gunnar and Svanhilde?"

Ulfrik said nothing, only staring at the walls of the cabin.

"Ulfrik!"

"They are dead." He said flatly.

She felt a bestial primal rage from deep within bubble up to the very surface of her being. Seeing only red, she charged at Ulfrik, her fists beating down hard against his chest. "You fucking fool! Do you see?! Do you even see what your precious revenge has cost us?!" In a split second Ingrid was flying through the air, crashing down hard on the floor. She looked up dazed, Ulfrik standing over her, his one eye glaring down on her, full of a feral rage. His strong hands reached down upon her, lifting her up, and pinning her face against the wall. "What are you doing?! Let go of me!"

"They gave their lives to right a wrong, Ingrid, they gave their lives for the clan! Just the same as I almost did. I would do, as would you!" He tore the furs from her body, his hot breath upon the back of her neck.

"Let go of me!"

"No." She felt his hands groping her, all over her naked skin.

"No... Not like this!"

He pushed her harder against the wall as he entered her, his feral eyes flashing with the beast within. She whimpered and moaned, pinned up helplessly against the wall. "Who am I?" He asked.

"P-please..."

"Who am I?" He demanded once more.

"You are Ulfrik, the Wolf Lord!" She panted, feeling the wetness between her legs.

"I am Ulfrik the Wolf Lord!" He repeated after her. "I shall lead our clan to glory, and kill all who dare cross us! I will lay down my life, and your life and the lives of all Ulfkind if it would bring us closer to our rightful place over Norseland!" Ulfrik howled as he climaxed, pushing away from her, letting her fall to the floor. He stood over her, his sweaty body shimmered like a god as his chest heaved in deep breaths. Her eyes glinted with beast-fire as she looked up at him in awe. "We are leaving. Burn this place, we go back to the mountains. I shall call for a Clansmoot."

As the cabin burned bright and hot, the two direwolves nuzzled against each other before springing forth into the cold autumn night.
 

Marschalk

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The Pale, near the river of Silverfish, the Month of Hallows, sixth day, 7 PM

- Die, you motherfucker!

Another Pale soldier rushed at the Jarl of Stronghelm. Swinging his sword and growling, he slashed with all his might… and then found that his attack was intercepted by a broad oaken shield. In the next second the axe of Arnulf the Young split his skull.

- This filth, this kinslaying scum cannot fight well! It only knows how to dirty our weapons! – the Jarl laughed, his black silken cloak coated with blood and brains of the fallen enemies.

He looked around, searching for other foes. But the snowy hay field was already covered with the corpses in horned helmets and chainmail – and most of them were the liegemen of the House of Frostverd. Few groups that were still trying to defend themselves were surrounded by the Stronghelm huscarls. Some of the Pale warriors were already kneeling or cutting off their beards with daggers – a traditional gesture symbolizing submission.

- In ten or twenty minutes we will finish with them, Arnulf! This battle was a piece of cake, much easier than the border forts! -a muscled corpulent Norse chieftain with a curly chestnut beard approached his Jarl. Falstaff the Burly, the childhood friend of his sovereign and the eldest son of Ragnar the Black, had a merry face and cunning grey eyes. He was known as a jester, drunkard and a lecher – but also as one of the most ruthless and fearless Stronghelm warlords.

- It is just the noble militia, Falstaff. And you know, what their nobility has become like, under the tutelage of Alfdor. Elven sluts, ready to kill their own parents for gain – but unable to protect their homeland! – Arnulf bit his lip. Now he was watching last Pale soldiers surrendering, and being led away – Lets have a bite of something, shall we?

A few minutes later two old comrades were sitting near a fire. An old pelt was lying near them. It was chocked up with cold meat, rye bread and wineskins of differing size and forms.

Arnulf was swallowing one cup after another, and looking at the fire. Then he began to speak:

- Norsemen fighting Norsemen, because of foreign plots! It was not always like that, Falstaff. In the past Norseland was united, we respected each other, understood that all of us are sons of winter, and that we should work together. Blood ties, common gods, ancestors and traditions, great deeds of our grandfathers who made the world tremble! These principles are important even for a thug, are they not, Ragnarson?

Indeed… My Jarl… - Falstaff answered, desperately trying to swallow a big chunk of ham. Finally he managed to do it and washed it down with a mug of beer – Not for the lord of Pale, though!

- Indeed, not for him. Kvothe and me wanted to return this past I was talking about. We offered Alfdor roses – and he gave us shit in return. We never caused him harm – and he backstabbed us, allying with the ancient enemies of Norseland. He wants only one thing: to build his own little kingdom. And our people, our gods and our traditions can just fuck off – he does not care about them! He would sell them to the elves for a copper coin! – the face of Arnulf the Young was red now, and not because of the wine. His strong palms clenched into fists, and his fine beard was moving, as its owner breathed heavily.

- Relax, Your Grace. You and the King have punished the man well, and he will have to learn to deal with his neighbors now. In other case he will die. - the heir of Ragnar the Black poured his master a cup of ale.

- Maybe. Gods, I need a woman now! My cock is on fire! – Arnulf emptied the cup, and swore.

- Oh, I have seen a nice camp follower here. Long blonde plait, nice round ass, big boobs. Everything in order! - Falstaff the Burly laughed hoarsely, his eyes were glinting. He loved the topic – Or are you once again thinking about these Twins, master? I did not quite understand, with which of them you wanted to sleep?

- Maybe, the both? We could make a fine trio… I could teach them some fun things… - the Jarl wanted to continue, but suddenly a herald in Stronghelm colors appeared. He bowed to both men and gave them two bits of parchment.

- Grave news, my lord! All followers of Light mourn… - the herald only started to speak, when Falstaff the Burly suddenly bellowed and kicked one of the beer barrels, knocking it down. His ruddy face became a mask of fury and grief.

- A fucking beast killed my old man… After hundreds of successful battles he died in a distant land, accompanied by elves…

Arnulf looked at his friend. His expression was sad too, he closed his eyes and sighed. Then the Jarl of Stronghelm hugged his loyal vassal.

- Ragnar the Black was the best of them all. A true Norse hero, equal to the raider kings of old times. He died, when he was on a great quest, when he was serving the Light. He is now in Valhalla, feasting with the gods. But he always wanted to die a warriors death and he would not have liked you to become weaker because of this event, Falstaff, remember that… You are now my champion, and you will bear the banner of the Ragnarson family. Also, I was going to reward Ragnar after his return, but I guess you will be getting it now… I grant you the fief of Wolfsbane, you will now rule these lands as my thane… And now come on, Faltsaff, lets enter the marquee and drink more mead… Drink for Ragnar and his house…

The two friends walked towards the tent. When they stopped near it, they heard wolves howling happily in the night. The animals were rejoicing, the battle of Silverfish has left them many juicy morsels.
 
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Groogy

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The Pale, near the town of Rumingshelm, the Month of Hallows, sixth day, 7 PM

(( Dude, you can't make up a town in my realm without first checking with me. The Pale is desolate and only has the areas pointed out by the map I've already provided. Thanks for screwing up my lore. ))
 
Last edited:

Marschalk

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((NP. Near which town you want me to slay your people? Feel free to suggest, and I will edit! Also, we control your realm now :laugh: Just joking))
 
Last edited:

Groogy

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(( Sálhöfðinn is the only town in The Pale ))
 

Marschalk

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((What about villages? Their names?))
 

