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Book One - The Elven March to Westgale

Written by Wilhelm - Page 11 of Book 1

Wilhelm looked up from the courtyard as he clearly heard Mavigan's shrieks. "Ah well," he said to himself, "perhaps she isn't ready for mourning clothes yet. It just so happened that the mourning dress could be made the fastest. At least the seamstress should be delivering the riding dress shortly, along with Mavigan's cleaned and repaired clothing, and consulting with Mavigan on party and formal outfits. Mavigan would have her say on the colors and designs of those." Wilhelm smiled. "At least Mavigan is showing some spirit again, instead of silence! Poor Alaric, that will teach him to sleep late." Wilhelm chuckled.

Written by Vylia

Keeryn looks up at the castle as she hears shouting. After hearing Wilhelm's explanation she giggles a bit. "She screams pretty loud for someone so small. Who is Alaric by the way? And why does she need different clothes for riding? What's the point of clothes that can't be worn anywhere? Waste of materials." Scratches her head behind her ears as she tries to think through what Wilhelm just said.

Written by Archeantus

The forest yielded only small patches of morning light to sift through to the forest floor.

Jasmine awoke early, ever so slowly. Like a panther she meticulously rose from her leafy bed, and gradually, quickly, she looked to see if any were awake. Her only concern was the hooded man, in the elven cloak. So strange, almost alien. She thought to herself. She didn’t want any part of his plans. Yet why was she here? Why had she agreed to become one of his followers? Why did she kill? She hated herself for what she was, and how her blackened heart pumped the dark red vengeance throughout her veins. If she followed this path, in the end, she would not be able to contain herself. She would kill uninhibited, unrestrained, she would fall and the entire world would spit on her grave.

Like soft darkened amber, her legs moved forward, the morning mist concealing most of the slumbering rogues, leaving her little reaction time. She had to escape; the faintest hope still glittered within her. This, the smallest of stars, had imbedded itself deep into her murky soul. It was a memory, and one she could not kill, no matter the shadow that deepened within her.

The expansiveness of the sheer size of the forest unnerved her. The towering oaks all seemed to be looking down on her with pity, so full of life, and she, full of death. All at once she was a small little girl again, sweet, innocent, pure. And all at once she screamed silently at the ravaging thought that she has caused this tragedy.

No! She thought bitterly. I didn’t create my vengeance. It was handed to me, like a dagger to my innocent heart. I must survive, everything depends on my survival.

She was a soul within a soul…

Suddenly a flock of white birds erupted nearby. A shock shot down her spine and she quickly looked down to see Gadianton’s dark eyes glaring at her.

“Tsk tsk.”

The mage suddenly arose from the mist, his almond shaped eyes outlined with power. His slender hand motioned toward her and suddenly her own hand acted on its own accord!

Then her arm slowly reached for her dagger in its sheath. Taking it now, it turned its point inward toward her neck. She couldn’t believe what was happening, her free arm grabbed her own wrist and tried to stop it.

Gadianton stood resolutely.

“We’ve entered your mind and know the struggle you make to live. We also know of your obsession to satisfy your desire to kill. I can say the word now, and it will all end. Or you may give in to your lust for blood, and walk the fine line of hope.” He said, appearing to be dark and powerful.

She continued to fight, but her heart served two masters, it was impossible to win.

“How can one so beautiful fall so far from its loft, where it is admired and loved?” Gadianton questioned clandestinely.

She didn’t answer, for she hated the question.

“You were pushed.” He whispered slowly. “Pushed.” He said again.

She shook her head and lowered her free arm.

Hope? She asked herself. What is hope?

The dagger fell to the forest floor, and the mage’s hand slowly lowered.

She stooped down and lifted the dagger back of her own free will.

Looking at it oddly, she then sheathed it back to its home.

Gadianton walked by her and mounted his steed.

She followed without thinking; walking down the path she knew would destroy her.

Vermigard awoke suddenly to his companions atop their horses.

