Re: Unlikely Heroes: Content
Posted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:36 am
Glain stumbled further along. He had forgotten how long he had been shambling since his fight. He coughed, a a gob of blood came with it. Ding.... Ding.... Ding.... A bell was ringing. Where? He could take their herbs and cloth, heal himself. He stumbled further, pus oozing out of his wound. His hand gripped a rock, walking further alongside the base of the mountain. Something... Else. The voices were active again. They began to buzz, whispering contradictary ideas and thoughts. Door! Portal. Entrance! Salvation! Your end. He dragged his foot, edging forward. And then he saw it. A simple door, carved out of the rock and engraved with symbols beyond his comprehension. He limped inside, and fell to his knees as the face of a God looked upon him.
Re: Unlikely Heroes: Content
Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 4:06 pm
The Dark Forest began to thin. An evergreen or two contrasted with the leafless trees nearby. From where the two elves stood, they could see an enormous mountain stretching high into a layer of white wispy clouds. Some patches of snow scattered around the red-brown stone.
Huor climbed, undaunted, over bare earth and crinkled brown leaves. He still wore his hood and cloak, with the addition of a backpack lightly loaded with dried foods. He kept his longbow unstrung and strapped to the side. Irandirel followed, several steps behind, weighed down by a leather backpack and her thoughts. She wore a buttoned-up grey cloth military jacket over her green dress; the sleeves too short to cover her wrists. Her hands pulled on leather straps in a futile effort to reduce the load. The sword hung in a loose scabbard, slightly exposed, which dangled from a loose belt tied around her waist. She sighed.
One of Huor’s sensitive ears heard her over a breeze. <<Still thinking about it?>>
<<Yeah.>> She narrowly avoided a barren elm tree.
<<We had no choice. There was no way we could have gone into Lycene.>>
<<It’s not your fault.>>
<<I know.>> Her eyes traced the ground, unfocused. The world was merely a blurr of brown and grey.
She nearly collided with Huor, standing in the shade under a lone evergreen tree. Her breaths came out in heavy sweeps, and she clutched the amulet at her neck. Huor stood still, staring at the mountain towering over them. A frigid wind blew by and ruffled his cloak. The girl held her arms close and shivered slightly. She pulled some strands of hair out of her face.
<<Is that it?>> she asked.
<<I assume so.>>
<<I suppose … there’s nothing to do but climb.>>
<<I see a path.>>
<<Are you alright?>>
<<I think so.>> She shuddered from the cold.
<<We should move further in. There will be less wind there.>>
He let out a hand and pulled her up from the cave wall. They crept along the bare stone floor into the darkness of the cave. Irandirel kept her arms folded around her and trembled as she walked.
After a few steps, they both stopped. A few drops of blood stained the stone, blood neither of them recognized. Huor bent down and touched it with a gloved finger, smearing it along the ground. He bent up and pulled out his longbow and strung it. Irandirel started to draw her sword, but it scraped the scabbard and she slid it back. Huor drew an arrow and knocked it, keeping the bow pointed at the ground. They continued forward, her hand on the pommel.
Re: Unlikely Heroes: Content
Posted: Mon May 13, 2013 2:55 am
Swidhelm was exhausted from the journey up the mountain, by his wound, and the thoughts that plagued his mind. He rested in a large room, the ceilings were carved high into the stone, and he stared up into the blackness from the huge bed he laid in. For several days he laid there, having nurses tend to the wound in his chest, nobles and chiefs either confirming their loyalty to him or giving him good wishes, and reports of skirmishes taking place around the mountain. His sleep was a relief though, he had gotten little since the pass had fallen, and his father had been killed, but there was something plaguing him in his dreams.
He dreamed of the mountains farther north, visions of bloody battles and burning cities, landscapes of both beauty and horror, and the face of his father as he died at his feet. And the bells, the bells he had heard in Belmore haunted him even more. And he had the gnawing notion in his mind that he had to continue going... somewhere, but where?