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And as the Light Basin was cleansed, Light Magic returned to the world in full

Justinus had so much he had to do. He and his unit were on their way back to camp, after spending months in the wilderness. They had been sabotaging the supply lines and slowed down some reinforcements, setting up traps and causing diversions. And it was a success, leading to a victory of the forces of light.

The Basin might have been won, but the victory had cost thousands of lives. Almost three thousand soldiers under the banner of Three Rivers had lost their lives in the war. And Justinus could not delude himself into thinking it was the last losses.

But not only had men and women lost their lives in the war. More and more injuries were discovered to be infected with vampirism, and these unfortunate souls were purified in the fires of the light, redeeming their souls in their final moments of existence.

..................................

Sir Roland von Grauwald was an opportunist. He had been forced to serve a lord of South Ecclestius and had done so for almost 20 years, but his loyalty had always been for sale. And the Dark offered the most, thus Sir Roland had played a dangerous game, accepting the power that the Dark One offered to him.

He had been worried when Celestian had sensed the presence of the Dark in Three Rivers, but he had evaded the inquisition and when the army left for the Light Basin he had seen his opportunity. He had been amongst the volunteers.

His plan was to escape during the night, but after watching a deserter who tried to escape only a few days earlier than himself, get punished, he reconsidered. Instead he had tried to feed the Dark all the information that he could.

In the beginning of the war, it had been with great success. Celestian efforts to stop the first reinforcements had failed. He was certain that he would be richly rewarded, when the Dark won this in the end.

But then the duke himself arrived to the Basin. All of his attempts to pass out messages had failed, and he knew they were looking for the spy, and as the supplies of the dark forces ran low, so did their morale. Victory after victory in the wilderness, and a major victory in the Light Basin, and the tide had turned.

..................................

Justinus had just unseated his horse, looking over his companions, nodding to them.

“My friends, we have won a victory and tonight we shall ce…” he started, as his speech was interrupted.

Justinus felt something he had never felt before. It was pain, combined with pleasure. He moaned, gritting his teeth. Then he let out a small whimper.

His companions stood stunned, as they watched their liege lord start to glow. They had seen a bit of the glow before, but this was more intense. The light almost taking the form of flames, getting a more reddish than white hue.

Justinus felt warm, as if he was burning with fever. Then the heat seemed to centre itself more on his back, increasing to the point where it was almost unbearable.

Justinus let out a scream as the light began the most drastic transformation. Light magic was unleashed, and the potential of the Celestian bloodline unlocked!

..................................

Roland stared in wonder at the one he had feigned serving. He was not sure what was going on, but the flames were starting to make him uncomfortable and warm. He glanced at the rest, and they did not seem to feel the same. He was starting to get a bad feeling.

And then he saw the armor of the duke being torn apart, as large wings erupted from his back. Like the wings of a bird, but filled with the same flames that surrounded the rest of Justinus.

Roland turned and was about to run away, knowing that this could definitely not be a good thing.

..................................



As the worst pain ended, Justinus opened his eyes, and for the first time in his life seemed to see everything with clarity. His head turned, looking over the wings. Flesh and blood, yet he saw the fires of light surrounding them. And instinctively the wings moved, even if he had never used them before.

He turned and looked over his companions. He could see small shivers in darkness in most of them, but he could also see how that darkness currently seemed to be consumed by the light erupting from himself. He felt a slight chill inside as he absorbed the darkness.

And then he saw him. Roland, one of his most trusted soldiers. Fully consumed by the darkness, Justinus knew that absorbing that darkness would kill Roland, but he was beyond a salvation that did not cause his death.

“Roland, I forgive you. May you find peace in the next life.”

As he uttered those words, he extended his hand in the direction of Roland, and the large wings followed the movement, embedding themselves into the back of the traitor to the light.

..................................

Roland felt pain for a few seconds, and then he felt peace. He saw the flames, as they extended around his body, and saw how they started to consume his flesh, yet he felt no pain, instead he just felt tranquil and peaceful.

In his last few moments of life, Roland found his redemption, his soul being saved from eternal damnation…
 

Groogy

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((What about villages? Their names?))

(( There are none, like I said it is a desolate place.. I just recently did an order to start building settlements but that is like a few months back and it will take time before they actually become a proper villages, Sálhöfðinn is the only town that has emerged because it is on the other side of the river Silverfish from Blekborg making it natural for people to move there. ))
 

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Dawn of hope

The recent victories have been pleasing to Matthew Wolfe, although his taste has been soured by the merciless extermination of the Burnside line by the darkness.

"Karen, she tried so hard, to only be infected by vampirism! To think that it originated in Ecclestius, of all places!" thought Matthew

Silently, Matthew ordered the death of one of his loyal vassals by sending a letter

Addressed to: HIGH KING, DEAGRIN WROTHIRON

With my compliments, I would like to have my loyal vassal, killed. While she has served the glorious cause honorably, the damned curse must either take her life, or turn her to the thing that wishes to destroy the very cause she wishes to uphold. Thus, let her die honorably, in the service of the light, especially as now the light basin has been cleansed. I will send a priest from Wolfen to give absolution.

Regards,
Matthew Wolfe

Matthew, sighing as he handed the wolf-rider the message, quickly got on his wolf and without his bodyguard went riding through Wolf's Den. Everybody worked hard, they seemed happy and cheerful, perhaps the light basin did its work quite quickly. He saw the light in the Wolfen people, spurring them on. Visiting one of the cathedrals, the priests seemed to be empowered by some powerful force, obviously coming from the light basin.

Perhaps, this is the dawn of a new age of hope, glory, and prosperity for Wolfen?
 

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Her Most Loyal Subjects​

She splashed the water from the pool into her face. The cool water cleaning the salt off her skin. Evhana hated to travel. Not only made it washing so much harder, but the sleep was the worst. She lost count how many times the carriage wheels had bounced her off the seats from hitting a rock or protruding root. The glade was swirling with life from chirping birds preparing their nests for the coming snow. She watched them dance around the trees, feverously gathering whatever spare muck they could find to mortar the dead twigs that was their beds. She rubbed her face and arms with a damp cloth, annoyed over the hawk’s gaze hovering at her from behind.

“When is the payment coming?” He asked. The captain was adamant. Refusing to give her a moment’s rest since her escape from her own lands. The Humans had no empathy for the Elves. She never deluded herself with any such thoughts. But surely even the neighing Nord should have been able to fathom the situation they were in. This would take time.
“I assure you, when we arrive at Coal, you will be paid. What of these disappearances you keep pestering me about? Any more words of them?” She threw down her hair into the water, pulling at the white strings in a soft motion, and carefully ascended her head once more.

“I wouldn’t call them disappearances as much as outright mutiny. I do not know why, but for the last few days, soldiers have turned on their officers, and the officers to their officers. Some ran off, some ended up killing each other. I think I talked some sense into them yesterday, however.” Evhana pierced her pointy ears, before proceeding with washing them too. “I thought you people bathed?”
“We do. And I would have, hadn’t it been for the audience.” She looked over at him. “Would you mind?” She had promised the mercenaries much gold. She knew the Chasm ran rank with schemers, and there was no chance she’d find support to pull off the work needed to be done from her own kin. She needed the outsiders, and the price was high. The captain sneered.

