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Book Two - A Gathering Storm

Written by - Tempyst Page 16 Book 2

Tempyst could barely see anything in the darkness, but as they were still moving fast towards Ithramir, there would not be much to look at anyways. She felt a bit weary, but knew there would be plenty of time to rest after they achieved their goal. She sent out the whispers to the horses, strengthening their tired legs and refreshing their lungs. They had made up some time by taking a shortcut, though it took a little reassurance on her part that the way would be clear. She had noticed something strange then, while talking Erunno, her pendant, the one Wilhelm blessed, grew warm and as soon as its warth could be felt, Erunno seemed more at ease and was ready to give the shortcut a try.

As she looked over at her husband, her heart swelled with love and pride. But she was worried about him too, though they had not been together long, she could sense his doubts and worries. She closed her eyes, giving total trust in her horse, knowing the beast would not falter. She reached out with her heart, her soul, and found Lucant's. The Elder druid said, eventually they would be able to communicate as A'lanthear does with them, and she hoped it would happen soon. She sent to her soul bounded all her strength, all support, whispering to him words of love and encouragement.

He will hear you soon Mistress, keep trying. The task ahead will the most trying of your lives. No matter what happens, never give up.

No matter what happens, A'lanthear what do you know? But the sword was silent. She let out a heavy sigh and as was her nature, put the worry from her mind, trusting in Nyrondis, A'lanthear and her husband that all would turn out as intended.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

The trade winds blew furiously and whipped up the salty sea air as the dockworkers labored in the sweltering heat to unload the ships that docked. "If you all want to see your homes tonight, I'd hurry up!" the overseer barked, "Lord Beridane will not tolerate tardiness in these shipments!" The dockworkers remained at their steady pace under the overseer's oppresive eye.

"Hey Leov? What do you think is in these crates anyways? And why couldn't they just send them straight to Westgale from an overland route? I mean, it's got to be a whole bunch more time-consuming and expensive to ship them all the way out here to little old Kassal from Ironskane and then turn around and ship them to Westgale," a man with short blonde hair rambled. "Glen... shut up. I'd rather not know, and I'm sure they have their reasons." the man called Leov responded as he picked up one end of a massive crate. "Well whatever it is, it sure is heavy," Glen said with a grunt as he and Leov proceeded to load the crates onto the Iron Hand.

After everything had been loaded and the workers dismissed, the pair walked down to the local tavern. Along the way, Leov couldn't help but notice the squalor that consumed the small town. Kassal had been a rather well-to-do town back during Pallanon's rule; it had flourished thanks to the numerous trade routes and a rich fishing industry. Everything changed when Beridane usurped the throne, though. Trade was taxed to the hilt to help support the war machine he was building against his niece and the seas were overfished to feed the ever increasing army. "How could he do that to his own niece?" Leov thought to himself as his mind wandered to thoughts of his own little niece - Glen's daughter.

As the two entered the tavern, they were greated by the sight of all the normal patrons staring at an old, sweaty, fat man standing on a table preaching for a rebellion against Beridane. "By Tinorb, not another one... I suppose the gates'll have a new ornament in the morning." Glen mused out loud. "When are they going to learn that just talking about it gets them nowhere but the chopping block?" Leov couldn't hear his words or what the fat man was saying over the cheering of the drunken masses, though. The two went over to the bar and shared a toast to Pallanon's memory before heading home.

Outside, before the two parted, Glen spoke up: "You oughta come visit us some time, we could go fishing, or something. Naria's worried about you and I'm sure Sloan would happy to see her uncle again." Leov ignored the suggestion: "Give Sloan and big sister my love. I guess I'll see you tomorrow, then." He shook Glen's hand and gave him a half-hearted punch in the shoulder before taking off down the dusty cobblestone street in the setting sun.

When Leov finally reached his hovel on the outskirts of town, he was annoyed to see a pair of cats - one with fur as white as snow and the other as dark as the midnight sky - sitting on his window sill. He picked up a small rock and tossed it towards the cats, who watched it sail effortlessly past them. Getting the message, the cats jumped down and scampered off down the street. Leov entered his poor home and sat down in a driftwood chair as old as he was. He leaned back against the wall, closed his eyes and said to himself: "Just talking about it will get them nowhere..."