He awoke in the night to someone knocking at his chamber's door. Feeling rested he pushed himself out of bed and answered. He smiled when his eyes came upon Clediff's grizzled face, and in full armor, "It's time you stopped resting m'lord, you have business to attend to. Don yer armor, and I'll escort you."
"Escort me where?" Swidhelm asked raising an eyebrow. Clediff's hard face didn't soften, lowly answering, "It's a surprise."
With that Swidhelm closed the door, and went to his armor which hung on the wall. Quickly he strapped it on, and went to the mirror. The armor was still scratched from the many battles it had been through, but the hole left by Evette's sword was a grave reminder of how close he came to death. He looked at his face, scruffy, notched by small scars, a short beard grew in place of his usual stubble, and his hair now looked shagged as it reached past his ears and down his neck. Still there was a look of youth in his appearance, but he couldn't help but see a bit of his late father, or even some of his brothers and sisters, who most likely found their fates in Picten. Fully armored spare a helm, he lastly put on the crown that his father had worn, fitting it snugly on his head he went to the mirror once more to adjust. Then fitting his father's sword at his side he joined Clediff outside his chamber and they walked down the halls.
The hallways in the Fortress were tall and wide as well, and only increased in size as they approached the main cavern. Small rooms and residencies gave way to shops and barracks, and shops and barracks gave way to forums and training fields. Soon the grand torchlight nature of the fortress showed itself, appearing in a way like most cities would above ground. Children ran and played, patrols of guard walked along the walls and pathways carved into the stone, and traders bartered for goods. But even this place was not untouched by the war, and there was feeling of uneasiness in the air.
Soon though, the tall bastard king and the soldier at his side were noticed, and along the streets people knelled in their kings presence, and some followed as they made their way to the great hall. Some cheered, but most remained silent as they lay eyes upon their new king. Refugees who had hailed from as far as Ferax to the farthest reaches of Germani now looked to him.
Swidhelm felt uneasy, never in his life had he been looked at in such a way, but now people bowed in his presence. It uplifted his spirits, but also made him feel misplaced, and he knew for each person who welcomed his presence, there may be an equal number who curse it. Eventually the crowds grew into celebration, and began to cheer. Crowds emerged from stone and wood structures, and yelled out tidings to their new king. And quickly Swidhelm's doubts vanished, and he waved to the crowds with a smile on his face.
Eventually he and Clediff came upon the grand staircase which led to the Hall, along it's sides were pillars and arches which reached to the caverns ceilings, and in their sides were carved heroes on Northern folklore, and the images of great warriors and beautiful maidens. At the top of the staircase were two great wooden doors, and on it was the image of a great battle. At it's centerpiece was the image of a knight stabbing his sword into a foe of a much greater stature. Taking a moment, Swidhelm looked at this image and then back behind him to the crowds that cheered at the stair's bottom. Two guards, one with the crimson armor of Hospitalis, and the other wearing the deep blue and green armor of Picten eased the door open. Swidhelm took some steps inside and felt the grand door close behind him.
Before him were two long tables and at their end was a grand throne carved from stone. Along the walls were large hearths, to each stood two guards in ornamental armor, in the colors of their lord's dynasty. In each seat of the two tables sat a noble, from barons to mayors, high chiefs and low, high priests, dukes and counts, and even other kings sat and feasted and drank, some much more then others. Music played and minstrels sang while the lords of the northern lands feasted and talked of seeking revenge upon Westmarch. But silence fell when they soon realized who the doors had opened for, and swallowing whatever bits of food they had in their mouths all stood from their seats and rose to attention. Each drawing their swords, the priests their staffs, and setting it before them.
Swidhelm, not knowing exactly what to do began to walk towards the throne, and as he passed each lord said aloud, "My king!". Eventually he reached the steps before the throne and looked back at the kneeling men, until one stood and walked toward him. A lean, aged man with white hair and a long white beard known to him as Lord Dani approached, in his hands his crown. Kneeling before Swidhelm, he held it up and lowered his head.