“We ride bounty hunter; we shall reach the citadel by nightfall.” Gadianton said, veering his horse around.

They soon rode off, hard toward the rising sun.

As the ground passed by beneath them, Jasmine knew, her chances of escape dwindled the further she went . . .

Written by Wilhelm

Wilhelm turned to Feramus. "It seems the young Queen is awake. I must go make some arrangements. I suspect Queen Mavigan might want a morning ride. Could you please tell the stables to ready my two horses, and also alert the guards that I may be taking her riding and that we will need to be wary of assassins from Beridane attempting to sneak into the fortress or lurk just outside. Take Keeyryn with you, so she can see some more of this fine citadel. You can tell her about life in the citadel."

With that he hurried off, and arrived at the Seamstress. "Queen Mavigan is awake," he said, "and does not seem to be in the mood for mourning dress. Perhaps later she will realize that a mourning dress is a type of light armor, since Official Mourning provides a year's protection against the hordes of noble suitors likely to descend upon her soon. Please take her the new riding dress, if it is ready, and her cleaned and repaired clothing, as she will want a choice of clothing. This might be a good time to go over plans for party and formal clothing, as she loves to dance and the sight of pretty fabric may improve her mood. You may tell her that I would be happy to take her out riding after you are finished. Here is some coin to cover the expenses." He handed her a jingling pouch, and she assured him that the simple but pretty riding dress was even now being finished and that the traveling clothes were cleaned and ready.

Wilhelm then left to go consult with Ithramir concerning the fact that Mavigan had recovered from her withdrawal, and was not in official mourning. She would likely benefit from activity, and would need to be protected from any assassins that Beridane may send. Those assassins might well have the use of magic to aid them, as well as stealth. As Mavigan's secret Champion and Protector, quietly sworn as such at her birth, it was his duty to ensure her personal safety against all possible dangers. Wilhelm suspected that that was going to keep him very busy!

Written by Vylia

As Keeryn registers that Wilhelm had left her, and what he said an annoyed look appears on her face, "But I don't want to see more flat stone..." With that she drops down from the tree to look Feramas in the eyes. "I don't suppose you could convince them to let me go out when Wilhelm and Mavigan go, please?"

Written by Aethelwulf

Grinning as he rubbed his now very tender jaw, Alaric slowly sat up, and watched the retreating form of his charge. She was a handful to be certain, full of the vim and vigor of the young. Sighing, he leapt to his feet, and with a glare at the guards, who hurriedly averted thir gaze, he walked down the hall after the young Queen. Pausing briefly at her door, he gently rapped against the solid oaken door.

"Mavigan, I would like to speak with you for a moment, if I may"

Written by Feldspar

Somewhat startled by the sudden appearance of Keeryn, Feramas had to relax his muscles. Then he smiled.

"I'll see what I can do, though, you and Wilhem seem to be quite friendly." Feramas told her, "but, the problem is that Lady Mavigan will be with him, and i'm afraid I dont think everyone trusts you just yet."

She frowned at this, but he decided to change the subject.

Written by Vylia

Keeryn frowns at Feramas in response to his statement about not being trusted, but decides arguing wouldn't help her situation any.

"Your name is Keeryn, is it not?" He asked her. "You dont seem like a native of this land, not that I am, I came here by ship, from the Elven lands."

"I don't know how I ended up here honestly. All I remember is a large ball of flame heading toward my village, then everything went white and I was in the forest where I ran into your kind. I had been there for several weeks without running into anyone, so I assumed I was dead and in Heaven. The forests here really are nice, and very different from what I am used to. The trees where I come from are so large that it would take 10 of my people holding hands to circle some of them, and they are incredibly tall with vines hanging from some of the larget branches."

