Shift of the Tides

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Xalsin
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 12:24 pm
Location: WA, USA

Shift of the Tides

Post by Xalsin » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:19 am

With every wave that crashed against the shore, a bit more sand was pulled out to sea, slowly eroding away the beaches of the land. It was all carefully measured and planned, for Zarathros was always careful in his measuring and his planning.

And when the waves came crashing back, they broke off a bit more of the rocks around the beach, smashing the larger rocks into smaller ones until even the most massive boulders turned into nothing more then fine sand. This too was part of Zarathros plan.

Plans such as the ones that Zarathros executed too immense for mortal minds to comprehend, and even most immortal minds had troubles understanding the sheer patience and cunning that went into them. As it was, no one thought it more ill-fate when a particularly strong wave gave one final crash against the rocky craigs of White Stone, cracking the rocks all the way up the large cliff. The cliff had already been cracked before, you see, in a violent earth quake many, many years before.

From that point, it was simply a matter of waiting for the natural course of things. The rocks began crumbling off in small chuncks, dropping into the turmult of the ocean with hardly even a noticable splash amongst the waves. As more rocks fell, they grew bigger and bigger, until the whole upper part of the cliff, perhaps a league in size, began sliding towards the ocean.

On the back of this rock stood the stones of Whitestead Keep, which had stood for hundreds of years and would have stood another thousand, had Zarathros not concieved to destroy it such.

The castle began splitting apart as it fell, and by the time it hit the water, it was hardly recognizable in size or shape. The ocean swallowed the entire castle without remorse, claiming the hundreds of lives within for her own. Just had Zarathros had planned, over two hundred years ago.

In an unseen form, Zarathros was close by, watching with great joy as the carnage unfolded the way he had intended. It was only the first step of his plan, but it was the biggest. Now, with White Stone removed, the way in to the land of Conova was open.


*********

Kerron Proudrider's feet smacked dully against the unyielding stone beneath as he run down the corridors of the Mundres Fortress, his long, dark green hair trailing behind. He had just gotten in from his travels, and even as he hurried down the hallways with as much dignity as he could manage, he tried to make himself more presentable. Finally, he arrived at a door made of corral, skidding to a halt, and catching his breath.

Giving his armor and gear one last look to make sure it looked relatively ordered, he turned the handle of the door and stepped inside.

A half amphitheater greeted Kerron's deep violet eyes, filled with men dressed in the same flexible, fish scale armor as him. They also wore the same arm band bearing the four outward pointing shark teeth symbol of the Darkwave, the semi-secret order of champions for the Mundres Kingdom.

Every eye was upon him as he walked slowly down the aisleway. Kerron stopped briefly, giving a brief bow to the Order Master Adin, then took his seat.

"Kerron." The Order Master said simply as form of both greeting and chastizment. Tardiness was not seldom tolerated in the Order, but these were difficult times. Kerron did not apologize, however. He had been on official business and had run into trouble. In fact, considering the circumstances, he had done pretty well, only being a few minutes late.

"Getting back to the business at hand," the Order Master quickly resumed his oration, "we are all aware, I'm sure of what became of White Stone Keep. As you can imagine, this is especially worrisome for Mundres. Already there have been emissaries from other kingdoms, asking why we have done this. Needless to say, this was neither Mundres' doing, nor his condoning."

The Darkwaves were completely still, listening to every word with rapt attention. Having been brought up since they were children in the ways of the Order, they were extremely disciplined and trained.

The Order Master Adin looked around at his followers from behind the carved black mask he wore. It was an ancient tradition that the Order Master would wear a mask and assume a new identity when he inherited the title. Whether it was just tradition or was for his safety, it was hard to say. Certainly, the Order Master possessed more secrets then anyone in the whole kingdom, but he had also obtained his position by cunning, skill, and persistance. If there was any one in Mundres you wouldn't want to annoy, it was the Order Master.