Written by - Archeantus

Teran entered the room at the exact time Jasmine placed the rose back in its vase.

Another pain throbbed in her wrist. She could feel it spreading. It was a cankerous venom, and it slowly coursed her veins. Looking up at Teran, not hearing the question she knew he asked, she instead wondered if her life was worth the effort. For that, was truly the question. What did she owe anyone to go and seek out a fool’s justice? Did she want revenge for what they did to her? Why did they do what they did, and plan as they planned? Would she rather die here, or out confronting the twisting visage of the serpent mage who had bitten her? She knew the answer to the last question before she had asked it. The rest remained unanswered.

Teran looked at her perceptively, allowing her the time to respond. She knew he, by virtue of the underground assassination stories she’d heard, had a God’s patience. And so she took her time to answer, coming to terms with the small speck of faith, an ember of hope, in her desire to go down the path he wanted to walk. She looked at the red rose again, turning from him. She knew it’s time was short, it would not last a week, even with help. It would one day wither and die. But such beauty and meaning it held during its small life…she closed her eyes and let out a pained sigh.

“If I live to do it, I will help you find him.”

As the words pressed through her lips, the small ember of hope flared within.

Written by - Turin Wallace

Dawn came soon enough to Minas Aure. All through the night one could hear the whistles of arrows and bolts firing off into the air, then just as suddenly you could hear a grunt or groan, or simply a cracking sound as the missile would splinter against the hard stone street or walls. Orcs were known to be horrid shots, they preferred close quarter fighting, but it only take one shot to fell a person. Ithramir was happy to learn that only a few casualties were sustained during the night skirmishes and that none had died.

Gripping his sword, Urugdanir, and a shield he makes his way to the center gate. Placing his rangers on the walls to give his troops cover as they cross into the second level, he checks his armor and weapons one last time and looks back to those assembled with him. In his mind, he knows the Orc defenders will be doing all they can to repel them. He spots Ardwen walking, or rather pushing his way to the front, his black armor easily noticeable amongst the other soldiers. Once he gets close enough, Ithramir says,

“Ardwen, join us to be the first into the enemy. You fought well yesterday, you have much skill, and a fellow elf is always welcome to fight with me.”

As he waits for Ardwen to move closer, he turns to Isuiln, Diosr, and Alaric saying,

“Remember the plan, and be ready to fight hard today. I wish you both Avandor’s blessings and luck in battle. If all goes well, we shall take the city today and have a place to rest and re-supply for the liberation on Minas Uile.”

Once Ardwen joins them, Ithramir motions for the gates to be opened, and yells,

“Follow me!”

As Ithramir and the rest charge into the second circle of the city, the Orcs hiding inside the buildings and narrow streets come out to meet them. Arrows and bolts begin whizzing by the ears of all those embattled. The streets once again carry the sounds of steel clanking and soldiers shouting.

Fighting swiftly, Ithramir and his troops take the center section of the second level. This allows the dwarves to get their battering ram to the last gate, the gate to the third level. As the sturdy dwarves begin pounding the gate, he looks back to see the humans under Alaric fanning out on both sides, fighting hard to take the entire second circle. Moving to help consolidate, Ithramir and his elves begin making there way through the side alleys to clear any houses or buildings that they may find Orcs in.

Kicking down the door to each building in turn, each group of soldiers find small packs of Orcs who were concealed and waiting to strike in the back of their forces. Opening the door to one building, a defaced shrine to Avandor, Ithramir ducks as an arrow comes flying through. It hits the soldier behind him in the chest. With a leap, he jumps into the building shield first, only to have it bashed away by a large axe wielding Orc. However, the Orc over-extended a little too much, and Ithramir used the seconds the Orc lost by removing its head. Looking forward he watches as the Orc archer releases another shot, barely moving away just in time as the arrow cuts his neck and embeds itself into the wooden wall behind him. With a quick throw of his sword, the archer is pierced through, pinning him to the wall.