“What does that matter? I haven’t received my payment yet, have I?” The price had been very high. “We could call it an advance.” She twirled her long hair to rid it of the moist. Brushing it and tending it.
“There will be no advance. I chose when you get your share. That was the deal.”

“Well, these men are getting hard to control. It’s much work.” He grinned. She looked over at him, ridding her face from any emotions. He wasn’t ugly, so it wouldn’t be that much of a sacrifice.
“Tonight then. Now leave.” The captain walked off into the bushes, leaving her alone to fully descend into the water. There was still a long road to Coal. At least for her taste. Better savour the pools whenever the opportunity arose. She looked down at the ground, spotting a very conspicuous flower. Its beautiful purple peddles was still growing this late in the season. She could have sworn she had read of it in a book. She had.







Now whole and clean, she had commanded the train forward. The carriage was the lone attachment to her exodus still populated by Elves. She did not trust the Men with this task for obvious reasons. As the stars painted the sky, Evhana had switched to her night gown. She could move in it with ease, and she was sure he’d appreciate it. She just had to keep up appearances, like she always did. She didn’t like playing the fool, but when Eylinn had been around, it had been all she had ever done.

Oblivious, unknowing, innocent. She noticed how when she was being all those things, it had made her sister stronger. More confident in herself, and calmer in her presence, and that was all she ever wanted, the only times Evhana had felt really happy. Around these cutthroats and brigands however, foolish wasn’t enough. She had to flirt and feminize, keep up appearance of gratitude and submission. It was just that the captain had required more substantial proof of her commitment to earn their loyalty. He needed further convincing, a bigger purse, and a wider range of services. Fortunately for her, he liked his conquests young, so young they couldn’t possibly put up a fight even if they tried. He stepped into the carriage and immediately started to loosen his belt. She offered him a warm smile.

“Straight to the point, aren’t you? No talk first? A chance for me to warm up?” He made another of his insidious grins, baring his bleeding gums and black teeth.
“I will be honest. Had you been a few years younger, I’d treat you with all my charm. But I hardly think that’s needed. It’s only business, and my cock is restless.” He narrowed his eyes. “As long as you look at me while I take you, I’ll be content.” Evhana giggled, and winked at him. She crawled down on all four, letting him gaze upon her bonded bosom.

“How about you let me treat my customer right?” She leaned against the seat, and pulled up her gown slowly, tricking him with motions in her wrist that she was caressing herself. Her face blushed as the captain stared, lost for words. This was obviously not the treatment he had expected she would give him. “Ah...” Evhana moved closer to him. “Take me then. Slowly...” His tall and muscular body locked her arms into place. He pulled her collar to the side, kissing her shoulder and licked with his greasy tongue up her neck. She leaned her head back and surrendered, his mouth running up her throat, aiming for her chin, undoubtedly making its way towards her lips. She faked a moan, and she felt how his hand was moving down her body towards her thigh. Another moan triggered him. He pushed her down into the seats and laid over her. She looked into his hazel eyes and urged him further. “Wait...” She said, teasing him.

“Your skin is hot, unlike any woman I’ve ever felt. You Elves are something else, I give you that.” He was letting his hand slide over her skin, ignoring her.
“Let me be on top.” She hinted her tongue between her lips. There was no way he would refuse her at this point. Or so she thought. His stare grew angry.

“Slaves don’t sit on top...” She chuckled, rising her arm to caress his cheek.
“Forgive me, master.” She said. “Open the merchandise, if it pleases you, master.” He moved his arms towards her breasts, ready to tear off her clothes. Just as he took her gown in a solid grip, she pressed her nails into his flesh. He roared, jumped off her and stood. Not good. Evhana crawled backwards, but as she rose, his hand met her face and the slap threw her into the carriage door. Her cheek burning, it was horrible. It pulsated with pain, and most likely would leave a gruesome bruise. She pressed her back against the door, terrified as she saw him coming at her. He tried to speak, but it failed. He stopped, falling backwards, his limbs succumbing one by one. She breathed out.

“What... Was...”

“It’s called the Sleeping Thistle. Mix its nectar with some bark and mashed leaves, and the colourless lid above the mixture can induce a powerful paralysis.” Her smile returned. “Don’t worry. It’s not lethal.” She went for her backpack, pulling out an elegantly tendered dirk. “You may find it difficult to scream, however.” It was his eyes turn to fill with terror. Evhana reached her arm around him as they both sat down on the floor, letting his head rest comfortably upon her chest. “You’ve done me a great favour. You helped root out the traitors in my lands, and for that you’ll have my eternal gratitude. But I don’t take kindly to betrayal.” She slid the sharp point of her blade over his face, pressing it against the bridge of his nose. “I know you offered me and my entourage to your men yesterday. I know I asked you to deal with their infighting, but in the future, I’d appreciate if you would talk to me first before changing any terms.” She gave him a sad look of disappointment. “We could have worked something out. Why didn’t you ask me?” The captain looked confused, no longer afraid. It made her glad.

“I just burst it out.” He said, weak and faintly. “They raged over low payment, unfair dealings, and I said it wasn’t true. They hadn’t had a woman for months, and it seemed the most natural thing to offer. I never thought you’d agree...” She caressed his hair, still aiming the dirk at his nose. She smiled at him.
“It’s only flesh. Men have their needs. Don’t you think I know that?” She tried to sooth him with a kiss to his forehead. “If they felt unfairly paid, you should have told me. Sharing only ten chests of gold isn’t much for the service you all provided.” He smiled, then didn’t. He burrowed his eyebrows from confusion.

“But the wages were set. Twenty chests of gold, and five only for me.” Evhana gasped.
“Forgive me, I might have misspoken then. I told your lieutenant there would only be ten, and five for you.” She sighed. “A girl’s folly. All this stress, it just messes with my memory.” She pressed her blade to break his skin. The fear had returned to his eyes. “What else have you promised them?”

“N-Nothing...” She pressed the dagger through his nose, and a crack eloped as the shattering cartilage ruptured it forever. The captain tried to scream, but only a tormented gurgle escaped his mouth. “I saw what you did to those... I would never lie!” Evhana relaxed her face, trying to win his confidence.
“I know you wouldn’t. I trust you.” She made another surge, ripping his nose clean off, putting it in his hand. She moved the blade towards his right ear, leaning his head even harder upon her bosom. She hoped the sound of her heartbeat would calm him down. “Who else knows of your new deal?”

“The lieutenant! That Ecclestian sergeant! I don’t... Don’t think anyone else! I swear!” She sighed. “No... No!” First she drove the sharp point right through. She jagged it, back and forth, trying to severe the tough tendons. The warm blood was soiling her dress, and she felt unclean. She dropped him to the floor, avoiding the gory mess, and threw the ripped ear across the carriage. “Stop! I beg!”
“Don’t beg. I only wish to talk.” She pulled off his trousers, leaning the dirk right under his kneecap. “Just answer me truthfully. Listen to my voice.” She was calm, reassuring. Nothing bad could ever happen to him. “Who else? Do any of my female companions outside know of this? Do any of your men know?” He shook his head, his eyes tearing in panic.