"You are now my king. My brother has been slain by Nauticus, and his country burned like the rest. His titles are mine, and now my titles are yours. King of the Nördland." Dani looked up at Swidhelm, "Take it my liege."
Swidhelm reached down and took the crown. But before he could speak another man approached. A cane helped him along, his skin was wrinkled and his eyes were tired. His head was bald and spotted. He shakily lowered himself to a kneel before Swidhelm and held up a small golden headband. "This has been worn by the High priests of Hospitalis for thousands of years, and in times of war has been handed to the most competent of kings who Hospitalis swears it's men to in times of war. I do not know you, King Swidhelm the Bastard, but I know of your deeds. And until this war ends, Hospitalis, and all who swear to it's allegiance, are yours. May the gods bring you victory."
Swidhelm reached down and took it as well, placing the two crowns on the arms of the throne behind him. Soon more and more Kings of the North handed him their titles. The King of the Cold Coast, the King of the Earthspine Tunnels, The Lord of Rivers, The Dukes of the Middleland, and the High Chiefs of the Mountains and the Woods. Most all leading titles North of Picten and south of channel of Sverdlovsk, and excluding the Dwarf Kingdoms, were now in Swidhelm's possession. Passed to him by their respectable lords or their representatives. The crowns and pendants now filled the throne chair, and each man was done and returned to their seats. They looked to this tall young man, the new and first King of the Nördland, and waited for some words.
"I thank you." Swidhelm took a breath, "All of you. Never have I been given such a gift. But there is still something I must attend to. Nauticus, has burned our homes. Killed our kin. And means to rule over us like a master over slaves. And though we can hold here, it will not stop him. We can beat Nauticus. But not alone. Even united we are still broken."
"What shall we do then?" Lord Dani asked, a chorus of "Ayes" and cries of questioning were raised in the hall, "How do you intend to beat Westmarch when were are broken?"
Swidhelm swallowed, "I will ride from Cryfder, and raise support for our cause. And when I return I shall have an army of allies at my back with a common cause. To end this war, and Nauticus. And to restore peace to the land. And I will ride alone."
A silent uproar took hold over the hall, "Alone?" Lord Lennox, former King of the Cold Coast asked, ruffling himself uncomfortably in his seashell ornamented armor, " Maybe each of us could lend you a man or two, to protect you on your journey?"
"No." Swidhelm answered, returning silence to the room, "I will do it alone. It may be dangerous but I know the risk. I shall leave at dawn, and will give no notion to where I travel first. Clediff the Scout has led in my place and he shall continue to do so. I trust all of these titles with him."
Another uproar took hold, louder this time. "This is nonsense!" Cried one of the Three Wolves Clan, "You've only just gotten here, and no you're going to leave!?" Silence befell the room once more. Swidhelm glared at the chief.
"Those who wish to leave are free to do so if they do not agree." Swidhelm answered. The chief nodded and sat, and with that Swidhelm returned the nod. "Now, let us drink together!" Swidhelm called out, "To the North!"
The Lords stood and drew their swords, raising them to the sky, "To the North!" They echoed. And then an odd chorus of different chants entered the harmony.
"To the North!"
"To the Bastard!"
"Death to Westmarch!"
"Death to Nauticus!"
"Death to Evette!"
And that last cry echoed in Swidhelm's ears, and rattled his spine. "Death to Evette! Death to Evette! Death to Evette!"
"And I'm your regent eh?" Clediff asked saddling a horse for Swidhelm, standing before one of the many tunnels that lead out of the fortress, "What if the lords get rowdy, try and take all those titles you left sittin' on dat chair."
"Do whatever it takes to keep the peace my friend." Swidhelm answered climbing atop the tall stead, "Just try and keep some of them alive if they do."