Quickly, he grabs the axe of the first axe and joins the fray. The human-made one-hander, while crude, is balanced fairly well. Ithramir uses it to hack away at the slowly dwindling pack of Orcs. With one, he buries the axe into its skull, another he removes an arm, then a leg, then a head. Soon, it is all over. Moving to the barely alive archer he pinned to the wall, he looks at the Orc and hears the message it has to give,

“You will all meet your doom very soon. Pray to whatever weak gods you wish, it will change nothing. A time of darkness has arrived…”

As its words ended, the Orc made an ugly distortion of the face that can only be called a smile. Ithramir’s only response was burying the axe directly into the face of the Orc, and then removing his sword from its quivering body.

Just then a runner comes up with the news,

“Milord, the dwarves are about to breach the third gate!”

Leaving orders for two companies of elves to help the humans secure the rest of the second circle, Ithramir heads off to the third gate, and from there the main keep.

Written by - Teran

Teran shrugged. He didn't seem at all concerned with Jasmine's impending doom... It wasn't that he didn't seem to care but that he had supreme confidence that he could delay whatever doom was coming to Jasmine long enough for them to confront her former master(s).

As soon as she was done speaking, Teran handed her a familiar cloak, the one that had been taken from her when she was imprisoned. He handed her the rest of her items, and silently he hoped that Gadianton's pet mage had some sort of tracking magic in place. Just as Jasmine knew of her impending doom if she could not get it cured, Teran wanted Gadianton to know his doom was getting closer.

"We need to leave." he said quietly and left the room, heading for the stables. He had two horses picked out for Jasmine and himself saddled and ready to go.

Written by - Renalis

Crystal had left her horse a few meters away, hidden from view but close enough that she could still get to it quickly. Crystal leaned against the very same tree Mavigan was now settling down against. She could hear the russling of Keeryn climbing the tree and she decided now was the opertune moment.

"I do not think Wilhelm would approve of you leaving like this, " She said in a calm voice with a coy grin on her lips, "But then again, I do not think that anyone would approve of this."

Crystal came around the tree and found one opposite Mavigan to lean against so that she could see the woman talking to her. Crystal now wore a very different outfit. Her armor guised to look like traveling cloths and with a heavy cloak about her shoulders, Crystal drew back the hood and let her Azure hair hang freely.

"Where are we off to anyway?"

Written by - Trinni Shannon

Rising in the early dawn, Trinni slowly gets to her feet. Every muscle hurting, she slowly stretches them all in a well practiced routine. Gathering up her equipment, her sorrow somewhat mollified by a night filled with firing down upon Orc, she makes her way towards an active campfire. Scrounging around for food, she munches silently while staring at the embers.

Yawning, she blinks slowly and rubs her eye with the back of her hand, crumbs spilling as she momentarily forgets about the biscuit she holds. Crouching down, she uses a stick to poke the fire out of lack of anything better to do. Tossing a crumb into the fire, she watches it burn before doing it again and again and again and again... until she runs out of biscuit and realizes (dangit!) that she is still hungry.

Wandering around, most of the army still asleep, she searches for some of her friends. Finding Renalis still asleep, she leans down and pokes his shoulder.

"Sleeeeeepy head. It's time to get up. Wake up! You said we had to rest, and we did. Can we go back out there now? I'm sick of these Orc already and wanna go home. So... the sooner we begin again, the sooner we get to leave... right?"

Looking hopeful, she watches him as he opens his eyes and looks up at her. Completely awake and nearly bursting out of her skin now, she hops from foot to foot in anticipation, her energy bubbling over and threatening to explode upon all those nearby.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

The small squad quickly approached Minas Aure's first gate. "Damn! They've started already," Erruno yelled as he heard the shouts and clashes of battle. The band stopped near a guard post at the junction between the first and second circles. Lucant showed the guards the Royal Pass that Wilhelm had given him and asked where Alaric and Ithramir were. "Lord Aedmon and his troops are securing the second circle. Lord Ithramir is pressing towards the main keep," the guard said with a bit of curiousity in his words. Erunno placed his hand on Lucant's shoulder and said "You two go do what you have to do. The rest of us will join up with Aedmon and help him out. The young couple thanked him for taking them this far and headed out towards the main keep. Erunno hoped he would not regret his decision as he watched them disappear into the battle.