“I don’t know! I don’t think so! Please, ask my officers. They would know. Ask them instead. I beg, there’s no need for this. I know nothing more.” Evhana giggled.
“Hold still. This might hurt.” She grabbed the dirk with both her arms, and pushing it right into his tendon, right under his bone. His screaming would have turned her deaf, she was quite sure of it. Finding that flower was divine luck. “You wouldn’t care if I did this to your men? You’d rather have me ask them? I’m no witch, or alchemist. I don’t carry a supply of poisons or tinctures wherever I travel. I only have you to rely on here. But have it your way. If you don’t have anything else to say...” This was tougher than the ear. Her thin arms had to make a work for it, her shoulders aching, her back strained. The kneecap just refused to let go, regardless of whatever angle she twisted the blade in the wound. She started kicking at his leg, and soiled her naked feet with the gashing blood. Finally, it came off. She picked it up, and sat on his chest, forcing the fleshy bone piece into his mouth, and closed his jaw. “...then say nothing more at all...”

She punctured his jugular and let him bleed out before her eyes. She panted. It was exhausting. She cursed her weak body and sat down in the seat again, annoyed over the mess he had made over her clothes. She leaned back, and playfully aimed her blade against her own throat, trying to find the softest entry. It was uncomfortable, but unfortunately necessary. The sharp point leaning against her skin was exciting and frightening at the same time. A most unusual feeling she would have to rid herself of.

There.” She closed her eyes, feeling the pulse beating against the cold, bloody metal. “Between the muscle and the trachea.” She leaned her head further back. “Even easier now.” It was worth remembering. She was so tired. Tired of sleeping, tired of being awake. Tired of Humans, tired of travel. She looked down at the silent corpse as its blood ejected and ran over the floor. The bumpy carriage, and his awful smell would most likely leave little space for proper sleep tonight. Sleep. Most of all, she was damn tired of sleeping alone, for months, for years. She lay down. Tomorrow, she might have to question the other officers too, and it was only four days left before they’d reach Coal. She needed to be quicker. It’s a damn shame she most enjoyed it, when it went slow.
 

Galren

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Even though both men are respectable commanders, I believe that Saladin is slightly better than Wrothiron.

Shah Asad cast his vote for Sultan Saladin as the new Lord General.
 

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Rendezvous

Faraj spurred his horse on across a trail winding through the forest. Crap, he thought, I have to get there and warn the others about --
Suddenly, three figures appear from the woods, trailing Faraj. Damn Direwolves! Get off of me! Faraj quickly aimed his bow at one of the direwolves and fired off an arrow. The arrow hit the direwolf in the head and piercing its skull. Before he could get off another shot, though, one of the remaining direwolves lunged at the horse, and scratched one of the horse's legs. Unable to bear the pain, Faraj's horse reared back and bucked him off.

As Faraj tumbles in the ground, one of the direwolves lunges at him and bites him in the leg. Faraj screams in pain, then draws his sword and stabs the direwolf. The last direwolf flees for its life as it sees that its comrades are down.

Fuck, I'm pretty sure I'm dead. With no one around, Faraj is forced to walk to the meeting point. I hope they're okay ...



As Faraj approached the rendezvous, nobody was there. Instead, all he saw was a dead body and signs of a battle.
I was too late ...

Faraj approached the body of Ragnar the Black Ragnarson, then knelt down in prayer.

Oh gods, I pray for this man who has gone down in battle.
He has done a service to his lord and to his comrades, who still live because of his noble sacrifice.
Gods, let this man live in peace now. He was a noble warrior, so reward him by reuniting him
with his friends and family. Let him feast in the Hall of Heroes, and let his soul be at peace.

After praying, Faraj began to dig a shallow grave. He dug using only his hands and his sword; when he was done, he lowered the body into the grave and put his weapon, armor, a bottle of wine, and a portion of dried meat into the grave. Faraj then covered the grave and placed a slab of wood marking the grave with the words, "Here lies Ragnar the Black Ragnarson."

As Faraj finishes the grave, he turns towards the direction of Vlad's castle. His wound from the direwolf bite still hurt, but he knew he had to go on. He had to do whatever he could, even if it means not infiltrating Vlad's castle.



At Vlad's castle, guards often patrol the walls in lookout for those wanting to enter. However, they don't notice Faraj hiding in the woods. As a guard walks past his point of view, an arrow whistles across the sky, yet no one notices as their comrade is struck by the arrow. Faraj scaled the wall and, to his surprise, two guards show up, ready to challenge him.

"Finally, some action, this job gets boring after a while."

"It's just some guy who wants to be a hero."

"Well yeah, but he killed one of our guys. Isn't that a -- YEAGGGHHH!!!!!"

While the men were speaking, Faraj used it as an opportunity to take one of them out by kicking him off the wall. As he finished his kick, he spun around and struck the other guard with his sword. The guard looked surprised as he barely deflected the strike. Faraj went on the offensive while the guard was being pushed back by the force of his strikes. Clearly, Faraj thought, they weren't expecting me to overpower them like this. After ending the guard's life with a stab in the chest, he turns around and sees the battle through one of the windows in the castle.

They're in battle without me. What's going on?

As Faraj observed the battle, he notices a figure step out from the shadows going torwards Vlad. He's going after the amulet! I have to take him down!
Faraj pulled out his bow and an arrow. He observes the figure's movements, then aims his bow at it. For a few seconds, everything around him stops. All his concentration is on this one shot. The shot was fired as Faraj watched his shot sail over the heads of the combatants inside the castle ... and hit the ground. His mark seems to have teleported away, but Faraj didn't have time to stare in shock.

A tall, armored man lunged with his spear at Faraj. As Faraj fell down in order to dodge the lunge, he sees an arrow that would have hit him in the head. The arrow bounced off the armor as if it was a simple stone. Faraj drew his sword in his right hand and his wooden buckler in his left hand. Faraj then proceeded to stun the armored man using a shield bash and stabbing him in one of the armor's weakpoints. As the armored man goes down, the archer prepares another arrow to fire at Faraj. Raising his shield, Faraj proceeds to rush at the archer before he can get another arrow in. Before the archer even had a chance to let go of the arrow, Faraj uses his shield to push the archer off the wall.

When Faraj finishes off the guards, he sees that the battle has been lost. He decides to leave for Almeria, seeing that he can't do anything here to help out. He scales downs the walls, then goes off back the way he came. He hopes that the people of this land valued hospitality, because he'll be here for at least a few days.



In Almeria, Asad is catching up with everything that happened while he was away from his people. As the people were harvesting, everything seemed to be just a little ... brighter. Asad felt the effect of the light basin cleansing. It seemed to have lifted everyone's spirits as the harvest was in more abundance than usual. The priests, as commanded by Asad, are now searching for those with magical talents so that they don't fall into the wrong hands.

As Asad was looking over the finances, a guard approaches him.

"Sir, Faraj would like to speak with you."

"Let him in, I'm sure he has much to say."