"It is beginning to be apparent what happened." The Order Master continued, his eyes still sweeping the small group of Darkwaves.
"Zarathros the Wavemaster has been involved in some plot. Whether he is the instigator or the collaborator is unknown. All we know is that it was his responsibility to see after the waves. When he was sent for to be questioned on the matter, he was nowhere to be found. His whereabouts are still unknown."

The gravity of the situation slowly sank in. There were few people in Mundres' kingdom more powerful then Zarathros. If he were responsible for such destruction, what hope did they have of stopping him?

"Mundres himself has comissioned the Order to investigate the matter. We must find Zarathros, but further then that, we must discover whether he acted alone or not. This will be a quest that will take some of you beyond the borders of our beloved Kingdom. Individual assignments will be given shortly. Are there any questions at this time?"

An Inquisitor towards the back stood up. "A question, Order Master." Leave it to an Inquisitor to come up with a question or six. Kerron thought with a quiet snort that still managed to produce a sidelong glance from the perceptive Darkwave aside him.

"What are these Darkwaves to do if they find Zarathros? Surely we stand no chance of apprehending him or detaining him..."

The Order Master was silent for a split second. Kerron couldn't be sure through the mask, but he thought Adin was smiling. Perhaps he felt the same way about Inquisitors.

"The assignments you are given will thoroughly detail what is to be done in such cases. Are there any other questions?" The Inquisitor sat back down and no one else had anything to say.

"Very well. Return to your rooms. A runner will be delivering your assignments within the hour."

The group dispersed quickly and quietly, everyone returning to their room as they were directed.

Xalsin
Posts: 3187
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 12:24 pm
Location: WA, USA

Post by Xalsin » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:10 pm

Kerron's room was small, as they all were, and remarkably free of personal possessions. He was not a collector of junk, and in fact only kept the few possessions that were actually helpful for his job. A small mattress of sea grass rested on the floor, next to it was a small desk and chair intricately carved out of smooth coral. The only source of illumination in the room was a glass tank full of shining fish, which was sufficient, if giving the room an eerie green glow.

A small trunk at the foot of the bed contained everything he owned other then the possessions he held: a small crescent shaped shell charm, two sets of clothing, a whet stone, and a box full of dried fish. The latter he took out, opening the box. The Darkwave had not had time to eat since arriving at Mundres Fortress and it was a good guess that he might not get a chance to until much later.

Breathing in deeply, the Milraen unhooked the latch of his sword belt, laying it on the floor gently. Grabbing his whet stone and a spare cloth that was laying on the desk, Kerron sat down cross legged and unsheathed his sword. It was a great source of relaxation for him, sitting down in a nearly trance like state, sharpening his sword and simply thinking.


Kerron thought himself to be a rather average Milraen, as his people were called. He stood at about six feet, had shimmering, dark green hair, and deep cobalt eyes. In fact, as far as features went, he fancied himself beyond average, rather attractive. Well muscled, his skin a smooth and attractive pale blue with high cheek bones and handsome facial features.

And when it came to intelligence and wit, Kerron could admit modestly, that he was sharp. He had to be. He might have been selected to be a Darkwave at infancy, but it was a title that was earned.

However, when it came to understanding such things as the workings of the sea, he felt as ignorant as a slug.

Which, of course, was why those sorts of things had always being overseen by such beings as Zarathros.

But what becomes of the world when beings of such power proves to be untrustworthy? Kerron thought to himself in the silence, only broken by the whet stone sliding along the curved edge of his blade.

Will Mundres himself get involved? That was the question everyone was asking. But no one had an answer, except for Mundres, and he was enigmatic and private. It was impossible to say what his course of action would be.

A knock at the door interupted any further thoughts. As silent as an eel, Kerron arose and opened the wooden door.

A courier stood there, holding a folded parchment sealed with a wax seal of the Order Master. Kerron accepted the parchment with a courtous bow, then shut the door slowly. His heart began to beat rapidly as it always did when he recieved this missives. The words within would shape his life possibly forever.