****

Leov awoke - rather ungraciously - when the chair he fallen asleep in slipped out from under him. He stood up slowly, rubbing his neck, and noticed that the sun was already high in the sky. They were back, too. In no mood to deal with his "pets", Leov pressed his face against the window and said in an annoyed voice "Go. Away." The cats looked at him quizically before going about their ways. Leov quickly changed clothes and headed out to the docks.

In no hurry to face another work day, he took his time on the way down and whistled an old tune that his sister had taught him when he was little called "The Mockingbird's Hymn". When he did finally arrive - quite late - the overseer marched over towards him, fully prepared to give him a punishment greater than his crime. When the overseer reached him, a barrel-chested man with skin that had turned the color and consistency of leather and hair that had been bleached white from the sun who had been watching yelled with a voice louder than thunder, "Boss Klein! Did you get everything taken care of?" "Yeah Dom! Everything's been taken care of!" he yelled back, thankful to have such a friend. "And what, pray tell, where you "taking care of", Klein? the overseer hissed. Leov replied off-handedly as he headed over towards Dom: "Nothing that concerns you."

Dom was smiling ear to ear as Leov said thanked him. "Don't worry about it, kid. After everything you've done for us, it's the least I could do to repay you. Besides, it's like you always say: if we don't look out for each other, who will?" Glen, who had been nearby as well, joined the two and filled Leov in on the situation. "Well, there's not much left to do, which why we're working with a skeleton crew this morning. I checked the manifests and the only thing scheduled in the next few days is that merchant ship that's supposed to leave late tomorrow afternoon." Leov sighed and replied, "Tell them not to worry. I'll see if I can scrounge up some work for everybody. In any case, tell them them that once everthing's finished here there's gonna be a round on me at the tavern, that oughta cheer them up a little." The three went about their business and everything was finished in under an hour.

The small group of dockworkers shambled slowly through Kassal's "market" on the way to the tavern. Noticing a crowd gathered around one of the few stalls left, they all instinctively moved in to see what the matter was. A woman screamed from inside the crowd and without thinking, Leov pushed himself through to the center. He saw a soldier standing over a woman who was protecting her daughter with her own body. A few dirty fish lay on the ground beside her. For a split second, he saw Naria and Sloan in place of the strangers. "What the hell's going on here!?" he said, frustrated by the crowd's lack of action. The soldier looked at him and angrily said "This woman stole from Lord Beridane. She shall be punished accordingly." As the soldier drew his sword, Leov heard Dom's voice boom out again "As if Beridane hasn't stolen everything from us!" Shouts of agreement came from the crowd. The soldier payed them no attention and started to raise his sword. The woman began to cry and and pleaded with him "I was only trying to get something to feed my daughter! We're starving to death! Please, please be merciful!" As the soldier lifted his sword up over his head and prepared to deliver the killing blow, Leov moved in closer and placed a firm grip on the man's elbow, forcing him to stay his blow. "Come now, she was just looking out for her daughter. Surely you wouldn't rob this child of her mother, too. I'm more than happy to pay for what she's taken," he said calmly. "Your head can just as easily be lined up next to hers, dog." the soldier warned. Leov could tell that the man was just a thug hiding behind the authority of the military - if Beridane wasn't in power, he would be doing the same thing, only without the uniform. Leov tightened his grip and calmly replied, "I don't believe that you're in any position to not accept my generous offer, soldier," Several members of the crowd moved in around the soldier. "Now you're going to take this money," Leov continued as he placed his coin pouch in the soldier's free hand, "or else we are going to have a problem." Realizing the position he was in, the soldier wrested himself from Leov's grip and pushed his way through the crowd before turning and yelling "You dogs! You'll get what's coming to you soon!"