Even though Asad's face was neutral in emotion, he is slightly worried because the cure for vampirism hasn't been found yet. Faraj's face held a mixture of worry, shame, and guilt.

"Good afternoon, my lord."

"Good afternoon, Faraj."

"Sir ... I failed you."

"Faraj, I don't think you failed me. You did your best, and that's what matters."

"You don't understand! I almost had the man who took the amulet away! Now, I'm afraid that I'll die. You'll help, right?"

"I ... I don't know if I can help you or not."

As Faraj left, Asad felt guilty. He couldn't leave him as a slave to the darkness, so he had to kill Faraj. He had to make his decision sooner or later.
 
Last edited:

eidur

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Love reign o’er me
A week after the wedding of Deagrina Magmamane and Zoltan syn Yarpena.

Deagrina Magmamane slowly awoke, her mind and her head pounding like blacksmith’s hammer against an anvil. As consciousness returned she vaguely recalled what had led to her present condition.

“Damn it, that’s the last time I let that old hag talk me into a drinking contest! Who knew Zelislawa could down so much Dwarven brew!”

Moaning quietly, she dimly noticed an arm draped across her bare stomach. It tightened a bit at her moan and she slowly looked over to see Zoltan’s eyes shimmering slightly in the dim light of the room.

“Did we fuck?”
Zoltan blinked lazily and smiled, saying nothing, his eyes bright with amusement. Magma, because that’s what Zoltan called her, frowned slightly at him as her brain began to start working.

“I don’t feel sore and you still have your pants on so I guess not.”
“It certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying, you drunk so much that I had to carry you home.”

Magma continued to gaze at him, letting her eyes roam over him for a moment before she looked up at him again. “Am I ugly to you?”
Zoltan blinked in confusion before replying quietly. “No. I don’t think you’re ugly at all. In fact, I think you’re quite lovely”

“For a dwarf?” She asked.
“You’re just lovely, period.”
“Then why won’t you fuck me, that’s why we were married. To join our families with a child of both bloodlines.”
“The time’s never right..”
“So anyway, if you’re not here to fuck me, why are you here?”

Zoltan didn’t respond.

“You’re weird, I don’t understand you. Isn’t it what all men want, a hole to stick their dicks in?”
Zoltan looked at her carefully. “That is what you really believe, isn’t it? That men only have lusts and expect women merely to be breeders and a good time?”
Magma shut her eyes. “That’s all I’ve ever known. My father, your father..” She replied quietly.

He nodded slightly and stayed quiet for a moment or two before speaking again. “Did someone hurt you?” He asked carefully.
She glanced over at him sharply for a moment, but only saw honest concern in his eyes. Finally, she relented.
“I had a friend when I was younger. She was 13, I was 14. She lived close by and I would hang out and play with her. One day when I went over to her house, I noticed her parents weren’t home. I heard noises coming from the bedroom so I looked through the crack in the door.”
Magma’s eyes watered slightly. “I didn’t know who was doing it, I didn’t recognize him, but she was fighting with everything she had. I was only a feeble little girl and a coward. I didn’t do anything.. He slugged her in the face and dropped her on the bed like a sack of potatoes. He ripped open her clothes and pinned her with his huge arms…”

She found herself being pulled into a tight embrace with Zoltan’s chin resting against the top of her head. Turning her head into the scruffy fur, she let the tears fall as she hugged him back, shaking slightly. Finally, she looked up at him, her eyes red and puffy.
Zoltan gently cleaned her face with his thumbs as he gazed at her gently.
“Did you not tell your father about this?”
She shook her head. “I was too afraid. I guess I thought he’d lock me up if I told him. Silly, I know, but I wasn’t thinking straight for a while. And maybe I was afraid of him a little. I knew it didn’t make sense. Eventually I was able to move past it..”
Zoltan hugged her close, kissing the top of her head. “You are safe with me.” He stated in a quiet, intent voice, staring into her eyes. “I would never hurt you.”

Magma smiled slightly, looking back at him. “I know. For all your appearance of a rough warrior, you’re a big softy inside.”
Zoltan smiled. “You’re no different, but instead of steel you armor yourself with tough talk and sharp tongue.”
“When did you become so wise?”
Zoltan stroked her cheek with a finger. “I’m young for a dwarf but I’ve seen a lot. We both have scars, here.” He pressed her hand gently against his chest. His heart beat slow and steady under her palm.
She smiled, tracing a finger through his chest. Zoltan watched her silently as her fingers ran through his shoulder before moving back to his chest, twitching slightly as her finger traced a circle around his nipple. She looked up at him with a mischievous smile.
“So you have a chest like a man. Hmmm.. do you have anything else in common with other men?”
Zoltan’s eyes widened slightly in surprise at what she was hinting at before looking at her carefully. “Are you sure you want to find out? Right now and after telling me about what happened?”

She smiled softly. “I don’t know where this will lead, but you’re the first person ever to really give a damn about who I am rather than what I am. Besides, we’re married already. Our fathers will be displeased if I don’t bear you a son”
He looked at her, he was clearly nervous.
She smiled at him once again. “To be honest” she said quietly, wrapping herself around him. “I want to find out if you’re really as big as they say you are.”
Zoltan’s eyes widened again at the bold declaration. “Who says that?”
“Oh, just girls in the court. Nevermind”

“Zoltan will show you.” He whispered into her ear.
Taking her head in his hands, he pressed his lips against hers in a gentle but firm kiss. She wrapped her arms around him, kissing back as his hands slid back to rub against the back of her head. Breaking the kiss gently, she looked in his eyes
“You’re a good kisser, have you done this before?”
Zoltan looked a bit sheepish. “Zoltan has never rutted with anyone. You are Zoltan’s first.
She arched an eyebrow at him. “With all that prancing around in your fancy armour, with a father like that?”
Zoltan chuckled. “I did have to decline a few whores he sent my way..”
Magma’s smile widened in amusement. “Ok now, stop talking like an idiot.” She ran her hands over his chest again. Moving up slightly, she whispered into his ear breathily. “Show me what you got.”

Zoltan shivered at the soft breath and the words she spoke. Reaching down, he kissed her deeply, one hand against the the back of her head, his other arm around her, pulling her tightly against his toned body. He could feel her hands sliding through his back. Sliding his hands down to the edge of her shirt, he slowly pulled her top up and over her head, tossing it offthe bed. His eyes lowered to her breasts, taking in their round firmness and the pink nipples in the center of them. He slowly rolled her onto her back, kissing her again before slowly sliding lower. He slowly began to lick a path around the edge of her breast, tasting the salt on her skin. His rough tongue slowly dragged across her nipple causing her to gasp slightly. As he lapped at it with his tongue, his other hand slowly traveled up to the stroke and caress her other breast, the slightly rough pads on his fingers causeing her to shudder as his thumb encircled the other tip. Carefully, to avoid using his teeth, he pressed his lips against her peak, sucking gently. She moaned softly as she arched her back, pressing her breast against his mouth.
Magma moaned softly as she arched her back, pressing her breast against his mouth.