The seal broke with a magical flash of light, telling Kerron that it had not been tampered with. Slowly, he unfolded it and read the words within.

A Dictation of Duty and Obligation to Scout Kerron Proudrider of the Order of the Darkwave, from Order Master Adin, to be delivered by Courier Obea on the Eveningtide of Third Day of Clearwater.

It has been decreed that Kerron Proudrider shall set forth from Mundres Fortress immediately, traveling as fast as possible to the outskirts of the Mundres Kingdom. Starting at White Stone Keep, he shall scour the area, looking for anything that should warrant the attention of his superiors.

His ultimate goal is to look for any evidence of Zarathros's whereabouts, however, he is not expected to find Zarathros himself.

These tasks shall be continued until such time as the Order Master should decree different. Kerron Proudrider is also urged investigate things in the land of Conova as possible.

Kerron Proudrider is wished the greatest of fortunes and Mundres's favor.



Kerron clenched his teeth, folding the letter. He was charged with the task of finding Zarathros, having been told he was not expected to find him.

Slowly he let his breath escape from his lungs, unaware that he had even been holding it. The sword slid back into its sheath with a dull scraping sound. It was time to leave again.

Xalsin
Posts: 3187
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 12:24 pm
Location: WA, USA

Post by Xalsin » Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:59 pm

"Hail." Kerron spoke his greeting to the stablemaster as he entered into the ajoining stables.

"Hail, Scout. Leaving again so soon?" The stablemaster looked up from the ledger which he had been examining.

"Aye. I hope Mosra is well rested, for it will be a long and hard ride." Even as Kerron spoke he walked over to where his custom saddle was hanging over a wooden holder.

"She's been quite still since you pulled in. I believe you've finally tired her out." The Stablemaster said good naturedly. "She usually kicks up a fuss about having to be caged in here, even for a short while."

The statement brought a smile to smile to the rider's face. He had spent a lot of time alone with the beast out riding, and, as such, had grown quite fond of her. She was the only family he had.

"Farewell." Proudrider said as he took the saddle over to the correct stall.

"Safe travels." The man replied.

Kerron opened the door leading into the stall, stepping inside.

They called it a stall, but "pool" would have been more approperiate. Within the room was fifty foot circular pool of water with an underwater grate leading to the ocean.

And there, floating with mock docileness just below the water's edge, was his baby.

Mosra as an eighteen foot long Blue Shark, trained from birth, just like Kerron. She was intelligent, probably more intelligent then she let on, fierce, loyal, and the fastest swimmer Kerron had ever seen. Not even the dolphins could keep up with Mosra. They were a perfect pair.

Mosra was completely still. She may have been sleeping, but it was impossible to tell for sure. There was only one way to tell for sure.

Kerron slipped into the the water, drawing water into his lungs; unlike humans, Milraen can breath just as well in air or in water.

"Mosra." He called her name as he approached the beautiful creature with the saddle. She perked up immediately, recognizing the voice of her master. She made a noise that it took a special kind of ear to hear, a noise somewhere between a growl, a squeak, and a bark.

With one fluid flip of her caudal fin Mosra moved her body around, nuzzling his hands with her nose.

"I don't have anything for you, sorry." Placing one hand on her snout, he threw the saddle over her, tying it under her belly so that it sat just behind the dorsal fin. She gave a growl at this, but was apparently satisfied, for she sat still while he attached the reigns around her thick neck.

"Ready to ride, girl?" He asked as he pulled himself up on to the saddle, laying down as flat as possible to prevent himself from slowing her down. She gave an enthusiastic yelp at this.

Kerron bowed his head, muttering an incantination to break the wards on the gate. A brief flash of light flickered on the gate, and it suddenly swung open. Kerron squeezed his knees together slightly, but Mosra needed no such encouragement. She shot out off the opening with a speed that would have rivalled an arrow. Out into the Ocean Deep.

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