Leov helped the two to their feet and handed them the fish. "Thank you so very much. Is there anything I can do to repay you?" the mother said, with tears still in her eyes. "Don't worry about it, miss. Besides, if we don't look out for each other, who will?" After the crowd had dispersed, the dockworkers continued walking towards the tavern. Leov finally spoke up: "Well boys, I know I promised you drinks, but..." Before he could say anything else, someone said what they were all thinking "Aw hell, Boss! That was better than any drink!" Leov smiled as they entered the tavern, anyways.

An offical approached the magistrate in his lavishly furnished office with a report he was afraid to give. "M...my Lord, there have been increasing reports of distrubances in the slums recently. Yesterday, there was another rally of pro-rebellion supporters and just earlier today, a soldier attempting to deal with a thief was accosted by a band of thugs and had his life threatened." The magistrate got up from his plush chair and looked out one of the keep's windows towards the slums. "Yes, those curs are getting bolder by the day. Something must be done about that," he paused for a bit, and formulated a plan that would make Beridane proud. "Send the army to deal with them bright and early in the moring. Bright and early... do you understand?" "Yes my lord, I'll send word to the captains right away." the official said before he left the room.

Written by - Vylia

Keeryn was hardly surprised they had been followed, since she had heard the second horse approach. It was the person that showed up that surprised her. "I would be surprised if Wilhelm didn't know, he doesn't strike me as the stupid type. I had actually been expecting the one following us to be him, or someone under his orders. As for approval, I thought Mavigan was the Queen, yes? Whether people approve of her actions or not shouldn't matter. But what about you... what are you doing here exactly?"

Written by - Tempyst

Besides hearing the battle, Tempyst could feel it. She could feel the dying and the pain of all the living creatures. She followed Lucant's, letting him take command and question soldiers about where to find Lord Ithramir. He has to be warned, the monster must be stopped. Her thoughts went back to Lithwyn; she could sens the feelings the elf had for Ithramir, as well as the conflict within her. She hoped for their sake they would not be too late.

She and Lucant rode through streets, she wished she could stop and help all the wounded, but knew her objective was more important. They turned a corner and both horses startled as an orc ran out of a burnt out house. Tempyst's horse reared up as the Orc swung its mace at it, tossing her off onto the street. The orc spun around bringing the mace up to strike at her, but Lucant drew A'lanthear and left from his horse determined to not let his wife be hurt. He slashed at teh orc, cutting a wound deep into his arm, causing the orc to shriek in pain and turn his attention to the bigger threat. The two of them danced in teh street, mace and sword clashing. The orc was bigger than Lucant, but Lucant had more to fight for. Tempyst let out a scream as she saw Lucant stumble and the orc swing the mace down towards his head. But Lucant recovred and swung A'lanthear up and impaled the orc. Blood gushed out of the mortal wound as Lucant removed his sword; the orc fell wide eyes to the ground and let out a final gurgle as he died.

Tempyst rushed to Lucant and held him close, not caring about the blood. Then both of them mounted up again, knowing this day was far from over, they could not let this distract them from their goal. They rode hard, making their way inward, towards the front assault, dodging rubble, and having to stop and fight when needed. Tempyst could see the smoke rising from the fires of the inner city and wondered if the people here would ever be able to get their lives back to normal.

Lucant pulled up and showed his emblem to some guards, then turned and shouted at Tempyst that they were getting closer, but by going in further, they would have to fight their way through. Tempyst nodded, knowing they had no other choice. Together, the two headed into battle.

Written by - Teran

Teran leads Jasmine through the forest towards the spot he had told Mavigan to meet him. As they grew nearer to the spot they could tell someone was already there. The forest seemed to gray and die as they grew nearer, so foul was this beings presence.

It was a humanoid, hunched over a small fire it had made, letting an odd looking spear rest against its shoulder while it warmed itself. Its back was exposed and it wore a loincloth made of some dark gray materials.

"Sabbatine!" Teran calls out sounding happy... the creature turned around and gave Teran a huge smile.