They shared a light laugh together. Then Clediff looked to him, before setting him off. "Are you sure it's a good idea to be leaving us in such a way, m'lord?"
"Not really, but you know I can't stand royal courts, and now I'm the head of one. It's a bit to swallow." Clediff nodded, but then Swidhelm remembered something, "Here..." he said, drawing his sword, "It's my father's. Put it somewhere safe for me for when I return."
Clediff nodded and gave Swidhelm his sword in exchange. It was nearly the same size as his fathers, and fit nicely in his sheath. Smiling he leaned over and grabbed a spear from a rack on an adjacent wall and looked to Clediff one last time.
"Farewell my friend, I'll be counting on you to keep my kingdom intact."
"And I'll be counting on you, m'lord." Clediff answered with a smile and wave, "Now off with you!"
Swidhelm took off, at full gallop down the tunnel. Torches whizzing by as the air grew fresher and fresher, a small white light bouncing in the distance. "Dust" the horse under him was still gaining speed, it's breath clouding in the cold air until finally they emerged from the tunnel, and sped down a small dirt trail. Flicking up his hood, Swidhelm stole glances at the landscape around him, but he set his eyes on what he was after. A distinct mountain, which he had seen in his dreams and now only called for him louder.
After a long ride, Swidhelm arrived at a small trail at the base of the mountain, leading upwards. Taking a swig of water, he prepared Dust for the climb when he heard another horse gallop up behind. Swinging his horse around, he watched as another figure pulled up behind him.
"Hey! Funny seeing you here." A familiar voice sounded, the stranger pulled down their hood and revealed herself. A wide smile across her face Ranger sat some space apart from Swidhelm, ", What are you up to?"
"If I remember correctly, I announced I'd be doing this alone." Swidhelm answered pulling down his hood, looking back up the mountain, "I'm guessing you followed me?"
"Yes I most certainly did." She answered riding closer, "You don't think you can do this alone do you?"
"Hmm." Swidhelm answered, and Ranger echoed it in agreement. Both looking at the path they were about to follow.
Tying their horses there, they began there ascent, the wind biting hard as they climbed. Soon they came upon footprints, lightly dusted over by snow. Following the tracks carefully, they stumbled upon the entrance of a cave. Quickly the duo stepped within the shelter of the cafe to escape the howling wind, and the source of these tracks.
Re: Unlikely Heroes: Content
Posted: Mon May 13, 2013 7:43 pm
Thunder clashed against the Earth. The ground cracked with energy, demolishing the countless fodder of men on it. Brave horsemen galloped towards each other, their lances plunging deep into each other. Men died left and right as the very forces of Nature seemed to turn against them.
Above the carnage, a larger than life man appeared through the dark clouds, lightning surrounding him. With a thrust of his arm, a storm of death fell onto a horde of oncoming men, their limp, dead bodies cast aside like ragdolls.
The sound of thunder jolted Calcifer from his slumber. The rapid and sharp downpour of rain hinted that a storm was on its way. Calcifer rolled over, his clothes soaked with what he hoped was only water.
Something sharp dug into his thigh and he was forced to awake to pull it out. Calcifer opened his eyes to find himself entrenched in a ditch, the ground muddy and dead. He groaned in pain as he pulled his knife out of his leg. He observed the knife, finding that it was covered in blood. He lazily tossed it to the side and went limp once more.
The smacks from raindrops on his face kept him from returning to his sleep. He had no idea where he was or what had happened before he got where he was. He could find no energy in his body to move, let alone get out from under the rain clouds. He just lay there, accepting the pain that was soon to come.
Bong........... Bong............. Bong…………
The sound of church bells vibrated through his corpse, rejuvenating his system. A town must be nearby. With a great burst of energy, Calcifer hauled himself off the muddy ground and pulled himself up against the side of the ditch. He grasped the knife and stuff it into his still intact sack of food. His quiver still rested on his back, and his bow was hid in the mud nearby. Calcifer heaved himself off the ground, his thighs burning in pain. Slowly, he bent down to pull the bow out by it’s tip. The touchdown of lightning right outside the ditch flew him a few feet back, up against the side. With great urgency, Calcifer yanked the bow up and climbed up out of the ditch.