"Use your teeth!" She muttered softly. "Gently!"
"Always." Zoltan said breathily, gently scrapping the soft flesh with his teeth, biting down just hard enough. her breath became harsher as he stroked and squeezed her before licking her once more. His tongue lavished more swabs down between her breasts to the valley between them. Licking her sternum, he surprised her slightly by resting his head against her chest, his ear pressed against her heart. Making a questioning noise, he glanced up at her with a gentle smile.

"The heart is a primal thing. The center of life" He said softly, listening to the steady thump in her chest. "Others never pay attention to things like this. But it is so very important. The heart tells how someone feels. If they are afraid or calm. The young hear their mother's heart and are calmed when they cry. The hunter sometimes hears the prey's heart as it runs. When the heart of a brother or ally goes silent, we mourn."
He looked up at her with a soft smile. "It tells me how much you want Beowulf. And it also tells me…" He slid his hand down her stomach and began to rub her gently between her legs. "What you want." He finished, as he heard her heart begin to pound more swiftly.


***
Presently.


The lake was enchanted. About that there could be no doubt. Firstly it lay beside enchanted valley Arvaorcywr in The Wilds, the mysterious valley perpetually shrouded by fog and famed for its magical properties and phenomena. Secondly, one look was enough.

The surface of the water was crystal blue, like a polished sapphire and smooth as a mirror. So much so that the peaks of the Highathar mountains were reflected in it were more beautiful than those that loomed over the lake. Silence around it was disturbed by nothing, not even the splashing fish of song of a bird.
Zoltan shook off the impression. But rather than continue walking home, along the crest of the hill, he turned towards the lake. As if he was drawn to it by some higher power, a force of spell that slumbered there, deep down in the waters.

His armour rattled when he knelt. Startling fish, he scooped water into his hands. He drank slowly and cautiously, the ice cold water numbed his tongue and lips and hurt his teeth. When he bent down to collect water a second time, a sound travelled over the surface of the lake. He listened, it was no illusion. He heard singing. A woman singing. Or rather a girl.

Like all dwarves of his clan, he had been raised with bard tales of chivalry. In these tales a girl singing or calling was in nine cases out of ten, a lure. A man who followed inevitably fell into an ambush, quite often – fatal.

Curiosity won. Zoltan was still young and like all young men he was very courageous and very foolish. He was famous for one and known for the other. He checked his sword, then walked up the beach in the direction of singing. He did not have to go far.
The shore was littered with huge rock, dark and polished to a bright shine. It looked as if a giant got bored of his toys and just left them here.
The singing which he heard came from just behind these rocks. The girl’s clothes lay on one of the rocks lying in the shadows, flat like a table. The girl herself stood naked, waist-deep in the water and was washing, singing and splashing in the process. Zoltan listened to her singing but did not understand the words.

And no wonder. The girl was an elf. This was demonstrated by the slender body, strange hair colour and the voice. He was sure that if she turned around he would see big almond shaped eyes, and if he swept her hair back he would see pointy ears.
She stopped singing for a moment and immersed herself up to her nerck, she cursed and came splashing out of the water, presenting Zoltan for a moment all her glory pleasant to the eye. She threw herself toward the rock on which lay her clothes, but instead of grapsing clothes to cover herself, she grabbed a sword and pulled it from its sheath, clutching the ssteel with amazing skill. It lasted a brief moment, after which she quickly knelt down, hiding in the water up to her nose and holding her arm with the sword in it above the surface of the water.
Zoltan blinked in amazement and bent his knee, he understood immediately who it was before him.

“Hail, O Lady of the Lake,” he breathed while stretching out his hand, “it is an honour, a great honour. I accept your sword.”
“I’d prefer if you turned around, maybe stop staring? And let me get dressed?”
He obeyed. He heard her leaving the water and the rustling of clothes and the sound of her swearing softly as she pulled them onto her wet body.
“You can turn around”
“Lady of the Lake..”
“And introduce yourself”
“I am Zoltan syn Yarpena, heir apparent to Mahakam Clanship.”

She brushed back her wet hair and Zoltan sighed involountary. Not only because her ear was normal, her eyes were of different colours. One blue, one green.
She noticed his astonished gaze, she narrowed her eyes and wrinkled her nose.

“My eyes are weird, so what. You look frightened” she laughed playfully.
“Nothing scares Zoltan of Mahakam Clan. Truly, I am honoured to take this sword from your hand, Lady of the Lake..”
“What?”
“The sword. I am willing to accept it.”
“This is my sword. I don’t let anyone touch it.”
“But..”
“But what?”
“The Lady of the Lake always.. Always emerges from the water and gives her sword.”

She was silent for some time.

“I understand, another realm, another custom. I’m sorry Zoltan or whatever your name is, but apparently you have not found the lady of which you have heard. I am not giving away anything. Or letting anything be taken. Let’s be clear.”
Zoltan blushed. He didn’t know what to do.
“Now don’t pounce like that Zoltan, I’m sorry for playing with you. You need to rush home, your wife is pregnant.”

She turned around and ran. Zoltan stood there, with a stupid look on his face. Confused like hell.
 

Plutonium95

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Nienna was sitting on the Throne of the Forest when she heard that Evhana had arrived in the city. She was eager to speak with the younger elf and told the servants to prepare for her arrival. It was not long before she came walking through the giant white doors, which only served to emphasize her slight frame. The first thing that Nienna noticed about her was how much she looked like her sister. She was, perhaps, slightly thinner and more feminine, but the similarities unmistakable.

Nienna watched as she walked through the throne room, her steps determined. When she arrived at the foot of the throne she performed a curtsy and began speaking, “Milady of Coal. I am Evhana of house Mindrilla, regent of Green Chasm. I thank you for accepting my request for an audience."
Nienna looked at Evhana, thinking about Eylinn had made her eyes tear up, but she wouldn’t cry, she had done enough of that since she heard the news. She smiled as she regained her composure and said, “Of course Lady Evhana, it is nice to finally meet you, though I wish it could have been under better circumstances. I'm sorry for your loss."
Evhana looked confused as Nienna finished speaking and she looked from side to side. Nienna became as confused as Evhana looked until she turned and smiled at her, “Forgive me for being blunt, but by the look of milady's face, it is milady that has lost someone. Not I. Do I arrive at an unfortunate moment?"
Nienna was shocked by her response, hadn’t she heard? She decided that she would have to be the one to tell her, though the words were hard to find, “Did ... did Alvon not tell you? I ... Evhana, your sister ... she.” The words caught in her throat as she tried to tell the girl about her sister, she began shaking her head in confusion, “She did not return from the quest to Vlad's castle. Surely, Alvon would have told you, where is he?" Nienna couldn’t understand how the girl hadn’t heard.

Evhana’s face was blank for a moment as she blink, but her smile was still there from before, “I've heard no such thing. I'm sure you are mistaken. I've not heard a word from either Alvon or the Therain."
Nienna didn’t know what to do when she heard that, she didn’t want to push the girl and she would be ecstatic to find out that she was in fact the one that was right, but she couldn’t hide what she knew. She stood from her throne and motioned to her, “Evhana, would you come with me so that we may speak more privately?”
Evhana performed another curtsy before beginning to follow Nienna, “Of course, milady.”