It's obvious now that Sabbatine is some sort of undead creature, though she appears free from decay. Her flesh is pale, blueish even, and her eyes faintly glow yellow in the darkness. Her teeth are pearly white. Her hair hangs down past her shoulders and is a pale blonde. She appears to be 20 years old, but all but the densestof people can sense she is much older after only a moment or two in her presence. She is beautiful if you can get past the whole undead thing.

She surely died at a very young age. She is dressed very scantily (perhaps sylishly for some god-less places), and seems to adore her mysterious spear.

"Teran!" she squeeks, standing up and waving frantically to him "You're late..." she pouts.

"You were early." he retorts "do you have a path for us to follow?"

Sabbatine nodded eagerly and vigorously.

"The artifact... the one that transports people great distances?" she smirked "I thought you said there would be a mage... mages don't need toys like that." she snarles, her eyes gleaming with hatred... she stepped towards Teran menacingly.

"Sabbatine is our mage tracker." Teran said, glancing over at Jasmine.

"I am not a tracker, tracker's find things to find things!" she stabbed at Teran with her wickedly barbed spear, but the assassin did not flinch "I am a hunter, and I eat what find." she offers Teran a perfect smile while eyeing Jasmine.

"Did you bring her... for me?" Sabbatine asked hopefully.

"I think Jasmine here might be too much for you to handle. She is my ally. As are the other two who are on their way." Teran states very clearly for the crazed Sabbatine.

Sabbatine grumbles and goes back to her little fire.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

The sky was still dark when the "army" entered the slum district; only the first hints of a red sunrise were beginning to shine through the darkness. Two of the magistrate's soldiers burst through Leov's door and proceed to drag him from the bed. Even though he was still half-asleep, Leov knew what was going on - retaliation for the events earlier. One of the captains appeared in his doorway and haughtily gave him his sentence. "Leov Klein, for acts of open rebellion against His Majesty, King Beridane, including assaulting a soldier of the crown, aiding a criminal, and high treason, you are hereby sentenced to public execution at sunset by order of the magistrate." Leov remained silent as the soldiers dragged him through the dusty city streets to the stockades at the town square. When the captain had secured his prisoner in the stockades, he knelt down and whispered, "It should be starting soon. See what your boldness gets you, dog." When he saw the fires start in the slum disrict, his heart shattered.

Later on in the morning, the dockworkers staged their own rebellion. The dockworkers crowded around Glen, demanding answers on where their foreman was or if he was even still alive. After calming everyone down, Glen spoke: "I've got a good idea of what they've done with him... whether he's alive or not depends on how fast we are." There was no question with the dockworkers on what their course of action was. As they stormed their way towards the town center, Glen was surprised by the lack of soldiers present. Only when they reached the stockades did they find a small garrison, which was quickly dealt with. After regaining his freedom and thanking his friends, Leov consulted with the men who would face death with him: "Guys... you know that this is it, right? You know that we'll all have prices on our heads now." Dom spoke for everyone when he said: "Boss, we've always trusted you. Whatever you do, wherever you go, you'll never get rid of us." An ear-shattering shout of agreement rang throughout the square. Leov, though still heartbroken over the consequences of his past actions, smiled as pondered on what to do next; it was only a matter of time before the army returned and the seas were blockaded. "We have to leave Kassal," he said at last, " because if we take anymore action here, the people will only suffer greater. I want to free Kassal as much you all do, but it simply cannot be done right now. Those of you with families, get them down to the docks if they wish to come. Everyone else come down to the docks with me and let's get that ship ready to leave." After they had all left, Leov asked himself "Am I doing the right thing?" "You're doing all you can to protect the people you love, kid. I'll leave it at that. Now come on, we've got to get ready," Dom answered.

It was midday before the ship was ready to launch and the shouts and clamor of the magistrate's personal army of brigands had been getting closer all day. At final count, the crew numbered at just over one hundered twenty, including women and children. As Leov watched the final few board, he was thankful that he had yet to see Naria and get the inevitable lecture that he had coming, even though he knew she would find him eventually. Turning up the gangplank and following Dom as the last to board, Leov couldn't help but laugh when he noticed the ship's name: Tiertiala's Grace. When everyone had gotten settled, Leov began barking orders to depart as easily as any other pirate captain. Fully underway, Leov stood at the rear of the ship and watched as his beloved Kassal faded off into the horizon. "I'll be back someday..." he promised himself. He would have stood there and stared off into the distance the remainder of the day had it not been for one little shining ray of light to rouse him from his reverie: "There you are Uncle! Look, I found kitties!"