Calcifer looked frantically for the source of the bells. From a distance he saw a pillow of smoke, perhaps of a chimney. He tightened the sack and quiver and grasped his bow firmly and began, at first a slight trot and then a full on sprint, towards the smoke screen.
After 100 meters Calcifer was at a slow jog. The only motivation he had was to hide from the storm. Rain showered down upon him now, and thunder was more common. Calcifer jumped into a small patch of trees and his under a leafy branch.
Calcifer looked up and nearly fainted. The clouds were parting, revealing a gleaming crescent moon. The hairs on Calcifer’s back stiffened and goosebumps scurried all over his body. His transformation would begin soon.
Calcifer knew that his Lycan form would not be remarkable with a crescent moon. He would have almost complete control over himself. However, he couldn’t walk around with a quiver on his back and clothes on. Calcifer gulped, fear of cold, as he began undressing. He stuffed his clothes into his now bulging sac and slipped in what few arrows he could. The quiver he’d have to leave behind. He grasped the sack in one hand and the bow in the other and he began to take a few steps into the moonlight.
Lightning struck the tree he was leaning on not a moment earlier, sending him yards away. He dropped his bow and sack, just as the transformation began. It was more painful than he ever remembered. His lack of strength and energy attributed to his pain. Slowly, a tail stemmed out from his back. His mouth edged forward and his nails extended. His ears stretched and his back bent. He was leaning over on the ground, panting heavily for a few moments. Then, as if with new energy, he stood up. His sleek black wolf form glistened in the moonlight. His bright teeth curled into a smile; he knew he would survive the night. Regaining self-control, the Lycan scampered over to his sack and bow and bolted off towards the smoke.
Re: Unlikely Heroes: Content
Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:29 am
<<What in the seven ungodly hells is THAT!?>>
Huor drew and knocked an arrow. Irandirel looked at him, wide-eyed. <<No! Stop that. We don’t know if it’s hostile.>> She placed a hand on his bow and lowered it for him.
Glain’s malformed hand went to the haft of his knife, keeping his eyes on the pair of earth-walkers.
Iri held her hands open in front of her. “ We mean no harm. Do you speak Allevian?” Huor kept the bow pointed towards the ground, but watched the creature with narrow eyes.
Glain kept his eyes watching the two strange creatures, the voices echoing his own apprehension. He slowly lifted his hand from the knife, the two almost prostrating themselves before them.
“No?” She frowned. <<What then?>> Huor glanced back at her. <<There’s no value in trying to speak to it. It’s merely an animal, nothing more.>> Irandirel didn’t respond, merely pursed her lips and looked around the cave. Hidden in the dank shadows to the side sat a burned-out torch from some previous expedition. She picked it up and crouched, trying to draw a crude bell with the charcoal. “Have you heard this?” she asked the land-whale.
Glain nodded his head, recognizing the shape of it from the Sagas of his childhood, of towns signalling the coming of the Raiders with the Brass Object.
<<See? He’s one of us.>> Huor merely glared at her. She drew a few trees and gestured to herself. “We came from the forests” she narrated as she scratched an arrow. Irandirel flipped over the torch and held it towards the creature. “And you?”
Glain gingerly took the torch, and sketched the waves. He drew a similar arrow starting from beneath the waves, connecting it to the mountain.
Huor nudged her. <<Someone’s coming.>> He turned around and aimed towards the entrance of the cave, stepping softly to the side. Irandirel looked at the cave opening, and barely made out a pair of silhouettes in the glare of the midday sun. She slowly stood up and backed up to the other side. Glain drew his knife, adopting a defensive stance.