Nienna lead the younger elf through the hallways to her bedroom. As they walked into the room she shut the door behind them and walked over to the table in the corner of the room. “Evhana, believe me, I would like nothing more to be wrong, but … well, look at this.” She handed her the letter from Alvon, some of the words were smudged from where she had been crying, but she hoped that Evhana wouldn’t notice. “He doesn’t come out and say it, but it is there. This note is the only reason I was even expecting you to come to coal.”
Evhana read the letter, but said nothing; instead she walked over to the window and looked out without saying a word. Nienna, unsure how to proceed walked behind her and put a hand on her shoulder, “Evhana, I’m sorry you had to find out like this, I thought you knew. I mean why else are you even here? But that’s no excuse, do you need anything? We can speak later if you would like to be alone.”

Evhana continued looking out the window, facing away from Nienna, “I heard you’ve become queen.”
Nienna didn’t see how that was relevant to what she had just told Evhana, but she went along with it anyway, “Well yes, the Order of Light made the decree rather recently. All I could think of was why me and not her, then I got Alvon’s letter. But that doesn’t matter right now, is there anything at all that you might need, Coal is open to you.”
Nienna was shocked when she turned around with a dagger in her hand, “You should learn to be more careful.”
Immediately Nienna took a few steps back and put her hand out, trying to show Evhana that she meant no harm, but secretly calling upon her magic even as she began speaking. “Evhana, you’re not thinking clearly, you need time to process what you’ve heard. Why don’t you just sit down, put the knife away and I will get you something to eat.”

Nienna watched as Evhana’s face melted from serious to a warm smile, which was reminiscent of her sister’s, “I happily accept your invitation.” She began walking towards Nienna before putting the dagger on the bed stand and facing her. “I hope you serve meat in Coal. Us Deep Elves care little for vegetables and bird-feed like rice and wheats.”
Nienna sighed and began releasing her hold on the magic, “that is good to hear. I think that there is still boar from lunch, let me go check. In the meantime, feel free to tell the servants if you need something else.”
Evhana looked confused by her statement, “Are you leaving me alone in your room? Would it not be safer to ask a servant to look for a meal while we wait here?”
Nienna smiled, she wasn’t sure what to make of this girl, “I don’t know about safer, but I suppose if you would like to talk I can stay. I simply assumed that you might want to be alone.” She walked to the door and spoke to the servant waiting outside about bringing some food before walking back into the room.

Evhana spoke once she returned, “You’re too kind milady. And as I said, not too careful.”
Nienna smiled briefly, realizing that the girl hadn’t felt her calling on her magic, still her cryptic words struck her as being quite odd, “I don’t know about that lady Evhana, I would say that I take the appropriate amount of precaution.” As she was talking she walked over to the table and motioned to the other chair as she sat down, “Would you like to sit?”
“It would be my pleasure.” Evhana curtsied again as she sat down. “Your room is loftier yet more intimate than mine. It’s a true delight to soak it in.”
Nienna smiled as the other elf curtsied, remembering how Eylinn had acted in the same formal manner, “Your sister was fond of that too, there is no need for the formalities and ‘milady’s or any of that. Thank you, by the way.” Her face grew more serious, yet still warm, as she tried to turn the conversation to the business at hand. “Now, if you don’t mind my asking, what brings you to Coal if you never heard from Alvon?”

Nienna saw her eyes flicker around the room as if she was looking for something before their eyes met again. “I didn’t need to hear from him to feel her passing.” Her smile remained, but her eyes seemed less vibrant. “The Light flickered, and a part of me was gone. The Chasm lords had sought to end my sister’s majority rule for quite some time, and when they’d learn she would be gone, well.” Evhana began giggling, “I suppose you do not know the rituals that proceed in the event of a regency in our lands, do you?”
Nienna shook her head, “no, I can’t say that I do, though based on everything else that I know about The Chasm I can’t imagine it would have put you in a desirable position.”
“When my father died, the council had both me and my sister locked in her room. They call it protection, but what it really means, is that the council can convene with the vassals to determine our fate. I didn't much enjoy it the first time, and had no interest in going through it a second time. And unlike you..." She tilted her head. “...I don't have any family to lead me in minority. I thought the only safe place would be here, so I came. At least you people have walls."
Nienna nodded her head, “I can certainly respect not wanting to go through with that, and of course, you are always welcome in Coal. Does something need to be done about this council in order to secure your lands then? I certainly owe your sister that much.”

Evhana drummed her fingers on the table and looked at her quizzically, “What would you owe her for exactly?”
Nienna broke their eye contact and looked down at the table. “Your sister was a very good friend to me, but more than that, she is the reason I am queen at all. I think the least I can do is ensure that her sister is taken care of.”
Evhana nodded her head, “Eylinn only spoke sell of you, and she was not short of commending your beauty. I must say, she did not exaggerate reality.”
Nienna blushed when she heard that. “Thank you. I always thought the same of her, she was a good person.”

Evhana offered her a heartfelt smile, “I also know she cared deeply for you. So deep, in fact, that she would travel all the way from the west to your lands, not even stopping by the Chasm on her way. So much she cared, she made sure you'd receive a letter with her greetings, while I've heard nothing at all from her in months."
Nienna didn’t know how to respond to that, Eylinn hadn’t talked about her sister much, she knew little of their relationship. She took Evhana’s hand in her own, “I am sorry to hear that Evhana, but I do believe that she cared about you. She never seemed particularly fond of The Chasm, she took every opportunity to leave it from what I saw. I have to think that that is why she failed to see you, I am sure she would have done anything for you though."
"She left because she had to fight you people’s wars. That seemed to have ended well for her." Evhana studied Nienna with an eerie calm that sent chills up her spine as she looked from top to bottom. “Now how about you tell me the truth? Your eyes today were redder than mine as I felt her go over a week ago.”

Nienna was stunned for a moment, she certainly hadn’t expected the question, and was unsure how to respond without betraying her true feelings. “I'm not really sure what you mean, we were good friends and I cared deeply for her. It was saddening to hear that the nervous girl I first talked to at that party had died. Even more so when I sent my champion hoping he would protect her, and I haven't heard anything from him yet. Perhaps it is easier to find peace when you felt her leave while I only have this letter?" She felt her eyes watering as she thought about Eylinn.
“Deeply, yes I am sure.” Evhana took Nienna’s had in return, her blood heating. “It must have hurt.” As she said it her eyes lowered, but her face seemed devoid of emotion.
Nienna sighed at the further prodding; Evhana was definitely perceptive, “Yes, it was painful to hear. She was going to marry Freyr soon, she was never as happy as when she talked about him. Its stuff like that that hurts the most, I think, that she won't get to just live a happy life. You said it yourself she was always off fighting some war or another. Surely you have happy memories with her, times that you can never get back now." Despite her best attempts to stop it a tear fell from her eye.

Evhana sneered at the mention of Freyr, “Indeed. Whatever that Nord did to trick her into submission, as long as it made her happy, I guess I shouldn't judge.”
Nienna laughed at this, “Yes, I can't say I really understand that part of your culture, the submission I mean, but I do think he made her happy."
Evhana began patting Nienna’s hand consolingly, “I am sure he did everything to deserve his little slave girl in the end. A great prize. Nobility, of the most satious order. How did you take it?”
Nienna looked confused for a moment, “Take what? Oh, you mean Freyr. It was her choice to make and she seemed happy, so I was happy for her. I suppose the talk of submission and her confusion in the beginning had me worried.”
Evhana studied her in silence, Nienna wondered if she perhaps didn’t believe her, but then, with a very serious look on her face, asked, “The food seemed to take its due time to arrive, wouldn’t you agree?”