Written by - Tempyst

Kaya opened her eyes, the pain in the back of her head still making her see stars. The last thing she remembered, she was in the wagon with children, the wagon stopped and an orc came up and smacked her on the head with something heavy. She blinked, the stars slowly fading and looked around. She was no longer in the wagon, in fact, it appeared she was in a holding cell of some sorts. She could hear the sound of battle outside; one could not mistake the sounds of death even through a thick stone wall. Where have they brought me too?

You are where you need to be child. Remember our deal. You are to kill who I ssay. then I will ssset you free from my grasssp.

Why don't you just kill this person yourself? Why do you need me?

Becaussse, thisss way isss much more fun and givesss me much pleasssure and energy. And I need the energy in orger to ssseparate from you.

Why don't you just tell me the name of who you want dead.

Oh, it isss not who I want dead, but who Beridane wantsss dead. But he isss a fool and doesss not know that when I have enough power, I will be able to go back and kill him.

So, by helping you kill who Beridane wants dead, will mean Beridane's own demise?

Yesss.

Kaya sat down upon the straw on the floor. Just tell me who I am to kill.

All in good time child. I mussst have my fun.

Fine, whatever. But whoever it is, I won't be able to kill them while in here.

The voice cackled. Don't worry child, it isss all part of the plan.

Kaya sigh and hugged her knees, bowing her head, knowing it would be useless to go further. All she could do is wait and see what was in store for her.

Written by - Renalis

"I would be surprised if Wilhelm didn't know, he doesn't strike me as the stupid type. I had actually been expecting the one following us to be him, or someone under his orders. As for approval, I thought Mavigan was the Queen, yes? Whether people approve of her actions or not shouldn't matter. But what about you... what are you doing here exactly?" The strange woman Crystal had come to know as Keeryn was still in the tree but Crystal could still make her out.

"Keeryn was it? I didn't say approval was neccessary did I? As for why I am here, I can assure you it is not under orders of Wilhelm, thats for sure."

Crystal once again turned towards Mavigan, "I thought that the best way to teach skills of survival is well, by surviving and this seems like an opportune moment." Crystal pauses a bit, trying not to sound forceful, "That is, if you don't mind, Mavigan."

Written by - Renalis

Renalis emerged through the portal connecting the two distant continents. His new wife followed quickly in tow, but they were unprepared for what they saw. A combined army of Dwarves, Elves, Humans and every other race of the known world had gathered at the remains of Renalis's old home. It had long since been taken by the Lich King and his many, many minions and they sought to be the line in the sand against the tides of darkness that was the undead army.

This army however looked like it had seen better days. Numerous bodies lay on the ground surrounding the troops and there was still a few fights left but it appeared the army had won, at least at first glance it looked like they won. Renalis could see in the distance another army approaching, and then the troops could finally see it. Renalis sent out a series of small blasts to finish off the remaining undead attacking the allied forces, and while a huge cheer went up for the victory of their forces, Renalis pressed forward. He passed his brothers and signaled them to look to the horizon, where now all could see the impending undead army, outnumbering the allied forces almost 10-1...

The troops knew there was little chance for survival and they looked to the heroes for their support. Renalis turned back and looked at his brothers, but something was amis... they were not there. Standing in their place was the heroes of this world, Isuiln, Ithramir, Ardwen, Trinni... all prepared to meet the army of darkness head on. Confident in his new friends Renalis turned around to face his enemy, but again, it was all different. He was now in the city and there he stood surrounded by Orcs, not undead.