"As far as the humans, I had only met one before I encountered the ones in the village where we found Mavigan. He was an evil man, though we thought well of him at first. He showed us many incredible things, ways to make our lives easier, in exchange for knowledge of where to find some of the shiny stones we had on our island." She stops, thinking for a moment, "Something he called... gold and silfur... I think. We grew to trust him, eventually learned his language. He was very kind for several years. I was only 16 when he first arrived. But then a few months ago he suddenly changed, at first he only told us to leave his tower, but then he started to lay traps, both physical and magical, in the area near it, killing many of my people who used that area to hunt. One day we were awakened by what appeared to be the sun shining in the sky at night, and when I walked outside there was that large ball of fire."

"I guess that would make me the last of my people, since we only existed on that island in that one village, at least to our knowledge. Maybe others ended up in strange places as well, but I've never seen or heard anything about them." Keeryn scrunches her face up for a moment, "What a sad topic... what's your homeland like?"

Written by Ariana

Mavigan looked up from her breakfast as she heard the timid knock on her door. Her eyes narrowed a bit, as if she could see through the door to the person on the other side.

The plaintive request floated to her ears and Mavigan swallowed her biscuit. She supposed she could be a little charitable to the poor wretch. After all, it wasn't his fault he was annoying. She was quite sure he was born that way.

She rose from her chair and walked to the door. Opening it wide, she faced Alaric and glared, gesturing him inside with a curt motion of her hand. Once he was through the door, she slammed it shut.

"What?"

Written by Aethelwulf

With a great deal of effort, Alaric suppressed his first urge to take the young lass across his knee, and give her a good spanking. No. He was here for something else entirely.

"Mavigan, please allow me to speak without too much drama!"

Pulling up a chair, Alaric set down, and looking the young Queen in the eye, he spoke frankly.

"Button, I know that this is a horrid time for you. Your family...your father...," unexpected tears welled up in Alarics eyes, as he felt his throat tighten, "it would be a heavy burden for anyone, much less one who was so used to being free. And now....well....now your path is seemingly marked for you. What I want you to know, is that with the same oath that I swore to your father when I pledged my life to his service, I now pledge my service to you. I am here to help you in any way that I can, and will give my life in your defense if need be."

Written by Teran

Teran spent the next two days mapping the catacombs under the fortress, memorizing the layout should he need to escape through or hide within in the future. He gathered information and resources, and soon Teran was venturing into the fortress at night, mapping it out, getting to know it. Elves were the masters of the forests... but within cities and fortification, Teran was the master. He remained un-detected while creating a beleivable disguise, not that he intended to be seen in the first place, but it was a necessary precaution.

Soon he had located Mavigan, and her retinue, and all he could do from then on was wait, and remain vigilant.

Written by Varg

"Why this place? Why now? What is the purpose?"

I have spent my whole life exacting justice on those of evil. My life's work has filled my bag with riches, why am I being drawn to this place? Why is the name Mavigan filling my head so? I have scouted this place and have seen no signs of evil-doings here. I know there are god-type beings, but I have never bothered with such things. So, why does it seem these "god's" are bothering with me now? Am I to learn my purpose and past here? Is this one of the keys to unlocking who or what I am?

Varg mounts up on Belenus, and starts to make his way towards the gates. "Guess there is no time like the present (sigh). Come on Belenus, lets see what our future holds for us now."

As he makes his way towards the gates he notices two guards slowly moving in his direction. Varg slows Belenus down to a walk, and rides up to the guards.

"State your business."

"I am hear to request an audience with Mavigan."

"Who are you to request an audience with the Queen?"

"My business is my own to discuss with the apropriate individuals. No disrespect, but if you do not mind may I speak with someone of charge? I will wait here for whomever that may be. I do not expect shelter, as I know these are troubled and untrusting times."

Wow, I must be losing my touch. I know I did not scout the area long, but how did I miss the fact that she was the Queen?

Varg sits on Belenus while one of the guards heads back to make the request. The other guard has waited behind, eyeing the visitor suspiciously. The guard is smart enough to know not to mess with him though, after sizing him up he has seen he would be no match for Varg.