Nienna grinned both at the change of subject and at the seriousness of the question, “Yes I suppose it is, perhaps there wasn’t any boar left as I had thought. I could ask another servant to find out what the delay is or perhaps we could go to the kitchens together?"
Evhana’s face returned to the smile it had before, “I could hold to breakfast, I presume.”
Just then a knock on the door came and Nienna went to see what it was. With a smile on her face she returned with a venison steak for Evhana and a salad for herself. “Speak of the Dark One, huh?”
Evhana visibly salivated as she saw the steak, “I've not had game for weeks. I might take up permanent residence here, if steaks like these are available."
Nienna laughed at her reaction, “That’s always an option.” She went into the small room off of the main suite and called back. “Would you like anything to drink? We have all kinds of ciders made her in the city.”
Evhana called back, “Water will do.” She seemed to be entranced by the steak as she enjoyed each bite.

Nienna returned with a jug of water, “Fresh from the Wellspring, we have it pumped throughout the castle.” She sat and began eating her salad, occasionally looking up at Evhana eating her steak.
Evhana eat steadily, only stopping to speak briefly, “I intend now as Therain to swear fealty to your majesty." She didn't look up, but kept her gaze down on her plate. "It wasn't only her wish. It would be mine too."
Nienna was surprised, she thought that Evhana might have planned to swear fealty, but she didn’t expect it now. “I, of course, accept Lady Evhana, and thank you. I will have to assemble a council to help me run the realm soon, would you be interested in a position. I know too few of the lords and ladies in Galadriel.”
Evhana stopped eating for a moment, “I will, soon enough. But I will not bow, and I will not kneel. It doesn't become us Elves to practice such fashion, considering our usual standing in the world. Or at least, so I believe."
Nienna smiled, “And I would not think to ask it of you.”

"Good..." She let another bite slide into her mouth, and she leaned her head back to enjoy it. "I also have a favor to ask."
Nienna was pleased that they were arriving at the real reason for the audience. "Go ahead; I will gladly help you if it is at all within my ability."
"I wish to remain here until I'm eighteen, or at least, until I have given birth to a child and heir." She looked at Nienna with a steady gaze. “I can assure you, I am not spoiled. I will not be a bother or expensive to inter."
Nienna covered her mouth as she laughed. “Of course you may stay here, and do not worry about costs, your needs and wants will be provided for." Nienna thought for a moment after answering. “I have to ask though, will The Chasm and its council accept this? I wouldn't want you to lose what is yours by right, just because of worry for how they might react. If it is necessary they can be forced to stand down.”
She continued to rattle the meat pieces on her plate. "It's not the council that is the problem. They usually look after the people's best interest when their pockets aren't filled with gold. It's the vassals and the middle lords that are the problem. In the Chasm, I can be controlled. But from here, I can run it more efficiently through my contacts. The people don't listen to the middle lords. They follow the Mindrilla, and always had."
Nienna was happy to hear that, “That is good then. If you do have issues with your vassals while running things from here then you simply will need to let me know and of course I will help."
“You have my gratitude.”

Evhana soon finished her plate. “I think I should retire and get some sleep, if there was nothing else?" Evhana unbuttoned her collar and massages her shoulder with a slight groan.
Nienna blushed at the unladylike display. “No, go and rest, we can speak later.”
Evhana rose and curtsied. "Your majesty..." As she walked out the door Nienna thought about how much Evhana reminded her of Eylinn.

Several hours later, long after Nienna had gone to bed, there as a knock on the door. Confused at who it would be this late Nienna walked to the door half asleep in her thin nightgown, she opened the door half asleep, “Hello?”
Evhana stood outside, her eyes peered down the distance of the hall way, avoiding Nienna’s gaze, “Hi.”
Nienna rubbed her eyes, “Oh, Evhana, is there something you needed?”
Her eyes flickered and she looked confused, but her body was steady and she clenched a hand on her night gown. “No.”
Nienna, still feeling like she was in a dream, was confused by what she was doing there. “Oh, you’re sure? I know it’s tough to get around when you don’t know the castle. You’re ok?”
Evhana raised her hand to rub her throat, still not meeting Nienna’s gaze. “I son’t want to sleep alone anymore…”

Nienna opened the door wider. “You can sleep in her if you want, there’s plenty of space.”
Without a word Evhana stepped through the doorway and laid down on Nienna’s bed. Nienna shut to door and followed behind her, ready to go back to sleep, “Good night Evhana, if you need anything just let me know.”
Evhana huddled under the cover and lay in silence, the girls’ backs to each other. Eventually she moved closer, her back still turned, and already more asleep than not, Nienna did the same.

“I just can’t sleep…” She whispered.
Nienna stirred from her sleep, “It can be tough being away from home, give it time.”
Evhana’s quiet voice answered, “I don’t want it to take time…”
Nienna groaned, annoyed at being kept awake. “I'm not sure what your other options are, I suppose the priests would make something to help with sleep. Hopefully the castle will become home to you eventually, for a while anyway."
Evhana turned around. "It's not that. It's everything else. It's safe here."
Feeling Evhana turn, Nienna does as well, “I’m not sure I understand what you mean.” She wasn’t in the mood for more of her cryptic talk when all she wanted to do was sleep.

Evhan stared deep into her eyes and smiled, “You're not careful enough. It's safe. Too safe."
“Maybe.”
Evhana sniffed, “You’re hiding something from me.”
Nienna rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Evhana what are you talking about? I’m too tired for these riddles.”
She moved closer, until only inches from Nienna’s face. “We all have our little secrets. Like how I got here, I wouldn’t want to tell anyone about it.”
Nienna pulled back from her, wondering what her game was. “Yeah, I suppose we do, and if you don’t want to talk about it then that’s fine. What’s your point?”

Evhana curled her lips into a confused expression. “You can touch me if you want.”
Nienna blushed as she realized what Evhana had meant. She was surprised that Evhana knew. She rolled onto her back to look at the ceiling. “Evhana, please don’t.”
Evhana pulled her limbs closer together. “Why? Maybe I want you to.”
Nienna rolled over and looked at her. “We don’t even know each other Evhana! You just heard that your sister died a few hours ago, five minutes after we met,”
“And I’ve known it for well over a week. And what does it matter if we know each other? It’s only flesh.”
Nienna sighed, “It matters to me.” She looked her in the eyes. “I think I could grow to like you Evhana, why would I risk that by doing something now?”
She frowned. “The way you liked her?”
Nienna frowned slightly when she heard that, but decided to answer honestly, “Perhaps, but it will take time. I can see her in you.”
Evhana’s eyes felt like they were piercing directly through her own, then she suddenly turned her back to her. “I hate it when people hide things from me.” She snorted. “I still hate sleeping alone more.”
Nienna turned her back as well. “I’m sorry Evhana.” She heard her fall asleep in less than a minute, sighed and pulled her pillow close as she thought about how she messed things up again.