Fighting fiercly, we cleaved the Orcs as if they were but air. His magic flew about like the bright displays of celebrations. Death was all that was around him, a field of death and anything caught in it faced the same fate. Every Orc that came close enough felt his blade, and those too far for that felt his magic, and all ended the same - Dead. Renalis turned to his wife who was still here, fighting the same as everyone else but then... NO! Crystal caught sight of Renalis and smiled, stopping for a second, a second too long. The head of the axe buried itself in her back, but she never lost the smile, she just fell to her knees, then as the axe was removed onto her back.

"No!!"

Renalis screamed, shooting up from his sleeping position; his mana gem flaring violently, and his eyes the same azure colour, like two saphires, perfectly smooth and briliant.

It was Trinni's soft touch that woke him and he could see her jump back at his outburst. Seeing her reaction, Renalis quickly realized his state and calmed his mind. Closing his eyes, the gem returned to its faint glow. Renalis finally opened his eyes, which were now back to normal.

"Sleeeeeepy head. It's time to get up. Wake up! You said we had to rest, and we did. Can we go back out there now? I'm sick of these Orc already and wanna go home. So... the sooner we begin again, the sooner we get to leave... right?"

Looking hopeful, she watches him as he looks up at her. Completely awake and nearly bursting out of her skin now, she hops from foot to foot in anticipation, her energy bubbling over and threatening to explode upon all those nearby.

"Another nightmare... she is...ok ... Crystal is... safe..." Renalis thought to himself as he rose up from the slumped position he managed to fall asleep in. "Yes, Let us continue. Let us rid the world of their filth." Renalis touched Trinni on the shoulder, "We can leave here soon enough, once everyone is safe again."

Renalis took his position at the front as Commander Ithramir finally gave the signal to attack. Charging forth he could only think of his wife, and how every Orc would pay for their heartless slaughter of everyone and everything that anyone cared for.

The first Orc fell to an upward slash, and his bretheran did not take kindly to this. Landing in a crouched position, Renalis stabbed forward, piercing the chest of Orc still holding his axe above his head. With a quick wave of his hand, a small force sent the Orc flying back, impacting the wall, he lay slumped over - dead. Another Orc charged forward, but overextending himself on the downward swing, Renalis was able to deflect the axe to the side and bringing the sword forward, he cleaved the Orc in two.

Renalis moved from there into the streets and alleys and joined one of the teams working from one building to another. Each group of Orcs inside each house or building felt the same fate. The first door opened was done so from the inside as an Orc charged blindly out and with a quick stroke, Renalis beheaded the foolish creature. Charging in Renalis waved his hand as the brave archer loosed an arrow for his face, deflecting it away from himself and towards the wall. Too close to get off another shot, the Orc tried to pull his sword but it was too late. Grabbing the Orcs throat, Renalis pierced the Orcs chest and pinned him against the wall. "You will not harm anyone ever again." And with that Renalis sent a small energy blast through his hand that severed the Orcs head. Removing his blade, he moves onto the next house.

As he approaches the next building, a shrine of somekind, he notices Ithramir already opening the door. He watches as the elven commander dodges the arrow sent at his head and then charges into the building. "Truely, he is a great warrior." Renalis's admires Ithramir for but a second then hits the building across the street - a blacksmith.

Renalis opens the door to the building and charges in, a few elves in tow. Seeing an Orc standing in the middle of the large building with some distinct markings on him, Renalis discerns this to be one of some importance. With a wave of his hand, a gust of wind blasts through the building, sending the few other Orcs in the building off their feet. Letting the elves handle those, Renalis charges their leader. The Orc brings up a finely crafted blade to parry Renalis's and during the sword-lock he can see the crest ingraved on the blade, it was that of this city. "You have looted your last city... filth!" And Renalis pushes the Orc up and blasts his chest, sending him staggering back, touching the scorchmark left by the quick fireblast. With a snarl the beast charges forward and slashes upward, but Renalis steps back and parrys the blade upward. With another angry snarl the beast brings the blade back down. "Your last mistake" Renalis utters as he sidesteps and pushes the blade past himself and into the wooden floor. As the floor splinters and the blade is lodged into it, Renalis brings his blade back up and severs the Orcs head. "Bastard..." Renalis mutters as he exits the building and looks toward the dwarven ram about to break through the third gate.

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