Written by Wilhelm

Wilhelm left Ithramir's suite, having concluded their discussion on Mavigan's security, her need for activity and training, and the likelihood that assassins were on the way, now that Mavigan's existence was known, and most likely her present location as well. This was complicated by the fact that Mavigan's supporters were also going to be coming here, and they were definitely needed, which left the problem of telling supporters from enemies. Wilhelm was happy to leave such securtity matters in Ithramir's hands, as he was the Commander of this fortress. Wilhelm chuckled to himself. "I'm going to be busy enough just dealing with Mavigan" he thought.

Wilhelm went down to the Armory to check on the progress of the horse archer armor he had requested for Mavigan, and was pleased to learn that they had cloth versions ready for fitting, from which they would make the actual light armor, which would be designed to be worn under a riding outfit. The female Armorer would go herself to Mavigan for the fitting and design discussion, as well as a discussion on archery equipment or any other weapons Mavigan wished to learn.

Passsing by the gate, he saw that a possible supporter had already arrived. Taking note of the mounted man's appearance, Wilhelm decided to go up to see Mavigan and Alaric and let them know of the arrival.

Written by Turin Wallace

After his meeting with Wilhelm, Ithramir talks to one of his engineers about the state of affairs at the citadel.

"How do we stand for room in this place?"

Vomir, the head engineer responds,

"I assume you mean how many more people can we hold?"

Ithramir responds,

"Yes."

Vomir responds,

"If we clear some of the older, rarely used structures we can gain room for about five-thousand more. We would be hard pressed to add more."

Ithramir,

"I noticed our river entrance is undefended except for a half-decayed iron gate. Could we..."

Vomir,

"Build an addition to fortify that point? Yes, it can be done."

Ithramir,

"How long?"

Vomir,

"With the materials, I would say in about six months we could have a large structure there. We need stone and lumber, plenty of it is available if we can get the people to gather it."

Ithramir,

"Then I leave you in charge. I want that structure able to house a good few hundred troops. Do not disappoint me."

Dismissing Vomir, Ithramir call for his lead armorer and weaponsmith. Upon arrival, he says to them,

"I know our stocks are low on new weapons and armor. We will soon have many people flocking here to join our allied banner and they will need weapons and armor. I want our forges from this point onward to not cease in making what we need. Our stocks of ore and wood are in abundance, use them up. I want you to start immediately."

Dismissing the elves, Ithramir then gets up to take a walk to clear his mind. Before getting too far, a guard runs up asking about a visitor at the gate asking for entrance to see Mavigan. Ithramir tells him to seek out Wilhelm, as it is he who is in charge of her safety.

"If Wilhelm allows the person in, we will accept them. Now go."

Now alone, Ithramir walks alone to a balcony overlooking the Citadel. Breathing deeply, he looks at the setting before him and he notes the peaceful atmosphere surrounding the Citadel. He knew war was now inevitable. Mavigan may think she knows the path she is on, but she has no idea what awaits her. The weight Ithramir now feels is nearly crushing. He has committed them to a two-front war, and if either front collapses there will be nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. The Orcs to the south and Beridaine to north. Dropping to his knees, he bends his head and says,

"Avandor ah Kaia'hanas beria min."

Written by Pharsalus

An ill rain fell on the city of Ancora and her beleaguered residents. From the urchin-infested docks to the flea-infested slums clouds of fog moved as phantoms, penetrating anything they touched with a cold, grimey dank. It was a sad sight for one who had seen the city in a more glorious state. His thoughts drifted back to younger, more carefree days when he longed to visit Ancora with his father. Geirik stood alone in the middle of a narrow alley that separated a phycisian's office and a stable. He had since purchased a hat to help keep out the rain, treated leather with a broad, circular rim. With his head angled low, one of equivalent height could only see his mouth and chin.

The Bounty Hunter began moving through the alley, feet sploshing and splorking in the rainwashed earth. It had been almost two weeks since he'd heard anything of the whereabouts of the young heiress. He had expended all known resources in hopes of netting any usefull information that may have been floating in the air of the underworld. It was like catching dandelion seeds in a wind storm -- the brothels, Thieves' guilds, and "Protection Agencies" were abuzz with rumors of a coming war between the forces of the new King and the Elves. Of which elves he was still unsure, but the mounting forces that touched down in Ancora's docks every day was tell-tale of impending conflict.

Geirik left the alley and began west down one of Ancora's main thoroughfares -- even it sat, for the most part, silent and destitute of life. As he walked, Geirik noted the bums on the north and south sides of the street, grabbing the occaisional passer-by by the arm and begging for alms. None approached Geirik. As if walking through vabor, men and women parted and scattered in Geirik's wake -- the old man could only maintain his typical cool. He knew his curse. No man would in his right mind beg Death's Harbringer for spare coin.

Perhaps there are advantages to this curse, Geirik thought sarcastically. His eyes were keened and alert for the slightest disturbance, his ears perked for any passing whispers of the Princess's whereabouts. Nothing -- nothing at all. Only rain's murmur could be heard, penetrated only by the occaisional hacking and coughing of a drunken fool.

Geirik continued to walk, mulling over his options, replaying every detail and conversation. Nothing leapt out at him; nothing stood in contrast from anything else. Beneath his darkly calm exterior, Geirik's mind raced and seethed as he fought to maintain focus through the whisperings of his dark stowaway.

Geeeiiiriikkk....

The bounty hunter ignored the calling and jeering and laughing of his counterpart. He focused on walking, listening, watching. He focused on all things material -- the child's cry for his mother's touch, the tavern's lights, the pitter-patter of rain on the street. He had to continue on.

As his thoughts drifted this way and that, the jeering whispers in his mind erupted into squeals and distant, thundering echoes. The sudden force of it made Geirik stagger, gripping his ears as if the pain which he now experienced came from the cold, wet world without. His vision blurred and skin tingled -- there was dark power being used. What he now experienced was the restless cries of the damned as their world suddenly became some mortal's plaything. All Geirik could feel was anger, confusion, rage, HATRED for the mortal realm. His vision suddenly became not his own. He saw several cloaked figures -- the whistling echoes continued to burn and crackle in his ears. A woman....cries of agony...cold.....then silence.

As quickly as it had come, the episode ended, and Geirik stood beneath the covered walk of a local baker clenching his hands against the side of his head. The murmuring rain was all that existed to greet him as he came out of his hypnotic state.

Magic.....Death's magic...but where? he thought to himself, almost paniced. In all his years, he had never quite perfected his apparent sensitivity to Necromantic "pulses." He realized he was suddenly sweating as he lowered his hands and regained composure. His eyes, as if by reflex, looked to the Northern sky.

Gooooo to it. You feel it...do you not? A hiss blew through his mind with chilling clarity.

My world... the voice, continued. It seemed to wheeze, as if fatigued, "...is not for mortal tampering. You men are fools to think you've the deft.... It wheezed again, ...and skill to enter this realm! There was a slight pause. Then, as if the last gust of a dying storm, the whisper finished...

Fools must be taught...

Geirik could not explain what the Liche now experienced. He knew only that the realm of the Dead had been drained of power once again for uses and purposes uknown. Geirik startled as he realized he had felt something he never thought he would: pity. Pity for the thing inside him. Pity for the souls on which the powers of Necromancy fed without their approval or discretion. Geirik turned his gaze back to the direction of the stable. He was faced with options: 1.) to continue his drudgery through the streets of Ancora in hopes of finding intelligence worthy of investigation, or 2.) allow his senses to lead him to the source of whatever dark power he had experienced so vividly only moments ago.

The sun began to set, and Geirik continued to stand motionless, head turned back the way he had just come. He had to decide -- time ticked away with every moment of failing light. After a few moments, he felt his feet begin to move. He almost smiled as he neared a building with warm, glowing windows.

"Ivory Brothers' Stables and Shoe Repair."

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